Sunday, November 30, 2014


Shimmering grey cumulus clouds changing in shape so rapidly I couldn't count,  multiplied each mile Friday as weary me wended her way home from four days in the bay area. Catching up with friends and writing colleagues consumed my energies: not nearly enough time to make a big dent in my wish list of friends to see and things to do, but at least a few. The new owners of Cathy Lane invited me to see how the property looks minus the demolished green house and jewel corridor. (Great, really, just very different.) The storm held off until just a few minutes before I arrived home at Oakmont. There I found that my two Japanese maples decided on a wardrobe change while I was gone. Hundreds and hundreds of little colored petticoats covered both my front and back yard. Out my bedroom window they are over a foot deep in places. They now glisten in our much appreciated rain. The forecasters predict we will get more percip in the next seven days than we have had in a year. Triple rejoicing. 
Catherine came yesterday and took me shopping to Whole Foods and a funky little Ace hardware for an odd sized light globe. She goes to Washington DC next week to testify at the Senate Finance Comm. on Women's Health. 
My breathing is still problematical so I am on oxygen most of the time. I feel conspicuous when I go out, but few people stare, or if they do, I don't notice. On this Thanksgiving week I am most thankful for loved ones, and for the assist of portable oxygen. Now I can't wait to see what December brings. 
Meanwhile, I'm reading up a storm, as well as painting a little. Hope you are warm and toasty wherever you are. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

So Many Gratitudes

It was a bit scary yesterday as the  skilled and personable techie, Craig,  added the radioactive juice to my i.v. to see if I had any blood clots ready to pop. "You'll feel flushed and then you may get a headache" he confided, "but the whole process will only take four minutes". This was after fifteen minutes of being scanned with my arms in a swan dive position, by a big rotating camera in another room. Guess what? No blockages, no naughty gremlins ready to jump out at me. The whole process took about an hour an a half, and yes, was followed by a headache. However Craig confided, "We don't know why, but the headache is alleviated by real caffeine....would you like me to get you some from the nurse's lounge because whats in the waiting room is decaf.?"
Wow, it really worked. Later the cardiologist met me and my dear driver, Joyce, and we celebrated the good news together: no need for an angiogram and a stint.. I'm still on oxygen part of the time, and now I return to my dear pulminologist to see if we can figure out what's ailing in my lungs. But this is terrific news and my first gratitude.

My second gratitude is that we have had a little rain. Not enough, of course, but sufficient that plants once brown are starting to flirt with green. The photograph on the left is of Hood Mountain taking on its winter color. I can see the mountain from my back deck, but not this much of it until neighbors trees loose their leaves, a process just starting.  I took this photo standing in the middle of Oakmont Drive about three blocks away. When my hiking friend Jamie from Colorado came out to nurse me after my broken hip she climbed this landmark, imagine.

My third gratitude is for all the friends who have helped me make this transition to Santa Rosa in the last two years. Friends, both new and old, are what make my world go around. I'll be spending Thanksgiving in Hayward with my dear old friends Stace and Andrea, and Jac from San Leandro (and Belgium and France) will be joining us, as well as the usual gang. For Lee and I, Thanksgiving would have been our 58th anniversary. How lucky am I!

Not that I'll ever run out of gratitudes, but a special place in my heart is reserved for my art buddies. They prod and poke and inspire me to keep painting. Right now I'm playing with abstracts. I'm pretty awful at it, but it is creative and playful, something I want more of in my life. Below are three I presented to my Oakmont Critique group last Monday. They see things in them I don't, but I'll hold off adding them to my scrap pile until the radioactivity gets out of my system.

 Maybe this is what my stomach will feel like next Thursday after the second piece of pumpkin pie. They are created by holding stretched paper over the sink and dropping watercolors on them, in a variety of patterns. Then the artist fills in the spaces to try to make a painting. I just let my imagination go. One has no choice but to be playful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Change of Season

Its 4 pm in the afternoon and even though the wall thermometer says 70  I can't seem to get the chill off my spine. For the first time this morning, heading out to an 8:30 am Art board meeting, I donned a long sleeved tee and a light jacket. About 2 pm I rose from my comfy recliner  where I'd been reading for two hours and put on a light undershirt under the long sleeved red tee. Still chilly at 3:30 I checked the deck thermometer and it read 62. But somehow I can't get rid of the chill.  Its as if the house walls don't want to absorb the heat from the long unused furnace and are still splashing cold on me. So I made a cup of hot chocolate and put fake whipping cream on top. Maybe that will help. I know tonight I will put on my purple sweat shirt over my other layers when I go to friend Judy's for take-out Chinese.
The two large Japanese maples in my yard have been reluctant to shed their leaves; this cooler weather should shock them into action. Meanwhile, nearby friends Steve and Chuck have a persimmon tree bursting with fruit and brilliant leaves. They kindly share with me and the frozen pulp makes persimmon bars all year to the delight of my new friends. See their bounty below.

 Since I am kinda known for my persimmon paintings I think its time to get out my brushes and go to work.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Fall is a magical time in the Valley of the Moon. Snapped this picture Friday from the parking lot of the cardiologist's office
as I was parking for an appointment. Each tree seems more magical than the next. No wonder Luther Burbank picked Santa Rosa! How is it in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

The Delehanty Ranch in Fairfield, otherwise known as Mt. Vernon because it is an eight bedroom home constructed to mimic it, was the setting for a three day abstract paint out last week.   Five of us, under Sandy's tutelage, managed to turn the lovely living room into a watercolor zoo. Liquid paint and masque and stencils were flying everywhere, as were our imaginations. We hardly stopped long enough to eat, but we did manage to take in the last two Giant games as they won the World Series pennant.

 My friend Margaret, below, has kept me chuckling through three trips with Sandy, two to France and one to Belgium. Likewise Sylvia, left  in front of the fireplace, has trekked France and Belgium with me.

Most of us were new to abstract painting but none of us are inhibited, so it was a gala event. Sylvia is probably the quietest of all of us, but her creation which I dubbed "The Source" turned out to be the wildest and most expressive.

It may not be finished so I'm not showing it.

Who knows what  we will come up  with next. Jan Matsuoka, my watercolor friend from Castro Valley joined us and was blown away. All are planning to attend the Celebration of Arts event here at Oakmont on Feb. 6 when three famous watercolor portrait painters are doing an all day demo of the same model. I've been instrumental in putting this act
together and you are all invited as my guests. I can hardly wait. Contact me if you are interested.

Happy painting! Happy creating, whatever your media.