Tuesday, 30 June 2009

When life was full of promise

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Dawn after the rainstorm

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Some Thoughts on Creativity

"You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are."
Anna Quindlan

I just wrote the following comment in response to a Robert Genn letter about an artist who had lost her source of creativity, that inner something that made her produce art that mattered:

I am a writer who is still in the process of feeling emptied out and unable to do more than squeeze inferior words from deep inside me where I search for something magical, some excitement that can again make me forget time while I write.

One day I just stopped trying. And something magical happened ... no words ... but I began creating folk art furniture from cast-offs that wouldn't mind acting as canvases as this non-artist gave them new bright life. I continue to be happy doing this and the hours fly by as I meditate and paint.

I have discovered a confidence I never had before. I know that I can always sand back mistakes and try again and so I am freer to explore possibilities. And I am climbing a learning curve that is gentle enough to allow me to stop and enjoy the view. The only writing I do now is on my blog. Maybe one day I will start "really writing again", but for now it is enough that I am exploring a whole new part of my creative self, and I no longer feel that self loathing that comes from being stuck producing inferior art in a field where I know I should be better. Painting allows me the freedom to fail because I am not a painter, just a writer gone stale.

I am more than a painter of happy furniture; more than a dog sitter; more than a blog poster; more than a mother and Oma; more than a teacher; more than a knitter, or a reader or watcher of films. We are all the sum of all our parts and each part enriches the others. But I must say, I do hope that one day I will again feel that I am a writer too.

When my writing was at its best I found myself living in the imaginary world I was creating far more than I was living in the one inhabited by my body. I drew on memory and my work was tinted by the experiences I was also living, but I lost the ability to have real conversations with real people. I became a little odd. I have a feeling that many fiction writers may not be very interesting people in real life. It is not easy to create a world when you are busy living in the real one.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The View from my Deck Chair

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Life is good ...

Update that doesn't read like a to-do list, I hope ...

Yesterday I visited my daughter and her partner and delivered the happy cat chair ... a convalescence gift. She lay on the couch with her huge orange cat looking absolutely beautiful ... serene and healthy ... for the first time in a long while. I suspect it is a combination of not working, finally getting enough rest, and feeling surrounded by love. The cancer has been removed and the worst fears have been faced and eliminated by competent medical care. She is still in pain because of her back, but the pain killers are helping, and we all hope that she will get real help for that soon.

On my way to and from her place I stopped at garage sales where I bought a doll's crib, a child's rocker, a dark green sweater for felting, and a huge comfortable maple chair. I also dropped in to the Parkdale market for veggies and bought maple syrup at a roadside stand.

That's about my limit for any one day, but when I got home I brushed Kenya, slung my camera around my neck, and set off to deliver fur to a neighbour who uses it to discourage animals that like her garden produce. Rowboat Flo was working outside and asked for some so I gave her half. Enroute I visited with Claire and Tom who were swimming (Tom, doing the length of the lake and back, and Claire, wading up to her waist with a floatie, getting exercise). Not too long ago, before her cancer, Claire would have been jogging miles for that exercise. After the delivery we visited with several other neighbours we met on the road and then came back home to swim. Playing in the lake with a dog who loves water, watching the Merganser family leave my shore with great squawking, and just breathing in the sense of peace and neighbourliness on this lake was wonderfully therapeutic.

I have decided that I am less likely to meditate while doing yoga than by staying home and swimming, painting, knitting, or just looking at the lake and sky from a deck chair, so I am not going back to yoga. I would like to find an aerobics class for older people though, one like the morning class I attended when I lived in Cumberland, easy on the knees and other joints, non-competitive except with yourself, and fun. It was the only place I felt a sense of community in Cumberland ... and it is far worse now with all the development that has scarred the landscape. Everywhere you look you see the facelessless of identical houses sitting on muddy lots, your ears blasted by the roar of noisy earth moving machinery. Almost all shopping is done in the atomized anonymity of box stores except for the bagel shop run by the Kenyans, and I bet the Ray Friel Centre is still providing its dose of neighbourhood.

Today I will finish arranging books in the bookcase that once housed the DVDs, and then it is back to painting chairs (and that table for beside the couch).

On Wednesday I may receive a passel of household pets for five days ... two Black Labs and two cats ... that will be a first ... and I suspect I will have my hands full. But I also think it will be fun to have such a houseful of loving creatures. Don't know how much painting I will get done ... but maybe that will give me a chance to do more sanding outside with the dogs, and then base coating in the porch to escape from their demands. Have to remove the winter windows first though or I will succumb to heat exhaustion and paint fumes!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Whoosh! Updated

Another flying visit is over. Mud Mama, Maurice, Sprout and Micah all left this morning to return to Nova Scotia, leaving behind them lots of dog hair, several items placed out of reach of 1 1/2 year old hands, and an empty space in my heart. I always breathe a sigh of relief when they leave and then feel as though I'm much more alone than I was before they arrived. This time, however, they will be back in a month so it's easier.

Daughter #2 has come through her surgery with flying colours and no invasion of the lymph nodes ... I am breathing again.

I started cleaning a couple of hours ago and am now melting ... and my place is cool compared to the city. Kenya and I are going to take a swim as soon as I finish this post. Tonight I will try out the yoga class again and tomorrow I will get two more DVD holders from Ikea. Then I will paint a table to put into that niche in the living area and create a painted shelf to secure the four tall skinny cabinets together and anchor them to the wall. As soon as I name the photos taken with my new camera I will retrieve and post them so you can see what I mean.

Then it will be back to the chairs and the knitted socks. I am attending a meeting of interested artisans who live near Wakefield on Friday evening. We are trying to set up some kind of artisans' co-op so that we can work together to sell our products without having to always be with our things.

The camera is proving its ability by taking excellent photos of Kenya. It is very hard to take a good photo of a black dog with an inferior camera. Soon you will be able to see just how beautiful she is without having to smell her now that she is swimming every day and trapping smelly things in her, still-shedding, undercoat.

The first photo I have tried to upload is the Sprout in motion ... WHOOSH! ... it is taking a very long time ... hope that doesn't mean that the camera is incompatible with dial-up! Can anyone tell me how to save these photos in a smaller format? I am an absolute novice with an SLR and know far too little about the technology we all use daily. I have been trying for half an hour and am now giving up.

I must get ready for my day!

Saturday, 20 June 2009


When my oldest daughter invited me to be her friend on Facebook this morning I went ahead to the site. That was a big mistake. It took 7 minutes to connect (I have dial-up), a second to confirm that I was her friend, a minute or so to figure out who the stranger was who wanted to be my friend too (turned out to be a friend of hers), and another second to confirm (with some bemusement) that he too could be my friend. Then I was drawn to another button where I discovered that my youngest daughter conducts long conversations on Facebook. I decided to try the insanity test she was currently discussing, and found out that five friends in Toronto are sending me hate mail. (I didn't realize I had five friends in Toronto.) The test refused, however, to tell me what particular mental disorders my five responses indicated I was exhibiting. Magma bounced me off and when I tried to re-engage, I was unable to. Probably just as well. It had happened again ... that follow your nose insidiousness of the internet that lets you forget where you were intending to go and draws you along some convoluted winding pathway into the ether.

I am scattered enough just living my daily life. I don't think I need anything else to pull me off-track. One of the most effective ways for me to lose the ability to focus is to have to climb too many learning curves simultaneously. I seem to have lost the ability to multi-task efficiently since I left a career that demanded it all the time. Now I like one new learning experience at a time, thank you.

Learning to knit socks and create happy furniture were two very forgiving learning curves with gentle slopes. I am still climbing those and enjoying the view as I do.

The new camera is sitting there waiting for me to attempt to scale its walls to discover what mysteries lie behind them. I would like to get to the point where I can ask intelligent questions of Mud Mama when she comes.

So ... when Facebook reared its head and demanded that I learn to deal with it too, I thought too much, too soon, especially with a dial-up connection. I have an accelerator that I pay $3 per month for (in advance) . So far, in over a month it has saved me 20 minutes and 15 seconds or 2/3 of a minute per day. Hardly worth it, right?

I have to write Primus (Magma's new owner) a letter stating that I do not want the accelerator that does not accelerate, but I really would like them to connect me consistently and let me stay on-line on a regular basis. I loathe dial-up and I dislike Primus intensely. Maybe I should keep a pair of socks by the computer. I could knit a great deal while I am waiting, and I would be far less frustrated every time I was knocked off-line by whatever entity they keep sleeping at their end of the phone line.

And now to decide how to spend my day. Should I go to the Fallingbrook Community garage sale on the edge of Cumberland? Should I stay here and paint and learn more about my camera? Should I go and have coffee with my neighbour who lives at the end of the lake? Or should I call a friend who lives a few miles away, have tea, let the dogs play and take a look at the chairs in her barn?

I will likely decide based on which activities would be easiest on my back which is still unhappy, but then again, feeling as scattered as I am, I may just opt for stasis.

My mental health problem? Anxiety disorder which results in inability to think or act, exacerbated by the stress of having too many things on my plate and by being frustrated too often by things over which I have no control. Do I really need Facebook to tell me that? Any one of my regular blog readers could have diagnosed me.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Another week is almost over ...

... and another weekend coming up ...

I came home last night from yoga feeling loose and flexible but by noon today my back had stiffened up to its original state. I think I am suffering sympathy pains for my daughter who is going to have to have back surgery as well as the lumpectomy which will be done this coming Wednesday. No one should have to endure that much bad luck all at once. Let's hope that my back ache has relieved the pressure on her sciatic nerve at least a little.

Mud Mama arrives tomorrow around 4 a.m. I think, and Marta will be visiting on Sunday. And Tamarak and Carlos may well drop in if the weather is conducive to allowing dogs to play in the lake, so the weekend is shaping up to be busily (and happily) filled with people.

I have prepared for the Sprout's arrival by NOT cleaning, just packing up DVDs on low shelves. I will leave the rest of the deck clearing to Mud Mama who knows what will attract him. He is at the stage where he needs to wear a life vest and have a brightly coloured balloon attached to him at all times ... and he has the highest pitched screech I have ever heard. Oh, my poor aching head!

I have put the first coat of polyurethane on the wonky house chair, not because I think it is exactly what I want it to be, but rather because I don't think I can make it any better at this stage so better to finish it up.

The first funky female chair has evolved into a mermaid reaching out of the water toward the full moon. I just have to give her a few final details (like boobs, a grin, and scales) and she will be ready to polyurethane too.

When I am finished, I will post photos of all four finished chairs and you can vote on which one I should take as a sample to a meeting a week from today. A local shop is hoping to become a showcase for artisans, artists and alternative health practitioners in the area, and we are going to meet one another (about 30 of us) and discuss how this might work to all our advantage. I want to take a chair and a pair of children's funky socks because what I hope to put up for sale are small items of knitware for children and funky furniture all produced by Oma at the Happy Hermitage. Anyone have good ideas for a card or logo that can accompany each piece? I thought I might use the bureau with the giraffe as part of my retail space. (I would have to create a new stash chest, of course, but hey! that's what I do for fun anyway, and I have an old chest of drawers that is crying out for paint.)

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Stresses of Life

Life is busy these days and I am pedaling as fast as I can to keep up. Monday the Costco trip, Tuesday a recovery day working on chairs, Wednesday a weird trip to town to get things for my new camera, today working as Carrie's gopher while she grouted the tiles in the bathroom ... and tomorrow I will be checking out wood for the siding for the house ... up in Kazabazua. Then MudMama arrives early Saturday morning from Nova Scotia. I am taking my aching back to yoga tonight to stretch it out so that I can sleep for a change.

Yesterday started out as a simple quick trip to town to get a memory card for the camera. It ended up becoming a somewhat comic horror show.

I turned down the side street off Bank and pulled into a diagonal parking space and then realized I had left my change at home. In front of me was a barber shop. Oh good, I thought, I'll get some quarters there. The shop was closed but it had a sign in the window announcing free parking in the lot behind the shop. I drove in and saw that most of the spaces had private parking signs, but a few did not have anything to indicate that they were rented out. I pulled in to one of these and went to the camera store. When I left Henry's I ran over to Wallack's for a very quick five minute purchase and then back to the car. It was completely blocked in by a Mazda. Shee-it!

I asked the carpenters standing by the very large truck outside Henry's back door if they had seen the owner of the car behind me. Yes. It was a woman. A nondescript woman. She apparently worked in the building and was planning to have me towed away. She had headed in the direction of the coffee shop on Bank.

I went into Tim Horton's and asked every single woman whether I had inadvertently taken her parking spot. None had any idea what I was talking about.

I went to Henry's and explained to the nice sales clerk what had happened and asked if he knew the landlord or someone responsible for the parking lot so that I could find out whose spot I had used. No one had any idea. The manager told me to check all the offices in the building.

Well, I went to every office on every floor and asked the same question. "Is there a woman working here whose parking spot I have taken by mistake?" Finally at the Green Party office a woman told me that the spot belonged to someone in the white building across the street.

Off I went to the white building asking my inane question. By now I sounded like some kind of wind-up doll. On the second floor a woman told me that it was someone who worked on the fifth floor. Up I went ... asking at every door. Nope. No luck. I descended floor by floor and someone on the third floor suggested I find the janitor whose name was Adrian.

Outside. I approached a likely looking man and was told that the janitor was much bigger and wore blue pants ... and might be in the basement. I went downstairs calling out, "Adrian? Adrian?" to no avail.

Back to the parking lot after a stop at the barber shop which was now open. The landlord was an unknown entity to the barber. He came around once a month to collect money.

So ... back into Henry's. This time the tight-lipped, squinty-faced woman manager who took herself extremely seriously said she would call the landlord (suddenly she had a means of contacting him) ... but she would have to go all the way downstairs to her office to do so (one flight of stairs and she must have been all of thirty years old) ... and, she warned me, I really should think about whether I wanted to draw attention to myself by phoning him. I looked at her in disbelief, and then said that my only other option was to call a friend to pick me up and then bring me back in the evening after the offices closed. By then my car would have been towed away. She grudgingly agreed to make the phone call.

I stood by my car waiting for her to re-emerge from the basement.

Suddenly another woman appeared. She asked if that was my car that was blocked. She knew the owner of the space ... a lawyer in her office. Yippee! She would send her over to move her car. After the last hour and a half of fruitless searching, I almost kissed the ground in front of her.

While I waited for the car's owner, the Henry's manager came back. The owner of the spot worked on the sixth floor of the white building, not the fifth. She gave me this information with considerably less grace than I showed her when I thanked her for her efforts.

Then the lawyer arrived and once again I was the epitome of graciousness and profuse apologies. She pointed out that the lot was private. I responded that only some spaces indicated that. She went to show me the big sign that said the whole lot was private and couldn't because the enormous carpenters' truck was blocking it. She moved her car and I drove to Tamarak's for a much needed cup of mint tea.

After tea I went back to the lake and sanity. I had a sandwich and then Kenya and I kayaked for an hour. Around the lake I paddled and Kenya swam with that lovely unhurried steady stroke of hers. We saw two young Mergansers and then flushed a mommy with a whole flotilla of little ones. We saw white plastic chairs that had blown off one of the docks and then, on the other side of the lake two brown wooden Muskoka chairs that were mired in mud. The kayak was not steady enough to attempt a rescue ... but if no one else wants them I would be happy to re- home them and paint them up for my deck. They would be fine mates for the one Tamarak and Carlos brought me the other day.

It took till late yesterday for me to get to the point where I realized that I would never have done what that lawyer did to me. I might have parked behind the offender but I would have left a note on the car to tell the person where to find me. I would never have caused anyone that much stress or trouble. How did she expect me to find her, I wonder. So ... a little belatedly ... I am ticked off. And ... I am very thankful that I live in a place where people are not so stressed out by life that they cannot treat people with kindness even when they make mistakes.

Oh well ... I do live here at the happy hermitage ... and tonight I will come home from yoga and stretch out in my bath tub and lull myself back into believing that this world is a wonderful place.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Post Intended for Yesterday

Yesterday my s-l-o-w server bombed before posting this ... so even though it is no longer my father's 101st birthday, no longer June 15, here it is.

Happy 101st, Opa. I wish you were here to see that I am finally taking your advice and slowing down long enough to smell the flowers and paint this funky furniture. I have learned since your death just how much wisdom you tried to pass on to me.

Speaking of smelling the flowers, the trip to the Montreal Botanical gardens was fun ... but I needed a day to recover. I enjoy the gardens (any kind of sightseeing, actually) in small doses and at my own pace ... alone or with a congenial friend. Because we had to jam everything into a short day, we decided to take the tour with a " friend of the garden" who raced us through so that we had little time to stop and smell the flowers ... or to take photos. (My favourite photos were of the fish.)

Just before it was over, Sharon and I escaped into the Japanese Tea House for a break. No tea ceremony ... not till next Saturday ... but we discovered a wonderful exhibition of lacquerware ... and the bonsai collection. Then we hopped on the train with Shirley, another neighbour at Pike Lake, for a leisurely ride back to the ice cream cone stand and the peony display where I took many almost identical photos before returning to our bus for the long ride home.

Today is a busy chore day ... Costco, wine bottle return, and banking in Ottawa and then phone calls to set up appointments and check on things that have not arrived yet. A Costco trip is a major excursion for me. The drive into the city, the deadly experience of shopping in a warehouse, the drive home ... and then the multiple trips down the hill with a loaded wheelbarrow, followed by the individual re-packaging of the meat and storage of the other groceries. I may not get to the phone calls. But then ... it is always easy for me to put off a phone call till another day.

Tamarak and Carlos brought three dogs when they came to look after Kenya on Saturday. When I got back, Tamarak and I took the dogs for a walk and watched the funniest scene unfold. Kaiah (the five pound wonder) was dashing after the big dogs taking twenty steps to their one, and having a wonderful time. Kenya was carrying two large sticks as she bounded along. Teddy wimped out and returned to the house to stay with his daddy, and Shea was up ahead looking for an adventure, so it was really just Kenya and Kaiah interacting. Kenya is very possessive of her sticks and normally would never drop them near another dog, but I guess she figured it was perfectly safe with a a dog the size of a rat. She went into the woods for a few seconds and when she came back out discovered that Kaiah was dragging one of her sticks (one that was ten times her length and half her weight) away. The look on Kenya's face was indescribable. She stopped dead and and did a double take ... so astounded by this development she didn't make a sound. When she recovered, she grabbed the stick from Kaiah who laughed and ran after her again. I don't usually like small dogs, but this one is a spunky little girl with lots of personality.

I have two chairs on the go right now and will have lots to keep me busy for the next while. Must run. Have a great week, everyone.

P.S. I didn't get the phone calls made so that is on my list for today.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

On Chairs and Peonies ...

Yesterday was lovely ... Besides having the tub enclosure tiled and receiving a larger cheque than anticipated for my teaching, I received two of the kindest most thoughtful letters imaginable. One came by snail mail and the other was an email. I went around in a state of bliss for hours afterwards thinking about how lucky I am.

Tamarak, Carlos, Shea, Teddy and Kaiah all arrived for dinner. They stayed the night so that they could look after Kenya while I go to Montreal today.

I will be going to the Botanical Gardens and am looking forward to the trip. it is apparently peony time. The last time I was there it was October and the experience was magical. Maybe I will write about those magic moments when I come back from this trip. I am sure that I will be reminded of them over and over again. I am taking muffins, apples, my latest unfinished pair of socks, and Miriam Toews' novel, The Flying Troutmans, with me for the bus ride. And my small journal.

I keep looking at the wonky house chair and am now thinking that the basic problem may be the chair itself. Its shape is not as interesting as the others. It is an old school chair from the days when they made their school chairs to last ... from wood. Today they are made of pressed board, plastic, and metal and are designed to fall apart almost immediately. One year I was presented with all new desks and chairs for my classroom. I looked at them and said, "But they are for young kids, not for hulking teenagers." The administrator, who had expected me to be overjoyed, said, "They are adjustable." Well ...a janitor came in and adjusted them all to their maximum height and as soon as the first class came in and sat down, half of the desks lay in pieces on the floor. They ended up glued and taped together (and very wobbly) for the rest of my career, and looked so decrepit after a few months of normal wear and tear that they invited graffiti and desecration.

Well, after that tirade that just emerged from the depths of memory, I am beginning to like those old chairs after all! Maybe they just need a different theme. Ideas welcome!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Mud Pies Tiling has started

Carrie from Mud Pies spent several hours in my bathtub today glueing up the tiles she made. I kept her company and handed her tiles as needed. First time I have spent that much time sharing a bathroom with another woman!

For some reason they look way more orange than terra cotta on my screen. They still have to be grouted in light grey which will also tone them down and make them appear more finished. That will happen next week.

I have started on the funky female chair ... what fun!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A Leggy Question

Does this chair look too tame? The others have colourful legs. I wonder if I should give this one multi-coloured stockings. What do you think?

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


Well, I've managed to get past the fear of starting!

Muffins and Procrastination

I have drawn on my new chair, with chalk, the main elements of the painting but I am putting off taking paint brush in hand. Oh, I know, I can always sand it back down to the primer if I mess up ... but I am still procrastinating.

So, lucky you, you get the recipe Tamarak sent me. It was used in a Canadian study of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and was found to reduce tumours by 30 percent. It is the flax seed that is the miracle worker. But even if you are skeptical about the effect, do try these. They are yummy, moist, easy and salt-free. The only fat comes from what is in the milk and the flax seed, so they are high fibre and low fat as well.

350 degrees; 18 muffins
apparently work miracles against cancer cells

Combine in large bowl: 1 ½ c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. ground flax seed
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t. nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon

Combine in another bowl: 2 c. milk
1 beaten egg

Add liquids to dry mixture and stir just enough to blend. Don't over mix. If you like, add grated carrot, raisins or chopped raw almonds.

Spoon into muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes.

These are yummy and freeze well.

Yesterday Sarah came to pick up Remi, and she and Lucas spent the day with me. I will miss Remi. Tamarak has a couple of great shots of him with Kaiah, the pocket-sized puppy. Take a look! (http://tamarakstable.blogspot.com) on my side bar.

And now off to paint creamy sheep!

Monday, 8 June 2009

And a new week begins ...

This was a great weekend ... garage sales on Saturday with Rowboat Flo ... sausages in buns with potato salad that evening with Tamarack and Carlos ... painting the first background of a funky series of chairs that will feature wonky houses ... and then going to my daughter's place for dinner on Sunday.

I have a crazy idea for the happy home chairs ... will show you what I do with this background once I start doing the interesting part. Here we have grass and sky ...

At the garage sale I picked up two nondescript bar stools and two chairs that I think will lend themselves to funky female images.

On Sunday Remi and Kenya came with me as far as Tamarak's. She looked after them till I came back after dinner. It was like a zoo at their place. Four large dogs and one teeny tiny puppy that fit in my jacket pocket. Remi was intimidated by Shea and peed on the floor a couple of times. The puppy got excited and peed on the floor a few times too. Kenya was very interested in the puppy and had to be told to treat it gently. Remi dashed upstairs to play with her. (She is as big as one of his paws!) Teddy just stayed out of everyone's way like the good boy he is. Tamarak and Carlos decided that five dogs was just too many dogs. I slept over and shared my bed with Remi and Kenya ... and I decided that, while one large dog in a bed assures me of uninterrupted sleep, two ensures that I get tiny snatches of rest between their jockeying for position.

Dinner was yummy and I received two wonderful birthday gifts ... these little rocking chairs.

And I learned about a chair painting workshop for $15 in late June!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

June is Busting Out All Over ...

It is June ... summer is just around the corner ... I celebrated my 69th birthday ... the lake is glorious

... I bid a somewhat sad farewell to Andreas today

... I am starting on a new chair

... and ... best of all ... my daughter received great news and our whole family is breathing again. No, she isn't "all better" ... but the cancer is contained and small enough that a lumpectomy and radiation should give her freedom. Life is good!

I have tried to include some of the photos that capture my happiness ...

... of Carlos and me with the birthday cake part of the dinner Tamarak prepared (vichyssoise as silken as a dream, a seafood sauce with veggies and a strawberry shortcake) (I really do have to stop having my picture taken with handsome young people, especially when I am so happy that I grin like an idiot!)

... of the new chair ... of the lake ... of Andreas on our last day together ... of Teddy who now also has a new lease on life ...

I want to thank all the people who phoned or emailed to wish me a happy birthday ... Rob Long, The OR, Mud Mama, Patrick, Pat, Zoom, Deb, Nature Girl, Tamarak, Mr. Roger, Mandara ... it meant a great deal to me.

Tomorrow I will work at painting elsewhere, pick up Remi (the Golden Doodle who is Kenya's best young friend), and prepare for a weekend of dog sitting and painting. I think I am going to start a series of happy homey chairs.

More later. The cat now has whiskers, by the way!