Thursday, August 21, 2008

Notes from the State Fair...

...and some art.

First the fair. Chip and Shira were kind enough to let me tag along on their day at the state fair on Tuesday. I usually go with Doug and Kellie, but they are kind of busy with school, work, and moving, so I went with Chip and Shira and had a really nice day. The weather was gorgeous, but we spent most of our time in the air conditioned South Wing, so it wouldn't have mattered. We did have a lunch from the food tent out front, Mike Linnig's fish (and chicken for me, the fish non-liker) that was as good as usual, but much more expensive than in their locally famous restaurant. I was interested mainly in the fine arts and crafts, of course, and saw that neither my entries or Alissa's won any ribbons. I wasn't disappointed and discovered that there were some really great artists entered. My stuff was neither the best or the worst, which is fine with me. It was exciting to see my paintings displayed in such a large setting. Of course, I was dismayed to see no less than six portraits, all the same pose, of Barack Obama, and three of them won honorable mention ribbons. Even though they were in different media, they essentially all looked alike, like the cover of Time magazine. I don't know how they picked just 3 for ribbons. As for Alissa's photos, there were so many good ones I don't think I would have wanted to be the judge in that contest. Alissa's were just as good or better than the winners, in my opinion. Guess that's why nobody would ask me to be a judge!

We went from the fine arts displays to the commercial booths and the community service booths and collected some stuff. After several hours of walking, I was done in. It seems I don't have the stamina that I used to, and it was getting to where I had to rest every 10 minutes or so. I think that Chip and Shira were ready to go, too, and didn't seem to care that we didn't hit the midway or see the animals. They had brought their daughter over the weekend and saw animals then. So the last thing we did was get cotton candy for Aiva and Shira and a funnel cake to share (but I ended up eating most of it-yum!)and a pork chop sandwich to take home to Dad. All in all, I had a great time!

Second, the art. You can see I tried something different this week. I tried abstract. The first one you see is swirls using leftover paint from the main painting I did. On the second, I started with pure ultramarine blue, and kept adding white to change the value of the color. The whole painting was done with just those two colors and one brush. I used wavy strokes, and when it was done, it kind of reminded me of being in a plane and looking down at the clouds. Now I need a title for it. This is a great departure for me, and I probably won't do it too often, but I will try it again from time to time. I had fun with it, and it only took me about 40 minutes to complete. Life is good...

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Birthday Finale (and Other Stuff)

Here you see the last two birthday children of the family with their children and their grandfather. It looks as if they were having a good time, and I believe they did. Everyone else seemed to enjoy the party, too. The whole family- except for Andy, who never seems to be able to make the family parties because of his hectic work schedule-attended. As much as I love birthday season, I must admit I'm glad we are at the end of it. Between the chips and homemade dip and the birthday cakes and ice cream, the season is very fattening. The meals themselves are usually pretty healthy, but the pre-dinner snacks and the desserts are not. Now we won't have such an elaborate celebration until Christmas time, and we'll be ready again for it. It also seems as if we have always been on the go, especially with all the stuff we've been doing around the new house and the old one. I am ready for things to slow down all the way around.
In other news, we had a small patio installed outside our sunporch. It's just big enough for a few chairs and a table, but it's great! Much as I love the sunporch, in the summer the windows remain closed to keep the hot air out and the cool air in. It will be great in the other three seasons, but for summer I love the outdoors. The little patio gets the morning sun, but by 2:00 in the afternoon, it is shaded, and there is always a pretty strong breeze. After last week's busy schedule and the party weekend, I spent almost 4 hours sitting out there yesterday afternoon reading a book (with a little bit of eyelid-checking). It was wonderful! It was peaceful and quiet, and the temperature was perfect. It was a much needed respite, and I started this week refreshed instead of stressed. I was out there again this evening for about an hour. It was definitely a worthwhile investment. Hopefully, after we get a little more landscaping done, I will remember to post a picture.
Tomorrow I am off to the fair with Chip and Shira to check out Alissa's and my pictures on display. I don't imagine I won anything, but it will be fun to find the pictures amid all the other entries and compare them in my own mind. I love going to the state fair, exhausting as it can be. Life is good!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Look! I received an award! AND I figured out all by myself how to put it on my site. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? I am to pass it on to 5 people, but I don't have 5 commenters, so I will gove it to my commenters--Alissa at Life's Little Adventures, Susie at Susie's Space, and Kate at Shambles Manor. I would also give it to Judy at Living on the Other Side of the Hill, but she already has it. Thanks!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympic Fever

Here I sit, watching the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games. We used to really watch a lot of the Olympics when they were on every four years, and coverage was just in the evenings. However, like everything else these days, the Olympics have grown bigger and more extravagant every year, as well as being on every two years, alternating winter and summer games. Terry always likes to watch the pageantry of the opening ceremonies, but at the moment he is watching them through his eyelids, and I am only watching them with one jaded eye. While it's visually fantastic, it's in a language I can't understand, and the sheer amount of people involved boggles the mind. The cost of such pageantry must be staggering, and yet so many of the Chinese people are poor and politically repressed. While I don't usually spend a lot of time worrying about such things, the juxtaposition of this humongous and decadent performance with the pictures you see of poor people toiling away in the fields is incongruous, at best. It makes you wonder if the money for these ever more extravagant opening ceremonies could not be better spent on pollution control (in this case) and better lifestyles for more of the people who live in the country hosting the event. I think the opening ceremonies would be more interesting and impressive if they just did the parade of the teams and the presentation of the Olympic torch. Instead, each time there is an Olympics, the host country tries to outspend and outperform the countries who preceded it. Very wasteful...

Now for the next sixteen days, we will have endless coverage of events large and small on the several networks owned by NBC. And not only will we see the sport performances, we will be "treated" to heartwarming and heartrending backstories of the athletes and more about China than you may ever want to know. I root for the American athletes, but I must admit that all the hoopla becomes tiresome in short order. There are lots of other things to watch on television. For example, I am missing new episodes of two of my favorite shows, "Monk" and "psych," tonight. However, the old guy in this house likes the Olympics (even through his eyelids!), so I am glad we have DVR on our cable. I can watch my favorite programs at our convenience. Life is good...

Oh, and the picture above has nothing to do with the title, as you can tell, but I painted it this week, and it's rapidly becoming one of my favorite paintings.