Better Chair

Better Chair

I took Elizabethe to get a better chair for her desk.  She’s been complaining of lower back aches and we think it might be her office chair. We found one at Staples.

We ate at the food court at the mall.  She likes the bacon fries the sandwich shop sells, and the Bacon King from Burger King paired well.  It was too much food, but it was sure good.

Wegman’s Next Stop

At Wegman’s I picked up cheese and fruit for a between session lunch tomorrow.  I found a new cheese.  It looks like a cantaloup, but taste somewhat like cheddar.  It goes so well with grapes.

Tomorrow is General Conference, and consequently there is little time for meal preparation.  Because of that, cheese, crackers and fruit are great.

Retouching

The rest of the day I retouched head shots.  The more I do, the faster I get.  The faster I get, the better my profit margin.

I also started a new painting.  I call it Pele the Volcano Goddess.  I’m far from done.  Elizabethe helped me realize I need more in the background on the left.

copyright 2017 db walton
Pele the Volcano Goddess

Pele is the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess.  I know, I’ve painted her caucasian, but it didn’t start with this theme.  Her dress and scarf were burgundy and I was trying to figure out what I’d paint in the background.  (Yeah, a little backwards not knowing where you’re heading when you start.)   I had her on a mountain top with blue sky and clouds.

It was then I had the idea that it was too cliche.  I started playing around making the scarf look like flames, and before I knew it, she was on the rocks above the ocean with hot lava all around.

Who knows, I may paint her hair black.  Not sure at this point.

Friend Request

Friend Request

Late this afternoon a Friend request came in my e-mail.  No, I don’t mean one of those things you get on Facebook.  This was a request from the Friend Magazine.  They want a Primary aged youth to tell why they enjoy General Conference along with a picture of the child.  This isn’t Utah where you can walk next door and ask to get a picture like that.

I went to the stake center to take some pictures of the Stake Council.  There in the foyer was my friend Chris’ daughter.  I asked how old she was, and she said she’s 11.  Perfect.

It is one of those tender mercies.  I got my picture and quote.

Head Shots

Taking pictures of the Stake Council went faster than I anticipated.  I was expecting close to 20 people.  Instead, there were only about 5.  So, here’s one of the head shots.  Here’s our stake president.

copyright 2017 db walton
President Robinson – Palmyra Stake President

Tree Cut

In the last storm the top of a black walnut broke off.  The village came along and cut the entire tree down.  (I do wish they would give heads-ups on these things.)  Fortunately, Michael (one of our tenants) was here and he helped me get the wood on to the wood pile.

I now need to cut the 3′ pieces in to manageable lengths and then split it.  Black walnut is very dense wood.  This will be excellent fire wood.

Lacking Talent

Lacking Talent

There’s lacking talent, and then there’s lacking ambition.  I used to hate when someone would call me and ask for a reference on a former employee.  I’ve supervised some brilliant minds who had talent, but no ambition (or misguided ambition.)

One can always get ambition.  I believe that talent is innate.  You still have to practice and have ambition, but you either have it, or you don’t.

The old saying, “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” is true for some people.  They can’t.  I know; I’ve heard them try.

In my profession as a photographer, I see many who as hard as they try, they can’t figure out what makes a good image.   However, more than photographers, I see wanna-be models jockeying for position in a world overrun by pretty girls who think they can model.  It’s not a lack of ambition, or looks, they are lacking talent.

Damage is Done

While this doesn’t have anything to do with the lack of talent or ambition, but more life choices.  When the damage is done, well, in many cases you can’t undo it.

Here’s the situation…

I’m contacted by a young lady who wants to pose for a romance model cover painting.   A pretty girl dressed in a Victorian style gown, hair blowing, reposed in the arms of some hunk with a torn shirt.  You’ve seen the covers as you walk by that aisle in the grocery store.  Nope, that wasn’t the young lady who contacted me.

The one who contacted me has allowed graffiti artist to cover her body (what’s exposed in everyday attire).   Too many tattoos.  For some reason, I don’t think she gets that in a 19th century southern plantation you’d find a young lady with tattoos covering her neck and arms.

What have we done that this has become so commonplace?

Another Word for Common

Another word for common is vulgar.  Vulgarity extends to more than just cussing, but how one acts and grooms.

I personally don’t think tattoos look good on anyone.  Period.  It’s like graffiti on a Ferrari.  You’ve keyed the car, only in this case, your body.

While I’m Throwing Jabs

The same day I see a picture of a beautiful young lady posed with her new fiance.  She’s dressed casual, but her clothes are neat and her hair and makeup tastefully done.

He, on the other hand, looks like he slept in his shirt, it’s untucked, he hasn’t shaved for at least 4 days, and he obviously lost his comb.

Ladies, here’s the question for you?

Why do you put up with that???

You complain about being objectified, but then you turn around and associate yourself with a slob?

(I know I’m going to take some heat for this one.)

Let’s turn it around…

Supposed the picture was of a guy in a nice suit and tie.  He’s clean shaven, and every hair on his head is in place.  He looks like someone who could walk in to a job interview and before opening his mouth, the boss says, “You’re hired.”

Now, imagine a his fiance.  She’s got bed-head hair, her mascara smeared (because she slept with her makeup on and she hasn’t taken time to clean up today), and her clothes all wrinkled.    She looks like she doesn’t care, but he is just happy to have her.

Seriously?

I’ve NEVER seen an engagement photo where they girl looked like a slob.  Never.  Yet, I’ve seen many where the guy looks like someone you wouldn’t hire… let alone marry.

What have we done that this has become so commonplace?

Old Fashioned

Maybe I’m old fashioned by today’s standards.  I grew a beard once.  I shaved it after I got tired of how differently people treated me.  The same people treated me differently when I had a beard than they did before.  Once I shaved it, they went back to treating me with more respect.

Oh, don’t flatter yourself by saying, “That’s their problem.”

Back to Talent

I’ll take well groomed, ambitious and clean-cut over talent any day.

Anxiety

Anxiety

Speaking about anxiety, in the latest issue of the Ensign there is a great article.  Since my accident a couple of years ago I’ve struggled with anxieties and PTSD.  Whether you have anxieties or know someone who does, this article is worth reading.  (click here)

If you don’t know someone who suffers from this, I would still read it.  I would read it so you have a better understanding of the seriousness of mental illnesses like this.  They are real.

Unlike depression, anxiety is typically a result of life events and experiences.  Chronic depression is often a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Depression can cause anxiety, but so can a serious accident, divorce, abandonment, and other things we experience.

I encourage you to read the article.

Flaxen Cord

The other day I was thinking about secret combinations that may be closer than we think.  After reading a couple of online articles about homosexuality and church members, I was struck by the thought that Satan is working hard to infiltrate the church membership.

Love the Sinner – Hate the Sin

We’ve heard the saying, “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”

Nowhere have I ever read in the scriptures that we should, “Love the sinner, and embrace their sin.”

That’s where I felt uneasy while reading this article.  While I agreed 100% about loving those who suffer with same-sex attraction, the underlying message was this… This man felt attracted to other men, so why should he feel guilty when he’s with the man he loves.

I guess that would depend on what they do when they are together.  The article made no mention of living the law of chastity.  It implied the man came to the conclusion he could be active in the church if he shoved aside his guilt and had physical intimacy with another man.  No, it didn’t come out and say that, but it didn’t deny it either.  I guess we’ve entered the relhm of don’t ask, don’t tell.

Secret Combinations

Nephi talks about secret combinations in 2 Nephi 26:22.  He writes, “And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness;”

He continues in that same verse, “yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.”

Isn’t it interesting he uses secret combinations and flaxen cord in the same verse?

Smell of Smoke

I think it was President Kimball who commented about the smell of cigarette smoke being a welcome smell at church.  He was talking about the penitent sinner making an honest attempt to come back to church.  The message being we should help them on the road to repentance and welcome them when they come to church.

I think of Brother Hook in my old ward.  When I met him he was a heavy smoker and not a member of the church; his wife was.  He joined the church and struggled with quitting smoking, but he did.  The ward embraced him, but they didn’t embrace his smoking.

Concern

There is a valid concern about the embracing of homosexuality.  Sex between anyone except a man and a woman who are married is a sin.  Period.  There’s no debate inside the church about that.  But, to say we should treat it differently than any other sin is a flaxen cord.

It Doesn’t Stop Here

It doesn’t stop here.  I’ve also seen articles online that speculate about church doctrines and policies.  While on the surface they appear academic, underneath they have the appearance of destroying trust, belief and faith.

The Cure

The cure in my opinion is reading the Book of Mormon.  I find it amazing how often I read one of these articles and immediately a scripture from the Book of Mormon comes to mind.  (Just like 2 Nephi 26:22 did.)  It’s hard to be deceived when you’re reading the Book of Mormon daily.  I’m not implying you’re not going to sin by so doing, but I am claiming you’ll notice suspicious doctrines.

Best Argument

Best Argument

The best argument I’ve heard against the Affordable Care Act was simply this…  When people don’t pay for services they take advantage of those services.  They show up at the emergency room with a common cold and expect immediate treatment.  The result is people who do pay end up paying more.

I am so disappointed in Republicans who won’t overturn this poorly written law.  My own Congressman says he won’t vote against it until there is a replacement.  We don’t want a replacement.  In general, people want affordable health care without pre-existing conditions.

The second item is easily solved.  Simply pass a law that says, “No one can be denied treatment or insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions.”

Of course, people argue they will charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.  I have mixed feelings on this one.  Pre-existing conditions based on lifestyle choices should result in higher premiums.  Pre-existing conditions based on genetics, they shouldn’t pay more.

Other Political Disappointments

I’m disappointed that Congress isn’t taking action towards term limits, retirement for elected officials and salary and benefits for elected officials.   It’s a Good Ol’ Boys Club.  If the question were on the ballot to limit terms of Congress to 2 terms, it would pass by a landslide.  If we took a popular vote removing retirement payments to former representatives, I’m betting it would win too.

The list continues with taxation, and other burdens placed upon us.  Yet, Congress continues to waste our tax dollars.

Why doesn’t it happen?

Call it a secret combination, a Good Ol’ Boys Club, a secret society… they’ve sold their soul and it wasn’t to their electorate.

The E-mail

Here’s the coup de gras.  I get an email from John Katko claiming he’s running out of campaign funds.   Wait!   The election was in November… why is he still raising campaign funds?

Strange indeed.

 

Book of Mormon Day

Book of Mormon Day

That’s right, it is Book of Mormon day.  It was on this day the Book of Mormon was published  in 1830.  One of those people who helped was Martin Harris.  Here’s a little video about his role…

Elizabethe and I read from the Book of Mormon daily.  It’s the word of God.  I challenge anyone to read it thoroughly and not come to that conclusion.

Sacrament Meeting

copyright 2017 db walton
Sister Barrett

Sacrament Meeting today was centered on the ward mission plan.  Sister Barrett sang and her vocal range simply blew me away.  Like Rivka Wright, her voice didn’t falter or go off pitch.  I could listen to her sing for the rest of the meeting.  Most of all it was quite beautiful.

Later in the day Sisters Barrett and Braunberger came for dinner.  I made a fajita pie.  It was the first time making this recipe, so there are a few things I will do differently next time.

Nearly forgetting about dessert, I made peanut butter bars.  This time, I think I’ve nailed that Reese’s taste.  I ground up some salted peanuts and added more salt to the peanut butter layer.  I also cut the powdered sugar by 1/2 cup.  The recipe will post in my Cooking with Brent section.

 

Heidi’s Services

Heidi’s Services

Heidi’s services were this morning.  The turnout was great and I saw old friends.  Elder Clay from the Seventy was there, as well as many of Matt’s C.E.S. colleagues.

Cold and Rainy

It’s cold and rainy today.  After the services we chose to go home because I didn’t bring a coat.  As a result, we skipped the grave site dedication.

We came home, changed and went to Wegman’s to shop.  Elizabethe wanted to eat a Wendy’s so we had lunch there.

Saturday at Wegman’s is a zoo.  Note to self:  Avoid shopping on Saturdays or late Fridays or the night before a holiday.

There is still snow on the ground.  These cold rains (mid 30’s outside) don’t cause a lot of snow melt.  My guess is the snow will be gone sometime next week.

Painting

One of my paintings received comments that the face of the subject was too shadowed.  After studying the light I changed the angle of the head.  I studied it carefully and thought the lighting is all wrong.  So, I just flipped the head 180 degrees.

I’m not ready to show this painting yet.

I’ve been thinking about what I should paint next.  It’s a tough decision.

Here, There and Everywhere

Here, There and Everywhere

Here, there and everywhere is how my day was.  After running several errands I got home to find a client order had arrived from Bay Photo Labs.  So, back in the car to deliver the order.

Their order turned out great.  The quality of the Fujifilm pictures over the Canon pictures is so noticeable Elizabeth can see the difference.  When my wife notices a difference, there is a difference.

At least while we’re out and about we were able to get some Taco Bell.

Headshot Day

Fridays is headshot day.  My headshot client was very pleased to see how the image looked.  I only show them on a TV screen so they can pick, but it felt good to hear her say she’s very pleased with it.

It feels good to be at that point in my business where I have the confidence to bang out a headshot quickly.

Weather Lately

The weather lately has been cold and wet.  We still have snow on the ground, however, it is cold enough to keep it from melting very quickly.

We had a rather mild winter up until the first week of March.  It is making up for the lack of cold in January and February.  I’m ready for spring.

Fake News

Fake News

You hear a lot these days about fake news.  While much is political, there is fake news on every front.  It is to the point that you don’t know who to trust.

While not all news is fake news, sometimes it is news that doesn’t tell the entire story.  Or, there is my pet peeve, news that doesn’t cite a credible reference.

Today someone posed a story about the New York Assembly proposing a bill that would fine people who don’t vote.  All they had to do is say it is Assembly Bill  xxxx and give the number.  I went looking, and in this case I found one.  It’s NY Assembly Bill 6730.

Yet, on another hand, someone posted one saying Congress today voted to require people on welfare be tested for drugs.  I looked at the Congressional log for today.  No such vote.

Fake Science

I’ve commented in the past about fake science.  This one is even harder because many people don’t have enough science-based education to refute claims.

For example, I read in Outside magazine a claim that sugar is more dangerous than cigarettes.  They go on to explain that diabetes is a serious problem, but they present it in such a way it could be used by the naive to rationalize a smoking habit.

 

Rotary

Rotary

I addressed the Rotary Club regarding the Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce.  The turnout was good and I saw many people I recognized there.

There was an interest in whether the Chamber offers its members group rates on health insurance.  It was saddening to say those days are gone.

Speaking of the Chamber, my day started with a chamber board meeting.  I threw out the idea of having an all-you-can-eat ice cream social.  As a result, it turned in to a discussion about a Taste of Macedon (for example).  While I like that idea, it will be harder to pull it off.

FLPP

FLPP was well attended.  Herb Jones gave a presentation about the National Parks.  I enjoyed seeing Yellowstone, Yosemite, Death Valley as I have visited those often.  His presentation consisted of 35mm slides.  Digital spoils us.

During dinner Herb and I talked about Yellowstone and Bodie, California.  He didn’t know about Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Image Comp

Our image comp section had good participation.  I like that others see things I overlooked.  As a result I can go back and make changes before the REAL International Print Competition.

That reminds me, I need to get back to painting.  I completed 3 paintings and then started to rest on my laurels.  April will be here soon and I need to get a 4th done before April 30th!!!