Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In Remission

It has been pointed out to me recently that I am quite remiss in blogging. That is true. No excuses – here I am to rectify the situation.

I find myself surrounded by blessings at the moment. Michael returned to work fulltime a month ago. Not a contract job, but a real, salaried position as a Senior Technical Writer for an oil and gas company. The pay is better and the commute much shorter than at his previous job. On Friday, we start getting insurances benefits. (If you have followed my blog much, you will know that high prescriptions costs have been very troubling for us during Michael’s lay-off.) The day Michael received his first paycheck, we celebrated by going out to dinner at Chili’s. Not glamorous, perhaps, but good food and guilt-free when the check came. Marvelous feeling, being able to buy dinner in a restaurant without worrying about the consequences.

Another special experience this month occurred in Austin. The Lutheran Social Services sponsored a marriage retreat weekend for adoptive parents that we got to attend. We simply wanted to get away. Our expectations for the weekend were not too high, other than a nice room and privacy in the evenings. It turned out to be so much better than that. The room (at the Embassy Suites North) exceeded our expectations. Apparently, they mean it when they say “suites” because we had a suite of rooms. The LSS people arranged the meals and our group ate like royalty. Not only did they provide excellent food, but the dessert table... oh, my! I love dessert, but I usually do not eat it after a meal. I ate some of everything at every meal with no qualms whatever. They served an Italian crème cake as light and fluffy as clouds, cheesecake that melted from the fork into your mouth, and a chocolate decadence cake that I could only manage a bite or two of because of its richness.

In addition to the wonderful food and fine accommodations, the retreat itself turned out to be very helpful, even for an old married couple like us. We had some fun, too. On Saturday, LSS arranged a Salsa party with instructors. Michael and I cut the rug. We may not have been the best dancers, but we did win a darling, red “hottie” bear for our work on the dance floor. When we returned to our room that evening, we found a red rose and a basket of special chocolates from Lammes Candies. I do not know Lammes, but it seemed that everyone from that area knew the company and the candy is excellent.

Also during November, I won another first place ribbon from the Houston Photographic Society for my photographic illustration “Prelude to a Postlude.” I took this photograph with 35 mm film, then had it digitized and manipulated it on Photoshop Elements. Finally, I printed it on watercolor paper. It looks like a painting, not a photograph. The picture is a close up of two roses (from my bush out front, of course) and a chocolate cake (that I made) on my Grandmother Gustafson’s cake plate. Originally, I printed the picture as an 8x10, then had it enlarged to 16x20 and printed on cold press watercolor paper at my favorite photo lab (Photographic Techniques). The resulting exquisite print is now hanging in the Stages Theatre lobby in a WIVLA show for Stages upcoming play, “5 Course Love.” I have decided that I can call myself an artist as well as a writer after winning two first place ribbons in photography this year.

I will stop here. I have my hand back in and plan to be more regular in my postings. I can not handle the disappointment of my number one fan!