Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Monday, October 31, 2016


That's for all you folks who like Halloween!  I'm glad I don't have to bother with it, to tell the truth.

I took a chance when I saw the sun shining this morning, and hung 2 loads of wash on the line.  A few things dried completely, but when it became cloudy I took the rest of it down and finished drying in the dryer.  It never did rain, but sure looks like it will.

You probably know by now I have no shame, so I will show you what I've been working on, artistically speaking.  There is such a glaring error in the tomato I painted, with the highlighted area on one side curved the wrong way!  The tomato curves one way but I applied the highlight in the opposite curve direction.  I'll be able to correct it, I hope.  Then I tried to mix brown paint for the table on which the tomato sits.  The table actually looks like two different shades of brown, but I think that is just how the sunlight made it look.  (Click to enlarge)

I looked up lots of different websites that give instructions for mixing brown paint.  The initial try looks like olive drab, and what I finally ended up with is a lighter shade of olive drab.  I've mixed brown before, and don't know what in the world I've done to get this!  I may try to find a tube of brown paint and just cover it up that way!

One things for sure, I'm not taking this with me (in its present state) when I go back to class.  This painting is not going to be for sale, now or in the distant future, so when I am satisfied with it is when I stop.

I have determined that right now I don't like painting on canvas, at least with acrylics.  I have a pad of Mixed Media paper, which works for wet or dry paints; it is a stiff white paper with almost the stiffness of cardboard.  I will try that when I finish the canvasses of vegetables which I've already sketched.  I know the painting is getting to me when I start thinking about opening a bottle of beer in the middle of the day!

I just looked up and am shocked to see a beautiful sunny sky!  I'll take that lovely view once in a while but definitely prefer rain as often as we can get it for now.

I just checked my fridge and will have to work a bit harder to get my dinner this evening - no soup, no meatloaf, nothing I can just heat and eat.  I've become lazier than ever!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Journey's End

The girls are back, although I haven't yet spoken to either of them.  I received a msg from Jeannie at 7:30 this morning saying they had driven all night and had just arrived.  I think the distance was something like 700 miles, which I've done many times.  The difference is that I've always started between 4 and 5am and stopped when the sun went down.  I don't think I could drive all night unless it was a dire emergency.  I'm glad they are back and off the roads today.  We had some very strong rains this afternoon, and it is still raining off and on.  I just hope we get more rain - a little each day would be great!

I have been freezing all day and haven't really done much except wrap up in a blanket.  I haven't had the pilot light on the furnace lit so far this year and I rarely use the furnace anyway.   Sometimes when it is really cold in the morning I turn it on for a few minutes to take the chill off, but I couldn't afford to run that thing all the time!   I'd rather use a space heater when I'm sitting down with the computer, or the one in the bathroom when I shower.  The two heaters I have work well - I've tried others that have tripped the power and it's just not worth bothering with trying to fix it.  My electrical wiring leaves a lot to be desired.

Speaking of electric, Steve noticed that I have a 220V outlet in the vicinity of my washing machine.  I'd like to get a new, small washer with no fancy cycles on it, and he says I can also have a dryer.  I may go to Sears outlet one of these days to see what they might have to offer.  I am looking for just a basic washing machine and a basic dryer.    That would be nice for me in the winter to not have to take my laundry across the street, although the dryer would send my electric bill skyrocketing.  On nice sunny days I could still take everything over to the clothesline and air dry them, which is what I prefer anyway.

The rain has started up again and it's really coming down.  I read this morning that Sacramento had reached 80% of normal rainfall for this time of year.  Today should bring us up a little closer to the norm.  My hummingbirds don't let the rain stop them - they've been at the feeder all day long, and it makes me so happy to see them.   I still want to get a bird feeder if I can find one that I can hang in a location the birds won't be in danger from predators.

I've just finished watching Season 8 of Bob Ross (at 13 episodes per).  I truly wish I had gone that route first instead of acrylic, although I would probably not want to paint as often if I had to deal with the cleanup of oils, thinner, etc.  I just love about every one of the 100+ paintings he's done, but most of all I love the calm confidence he inspires.  But there is a reason for everything under the sun!

Have a great week, as I hope to.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Soccer Saturday

I drove to meet Donald and the girls at their house this morning, very early for a Saturday, and rode with them to Autumn's soccer game.  It was a good game with the final score something like 5-4, with Autumn's team losing.  They played well though.  Autumn got moved up from the team she has been with all along and plays with girls a year older this year.  She gets along really well with them and it probably makes her game better by playing with girls who have an additional year of experience.  It sure looked like rain, but the rain held off.

I took a long nap this afternoon because I had to get up and going so early this morning.  A quick trip to the library  to return a book and pick one up rounded out what has been my day.

I've been trying to count my calories because I want to add 4 or 5#, but if I eat more calories in the morning then I am not hungry for the rest of the day.  I had a decent breakfast and a good lunch, but other than a protein shake this afternoon I think I'm finished for the day.  I have always complained of cramps in my legs and feet at night, but have discovered if I drink a protein shake then I don't have them that night.  So I'm drinking the shakes even when I don't go to the gym - using whole milk I'm still only adding about 300 calories.  I just don't know how to consume more without feeling awful and bloated.  I finished the first of the meat loaves and the last bite was as good as the first.  I remember why I rarely eat beef though as it gives me indigestion.  A little bit of organic apple cider vinegar in water at night seems to take care of it, but it seems to be a vicious circle to me.   Chicken is marginally better from the standpoint of indigestion, and pork doesn't bother me at all.   I eat pork mainly when I eat out, and I don't do that very often.

It looked so much like rain today and tomorrow we will probably see it falling for sure.  But today turned out to be gray but nothing falling from the skies.

On the way home this morning I noticed a new ARCO gas station with regular at $2.27/gal.  One block down the street, the Shell Station has regular for $2.70, and the Exxon station catty corner to it is $2.85/gal.  I really can't understand the disparity in prices so close together.  I realize Arco is usually a lot cheaper and it is a new station trying to attract customers, but the Shell/Exxon difference is a puzzle to me.  

I haven't heard from Jeannie & Ara for a couple of days but they are due in tomorrow sometime.  How early depends on where they stop for tonight.   Yesterday they visited a friend in Olympia, Washington.   Usually when I get within a state or two of home I become anxious to get there quickly and I'm sure they are ready to wind up their travels.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A "letdown" day!

After the activity of yesterday, today was a much needed letdown, although I think I prefer a little more activity.  The gym and the grocery were my only diversions.  I bought some zucchini - 2 green and 1 yellow - and can't figure out how to place them so I just gave up for now.  I took some photos which capture the shadows and highlights very clearly, and will get them printed at Costco the next time I am there.  The person who works in Photos probably thinks I'm nuts!

I bought bread this morning so I could have a meatloaf sandwich.  The meatloaf is excellent no matter how you eat it, hot or cold, etc.  I bought chicken to cut up in smaller cutlets and will either fry them or bake them in the oven.  The oven sounds a lot less messy.

It was raining when I went out but has stopped for a while, and it looks like the sun might shine tomorrow.  Autumn has a soccer game at 10am, and I think I'm going to try to go.  I will drive to their house and either follow Donald over to the field, or ride with them.  I think I know where the field is but would probably drive a longer way around from their house.  I never can remember their shortcuts!

The forecast is calling for more rain in the coming week, but I hope it isn't like last year when we had some good rains in the fall but nothing from January on which used to be our rainy season.  I just wish we could alleviate the drought as it is depressing to always hear about it and not be able to go camping because of forest fires, etc.

Whatever your weather, I hope you all have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Oldest Kids" Club

I don't know if I mentioned it way back, but my granddaughter Alyssa (8 yrs old) was so upset because everyone expected her to be so mature because she's the oldest, and since both her parents are the babies in their families she sometimes has more maturity than they do!  I was commiserating with her because I also am the oldest in my family, and have always been expected to be mature.  So I suggested "We should have an "Oldest Kids Club", and she came back like a shot, "And go out for ice cream".  Today was finally the day.

We spent some time at Baskin Robbins both eating sinfully rich tubs of ice cream - I had plain chocolate but she asked for just about every topping they have over two scoops of different flavors.   She loves to talk and I found myself not being able to get but a word in now and then.  I had a ball!

Then we came back to my house and did some artwork.  I had bought her a sketch book and pencil when I was at Michaels last time, and she actually does very well.   She was here for a couple hours and her Dad just picked her up.  I feel drained of all energy - it's the introvert in me that loves the company of people, and then rejoices in being alone to re-energize afterward.

I looked for gesso to cover up the painting I don't want to try and fix, and found it is more expensive than to just start a new 5 x 7 canvas board.   So now I have to make a trip to the grocery to find the vegetables to replace the ones I ate.    I had a yellow squash, a zucchini, and 3 red potatos on the last one, and it was just too much for the small board.  If I do the potatos separately, plus the tomato I've started to work on, then I'll have 3 veggies and 3 fruits, which will fit nicely across the top of my kitchen cabinets as you enter the room.   I'm going to sign them as well!  Remember when I signed the first one I did in class and everyone jumped on me about it?  Well as Bob Ross is fond of saying, "This is your world and you can do anything you want in it!?  I think that sums up my idea of what painting should be all about.

I've been moving art supplies to the table in my "studio", and I'm going to love it.  I haven't done any artwork there as yet, but I will.   Alyssa was absolutely enchanted with it all, and I told her I might let her do a small painting with my acrylics one of these days.  I have to be careful because she has a younger sister, whose birthday happens to be in exactly one week.  Keira is a darling child, but everything she touches can easily become a disaster!  I'm not ready to share my supplies with her, but I have enough art supplies on hand I've always kept for when the kids visit.

I'm mad at myself for forgetting my camera when we went to Baskin Robbins.

I heated one of the meatloaf sections and spread the sauce on it.  They are small, but I ate 3 good slices and I must say it was delicious!  I've never made meatloaf that good!  If I had bread on hand I'd have a meatloaf sandwich for supper, but I'm still full from the lunch, the ice cream, and the protein shake I had earlier this morning before going to the gym.  I have to get back to walking or I'm a good candidate for heart problems.

I haven't heard from the girls for a while.  I know they were going to spend a couple of days at my niece's house in Washington state, where Julie & Paul are house-sitting while they visited Italy for 3 weeks.  I just wrote my brother, who is still in Italy, and he says they had nothing from the quakes that are rocking Italy a bit to the north of them.  I'd get the heck out of Dodge if it was me!  Of course the west coast of the US is also earthquake prone.  Jeannie and Ara should be back in Sacramento tomorrow night.  I worry about the rain causing traffic tie-ups, but I sure can't control that.

I'm grateful for the rain and the cooler weather, but I can already see the slight green tinge in the back yard rock bed which indicates grass & weeks growing.   I hope to be able to take everything up, put a good course of week killer down, cover the ground with a heavy duty plastic, and then get a new load of rocks.    Steve has some good ideas on how to do the yard, but Steve is about to have a brand-new baby girl in his life.  (He is just about to turn into putty, and her birth will cinch it!)

Painting class

I wasn't really feeling up to par this evening and didn't get very far with fixing a painting I had started.  Of course the instructor doesn't want me to just fix the mistakes I want to do, but to overhaul the entire thing.  This isn't going to hang in the National Gallery or anything like that and I don't like it for several reasons and would prefer to just toss it and paint something else.  I'm feeling kind of low right now and it probably hasn't much to do with the painting but just how I've been all day.

I went to Costco this morning and spent a lot of money but didn't actually end up with many items.  I replaced my supply of organic chicken breasts at a shocking price, but also bought a box with two small meat loaves which I think are precooked and just need heating.   I have never made a satisfactory meat loaf in my life, and you'd think that it should be an easy meal to fix and how can you ruin it.  I don't ruin it exactly but it never tastes like meat loaf should, in my opinion, so I'm hoping this one will be good.

Other than doing a load of laundry and taking a nap, I can't really account for the hours in my day.  

My girls left Yellowstone and spent an overnight in Helena, MT.  They draw closer to the west coast every day, and will be home to celebrate Hallowe'en, which I always called a State holiday in California.  My kids went trick or treating in Cincinnati, accompanied by their dads who knew the places to stop long enough to drink a beer and let the kids eat some of their candy - our house was always high on the list.  But when I moved to CA I couldn't believe how it was almost more of a holiday for adults than for kids.  It hasn't really changed much.   As I wrote previously, I never got into the holiday and it seems like so much hype for 2 months prior to the end of October.   I'll almost be glad when Michaels starts advertising their Santa Claus decorations!

No photos to post tonight - I am just so tired and listless.  We have a few days of rain coming up beginning tomorrow, and looking at the 15 day forecast it seems we will stay in the mid-60's.  I'm ready for it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Table is set up

Steve came by fairly early and started to work, moving the big desk and helping me get rid of a lot of things I needed to get rid of.  The room is still crowded, but if I can ever get back to sorting and storing photos in an intelligent manner, I will have a good room there.  I took a couple of pictures, but as you might see on one side or another there is a pile of junk.  I can live with it for bit longer.

We moved the big desk/computer/printer to another wall - the one I'm so fond of looking at because of the big U.S. map on the wall.  (Click on the photo to enlarge it)

I need to do a good cleaning job on that desk top - it is covered with a HEAVY layer of glass, and I should remove everything and give it a good cleaning.

The art table took a while to assemble because of the many pieces, but Steve is good at assembly, very intuitive.   There are no words on the instructions, just pictures.  He got it together very well.  I still haven't moved any of my art supplies to that room, but think I will do some cleaning before I start transferring things.

I didn't want much tilt to the top until I see how I use it, but it will go flat or at a very steep angle.  The table extension on the left also comes out a bit.  There are so many places to hold and store items, which is why I want to see how I intend to use it before I move a lot of art supplies.

I don't know if I mentioned it but the bulbs in the ceiling fixture in that room burned out about a week ago.  I knew I should wait until one of the kids could fix it for me, but I just couldn't stand it so I got my one-step ladder and propped my padded desk chair on one side of me (so I could fall into something with no sharp edges).  After a bit of hassle I got the fixture off and changed the bulbs, but couldn't figure out how to put the fixture back up.  Steve did that for me today.  I apologize for the glare of light in the photos - whether from the window, the flash, or the light fixture.  As long as you get the picture ....!

Before Steve arrived I had started making a big pot of chicken vegetable soup - I had already cooked the chicken so it was a matter of cutting it up, adding the vegetables and spinach fettucini, and thickening the broth a little.  After the table assembly we both sat down to a big bowl of soup which turned out to be very tasty.

Jeannie and Ara actually drove through the Tetons and went to Yellowstone yesterday.  They saw Old Faithful in its glory, plus several other geysers that were erupting.  The only wildlife they've seen has been a coyote who moved away before they could take a photo.  Jeannie thought Yellowstone Park is beautiful.  I loved the Tetons but unfortunately the crowds had me running by the time I reached Yellowstone, and I'm sure I won't get that way again.  She took lots of photos and managed to get a video, so I look forward to seeing those.

I'm so grateful they have had good weather, relatively little traffic, and excellent conditions for driving.  Coming across the country in any season, by any route, can be such a crap shoot, and if it turns out to be perfect then you are very fortunate.


Monday, October 24, 2016

I almost forgot

I almost forgot to post this evening, probably because nothing happened today except my bi-weekly trip to the chiropractor.  That always makes me feel better!  Steve had planned to come over and assemble my art table, but Liam was home from school because he didn't feel well.  Steve thinks it sounds a bit like playing hooky, and I'm glad he let him get by with it.  I usually allowed my kids a day during the school year where they could stay home, sleep in, etc.  They usually got so bored by the end of the day they wish they had gone to school.

I am so tired of all the Halloween hype.  I think I did the Halloween thing once or twice as a kid, but it wasn't really a big thing then.   People didn't have money for elaborate costumes, bags of candy to hand out, etc., and of course without TV and the internet it could go by without you realizing it.  For that reason, I never liked the practice of trick or treat when i got older, and now that I see the money spent on costumes, decorating house fronts, and so on,  I think the money could be better spent on making disadvantaged children happy.   No kid needs a huge bag of sugary sweets though.

If you think I sound like Scrooge, just wait until all the Christmas hype (which has begun in most of the stores already).

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Beautiful Day today!

For me it's mostly been slow and restful, and I am in a very happy mood.  I went to Michael's when they opened this morning, halfway worrying about the usual issues with sale items.  No one else I know seems to have this problem, so maybe it's me.  I was considering what I would say and do if they didn't give me the proper discounts, but when I pulled into the parking space, I said out loud to myself, "I don't want to argue or fight about this."  I would have accepted whatever the outcome.

I went straight back to where I had seen the boxed artist's table and it was there, but I had difficulty even getting it off the bottom shelf (the box said it weighed 53 pounds).  Fortunately a male employee saw me and went to get a big cart, lifted the box out and pushed the cart up to the checkout, waited while I paid for the item, receiving both discounts I wanted with no hassle.  Then he pushed the cart out to my car and put the box into the back.  God bless him!

My son Steve is going to come over tomorrow to put it together, although I wonder if it will be assembled in one go.  I've read the reviews about this item which were favorable, but mention that the assembly can be very trying.  I will post a picture of it when it is together and set up in my "studio".  We will have to turn the big desk to lie along another wall, which I've already measured and will be fine.  I have my big iMac and printer on it as well as misc. office supplies. 
When I came back home I called Donald who had said he and the girls were going to clean the house today.  I asked if I could stop by, and went by the grocery on the way to get ice cream.  I told them that cleaning a house requires an ice cream break now and then, so we all sat down and I joined them as well.  I got special non-dairy ice cream bars for Arianna, and Klondike bars for Donald and Autumn (and they gave me one).  I have been craving one of those things for so long, and it didn't disappoint!  I'm glad I didn't buy any to bring home because I might have eaten several at a time!

I don't think I wrote yesterday that the travelers had reached Sioux Falls.  It was bordering on too late to do much except grab a bite to eat and take a couple of beers back to the motel room.  It was a long drive from the outskirts of Milwaukee all the way to SD.  At least they didn't have to drive past the Chicago area!  They have sort of a zig zag route planned for the next few days.

Our weather reached the mid 70's today, and it looks like we may have rain now and then in the near future.  Nothing big, but hopefully enough to provide some much needed moisture to the plants and trees.  Last night the sunset was unspeakably beautiful.  I went out to take some photos of it, realizing the futility of even trying.

I'm going to try to go to bed early tonight and get up a bit earlier in the morning,  I do so much better in the mornings but then I end up taking a mid-day nap and ruining it all.  I fell asleep this afternoon working a crossword puzzle!

Have a good week ahead, and I plan to do the same.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

A really nice baby shower

Two friends of Meg held a baby shower for her this morning, 10:30-12:30, which is great timing I think.  Besides lots of dips & snacks, there was quiche which was delicious!  Now I'm in the mood for more quiche, although I will never make it from scratch like I used to.  I did a mean Quiche Lorraine in my day!  (at 8 eggs per!)

Beverages included cranberry juice which I had; it tasted so good and refreshing, and Mimosas, which I probably haven't had in years.  Mimosas are champagne mixed with orange juice and I always liked them but that was years ago.  I guess at my age I should stick with cranberry juice!

No silly games, just good food and conversation, and then came the gift opening.    I'm here to tell you that things are different than they were in my day of having babies!  Jeannie and I went together on a really nice car seat (Donald wrapped it for me).  There certainly were a lot of gorgeous little girl clothes.

Later on I went to pick up my resoled Birkenstocks, and it's like having a new pair for about 1/3 the cost.  I thought about going to Michaels as tomorrow they are having a half-price sale on an artists table that I've been wanting.  The sale starts tomorrow, but today they sent me a coupon good for 50% off any reg. price merchandise.  I was tempted to go today and try to buy it, but experience tells me that their sales always have a catch to them, and I'm not even sure what they will try to charge me tomorrow.  I don't need it badly enough to put up with crap!

I fooled around with a small painting of vegetables that I've been working on.  I was never happy with the color of the red potatos, and when it came to adding the "eyes" and other blemishes I totally screwed it up!  I was thinking this coming Wed. was City Hall night for the class, but it's the following week so I need something I can take to work on in class.   (I ate the potatoes and zucchini with my dinner tonight, and have enough left for tomorrow as well.

I decided to fix myself a good dinner this evening and it's just about ready.  Normally I eat several small meals in the morning, a good lunch, and then I'm not really hungry (except for snacking) in the evening.

Jeannie and Ara spent last night and part of today with my brother and sister-in-law in Wisconsin.  These are the ones I always loved to stay with on my journeys, and they always welcomed Lady as well.   My s-i-l, Wilma, is Jeannie's godmother. we moved to California and my brother and his family moved to Milwaukee a year or so later, so it's never been easy to get together.  They traveled for several years in a Motorhome, but finally gave that up a few years back.  If I'm able to drive east next year I will definitely stop to see them.

I wish good travel weather for those of you heading south for the winter.  I'm happy with the low 70's we are supposed to have this coming week, and won't mind it when it hits the 60's!   Everything is subject to change and the forecast is as likely to change as it is to remain as it is.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Too Much Sleep Last Night

I was sitting here last night either on the computer or working a crossword puzzle, and felt my head nodding.  This was at 7:15!  I thought why should I fight it and went to bed, although one of my sons called and we talked for about 15 minutes.  It's strange to go to bed that early but I didn't fight it.  I got up at my regular time this morning and you'd think I felt rested, but I don't.  I made myself walk at the gym, and then drove to pick up a big package Donald had wrapped for Jeanne's and my shower gift tomorrow, but that's the extent of it.

I found a 3-ring binder of extensive research and info on a trip I made several years ago - the year the Feds shut down the national parks!  When I look at those old records I can't believe how organized I can be, but usually only with subjects that completely interest me and hold my attention.   I went through all the tabbed dividers and removed most of my printouts for paper recycling.  I hate to throw it out but I know I will never go that way again, and if I go anywhere I will want to do the research all over again anyway - the fun part!

The last few trips made have found me staying at motels rather than camping most of the time.  I'd like to camp, although the tent I would use is a Big Agnes 4 person tent (which would be tight with 4 persons).  I bought it thinking Lady and I would forever share the space, but now that she is gone the tent is way too big for me.  It is also not as easy to set up as a backpacking tent, but on the positive side it has room to stand up.  It also holds my big air mattress which is a plus over the smaller backpacking sleeping pads.

I'm determined to go camping somewhere next summer, whether I travel to the east coast or not.  The problem is if there are forest fires which mean smoky air, and I don't want to breathe that stuff, which means that likely any California location is out.  With us barely into fall, I know I'm jumping the gun on next summer!

My wandering girls left Cincinnati for Missouri, where they met Ara's friend.  He changed the oil in her car this morning which makes me feel much better.  I kept preaching to Jeannie before she left that they needed to get an oil change before starting out the trip, but with such relatively little time to cover all the space and see all the people they want to see, I understand why they wouldn't want to sit at a Jiffy Lube for half an hour!  So far they have had a wonderful trip with good weather.  May it continue.

I'm going to buy an art table when it goes on sale at Michael's this weekend, and put it into my spare room.  The lighting is so much better in there than trying to do anything in my living room, and there is an overhead light as well.  I just put new bulbs in the fixture and washed the glass cover in the dishwasher.  It hasn't been this clean for a long time.  I had to get on my 1-step ladder to get the fixture off but think I will wait for one of the boys to put it back on for me.  It isn't easy for me to work overhead.

Can any readers who paint with acrylics tell me if I can paint a coat of white over a painting I'm not happy with, and start all over from scratch?  It's only a 5  x 7 canvas and I'm unhappy with what I've painted - no depth to it for one thing.  I will probably just end up throwing the canvas away, but I hate to waste anything.

Tomorrow we will go back down to the low 70's for a couple of days, and then into some rainy 60's.  I'm hoping we get a decent amount of rain.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Safe again

I don't think I wrote about it but maybe I did, but my front sliding door wasn't closing correctly for the past several days and I couldn't lock it.  Steve and his helper, Liam, just left after fixing the door and frame, and now I can lock myself in at night.  I wasn't really too worried but I knew I should get it fixed soon.  When my head hits the pillow I'm usually "out" within a few minutes, so I didn't spend a whole lot of time worrying about my safety.

Art class went well last night and everyone was in a happy mood.  I couldn't be talked into going to City Hall next week - my career was spent working for government and I want nothing more to do with it, from city hall to the Washington headquarters of federal agencies.   The following week is Jeannie's birthday, so I'm taking two weeks off, and will use one of the "credits" to take Ara to a class with me - if she wants to go.

I ended up doing sort of a hodge-podge stained glass effect in the upper part of the lemon picture; I need to figure out what to do in the same part of the banana pic - but haven't come up with anything as yet.  Also today I tried a still life with vegetables and I'm not happy with it, even though the preliminary drawing looks almost perfect (to me).

Click to enlarge pictures.  The second shows the set up of the vegetables, and I won't show the painting until I finish it.

I finally went back to the gym this morning and I feel so much better for it.  I've also done a few small jobs around the house and trying to not sit so much.

Jeannie & Ara spent yesterday in Cincinnati visiting relatives, eating out at favorite old places, and going to the cemetery to pay their respects.  They must have had no trouble finding my mom and dad, as well as Jeannie's dad (he's right behind my dad), but didn't know where Bill's parents' graves were.  I was sorry as I could have told them and they were in sight of where those graves.   There is a plot for me there and I have already made my kids swear to not put me there.   I'm signed up for donation to Science Care, but you never know how those things will go and maybe they have enough old women when I pass on and don't need me!  In that case I'd like my ashes scattered in the Smoky Mountains, but at that point I won't care and my kids can do whatever is convenient for them!

They also drove by our house in Cincinnati, the church &b school, and got a beautiful shot of Cincinnati at night from their aunt's balcony (Bill's sister).  

There was a lot I didn't recognize the last time I was there, which was when we buried Bill in March of 2007.   The sign of old age is that I prefer the old city that I lived and worked in.   I have absolutely no desire to go back npw.

I've been drawing all the vegetables in my fridge and I had better think about cooking them now.   I was going to have baked cod with the veggies, but I think I'll skip the cod and eat double the veg!  Right, gypsy, that's the way to gain weight!  I am afraid to get on the scale lately as I don't like what it tells me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Another Art Wednesday!

I'll see how it goes this evening at art class; I'm not going to be there the next two weeks which will give me an opportunity to think about where I'm going with this.   I've already discovered I do better at drawing than at painting, but after watching some beginner Youtube videos , I can see I've been holding my brush all wrong, as well as making the strokes incorrectly.  No wonder I've had problems.  I just hope to finish off the lemons tonight. 

I'm taking my lighthouse sketch in case I have time to start on a larger canvas.  I don't know whether I should lug the ceramic lighthouse with me to use as a model - I think I've drawn it pretty well and to size for the most part.

Jeannie and Ara were in Pittsburgh yesterday.  I've only been in the downtown area one time and it is remarkable how they spruced it up.  That was over 15 years ago and I have no idea what it is like now.  I keep going in to the room where I have my big US wall map hanging, and roughly figure out what route I'd like to drive across the country and back.  Do I want to meander both ways, or just go the quickest way getting there and take my time getting back.  This is purely speculative, you understand.  Now that Lutein isn't the miracle product for my eyes that I had hoped it would be, I just don't know if I could do it.  If I do I will try to avoid all big cities as well as all but a few miles of interstates.  Dream on, gypsy!

The itching is easing up - my ears have been driving me bonkers because they itched way down inside where I couldn't get to it to scratch!  My collarbone looks a little better although it is still dicey!  The rest of me still feels like I have fleas!  I've never had fleas but have seen a dog with fleas and it's not a pretty sight.  It will probably take another day or two for that stuff to be out of my system, at least I hope it won't take longer.

 Usually I experience a mixture of stress and excitement before my art class, but with 2 hrs to go before I leave home, I just felt a calm peace fall over me.  It's a wonderful, warm feeling and doesn't happen often.  I feel those emotions usually, but not all at once, so this is a treat.  I can't wipe the smile off my face.

I don't plan to eat dinner before I leave, but I have a very small amount of ice cream left in the tub, and then I can get it out of my freezer to make room for two more the next time I am at Costco.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

An "Aha" Moment!

I had one  of those yesterday.  I have been itching like crazy for the past week or two, and it's about to drive me crazy.  My collarbone is red and even has broken skin where I've scratched so much.  It's everywhere - arms, legs, torso, face, and you name it.  I tried some cream I bought which doesn't do a thing for it, and recently started thinking it might be an allergic reaction to something I've eaten or taken.  My diet is pretty simple, mostly fruits and vegetables, including a lot of green leafy vegetables.  I thought about the vitamins and supplements I take, and the only one I've added recently was a high potency product combining Lutein and Zeaxanthine(sp?), which I mentioned in a blog a few weeks back.  

I looked up Lutein side effects, and sure enough it can cause severe itching in high doses.  I'm heartbroken because I thought I had found the magic treatment for macular degeneration.   I felt about the same way as I did when I discovered the supplements I ordered from Andrew Lessman on HSN contained certain substances that had a blood-thinning effect, and I was getting huge bruises all over my hands and arms. 

So I removed the Lutein from the shelf with the other stuff I take daily and added it to Andrew's product.  I had to make a quick trip to Costco to get PreserVision, which is what my eye doctor has been prescribing for my eye condition all along.  What a bummer - I guess there will be no magical cure for me even though I've heard of miraculous cures of other folks.  Such is life.

I'm glad I went to Costco today, however, and just before lunch.  The woman ahead of me in line ordered a brisket sandwich, which you pay for inside, then take the receipt and pick up your order outside at a special window.  You don't have to stand in the long line of people ordering outside.  It sounded good to me for $4.99, so I ordered one for myself.  I restrained myself for the ride home but ate that sandwich as soon as I got inside and sat down at the table.   Mmmmm - delectable!  

Before I went to Costco I dropped off my sandals at the shoe repair, and they will be ready on Saturday.  I think it will be like having a new pair of Birkenstocks!

Today is a beautiful day here - my little widget says we've reached 70, but it might be a few degrees one way or another.  I'm on the east side of Sacramento and our weather often varies a couple of degrees from that of Sac.

Jeannie and Ara have been in Connecticut for a day and night, and headed west this morning.   Mike set it up for me that I can send and receive text messages, but only to those he listed when he created the account.  I need to find out how to update it and add a few more people.  It's all Greek to me although sending and receiving messages is a piece of cake.  I'm glad I have it as it is the only way I'm keeping up with Jeannie and where they are.

I'm getting the travel bug, but the travel season for me is a long way off from now.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Easy Monday

I'm not expending a whole lot of energy today, although I did make a quick trip to drop off a prescription refill for my eye drops.  As I was near the shoe repair I stopped in to find out if they could resole my Birkenstocks and was told they positively could.  It will cost me $45 which is well under the cost for a new pair.  Since I was wearing them I'll have to go back tomorrow when I pick up the eye drops and leave my sandals at the shoe repair.   I wonder if it's going to feel much different walking in a pair with new soles.  I hope they are still as comfortable as I'm used to.

Jeannie & Ara spent yesterday and last night at Mike's place in NY, and are off again this morning.   I hope they have good weather and not-too-heavy traffic.

Joe came by to wrap my swamp cooler for the winter.  I kept a close eye on things when we had such heavy rains, but had no leaks that I could tell.  I'm relieved to have it covered and hope the rains are frequent this year.  After he covered it we talked for a while until he had to go pick up the girls from school, and he brought them back by my house (he still had to load his ladder on the SUV).  It was nice seeing them as it's been a while.  With school, soccer games & practices, plus my dental problems and lack of energy that goes with them, we just hadn't gotten together lately.    One of the first things Keira noticed was the big vase of paintbrushes, and of course she asked about them.   Lucky for me they found the crayons and coloring books I keep for young visitors, and forgot about the paintbrushes.

The girls asked me how old I was although I'm sure they know because they ask me every time.  I told them I was 75, and Keira wanted to know if I was born in "olden times".  I said "for sure, they were olden times".  I get a kick out of how I must seem to all the young children - maybe I'm one of the oldest people they know!    It's funny when I think of myself at their ages, and wonder how I saw older people.    I know I was savvy enough to not say anything that could embarrass someone or hurt their feelings.  I don't think anyone ever told me to be that way, but it was just instinctual.   Now that I'm old I have a very thick skin about such things, and know that children are honest and often say things that other people just think.  I don't ever let it bother me.

I tried doctoring up the lemon painting, and the bananas are as good as I'm going to get them.  I have to do something to compensate for not being able to "eyeball" where to start painting on the canvas.  Everything I do is off center, too low on the canvas, or too much to the right or left.   I'm a little discouraged today about the class on Wednesday, as I'd like to finish the lemons and call it  over with.  That deep blue background is offensive to me for some reason - maybe it is supposed to highlight the contrast with the lemons but it just upsets me for some reason.  Time to sit back and take stock of what I'm doing and what I want to do. 

I will continue to draw, and decided to try my hand at drawing a lighthouse.  I have a ceramic lighthouse given to me in Ireland; it has an opening in the rear where you can insert a small candle and the glow shines from the lighthouse windows.  I love it and think I did a decent job of drawing it (only decent, from the standpoint of a newbie).  I don't think I'd be ready to try painting it, even though it is simple enough.

The rest of the week will be sunny and lower 70's, and I'd love to take a walk down along the river - maybe take some photos of easy to sketch scenes.   I'll be halfway there tomorrow when I drop off my Birkies, so I might possibly make it to the river.

Finally, I have some pictures I took last night just after sunset - the photos don't show how dark and foreboding the sky actually was.  These clouds were coming in off the Pacific Ocean and headed towards the mountains to the east.  I should probably turn off the flash for a better picture at night, but then I'd forget how to turn it back on again!  (Click on a picture to enlarge)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thank you all!

I'd like to say thanks to all those who have commented on my artistic attempts over the past week or so.  They have inspired me to keep going as well as to enjoy myself while I'm at it.

I found Sherry's comment about not being able to draw so timely, as I would have said the same thing about myself until just a few weeks ago.  It's not that I am suddenly become a good artist and sketcher, but I'm doing so much better than I would have ever thought possible.  It all started with my 9 yr old granddaughter, Autumn.  We had been to the free painting class at Michaels and waiting at my house for her Mom to pick her up.

We had lots of things to discuss about art, and Autumn picked up a pencil and piece of paper and said "I like to draw also.  Here's what I do."  She proceeded to make marks on the paper with her pencil, talking constantly, like "and then I go like this.......and then I do this......."   I saw a shape taking place before my eyes of a beautiful vase.  I was admiring it and thinking to myself, "Damn, if a 9 yr old can do that, why can't I?"  At the time it was a rhetorical question because I didn't think I was capable of doing anything like it.  I still haven't tried a vase, but I started sketching and now draw 4 or 5 pictures a day of things I see around my house.  I'm not good, but I'm not bad either and from everything I've read and heard from accomplished artists it is to "Draw, draw, and draw some more".  So I'll see if it works.

Jeannie and Ara have begun their long journey with a visit to one of their cousins who lives in northern PA.  It just coincided with her son's 18th birthday, so that worked out well.   

It rained really hard for most of the day but has finally let up for a while.  I think we'll get another 2 or 3 days of rain before it clears up.   I love seeing the rain but I'm so cold and just can't seem to get warmed up, so I got out one of the small electric heaters I use in the winter.  I'm also wrapped up in two small blankets, which are fine while I'm sitting in one place.

The wind is picking up and the hummingbird feeder is swinging wildly.  There is a hardy soul out there trying to deal with the moving feast and he's hanging in there pretty well.

I ate soup again for lunch, although it is more like a dinner than a lunch meal.  I probably won't end up freezing any of it.  I think the secret ingredient that makes it so good is the "Better Than Bullion, Chicken Flavor".  I used a lot of it as I was cooking in the big soup pot.   I didn't need any additional salt because the bullion paste is salty enough.   I put a lot of good vegetables in it, as well as the organic chicken meatballs - Coleman's brand, which are about an inch across, much smaller than a regular meatball.  The soup is mostly vegetables, and I also added a can of organic diced tomatoes plus a small can of organic tomato sauce.  So far the tomatoes haven't given me any problem, probably because the amount used was small in proportion to everything else.  I will be making chicken soup when this batch is gone.  It's such a quick and easy lunch on days when I don't feel like getting anything else together.

Another week is rolling around, and it seems like each week goes faster than the last.   I wish all of you a good one.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Here they are

Ok, this is going to take a lot of nerve to even post these on my blog.  I welcome all comments and criticism - I put on my big girl pants this morning and won't cry if you are brutally honest!

First of all, I tried to fix the lemons and see that I just made it worse.  Note that the blue background is unfinished because I totally ran out of time in mid-stroke!  When I mentioned that I would work on it, she said emphatically "Don't finish it at home!"   Does she think I can ruin it. haha.

The second is one I was fooling around with today with some bananas.  As you can see, I have difficulty judging position on the page but that is my eyesight and can't be helped.  I really try to keep it away from the edges.  I was going to take the bananas to clsss as well but am undecided at this point.  I need to paint over some of the light green color and try again under some decent light.  I don't have good light in my house, and it's an overcast day.  

So as you will see, I will never be an artist, but I love fooling around with it and hope to become a little better at some things.  I can't stay in that class because all the other participants have years of experience on me, and their works hang in city hall and they can sell some of them at an exhibit.  I'll never match that and wouldn't even try to, but I'm way out of my element.  If I could only find a kindergarten class I might feel like I fit in!

I have gone over in yellow where the bright blue messed up the lemons, but I'm not sure it looks any better.  Yellow is a transparent color, so I had to cover a bit of the blue with white paint, and then yellow over it when it dried.  And as I said, the green on the bananas is too light and I will probably redo it.   (I just realized the lemon photo was taken yesterday before I start to fool around and correct it.)

So there you have it!    I have an overhead light fixture in the spare room, and Steve suggested replacing it with a more modern fixture that gives better light.  I probably will finish up with a couple more classes at Michaels and then just continue at home and make a section of  the spare room an art studio.  I just took some measurements of the room, and I think I can get some decent space for an art table and supplies.  The lighting will be much better.   I plan to do a few more small paintings of items from my fridge and kitchen, and then go on to something else.  I'm enjoying the attempts at  still life so long as no one suggests I put a pitcher or bowl into it.  I'm just not ready for tableware!

I made a quick trip to the market this morning - it was quick because I worried about rain, and quick because I soon spent the money I had allotted and gotten everything I need.   I forgot to look for onions so I'll have to buy one or two at the grocery.

My soup was even better reheated for lunch.  

Clouds are moving in and more rain is on the way.  I was so worried about Jeannie's overnight flights to Philly, but I got a msg from her this morning that she had landed safely although they were a bit late due to fog.     They have a great trip back to CA cooked up, and I just hope the weather doesn't send them off their intended course.  It's happened to me many times, but I made so many trips after retirement that it wasn't a big thing if I had to change my plans.  Jeannie and Ara don't get the opportunity to make a drive like that very often, so I hope it all goes according to plan.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A soggy day!

It has been raining all day long, and I managed to find two old umbrellas before I went out.  One of them is already in the trash because it doesn't stay up.  I almost found it amusing that I could barely remember how to raise and lower an umbrella, but it's been a long time.   Normally I don't mind getting wet but I had just washed and styled my hair, which got a little damp anyway.

I bought gas at Costco for $2.339/gal.  Shell at the corner of my street is still $2.709, and I think Exxon across the street is something like $2.859.  As I was at the outside edge of the overhead canopy, I couldn't avoid the rain there either.

The lines weren't long in Costco and I didn't spend much time there just picked up a few necessities.  I hope the rain holds off in the morning because I'd like to go back to the Market for a few vegetables.  The trouble with most stores selling produce these days is that they bag the products in way greater amounts than I need.

I made a huge pot of soup this afternoon.  I had picked up a recipe at the chiropractor's office for minestrone, and while I don't usually care for true Italian minestrone I figured I would just make it up to suit me.  (It isn't so much that I don't care for Italian food, but since losing my gallbladder I find it very difficult to eat without suffering for it later.   It turned out to be truly delicious and I just went back for my second bowl!  I hope I can find room in the freezer for a few small containers of soup, although I'm not sure how well it will freeze.  (It really isn't minestrone at all, but I did use some Italian seasonings!)

I took two photos of the unfinished lemon painting but it's too messed up to post - I'll try to clean it up tomorrow so that at least the lemons will look a bit better.  I've sketched a bunch of bananas and plan to do them at home.  If it looks decent enough I may take it to class with me.   I also did a quick estimate from Bob Ross' website to see how much it would cost me to try oils.  For just the the paints, brushes,  easel (a cheap one isn't all that cheap), and a few basic small (but necessary items) I'm looking at about $400-$500.  While I haven't done a major comparison, I think the cost of paints on his site isn't any more than buying them at Michael's or online sources.  Included in my estimate are things such as items for brush cleaning, paint thinner, etc.  With acrylics you can just use plain water but the oils require other ways of cleaning and thinning.  In the meantime I'm going to try to adapt some of Ross' brushstrokes in acrylic for special effects that I like.   If that could make me happy and save me a few hundred in the process, I'd be very satisfied.

Big Mistake!  After warming up nicely from the soup I topped it off a bit later with some ice cream.  I have a long sleeve shirt, lightweight jacket, and sweat pants on, and I'm freezing!  I'm going to wrap up in a blanket.  I'd crawl into bed but have to wait until the soup cools off enough to put it into containers and into the fridge.

Have a great weekend, and I hope to be back tomorrow.


Thursday, October 13, 2016


I think the class is going to some "do" at City Hall on the first Wed. in November, and I will just cancel that one and get my money back.  The next week is my daughter's birthday, so I will cancel that one as well.    I'll just struggle along on my own and do what I can - I watch a lot of Youtube instruction as well as read books by successful artists.

I had an appointment with the dentist to see how the healing is coming along after my last extraction.  We talked about when he would pull the molar on the other side, and I told him I wouldn't do it until I get a lower partial on the left side.  If I can't eat, I won't live long.   Speaking of eating, Jeannie wanted to go on a fruit & vegetable diet for a couple of weeks, so their entire family is on it.  Donald says he lost 5 pounds, and he's like me only worse - he needs the calories to maintain his weight, and he is very active in addition to just needing maintenance  calories.

The skies were too cloudy to see any stars throughout the night, but I got up this morning to the most beautiful sunrise I've seen since I lived here.

I don't know what has me "down" today, but maybe it's because I'm going to miss my daughter for the next two or three  weeks when she goes to PA to drive back to Sacramento with Ara.  She showed me her estimated itinerary this evening and it looks like a really great trip, with stops to visit friends and relatives along the way.   I keep stressing that she should be prepared for the weather to turn wintry in which case she will have to head south, but no matter what, the Rockies are stretched from one border to the other and there's is no easy way to avoid mountain weather changes.

I sure hope I'm in a happier mood tomorrow.  I'm not like this very often and don't like it when I am.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I'm eager to go to my art class tonight and see how the lemons turn out.  I've stressed over them enough so far!

I did make it to the gym this morning and spent my walk looking over the downstairs section where the personal trainers usually take their captives.  There is some kind of contraption that holds a lot of different types of things, including a punching bag - a long one that can be punched and kicked as well.  I notice a lot of mostly younger folks are practicing self-defense, and today a young man was busy the entire half hour or so that I watched, using the punching bag.  

He kicked it pretty well, at least he looked sort of "kung fu", but some of his punches and jabs were pretty  sad, to me.  Maybe they would work on the street.  He did okay with one arm but punched/slapped like a girl with the other one.  (My apologies to girls everywhere--I are one!)

My dad grew up in the Great Depression, and was able to work most of the time delivering groceries.  His evenings were spent at the local gym, a popular spot for those who didn't want to spend their time on the streets.  He became a fairly good boxer, and fought in regular matches in Cincinnati.  He always told the story that if there were Italians in the crowd, the officials often pronounced his name so that he would sound like an Italian.  He sometimes boxed in Chicago where they did the same thing - maybe changing it for the Hungarians, Italians, Greeks, etc.    Fortunately he didn't stay with boxing very  long (this was before he met my mother who would never have put up with it.), but he could still show my brothers how to defend themselves.  I remember the "form" more than anything, and the guy at the gym didn't have proper form at all.  As I said though, maybe for self defense it would be ok (although he wasn't concerned about protecting his face).  A lot of women are also learning and practicing self-defense at the gym, and more power to them!

Speaking of the Great Depression, I stumbled on a Youtube video of a 91 yr old woman who did "Great Depression Cooking".  She was so interesting, and while she was preparing the food she talked a bit about how she had to drop out of high school because they couldn't afford socks for her to wear.  I was incredibly sad just thinking about how bad it must have been.   At 91 (she died at 93) she cooked a Depression meal and her grandson was waiting (and sampling).   By the time the dinner was ready he was joined by 3 of his friends who she said often appear at her house at dinnertime.  They looked very happy to be eating the food.  Who would think that  anyone today would be eager to eat the plain fare of those old days.

While I was born between the Depression and WW II, I remember some of the meals my mom cooked on a very limited budget, and I can say I ate with gusto - no complaints at all.  Some of that plain food I served my own kids once in a while, and they lapped it up as well.  I think of all the generations I know of, I have so much respect for those people who lived and survived that period in our history.  It shaped my life forever, although I doubt my children would ever give it a thought.  To this day I will do anything rather than waste, and waste of food is a capital sin in my book!

I have just a couple of hours until I leave for my class, and I should be taking a nap but I'm too jazzed up to be able to snooze.  I did my last load of laundry - towels - first thing this morning and just took them down off the line, and they are folded and put away.   I love to see an empty laundry basket, and I'm good to go for a few weeks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Blahs!

I started out lacking energy but knew I need to get back to walking, so after hanging a load of laundry on the line I went over to the gym.  I just had nothing to give today but managed about 1.2 miles.  I came home and made a protein shake which didn't sit right with me after still being full from  breakfast, but eventually I got to feeling normal again.

I made a trip to the library, the Dollar Tree, and to Michael's to exchange something I bought over the weekend.  I hate having to return an item because I didn't look closely enough at what I was picking up.  I've done a little preliminary work on my lemon painting today and will be glad to see what it eventually looks like tomorrow evening.  I even sketched some bananas and want to do grapes, although I buy the white or green grapes which might be difficult to color - I'll have to try it.  I may have mentioned I want to hang the little canvasses above my kitchen cabinets where I can see them and hopefully enjoy them.

The weather has been so nice and should gradually become cooler until Friday when it will rain.  I have a big load of towels to wash and dry on the line, and then I should be good to go for a couple of weeks.    I am so tired of the way laundry keeps stacking up - no relief from it.  Just when everything is clean and put away the whole cycle begins again!

I'm still enjoying the constellation Orion although it is definitely changing time and place in my sky.  I think the two brightest stars are Betelgeuse and Rigel.  Does anyone remember a dumb movie years ago called "Beetle-Juice"?    I remember my kids were watching it and I wasn't paying really close attention, but it eventually got to me because it seemed so ridiculous.  Maybe I should go back and watch it myself.  Wonder if it is still around.  I have no idea what it's about or if it even relates to the star but maybe it's on YouTube and I could take a look at it.  I could just ask one of my kids - the one with the best memory, as this was in the mid-1980's I'd say.

I'm not really hungry but I need to eat.  I've had a little more discomfort today with the injection sites in my mouth, but a few more days should have me feeling better.  I sure hope so because I feel like crap today!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Is this a holiday?

Sorry to say I've been checking the mailbox today and wonder why I haven't seen the mailman.  Is it Columbus Day?  In the old days I would know that Oct. 12 was Columbus. Day, but I hate these "move it to Monday" holidays.  Maybe it isn't, because I drove to my chiropractor appointment this morning through an elementary school zone that was in session.

We will be getting some cooler temperatures soon, and hopefully some rain.  I'll be happy to see the rain if it actually gets to the ground without evaporating!

I'm feeling a lot better after the dental work except the injection sites are bothering me a little more now.  It's just something I have to go through.

Not much has happened today - I did some laundry which I will finish tomorrow, and just stayed quiet.  I got a small canvas primed and ready for my Wednesday night art class, and I wish I could just get started on it now.  I think I will wait and do this one in class, but I just might begin to work at home as well.

It looks like a beautiful sunset coming up, but I can't see the best part of it because of the trees and houses in the way.

I hope to get back to the gym tomorrow and start walking again.  I've been really lax the past week, but I felt it was justified to skip it for a few days.  I hate the break in my momentum though, and it will be like starting all over when I do go back.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Today was a good day

First of all, Steve came over and put the grab bar on the shower wall.  I may have mentioned that the walls behind the tile are not sturdy to place the bar just anywhere, but I'm happy with having it where it is, in a vertical position on the front wall of the shower.  I think I will buy another, shorter bar, and have him put that on the rear wall.  I hope I never need them but it's comforting to know that I have at least one installed now.

We sat and talked for quite a while, and he ended up taking back their big recliner they had given me a year or so ago.  Now that Megan is finding it difficult to get comfortable, I hope the recliner will help out.

We talked at length about where I could set up a place to paint and keep my art supplies.  I'd like to start painting at home from time to time, although I still enjoy going to the class and being with others who share the same interests.  Tomorrow I will start on the canvas I want to do on Wednesday, and get a little ahead of the game.

Here is a photo Steve took of me with my very first painting - the one I did in Alaska.  Click to enlarge.

There are at least 3 things glaringly wrong with this painting, and they are just the worst three!

Later today Jeannie and Autumn came by, and we went to Michael's and Target; then back here at my house to visit for a while.  Jeannie leaves in a few days to fly to PA, where she will meet Ara and they will start their journey back to CA.  I wish them the best of weather, traffic conditions, and of course the scenery.

I have gone through several stages of tired this evening, and when I think I will turn in early I get a sudden burst of awake-ness.  It won't be long though before I'm in dream land.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


I'm doing much better than I thought I would, but I am a klutz and can't blame that on the dental work!  I just burned my finger putting something into the oven, and even the aloe plant I applied immediately hasn't taken away the sting.  I guess I thought I would be pain-free today.

While the extraction was harder on me than the last one was, the pain afterward hasn't bothered me much.  Yesterday, of course, it hurt when the anesthetic wore off but today I've been feeling a lot better.  The dentist called me about an hour ago to see how I was doing, and how the pain was going.  I think he is solicitous about all his patients, but there is something else - probably my age - that makes him concerned.  The fact that I have bone loss in my jaw from 8 months of taking Boniva (supposedly to prevent bone loss), and the fact that there is so much infection, makes him seem to worry more than I might have thought.  I'm going to try not to worry since he is doing it for me.  I consider myself pretty lucky to feel as good as I do, although I certainly didn't want to go anywhere except to the mailbox today.

Every morning I wake up around 3 or 4am to go to the bathroom, and when I come back to bed I always look out the window to see what's up in the sky.  I think I mentioned that I can see the constellation of Orion the Hunter, and this morning is was so beautiful I would have liked to sit outside with binoculars to look at it.  I won't do that because while I feel perfectly safe, I don't know what might be roaming the neighborhood.  This is a very exposed location, notwithstanding the supposed security gates.   Like I said, I'm not afraid of anything but I try to be conscious of what is going on around me.   Now that I think about it, I ought to set up my reclining lawn chair, and get my binoculars out, just in case!  Orion is gorgeous these nights, and I have been looking out the same window throughout the night for several years and have never seen anything like it.  I'm lucky if Venus or Mars or Jupiter is in the sky - you can hardly miss those.  Now I need to look up a star chart so I can identify the heavenly bodies besides those in Orion's belt!

I'm so glad I had the soup already prepared and I think that energized me at lunchtime.  This evening i'm baking a beer battered cod filet, to go with some potatos and broccoli smothered in cheddar!  I've been hungry all day long.

Three more days in the 80's and then back to some cooler weather.  I haven't turned on the swamp cooler today but do have the vent open and the fan running.  Not sure it makes much of a difference.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dental visit over with

My appointment was at Noon, and the entire ordeal plus travel to and from his office took about an hour and fifteen minutes.  It went okay, as well as having a molar pulled can go.  For some reason this was more traumatic than the last one I had taken out, and for a few minutes I was afraid I would cry.  I felt the same way driving home, but told myself to hold it together until I got in the house and then I could cry.  By then I no longer felt the need.  I'm still numb and my cheek is so swollen I look worse than a chipmunk!  And I'm so hungry!  Normally I have had 3 small meals by noon, but this morning just had my bowl of fruit.  I think I will have ice cream for lunch and a protein shake later, but I'll have to wait until the anesthetic wears off.   I go back next week for a checkup, and then need to make an appointment to get one pulled on the other side.  It is a root canal with gold crown.  

Just finished Bob Ross' season 5 videos, and the more I watch him the more I like his style - I don't care how dated it might be, or how "you will never grow as an artist if you paint the Bob Ross method", etc.  I also like his style of teaching as he goes along, and after watching 5 series (x 13 videos each) I've learned as much from him as from any other source.   The supplies for oil painting are costly, and I've already spent enough on the acrylics, but I'll assess the situation when the classes I've paid for have run out.

The mailman just rang the doorbell and left me a package containing a Bob Ross book I ordered.  (The Best of the Joy of Painting).  I glanced through it and think I'm going to love having it to read, and then as a reference.   I can see a faint glimpse of oil paints in my future!

We are starting a week of warmer weather - into the 80's, which may go a bit higher.  At least I know it will be temporary and we'll go back to some cooler weather.

Hunger is getting to me, and it's stronger than pain, so I think I'll go see what I can drum up.  I doubt if I will have anything more to add today, and if I do I will just add an Update.  I wish I could nap but I'm not sleepy in the least!

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I got my hair trimmed today and asked my hairdresser to take some photos since I am no good at all with selfies.   It doesn't look as puffy as it did the last time, but I can probably fix that when I wash and dry it.  (Click on photo to enlarge)

Here is a front view:

I have to have the bangs cut shorter than I normally would because if any hair even touches my eyebrows or lashes it irritates my eyes.

On the way over I saw a sight that upset me.  I was stopped at a traffic light and in the next lane over was a pickup truck towing an open trailer, with ladders on the roof of the truck hanging over the bed, etc.  In the bed of the truck was a fairly large Husky dog, unrestrained.  When stopped at the light he had his paws up on the rim of the bed and was stretching way out over the side.  When the traffic moved the dog still stood looking out the side, and all it would take might have been an unexpected braking action and I'm afraid the dog would have been thrown out of the truck.  It was a 4-door truck and I doubt that both rear seats had people in them, so why wasn't the dog inside the truck where it would have been safer?  I suppose the dog was happy and having the time of his life with the wind blowing his ears back!  I was glad when I turned off on another street and the truck kept going.  We were on a road with 3 lanes of traffic in each direction, and heavy traffic most hours of the day.

I made a really delicious soup for my dinner this evening, seeing as how I probably won't be able to have a decent meal for at least several days.  It was so good, and I followed it with a dish of ice cream.

While I was at it I took a photo of my art work which I will show you.  Just keep the laughter and snickering down so that I can't hear it.  (I'm laughing right along with you however.)  I know they look more like tomatos and definitely not much like apples, but keep in mind they are Gala (or similar) type and are streaky.


Just before the end of class in Alaska the teacher said to be sure to sign the picture.  As you can see I tried to do that last night, and about 5 voices said "No" all at once.  One person told me that the canvas was too small, and I should sign it on the back if I wanted.  I refrained from saying that Bob Ross signs his painting with a flourish!

All I can say about the apples is that when I look at them from an angle or across the room, they aren't too bad; up close, I could die of embarrassment!  So if you look at this photo, walk away from the computer and check it out from a distance!  I will add that I'm having fun with this, no matter what, and at my age I'm determined to just forget my pride.  If I laugh first then other people don't have to worry about laughing.

Three apples!

I went to art class this evening and did my 3 apples on a small canvas.  If you aren't into stark realism, then it might look ok to you.  Most of the people in the class including the instructor don't do realism, so I got a lot of encouraging comments.  I suppose it's like several people have told me, and that is if you hear a recording of your own voice you can't believe that is what you sound like.  Maybe art is the same way, and I'm not seeing it as others are seeing it.  Too much for me to figure out!

Next week I'm going to do another trio of fruit, probably lemons, or maybe grapes.

I tried to photograph a couple of my recent sketches today, and neither camera I have would work at all.  I know I need a new camera but I sure hate to spend the money on one.   It won't be easy to find one with a viewfinder as well as a minimum of icons on the back.  I wish they would just use words or abbreviations.   I had several great suggestions and links from readers of the blog and I hope I bookmarked them.  When I found my Fuji camera I felt that I really didn't need a new one, but it looks like I do.

I haven't felt well all day and didn't even get out my pj's and robe until I took a shower at 3pm!  It was so nice being at the class this evening, and all those who attended are so encouraging and helpful.  One of the great aspects to this whole class is that the regulars are so fun to be around.  Many of them are involved with local government and community art projects, so once in a while the talk gets too political for me - not political as in Republican-Democrat - but the kind of local politics that I have no interest in.  But for the most part, they are good, kind, community oriented folks and good company.  Some of them are so talented it just blows me away when they compliment my work, which is definitely not very talented!

I'm getting my hair trimmed tomorrow, and then it feels like I'm going to the gallows on Friday, but it's just the dentist.   I know from the last time I don't recuperate as quickly as I used to from any kind of procedure, so I will be happy if it doesn't take 2 weeks at least to get back on track.  I dread not being able to eat much, but I am stocked up on ice cream which will make poor baby feel a little better!