Acrylic Painting – one through four

Monday, February 17, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

My only real resolution for 2020 was to take up acrylic painting. I can’t draw. I’ve never tried to paint. But I wondered if it might be a good creative outlet and opportunity for relaxation. And, it turns out, that is indeed the case. Time just floats away while I’m painting. All of my obsessive thoughts are gone from my head. So far it’s all crap, but I hope over the course of the year to show improvement. If not, at least I am enjoying every minute of it.

I’ve “completed” four paintings and am working on my fifth. When I say completed, I mean I can still see lots of areas that need improvement and repainting and I could go over and over and over again and still not have it right. So there becomes a point where I’m ready to start a new painting, and that’s it. You could say these first four are not finished, but they are completed.

Sunrise from the parking lot of the shelter:

It’s my first painting, and I had some learning on how to blend color appropriately. It looks better from a distance, but I think it does a pretty good job of approximating the scene depicted in the reference photo. And I like the leaves on the trees.

Tree in a field…not sure where I took the reference photo on this one:

On this painting I learned that grass is really hard to paint. I can’t tell you how many times I pulled this back out and worked on it after I said it was done. Grass is hard. I really enjoyed painting the sky though and think that looks good. The tree could use a little work.

Barn on my regular drive in the country:

I need to take a class in perspective. My mom sat down and helped me, but I’m still having trouble. The front of the barn is still too wide for what it should be. I think the trees are better than in the last photo, and I like the stone base and the little fence.

Twin Peaks inspired coffee and pie:

I started out wrong on this one with the placement of the cup compared to the napkin and plate. They should be closer together. The shading isn’t bad I think. Some of the lines are kind of wonky, and I wouldn’t hang it up on a wall, but it was an interesting study.

Misc. Updates

In 2020, I decided that I would take up painting with acrylics. Thought it could work a different part of my brain. I have started my first painting, which is based on a photograph I took of a sunrise at the shelter. It’s not quite done yet, but it is coming closer.

If you know you will be sending international mail over the next year (say, you write holiday greeting cards on behalf of the homeless cats in the Humane Society shelter, and those cats have an international following), you’ll want to note that some postal rates including international stamps go up in price on January 26. First class forever stamps are unaffected. It’s only 5 cents a stamp, and I’m happy to support USPS. February is International Correspondence Writing Month – InCoWriMo. So hopefully friends and family will receive some snail mail. I’m not committing to a letter every day, but hopefully those with whom I regularly send letters will receive one during the month.

So far, we’ve had a little bit of snow in November, December, and January but lots of more reasonable temperatures in between. I know a lot of people don’t like the freeze/thaw cycle, but I find it nice to have snow and cold and then have it all go away. I can’t personally do much to change the weather anyhow, so I might as well enjoy it when I can. I am not quite counting down the days until spring, but I am looking forward to the day the sun rises before 8:00am.

Lee-Way Drive In

Thursday, October 24, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

Lee-Way Drive In – St. Petersburg, Florida

Lee-Way Drive In

Lee-Way Drive In
Mouth Watering Hamburgers, Fried Chicken, Shrimp (Oh, Shrimp), Short Orders
Malts — Shakes — Curb Service
17814 Gulf Blvd. – Redington Shores
St. Petersburg, Florida
Phone: [none printed on card]

Natural Color Reproduction – Curteichcolor Art-Creation Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.
Created by Foldes, St. Petersburg, Fla.
6C-K1169

While this card is unused and undated, the Curteichcolor dating site has this print date listed as 1956. From the card, it looks like a counter and limited seating, a small place. But wouldn’t you like to try the shrimp? Yum!

From what I could dig up online, the Lee Way became Le Pompano some time around 1974 (owned by Michel and Clarine Denis), The Pepper Mill in between, and The Lobster Pot from 1979 to at least 2013.

From the Tampa Bay Times, June 9, 1992:

After the Lobster Pot, it looks like in 2015 the place was run as the Cocina Aqui Southwest Restaurant and Tequila Bar, and opened as Beach Brewz in 2018 (check out their website here).

According to Google Street View, here it is today as Beach Brewz:

Summer Reads 2019 Update

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2019

Time for a summer reads update, though there’s not much to report as I haven’t been reading much. I have been crocheting a lot and watching a ton of shows (Project Runway Season 16, Pose, Fleabag…).

And I have even more shows waiting (Stranger Things, Derry Girls). I don’t know if it’s everything else in life or if it’s just the books I’ve been choosing, but I’ve had a hard time really falling into a book lately. I’ve also had a real series of headaches again, and that makes it difficult to read in the evenings. I need to schedule an appointment with the eye doctor.

I started the summer reading with a light read. Emma Rous’ The Au Pair has an interesting twist. I wouldn’t say it’s the kind of book that is going to stay with you, but if you’re looking for a nice, easy beach read that will keep you entertained, it’s a good one.

When I was younger, I’d battle through a book to the very end, no matter what. As I’ve gotten older, I realize there are so many books I will never read them all, and why waste your time reading something you’re not enjoying?

Jillian Cantor’s In Another Time is a well-written, interesting book. However, I found it sad and distressing to read. I am sure everything will work out for the characters in the end of the book, but I just couldn’t finish it. I found myself sad thinking about it, and I didn’t want to pick it up to read it. I only got about half way through before I gave it up entirely.

Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was not on my original list, but it was recommended by a friend. It was a good read, though a little sad and stressful like the Cantor book, still I was able to get through it. I suspect my next read will be off the list as well, and something light.

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Cambridge Trip 2019

Monday, June 17, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

The end of May, Bob and I went to Cambridge MA for Bob’s graduation from Harvard. He received his Master of Liberal Arts, Sustainability degree, the culmination of three years of intense hard work and effort. Not only did he get the degree and a separate certificate, he also made the Dean’s List.

Tuesday, May 28

We started the trip with an early morning Delta flight from Detroit to Boston, and arrived at 11:50am. It was raining when we got in. We went and dropped off our bags at the Airbnb, located at 4 Cogswell Avenue in Cambridge. It was a cute apartment and a great location.

After we dropped everything off, we went into campus to pick up Bob’s cap and gown. We had coffee at Pavement before going to dinner with Bob’s thesis adviser Henry and his wife Jane at Maharaja.

When we finished, we stopped by the Beat Brew Hall for a quick drink.

Wednesday, May 29

As the sunrises much earlier on the eastern part of the time zone than in Michigan, we were awake quite early and went to Andy’s Diner for breakfast.

Then we went to campus for Bob’s class photo.

We went back to the apartment, then stopped at Mr. Crepe for a quick bite before going back to campus.

Bob was one of just a few students from his graduating class asked to present his thesis at a symposium. He did a fantastic job. After the symposium, there was a short reception. Then we went on to dinner at Cambridge Common restaurant.

Thursday, May 30

Thursday morning came very early, as we had to be to campus early for graduation. It was an amazing ceremony. All of the classes paraded through town into campus. I was glad I got there early, as seating was very limited. Also, although it was quite cool, the rain held off.

There were speeches, and the degrees conferred on the whole class. The ceremony completed, and we grabbed a quick lunch at Felipe’s Taqueria before going to the graduation ceremony for Bob’s individual class at Christ Church, built in 1774.

After the ceremony, we went back to campus to watch the afternoon graduation ceremonies, including the keynote speaker Angela Merkel. The full version of her speech is here, in case you want to be inspired.

Next, we went to the Graffiti Alley, which was amazing.

Then we went to dinner at Viale (excellent meal),

then to Daedalus for drinks on the rooftop (it was a bit chilly)

and to the Boathouse.

Friday, May 31

Friday started early. We biked to campus and stopped at Clover for the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had, before dropping off Bob’s gown.

After dropping off the gown, we went to Zoe’s for breakfast

and then biked across the river, through the Beacon Hill area and did some shopping.

We stopped at Cheers for a quick drink as well

before walking through the downtown to get to the harbor.

Then we headed back to campus, as Bob had a meeting with a few professors and a classmate, catching a hotdog from a street vendor on the way.

Charlie's

When Bob was in Boston last summer, he had quite a few meals at Charlie’s Pizza and Cafe. We had dinner there, and it was excellent. Charlie remembered Bob, and it was like visiting an old friend. After dinner, we went to see the Boston Pops! It was their John Williams concert, and it was amazing.

Misc. Thoughts

Cambridge has some amazing public transportation. We used the Blue Bikes, the trains and the bus system. Still, we walked. A LOT. It felt great, actually. This was Friday’s totals:

It’s easy to get around. Our little apartment was very conveniently located near all three kinds of transportation.

I wanted to take a lot of pictures, and I did do that. This post is just a small bit of the hundreds of photos I took. There was so much to see. The streetscapes were amazing, and there were some great signs as well.

MITCambridge at NightHarvard Campus

It was an amazing, inspirational trip. I could not be more proud of Bob or excited at what we might do as part of the next life adventure.

Crochet Lap Blanket Extravaganza

Monday, June 17, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

If you were to ask me what my favorite thing is to crochet, it would have to be lap blankets. I enjoy picking colors specifically for individuals. I like using a nice big hook and a HDC stitch with either a rippled or scalloped border. I make them in the evenings while I’m binge-watching something on Netflix. And so far this year, I’ve made quite a few lap blankets…working on number seven, and that doesn’t include a smaller one for a cat with cancer that I made back in January.

I started out with this blanket, made with all kinds of colors, for a special lady who crochets blankets for shelter cats:

Next up was a blanket for a friend’s mother who was having surgery:

Then a blanket for a friend’s mother who was moving into a nursing home (the orange color with the blue and green edging reminded me of a sunset over the Caribbean Ocean):

Then a sage-colored blanket for a friend who is facing a serious health issue:

Then a pink blanket for the feisty daughter of a friend who was in the hospital:

And lastly, now I am working on a blanket for a friend who is moving someplace really cold. I’m doing something a bit different with this stitch pattern:

As you can see, Maxy often helps me work on the blankets. He especially likes it when they are long enough for him to nap under while I’m working. There is something meditative about working on a lap blanket, the same repeating stitches. It’s very calming.

Rexall Drugs

Thursday, May 2, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

Through the years I continue to come back to the Rexall Drugs sign. I’ve shot it with numerous cameras during all different kinds of weather and all four seasons. This shot, around lunchtime, was before it started raining again. At least it’s a little warmer. And hey, we saw our first oriole at the feeder yesterday evening.

Too many gray days
The rain gives me a headache
There is no escape.