Thursday, December 15, 2016

This is something I needed to read...

I find myself needing to read something like this recently. More often than I'd like...

Click below where it says "it's an article..."

It's an article/blog post about needing to be right... by the gentleman pictured above.  Tim Marks. I have not done extensive research on him, but he appears to be a motivational speaker and author.

I hope this finds everyone well and safe and happy. I know that's a lot to wish for you, especially with the holiday season upon us. I really do wish the best for everyone and I sometimes get frustrated with all the negative reporting that is constantly in the media and the negativity that is social media.

I suppose the human species has always been negative and quick to find fault with others, but I swear I also think that some people simply get in such a habit of saying what they think, all the time and heaven forbid anyone disagrees.  I'm seeing a trend of people forcing their opinions on others. It is so easy. If, as in the past, we had to write a letter on paper and put it in an envelope and put postage on it, and go to the post office to post this mail, instead of just hitting send, perhaps such trends might diminish.

Ahhh, but back in the 21st century, I'm trying not to be like that. I don't need for others to know that I am right, or smart, or talented in order to feel good about myself. I do not base my self-worth on what others think or see. I know I am worthy and it doesn't matter if someone else knows that or not. I know it.

I will continue to strive to be a decent person. I will not insist on being right.  I will not wait until New Year's Day to start trying to achieve these daily goals. I will feel good about myself. For me.

Enjoy the rest of your hour, day, week, month or year. Life goes on and hopefully it will go smoothly for you and yours. If not, you can always blog about it...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Time marches on...

Well, the election is over and it was one of those situations where I really wasn't happy with either party's nominees, but I voted and I voted my conscience.  Now I will wait and see what the next four years have in store for us, as a country.

I am stunned by the reactions of the supporters of the losing side. They have acted like idiots.  I think the difference is that when the Republicans didn't win either of the last two elections, the losing side couldn't protest or make their displeasure known for fear of being labeled racists because of Obama being mixed race. Sure some folks acted up, but not like this...

I do wonder if either Ben Carson or Allen West, both black politicians, had been the nominee and winner for the Republicans instead of Trump, would the losers have protested as violently? Would they have been labeled racists if they did.

I fear we will never know.

Happy November. Enjoy yourself. Get ready for winter. Carry on.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thank you, I'm fine...

I now this is a strange title, but I was just sitting around this morning contemplating life and I was thinking about what it means to need nothing.  Seriously, I have several friends that check in on me daily and I always answer, "thanks, I'm fine" when they ask if I need anything.

At this particular moment in time, I do need to put on a disguise and go to the store for toilet paper.

I'm being silly, that's my way of saying I don't have any make up on, but will probably go out anyway.  But getting back to the point, I suppose I can finally relate to why it was so difficult for my mother to tell us what she wanted for Christmas/Birthday.  She would say things like "I want you to clean up your rooms" or "I want all you kids to get along", something of that nature.  I think now I understand.

She had reached that point, where she knew that she didn't really need anything.  In her world, in her time, she had it all. She had what she needed.

You may say that it took me long enough, but at my current age, 63, I finally have to say I really don't need anything.  I have everything I need and I don't seem to want anything.  I have a nice home and nice things in my home.  If I want something I just buy it, I am very fortunate to be able to do this.

I can remember the days when this absolutely wasn't the case, those days when we had a "wish-list", when we really didn't have the extra money for things we wanted.  Don't get me wrong, I always love getting stuff.  I love art supplies, and jewelry and cosmetics and when someone gives me a gift card from Ulta or a certificate for a mani-pedi I always use them.  I just don't really need anything.

I open my closet and in the container where I keep my nail stuff, there may be fifty shades of polish. I always have clothes and shoes, I have the computers that I like and the pots and pans that I prefer.  I don't need anything. It's nice to know this. It's nice to see that the struggle is over. I appreciate it.

At some point in our lives, usually when we are older, the things we want aren't the things that money can buy. I want to be fifty pounds lighter or at least not feel like I'm carrying a weight on my shoulders when I go to get out of the recliner. I want to have the energy I did twenty years ago.  I want to feel like getting up and dancing for an hour without getting tired. Those are the things I kind of want.

I want people to commiserate with me instead of sharing their vast knowledge on how I can achieve my goals. There are thousands of YouTube videos and sites on the internet to show me how. For the most part, I know how to do these things, I just don't have the gumption to do them. Gumption, that's it, that's what I need, that's what I want...bring me some gumption.

I understand that my friends know that I'm not in need. It's not about that. So when they ask me what I want for Christmas or if I need anything from the store, I know that they care about me and want to be there for me and if a situation actually arises, I will tell them, that yes, you can get such and such for me. If it's late and I do need something from the store and I know that it's on your way, yes, you can swing by and bring it to me... I'll let you.  More times than not though, I'm going to answer "I'm fine, but thanks for asking".

Not much of a post for a Sunday morning, but it's what's on my mind. Now I'm off to go get some t.p.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Fall Cold

No, not a cold Fall, I've got a Fall cold.

This is about day nine of feeling yucky. It started out as achy muscles. So bothersome that I thought I may have "frozen shoulder" and went online and got some basic stretching exercises to do. They actually have helped and I'll probably continue to do them.

Well, the body aches and general blah feeling kept me in the recliner for several days, I even jokingly posted a picture of what my area looked like where I had been sitting. Halfheartedly thought about cold medicine and dissolved a generic "before the cold" tablet on my tongue.

Next came a scratchy throat which led me to the internet to do searches on strep throat vs sore throat from a cold.  I took OTC painkillers and drank lemon and honey tea and kept watching Netflix, still not feeling like getting up and doing anything. Thought I was "on the mend" as they say.

One evening, all of a sudden, I had a burst of the "I feel really goods" and knowing my body, I prepared for the worst of this cold. A calm before the storm scenario. Yep, sure enough, that night I started coughing and was up every hour to pee, get some water, eat some honey and try to sleep again.

Periodically during this episode of, whatever the hell it was, I was on social media chronicling my days. Actually I kind of enjoyed the comments of "get to the doctor" and "make a hot toddy" and I pretty much planned to stay on the couch and ride it out.

This takes us to the after effects of Cough Night. During this entire time, my friend, who is in from the West Coast has been stopping in for coffee most mornings. I get up and unlock the door, to make it known that it's ok to come in, no need to knock and go on about my morning routine.

Yesterday morning, something woke me from a sound sleep. I had heard him come in and realized, OMG, I left the door unlocked last night and that could have been anyone. I went to roll out of bed to tell him I would be out in a moment or two and I suddenly realized that I was so sore I could barely move.  I made my way out to the kitchen where he was trying to figure out my coffee pot and such. I still had on my pj's and my hair was like a witch and I knew when he looked at me that I looked just as bad as I felt.  I went and put some clothes on and ran a rake through my hair, and went back in to talk. We ran through everyone's usual "getting old sucks" conversation and after a short time, where he really tried to convince me to go to the doctor, he went on about his errands, promising to check in on me, which he and his daughter do anyway, us being friends and all.

I keep plenty of supplies on hand as a general rule and during this entire episode I have told them repeatedly that I didn't need anything, but I realized yesterday evening that I had to have some cough medicine. I was so sore that even slight coughing was making me miserable, not the cough, but the fact that my "core was sore".  I had tried to downplay it, even to myself, but I felt like I had fallen down a hill or been in a car wreck. I was that sore.

I put on sunglasses and a long sleeve, stretchy cover-up that disguises the fact that my untethered breasties are separately lolling happily on my overweight midriff bulge, barely hidden by what amounted to a pajama top, and I went to the CVS.  I got name-brand cough medicine and several other things that I needed and after finding out from the cashier that I was NOT the only one dealing with this bug, made my way home (it's about a mile each way, so no big deal). I slowly got out of the car, it actually was very difficult to push through the soreness, and got inside to take the first dose of 12 hour cough suppressant. Cheese and cracker, I was sore.

I really do have to admit that actual cough medicine is sooooo much better than spoonfuls of honey for a cough. I started to feel better immediately and I felt that I was finally on the road to recovery and was silly for not taking care of this cold earlier, but whatever, blah, blah, blah.

See that last sentence?  The one with the blah, blah, blah?  That is what this entire blog post is really about today.  I hate to take medicine and I never really explain why to folks.  Most everyone relies on meds and rightly so, I would have never been cured of my c-diff if not for the proper medications and I really understand that. Apparently, since I am so rarely sick, I don't realize it when I actually am and I don't see it when everyone else can see that I am.  I am so much smarter than everyone else, after all.

The blah, blah, blah portion of this blog is brought to you by Robitussin. I woke up this morning pi$$#d. I am NEVER in a bad mood. Even when I was PMSing back in the old days, I was never mad. Reflecting on my expansive emotional career, I may feel frustrated when people do things I simply can't relate to, or I might feel yucky when I was sick, or be distraught over a break up and experience sadness over the loss of a loved one. I have been known to be extremely stubborn when I don't want to do something. I feel real sympathy when someone else is going through something traumatic and sometimes I can almost feel the pain that people are feeling...but

I am almost never pissed. I don't get mad. I usually laughing agree with someone who is expressing how mad they are over something, or that they woke up on the wrong side of the bed and were not ready to deal with people, or that they told someone off, but I realized this morning that I almost, as I said, never feel this way myself.  And yet, I woke up this morning mad.  Not mad at anything or anyone. Just effing pissed. No reason at all. This is so weird for me and honestly I don't like it at all and it has to be a side effect of the Robitussin.

I have heard my mother say numerous times that one of the things that she loved about me was that I was the same every day. I think that this was surprising for her, as when all the other teens were moody, I was not. A bit boy crazy, to be sure, but seldom moody. I never appreciated it much back then, but I realize now that it was, and is, a good thing.  I'm not moody.

I've always disliked medicine, but I never really analyzed this dislike. Maybe subconsciously, I have known that it affects my moods, or perhaps I remember that my own dad drank codeine cough medicine for the buzz that it gave him. Most likely that is the reason, but I know that I'm still sore from coughing and in an attempt to shake off the rest of this fall cold, I am going to take take take my meds.  I won't be "trippin on tussin" like Kid Rock sang in Prodigal Son, but I'll probably still be pissed.

Obviously I'm feeling better or I wouldn't have been at the key board for an hour typing this.
Enjoy your day and don't be like me, if you feel bad, take some damn medicine.

Peace out.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


I'm sitting here on Sept. 11, 2016 thinking about many things. Thinking, of course, about the events that happened on that fateful day.

I am thinking of other things, too. Thinking of the personal changes that I want to make. I am still finding my way. I live by myself. I will always live by myself. I have to take care of myself.

I am in the process of cleaning. Cleaning my house getting ready for cooler weather. Cleaning out my electronic house too. Deleting old and unused social media accounts. Thinking about things.

Thinking about some of the things I thought I was doing right that maybe are not so right.  Nothing big, just some personal changes that I want to make.

All is good, I just want to continue to grow as a person. Sometimes the things you think are helping, are actually enabling, and no one wants to do that.

Sometimes you just have to step back and look at things objectively and it's time for me to do that and to be truthful with myself.  Time to realize that sometimes people are taken for granted and whether it's intentional or not, you have to decide if you want to let that continue.

Sometimes you have to look inward and decide what is right for you and if you find that something you are doing for others isn't right for you, you have to make a change.

I'm planning on being here for a few more years anyway and I want those years to be good for me, and if that means making some changes, so be it.

I don't have any pictures to post today. I'm just typing out some thoughts that are in my little head. Maybe it's time to stop putting the health, happiness and well-being of others above my own.

I am still finding my way.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Morn...

Well, it's the first of September and lots of things are new. One, for instance, is me typing a post on a new computer.  Yeah, my other computer finally needed to be replaced and I got a new one. Havent worked all the "new car bugs" out of it yet, but here I am.

I've been trying to get some organizing done and had to get some help with that and have made several trips with donated goods and such, but I think I'm comfortable with the amout of clutter I have in the house now.

I have been doing a lot of painting. My favorite paint is acrylic and I do my best work with it. I went on a photo jaunt, taking pictures for future paintings (and enjoyed a pretty day in the process).

At my age, 63, I still think I should be challenging myself by doing things that are different. Maybe I read too much on the internet about not keeping yourself boxed in, or getting outside your comfort zone.

Personally, I feel like I have made it through enough that I should be able to enjoy my comfort zone. I find that I sometimes do things others want me to do... when I really dont want to do them. I sometimes decide that I need to do things differently because other people do things differently.  It's like I dont feel worthy of my own comfort zone. Well, guess what...that is going to stop. I'd like to say it will stop immediately, but a life long habit is not that easy to break.  There is no reason to list the things that I'm going to change, but suffice it to say, I'm making changes.  For me.

As I mentioned earlier, I've been doing a lot of art recently. If you are my FB friend I'm sure you have seen them, but for my blogger buddies, I'll post them here.

This was an original, based on my love of the Blue Ridge Mountains and loving to see them every day when I go outside...

This one is hayrolls on the back of a flat bed truck. Reference photo was taken by me on the way home from California...

 Here we have a close up of a modern day windmill, once again based on my own photo traveling back home. I'd like to think it's an original take on something some think is not worthy of painting.

Speaking of original and modern...I painted this spacy painting last week, just playing around with circle templates and metallic paints.

I'm in an online art group and we're doing a challenge where we all paint our version of the same picture. Here is my entry. I wasn't happy with it so I made a few changes and called it finished.

One of the reasons I wasn't happy with it is that I used some texture gel, trying to step outside my little box a bit. Oh, it looks good and I'm quite happy with the end result...except, I now realize that I do not like texture, especially in a painting.  I could go on and on about this, but I choose not to. I simply do not like textures. I don't like frosted glass and I dont like fuzzy yarn and I don't like things that are bumpy or things with holes in them. Those kind of thing freak me the hell out. Sometimes things with holes in them make me want to throw up. Seriously. I know where this comes from and choose not to share it here, but it is a real thing.

All this being said, I knew when I watched a video of an artist finger painting (with vinyl gloves on) that I wouldn't like to do it, but I said to myself...don't be so silly, it looks like fun. try it.

Well, I did try it and I was so uncomfortable, that I know now, it's not just in my imagination, it's a real thing, I don't like to touch certain things and heavy body, buttery paints are right up there at the top of the list.  I love the impressionist style of painting, but never, ever again, will I do it without a brush, in oil paint, anyway. This sounds weird, but oil paint is so soft and doesn't dry quickly like acrylic paint does, that for some reason I feel like I'm going to drown when I use it. It's like I'm making myself step into quicksand. Or it's like someone is threatening to stuff a huge white marshmallow down my throat. I have painted with oils before, using the glaze method where you paint with a brush and use solvent to thin the paint to almost a liquid. No problem, I liked that just fine. There is just something about the puffiness of soft paint that chokes me. I know it's weird, but I was so tense and uncomfortable that I finally quit the painting and decided to just accept that I have this personality quirk, or whatever the hell it is. Painting is supposed to be fun, and I'll be damned if I'm going to make my own self uncomfortable. So there, now you know.

Anyway, this is where I stopped...

I know it needs more work, but I can't deal with it now. Maybe later when it has dried, I can go in and touch it up with acrylic paint that I'm more comfortable with. Seriously, have you ever heard of such a thing. I'm an odd freaking duck.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not looking for advice or seeking solutions to this anomaly, and frankly if you offer either, I'll harumph and walk away with my nose in the air.

So that's what's happening here on Planet Keene. I'm looking forward to fall and winter, and all that goes with it.

Remember to enjoy life and if you're happy in your comfort zone, screw anyone who insists you leave it.

Monday, July 25, 2016

another one of those days...

Did yuo ever have one of  those days where everything is going wrong? well, it's been one of those days for me. Somethings I have to deal with delicately and not sure how to.

In any event, I did some art this weekend...

I painted this little beach scene from a book that I have called "Paint Charming Seaside Scenes" by Jacqueline's actually a pretty good book with step by step  directions for using acrylics.

This is the gray palette paper that I used to mix my colors on and for some reason I liked the splotches of color on the palette that I used in the painting and decided to embellish them with marker and came up with this...

As you can see it turned into a field of flowers on a grey background and I really like it. I wish that i could loosen up and do this kind of work intentionally.

Well, that's it for today... talk soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

decoupage project...

Well, it's me again and I have some pictures to post of my current project.  I have a new kitchen table and chairs on order, so I went and got some very colorful melamine plates and bowls. Sometimes you just need some color in your life...

My furniture and indoor décor is all neutrals.  My furniture is navy blue, my carpeting is gray and my wood trim is off white.  I love using these colors as neutrals because you can do so much with accent colors. 

Lots of the  time I use paper plates and bowls, so I don't think of how boring my dinnerware is.  I am going to be using the new table and chairs in the studio, setting up a little area for coffee, dining or just kicking back reading and looking out the window.  Since the table is off white and the cushions are a dark blue I knew that I wanted something colorful for the tableware, hence the colorful melamine plates.  I am still making up my mind on what kind of coffee mugs I'll get to go with the dishes, but I knew I wanted a tray of some sort to put in the middle of the table.

When I bought the dishes I also bought two types of coordinating paper napkins.  This got me to thinking "decoupage" and I ran with that...

This first photo shows the supplies that I gathered...wooden plaque to use as tray, paper napkins that go with the plates, white paint and mod podge.

this photo shows the wooden plaque painted bright white, since white is in the dishes...

In this photo you see the other paper napkins that I bought. I realized quickly that the cocktail sized napkins were not large enough and I didn't want to piece them together...

This shot shows the napkin unfolded and separated from it's white backing ply...

I brushed a layer of mod podge directly onto the plaque/tray, placed the napkin down, and when that set up, I started the layering that is required for decoupage, gently applying the first layer to the top of the napkin.  The project took two days of applying the medium and letting it cure and applying another layer...

Today I painted a blue border around the tray and distress the tray some with off white paint and sand paper, as it was just too new looking.
I even had little felt bumpers to put on the back...

I'm quite pleased with the results and I do think it will look nice on the new table with the cocktail napkins and maybe a salt and pepper shaker on it.

I have other posts in mind for later in the month, but for now hope you like my project.

decoupage project...

Well, it's me again and I have some pictures to post of my current project.  I have a new kitchen table and chairs on order, so I went and got some very colorful melamine plates and bowls. Sometimes you just need some color in your life...

My furniture and indoor décor is all neutrals.  My furniture is navy blue, my carpeting is gray and my wood trim is off white.  I love using these colors as neutrals because you can do so much with accent colors. 

Lots of the  time I use paper plates and bowls, so I don't think of how boring my dinnerware is.  I am going to be using the new table and chairs in the studio, setting up a little area for coffee, dining or just kicking back reading and looking out the window.  Since the table is off white and the cushions are a dark blue I knew that I wanted something colorful for the tableware, hence the colorful melamine plates.  I am still making up my mind on what kind of coffee mugs I'll get to go with the dishes, but I knew I wanted a tray of some sort to put in the middle of the table.

When I bought the dishes I also bought two types of coordinating paper napkins.  This got me to thinking "decoupage" and I ran with that...

This first photo shows the supplies that I gathered...wooden plaque to use as tray, paper napkins that go with the plates, white paint and mod podge.

this photo shows the wooden plaque painted bright white, since white is in the dishes...

In this photo you see the other paper napkins that I bought. I realized quickly that the cocktail sized napkins were not large enough and I didn't want to piece them together...

This shot shows the napkin unfolded and separated from it's white backing ply...

I brushed a layer of mod podge directly onto the plaque/tray, placed the napkin down, and when that set up, I started the layering that is required for decoupage, gently applying the first layer to the top of the napkin.  The project took two days of applying the medium and letting it cure and applying another layer...

Today I painted a blue border around the tray and distress the tray some with off white paint and sand paper, as it was just too new looking.

I'm quite pleased with the results and I do think it will look nice on the new table with the cocktail napkins and maybe a salt and pepper shaker on it.

I have other posts in mind for later in the month, but for now hope you like my project.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Liar, Liar

Short post today...

I have a friend who's significant other is a compulsive liar. They get along just fine but it drives some of their friends crazy.  Here is a link for them.  It's a WIKI page about dealing with a liar and basically deciding whether or not to call them out on their unnecessary lying. Just another chapter in my ongoing research on personality types.  That's all for today, unless you want another selfie...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I may have bitten off my nose...

Here is the e-mail I sent to my lawn guy this morning...

You probably think I do nothing but complain, and seems like when it comes to my lawn that may be the case. As you now know, I was out of town for six weeks and a quick swipe around the property sent you on your way with no cares.  Now that I'm home I must speak you know, our area has been hit by numerous storms with high winds that caused lots of debris in my yard, mostly from other neighbor's trees. the other day I picked up the debris and made a pile  of it on the outside of my fence, in hopes that my landscaper would take pity on me and put it in my trash can. My other lawn people always took the initiative to do this type of thing and I assumed you guys would do the same thing. This did not happen yesterday.  After raking all the newly scattered, old debris up again and putting it in the trash can myself this morning, I could only assume that you just mowed and weeded around or through the pile causing it to spread.  I even thought that maybe you were coming back to clean up the mess.  I waited till this morning while it was cool to take care of it, but short story is... I'm hot and sweaty before ten a.m. and quite cranky because of it.
Bottom line is this, I now realize that you perhaps you are not landscapers, but merely high priced lawn cutters.  I hope this is not true and I hope this correspondence comes off in the way it is actually intended...helpful. Most lawn guys put a trash can in the corner of their trailer to gather up debris that is too large to mulch over.  It's a thought.
It's been a rough summer for us huh?  You lose my email address and can't bill me, causing you to lose money offering a discount... you knock into a fence post with the mower causing it to break, once again causing you to lose money in repairs...Then I have to ask you to mow the back lot which I thought was supposedly part of the deal and now I have to rake up grass and leaves that got left in the yard.
Sigh, hope the rest of the summer goes by with less hassle.  Maybe the weather will cooperate more.

I didn't even mention the fact that I had to straighten the down spout that they had knocked crooked. Dammit. I got spoiled by people that know how to do stuff. Sigh.  He may decline to mow for me the rest of the summer and if  that is the case, I'll find someone else. He is charging me $100.00 per week to mow the front and sides and supposedly do the back one time a month. I think the price is too high, but hey, I'm not out there in the hot mowing...

Here is a pile that I raked from in front of my is possible that the neighbor blew this mess from their yard, and if I found out they did I will apologize to the yard guys...(and raise hell with the neighbors)

This may not look like much in the photograph, but for $100.00 a pop, I expect better than this...

Here is what I looked like after raking all the debris this am...three piles that I had to put in the big trash can.

Oh, well, that's it for today. I'll keep you posted on the response I get.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Hello again...

Greetings to all my friends and family.  I am back home after five weeks in San Diego, California.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was staying longer than usual.  It was probably good timing, due to the fact that my sister-in-law was hospitalized the week that I arrived and was moved to a recovery center for therapy.  My sister has tons of friends locally and there was no concern about her being by herself, other than the fact that being alone in the house is completely outside her norm.

We did all kinds of sister things and enjoyed each others company. I enjoy visiting with her and now know that I am very happy living in my little area here in Virginia and while I will continue to visit, I  can totally relate to Dorothy's sentiment that "there's no place like home".

There are many things that I could write, learning to navigate a new environment, meeting new people and that sort of thing, but that's not what today's post is about.

As I have stated laughingly many times, I'm not like the other kids. I actually didn't start saying this until I was an adult and it is usually amusing depending on the situation. This brings me to the thought that perhaps this isn't really far from the truth. 

I sometimes make less than kind remarks about particular types of artists, the ones who in publications, makes it a point to explain what their emotions were when they painted the work, or how they hope their viewer will feel when looking at their work. I pooh-pooh their emotions as silliness whenever I read these blurb, but in reality my own emotions are very much a part of my daily life.

It is possible that I hide from my own emotions in order to deal with them.  I like to read about personality types and traits, often taking quizzes to see how I fall into a specific category. When it comes to these personality quizzes, I take them, not only to see where I may fit it, but to recognize where I don't want to be and how to change things. 

My least favorite personality types are negative personality types and I try to look inward to see if I possess any of these traits and try to see how I can improve on them. The following information is from an article on a website called Operation Meditation and the article is called "Overcome Negative Personality Traits, And Become a Better You".

I just found this site while web surfing this morning and know nothing about it, but did enjoy reading the article.  There are numerous types of negative personality types listed, but I am only going to touch on several. I list these because these are traits and characteristics that I want to avoid.

The Judge: You tend to be very critical. You see things so clearly that you can’t help but point out the flaws. People are afraid of what you will say, so they are not very candid in your company. (Try to balance what you say. You can give constructive criticism. Given that you are able to see things as they are and as they should be, it should also be easy for you to pinpoint when something is done right. Mention that too.)

The Professor: You have a knack for remembering information. Sometimes, however, people get tired of your lecturing – even when what you say is something that they need to know. They think you are condescending. (Intelligence is an advantage, but it should be tempered with respect. You can help others, but you cannot think for them. Try to learn when to be forthcoming, and when to wait for others to ask your advice.)

The Hulk: You instinctively react with anger. It empowers you to speak out and question what is wrong. Sometimes, however, you forget to look at the situation from another perspective and later regret lashing out when you’ve cooled down. (If you feel angry all the time, find the source of your anger. Try to calm yourself – use the relaxation techniques in meditation to slow yourself down. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are angry with. Only then should you attempt a solution.)

As I mentioned, these are characteristics that I want to avoid in myself, but these are the same types of people that I don't want to interact with on any regular basis and since I am retired I have much more control over the people I see everyday and can remove myself from most negative situations that are happening within the perimeters of my daily life.

So my next bit of research will be dealing with negative people in everyday life. So on to other things.

One of the things I do on a regular basis is take self portraits.  I have always done it and will continue to do so.  Here is one of the ones I took in California...

Hope you like it...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sunny California

Yes,  here I am in California.  I talked to my sister and asked her what she thought about me coming out to San Diego and possible staying for a longer period of time than usual...with the possibility of me living out here.  She was all for it and had their driver fly out to Virginia and help me pack up enough of my everyday stuff to make it seem like I was living here and not visiting.  So I am writing this post on my own computer and listening to my own music and have my own car.  I have only been here a few days but I already feel so comfortable and at home.

I've been sitting in the back yard drawing a bit. Mostly sketching in some shapes of some flowers and rocks with the possibility of turning it into and new drawing.  This is what I have so far...

We will see if anything happens with it. Until then I'm getting used to the neighborhood and all that goes with being in a new place.

So I'll keep you posted on my progress, in all areas.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rambling thoughts on a Wednesday morning...

Yesterday on Facebook, someone posted a pictures of a park bench and asked "if you had one hour to sit and talk to someone, anyone, who would it be". This is, of course, a question that has been asked in many ways, by many people over the years.   If I respond, I usually respond with the name of a celebrity or someone that I would never get to speak to in real life.

My sister and I say on a daily basis, that we aren't like the other kids. We never have been and never will. I can tell that still holds true, by the answers other people give to the above question.  I was one of the people that didn't mention wanting to sit with relatives who have died.  Of the many responses she got, only a small number replied with someone other than a relative. I'm not criticizing them, I'm simply pointing out that I'm different. I seldom long to talk to those in my life who have died. I do miss them and remember them fondly.  I have no regrets, my family and friends knew that I loved them. I wasn't one to hold a grudge and if anyone died having a problem with me...well, I would be totally surprised.  In the Facebook comment section, only one person came close to going where I am going to go now.  One girl said she would like to sit down with her future self.

After thinking seriously about it, I think I would like to sit down with myself at different ages and talk about things. All kinds of things. All kinds of advice would be given of course, but if I could give myself any advice for dealing with life, it would be this...


Don't worry about love so much, that's just your hormones.
Don't hold your tongue so much, speak up.
There is no permanent record, quit tip-toeing around because of it.
Don't be a secretary if what you really want to do is cut hair.
Take ballet lessons if you want.
Take singing lessons if you want.
You are not too fat to be a model.
Join the military if you want, you wont know till you try.
Rock the damn boat, but learn to swim first.


Of course our parents did the best they could raising us, and we didn't have access to the internet back then to challenge their rules, but I was convinced that all adults knew everything and I wasn't to question anything.  I don't think anyone ever told me this, I just got it in my head and ran with it.

                 Other than the current phase of taking selfies and getting killed, probably nothing

I didn't try anything new. Activities, food, places...I stayed with what I knew. It may have come from getting hurt or embarrassed whenever I did try. I tried to teach myself to roller skate and fell and was afraid to get back up. Sitting on the ground for an hour before realizing I could take the skates off and walk home. I burned my hand badly trying to help my grandmother in the kitchen. I got stuck in a tree and was so embarrassed because I didn't know how to get down. I fell on a cactus and had to have needles pulled from my bare bottom. Once again hugely embarrassed.  As I got older, I think I was stymied by things, because from what I could tell, my mom HATED the unknown. She didn't want me to do anything if she couldn't predict the outcome. I respected her opinion and usually didn't do anything she didn't want me to (that changed at sixteen, hee hee). Seriously though, never once can I remember her saying "go for it".  May have happened, I just don't remember it.  Then again, my sister and I have different memories of our mother.  My sister, Peri, was caretaker of my mom in her later years (and I respect her so much for that) but she saw a side of mom that I never saw.  I didn't move away from home until I was almost thirty and mom was already sixty-five and in all those years, I can only remember my mom being upset with me once and it was because I told her I wanted to get a place of my own.  It broke my heart that she didn't speak to me for about a month, but that's what I got from her, The Silent Treatment. (Looking back on it she may have been going through some stuff and just didn't know how to talk about it). She never raised her voice to me or anyone else when I was around. Periodically my sister talks about having to verbally straighten someone out about something, she often compares herself to Mom when she would do this type of thing. I wish I could have seen this side of her, I may have been more courageous.


I  really worried and still do care a lot about what I look like. It's been such a hurdle for me (and ninth grade phys-ed showed me hurdles were to be avoided at all costs) and I still constantly compare myself to others. Maybe it's because my family was always quick to "point out" what someone else looked like (including me). A Sunday ride in Uncle's car was filled with him loudly making fun of the outfits that people were wearing...the hats, the colors, as well as the size of the people wearing them. Maybe our uncle was trying to amuse us with these statements, trying to be a comedian, but it always made me so uncomfortable. I was chubby and everyone knew it felt compelled to comment on it. A visit to the home of my uncle's "girlfriends" left me red faced and ashamed... at nine years old, after hearing the hostess say under her breath, "my God her titties are bigger than mine". Then there was the time that my grandmother gave me $50.00 when I was in high school to make me stop wearing make up, because she didn't like the way I looked.  I was fifteen and finding my way, but I needed money too, so for three months I went to school barefaced with a bit of mascara, surrounded by all my friends made up with "cat eyes and twiggies" as if they were Mods and our school was on Carnaby Street. In case you don't remember the 60's, this was the look I the way, I bought make up with the money.

I still think it looks good and now that I'm an adult I wear whatever make up I want and unless I over hear someone laughing at me, I'm usually happy with it.  Anyway, I'm rambling today, so now I'll sit down with my current self and try to reflect on the fact that I've turned out ok. The reality is, yeah, I'm still pretty chubby, but I think I'm finally ready to stop worrying about it.

Seriously, who's damn business is it any way, what I wear? How I like my hair? What my eyebrows look like? Honestly, maybe I am reaching the stage where I don't give a flying flip what "they" think.  Maybe "they" need to walk past a mirror themselves, before they snicker at what I'm wearing.

So there. Rambling thoughts on a Wednesday morning...

Saturday, May 7, 2016

I'm bored...

Damn, I'm bored of the same old thing. I thought perhaps it was just because it was winter, so I did as many art projects as I could. Those of you that know me know that I like sometimes to do nothing. What I am finally realizing is that what I don't like is having nothing to do when I want to do something... There are things to do in my small city, but they are small city kind of things. The same people go to all these things. I'm tired of the people at the drugstore and the craft store being the only people I ever see. The closest places to go to do "real" things like museums and touristy things are hours away and then they are still pretty small town things.  There must be a solution. I am going to spend the next few weeks re-evaluating things. Am I staying here because it's where I want to be, or just because it's easy???

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 29, 2016

I'm calling it finished...

I'm getting back in the groove and decided that today was the day to finish my friend's painting.  I had originally put in the vintage gas pump as he asked, but it didn't look right.  Today I decided I would put it in another location and then cover it with vines.  I added some rocks to the field and some more grasses and flowers and I'm ready to call it done...

I hope he likes it. Enough said.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It's been a while...

OK, it's been a while since I posted and the main reason is that I got sick with N.V.D and after being up all night finally decided I had to go to the hospital in the ambulance at 5a.m. one Wednesday morning. Five day stay, meds, two weeks recovery at home and finally I think I'm feeling better.

I had one day that I felt like painting and I have ended up with this, so far...

I like the photograph of the painting much better than the actual art and I think it is because it seems very dark and brooding in person. I'm no where near done, but wanted to show you were I am now.

Lots more layers to go on...the trees especially need some filling in and I am not yet happy with the lights and darks, so lots more to think about.

Maybe I'll paint some more tomorrow. Until then, have fun and enjoy life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

old truck

OK, I decided to re-do my old truck. Now the grass surrounding the truck is very dark, but I am going to have some light colored flowers sprouting up around the truck and I need those darks...

The hood shape on the truck isn't exactly what I want yet, but you get what I'm going for. I'm not sure if I'm happy with the inside of the truck yet either. I'll be refining the rusty areas more also, and I have since darkened up the color of the steering wheel.

More in the next day or so...

progress report

As I continue to work on my painting, I constantly take pictures of my progress. This allows me to see the canvas from another perspective. You can view your work through a mirror and get a similar result. Taking pictures works well for me, plus it gives me a way to show you, my loyal reader, that my work usually starts out as a mess before it is transformed into a viewable work of art.

Often I will see something in an earlier version that I want to recapture and having done the progress pictures I can go back to what I did before.

Here I am literally just slapping paint on the canvas to check colors and deciding the lay of the land. The direction and shape of the brush strokes can give the illusion of bushes or little hills.  I also decided to take out the shed in the foreground, as well as blocking out the gas pump.

I may put some bushes or rocks in the field below the house or I may even incorporate a rock wall somewhere. I like to paint cloudscapes, so usually I add clouds and I can do a nice rock wall. When painting, it's more fun to include things you enjoy painting and it helps to establish your own style as a artist.

So, don't get scared, it's not finished at all, I'm just figuring it out.  More to come later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

throw some bling on it...

I have a friend who found a color copy of a watercolor painting and he has asked me to recreate it, but in a larger size. I have no idea what the size of the original was but this is what I have to go by. It's printed on a color copier on 11 x 17 paper...

I have been walking around thinking about this project for several months now. More than just thinking, almost struggling with the concept of recreating a painting that I don't like. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really criticizing the painting or the artist, because it's probably not that bad. It's just that I don't like the style and because of that, I don't think it's very good. It looks poorly executed and amateurish and that may not be the case at all. It may purposely be done in a style that is supposed to resemble outsider art... I don't know, I just know I put my hands on my hips, pushed my bottom lip out and decided I don't like it. All that being said, I tried...I really did.

I did a quick color study of it...trying to capture that style
I also did a very rough sketch for enlargement purposes...shudder

I think it was at this point that I realized I just wasn't feeling the all. If I'm not feeling it, it's just not going to happen.

I suppose that were I doing this as a commissioned painting and charging for it, well that would be another story. If all he wanted was truly a larger version of this painting, I could take it and have a larger copy made of it. I am doing this for a friend who likes MY art, but who also really likes the elements in this painting.  He likes the old truck, and the gas pump and the farm house and the landscape. It's possible I'm overthinking this entire thing. I have been known to do that.

Recently he asked me if I had started on it yet (he has seen two or three painting that I have done recently)and I finally just ask him if he cared if I changed it a bit, to which he replied "throw some bling on it", "heck, put a naked woman in it, if you want to." So, yes I was over thinking it.

I think I'm just going to do a painting, in my own style, that contains the elements that he likes about this...

Here is what may turn out to be the final sketch, but who knows. I have drawn in the main elements on a 20" x 24" artist canvas. My plan at this point is to use acrylic liquid paint and build up the layers. This is very similar to the paintings that I did in the heading for this blog.  He actually has one of those paintings and he really likes it. As I said, who knows, the way I do art, I may do several more versions of it before I'm happy with it.

So that's what I've been doing art wise lately.  I'll try to keep you posted, so wish me luck.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Some new art...

Just thought I would show you the progression of my latest painting. I used a photo that I took in California this last trip as my reference photo.  My sister sent me some new pastels and I finally took the plunge and purchased a projector so I can easily transfer my photos to my painting surface.

 I did my research and got the one that I wanted and bought a stand and an adapter to use with my smart phone and I was up and running.

I  projected the image on a piece of watercolor paper taped to the wall and basically drew around the image onto the paper.  This is just for practice after all.

The next time I do this step, I will use a much softer pencil, maybe even use charcoal, because the colored pencil that I used left an impression in the paper that I wasn't happy with.
 Then I taped the watercolor paper to a piece of wood that I previously had cut to a standard painting size. The  painters tape serves two purposes for me, it allows me to use water on the paper if necessary without getting a ripple in the paper...

It also allows me to mark the image area of my painting precisely and removal of the tape will leave a very clean painting when I am done. Since this is a pastel painting, you need to be mindful of smudging...
 I had initially wanted to put a figure in the painting, but it just never worked out, so I gave up on that...
I like to say that she and I had artistic differences and that she stormed out of the painting.
 In the reference photo, the sand was full of footprints that I had decided to use for texture and part of the story of the painting,
but in the end, I decided on smooth sand and turbulent waves...

It took me several days to complete the painting and in general I'm quite happy with it.  It was a practice piece and there are some things that may not be exactly "right", but that's ok.

Hope you like it. Tonight is the start of daylight saving time, so enjoy the longer days to come and remember to do plenty of art.

Monday, March 7, 2016

poor pitiful me...

Well, it's me again crying and whining because I have a cold.

I had the pleasure of visiting my sister two weeks ago and I had a thoroughly good time. I love hanging out at my sisters' guest house, but this time I was invited again to stay at another friend's house and I decided to do it.

This friend happens to be a guy and he is really a good friend and we laughed most of the time I stayed there.  I felt really comfortable while there. There was one morning I wasn't sure about an aroma I noticed, but I figured out it was his dogs. They have no shame and never warned me at all when they were going to be flatulent.  Didn't they know I was a guest? How dare they. Humph.

I stayed in a part of San Diego that I'm not usually in and wasn't quite as intimidated by the drivers this time. I think I might be able to handle the traffic in this part of the county. I  normally don't drive when I go to visit my sister, but I'm getting braver, so next time...who knows?

Sister and I hung out with friends...

We picked fruit...

We shopped...

We went to the beach and took photos to paint and draw from...

The waves were beautiful that day...

She even indulged me and took me to Poway to take a picture of the funeral home that was the setting for a reality show some years ago.

Anyone remember the show Family Plots? Well, of all the things I wanted to see, that was one of them...

We had fun together, as we always do. I needed a break from the snow and cold weather that we have had here on the East Coast. I even extended my stay when the return flight I was on was cancelled before we even got off the ground due to a cracked windshield.  Finally got home, the only bad part about it was that my seat mate coughed and sniffed the entire flight home and so I'm blaming him for my cold. I got a sinus infection on the last trip out...perhaps I need to boost my immune system if I'm going to be traveling.

Weather is warming up here at home now and I'm much more likely to get back in the artist groove.  Sister is sending me a care package that has new pastels in it and I've ordered some new art equipment, so hopefully new and interesting art is in my future.  I'll keep you posted.

Take care and remember that's just a walk in the park.