Sunday, July 29

I was recently visiting my parents and thinking about how my father, who was a commercial artist for over 40 years and is a highly talented draftsman, still loves art but seems to have no more interest in drawing or painting. He's such a creative guy, that this seemed absolutely baffling. Arriving back home, I uploaded the photos I'd taken on the visit. Suddenly, I think I see what is going on. Our family home is stuffed with dozens and dozens of these beautiful little stick and tissue planes. Now that Dad is retired he pours his creative energy into them and his output is prodigious. The same way that I have many canvases in my studio, at all different stages of completion, Dad always has several planes in process in his studio. Same creative spirit, now in a different medium?

Saturday, July 28


The comfort of cats-
Soft, warm, rumbling, whiskery-
sharp, squirming...and gone!


This is NOT our own cat, Daisy. She sure looks a lot like Daisy, very similar coloring and markings. But this long-whiskered beauty is at our local pet store, living in the adopt-a-cat enclosure. Young H visits her nearly every day. He knows we can't adopt another cat right now...too many vacations upcoming. But think he is focusing on this cat who looks so like ours, as a way of pre-comforting himself. Because our own dear Daisy is not doing very well. She is needing frequent tests, medicine and doctor visits as well as endless worry and coddling. Just like Daisy, this cat seems very gentle and affectionate. In the adopt-a-cat enclosure she is the lowest cat in the pecking order, and spends much of the day with her neck outstretched in submissive posture. Possible she and Daisy would be a close match in a competition for Champion Feline Milquetoast! But not right now. I'm not sure that right now Daisy could take on an ant and win, alas!

Thursday, July 26

Last night I got home and saw I had three full-grown cucumbers hanging down from the vines I am training up the side of the house. Their oddly varied appearances reminded me that I'd planted two different varieties! I'd forgotten about that. What happened was this: I'd planted my favorite pickling cucumber variety (short, straight, blocky) but the seeds did not appear to germinate. I then decided to try a new kind, an asian type (long, curved, thin) which I'd read were very good. So I replanted the bed with those seeds. However, it looks like one of the pickling cuke seeds actually made it into a fruiting plant after all! The vines all look identical, but with very different results. A nice surprise!

Friday, July 20

is the theme over at Photo Friday. I took this shot last summer on Chincoteague Island. I've been a little photo-hampered in that my G-5 crashed (literally, to the floor) and the hard drive cracked. All my photos are on that computer, and yes, I never ever once backed them up. I'm guilty, so guilty! And now, sorry, so sorry! I'm not in total despair as I'm hoping that a hard drive retrieval service will be able to magic them out of the debris. And I occasionally uploaded photos to the other family computer. Which is how I got this one. A magical moment from a beautiful vacation.

Thursday, July 19

Last year I complained on this blog that all the nasturtiums I'd planted, even the "mixed color assortment" seeds, came out in different shades of the same color: orange. I like orange, but had been hoping for a variety of color choices to use in my still life paintings. The lovely Paula, over at Momma Pajama heard my cri de coeur from all the way on the other side of the country and generously sent me several packets of special nasturtium seeds. Grateful, I planted them all and so far I have yellow, pale yellow, orange, deep maroon and this lovely pinky magenta. I believe it is called Raspberry Parfait. Yum yum yum. There are still a couple of patches that haven't bloomed yet and I can hardly wait to see what those colors will be.

You can see I have many more leaves than blossoms, and I think that is because my soil is too rich. Paula says the trick is sandy soil, no fertilizer and lots of neglect. I'll try that next year. But anyway, it's OK. I am enamored of the lily pad leaves as well!

Wednesday, July 18

My friend Meri this morning in a neighborhood coffee shop. She'd arranged for a few artist friends to meet there, and she brought some of her recent pieces. I remember a teacher of mine in art school commenting with envy on the beauty of being Paul Klee and being able to tuck your entire ouevre into a suitcase (this teacher specialised in huge Cor-Ten® steel constructions!)

I had a similar envious pang watching the pile of bright paintings come out of her portfolio: wow! Portable art, it's a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, July 11

Henry cracking himself up the other day. His manic giggle fits are very infectious, although we have no idea what he is laughing about.

So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter. ~Gordon W. Allport

Monday, July 9

is the theme of this week's Moody Monday meme. Ebullient means Full of joyful, unrestrained high spirits and this image I shot last month sprang to mind. H came home from the season's last soccer game (football match to the rest of the world) all lit up, trophy in hand. Everyone who plays gets a trophy, but what really lit the spark of joy in his eyes was that he had scored the winning goal of the game! A rare and wonderful event.

In my bean patch, this morning. There is something so touching about vines: their blind groping for purchase. Optimistic, fragile, tenacious.

Saturday, July 7

Paul and P and H are away visiting relatives in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Someplace so far away and hard to get to (and inaccessible to cell phone) that we didn't feel comfortable bringing Henry (a.k.a. Mr. Unpredictable), especially after our recent failed family vacation. So, I volunteered to stay home with him. Paul needed a break, and I had gotten to go last year so it was really his turn. I also thought it might be a good chance to get some things done, while the house was quieter than usual.

But you know, it has turned out to be too quiet. Paul and company will have been gone nine days tomorrow, and that is just a few days too many. To be home alone with a non-verbal thirteen-year-old low-functioning autistic boy is to be very alone indeed. I feel the weight of the isolation like a physical presence, a cloud hanging in my chest. We have no family anywhere nearby, and several of my close friends, including my one local autism mom pal, are away this week too, by sad coincidence. Yeah, and it is a holiday week and extended weekend for many. So people are busy. Everyone except Henry and me.

You hear a lot about "It takes a village" to raise a child. Sometimes, though, things turn out so that you are standing there alone saying "Where'd my village go to?" (Hear those violins throbbing? What a pity party I am having! Thanks for listening.)

Thursday, July 5


the young coneflower
unfurls frail petals, shaded
by its big brother

Monday, July 2

I love when I find another family who allows their kids to play on the sofas. We are a rare breed. In fact, when my husband and I were shopping for sofas after we bought our first house he revealed something very sweet about his personality. I was admiring a plush light colored velvet but he led me away from that over to a truly hideous black, brown and beige patterned monstrosity. With black leather arm rests yet. I looked at him. "You're kidding, right?" He won me over by saying, "Won't these be perfect for when our kids want to play on them? They won't show the dirt!" Awww...I could not resist that pitch and the monstrosity sofa and its little sister the ugly loveseat lived with us for a long time. (I did discover the joy of slipcovers after a while, thank goodness!)

P.S. This shot had been chosen as a weekly "Favorite" at: