National Postcard Week 2020

Monday, May 4, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

It’s National Postcard Week 2020, and once again I designed and will be sending cards. The smallest package I could order was 50, and once I added up all my addresses that turns out to be the perfect amount.

This year’s theme is Maxy and quarantine. This has been an interesting year for sure. We are now required to wear masks when we go out in public. The shelter has been shut down since March 17th.

I believe this motel could be the one Mom, Dad and I stayed in when I was young and we went to Niagara Falls, Canada for the first time. I only remember it had something to do with lucky or clover.

Clover Leaf Motel
Highway 20 & 3A at Queen E. Way
3514 Lundy’s Lane
Niagara Falls, Canada
43 completely modern and air-conditioned units. T.V. in every room. Wall-to-wall carpeting. Private tiled showers and tubs. Family units, swimming pool. 3 miles to the Falls. Telephone (416) 354-1849.

Spring Birds

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

The spring birds are here, doing their thing. Above is a yellow-rumped warbler at the suet feeder in our backyard. I’ve not seen one of these before.

The bluebirds are already nesting at the shelter, with eggs in the nestbox.

So are the tree swallows. They are really pretty birds, and they are lovely in their flight patterns. They’re not shy of dive-bombing you if you get too close to the box, though.

Temperatures have been consistently colder than normal last week and this week, and predicted into next week as well. Today’s high should be 62, and we will top out around 42 instead. It looks like we will be tracking closer to normal the beginning of May. Things are still in lockdown for COVID-19, but we’re unsure when that will end. There is pressure on Governor Whitmer to open things back up here in Michigan. Not sure what will happen with the greenhouses at this point. Everything feels rather up in the air.

Latest Paintings and Misc. Updates

Monday, April 13, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

Apparently there’s an entirely new version of WordPress, with blocks, and I will need to get used to it. Fine. At least the website is back up, after having some issues on the transition from Lunarpages to Host Papa or whatever it is now. The techs were great though. I’ve continued painting. The above acrylic is from a photo I took several years ago when Kirsten, Mom and I went up to Mackinaw City. I’m fairly pleased with the way it turned out.

This above squirrel image is a study in gouache, from a photo I took last year in Boston. I’m still doing every other painting in acrylic and gouache. Last night I sketched the next gouache study, from a photo I took many years ago in North Carolina. My only regret in my painting is not having the energy/time to paint. If there’s the time, I seldom have the energy.

March and April 2020 will be remembered for COVID-19. Facemasks, scary grocery shopping trips where there aren’t enough goods like dried beans, yeast, canned goods and toilet paper. Not making eye contact with anyone as they are seen as disease carriers. “Social Distancing” and staying a minimum of 6 feet apart. Non-essential services shut down. The shelter closed to the public on March 17 and we laid off front desk staff members on March 24. All meetings are conducted via Zoom. My schedule is close to normal, and the kennel techs are working normal schedules. I FaceTime with Mom each night and Bob talks to his Dad on the phone. We had to cancel our spring Martini event for work and greenhouses are shut down. As of yesterday, there were 71 cases of coronavirus in Calhoun County, 23,993 cases in Michigan and 1,392 deaths in Michigan. 558,999 total US cases and 22,154 US deaths. Worldwise, there have been 1,872,073 cases and 116,098 deaths. Who knows when things will go back to ‘normal’ or what normal will even look like.

Painting Update

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I am continuing along with my painting, and really enjoying it. Above is a piece I repainted over like three times. Still only happy with some of it; the boats, reflections in the water and pier poles turned out as I had hoped. The buildings, not so much. It is another opportunity to determine what I enjoy painting and what I probably won’t do again (buildings).

I follow a lot of artists on social media, and became interested in gouache. I decided to try a few little fast pieces with gouache. Here is the first.

It is really different to work with than acrylic, but I enjoyed the process and think I may do a gouache in between each acrylic study.

Here is my last work, a still life.

Making some kind of progress, I guess. Again, I really enjoy painting and probably so far prefer acrylic. I think I will do another gouache next, but with a very busy week in store I’m not sure when I will have time. Soon, I hope. I find I am having to train myself to really look at things, especially shadows. If I do what I normally do and just get a quick look and move on, I miss all kinds of subtlety just by thinking I know it already. That’s a good metaphor for all of life’s interactions, I think.

In weather news, the past few days have been a bit warmer and we’ve had some snow melt. Mom has seen robins, but I haven’t yet. My Christmas cactus is blooming for the second time in just a few months. We’ve done some projects at Mom’s house, including painting the bathroom in preparation for new tile and replacing the light in the eating area. Today is Maxy’s 17th birthday.

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: