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 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….


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….


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….