Saturday, December 31, 2011


I feel as though I should justify my visit to Starbucks this morning for a coffee. It seems as though there are two valid reasons for sitting here. It's halfway between home and the grocery store and they have muffins!!

View from Starbucks

So, I sit here listening to Michael Bubble and gringo Spanglish. Around me, smart phones are busily fingering text messages. Outside, the city starts to come alive. Buses of every colour pass by, all headed to the same destinations. Beads and rosaries twist and sway above the drivers' heads. Joggers, passing each other along the Malecon, are connected to heart monitors and inspirational music. They are oblivious to the crashing waves and soaring pelicans. Auld Lang Syne fills the air. A bearded, pink skinned new arrival sings along. Cathedral bells announce 9am on the last day of 2011. Time to finish my quest for groceries.

Friday, December 30, 2011

An amazing shepherd

This german shepherd was amazing!
He allowed the interloping chihuahua to circle him,
sniffing all of his body parts,
being excessively rude,
without a sound or gesture of annoyance!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Our breakfast was enhanced this morning by the arrival 
of a freshly cut swath of bananas from a neighbour's tree.

Andras, the gardener, led me under the neighbour's infinity pool
and gestured to the 50 pound swath that he had just cut.
How many did I want? I embarrassed him by asking how much they cost!
"No, No, No"!! he stammered.
I walked away with a dozen large bananas.

Yogurt and fresh fruit...
Always a special treat!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The end of another peaceful day!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lactose intolerant kitten??

During JOHN and Doug's absence, I have attempted to keep a close eye on the kittens, restricting their access to the indoors. It is my great fear that they'll knock over some valuable piece of artistic expression or scratch the hell out of the furniture. They are only allowed inside during daytime hours, under close scrutiny!

This morning I was sympathetic to their repeated pleas and opened the kitchen door. They both charged inside and parked in their usual spot, on the cowhide rug. Fran started making strange noises. Unfortunately I didn't immediately recognize the sound. By the time I turned to look, Fran had expelled regurgitated breakfast, along with a hairball on the cowhide. Even more unfortunate was the fact that the sheer force of the expulsion had resulted in an explosion from the other end as well! OMG!! Baby diarrhea on the cowhide!! What could I use to clean up the mess?

That was when I remembered what the father had used in "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding"as a solution to everything! Out came the Windex along with copious amounts of paper towel and "voila", it worked like a charm!!...smelled good too!

I asked the neighbours if they had been feeding the kittens and they acknowledged that a dish of milk was given to them yesterday. Nothing like a lactose intolerant kitten!!

Sculptures of sand

From reptiles and apes wearing sunglasses
to wise men bearing gifts
and a jolly Santa Claus with his helper elf,
the sand sculptures are works of art that just keep giving. 
They eventually release themselves back to the shoreline,
each grain suspended in anticipation,
waiting to be part of the next creation.
They leave no human footprint in their wake.

The artists rely entirely on donations
from appreciative viewers.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day in PV

Christmas morning beachcombing with Mitch!

Fran and Cisco sharing a special Christmas moment!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sentinel on the Malecon

A silent sentinel
as the sun shifts 
sending shadows
over his shoulder

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gender confusion

Well, it seems that we were all wrong and the two little females have been officially identified as being ballsy. Now they have to become familiar with their new names. Originally named Spunk and Ringer by the neighbours, they were renamed Bessame and Gabriela when they moved to our hacienda. Now we have confirmation from the Veterinarian that they are males. Plagued with gender confusion, their new, new names are Francisco(Bessame alias Spunk) and Francisco(Gabriela alias Ringer). Brothers from different fathers, their nicknames will be Fran and Cisco. Whew! How creative is that?! Fortunately all of this misidentification doesn't seem to affect their personalities one bit!


Zumba beat competes
with coffee shop tunes
dancers mimic movements
lovers perch on laps
gay guys giggle
as they all watch
cinammon fills the air
mixing with music
in a frothy morning tonic
as the sun warms my eyes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Why does there always have to be one idiot?! And where was the traffic marshall? It took this poor worker about five hours to repair the cement that had started to set when the truck drove over the wet pavement!

Our hope is that the road work will move past us in the next couple of days so that we will be able to breathe again as well as hear each other speak! They are doing an amazing job but is very disturbing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

...and yet another, probably not the last!

It promises to be an interesting night!
Later this afternoon, a third semi truck couldn't negotiate 
the curve on our newly paved roadway.
A multitude of sidewalk superintendents offered advice.

Trucks and bananas

Apparently we slept through an exciting night on the road below us. Some engineering genius decided that it was a good idea to repave one side of the road only to start with. This works fine for the majority of vehicles but is a disaster for the semis that go back and forth. Last night a load of bananas(in crates) was dumped at the curve in the road.
By the time we visited the site, the crates were neatly stacked and the truck (and driver) had disappeared. The next semi to come along could not make the corner curve on the newly paved portion. Normally the drivers have to swerve into the oncoming lane in order to make the turn but he didn't have enough new pavement so the truck ended up off the road in the front and back.
Major traffic delays resulted as multiple crews tried to plan the next step. Fortunately we were heading out for a morning walk and not planning to drive anywhere. Doug is suggesting to passersby that I was responsible for this disaster!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 12th - a celebration for the Virgin of Guadalupe

Yesterday was the celebration day for the Virgin of Guadalupe. 
During the past week several processions have passed along our road in the evenings.
Long lines of children carrying candles and flowers 
follow a replica of the Virgin to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
Church bells ring out in celebration of her arrival.

The replica sits on a motorized float of Dreams,
serenaded by the procession.

The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. 
Over the Friday and Saturday of 11 to 12 December 2009, a record number of 6.1 million pilgrims 
visited the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the apparition.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Virgin of Guadaloup and Hair day!

Sydney visited us today with her magical scissors. Retired here from San Francisco, she is happy to visit the homes of friends and share her skills for a nominal fee of 250 pesos(less than $20 Can).
After redesigning my locks, she worked on our neighbour's, transforming her long tresses into a shapely bob. Our hairdressing included valuable discussion on the American political situation, Obama's chances for re-election and the apparent sanity of Canadians vs Americans.
Life is good in PV. During our weekly grocery trip to Costco, the young attendant offered John a motorized cart with a huge grocery basket on the front. He declined, afraid that he might lose control and run amok in the aisles, upsetting displays of laundry detergent and bottles of merlot! Next week will be a different story...and I promise to take the camera!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bessame and Gabriela

Bessame(Bess for short) is definitely the star performer!

Every now and then Gabriela(Gabi) has to take a peek!

They were rescued by our neighbours when they were two weeks old. Their mother had been poisoned and lay dead beside them. Nurtured along, at the age of six weeks they have become lively participants in both households. Gabi is still the tentative one but Bess likes to entertain and explore.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Asleep on the job

Asleep on the job!
Balling the yarn for new socks
with Paradise yarn from knitglobal
in an array of Mexican colours.

The Mexicans are determined to complete the repaving job on the road below in record time. 
Much to our discomfort, they set up lighting and worked until 2am last night. 
The next crew was on site by 7am creating another dust storm!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More noise and dust!

The roadwork, dust and noise continue each day. Today they were working directly below us.

Everything was going smoothly until one guy lost his rubber boot in the cement!
Everyone rushed to his rescue, three supporting him while two others searched!

Doug missed all the action!
So did John!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary!

Noise and dust!

Day three in PV with repaving taking place on the highway below us. Even the cows have to wait for one way travel, usually a 15-20 minute wait with impatient drivers honking their horns incessantly! They don't tear up the existing roadway. They build on top of the old road which results in a lack of access to and from any of the side streets. You're out of luck if you wanted to turn into the gas station down the hill or any of the other businesses because there is a one foot difference in's a drop-off! with the usual Mexican lack of forethought that has resulted in major frustrations. When they finally repave the highway section at the bottom of our road, all the residents up here will be unable to drive down the road and get(up) onto the highway until they drop a load of dirt and gravel to create an ONramp!! Endless noise and dust!

On the bright side, we have sunny skies, calm seas and a pool full of crystal clear water that is very inviting. Oranges and limes are plentiful on our trees. The cupboards and fridge are full of food in case we find ourselves trapped by the road construction. There is really no reason to complain and every reason to be grateful!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sunny Vancouver morning

The sun highlighted fresh snow 
on the mountains this morning
while downtown Vancouver 
came to life behind the gymnasts
as they spiralled in celebration!

Friday, November 25, 2011

In Vancouver

Well, we made it to Vancouver today, a gorgeous sunny drive except for a section of the Coquihalla south of Merritt. I crept along at 50km/hour until we cleared through the tunnels.

My patient is on a waitlist for his second knee replacement surgery and we hope that he'll stay healthy for our flight to PV on December 4th.

Tomorrow we get to share some fun with our grandson and on Sunday there is a special pre-Xmas turkey dinner/Grey Cup celebration planned at my sister's. The rest of the week, until our departure, we'll rediscover this city where we spent our younger years.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another delay

More antibiotics and a further delay to departing the land of snow and freezing temperatures. The Doctor noticed that John's left hand was slightly swollen and that his white blood cell count was slightly elevated.
The mystery is never ending. So, we will see the Doctor again next Thursday with the hope that further blood tests are good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Snow in the forecast

Still hoping to hear about a cancellation this week at the surgeon's office in Vernon. We really want to ensure that John is placed on the waiting list for his next knee replacement before leaving. Our plan is to drive to Vancouver via the Fraser Canyon route, avoiding the Coquihalla heights. Snow is expected tonight and tomorrow around our area and the weather forecast is for continual snow ... sleet ... rain We are more than ready to leave any shovelling behind!

My patient continues to have a painful left knee but we have decided that the sun and warmth of Mexico will ease his discomfort. Whale watching from the balcony and sunny afternoon naps should be therapeutic for both of us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jesse Reno workshop

We are still taking one day at a time. My patient is enjoying "wheely-walker" tours of Piccadilly each morning followed by afternoon rests.

Meanwhile, I have decided to think positively about our planned trip to Puerto Vallarta and have agreed to take a five day workshop with Jesse Reno in January. He is an artist who paints in large format without a preconceived plan for the finished product. This could jolt me out of my stagnant doldrums!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

He's home

Home from the hospital and feeling better. Let's hope that my patient can stay healthy this time. He has a wheeley walker to give him confidence and speed on his feet and a big chunk of high density foam on his TV viewing chair to ease him in and out of the seat. What more could he possibly want?!

Antibiotics will continue for a couple more days. Meanwhile I have my fingers, toes, legs and eyes crossed with the hope that we are over the hump!

Thank you to all of the wonderful staff at SLGH. Everyone was amazing!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Plans on hold

Last Thursday was not a good day. My patient was admitted to hospital again with an extremely sore left shoulder and swollen arm and hand. He was unable to remember words and generally confused. Since then he has had ultrasounds, xrays, CT scans and medication adjustments. He was also placed on antibiotics. The good news is that the swelling has reduced and he is completely lucid. There is suspicion of an infection or gout(although he's on allopurinol and his uric acid levels are low) or arthritis. Fortunately they have ruled out blood clots.

So, he stays in the hospital for a couple more days...another scan on his shoulder followed by an echocardiogram. They seem determined to figure out the cause of his problems.

Meanwhile, the realtor contacted us about a house viewing today, nine weeks after the last viewing and nine weeks of accumulated mess! By the time I finished cleaning, vaccuming, washing, wiping on the inside as well as sweeping & raking outside, I was exhausted. I was tempted to check myself into the Holiday Inn tonight to avoid re-cluttering!

Of course our plans are on hold for now. One day at a time!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Late yesterday the Doctor recommended a cortisone injection in my patient's left shoulder, but not until after a visit to the lab for a further blood test to determine whether his blood is too thin. Apparently there is a risk of internal bleeding with the injection. The only problem is getting my patient to the lab. His pain level, even with medication, is not making the thought of transit very palpable. So, we will wait until this afternoon and hope for the best.

On the bright side, the sun is shining in a winter sky and the leaves are gorgeous shades of yellow and red.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The ongoing saga

It is almost ten weeks since my patient's leg was ripped open to insert a new knee. He continues to suffer from a variety of maladies caused by overcompensating with other body parts during his recovery. His left knee(also requiring knee replacement) has sidelined him twice, rendered him unable to walk and exercise for several days each time. His back muscles have ceased up on two separate occasions, keeping him horizontal. Now his left shoulder is screaming in complaint. I can't imagine what his recovery would have been like if he hadn't been a regular participant at our local gym!!

Meanwhile my nursing skills are showing signs of wearing thin. Each day I wake up and wonder what strange agony will visit his body today.

It is worth noting that the "new knee" is functioning really well. My patient assures me that we will be able to travel to Vancouver in November and on to Mexico in December. Time will tell!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving with August

Thanksgiving weekend for August, our grandson, included an exploration of the wharf on his push bike. Helmet secured, he flew down to the end and back again with sophisticated balance, his father close behind. Enroute he checked out the birds and ducks that are still lingering around the water's edge.

Nana and Papa sauntered slowly behind, marveling at his speed and control. He could have easily completed the circuit several times during our slow return trip but distractions kept stopping him in his tracks.

Although our energy was waning, his energy was still peaking, so we suggested a tour around McGuire Lake. Before we had walked to the entry gate across from Sturgis North Pub, he had disappeared around the curved pathway, his father in pursuit. Abbreviating our walk, we returned to the car just as they completed the circuit! Whew!! We were all ready for a nap!!

Pumpkin pie isn't the same without whipped cream.
A tiny tongue is needed to clean up the messy whippers.

This was Augie's first attempt at the task of "whipper-cleaner-upper".
He did an amazing job!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Improving every day

After getting the okay from his surgeon and physiotherapist, my patient made his return visit to the gym yesterday for a minimal workout. Later in the day, after he had recovered for several hours, we sauntered down the wharf in the sun. Our goal is to make him "road ready" before mid-November for our trip to the coast.

Friday, October 7, 2011

1962-almost 50 years ago!

If we had "Call Display" fifty years ago, my heart would have stopped! Yesterday, when I saw his name on my telephone monitor, I knew that the call was about our 50 year High School reunion. Fifty years ago,  he would never have called me.

Next year a group of 68 year olds will gather to reminisce about "the old days at King Edward High". We will look at each other, trying to reconcile our aging features with the photos in our 1962 annuals.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


My patient suffered a setback this weekend. After a walk around McGuire Lake, his other knee became inflamed and he ended up in bed for the next two days. During the past week he had insisted on two walks each day, more exercise than in his pre-op days.

My nursing diagnostic skills explored the idea of gout in that knee although he had been on a daily medication for over one year to reduce uric acid levels. In a desperate attempt, after a consult with the pharmacist, I prescribed colchicine. In the past this drug has made an immediate improvement. This time, it wasn't the answer.

Now operating on two crutches again, my patient made his way into the kitchen for breakfast on Tuesday. This was his first trip out of the bedroom in three days and I was worried about the recovery impact on the knee replacement knee. He slowly managed the stairs and into the car for a physio appointment.

The physiotherapist seemed to think that the inflammation was due to additional stress on the knee and that over time, with icing and rest, it would improve. Back home we rested on the back deck, in the sun, with cups of tea before I tucked him into bed for a much needed nap!

Two days later he is doing much better and is back to a "one crutch walk" at the wharf!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Well, we have had a week of successes! Even baby steps are recognized as big steps in recovery. Last week we walked halfway down the wharf twice and today(due to rain) we traversed the inner sanctum of Piccadilly Place Mall, in both directions.

At the last physio session, the knee bend had increased to 95%. She advised him that she expected a 5% increase each week! Wow! My patient has been quite diligent with his exercises and hopes to meet her expectations. He is managing the stairs on a daily basis and swinging his leg in and out of the car with more ease.

The surgeon was pleased with the healing process but cautioned that infection could happen at any point in the future. No one told us about that possibility!!

Feeling optimistic, we booked our trip to Mexico. As the cool temperatures of Fall have descended on Salmon Arm, we are looking forward to the warmth of PV. The pool will be the site of ongoing therapy for my patient!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The wound(not for the faint of heart)

It's time to expose the wound. This is not something for the faint of heart!! This photo was taken on the day before the rest of the staples are scheduled to be removed. The Doctor only removed every second one last week to give the incision a bit more healing time. Despite the appearance of the knee, his leg is actually almost "normal" size again!

My patient has been improving steadily this past week. This morning he put on shoes and socks before making his first visit in three weeks to our local coffee shop. Sundays are quieter days with less risk of being bumped or jiggled between tables. After coffee/tea and muffins he insisted on a short walk at the wharf, assisted by his helpful crutches!

Devoid of energy following this big outing, he reclined for a few hours with a Sunday schedule of football before being forced to leave his semi- horizontal position and make his way to the dinner table. He assures me that he is constantly doing his exercises between touchdown passes! Hah!!

More physio tomorrow and Wednesday before a final appointment with the surgeon on Friday. I have my fingers crossed that my nursing days will come to an end soon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flutterby blessing

Fanned by a touch
as light as my soul
I gasp with delight
as you perch nearby
flashing your colours
freed from conformity
raised by the wind
you hover in sight
then flutter a blessing
against my skin.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In the passenger seat

It was a big day today. My patient rode in the passenger seat of the car for the first time, no more cramming into the back seat! He had a good meeting with his physiotherapist who advised him to get up and move around more frequently. Sounded like an echo of Nurse Ratchet's advice!

His range of motion is good for two weeks post-surgery. She gave us a couple of new exercises and sent us on our way with the next appointment scheduled for Friday morning.

Between our two appointments we shared lunch on a shady park bench while listening to the life story of a passing cyclist. His life experiences made our lives seem absolutely ideal.

After waving farewell to our new friend, we made our way to the Doctor for staple removal. He wisely decided to remove every other staple, leaving the rest for tomorrow at the surgeon's office.

Back home, my patient was drained of energy but managed to hoist himself back upstairs and onto the bed for some much deserved rest. More stairs and vehicle travels tomorrow as we head to Vernon for the surgeon's assessment.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Being a mistress of innovation, I managed to fit an outdoor chair into the TV room with a modified drafting table chair for a leg rest! 
The small TV is (blessedly) out of the bedroom and back downstairs. Does he look comfortable?

Tomorrow we face the challenge of stairs again for a visit to the physio department at our local hospital followed by a visit to John's doctor. Maybe he'll remove some of the staples??

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wouldn't you know it?!

Yesterday was not easy for my patient. He had spent a restless night on the makeshift bed downstairs, almost rolling onto the floor on a couple of occasions. Forced out of bed and into the back seat of our neighbour's vehicle (a much larger, higher Toyota) for a trip to the lab, both of his knees were screaming!

When we returned, he faced the challenge of climbing our back stairs. Collapsing on the bed, I promised that he wouldn't have to get up again until the morning. More icing, elevating and pampering followed by the awareness of feverish cheeks around 5pm. WTF!

While he napped, I attempted to straighten out the downstairs but couldn't manage to drag the single mattress upstairs. A plea for help resulted in friends dropping over in the evening, carrying the mattress up for me and visiting with us for an hour around the bed. When they left, the fever had disappeared!

Today is better. No fever! Breakfast in the kitchen with my patient and the promise that he'll join me again for afternoon tea. Another loaf of freshly baked banana bread delivered by friends.

Checking emails, I discovered a request for a house viewing on Monday! Wouldn't you know it?! Nothing for weeks and now someone wants to invade our privacy! I explained the situation and said that my patient was in no shape to tackle the stairs in order to vacate the house...but...that we are prepared to sit on the back deck while they look around. No problem apparently!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Failure of the back seat revision

The back seat revision did not live up to its inventor's expectations. The entry wasn't too bad. His pants stayed on while wiggling his bum across the seat. It was the seat belt that I hadn't taken into consideration. We managed to get it into position, around the large mattress for the trip to Vernon but on the way home it had a strangle hold on my patient.

The surgeon was mystified by John's symptoms and hopes that the bladder infection is contained. The incision looks normal. He wants to see John again next week. Nurse Ratchet asked "why?" Handsome young surgeon replied that he didn't make house calls. I was tempted to suggest that the least he could do was update the waiting room seats, circa 1970, requiring patients to lower their bums to about 14" above the floor! Wake up!...this is an Orthopedic office...for hips and knees!

My patient now has two screaming knees and the warning on the Cipro antibiotic is that the medication may "rarely" cause tendon damage. Nurse Ratchet called the GP who suggested that we "wait and see".
Maybe it's just pain caused by compensating and exerting more pressure on the "good" knee that also has no cartiledge!

So, my patient is currently installed on the lower level of this care facility. I hauled the single mattress from upstairs and placed it onto the queen size bed downstairs to give him some elevation. The small TV is back in place for his viewing pleasure. He has been medicated, iced, exercised, watered and fed in a series of approximately 92 trips up and down the stairs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The saga continues

My patient seems to have a recurring fever in the evenings...absolutely normal temperature during the day. Stuffed him into the back seat of the car again this morning and took him to the clinic where the Doctor diagnosed a bladder infection. Picked up antibiotics and hustled him home for a rest.

It is very difficult for him to get out of the car, easy getting him in...I just push him... but he won't let me pull him out!! I have now devised an ingenious setup in the back seat using a three part folding mattress, shiny side up that raises the elevation for him and gives him a slippery surface to slide his bum across! Genius!!

His Doctor called later to say that the surgeon wants to see him in Vernon tomorrow morning to further assess the incision. We'll test out my back seat revision at 8:30am!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nurse Ratchet

Apparently my new name, referred to affectionately, is Nurse Ratchet. I do not fit into the sympathetic role of nurses that was depicted in WWII movies, hovering over my patient, fluffing his pillow and whispering kind words of encouragement! Unfortunately for John, he is more likely to hear "get up!" or "why is it taking you so long?"

On the bright side, he is gradually spending more time in a vertical position. This morning, while being "encouraged" to drink his tea at the breakfast table, he managed to remove the dressing from his "wound".
Nurse Ratchet was not happy. The plan was to remove it after he did a walking tour of the house, oozed into the dressing and returned to a horizontal position for a session of "icing". Complicating the working schedule of Nurse Ratchet does not result in a happy nurse!! When will he learn?

Today Nurse Ratchet is taking a break from her duties to share lunch with a friend. She should return in a happier and calmer frame of mind!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A fever!

I must be a dreadful nurse! John ended up in Emergency at the local hospital last night with a fever, not a good post-surgery sign! Anyway, they did a battery of tests, couldn't determine the cause and this morning he woke up feeling cool and well enough to come home. Once again, I stuffed him into the back seat of the car. This time he tackled the back stairs, a bit easier than entering through the front.

We both caught up on some sleep during the afternoon before alternating between knee exercises and icing sessions while competing at backgammon. Even in his weakened state, he won the challenge!

The small TV has been moved to the bedroom now. It is too challenging for John to thrust himself out of a chair in the TV room. His shoulders and legs refuse to cooperate.  After dinner we stretched out on the bed and watched Jack Layton's funeral, sharing emotions with millions of viewers across Canada.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My patient

Just one day short of a 59 week wait, John finally had knee replacement surgery on August 22nd. Three days later I stuffed him into the back seat of our car and brought him home. He's happy to be in his own bed surrounded by the quiet music of birds.

Apparently I was wise many years ago to avoid a nursing career. Although efficient, I seem to lack patience with my patient! Urgings to "get up!" and "get moving!" fall on deaf ears. 

A community nurse visited today and approved of my urgings but this patient is more inclined to catch up on lost hours of sleep. I have retreated, waiting for him to feel energized.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

R&B 2011

Another great Roots & Blues Festival!
Paintings are on display and for sale by silent auction this week.
Proceeds are split 50/50 between the Art Gallery and the artists.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paint the Town - followup

It wasn't easy!! I am obviously not destined to be an "on-site" artist!

When I drew the location from a jar the night before, my first thought was that this wouldn't be too difficult. Hah!! To begin with, a series of pickup trucks parked directly in front of me for the entire time. One would leave and another would pull in. Being in a high traffic area, it was a steady stream of people stopping to chat and ask questions. I love to socialize but the clock was ticking faster than my paintbrush was painting. The wind blew through the passageway offering a cooling respite to the day's heat and also drying my paint as soon as I squeezed it onto the palette. Clumps of colour were appearing on the canvas! Then the palette(a white plate) shifted and crashed to the ground, splintering into a thousand shards! That meant cleanup with a borrowed broom & dustpan from Fitzy's and a trip to the store for a new plastic palette.

By the time that John came to pick me up at 1:45pm, after 5 3/4 hours onsite,  I was thoroughly discouraged and uncertain how to proceed with the painting. At home, I withdrew to the cool of the basement and considered my options: 1. throw it in the garbage, 2. cut it up and throw it in the garbage, 3. set it on fire before throwing it in the garbage.

The final solution, in a rare moment of clarity, was to eliminate the buildings on both sides. This gave the building an ethereal look with the clouds and wind about to move it from its foundations. Then the idea of collaging came to mind.  Images of people from other cultures were applied to reflect the Film Festival's use of the building. On the far left is an image of musical instruments to represent staged concerts.

At 4pm, as requested, I dropped the finished painting at the Art Gallery, drove home and went to bed.
It is very clear to me that my paintings have to be well thought out in advance. No more "flying by the seat of my pants"!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A white horse

A white horse 
came into my dream

she lay beside me
warm and shivering

three others watched
then turned away

she came to comfort
or so I thought

until a tear fell 
from one eye

I wrapped my  arms
around her neck

sharing her sadness
before awakening

Friday, August 5, 2011


The honeymoon is over
nature is heating up
leaving green behind
for the heaviness of summer.

Leaves prepare to change colour
birds sing into the night 
thinking of empty nests
and southern skies.

Yarrow and cheeky chickory
line nature's pathways
luring bees and dragonflies
for a last gulp of summer honey.

Farmer's markets overflow
with produce and peaches
bringing hungry locals
to fill their eager bags.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Paint the Town

This Saturday I will participate in the 7th and final "Paint the Town". In past years I have been able to select a location and preplan my paintings. This has worked very well. In the Parisienne style, this year the artists will gather to share a meal at the Art Gallery on the Friday evening before our "plein aire" paintathon. Following the meal, we will pull our locations from a hat. The expectation is that, with the surprise location in hand, we will create masterful paintings of our town the next day! What a scarey idea!!

Looking for support, I have been scouring my shelves of inspirational art books. This quotation seemed appropriate:

"Every painting should be a surprise journey with an unexpected ending."   Robert E. Wood

I was also heartened by this one:

"There are no mistakes. Where my brush goes, that is where I am today. And, I'm dancing in my own landscape."   interpreted from Fujo Kato, Sumi painter

So, I have decided to release myself to the unknown and embrace the unexpected. If you're out there on Saturday, looking over our shoulders, don't be surprised to see magic!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It was a classic car!

It was a "classic" car and it was parked halfway across the handicapped spot outside our coffee shop. Earlier, when we arrived for our coffee break, we had been forced to park further away because another idiot(without a handicapped tag) had parked in the one and only blue painted handicapped spot!

This time I decided that enough was enough. The driver was in the process of emptying his coffee cup on the ground when I approached. "Are you aware that you're parked in a handicapped spot?" I asked. Looking me directly in the eye, he replied "yes". "So, you know that a handicapped person can't park there?" Again, without looking away, he said "yes". His passenger, a wannabe blonde, glared at me. I said that we had a handicapped tag for my husband and if we were looking for a parking spot, it wouldn't be available! He shrugged! I was furious and speechless!

In the car my husband berated me for getting upset. "Why do you have to get so upset about these things" he asked. At that point it was hard to tell whether I was more upset with him or with the other idiot!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A pantoum

Seven years ago
I retired my brushes
Upright and ever ready
They sat in the dark

I retired my brushes
Alongside my creative soul
They sat in the dark
Unwilling to resurrect

Alongside my creative soul
Unable to dream
Unwilling to resurrect
Peering at blank canvases

Unable to dream
Stacked neatly beneath
Peering at blank canvases
When the artist disappeared

Stacked neatly beneath
Upright and ever ready
When the artist disappeared
Seven years ago

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sturgis North

Thousands of motorcycles have been roaring through our town for four days. Today is the last day of Sturgis North and I have to admit that I have a new fascination. These machines are incredible! The custom designs are jaw-dropping and the artwork is amazing.

I have found myself prowling around with camera in hand, 
trying to capture some of the colour and feeling of this event.

The average age of riders appears to be beyond their "best before date". 
They cling to the "bad boy or girl" image with their black clothing and leathers.

Some of the riders show a healthy respect for death 
with symbolic artwork carefully airbrushed onto their customized cycles.

Music legends are memorialized on shiny surfaces.

And then there's the colour!....

....and the shiny chrome!

Some travel in pairs...

...while others take a quiet moment away from the noise
with their best friend.