Do you see the stars or the tree?

Do you see the stars or the tree?

Oscar Wilde once said “I may be laying in the gutter, but I am looking at the stars.”

My son Chadwyck Wirtz shared this photo with me and made me think about our vision of the world.

Do you see the tree, the stars or both? Or do you see something else? The joy of the moment?

Views or visions that make you think of something other than what you really see can bring such joy in life.


The Cleanest Cat – Chapter from a book I might write….

 When I was widowed some 22 years ago, I began dating after about two years.  I met some “interesting” men with many stories of their own.  I thought it might be fun to share with other women some of the funny adventures I encountered along the way.  Let me know if you enjoy this chapter and think I should write more, and if so what is your suggestion for a provocative title for a book. 



Chapter Two:  The Cleanest Cat


Aaron, “The Cleanest Cat” man, washed his cat in the shower and vacuumed that poor cat daily.   Maybe I should mention he washed his cat named Fritz in shower with him, not separately.  I wonder if he felt closer to the cat because of this.  I am not making this up, this is true story.  I did not know about the cat when I first met him for coffee or even when I went out to lunch with him.   He shared the information with me during lunch on our second date.   The date I should not have gone on.  Guess I should have found out more before I went on that second date.

Cat man seemed so normal when we went for coffee and talked. Although I realized later, that I had paid for my own coffee.   Humm…  That is not a good start.  Signs of cheapness should not show up this soon.   I have this theory:  “How it begins is how it ends”.  You buy your coffee or dinner on the first date and you will be paying for more than half of everything with this person from then on out.   This is just a general theory that seems to have been fundamentally true throughout my last fifteen years or more of online and personal ad dating.

Aaron seemed like the nicest man, so I was trying to be a little merciful, even with his cheapness about the coffee?  It is interesting to watch when you first meet a new man for coffee especially.   If they don’t offer to buy coffee, they certainly are going to be taking you out to nice dinners.   In Aaron’s case I thought I would give him a second chance.  He did drive a very nice and exceptionally clean BMW and he lived in a very lovely golf community not that far from me.   Well if you consider 75 miles not far.  I live in fairly small and slightly rural area in the Pacific Northwest, so maybe that is considered close to me.

The up side of where I live, is that I do live in a cute little beach cottage with my own private sandy beach; an unheard of thing in the Pacific Northwest.  We have lots of beaches with lots of rocks and lots sea weed and lots of muck.   So I am very lucky to have that sand and wonder if I will ever find a man that I will really want share wiggling his toes in it with me.  For instance, Mr. Clean Cat would not want to get sand under his toenails or between his toes, so I am sure there would have been no sand wiggling with him.

At any rate we talked and had a great time on the coffee date; so he invited me to come see his new home at lunch time the following week.  No, let me rephrase that, he insisted that I see his house the following week.  He was so totally enamored with his house; he was willing to drive and pick me up and take me there for lunch.  It seemed a tiny bit extreme.   Lot of driving for only lunch!  150 miles for lunch, sounds more like somewhere you fly for lunch to me.

I could not imagine he thought I was that special.   Little did I know, not only was I not special, he was just slightly, no absolutely obsessive compulsive.  Not just about picking me up, but about everything he shared with me.   I did not know this at the time, but I found that out soon enough!  The second date!  Cat Cleaner was friends with very good friends of mine so I allowed him to come to my home to pick me up in his very clean BMW.  With friends in common it seemed to be a fairly safe adventure.

The day of our lunch date, Aaron arrived exactly on time, not a minute late, and did not comment on my lack of landscaping in the front of my beach cottage and sincerely seemed to enjoy my little house.   That was nice! My house is clean and neat, but has a lovely assortment of weeds and dirt and rocks on the way from the garage to the front door. At this point in time I have lived in the house for two years and have been concentrating on finishing the patios on the water side, so I have no flowers on the entry side of the house yet.   No lawn, no arbors, just a sidewalk.  Maybe I can finish the yard if a million women read and laugh at my adventures on awful dating in this book and admit that older women have just as many if not more challenges than the gals in “Sex in the City”.

To continue, when I opened the door to his car it was so clean, I was afraid that I might leave finger prints or leave one grain of sand from my very muddy rural driveway.  I actually thought about taking off my shoes and putting them in a plastic bag and carrying them in the car.  I held my breath and got in.    The car did not explode from my extra dust.  You will understand that comment later.

We talked the whole way there about people we knew in common.  When we ran out people in common he told me the best to clean toilets.   It is amazing what you can talk about with people you don’t know at all.    I now know how to perfectly clean my toilets, according to Aaron.  Not sure I would really bother doing this much work, but according to Clean Cat man, you put Clorox in the water, leave it for an hour, come back and scrub with Ajax, then polish with car wax, so nothing will stick.    That was almost worth the date to me.  On the other hand, it was almost too much information.  I thought toilets were meant to be cleaned by cleaning ladies.   So now if I ever get in a bind, I certainly will know how to clean a toilet.   I am not sure about the car wax, but who knows?

When we arrived at his home I could not help but notice that not a plant was out of place.  The perfect yard.  The perfect entry.  There were no dead heads (you know those dead flowers you are supposed to remove), no leaves on the ground, each and every plant was in a perfect location and perfectly tended. It was almost beautiful.  If it had not been so contrived, so totally organized, so clean I might have appreciated it.  But no, I like those wild gardens with flowers and plants mixed together everywhere, with all different shapes and sizes having a great time together.  To me it should look like the plants made love together and are hugging each other, rather than standing totally alone in perfect harmony.  This was a perfect harmony yard, not a luscious sexy yard.  Guess we all see it differently!   Boy I am glad he did not look closely at my yard.   The weeds peeking out under beauty bark and falling love with hydrangeas.

Slowly walking through the faultless yard to the exquisitely manicured front door the Cat Cleaner told me the scientific name and variety of every plant along the way, how he pruned them, how he watered them, how he fertilized them and why he had chosen each and every one.  Boy did I wish I had my own car, and we had not even gone into the house yet.  Escape was on my mind or was it boredom.   It made me wish I was a much better judge of character at that first coffee date.  I just want to think positively of every one.   Must be a character flaw.

Somehow I just kept walking up to that front door, I was starting to get worried about going in that front door, the utterly polished front door.  Would I be able to breathe in the house, or would it be purified air?  I held my breath and removed my shoes, and charged forward wondering if my socks were clean enough to walk on the incredibly spotless white carpet.   Aaron led the way, so I followed and listened as he described every room and every perfectly placed piece of furniture.   I work as an interior designer and even though I love “perfection” in design, there is big difference between sterile perfection and magnificent comfort.  I would say his home was hygienic flawlessness and my date was not over yet.

Kind of scary isn’t it.   Not scary like you could get hurt, but surprising what you meet when you date.

The date went on.

I sat in his kitchen and we talked while he showed me all his neatly organized cabinets.   I had never had a man show me his cabinet organization before.   I have had them show me a lot of other things, but never the inside of their cabinets.   He even showed me his garage.   There was classic car in the garage, a lot of closed cabinetry, and a desk complete with computer set up.   The desk was flawlessly ordered, no paper or pen was out of place.    I asked him why he had his office in the garage instead of in the house.   He and his cat Fritz lived alone, so had two extra bedrooms.  Aaron explained that he did not like the mess of an office to interfere with the tidy interior of his home.   He had a system, where he added a vent from the furnace in the garage and it made it warm enough to easily work in the winter.   Don’t ask me how it worked, but it must have been filtered and purified enough to make him happy.

After about an hour, a glass of water and a plate of carrots; I asked him if he was still going to fix me lunch.   Aaron told me he did not have any other food in his house.    I tried to diplomatically tell him that I was starving.   I really wanted to say it was one in the afternoon, you invited me to lunch (you idiot) and where was my food, but I didn’t.   He asked me to give him a minute and disappeared down the hallway.

I picked up a two year old travel magazine, the only one to be seen and went out to the patio followed by Fritz the cat, sat down and enjoyed the sunshine.   It was a perfect summer day wasted with another horrible online adventure date.

Aaron was gone for about thirty minutes.  One of my lessons here was to never get in a car and drive somewhere with someone you don’t really know, no matter how many friends you have in common.  Take your own car!!   Have an escape route!

When Aaron finally came out to the patio, he had showered and changed his clothes.   I noticed he had freshly shaved his head as well as his face.  Maybe I didn’t mention that he shaved his head.  I asked him what he had been doing, as if I didn’t know, and he said he had showered so we could go to the golf club for lunch.  He looked perfectly clean before, so not sure why the second shower, or maybe it was the third or fourth. As we sat there talking, I looked down at his legs and realized they were shaved too.  So in my sort of nice way I asked him if he shaved his legs.   He told me he did not only shave his legs, but he shaved his entire body.

I asked Aaron if he was a body builder, as he was in fairly good shape, and many body builders do shave their entire bodies for competitions.  He said no, but he told me felt cleaner when he shaved every where.   It made wonder why he did not shave his cat.   It might be easier than showering it everyday and followed by a good vacuuming   I will share with you that I never had the opportunity, nor did I care to find out if he shaved everywhere on his body, but I would bet he did.   Thus you meet the obsessive compulsive man.  By comparison the rest of the afternoon was just dull.   We had lunch at the club house, and he gave me a ride back home.

He called about once a week to say hello for the longest time, but l either did not answer the phone, or I was busy.

The Cleanest Cat – Chapter from a book I might write….

How do you see the world?

How do you see the world?

No artist sees things as they really are. If he did, he would no longer paint.

Love this quote by Oscar Wilde.

Who knows if they really saw their world this way, but is does hopefully make you stop and think about how differently our eyes find the world through our art.


Driving through Eastern Washington this week I was entranced with the beauty of the fields in the Poulouse.  Undulating hills in golds, greens, browns and skies heavy with clouds.  As an artist we look at the view as if it is our next painting, not a barn or tree on the side of the road.  I have often thought that so many people just drive through our amazingly beautiful country and see little other than the road ahead.  If we expand the view our joy can be amazing!!


Do you hear voices?

Do you hear voices?

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh

Just to get it right… I don’t hear voices!

As a matter of fact my three sons learned to call me “Diana” instead of “mom”, as it got my attention faster. And I LOVE being a mom!!


I don’t want to be interesting.

IMG_0680I don't want to be interesting.

I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Love this quote, but if we are good then are we not indeed interesting?

Andy Warhol is quoted saying “I’m afraid if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all its interest.” Interesting comment, but not sure I do agree with this one.

I would agree that staring at a soup can would not be interesting to me, but staring at a beautiful sunrise would never lose interest to me.
What are your thoughts?

Malcolm Gladwell wrote that it takes at least 10,000 hours to be good at anything.