Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday season comes to an end

Hi everyone. Isn't it nice to be able to put away the decorations, take down the trees, etc. We worked out at the museum today taking down the tree and packing away the decorations. Decided that tree has seen it's day, and we really should get a different one, one that is easy to tote there, and easy to assemble.

Then when I got home I took down the rest of the decorations and packed them away. I'm ready for spring. LOL Seriously, we need rain in California. Last year we had it in abundance. But this year is really dry. And cold. There was only a little sunshine today, and it never really warmed up, but the nights are getting warmer, so the days will be too. When it's grey and gloomy it is hard to feel cheerful.

I'm on a Project Runway marathon watching afternoon right now. The new season will start in another week or so and I'l be ready to watch with the same high hopes as I have every year, to see something amazing or special. While I have seen lots of good fashions, I don't always agree with the judges. Fortunately I have some friends who watch the show and we do our own critiques. We more often than not, agree. And when we don't agree we at least listen to each other's ideas and opinions.

Only two more days left of this year. I've got to set some goals, and also reread the blog for the last year on New Year's Eve. It's my own little celebration of all that's happened during the past year. Join me for the count down?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When it rains it pours.

Can anything else go wrong around here? I hope not. I've had my fill of it. First the leaf blower died. Right in the middle of leaf blowing time. It's one of my favorite chores, and I love my blower. It's electric, light weight, and just strong enough to move them around without blowing down the fence. And it is much quieter than the gas ones. Then the can opener refused to open tomato sauce. Well, I'm making spaghetti sauce and I need that sauce for the base. Grandson brought up a hand held one and opened cans for me. What was next? Oh! We had the fire department out to detect where the smell of smoke was coming from early one morning. I was awake when the furnace started and immediately smelled smoke. The smoke detector battery was dead, and it did not go off. I called the kids downstairs thinking perhaps they left something on the stove, but no one was up. I went down, checked the stove and the garage, then woke people up when I could not find the source. I decided to call PG&E as it seemed to be associated with the furnace. They told me to call Fire Department. They were already on this block just finishing another call so fortunately they came without the fanfare of sirens. Some leaves had fallen down from the attic onto the part of the furnace where the flue hooks into the housing. Why are there leaves in the attic? A mouse? Hmmm... we don't know yet. They shut it down, said the leaves had caught fire and the furnace needs to be checked out by a professional. This is on a Sunday. Monday late afternoon a service person comes and says we need a new furnace. This one is old and the connection between flu and furnace has rusted out and can't be fixed. My son is working really long hours, so he has not had a chance to check it out for himself. And I turned the project over to him. He can book the appointments and get the estimates. It's too stressful for me trying to coordinate with him and his wife to get times when the right person is home. We are using space heaters and when he is free again after the holidays, he'll get on it.

One of the things I do when it's really cold and it helps keep me warm is bake. I started a new loaf of wonderful cranberry/almond extract bread in the breadmaker. Loaded it with good smelling cinnamon, nutmeg, butter - the works. Pushed the button and off it went. But sometime in the middle of the first cycle of mixing, the blade quit turning, it was locked up tight. I didn't know that until two hours later when it finished baking! A glob of goo and flour! It all had to be thrown away. all those wonderful ingredients. I can't move the blade. I can't figure out why it froze in position. But, I guess this machine is dead too.

At this point I'm almost afraid to touch anything electronic or mechanical. Hopefully this run of bad things happening is over. If not, I'll be back to complain some more.

We are all healthy and happy, so it could be a lot worse.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nativity exhibit

My friend Sally's church has an annual exhibit of Nativity scenes. Over 500 sets from around the world are shown in beautifully decorated rooms. I was there at the right time to see a living nativity program put on by a Hmong group of youngsters. It was lovely and right in keeping with the season. I love to hear the sound of children's voices.

I watched a TV movie today "Nativity" about a school in England where the children put on a rather updated nativity program. Charming story and the sound of their voices and seeing their faces made my day. You can watch a trailer here.

Candis turns 16

What did she want? A big party? A cruise? A car? Yes the car was the first pick. Here it is. Needless to say she is thrilled.

Grandma of course was set against it, thinking it was something she should have to work for. I guess times have changed and I'm an old fashioned fuddy duddy.

Candis has her Daddy tied around her little finger and he wanted to see her happiness receiving this wonderful gift.

Nikki finds a sunny spot

It has been pretty chilly here. For California. On warm days my solarium gets to around 75 degrees which suits us just fine. Here is Nikki sunning on my favorite chair where I work on my arts and crafts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Annual meeting of friends for fun

Oh my, this was a sweet day. Some of us had not seen each other for such a long time. Not all of us could be there, but those that could had a wonderful time. We included a few new people this time too, so that is always fun as well. Here is the group at lunch at Buffalo Chips Emporium in Amador City. We also cruised some shops in Sutter Creek.

Decorating the tree for Micke Grove

Three of us volunteered to decorate the Art Center's Christmas Tree for the Festival of Trees at Micke Grove. Here is the tree and Suzie who was the Chief Volunteer.

Candis is turning 16

Next week my youngest grandchild is turning 16. I asked her if she would like to invite her mom and a friend to go to the beach house for the weekend, and sure enough, she jumped at the chance. Here are the girls at the beach, Candis and Jessica at Zelda's in Capitola, and one of Candis. We all had a wonderful time on our girls get away.

tis the season - streets of gold

Here's a pic of the driveway looking out across the street. We have big old street trees on this block, and when fall comes, the leaves come down. Looks like we'd better get out the big rake.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday after Thanksgiving

While in Oakdale the day before, I saw some nice little topiary pieces some in shapes of trees , some as wreaths and some as stars. I wanted to buy local in Stockton however so waited to visit the Alpine Nursery, a local owned family business that always has nice things. Phyllis and I went to see a shop we had never seen before. Word of mouth is their way of advertising! The outside of the shop is dismal, but inside is a fairyland of Christmas decor. I bought one tiny little ornament there. Then we went to the nursery and I bought a little star shaped topiary and a bowl of flowering plants for outside my door. I put the little ornament in the topiary, and it's in my bedroom. I think it is charming. Here it is.

End of November

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. I had a quiet one, but it was a fun one. With work schedules to contend with it was hard to plan anything, so at the last minute I threw together a nice dinner for my son and his two sons. My DIL and granddaughter off to celebrate with her folks, we were a small party of four left here. We had lots of good conversation and I think they enjoyed sitting down to a nice dinner instead of foraging in the freezer for something to heat up. We could have eaten at a local buffet, which we did the first Thanksgiving when we moved into this house on that day. But, I wanted the smell of cooking, and the warmth of the home.

Day after Thanksgiving I went off to Oakdale to meet some friends for a day of shopping small businesses. I Love Paris was the first shop. Then on to Empty Nest. We did a bit of walking before we could find a restaurant open to eat lunch. I didn't know so many would be closed the day after the holiday. I bought a picture in Empty Nest which is now hanging over my bed. Here's a pic of the gals in front of a cute little shop and a pic of my bed with the new picture above it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Grey day

It's chilly and grey today, looks like rain any minute, but holding off so far. My brother sent me the link to the home movies he's had converted and is uploading to his site. One of them is from our childhood in Silver City, Nevada. Very cute. Mother took some of them, and Dad the rest. There were pics of us playing with the bunnies, and baby ducklings. Also pics of the rooster and chickens. And some of our friends. This was preWW2. Another portion is a trip we took to Lake Tahoe. One section I liked was the one where we were out of the car at a rest /water stop. Mother was in a western style shirt and skirt and hat. She waved her hat at the camera and it made me feel so good to have a little nostalgic moment. Then I put on a sombrero with little balls hanging from it, do you remember them? And in one spot Bob was goofing off and got between me and the camera (he used to tease me a lot! LOL) I freeze framed them and took pics with my camera. Here we are in 1941. You will notice this is color film.

We used to have lots of home movies, and a number of the original Walt Disney movies. I remember once we had a movie night in the back yard with the cartoons (silent) and neighbor kids (picture us giggling). In a little mining town in those days, that was a big entertainment. Pre TV, closest real movie theater in Carson City. Two room school house. Very small town in those days. It still is. Over the years we lost track of the old movies. Such a shame. I'm glad Bob still had this one to share.

This all reminds me why we always carry cameras in our family. Thank goodness for digital. The only thing that kept me from taking zillions of photos in my lifetime was the cost of developing them. My kids and grandkids are relying on their cell phones for photos now. Technology! I can't keep up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friday grows up

When I drove in yesterday, my son Matt was out playing with Friday. They were playing with a tennis ball, which is Friday's fav toy. Here she is, so you can see how big she is getting.

Birch trees in full color

I didn't get away to the high country for a good dose of leaf color, but it came to town now, so every street I drive down is ablaze. And it's been sunny so they just glow against the blue sky. Here is the one at the back of my house, from my little 2nd floor deck. I'm right in it practically.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Friend Jean turns 80

One of my favorite people celebrated her 80th birthday today. Her daughters insisted she had to have a party, and so they arranged it all at her house. About 35 people were there. Family and friends. Heres some pics, and also pictures of her art which is hanging at the Lodi Public Library this month. She is the featured artist. That's my grandson Nathan helping to hang her show.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gone, gone, gone.

My little Buddy is gone. I'm sure going to miss him. My grandchildren don't remember life before Buddy. Of course we've all had a lot of other dogs since he came. Lady went first, then my precious Suzie, Bud's best friend. The kids have 4 dogs, and now I just have Nikki and Lulu. Someone asked if I would get another. No. Two are plenty to handle, especially walking. And especially since one is a lunatic! That of course would be Lulu. The talking Terrier. When she is really upset at something happening on the street below our front window which she sees from the back of the chair - she mouths all kinds of sounds and runs over to tell me all about it. She really looks like she is talking, but is comes out like rowl, rah, rowwer, rahh, etc.. She isnt' happy until I go look out and window to see where her nose is pointing, and assure her that we are safe and sound in our little nest. The pic shows my little pack when there were three.

My thanks to all of you who have dropped me notes about Buddy. We all know going into pet ownership, that it's almost a given we will outlive them and have to deal with their loss. But they give us so much love and companionship, and fun - we still do it. This is the last photo I took of Bud. He almost made it to 19, just shy of two months. Buddy, the perfect little gentleman will be missed for a long time. Nikki is looking for him. Lulu only misses the fun she had telling me when he was waking up or needed a walk. At dinner time, I was curious whether she would look for three dishes to pick up and bring me. She brought me two and didn't look for the third.

It will seem strange not staying half awake all night to see if Buddy needs anything. The picture I have in my mind is that Buddy is now with Suzie and they are having a sniff and pee competition again like the old days, only without leashes, what fun! Then they'll have some bacon bits and snuggle up on my dad's lap with Shuni, Schnitzle, Lady1, Lady 2 and Holly. He'll make room for them all.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hanging on

My little Buddy is still hanging on. He is very unsteady on his feet today and seems so confused and bewildered. But, he does not seem to suffer pain. So, we wait and watch, and pet and carry him. He's up now cause it's time to eat. He can make it to the kitchen with no help! Sly little guy.

While out walking with him in the garden I picked armloads of mexican sage which is in full bloom. It's very blustery today, every wind chime and rattley thing in the garden is making noise. The wind in the trees is knocking down leaves right and left - and sending them all to my back garden. I'm ankle deep today. We are expecting rain tomorrow afternoon, so in the morning the leaves need to be picked up so they don't get wet and slippery. Here's some of my sage. I wish I could give you an armload for your table. they last a long time.

I did the girl's toenails today, sitting in the sun out of the wind. Then we went into the solarium which registerd 80 degrees most of the day. It was heavenly to work out there and it it so light, I can see so well. I guess and hope that's where a lot of post cards will be made. Maybe some will come your way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Buddy lives through another day

My poor little fella had a bad day today. Nikki is keeping watch with me, poking him with her nose every now and then to make sure he's okay. Soon as he moves the girls come running to tell me to come see. I've carried him down to the garden half a dozen times today. He can hardly stand on his poor little legs today, he's so weak. I honestly did not think he'd live through the day. But meal time came and he got up and ate his dinner and went back to bed. Was this his last meal? I can't say. I know he has not much time left. Here's how he spends most of his time.

My granddaughter Keena has a dog named Khloe. Khloe got really sick recently, and had to be rushed to vet hospital for treatment. She's doing better but Keena and her mom were very worried. I'm so glad for them.

Halloween 2011

Our house was a popular place last evening. we started with about 90 pounds of choice candy bars and a decorated front entrance. Matt had the electric chair out front, and there were witches that moved and had horrible laughs, and other big electric things with green glowing eyes and they groaned or screamed. Here are a few pics. One is when the chair stopped working and he had to do a quick repair. There were crowds of kids and parent cheering the willing victims who got the extra size candy bars for being so brave. BTW the chair only makes noises, lights up and shakes the person sitting there. it is kind of scary though cause you don't know when the shaking and thumping will happen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Senility has it's moments

My poor old dog Buddy is getting senile. Not too surprising. What is surprising is he is still alive. One day last week he came in through his doggie door (entrance is through my closet onto the deck). The went straight ahead instead of coming into the bedroom. Well, my closet is really crowded with the vacuum, dust mop, broom, luggage, etc. and he got himself stuck. Dogs don't always want to turn around. I had to dig him out of the back corner. Good thing I had been watching for his return, or he could have been there a lot longer. He can still see, but not really well. The last few nights he has been making strange noises at night, I keep thinking it is a death rattle, so of course I get up to check on him. He sleeps only a few feet away on his soft cuddly cushion. Last night he did it again, and then he got up and headed for his doggie door, sort of stumbling along and limping a bit. But he got outside. I heard him coming back in, I saw the curtain hanging across the open closet door moving so figured he came out. Then I hear a bunch of bumping noises. I wondered if he had changed his mind and got stuck in the closet again. Then I noticed my recliner rocker moving and then there were more bumping noises. Well, I got up and there he was stuck inside the works of my chair. I could not get him from the front, or from the back of the chair, so turned it on it's side, and out he plunked! I have no idea how he managed to get himself into that spot, it's blocked off with a screen and baskets, but he squeezed himself behind and around the chair apparently. Poor old boy. He's having problems. He was never the brightest bulb in the pack, but he's always been the sweetest, best tempered little gentleman. He can still remember when it's time to eat and where to get his meals. And he still can find his way out, to his pee pad. He's my little sweetheart and let's me dress him up.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another puppy

This one doesn't live here, but it came for it's first visit. Candis' best friend Jessica was given this adorable little girl. Her name is Reeses, for the candy. She is very sweet and seemed well behaved. We weighed her at 4 pounds but I think it must have been wrong, cause she feels like a feather. Nikki and Buddy loved her, but Lulu could not wrap her head around what this little creature was doing snuggling in her bed and trying to play. I hope she comes to visit again. At first I thought she is a chihuahua, but after watching her demeanor, I think shes at least part rat terrier. super alert and quick. Isn't she a cutie?

Another new pup came to California from Texas for Zachary, my friend Cat's grandson. He is so alone with both parents gone and his other set of grandparents. He's in his 20s now and had not found the right girl yet, so he got himself the dog he's been dreaming of since he was a child and saw a movie with the name "Josie" in it. He loved that red hound dog, and went online and found this pup. I saw it yesterday and it's supersweet, mellow, big and has a chewing habit that will cost him a fortune in chew toys. LOL Next time I see him I'll have a nice bag of them for him. Of course he named the dog Josie after the movie. Now I want to see the movie so I'll understand what he sees in this breed dog. I didn't get a pic yet. I forgot to grab my camera, I just wanted to pet the puppy. I hope this helps fill the hole in Zachary's heart.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's new?

Oh my , it has been busy time and a worrying time. My oldest son had been suffering from an intestinal ailment for many weeks, with several hospitalizations. Finally they convinced him that they needed to do surgery to get at the root of the problem, despite his other medical conditions that made them hesitate that long. What they found were a number of perforations and abscesses in the intestines, with a lot of dead tissue. No wonder he had been throwing up for weeks and finally having a lot of pain. Long story, short version. He had the surgery and is now on the mend. I talked to him this a.m. and he sounded very alert and cheerful. the best I've heard him sound for a few months. Whew! Here are two pics. One when he was a baby, and one from about 10 years ago on a camping trip.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More than 55 years later....

Here is a pic of Barbara in the center, Pat on the right, and me on the left. Oh my gosh! so much time has passed. This is the first time we have been together in all these decades. It was so much fun to see them and to reminisce.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sept flew by

Now, it's the 29th of Sept. I do a much better job keeping the other blog updated. Not so much happening around here that is of interest. More gardening, more grooming and feeding dogs. More art coming and going. Today a friend called to tell us an old mutual friend's daughter died. Services out of town on Sunday. I doubt that I'll go, but I'll certainly call and send a card. How sad it is to lose a child. Not that Peggy was a child any longer. In fact, she has to be 50ish. But that does not make it easy for the parents or her own children to bear. Very sad to hear this. I've been holed up a few days with a cold. Felt better this a.m. and decided to clean out the linen closet. You'd think I run a hotel! I have collected so many beautiful linens, and here I am with but one single bed...... LOL I know it doesn't make any sense. But having dogs, I cover my furniture with sheets so like to have plenty of fresh ones ready to change at a whim. I think it's perhaps time to downscale my collection however. Just can't decide which ones can go. Think I"ll call my DIL and ask if she needs any nice sheets.

While cleaning the linens, I found buried behind them - 2 bags of new stuffed toys for the dogs. Boy did they have fun trying to pick out a few to play with. When they are worn out/chewed up - I'll switch for some new ones again.

We had a 2 day cold snap that's what brought on this cold. I caught a chill and could not shake it off. Since then it's been in the 90s. But, next week, it will cool off again and we'll have some early fall rain. I have to get to the country and winterize. What a shame. I hardly spent any time there this year. Maybe next year weather will be more cooperative.

What else is new this month. Oh yes, Bobbi's husband Gary was hospitalized, via ambulance, for a bleeding ulcer. They got it under control and now he is home on the mend. And Bobbi is undergoing medical tests for some of her health issues. I'm so glad she is taking care of them.

I've been working on emailing to my classmates from high school, setting up a reunion. 55 years. I set up a Yahoo group for them a couple years ago, and it's easy to reach the ones that joined. A lot more joined now that we are talking about a reunion. It's harder to reach those that are not on that mailing list. We were a big class, so it takes about a dozen mailing lists to reach everyone. It's coming together nicely. Two of the guys are doing the majority of the work. Another one has recently posted pics from the last reunions, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years. I don't recognize a single person. But they won't recognize me either. Roy is making name tags with our graduation pics on them. Maybe that will help. LOL The pic is me (dark hair) and my best high school pal Barbara who was widowed last year. She's coming out for the reunion. It will be wonderful to see her. Pic was taken of us in Yosemite Valley in 1955.

Tomorrow I need to pick up the painting and assemblage from Stockton Art League. I think I'll put that painting in the Lodi gallery for October. It's never been shown there.

That's about it for now. Time to feed the animals. Buddy is starting to pace back and forth in front of me. Lulu is waiting for her signal to pick up the dishes and bring them to me. She's so proud of herself, and now give me ten afterwards. Cause that's what Nikki does.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August is over

Can you believe it? Summer slipping by. Weather across the continent has been full of surprises this year. Very odd. Now, it is hot, 90s. This is as it should be normally, but it cools off at night. The cooler nights are nice, but surprising.

I've been working in the garden, as usual. And doing various art projects which are on the other blog. I painted with the seniors on Monday. I don't like the painting I'm working on and may scrap it. I don't think it's worth trying to save it. The nice thing about painting on watercolor paper is - you can cut it u p or throw it away.

Art with the seniors today was full and fun. Met several new people. We may need to ask for more tables, if they come back. One woman finished her very first painting of her daughter's dog in it's bed, surrounded with it's favorite toys. Dog is sleeping and dreaming about them. Good for her. She is very proud of herself having tried something so new, and making this nice gift for her daughter. Most of the people there are working on landscapes. I see a lot of barns and fences, etc. One guy worked on roses. One gal knitted. It's just a nice place to hang out and visit with people. Seems like we have a lot in common - and lots of the same interests. But, each one is unique and has their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Makes it interesting. We don't talk a lot about health or religion, but almost any other topic is eagerly picked up and commented on by most everyone.

Of the two entries I put into the Stockton Art League juried show, both were accepted, and one of them - the Alice Meets the Internet piece - won 2nd place in 3 dimensional works. I guess I'll have to go to the reception, presentation of awards in a few weeks. Most of my artsy friends entered things in the Lodi Grape Festival. There is a huge room filled with art, quilts, table settings, etc. I didn't have time to get there and enter so think I may plan ahead to do it next year.

I've been very busy communicating with the high school reunion group, getting ready for our 55th reunion in October. I need to do another mass emailing tomorrow, and then the phone will start ringing and my email box fills up. When I worked for Chief Estudillo at the Fremont Fire Dept many decades ago, he taught me to write memos so there would be no need to follow up clarifying anything. It stuck. I may sit on a couple days after I write memos that need to go to 100+ people. By the time it's ready to go, I have thought through most of the questions I might get, and addressed them in the memo. The reason it was important at the fire department was the guys (it was all men in those days) liked to mess with administration. If they could find a loop hole they'd take it. LOL It was like a chess match. They loved to back the chiefs into a corner. I wonder if they still do that? Life has changed so much, perhaps they have found more useful diversions.

Tomorrow the girls (dogs) will get baths and nails trimmed. It will be a really hot day and perfect for that activity. We'll all be drenched. Even Buddy loves to be cooled off with his bath.

That's about it for this week. Oh! I found a new cookie. I'm always on the search for low sodium cookies. These are low fat "meringue cookies classiques", Mint Chocolate Chip. No preservatives, no artificial flavors, and only 5 mg sodium per cookie. And boy are they good.

I spent some time today reading cereal boxes and still can find only the shredded wheat ones with no sodium. Even bland things like rice crispies, wheaties, cheerios, etc. all have way to much sodium for me. Even in the health food section. Way too much. But, I'll keep looking.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another post, another week slipped by

well, it didn't exactly slip, it sped by. Monday was spent with friend Marilyn who had oral surgery in the a.m. I hung around to make sure she was sure footed and able to manage on her own. She's a real trouper. We had a great visit, it's so seldom either of us sits down long enough to have a good chat. She shared some of her wonderfully sweet, juicy fresh peaches. I'm having one every morning on my cereal. Yummm... Tuesday was my day to sit at the gallery, and while I was there several friends/artists popped in. I also had some private time there to carve three new rubber stamps. Two clowns and one that says MAIL ART. My copy of Cloth Paper Scissors came and wouldn't you know, they want people who handcarve stamps to send in images. I'm going to do just that.

Wednesday I painted with the senior group and it was really an interesting morning. One of my good friends got into an argument with the gal across the table and it got so heated that the other gal left to cool off. I'm sure she was trying to avoid overstressing, and needed to calm herself down. When she returned, my friend apologized. I did quite a bit of work through all this on my new fisherboy piece.

Thursday was the day for the Lodi Mixed Media Group. Patti showed the group how to make boxes from just about anything. I didn't even try. They had to be folded in multiple ways, and I just cannot do that kind of thing. Can't wrap my head around it. so, I worked in my Steampunk altered book. Then we all sat around at the pizza place and chatted for another hour or more. It was so nice and relaxing.

Friday was the day the artwork was due at the Stockton Art League for jurying into an upcoming art show. I took in my new piece "On with the dance" and also the 3 dimensional Alice meets the Internet, which has never been shown in this town. I first had to finish the painting/collage. I added another dancing figure to upper left side, refined a few red lines, and readjusted the position of the mat, which required me to repaint part of the arches so they would line up properly. And wouldn't you know? I forgot to take pics. Between paperwork, packing things up and getting them out to the car and off to the gallery - it was a hectic morning .

Most of the afternoon was spent working on mailing (emails) to my old high school group. We are planning a reunion, and I'm in the middle of the mailing, as I am list mom for the online group. I have the mailing lists of the people who didn't join the online group too, and it's all divided up alphabetically so I have to email to subgroups. Then try to figure out who has changed emails, and who's dead! Not funny! We lost several people this year. And many are not well enough to travel now. But, those that can are looking forward to getting together. I don't think I'll know more than two people! But, I"m going anyway. I hope I remember them.

Now it's Saturday and my solarium is done, except for the last painting edges. I've been sittting out there every evening because it's cooler than inside. It overlooks my secret garden. Our weather is now in the 90's, and today will be upper 90s and tomorrow over 100. Just the time to be outthere in the evenings. I'll be sitting with my little furry friends listening to Garrison Keillor tonite and enjoying a little delta breeze watching the sun go down. I really look forward to that time of day. It's also when I brush my dogs, so they look forward to this time too.

Lulu is growing her winter coat now. All of a sudden it's much longer and fuller. Even old Buddy is getting a thicker coat. Nikki is chihuahua so she hardly has a coat. But she stands there ready for a light brushing cause it feels good.

Now, I'm ready to start my day. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A day of play

Modesto was the destination for a group of us to meet at Pam's new apartment. It's a smaller space, but let me tell you she uses every inch to her advantage by strategic and unusual placement of furiture and spaces. It was charming, and a very fun day, which I really needed. We sipped sparkling cider and nibbled on pound cake while chatting away the morning. Rosemary and Gin both made little bird feet, described on the book art blog, inspired by Jackie. You can see the pics on that blog as well. Then we went to lunch and checked out a couple shops, then drove to Pam's special prayer garden at her church. People have spaces there, where they can plant and care gardens in memory of loved ones. Pam has two spaces, across from each other. It was hot by then so we didn't spend a lot of time there, but I can tell you it is a lovely place, a tranquil place, and one that she loves dearly. Living in an apartment and being a gardener at heart, it gives her a space where she can create, and dig, and putter. You can see how well it is tended. Here are the girls there.

The other pic is of the Halloween display at Keller's in McHenry Village. It's the first H display I've seen this year. But, I don't shop a lot. It's probably all over the place and I just haven't seen it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friends who are there for us.

The five friends who met each month with Jackie, met at her house yesterday for the sad job of picking up the things the family wanted moved out of her studio. We had our brave faces on and just pitched in. Jaxx's husband, daughter and granddaughter were there and all were gracious and showed us some early pics, one of J and her Hub back in the 2nd grade, standing with just 3 kids in between them. Who would expect them to make a lifelong commitment and a family?
And we saw their wedding pic. when you meet someone later in life, we all met when we were 60ish - except a couple of our group are younger - anyway it's hard to picture Jaxx with a beehive hairdo, all blonde and looking like Doris Day. sweet.

We took everything to Susanne's carport where we sorted into piles for the Children's home, thrift store, dumpster, and things for each of us and our art groups. We'll be sharing a lot of what was there. In just a few hours it was done. Some of her altered books were there, and one of our old collaborations and other things she had made. We sat for awhile and just passed them around and thought about her. Each of us has one of these things for our own now.

There was one more pile of things that need more careful sorting, which are going to Wendy's house where we will meet next month. Then we'll have more time to mull over what to do wit them.

Today I put her things that I brought home into my studio. Most things were integrated but her hand carved rubber stamps, which I will be using, are in a special box. They mean a lot to me as we started carving together, and she used hers on cards she sent me, and in her altered books. I fancy her spirit will stay with me in the studio and in the garden.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Flea Market find - a new puppy

Lulu and Nikki have a new friend. Mostly they carry it around and tug on it and chase each other. they love new toys!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Helping the bereaved

Jackie and I have been going to a monthly meeting called the critique group for several years. It is a small group, personally invited by the one who thought it up. Very small. Just enough to sit around her dining table. Usually there are 5 of us, sometimes 6. Jackie was always more comfortable in smaller groups. And she always brought interesting things to show us, and also made great thoughtful comments on our art. What we do is bring things we have done, or books we have read on art, and discuss them. If we want something critiqued, we ask for opinions and suggestions. We bounce ideas off of each other. We know each other well enough to know the comments we get will be "real". I've seen great work there I never would have seen otherwise, and it is interesting to see how each of us approaches our work, and the processes we go through. I almost always come home thinking about a comment someone has made, maybe not to me, but something to mull over and consider. Over the years we have moved beyond art, into talking about our lives, and families. I consider them close friends.

All this is a lead in to what we will do next week at our monthly meeting. Jackie's husband needs her studio emptied so he can finish it before he goes in for a hip replacement in a couple weeks. When they made the studio area, she was in such a rush to move things into it, he could never finish it. LOL Just like the rest of us. So he has boxed and bagged things up, art supplies, materials and books, and we will go together to pick them up in the morning. We'll take them back to our hostess's house and sort through it and take what we can use, then decide how to dispose of the rest. Jaxx's family does not care where it goes, only that it goes away, and hopefully gets used. One of the collaborative works Jackie and I shared is there, and I need to get it back. It was her turn last, and I have not seen what she did, or if she was well enough to add to it. I hope she did something in it. It's very precious to me. I might not work in it again, or I might ask the critique group if they would continue it for her.

Most of our group and art friends have discussed what will become of our things when we pass on. These are real concerns when one reaches a certain age. It is understood that whoever is still able, will come help clean it out and find homes for it. Most of us have a lot of stuff. Way too much stuff. I inherited art things from my aunt, and a lot of it is still here. Jackie is the first one of my peers to go, so we'll see if our plan works. None of us is looking forward to Monday. I warned Barry that he may have a house full of weeping women. But we feel like by going together we will be stronger and have moral support and shoulders to cry on, should we need them. I can see Jackie smiling and laughing. She will be glad we are able to help out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home again

The White Pines flea market is over. My brother and sister in law have done the RAGBRAI ride in Iowa, and that means it is August. Where has the summer gone. Lodi schools start today. Stockton in a couple weeks. We have been blessed of late, with near perfect weather. No, actually PERFECT weather and more to come. Every day is in 80's or low 90s with nights in 50s and 60s. What could be better. and lovely sunshiney days with a delta breeze.

The Flea Market was wonderful. We were there before it opened waiting in line with the other eager bargain seekers. Such a fun atmosphere. we spotted Francis' car when Gene dropped us gals off at the top of the driveway. And before we got down the hill we spied Francis herself with her arms full of picture frames. Minutes later the doors were opened and people poured in from all entrances to the building and the furniture shed. Wow! Every year I am astounded how many people know about this and rush from room to room only to end up waiting in a line to pay. Each room has a theme. Linens (my fav), childrens, ladies clothes, mens clothing, housewares, etc. You have to pay in the room you are in. And wait for bagging and marking things sold. I like to check children's games for interesting finds, but my grandkids have so many already I didn't find anything new for them this year. I found each dog a new stuffed toy. And some wonderful linens for craft projects and house. Then it's fun to help your friends find things they are looking for, and gathering in the kitchen for a lemonade and something from the bake sale to compare finds and carry things back to the car. Then one more round of the rooms before going back to campsite to unload and walk the dogs. I stayed behind while friends went on to lunch and then met them again at 2 back in the flea market kitchen for more shopping. Francis returned to the flea market 8 times on saturday. I have not seen her stash yet. We ran into her again sunday morning and sat awhile to visit and rest our feet. They reduce prices on sunday, so the last minute shopping was fun. Some things I hoped to pick up the 2nd day were already gone. It's just as well. I really didn't need them. Rosemary and Jerry came up on Sunday. He bought an armload of books, and he didn't even want to be there. LOL He was a good sport. Here'a a pic of them.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

And so it goes....

I've been sticking pretty close to home waiting for Jackie updates, but now she is gone and life goes on. This is the weekend of the big flea market in the country so of course I'll be headed there to meet up with friends, and the dogs will be along for the ride. all three have new halters. here is Lulu modeling her sporty orange one. the little princess Nikki has pink and Buddy has a red one. I'm not sure Lulu's will hold her, she really needs a straight jacket when she has her "moments".
We'll try them out in the hills on our walks.

I've been painting at the senior centers on Mondays and Wednesdays. Usually it is mostly the same people at both, and it's fun to sit and chat and laugh with them. We always find something to laugh about, even if it is ourselves. Here's a pic of part of the Monday group.

If you want to see what I'm working on, you have to go to my art blog here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Its a sad day for me and for Jackie's other friends and I can only imagine how awful it is for her family. My BFF Cat was in town today, and came over to talk and console me. We have been through more than 30 years of each other's ups and downs. Thanks to the friends who have sent emails and called.

I had ordered more Tibetan prayer flags a couple days ago, hoping to have them flying before Jaxx passed. Too late, but I'll have them blowing in the wind here before long. The delta breeze can be relied upon to keep them fluttering most days. What a wonderful way to celebrate a friend.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Jackie update

I just received this note from Jackie's husband. "Jackie returned to spirit this afternoon around 4PM."