Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lennon - Starting Over and Woman

No reason. These are just a couple of my favorites from John Lennon's post-Beatles years.

Possibly the loveliest song written by John.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Gopher Pain

There'll be no skiing this week. The ankle is too bruised and swollen to be cinched into a ski boot. I may try to see a doctor today after all.

In the meantime, I looked in the backyard and there are three huge new gopher hills! Good lord, what's it going to take?!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gophers! Grrrr....

With the snow finally melting, I took a stroll around the yard to see how things looked. I have at least 5 or 6 new gopher hills. They are in my day lilies. They are by one of my little color spot gardens. They are by a dying quakie. A friend told use a home remedy to put down their burrows - used cat litter. I'm going to call my daughter and get some of that. These things are going to destroy my yard before it has a chance to get going. So far they haven't discovered the 150 bulbs I planted last fall.

UPDATE: Not willing to wait for cat litter, I went out with my gopher poison, tripped on a cement border, fell and hurt my ankle. Ow! I can walk on it, so it's probably just a sprain, but ow . . .

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Painting Class - Week 6, Fini

The French Alps
We're finished. I worked on the mountains and lower clouds all week, then the bottom and the sky in class today. I had to paint most of the rest of the day to get this finished. I'm satisfied with it though I want to keep tweaking it. But just as I've learned about writing: it's never done, but at some point you have to stop editing.

This painting was done from a photo of the French Alps.


Isn't it funny how that word has two almost opposite meanings. One is a statement of things we intend to do. One is a statement of things completed. So the word suits my Saturday morning mood. Some things are wrapping up and others are still looming.

Finally reached an agreement on the legal bill and I am feeling a huge sense of relief over that. Today is my last painting class. I am eager to finish my first painting, but I'm afraid today will not be enough time. But this is something I will continue to dabble in using the small skills I've learned so far. Karate classes are over for granddaughter, so I won't be needed to drive her there three times a week. At last, the snow in the yard is melting and plants are showing through. At Celia's house she showed me daffodil shoots already coming up. That gave me such a sense of excitement and hope for Spring. I planted 150 more bulbs of many varieties last fall and I can't wait to see what I get for my efforts.

Now the legal business is truly wrapped up, I feel I can finally move on with changing my home and my life. I am resolved to clear out the garage and basement and sell or throw away the many things (mostly junk) the ex left and doesn't want. I'm going to sell some things of value the ex gave me as gifts. The proceeds will go to our daughter to help her buy a condo. I will call Howd and get a quote on remodeling my kitchen and then get that project underway. I will paint the basement bedroom. I will recycle all the old computer equipment I have. I will file my taxes.

Oh dear, the list is long enough. I have many more things I want to add, but I'll feel good just to accomplish these things. I want to have this all done before the end of April when the yard will once again demand my undivided attention.

Today is foggy and rainy, with temps above freezing, so the snow continues to melt. Despite the grayness, I'm feeling a little sense of excitement and optimism.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


UPDATE Wed., 7 PM: Wow, it was fun. We are so tired. But next Wednesday, we're going again. We're hooked!

Two crazy women, Celia and I. We had a ski lesson at Alta last week and oh what fun! Arthur, our instructor, was just great. After nearly 30 years since being on skis, we were pretty nervous, but it was all good after all. We've been dying to get back up there ever since. Finally, tomorrow I can get a half day off work and we're back on the slopes. I'm so excited! That Celia - friends just don't come any better!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

No signs of a struggle

I enjoy studying the tracks left in the snow in my yard by deer and other creatures. This one on my deck today was pretty rare. I've seen it once before on a deep pile of snow on top of my pfitzer bushes. I know what it is. A small hawk has been hanging out in my yard, sometimes perching on the rail of my deck. Here she caught something small, perhaps a mouse or a small bird. It happened so fast, the inidividual wing feathers made a perfect imprint while the claws show a dragging trail of about 6 inches in length.. Exquisite.

Click on the picture to see an enlarged view.

Painting Class - Week 5

Still very wet, so a lot of reflected light. But good progress this week. I have a lot of homework if I'm to finish this at next and final class.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Music has the power

Writing a post about hate speech today on my RedStateBlues blog left me feeling a bit sad. Inexplicably. I think it's about lost opportunities for doing the right thing and even for doing the wrong thing. So in the darkness of early morning, my piano offers calm, soothing music to get my day back on keel.

Years ago when I was teaching piano, parents of my students would sometimes express discouragement that their child was not turning out to be a prodigy. But as I told them, not all of us are destined to be great musicians. Some of us will remain rather mediocre and yet still able to create some semblance of lovely music. The value in that is very personal. Almost everyone knows that listening to music can affect our moods and lift our spirits. The power of music is even greater for the musician.

Of all the things I'm grateful for in my life, I put at the top of the list that my parents got piano lessons for me and that I had wonderful teachers who taught me not only how to play, but a love for the music I could create.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where Is Love?

In the musical based on Dickens' "Oliver Twist", the charming little Oliver sings a plaintive song, "Where is love?" It's a good question. Where is it?

Having a little experience behind me looking for love on the internet, I'm not so sure it's to be found there. Internet dating sites do offer some advantages: You see people there you would never otherwise meet. You get to see a resume and pictures (although clearly people are not always honest in their profiles), so you have a little information about a person before meeting. You can email while remaining anonymous until you are ready to reveal your identity. But it seems the same people are there perpetually with little turnover. So I assume most of us are not finding what we're looking for. I'll admit, the few dates I've found through the internet turned out to be interesting men with whom I found compatibility, good companionship, common interests, and whom I've honestly enjoyed getting to know. But no love. Nope.

So, for now, I'm off the internet and just living and enjoying life and not worrying about "love" per se. This Valentine's Day I won't be getting any messages like "Be Mine" or "True Love" except from my box of candy hearts. But no matter, I find myself feeling quite content with my current situation.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Some kinda blue

Not me, the sky. Just before dawn today, the sky over Antelope Island took on a deep shade of blue so rare, I needed to try to capture it. My cheap digital camera doesn't quite do it justice. I need a better camera.

Nature never fails to offer me a beautiful view from my window.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Small Changes

After a couple of years of upheaval, a certain amount of predictability and routine in my life is actually welcome. But never one to sit still, I am constantly trying new things, planning new projects, veering off onto new paths. I've sometimes wondered if this is an indication of dissatisfaction or of seeking something I lack in my life. Perhaps. But it doesn't really matter, because doing these things makes me feel energized, alive, happy.

This week I installed new strings on my guitar - the first time I've ever done it, I've always let the music store guy do it for me. But I've seen it done many times and felt sure I could do it. It took me two hours to change six strings. Some of them I wound, unwound, and rewound several times before I felt I had it right. I've decided a little instruction will help me the next time. But for now the strings have that new, bright, clear tone the old strings had lost, and I'll be good for a couple of months. I'm mostly satisfied with the result.

I'm not afraid to ask for or admit I need help. In my painting class I am learning some helpful techniques. But I'm also learning something else. When I apply brush and oil to canvas, I have my own way of seeing how it should be and it's sometimes hard for me to recreate my instructor's vision. But I need to pay attention and learn the basics and not be too quick to launch off on my own.

Discipline, training, and practice helped me become a moderately good musician, and I believe that applies to almost everything that one can learn in life. And formal instruction is not always necessary. This week I was recounting for a friend how I gained a background and knowledge in computers that led to my current occupation of writing software manuals. None of that background was formal, yet it was a real education nonetheless.

At age 60 I still have a desire to know more, to do more, to see more. Slow down a little a friend said to me. We are growing older and won't always be able to keep up this pace. Small changes. Nothing drastic. Ease into a pace that is less taxing on my aging personal resources.

I rearranged the sofa in my little TV room yesterday, just moving the old sewing maching cabinet that serves as my end table to the left from the right. Such a small change - everything else remained the same. And yet the room feels so different and better.

Sometimes with small changes, we lose nothing and actually improve things.

Still I do relish the whirlwind pace that drives my days. But I will consider my friend's advice. I may slow it down a bit. Maybe. Tomorrow. Maybe.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weird snowfall

Yesterday was supposed to be the big snowstorm. And indeed my parents in Ogden got 20 or so inches, my brother in Eden got two feet, southern Salt Lake County got well over a foot. But at my house -- about an inch, that's it. How strange.

When I was shoveling about 8 inches after the previous storm, with the snow on the sides of my driveway so high I could hardly toss the new snow high enough to get there, I felt so tired, and just kept thinking, "no more, no more." I was dreading but resigned to the big one that was due yesterday - but it never came to my neighborhood. It's like a little miracle just for me.

UPDATE: We're getting a little light snow now and it looks like I'll spend my lunch hour shoveling the drive instead of painting like I wanted to do. But isn't it great to be working from home and even have either of these options?!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Painting Class - Week 3

Not a lot of difference is apparent. Lots of layering of color into the clouds, but I'm not satisfied with the result. Needs a lot more contrast. There's a lotof pink and gold in the clouds in the photo. I'll let this dry a bit and then layer in some more color. Patience.