Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

On Tuesday's we often take a trip down memory lane with some "remember when" photos and stories. It could be photos from a high school prom; a nostalgic look at a 1950's TV program or a collage of family photos that were just taken last week.

Restoring the Past

Since it is my privilege to teach Photoshop to Boomers and Seniors at a junior college in Dallas, I often get to see unique images. This restoration by Frank Fandrick is one of them. He did a great job of restoring lost detail in this picture of Rice’s Sudden Service Station.

This restoration involved rebuilding entire sections of the image as well as enhancing the interesting text on the sides and pillars of the station. Also, with the help of some cropping and Photoshop Elements' lighting and cloning tools, several interesting details show up.


He said, "This is the image of the father of a friend from church, Mr. Rice. The picture was taken in 1924 and is a gas station in Idabel, Oklahoma.

The town had been named Pernell, but then was renamed Idabel after the two daughters (Ida and Belle) of the man given the task of renaming the town. It has 7,000 people now, but was smaller then. Idabel now has the title of Dogwood Capital of Oklahoma.

The text ‘I Know The Road’ written vertically on the side of one of the posts was important because there were not many roadmaps around and the hope was that when the driver stopped to get directions they would buy some gas (see the two pumps) or oil, or even Coca Cola, as one of the signs show. There are various tires hanging around and you can see the lines for what were water or air pumps. They don't make them like that anymore." The gas station was a 24 hour place, something not too common in those days.

The original picture as you can see below was badly washed out.


Many thanks to Frank for sharing this story and picture with us. Antique images present a unique view of our past and should be protected and restored whenever possible. These pictures help spur our interest in history, not only of the profound events of our past, but every day events in life as well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Inspirational Sunday

Bill Witcher will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

Some time ago I received an inspirtional email from My Daily Insights (www.MyDailyInsights.com) that I just reread and thought was very appropriate for our computer savvy students and I would like to share a portion of that email with you. It was based on an interesting concept. What if LOVE was a software program that you could install in your Heart? What would you have to do to get this very valuable program installed? Obviously, the first thing would be to call Tech Support and ask for help.


Tech Support:
Hello, how may I help you?
Customer: Well, after much thought, I've decided to install LOVE. Will you guide me though the process?
Tech Support: Yes. I would love to. Are you ready to proceed?
Customer: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready. What do I do first?
Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?
Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install LOVE while they are running?
Tech Support: What other programs are running?
Customer: Let's see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge, and Resentment running right now.
Tech Support: No problem, LOVE will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. LOVE will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent LOVE from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?
Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?
Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and turn on Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.
Customer: Okay, done! Wow, LOVE has started installing itself. Is that normal?
Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin sharing and connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.
Customer: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Thank you for all your help.


This weeks message is a simple one. Install LOVE in your heart and start sharing it with everyone you meet. Have a blessed week.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturdays with Dr. Roffman

Each Saturday, Dr. Joel Roffman, a prominent Dallas cardiologist and author will share meaningful experiences he has had with patients who are dealing with a variety of physical and emotional issues.


Dr. Joel Roffman is a cardiologist practicing in Richardson, Texas. He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine and after completing his post-graduate studies in Hartford, Connecticut, moved to Dallas, where he and his wife Nancy raised their family.

In addition to maintaining a busy office practice, Dr. Roffman is chairperson of the charitable foundation for his sixty-eight member physician group. He has taught Sunday school and high school science, coached youth sports for fourteen years, and is a past president of the Southwest Region of the American Jewish Congress and the Richardson Chapter of the American Heart Association. He is currently a vice president of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. He is also an author with a newly released book, Coping with Adversity.

Dr. Roffman will be sharing inspirational, real-life stories that he encounters in his practice. He said in a recent email,"Just yesterday, I encountered two patients with compelling stories for our Blog - one is a realtor who has come by hard times (no surprise) and has gone back to teaching middle school science - and is more rewarded - almost emotional - about the effect she is having on children. The other is an elderly woman who is severely limited by arthritis and other conditions, yet was exuberant about all the blessings that have come about in her life since the last time we visited."

Below is one of those stories:

Mr. T. - A Different Perspective

Mr. T. is a fit 84-year-old man – still quite active – whom I saw in the office last week to check on his heart rhythm. “Look at all these medicines I’m taking,” he complained. “I feel like a drug store!”

Indeed, the man had nine different prescription medications for various ailments.

“Let’s see,” I said, as I sorted through his bag of medicine containers. “This one is for that awful stomach ulcer you were diagnosed with six years ago. You’ve had no problem with the ulcer since then. You know, a generation ago, people often needed part of their stomach removed for recurrent bleeding from these ulcers. We’re fortunate to have a medicine like this one.”

Methodically, I went through Mr. T’s medicine bottles. There were two for his blood pressure. They have been effective, and significantly reduced Mr. T’s risk for stroke, heart failure and kidney failure. There were two for his diabetes, which have lowered his risk for heart and kidney disease as well as preventing the severe circulatory problems that a generation ago resulted in amputation of the foot or leg in many people.

We discussed how uncommon it would have been for, say, his grandparents to live and be active well into their 80’s, as Mr. T. has been. I concluded that we should be grateful rather than resentful that we have learned so much and have developed effective medications for so many of the conditions that might have been lethal 30 or 40 years ago.

In Genesis, God tells us to master the earthly domain (Ch. 1: 26-28). Modern medicine’s marvels are one way in which we are fulfilling God’s commandment. Taking care of ourselves as best we can and treating the body as sacred – as God’s creation and possession – is another. I hope I gave Mr. T. a different perspective on the medicines he takes.

Dr. Joel Roffman has spoken to many church, synagogue and support groups. His book, Coping with Adversity: Judaism’s response to illness and other life struggles is enjoyable, uplifting and informative. It is meant for people of all faiths and can be viewed at http://www.copingwithadversity.com/. It is available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

On Tuesday's we often take a trip down memory lane with some "remember when" photos and stories. It could be photos from a high school prom; a nostalgic look at a 1950's TV program or a collage of family photos that were just taken last week.

A Nostalgic Look Back

I have always found trains and train stations fascinating. In many places they are also becoming a thing of the past.

Don Butler has done some wonderful collages using train stations as the subject, and he has kindly agreed to share them with us. He has taken many classes from his local community college in Photoshop, design and photography and it shows in the variety, skill and charm with which he handles his subject as you will see below.

One of Glenn Miller's tunes...the Chattanooga Choo Choo...goes right along with Don's collages!

Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
Track twenty nine, boy you can gimme a shine
I can afford to board a Chattanooga Choo Choo
I've got my fare and just a trifle to spare

You leave the Pennsylvania station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer
Than to have your ham 'n' eggs in Carolina

When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep it rollin'
Woo, woo, Chattanooga, there you are

There's gonna be a certain party at the station
Satin and lace, I used to call funny face
She's gonna cry until I tell her that I'll never roam
(So Chattanooga Choo Choo)
won't you choo choo me home!

A special thanks to Don Butler for sharing his fascinating collages with us!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inspirational Sunday

Bill Witcher will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you on Sunday.

“Learn to Deal with Stress”

Pick up the newspaper, turn on your TV, look at the Internet and the news you see is terrible. Foreclosures are up. Stock prices are down. Layoffs are up. Investments are down. It is certainly understandable why more people are stressed-out now than ever before. Stress can kill you.


So how do you handle it? A friend sent me an article that contained some good suggestions.

A lecturer when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, 'The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued,

"And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on.

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.''

So, my friend, put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while.


Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again,it was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

* Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

* You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons... some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.


*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Painter's Palette

Day four of Betty Levy's paintings features contrasting images from her diverse group of subjects. This will end this series in The Painter's Palette, but I'm sure we'll see more from this uniquely talented woman in the days to come!

Variety--The Very Spice of Life!

One of the things that I enjoy about this artist is the endless variety of subjects she chooses. She isn't hung up on one subject or category. She just paints life like she sees it! The contrast of the images you see below will show you what I'm talking about...

Feminine and graceful...

Masculine and strong.

A precious pet...

And a preditor.

Edgy and vibrant...

And soft, pastel.

Innocent and open...

And shrouded in mystery.

Variety is indeed the spice of life!!

A very special thank you to Betty Levy for being a friend of our blog and sharing her lovely images with all of us!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Painter's Palette

As you know if you have been following the blog for the last two days, we are featuring Betty Levy's marvelous paintings on the blog for the The Painters Palette!

Out of Doors

For our third blog entry this week, we continue to feature Betty Levy's paintings, we will present images painted in the great outdoors.



Green rose from Photoshop filters...

White Rock Lake...

"out-of-doors, n. That part of one's environment upon which no government has been able to collect taxes. Chiefly useful to inspire poets." ~Ambrose Bierce

Poetic and entertaining, I do love the work this woman does.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Painter's Palette

More of Betty Levy's marvelous paintings featured in today's offering for the The Painters Palette!

Fabulous Faces

We have a series of paintings on different subjects by this artist that will be featured during the next week. Keep in mind that this talent lay dormant for 20 years while she put her brushes down to raise a family!

Betty Levy's paintings include an eclectic mixture of subjects--perhaps a photograph she has taken while traveling, or a photo from a fellow student that catches her fancy (see previous post) or someone she actually knows. I've often watched this process transpire in the classroom...she will see an image she connects with and the words that come out of her mouth are, "I'd love to paint that!"

Our first painting comes from the picture you see below that was taken while she was traveling...

The peasant...the woman...the warrior.

When I saw these two images, it brought to mind a quote from one of Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, Walking Shadow..."the history of a people who for millennia had seen everything, and been shocked by nothing--unimpressed, unexcited, unflinching, tired, permanent, and implacable."

The much loved teacher...

Betty very much appreciates the strength that education provides people of all ages. So paint her teacher she did. I sound like Yoda...that's OK I guess as long as I don't look like him!

And the Grandfather and Grandson...

An enduring subject, powerfully portrayed.

As I walk around my classroom, I often see what my 50 to 90 year old students are working on independently. And after nearly 10 years, four semesters a year, five to twelve classes a semester, I am still surprised and delighted by the talent that springs off of their computer screens.

It makes me want to shout...don't stop because of your age...believe in how good you are, trust in your talent, educate yourselves, be excellent. It is all within your grasp. You just have to let it live!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Painters Palette

Start with a wonderful photograph, find yourself a talented painter and voilĂ --marvelous images for The Painters Palette!

"It's delicious, it's delightful, it's de-lovely!"

Cole Porter wrote those ageless and descriptive words for the show Red, Hot and Blue in 1936.

Mr. Porter just described Betty Levy's exceptional work. Not only does she paint, (we will be featuring her work all week long) but she takes wonderful pictures as well. She also paints images from special pictures other people create, such as the child you see in the last picture of this post that Earl White photographed during his recent trip to China.

Betty's paintings often start with a photograph. She took the lovely pictures you see below in a flower garden her husband put in their yard. And as Mr. Porter says...

"It's delightful, it's delicious...

It's delectible, it's delimit...

It's deluxe, it's de-lovely!"

Below is a photograph we took in the classroom of Earl and Betty. Earl is holding a great picture he took of a child at the Chongqing Zoo in China during the Three Gorges River Tour. They have rare South China Tigers and Panda Bears housed in this zoo. Betty saw the picture, loved it, and painted it!

This isn't the best picture ever taken, but we were lucky to have one at all. One of the guys in our class happened to have a small camera in his pocket and snapped this. A good example of "the best camera you have is the one you have with you!"

Having the opportunity to see firsthand the creativity and talent of my students bubble to the surface in my classroom is one of the things that keeps me going semester after semester!