Friday, October 27, 2006

Mary and Jane Live On

Two of my dearest friends died from breast cancer. Both of them were schoolteachers that the rest of us could only hope to emulate. Their names were Mary Marek and Jane Cox. When our newest elementary school was named for Mary, her children and grandchildren were honored to have Barbara Bush attend the dedication. The picture on the right side is of Jane's granddaughter, Lyndsay Mavus.

Coquettes 2006

For the past 20 years, we've spent the 3rd weekend of October together. There were 12 of us to begin with, some going back as far as kindergarten, but all of us friends at least as far as junior high on.

We gathered at Rose's house in Nacogdoches in 1987 and that was the only time that Gayle joined us. Sue has only come about 3 times--but the rest of us rarely miss--and Rose has perfect attendance (even when she was bald from chemo!)

Last year was so bittersweet, as it seemed that Cookie was holding onto life until we could be together when she passed away on that Saturday evening and we threw our sand dollars into the ocean.

This year we met in Longview, and Helen gave us a wonderful DVD with old photos and songs to commemorate those we've lost, as well as to remember all the good times.

Each year Sally has a T-shirt made for us, and it's always a great surprise and delight to see what she comes up with. This year the front shows a Chevy topped with the slogan "Young and Foolish," while the back says "Now we are old and wise" and shows caricatures of each of us.

The Sister Study

Toward the end of June, I read an article in the newspaper about The Sister Study and decided to become a participant. Sisters of breast cancer victims are about twice as likely to develop the disease themselves and the study is looking for genes and environmental exposures that may affect risk levels. Since two of my sisters and several friends have had breast cancer, I thought this was the least I could do to help in some small way to find a cause and a cure for this awful scourge. I pray it will come in time to protect our daughters, nieces, and grandchildren.

50,000 women will be participants and will be studied for about 10 years. If you want to learn more, look here:

A box soon arrived that contained several questionaires about family history, places lived, food eaten, exercise, products used, medicines taken, etc.

Two phone interviews were done, each lasting about an hour. These were spaced around a month apart. A nurse also came to the house to collect blood and urine samples, toenail clippings, and dust samples.

For this spread I used the illustration that accompanied the newspaper article, extending the colors with soft pastels. On the right side, I glued down a couple of items clipped from one of their mailings.

I've Got the Whole World in My Hands

The first project that we did for Imagine8 was to illustrate what our hands mean to us. Recently I decided to attach the prototype into one of my composition journals. I chose a spread with background colors that look somewhat like land and water. I found a NASA photo of North and South America which I tweaked into an oval with the help of my computer. (I discovered by trial & error that it needed to be an oval when flat, to look like a sphere in 3-D.) Then I printed it out in the center of a piece of cardstock and folded it in half. Next I traced my hand by placing the pinkie side right on the fold. Then I cut narrow strips across the image of the Earth from the fold to where the color stopped. Working one at the time, these strips were folded back at the outline on both sides and then popped out in the opposite direction from the hand fold. The outline of the hand was cut while folded and a second set traced onto another piece of cardstock. These were delicately tinted by rubbing soft pastel dust onto them. After coloring a blue oval in the center of the second set of hands, the separate hands were glued together, keeping the "earth" free of glue. I got the idea for how to make this work from the directions for a mummy's tomb in the book "The Usborne Book of Pop-Ups."

The 10 large words on the fingers are feelings that are heightened because of my hands, while the smaller lettering is a sampling of things my hands allow me to do. These say: "hug a loved one, ink a rubber stamp, make beautiful letters, drive a car, surf the web, knead bread dough, wield a paintbrush, comfort a friend, plant a garden, bind a book, pat a back, turn pages in a manuscript, stitch with needle and thread." A hand has always been a significant symbol for me, as it is my maiden name. Perhaps you've noted that in the names of my blogs.

One of the photos shows the hands in a "closed" position, while the other is how it looks when "open."