Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween... that the holiday is almost over! I must admit that I am a big kid at heart when it comes to holidays, and I like this one a lot. Of course, Halloween has changed a lot over the years. When I was a kid, Halloween was mainly for kids, but it was a big deal for kids. My mother always made us original costumes-no cheesy store bought ones for us! We three kids would go out on our own from the age of six or so and visit our whole neighborhood of around 100 houses. We carried large brown grocery bags that we filled, brought home and dumped out, and went back and filled them again. We had huge amounts of treats, including apples, cookies, popcorn balls, and other things besides candy. We always had a ball!

When our kids were little, I decorated the house with cardboard cutouts and homemade decorations as well as jack-o-lanterns. Like my mom before me, I considered it a point of honor to make original costumes for our kids. We lived on a farm where in 29 years we had only about 3 trick-or-treaters stop by, so my sister and her kids would come out, and we would go to downtown LJ and trick-or-treat there. Of course, by that time, it was necessary for parents to accompany their kids, but we stayed in the background as much as possible. The kids still got some homemade treats, but this was about the time that people were finding pins and razor blades and poison, so they could only eat unwrapped food if they knew the source personally.

As the kids got older, we accumulated a variety of decorations, as Halloween decorations were becoming more popular and sophisticated. I now have a large collection of stuffed pumpkins, and cobwebs and spiders, as well as some witches and other decorations. Of course, the kids grew up, but I continued to decorate and to add to my collection. The kids may have grown up, but I guess I didn't! However, I notice that there are a lot more decorations in yards these days, and adults dress up like the kids do. So maybe I am not so out of sync.

This year we moved to a patio home, which fronts a subdivision of homes with families. I got out my decorations, and I only put out the pumpkins and a few witches, thinking that in this new house that we didn't need as much. However, when I was done, Terry asked me where the skeletons and the cobwebs and witch hats were. I had thought he would think I was silly for decorating, but he wanted the whole kit and kaboodle! So here are two old people with a house full of Halloween decorations and nobody but us to enjoy them. Drew was impressed when he was here, but I believe he's the only company we've had. I looked forward to tonight when we might finally get trick-or treaters. I bought three bags of fun-sized candy bars, but only one family came around. They said that there were very few trick-or-treaters out, in spite of some gorgeous weather and Halloween being on Friday. I guess with all the businesses and churches having trick-or-treat night or parties, the kids don't get around to the neighborhoods much anymore. I guess this is safer for the kids and easier for the parents, but this is a tradition that I am very sorry to see die. I loved going out when I was little, and many of today's kids are missing out on a lot of fun. I'm glad that Alissa and the boys went out. Oh, well, at least I bought candy that I like to eat, and I have enjoyed my festive decorations. Life is good....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Isn't This a Peaceful Scene?

I believe that Alissa took the picture from which this painting comes early in the morning, when she takes a lot of her pictures. I am sure glad that she gets up and takes these beautiful dawn scenes because I am not an early riser and would probably never see dawn if it weren't for her. I used to have a Garfield poster in my classroom that said, "I don't do mornings!" That sums me up perfectly. Unfortunately, my body clock is off with the rest of the world. School started too early to suit me, but I had to adapt for the majority of my life. Retirement is a blessing to me because I can now stay up later and sleep later than I ever did. I still set my alarm during the week to get up, just not until 9:30. I would probably easily sleep another hour or so if I didn't set the alarm. I have established a habit of staying up until about 1:00 A.M. with Terry and then going to bed to read for a half-hour or so before he comes to bed. So you see, I don't really sleep any more than is recommended. My schedule is just a little skewed. Most people look at me as if I am lazy when I say that I sleep that late in the morning, but I like it and I'm glad that I have reached a point in life where I can get away with it. Terry, who always was a morning person, adapted to a later schedule when he retired ten years ago. He can still wake up fresh and alert early in the morning when he needs to, but there is not a need to at the moment. When we bought our new house, we had shades made, and the one in the bedroom is a blackout one. The room stays dark even on the sunniest mornings! :) They say when you get older, you tend to wake up earlier, but that hasn't happened for me, and I don't care if it never does. Keep taking pictures, Alissa--I'll enjoy morning through you. Life is good, and so is sleep!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Difference Between Grandparents..

Our grandson Drew, who is seven, came to visit for a few days during his fall break last week. He was ready for his "me time" with Grandma and Grandpa, since his brother had had his turn last summer. In the pictures above, you see the difference between Grandma's idea of a good way to entertain a grandson and Grandpa's idea of the same. Bet you have no trouble guessing which is which picture!

Drew came armed with big plans to go to a play, eat in a restaurant, make Halloween decorations, drive the golf cart, and go to16 museums. We did fit in all those activities except the 16 museums. Grandpa doesn't do plays and museums, and he feels left out when I take Drew away for the day for stuff like that. So we kind of compromised. I took Drew to a play, but museums will wait for another visit. We spent more time around the house where I entertained Drew by playing games and making decorations, and Grandpa entertained him by putting him to work helping with some outside work and taking him to Lowe's, Grandpa's favorite place besides the farm. While I think Drew generally enjoyed himself, I think he was kind of bored by the time he went home on Sunday. There are no kids around here that we know to play with him, and there isn't a lot of outside space to explore like there is at the farm. And Grandpa watches news instead of cartoons in the afternoon.

I would have liked to have made his time more exciting, but I hope he had a good time anyway. I certainly did enjoy his visit and the chance to interact with him all by himself for a change. The kids grow up so fast, and time gets away from us all. Before we know it, he will be too big to enjoy a visit with us old people. So I will enjoy the time when I can get it.. Life is good!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Guess..

...I'm now a professional painter. Monday I took 6 small paintings to the Salt River Gallery and Gift Shop, and they accepted all six on consignment. Because of the small town venue, I priced them at a level where I hope people will be interested in them. Even so, I doubt that anything has been sold, and it may never sell, but the pictures are on display with price tags on them, so I guess that makes me professional. My daughter-in-law is making me some business cards, too. So if ever you happen to be on I-65 going through Shepherdsville, KY(Exit 117), stop in at Paroquet Springs Convention Center and visit the gallery. You will see lots of local artwork besides mine, and pretty soon you will be seeing some of Alissa's photos as well.

Hopefully, I will earn enough to pay for my supplies, which can be costly. Paint and canvases are not cheap, but even more expensive are the frames. Some of my canvases can be displayed without framing, but many need a frame, and even the simplest ones are costly. I must admit, though, that I will continue to paint, even if I don't sell a thing. It's just too much fun. And now that I have convinced my recently retired friend to join me at the library on Mondays, it's even better!

I have been working on preparing the gourds that Alissa gave me last year. Then I'll paint them, too. I have stocked up and have at least a half dozen canvases and a new watercolor tablet and paints. And Alissa wants me to paint some cabinet doors for her. I have enough projects to last quite some time. Hooray! Life is good.. and so it art!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


First, here are the last two paintings. I'm still not satisfied with the first one, with the big white blob that looks so pretty in the photo but doesn't translate to canvas very well. The second is a small picture of a couple of apples done from a picture someone lent me. Now on to the subject matter of the day...

Well, the campaign season is in full swing, and the oratory fists are flying, each side trying to land knockout blows to the other candidate. However, by now when things should just be getting interesting, I am feeling campaign exhaustion. I think our election system has gotten way out of control over the last several elections, with people starting to run for office almost as soon as the inauguration is over. After a few years of bitter debate within their own parties, candidates for the major parties emerge to run against each other for another several months . During that time, things that were said about them during the primaries by people of their own parties are brought against them now by the opposition.

And let's not forget the mudslinging. This is another deplorable habit that has gotten increasingly worse over the last several elections. Each election cycle, the candidates promise that they will take the high road, but then someone somewhere says something that hurts someone's feelings, and they're off to the races. Things are beginning to get personal and nasty about now, and it makes me think less of both candidates. These candidates, who may have high ideals about politicking and governing, are coerced by their campaign managers to get in the first blow.

Now we add in all the entertainers who somehow believe that what they think is important, and they add to the propaganda being put out. I have been appalled over the last several years by the amount of public figures who feel free to not only criticize the president, which is their right, but they have gone beyond criticism to outright ridicule of the elected leader of the United States. Now their ridicule has been extended to Gov. Sarah Palin, whom they don't really even know. I believe our elected officials deserve our respect, if only because of their position. You don't have to like them, but it's so disrespectful to call them buffoons and idiots. Apparently, civil discourse has lost its place in America, and it disappoints me.

I guess you can tell that I am pretty much disgusted with politics in the United States and the direction the election process has taken. I admit that I do not think that either candidate would be a particularly good president. However, none of this will keep me from making a choice and voting in November. It is my right and my responsibility, and I as a U.S. citizen, I take that responsibility seriously.

Wow! The debate is over, and so is this post. Life is good....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

No Picture This Week

As usual, I went to the library on Monday to paint, and I did so, copying one of Alissa's photos. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the light effect I wanted, and I ended up layering so much white on the picture in an effort to cover the blue underneath that it became too thick and blotchy. I have decided, on the advice of a painting friend, to try lightly sanding the area and repainting it. I haven't done this before, so we'll see how it works.

Meanwhile, the local gallery has accepted my paintings for display and sale. Yay! However, I have to make out some sort of detailed invoice, and I have no idea how to do that. My computer doesn't have a program for generating invoices, so I will have to figure this out. I am excited, though, to have a chance to put my pictures on public display. Alissa's photos were also accepted, so both of us will have the opportunity to sell something. Of course, now I have to decide which paintings I am willing to part with. I have no trouble giving my paintings to family and friends, but selling to strangers where I won't see them again? I didn't think I would be emotionally attached to my work, but I guess to some extent, I am, after all. At any rate, I will have to part with some, as I am running out of room at home to display and store them, and I have given so many to family and friends that they don't have room for them, either! I guess this is just another of sign that life is good!

Hopefully, I will be able to fix the painting and post it next week....