Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Change occurs when you're not looking

A lot has gone on since I sat here last typing out my thoughts.  And these are for a friend.

It is seldom that we are loved unconditionally - hardly ever by those who walk upright on two legs.  We are, however,  loved unconditionally by our four legged friends and it is heartbreaking to lose one to illness or old age when we have loved them so long.  There is something about the companionship of a cat, in particular, that is incomparable.  Kiki was  special!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Strange but true, in a couple of hours I shall be going to the dentist on a day that has my head in a turmoil. I realized on leaving the dentist's office a couple of weeks ago what this day meant to me but figured, what the hell,  just another day.

 Dates, April 18th to be specific, seems to be the reason the last few days have had me in a funk.  A few years ago I spent this day with my husband, who was in ICU after major emergency surgery the night before, celebrating our 60th anniversary.  Perhaps, acknowledging it would have been a more appropriate phrase.   All he wanted to do was climb out of that hospital bed and go home.  In fact, for the next two wild and wooly weeks he spent all his waking moments trying to do that very thing.

This year he is gone and it would have been our 65th.  The last one we celebrated together was our 63rd.  He has been gone one year and six months as of yesterday, which had been my sister Betty's birthday.

In thinking back, it was not very thoughtful of me to pick the day after her birthday to get married, particularly since she was doing all the planning for it!  Dates are innocuous things in themselves but the memories they invoke can be either glorious or devastating.  Tomorrow will be better!

I peeked in the grill yesterday figuring the wren's eggs would have been cooked by the early heat wave or chilled by last week's cold spell.  I was totally surprised to see a couple of baby birds!!  The best I could tell there were only two, because the nest was built rather tunnel like so I quickly closed the lid.  I have yet to see any mama or papa birds going to or from the grill!!  Tis amazing, the whole set up!!

Friday, March 30, 2012


While attempting a watercolor rendering of tiny bird's eggs nestled in their cosy little nest, and listening to a CD of classical guitar music I got to thinking about friends, the gifts I am surrounded by daily that have been given to me over the years.  Since I was unable to attend the night of the musicale, Paul thoughtfully presented me with a recording for me to enjoy anytime, anywhere.  On my table was a small black paintbrush rest I was using that Juanita had given me years ago.  There are paintings by friends surrounding me in my studio & books  I treasure.  The last time we worked together at the gallery, Helen gave me a St. Patricks day card and a Pot O' Gold to go with it!  Coins she had from a trip to Ireland.

I thought about the wonderful evening I had with two friends just last night - going to an art opening and topping it off with a delightful dinner at the  Sweet Basil restaurant.  A new world of authors that Bonnie has introduced me to, gently pushing me to use my brain more, mentoring me in so many ways, guiding me thru new uses on my computer.  Tillie and the special cards she sends - one in the mail today!

I thought about what a friend my daughter in law, Shula, is.  We enjoy the symphony together, lunches, whatever.  She gave me two travel books about Ireland and a journal to record the journey!  She's my #2 daughter.  Number 1 daughter is  an exceptional daughter, as  well as a very special friend.  She is supportive in so many ways, always helping me out with computer problems over the phone and when we're together - shopping excursions are a blast!  A closeness that is not always shared by mothers and daughters.   I treasure both daughters more than I can ever convey to them.  I have also discovered a closer friendship with my two remaining sisters.

My friend who is undergoing more cancer treatment - back in the hospital for stem cell transplants. My neighbor who has had a terrible year with multiple surgeries.  She enjoys my visits and hates it when I can't stay for a long time.  She is a talker so she's in need of an occasional ear.    I feel blessed to have so many friends, some dearer and closer than others, and to be in such good health these days.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Portraits and Tiles

These are my latest tiles of Koi and Waterlilies mounted into basswood.
This is a watercolor of Addy and her mother Tara.   The oil is of Addy peeking
out of a hammock.

Here are four photos of something I have never experienced before.

Yesterday I saw pine straw thru the glass in the gas grill.  I was totally amazed on opening the lid, to see that a bird had built a nest inside.  There are five speckled eggs in the nest but  I have yet to see a bird flying anywhere near the grill.  I have a feeling it is a wren's nest and wonder if it didn't get too hot inside when temperatures got into the 80's.  Wrens can build in some strange places.  One year a duck decoy hanging in the garage tempted a wren to set up housekeeping inside even though we had cats who would have loved to dine on her.

I have just taken a couple of close ups of the eggs to add to the previous ones.

This is a watercolor rendition I did of the eggs. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tune up for the old body

This week has been devoted - finally - to seeing doctors and dentists to get rid of annoying things like popping in my ear, frequent nose bleeds, etc.  You can only live with things like that for so long before you succumb to making appointments.  I'd say a year is about it.

The ear is fixed - it still has ringing and cricket sounds - as does the other one but after 20 years of that you're resigned to it.  Putting your ears thru the "car" wash is not at all pleasant!  But I can hear better.

I knew going in for a tooth cleaning I had trouble with a new bridge  - one that was built last year, the cost of which rivaled the national debt.  It was loose - came right  off in my dentist's fingers.  It is glued back in place, for now, while he figures out how to anchor it better to what's left of  one tooth.

Had a long session with, Tim,  the cranio-sacral massage therapist who works on my back and neck.  He indicated I could do some things to help myself instead of depending on him to always be getting the kinks out,  so I followed thru with his suggestion to go to a yoga instructor.  That's where the tune up comes in.

I used to treat my body to Tai Chi exercises regularly 10 to 12 years ago but when the instructor moved to California I gradually got out of the habit.  Amazing how out of tune your body gets in just that short a time!!  I haven't been doing that much walking lately either.  My tune up is getting off to a fairly gentle start due to my procrastinating mental termites.  She didn't want to undo what Tim had just done!  I think I like Qi Gung exercises better.  Those are the stretching exercises that lead up to Tai Chi.

I want to out do, out walk my athletic niece and nephew when we go traipsing thru Ireland. That may be hard to do since they are 20 years younger and tremendous bike riders but I shall try.  They rode all over Chattanooga when they were here and haven't stopped raving about our wonderful bike trails since.  I think our town is a wonderful place to live.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I know why I am back at the computer!  I'm avoiding getting back to painting.  I don't know what I want to paint and my brain won't shut down long enuf to get into a painting mode.

I got to thinking about memory.  What would it be like to have a photographic memory?  Some people do!!  What would it be like to start telling someone about the wonderful thing you just read - yesterday or even this morning?  Possibly an hour ago?  I have friends who can do that with no energy expended at all!  No sweat!  click, click,click they spout it out!

I knock on my memory's door,  knowing full well that something I saw, read or heard, is there behind that door, maybe in the corner in the dark, but it is there.  If I could see the door, I am sure there is an "OUT TO LUNCH" sign on it!!   Frustration personified.  When I was conceived, was there a dearth of genes marked memory?  Tis not totally a thing of age because I have always been deficient to some degree in that department.

I recall parties - middle school age, probably- where a tray loaded with twenty or thirty small things were passed before your eyes for 30 seconds of perusal and you were supposed to write down everything you could remember.  I flunked big time.  I happened to have been an A student, not my memory though.  It got a D- !  Remember Ancient History class and all those dates to remember?  Pure Torture.

OK, I have vented.  Back to painting.

annotation: March 24, 2012
I just discovered what my problem is.   I have  a mental termite.!!!
Nell Mohney proclaimed in her column today that procrastination is a mental termite!  If I had bats in my belfry would they take care of that?


Sunday morning the cat was acting as though something was in the garage.  There was, but it wasn't 4 legged and it wasn't on the floor.  Evidently a mocking bird had flown in and couldn't find its way out!  Since I am seldom on time,  and having gotten up earlier than usual, I was trying my darndest to do better.   I was downright irritated when the silly bird continued to fly back and forth, back and forth.   The cat, frightening the poor thing even more by reaching its level, was very intent on showing the bird how to get down.

Even after opening the side door and turning on the outside lights - all this had started before the new daylight savings time sun had risen -- the stupid bird wouldn't co operate!  In fact, it got up in the roof vent and now it was flopping around above the fan blades.  I thought,  I can't go to church and leave the poor thing to starve to death up there!  Had no idea how to rescue it!

 All this time I was back and forth from trying to get dressed, etc.,  getting the cat in, checking the time,  to coaxing the bird out, all to no avail.  It finally came to me that if I moved the car out of the garage, surely the bird would see freedom below the garage door instead of above.  It did and he did!  Leave, that is.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Some things are amazing

I was cleaning up in the kitchen after doing something rather strange - cooking!  Out of nowhere I remembered an impromptu performance of Irish dances last Saturday at Margaret Dyers reception at River Gallery.  A couple from Atlanta with their daughter, here for the day, were drawn into a conversation with several of us.  Don't really recall how Ireland crept in to the conversation but when she said her daughter did Irish dances, and I am planning a trip to Ireland, I asked permission to see if she would dance for us. Although quite young, she dances with a group in competitions so she was very poised.  Even with no  music- she delighted us all with an Irish jig and another clog dance.  I don't have pictures of her dancing but I do have a couple of photos of Margaret's pastels that I want to post.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


IIt occurred to me upon reading the last posting that I never did find out what brought three fire engines to our hill!!

Tis difficult to understand how time can fly so fast some times.  Seems as though it is afternoon one minute and the stars are twinkling before I've had a chance to turn around twice.  I am sure that has to do with the fact that I stay busy for the most part.  Could it be the dawdling in between that tends to eat up so much time?

I have managed to finish an oil painting of Addy, do a watercolor of Paul's grandson, back into my neighbor's car on my way to church last sunday,  read a couple more books by Robyn Carr - like the way she writes - buy a weeping red bud, take a friend to lunch who was heading back today for the hospital in Tampa for stem cell treatment to put her cancer at bay. What else?.  Rake leaves, or was that last week, scrub the deck with a broom loaded with clorox.  The overhanging trees, birds and squirrels really make a mess.

An artist I admire tremendously and from whom I have taken four workshops in pastels was doing a demo at River Gallery yesterday prior to a reception of her show.  I went early so I would have no trouble finding a spot to park and it gave me a chance to scrutinize her work before people got there.  Margaret Dyer does magical things with pastels!  I hung around and as luck would have it we had time to catch up on the changes going on in her life..  She and a friend and I had dinner at Tony's and a quick trip to show her In-Town Gallery - at her request.  She was really quite complimentary of our co-op.ll

I do not know if I could go thru the gruesome cancer treatment Billie has gone thru these past 6 months.  I have a feeling I would say no, I have lived long enough.  Billie is quite a bit younger than I and she has a good chance to get control of it - not a cure - but keep it in remission and go on with her life.

About brain dead - nite.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Flunked journaling 101

Tis nearly two months since i last wrote in my blog so it looks as though journaling is not the sort of thing I can do with any great regularity .  Suddenly I have become rather like a gad fly.  After saying I would never fly again after the disastrous trip home from Coos Bay, Oregon last Fall, I found myself going on a short trip to Florida and most recently a trip to see my daughter.  Both of those trips were short and without incidents.  A slight glitch in communications did have me waiting for someone to pick me up at the airport,  When I said into my cell phone that I was on the ground the recipient of my call thought I had fallen!  When she didn't hear any moans and groans she asked for clarification.  Confirmation of flight schedules to the person meeting you at the airport  is as important as with the airlines!

All of this is to say that I will be sure to confirm  more than once  my arrival time on the return trip from Ireland.  Yes the person who said "never more" after spending a harrowing 4 hour drive in a small, cold bus at 75 miles an hour on a twisty costal road to get to the Portland airport at 2 AM is crazy enough to contemplate a 10 hour flight to Ireland.  Portland has a beautiful airport but at 2 AM the only thing open besides security was a souvenir shop.  The lady manning the shop was tickled to death to have someone to talk with.  Eventually a snack shop opened up and we were able to get something to stave off starvation till we could board a plane for home at 6:30.  That was originally the time we were due to arrive in Atlanta and would have if the commuter plane had ever taken off from Coos Bay!

I have been reading a wonderful book by Robyn Carr, The House on Olive Street.  I had t stop for awhile because I have a tendency to devour a good book.  I hate reading a book piecemeal and when I get hold of a really good book I don't want to do anything else but submerge myself in it.  I did vacuum this morning before  delving into it.  And yesterday I raked leaves till I had a mountain of leaves.  I'm not totally undisciplined. Not totally.

It doesn't pay to name a neighborhood similar names like, so and so drive, loop and circle because the fire engines never know where they need to be if there isn't a large plume of smoke to guide them.  Just now three fire engines went flying up the circle then behind us on the loop then up another street before they evidently wound up at the right place at the top of the hill.  Don't know what the problem is or was but two of the fire engines and another vehicle left.  Guess I'll find out in the morning.  I had planned to start reading another book I found by Robyn Carr tonight but guess I'm too tired so will say good night and head for bed instead.  Sweet dreams, y'all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting the hang of it.

Eventually I suppose I'll get the hang of this and begin to post regularly, not that it really matters.

I need to learn more about cars.  A light came on the dashboard to alert me to something wrong.  When I looked in the owners manual it said that little icon referred to something to do with the electrical exhaust system.  When I got to the dealers and they ran a diagnostic check, you know what it turned out to be?   The cotton pickin gas cap was not screwed on TIGHT!  I was told to tighten it until it clicked several times and wouldn't go any farther!!  I have never ever tightened it down till it clicked and besides,  if I did that I'd never be able to get it open again.  Oh, adding insult to injury, that cute little gal who waited on me was so sweet and she said that little icon indicated the engine!  Check the engine!

I had them change the oil while I was there.  The dealer sticker indicated the oil hadn't been changed in 17,000 miles but I know that was wrong.  Finch was a stickler for oil changes and I doubt if I have even put 1,000 miles on it in the last year so somewhere there is a sticker saying when the last change occurred!

I payed the bill thankful there was nothing wrong with my car and thankful as well they only charged me half the normal fee for that diagnostic.  They really shouldn't have even  charged that because the not really tight enuf gas cap showed up right away!!!!

I need to  learn more about cars!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Birthdays are mileposts

Now that I have supposedly learned how to inset images I would like to reflect on this day - January 7, 1950 when my first born arrived in this world - two weeks late - nevertheless healthy - weighing 8 lbs. 4 1/2 oz by caesarean section.  He was long and skinny with tissue paper thin ears that were a marvel to behold and perfect little hands and feet.  Within 6 weeks he had 3 chins and was fat as a butterball. He has been a wonderful human being as a child and as an adult.  I was going to mention some of the crazy things he did growing up but instead will try to add a few old photos to this instead.

This photo is of distant ancestors

This was last summer as you watched sea life swirl around your feet.
These weren't exactly the photos I wanted to include but after two hours of trying I finally had to send out a cry for help.  The new Iphoto just would not co-operate with me and I was worn out.  Not unlike the day I gave birth!

Great catch Eddie and Grant

Granddaughter Addy


TC siamese

TC just appeared one day.

In learning how to download pictures to my post-as it is called- I pulled this photo from my desk top.  Have to figure out how to retrieve them from Iphoto!

TC did just appear one day when he seemed to be about 3 months old.  Somehow he knew  that he would be taken in without question.  What a love he was - and the only kitten I ever knew whose tail touched his head when he walked.  Alas it wasn't my house he came to but Susan and Eddie's!  I do believe there is something invisible to us that leads cats to certain houses particularly where Susan and Eddie live.  He wasn't the first by any means and not the last .   The next cat arrived a year or so later, fully pregnant, and ready to give birth which she proceeded to do the very next morning after Susan left for school.  She teaches morning classes and Eddie teaches in the afternoon at Johnson & Wales Culinary University.  This left Eddie and Isabelle, their dog, to be midwives to the birth of 6 kittens.  I'm not kidding.  They performed admirably with Isabelle helping the mother , later named Jinxy, clean up the kittens.  The runt had to be eye dropper and bottle fed to survive and was named Peanut who turned out to be a munchkin.  You know, short legs, staying small.  The other kittens were eventually adopted by adoring families with Peanut and her mother joining Sprout who was a former doorstep adoptee and the last of the brood of 7.  So if you are a cat in need of a home just appear at Susan and Eddies.!!

Bulletin just in!  The monster feline, Ralphie, next door got into a terrible fight early this morning with TC and tore into him pretty badly, Susan said.


I didn't take the time to post something yesterday because I felt the need to finish a letter - what I consider a real letter - on paper - to a friend I had neglected since my trip to Oregon. Billie has been undergoing chemo and radiation and surgery for multiple myeloma in Florida which i can only imagine is hell on earth!  Not knowing when  she would feel up to talking I emailed her sister with whom she is staying while undergoing the treatments at the cancer center in Tampa. She filled me in with the progress Billie has made and said today would be a good time to call!

I also had to finish a thank you letter to my children and grandchildren for making this Christmas the most wonderful one ever.  They did something Finch had wanted done instead of gifts for him for years only they did it in spades.  When you get older and you really don't need anything  - doing something for someone else in need becomes much more important. My family went together and adopted a whole family with a special needs child and made their Christmas. It still brings tears to my eyes and I get choked up thinking about it.  I still had some presents to unwrap but the note as to what they had done in my name and Finch's memory meant the world to me so I felt that a real letter to each of them was important as well.

I had been thinking back to all the letters my sisters and I would write to keep up with each other after we married and ended up scattered so far away.   So often our letters would be written in stages chronicling our busy lives with our offspring, sometimes weeks going by before it got mailed.   Not all of those letters were saved but seldom do email letters ended up being saved.  I have copies of letters my grandmother and grandfather wrote before they were married!  This electronic age is fast and expedient but lacks the personal touch of a hand written letter, wouldn't you agree?

I am writing this instead of being out in the cold doing my morning walk!  Several months have gone by and it looks like my walking buddy and I have come to the end of our daily 7:30 AM walks which started in the spring of  1974.  Bad weather has kept her from continuing because the cold is not good for her body these days.  She will be 90 this Spring.  She has been the catalyst for my jumping out of a warm bed and dashing out into the cold when my body would rather be still snuggled under the covers.  I really need to develop some willpower and get back to walking.  The biggest problem is walking back up my hill.  I tried it the other day and I huffed and puffed twice as bad as in the past.  The early morning walk was good to get me jump started in the mornings and we both felt that our good health was attributed to those early morning walks!   Perhaps I can pick a little later time and get back in the routine!  Perhaps I can make it to 90 if I do so!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A way to journal?

I woke up with leg cramps - the kind where you go ah--ah--Ah--Ah--AH until you can work your way out of bed into a standing position.  I thought my watch indicated it was 2AM as I snuggled back under the covers.  While I lay there listening to my talking head I thought that this might be a way to journal if it was merely rambling - not too personal.  By using the computer I can change what I write by merely using the delete button!  So much easier - erasers on pencils are worthless!

I kept a journal at one time but destroyed it so it would never be seen by anyone else - much too personal in a time period where I had difficulty verbalizing.  Dalton Roberts is a great advocate of journaling. I enjoy his columns.

I joined several other artists one day last week for a shot at plein aire painting at Chicamauga Dam.  This has never been my cup of tea because the light changes so rapidly and I do not work fast at all! Besides, people and animals are my forte, perspective my shortcoming.   We split up - to find our own inspiration.  I challenged  myself to do the railroad bridge with the little white house on top of one of the towers where the drawbridge tender would hold forth.  My daughter later reminded me that the structure that had been on the other tower had disappeared in the freak tornado that hit the dam previous to the April one that devastated this whole area.

I had taken soft pastels to work with, sun glasses, for twas a bright and sunny winter day - not  too cold as long as one had on many layers - and one of Finch's treasured ball caps from the Nimitz Susan had given him.  I found it difficult to see detail across the river since I didn't have my prescription glasses with me and I had picked kind of a scrunched up view of the bridge to boot and had to create my own shade on the easel.  I intended to return the next day and work on the painting some more but the wind was gusting way too hard so I took some photos which have helped me to see the detail I couldn't fathom the previous day.

This is the result of my first attempt at plein aire painting.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday ramblings

I started off the day with a trip to Dr. Goodman's office to get my gullet stretched!  Twas a success with only a slightly sore throat for my troubles.

My blog Guru, Bonnie, has been here for hours setting up a blog for me hoping I get the drift of it, patiently coaxing my brain to perk, to wake up and actually think, to respond.  She insisted that after eating something that would slide easily down my esophagus , feeding the cat and seeing her off,I should return to this first of all blogs to make sure I remembered how to find my way in this new world she dropped me into.  It only took me a few tries.   I had no idea how many people start off with " ramblings of".  Mine didn't show up until Google interfered making me verify my email address.  Then they made the sight legal.

I already take myself off in different directions with my art wanting to experiment with different medium so here I go - off in another tangent.  Hopefully it will be a challenge to keep my brain perking.  Not much can be done to revitalize memory that has gone astray but I keep telling myself not to worry about that too much when so many of my friends much younger than I seem to have the same problem.

By the way, I did offer to feed Bonnie before she left.

Bonnie is a writer and a wizard with words so I know she would not approve of my convoluted extra long sentences but since I don't pretend to be erudite and stick to just rambling, I don't believe I shall worry about it at all! She and I happen to be the only ones who know of the existence of this blog anyhoo.

Know the anesthesia that took down Michael Jackson?  That's what the anesthesiologist used to put me out for that procedure this morning.  Tis marvelous, no after effects what so ever.

Signing off -- Jane