Another Four Days Gone

The other day I walked over to the Indian mound near the gym and then over to see the progress on the house. My place as seen from the mound. I has the red roofing.

While walking by the creek I found the perfect tree to use as a model for the Burke and Wills house.

Then at the house…..

My tiny 8′ x 10′ screen porch slab…just off the dining room.

And the tree out back is right in the middle of the three windows in the living room. I will try to extend my landscaping to it.

Another bird in the bird book….a phoebe.

And a few more drawings for Burke and Wills story.

Their tree house using the photo above. And the reason they can move in is because Robby Robin told them that Boris and Belinda, a river rat couple are going further south in search of warmer weather and leaving their house. (Robby Robin helps Burke find food.)

I am thinking simpler lines for the drawings…we’ll see how I go.

Signs of Spring at the dam yesterday.

This morning’s walk along the river….

And more drawings in the house building book.

These extra tabs between signatures are perfect for adding in bits and pieces I find in the construction materials and papers from the builder.

My lot is the circled one.

The folded up truss layout plan and papers from materials used. Views of different sides of the house.

A fork lift parked beside the house seemed like a fun thing to draw. Hopefully when I go back on Monday the interior walls will be in. I saw the builder yesterday and I need to pick out tile for the master shower. I am glad to use the same local flooring company that Lee and I used for every house we built here. I will see them Monday when I go back into town and pick up the three finished framed wood block prints.

A bit of snow is forecast for tomorrow morning. I will do laundry and draw in my books all day.

Yesterday I had the most delightful chat with a friend in Australia. We did it on our Iphones where we could see each other. She was having coffee while I was having wine. We will do it again when they are all together in the large house we rented when I finished teaching the workshops with them. I will get to see what they have done in their class and what they are working on while together. They will hopefully send pictures of the kangaroos and pesky cockatoos. …maybe even a live chat over their flat whites in our favorite morning cafe while I have an Aussie red here at home. Their workshop instructor is in for such a treat having this group of five in her class.

Not much else new here…trying to think of what I might fix for dinner. It is boring cooking for one.  Oh, I know…shrimp with spinach and pasta in a light tomato/cream sauce and parmesan. Sounds good and a breeze to fix. I ordered Milk Street’s new cookbook, Cookish. It sounds just what I need to keep it simple and tasty…six ingredients max with all sorts of substitutions.

That’s it for now…

Til later…

I Am Now Catching Up

It was a beautiful day yesterday. I promised friends from Canada that I would have a scotch with them on the porch at five. The four of us would do that often when they were in town and then head off for dinner at the Copper Door, near where I am moving. These friends will not be back, but we can still share a drink.

It was harder than I thought it would be, This is where Lee and I would sit in the late afternoon and talk about Spring arriving, It is empty except for memories.

It was a busy few days. A walk at the dam.

The new house being closed in is very exciting.

A new drawing in the book.

The roof is now on. I will walk over from the gym tomorrow and take more pictures.

New addition to the Bird Stories book. A dispute over who gets the dead mouse…Vulture or Cooper’s Hawk.

Not many more pages in that book for birds….then onto something else…what, I don’t know.

But I did finally finish the stitching of scraps onto the large grey owl block print.

You know how you get an idea and you are so sure it will work. And despite doubts midway, you soldier on? Well this is one of those. I don’t like it. Mainly because I lost too much of the block printing black. An idiot would have known that would happen….but.

So I made the decision not to waste it. I will chop it into pieces to be stitched to other wood block prints that have a backing to take the abuse of a needle. That way I still have the print and can keep on stitching. Here it is with a freshly backed left over large wood block print that will also be cut up.

Before I came to this conclusion I lined the three prints up to decide which one to keep and maybe frame.

Ends up I prefer the first one done in chine colle. Before going to the expense of framing I might just try printing a couple more using this technique. It will require unpacking some papers but what else do I have to do? To be continued…..

I did a few more drawings for Burke and Wills.

Tea time.

A boat ride..

And more pushing Wills through doorways.

You can see the erased and smudged lines as I work out getting some idea across with nothing to look at but a strange picture in my head. I really need to get on with writing their story so I will know what illustrations are needed and how many more to make before perfecting them as best I can on better paper. It is a good challenge.

The encouragements from Australia and St. Louis friends have lifted my spirits over the past few years. I am grateful they read this blog and respond so positively. In a perfect world we would live much closer together, but I so appreciate them being there with such positive input.

This afternoon I will go back on the porch with another scotch and have a drink with all of you. Thanks.

And this morning at the dam again. It was blustery! Such a good word, “blustery”.

Til later….


It Is Wartime Again….And Again…..And…

I am going to take this one small break from my usual blog entries of the things happening in my very small and somewhat protected life. It is a need to address another war.

I wish I could have found an image of the whole small quilt about the atrocities in Chechnya 1999. It is in the upper left and was a series of small engravings done on fabric of a woman survivor of this horrific war perpetrated by Russia. We see today how brutal they can be in war. This piece had nine patches where we see the mother holding the hand of a younger son as they wave goodbye to an older one going to fight against the Russian aggression. She goes to her church to pray for her son in another. She helps to feed those women hiding in the sewers of Grozny in another. She asks a Russian general if she can claim the body of her son left on the battle field. She buries her son. The last image is of her in a chair looking at a family album. It is all she has left of her son.

I don’t know if I put this small quilt pieced together with shattered brick images between engravings somewhere special or if it was buried with the other works of war. If the latter it is in good company. The entire series of coats made about the war in Bosnia has been laid to rest. Here are the letters I wrote during those four years that preceded the Chechen conflict….starting with my letter to Tom Squitieri, a journalist for the newspaper, USA Today. I had written to him about a young woman who he interviewed about the assaults on her by Serbs.

Here is his response to that letter.



One to President Clinton.

His response.

And another to the aggressors.

And those restoring order to their war torn country.

I recall following any news from the former Yugoslavia on those caught, tried at the Hague and finally dying. I remember telling a friend years ago that I would rather not meet his Serbian visitor and to let me know when he was gone. And even this past month feeling glad that Australia sent the Serbian tennis champion home before competing. Such arrogance reminded me of this body of work done years ago while watching the war unfold day in and day out.

And now we see it all over again.

I made a quilt about war and the need to separate people and construct boundaries not to be crossed. The Peace Dove comes in from the upper left with all good intentions of this time, this time it will work. Only to be shot down again and again.  The remains of these doves are placed in specimen drawers with reminder tags of why we are incompatible with each other.

And now we watch from our safe places as children are trying desperately to flee Ukraine. Much like the first busload out of Sarajevo I put on a gourd that felt so good in the hands as I cradled and glued their images down.

All of this bundled and buried with other work that mattered to me to make as an artist.

I no longer have the energy to create the depth of feeling I have for the lives needlessly lost to war. And I can only use this image for Ukraine…..

and hope that the Russian soldiers took the old woman’s advice and put sunflower seeds in their pockets so that Ukraine can rise again.

Til later….



All Before 1:00 P.M.

This latest bird drawing of a Black Vulture seems a good image to start.

I think I should call him Ching for the man I just got off the phone with.

I needed new air and water filters for my refrigerator so decided to call the number I used before. Not working. Then the 800 number posted in my refrigerator. Also not working. So go online and then on hold. I expected that. And I also expected that when I did get what we all call now, “a real person”, that I may not understand him. Spot on. But we persevered through all of his finally locating the costs and scaring me half to death, All his continual humming and commentary to himself. All my asking if he could repeat…..Then finally after assuring him that the other phone numbers I used in the past and are now not working, had a person who told me the cost was considerably less. He stopped humming the three note marching tune. He stopped saying, “uh-uh” or “uh-oh”, not sure which, and we started again. The end result was that the would-be billing of over $300 was reduced by almost half. Now I will be getting three water filters and three air filters within the week. The funny part is that I almost felt sorry enough for him midway in our transaction to give in and just pay the price. I hope the next person he talks to is not impatient and rude. Of course his tune is stuck in my head now.

And big news! Yesterday I walked from in town to my new house site to take pictures of two by fours put in place. I left from the town square here.

And looking down in between the other houses you can see some building going on.

Then this.

Through the guest room to kitchen and dining a d door to porch.

And tree by porch area and living room windows.

Tomorrow I will check if all the trusses have been put up.

A couple days ago a walk at the dam. I only caught a couple of the flock of seagulls.

And the sun breaking through the fog.

And this morning back on the Riverwalk before meeting with my income tax person.

Sorry to have so many but the light was fabulous. A few more….

And these wonderful close ups.

And a bit of Spring showing.

My tax appointment went well. We loved seeing each other in person after two years. She’s very nice and says things like, “Bless his buttons.” She also thought I was pretty clever to know what papers to bring and what needed to stay home. No longer armloads of ziplock bags. An older gentleman popped in during our meeting to show off his wife’s new baby quilt. He was proud as punch with it and his wife. Nice. The whole day has me smiling so far.

I am still stitching on the owl print. Few more days and I can give it a press and decide if it is worth framing.

Yesterday on the recommendation of my Tuesday lunch partner, I stopped by the furniture store to look at a bed.  Just a full size….we used to call them double beds. I told the very perky sales woman that I wanted a firm mattress on a bed that raises up and down at the head as well as the foot of the bed. I stretched out on the perfect mattress and she raised and lowered me at each end, set the massage at various intensities, showed me how the remote could also light up under the bed so I would not be stumbling about in the dark on those occasional nightly trips to the bathroom. She asked if a full size was large enough. I said yes, it is just me and my two cats. And I don’t want to be wearing a dent in one side or the other. I was ready to be in the middle. I also assured her I was all through sleeping with old men, so a full size was just fine. I picked out the best sheets they had on offer and a sensible mattress pad. In six to eight weeks it will be delivered and I can pass on the king size bed I bought for Lee and I a couple of years ago. He became apprehensive about sleeping with a woman he could not remember and with a king size I could assure him I was “way over there”.

I returned home to find a message that my dear old pal from graduate school had called from Canada. I poured a scotch in the middle of the day and settled into a very long chat. Lee made special glasses for Jo and I to share a scotch in when she visited. I keep up the tradition whenever we talk. It was a good day all round.

That is it for now. I need to sketch those framing timbers in the building sketch book.

Til later….