Catching Up

A slow run is better than no run at all. Today I walked the last few blocks after running for 32 minutes. Yesterday I planned an 18 mile bike ride (great cross-training) but once I started gardening, I could not stop. My legs are more sore from 4-5 hours of pulling weeds and mulching than they would have been after 18 miles on a bike. Mentally, last week, I was pumped when I ran. I was facing a week of vacation. Today I am facing more hours at the office than usual and 2 family holiday picnics on Thursday and Friday. I was sort of having second thoughts on the 5k race.

I've been trying to get a decent shot of momma wren who has built her nest in the birdhouse the girls painted for me last Mother's Day. Wikipedia will tell you that wrens are feisty and pugnacious and I could verify, as she yells at me everyday when I go out on the patio. While gardening, I had to get so close to the house that I peeked at the babies. I guess momma ain't so aggressive because she did not show her face. I thought she might try to attack me.

Five hours so far on this bag. It's moving along quickly because I'm using a larger hook, but it might need a lining when I'm through.

Most of the crocheting was in the car on the way to Wisconsin. Thursday we went up to visit family in Ripon and Todd Rundgren in Oshkosh. Rhonda and I share the same enthusiasm and patiently waited through the opening act, then got cozy right up front at the stage. I was close enough to take pictures like these, but Todd looked way better than that. I wish I had a camera. If you think you don't know Todd, I'm sure you do. You know this song. He has had a very long career with an eclectic variety of music. Most people only know "Hello It's Me" and "Bang on the Drums" which I don't usually mention, because that is my least favorite.

Had lots of fun with my nieces. We were reminded, as we always are when we see them, how much easier our lives are now we are out of the toddler years, but also shared in the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of a four year old and a two year old.

Came back on Friday night, because I had my Women's Circle planned for Saturday. I presented an evening of painting as a form of self discovery and insight. It was very well received by my friends who have had few artistic experiences. It was actually a practice-run for a workshop I will be conducting on July 13th.


Plastic Skein

I'm getting ready to start a new plastic bag bag. I'm determined with this next one to answer the two big questions accurately. "How many grocery bags does that take?" and "How long does it take you to make one?" So far... 25 plastic bags prepped = almost 90 minutes.  I thought I could prep 75 bags in this amount of time. I should be painting. I think I'd rather be painting. But, I thought I'd crochet in the car on our little trip to Wisconsin.

Exercise log: on the 17th I wrote that I would strive to run my 3 miles in less than 31:30. Well, a whole week passed without another run, but yesterday... 3 miles in 30:24 and today 30:14. Yay.

Thank you for comments on my blog. I really do appreciate all of them. To answer the question "How did you get the lace effect of the light under the trees?" This painting began like most of my nature paintings. I paint total darkness, then paint the "negative space" over it. The little bits of light are dappled on top of a dark background.



Into the woods and quickly back out again. I packed up my gear and headed out to paint at a nature preserve. I walked into the woods, but the mosquitoes swarmed me worse than I have ever experienced in my life. I got back in the car and went to another nearby nature preserve hoping I may find a better situation. It was just as bad there. To avoid the mosquitoes, I had to stay in the sun to paint this small abstraction. I could only last about an hour. The sun was hot. My paint was drying out quicker than I could use it. I should have used watercolor rather than acrylic. I may use this as a sketch to abstract further. The peace and quiet was so enjoyable after the 6 girl slumber party. The kids settled down pretty well around 11 pm, but woke me up around 5:30 am when they started giggling, screaming, and carrying on again.


Super Happy Day!

Little birdie made it to her new home
all the way from Mexico.
She is lovely!
Thanks again Geninne.

I am preparing for Maya's "kid" party. We had the family over on Friday, her actual birthday. Tonight will be water balloons, super soakers, make your own pizza, decorating cupcakes and ice-cream sundaes, a campfire on the patio, movies, popcorn, video games and sleeping in the sunroom.

Happy Birthday, Maya!



Watercolor and acrylic. 13x13.


Late Bloomer

Yesterday's gardening included dead-heading most of the peonies. Luckily the ones on the north side of the house bloomed a little later. This evening I had enough time to draw the last of the bunch. I'm going to start working in black and white and refining some line drawing skills. I actually tested this ink to see if it would bleed when I added water. It did not on my test, but apparently that doodle had dried a little longer than my peony.

On a separate note, I had a good run this evening. I ran 3 miles in 31:30 for a pace of 10min30sec per mile. (I did mention that I am a penguin) Not bad considering I checked back on my blog to see when I got back into running. It was May 25. This is pretty good progress for about 3 weeks. I've kept a running/exercise log in the past and it is helpful to stay consistent. I've thought of keeping track right here on my blog. It did just prove to come in handy. My short term goal is to run that same three miles within the next week and beat 31:30. I'd like to run a 5k on July 9 in under 30 minutes.


Three weeks of growth.

click photo to view larger

I wanted to sew today, but once I got outside I couldn't stop gardening. Weeding and hoeing lasted about 2 hours, then I did some laundry and tidying of the house. Compare this photo montage with the patio 3 weeks ago. There are lots of lily buds out there, I'll have to shoot it again in another week or two.

I have a big long list of fun creative projects for the summer, but I do want to get back to painting. I've always wanted to paper mache with the girls... and make mobiles... and make doll houses out of cardboard boxes, sew dolls and doll clothes, and plant a fairy garden. Last summer I was going to teach Maya how to use the sewing machine, but haven't yet. I'm also going to try, once more, to carry a sketch book with me wherever I go and paint outside more often. Also, many friends have been saving their plastic grocery bags for me to crochet. This week ends the T-ball season and next week I will be on vacation. yay.


Indiana Dunes

I painted this on location 11 months ago today.

Today, I took my girl scouts to the lake and hiking near this spot. We stopped to look at some stones in a small creek. Spotted a frog and then 5 more. Saw two robin's eggs on the trail. On the way back I pointed out that the very tiny undeveloped baby robin was on the ground near the egg. We enjoyed two whole minutes of silence... on the first try... with no interuptions. Spotted many butterflies and many more daddy-longlegs. Searched for different shaped leaves and sketched them. Made sand sculptures of fish found in Lake Michigan. Had a picnic lunch. And, the girls earned the "Junior Ranger Badge".

Maybe I can "make the world a better place" but first I need to stop complaining that girl scouting is a huge waste of my time. It was all very worthwhile.


The Show

Linda helped me hang the show this morning. Thanks again, Linda! Thanks to Jeff and Kevin for inviting me to hang in this beautiful space. Of course, art looks better in real life, so if you are anywhere near Hammond, IN - check it out. Towle Theatre link is listed under Friends on the right. The art will hang through August. My next painting will be a mandala for the family that I vow not to sell. They are sad when I sell their favorites and now that I've filled the theatre my walls are empty.


Simple Joys of Summer

I cut these peonies just before dinner, then had to photograph them about 7pm when the evening sunlight made them look extra beautiful. At 8:30 we finally made it out for ice-cream as I had promised, but we had to rush home after I mentioned how dark the sky was to the south of us. Maya was too worried about tornadoes to fall asleep. We showed her the radar on the computer and had her almost convinced that it probably wouldn't even rain here. It seemed as though the storms would all stay south of us. This just in.....thunder, lightning, pouring rain, and hail bigger than I have ever seen before. I wish that storm wouldn't have made a liar out of me. It makes my efforts to calm their fears less effective.