Sunday, September 25, 2016

Getting ready to play big

Finally -- finally -- I am going to be back with a group of women to learn and create.  I have missed this activity so much.  I signed up to attend Wendy Brightbill's  abstract painting workshop at Jeanne Oliver's studio at the end of October: Playing Big.
I've been a follower of Jeanne Oliver's for some years now, and, because she lives in nearby Castle Rock, have gotten to meet and greet her here and there over the years -- at markets, and once even at her home when she had a girl-get-together for her friends.  We have many mutual friends in the art world, and one of them is Wendy Brightbill.  Wendy holds a special place in my heart because she was Ben's kindergarten teacher all those years ago.  She is also a mom and an artist, and someone whose work I so admire.  I am so excited to have this chance to learn from her, and create with her!
Since it has been so long now since I held a paintbrush in my hand, Rebecca and I got together this weekend to play!  She is a real artist, and she helped me to get familiar with watercolors again!
This is a free hand of colorful flower shapes; I enjoyed every minute of creating it with wild abandon!  After the paint, I added watercolor crayon accents.  
I think the finished product would make a lovely fabric!
For this one, I started with a drawing in watercolor pencil.  It's a stalk of hydrangea blooms.  I added some random flower shapes in purples and then added yellow.
Then I filled in the leaves with different shades of green, and tried to add depth to the flowers with darker purples.
Here's how it ended up after some watercolor crayon accents.  By the time it had dried, it looked to me like a stalk of purple cauliflower.  That's the thing about watercolor -- it dries differently than when you're using it.  My hats off to everyone who is good enough (and patient enough!) to work with watercolors!  It's so much fun -- but takes skill and talent!  (Rebecca is so good at it.)

It feels great to be using my creative brain again!  I've also been longing to write more, and I hope to take the time to for that before the weekend is over.  But, first things first: I need to look for a job.  I've given notice at my current employer and need to find the next one.  I can't tell you how much I long to work somewhere that appreciates all of my strengths.  It's not too much to ask, is it?
Yeah, I know.  These days, it really is.

Thank goodness for sunshine, good friends, a family that loves me, and kitty cats.  Really -- that's all I need to keep moving on to new and better places!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Simon and Garfunkel

Everyone was correct -- the newest member of our family is an adopted brother for Paul Simon.  What else could we name him but Art Garfunkel?  After losing Snoopy, Paul Simon was lonely during the day.  When we got back from work, he was like a little supercharged sprite, tearing around the house and stopping only to nip us in the legs or pounce on our other extremities.  As soon as I was able to bear it, I began to look for another kitten to adopt.
Here they are in their very first moments of meeting.  Art Garfunkel is a 6 month old kitten that a local woman was giving away, and she was very particular about where he went.  She suggested she bring him over after work one night to meet us, and I agreed but thought it was a mission doomed to failure.  What cat wants to take a car ride and then go into a strange house?  I was wrong, though.  She came to the door, handed me Art and he immediately started purring, then after a few moments he wanted to get down.  I set him down and he quickly explored the whole house.  When Paul Simon's curiosity got the best of him, he met Art.  Art was friendly and inquisitive, Paul wasn't.  But they didn't hate each other, and that was good enough for all of us.  She went home and Art Garfunkel stayed.  It took about 6 hours for the two cats to begin playing, and about 5 days for them to work everything out.  Now they are best buddies.  When we come home from work now, they are both content and happy to hang out and play with us.  Paul Simon doesn't nip and scratch us anymore, and Garfunkel is showing us why his former family had nicknamed him Goofball.
Here, I almost caught him mid-leap.  He has some spectacular moves!  I think he's getting a lot more exercise with us than he is used to.  Paul Simon just watches in wonder.  I know he can't wait until he grows more so he is closer in size to his big brother.  I think they will be similarly sized because Paul's paws are as big as Art's.
Art really is the perfect kitten -- he's friendly, obedient, only scratches on the posts, never bites, and LOVES to cuddle.  He's giving Paul Simon something to aspire to!



Life gives us changes, so often unwelcome.  It takes time to live through the pain but eventually you come out on the other side with a little bit of joy.  My heart is still tender and aching and sore, but there are purple wildflowers growing on Snoopy's grave today.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Catching up

There has been some fun and relaxation, much of it vintage style, this summer; I just haven't taken the time to write about it with all else going on.  So, now for some catching up:
Ben moved back up to UNC for his sophmore year a couple of weeks ago.  This time he did it on his own -- but we did take up a carload for him.
He's in a different dormitory this year, but with friends from childhood: a guy he was in Cub Scouts with and a guy who used to be a neighbor down the street.  The guy with the beard isn't a roommate, but also attends the school and is a longtime friend.
His sweet girlfriend is also attending the same school this year.
I bought some wonderful vintage sewing notions from a friend who sells on eBay, Linda -- don't you love this little hosiery repair kit?
Of course, it included buttons...
and this unique package of trim.  I love stuff like this!

The staff photographer took us out on property to take some head shots of my coworkers, so I took along my camera and got some pretty photos of The Broadmoor, too:



My buddy and I attended an indoor/outdoor market called Vintage Market Days, and we were very impressed!  Part of it took place in an actual, very large barn.
 There was a definite western theme.


Look at those cute strung lights, with bed springs as diffusers, and accented with lace.  I also some some great lighted banners made from scraps tied on to strings of lights!
I really wanted those chrome arrows, but they were out of my price range!

Lovely vignette.
Halloween is coming!
I loved this hot pink mannequin dressed in sequins and fencing gear!

I brought home a pair of artisan earrings made from fountain pen nibs (not shown), and this wonderful silver plated napkin ring with a sweet bird decoration!  I just love it.  It was a very hot, dusty day but I so needed a getaway, and had a lot of fun.
On another day, Dennis and I went to an Air Force Falcons football game and did a little late morning tailgating.  That Beehive in my hand is my newest, favorite beer -- brewed locally.  Don't judge me -- it was 5:00 somewhere!
It was another very lovely day for the game; we won against Abilene Christian, too!
And, I made a trip to the State Fair in Pueblo and enjoyed the Creative Arts on display:
However, the real reason for our visit to the Fair was to see Huey Lewis and the News in concert!  I am a fan from long ago, having seen the band at least 4 times before when I was young and in my 20's.  Before the concert, I looked up the first time in a scrapbook:
On that page, clockwise: a flyer for the free concert, an up close photo I took of Huey Lewis, the song list that I took off of the speakers on stage and asked Huey Lewis and his then-guitarist, Chris Hayes, to sign, and a balloon from the event.
Not a great photo -- but you get the idea!  The concert was AWESOME!  To quote Huey, the heart of rock and roll is still beating.
We went with friends and we all had a rocking good time.  It really cheered me up -- and you know that has been much-needed.
Who is this white and orange kitten with Paul Simon, you ask?  Can you guess?  More later!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

For the love of Snoopy

Last week, something horrendous happened to us.  Our dear friend, Snoopy, got sick on Friday and, on Sunday night, he passed away.   He was only 11.
This photo was taken exactly one week before his death.  That day, we were at a picnic and Snoopy had a great time.  
In the coming days, though, we noticed him seeming tired, and twice I found him hiding in the closet.  It wasn't until he stopped eating and clearly wasn't himself on Friday night that we knew something was really wrong.  We took him to the vet Saturday morning, and the Dr. said he suspected kidney failure.  He took blood, gave Snoopy some shots, and sent us home with some special food and directions on how to care for him until we got the blood work results on Monday morning.  But, he was gone on Sunday night.
We have been in shock. I have no words to express how much we are grieving. Our other dog, Maggie, passed away last July.  She was 2 years older than Snoopy.  That was very hard, but this was even harder, because it was so sudden.
This is one of my favorite photos of the two of them: he was still a puppy and we were at a pumpkin patch.  Snoopy was in high spirits.  We all were.
I loved this little dog so much. He really had my heart.
 And, of course, Ben's.
They grew up together.
Ben grew older, and Snoopy did, too.  Unlike Ben, he became more cuddly in his old age.
He was my buddy.
I couldn't breathe for the first couple of days after he left us.  I could hardly believe he was gone.  I wanted him back so badly; now, it's been a week and it's sunken in.  But I still feel so awful.
To help me cope, I ordered this necklace from Wild Twisted Roots on Etsy.  It's comforting me to wear it. 
Through it all, I've been wracked with guilt about getting the kitten, Paul Simon.  If I'd had any inkling Snoopy wasn't well, I never would have brought another pet into the house.  I can't help but think it caused Snoopy stress, or at least, made him jealous and sad at times over the last month.  In the photo above, taken while Snoopy lay ill, the kitten was concerned and trying to comfort me. I know how awful I look in the photo, but it is the reality.  Believe me, I look only a fraction as devastated as I was feeling inside.
When Snoopy passed away, Ben had left a few days before to go back to college for his sophmore year.  I think maybe he was waiting for Ben to go.  
I am so glad to have had the love of Snoopy in my life.

Please, hug your pets extra tight and give them lots of love; you just never know how long you'll have them.