Days Are Flying By

This morning a walk at the dam after the workout at the gym.

Home to balance the books, hug the cats, catch up on the news, then back to town to meet a friend for lunch. Today it was Angelo’s Pizza in the small town where I am moving.

Here are some other views around town…just a ten minute walk up the hill from my new house.

The town square where they have music on Friday nights when the weather is nice.

Across from the square where I think you can buy an ice cream.

Along another side of the square.

Another side behind the square on the way to Angelo’s. At the end of the covered walk is a place to have wine tasting and tapas once a month. I believe they also have story telling once a month there as well.

Near the square.

And near the post office is this Chamber of Commerce building celebrating the native Cherokee.

It is fun walking around town before anyone is about. And a great time to walk down to the house to see how it is coming along.

The den/office walls are in. I will tell visitors to turn right into my driveway across from the house painted like a Van Gogh sky.

Laundry room coming in from the garage.

This side of that wall will be the start of the kitchen. The other side is front hall closet, doors to guest bath and guest room.

Also added some drawings to the house sketchbook.

And the Bird Stories book. A killdeer and red wing blackbird…..both singing their hearts out and seen in the field between the gym and my house site.

Only three more pages and the book is finished!

This past week I had facetime calls from friends in Australia. They showed me the work they had done in their workshop and several other pieces done the last few years in Covid lockdowns. It was wonderful to see such amazing women and equally amazing art books. Special! They have included me in the monthly goals for the next year. Very thoughtful and so appreciated!

Last night I cooked this from my new cookbook, Cookish – just throw it together.

I halved the recipe and had enough for at least two meals.  I liked bursting the assorted cherry tomatoes to make the sauce. With the leftovers I think I will add some cooked shrimp and lemon zest. So many possibilities with this dish. Pistachios and Parmesan, a great combination.

The week before this one my sewing machine was fixed for $100. The repair man called me “dear”, which I quite liked. Nice old man. He was afraid for awhile that the “Er” message would not go away but persevered and told me it works beautifully now. He also said to get it out once a month and stitch forward, backward and sideways ie the zig zag stitch just to keep it moving and happy.

Writing that word “zig zag” made me wonder if the Australians spell it that way. They have a “z” in their alphabet but are loathe to ever use it. Maybe like most of our “z” words, they just use an “s” instead.

That’s all for now.

Til later…..


A busy last few days. Yesterday and today was a focus on car maintenance….oil change, tire rotation, new brakes and front axle. All good now and nothing but an oil change was urgent. The rest was preventative steps taken before issues occur. It is nice to have people you can depend on to look after things like this.

A few days ago, the walk at the dam.

A beautiful full moon morning.

My other walks after going to the gym were over to the new house. Progress there! Siding is pretty much finished and as of yesterday the roof shingles are all on.

Fireplace delivered.

View of the walk in closet from the dining area, accessible from the master bath.

And a view of that closet’s interior. Plenty of room to put put my Migun massage bed in there.

And a view of my little screen porch. I talked to my yardman the other day and he is willing to put a Japanese garden off my porch and back yard. A small pond with waterfall and some fish would be nice because I will miss the sound of that trickling water.

No sketching or drawing done these past few days…maybe today. But since I have been getting wonderful facetime calls from friends in Australia while they are gathering for workshops in the Grampians, I have pulled out my crushed leaves of lemon myrtle and flavored some gin…..a different creative endeavor.

I set the bag of about two teaspoons leaves in two cups of gin until the color changed and the flavor was altered to something more “lemony”. I know from experience that leaving the herbs in too long will cause it to go too bitter….ie. my bay leaves in vodka. So now I have a pint of this to make myself a refreshing gin and tonic with a twist of lemon when we schedule our next visit. I can sip a bit of Australia and pretend I am there!

Also the weather has been very nice so I am sitting on the porch a bit more. It still feels odd to be there without Lee.

The abundance of wild turkeys make up for it…especially when they come calling.

I have not been interested in having flowers in the house since Lee left. But with the quince and forsythia in bloom, and the encouragement of my house cleaner, I picked an armload between downpours Wednesday.

They did make me smile.

There is not much else that is new, I think I will go and draw some while I wait for a conference call from my financial advisor later. He will want to know how the house is coming along. And I can give him the latest because after the gym this morning I parked my car in town and took a walk down to check it out. The carpenters were getting ready to finish up the studs for the interior walls. It won’t be long now and I will meet with the electrician to set where outlets go. Did you know they have ones now with places to plug in your computers and Iphones? I will put two in the kitchen island, one at each end. And I told my builder that I did not want tile between the cupboards and counter because I will hang artwork there like I have here. He thought that a splendid idea.

I continue to rearrange furniture on the floor plan to get a better idea of what is really necessary. Hopefully Patrick will be down in a few weeks to help me pick out light fixtures and refinish the old dining room table. And we can have the first fancy dinner out in two years or more.

Better get going if I intend getting something done.

Til later….


A Busy Weekend

Three days ago the house was this far. Some of bedroom interior walls in place and soffits all finished.

So rather than go back on Friday i drew what I had photographed into the Riverwalk Sketchbook.

I also added a floor plan to the book. And it was then that I realized I still had too much furniture. So my office furniture that I have now will go north to Amy. I need a more practical desk and shelf unit for the limited space in the new den. I also rearranged where the living room furniture will go in the next place….a more open view through the house. And making the studio side of the garage more practical.

These are back from the framers and are still going to hang over the mantle.

I added another bird….a goldfinch.

Plus I treated myself to this cookbook. Anything with an “ish” at the end is where I am at.

Only six ingredients and suggested substitutes. I made a pot of this delicious thick soup. Kale, tomatoes, chicken, rosemary, garlic, smoked paprika, scallions with broken mafalda pasta…nice flavor.

And this beauty I did not make but got as a take out….lobster in red pepper bisque. Really beautiful and tasty.

And just a few minutes ago I took this quiche out of the oven.

It was a good place to put overly-salty deli turkey and loads of kale, spinach, yellow peppers and cheeses. All thrown together as the book suggests.

Yesterday I cut sheets of 140 lb Arches to draw Burke and Wills illustrations. I was thinking a 6 1/2″ square would be nice, so marked them all off to that measurement. Then took the corner one with the watermark on it to test using colored pencils with the graphite.

I used the graphite tinted Prismacolor pencils and then added more color with the regular Prismacolor pencils. Today I am going to try doing one using watercolor with light graphite drawings. This just seems too blurry. But I need to get on with making a decision on how to proceed. (I love that last sentence and how it reads as an impossibility.)

And finally, the comforting eyes of affectionate cats.

They make me feel better when I get a bit down and we all think extra treats are in order.

Baking cookies later today and then stop cooking for awhile.

I talked to the builder a few days ago and he thinks in a few weeks he will be able to say when I can be in the house. I am trying to decide if I want a back splash on the kitchen walls between counter and cupboard. The sink is on a separate island so it would just be for whatever I am splattering about while mixing. I am leaning toward just leave the wall like the rest. I like hanging small artworks between counters and cupboards and that would be difficult with tile or granite like the counters.

Silly really, wondering about things like this when there is such brutality in the world right now. If you haven’t already done so, I hope you will support the Ukrainians as best you can. Heartbreaking to watch, but at least it has toned down the whingers in this country.

Til later….


Slow Progressions

No interior walls yet but windows put in place.

My bathroom window, den window and garage window in my studio space. So fewer windows in this house than what I am used to. But there is not that much to look out on in this subdivision. The roof has been closed in and I notice that several neighbors had those panes put in their windows. I am going for maximum light possible.

And this distorted elephant-like shape is the guest bath and shower combination. I did not peek around to see if it was grey on the good side. Probably not, probably white, probably boring. I will have to count on art work to make that small room interesting.

On the other hand, my shower tiles have been picked out. I love the stone patterned floor that will also be used for a decorative band about eye height. The caramel colored veined tile will be in 12″ x 24″ panels on the walls. I asked the sales woman that it not be put in with seams lined up because it would look too much like the interior of a jail cell. She assured me that they would be offset so I wouldn’t be tempted to make passing time marks on the walls.

I am thinking that since I am taking all my collected round stones from the house and yard, that I place a stack in the shower with me. A friend in Australia did that years ago and the serenity of that has stayed with me. She is the same person who inspired me to turn some of my rocks into a snake slithering along. She lived in a lovely cabin-like home among the Eucalyptus trees in Fern Tree, Tasmania. Her whole place was magic with all her creative additions in and around the house. It was late 90s but I should locate some of the pictures I took to share. Over the years I stayed with her maybe eight times and always drew her lovely turquoise tea pot in my sketchbook. She was one of the best hosts, always ready to take on the challenge of getting me from one place to another.

Anyway, back to the house…

Here they are working on the soffits at the back. I hope to incorporate that tree into a Japanese garden out back for me to enjoy from my small porch. The gym where I go is that brick building in the background…just a few minutes’ walk.

Speaking of walks. The dam over two days. The first a very frosty morning and then just the shore yesterday.

I love those colors. Something about them remind me of the works by Anselm Kiefer.

I started to commit myself to writing the story of Burke and Wills. Being such a visual person, I found it necessary to pick the right font and size to write it in. How odd. A children’s story does not become real to me unless it is presented contextually. And then there are the illustrations. I kept thinking they would be small additions in lower left of the text. But now with so many words going on visually, maybe the illustration should fill a whole page with background of trees, sky, and other things that visually set the stage for the action taking place.

Yesterday I thought it a good idea that Burk’s mother not just abandon her boy altogether, but look after him in any way she could. She plucks socks from a clothes line for the boys to use as sleeping bags. I needed to draw that.

And maybe there should be a patterned border around the page of illustration. Say, oak leaves and acorns…dandelions….whatever fits. It all adds to the time it will take. But this book is just for me and however many I feel like printing and binding.

Sketching, writing is simply a means of distraction for me living in a once shared space. It was never so true, the expression, “the presence of absence”. I always appreciated that expression when used in artwork where you can visually interpret what is missing and why. But actually living in the absence is an altogether different emotion.

I spent the last half hour searching out these pictures. The earlier ones from Tasmania and Barbara’s house in Fern Tree were taken with a slides or print camera. Pre-digital. But her snake and shower rocks were there when she moved to Melbourne.

And my most favorite tree ever that she introduced me to in Tasmania. Very much a visual interpretation of “presence of absence”.

One could hide in here and never, never come out.

Enough pondering for today. Time for lunch. I have a lobster red pepper bisque I brought home from take out yesterday.

Til later…..