Monday, October 30, 2006

Once Upon a Time, a long, long time ago

“Once upon a time, a long, long time ago,” began John Ficke, my daddy.

Daddy always read to me and told me stories at night before I went to sleep. That is, he always read to me after he came back from “The War”.

He was gone the first three years of my life. He fought with General George Patton’s 3rd Army, walking through Europe in snow and cold, in situations of kill or be killed, protecting me from the terror of Nazism.

He was a decorated hero on D-Day because he flew to France from England in what he termed a “paper plane”…the American gliders, many of which were shot down or crash landed, leaving their occupants dead or dying.

Daddy’s plane glided to safety behind the German lines, and he called in fire on his located, hoping the American guns would miss him and hit the enemy.

Daddy didn’t come straight home after the war, either. He contracted tuberculosis while the war raged, and he was sent to a TB hospital for many months to be “cured”.

I was never allowed to kiss Daddy on the lips, and we were never allowed to drink from other peoples’ glass, for fear the TB would be spread.

Finally in the spring of 1946, Daddy was allowed to come home for good. He had visited once shortly after his return to the states, but, now, at night, he was able to tuck me in, to tell me stories of his childhood and his war, and to show me how much his daughter meant to him.

It’s been 45 years since I’ve heard his voice, but I can still hear him as he tells me, “once upon a time, a long, long time ago…”

P.S. for all you youngsters, “The War” was WWII.

Post Oak Leaves of Autumn

I'm not able to get outside for fear I will fall...and because it hurts so much to walk.

Our yard, back and front, is filled with oak trees...blackjack and post, and now autumn has arrived and the leaves are falling.

Today I saw this post oak twig with leaves on the deck and asked Raf to bring it in for me. I drew it with pen and ink on watercolor moleskine. I painted it with Derwent watercolor pencils.

Drawing really takes my mind away from the upcoming surgery. Thanks to many friends, and especially to Raf, for encouraging me to keep it up and not dwelling on the surgery!

Anyway, this time next week I'll be out of surgery and beginning my recovery.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Very Nice Evening

How nice it was to see my cousins, John and Mary Poe. Raf and I met them at the Cracker Barrel in Weatherford and had a wonderful meal and conversation. It was so good to visit with them and to hear about their boys, Calen and Thomas.

John and I are first cousins. His mother, Lois Ficke Poe, and my father, John McBee Ficke, were brother and sister. Our grandparents has 7 daughters and 1 son. Those 8 children had only 8 children! I am next to the oldest cousin, and John is the youngest. There are 13 years difference in our ages. He is a wonderful cousin married to a a caring, loving woman. Thank you, God, for family!

In the Presence of God

I knelt in the presence of God today
I felt Him close as I began to pray

I asked His forgiveness of all my sin
I prayed for the souls of those lives that end.

I felt the comfort of His love and care.
I was covered with a peace known only through prayer.

God help me leave this place of peace
And do Your bidding and never cease.

(St. Luke's Church, Mineral Wells TX), photo by Raf

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fall Has Fell

Thought I'd draw a maple leaf today. We don't get a lot of fall around here...pretty much green and then brown, so I found a source for royalty free photos and copied this one.

It was fun drawing it. And here in Texas it is in the 60's today for a change...cold, man! The wind is blowing a gale, but the sun is shining brightly. Funny ole Texas.

Tonight Mineral Wells plays Stephenville, my hometown, in football. Actually, I grew up in S'ville, and only moved to M-Dub in 1958 when I was a sophomore in high school. So, I have two hometowns...nope, just one. Anyway, Texas towns put such a premium on football, and the silly town just voted a bond for a new stadium, AND we hired some big-time coach from hope S'ville wins by 100 points!! Go Jackets!!

I have 10 days until the surgery...I was thinking that two weeks from today, I'll be ready to go home from the hospital. As my Daddy used to say, "Take it one day at a time!" I'm trying, Daddy!

And the beat goes on. . .

Wednesday showed me another first. I have never given blood...I am such a woosy, but Dr. Dave wants me to have two pints of my own blood ready for the surgery.

We went to one of the two Carter Blood Centers in Fort Worth. I was told to eat a low fat, balanced meal two hours before and to drink plenty of water...which I did.

I explained to the gal who was to take the blood that my veins roll and, in general, are hard to be found and that the hospital at home uses a butterfly when taking blood. Carter doesn't have butterflies! I am told.

The first girl can't find a vein, and it's up to the supervisor to do the blood-letting! The supervisor finds a vein in one (and there is very, very little bruising two days later!) and all seems to be well. . .until the end when I begin to become faint. They put ice behind and in front of my neck, raise my legs, and put ice on my ankles. They bring several containers of orange juice. They give me crackers. Finally I am able to "crawl" to the car where I lie in a troubled sleepy wakefulness, and we go home.

Gee, I had wanted to stop for Marble Slab Ice Cream...but now I just want to go home!

By about 9 pm, I finally begin to feel somewhat normal again...but, guess what! I have to do it again next Tuesday.

Oh, Happy Day.

Oh, well, this, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chrysanthemum, also known as Daisy

This is the October challenge for the Botanical Yahoo Group. I started drawing again yesterday after a long time. I NEED to do this so that I can take my mind off the surgery. Today they take blood for the first time for the surgery...ugh!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Walk in the Forest for ARTitude Zine

The Tulip Tree, or Yellow Poplar, is one of my favorite trees of Middle Tennessee. The flowers are huge and glorious; the wood of the bark is bright and cheery; the leaves are large and a beautiful shape.

I am sending this with a poem to ARTitude Zine.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Shall We Dance?

My entry for "Shall We Dance?" from ARTitude Zine was published on their website (see link in title). I had forgotten about it until this issue, Autumn 2006, arrived.

I can highly recommend this zine as one of the best mixed media sources around. Suz really knows how to round up some of the best mixed media artists around.

You can subscribe here: ARTitude Zine , and receive either a year subscription or purchase a whole set of the zines thus far published. You won't regret it.

Suz also encourages artists to submit their art, and she has an art challenge each season. The next challenge is "A Forest Walk". The object will be trees, bark, and twigs. Artwork must be received by November 10, 2006. Check out the guidelines for submission on the website.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Travis, Age 8

Travis celebrated his 8th birthday yesterday at the Steer Bowl in Graham, Texas. He is our youngest grandchild.

Travis, the birthday boy, was 8 yesterday. He's showing us his new tooth coming in.

Travis loves cars, like his father, Brian. You can't tell it, but this cake is made up of lots of cupcakes. You don't cut it, you just pull away the cupcakes. Cool!

Papa bowls!

Cousins Bethy and Jennifer. Bethy was 11 in September, and Jennifer will be 11 in November.

Arsi was the best bowler!

Travis and Bethy horse around.

Tim enjoyed bowling. He will be 11 in January.

Blowing out the candles...make a wish!

Our three granddaughters: Dani, almost 13; Bethy, 11; Jennifer, almost 11

John and Arsi.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hip Replacement...and the beat goes on

Went to see my family doctor, Lake Singh, today. He is putting his stamp of approval on my surgery. He had my chest x-ray there, and low and behold, I have a slightly enlarged heart...he said congestive heart failure, which appears to happen to all of us with high blood pressure for a long period of time, even if we take the meds. He hasn't seen the EKG yet or the last of the lab work, but he says everything looks ok.

The photo at left will be sort of what the hip looks like when it's been replaced. He showed me the x-ray of a friend he just did. Looks just about like this.

I even heard from on friend who tells me his 88-year-old mother-in-law just had the replacement done, and two months later is navigating like she did years ago. Before she had it, she was in a wheelchair. I have not talked to anyone who has a bad thing to say about it...don't want to, either!

Tomorrow we go to Southlake to visit with Brownie and Dee, Raf's cousin and his wife, who are visiting and taking care of grandchildren. Saturday is Travis' birthday party. Then, I am stopping...except the handwork, for a couple of months.

Hugs to everyone...especially my Glitter Sisters!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

RMMGA TX-7 Open Mic, Sunday Night...the rest of the story

Well, this is the last of the photos we took of TX-7. These were on Sunday night. This is one great group of people. Al and Cea Evans know exactly how to organize a great party!


Robert and Patty
Brenda and Joe

Sue and Martha



Levi and Raf

Alec and Roger


Susan, Sue, Brenda

Bill, David, Henry




Norma and Don


Al Sato

Al, Alec, and Cea

Al Evans




Tom from Texas

One Deep Breath - Simple Pleasures

Soft cat purrs and warms
Anxiety melts away
Comfort in small things

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Road to Hip Replacement...or Let the Journey Begin

This morning, after traveling most of yesterday to get home, we got up at 8:30 to go to the hospital for tests before surgery. First thing I noticed was that the hospital now has those reflective glass, mirrored sliding windows that let them see out...patients can't see in. This is a new addition. I went to the check in...the window opened. Behind me I heard, from the volunteer, "May I help you?"

This was startling as I was at the check in...but the check in person told me the volunteer would help me. She picked up the phone and directed me to room three...where the door was locked. I was clicked in, but Raf, who had let me out at the door and parked the car, had to knock to be allowed in. He asked the clerk if they experienced a lot of threats in that department, or mad gunmen. He was told the new security measure was for the privacy of the patients!

Once I was checked in, I was told to go to the lab first, radiology second, and radology would call the cardiology as there were only three on at that time. The lab was nothing, as I had had the blood work done last a specimen was all that was required.

We walked on to radiology...seeing friends along the way. The radiographer was very nice, but when he had taken the two films of my chest, he went to check them and left me is a dark room, alone, with all that big equipment around me. I, oddly, felt abandoned! As this is my first ever major surgery...I am feeling my way along.

The radiographer came back and walked me back to the desk where the clerk took us on toward cardiology...the technician met us half-way. Cardiology is in the new wing of the hospital and was very nice.

Let me say right here that our local hospital, Palo Pinto General Hospital in Mineral Wells, Texas, is wonderful, well staffed with happy employees, AND we have many good doctors. We are blessed.

After the tests, we drove to Dr. Dave's office...about 4 blocks away. There Marsha set me up with two trips to Carter Blood Bank to donate my blood to be used, if necessary, rather than using someone else's. This is costing $250 a pop...since I am not on government assistance...not old enough yet!! Marsha also set the surgery for November 6 at 10 am. She wrote a perscription for a walker to be used until and after surgery. She answered questions...with Dr. Dave popping in and out. He is an exceptional doctor, skilled and nice!

We then had to stop by Dr. Singh's office because Raf had had a call concerning his blood work. I went to Waddy's to get iron to take before the blood stuff.

Finally we went to H2JO for breakfast, but, in fact, it was almost noon, so we had paninis for lunch with our usual drinks. It was great to see Amy.

So, now we wait, get our house in order, visit a few relatives...and did I mention, WAIT. My absolutely worst trait in the world is lack of patience.

Tomorrow I will ENDEAVOR to get the Sunday night photos up from the Gathering in Wimberley. AND, at this juncture I have decided to SLOW down, as my friend, Sue Holbrook, who has had both hips done, advised. (yeah, right...those of you who know me) But I plan on following the doctor to a T! I don't want to do this twice.

Oh, and tonight we began ordering what Christmas gifts I did not buy in Wimberley.

Also, on a completely different note, our DVR didn't work right while we were gone, so I missed Survivor AND Project Runway...which comes back on tonight. Oh, well...onward and upward!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saturday Open Mic Night RMMGA TX-7 Gathering

These are the photos from Saturday, October 14, rmmga TX-7 Gathering Open Mic...enjoy. I have not named everyone...sorry, but the wifi is TERRIBLE here.

Alec gives Tom an new hat!!
This mosaic was made by Liz and Jerry Gant for Al and Cea. We missed you cuz!!
Bill Z.

Mike and Bill (our adopted son)
Doc Jones
The gang around the bar.

Keith, Jim, and David


Big Bill


Marie, Mike, and Ginny

Jamie (or was it Elmer??)




Bob, martha, and Peter

Sue, Keith, and Joe


Bob and Bash



John, Bob, and Bash


Alan and Raf



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