Lots Happening

Yesterday I walked along the river.

Even saw my first Muscovy duck swimming with Canada geese.

And a beautiful bloom from the Tulip Poplar.

When I came home I readied the house for the realtor’s photographer who came today. He did a splendid job and enjoyed shooting the rooms and grounds. Now I just need to keep it looking this inviting until the right person comes along.

The deck and door to the apartment and the shop below.

The rooms that don’t have boxes stacked in them.

The porch above and the terrace below.

And the dining room table with the magazine featuring our house open on the table per realtor’s request.

This morning I walked from the gym through the sunlit meadow over to my new house and was pleasantly surprised to see the driveway and walk paved and the rough plumbing finished. Today they will paint the exterior.

Finally more things to draw in my sketchbook.

I decided that I should spend the extra money and have each side of the fireplace shelved. If those shelves are kept 25″ apart then most of my artwork here in the living room and studio should fit. Some spaces shall have hand pulled prints hanging behind sculpture like Lee’s turned bowls and small groupings or families of things. It will be fun to fit the pieces in.

Maybe the next week will be filled with showings of the house. Tomorrow the window washers come. The yardman and pond cleaner arrived two days ago. Someone needs to come along and love the house as much as Lee and I have.

Til later….

Packing Up Studio and More

The river is filling up and the rose bushes have started to bloom.

And this morning choppy waters at the dam.

A pile of rocks with grass and the lake beyond just when I thought there was nothing else to see.

After the walk at the dam, I stopped to see the builder. He told me it might be a good idea to put off the closing on my house here until the end of August. That gives him another month to make sure any complications with sub contractors can be solved. My realtor is fine with that and asked if I was still ready for the photo shoot in two days. Of course I am!

Today the ceiling fans were washed, porch cleaned several times to get all the collected pollen off the surfaces, cluttery bits stored away or just plain tossed. Some things are just easier to throw in the garbage bag than wonder where to put it. And to be honest I have never reached in the bag to retrieve anything I tossed there.

The grounds look really nice for photographing, and so does the living/dining/kitchen space. Bedrooms and den are okay. But boxes of cookbooks I am handing down to Amy and Patrick are piled in the laundry room. The studio books and some artwork and copious journals are packed up.

Packing books is back breaking work! But seeing the empty shelves makes me feel I am accomplishing something.

Books don’t look like much when they are lined up with others on a shelf. But when you separate them from one another, they put on weight and expand. And what is worse each one of them knows they are indispensable. All of those wooden shelf units have places in the new house. Shelves are like drawers…extremely important for settling into a space.

Tomorrow I will look over the apartment and shop to make sure it is looking presentable. But today I am exhausted with the cleaning, tossing out, blowing off the deck, getting cobwebs off very high light fixtures, washing fans, vacuuming and tossing things out. My favorite was dragging off a scrappy looking cat scratching post/bed/cat toy holder to the garage where the things too big for a garbage bag are being held til help comes.

The first of the artwork is coming off the walls. I started in the kitchen with photos of Lee cooking his favorite things (they are packed in a box for Patrick because so much of that was done together) and three small egg temperas I did that were near the knife block. Funny how empty the kitchen looks without those small pieces. I even cleaned out some kitchen drawers and ended up packing all my hot pads. Good thing I found something usable below the range because once a box is packed it is not to be opened til it arrives at the new destination.

I carry around my peanut butter jar of wall paint to brush over holes left behind where I pulled nails. Some will be dreadful to cover as when I needed to find a stud to support a heavier artwork, I just guessed and kept on banging a nail in til I found it! My rule was every half inch til you found it.

Yesterday friends took me out for Mother’s Day. A terrific brunch of shrimp and grits, Then we toured my new house and decided to spend the rest of the day sitting on my porch drinking bloody marys and talking. It was such a nice day!

Til later….

Beautiful Days – Slow Progress

The meadow grasses on my walk from the gym to the new house. Another house is going in next to mine. I am now boxed in on each side.

I have checked all my tree books and can not find out what kind of tree this is.

A rough crude bark that attracts lichen. Leaves that are smooth edged with veins coming off the center vein and drooping their way to the edge. Almost pillowy between veins. It stands about fifteen feet or so high and is right outside my living room windows.

I kept up my walks at the dam and riverwalk.


And this beautiful foam flower nestled among maiden hair ferns.

This morning after my work out, I walked over to the Indian Mound to see if I could find another tree like the one behind my new house.

Nothing like it there. And then the fog drenched field over toward my new place.

Where the only change was some grading and piles of top soil to be graded around the back.

So I just came home, had my coffee and breakfast. And when the fog lifted I went to another town and hardware to find fans and lighting for over the island sink in the new house. There was the perfect helper who spent a generous hour plus helping me get to what I expected the fixtures to do in the places they would be going. When I told him what would be in the visual space around the living room fan, we found the perfect one. It is a flat black with blades that are designed differently to scoop more air and will look perfect between the two large African carved masks. And although I was convinced that I would need a pendant light hanging over the island sink, we came to the sensible conclusion that it would interfere with the visual openness of the area and compete with the fan now chosen that is only being maybe ten feet away, he showed me a recessed ceiling light that can be set to warm light and give off a large canopy of light below. Perfect!

It really helped that he is an artist and even gave me a quick lesson on how he addresses his canvas when doing en plein air painting. He and I figured that what I saved would purchase a very nice and very old bourbon or single malt.

I also bought a nice fan with attached light for the porch that will really stir the air on humid still days. The remaining three fans for the den, master bedroom and guest room are not as important but I am thinking ceiling “huggers” just to keep them up away from the first view when walking into the rooms. I thought of fans like these for low ceilings only but they are far more versatile. Nine foot ceilings will keep them in their place.

I have made a list of what I want completed here in the way of packing up in the next two months. The studio and last of the office are next. The apartment has been packed up. Several things going north with Amy, Patrick and Marla. The rest of the things in the cupboards there plus some books, etc., went off with the cleaning lady yesterday. She has access to so many more places to give them to than I do and I am so grateful she happily loads her car with a promise to take more when she comes back in two weeks.

Things are moving along. Next week my house here officially goes on the market. The pond cleaner comes on Tuesday, the photographer on Wednesday  and Thursday it starts.

Til later….


We Might Be Losing Our Words

When I go on my early morning walks I am completely alone most of the time. Once I take the obligatory photo of where I am to let my family know I’m still at it, my pace is set and my mind clears. Then I pick a thought to spend time alone with for the next half hour or so. And the other day it was about language and how we don’t hear as many words as we used to. They are not being used so much. The ones that came to mind first were adjectives such as marvelous, gorgeous and charming. The generations behind me have become disconnected with the use of words like this. Adverbs as well seem to be waning. Smartly dressed, largely accurate.

Personally I think it is the ease of texting on cell phones. You can say what you have to say in a brief form and if a response comes back, fine. If not, then send another. Sooner or later they will get back with an equally brief text. In fact the cell phone can even out think you and jump to the word you might be looking to poke in with your finger tips. And forget proper grammar; cell phones are programmed to not even go there!

But back when we wrote words by hand in letters, all those extra words were necessary to convey how we felt, what we wanted the recipient to understand.

And I know by now that I have lost a certain percent of you because it looks like I have no more pictures, only words that have to be read left to right, line after line… “My god, what is she on about?”

I found this journal entry that I wrote almost thirty years ago. I think it is relevant.


Letters – a journal entry

Letters. We don’t write them much anymore. Just notes on postcards or a line or two on greeting cards that we choose because it reflects a sentiment, we feel but don’t want to commit to handwriting. Then there are those computer-generated newsletters. There is something cold and impersonal about these regardless of the intention. Without the personal involvement that handwriting brings, these become less-than-sincere attempts at communication from the heart.

I miss receiving real letters that contain real feelings, observations and opinions. And what’s worse, I miss writing them. Now the urge to record those things is directed to a personal journal. But here, there is no feedback. It’s a one-way conversation and I don’t have the accountability. No one will dispute or question or ask to know more. Furthermore, writing and recording in a journal seems so much more permanent and unalterable…. not like a letter that is stuffed in an envelope, stamped and sent off onto a tenuous journey to anywhere.

The best letters I ever wrote were sent to my mother. I didn’t really think much about them over the years. I liked writing and in a letter my thoughts were not interrupted by, “Yes” and “Really”, as in a phone call.

I had known for some time that my mother had always kept my letters in a large box. And as her health failed and she ceased to write back, she would drop my latest letter in the box. Then pull them out at random to read and re-read.

When she passed away recently the box was sent to me. I knew it was coming and braced myself for a great wave of sadness. There was still so much in my life that I needed to share with her. So, with trepidation I opened the carton and looked at the piles of envelopes and cards. Everything was there. My whole adult life to that point. From sixteen years of age through twenty-five years of marriage and the rearing of two children. Even the photos of family, friends and artwork were there. She kept it all. I was never so completely hit by who I am and how I got here. It was all documented by my own hand.

And rather than sadness as I randomly pulled a letter out, I became lost in my own history. There was very little of my thoughts and feelings that were not there in that box, recorded exactly as I felt them at the time and shared with the one person who would accept them all unconditionally. And hold them close for years to come.

I remember a line in a movie where one of the characters said she had to go and write a letter to her father. When asked, “Why don’t you just call?”, the response was, “Because when I hang up, he has nothing to hold onto.”

My mother held these letters for years and I now have them back to read, laugh and cry as I hold them close and remember. I really am going to miss writing letters to her.


Without that connection of our thoughts through the heart to a hand holding a tool designed to carefully and slowly convey a message as we ponder how to best express ourselves, will we even know they understand the importance of what we are saying?

Example: Text – “She looked nice.”

No, that is not enough. It should say, ” She looked beautiful in a dress obviously chosen to accent her blue eyes and hide the thickening waistline of someone her age.”  Here there is information that makes the recipient of the message wish they had indeed accepted the invitation so they could have seen her for themselves.

Anyway, I suppose it is a moot point, all this talk of short-handing our thoughts to fit the new format of text messaging. Adverbs and adjectives will fade with handwriting. Only poets will be left to remind us of how our words can be used. And when we stumble across their verses we will say things like, “how quaint”, “how charming.”

At least I hope we do…resort to saying “charming” again.

Other news. My new desk arrived. My new place to write and draw.

That long narrow drawer pulls out and the face drops down to hold a keyboard, but in my case the laptop will live in there. Drawers will hold drawing tools and paper.

Some new pictures of the town I am moving to….

The town library just up the hill from my house and a fellow just keeping watch in front of a store.

And a new sketch in my Riverwalk House Book of the electrician’s shorthand.

The papers are all signed with the realtor and the house officially goes on the market May 12th. I am ready.

Til later….