Having a Dreary Day

The window washers had to cancel today and reschedule a few weeks from now. Finding help, even poor help is hard to come by in the rural south. There simply are not enough people to fill the job vacancies. And it is not as simple as pay more and they will come. I am sure the employers here would gladly pay if they could just get somebody willing and able to work. So being rescheduled for a good window wash and eaves cleanout is of small consequence. I am happy to still be on their list to get service.

Last week I picked out the appliances for the new house. Ordering early is a necessity with demand and shortages. I wanted a gas stove because that is what I am used to. And the one I picked out has five burners on top and a small one rack oven above and a bigger oven down below. Such a great idea for baking cookies one sheet at a time and baking/heating up simple dishes. A dishwasher that is as quiet as the one I have had for sixteen years and a microwave/hood combination for over the stove. The total for just those took my entire appliance allowance which is fine because I am taking my refrigerator and washer and dryer. It was fun to be in a store looking at what is new in the past sixteen years.

Later I will pick out fans and light fixtures. The builder thought I would like to get a chandelier for the dining room. I said no to that because fixtures like that tend to determine where a table goes. So canned lighting in the ceiling is fine. But some nice pendant lights over the island with a sink might be fun. For that island I requested outlets with USB ports for each end.

Building is as much fun now as it always was. Only difference is I don’t have Lee to share in the experience. He is still eating with a bit of help and only fighting the nurses at shower time. Medication has helped with the severity of his resistance. I asked if he still had his stuffed cats and they said not so much since he took his anger out on them but likely they were still in his room. For quite some time they were a comfort and maybe can be again. I am so thankful that he is in a place where they are equipped to care for him.

And as for me…I am the one left here remembering how things used to be and planning a different life for myself. Lee’s dementia and Covid have dwindled the social options. Only the best have hung in there with us. And as for the others who loved claiming how much they cared about us…they have drifted off with their concerns and intentions of keeping in touch to see if there was something helpful they could do. In all honesty here is what they could have done over the past five years since Lee’s diagnosis:

Brought him a pie, dropped off a casserole, a bottle of wine, offered to pick up something from a store I could no longer get to, come by to say hello to him, send a funny card to either of us, offer to stack his rocks, bring over some flowers/produce from their garden, tell us about something happening, ….in other words care enough to notice that we actually could have used more than hollow words.

But the good news is we managed with the support of family, long distance friends and those very few that live close by. We got through the hardest parts, and now have moved on. These last few paragraphs can serve as a reminder to others that strength comes from inside and help comes from very few.

The walks!

From one day to the next….the dam yesterday above and today.

I love how the mist is drawn upwards from the water.

And how the sun hits the sides of some things that would go unnoticed.

And my shadow at the turn around and head back place.

The color disappearing from the trees.

But back home the color on the ground.

All the water hyacinth and fallen leaves have been removed from the pond now. It has become a reflection pool for the rest of the year.

I did more drawing in the bird stories book.

And the chickadee now has a nest and some patchwork next to it. Tomorrow I might get to filling in the background with stitch.

Yesterday I had lunch with two friends at what used to be the Blue Ridge Mountain Coffee and Grille where we had breakfast every Sunday morning and I tore the paper napkin wrappers into all sorts of things to then turn into books and stories. It has changed, like most things. The food was better than I remember. Maybe next time I will take myself there for breakfast and see if they have a waffle or pancakes. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? A table in the corner with a plate of something ready for butter and syrup!

Patrick comes Monday to have Thanksgiving with me and pack up more of his dad’s tools from the shop and lumber that the two of them had plans for. He will make the mantle for my new house before he packs up and heads back home hauling a trailer behind. Then Christmas another load, and then wait until I sell this house just before my new one is finished.

I am looking forward to the newness of things ahead.

Tomorrow I will go back to the river for a walk and stop for a very good skim milk latte with lavender. Such a treat!

The nurse just called to say Lee’s doctor approved a more calming sedative for his shower days to prevent harm to his nurses and himself. Dementia is a cruel disease for all involved.

Til later….



The Found Sketchbook

Here it is with the first group of drawings dated 2009. That must have been when I made it. It was designed to take with me to some place away from the studio. I had some canvas material that I used acrylic paint to surface design. Then fitted that fabric over a card stock(probably large file folder) to cover the outside and inside. Plus the added pocket to hold my set of watercolors, pencils and brushes.

The spine shows the several signatures stitched in with the idea of being removed and replaced when necessary.

I am sure the papers inside are drawing paper that I had in abundance because I bought an entire roll of it many years ago. I used a nice brown paper to separate signatures.

It wrapped over with the flap holding the pocket for paints being the part that the strap was anchored to tie around the entire book and tuck inside itself. In the back were large pockets to hold extra supplies and additional notes to myself on ways to improve my practice. This one had a velcro closing.

I used up the excess paint to color the pockets. Here are the paintings/drawings/sketches. I was starting out using the view finder kept in a pocket to isolate sections of the yard outside my studio.

These last two in graphite were done in 2013…nothing since in this sketchbook but I would like to do more.

Today I photographed the many turkeys outside the window.

Added to the Bird Stories book following suggested lines made by the rusting stains and a bit of imagination.

And this beautiful view from the front door side window.

And from the dam and riverwalk these past few days.

And this poetic gesture of someone bringing the old stump at Riverwalk a small rose.

Til later….




Back To Being Alone

It is now just the two cats and myself. Marla left today with a car loaded with more books, clothes, antiques, artwork and furniture. The past five days were spent loading up boxes, sorting books and watching Anne of Green Gables, a wonderful new production filmed in Canada. And of course playing with Dilly and Sadie.

We also kept up our morning walks at the dam in the fog.

And the river in the frost.

Yesterday we took a walk on Lee’s trail to see the changes and think of him.

And his rock piles now covered in leaves.

I closed on the new house building yesterday. Now I no longer say, “I am going to build a house”, but “I am building a house.” Footings are in place.

This will be my last fall here and I am taking pictures of the lovely color that is left.

This morning another walk on the river but turning left instead or right. Beautiful!

When Marla and I were looking deep under shelves she found an old sketch journal that I made many years ago. It is worth a whole blog on itself. I intend to use it much more now that it has been “discovered”.

There is little left unturned around here. Now that the laundry is finished I will restore the guest room for Patrick who is coming for Thanksgiving to take another trailer home of tools and lumber. He has to make the mantle for the new house before he packs too many of the tools.

I need to find another series to watch on the television and maybe pour the last of our boxed wine.

And I almost forgot! Marla and I got all our Christmas cards dry pointed and printed on our individual presses. Here are mine of a snowman handing off a Christmas stocking that he can’t find a foot for. First the out takes getting everything set just right and then some of the edition.

Til later….


Much Needed Additions

Meet Dilly. One year three months. Yesterday she had been left at the shelter an hour before my friend and I went “to just look.” Here she is in the “to go box” just arriving home.

And meeting Sadie. They are getting used to each other.

There is no need to change her name. It is perfect. We used to live on Dilly Rd. before we moved south.

She is very affectionate and playful. Reminds me of our dear old Spooky with Patches markings.

The walk at the dam was pretty cold yesterday morning. Very few people out.

A new drawing in the Bird Stories Book.

I like adding these very soft watercolors to the graphite drawing after I have sealed the pencil marks.

And being inspired by the birds, I have added a chickadee to the hemp panel. Next will come a scrap cloth nest and then some more patchwork before another bird shows up. I do most of the bird off the hemp then add it where I want it and add more stitching to finish it off.

Marla and I are designing our Christmas cards today for fine etchings on our presses. She brought down her new Sissix one to try out.

Now I am going to go play with Dilly.

til later….