Friday, November 28, 2014

Portrait sketch...

I am in the process of working on a portrait for a young friend of mine.  It will eventually be a portrait of him and his girl friend and since they don't follow my blog (I hope) it should be safe to show the initial sketch here...

They took a selfie in B & W and sent it to me and this is what I've done so far...

Please keep in mind that this is just a practice sketch.  I am trying to decide what size to make the overall drawing.  I have decided to stay with graphite/pencil for the portrait.  Two reasons...they are a mixed race couple and I thought doing it it black and white would be kind of cool.  An ebony and ivory kind of thing, plus I had forgotten how much I love working in pencil.  This sketch was done on a piece of watercolor  paper to test the blending, etc. and I think I'm happy with how everything felt as I drew it.

This photo doesn't do the sketch justice, actually it looks better than this, but it's night and I took the photo in the kitchen and I wanted to go on and post it here since I cannot say anything about it on Facebook.

Anyway if the finished product goes as easily as the first few sketches have gone, I'll be very happy.

Well, that's it for now.  Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and is ready to face the upcoming month of December.  We'll talk soon and I'll keep you posted as the  portrait progresses.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moving forward

As you should all know by now, when life gets me down, I shake myself off and move forward.  Sometimes it's baby steps, but it's still motion.  I realize that I still haven't figured out exactly how to live by myself yet. 

In the big scheme of things I have only lived on my own for short periods of time. I lived with my mother until I was in my late 20's (dating a guy for ten years that wasn't interested in commitment), then lived by myself for a few years, marrying the first guy that asked, who turned out to be a complete loser, marrying me for what he thought was family money.  Then I started staying with family and friends while I divorced him, then moving in with my late husband almost immediately. We met in a local "watering hole" and we really hit it off, knowing that we wanted to be together with our own place so we moved in an apartment, and got married about a year later. 

Tim and I were together twenty-five years, and while we were both set in our ways, and each had baggage, we did the best we could.  After all no one is perfect, right?

So here I am now, almost two years after his death, still trying to figure this thing out.  Due to excellent advice and great planning on the parts of lots of folks, I am in a position that allows me the blessing of living without carrying undue financial burden.

So over the past two years I have been able to remodel my house.  This year I am having the inside painted and redoing my floors.  I'm getting new carpet and having wood floors installed in hallway and possibly the upstairs bathrooms.  Not sure about that yet.

Anyway, while the hardwood floors are being done in Buchanan, our contractor and his crew will be working here doing floors and painting.  I'm going with gray textured carpet and taupe walls.  I may paint my brickwork in the living room to open up the space some...

but the new gray carpeting would make the grayish bricks really pop.  I'm also having them remove the half wall that acts as a divider and catch all...

It used to have spindles which Timbo removed years ago for me.  At least we were able to use it as a shelf, before it was just a waste of space.  Still, it is so 1970's, so the plan is to remove the wall, put hardwood in the hall, gray carpet in all the rooms and paint the walls taupe.  I think.

Who knows what this project will evolve into?  At least I'm moving forward again, not feeling like I have to stay close to home in case,..well, for reasons that I wont go into here.  I'm moving forward.  I'm going to take some classes that I'll talk about later and I'm always doing art.

So that's it for now.  I'll probably put some Christmas lights up again this year, but I'm not even sure about that.  We'll see.

So until next time, take care and keep those cards and letters coming! (emails and texts, these days, but you know what I mean).

Monday, November 17, 2014

No harm in being down...

I've always heard that there is no harm in being down, the harm is in staying down.  I am just one of those people that needs to move forward.  I've moved forward after losing jobs, after breaking up with long time boyfriends, after a divorce, after having changes in my family, after any number of the usual life time events.  As some of you may remember, my husband died suddenly December 31, 2012.  Not quite two years yet.  I have dealt with his death and the changes that it brought in the ways that I thought were best for me.  Those of you, who have been married, know that no marriage is perfect.  No person is perfect.  Some people are far from perfect.  Who knows what causes this.  One of the ways I have dealt with the life style change that came immediately after realizing that my husband was dead...was to hone in on every negative thing that had happened between us in the few years up to his untimely death.  Sometimes I wish I didn't have to do this to get past certain things.  We had good times, to be sure, but often ours was a dysfunctional relationship where everything we did, just drove the other crazy.  BUT we were married for almost twenty-five years.  A commitment that I made and chose to honor.  That was my choice.  Sometimes my choices were not the best.  Shoot, sometimes they still aren't the best.

All of this said and done, I don't sit around and cry about what was, or what could have been, or what will be, for that matter.  Today though, as I'm watching old episodes of NCIS and relive the death of Director Vance's wife, coupled with the death of Ziva's father, ELI, it brought on a crying spell, that I can only assume that I needed.  I cry for my own reasons.  Private reasons, reasons that you will never know.

But, I shake myself off, throw cold water on my face and prepare to move forward, again.  Watching NCIS makes me think of "The Rules"... and a couple of my favorites are:

Rule 36: If you feel like you are being played, you probably are
Rule 11: When the job is done, walk away.

These are my favorites, even if I often want to ignore them...

There are others, of course, that if you read the link, you can relate to. 

My tears are dried.  I'm ready to propel myself forward again. 

All is well, until later.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Savannah part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, my friends and I went on a road trip that ended up in Georgia.  Wednesday of last week we went to Tybee Island.  Walked along the beach, picked up a shell, bought souvenirs and had lunch.  It was the perfect time to go, still very warm, but deserted.  On the way out of town, Chelsie was driving and slowing down for a red light and started yelling, OMG that guy's not stopping!  The car in front of us ran the red light just as a guy on a Harley was coming through the intersection.  The Harley hit the Nissan.  We used to call it t-boning.  The driver flipped off the bike and landed in the road right in front of us.  Chelsie got the car pulled to the side so we could call 911.  I ran out and got traffic stopped, then another gal and I ran up to the guy.  It was such a relief to realize that he had his helmet on and was conscious.  We talked to him and I held his hand until the crew got there.  I was asking him his name, trying to keep him talking and awake, while the other girl was helping find his phone to call his wife, who was in Alabama.  His name was Patrick and I'm guessing he was in his late 50's or maybe 60.  He was a sweet looking man, silver hair and goatee, and was holding my hand for all he was worth.  He asked me my name, and I said Susan.  He said, "Susan, I will never forget you".  I had to let the rescue squad take over, but we all hung around, giving our names and address to the island police and watching what was going to happen with the guy that ran the light.  Nissan guy was eventually taken away in the police car.  Here is his car...hard to see, but there are beer bottles on top.
We were so concerned about Patrick.  We tried to get his info from the police dept. later, but they had just changed shifts and no one was there that knew anything.  I pray that everything worked out for him. I felt like I was right where God wanted me to be at that moment. 

Talking about being in the right place at the right time...something else happened that could have been really bad, but once again there I was.  My sweet young friend, Chels, was in the bathroom in our hotel room doing her make up.  Get this...she sits in the sink.  So here she is perched in the sink and yelled for me to come in there and she would flat iron my hair while the iron was still hot.  Well, I walked in the bathroom right as she was trying to get out of the sink.  She got her foot caught in the faucet and accidentally fell out of the sink.  Fortunately me and size 40D bosom was right there to catch her.  If I hadn't been right there, been the strong, real size woman that I am, being able to physically catch her, she would have landed on the tub and surely split her head wide open.  Did I mention that she's in her first trimester and does not need to be flailing about in a hotel bathroom?  Right place, right time.

We did do a bit of sight seeing...

Started to do the river cruise, but my heart just wasn't in it.  I did take a few pictures of trees...

and a picture, here and there of a house...

and we did take a few pics while we were at the beach...
Tried a panorama...

Click on it for the real view...

Got a good picture of some monarch butterflies...

Everyone said, "go to Wet Willy's".  Well, I don't drink a bunch.  Only a cocktail here and there with a neighbor during the summer, but I did take a pic of the outside...

All in all, we had a good time.  Being with friends, away from...well, just away for a few days was very nice.  Perhaps, I'm just a cynic, but it seems to me as I get older, that one place is just like another.  I did think this tree in downtown Savannah was neat, with it's long, long limbs...

We don't have that here...

Well, that's it for me today.  I'm sure soon enough I will have new pictures.  My sisters and friends have just about convinced me that I need a rescue dog.  They have promised to help me with learning how to be a parent of a fur-baby.  Maybe I am a bit lonesome.  If I get an older dog, that puppy stage will be over. I hope he or she will be loyal and protective and will love me no matter what...just like my friends, only I won't let them sit on my lap.

Until then, take comfort in the fact that life goes on, hearts heal, frustrations diminish and we grow stronger.  I know I do, I know I will.  I have the best sisters in the world and wish everyone did.

Take care friends and continue to live life, learning while you go.  Life is too short to hold a grudge, so wipe the slates clean and move forward.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Went to Savannah

My girlfriends and I went to Savannah this week.  I wanted to get away and we thought about going back to California, but I had just been last month and wasn't ready for another flight across country.  Then we thought about visiting Mall of America, but once again, so much time in the air and airports.

Then we started thinking of places within driving distance.  Driving the past, for me, a road trip usually meant a distance of no more that three hours and it involved packing up all the comforts of home, in case the hotel didn't have exactly what we were used to. This was different. They convinced me that we would travel light, they would do the driving so I could relax and a good time would be had by all.  So we then started thinking about places within driving distance that I had never seen.  Been to Myrtle Beach, been to Florida, BUT I had only just driven through Georgia, never stopped to see the sights and I had always wondered what the big deal was about Savannah and the old homes and the trees with moss.  Savannah it is.  One of the girls had spent a year in Hinesville when she and her ex were stationed there for the military.  She knew her way around and could handle any traffic we encountered.

We left early Monday morning and got there around 4:00 pm.  We made only one stop for gas and fast food.

The first place we hit when we got there was Walmart for some items we forgot, because we packed in such a hurry.  Then we went back to the hotel to put our suits on and go to the indoor pool.  The room that held the pool and spa was somewhat smallish and the smell of the chlorine was too much for me.  We sat in the hot tub for just a few minutes, then wrapped towels around us to go back upstairs.  Much to my discomfort, there was a man in the elevator and it was only one floor, but I didn't want a strange man to see me in a towel and a cover up.  After we got out on our floor, they said "OMG, did you see him checking you out?"  Of course I didn't believe it.  I'm over 50, a size sixteen and I don't color my hair.  Why would anyone be checking me out?  My self esteem has never been the best and well, let's just say right now I do not want to even think about a guy checking me out.  So I laughed about it.

We go back to the room, changed our clothes and get ready to go to dinner.  As I walk around the hotel to the car, I noticed we had parked in front of the gym that the guests use.  What do we see through the huge windows, but another guy checking me out (the girls were already in the car and were watching him).  Not only was he staring at me, but as I got in the car he made a licking motion with his tongue.  For heaven's sake, what is wrong with some people?  This is a nice hotel, but perhaps there was a lonely man convention going on. It's not like we were staying in a roach motel, full of pervs.  I didn't know what to think.

Well, we went to Applebys for dinner, laughed and talked some, then back to the room to relax and watch television.  Just getting away, having someone do all the driving really was nice.  As we were going back through the lobby of the hotel, who do we see in the lounge but "elevator guy".  He was sitting at the bar and almost fell off of his chair looking at me. This time it was obvious that it was me he was looking at.  I just shook my head.

I don't want to "paint all men with the same brush", but I'm guessing that there are some men out there that just love women.  They don't care if they are a bit overweight.  They don't care if they don't look like Barbie dolls.  Maybe these same guys that were checking me out, always did this.  In the words of one of the girls "whatever".

While were were on the trip I did take a few pictures, my heart just wasn't in it,  but I'll save them for another post.

In the meantime, I'm back home, making some changes and forgiving myself for not knowing what was actually going on. I know someone who proudly admits to "fighting dirty". I realize that I didn't really know what that meant. It means doing whatever it takes to save yourself and not just in a bar fight. I know now. I'm not used to being around liars, and guess I missed all the signals. I am now much wiser.  I shook myself off and said a prayer.  A prayer for all those that are hurting right now and a prayer of thanks for  finding myself in a certain situation.  A situation that may have actually been a "blessing in disguise".

I'm still very disappointed in the way it happened and the fact that, again, I don't get closure of saying good-bye, but I've been through a lot worse than this and I bounce back.  I always do.