Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Artwork

For the first time in weeks, I went down to my basement studio to fool around with pen, paper, pencils, and watercolors.  I was determined to get over whatever was keeping me out of the studio basement, but admit that I did the drawing up in the kitchen while DH was making dinner.

My goal was to learn how to do reflections in water, which I got a handle on.

My next goal - according to my in house teacher (and I agree with him) is values...gotta go check that out on YouTube (which is where I leaned about how to do the reflection of the buildings in the water, gotta love YouTube.)

It felt good, it's been too long.

Hey - is any one else confused about this new blogger interface - I can't figure it out!

We've had a lovely weekend, breakfast with the boys (and their 'rents of course); bike riding, and today - a drive to do some antiquing.  Didn't get anything but two books, but it was fun.   Hope you had a lovely weekend  - I'm tired and am heading for bed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Animal Wednesday - let's try this again!

Last weekend we went kayaking - it was super gorgeous, warm and just lovely.  The river wasn't too low (drought here)  so the paddling was great.  The lack of leaves on the trees made it easier to see critters, so we got a good show.

I spotted this turtle right away, taking advantage of the warm sun.  My camera had a good zoom, so I didn't scare him/her away.

 Rather arrogant looking - but if you look closely you can see the little turtle smile.

Ah yes, the sun feels lovely but I'm going to put one foot inside my shell...just cause I can.

Mr. Mallard - the Mrs was elusive or nesting

And then we saw an osprey fly overhead so we paddled over to the nest that we watch year after year.

This is Him on a branch of a tree.
 And this is Her.  How do I know who is who?  Because (and this is where the x rating comes in) he flew over.....

and had his evil way with her - once....


 ..THREE times! 

Oh...was someone watching?  We're all ruffled up

We left them to work on their relationship and to lay eggs.

All in all, it was a gorgeous day
Happy Animal Wednesday!  If blogger loses this post...I'm suing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Animal Wednesday - the years first turtle, and some X rated bird activity

This is NOT good!! I had a wonderful huge post here....and suddenly it is blank.  I had turtles and ospreys and a few other animals.

Blogger has EATEN them all!!! I can't believe it.

I will have to redo this post, but can't do it this am, oh dear.

Have a Happy Animal Wednesday and don't let blogger near your pets.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

They are the boss of me

For a few years I have been teaching myself knitting.  Yes, a sane person would take classes - but what would be the fun of that? 

So I decided that my friend Lori would be my far-away knitting guru (of course, she doesn't know about this!) and that if I felt up to the task, I would try some of the patterns that she is knitting if they don't have (1) unrecognizable instructions (2) decorative panel instructions to follow (3) don't involve 1068 stitches...and a few other rules that I have.

I loved the sweater in this post  so decided to give it a try.  Down with seams!  Up with knitting a cardigan on one lovely long needle.  Up with lovely garter stitch, only one stitch to master.   It was all going swimmingly, even if I DID forget one or two buttonholes...I have a plan for that.

Then came the sleeves. 

Double pointed devils (aka DP needles) for the sleeves that require you to remember that you have to knit and then purl to get garter stitch.  And to remember to count rows so that you decrease appropriately.  To learn/remember that reverse stockinette is NOT garter, and you can't switch between the two. And to learn/remember how to pick up dropped stitch, after dropped stitch.

I have ripped back more than once on these sleeves!

In the words of Princess Leia - Lori-wan Graham-obie please send the Force this way so that those devils needles aren't the boss of me!!! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Animal Wedneday - odd mix of animals

My buddy Scruffy - says "I want to lick your toes".  He is passionate about toes, and loves to lick shoes.  Odd habit but rather cute.

 Can you believe that I was in a house for two days which had two dogs in it and all I did was play with this baby?  This is the only shot I got of a dog.  My goodness...I'm losing it.

And I don't know if I showed you this awesome balloon that I got while DH was in the hospital.  A mylar blow up PUG!!!  It had little dangling paper feet that fluttered if you carried it, but when you dropped the balloon, the feet were enough weight that it kept him/her low to the ground and you could sort of drag it along on those little dangling feet, like you were walking it.

I thought it was about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  DH couldn't wait to get it out of the room, and made me take it home a day early cause it would be "easier".   HA - he didn't fool me.

Happy Animal Wednesday!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday night

I had a very quick trip to the New York area this weekend but am now home and relaxing by the fireside.

I went down for Passover with family and we had a lovely time. A few cousins and a 9 month old baby, lots of good homemade food and a very good nights sleep made me feel like a million bucks. I woke early this morning and walked down to the waters edge, so early that I could hear only birds and the sound of joggers feet softly slapping the ground. All the flowering trees were in full bloom, it was so peaceful.  Then back to the house to wait for everyone else to wake up and have breakfast, and then I left to visit an old uncle and sick aunt. While I was having a good time this morning I moaned to my cousin that I wish I haven't made the commitment to see the old folks. She looked at me for a minute and said " you're a good soul". There was a pause and then she said "kinda dumb sometimes but a good soul". We both laughed cause she's right. I do tend to over commit and  I would have loved to sit around the house with the family and just enjoy the morning. It's also much closer to drive home from Westchester to my home than it is from Long Island to my home. but I'd committed so I went.

A little family history
This uncle is an uncle by marriage to my husband. Married late in life as he spent his early years taking care of a sister with MS and his aged mother. When his sister died he felt that he could start looking around for a wife, and he'd had his eye on Aunt Josephina for awhile.  The two Italian families knew each other from the old country, and they approved, so a wedding date was set.  This was back in the early 70's. I remember the hoopla about the wedding as my college roommate (future SIL) had to wear a hideous bridesmaid dress. I also remember catching a glimpse of Tony ( future DH) in a tux with a head of curly hair - woohee - I thought he was cute.
Anyway, the happy couple moved into the first floor apartment of a tiny house that Mario's father had built in 1925 and where he was born.   Two bedrooms, one bath and every room tiny, tiny, tiny.  His mother lived with them for about 10 years - and in case you didn't hear me, this place is TINY.   And they still live in this very same house.   I've tried to bring up assisted living or independent living but they won't even talk about it!

Enough family history! 
Anyway, here we are 40 years later, and DH's aunt has been in and out of hospitals for the past year for one reason or another but this time seemed serious.  Our uncle seems so lost, and keeps saying " I don't know what's wrong with her".   I felt it was time for a visit, so planned to visit after Passover.   Despite my griping, I knew it was the right thing to do.

So I went down for a visit and you know what? I was so glad I did. I got to their tiny house and Uncle Mario had freshly brewed coffee and coffee cake waiting for me. We sat and chatted and then went to the hospital together. In 5 minutes I had the whole story and now it all makes sense. She's had an awful case of pneumonia and is on a respirator and massive antibiotics etc etc. She's getting better but he can't see it because they're keeping her sedated and in his view she's"asleep". I explained as much as I could to him and he felt better about it. We left after about an hour and we went back to their place.

I learned something about myself this weekend. A large part of me wanted to spend the rest of the weekend with my cousins, or exploring some wonderful NYC neighborhoods. I rarely get to go to the city and would love to be let loose for a day. But there is a large part of me that loves to help out, be needed, and be there for people who need some guidance, especially family. It really helped our uncle to have me there and it really made me glad that I took the time to be with him. Yes, it was an extra 3 hours driving in horrible NYC traffic and I wouldn't want to do it every weekend but it was good. 

There is much more than personal indulgences to feel that you are doing something good for yourself.  I don't feel sanctimonious about traipsing down there for a visit - that's not it at all.  I simply feel good about being available for family and being part of a support system.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Animal Wednesday - Guess who....

Yes - it's little Scruffy!!  He was oh so happy to see me and we went for a ride in the car.

 Over hear boy! look at me.....

OK - finally laying down and enjoying the ride

He is really one cute dog and very smart...we're all convinced that he understands English.  I took him for a long walk on Monday morning and he did really well for about 1.5 miles, then he started lagging behind and finally I had to stop and pick him up and carry him for about 1/4 mile, and then he was OK to walk the last 1/2 mile.   

 I took this video near the pool - an owl comes by and hoots like crazy at night.   He's much louder than he sounds like on the video - but that's as loud as my phone would record. Scares the daylights out of the dog.

Non-Animal Wednesday stuff

One day my cousin and I decided to go to the beach, and we convinced my mom to go with us.  The three of us had a hysterical time in the car switching between regular clothes and beach clothes - we got so hot and tired that we had to stop at a roadside diner for a drink.  The HobNob is an open air diner that's been in Sarasota since 1957 and is very very cool and fun. Great milk shakes and hot dogs and hamburgers and fries.  And egg white omelette's for breakfast, gotta keep up with the times.

 Doesn't mom look dapper in her beach hat, and beach dress? And those skinny arms. 

It was a hectic weekend but a good time.  My aunt who died last year was mom's sister and this cousins mom, so we did some reminiscing and had a lot of good laughs. 

Monday, April 2, 2012


Today I got home from my short trip to Florida and had time to walk around the garden for the first time in a long while.   I'm seeing the effects of our major snowstorm last October, where we lost so many trees.  We must have cut down 50 trees - maybe more, including major branches on enormous pines.
 There is so much beauty in these left over stumps - different crosscuts, different shapes.
 You can see times where the growth was fast and the growing season must have been wet and warm.
 You can see dry times, and places where the tree grew towards the light, or perhaps had an injury it was trying to protect.
 Some of them look like they were cut yesterday - they look so fresh.
 Some are grey with age, and look like they've been cut for years.
 I love the dark rims and curvy edges.
 This one looks like South America or Africa maybe.
 This one reminds me of an amoeba, with something organic happening in the center
 This one reminds me of an arrowhead, or maybe it's Africa or South America turned upside down.
 This is a cut branch on a big pine - and I like the pale, dark, pale, dark pattern.
 This one has a lovely purpley edge and lots of crumbly bits.
 This one is smooth and serene in my eyes.

And finally, with all those trees gone, my garden is getting more light...this forsythia usually blooms much later, but is a cheery yellow - delightfully smiley.