Friday, May 13, 2011

Time for Travel

My neighbors up the hill appreciate their improved view of SF Bay now that the big pine you saw last week is just a pile of wood chips. The writer’s current old house challenge is a leaking water pressure regulator. I should have been a plumber! Repair and replacement is scheduled for next Tuesday. Cross your fingers it goes well as I have a small window to get it fixed.

Next Friday at this time I’ll be somewhere over the North Pole via Icelandic in route to France. I expect to be in painting in Provence on the 21st, the date the world is supposed to end. I’m sure I won’t notice. Meanwhile I have a lot on my palette. Today at 8:30a.m. with the help of painting friend Nancy Overton I picked about 60 iris of all colors to take to the painting class I attended for many years at Merritt college. Its always fun and a bit nostalgic. Van Gogh painted iris as do almost all watercolorists, but Dorcas Moultan, the Merritt teacher, does them better than most any one I know. Bearded iris are one of my favorite painting subjects, hence I now grow them all over the property. For some reason the gophers do not relish them if there are better choices. The word iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow, and indeed I have every color from deep black (“Almost Midnight”) to pure white, though the browns are my favorites. A smattering of this year’s crop appears in the collage above.

If you are interested you can probably see daily photos of me and my painterly friends as we soak up the sights (and food) of France. I’ll be home on the 30th.

For French Escapade, www.traveltofranceandmor#1964AC

For Sandy Delehanty,

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Life is Up for This Old Montery Pine

What else is UP? Recently I wrote about a big snail climbing way UP my newly washed picture window. Last Sunday many friends came UP for lunch to celebrate my spring garden. Over 100 iris are opening UP, colors from midnight black UP to stark white. Though my head was still stopped UP with allergies life in general was looking UP indeed. Then on Monday my old friend Bonnie Burke who has two years UP on me in age mailed me a funny forward that is a play on the word UP so I thought I’d add to the hysteria. Bonnie had driven UP from Sunnyvale the previous day. Seems that the two-letter word UP has more meanings than any other in the English language and that it can be an adverb, verb, noun, preposition or adjective. (don’t believe me, look it UP). Bonnie B says that in Pennsylvania Dutch country everyone speaks of going UP the down staircase. Does that make any sense? But then neither does writing UP this story.

What’s UP in your world? The jig is UP for Bin Laden at last just when we were all beginning to give UP.

When Francisco my tree man came strolling down the driveway on Monday afternoon to trim my three junipers that grow UP through the deck (artistic, but a pain to maintain) he greeted me with the news that looking UP he could see the next to last of my huge Monterey pines previously infected with the pine-bark-beetle had suddenly given UP the battle. They do that, looking green one day, and giving UP the ghost the next. The downside of this is that the removal will strain my budget $2M, so its good the market is UP this week. The UP side of this is that the driveway will stay cleaner. If it were just UP to me I might postpone the removal a month or so till I get back from France but every year since the Oakland fire the annual fire inspection comes UP in early June and the fines are going UP annually if one does not pony UP. I believe in this, but UP till now I haven’t given UP any investments this year.

So thinking about it I realize old men are always worried about getting it UP, whereas young women are worried about getting knocked UP. Is this sexist? As for me, I’m worried about anteing UP the funds for the tree removal. Cheer UP Bonnie, its not the end of the world. I’ve already picked UP my euro’s for the coming trip.

My niece Cheari and hubby have just given UP their long planned motor home trip to Alaska because the price of oil has gone UP so much its not feasible.

I note this month’s Sunset magazine has an article titled “UP your Budget Savvy” but I passed it UP in favor of an article on an UP and coming sorbet spot on Telegraph Avenue. My stomach always rules! Now I’ve used UP my play-time and its time to pick UP the kitchen and contemplate packing UP my gear for Provence. Anyway, your patience with my silliness must be about used UP. (Please don’t UP chuck.) I invite you to write UP a comment as long as you don’t UP stage this author who has had great fun thinking this UP. Speak UP! What you do is not UP to me. My time is UP.