Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas




In my family, this year, we did our celebrating yesterday. Several people came to my house and we ate a lot, drank a little, and swapped gifts of joy and time together.

I want to thank one and all for keeping to the agreement of charitable donations in lieu of material gifts. It feels so good, as I said in my last post, to be helping those in need.

After my immediate family left, my sister and I did a "drive by" visit to my in-laws - literally only spent 30 minutes there, but just had to see them. It wouldn't be Christmas Eve without a visit with Trish and Jeff.

Then, Sue and I went to visit our friend, Pat, whom we've known since high school. Another fairly short visit as my asthma kicked in - between the dog at T&J's, the cats at Pat's, and the mold in the fantastic blue cheese my brother brought to my house, I didn't have a chance.

Then, Sue and I took a drive to Saugus to see the light displays so many houses put on 0ver there. It was late so many of them were already turned off for the night - but the ones we saw were just great.

I hope all of you had as enjoyable a holiday as I did. Peace to one and all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Feeling Good This Season

Hello Again,

I have to share my joy today. I announced to my family and many of my friends last year that this year I wanted no material gifts. If they felt they had to give me something, it should be a charitable contibution of some sort. I also told them that except for a few of the younger folk (niece, nephew, pseudo granddaughter) I'd be doing the same.

The idea came to me last year when I realized that we, the givers and receivers, have made this holiday season the craziness that it is - packed parking lots at malls, credit card debt that is out of sight, etc. I wanted to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. By staying away from stores during this busiest time of year would make things simpler and hopefully bring back the feeling of how it used to be.

After making numerous donations to worthy causes appropriate for each person, I have to tell you it is a fantastic feeling. I have still honored each person by thinking of them (it's the thought that counts, isn't it?), but have been able to share financially with those more in need. I personally have more "stuff" than I will ever use. I am desperately trying to divest myself of things. I suspect it is the same for most everyone. So a side benefit is that no one has to either re-gift or figure out what to do with some hoo-hah they were given.

Don't think for a moment that I don't believe in giving gifts to those to whom we are close. I've already done that this year when I saw something that was "just right" for someone.

I wish you all a very happy holiday season - Spiritual Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and Nifty New Year.

Peace,
Judi

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winter Is Here

Well, the calendar says winter starts the end of next week with the winter solstice, but the weather is already blustery and cold and snowy. We got about 10" of snow a couple of days ago, and now another 2-4", at least, is predicted to start overnight tonight.

Although I was born and brought up here in the northeast, it seems to me that I should be living someplace more temperate. Even with the heat set to 68 degrees F, my hands are freezing here inside my house. And outside, it's maybe 20 F if we're lucky. When I went for a walk earlier (no way I will drive to the center of town, especially on a Saturday, as parking is difficult at best) I had to cover my head and ears and I wore my down parka. At least the wind didn't penetrate those layers. Sadly, we probably have another 3-4 months of this to "look forward to".

A great big thank you to my neighbor, Jim, for helping me to shovel the end of my driveway. This is the really heavy part where the plows push in the real mess from the street. It is heavy and awful. If he hadn't helped I'm sure it would have been many more hours before I got through it all. Hooray for helpful neighbors!

If you've started feeding the birds, please continue to do so. If they didn't leave the area, they will need the help as the snow covers what they would find on the ground.

And if you have to shovel, tonight's storm is supposed to contain the heavy stuff - please take your time and save your back and heart!

Until we meet again, warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season.

Peace,
Judi

Monday, December 10, 2007

Help Save The Planet

Here is a quote from the end of Al Gore's Nobel Prize acceptance speeach:

"We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource.
So let us renew it, and say together: “We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act.”"
I believe you can see his entire speech at www.algore.com .

In this holiday season, please consider sponsoring local and global organizations and companies that have a positive impact on the planet's health - time is running out.

Peace,
Judi

Friday, November 30, 2007

Home Again




I had an unexpected bit of good luck with a ticket to Tucson so affordable I couldn't pass it up. My AZ daughter said "yeah, come on out"; so there I went. After a full day of crazy travel (although I got a free first class upgrade on the first leg), then bag lost for 2 days, a Mustang which does not well suit a 5'2" female with short legs, the trip turned out to be marvelous. On day 2 I traded the Mustang for a Pontiac that fit me, got the bag that evening, and had a wonderful visit with daughter number 2.
Photos I took in AZ, although interesting, did not come out very well. I suspect I was using the wrong ISO setting for such a very well lit location - live and learn. But, that is what Photoshop is for, right? Hope to have some new items and formats to post on Etsy soon - even if not any of these AZ/Mexico shots - oh, yeah, we went to Nogales for a short visit on Sunday. Glad I went, was quite an interesting experience. And yes, that sign is for real!
I know I need to work on my business promotion, so back I go to working on making my web site more modern and fancy. Dreamweaver is my tool of choice as it shipped with my Photoshop CS2 purchase earlier this year; I'm just forcing myself to learn it, one step at a time. Maybe I'll learn to love it one of these days.
Peace to all in this most hectic time of year,
Judi

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Disappointed and Considering

It was very disheartening to find how few people bought my products at a recent church fair event. I barely sold enough to cover the cost of the booth, so basically made nothing. I now realize, this is not the proper venue for me.

Even though Etsy is slow, at least all shops there have handmade items or supplies to make handmade items. This church fair, sadly, allowed not only crafts but most tables with flee-market/yard sale type items. Attendees were looking for a bargain - not a decent piece of art to hang on their walls. So, a lesson has been learned.

I'm considering what to do going forward with all aspects of my life and work; once I figure it out I'll let you all know. For now, I'll keep plugging at what I've been doing, maybe try to find a job, and contemplate to answer to the bigger questions.

Peace to all,
Judi
www.judifitzpatrick.com

Friday, October 26, 2007

Alzheimer's Association Symposium

Happy Friday morning. The sun is shining, there was a beautiful full moon (blood moon, hunter's moon) at 12:52 AM, and Boston's sports teams all seem to be in a good place right now.

On Wednesday evening I attended The 17th Annual Matthew & Marcia Simons Research Symposium on Alzheimer's Disease. From the alzmass.org web site, here is the announcement:

"Guest Speaker: Dr. Suzanne Craft, PhD Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
Food For Thought: Does Insulin Resistance Cause Alzheimer's Disease? Dr. Craft will speak about the relationship between insulin resistance and the development of cognitive impairment and dementia in older adults. In addition to her research on this topic, Dr. Craft's work also includes therapeutic strategies for reducing the risk of dementia. "

I took some notes which I will attempt to address coherently below. My apologies to Dr. Craft if I've gotten any of it wrong or missed writing down an important point.

1. Insulin is known to be related to aging of the body, now it is thought it may relate to brain aging in some people. It has an effect on memory.
2. Insulin resistance is a known factor in type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity. It is likely also a factor in Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
3. Insulin resistance is thought to be one of the critical pathways to AD. There is a 2- to 8-fold increased risk of AD w/insulin resistance. Insulin is shown to regulate beta-amyloid in rodents.
4. Chronic inflammation has toxic effects on the brain. Rosiglitazone is being tried. This is Avandia (tm) which may increase heart attack risk.
5. Intranasal insulin being tested - bypasses blood/brain barrier getting the insulin directly to the brain. Pioglitazone showed improved memory in 4 month study.
6. Exercising is the most potent insulin sensitivity intervention; not just for weight loss. The brain volume increased w/aerobics vs. just stretching in recent test.
7. Recommends, at age 50, oral glucose tolerance test to determine not only the usual glucose levels but also insulin levels (be sure to ask for the latter to be performed as it is not routine.) A 2 hour test is long enough to determine if insulin is being cleared.
8. Insulin degrading enzyme - clears amyloid if not a lot of insulin for it to work on.
9. Aspirin - potent insulin _________ (sorry, missed the word she used), may reduce the risk of developing diabetes; be sure to ask PCP before starting any aspirin regimen.

There is much more to be learned about this, but certainly sounds promising.

Thinking about #6, I now understand how it could be that I did not develop diabetes, even though I gained many pounds back in the 1990s and early 2000s. I was consistently taking 3 Jazzercise (tm) classes each week. Thanks to Judy and Shanna for keeping me healthy. I'm already planning to go to at least 2 a week now and am trying to walk on all other days I don't go to a class. Won't you join me in an exercise regime of your own?

Peace and good health,
Judi

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Random Thoughts

It's a rainy Wednesday, wish I could send some of this water to Georgia where they really need it for drinking or California to help put out those fires. I will shortly look for some way I can actually help them out.

Jenn is coming by today to pick up some things and we will "do lunch"; it's a rare opportunity I get to spend with my older daughter by herself.

Then I'm attending an Alzheimer's symposium regarding possible (or known) links between the disease and diabetes. Since AD has already affected so many of the elders in my family, it's good to learn anything that can help me avoid this disease, if possible. My aunt Jeannie died last Saturday; she was one of the affected relatives. I am thankful she is finally at peace. I always wished I looked like her as she was my most glamorous female relation. She will be missed.

I've been taking a Photoshop class at a local photo/camera shop. Although I get the concepts, I'm having a hard time knowing when to use each technique for any given photo. Last night's class was postponed to next Tuesday; during this last class I hope I'll finally be able to figure it out.

I've been knitting an entrelac bag and will post some photos when it is done, before and after felting. Stay tuned for that; might be a better day all around.

Peace,
Judi

Friday, October 5, 2007

Red Scarf Project, Continued


Well, I finally finished my scarf, here's a picture of what I made.

I hope some young person loves wearing it as much as I loved knitting it.

If you'd like to contribute a scarf or two, please check out the OFA web site at http://www.orphan.org/index.php?id=40 . Deadline is October 15.

Happy knitting, Judi

Monday, September 24, 2007

An Old Profile

Hi All, Below is the profile I was using on my Etsy store (judifitzpatrick.etsy.com) until today. I've decided to use my bio there for more business information, but don't want to lose this crazy thing I've written about myself. (BTW, first red scarf is nearly done, been rather warm for knitting the last week or so.) Hope you enjoy:

Long ago in a far away galaxy, well actually not that long ago and only a few miles from here, an artistic soul took human form on this here planet Earth, and her name was given as Judi. In 8 years time she had learned to sew by hand, and by the time 8 more years passed, she was sewing almost all of her own clothes.
During this time Judi also learned to aim and shoot a Brownie, camera that is. (She also learned to bake and eat brownies, but that’s a story for another day.) After the Brownie came a series of small, point-and-shoot cameras – for one, a Kodak Instamatic with the cube of flash that sat on top, how many of you remember that oldie but goodie? Eventually, the 35mm SLR became her equipment of choice. Now, it’s digital 90% of the time. Judi says “I still prefer the look of photos taken with film and processed in a darkroom, but the digital method seems so much less harmful to our Mother, planet Earth.”
Meanwhile, the fiber arts were not forgotten. Knitting, crocheting, beading, weaving, cross stitch, needlepoint, latch hooking, and more came into Judi’s hands; some stayed a short while, others still live on in her heart and hands.
Now let’s fast forward to 1998. Judi decided to make her own Christmas cards that year. She had made her own cards before, but that was the year she began making her cards with one of her own photographs. For many years, her holiday greetings have been a handmade treasure. A message was stamped and embossed (another fun craft) on the inside and the photograph was affixed to the front on the outside. So many compliments were received from so many recipients; some said “You should go into business.”
In 2006, Judi attended a 20 week class called the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) at Northern Essex Community College after accepting a most generous severance package from her former employer. The program taught how to create a business plan, an excellent business plan.
The plan for the Judi FitzPatrick Studio includes creating note and greeting cards, photographic enlargements, and many fiber related ideas still in the works. Thanks for your support.

Please come back soon for some more of my rambling. Peace and prosperity to all. Judi

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Red Scarf Project

Hi,

I just read my issue of Knitting Daily (www.knittingdaily.com) that comes to my inbox each day and found there is something called the Red Scarf Project. Donations of unisex scarves are being sought for donation to children who have been in foster care and have now moved on to college.

Please check out the OFA site at: http://www.orphan.org/index.php?id=40 and if you're a knitter or crocheter, I hope you'll join me in making a scarf or two. I'll post a picture when I finish my first one.

BTW, Knitting Daily will offer a free pattern next week to use for your donation, but there are so many available right now, why wait? Make your first from one of the sources listed at the OFA site listed above or from a pattern you already have, or make one up yourself - you're creative after all. Then, visit KD next week and be inspired to make another!

Peace to all,
Judi

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's New

Hello Again,
This week I opened an online store on Etsy, a place to buy/sell handmade items. If you need a photo note card, please stop by to check out my merch. The URL is www.judifitzpatrick.etsy.com .
I'm very excited to start selling my work this way; Etsy looks like a great outlet for artists and crafters all over the world. Hope you'll visit soon.
Peace and prosperity,
Judi

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hot Stuff in July




This past weekend, Eileen and I attended all three days of the New Bedford Summerfest folk festival and artisan market. It was steamy hot much of the time we were there, which was perfect for the really hot music. What, you don't find folk music "hot"? Here's some of the folks we heard there.

Susan Werner, Vance Gilbert, and Maura O'Connell at a special Friday night concert - all three rocked the house.

On Saturday, we started the day at 11:00 and heard The Kennedys and Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams; then Jake Amerding, Michael Cooney, Eric Schwarts, and Jack Hardy; next James Keelaghan; then Beppe Gambetta, Susan Werner, Jess Klein, and John Whelan; Gandalf and company again; Benoit Bourque Trio and Ann Whiting & the Dance Manian Tevils; and the first half of Rory Block's solo concert, the last of the day.

Sunday we returned to first be treated to Ann Whiting & the Dance Manian Tevils, Jake Armerding, and Harvery Reed & Joyce Anderson; part of the workshop with Judy Cook, Jess Klein, Kate Taylor, and Women in Docs; we then returned to the main tent for Benoit Bourque Trio, Bodega, and The Kennedys; a solo show by Kate Taylor (yes, sister of James and Livingston); solo show by Patty Larkin; and finally the Celtic Extravaganza - always a rousing end to a great weekend.

We enjoyed a wrap at Cafe Arpeggio, a lobster roll at Freestone's, and the scallops from Davy's Locker in the food tent over the course of the 3 days. All of these were excellent. Cafe Arpeggio also had some great desserts!

We each bought a copy of Susan Werner's latest CD, "The Gospel Truth"; I highly recommend it.

That's it for today. Until next time, peace and prosperity to all.
Judi


Friday, June 22, 2007

What A "Hoot"

I often listen to audio books, especially while driving or doing household chores. My brother loves the books by the author Carl Hiaasen. I had never read anything he had written until a week ago. When I saw "Hoot" on the shelf at the library I decided to give it a try. Not only is it a great summer read, but is all about how some kids get involved to try to stop the destruction of an owl habitat. (I guess they also made it into a film, although I haven't seen it just yet.)

I hope everyone age 14 and older will read this book and take to heart the idea that even a single individual can make a difference in helping to save our planet and the creatures that live here.

Please let me know what you think.

Peace,
Judi

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

NYC

I recently visited my older daughter and her husband; they live on Long Island, NY. On two different days we went into the city and did some touristy things. On the second of these days, it was just my daughter and me as my SIL had to work. We went to the Museum of Arts and Design to view the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting exhibit which opened in January.
I highly recommend this, even if you have no major interest in lace or knitting - it's not really about either in the usual sense. To give you an idea, one type of "lace" was made by creating holes in attactive patterns in parts of an old car. Check out their web site - www.madmuseum.org .
If you go, please feel free to come back here and comment on your impressions.
Peace to all,
Judi

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Less Waste

Here's a simple thing you can do to help save the earth. Instead of using inexpensive, but short-lived, shower curtain liners made from vinyl or plastic, why not buy a fabric one which can be washed in a washing machine and reused for years. Most of these washable ones are made of polyester. While not a natural fiber (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyester) I still prefer this to the throw away variety. Because the fibers are so close together, the water is still kept in the shower, not on the floor.

What's your take on this?
Judi

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Joyful Sounds

I am so happy to be sitting here in my home office with the window open and hearing the sounds of the many songbirds in my area. Which is which I have no idea, but it is just such a joy, in many ways.

First, since working at home, I am no longer totally away from the beauty of nature; these birds singing is just one of those beauties.

Second, not only do they sound great, but they often perch on a tree just outside the window next to the computer where I am typing. Some of these I recognize by sight - cardinals, blue jays, finches, robins.

Third, what a delight that these beautiful sounds fill the ears for many more minutes during the day than the automobiles, airplanes, and power mowers in neighboring yards.

Consider using an old-fashioned push mower when cutting your lawn; you'll save energy, add time to your workout, and allow more of the bird songs to be heard.

I hope you take time to enjoy the bird sounds and songs in your neck of the woods while we have them today; who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Peace and prosperity,
Judi

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Lives

Welcome to my Blog. In this, my first post, you'll find an overview of the events and lives I've lived to get me to this point. You'll also find a list of what's most important to me, in this, my fourth life.

Life 1 - I "belonged to someone else". I was born to my parents, Ruth and Steve, and was their child. Then moved on to be my now ex-husband's wife and my childrens' mother. During this life, that is mostly how I saw myself, belonging to others and doing their bidding.

Life 2 - I became a single parent and started to take some control over my life. I went to work full-time, sold Avon products for extra income, went to school at night working on a degree. This life basically "ended" when my younger daughter graduated from high school and went off to college.

Life 3 - I don't have a name for this life, but it was the time period when I was not responsible to or for anyone but myself, but still working at a full-time job and going through life with little purpose.

Life 4 - I entered this life less than a year ago. I still am only responsible for myself, as far as people go. I am no longer working full-time at a "job", but have actually started two businesses. One of these is currently paying most of the bills while the other is more of my dream job in which I use my photography and other art/craft skills. This life is good, so far. I hope I will be here for a long time to come.

Here is the promised list of what is important to me:
My Daughters and Son-in-law
Other family and friends
Environmental issues such as global warming, high gasoline prices, use of natural resources to extinction, rain forest protection, endangered species, etc.
Arts and Crafts - photography, museums, knitting, quilting, music, beading, etc.
World Peace
The Alzheimer's Assocation, AIDS Action Committee, Rosie's Place, The Boston Food Bank, Pine Street Inn, and various other causes I hope to address in the weeks to come.

Thanks for stopping by my blog; hope you'll come back again very soon.
Peace and Prosperity,
Judi

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