Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Day by day

Christmas is sneaking up on us all. I had time this week to have lunch with Jr High School and High school pal from waaayyyyy back when. It was a lot of fun to catch up and share a little food and fun. I've been doing very routine kind of things like grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning, errands, and working in the gallery. In between I'm baking bread, ordering gifts, and shredding papers from the years 2008 and 2009. May as well live in the present, eh? My filing system (gulp!) was overflowing, so it was time to take care of this while the bread was baking. It took about the same length of time. the poor shredder shut down a few times from overheating, and I have a huge black plastic bag full of paper for the dumpster.

My brother celebrated his 74th birthday yesterday and had a new camera to try out. Dont' know if he will keep it, but he has fun reviewing them and comparing the features of different models. I wait until he decides what's best then buy his old ones or whatever he advises. This time though, I'm sticking to my Canon that was once his. I've had it for years now and it's a fabulous camera. I've never had a bit of trouble with it, and it is super simple to use. But, I wish it was red. I love red cameras, and now he does too. I can't justify changing cameras for the color though but it's tempting.

I found a new toy today that I might want later. The Canon selphy ES40. A portable printer for the camera. Looks like fun to have, but I know I would probably not use it often enough to warrant the purchase.

I already have one new toy that I have not taken out of the box yet. The Magic Wand portable scanner. I can see where I will have fun with it, but it's a Christmas present for me, from me, so I won't play with it until the big day arrives. Then I"ll be scanning everying in sight. It has OCR capability, so it says. Hmmmmm..... we'll see. Optical Character Recognition is something tricky - or it used to be. I have not tried it for years, so hopefully it's better than the old ones. I love that I can carry it with me and scan from friends art and not rely totally on my camera.

I made some spinach dip in my fresh bread tonite and carried it down to kids. They loved it, so I will buy more of the mix at the Hallmark store and make another batch for New Year's eve.

My poor daughter in law is going through dental hell this week. She had an emergency, the pain was so bad she had a tooth extracted yesterday and will see the oral surgeon tomorrow. I know what she's going through. She really suffered during Thanksgiving, and thought she'd put off doing anything about it, but finally she could not delay any longer. Her cheek and jaw are so swollen already and two more teeth need to come out tomorrow. Then the building of a partial so she can chew properly. What a Christmas present! What a huge expense. This has been the year for dental procedures in this household. In January I will start exploring the options for rebuilding my mouth. But first, I plan to enjoy the hollidays. Hope you do too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Candis sings again

Candis celebrated her 15t birthday last week. She's counting the days until she can drive. LOL Her high school choral group is performing tonite and tomorrow night at a renovated old theater in town. Three bus loads of kids, including the orchestra and acapella choir are in this holiday program. I picked her up tonite, taking Nikki for a night ride in the car for company. Nikki is one of Candis' biggest fans. Tomorrow I get to see the performance myself, hoping her dad gets off work in time to go too. Her mom is in school and can't miss any classes, so she can't be there to see her girl. Maybe I"ll have a photo tomorrow.

Fa la la la la..... tis the season to be busy

Oh my! A holiday boutique at the gallery in Lodi with the pottery league, a tea with the mixed media group in Sacramento, a visit to the cat shelter in Sac, the Stamper's Corner shop in Elk Grove and then the beautiful exhibit of over 500 nativity sets at the Mormon church in El Grove all in one day. One exhausting day. What was I thinking?

The pottery was outstanding and the other mixed media artists had beautiful things to sell. It was a single day show and I have not heard how they did. I picked out a couple presents for ME. Pottery. somethings i can't do myself.

The tea was lovely as ever, it's an annual tradition with this group. The most charming setting and good company, tasty foods, and hot teas and a Christmas gift exchange. Delightful.

The cat shelter is where Sally volunteers once a week. She is a cat person. I"m not, but I enjoyed seeing them and appreciate how they are caring for the lovely animals while trying to find forever homes for them. Sally knows each cat by name. But she has favorites too. She has two beautiful black and white tuxedo cats at home so can't take more herself (husband objects to adding more). I'm glad I had a chance for this quick visit, as she talks about it a lot and I could not visualize it.

Stampers Corner had a special event with the new Hero Arts catalog and inventory coming out. We had to go check it out. I found a few special Christmas papers and two stamps that I added to my collection.

Then, the highlight of the day was the exhibit at the Mormon church. Sally had worked on putting it on, having one room decorated with red and gold as her project. Over 500 nativity sets are shown at this 3 day annual event. Every size, shape and material. Of course there are some duplicates, but spread in different rooms they just add to the grandeur and are testaments to the popularity of the Christian tradition.

After all this, I still had a long ride home alone in the dark on the freeway, accompanied by public radio. And when I got home I was greeted by three very lonely hungry dogs who could not decide whether to jump all over me or run to the food cupboard. it was a good day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I had a calendar with quotes of George W. Bush. What the heck do you do with that? Why not make post cards with some of them? I had another old calendar from 1995 with pictures of dogs. Hmmmmm...... Guess what? don't ask me why the camera took blue pictures today.

More mail art going out

I am having such a blast making and receiving mail art. I wonder why it lost popularity a few years ago. I'm hoping to revive it, and in my own little circle it is working. No one takes it very seriously, and it is quick and easy. And RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) make people smile. I'm smiling when I send them, the post office smiles and looks at them on the way, and the person receiving one usually has a brighter day with a simple little gesture of friendship, like a smile. This is a smile by mail, or even a hug. I'm sending off another batch on Wednesday. I like to mail them in Acampo. There's no line, the postal lady is so interested in it, and is such a nice friendly person, and I know they get special handling. It only takes 28 cents worth of postage to mail one if they are under one ounce and not thick with things hanging off them. So, it's a much more doable thing than sending out decos and waiting for years sometimes to get them returned. My friend Bobbi recently got one back that had been out and about for five years. It had traveled to Europe and back. Ihave a hunch it was stuck in someones art room, buried under layers of papers and "stuff". anyway, here are a few more that I"ve done recently. I even made my Christmas cards as post cards this year. LOL

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halloween with the teens

My grandkids still like to dress up for Halloween. It's always been a special time for them, and for their parents as well. Here's Halloween 2010.

A day with the art girls

Saturday I went with Rosemary to Roseville to a speical event at the Stamp Art Shoppe. It's been awhile since i have been in a shop like this, and believe me,this is a special place. I got a look at the new products, and they have dozens of samples to inspire the patrons. It was great. They served the best little cupcakes I ever ate. Aren't they pretty? We met Char and Pat there and got to visit with them while we looked at everything, and then we went to lunch. How wonderful to get together and laugh and be silly and talk about everything in our lives. We sat outside at lunch and the breeze kept adding leaves to Rosemary's and Pat's salads. that made it even more fun. I just got them landing on my head. Here's a couple pics.

Mail art

Here are some pics of some of the post cards I've made recently. I love mail art, specifically hand made post cards. I've been sending out at least a dozen a week, and have received a few very special ones in return.

I'm back again

My goodness time just flies around here. Life has been so busy I've hardy had time to make art. But I have put in some good hours in the garden. Mexican Sage is blooming furiously. Over my head and 6 feet across. I thought I'd torn most of it out and given it away so expected it would take awhile to reestablish a big clump again. But,no, it seemed to like my tyranny. Trevor and I have been making changes in the garden. He dug up the floor stones in one area that I always planned to use as a patio, but since I'm a putterer and not a garden sitter, I'd rather have more plants. So, soon the Mexican sage is going into the corner there, and mostly herbs will fill the rest of the space. I haven't had a designated herb garden for several years and I really miss it. By spring it will be established and I can hardly wait.

We have also been working on the floor in Living Room. It's still not finished, as so much depends on weather and when the windows can be wide open, and when the humidity is right for the super paint.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Work hanging in Bonnie's gallery

Bonnie invited the gals in the Sac Mixed Media group to hang a show at her husband's business, and so my things along with the other gals have had a group show since the beginning of the month. I was not able to be there, but it looked great from the photos I saw. Will try to post pics later.

This too shall pass and Book arts Jam

I had oral surgery again today. OUCH! It did not take long they are so professional, the dr and staff work together so beautifully. I was not looking forward to it though and am now recuperating and hoping the bleeding will stop. I've had a good nursemaid with Candis sitting with me and then as the day went on and I was feeling better, she comes up every hour and checks on me. By tomorrow I should be fine again. there were good old movies on TV today, so I had movie festival. Not up to much more than that.

Sally, Bonnie and I went to the Bay ARea Book Arts Jam on Saturday and the San Jose Rubber Stamp Show. wow, what a day. I didn't have to drive, so that was a huge bonus. and once there we saw quite a few friends. Wendy and Kate, Roberta S., Maria, Barbara, Patti, Suzanne and Susanne and Sue. At the Rubber Stamp show we ran into Margaret and Deb. It was a great day for seeing people I seldom see. And the new products at the stamp show were wonderful. Some of my favorite vendors were there. the Bay Area Book Jam was not as crowded as last year, but the work that was shown was wonderful. Very imaginative stuff. I hope they continue this annual event because it is the ONE place to get to see work of many artists and a chance to talk to them and telll them how great their work is. Photo is of Roberta on one side of me and Bonnie on the other. Nothing is better than friendships.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Freshening up the place

After living the past 15 years with carpet which was already old when we moved in - I decided this was the time to get rid of it. The only word I could use to describe the old carpeting is disgusting. So grandson Trevor and his neighbor pal Brendan are lifting it out in sections. Since I live in a small space and it is up a flight of outside stairs (a bit rickety) I refused to have the furniture removed. NO carrying it up and down those stairs. So everything has to be moved from one side of te room to another and hopefully leave room for walking to kitchen and bathroom. right now we are on the third section to come out. First, the big hoosier had to be emptied out to move it. I didn't want my grandmother's dishes to come crashing down. So granddaugher Candis was enlisted to empty it and stack them wherever she could find a safe spot.

I've been to the paint store, the local family owned business where they know everything about finishes! I am paying more there but I really value their expertise and patience. Over the years I have carried in some fabrics, dishes, wood, and other things to color match. and now, because I am painting over a hardboard subflooring with all kinds of hideous stains - I need to use the very best priming paint that will hide them and also give a good hard finish. I used this paint in the bedroom a year or two ago and t is like concrete. such a wonderful hard surface and easy to mop or dust mop. Bedroom floor is a darker peach color. Living room will be a green called Quaking grass. Makes me think of a meadow. a fresh spring meadow. Now, that leaves what to do with wall.s I have a lovely green on one wall and two dfferent shades of muted yellow on other walls. I think that the two greens will overpower the room, so I got a paint called Cake Batter (matched to the background of the old china) which will cover the green wall, and if I like it well enough I might just keep going and have all the walls the same. This would be a first for me, as I love color. I have a hunch it will look so lively and fresh that my linens and slip covers and table cloths will really show well - and the paintings that will be repositioned. busy, busy time.

New technique

Yesterday in Sacramento at the Mixed Media Group, Rosemary taught us to make fused fabrics with scraps of fabrics and bits and bobs of other materials, including papers. All with double sided fusible webbing. We had so much fun playing with the stuff she brought for us to work with and each of us made a sheet to use any way we want. Most people were making little purses, but I knew immediately that they would make wonderful mail art. Soon I"ll be posting pics of the post cards I'm making with my own fused fabrics.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sweet moments

My youngest son was born in 1970. While cleaning in the studio I came across a box of cassette tapes and there was one marked Matthew 1977. I don't remember ever seeing it before. I don't think I knew it existed. where has it been all these years? who made it? why didn't I know about it? well, I popped it into the cassette player and sure enough, a little child was reading, and then I heard the voice of the man recording it. It was my father. what a sweet moment, and then to be able to walk to the back door and call Matt and Christina to come listen. He had never heard it before either. We were all just beaming and glowing over it and Christina remembered a tape she and her grandmother had made when she was about 4. When her grandmother passed, it was given to her, so we listened to it too. another sweet moment.

The tape of Matt's voice was in a box with some cassettes my aunt Verna Mae had given to me many years ago. Our tastes in music were not alike in any sense, I probably assumed they were all music and never really looked at them. This tape was music to my ears today. I think it is the only one we have of Matt as a little child. The rest of tapes can go to the library used book/music store. Matt now has his tape to keep next to Christina's. How cool is that?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Requiem and requiem two

Last night was Jodi's memorial service. I was moved by the people who spoke and how we had all valued the same qualities that were uniquely Jodi. Jodi made everyone feel special, feel loved. It just poured out of her. She was so highly charged that she could wear me out - all that boundless youthful exuberance. We all loved her, and I can't tell you what a huge hole it makes knowing she is not among us now. Because Jodi had MS and had ups and downs associated with the disease, she also knew a lot of pain and discomfort. We will think of her now in heaven, pain and care free where she can spread her love and friendship with all the angels. It's going to be a much livelier place there now.

On the way to the service Sally and I stopped at one Jodi's favorite thrift stores. I bought a book "The Man who Sang the Sillies" by John Ciardi, illustrated by Edward Gorey. One of the poems is called "Say yes to the music, or else". It reminds me of Jodi Jodi loved music, collected boxes and boxes of old records. When I was with Jodi for any length of time, because of her boisterousness, I wished she would "chill out" a bit. Jodi was Jodi and she went where the music took her. And that's one of the things we loved about her.

Say yes to the music, or else.

What I have to say of Clarence Fud
(who wouldn't say yes and wouldn't say no) is:
Once you turn into a stick in the mud,
You can't be sure where your big toe is.

Suppose it itches, suppose it twitches
and wants to go where the music goes?
If you are stuck in the mud, like Clarence Fud
You can't get the music into your toes.

I can tell you that Jodi was NOT a stick in the mud. If her big toe twitched and wanted to go where the music was - well she just followed it there. She was alive and vibrant and so full of life that she threw off sparks. Cat and Gene raised this wonderful woman who was so non- judgemental, so open and caring. They can be very proud of this remarkable woman.

I thought I had written about the passing of Ray. Last Thanksgiving I had dinner at Rays house. I posted pics and told about it on the blog. Well, Ray started having health issues, and was being treated for bleeding ulcers, but nothing they gave him helped with the pain or the bleeding. They ran test after test, and would send him home again. Many phone calls, trips to ER, etc. they finally found he had pancreatic cancer. He didn't have much time left, but enough that he could see his attorney and get his affairs in order. His remaining son came home, and he and his partner and Zachary took care of Ray with the help of hospice.

His funeral was really very touching and I learned a lot more about Ray, who I had great respect and affection for. Pillar of the church and community kind of guy. Although he was so quiet you'd hardly notice him in a crowd, he had a kind of noble stature in a country kind of way. One of his good friends, the old Irish priest told it like it was. With humor and grace.

Jodi's only child Zachary lost his grandpa, Ray, who he lived with, and then his mom only a week later. We are all prayiing for strength for this young man. If you could see his sad face you'd weep, as it's all there - the pain and loss. I hope some day I can write about something wonderful happening in his life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Brief candle

My best friend's daughter was killed in a highway accident last evening. I can't even imagine the pain they are feeling. Half an hour before the accident she was happy, excited and getting dressed up to go to a concert. Music was her passion. The last time I saw her was at Ray's funeral. It's a sad time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How do you feel about fall?

Deb over at her blog expresses my feeling about the change of season so well, I decided to post the link here so you can read her words. I've been feeling fall sneaking up on us with the days getting shorter and the shadows getting longer. Even Lulu's coat is a bit thicker on her sides. A friend reported that she saw geese heading South. Go over and visit Deb and see how she is handling it.
In case you haven't looked back at my homage to fall from last year, here's a quick link back to my falling leaves/skydivers.

Bay area book arts jam - and mail art

My plan was to show my books at the bay area book arts jam in October, but I realize that the day would be too taxing. I no longer have the energy for day long events where I am running on adrenalin and excitement. I'll miss the one on one meeting with book art enthusiasts, but I have to accept the limitations of advancing age. Damn it I said I have to accept it, I don't have to like it. Thank goodness we have our local venues and our online friends. I'll be more active in online groups again and want to do more mail art. I've been creating altered post cards. Now, who will I send them to????? Hmmmmm...... If you'd like to be on my mail list, email me at momzart101@yahoo.com and you may just find a card from me in your mail box!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Art show in Lodi - a walk through

My art pal Roberta took pics at the gallery and tells about what she saw on her delightful blog. If you want to see it, go HERE.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekends in the country

My computer came down with a virus over a week ago and so I stopped posting or emailing from it. I went and hid in the country, tired of fighting a losing battle trying to get it cleared up. Weather was perfect. Here are a few pics.


The pic I posted in the last post turned out to win first place in the 3 dimensional division at the art show in Lodi. A blue ribbon and some cash too. The show is up until Aug 1st so if you are in Lodi and want to see it - that's where it is. I ended up having Tap plastic construct a sort of cover for it so little hands won't be messing with the innards. And since Alice came from a book, it now looks like a 3 dimensional book.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Publish or not?

Not. To publish, you need to send your piece away for an unspecified length of time. You have to trust it to the mail system and handlding by people you don't know. You don't get paid. You don't have your piece to show. You may get 5 minutes of fame - but how does that compare with showing it to friends and interested people, and letting them handle it? If someone wants to publish something I've created, they can come to me. I'm happy to share them here with nice people like you. Here are newer pics. Janene

Sorting buttons

I inherited buttons. Lots of buttons. As a child, if I was sick, I could play with the drawer full of buttons in my mom's sewing machine. It was fun to sort through them and lay them out on in lines between the tufts of the chenille bedspread. My brother had marbles. But, I had buttons.
I've been collecting my mustard jars, thinking they are just so cute they would make good altered art projects. Snowmen? Holding a little garden fairy? Verses? Meditations? Words to compose poetry? Being in my use it or lose it mode - I decided to sort my buttons into the jars. That way I can admire them and find what I want quickly. Here's a pic. They make a nice paper weight as well.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June is bustin out all over

Actually, it's bustling by in a rush. So far the major events were Candis' graduation from 8th gradeon the first, Trevor's high school graduation on the 3rd, Candis and I went to an art show at a winery in Woodbridge on the 6th., Quick trip to Timber Trails on the 7th, Pot luck dinner and election of officers at the Lodi Art League on the 8th, started watching Works of Arton the 9th, a TV program on Bravo, new season of Americas next top chef started, also Design Star on HGTV. So You Think You Can Dance started their new season as well. That's three nights I have to watch TV. In the summer. I wish they had waited for winter when I like to be home more.

Mixed Media group met on the 10th and I taught everyone to make the tyvek wind socks, then we had a tail gate party, where those of us with things to give away opened our cars to the others so they could take whatever they wanted. We all got rid of lots of stuff. I have no idea who took what. I don't even care, as long as it left my car I was happy. Lots of good things were changing hands that day, that's for sure.

Friday the 11th Jean and her daughter's dog (an adorable Pomeranian) came up to the country for a few days. Lulu met her with lunges and growls and so we started off with one defensive and one aggressive dog - plus my two neutral ones. We had a nice time, it was her first time there. But, having the dog issue always on her mind kind of wore her out. Lulu eventually settled down and tried to make friends but by then Latte (the pom) wanted nothing to do with her and let her know it at every opportunity. We probably should have just turned them loose and they would have relaxed more. But, since it wasn't Jean's dog, she felt extra caution was needed since she doesn't know the dog as well as I know mine. She only stayed two nights but I stayed over another couple days as the weather was perfect and I had lots of little chores to do - and wanted some quiet time too. I'm in the middle of a good book, and did a couple quick sketches while I was there.

I've been putting lot of time and effort into my new piece. Several people have urged me to sent photos in for possible publication in Somerset or the like. So, I have not been sharing the step by step process as it develops. Now, I think I'd like to enter it into the Haggin Museum show - but have not found how to mount it so it is stable and can be seen from all sides.

On the 17th Jen and Francis and I went to Modesto to the reception for Sam and Pepe at the Chartreuse Muse Gallery. Nancy and Eddie came too, and several other people came down from Lodi. It's such a nice gallery and the spread they put out for the reception was outstanding.

I've spent the last two days digging things out of my closet that I have not worn for awhile for one reason or another. Lost weight, no more working, tired of them, etc. 6 big garbage bags full of perfectly good clothing going to the thrift store. They are already loaded into the car. My closets look so much better, and I can see the things I like now. One bag of old shoes made their way to the garbage and some other things as well.

Has anyone else been watching the Hoarders shows on TV? Pretty scary. some of them live in piles of stuff, and can barely move around their living spaces. I can't relate to that at all - but there are things they say or the mental health workers say that make me think part of the thought process I can relate to. I hate to throw away anything that I think is useful to anyone - I want to find it a good home. I simply cannot put it in the garbage. I consider it wasteful and almost sinful. As long as I can pass it along to someone else - I can part with darn near anything. I know so many people who are hoarders, that it is almost considered normal in art circles. Particularly mixed media artists who see endless possibilities for the most seemingly useless objects, or parts of objects. All of a sudden we are all talking about hoarding and trying to work our way out of our collecting habits (hunter, gatherer). Even public radio had a segment on hoarding and the statistics are staggering. People filling their spaces with things they don't need or even really want, just because they are driven to hunting and gathering, and then can't part with it. Some void in their life seem to compel them to fill it with stuff.

I dont' see me there, but the mixed media artist part is definitely me. Sometimes I can barely part with a little scrap of paper because I like the shape it is cut in, or the color of paint that is on it. I just know I can work it into a piece of art sometime. Most of my best art is done very spontaneously and I utilize whatever I see close by - which may include things kept in a basket that should have been tossed but hasn't quite made it to the trash yet. Occasionally I use only things from that kind of source, and for some reason, people really relate to my scraps. The piece I'm working on now has things like a tiny tin box, some piece of metal with the words "other side up" stamped into it that came off the bottom of my toaster oven. Parts off a wheeled stamp that fell apart - they look kind of like gears. An old latch from a gate, more sudafed "bubbles" for goggles, part of a plastic toy robot, a small computer motherboard, a key, a nail, a rusty washer and a scrap of rusty metal off something that rusted out in the garden, an old perfume vial, a pin shaped like a rabbit from a rummage sale, and some scraps of images from other projects. A little tulle from a swewing project. a bamboo bead with a stamped image. See, it doesn't pay to throw these things away when they can turn into art. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. LOL Until I decide whether to enter this piece for publication, I can't put up photos yet. If you really want to see it though, I could email you a pic. momzart101@yahoo.com

Friday, June 4, 2010

Playing with a new digital toy

Photoscapes is a free downloadable program that can enhance photos. I just downloaded it this a.m. because my friend Roberta had done some wonderful borders and photo techniques on her blog. She has different equipment, but I wanted to capture the "look" withouth buying something else. After spending some time online, I found somthing that works for what I want to do. Here are a couple pics with the new borders and film filters. As a matter of interest the two portraits are of me, one at the age of 17 and one at 71. I have recently reconnected with my high school gradutating class (1956) and set up a yahoo group site where we are exchanging photos, and memories. It's a lot of fun sharing memories with people from the past.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trevor's graduation book

Since Trevor discovered art this year, thanks to having a really good teacher who lit the spark - I thought he'd like an altered book for graduation. Here are a few spreads ( 4 of 24). Blue has always been his favorite color. In the back are two little matchbox drawers for $$$$$$$ - what he realllllly wants.

Starting a new project

I have this really interesting piece of junk (recycleable) box liner. I'm thinking about making a steampunk meets Alice in Wonderland collage + a little assemblage out of it. Here is a pic of the inside. The outside is just as interesting. Does it give you any ideas? Here are a couple of digital tweaks.

Art friends take prizes at local show

I didn't enter the senior art show this year with all that's gone on this month, I just could not get myself together. My first real outing was to attend it though because my friends were there and I had high hopes for them. They made me proud. Sally took a second place on a collage (and sold it), and an honorable mention on another. Nancy took a second place on an assemblage. And Francis took an honorable mention on a painting. Good going gals.

A cow?

Thought I'd better post a pic of Trevor painting his cow head mask. Here he is, happy with a paint brush in his hand. Hmmmm...... my gate needs painting soon. And it will be summer.....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting my life back

I'ts slow going. I feel sort of like I've been knocked off my axis and can't quite get a grip on things. But, I'm making progress.

Trevor (17 year old grandson) is graduating from high school this week, and Candis (13 year old granddaughter) is graduating from Jr. High tomorrow. Lots going on around here. Candis and I shopped for the decorations for Trevor's graduation party, and we found an adorable stuffed toy, a big round fluffy white furball with a grad mortar board on top. I had it in the bottom of a big bag here with the other decorations. When I was going through the bag, Nikki noticed the stuffed furball and her eyes lit up. I explained it was NOT for her. No! Nikki! Leave it alone! I put it back in a smaller bag in the bottom of the big bag. Okay, everything went fine for several days she walked past it without a glance. I forgot about it. Then the other afternoon I was cleaning the deck outside and when I came in there she sat in the middle of the floor hugging this white fluffy ball. No Nikki! You leave that alone! And I double wrapped it in plastic and put it back in the bag. A couple days later I was working out in the studio and I noticed Nikki was missing. She disappeared for quite awhile. Hmmmm.... usually means she is up to mischief. Called her and she came dashing into studio with such a pleased with herself look on her face (she's too adorable). What did you do? was the first thing to come out of my mouth. I stepped outside, and there in the garden with Lulu guarding it - was Trevor's furball. They had unwrapped it and carried it down the stairs to play outside. Both girls were so happy I swear they were giggling and squealing and high fiving each other! Well, not really. I retrieved it again and it now resides in the locked studio until Thursday. fortunately they did not chew it up, or unstuff it all over the living room - it looks intact. I have to give it to Nikki. When she wants something, she just waits for the opportunity and goes for it. She plans it all out in that clever, sly little chihuahua brain. Lulu just goes along for the fun of it. She follows Nikki around with a conversation I image goes like this. "Whatcha doing now Nik? Can I come to? I wanna help, I wanna play with that too." Being a terrier, she does not want to give it back once she gets hold of it! I can't imagine life without these little characters. I"m not sure a 17 year old boy really wants a big fur ball - and he's nuts about Nikki. I have a hunch she may just wheedle him out of it soon.

Today was a day of hard work on the country place. Power wash by my son Matt, leaf and pine needle raking by Nathan and Brendon. the place shines and sparkles. Looks wonderful Candis helped inside and we emptied drawers and shelves. I'm going to be doing non stop laundry for several days to freshen everything up before returning them to the country. It was a great day. Even the apple orchard was open so we had apple donuts and juice. Yummmm..... My very best friend Cat who is a clean-freak is going to shampoo the carpets and clean the inside soon so we can start the season fresh and tidy. I can hardly wait. I've got a nice stack of books to read sitting there waiting for me. And the radio is tuned to NPR. It's heaven on Earth.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Book of Michael

As I'm trying to work through my feelings about this horrible tragedy and the terrible feeling of loss, a book of Michael is being formed in my mind and will soon translate to paper. 30 pages long, one for each year of his life. The first 16 I will fill with photos and his drawings and sweet and funny things I remember about him. Somewhere I have a little tape recording of his voice as he asked me a million questions one day. I hope I can find it. The last 14 pages will be blank since those are the years I did not see or hear of/or from him. The lost years. At the end will be the obit along with my poem. I hope this helps the healing process. I will give it to his dad when it's done and maybe it will help him too.

Michael's drinking buddies and friends are giving a bash celebrating his life at his fav sports bar in another county at the end of next week. I don't know if I can bear to go. Accepting his life style after the fact is one thing - to mix with it is another. This is a pic of Michael and me at my parent's house.


Michael's death was like a major earthquake and now come the aftershocks. Talking to his dad. Talking to his mom. Reading that obit. I spent the evenig looking at old photos and trying to find the little drawings he left here. I kept one on my office file cabinet at work until I retired. Remembering the good times and trying to erase the pain.

Here's a pic of Mikey with his dad in happier times.

It's been a week now, and tonite was the first time I tasted my dinner. I've been eating - it's just that nothing had any flavor.

Obit - hanging out the dirty laundry

First let me tell you that this was written by a bunch of my grandson Michael's friends who got together over some beers and wrote it as if it were Michael's own words. I hear he was a great photographer and had a talent for writing. Buckle your seat belts, cause this isn't like any obit you've read before. I'm still rocking from my first read through. ----------------------

Michael Alan Schoening

- May 13, 2010
Michael Alan Schoening, a well known and fearsome redneck adventurer chose to end his life on the morning of May 13th 2010. He was renowned for his quick wit, gritty back woods charm, and uncanny ability to wreck other people cars. He had an energetic imagination that could turn the most mundane set of events or experiences into elaborate and impromptu stories that would send anyone listening into convulsive and debilitating laughter. He could deliver spontaneous and monstrous fabrications with utter sincerity and his dead pan humor and sarcasm could turn the most bitter tragedy into a ludicrous farce.

Mike hitchhiked his way around the country in his early 20's explored our country and took up residence in Rhode Island, which he referred to as, "The smallest, stupidest state." If any one place could claim responsibility for spawning and nurturing this rare specimen, it was Amador County, to which he continually returned. As he put it, "The world is full of stupid a-holes, but Amador County is full of a-holes I know" (Mike, of course, did not say "a-hole"). The times he moved to other places like Sacramento, Sonora and elsewhere, he tried to drag the worst parts of Amador with him, like his scalawag cohorts Joel and Dart. Mike was a connoisseur of four-wheeling, drinking, shooting guns, senseless acts of vandalism, and loved getting high.

He was brilliant, hilarious, we loved him, and the world is a darker, duller place without him. He is survived by his mother Linda, his best friend Erin, his grandparents, his dog "Rocket", hundreds of loving friends, and the remainder of the God-forsaken human race.

"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass-production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Computer mentality

I spend so much time on the computer, that I have come to think I can hit "undo" and go back and change ANYTHING. It's not like life, is it?