Quick TABS to Joyful Stuff

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OPA or Other People's Art

I can't help myself, I buy art.  I mean I'm an artist and I have "some" of my paintings hanging on the wall, but mostly for self defamation and to have a reason to get better ;)

Seeing the Elephant by Penny Otwell
Oil on Canvas -All rights reserved
Private collection of Jim and Kay Zahn

Recently I've been online a lot (only recently? to my friends, that's funny) and in those travels I have come across some art that I not only like, but I couldn't live without.  So I decided to share some of the OPA (other people's art) that can be found on MY walls at home and the office.

For example from a wonderful artist in Northern California, Penny Otwell who until just recently lived in the Yosemite Valley.  My husband and I honeymooned in the Yosemite Valley.  Camp 5 ? the rock climbers camp, in 1984.  We were cool ;)

But when I saw Penny's painting Seeing the Elephant, I had to have it.  It's personal, and I'm saving up for a larger more iconic painting of Yosemite but for now, I See the Elephant everyday and I couldn't be happier.

View Of Scottsdale, Arizona From Pinnacle Peak
by Warren Keating
All rights reserved.
I'm sharing this now, because today I purchased another "must have", from an artist whom I found chatting on a Linked In Group about marketing your art, named Warren Keating.  In looking through his online gallery, I found another personal MUST have.  It's a painting of Scottsdale, Arizona looking down from Pinnacle Peak where hubby and I spent a lot of our local Rock Climbing years before all the houses filled in the landscape below the Peak.  We were actually married right there.  At the base of the Peak.  Looking up at our beloved rocks, and some of our friends who didn't make it down in time for the ceremony. 

Can you tell I like Rocks?

Speaking of rocks, I'll share now one of my own paintings (one of my first larger pastels) it's called Patagonia High Tide, because in fact there's a lot more rock down under that high tide, and someday I want to paint Low Tide there.  My reference was from a rock climbing equipment catalog.
Patagonia High Tide by Kay Zahn
12x16 Pastel on Sanded Paper
I DO have other things on my wall, and I have a Gallery Wall filled with ACEOs.  That of course is another conversation all together, but suffice it to say, I'm obsessed over OPA.  Big or small, I love them all.  In addition to all of the OPA I do own two (yes I said TWO) Bob Ross Originals.  One from well before he was famous, and another CLASSIC Bob style, both with Certificates of Authentication.

Bob Ross 1981
Personal Collection of Jim and Kay Zahn
All Rights Reserved
Bob Ross - date unknown
Personal Collection of Jim and Kay Zahn
All Rights Reserved
Isn't that just a place you'd like to be right now.  Look at those happy trees.  These are happy trees before Happy Trees were popular.

It has been authenticated by the Bob Ross Company (Bob Ross, Inc) from 1981 because he put the date in the signature.

Something that didn't do after he was a television icon.  At least not on the television show. Here is my other Bob Ross Original.  Also authenticated by the company, but harder to date.

Clearly his standard style and as such I don't like it as much as his earlier one.  I can look at both and compare what I know, what I do, and what I see, and realize that Bob has helped me tremendously along my journey to learn to paint.  

Unfortunately I can't stay awake long enough to watch him much anymore (even on Saturday morning I can doze right after it starts) but I feel good that I take that TV watching time and just DO IT.  I paint.  Because I can.  I buy OPA because I can, but more because I want to touch it and hold it closer than I can in a book or on a website.  

Speaking of websites of course.  Thanks for coming to this one.  Share the Joy,  Kay

Friday, October 8, 2010

Haunting images of early foreclosures

"Cliffside Condos" in Pastel
9x12 on Sanded Pastel Board
This painting is study of another Daniel Plumer photograph.  He's a fabulous photographer from Tucson, who I found on FaceBook (his daughter is my nephew's sister in law ??) when someone posted a photo of his and it haunted me until I contacted him and asked to paint it. He kindly said I could paint his photos and share them here.  So here's one I've been working on for a month or more.  I think it's done.

Here's the original photograph
a photo of the photo (sorry) by Daniel Plumer
find Daniel on SmugMug
And of course a few progress photos from the past few weeks.  This one sat on an easel (right beside me as I painted a few others this month) and I stared at it in progress.  It took that long to REALLY observe everything in this photo.  The perspective of the structure inside the overhanging walls set me back about 30 layers of pastel (thank goodness for good sanded paper)

Charcoal sketch 
the Toy Box
First color pass

first color WASHED with water

working on cave walls

starting to look set "back" in the cave

Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions if you have any.  I am VERY NEW at this and sometimes I think I'm just "coloring" and others I think I "finally get it" . . mixing colors in Oil Paint is so different that mixing colors in Pastel.    But WHAT FUN.

Share the Joy,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Virtual Paint Out in San Miguel de Allende

I went to Mexico yesterday (playing with others at Bill Guffey's Virtual Paint OUT)  It was a beautiful day in San Miguel de Allende, while it was pouring rain in ARIZONA!   I found this little street and the colors just JUMPED out at me begging to be painted.  So I painted them.
Hotel Posada de las Manjas
Pastel on SandPaper 9x12
Here is my reference photo from Google Street View.
I'm liking a few things about this painting.  My 13th pastel painting ever.  This one I tried real hard to avoid over blending, and I think I succeeded.  If you get close you can really see the pastel dust!  AND I did people.  Of course if you count the carriage driver and passengers last month's Central Park painting, these are only my second attempt at figures, ever.  So they aren't great, but they aren't horrible either.  And I never had to wipe them out and start over . . . like the horse last month.

I did not wash the background on this painting at all. I liked the look that the pastel on the sandpaper at first pass.  It left the buildings with that old patchy look.  Here are some progress photos from today.  OH YEA.  That's the other thing.  I did this in one day.  I started, I kept at it, and I finished it.  That's a new one for me.

Charcoal sketch

First Pass of Color

Adding bricks and greenery.

PEOPLE . . we have PEOPLE
and YES I left out the pickup truck. . . that looked hard!
I just loved the colors and the direction of this image.  All of the action is really happening "way down the road" and it looked like it went on forever.

Try Google Street View . . you'll LOVE IT.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Paint Out, OFF and IN Online Art Contests

Looking for ways to promote our new Paint OFF, I've run across a few other online Painting competitions.  First and Foremost here's a link to OUR NEW PAINT OFF where there are monthly PRIZES like $250 on a VISA card.

Here are some other cool places websites with "get togethers" going on

Have fun and PLEASE JOIN ME over at StreetViewPaintOFF, either at the blog or on FaceBook where WE the People will Choose the Winners!

Share the JOY


Monday, September 27, 2010

Virtual Paint Out on Manhattan Island

Recently I discovered a really FUN activity called a Virtual Paint Out where once a month a location is provided for artists of all abilities, ages and mediums who are invited to join in (via Google Street View) and find a location and submit a painting. It's just for fun, but it IS fun to watch the different location choices develop.  

September's location was Manhattan Island NYC.  I choose a spot in Central Park (not wanting to wander off the island and be disqualified on my first submission :)  and decided to try my hand at a horse and carriage. Here are some of the photos with notes on WHAT HAPPENED along the way.  Oh yea, I used pastels and I'm glad I did.  I wiped out (literally) a horse and half a wagon, more than once.

Value Sketch to get started.
My walking paths were wrong, so I  moved the lower one.
My horse was so BAD I couldn't share - he had to go.
My horse is better now, but the carriage is TOO BIG!
So I fixed it.  (Gotta' love the pastels)

Sunny Day on Central Park Driveway - 16"x12"  - Pastel on Ampersand Board

Below is a look at the Google Street View map where I found my subject.  Once you find a subject I HIGHLY SUGGEST making a link (upper right corner of map window) and sending it to yourself.  I would never have been able to find this again, if I hadn't done that. YES I left out the two people with baby strollers walking in the center.  I struggled so with the horse, I didn't want to ruin it.  If I ever go back, I may add them.

I am right now looking in Arizona for a location to have my (our) own Virtual Paint out so stay tuned if you'd like to join in.

Share the Joy.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Seaside Sunset turns to Desert Island

Well it has been quite some time since I have posted (anything about my Bob Ross Project that is) until recently I became inspired to get back to some starting point.  Toward that end, yesterday I watched 5 episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross (recorded from Saturday morning TV) to find that inspiration.  

I got myself a big glass of Ice Tea (OK ok it was coffee but it's in the right neighborhood) and sat down to watch.  It was very quiet.  I watched him create the beginning of a great sunset, and then I got up for . . something.  I can't remember, but I found myself on FaceBook, telling people I was going to paint.  That often helps me. 

Half heartedly I went back to watch the end of the episode.  I was bored (and tired) so I "fast forwarded" it by 1X and watched it develop.  I didn't like the mountain he made (but that was his world, not mine ;) so I jumped to the next episode.  Then the next.  Bob Ross in Fast Forward is still pretty good, AND I don't get as tired watching.  I mean really, tell me you don't just about fall asleep while he's painting.

After my mini marathon I decided I couldn't waste my effort thus far so I went to get the video camera.  OH SO MUCH WORK, the tripod, a new tape, batteries . . . argh.  So I went to check my FaceBook only to find that a few people are watching (or at least also on FaceBook being distracted from their days work) and as always people just being there motivated me to just DO IT (so who says it is wasting time?) and it helped!   But I decided to go the easy route on the camera and just got out the FLIP camera.  The record time is 1 HOUR.  No problem  that's normal Bob Ross time anyway, right?


Monday, August 23, 2010

Say hello to Bob Ross when you get to heaven

Monday begins a sad week for us that started over a year ago, but now it's real.  MiMi is sharing her last few days on earth with us now.  She hasn't eaten for 4 days, and drinks very little water.  Her brain forgot how to do everything. She sleeps now 22 hours a day, awake only here and there to smile a little and squeeze a hand.

(Mimi her daughters and ME)
I think she knows who we are, and where she is, and she is at peace.  I hope her body cooperates and lets her go in her sleep, or at least in a peaceful state.  Which she has been in for over a year since we brought her here to live with us.  What a year it's been too.

It was June of 2009 when Jim (hubby) scooped her up from the Assisted Living Facility (with no shoes on) and brought her home.

Mother's Day and Boys Birthdays
Touchdown CARDINALS !
Since then we have shared birthdays and holidays with lots of family around.   What could be a more fitting wish for a mother of 7, than to have her grown children get to know each other better during her months of life.

We've lived together through Football season, and the Olympics.

She and I watched a whole season of Rachel Ray and I became a better cook.  We discovered Bob Ross together when the television in the kitchen only got a few channels, we turned to PBS.  The rest of that story is HISTORY.

When her heart started to give out, we watched HOURS AND HOURS of Bob Ross on video in the hospital.

I don't know if she watched, but I DID.
 And now after 84+ years on this earth her days are short, and she goes to be with Dad (after 17 years of holding her own after he died) She is still a beautiful woman with a beautiful family, that I am thankful to have been a part of for over 26 years.  

Good Bye MiMi.  Tell Dad that we love him and miss him greatly.  And if you run into Bob Ross, tell him how many people still on this earth feel connected to him through his work.  Through our work.  And just like Bob, Mimi will never be forgotten.

Monday, August 16, 2010

All Creativity Counts

Famous words from my friend Karyl, who is a voracious quilter.  This woman turns out hundreds of quilts a year just to give them away. You should check her blog out at KarylsQuilts.blogspot.com

Here is my first pastel painting and I think it's done.  I put my initials on it (the first time I have EVER signed a painting) because I thought I loved it.  Now that I'm looking at it a week or so later, I'm not so sure.  But I'll share anyway, just so you all know that I am trying.

Reference Photo by Daniel Plumber -check him out

My initial sketch of the photo

The computer image was better to work from.

I might be "blending" too much ???

and YES MiMi looks on when she's awake.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bob Ross said he was like a drug dealer

In today's episode of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross (Saturday 7:30 am on KAET Chanel 8, in the PHX market) Bob proclaimed that they (his company?) were just like drug dealers.  They know that they get us hooked on painting, and then we will want more and more of it.

Well he couldn't have been more right.  It has been less than one year since I started painting with Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting series.  Really.  I didn't grow up with it, I discovered Bob in July 2009 when MiMi came to live with us and I looked for quiet, easy going television to entertain her.  After watching for a few months, I decided to purchase supplies and DVDs and give it a try.  That was in October of last year.

Since then I have gravitated in and out of oil, watercolor, acrylics, and now I a little hooked on pastel.  I have not been sitting idle all of these weeks, I've set up my studio(s) and pretend like I'm going to get something done. Every now and then I do, but when I sit at the computer I wonder who wants to hear about any of that.

However with the anniversary of my oil painting career coming up, I suppose I should try to GET BACK TO OIL PAINTING.  After Bob initially got me hooked,  I started out strong.  5 paintings in one week, then my first Bob Ross paint along, and then my blogging idea and here we are 5 paintings in to that project an I am getting bored with it.  I TOLD YOU this could happen.

In my defense, it is a little more than just painting.  It's video taping my painting and then editing it for YouTube and then writing about it . . and in case it wasn't exactly clear, I have a company to run, teenagers to raise, an 84yr old Mother In Law to care for, a beautiful grandson, and a couple of other blog projects in addition to this one (what was I thinking) so I could have guessed this wouldn't be easy.

Anyway, today's post is for a couple of reasons.  ONE: To invite anyone who would like to do an episode of Bob Ross' Joy of Painting (painting along) on video tape for me to highlight here, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.  I would send you a camera, I'd buy you one of those kits you see there (or send you some of my stuff) so you could give it a try.  I'll edit the video and post it (unless you are in to that sort of thing) and everything.

Number TWO reason for this post is to let people know about my other projects that you may have run in to on my YouTube channel.  A friend of mine wrote an iApp that is in the iTunes store.  In order to get people to download and use the App, we came up with a contest to give away an iPad and some other cool stuff.  It is working great.  Mostly because of my video on YouTube that I am promoting (ie: advertising) that tells about the giveaway.

A lot of folks have downloaded the App and we now have "stats" in the iTunes store that help us understand how the Apple Marketplace works . . because we have a much better App in the works that is a tie in to my charity Thank You Blue and its work with the 100 Club of Arizona.  So we need to know how iTunes store works.

In any case, I'd hate to give away an iPad without giving the followers of this blog an opportunity to get in on the giveaway.  So if you are interested visit TheTEXTupProject.com or watch this video and DON'T laugh at my voice.  It's weird, I know.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross or Family

Water Colors and Pastels vs Oil Painting with Bob Ross
Patricia played with pastels, perfectly pushing pigment on paper.  Palette pale with pinks and purple, Patty places peaches in paintings pulsing with pleasure. 

I spent the week with one of Jim's sisters (estrogen overload perhaps!) More specifically, she spent the week with Mimi and we didn't go anywhere.  We stayed home except to go pick up Jamie from Horse Camp (which was fun).  Even more fun is the fact that Patty is an artist.  A pastel artist who has a gallery opening next week in Santa Fe New Mexico, where she lives and works.

She not only brought some pastels and paper (we went to Jerry's Artarama and I purchased some of my own) she worked on a watercolor painting for a class she was taking.  So we both had a great time playing and learning new mediums.  After just watching her, I feel more confident in trying both water colors and pastels.

I know I know . . it's not Bob Ross style.  But I think Bob wants me to learn about everything that interests me, using him as a starting point and becoming my own artist.  I don't intend to stop painting with Bob.  In fact I can't wait to get back on to the easel and apply liquid white. (I know I still have Episode 6 on a black canvas that is half finished.)  However it has been so hectic around here that painting with oil seems nearly impossible.  I get only a few minutes here and there to play with something.

I find that I really like having pastels on the table so I can just pick up a color and experiment while Mimi naps or watches.  She thoroughly enjoyed watching Patty and I this week.  If her arms and hands were working she'd have joined right in.  As it were, we just got a lot of smiles and thumbs up signs (which she can still manage to put together ;)

Today (really Today? .  . wow) marks ONE YEAR since we picked Mimi from the floor at the assisted living facility where she was, and brought her home to be with us.  What a year it has been.  Remember that I discovered Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting on television when I installed a TV in the kitchen (where I was spending a lot of time all of a sudden) so that MiMi and I could be entertained.  We didn't hook up a cable box and only got basic channels from the hookup.  Low and behold, one day on channel 8 (public access) I found Bob Ross.

His slow gentle voice was just what Mimi needed and his style of painting a complete landscape in 1/2 hour was intriguing to me.  So far the rest (this blog and my entire painting career) is history. His story and My story,  Her story and probably Your story.  The world is so amazing.  I know very little about practical application and or the history of the masters and Patty knows so much (art degrees and all) but we both learned from each other.

What she learned from me (besides how to care for her mother in her new phase of life ;) was how I am using the internet for companionship and inspiration.  How she might do the same and even sell a painting or two online.  Help me SHOW HER and the gallery owner who has her work that you support their art. Visit their web site, or better yet, visit them in Santa Fe.

Mill Fine Art and the artist P.E. Baldwin.  It's pastels today, and watercolor tomorrow.  Who knows maybe next time she comes we'll do a "throw back" weekend and I'll teach her to understand Bob Ross and the wet on wet Oil technique.  Talk about JOY!  I can't even think about it right now.  It's Monday morning and I have work to do.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Over "Joyed" by Family and Friends

The past couple of weeks feel like months, yet they flew by.  As odd as that sounds, I'll bet you can all relate somehow.  MiMi is home now for 2 weeks and we have found some sort of normal for this phase.  She may not be able to communicate much but you can see in her smile, she is not in pain.  She's happy and comfortable.  Hospice folks come and go 2 times a week for now and there has been a steady flow of family coming to share and understand.  It's happy and sad, exhausting but enlightening, confusing yet very clear what we have to do.  So we do it.

But I broke out the paint this week while I had the time and strayed away from "watching Bob Ross and painting with him" I decided to take one of my favorite photos and paint from it.  I wish I'd have taken more photos while I painted  (or video taped it, but I didn't) but here's where I am now.

I LOVE My Rocks (or mountains if you will) These are rocks that I've seen and touched in my life (back in our rock climbing days . . or should I say MY rock climbing days, since my husband still gets out there whenever he can) and we have always loved Yosemite Valley.  

Here's my reference photo, and so you see I'm now going to work on the foreground, from the land mass on the other side of the river to the rocks up close. I have a few more trees to add as well, to cover the bottom of the waterfall, as you can't really see it in the view.


I like my big rocks so much, and my trees, while not perfect, are reflecting of a style that I have been working on (used only the knife) and I think I did well with them.  I need another layer of trees and then the WATER.  I'm not sure how to "start again" now that the paint is dry.  So the underlayer of the river is there.  I even put in a rock or two underwater.  But now I need to "wet" it again so that I can complete the foreground.

When I wet the canvas now (or I'm really wetting the dry paint) I know I'm not going to make that paint wet again, but that will now be my base layer.  Upon which any new paint will need to slide to make it look like water. . . . I'm afraid to start again. . . but I will.

Help me share the Joy . . . Kay

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For me, Painting was Never Therapy. But I NEED it now.

After everything MiMi and I have been through lately I so wanted to pick up a paint brush, summoning up the spirit of Bob Ross, and paint like I've been painting all my life.  I watched so many episodes of The Joy of Painting online and on DVD while we were in the hospital and at the nursing home.  You'd think my mind would know exactly what to tell my hand to do. Something MiMi can't do anymore.  She's pretty much forgotten how to do everything.  Literally.  So she requires a lot of help when she's awake.  She does sleep most of the time however and that is both a blessing and a curse.  But that's not why I'm here blogging right now . . so back to my story.

Now that we are home I was itching to work on Series 2 Number 6.  Black River. The name says a lot for me, because it starts with a black canvas.  I didn't like the black canvas we did in S2-No.3 Ebony Sea but I had convinced myself it was because I had used both the liquid clear AND the transparent colors as under paint, and this time I knew I was using only the transparent colors.

I was eager to apply my somewhat rusty skills on the black gessoed canvas that has been on my easel for nearly a month, so I just squeezed out the paint and "fired it right in there" (word to Bill Alexander, whom is still very much "with" Bob in his early episodes) and it Burned my Brain.  I couldn't mix colors, I couldn't decide which brush to use. I forgot how to make trees.  He was working with browns and yellows and I don't seem to like browns and yellows, and made a big mess.

So, to make a long story short (my facebook followers know I am likely going to destroy this one and start over or "skip" it) my Series 2 Episode 6 Painting of Black River is facing it's doom.  I AM going to edit and post the video and let you all have a good laugh.  After which I'll decide what to do with it. I have not watched the video, but I keep walking by the painting and cringing.  I'm sure the video will make me cry.

Speaking of crying.  That's happening to me a lot again lately.  Anyone who's read the 50 things about me on my web page  can figure out that the stress of having MiMi here and hospice care (which is a very helpful and beautiful process by the way) is likely affecting my emotions a bit.  But you wouldn't know it to talk to me.  (That's probably the problem right there) Good thing for blogs because I obviously need therapy!

But since this blog is about my painting, and not about my whining, I'm going to start using painting as my therapy and get back to something that I like to do, not that I need to do. Theres' so much of that around lately.  That NEED to do stuff.  I have always gravitated towards the LIKE to do, or WANT to do and that just becomes the natural NEED to do and by then I'd package it up and teach someone else to do it or sell it to someone else.

Spoken like a true entrepreneur.  That may be why I am enjoying learning to paint.  It's not something I can package up and "hand off" to anyone else to do.  HHHmmmm.  I'm going to have to talk to someone about that.  I think I'll go call my sister now.

Share the Joy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Goodbye Nursing Home it's been a Long 2 Weeks

We busted MiMi out of Heritage Court today.  (With proper discharge of course ;) On our own two (well 6) feet.  Jim and I took MiMi from her bed, to a wheelchair, from the wheelchair to the car and then HOME.  Then we went car to wheelchair, and wheelchair to BED, where she is currently resting (snoring) and all is well in her world.

She's not walking yet, even with her walker, and may never gain the strength to do so.  The Autumn Splendor painting and video I did, where she walked in to the frame was one of the first and last times we may see her entering the frame on her own accord.  But she'll be sitting up and watching if she can, and I'll let you know how it goes.

I have Hospice assistance coming in soon and we'll have a lot of paperwork to do I'm sure.  Hospice will work with us for 5 days or 5 years, depending upon mom's needs.  I had no idea how helpful they were.  Even though my own mother had hospice care with her when she lost her husband to Cancer, after which she volunteered for them for some time.  Jim's father (MiMi's husband) died of Cancer 17 years ago, but it happened fast, and in the hospital.  Thanksgiving diagnosis and hospitalization and he died on Christmas Eve.

He was always a great help to me when we started our business (back in 1982) having so much experience in the security business and life in general.  It was hard to see him go.  On the last day of his life he had been going in and out of periods of lucidity and dementia.  At around 4pm he asked for ME, his daughter in law to come to the hospital.  I had a 18 month old toddler and I was preparing for a family party that evening, but dad couldn't be there.  It wasn't going to be very "merry" as it was.  I dropped everything and went to the hospital.

MiMi and Aunt Patty took Tyler to a waiting area and I went in to talk to dad.   He looked at me very clearly and said, "K.C." (that's what they called me, cuz MiMi is a Kay as well) "I left a mess." Here was a man who was living my biggest fear (at the time) and that was leaving my desk, and not coming back to finish my constant stream of work.  "I have bills to pay," he said.  "and who will take care of mom if I'm not here." To which I assured him as much as I could at my younger age and wisdom, that I would take care of everything.  I reminded him that he raised a large family of wonderful children now adults, who can do well with what they have learned from him.  I reminded him that Jim and I had the most to gain having followed in his footsteps and stayed in the alarm business like he was all of his life.  I told him that we had a strong company and strong hearts and we could take care of MiMi.  I told him not to worry about things like that.  I told him to rest.

Later that evening just before midnight as Jim and I were going to bed having done our "Santa" chores, our phone rang.  It was Patty's husband Russ.  He wanted us to know that they were with dad in his room and they watched a catholic mass on television, during which dad quietly passed away.

MiMi was a ROCK.  She held up during the wake and the funeral.  During the family visits and selling the house, and moving into an apartment and living her life.  She found work (with ME) as she helped to care for the children in our company day care and then later in life took care of my home and family (while I worked my tail off growing a company).  Which brings me back to the future.

MiMi lives here with us now (as you know if you are regular blog reader) so we could not leave her in a nursing home.  Her eye is better, her hand is still healing, and she's not exactly "mobile" but home is where she belongs and as long as we have control of the situation, home is where she will stay.

I'm hoping for a painting or two to show up this weekend.  No running back and forth to the hospital.  Just making MiMi comfortable is the goal, so what's more comforting that our friend Bob Ross and his Joy of Painting DVDs.  Maybe I should rest up for this so I don't get comforted right to sleep.

Share the Joy!  

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Broken Heart Syndrome and Mother's Day Birthdays

One of my New OLD friends told me today, small changes and small "sameness" will get you through this. As simple as it sounds, it is the most profound thing I've had to think all week.  And I've had a LONG week my friends.  Filled with changes in routine and face to face meetings of the heart.

If you've ever read the 50 Things about me on my web site you know a little about these Mother's Day facts, but here's the rest of the story:  My husband's Grandmother's name is Catherine Zahn. She and grandpa had their first boy on May 10th.  He (my father in law) grew and married a woman named Katherine, who then was called Kay.  Kay Zahn (aka: MiMi).  She and dad had a son on May 10th (my husband) and he grew and married a woman named Kay.  Kay Zahn (me).  Our first son was born on . . you guessed it . . May 10th.  So on this weekend of Mother's Days and Birthdays our family feels very Blessed by our "sameness" and even though Dad left us almost 17 years ago (on Christmas Eve) we still put his name on the cake, and usually have 2 cakes because they can't fit it all onto one.

I don't know how "same" this Mother's day will be but we are going to do our best. There was a poignant prognosis for MiMi's heart which was described in slang terms as "a broken heart syndrome."  More specifically Takotsubo Syndrome, wherein the heart swells to a size/shape resembling a Japanese octopus pot (hence the name) during times of sadness, stress or memories of events and times.  Usually post menopausal women.  It presents like a heart attack (high enzyme levels detected) but is not and usually does not damage the heart.  Often (normally?) it will regain it's shape, size and strength with rest and therapy.  But MiMi is very tired.  She has suffered a trauma with the fall that clearly is challenging her will right now.

What we are going for now is "sameness" and to get her home.  In her own chair. (It's a cool one with control to stand up, lay down flat, or anywhere in between.)  If she could be in her own space watching Wheel of Fortune on our big screen TV instead of the little one up in the corner of her room . . well, she'd be comforted greatly.

We did watch Bob Ross on my DVD at the hospital (many times) but it wasn't the same.  I don' t know if she can see the screen with the patch on her eye anyway, but she could hear him, and his voice does make you feel comforted.  He "god blessed" us many times these past few days.

We are likely bringing MiMi home (in a week to 10 days) with hospice care.  The services and people available to help give me confidence to know we can do it better here at home than anywhere.  She was released from the hospital to a nursing facility to help get her strength back but I'm sure she'd rather be home.   I was hoping it would be by Mother's Day, but it may take a little longer.

We are very hopeful to have a few more Mother's Days before she goes to be with Dad.  I'm sure when she does, she'll be planning the parties up there as they watch over the rest of us.  I know Dad did after he left.  How else would I have been so lucky?

We will have a lot of little changes before we get to our sameness.  I'm tired of sitting in a hospital chair.  I look like it too.  I can't believe I did one of those "shoot your own photo straight arm" things but I did.  I have that "calf sucked on my head look".  I think that is an old Iowa saying.  Or at least MY mom used to say it back in Iowa!

Oh yea, mother's day.  I should stop in and see my mom too. AND I should say Happy Mother's Day to all of my friends.  New and old. I like to think that all of my old friends from high school are all still kids, and we never got old.  But we did.  Older and wiser too. I wish I knew then what I know now, and I would never have let 30+ Mother's Days go by without wishing them all the very best from their families and friends.  

That is really all there is in the end.  Family and friends. . .and technology of course. Without this stuff where would we be?  I mean look at Bob Ross.  He's helping me in so many ways and he was dead before I discovered who he was.  I realize the technology I found him on (pbs television) is pretty old school, but I love my old school as much as my new school.  I could go on, but I would just be boring you.  I'm using this as therapy right now, because I can't paint. I blog.

Monday, May 3, 2010

No Joy in today's news.

I'm still at the hospital with MiMi. They think this fall caused, or was caused by a heart attack.  She is not the same person she was a few days ago.  I don't like this at all.  We have plans for the next few years, she can't leave me now.  I'm bringing Bob Ross in to talk to her today.  She will like that.

Hospitals are horrible places filled with wonderful people. Her Nurses and Doctors are all really kind, and very competent.  I trust them but we get mixed messages.  The cardiologist is telling me to think about hospice care and the physical therapists come in with a walker and try to get her up (but I sent them away, she can barely lift her arms) but in fact I had to feed her what food she ate yesterday.  She's not going to use a walker anytime soon.

I'll pick her up and carry her home.  We just need to get out of the hospital.

Please forgive my absence for the last few days and what might me the next few.  I'll post little things here and there, but I can't think too hard.

Pray for Joy (for MiMi)  -Kay

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Some days just don't go the way you planned

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one fits the bill.  MiMi is going to be fine, and home tomorrow.  She took a little fall (while I was at the 4-H horse show. . . I'm the food mom ;) and so the good news is the other mom's and dad's jumped in and finished the show for me and I didn't have to do all of the clean up.  But MiMi is in the hospital tonight, awaiting a small surgery tomorrow.  Her skin is so thin that what to you and I would have been a "rug burn" caused her to need plastic surgery.  I'll share more later .  . or maybe later, I'll just have her home and we'll paint together and everything will be back to normal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Husband Hung My Paintings on the Wall

Look what my husband did while I was out.
I have been painting in our large front foyer, where the light is usually good because of those high windows you see here. I have had quilts hanging on the wall for many years. I have a lot of quilts and so I change them up for the seasons and holidays. You can see a few hanging just behind my easel still.

But he took down a full size quilt that hung on the entire wall, and put up the first five of my series paintings. He did it straight and everything! I'm not sure I LIKE the idea of my artwork hanging there. In fact as you can see just to the right of my 5 beginner projects hangs my original Bob Ross painting. That's almost poetic.  I know they don't belong with the likes of his, but the DO BELONG because that's what he wanted.  It's just different when it's mine.

It is not yet known whether or not that painting by Bob Ross came from one of his PBS Joy of Painting shows, or somewhere else. I'll find out I guess some day, but if any of you know, please don't hesitate to tell me. I would be thrilled to find be able to watch him paint the painting that I actually have hanging on my wall!

Ok well it's Saturday and I watched Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting on television this morning and I was all ready to paint. . . until the kids got up, and after that, MiMi, and NOW it's too late because the Phoenix Suns are playing the Portland Trailblazers in about 30 minutes. Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs and we are currently tied. But not for long . . GO SUNS!

Share the Joy, Kay

PS:  How many of you think I wrote that headline just so the search engines could see "husband" and "hung" in the same sentence. He'd get a real kick out of it. Too bad he doesn't read my blog! If you know him. Tell him you searched Kay Zahn, Husband, and Hung, and his name came up. . . OMG as I typed that I see another joke that he'd deliver if you said that. But I'll leave that to your own interpretation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can anyone out there imitate Bob Ross' voice?

I would LOVE to have an audio file of a "Bob Ross sound alike" saying the little things I have written here and under the header of my blog here.

Grab a big ole glass of ice tea and join me - Now let's get crazy - Just beat the devil out of it -You can do it.  See that lonely cloud, let's give him a friend - It's your world, you can do anything you want.

 Does anybody out there know someone who does that sort of thing?  Or maybe you know someone who sounds like Bob!   They could just read those lines into their recording program on their computer and email them to me.  If I use them, I'll pay respectively.

I'm going to go looking for a site where I can hire someone like that, so if you know where one of those might be, I'd appreciate that too!

Thanks in advance.  Share the Joy.   Kay

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I was babysitting and they brought their iPad !!

Eleven year old Troy brought along his I-pad tonight (I'm babysitting he and his little sister Tira for a few hours) and he let me play with it.  Put it this way, he sat with my laptop computer and cleaned up the registry, while I played with his I-pad.  TOO COOL (the kid AND the Ipad).

It does a lot of neat things but basically it's just a LARGE I-Pod. You can watch YouTube videos on it.  So of course I watched some of mine!

If you ever get your hands on an I-pad, watch my videos too.  Please?

Anyway, the kids kept me from painting today.  Good Kay, blame the children.  But I did need to go to the grocery store before they arrived, or we'd have had a pretty boring time.  As it is we did hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, baked cookies,

AND of course we played with their iPad.  
Overrated?  YES.  
Do I want one?  You Bet. 
Don't you?

But alas, Steve Jobs must wait for my money.  Maybe someday soon.  For now I'll just borrow the one that my friends have.  To play with and take pictures that are relative so that I can write about an Apple I-pad, and so when people search for the words Apple I-pad, maybe, just maybe, they'll end up here and see my blog and my painting, and remember that they love Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting.  And then they will follow my blog and watch me paint.

Hey just think when someone searches for Bob Ross AND I-Pad they might just get right here.  Someone try that and let me know if I come up in the first few listings ;)

btw  (4/20 update)  I just went to the Apple site and found out that the correct spelling of the I is 'i' so I should be writing iPad, iPod, etc.  I fixed the title of my blog post but left the other misspelled ones to make my point . . which is . . . i type too fast and the word iAnything SUCKS to type!  . . . But what was I doing at the Apple Store you ask?  OHHHHhhhh something very exciting for me and one of you too. Stay tuned.

Share the Joy, because Troy shared his Toy.     (duh)  Kay

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