Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I’m Getting Better!

Hey, maybe drawing and painting is like riding a bike, after all. I am improving by leaps and bounds after years away from my artwork.

But I will let you be the judge. Check out me using an actual quill to draw an owl in pen and ink!

I needed to slow myself down, and if you struggle with your art, I challenge you to try pen and ink because it really makes you think about every stroke, unlike charcoal, where I, for one, make broad, sweeping strokes and erase and smudge a lot.





Blue bird done in pen and ink and colored pencil.


This Virgin Mary I am working on as a commissioned piece. It is in soft pastels. I may start again, this time using paints instead.


This sailing ship was done in watercolors. The great thing about having a light box is that I can make one drawing, copy it, and do it several different ways, as below, which is done with colored pencils.


Thank you for viewing.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Free Fun

P8260166Well, free for ATU 757 members and their esteemed guests, anyway.

Today was Ken’s union picnic, and before you say, “yes, but he is retired,” I shall say that that is quite true. But he is still a member of the union. Besides, we’ve never been able to attend one of their picnics because of his work schedule, so when, pray tell, would we go but after his retirement? Darn slave drivers.

Sorry if I seem attitude-y. I’m not cranky, just persnickety. Facetious really. Everything is funny today, which is odd because it was a rather stressful day, with tons of people scurrying about like rodents looking for food, and yelling and screaming. Oh, it was enough to set me off into anxiety and panic land. But I didn’t go there. And I am so grateful for that fact. Thank you, Lord, for keeping my wits about me today.

P8260164There was a clown with balloon animals, site gags, and jokes, and there was also cotton candy, snow cones, BBQ, Bingo, and all sorts of fun stuff for the kids to do.






By the way, Frisbees make great plates, when you want to eat your fill but you don’t want to hover around the watermelon table. Check out that pile of watermelon in the background. That’s only a fraction of what they started with!

ATU 757 is a huge union, and so, of course, there were tons of prize giveaways. (We won a few things playing Bingo.) The funniest line, which was repeated every time this particular type of prize came up, was “it’s a crock pot, not a crack pot.” To which someone else would say, “what’s the difference?” What can I say? They are bus drivers and have been smelling their own exhaust for far too long.

But then the most hilarious thing happened. Since there were so many prizes, and quite a few union officers to boot, they kept changing out who called the winning numbers. When this union leader named Sandy went up there to take her turn at the mike, she oohed and aahed over the next prize. And then she called the numbers, turned over the ticket to read the name, and burst out laughing. It was her own ticket! What are the odds of that happening?

It was a most enjoyable day at Blue Lake Park. Perfect weather. Good company, including some old faces we had not seen in years—and some we had just seen a few hours before at church!

Just goes to show, you don’t have to travel far to find something interesting and joyful to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Talented Locals

There’s an interesting group of people down at Mountainview Christian Church, including both the pastoral staff and churchgoers alike, and last night they put on a talent show, kind of as a kick-off for the new Renew classes beginning next month. It was hilarious!

Not that there were prizes or judging or anything like that (just good, wholesome fun), but with each new act, I said, “I think I like that one the best.”


Pastor Tom told jokes.


I didn’t even know Pastor Craig could play. He says he can play “campfire guitar.”


And then there’s the Unknown Magician, who was really Pastor Dave. Too funny, shoving the mop handle all the way “through his head.”


It was a great evening. If you are in Portland, come check out Renew on Friday nights, starting September 14.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Creative Challenge

I occasionally stumble around the internet, browsing my various interests. Occasionally I find a great blog and stay awhile.

A few of the artistic bloggers mentioned that they had challenged themselves to 100 paintings in 100 days. I thought, “Ugh, I could never do that, not with my lack of discipline.” Plus there’s the fact that many days, I just don’t feel up to doing much at all because of my illness. Well, ugh be gone.

I have taken up just that challenge. I need to get my drawing and painting skills back up to par. Too many years have passed since I took my craft seriously.

Not everything comes back as easily as riding a bicycle, though, I wish it did.

I took up the challenge about a week ago, and I have actually painted or drawn at least two a day, but I will only share the best ones. Some are just awful, as with any artist as they hone their craft. Nobody’s perfect. These are just photos of my paintings, for now. I will scan in the best ones at a later date.


This is one of the first ones, which I will be putting on children’s products over at Cafepress in my store. More on all that excitement later.


This is another one from early in the week. I have decided that she will be redone as a mermaid.



“Dam!” This is another one that will end up on Cafepress, but I will probably redo it so that it is bolder.


“Sunset Sail”




“Cecelia in Hiding”


“Angel Mine”

Some of the colors are not showing up as well as I would like, but you get the idea about how I am doing in my challenge.

Technology, the boon and the bane of our existence. Go figure.

The mediums I chose for this past week were oil pastels and watercolors, often using both on the same painting.

Thank you for looking. I appreciate my readers, one and all.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hair Today . . .

PB250047Has your mother ever warned you not to complain about something?

Like, never saying you are bored or have nothing to do.

Well, Ken, my beautifully sexy long-haired hubby complained about his ponytail while we were driving home from church today. (I am absolutely gaga for gray hair, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet, have always been, even as a teen. Weird, I know.)

026_22A That’s Ken being “licked” by my son, Trevor, when Trevor was eight. Please don’t ask why. Maybe it had something to do with frosting. We were at a birthday party, after all.

I mentioned that he could always cut it off and start styling his hair like when we first met. He made the fatal mistake of agreeing with me. So, being the driver today, I detoured to Super Cuts.

021_18ALet’s just say . . . well, never mind. Don’t ask why he has a shower cap on and is giving me an “Oh, Stanley,” grin.








018_15This picture was taken on a sailboat on the San Francisco Bay, too many years ago to count.








It’s not that I didn’t like his long hair. I just thought he might look good with a change. And he might enjoy it short for a while, too. He can always grow it back, if he so chooses.

As a side note, Isabel, who cut Ken’s hair, was just finishing up the rather sexy head of hair on a TV star’s head, and yes, he is starting to gray. He’s the star of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot. I’ve never seen the show, but he may be reason enough to watch.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard!

Okay, back to the pictures of Ken’s haircut, and some other funny stuff that’s been going on lately.


One last look, before snip-snip.




I’m not sure if Ken was totally keen on the idea, after the fact.


Too late!

And now on to Ken trying to do his shoulder exercises. Tinker Belle thought it made an excellent tug-of-war rope.



You’ll have to excuse the silk boxers. He wasn’t expecting his picture to be taken, let alone have it put on the internet! But, hey, I told you he was sexy.

If you don’t think so, just remember that sexy is an attitude, not a look.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Before a Blank Canvas

26220001I find myself standing before the blank canvas of my future once again. Our plans have been erased, and the starkness, the emptiness stares back at me, mocking me. Bright and fresh, yet painful to look at, for how easily my colorful strokes were washed from its surface.

God must find our plans rather humorous, especially since He keeps allowing obstacles to get in our way.

We have set departure date after departure date, and things keep going awry. It has been an awful health year, with both my guys having surgeries in the past several months. Plus Ken’s diabetic crisis last winter. And then there’s the effect all this stress has had on my own health. It has definitely not been a good year for us in the health department.

And all the other stressors: Too many to number.

In the financial department, it’s pretty dismal as well. Cost of living goes up. Rent goes up. Live-in son loses job because of needing time off for surgery. And yet, being retired means Ken cannot just go work a few extra hours a week to help make ends meet. Fixed income really means fixed, unless we scramble in other ways. More to come on that subject in a later post.

Things are bound to improve. I must hope. I must remain in faith that God will bring about only good for us, even from the bad.

Being visual, I made up a calendar showing that there’s only about seven weeks until our most recent deadline would come to pass. And there is way more work to do than that short seven weeks will hold. Sure, two or three able-bodied adults could handle it all in short order, but we are a chronic chick and two dudes recovering from shoulder surgeries.

So, here is the new “plan” and please don’t let that be laughter I hear off in the distance.

We will be stuck here in damp, dismal Portland for yet another winter. Fun stuff. Not! Tentatively speaking, we will make a go of it again next spring. It cannot be helped, unless we suddenly win the lottery, but then again, we would actually have to play the lottery in  order to win it, wouldn’t we? There are no rich old spinster aunts hiding in our closets just waiting to leave us a bundle, either.

My son asked me a question this morning, “What is it you don’t like about winter here?”

It is not that I don’t “like” winter here in the Northwest, but winter does not “like” me. My  arthritis flares up something fierce. And my depression also worsens, with the lessening of the sunshine. Heck, we barely have enough sunshine in the summer to keep me afloat and depression-free, in this Great Northwest. But I am now taking mega-doses of vitamin D weekly and taking measures to ensure an easier, if not less painful winter, joint-wise.

There’s not much else I can do at this point.

Except keep asking God why He has us tied here, for so long. There must be something He wants us to accomplish before we hit the road. I just need to figure out what that is.

Lord, with my faith, I place our future plans in Your hands. I wait upon You, with patience, yet an eagerness to carry out Your works. Lord, please instill in me what it is You want me to do.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hood River Fruit Loop

P8040052Today we ventured east to Hood River, Oregon, to travel the famous Hood River Fruit Loop. We also went to a wonderful lavender farm, always a favorite stop when we go to hood river in the summer.

It was incredibly hot, absolutely sweltering, but we had a great time despite the heat—all four of us in my best friend’s car—my son, my grandson, my best friend, and me. All in all, a perfect day with some of my most favorite people.

Our first stop was the Hood River Lavender Farm.













After the lavender farm, we went to Draper Girls Country Farm to have lunch and buy some fruit. A few more stops after that, and we were beat and headed home.









Me and my boys