Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Days are still chilled and damp. Some garden plants are depressed but carrying on. I am trying to follow their lead.

Some plants are over-exuberant in this weather. Some of these are in need of restraint. So I've been digging up certain ferns, pink Lilies of the Valley, and a few hostas and giving them away or transferring them to other parts of back yard. Some pots, hanging baskets, and other containers remain empty. but I try to remember that "summer" is June, July, and August, so am not giving up hope yet. I do feel for the farmers still dealing with standing water in some midwest fields. It's hard to plant ponds that should be land.

Firsts and new-to-me attempts are still going on - 
A few, not in any order:

1) purchased fennel plants
2) purchased a dahlia plant
3) sampled cucumber soup earlier today. Cold soup on a cold morning wasn't in my plans. However, with the addition of some salsa - on advice of soup maker - it proved quite tasty. We agreed that it would have better had the day been warm and sunny.
4) used child's watercolor set to paint abstract patterns on paper napkins at a coffee shop in Hudson, Wisconsin. A friend and I were having our month Art Cheerleading Meeting. It was fun to talk and play at the same time.
5) had a grilled turkey burger during the family get-together on Memorial Day. It was delicious. 
 There were more doings, but I am too lazy to think of them.

The June Personal Challenge has been decided upon. As my spirit has been more down than up of late I was surprised to have Happy Bears flash into mind early this morning. Next it was One Hundred Happy Bears. O.K? Then, well why not do the deed in one month? So on to it. Even if I am not feeling all "haha funny funny," perhaps drawing bears who ARE happy might lighten the mood. 

Friday we set up our first outdoor art/craft fair of the season at New Richmond, Wisconsin. The first one of the year is primarily a test-run for equipment  and set up. I have no expectations for this event. But it will be good to put on the art fair smile and see what happens.
I still have to frame and/or wire several pieces. And prep the business stuff. Once the season is in the swing the weekdays and weekends sort themselves out into a rhythm that is hardly notices - except to note where to point the van. And it is amazing that I drew that first small hear head twenty years ago! One never knows what will change ones life. (Quite the wide-ranging paragraph, this.)

On to paying attention to a discussion with Stephen Fry on YouTube. 

It has been a day.


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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Keeping Up

It is Sunday night already - and the thunderstorm is almost past.
Past, too, are the last several days.
No typing.

But we did spend two days in Wisconsin - doing antique shop and flea market stuff.
Just not blogging.

I have a small regret. I left this kitty at the Shawano, Wisconsin flea market -

I even carried the prickly beastie over to husband - just to see. And debated buying it for our grown son who shares his  apartment with two real cats and a growing pile of Pusheen kitties. Alas, common sense prevailed and I decided to put him back on the table and settle for a photo. I forgot that sometimes spending a little bit of money can reap a large amount of foolish fun. Fare-thee-well, Prickly-furred Kitty. May you bring joy to another who appreciates your odd charms more than I did.

Though the kitty remained at the flea we did bring home a few things, including a Brush ceramic frog, and potted geraniums. Sadly, we doubt that this market is worth a trip - but it was fun to check out a different fairgrounds and donate a dollar for some pretty rough de-caf coffee from the local 4-H food booth.

We decided to come home last evening instead of heading for a large flea market at Cedarburg, Wisconsin. This resulted in stopping for dinner at a bowling alley/bar in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Of course, there is A Story. But that will have to wait.

Tomorrow many people have time off.
May we observe Monday's Memorial Day in a suitable manner.
Many who served never returned home to enjoy another day off.
I appreciate people giving the ultimate sacrifice, but wish that the need for doing so over and over might someday come to an end. (No, I am not hopeful - only wishing...)

Somberly yours,


Thursday, May 25, 2017

30 Thankfuls

Though I try to silently say "Thanks" for at least thirty things every day, I've not typed a list for a while. These things I am grateful for can be quite lightweight but that's O.K. It keeps one aware. Here goes:

I'm thankful:
1) that I "forced" myself to go alone to the "Guillermo del Toro" art     exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
2) that there was free parking on the street about a block from the         museum.
3) that I'd finally become a member of the MIA  - so saved $4.00         on the ticket.
4) that the busloads of field trip tykes were not heading for the             same rooms as I was. (Don't get me wrong - I've adulted on those     field trips. I'm glad the kids got the chance to see great art. Just in     other rooms yesterday.)
5) for GPS driving directions, though I had written directions as           well.
6) that I'd booked a 10:15 A.M. ticket for the exhibition. 
7) that the exhibition was not crowded, so one could appreciate the     objects and words and videos at one's chosen pace. I left at 2           P.M. I could have stayed longer... So many photos and notes.
8) that del Toro's movies might not be so scary to me now that I've       seen the original drawings for the resulting films.
9) that after the time at the museum I decided to treat myself to a         visit to Wet Paint - a most wonderful independent art supply             store in St. Paul, Minnesota.
10) because I "need" no more art supplies.
11) I like to support independent art supply stores, so I bought more       art supplies.
12) that I also treated the bookshelves to another book - one about         sketching while on travels.
13) that the staff at Wet Paint is knowledgable and kind.
14) that a person also buying goodies noticed my voice and we               realized we both went to Uw-River Falls in the 1980's!
15) that I can probably give her contact information to this other            long-ago pal.
16) more of the gardens got planted today.
17) we had another successful Arts and Crafts Evening last night.
18) that a friend brought over a bottle of limoncillo.
19) I found out how tasty a sip of limoncillo  can be.
20) that another friend stayed and chatted later into the evening.
21) the sun chose to shine on our day today.
22) that Facebook continues to educate and entertain.
23) for quotation books. 
24) for friends who give me plants.
25) that a friend took my extra cantaloupe plants for another                   garden.
26) that Todd turned the television back on just now.
27) I found my metal travel mug. It was in the last place I looked.
28) people share their stories with me early and often.
29) that summer hasn't really started yet.
30) forgood bourbon.

There. And more could be typed. But these will have to wait for another time. I am thankful there are way more than thirty reason to be thankful - almost every day.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Almost Too Much Day

drove alone

 to an art exhibit
in The Cities

to an 
art supply store
in The Cities

I paid attention
almost too long

The brain has stopped for now
But it is hiding

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Day


I finished listening to "All Quiet on the Western Front." In light of yesterday's bombing in Manchester, England I am once again left numb and void of reasonable thought. Dead is dead. Even while in the midst of the novel, written by a veteran, I  cannot imagine the horrors of the real Great War. Watching the many real time videos and news reports from Manchester I cannot imagine the true horror of being at the venue.

So I shallowly watch a bunch of multi-millionaires play "serious" basketball. And I keep trying to paint and draw images and words that might matter to someone.

Yesterday's efforts yielded this work-in-progress. Another in the Bear Dream Series. 12" x 12". Acrylic on canvas. No, I have don't know what I'm doing. I only know that a "plain" dancing bear is starting to get boring. And so one tries things. We shall see if future work on this piece will be "successful." Do the work. Dare to play. Sometimes playing is hard to do. Sometimes play gets serious.

Now it's time to get back to the basketball game.
Art fairs have been applied to. 
Emails have been answered. Not enough, but some.
I am done adulting for today.

Bourbon, anyone? I'm pouring.


Monday, May 22, 2017


Sunshine happened here today. 
Almost all day. 
It was Glorious.


But the garden soil is sodden and hard. 
So much for working the ground earlier.
A farmer must deal with what is.
Not what a farmer wishes things would be.

The tomatoes in the ground do not look happy.
The ones NOT in the ground look eager to be planted.
They do not know what might be in store for their tender little roots. And stems. And leaves.

Beets are planted.
Kale? Not yet. Soon.

This may not be the year for basil.
We will see how things work out.
Playing with dill this year. 
And  viney plants.

Sunflowers, too. And zinnias.
And fennel for particular butterflies.

On to the coming months' adventures.
And hope for sun.
And crops.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Grey Cold Wet


Seems to be forever so. And SO much more rain yesterday. Farmers' fields are ponds in low spots, and there is standing water in the rows that are already planted. Record set for metro rain amount yesterday.

I planted some spinach and tomatoes late last week - just for spite.
The other plants sit outside - wet, or inside - dry, with mixed but strained emotions. I feel most for the leggy zinnias. They are reaching for the non-existent sun. The basil seen to not care one way or other. the tomatoes are game to get going.

I've been away from "the Front" the past few days. Though our sloppy cold weather keeps mind going back to troops in trenches. No visible rats running around here. And no prisoners of war digging through meager offerings in garbage. No recent shellings. No shellings at all. Perhaps I will be thankful for current weather that only makes me recall a novel, and some of it's grey, wet cold facts.

Today I plan to get to making art. The past weeks I have had  too many uncaring days. These are not good - if one is a professional artist. One must attend to business, work, create a good workplace conducive to creating. (I did do bookkeeping for an hour - sboo hoo.) I have ignored deadlines, getting orders out in a timely manner, and finishing drawings and paintings. This creates a backlog of guilt and stress - all self made. (It sucks Being Aware - hahaha.)


So - on to more healthful eating, more mindful exercise, and an attempt at both waking up and calming the mind. "Simple" things - but hard for some (many) of us. Today starts a re-re-re-re-committing to the basic things I commit to. You know yours. I know mine.

I forget that I'd vowed to have twenty-five percent of my greeting card offerings be "new" designs this season. Time to get crackin.'

It's strange to see these past years' art fair booths. Many bears are moved on. Others still pace around the space. We don't use the wooden trunk for tee shirts now. We should get a classier set up. We are cheap. And this system works for us and our customers.

I often think of our space as more "Mercantile" than "Art Festival Booth." I try catering to "the common person" and "art collector" alike. I do want a person to be able to afford an image I've created. I thrill when a large original is considered for ten minutes and then purchased. I understand when some people can't afford to pay five dollars for a greeting card. Baseline Hope is that most people entering this space are somewhat different - for the better - when they leave. 

Now I have to find a way to rev up spirit to make more live-affirming bruins. Yes, cranky bears CAN make a person smile. But too many cranky bears would not be good. Dance with fake smile while cranky? For now it's the way to go!



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Getting away - part the first

Sometimes one needs a hour, or three, "away"

A friend and I did that last night

We went to a nearly town to listen to another friend
From a nearby town

Play a grand piano

We arrived in sunlight

And left in POURING rain

Today is better for the the doing

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Books - In General

I love them
Even the sad moldy ones
that can't come into the house
and end up in the trash

I have too many
I don't have enough
Some that can be easily given away
Some that I could be covered with when I die

Listening to books is O.K., too

But it is not READING those books
Touching the covers
Turning the pages
Going Back to a place
Skipping ahead
Maybe, gasp - 
Reading the Last Page before its time
And when it is time
Closing the covers
There with one's hands on the tale

Where are YOUR books?
Ours are in, yes, every room 
in the house,
and in both vehicles,
and in the garage

We bring a box or two to Half Price Books
And get fifty cents or five dollars back
And then SPEND twelve dollars on BOOKS
from Half Price Books

And this is O.K.

Now it is time for the hands 
get back to work
And the brain to get back 
 The Western Front

Many of us fight the good fight
Reading is that win-win battle
Carry on
Here be Books


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Monday, May 15, 2017

Book - the hunt

"All Quiet on the Western Front" - 

I have learned a lesson - but probably too late.
I've "lost" the audiobook version I'd been listening to on YouTube. It was always the first one that would come up when the title was typed into Search bar. I'd been taking it for granted.

Until last night.
I am not the smartest cookie in the laptop  jar.
And another brighter type could probably hit a few keys and find "my" book.
I cannot.

However, I have discovered several other versions - each with good and bad (from my point of view) points.

I'd finally been "picturing" the troops correctly - as Germans. The brain had been wanting to see the soldiers as "ours." So after getting to see troops as being who they were now I've found another audio version - but with all the readers having British-sounding accents. Almost LOL. But more of a Sigh. Bye bye, Brits.

The one now working best is a video containing both text and voice-over. It is a site used for learning the English language. One can listen "faster" or "slower." "Faster" is more the usual speed of speaking, but the "slower" can almost put one in a meditative state. The narrator is "neutral."

There are tutorials online, and at least one film version of the first movie based on the book.

If I wasn't trying to focus on finishing the "book" I could easily be tempted into veering off into watching short films dealing with The Great War. And critiques of the book. And abridged "cheater" versions.  And words from the author. Not yet. Maybe later.

It's time to once more return to the front.

Sigh and Fare-thee-well,

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Too Many Yarns -

Today I am treating myself to a visit to Shepard's Harvest, a large festival dedicated to fibers and the folks and animals and plants that make up our fiber-y world.

There will be sheep - rare and common, sheared and not sheared alpacas and llamas. Angora rabbits. Folks demonstrating so many things - carding wool, spinning fibers on spinning wheels or drop spindles. "Crazy" weavers. Felting folks.  Color and visual stimuli and brain fun.

I go mainly to look and draw and listen.

And I'm hoping to meet up with a bit a family - the folks who live with the real Seth and the Girls.

There are probably new lambies in the mix now. Leaping and bounding and do lamb things that ewes might only remember.

On to some new adventures, patting sheep backs, being amazed by the skills of needle felting people, pattern makers, Border Collies, and so many others.

Time for some of us to learn a new/old skill?


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Friday, May 12, 2017

Book - 5

Most of these words, but not all,  are directly from Wikipedia. Here goes:

"All Quiet on the Western Front" by German World War I veteran, Erich Maria Remarque, was first published in book form in 1929, but was previously printed in the November and December issues of a German newspaper.  It depicted "the extreme physical and mental stress at the front, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many upon returning home." It also had a sequel, "The Road Back," published in 1930. Both books were banned and burn in Nazi Germany. (I did not know of sequel. More reading ahead.)

It was made into a film in 1930, and again in 1979 as a television film, in which "The Walton's" John Boy starred. My words - not Wiki's.

The book sold two and a half million copies in twenty two languages  in it's first eighteen months in print. I am not sure, but am guessing that it has never gone out of print.

The phrase "all quiet on the Western Front" has become an expression meaning stagnation, or lack of visible change, in any context. - Wikipedia.
Oddly, this - on a far lower level - seems where my art work is sitting. The art supplies are waiting, waiting for the next explosive bursts of energy. It is an unsettling feeling - the keeping busy, and putting in the hours, but not being satisfied that inner and outer "battles" with brush, pen, canvas, and paper.

Back to the Front:

Erich Maria Remarque: "The book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will simply try to tell of a generation of men who, even though they have escaped (its) shells, were destroyed by the war."

Because of Wikipedia I know how the book ends. Mixed emotions? No emotions? The war is only half over for me. For many of the dead troops it has been over for months. Though the  surviving soldiers of late have spent days of nervous calm, and perhaps even had a chance to frolic with a few local French girls, another battle is brewing. Soon more huge BOOMS! and thousands, millions? of "Pop. Pop. Pop. Popping will fill the air again. Trenches will be destroyed. Many more men will die.

These words by the narrator lie ahead, but where, I do not know, "Let the years and months come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear."

Yes, another battle is brewing... Sigh. For these soldiers I wish that the only brewing going on was that of good coffee, with a great tasty piece of bakery to go with another fresh cup...


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Bears of the Day (I wonder what they'd look like with helmets on.):

Now it is time to take a short walk, sip a last sip of coffee, keeping listening to classical music from "vintage" Sony Walkman radio, and appreciate that I can do what I do as a living.
Thank you.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book - 4

The habit of not following through is mucking up the Goal of 200 Blog Posts this year.

Yes, this IS a disappointing part of my way of making my way through life. Once upon a time I had almost three straight years of perfect attendance in school. No, that's not much compared to some other people, but it's not a bad record. And I used to pedal a bicycle thirty miles almost every summer day - thunderstormy days were the exception - for exercise and FUN. I fumed when I missed a day.

So I know stubborn achieving "me" is in me. I have to find a way to have her show up way more often again.

I don't know if you are dealing with similar habits/not quite habits. If you have tips for keeping on task, please share.

Yes, timers work - but only if one remembers to use them. Yes, lists work, if one remembers to write and then do what is written.

Now it is time to return to the trenches. Well, not quite yet. Some lads who are still alive are discussing what they might do when the war is over. Options and opinions have changed. They will never return to the world they'd started out from. And lots more death is coming...

Odd note: When listening to meditation music while also listening to "All Quiet on the Western Front" the war seems slightly less horrible. Sigh. It is time to quit the music and get back to the shelling.

(On a shallower note: We hunted stuff down at city-wide yard sales for around seven hours today. We found treasures to re-sell, a few treasures to keep, and a few treasures to give away. Tomorrow the hubby will keep hunting. I have to get serious about dealing with the "bears.")


Monday, May 8, 2017

Book - 3

One point from a May Monday evening:

Today while listening to the audiobook of "All Quiet on the Western Front" I learned that it is often better to use a spade than a bayonet to kill an opposing soldier. For several reasons. Yes, I know that they are not quite the same, but I will never "see" our shovels here the same way again.

There are only about four and a half hours left to the book war.
But its effect will hang in brain for years. 
And that is as it should be...


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Books - 2

It is NOT "All Quiet on the Western Front" - the audio book I am listening to is complete with shell pops and background sounds. Makes the misery even more miserable. And I am only two hours into the action. Much war to go. Yes, I peeked at Wikipedia.  One might find out exactly who will die. Even knowing I will carry on.
From time to time I do forget that the soldiers are the Germans. Therefore, every so often my wacky brain has to turn them back into Germans. Brain WANTS them to be American or British. No. These are German men dealing with German sufferings. I must remember this. War is hell for both sides? And those caught in the middle? And trees? And rabbits? And deer? Most likely.

On to more pleasant doings - the various varieties of daffodils and tulips are finally in full bloom. The wire mesh and rocks and bricks and carpet samples over newly-planted bulbs kept munchers at bay - yay! But now I forget to go out and enjoy the short-lived blossoms. And get distracted by the alien plant forms that have infiltrated the ground and rocks near the flower beds. "Things" are growing were nothing has ever grown in the twenty-plus years we have lived here. Sigh. Tenacious things with fine clingy root systems. Plant forms that are Life Lessons in Persistence. Lessons I have little time to learn. Oops - this was supposed to be about pleasant things.

Pleasant: the first rhubarb sauce and baked crisp of the season. Plants go from cutest little furl-y popping out of soil greenery to WE ARE HERE AND WE WANT TO BE USED in blink of eye. Yay, 'barb! And as the crisp is just out of the oven - really - and needs to be tasted - uh, yeah, sure - I am going to stop typing and go put a spoon into the bubbly crunchy gooey goodness.

Tomorrow (Monday) holds doing the tasks I'd planned to do this weekend. It's been that kind of year... Carry on.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017


I have them. 
I read them. 
I give some away.

My May Personal Challenge is: Read and/or Listen to "Serious Books" at Least Thirty Hours This Month.

A recent posting/sharing of a list of How Many of These 300 Books Have You Read? is making the rounds on Facebook. I have read or listened to 94. And have started in on more. And will never read certain ones.

However, this list prompted me to consider particular books that I have intended to read for years, and yet have not done the deed. "If not in May, when?" 

So - today started the doing. YouTube to the rescue! And I've started with some heavy lifting - an audio reading of "All Quiet on the Western Front." by This book, written by German veteran Erich Maria Remarque, has haunted me in bookstores, antique stores, and thrift shop. I knew a tiny tad of what it was about - so had no willing wanting to turn even a first page. With life in current times being mentally painful enough on certain days why subject brain to torments of young German soldiers trying to stay whole and alive in The Great War? Well, maybe now to remind oneself that life, for me, right now is not really all that sucky. And for so many troops and others dealing with The War to end All Wars life was REALLY SUCKY. And often, way too short. When a new bunch of soldiers is bitching about having to eat bread made of turnips and the "old" soldiers - even though they were nineteen or twenty years old as well - were thinking, hell, we've been living on "bread" made of SAWDUST, if we're lucky enough to have "bread" - well, it makes bitching about "What? You don't serve gluten-free options here?" situations a bit juvenile. Just go without gf bread for now - there's plenty in almost any grocery store in the metro area.

Already the fictional facts of life and death are front and center. And I'm only a bit over one hour into the listening. It helps to be transplanting baby vegetables and flowers while listening to the artillery in the audiobook's background.  Here life is springing forth. The "baby" soldiers cannot look forward to so lucky a season.