Friday, June 15, 2007


I apologize for the glare on the picture. I usually take a few pictures of everything so I can pick the best one--but they all had glare on them. Very hard for me to get pictures of things that have a lot of white in them--no fancy camera, you know. hehe! You can double click on the picture to enlarge it.

Anyways, I could sure see what Haiying meant by this not being a good quality set of brushes! Yesterday it took me over an hour to clean and clean and clean these brushes--and, as you can see, hairs came off of them like crazy. Some of the brown ones especially had tons of these hairs! And several of them had dyed hair! Browns, reds, yellows--colored the water and suds! The lighter colored brushes seemed to have less loose hairs and no dye in them. What a job!!

Eventually, I got them cleaned (or as well as I could for the first round--I might do it over again another day--can only do so much at a time and I know there is more to remove). The brown paper towel rolls were delivered from Office Max yesterday--so last night I was finally able to play a little for the first time. I watched all Haiying's videos on orchids--a couple of times--and these are my first attempts.

This is the very first one. I had grabbed an orange colored brush that wasn't very large. It didn't hold much ink and didn't come to a point very well for the thin lines, so I switched to a medium sized white one and did the rest of them with that brush.

I forgot to put the ground in a couple of the second batch.

I was having so much fun playing and experimenting!! I was trying to make them look more delicate than they probably are in real life--just because I love delicate flowers and I was having fun seeing what I could do with the thin and thick brush strokes. I should try to find some real photos of the orchids to give me a better idea what they actually look like. What would I do wihtout Google, eh?
This was sooooo exciting for me! I think I will be actually able to do this!!! I was so afraid--intimidated. I guess I will have to learn which really good brushes to get eventually. Haiying told me they run around $15-30 each--I think that is right--could be more, too, depending. For now--I am going to play with the ones I have and continue to just practice and practice the orchids. Eventually some of you will get cards from me with an orchid on the front--with green leaves and red flowers!! But for now--I practice with black ink until I am totally familiar with my brush set and accustomed to this alien way of painting and holding brushes upright. I am just so happy that I accomplished this much the first time! :) And I am so glad I have the brown paper towel rolls so that I can play and play to my heart's content and not worry that I am wasting expensive rice paper, you know? Fun!!! I am so grateful for these hints I got online and the videos that Haiying has made for us! :)
Well, at least somebody enjoys it when it is 90 degrees and humid! hehe!

Here's Miss Karma--sound asleep on the porch--sleeping in what I call her "prayer" position. Also reminds me of a squirrel the way she keeps her front paws like that.
Sometimes I guess you don't know how you will really feel about someone or something until it is gone, right? Sadly, I don't think either Karma or I miss Gracie very much. It is soooo peaceful and quiet without her stressful screeching all the day long. Gracie never had the contented bird sounds that I had been used to and loved with all my other birds--except when she was singing to her boyfriend in the mirror (and I loved that!). Her voice was distressed, nervous, and sharp--poor thing.
I still miss her being here, of course. I don't miss being bitten and threatened all the time (she bit me twice in the last couple weeks--and drew blood, I mean). She just wanted to nest and was getting territorial and aggressive--again. It's not that she was a mean bird. She just wanted people to leave her alone. She enjoyed watching people and listening to them--even moreso the cat! She was just very lonely and we didn't ever fit the bill. I pray that she has great joy in her heart and finds her real, live sweetheart to love. Or at least has lots of girlfriends to hang with, eh? She will be thrilled! And Miss Gracie will finally be happy--or at least have a genuine chance at happiness. (If she is capable of it?)
For Karma and I--things feel so different around here. We are still getting used to it. I can sleep whenever I want to. I can take naps! Karma has been konked out a lot! I suppose Gracie always kept her from sleeping well, too.
I can leave to go get the mail and not have to worry if Gracie flew off the cage in the few minutes I was gone and would come back to find Gracie following Karma around and worrying her to the max. Karma would always have this look like--"Save me! Get this thing away from me so I am not tempted to pounce on it!" I can pick up a magazine or shift in my chair without a call of alarm to accompany my each and every move.
Gracie lived in fear that I might try to come and make her get on my finger to go in her cage (I had to chase her off on to the floor so I could pick her up--and she'd grip her little claws into me in fear--and turn and make a lunge at me with her beak as soon as she was on her perch inside the cage)--so she had this little yell every time I did anything, made any move.
And yet she wanted me around where she could see me because she was so lonely--so she'd call and call--yell and yell--if I left the room to take a shower or anything that took any time at all.
So, my life was revolving around this tiny bird. I never liked her to be any more stressed out than she already was, so my showers were before I got her up or she started screaming at me to uncover her, whichever came first (not actually a pleasant way to wake up)--or after I put her to bed at night. Unless I had someplace to go--not often anymore--then she just had to scream for me--which she did the entire time I'd take a shower and get dressed until she could see me again--*sigh!* Poor Gracie.
Gracie's misery has always tugged at my heart. I have always felt badly that we just couldn't connect in a closer way. I guess I have never had that problem with animals in the past, you know. It always hurt it little. Years of telling her, "I love you, Gracie Girl" and "You're okay, Gracie"---she never trusted me any more than she did when she came as a baby. Maybe a little, but it was negligible.
I just stood up to get my little dictionary to see if I spelled negligible correctly (spell check doesn't work on my blog for some reason--never has) and I expected to hear that stressful, sharp call behind me. I guess I honestly don't miss that--at all.
I think I am discovering how stressful it actually was for me to live with her all these years--with the fibro and all. I was always concerned about her and her distress. It might be a better thing than I realized for me to have the freedom to be allowed to sleep whenever I am able to (which I need) and not have the constant stress calls from my crazy, lonely little bird who really didn't like me, anyways--chuckle!
Cranky, bitchy Miss Gracie. I will never forget her.

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