Saturday, January 30, 2016

Joy and Sadness

When Lee's g.g. niece, Charlotte, age 4, visited from New Hampshire last year she was enthralled with the water feature at the Charles Schultz Children's museum. The day was very sunny. I liked the joy and strong shadows reflected on her face. The photo did not show her muddy feet and skirt, which was the part she liked best. Anyway I chose to paint her for a class here this week in portrait painting. You can see I still have to shade in the cheek, chin, and mouth. Hope I don't mess up. I did this with just four transparent Daniel Smith colors amd my Godzilla #10 brush. Can you guess the colors?
This morning at 11 I'm going with friends to see The Danish Girl. A funny time to see a movie, but its the only time its playing.
I'm happy to report that my fractured rib pain which has kept me groaning (sometimes out loud) for four months now is just this week receding in intensity. Its been a long haul.

Postscript to last week's blog, the 85 year old woman who got hit on the sidewalk here last week by another resident who was arrested for being inebriated, died of her injuries. The driver is out on bail, but I judge that life is over for both of them. I have such gratitude for my thirty plus years clean and sober.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pause That Refreshes

Two times a month, for a break in the tension of the world and Oakmont politics, I tote my stuff to the Ikebana class I started here. I initiated it at the request of others,  but like so often got hooked myself. Its a time when I can forget about Trump, Iran, pickleball versus tennis fighting, etc. Also, two local elderlies (80ies and 90ies) got hit on the sidewalk last Thursday by another resident, 76, driving a lexus. She was coming out of the market at 1:10 having just bought a bottle of wine. The police arrested her for inebriation. So sad. One victim may not live. So flower arranging offers a quiet repose from the clutter and trauma of daily life. Last Thursday we were supposed to use kitchen objects for an arrangement. I chose three tea pots. Two were inherited from my mother in law, Juanetta. The Chinese tea pot was a gift to her, I think, from an Oakland Chinese family whose first born son she nursed back to life during the depression.
The most interesting is the smallest one, which has a weathered patina surface, and says on the bottom, "stolen from Mitchells cafeteria." The copper tea kettle I bought from an estate sale here for $4.
At the end of the class the teacher, a handsome hearty caucasian man, Ronn, critiques each arrangement. He generally pulls all the flowers out and says what is wrong, before rearranging them. Mine are ALWAYS wrong, but somehow I don't fret, because the whole experience of sitting in the quiet with the flowers is so soothing. The pictures shown are of my three arrangements before he redid them.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Between a Rock and a Hard Place...

If you missed last Wednesday's NOVA program on our planet's rocky start, try to find some way to see it. Probably the best explanation I have ever seen on how life started on earth. Yes, from rocks, four and a half billion years ago. It fit right in with my new Lifelong Learning class on astro biology. In the question and answer period at the end I asked the professor: "Could the current experience of
climate change be related to our sun's normal cycle of getting hotter and hotter?" He had already explained in the lecture that the sun is one quarter hotter than in dinosaur days. Well, he praised me for the question, as did others. He answered it technically, but the condensed answer is NO.  I was proud of myself for asking the question but I had an ulterior motive. My g. niece Darcie in Wyoming is writing a  term paper on  climate change. I will try to get to some of the  books on the excellent bibliography but I am still only half way through my first book for my class on the Supreme Court, and I don't feel like reading tonight.
Tuesday my primary doc called me in to explain I had osteoporosis and needed to start on Fosamax.
When I declined he was horrified. "You don't believe in science," he scolded? The trouble is, I do believe in science and find the evidence pro and con on this drug conflictual. Later Tuesday I asked my dentist, who isn't exactly new age thinking as many friends are. He was adamantly opposed because of what he believes is damage to the brain. So for the time being I'm going to take more calcium and D, and try to do more weight bearing exercises.
Today for the first time I tried some of the vitamin supplements my darling chiropractor gave me, to increase bone density. I should have remembered that all my life vitamins and mineral supplements have given me nausea, indigestion, and tummy cramps. So Im skipping a good lesbian concert on site
tonight to stay close to the bathroom. Free ticket, anyone?
We are in a weather period of mostly soft but sometimes hard rains, but almost always a little sun, Reminds me of Seattle, but not cold at all. Kinda pretty, really. Wish I could save the water running down the gutters for next summer, or to cool our ever warming planet. .

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Wintry Days

After three wintry days reminiscent of growing up in Seattle, yesterday dawned dry but cloudy. Clouds and skies were primary in my mother's book of favorite things, so I dedicate these to her. I never really understood her, but she had exquisite taste in clothes, styles, and books. I'd trade my bank account for her looks and charisma.
From my first trip to Colorado, a cabin on the western slope, leading into a gorgeous panoramic sky. I called this "Alone but not Lonely.
And from my deck in Oakland, a January sky.

 After four years of drought along comes four inches of rain, causing many trees around here to come crashing down, including one on the golf course here and one in Catherine's back yard. Fortunately, no deaths so far.
Monday I start two classes : "Sketching By the Heart"
and "Famous Supreme Court Cases".
I also get a new crown on an old decayed tooth, see my doctor about my unhealing broken ribs,
and try to eat more foods rich in calcium. The first two are about choice, and the last three about aging not so graciously.
Yesterday Biden said "We have two good candidates." Hmm. It wont be long before we know the answer to that one. I wonder when we'll know if N. Korea really has the hydrogen bomb?
Happy New Year.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Seeing Things Clearly

NPR posed the question yesterday, "What ideas changed for you in 2015?" I remember from my college senior philosophy class that we have beliefs, attitudes and values, and that the latter are the hardest to change. So Iv'e been posing the question to myself, first, and to my friends. For myself, to name a few, I now believe for sure that there is life in outer space, probably galaxies and universes away. And I've waffled back again about believing Roosevelt knew Pearl Harbor was going to be invaded (I now think no, but may change my mind again). Most of the changes in my beliefs come from classes or lectures I've attended here. I now have a small appreciation for abstract art, and that is new.
Friends have replied with things like, "I now believe for sure that my cancer is gone." Or "I now fully accept the danger of global warming". One person replied "I now embrace the inevitability of the demise of our planet, because we will never learn to get along, and will thereby destroy ourselves."
So, wondering what your thoughts are?
The photo is from a winter hike on Skyline, near my old house. Sometimes the fog of past memories and experiences clutters our vision.
Does anyone feel like they got to the highest level of the taxonomy, of changing a value in 2015?