Happy New Year

I'm working on a couple of clients websites right now, but got bored and started reading some of my favorite blogs.

Tracey Helgeson, mentioned the other day a blog written by two older (in their 80s!) women, Margarate & Helen. Helen writes the most and doesn't hold back. BEWARE: If you happen to be a fan of Sarah Palin or the Republican party in general, you might not like this, but for the rest of us....woot! Read some of her earlier rants too.

Anyway, I resolve that 2009 will be a whole helluva lot better than 2008. We closed the restaurant until the end of January. We both needed a break. So this is my first New Year's Eve that I'm not working in 15 years - double woot. We have been invited to my friend Debbie's house for a fun, but refined *wink* evening. We are the Korbel providers. I'm already thirsty.

Happy New Year

Trying something new

"Iris Field," 24" x 48", oil on canvas
One of my paintings on Etsy

My daughter, Erin, just moved home this week from Savannah GA. She graduated in 2005 from SCAD with a degree in Illustration.

She's always nagging me to get back to my painting because I could be making money. (easier said than done).

Anyway, she mentioned that she likes to buy (from Etsy) and many of her artist friends use Esty as a way to show and sell their work. I have heard of it and have seen other artists mention it on their blogs and websites, but never got around to doing anything about it.

Since my work with a web company is slowing down quite a bit, I have a bit more time to do this kind of thing.

So...I did it...I've added a mini Etsy shop right under my profile pic to the right. Direct link is jaynerose.etsy.com.

Other than that, Christmas is 6 days away and I've only gotten 4 presents purchased. I have never been so far behind in my entire life as I am this year.

If, I don't post before the holidays...may all of you have a safe Christmas and Happy New Year.

After a long hiatus, I'm back

"Summer Home," 20" x 24", acrylic on canvas
commission

Well, the summer/fall of 2008 has been a trying one to say the least. I haven't picked up a brush in almost 6 months.

Personal life issues, professional issues, and worst of all....my beautiful black lab, Annie, died. My heart just wasn't into being creative.

Fortunately, a painting customer of mine, commissioned me to do his mother's place with flower gardens and to have it done before Thanksgiving. This project finally got me in front of an easel again. Finished painting is above.

This past July, I did manage to get a small painting done for my best friend, Debbie. It was a birthday gift and is a study of her viewing a painting at an art gallery in Phoenix. Sure is easy to paint subjects ya love, isn't it.

The Fields Project

From the air...3 field designs. Very cool.

One of the artists wrapped a corn silo. Double cool.

Well, no studio time again. And the sad part is, it didn't bother me. Hope this doesn't last too long.

However, this past Monday Debbie and I went into the courthouse to finish the last few details of the mural we created with her daughter, Arin (off to Southern Illinois University to pursue another masters in writing), and a whole bunch of young people of all ages.

The last of the pictures are still in my camera. Just can't seem to finish anything these days. The mural blog so far is themuralproject2.wordpress.com. When you can, jump to it and see the process. Today, I promise, to finish that blog. really...I mean it.

This past Sunday was the final day of The Fields Project also. It's a collaboration of artists and farm families. Bringing agriculture and art together...two completely different worlds colliding. It's awesome and has been going on for almost 10 years.

One of my favorite artists, Anne Leuck Feldhaus of Chicago, has been a participant for several years. She says it all, both in word and pictures, in THIS POST. Get a cup of coffee, sit back and view her Flickr slideshow.

until later...

Six trees in 2 weeks...gone

one of the smaller trees we lost.

2 downed cables of live wires going across our main walk to the inn.

Last Sunday at 6 a.m. I was awoken by my living room fall blowing out the window onto the floor.

A microburst is what they call them. My husband, who had been at our inn (right next door) getting breakfast started for our guests, came in and said that we had lost 4 trees and the live wires for the inn and restaurant were down again. Yes, the Sunday before we had another storm that knocked down the wires. It's been a ComEd couple of weeks.

This spring has been a doozy to say the least. We live by the Rock River (one block to our west and three blocks to our east) and it has been closed to river traffic due to the high waters. Luckily, our section of the village sits high enough up, that only the bottom lands get flooded.

We don't have problems with direct flooding or dry wells!

All in all, painting has been on the back burner for me. Painting for me that is. Yesterday, we finished the Lee County Juvenile Probation mural at the courthouse. Came out better than I thought it would. It got pretty sloppy at one point. Some of the children we worked with were a bit young or didn't have their hearts in it. But...in the end, with the help of a couple of the older kids and Mary (the leader of the probation dept.), we gotter' done!

More pics later.

Here is the blog I created for that project. I haven't loaded the last pics yet, because I've been so busy. Will try to do that today.
http://themuralproject2.wordpress.com

Sorry...Overwhelmed is the least of it

This is the initial watercolor sketch by Debbie Thompson for the background of "The Mural Project 2"


I've been going in three different directions these last few weeks and haven't had time to blog. I know...sounds ridiculous, but what can I say?

My job with Affinity AV (now a division of TDG Communications in Deadwood S.D) has been giving me lots more hours and taking up my only studio time. As an artist, it sucks, as a person with bills and a daughter in her senior year of college, it's a Godsend.

The inn, my other business, is picking up because of tourist season, wedding season, etc. So on my days off from AAV, I work there and do their website stuff. Don't know why I say "their stuff." It's my other business! Tells you how I feel about it anymore. The thrill is gone. You know, it's the job where you stomach hurts more the closer get to it. But, once I'm there and working with my clientele, I actually enjoy it. It's just putting on the cute clothes, heels, makeup, and smile that take the toll.

Debbie, Arin, and I started the 2nd Lee County Juvenile Probation Mural a couple of weeks ago. We're on our last week now. It's been a real task, but very rewarding. Most of the kids seem to enjoy it .... others, not so much. Oh well, different strokes for different folks. It beats picking up trash on the highway in 90 degree heat. I've started a mural2 blog to show our project.

Go to: themuralproject2.wordpress.com

After the mural painting tomorrow, I have been asked to show my work at a Sauk Valley Bank's newest facility in Dixon for the upcoming month. So I have to go hang a show! I'm pulling out as many paintings as I can find since I haven't been producing much in the last month. There are a lot sketched out, but that's about it.

AND FINALLY.

The freakin' weather. The midwest has been deluged with rain, bad thunderstorms, tornadoes, and now flooding. We've lost six, count 'em, 6 trees and have had downed live wires twice.

Crap.

Although we haven't had to water. And my tomatoes are going nuclear!

Students "Address the Earth" through Art

photo from Sauk Valley News
Reagan Middle School students gather around an etched copper panel that will be put on display in the school. Each plaque was designed and etched by the student through the help of local artist Mike Mcnamara and teacher Debbie Thompson. (Alex T. Paschal/photo)

My two friends were in the paper again with their work with students and art-- Debbie Thompson and Mike McNamara! The unveiling of the copper piece was yesterday, Friday at Reagan Middle School in Dixon.

Since Jack (my boss) and I had a prior business commitment at the same time in another town, I wasn't able to personally attend the unveiling ceremony. Luckily, we were able to stop by Debbie's classroom earlier to take a sneak peak and to take some close-up pics of the individual pieces (those will be published later). She had it hidden from the kids by putting in her classroom bathroom. She rushed me into the john (so I can take a few pictures) because she didn't want the kids to see the assembled piece until the unveiling.

Read below the newspaper's account of the event.



DIXON -- It's earth-friendly artwork made from scratch, and on recyclable material to boot.

"Students Address the Earth" features more than 120 3-by-5-inch copper sheets, each with an eco-themed etching done by a student.

Reagan Middle School art teacher Debbie Thompson held an unveiling ceremony Friday for the 100-pound piece, which will be displayed near the school's cafeteria entrance.

Students used permanent marker to make a drawing on the sheet, and guest artist/sculptor Michael McNamara of Dixon dipped the pieces in ferric chloride, which eroded part of the copper, leaving the hand-drawn designs slightly raised.

Images of pandas, hands and stars dot the copper landscape, forming a shiny metal patchwork.

Fifth-grader Jessie Scheck, 11, drew mountains, trees and grass on his copper piece. He said he had never worked with the material before, and that it was a lot of fun.

The project was part of Thompson's yearly guest artist program for her fifth- and sixth-grade art students. Most of the materials and McNamara's expertise were paid for with a grant from a private foundation.

"We wanted to do a group project with students dealing with the environment, to teach them what their part might be in recycling," McNamara said.

Kreider Services staff also gave a presentation on its recycling facility.

Kreider trains disabled adults and teaches them job skills.

Jul Adams-Watkins, the nonprofit's public relations coordinator, explained how they collect recyclable materials from local businesses, which they process and sell.

"It's not just a commercial situation," Adams-Watkins said. Recycling "is a personal decision."

Reach Malinda Osborne at 815-625-3600 or 800-798-4085, ext. 526.

Two more flower beds and one more Painting...done.

Aqua Vase with Daffodils, 24x24, oil on gessobord

Last evening, since the restaurant wasn't overly busy and we had staff-o-plenty, I decided to get into my studio to finish up the painting above that I started last Sunday. The weather was going to be perfect today (sunday) for working in our gardens, like just around 60 degrees or so. I don't mind manual labor if sweat isn't involved!

As I finished up the painting, I decided to do a small series of work with this same vase but with different seasonal flowers. Today while gardening, I cut several branches of lilacs to compose a similar still life set up in the same vase. Lilacs...are one of my favorite flowers and fragrances. Lilies of the Valley run a close second...both of which are now in full bloom. In the early evening the scent just wafts through my open windows. Looking forward to starting the next painting.

Busy week coming up this week. Jack, my web boss, is back in Illinois for the week and we're meeting with both potential and current clients throughout the next few days. Very busy these days. Hoping to land a chocolatier's account. Now, that will be a nice change from the 3 cancer treatment sites. A bit more uplifting! Although, I didn't think I could ever learn so much about the different options in treating cancer. Never want to have to use that knowledge, if you know what I mean!

Also, hope to get one day in for a canoe ride. The river seems to be going down a bit and the weather is perfect for it. Do you hear me little Debbie?!!!

until later
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A sunny side to a rainy Mother's Day

1st stage of still life, oil, 24x24

2nd stage of still life, oil, 24x24

Yesterday I woke up to a windy, cold, rainy and dark Mother's Day. Now, you may think this is weird, but those kind of days are some of my favorites. You know, snuggling in a warm bed, with a cup of coffee.... But, being in the restaurant biz, Mother's Day is a big deal and an appearance there was necessary. My youngest daughter, Morgan, took the train home from Chicago for the weekend. We did the sushi thing, bought some popcorn, came home and watched a dorky comedy together. Really nice.

On Saturday, my sisters, some nieces, nephews, and one brother-in-law (he'll get his reward in heaven), went to Mendota to my mom's to get her flower gardens in order. Laurie, my sister, was the project foreman and all went well, but we were pooped! During a work break, 5 of the worker bees decided to make reservations at the restaurant. So, now I really had to make an appearance! That was fine. We had a great dinner, lots of laughs, and they all went home by 3!

So, with their early dismissal, and the day still dark, I surprised myself by getting to the studio for the afternoon.

Above, you will see a start of a 24" x 24" floral still life. I haven't done a floral in a long time. These daffodils are from my garden. The vase was from a birthday bouquet from my oldest daughter. As soon as I saw the bouquet, the vase is what caught my eye...the cool aqua color and I knew that it would be a part of still lifes to come.

Normally, the first stage I will put values (shadows) in before adding the color. But, this time, I started adding color once the sketch was set down. Don't know why....guess I didn't want to waste another hour. It's been awhile painting something for me.

Must have been enjoying myself, because before I knew it was after 8 p.m.! With sunset coming so much later, the afternoon flew by. So, the painting will be done the next time.

Today is a Y day and a hair appointment day and a weeding day. The rototiller is all primed up and the sun is supposed to be out most of the day...woot. Jeff's Monday golf league has officially started. He is taking Morgan back to Chicago before that. Time for some bonding. You know what that means? I have the day to myself ... completely. Yeah baby.

until later
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Magical Trees and Gardening

A couple of the finished "magical trees."


I misnamed the tree mural we were working on last Friday. They are called "Magical Trees," not "Happy Trees."

So anyway...last Friday afternoon, around 10 talented young ladies helped Debbie, Arin, and I paint the tree drawings done by Debbie's students. Debbie and I sketched them out the day before.

Once we got the tarps down, paints doled out, and instructions given, the kids went straight to work. Most of them were a riot. Girls are talky, talky creatures and boy, when they start raising their voices in a cement stairwell, it causes ringing in the ears!

We always keep the color black out of any kids' hands. Children seem to love to overdo black or mix it in every color, thus making a muddy mess. This little rule does have an advantage also. "Well, how do I make this purple darker, etc.," kind of questions give us the chance to teach them how to mix complimentary colors and such to get a much more desirable dark of any hue they are working with.

More trees.

They tend to remember this too. Don't know why...but they do.

We finished up around 4:00. That's when their rides came to pick them up at the hospital.



After the kids left, Debbie, Arin, and I did some highlighting and outlining of each of the trees...a final polishing touch. Then we were off to Debbie's veranda for a couple of cold ones and some Thai and sushi.


Sunday, after the last of our inn guests checked out, Jeff and I headed outside to start (finally) on some of our flower beds. The weather and timing have been working against us this year. So, on this day, it was sunny and just the right temperature for busting our butts weeding, splitting over grown perennials, and composting. I think it got to around 70 degrees. After around 7 hours of that nonsense, Jeff got to burn stuff (his favorite thing) and I made a big old fat pizza.

So, we finished 3 long flowerbeds by the restaurant. We have another 12 or 13 to go. Groannnn.

Today, we worked on the 2 big beds in front of the inn. That wild ginger is a curse. It can't be pulled out, but has to be dug up and they are all intertwined with some of the perennials. Curses. Only lasted a few hours today.

Got another special bonus from gardening...my upper-butt area got good and sunburned. The only place I didn't put sunblock. You know the area, between the bottom of your shirt and the top of your pants.

After that, I thought a visit to my studio and doing some varnishing of some of the finished paintings lying around was in order.

Tomorrow is the Spring Luncheon for the Phidian Art Club. It also is the awards ceremony for the Literary Competition that takes place each year. I am the chair of this year's competition and will have to speak at this thingy. I'd rather get teeth pulled than speaking in public. But, the women on this committee with me are the best and we have a great time together. So, we're all taking turns doing some of the speaking and presenting.

Another good thing....I get to wear one of my new spring dresses. It's so girly and cute.

Until later.

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It's going to be a "Happy Tree" kind of day!

Debbie in deep concentration on the "burning bush."

Yesterday afternoon, Debbie and I went to KSB Hospital and started sketching out some of her students "happy trees" that will be painted today by the kids and artists, side by side.

We just used black marker to draw the images. Any goof-ups will be covered by paint. Gotta love opaque paint.

A couple more trees.

We left the kids' paintings taped to the wall for the evening. Figured not too many people would actually be mean enough to steal these. The people of KSB are some of the nicest I've ever met. This is the 4th mural we've done with the kids at the request of the hospital.

More trees...

I forgot how many kids were helping today. Sometimes when there a few too many, it gets a little bit hairy, with paint going everywhere, noise level rising (especially in a cement block stairwell), and general goofiness will ensue. But, of course, that's half the fun.

Stay tuned to see the finished work!

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Grist Mill illustration

Franklin Grove Grist Mill: illustration for Lee County Courthouse

I meant to post the illustration above earlier, but my meeting last evening ran long. Actually, it probably ran the right length of time, but when one of our committee members mentioned she wanted to be home in time for "Boston Legal," there was a general concurrence among all of us that this is one great show.

So, we happened to have a bottle of cabernet available and our lovely hostess made some popcorn. All in all...a lovely impromptu evening. Boston Legal was great too.

The Lee County Courthouse mural is in the final stages of organizing and getting grants and such. So, before we get our hands dirty with that one, Debbie, Arin, and I are undertaking a volunteer project with some of her middle school students.

A few of the students "happy trees" paintings spread over my office floor.

KSB Hospital has asked us and the students again (for the 4th time!) to continue a new set of paintings in one of their stairwells. We already have done two sets in this particular stairwell. The intention is to provide incentive for their employees to take the stairs instead of the elevators.

This year's murals will be inspired by the kids' paintings of fanciful "happy" trees. Debbie came by my office late morning today to help her pick out the most expressive trees. This afternoon, I'll be joining her in the hospital's stairwell to draw them on the walls.

Tomorrow, Debbie's daughter Arin, will join us along with several students to get these puppies painted! We'll get this done in a day...a long day, but still just a day.

Until later...

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Another mural illustration

Illustration #3 for Lee County Mural: the Dixon arch

This one didn't take as much time as the other two (see previous post), obviously, but the hand sketching took some time because folks, arches are HARD. And trying to make it a bit funky and cartoony is even harder.

Have to go into Dixon to work today...have my graphic design hat on today. When I get home, I hope to start on the Franklin Creek grist mill. Here is the photo of it below.

Stay tuned....

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In Illustration mode...

Sketch of Nachusa House in Dixon.

Debbie, Arin, and I are getting ready for our 2nd commissioned mural to do for Lee County Juvenile Probation department. This one will be quite a bit larger.

We also will be working with several young juvenile offenders hand-picked by the probation department to assist in creating this piece of art.

The last time we did this, we totally depended on the actual kids' work (which we enlarged on the wall). This time, the work will be more of the three artists' work. The mural, which is quite long, will depict an aerial view of Lee County's countryside, with the Rock River flowing through it. Along the way there will be buildings/landmarks of several towns in the county.


Sketch of Amboy Depot in Amboy, IL.

Yesterday afternoon I started on the buildings. I wanted them to be more quirky/funky, but still look recognizable. The Nachusa House in Dixon was my first attempt and the Amboy Depot was my second.

I found pictures of the buildings and hand sketched with pencil my vision of each building. Then I put the sketch into Photoshop and using a Wacom tablet, sketched and "painted" them.

I still have several more to go. These will then be enlarged on top of the aerial landscape and painted by all of us.

This is kind of a nice break from painting. It sure is a heck of a lot easier to clean up. Just sitting at my kitchen table and smelling the aroma of a slow cooking pot roast, has made this a very good day indeed.

Oh yeah...I'm making winter comfort food because the weather turned to crap again. We actually had snow/slush falling at different points during the day. That is so wrong on so many levels.

Until later.

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A weekend of art obligations

"Auction Apples," 24"x36"? (a guess), acrylic on canvas

Step One....

Step Two...


This past Saturday, Debbie Thompson, Todd Lorenc, and I participated in a charity benefit for Alzheimers in Rockford, Illinois. Fifty artists painted on site from start to finish. The paintings were then auctioned off. It's a long day of standing on cement and trying to pull off a completed painting in such a short time. But, it's also a fun day of networking with lots of artists of all different styles. Doesn't hurt when the wine starts flowing when the public arrives. Oh...there was a chocolate vendor that made the sore legs all worth it!

My finished (?) piece is the top picture. Really could have used a bit longer, but that's the way it goes. I've also included the beginning/middle stages of the apples.

There's Todd just above working on his funky guy. It was fun watching him bring this piece to life.

Debbie did an impressionistic fall landscape. Thought we were going to lose her to panic for awhile. Todd and I had to talk her down. The piece came out great...as we knew it would.

We left around 10 p.m. to drive back to Dixon. Got home around 11 and visited with Debbie's houseguest, Katie (in from Florida). Katie was in town and she helped out at The Next Picture Show by announcing the winners for the "Sculpture, Clay, and Fiber" show opening.

So, we sat and talked (they drank more wine...I was a good monkey) until almost 2 a.m. Crap. I was pooped. But a good pooped, so to speak.

I was going to work in my studio today. Even went out and picked some daffodils to set up a still life. But, I have 3 pm meeting at the courthouse today. Debbie, Arin, and I are doing another mural with some of the juvenile offenders again. This mural will be larger and more complex. It's our first meeting with the kids, their parents, and the probation department.

I'll report more on that in the near future.

Now that the feeling is back in my arms....

"Grand Old Apples," 16 x 20, oil on gessobord

This morning I started a new session at the Y in body sculpting with a different instructor. I've taken her classes before, but just usually during the summer because my exercise buddies are teachers, and they can't take this in the a.m. Unfortunately, the 5:45 p.m. sessions were getting blown off with too much regularity during this winter. Either conflicting meetings, worked too late, or just lost motivation when the weather was really crappy. Also, the night time instructor, although a wonderful girl, was not as intense and her exercises rarely changed.

BUT, and this is a big BUT, the morning session is like boot camp and I relearned the intensity of this workout. After arriving home and downing a bowl of Special K, it took an hour before I could lift my arms comfortably. Seriously.

So...the apples on stripes got finished today. Almost quit about 2 hours into it. Cause I wasn't into it! Always happens. So looking for inspiration, I flipped on a DVR recording of Oprah to help me get my butt in motion. My tv girlfriend. Then the 2nd wind kicked in and the crappy part of the painting started to make way for the good stuff. It's kinda bright, isn't it?

Now dinner awaits preparation. Huh....my arms are getting hhhheeeeeaaaaavvvvyyyyyy.

Insomnia 101

In progress ... no title yet. 16" x 20" oil on gessobord.

Finally, a Monday I can work in my studio. I was messing around at first because deciding on my next subject to paint was proving rather daunting. So, little things were accomplished. First, the painting below, "Crossroads," was done last week but it didn't feel finished. So I went back in and changed the sky color and hit the lightest lights a bit more.

Feeling better about it now...it's a different style for me...an experiment.

"Crossroads"
16" x 20", oil on gessobord

Then all those paintings that haven't been varnished, got varnished. Maybe that's why I can't sleep...all those fumes. Of course, having a husband fall asleep while watching the basketball game finals last night with the tv going full blast and every light on didn't help. Our bedroom has french doors off that room (small cottage). He came to bed around 2 a.m. and guess who woke up and never went back to sleep? Don't you hate that when that happens? So, at 4 a.m. I just got up, put on a pot of coffee, and decided to update my blog.

After varnishing 4 paintings, I went through my digital images reserved for future paintings and decided to do the apples at the top of the blog. This photo was actually created for the 3 day workshop with the middle school kids. I think I had 6 photos of different still lifes for those classes. So, this time I decided to do one of these in oil (the classes were in acrylic) and take a bit of time and finish it all the way.

This is about 3 hours of work. One more half day should do it. Just got to find that half day.

...

Some Graphics work


I haven't posted much of my graphic design work in the last year or so. Don't really know why because I almost spend as much time doing this kind of work as my painting.

As I've written many times before, I volunteer at a local non-profit art gallery in Dixon, The Next Picture Show by doing most of their graphic design work (show postcards, website stuff, etc.). The one above announces the upcoming 3D show. The area has many fine sculptors, fiber artists, etc. and they don't get the chance to strut their stuff as much as the area painters and photographers. The back of the card describes the show, the judge, the month's featured artists, and the show running concurrently in the lower gallery.

Today was a back to work day for Affinity AV, now a division of TDG Communications in Deadwood S.D. Weird working all by myself. The place was a royal pig sty when I walked in. The landlord is having all the brick walls cleaned and sealed. Most of the 3 floor building has red brick interior walls and they have been sifting red dust for quite awhile. Unfortunately the workers left the scaffolding up on the top landing along with my desk and office machines in the middle of the room with everything unplugged. Lots of wires every which way. Never fear...managed to get up and running within half an hour.

Jack left quite a mess in his hurry to get packed up for his move. I'll deal with that a little each day. As soon as the walls are finished, this little girl will be vacuuming like there is no tomorrow!

Back from Phoenix and Back to Winter

"Crossroads"
16" x 20", oil on gessobord

We got home last night. Great vacation. Recommend it highly. Everything went so smoothly until the last leg of our trip. Almost got bumped and thanks to a good Samaritan, who gave up his seat, we made it back to Chicago. Unfortunately, Jeff's golf clubs and ALL of the Thompson's bags went on to Cincinnati! My two big bags made it home....yeah.

Sedona was wonderful and beautiful. I'll post some pics in another post. Tempe was fun. Went to a great brew pub.

Slept in like a baby today.

I managed to paint a quick barn landscape using very little detail and thinned down oils with Liquin. I didn't want to bog myself down today with loads of detail and just wanted to ease back into working at my easel. Don't know if I'm crazy about this piece, but I do enjoy the feel of light on the objects. You know, just noticed that the title of this piece, "Crossroads," is exactly what my life is right now...at a crossroads...hmmm.

Monday is my first day working without my boss Jack in the office. He's now in South Dakot a with his family and starting working at his new office. But, from my business email, I see he's currently sending me files and work directives (on a Sunday no less). Oh well...it's a new day tomorrow and life is full of changes.

Phoenix, Cubbies, and Betty

Chicago Cubs Spring Training Still Life

Our trip has been a blast with a capital "b" so far. We left on Sunday from O'Hare. The flight and the connecting flight in Salt Lake City went off flawlessly. Everything has been as smooth as silk so far.

Yesterday, Monday, we went to Mesa to see the Cubs play the Texas Rangers. Earlier that morning we had the BEST BREAKFAST ever and then when the husbands (the boys) went to the golf shop to do boy stuff, we wandered over to a day spa and had the BEST PEDICURES ever. Mine was a Chocolate pedicure. Yep...that is what vacations are all about. As you can see in the photo above, I composed a still life of our lovely feet on the GREEN grass of our lawn seats at the game and of course, the beverage of choice.

Young Cheerleader

This little girl was the hit of our section of lawn seats. Not a peep out of her, just running up and down the small hill where we were sitting and chasing a rubber ball. Simple joy.

The new, other woman in our lives, "BETTY."

This past Christmas I bought this Garmin GPS unit for my husband. Debbie and I named her Betty. She has been a real trooper getting us everywhere since arriving in Phoenix. She got us turned around once during rush hour, but she "recalculated" quickly and we were right back on track.

We be lovin' our Betty.

...