Some Very Nice Four Days Just Went By

I was missing the Riverwalk in Murphy so took off Saturday early after I started the laundry. It was cloudy but very nice to be back there. I did not go down stream (my favorite part) because two dog training people were there giving commands. And that sort of spoils the mood. So off up stream I went and only saw a fisherman. He was hanging onto his bright orange rod, so I asked if he caught anything. He said he was “just fooling around”. I took that as a “no”. So here are the images from upstream.

The river was really high.

And at the far end near a street lamp were these remains of a cecropia moth. The bats swoop in and only take the body while the wings fly off to the ground. Such beautiful things, those moths. I resisted going closer to under the lamp and see other wings left behind.

And then on the way back…

I don’t know how these trees do not just give up when the river has soaked their roots so deeply with rushing water. This one barely clings to the shore as it lays out into the river.

And at the end of the bridge near the car park is this drama of green on black.

From there I went to my favorite coffee shop only to see it was closed for the day due to their daughter’s graduation.  So I went to the new iteration of Lee and my favorite Sunday morning breakfast place that gave rise to all those napkin wrapper character books. The food was not as good but it was nice just pulling into the parking lot.

Next I spent the weekend working on my Meadow Book. Buttercups and daisies.

Field asters and a starling. Not an easy bird to draw!

Bluebird and dogwood.

The meadow is filled with cobwebs.

Heal all and blue eyed grass.

Today I baked those way too delicious Ree Drummond Brown sugar oatmeal cookies. I have plenty for the freezer, a bag to share Thursday when most of the men come in for coffee, another bag for one of my favorite old fellows and another bag for a friend who is taking me shopping at that town we went to for Mother’s Day. We are headed there tomorrow.

In other news, my social skills are returning. Yesterday  was at a special luncheon for an old friend who lives here now. She was turning ninety and her daughter put on a lovely affair at a local restaurant. I only knew two people there and when I realized we were to stay for lunch and tables were filling up with people who knew each other, I asked a man I had just been introduced to if he would join me at a table for two.  He said he’d be happy to. It resulted in an hour and a half of wonderful conversation. He was a host on the old Eastern Airlines for fifteen years and then went on to the next twenty-five years of driving cross country fourteen wheelers….very large semi trucks. We talked about world travel, art, his home state of Florida and its pathetic politics in power.

I want to add here that I did not ask a woman to join me because women tend to stay in groups and I knew from experience that if I asked one she would have gone to great lengths to inform me that she needed to stay with her group.  I find men more willing to step away from the “expected”.

I went to shake his hand in good bye but he said a hug would be better. We both hoped to have more conversations when he returns to visit the birthday girl with his partner.

Then my neighbor, who wants to teach tai chi, and I recommended she try the senior center in town, will be starting her classes in late June or July. I agreed to join her class with some of the other women from the neighborhood. I quit doing my own tai chi several years ago and because she is so nice, and so are the women going to her class, I said I would also go.

And finally, Thursday lunch is with a group of women artists…only one is known to me and arranged this get together to meet other artists. And that evening is a party here in the neighborhood for a woman turning eighty. I will be taking champagne and a nifty appetizer that looks fun to make.

So social skills are coming back.

That is all for now now.

More later….



It Has Been A Lovely Few Days

The early walks to the the gym have been full of dewy grass, fog, and buttercups.

Then later in the afternoon going to the river. The meadow is filled with such green and yellow. The first wild daisies popped through.

And in my yard the first of three bamboo fences have been made and placed.

The flagstone has yet to arrive at the stone shop. But when it comes and is delivered, it will line the mulch beds and the stoned areas out back. Then I can say it is finished when that and the bamboo bits are in place.

Twice this past few days I have been invited to stop and have wine on the porch of neighbors. It has been very nice to visit with them. Today one of them is coming here to read some of the books I have made over the years. She is a writer who is in the poetry group and has been quite encouraging.

I also spent a bit of time getting the poetry located and organized for a book. Now just to figure out how to do that so I am not handling the mailing part. I would like to look at Amazon self publishing as a possibility but need to do much more research to see how that is done.

This weekend I am going to get back into my sketchbooks. I am missing the drawing. And going through the books I think my neighbor would like to look at today, makes me miss it even more.  How fun it was to do The Fairy Book and The Stoat Story. I need to feel the pencil in my hand more often!

Yesterday there was a box on the bench out front from UPS shipping. I opened it to find a bag full of fresh-picked white lilacs from my friend, Marla, in Michigan. It was so exciting to unwrap them and quickly get them into a vase.

So many blooms have fallen off but I scoop them into a ceramic tray on the counter. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to do? Send flowers from your yard through the mail! I used to send my mother all the wildflowers I could pick along our road so she could hold my place in her hands and then put them in a vase.

My dragon scale book still waits all rolled up, wanting me to decide what comes next. Is it words or another drawing of what is under the river water….still not sure.

I baked more savoury scones for the freezer this morning. It is a necessary thing to do when you know the spinach is going to go bad, scallions are wilting and the ham and cheese want to be used.

Next week there is a birthday party at a restaurant for a neighbor turning ninety. She used to stop and visit Lee and I when we had a place in town to work while we were building houses and moving from one to another. I love that she and I now live in the same neighborhood. Then there is that shopping trip back to the town I rediscovered over Mother’s Day. And the following day is lunch out with a group of women artists and another party that evening in the neighborhood. I have been asked to bring an appetizer. I can do that plus take along some champagne. We are celebrating something, so why not.

I almost forgot about this…yesterday I took some Anzac cookies (biscuits) to a new young fellow from Australia who opened a bike shop here in town. I wanted to hear him talk. I miss the sound of an Aussie speaking. His accent he and his American wife said has faded but his parents are visiting next month. And they have thick accents. I said I would be back then with more Anzacs. Very nice couple and a good addition to the town.

More later….

Close to Home

I have still been walking over to the gym in the morning. It is getting greener and denser along the way.

On my way back it was sunny and the meadow was filled with spider webs.

A half moon just hung there in the sky watching.

Mostly I have kept my walks to right here in the neighborhood. Later in the day I am accepting invitations to sit on porches and have a glass of wine. Soon there are several neighbors crowded in.

This past Saturday was a town garage sale and plants available to buy.

I was tempted by nothing except raffle tickets to benefit the veterans and coffee and a biscuit to benefit the local historical society. It was nice to have so many people know my name and ask how I was getting on in the new surrounds. It is a very friendly town full of kind people. Where I came from was more on the clique-ish side and few crossed the borders of their controlled comforts.  The welcome mats only came out if you could think and behave as expected. Although we were always popular when financial assistance was needed. With Lee’s decline it was apparent that that town was not the place to be by yourself.

It is so much the opposite here. Neighbors and new acquaintances have gone out of their way to introduce me to those I might have things in common with.  It was a good move.

I have been trying to organize writings into poetry, essays, and short stories. Over fifty poems look promising for inclusion into a book. The short stories will need serious editing. But today I am enjoying going through the random writings about recollections and observations. This morning I worked on Recollections – Australia.  Always a good place to lose myself. Especially now that I bought some lovely reds from the Yarra Valley being sold through the local wine tasting event.

Last night I woke at midnight and never did get back to sleep. So at four with the addition of cuddly cats, I took a half hour on the Migun bed. Lovely right before the shower and heading off to the gym and coffee on the corner after a quick trip to the store for donuts.

Tonight will be a sound sleep for sure.

Tomorrow is a weekly check with the doctor to see if blood thinning medicine is working correctly.  An irregular heart beat was discovered a month ago and medication is needed. Of course, thinking of my Aussie friend who has prepared her and her husband’s “Daisy Boxes” for burial, I went back to the funeral home and made those final arrangements for myself this time. Seems a good thing to do as I approach seventy-nine.

BUT in the meantime, the only friends from my previous town took me out for a Mother’s Day dinner to a town I have not been to for a few years. It was exciting to see all the new shops. And two of us are heading back to do some serious shopping. I saw so many perfect Christmas gifts and there are several new places to eat. We will make a day of it for sure.

Yesterday I made Anzac cookies and am thinking I will take some in to a young man from Australia who opened a bicycle shop in town. I just want to hear him talk. Not interested in a bike.

My lunch yesterday of savoury scone and Romaine lettuces from my pots outside.

Til later….Hopefully with more sketches in sketchbooks and river pictures.


Strawberries and Colored Pencils

One over-filled gallon box of fresh-picked-that-morning strawberries. And the field is only about a quarter mile from me. They are beautiful, sweet and so many big ones!

Now most of them are in the freezer packaged up in servings for one.

The last few mornings have been frosty walking to and from the gym.

And now back in the studio and the struggles with the dragon scale book illustration. I tried, I really did, to get the right colors and mood with the colored pencil collection that I have, And when I put the guide drawing up to follow for the next section of several half inch exposed fore edges, I realized the plain graphite was better…somehow better….

So I took my kneaded eraser and daubed at the pencil drawing of the first full page over and over again to take the color back, way back.

The softness of the image seems to go with the softness of the paper. It felt more “comfortable” for me. Odd choice of words but if I have to spend so much time sitting over a project I set up for myself, I might as well be comfortable with it.

Putting color in only to take it back out was driving me to think the whole idea was beyond where my capabilities now lie. But for right now I am going to blame the colored pencils. Some just have too much pigment in them and you don’t realize how much until the mark is made. The whole bunch will be put away as soon as I see this through.

Then I went back in with the oh-so-much-better graphite pencils and finished it up. Anyway, I think finished. But on this side only.

It is a dreamlike image of the river flowing by. BUT what goes on the back side when I flip all the folios back to the left? The larger page will be on the right…opposite the way we “read” left to right.  Should there be something on each page if they were turned individually like a normal book? Seems like a dumb idea for this binding designed for continual movement.

I thought of making the “backside” a long image of what is under the water. Decided not to. Too much drawing! So maybe, just maybe the large exposed full page when flipped to the left will be a poem about the river. That appeals to me if done in cursive, using a graphite pencil.

Now, how to present it? I will likely do what it was intended to do in the first place, and make it into a scroll. And if I only have the poem on the back side, having another long image expected to lay flat will not be an issue.

But best of all, when I finally finish this I will have learned the following:

  1.  Pick your challenges carefully.
  2.  Keep your limitations in mind when you make the decision in the first place.
  3.  And never, never quit until it is seen through.

I will write the poem over the weekend and roll it all up with a tie to hold in place. Then I will get my table space back to work on something new and SMALL.

Til later…