Sunday, February 28, 2021

New Beginnings

For years I've wanted to learn to paint with watercolors. About twenty years ago I played around with acrylic and oils and really enjoyed that challenge. I wasn't especially talented, but I had fun and was better than I'd expected.

Still, watercolor really appeals to me--even though the technique is almost the opposite of what I became comfortable with back then.

So, thanks to a recent gift card, I ordered a book on watercolor technique, suited to the meanest understanding, and a beginners set of water colors.  Reading the book Friday night, I began to feel the excitement of striking out into new territory. And Saturday morning I began with some of the easy projects.

I'd almost forgotten the very real pleasure of painting--the colors, the attention to detail, the challenge of making a picture. It's a perfect meditation--no room for anything else.

A banana, a pumpkin, a tomato, and lots of free form doodles in the extra space as I faff about, seeing what the  difference is between putting color on wet, on half-wet, on dry. 

It's been a long year of a kind of malaise with almost nothing new in it--I'm embarrassed I didn't think of trying this earlier. It may be the effect of the approach of Spring (I find myself also doing bits of long overdue cleaning.) 

And thanks to the vaccine, we had dinner last night at friends' house--the first time in a year. Before and after a fine meal, I caught up with what's been going on in our circle of friends and the guys watched basketball. To make the evening perfect for the guys, Carolina won and Duke lost. 

2021 is beginning to look up!


Saturday, February 27, 2021

No Hats on These Cats

The sun did not shine; it was too wet to play.

 So we stayed in the house all that cold cold, wet day.

Too wet to go out , too cold to play ball. 
So we stayed in the house and did nothing at all.
And all we could do was to sit, sit, sit;

And we did not like it, not one little bit.

Except for Madame Angeline. 
Sitting inside suits her fine.


Friday, February 26, 2021

Josie Is So Excited

On Wednesday it was warm and sunny and Meema said we could go down to the park at the river. Can we take a picnic? I said and Meema said Yes! So we packed an apple and a banana and six almonds and some leftover pancakes and some little tomatoes and some grapes.

Then I had to pack my rainbow bag.  I put in Hamsie and Blue Elephant and my binoculars and my piano book and my book called The Phantom Tollbooth.  Meema said I probably didn't need ALL of that but I told her I probably did.

The river is called The French Broad and it runs very fast. Meema said I had to stay away from the very edge and not fall in. It is also very cold, Meema said. 

The park is mainly for grownups--paddlers putting in their rafts and kayaks. There aren't any swings or slides or monkey bars but I found some stuff to climb on.

And I drew in the sand.

Lots of pigeons live around the bridge and we watched them flying.

I wanted to bring a blanket to have our picnic on but Meema said No way because she has trouble getting down on the ground and even more trouble getting back up. So it was a good thing that there was a picnic table for us.

It was a very good adventure.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

A Beautiful Day Except for This Guy

Lovely blue skies and spring-like weather . . . and a lone guy with the Confederate battle flag in front of the courthouse. Because . . .?

There was a socially-distanced line of folks making its way into the courthouse, but I had time just to snap one picture before the light changed and I had to keep moving, none the wiser.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021


This handsome mug with Nancy Darrell's artwork will be sent to some lucky reviewer! Come Sunday night, I'll be drawing a name from all of you who've left reviews for CROWS somewhere or other: Goodreads, Amazon, Regal House, B & N, or a mention on FB. 

If you left a review under an alias of some sort (Buttercup? Is that you?) you should tell me so I add your name.

I hate being pushy like this but, by gosh and by golly,  CROWS has far more reviews than any of my other six books. For which I thank you.

And if you haven't left a review, there's still time! Plus I have another mug to give away at a later date.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Monday with Josie

After breakfast (pancakes) Hamsie and I did some finger painting. Meema couldn't find the brushes so I used my fingers and made dots.

I used all the colors but one at a time. I had to wipe my fingers with a paper towel before I started a new color because if the colors all get mixed together, they are mostly brown.

When I finished painting, I put on my tutu and had some phone calls. I called my friend Alexander. 

We have lots to talk about.

When I finished talking, I helped Meema with her crossword puzzle. I can make O and A and E and I so I filled in the blanks with those. Meema said I did a good job. I think so too. It is hard fitting the letters in those little squares but I did it.

Meema is trying to teach me how to make a J and a S so I can write my name, JOSIE, all by myself.  I will put it in those little squares next time.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Bayeaux Tapestry Now Online!!!

Think of it as an early graphic novel, replete with action. . . 

portents . . .

slightly kooky characters. . .

a dead (defunctus est) king and the English kingdom in dispute.

Duke Harold believes that he is the inheritor of the kingdom...

 Meanwhile, across the channel, William, Duke of Normandy, says he is the rightful heir (it's a long, complicated story and, remember, it was the winners who commissioned the tapestry.) William is building a navy . . . Trees are chopped down for timber .. .

The completed ships are hauled to the water . . .

(Note the darning on this fellow's face. The tapestry's about a thousand years old and in remarkably good shape.)

The Normans carry chain mail and weapons to the ships . . .

As well as wine (the Normans are descended from Vikings but they've been in France long enough to appreciate a good vintage . . .)

The invasion fleet sets off, tight-packed with men and horses ...

Some are uneasy--or perhaps queasy...

Some scratch their heads, wondering about the future...

The fleet lands at Pevensey. The horses are glad to get off.

(This exotic foliage makes me think of Dr. Seuss)

William and his Normans meet Harold and his English troops at Hastings, Battle of...

Terrific carnage ensues (but look at the artistry of those horses)

Harold takes an arrow to the eye and defunctus est. The English flee, William is king, and the English language becomes richer and more confusing by far.

Check out the whole story  HERE

Sunday, February 21, 2021

How Many Springs


How many springs have passed

since she watched the first green shoots break from the earth

And the bright blooms unfurl?

A handful of the precious bulbs she’d planted in the fall

when first they’d raised the little cabin--

A token of hope, of making a home. Putting her mark on the land

Here I am and here I mean to be.

She cut switches of forsythia – yellow bells, they called them – from a neighbor’s plantings,

Box wood, too, and rooted them all in the damp earth beside the spring. 

And in a few years, heavy with her second child, she set out the little plants – making it pretty around the cabin.

Young uns made hidey holes beneath the boxwood and brought her fistfuls of the daffodils.

That multiplied and spread with every year – like her own family

Moved off, most of them.

But they still returned – sometimes in, spring, with the daffodils

and sometimes for Decoration Day – when the piney flowers lifted their gaudy heads.


Long gone, that woman, that cabin;

But her mark remains.


Friday, February 19, 2021

The Bones of Your Mother

In Greek mythology, Deucalion and Pyrrha are the sole survivors of a flood caused by angry Zeus. Daunted at the prospect of having to repopulate the world, they hear a voice directing them to cast the bones of their mother behind them. Correctly interpreting this riddle, they pick up rocks. Those cast by Deucalion become men, those from Pyrrha, women.

We are rich with rocks--those farmers who came before us made tidy piles of them in the fields to allow for easier plowing and cultivating.  Justin has mined those piles, along with picking up rocks everywhere, to make the stone walls that beautify the place. 

And every winter and every rain uncover more and more of our Mother's bones.