Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Views from the Porch

Flowers planted in 2012 for my wildflower garden have grown. Some have not flourished, and a few have succumbed to over-watering and too much sun and summer heat.  The picture above shows most of the original plantings, plus a few others. Bluebells, where are you? Was the soil not to your liking?  I have been putting used coffee grounds around the wildflowers every morning to increase acidity uptake.
Iris are blooming

Penstemon are almost ready to bloom

Jupiter's Beard *transplanted two summers ago from slips*

Phlox that will go into earth at the end of the season

A new painting started (oils) from this reference photo:

And from the kitchen:

Rhubarb for this recipe (a yum, thanks, Marianne)

Mrs. Tittlemouse, do you recognize your pretty crochet?

Julie is coming over today from the manor.  We have had quite a few days, and maybe that is why I have neglected blogging for a while.  Last week, she had an optometry appointment that was a bust.  Her wheelchair would not go through the door of the examination room because of its width, 36 inches.  The optometrist was a bit embarrassed since his offices were supposedly "wheelchair accessible".  But she did finally get a referral to an ophthalmologist, which she needed to begin with, but the manor Powers That Be would not listen to me.  It might take another few months to get that scheduled, however.

Then there was the issue of dealing with Julie's headaches that lasted a few days...nothing more to report than worry resulting in a natural resolution to her headaches.  And then another visit scheduled to the surgeon who first helped out with the diversional colitis resection, which has still not been resolved.  That appointment will happen at the end of the week.  Perhaps infection is still evident?

I leave you with this verse that struck me from Sunday's homily, referring to Romans 5:1-5:
...affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts...

Freya Hite Shares Art

Prolific artist Freya Hite has won numerous awards at the Brush & Palette Fine Art Shows. Hite paints landscapes, figures, portraits and abstracts. Freya believes that art is a strong form of communication of ideas, emotions, and states of being. And, of course, it feeds the soul.

Hite demonstrated her abstracts using a product similar to water based oils (Flashe paints). Her painting might look "random" but her composition is far from random as she lays down paint on the canvas.

Some highlights to remember from the Hite demonstration that you arty people might want to refer to in the future:
  • Using the Golden Triangle in art composition... link here for the Rule of Third
  • and here for more information and good examples (a Vermeer painting is cited
  • Flashe painting was briefly mentioned, using transparent type acrylic paints
    • Source: The FLASHE range, distributed since 1955 by LeFranc & Bourgeois, is one of the first modern painting materials to give artists other means than oil painting to express themselves. Its optical characteristics allow the effects of old tempera paints and primitive painting grounds to be reproduced. The paints are matte, velvety and opaque.
    • Hite mentioned the Zorn Palette, named after Anders Zorn, as he used the following four colors for his palette, resulting in good skin tones and varying shades of greys: : Yellow Ochre, Crimson, Black, Titanium White. "That's it! Just 4 colors. You can vary your palette by the type of black and red that you use." (source Gagnon Studio)  
    • These are some of Hite's small canvases where she used Zorn Palette colors:

    Thank you, Freya!

    Mini Art Show Winner for the month of May was Cynthia Grover, shown here with her painting:

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    Reyna Shawl and Lunch Out

    Linking with Ginny, here is the finished Reyna Shawl.

    Comments: Giving myself a C- grade on this one. Instead of knitting a slip slip knit, which is tedious, instead the trick for me was to knit through the backs of two stitches (after the center spine). Note to self: too difficult to maneuver this and dropped too many stitches along the way, thinking I had caught them up when, in fact, they elusively slipped from sight.  Then I saw the dropped stitches too late.  Bad knitter.  I will not knit this scarf again.  The colored clips denote places that need to be fixed.

    On other notes:

    Yesterday was the first time in a year, since Julie arrived back in Colorado, that we went out for lunch at a public restaurant.  I was apprehensive on many levels.  But the excursion bypassed most of my worries, and even the sun came out for a while. Julie, of course, has no qualms about anything. She merrily drank a marguerita and had her meal with just a few mishaps that certainly did not bother her in the least.  I came home weak kneed (Gene went, too, bless him) and thankful I did not misbehave with too many aimed corrective behaviors.

    Going to the manor now for our little art class so will look at other YarnAlong entries later.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    A Mother's Day Thought without Flowers

    One of my favorite sermons concerning Mother's Day was delivered several years ago by a Lutheran pastor.  She spoke a few words in a heartfelt message about Mother's Day, and how it is not always a happy time for many individuals, especially for women who had lost children to death, to drugs, to estrangement, or to legal intervention which placed children in other homes or institutions. And women who chose abortion as a means to end an unwanted child were also mentioned with sadness by this pastor: how, indeed, would that female remember Mother's Day and her prior actions to prevent the start of a life from shortly becoming one of her own children?

    This pastor went on to say that not all people were lucky enough to be born to exemplary mothers; some people were not nurtured with love, with bed-time stories, with chicken soup and sweet kisses on hurts, but instead had only painful memories of their mothers. And those unpleasant memories were brought to their attention and in juxtapostition by Mother's Day being joyfully celebrated by others.

    But if you are lucky enough to have children who give you esteem out of love, or even simple duty, then you are blessed.  And blessings to you if you have or had a mother who did not abandon you, and who more times than not, gave you love.

    Simply being reminded that motherhood is not all ribbons and bows is worthy of thought.  And it makes one careful of calling out "Happy Mother's Day" to female strangers at the supermarket, since it might evoke an untoward response.

    On Sunday afternoon at the manor, the activity directors sponsored a tea for all mothers at the facility.  Refreshments and flowers were well received, and we heard some amazing stories about elderly resident mothers who were honored that day.  One son told of his mother having read the entire Bible each year for 48 years.  Forty-eight times she had read the Bible, and lived her life with those lessons in mind.  He and his dad are there every day for a few hours at lunch time, honoring their mother, cajoling her to eat, giving their attention to her. She is truly blessed.

    Julie gave me potted tulips in my favorite colors, and a wooden carved face to place in our garden.  She gave Gene's mother flowers, and then we had his mother and part of her family over for dinner in the evening while Julie stayed at the manor.

    Gene advanced pups Mercy and Libby some money, and they gave me presents he said they told him to purchase to thank me for a year of being a good dog momma.  Gene made this picture of them:

    Thursday, May 5, 2016

    A Plaintive Little Cry

    It was warm late Tuesday morning, and Julie and I were sitting outside on the home patio, sun beaming down from the east on Julie's back as she faced me in half profile.  She was enjoying the first of the warmth provided by the spring sunlight. I was a few feet away in the shade, perched on a painted wooden rocker with legs folded while I removed woolen socks, hand knit a decade prior. "It is hard to part with a sock one has knit oneself with a good quality yarn," I thought to myself as I critically reviewed the wear on the socks.

    Silently lamenting that fact as I pulled off one sock, then the other, folding them and stacking them, I said aloud to Julie "it is about time to use these socks as rags."  The old variegated wool had been washed way too many times, first as a hand wash, then as time went on, they had been tossed into the machine for thorough washing without further regard for the pilling process.  And the pair were indeed pilled, fine wool strands finding other similar worn yarn strands, knotting themselves together to create long errant pieces of extraneous fibers, an aesthetic bane to both knitters and wearers of wool.
    Julie was listening to me, watching, contemplating my musing. Glancing over to her as she leaned back in her wheelchair, her head down as she was likely glancing at her iPad to see if a new WordChums play was ready for her response.

    But she had heard me, and said "Don't use them as rags, given them to someone at the manor."  I was thinking that if this well worn foot apparel was eschewed by me, it would be unfair to offer them as a gift to one of the other residents. Julie then said "Lots of people there are continually cold, no matter how much the heat is cranked up." Then, under her breath, her head still turned downwards, and in a quieter, more high pitched voice, she said "I'm cold.  I'm cold."

    I must have gasped because in my mind's eye, I saw the very elderly woman who lives on Julie's same wing at the manor.  Let's call her Ethyl.  "I'm cold, I'm cold," Ethyl laments in her chair parked outside the door to her room. I could very clearly picture Ethyl sitting in the hallway in a passive demeanor, waiting for the next activity to be laid on her by an aide or a nurse or an activity director. Toothless and without aid of dentures, her head bundled in a soft cap that covers her ears and forehead, there was Ethyl speaking through Julie.  "I'm cold, I'm cold."  Julie had mimicked Ethyl's voice perfectly, and with a fair amount of empathy. And Julie has heard this plaintive cry so many times over the past eleven months that it sprung forth from her being as if Ethyl were living inside Julie.  It was eerie how Ethyl was being channeled.

    And maybe I will re-think using those well worn socks as cleaning rags.
    Another story about an elderly nursing home resident can be read here.  It continues to be revised.