Every night on the way home from work I pass my old house - where we lived for 20 years. We moved in in 1981 - all excited - with interest rates at 17.5%, and barely two dimes to rub together after we put down 50% on on $80,000 house. We'd scraped and saved for 8 years to save up that money but there was no way we could have afforded the house payments without that high down payment. I loved the house for many years. It was old - about 1795 we think - and small- only 1400 square feet - but it fit us and we worked on it, worked the garden, fixed, painted, papered...there was always something to do. We also got Samson when we lived there, and our friends had babies who toddled around our wide pine floors. Sean and Brian would stay over when they were little and I'd have to bundle them up in the morning - cause the house was so cold.
Eventually, we realized that we had to sell the house - it needed a major overhaul and no matter what you did to it, it would always be on a busy road. Health issues precluded taking on such a big job and practically, we felt a newly built house would be better and easier for us. And it has been. I didn't realize how hard I worked in that old house, the old garden was almost overwhelming - the house walls were crooked, the floor tilted, the windows were a joke. In the summer we had to put in the air conditioners and take them down in the winter (and we only had one in the bedroom and one in the tiny studio that DH had). I had no dishwasher, and the washer and dryer were in a damp and dank cellar. Don't get me wrong...I knew we were very rich - we had our own house for goodness sake....but this house was alot of work.
So we moved to our newly built house and after I got over my homesickness - I began to love it - and I still do. I love the ease of it, I love having garage doors and central air and walls and ceilings that meet at right angles. I love the fact that my 6'4" nephew can walk thru the rooms without hitting his head on the ceiling and can walk up the stairs without crouching.
But the other day - as I drove past the old house - I had an almost overwhelming urge to walk up to the front door, and walk back into my life 20 years ago. I felt that if I just knocked on the door, I could step in time - no questions asked. I wanted so badly to be back there with everyone alive again, and so many old friends nearby. I had to keep my hands on the steering wheel - I really did and just keep driving. Of course by the time I got home to this house, I'd convinced myself that I didn't want to go back 20 years...I can't imagine a world without my nephews and my beautiful niece but the thought has haunted me for the past few nights.
I think it's simply the season - it's a time for nostalgia and family. I miss the hustle and bustle of buying presents for kids and watching them open them, and then tossing the paper into the roaring fireplace. I miss the wood smoke smell, and Samson with his funny antlers on.
It'll pass. The season is a tough one this year - my close aunt as well as my MIL died last year in December and I miss them both. I miss my dad, and my dear friend Isabel (who did Christmas like no one else) and I miss my SIL (who always hated every present that we gave her). I miss having my parents live only a few hours away, and family gatherings that were spontaneous. I also know that I didn't appreciate everything and everyone when I did have them, and I feel badly about that. Do you know the play "Our Town"? When the main character has a chance to relive one day in her life? I feel like that right now - like I want to relive a day but know that I really want to embrace the moment, enjoy my friends and family, hug my pooch again.
Oh dear - I didn't mean to go on and on. I do love my life now, and am thankful everyday for friends and family and health - it's just nostalgia...that's all.
That's what I am doing. I am throwing up my hands in the air as I quietly give up trying to keep up. I've had two new projects at work this week.....and it's only Monday isn't it?
Why oh why did I promise to make a quilt for a friend who is having a new grandniece. Because I love her and she is a good friend? Probably...but really...what WAS I thinking. And then I picked a pattern that is somewhat complicated. During Christmas season. Really...what was I thinking? So making this quilt and getting it finished by this weekend is taking over my life. We don't usually do much about Christmas around this house - it's DH's holiday altho I like the season. But not having a tree or anything doesn't bother me at all. But there are obligations at work, and to the wonderful children in my life...and I've done virtually nothing.
So I figure if I walk around with my hands in the air - everyone will think I'm batty or have arm problems...and won't expect anything. No cards. No Animal Wednesday. No presents this week.
I like it- I think it's going to be an effective approach - do you agree?
As usual, as I try to clean up my work space....I start finding a few things to fool around with. I had some canvases that had horrible attempts at painting on them, so I painted them black or sepia and scribbled with paint and marker. Took me only a short time, I felt like I had accomplished something and yes...I still have to clean up the studio.
I've been cleaning my basement studio because I got this great new set of flat files - actually NOT new, but old. Got them for $100.00 from an architectural firm and had to pick them up by myself. It wasn't too hard actually, and I love them. I've put all my paper and flat paintings and pads of paper in here. I realize that I shouldn't have to buy paper or pads for another 100 years...I'm all set!!!
I had my last sculpture class on Friday night. I actually ended up liking this class - mostly because the instructor was so open and friendly and sincere. I remember the first night where we walked around the museum and I was tired...I thought I'd hate the class. But everyone was so friendly and open...I learned so much and not only about power tools. I learned more about planning an art piece, and how to look at something from more than one angle and to read meaning into a piece. That last part was the hardest for me, but as I listened to people critiquing my work, I began to realize that yes..I did mean that, and yes...perhaps it shows. This last night was to be a pizza night and a final critique - so I didn't think I'd do much. But sitting around waiting is not my cup of tea, so I started fooling around with clay, and developed this little piece. Of course, there was all kinds of talk about closing off, and opening up, and fences and walls and for the first time I simply opened up to the discussion and listened with an open mind.
Everything held together while the clay was wet but as it dried, it began to fall apart. So yesterday - instead of cleaning - I began to put it together again with tiny dabs of glue. I'm going to let it dry for a few weeks and then tweek the glue, and make it steady. I've found that working with stone and wood and clay posts challenges for assembly.
On a final note - just to gossip some more - we've had guys in our yard since Wednesday cleaning up from the Halloween storm. While we didn't have any house damage, we had about 20 big trees that got so damaged that they became dangerous - and had to come down. Plus about 30 little ones that snapped, or looked like they'd snap at the next storm. They've had chippers going and chainsaws and rakes, and other motorized things. It's been noisy and I can't believe how much they've had to do. Plus, insurance doesn't pay for this since we didn't have house damage....so it's costing a pretty penny. Merry Christmas honey...here's a pile of wood!!
There are LOTS of animals to be seen in Florida this time of year! The weather was a bit cooler and in the early evening we saw deer and owls, snakes and alligators. This doe was just ambling along at the side of the road in a state part and paid us no attention Her buddy was across the street - neither one bounded off while I snapped away.
In the mornings, these egrets were outside our back lanai - not a bad way to start the day, just watching birds wander around looking for food.
We saw lots of Roseate Spoonbills - but they were far away and it was hard to get a good picture. You can just see the bit of pink on this one.
All of my cousins have boats so we had quite a number of days on the water - it was fun (but they are very inefficient ways of getting around!) and we saw dolphins fooling around in the water one day - this is what I could capture of what we assume was a mother and baby playing around in the water. They were jumping around and twisting and playing - it was joyous to watch.
Scruffy taking a nap on someones lap. He's such a cutie.
This is my cousins dog - Sammi. Scruffy and Sammi were at the shelter together, and he is now Joan's dog - she is the one who brought Scruffy home to mom. She and her husband have always had big dogs but they are in love with this little poodle/shiz-tzu cross. Here is mom on a boat holding Sammi. Mom was such a sport about going out on the water, but always wore a hat to keep her hair from flying around. Love the hat and sunglasses combo! Joan can be seen at the edge of the photo, holding Gizmo - another cousins dog. At one point, after Thanksgiving dinner - we had 5 very short legged dogs racing around the house.
That's it for the animals - but we took some gorgeous pictures on the way home - out the plane window looking at the sunset...... And flying over New York City - amazing!
I am still recovering after being away for 10 days. I actually began to relax, and forgot to clench my teeth at night, or wake up at 2:00 am in a giant panic about something. But I'm getting back into the groove I guess, and have to start thinking about Christmas. I got my first Christmas letter yesterday - damn efficient people!
Sending many hugs to Teri C who lost her Sunshine this week. Sunshine flew into Teri's life two years ago and has been a pleasure to watch, and a joy to Teri and her DH. Poor little Sunshine died last week, and we are all heartbroken for the family - she was an adorable bird.
I have to learn Photoshop so that I can add word balloons, and text and enhance colors. And how to scan in at the right size, and should it be a jpg or a bmp or a pdf (wow) or other formats. And layers...I have to learn layers.
For this one....make up your own words. Send them to me if you like - I'm always looking for good comic copy. Ya can't get by in this business without computer skills. Photoshop for dummies is next on my list of books to read. And then finding a publisher/agent. I'm not going to do this by myself...that's my decision.
My cousin Joan Breiner – has just co-authored a terrific, easy to read book – The Inspired Life – Unleashing your Mind’s Capacity for Joy.In it she shares inspiring life stories, ideas and exercises to keep you connected to your passion, joy and centered self - no matter what is going on in your life.
Friday, 11/11/2011 kicks off the author’s (Susyn Reeve and Joan Breiner’s) Inspiration Nation Tour, they are asking people to buy the book on this day as an expression of your desire and support to live your dreams and bring more, inspiration, joy and happiness into the world.
When you purchase the book you will have access to valuable Bonus Gifts - free teleclasses, e-books and videos from world-renowned experts. Here’s how this works:
I came home last week to see this lovely fat cat sitting on my front porch. He's been around for awhile and seems to like our house. Of course, he strolled away when I got too close.
He reminded me of my cat - Spike - who wanted so badly to be a cool cat, but was really a lovey cozy cat. He was all black also, and tried hard to act cool and ignore us, but usually ended up in our laps. Lovely cat.
We tried to go bike riding on Sunday - which was a warm day. This is what our bike trail usually looks like - clean and smooth.
After the Halloween storm - this is what it looks like!!!
What a difference a month makes!
The upside of all these trees coming down is that the leaves that haven't fallen off the trees yet are easily accessible and are gorgeous colors. Ripe for the plucking and just lovely. Here are a few I picked up.
This fall I've been taking a Friday Night Sculpture class. Usually I take life or portrait drawing but that was not offered this year, so I chose Sculpture. My goal in this sculpture class was to have fun and to learn to use all the power equipment and other materials. I like the class, like the teacher and of course, always love learning new things.
Supplies came with the class, and I pounced on a piece of rock on the first night, started making something small and have ended up with a tall 6 foot high piece that is still a work in progress.
I can't take a picture of the whole thing - it's too tall. This project started out as a person on a rock which I then placed on a piece of wood with trees in the back. I added the trees basically cause I wanted to learn how to use the drill press - which was great fun.
Of course, the tree limbs didn't stay in place very well, so I added shims and liked the way they bristled out of the base of the limbs.
The free standing little ladder took me ages to make, all fussy little pieces of wood, and glue and tiny nails.
Then I added the long legs, to make the overall piece like a table. In this I learned how to use a table saw, a drill and a drill that screws in nails. And I also learned to use a bandsaw - and am completely proud of myself for learning to use these tool.
The little "em like" person is air hardening clay, very leathery and hard, but fun to work with.
Another ladder at the base, just added it on Saturday night and still have some touch ups to do with paint.
And yet another ladder in the front, much easier to make this one for some reason. Practice?
I'll get a better picture when I take it into class next week. The instructor is reading all kinds of things into the ladders and the reaching for the sky and whatever. I just look at it and think "power tools" and am totally satisfied.
We went to visit our nephews at college on Saturday - it was a gorgeous cool day, perfect for a drive in NH, and to walk around looking at the college.
After visiting their dorm room (it was so clean, but I guess there was a flurry of activity right before we got there), and the library and science building we went to lunch and then out into the surrounding area to see what was around. We found these enormous rocks that spider-nephew started climbing ( I couldn't watch!) which had been deposited by the glacier a million or so years ago. We also visited a bog-in-development. Very interesting but way way cold. We didn't take the 2 hour walk, just did a half mile or so.
There was an art gallery which was having a faculty exhibit - mostly disappointing except for this wonderful sculpture.
Here's one end of the 10 foot limb...
And here's the other end. You can imagine how much I want to do something like this now.
It was a great day, relaxing and wonderful to be with them for the day.
I came home determined to do some decluttering - as I am overwhelmed right now with things out of place. Artwork to be unpacked from a sale (I did sell some stuff - but not all). Winter/summer clothes to be swapped. Papers to be filed. I let it all get behind and then it bothers my mind till I sort it all out again. Mostly I think it's the fact that I've been taking two classes this fall that has me overwhelmed, and I'm going to be kind to myself and not do that this winter. It's one reason that I've been absent from the blogs, not drawing much, not doing anything except working on projects. It's sunday morning as I write this and I am finishing filing in my "office"....then onto the basement to organize.
The cooler weather brings out the urge to hunker down, to nest, to get ready for indoors activities. To make soups and stews and to get my house in order. I'll feel satisfied and somewhat smug when I complete some of these tasks.
As I clean, I keep telling myself NOT to stop and look at that drawing, that sculpture, that journal...but it's almost impossible. Before I know it I'm doodling, or painting. And then cleaning can wait...which in the long term is just fine.
Have a lovely Sunday, enjoy the extra hour, and think of me organizing and cleaning (and drawing and doodling)
A friend at work got a new pup - who arrived by plane last week. He's settling into their household and is just so adorable. Hard to believe this little guy will grow into a sturdy big bulldog boy....but he will!
I knit this scarf, which is one big round thing, and it was like knitting a cloud! I did learn that if you drop a stitch while knitting lace, you can get a perfect Frankenstein-looking scar-stitch as you pick it up (not shown). I love the scarf, but wouldn't wear it hanging loose like they show but would wrap it around my neck twice for a very cozy, very soft warm scarf.
I had more mohair and some very sharp straight needles so I started this new scarf.
..maybe for me...maybe for a christmas present... we'll see. On this one I have learned that I have to knit after I do the lace part, otherwise it looks like holes in the scarf and not lace. I'm sure other knitters know this, but I'm not using a pattern for this scarf and am learning as I go. I'm also learning that mohair doesn't undo very easily or well, and takes much patience.