Friday, April 24, 2015


Tomorrow they say, and it it can't be too soon. At Ikebana class this morning Ronn said most of the flowers in the flower markets are now coming in from Ecuador and other countries, California suffering severe drought. Even my  few iris, which generally love dry feet, are looking confused. For Ikebana this morning I picked  arbutalon, which looked stunning in the front garden, only to learn it was a poor choice. By 10:30 it was on its knees. So much to learn....
Painter buddy Beth from Alameda is coming up this weekend so we can practice using the tombow pen . I have a lot to learn there as well. for except for politics I tend to see everything in the vibrancy of color. On the right is the best I have done so far: some small red roses from my schizophrenic back yard. (Tomorrow it will be smiling.)
So what a poor memory I have. Or is it denial? About a month ago my left shoulder started hurting under the shoulder blade. The hurting got bigger and bigger. "How peculiar" I thought. "I've never had trouble with this shoulder before..."
After taking out stock in Alleve, making excuses for my  poor disposition and watching an increasing number of inane tv shows to distract myself, I woke in the night Wednesday screaming out loud. It hurt so bad. I spent the rest of the night flat on the living room floor with ice under my shoulder. I couldn't decide if it was heart, lung, orthopedic or hysteria. So I dragged myself to the family doc Thursday morning. In five seconds he announced that it was a classic case of nerve inflammation, probably caused by my poor posture due to protecting the bulging pacemaker in front which causes me continual discomfort. Three painless shot and fifteen minutes later I was soothing myself with three flavors of frozen yogurt. Since then I've been scratching my grey matter. Its coming back to me with some embarrassment how many times I've seen doctors in my life for that same shoulder, beginning with my freshman year at the University of Washington, hiking all over that huge campus in the cold and rain with stacks of books under my left arm. More and more memories are coming back. And if I looked through my stack on old MRI's in the closet I'll bet I'd find at least two of that shoulder. So I started today

trying to train myself to carry stuff with my right arm. How hard it is to break old habits!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Reflections of the Past

Way back in the fifties when Lee and I and I hung our weekend hats at Dr. Jane's cabin (my blog of two months ago) the rolling hills were all pasture, but last Wednesday when friend Joyce and I set out to see if we could find the old cabin, a little over an hour's drive from here, all we saw were vineyards. Today's Press Democrat says Sonoma County had 59,974 acres of vineyards last year. Imagine! The vines are bursting with new growth right now and look pristine. But how much wine can a population consume? I hardly recognized the landscape, but we eventually found the cabin, now hidden in deep willow and alder. From the west side of Highway 128 where we parked I could just make out the new stovepipe on the cabin, so someone must be using it. One can't see it in the photograph, but somewhat fuzzy is the big black volcanic rock we climbed on hot afternoons to plunge, nude, into the deep pool below. Ah, such delightful memories of sunbathing along the Mayacama creek, dinners over a campfire, and slumbering under a million stars (trying to avoid the poision oak). Leaving the cabin we motored north west through more vineyards to lunch in Jimtown, first built in 1895, now a restored fancy country store and restaurant. Full tummies we skirted back Healdsburg way, marveling at yet more miles of vineyards. I couldn't help but wonder what this land would look like seventy-five years from now. Perhaps they will find some way of growing water!

The poppies above are to attract tasters into a winery. At right, the old truck in front of the now modernized Jimtown restaurant.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Besides the recent lunar eclipse (I actually saw it) the pink dogwood in others' yards (I could never get mine  to bloom in Oakland)  is strutting itself in profusion around Oakmont. My three Japanese
maples are coming in a close second in this writers opinion. Yesterday apple came out with a vastly different version of iPhoto, and today the apple watch went on sale for the first time. Meanwhile Hillary is announcing her candidacy for president tomorrow. I can't help but wonder if any of these things are connected? Maybe the honey bee can tell us?
This weekend I do a two day workshop on travel sketching with David Lobenbrg. And best of all, Catherine will be sitting beside me. We can talk politics in between stokes of the tomboy pen.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Good Friday

Besides our thriving Art Association here at Oakmont (hear the pride and prejudice in my voice) there are several others around Santa Rosa. In January I bit the bullet and joined one called Artists Roundtable. Its an active group of people who seem to do many shows. I've attended a couple of meetings and suffered facial cramps from stifling yawns. They have competition every month, not judged, except by popular vote. I entered my first painting of an iris this week (the theme was "spring") and came out as #1 winner. I do love painting iris! This is one I did from my garden in Oakland. So far, of the few bulbs I brought up here, only one has graced me with a blossom. Its a pale, pale blue with a yellow beard, smiling at me just now.

 Not exactly exciting to paint. Anyway, the bonus at Artists' Roundtable was there is an iris gardener in the group who every year opens her garden to photographers. I can't wait.
For several weeks now I've missed Friday afternoon current events meeting here, my favorite group. But I'm making a special effort to attend today. There is so much juice in the news, I'll be dancing a jig. And it won't be in Indiana. The group is composed of about 47 democrats and 3 republicans, the latter who are very vocal, but usually get royally trounced. Its great fun. Then there is the governor's edict to cut water usage by 25%. Needed. but ouch. We hardly ever get through one third of the topics nominated. I'll be so stimulated I may be awake for the lunar eclipse Saturday morning.