Thursday, May 21, 2009


It seems I have been remiss lately about writing for the blog. I don't really have as much leisure time as I'd like, but today have found myself with a WHOLE DAY of solitude. After having breakfast with my friend and going to Curves, I was able to come home and do whatever I want to do. I chose to paint, since I haven't been going to the library to do so. I did the beach picture and the kooky abstract today and the clematis one evening while Terry was watching a NASCAR race.
So today I completed two paintings, and now I am watching the painting shows I recorded from KET that are not really interesting to Terry. He will watch one or two once in a while, but there are six on each week, so they stay on the DVR until I have a chance to catch up on them. That Bob Ross is amazing. He turns out a gorgeous painting in a 30-minute show. He makes it look so simple, but I'm sure talent helps! I did learn my technique of making trees and shrubs from him, though.
I also put on a pot of spaghetti sauce and made some brownies. How domestic of me. I usually have to come up with a quick meal, but this is going to be a good one for a change.
Sounds like a productive day, doesn't it? I know there are a lot of chores I could (and should) have done, but instead I have played all day. What fun! It was some relaxation I was sorely needing. Life is good....

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Something Different

While we were in Florida, I wanted to purchase a new summer wreath for our house. It was time for a change, and I looked in a few places for a wreath made with seashells. What I found were wreaths that were expensive and not too pretty. I kept looking, and when Kellie and Doug came down and we were shopping, Kellie mentioned that I could probably make a wreath myself with a plain grapevine wreath and some shells. With that suggestion in mind, I bought a big bag of various seashells and came home ready to create. I had to wait awhile to get to Hobby Lobby to get the wreath, but I finally made it, and here are the results. The big wreath I bought for less than $5, and the little one had been hanging around at Doug and Kellie's with nothing to do. So with $5 invested in wreaths and $10 invested in shells and a glue gun, I have creations that would have cost $15 and $30 apiece in Florida. Pretty good idea that Kellie had, wasn't it?
Life is good...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Latest Collection

I haven't posted any paintings in a while, so I thought I'd just put all the latest work up all at once. Do you see a theme here? Two of the paintings were of the view out our condo window in Navarre, one on a stormy day. Two are of shells we found on the beach, and one is from a photo taking in a state park. I took about 700 pictures during our month in Florida, and I could have taken even more. I'll take them when I go back in the fall. I have enough inspiration now for a lot of paintings. Now all I need is the time to paint! It will probably have to wait a while, though, due to other pressing duties. At least I know I'll have plenty of things ready when I can get back to it.:) Life is good...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Different Sort of Easter

Every year since I was old enough to remember, my dad made special egg dye and put it in tiny little bottles. The Saturday night before Easter, the family would gather around the table and color HOT hard-boiled eggs with the vibrant (except for the purple, which never turned out right) colors daubed on with Q-tips. As the family grew, so did the number of eggs colored each year. In recent years, the number was seven dozen so all the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids could color to their hearts' content. We had some very unusual and pretty eggs (and fingers!), as you can see in these older pictures. Even after my mom died, this tradition continued, with everyone gathering in Dad's kitchen while he supervised the egg-boiling. He never did color the eggs after we grew up, but he always wanted to continue is job. Some of the eggs would go home with us at the end of the evening, and the rest would stay with him to put in some baskets for us and for him to eat, as hard-boiled eggs are a particular favorite of his.

The next day, Easter, we all gathered for supper at Dad's. He bought the ham and the snack stuff, and the rest of us provided the sides and dessert. Easter baskets that had been hidden were found, and a good time was had by all.

This year, things are different, and I have found myself floundering around, not quite knowing what to do. Dad has had a difficult six months, and he is presently in a rehab facility to rebuild strength enough to function at home. At first we thought he might make it home by Easter, but this week it became apparent that he would not. I had not made contingency plans, and now I am caught. I wanted to get some eggs and make the dye myself and do the eggs with our kids and grandkids at home, but Terry did not want to bother with what he terms "the mess." You may be able to tell the ritual was never as important to him as it was to me. So even though the grandkids were all here today, there was no egg coloring. We did hide Easter baskets for them, and then we went to the rehab center to visit Dad. They had a big egg hunt there, so the little ones participated in that. This evening, Alissa and the boys went home. I think Chip and Shira have plans with her family tomorrow, and I believe Doug and Kellie will come here after visiting Dad. It's all so very different, and it doesn't feel right, but that's the way it is, and we just have to adjust. We can be grateful that Dad is slowly recuperating and that he enjoyed the visit from his great-grandkids today, and we can pray that he continues to recover. And we have to remember that, always, life is good...
I hope everyone has a happy and blessed Easter!

Monday, April 06, 2009

I'm Back!

We have (regretfully) returned from our extended stay in Navarre Beach, Florida. We have never gone anywhere for more than two weeks before, and that was 30 years ago. Most of our trips in later years have been less than a week in length. It seemed we were coming home way too soon to suit me, but Terry was always ready to be home. He is more of a homebody than I am. I was born to travel. For this reason, I was curious to see how Terry would take this extended stay. Much to my amazement, he loved it! Neither of us was really ready to return to reality, even though we knew we had to, for a variety of reasons. He liked it so much that we have already booked the same lovely condo for a month in October. We think it may make a nice tradition-a month in the spring and one in the fall each year. Although I am not traveling all over the place as I might like, I am content to do this.
During our stay, we explored much of the surrounding area. I got to swim (even though the pool was cold) and go to the beach as I liked. I painted several pieces and read 10 novels. We were relaxed and happy and rarely had even a disagreement. It was lovely. Our two sons and families spent long weekends with us, too, which was fun. Most of the time, the weather was beautifully sunny, although windy. There were only 5 days of rain.
Unfortunately, life's realities intruded on our idyll, and it became time to leave. My dad, who I thought was recovering nicely from his many ailments when we left, had a serious setback and was hospitalized yet again. I did worry about him and called him daily to monitor his progress, but I knew my sister was bearing a heavy burden by herself. Projects that Terry had lined up with the two boys were going to need getting done, especially since a new grandchild is on the way this fall (yay!). We haven't seen Drew and Nick since Christmas, which is too long. So we came home to pick up the threads of everyday life. But that's okay. It's less than five months until we can go back! Life is indeed good...

Saturday, February 28, 2009


...for now. As of this time, we'll be leaving for Navarre Beach, FL, at about 6:00 A.M. We are planning to stay a whole month. Of course, Terry saw a weather report on television that said there might be up to 5 inches of snow in Birmingham tomorrow morning, and he is not eager to drive in snow, so he has said we may delay our departure until afternoon to give the snow a chance to melt. Personally, I feel he is being just a little overcautious (read panicky), but since I'm not the one driving, I will be going along for the ride whenever we leave. The worst of the weather is supposed to be between the TN-AL border and just south of Birmingham, so we'll see. He wants to check again later and see how things are going. Just our luck--a southern snowstorm on the first day of March! And when we get to Florida, the temperature isn't supposed to get out of the 50's for several days. I guess that's better than the 30's we are supposed to have here, but I am hoping the weather warms up sooner rather than later. If it doesn't, though, I have about a dozen paperback books and all my painting supplies to take along, so I won't mind!
Speaking of painting, these are last Monday's projects, both of which I finished in about a little more than an hour. The top is a watercolor interpretation of one of Alissa's photos. The bottom is an abstract sunset, just done for the fun of it.
I am taking my computer with me to Florida, but if there is no Internet connection, I will be off-line until April. We'll see. If that's the case, see you then. Meanwhile, life is good....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Sandwich Generation... something I have often read about but not experienced--until now. While I am not exactly in the middle of an older and younger generation, I seem to be in the middle of an older and same generation, both needing me right now.

My dad has always been very independent and has continued to live an active life in the twelve years since my mother died. She was sick off and on for several years before she died, and he took care of her, so unlike many men of his generation, he was accustomed to caring for himself and generally living his life on his own terms. However, due to a series of health setbacks over the last several months, he now finds himself depending on his kids to help him. My brother spent a month with him during rehab from knee surgery last fall, and my sister and I have been taking turns spending days with him since early December. We are all glad to be able to help out when we are needed. He very much wants to get to where he is able to walk without a walker and take care of his own meals and drive to his own appointments. The problem is that every time he thinks things are getting better, something else happens. Right now he is in the hospital because of some swelling and a high clotting time. It was supposed to be for 2 or 3 days, but it's been 6 so far. He will have to regain the little strength he had all over again.

I have enjoyed spending time with Dad and making sure he has his meals three days a week, while my sister covers the other four. But in December, Terry and I made plans to go to Florida for a month next week, our first real vacation since I retired almost 5 years ago. When we made the reservation and non-refundable deposit, we thought Dad would be fine before we left. He's not, and now I will be leaving my sister with the whole responsibility while I'm gone, leaving me feeling somewhat guilty. It's not feasible to postpone, and I'm really ready for a trip and warm weather at the beach. Not only that, Terry would NOT be happy if I wanted to postpone. He already is getting tired and resentful of the time I am away from home each week. He was patient for longer than I actually expected, but now he thinks it is time to either pressure Dad to do more for himself or hire someone to be there to help him. He bases his feelings on the way his mom behaved and how she enjoyed being dependent on people. She always rather expected that people would take care of her, and when you gave her sympathy, she became even more pitiful. So Terry rarely gave her any, and then she did act better. However, I don't think Dad is anything like Terry's mother. It makes him uncomfortable to be dependent like this. His father was somewhat of a burden to him and my mom, and that's the last thing he wants to be. I believe Dad will be more than happy to take over his own care as soon as possible, but he has to regain his strength first, and if things don't quit happening to slow him down, that may be awhile.

I don't know how all this will play out. I hope by the time we get home April 1 that Dad is living independently again, for everyone's sake, but we will have to see. Meanwhile, I am going to the beach next week, and for me, anyway, life is good...