Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Artists You'll Fall in Love With

Have you ever seen the work of Patricia Tobacco Forrester? Check out this site.
I also like Philip Jamison's watercolors
I like Laurie Manzano, too.
If these links don't work (still learning, you know), please Google the artists. You'll love them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grandpa Olsen's Birthday

Today is my grandpa's birthday. He was the best grandpa a kid could have. He was in the army during World War II. He was a JAG driver and also drove for General Douglas MacArthur in Australia. When he was discharged from the army, he drove a tanker for Texaco and worked for them until he retired. He was a wonderful husband who took good care of my grandmother who was a stay-at-home mom. However, when I was a kid, those weren't the things I thought about when I thought of my grandpa.

He was the kind of man who really understood kids. My grandparents lived out in the country. It was always an adventure to go to their house. We spent a lot of time with them on summer vacations and holidays. Grandpa would play croquet, badminton, fly kites and take us for rides on his tractor. Even if it was a work day, he was never too tired to play when he got home.

He could fix things and build things. He had a shop in his garage and built birdhouses and did other woodworking projects. He built a frame for the first painting that I had in a show. He was an artist himself. He showed us (his 3 granddaughters) how to draw animals. He had to go to work at a very young age to help his family, so he didn't pursue a career in art. I have a painting in my living room that he did of 3 horses. He was only 13 years old when he painted it. I love it. His father was an artist, too. He did amazing creations in wood as a hobby. I'm not sure they were aware of how talented they were. I don't think they considered themselves artists. It was just something they did.

I miss them. I wish they were still here, so I could tell them.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa! I love you and I love you, too, Grandma!

P. S. Jim is working on some shelves for the computer room. He just turned to me and said, "It's always harder in real life than it is on television." I think he wishes you were here right now, too, Grandpa.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We walked the dogs a little later than usual this morning. On the days we have school, we leave the house about 4:30. Today we got out about 5:30. The sun was just rising and the mocking birds were singing like crazy. They are the most amazing singers. We have a lot of mocking birds in our neighborhood. They stay for most of the year. We also have grackles, sparrows, pigeons and mourning doves. (Before I saw their name in print, I thought they were morning doves. I liked that better.) I love the sounds each makes. The grackles have an avante garde kind of "free jazz" sound. I can't exactly sing along with them, but they sound so happy that they make me happy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gordon Lightfoot Concert

We saw Gordon Lightfoot in concert last night at a theater that holds about 800 people in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. It was magical. He sang song after song that Jim and I both love. He is such a wonderful storyteller. His voice and music are beautiful.

Our trip has been wonderful - Seattle, Victoria, Butchart Gardens, Nanaimo... The weather has been perfect - t-shirts and jeans, sometimes sweatshirts. Flowers blooming all over the place. Some of the trees are just budding - light fairy green.

Everyone we have met here has been friendly and helpful. The restaurants are great. We love it! We laughed so hard in our hotel in Nanaimo. The elevator was being revamped. We were on the 4th floor. You should have seen us carrying our bags up the stairs. The hotel was old and charming. Our room was perfect. One of the fringe benefits is that Jim says we now have buns of steel after making so many trips up and down four flights of stairs.

The only bad thing is that my poor mom, who was babysitting her furry grandchildren, called and said that the laundry room flooded. The litter boxes were floating and one of the kids waded in and was standing there staring at her like, "What the heck's wrong, Grandma?" That was Ben. He apparently doesn't dislike water like most cats do. A plumber came out, said we have a slab leak and shut off the hot water as a temporary fix until we get home. My mom had bailed out the water once. It flooded again and the plumber vacuumed it out. Mom has had only cold water since Monday. She boils water on the stove for her bath. We go home tomorrow and will have to make some decisions on how to fix the problem. Mom is a real trooper.

Friday, April 3, 2009

No painting yet. We're in Seattle. We decided to spend spring break in Seattle and on Vancouver Island. While we're on the island, we're going to see Gordon Lightfoot. Neither of us has ever seen him. We both like him, so we decided to celebrate our anniversary and Jim's birthday by going to a concert. This is our first trip to Seattle and our first trip to Canada.

Seattle is a beautiful city. We haven't done much exploring yet, but we did find an excellent restaurant for dinner. It's called Amore. Jim had baked spaghetti and I had Chicken Nachatta. Oh, my goodness! Chicken Nachatta is a chicken breast in Marsala sauce with carmelized onions and mushrooms. Mmmmmmmmm! Jim said his spaghetti was terrific, too. Baked spaghetti was a new dish for him.

We got off to a rough start which had me thinking that I would never fly again - maybe never even go anyplace again by any means of transportation. Things are perfect now. We took Jim's GPS with us and she got us to the Microsoft campus and to our hotel without incident. We're ready to go exploring tomorrow.