This and That

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April 15, ‘14

April showers, today.  The past two days were April-warm and sunny with slowly growing signs of spring showing everywhere.  Some hyacinth and tulip bulbs I planted last spring are coming up through fallen and dead leaves and I’m hoping for some flowering, once they poke through and stand tall.  I have 3 buckets of winter kitchen scraps that are finally thawed and starting to compost and I’ve planted lettuce, kale and peas.  I planted the kale last week and discovered yesterday that there are many tiny little sprouts coming up. Gardening season has begun!

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Albert caught and killed Mouse #11.  Other than being a great companion, I’m pleased that Albert is such a good mouser.  I dislike living in a house where mice come in and run rampant, which seems to be the case in this house.  A cat catching a mouse seems like such a perfect solution when I consider mechanical mouse traps or glue traps or leaving out poison for mice to eat.  I don’t enjoy dealing with the dead bodies any more than I do the living….  Mouse #11 was a big mouse and a huge surprise to me.  I almost stepped on its lifeless form on my way to the kitchen this morning.  I didn’t wake during the night when there must have been much action between Cat and Mouse.  #11 has been scooped-up in the dust pan and was given a ‘burial by sea’ as were Mouse #’s 1 – 10.    (Flushed down the jon….)  Albert has been given much praise and he’s now settling down next to me for a very long nap.

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I haven’t been working on any of my art projects to the same degree I have been all winter.  Now that the temp is warmer, the days longer and with the blessing of a few sunny days, I’ve been happily engaged in Spring Cleaning and Re-arranging.  2 floorcloths need final details but I haven’t come to a decision as to what those details should be.  So, I stare at them and think….  I have an old floorcloth here I did many years ago for a client.  It needs a bit of re-furbishing and then return it to the owner.  I’ve managed to procrastinate that for over a week….  The most work I’ve done has been on the Step Stool.

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Steps

My aim with this step stool is to finish it within the next week.  My client uses this on her front porch as a place for her house plants in the summer and that time is fast approaching. 

I haven’t worked on any of my paintings in months.  I’ve set my easel and all supplies out on the front porch, covered with a tarp.  I’ve run out of paint and need to order more.  I also seem to have run out of inspiration/interest and made the decision to focus on things of more immediate importance.  I hope to get back to working on The Series sometime soon.

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Albert is on a diet; I’m feeding him a lot less canned cat food than usual because he no longer needs it for growth and seems to be putting on a bit of extra weight.  He’s not happy about this and there’s been a lot of turmoil in the morning with his begging and my refusing.  Finally, he’s settled down for his day-long nap and I’m ready to work more on the Step Stool.

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A good day to all!

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A Blessedly Ho-Hum kind of Day….

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Lola

April 5, ‘14

The weather today was unsettled meaning occasionally it appeared sunny with blue skies and occasionally the day was gray and spitting rain.  A stiff wind was ever-present.  The temp was in the mid-50’s but with the wind felt more like the mid-40’s.

My plan for today was to find a groomer for my little bird.  Her beak was getting long and I’ve been concerned that she was having trouble eating or had some other kind of health problem.  Earlier this week I was advised to call P*tc*, that there was probably someone there who could trim a parakeet’s beak but before I called them I went online and discovered a Pet Shop quite close to where I live.  I called to ask about beak and nail trimming & discovered that they did and would be glad to help.  I made an appointment for 2pm.

That left me with the problem of how to transport the bird.  I finally decided a shoe box would be much easier than carrying the bird in her cage, so poked many holes in a shoe box then found a big ribbon to tie around the box.

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Sometimes it’s a good thing to be a String-Saver….

I thought I’d have trouble catching Lola, but she was surprisingly compliant.  Or maybe I’ve developed more confidence in knowing that if she pecked me it probably wouldn’t hurt….  Bird in the box, I drove to the Pet Shop, parked and arrived inside the shop at ten of 2. 

Turns out, the woman who runs this Pet Shop is the same woman who ran a different Pet Shop where I bought my little bird almost 5 years ago.  I always liked the woman and it was good to see her again.  She told me that the rent had been quite high at her former Pet Shop so she down-sized and moved uptown, where I saw her today.

While the woman groomed the bird, I wandered around the store.  There were 2 mini-pinscher puppies in the fenced in play-area in the front of the store.  I was curious if they were from a puppy mill, but decided not to ask a male employee who was bringing in large bags of dog food from where they were piled outside the store, freshly delivered.  I recognized the 2 very large green parrots in their very large cage from the former pet store.  There was a lone parakeet in a cage across the room – the only living creatures in the store.  The former pet store had been formidable with a wider variety of pets: small and large parrots and canaries, kittens, puppies, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, a wide variety of reptiles, many varieties of fish, even spiders.  This store today was more like a neighborhood pet convenience-store carrying mostly a wide variety of cat and dog food, supplies for caged birds, hamster food, kitty litter….  Necessary pet items and a grooming service that might cost less if one wanted to take the trip 3 miles up the hill to P*tc*, but would rather not….

Lola survived her beak and nail trimming with barely a squawk.  The groomer told me that Lola is a small parakeet but seems healthy and her beak wasn’t excessively long, as I’d feared. The bird survived her trip back and forth in a shoebox and seemed glad to be back in her cage.  I was gone for a little more than a half hour.   It was a relief to me to have that task accomplished and feel that the bird was ok; I gave the groomer a generous tip, in celebration.

The rest of the afternoon I spent dusting the tops of my bookshelves and then the lower shelf containing 8 or 9 photo albums, places I clean only 3 or 4 times a year.  I spent some time looking through the photo albums, until I couldn’t take any more nostalgia. 

A low-key Saturday afternoon.

Exciting, eh?

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Tuna/Cilantro Pesto Melt on Rye

Too bad I was too hungry to think about taking a photo.

I made Cilantro Pesto yesterday from 2 big bunches of Cilantro I bought at Price-Rite.

For lunch today I mixed Cilantro Pesto into a can’s worth of Tuna — just enough so that the mix held together as if I’d put in mayonnaise.

Placed Tuna/Cilantro mix on slice of Rye.  Thin slices of Cheddar Cheese atop Tuna/Cilantro mix.  Grilled it in cast metal fry pan on gas stove.  

Really good.

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Monday Blues

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March 31, ‘14

This is what I saw outside my front window early this morning.  It was a surprise, the heart-sinking, kind.  Spring is tantalizingly close, but oh, seems so far!  This Winter, personified, is a mean-hearted bastard who just won’t give it up.  The only way we’re going to get Spring is to endure the clasp of Winter’s cold, dead hands awhile more.  Perhaps tomorrow will see a big difference….

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Yesterday was gray with rain.  It was also slightly warmer than today and my entire being felt warmer, too.  I’d invited 2 friends over for dinner on Sunday night and had a lot to do in the way of cooking and cleaning.  I was busy and happy all day.  My house and workspace have had a lot of junk weeded-out, a lot of things cleaned and dusted, every room has been thoroughly vacuum-cleaned, the bathroom sparkles, the cooking and the smells of cooking made things cheerful all day and the Corn Beef & Cabbage with Apple Crisp for dessert were a big success.

The client who commissioned the big floorcloth I installed this past Friday sent me an email that was so glowing with praise, I almost felt as if I was going to break out into purring, like Albert does when he’s completely satisfied….  That helps with a sense of closure on that particular piece and I can now let it go.  No longer a worry and on to the next….

Except that, as per usual, when I finish something big and let it go, I also go through a spell of ennui.  Not knowing what to do about anything, somewhat in a daze, getting involved with much cleaning and puttering around the house…. 

So, here I am — I’ve shown up at my workplace this morning and have no idea as to what’s next or where to start.  So many unfinished projects, so little inspiration….  Today is definitely a ‘sit and think about it’ day.

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Today’s Problems:

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Needs “Simple Decoration”  Flowers?  Borders?

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How to finish border?  Fill holes on edges?

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How will I fill-in the space on the thin border and then the thicker border?

 

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Floorcloth Update, Mar 28, ’14

 

Red Tumbling Blocks and Flowers/DD, Installed Mar 28, ‘14

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Outside

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Inside

My client hasn’t seen her new Floorcloth, yet.  I’m hoping she’ll see it tomorrow morning and I’m some anxious/anticipatory to hear what she thinks of it.  Right now, it looks stiff and shiny; I’m hoping the stiffness will ‘relax’ and the shine turn into a dull glow after a month or so with people walking on it, coming in and out.  It’s in the entry way of a weekend home where there are usually quite a few guests as well as the owners, from early Spring to late Fall.

I made a Floorcloth for the entry way in 2009.  It wasn’t as large nor was it as well fortified with multi-layers of Polyurethane as the new one.  I’m hoping the new one is good for 12 years.  Only time will tell….

I brought the old one home with me to refurbish.  It feels like a limp rag.   Much of the surface is worn and the paint has faded.   I haven’t decided how I’m going to refurbish it and maintain the design.  I’ll think about that while I’m cleaning and then patching it.

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Blue Tumbling Blocks/GG  (WIP)

Blue Tumbling Blocks has been ‘sharpened-up’ and is ready for the Grand Finale.  I have yet to come up with how I want to fill the corner spaces and the center spaces on the long sides. 

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Sunflowers & Crows/GG  (WIP)

I’ve lightened this image considerably.  I also had fun with the blue in the center.  The blue that was there previously seemed to me dull, lifeless and flat. I felt that space needed motion.   I looked at it one day last week and my heart sank because I felt it was too dark and I knew how much work it would be to give it more light.  It took me 2 days; I’m glad I took the time to do it because now, it makes me happy.   I’m still undecided as to how I want to treat the border. 

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Today has been gray, chilly and rainy. The forecast called for heavier rain after dark and they were correct.  It’s been a long day and I’m tired.  I’m enjoying a feeling of satisfaction that Floorcloth #1 is finished, out of my house and where it was designed to go. 

 

 

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Thinking on Spring while warming at the fire

mar 24, '14 006

Various lettuces
March 24, ‘14
Spring isn’t so much in the air today but it certainly is here judging by the slant and strength of the sunlight. The temperature is a mere 27 degrees at 1:30 pm, 20 degrees below the average for this time of year. But the sun is strong and the light has added an appearance of warmth and heightened color. My poor little lettuces; they’ve grown too fast, they’re too ‘leggy.’ But look how they’re drawn to the sunlight…. Tending to them has given me much pleasure this past week.
The increased sunlight is drawing me out of my torpor. I sense that torpor still exists within, but is dissipating. I’ve stirred myself to do many small tasks these past few days. This morning, being wash day, I washed, dried and folded 2 loads of laundry. I’ve filled a bag with clothing to go to the Clothing Bin up by K-Mart, I’ve assembled some items to put out on the street in case some passerby might be interested in a pink flower pot or a flannel duvet. I’ve started another bag with canned food items to go to the collection basket in a church. I re-potted 4 orchids, one of mine and the others for a friend. At some point, I recognized that my feet and legs were cold, so am back on the couch and the space heater blasting my feet into warmth. My feet and legs are cold up to my knees, as if I’ve been wading in cold water…. My house should look neater for all the work I’ve been doing but alas, it looks untidier – all the constructive puttering I’ve done this morning has largely created new mess. I had to go through a lot of things to make up those bags of goodies and sooner or later, I need to go back and finish cleaning the cupboard and deal with the pile of clothes I’ve decided to keep.
I also decided today was a good day to tear down my winter quarters here in the living room and make it ready for spring. Then I heard on the news that it’s going to stay cold and that tomorrow will be gray and a snow storm coming late afternoon into evening. Only 2 inches….
So, the folding screen is leaning against the wall instead of enfolding my space and keeping in a little heat. The heavy blanket I put over the screen has been washed, dried and folded. I may have been too hasty….
Oh well.
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This is Albert. On March 25, ’09 and tomorrow he’ll be 5 years old. He’s lived with me since May 25, ’09. He’s a good boy-cat and a fine companion. He was one hell of a fun kitten, constantly making me laugh. I’m having great difficulty believing that he’s already 5 years old. He could care less….
So, here we are, trudging into spring with feet of lead but with a leaping into spring in my heart.
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A happy spring to all!

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Thinking on Spring while warming at the fire.

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