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so to say i am disappointed by this major downgrade look of my blog is an understatement... this green choice is all the free typepad offers so i am working on a solution. not sure what it will be but this is really horrid. stay tuned!
Happy New Year!
So I made it through another fab trip with my mom, Edinburgh and Glasgow were amazing! I do wish we could have taken that tour we originally signed up for but we still managed to see and do a lot. We used the heck out of those hop on/hop off buses. I can't say enough about how well they run in Scotland. I remember using the London buses a ton as well. It helps get you around to all the sites and the view from the top deck is always good. I will post more about our trip later (probably six months later, ha ha!) Here is a shot of my mom in London visitng Zeus the cat we see every year we stay at this studio apartment:
I've had a really rough week, even though I had found the time to load up a few posts that automatically posted... in the real world we have had a minor tragedy strike. Upon returning from our Florida trip we found our dog Maggie had lost some weight (not so unusual but still noted) and after a few days she began coughing with a runny nose. We took her to the vet as a family and during a very light-hearted visit, was given antibiotics for what was most likely "kennel cough." I have had several dogs get kennel cough before, Maggie never has even though she has been kenneled many times over her 3 years with us. Her cough and runny nose were gone within a week but she stopped taking her meds, which I assumed was just her "catching on" to our pill hiding in the food. Since her symptoms were gone, I continued to give her the pills with a hit or miss on actually getting them down. School started up, schedules got busy, we had visitors and Labor Day bar b ques, looking back now it is so easy to see that Maggie wasn't her normal self. On top of everything, it has been in the 90's for weeks on end here, just blazing hot. We are in and out of our little pool all day and into the evening too. After about three days of Maggie not eating much if at all and our "come on maggie, snap out of it" conversations with her she became weak and lethargic enough for me to make the call to the vet. They gave us the next appointment which was the next evening. Here is where all the should of, could of, beat myself up over and over part comes in. I said Ok to the robot on the phone, hosed the dog off assessed her wet nose, fresh poop and pee nearby and went back to my lazy day off. That night during our normal craziness (fans in all the rooms at full speed, attempts to cool ourselves down, rush to get everything ready for the following day of work and school) Maggie refused to go into her kennel which led to a wrestling match (sadly we laughed about this at the time) to get her settled in for the night. I did not sleep well, the heat was annoying and something about Maggie was nagging at me. I said to myself, if she isn't her normal self in the morning I will skip work and take her in. Unfortunately she died sometime during the night. All I can say now, a little over a week later is that her dying was never on the table. It wasn't even the tiniest thought in any of our minds. She was a young, pit/lab mix with a shiny coat and clear eyes, a strong "i love you" bark and wagging tail. She could pull chris around the block on his bike for hours and was the healthiest animal i have ever been around in my life. Big lessons learned here, big time priority straightening conversations and quiet reflective momments had by all. This was a really traumatic event and i am hoping that the eye opening experience we have all had will endure, without the scary nervous dread of death part that we have all felt too.
Our Utah adventure continued: This year we decided to drive around and see Canyonlands as well. I have never been to a National Park that wasn't well thought out, beautiful in the design of the visitor center, well run and organized. Gosh! If you haven't been to a National Park in this country (please skip the disneylands and theme parks), I highly recommend it. Canyonlands was no exception!
yeah, way back in the Spring? Well I finally went through the photos and realized I never did write a post about how fabulous Utah is. We have been to Arches National Park before, we find it is the best place to be during the springtime other than Bryce. We have tried to see Zion but every time there has been snow or questionable weather on the horizon. We have a tent trailer which is pretty much like tent camping, cold and hot, whatever the weather is we feel it. My inlaws are in Colorado so we meet them in Utah as a way to get together each year. Let me just say that Arches is gorgeous and the campsite at Devils Garden is clean and spacious with stunning views all around. I find the pink rocks mesmerizing, I stumble around spell bound most days just soaking it in. For someone who is thinking about painting all the time, this place is intoxicating.
I have posted before about how my father taught me to paint, how I took several art classes in college and felt intimidated by my instructors. My confidence was pretty much destroyed and how my dad said the right thing at the right time and I spent several years painting almost daily with him. He was (and is) an amazing teacher and I wish he would paint again but understand he has no interest right now, it's just something you have to be "in the mood" to do. Oil painting is messy and can be a chore to set up, to go through the motions of sketching and filling in, feeling the mood and trying to get it "just right," knowing when to stop and then a big clean up job after. On my days off, it seems I have so many other "things" to do I have a hard time committing to that 3 or 4 hours of time needed to complete a painting yet I OBSESS over wanting to do it. Crazy! Right now the weather is in the 90's and I need to paint outside, not the best situation so I probably won't get out there again until after the Scotland trip.
For a few years now, since my grandfather passed away, we have been clearing out his house and a large painting of my dads was unearthed, literally dug out from the garage in a state of major disrepair. He says he painted it maybe age 13 or 15 with a Picasso/Cubist influence. I see it and immediately beg everyone to please let me have it, please! Of course it's got mold on the back, a hole right through, painted on some kind of particle board and isn't even finished. Hmmm.... perfect! Let's just say everyone looked at me like I was crazy and it became MINE! I thought I might tackle the job myself but was lucky enough to find a local frame shop run by a young artist who took the project on. She spent weeks cleaning it, drying it out, varnishing it and then framing it. I have mixed feelings when I look at it now, a mix of "love it" and a "what was I thinking?" too. To me art is a very personal thing. I never thought of myself as someone who really liked abstract art, I find some of it so simple and boring BUT even though this painting is strange it speaks to me and makes me think. I enjoy following the lines and colors around, it has movement and interest. I really have no idea what a professional art critic would say, love it or hate it? Who knows but if it's hanging in my house, I want something that catches my eye and makes me sigh and this sure does!When I told my dad about the project he immediately said, "I hope you didn't waste too much money on it!" shhhhh... I won't tell but I hope he likes it (he hasn't seen it yet) I admit I am nervous because in the past he has felt some of his work was "god awful" in his words and I know I am biased because he is my father so we'll see. It has been a really wonderful experience to finally have a few of my dad's paintings, I find myself gazing at them and stopping for a moment here and there to take in the details. Something is coming full circle for me, finally feeling confident in what I paint and what I want to put on my walls and how I feel about the experience I shared with my dad many years ago. Feels good!
Getting ready for a two week trip with my mom to London (ahem) and Scotland (yay!!) This Sept travel tradition has been wonderful for my mom, who is dealing with mild dementia and I have enjoyed the process of researching/planning with her throughout the year. Wishing we could bring the rest of the family along, but it is so expensive even with just the two of us. Last year we added Paris to the mix and somewhere in the middle of all the steps and cobblestones, my mom threw her cane away and started hoofing it for real. Something changed in her for the better and I am happy to say she is still moving around easily. Originally we had signed up for a tour but it fell through (not enough people signed up for that week and I couldn't switch work around to go a different week) so we pieced a short trip up to Scotland from London ourselves. I think we will have a blast no matter what, we always find a way to laugh and amaze ourselves and get lost and then found. Traveling with a parent as a middle aged "kid" (yes I guess I am!) has it's quirks, for one I sometimes snap at my mom like she is one of my kids and then realize, oops! I am the kid, she is the mom (she lets me know by just one look) but hey, I am in "mom mode" and it's hard to switch back and forth sometimes. I will post on the blog if I can during the trip, when traveling with my mom we tend to turn in early and I get tons of uninterupted reading/computer time. Hoping to get this blog put into book form (I have only the first 6 months of it so far) but what a task that will be! Every year I wonder if this will be the last and then panic all will be lost somehow. We'll see...
so just a few more tidbits from our north carolina, south carolina, georgia and florida trip. i really felt it went off without a hitch and i am thinking back to how lovely all that green was. california is so brown, especially in the summer and i miss that daily rain shower we got in florida, so refreshing!Middleton Place (man, it was beyond gorgeous!) the kids are looking for gators and off in the distance other family members shout they saw one: lizzie is darting around to go see for herself (action shots like this are my absolute favorite kind of photo)