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."

Donut day

I picked up a dozen donuts to take to the Senior Painting meeting this morning. Donuts are a big treat. When i was working we often took them to work to share. It also reminded me that Saturdays were donut days at Jackie's house. It was a family tradition for her to make donuts Sat. a.m and the family would come over and hang out and eat them. It's been more than six months since she could muster up the energy to make them - but they were getting something from Paneras or a bakery to still have the get togethers, though brief. Whatever leftovers there were, went home with their grandson, who bought his first house this past year. They are so proud of him. Now he is engaged and there will be a wedding in the next year when his fiance gradutes from college. They have been a couple for several years and spend holidays together. Losing J will be hard for him too. The cabinet is one the grandson made for Jackie's kitchen. The last photo here is Jaxx with Sophia and the new great grandson. She says he is such a mellow baby, calm and relaxed about everything. That won't last. LOL