The Quiet Teacher

David Marty is a local to our area artist that teaches two-day classes in Edmonds at The Cole Gallery and sometimes once a week for six weeks on Bainbridge Island at The Winslow Art Center.  I have taken four classes from his so far with two in Edmonds and two on Bainbridge.  It is always interesting to see the level of the painters at the two different environments.  In Edmonds, there are usually a couple artists that are quite accomplished blended with more with little or no experience. I always learn at least one tidbit that helps to improve my own paintings.  Bainbridge classes are often comprised of many of the same artists that I have taken other classes with, and most all have been painting for several years.

Dave’s work is not quite as loose as some other Plein Artists, but it is always beautifully done. Coming from an illustrators background, his drawing is always “right-on'”. I have improved my drawing skills taking his classes and doing Urban Sketching with a group on Bainbridge Island.

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In David’s classes the entire class paints from the same photograph.  It is so interesting to watch throughout as the artists turn the photographs into beautiful paintings.  If you were to look at the finished pieces you realize just how differently people see. I love watching the artistic process as many of the pieces transform as they are painted.

In the classes on Bainbridge, we were always given a homework assignment to work on at home and bring for critique the following week. Painting Class 1.jpg

This was the first piece we worked on in class.  David would do a demo in the morning, then we all painted the rest of the afternoon and put up our work for a critique at the end of the session.  This class was to work on water receding in the distance.  I walked away content with this piece.

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The second was a scene of a lake and the challenge was to show the lilies on the surface without making it look speckled.  The one above is mine.

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We next worked on the reflections and lighting in this lake scene.

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This was painted from a photo with a row of flowers.  I did not love the photo, so I reversed it in Photoshop and added a little girl picking the flowers in the front.  Once finished I thought and think it looks a bit trite.

Then we started painting a couple of roads, which I thought was great fun. Painting Class 5.jpg

I can always tell when I enjoy the topic we are painting, as I most likely will be happy with the result.

 

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How to make a wall of trees look interesting was a challenge and it was a homework assignment.  I did feel this was successful as it has variety and keeps your interest.   David never says anything negative about your work, but makes quiet thoughtful suggestions on what might improve it.

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Making rocks look like rocks is always a challenge and how to get the right color, so they look real but beautiful at the same time.  This was hard to capture, but I think it reads as rocks.

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Another road with the task of making the road appear beautiful and interesting while receding believably into the background.

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Painting the Night Scene of a city was fairly new to me.  I went with a little whimsy and fun and more abstract than real.  David liked how I did the lights in the background and thought he might change his to a little more like mine.  Boy, did that make me smile.

 

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We all painted “The Red Barn”.  Growing up on a farm, I have always been attracted to barns and have painted several over my life as an artist.  This is a small 8 x 10 inch with a bad glare in the photo, but it was fun doing.

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Homework assignment to paint clouds.  The tidbit I learned from this exercise is that clouds are always parallel to the earth at the bottom, so they are flat at the bottom.  Not my favorite painting, but it was a very simplistic photo.

 

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The homework assignment was to capture the clouds in a painting from a photo of the clouds.  Mine was a good as anyone else in the class, but nothing I would try to sell.

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Everyone in the class liked this, but I sanded it down and repainted the canvas.  The wave looked more like a ledge than waves to me.

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Beach walkers One.

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Beach walkers Two.  I did not like the first rendition, so I painted it a second time.  Not sure that I like either of them.

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From the sea, we moved to snow scenes.  I painted the one on the left in class, but it left me feeling unsuccessful, so I painted the one on the right.  It is a fun exercise to paint the same photo more than once and in slightly different styles.

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With the next homework assignment of snow, I painted the first horizontally and the same scene vertically.  Working on composition helps you see the same thing in a different manner.

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I brought in a photo I found online of Port Gamble, so we all had a take on this.  Port Gamble.jpg

In this case, I have the photo and thought it might be fun for you to see my translation of the photo.  I left out the tree in the foreground.  I do love the mist of the photo and feel at least I captured the essence of the mist.

 

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We were to paint this stream for homework.  Often when I look at a photo, I wonder what would be the best way to try to make this come to life.  When David showed his homework, it was mostly in browns, and I must admit that his rendition was more appealing than my greener version.

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One of the students brought in a photo of Madronas on her property, and while they are lovely, it was a test of sorts to make an interesting painting.

 

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Here is the photo. 2.jpg

First version

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Finished version adding more darks.  I often do not go dark enough, so this was a great lesson in contrast.

The next class I took from David was at Cole Gallery and the class was about learning to paint moving water and how to draw your eye to the water.

 

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I was pleased with the first painting but got my reflections off on the second.

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This was the final painting in that particular class.  I do see water and color in a different way than before, and everyone in the class liked this painting.  I am not so sure that painting just water is my favorite.

Every time I do take a class with Dave, I learn at least one thing.  I enjoy watching how he holds his paintbrush to achieve the look he desires.  Every stroke is thought out and it important.  There is not scrubbing!

The Quiet Teacher

The Key to Making Perfect Risotto

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Risotto is one of my favorite dishes.  I learned to make it several years ago and have made it many times.  There is so much you can add into it and make it interesting.  I received this article in an online newsletter and thought I might share it!  Rocco DiSpirito from Food & Wine wrote the following article.

Risotto might seem like a simple dish—it’s basically just rice, white wine and butter—that you probably rely on for a quick weeknight meal for your family, but there are several ways you can upgrade your technique to make this meal even better.

To start off, you’ll need a pan with straight, not curved sides. Add shallots and garlic to the pan (along with butter and olive oil—the proper amount depends on the recipe that you use) but some people prefer onions instead of shallots. Here is where the chef says things get tricky: You’ll want to cook your shallots until they are translucent, not browned. You don’t want to your risotto to have a caramelized flavor.

“Risotto should have a delicate, perfumey flavor,” he explains. “It should feel like 12-ply cashmere in your mouth when you’re done.”

Once the shallots are cooked, you can add the rice. DiSpirito says your rice should be “toasted,” but makes an important addendum: The rice shouldn’t be browned, just hardened on the outside. Once the outside of the rice (which cooks faster than the inside of the grain) gets hardened, you can start adding liquids to give the rice flavor and its signature creamy texture. DiSpirito used white wine and chicken stock in his version. If you use white wine at home, you’ll want to add it to the pan first, a little at a time, stirring constantly.

“The rice should be dry,” he advises. “There shouldn’t be any liquid in the pan because the rice should have absorbed [the white wine].”

Once the wine has been absorbed, you can start adding the chicken stock, a little at a time. Always remember to stir the rice as it’s cooking.

“Risotto is like a new born baby,” says DiSpirito. “You cannot leave it alone in it’s crib.”

As you probably know, there’s no cream in risotto, but it should have a smooth texture. It can only achieve that texture from continual stirring, according to DiSpirito.

“You beat the starch out of the rice into the liquid,” he says. “So you have this thickened liquid that is enveloping the rice that is perfectly soft.”

You know that you have the texture right when it feels like a “gummy bear.” If the dish is still crunchy, you can add more liquid to the pan and stir, to keep the rice cooking.

By the end of the process, you may have poured what feels like a ton of liquid into your pan. Don’t worry, you didn’t overdo it.

“If you’re cooking risotto properly, you’re adding two to three times the volume of liquid to rice,” says DiSpirito.

During the demonstration, the chef’s assistant hardly ever moved away the stove or put down the spatula. That’s how important it is to keep the rice moving in the pan—remember, if you want to get that creamy texture, you have to “beat the starch” out of the rice. If you’re doing this at home and don’t have the luxury of a sous chef, be sure to keep your ingredients close by so that you don’t have to stop stirring to reach into a cabinet or open a drawer. Looking for a healthier version? Try using cauliflower rice.

Here is a nice recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

To avoid a bland, gummy risotto with watery, flavorless mushrooms, our mushroom risotto recipe calls for a combination of dried porcinis and fresh mushrooms, cooked separately and added to the finished risotto. To give our mushroom risotto recipe a complex flavor, we cooked the risotto in a broth enriched with the reconstituted porcini liquid and soy sauce and flavored with fresh thyme, parsley, and Parmesan.

TRY THIS RECOMMENDED COOKING COURSE
Perfect Sautéed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

2 bay leaves

6 sprigs fresh thyme
4sprigs fresh parsley leaves
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed in mesh strainer under running water.  ( You can get these fresh at some local markets and they are a lot better)
3 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp soy sauce
6 tbs unsalted butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean with a paper towel, stems discarded and caps             cut into fourths if small or sixths if medium
2 medium onions, chopped fine (2 cups)
Salt to taste
3 medium garlic cloves, pressed or minced (about 1 tbl)
1 pound Arborio Rice (2 1/8 cups)
1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about a cup) Parmesano Reggiano is a better           parmesan and your risotto will taste much better with a better parmesan
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

SERVES 6 AS MAIN COURSE, 8 AS FIRST COURSE

Cremini mushrooms are sometimes sold as baby bella mushrooms. If they’re not available, button mushrooms make a fine, though somewhat less flavorful, substitute. Toward the end of cooking, judge the doneness of the rice by tasting it.

 

1. Tie together bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and parsley sprigs with kitchen twine. ( I like to put in what looks like a large tea ball) 

2. Bring bundled herbs, porcini mushrooms, chicken broth, soy sauce, and 3 1/2 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce to medium-low and simmer until dried mushrooms are softened and fully hydrated, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove and discard herb bundle and strain broth through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl (you should have about 6 1/2 cups strained liquid); return liquid to saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Finely mince porcini and set aside.

4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add Cremini mushrooms, 1 cup onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms are well browned, about 7 minutes.

5. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer mushrooms to oven-safe bowl and keep warm in oven. Off heat, add 1/4 cup water to now-empty skillet and scrape with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits; pour liquid from skillet into saucepan with broth.

6. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add remaining 1 cup onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and translucent, about 9 minutes.

7. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains’ edges are transparent, about 4 minutes.

8. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until rice absorbs wine. Add minced porcini and 3 1/2 cups broth and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid is absorbed, 9 to 11 minutes.

9. Stir in additional 1/2 cup broth every 2 to 3 minutes until rice is cooked through but grains are still somewhat firm at center, 10 to 12 minutes (rice may not require all of broth).

10. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then stir in mushrooms (and any accumulated juices), Parmesan, and chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; serve immediately in warmed bowls.

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The Key to Making Perfect Risotto

The Litter Dance

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This is Frostyman the Cat not wanting to model his lovely new Christmas outfit. I wonder if I am the only cat owner that wonders if your cat wakes up in the middle of the night takes a cup of cat litter and dances around the room (rooms) throwing it here and there.

When I retire at night, after watching TV or reading with Frostyman in my lap or in an adjacent chair I nicely put him out of the bedroom and close the door.  I know when I went upstairs to relax that I had a very clean floor.

When I come down in the morning there is magically spread cat hair and cat litter through out the entire downstairs and of course cat hair at the top of the stairs where he has impatiently been waiting for me to open the door and go down and feed him.

It always amazes me just how much litter and cat hair can appear overnight.  Now I do understand the pine needles that magically appear too, but the amount of litter always amazes me.

I clean the litter box every morning, so it is not from having a dirty box. Maybe I should try a new litter every time I buy new litter.  There has got to be something that does not come with the cat from the litter box.  We already have the litter box, so the cat goes through a door to his own private bathroom.

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So here is his private entry to his private bathroom,

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and here is his outdoor litter area.  I am thinking next house have a tunnel about six feel long to get there, with a grate he has to walk across, kind of like the ventilated plastic on this door that opens.

If anyone can suggest a better litter or better idea.  Please share with me.

The Litter Dance

Beached Surprise

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You just never know what might land on your waterfront.  This last week we had a decoration arrive.

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It just floated up and adorns our waterfront. I have seen a lot of things in the last fifteen years, but this is the closest and admittedly the “biggest”.  One year there were two huge diesel engines on an adjacent property, but they were small by comparison to this beauty.

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So when I posted photos on Facebook, friends suggested that I collect it and use as a coffee table.  What they did not grasp is that it would have to be a coffee table in the Land of Giants, as this puppy would not fit in my house.  So here is a photo to give you an idea of it’s immense size!

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Got to love living on the beach!  Should I call the Coast Guard??

Beached Surprise

Bread & Butter Pickles

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Here is another easy and fairly fast recipe that I made the other day.  I just put my jars in the dishwasher at the highest temperature, rather than do the whole water bath described by America’s Test Kitchen.  The cucumbers are from my garden and the lone red bell pepper is the only one that lived in my garden.  Happy to put the two together in the same recipe. My husband loves these on hamburgers or as my youngest son called them: “Hammaburgers”.  I like them just plain as a side dish or on a slice of delicious bread.

Bread-and-Butter Pickles

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

We wanted a bread-and-butter pickle with a crisp texture and a balance of sweet and sour—perfect for adding to a char-grilled burger. Most recipes combine cucumbers and onions in a spiced, syrupy brine; we cut back on the sugar and added red bell pepper for its fresh flavor and color. Cucumbers can lose their crunch when processed in a boiling water bath; we found that combining several crisping techniques gave us the best results. We tossed our sliced vegetables in salt to draw out excess water.

We added a small amount of Ball Pickle Crisp, which helps keep the natural pectin from breaking down, resulting in firmer pickles. Finally, rather than processing in a boiling-water bath, we employed a technique known as low-temperature pasteurization, which involved maintaining our pickles in a hot-water bath at a temperature of 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes—in this temperature range microorganisms are destroyed and pectin remains largely intact.

INGREDIENTS

Print Shopping List

2 pounds pickling cucumbers, ends trimmed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 onion, quartered and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2‑inch matchsticks
2 tablespoons canning and pickling salt
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon Ball Pickle Crisp
FOUR 1-PINT JARS

1. Toss cucumbers, onion, and bell pepper with salt in large bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours. Drain vegetables in colander (do not rinse), then pat dry with paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, set canning rack in large pot, place four 1‑pint jars in rack, and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to simmer over medium high heat, then turn off heat and cover to keep hot.

3. Bring vinegar, sugar, water, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds, and cloves to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat; cover and remove from heat.

4. Place dish towel flat on counter. Using jar lifter, remove jars from pot, draining water back into pot. Place jars upside down on towel and let dry for 1 minute. Add 1/8 teaspoon Pickle Crisp to each hot jar, then pack tightly with vegetables.

5. Return brine to brief boil. Using funnel and ladle, pour hot brine over cucumbers to cover, distributing spices evenly leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Slide wooden skewer along inside of jar, pressing slightly on vegetables to remove air bubbles, and add extra brine as needed. 6a. For short-term storage: Let jars cool to room temperature, cover with lids, and refrigerate for 1 day before serving. (Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 3 months; flavor will continue to mature over time.) 6b. For long-term storage: While jars are warm, wipe rims clean, add lids, and screw on rings until fingertip-tight; do not overtighten. Before processing jars, heat water in canning pot to temperature between 120 and 140 degrees. Lower jars into water, bring water to 180 to 185 degrees, then cook for 30 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain water between 180 and 185 degrees. Remove jars from pot and let cool for 24 hours. Remove rings, check seal, and clean rims. (Sealed jars can be stored for up to 1 year.)

Bread & Butter Pickles

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

This article came on my newsfeed this morning and I thought it was very interesting.  While I agree with most, I do not agree with all. There are as many opinions about design as there are people with opinions. 

Drop the paint can, step away from the brick and read this remodeling advice from people who’ve been there

April 21, 2016
There are a million and one things to consider when taking on a remodeling project. Some of those decisions have the potential to significantly impact your home — and in turn your emotional well-being — for years to come. It doesn’t matter how functional your new kitchen is, for example, if you hate the flooring material you chose. It’s going to eat away at you every single day.

In hopes of preventing these situations, we asked readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. But remember, the thing about advice is that you don’t have to take it. After all, the main takeaway message here should be that no matter what, it’s your home. And you should do whatever you want. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

Happy Birthday ???

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Yesterday in the mail, I received this book from my only brother as a “Birthday” gift. If you don’t know anything about the book, it is described on Amazon:

“Dinesh D’Souza, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller America, is back with this darkly entertaining deconstruction of Hillary Clinton’s flawed character and ideology. From her Alinskyite past to her hopes for America’s progressive future, the presumptive Democratic nominee is revealed to be little more than a political gangster intent on controlling the nation’s wealth. D’Souza chronicles the sleazy ascent of the Clintons and makes clear what some voters have long suspected: that Hillary is far more dangerous and corrupt than Bill ever was.”

I try to stay away from politics on my blog and will continue to do that. My brother is a stupidly loyal Trump fan and definitely not a Hillary fan. At the start of the presidential campaign he sent email after email against Hillary and for Trump.  I nicely asked him to stop several times and finally just had to block his emails.  I took him off my newsfeed on Facebook, as I did not want to read his rantings of “Fake News”.

So why would someone send this as a Birthday Gift?  I have not idea, so I marked “Return to Sender” and dropped it off at the Post Office.

I am glad it is almost Fall, as it has not been a good summer for me.  I was told if I say anything more about certain family members I will be sued for slander.  I never said anything bad, just a note of what happened. The asthma attack brought on by the fires up north and a dog in the house, was not fun or the trip to Urgent Care. I discovered my neighbor is slowly trying to kill my bamboo, by cutting over thirty stalks at three feet.  I just got this lovely birthday gift and now looking into my fish tank, I think my cat ate George, one of my Betas as he is not in the tank and the Catfish bottom feeder looks quite dead.

So the summer is coming to an end.  The best part of summer was having my granddaughter here for three months. If only all this other shit hadn’t happened, it would have been the perfect summer.

Here’s to Fall.

 

Happy Birthday ???

The Quiet Life Begins Again

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Summer is coming to an end and the  entourage of guests is coming to an end at the same time. Entertaining my six year-old granddaughter had highs and a few lows. With little people it is interesting how perfectly behaved they can be for about two to three weeks, then familiarity begins and you are no longer a “fun” person, you are just another boring adult.  You have not changed, but their perception of the environment takes a turn. You are no longer new and exciting.

Summer Camp at the Boys and Girls Club saved the day for most of the summer, as she made new friends, had lots of fun activities and great field trips.  I joined them bowling in Silverdale, but decided the bus ride was a bit unruly for me, so did not sign-up for any more field trips. It was joy to watch my granddaughter bowl for the first time ever.  Of the three busloads of children, the high score (using bumpers) and on my team was 99.

When my son recently came to pick her up, we decided to take her bowling. So my off we went.  We discovered a ramp you can use for littler people that lines up the bowling ball and they just push it off. The one in Silverdale is hand-made wood, but worked just as well.

It certainly improved her score. She came in with a score of 98, the best of the group. The rest of us came in with scores in the 80’s. Maybe they should have ramps for all ages, especially seniors. Guess we are not a family of bowlers. The last time I personally bowled you had to keep your own score, not a plasma screen up above the alley for all to see just how bad your were.  They have senior bowl three games for free on Wednesdays.  Maybe I should work on improving my score, and it my be good for my arthritis as my hands were pretty sore.

This should have been the best summer ever, as my granddaughter is a joy to be around. In reflection I think I will try to only remember the joy of sharing her summer and not the heartache of some other visitors. It was a summer where I learned maybe you just need to make yourself happy and not feel responsible for the happiness of others.

My three adult sons got to spend a weekend together. It was not without its events, but they did get to spend time talking and catching up. A couple of their friends they had not seen in a while came over and they all initiated our new beach side deck. Pavers are now under the fire pit, rather than warped boards.

My husbands children arrived for the next weekend. They spent time on the new deck and added a little more initiation rites to the deck as they stayed up and talked into the night. Maybe we need to think of a way to have “smaller” fires. I wish I could say that weekend went well, but it ended on a majorly sour note.

We all see the world through our own set of blinders. We see what we want to see, how we want to see it. We can all be in the same room at the same time and have a totally different experience. Our memory of what is said and done is biased by our view of life. The bias can be small or it can be extreme. I learned a little of the extreme before I had to start blocking emails.  I now know my view of the world is my view and only my view. People may understand how you see the world, but they do not see it the same way.

Next summer I think we just take a vacation. It would probably cost a lot less money than what we spent on toys, clothes, food and wine and for some reason I think it might a lot less stressful.

As our children grow into adults and become the people they are going to be our role changes and we are no longer the parent. Adapting to whatever role we have or don’t have in their lives is not as simple as one might think. We are no longer the person of knowledge that we were in their youth. As we become grayer in hair, we are perhaps grayer to them, not the lively over-active person they have always known.

One night I took my granddaughter to a local Mexican restaurant to dinner. We ordered guacamole with the chips, as they come with just salsa. I ordered two tacos and she had a quesadilla. Neither of us are big eaters, so I never order full blown meals there. When I the bill came I was charged for two orders of guacamole. I pointed it out to the waiter and realized by his expression he did not think I would notice.  Telling my older neighbor about this she shared that she thinks people see your gray or white hair and think you have less gray matter in your brain.

When I started getting gray hair, I did not start getting stupid. When I started getting gray hair I did not start to get meaner, but I do stand up for what I believe in. As I get more gray hair I am seeing people view you differently than they did when you were younger. I am finally okay with that, but I do think you need to look for the humor. The other day when I was out running errands I found a sign to put by my front door.  If I can match the paint, I may change the W in WITCH to a B.

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The Quiet Life Begins Again

Celebrate Solitude

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In our busy world, we seldom take time for ourselves.  We keep busy working and taking care of others. Once in a while it is good to step back and enjoy our surroundings.  Where we live in the Pacific Northwest we are surrounded by the beauty of nature. At this point in my life I live in a cottage I personally designed and built on a quiet cove, near a quiet town with limited traffic sounds in the distance.

This summer my husband with the help of two sons, built a deck about twenty feet from the edge of the water. The fire pit in the middle keeps you warm for conversation in the evenings.  This summer fires burned often and conversations continued till close to dawn.  I will have to admit I did not take part in the late night gatherings, but was glad for the hum of family and friends enjoying the beach.

The other night with guests galore in the house I found myself with the only room available being our living room.  I was reading a book, but was not in the mood for what I was reading. I looked out at the beach and noticed no one was around.  I grabbed a bottle of champagne, a glass, my down coat and walked by myself to the beach and the new deck.

It was a glorious early evening with lights still dancing on the water and  a group of geese floating nearby on the water.  In the early evening there was little traffic, the park across the water was empty as it was dusk. Opening the champagne, not in celebration but in “Oh My God, I need a drink” after the week that was still happening, I sat and decided I was the only one that could make and keep myself happy.  We all determine our own self worth, how we view the world and how we feel about who we are. No one but you can do that.

Like a copper tea pot, others can abuse you, put dents in your soft exterior, overheat you till you are no longer the beautiful copper you once were, but unless they put holes in your body, you can still make a great cup of tea.

As the sun set further and the chill of the night set in, I sat in quiet reverence enjoying the time by myself. I was saddened by the events of the last few days, but knew it was still a lovely place to live.  Harsh words could not take that away from me. I had worked hard all my life to finally be able to live on a beach where I could easily put sand between my toes.  I had done it on my own as a single mother. I no longer needed or wanted what I had in past and am content in my here and now. At some point in time taxes and life will take away this spot in the world that is mine to enjoy for the moment. When that time comes I will try to remember this moment in time when all was well with the world, the champagne was cold and I was content to not answer to anyone.

Look for that space in your life. As a child I had a special walnut tree in our orchard where I would climb and sit and dream about the future. Now I am content to sit and wonder where life will take me next.

Celebrate Solitude

Changing Lifestyle

As we grow older we realize the beautiful and expensive things we have collected over a lifetime are not important to anyone in our family but ourselves. It seems the times of collecting fine china, crystal and silver belong in their dark ages.  The time in life when we entertained more lavishly is gone.  Our family will not enjoy our collections and will sell them or donate them (not knowing the value) after we die.  I have found in my personal life that not only do my step-children not value or respect what I have, but they resent that I have it at all and cannot understand why I have not sold it.

So surprise to you all, I am not waiting to die, so they can have it.  I worked hard to earn the money to buy what I have and now, or received them as gifts from loved ones, and I am going to be listing it all on Ebay, Replacements ,Amazon or with an auction house and take a nice cruise with what I may earn. (maybe take two cruises)

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I bought these gorgeous, (no longer made) wine glasses when I worked at Macy’s, then The Bon Marche.  I would buy them two at a time when I had a good sales month in the Interior Design Studio I managed within the store. Back then they were $160.00 each on sale with my manager’s discount.  I used to love purple and now after it being my favorite color for twenty years I don’t really even like it.  So almost twenty years ago I was still entertaining and setting a beautiful table. Today, some nicely stemmed Reidel wine glasses take their place on the table. These ten perfect glasses will be on sale soon.

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These two beautiful Waterford Scotch Glasses were a gift from a good friend many years ago.  At the time they sold for over $250 as they were a special edition one year and never offered again.  My stepson took one of them to the beach and has never forgiven me for asking him not to take them for drinking booze on the beach.  He will never understand that they were a gift from someone special in my life. He never thought to ask why they were special to me. He didn’t think to ask if they friend were still alive or if they died. His older sister just thinks it is stupid to keep something this valuable.  Life memories that involve an object rather than a sailing trip do not register to her.  It is funny that neither of them asked why I only had two? So guess what guys, they will be on the market too!

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These four tiny cordial glasses made by Waterford were a wedding present to my late husband and I in 1976 from one of his partners and our good friends at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  I love the feel of them, the texture of them, the joy of putting something wonderful in them and enjoying every last sip.  The memory of receiving such a lovely wedding gift always made me smile in the past, but now knowing the resentment they brought me, just by keeping something I cherish I can’t look at them ever again, and they will be sold soon.

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These smaller Waterford Brandy glasses were another 1976 Wedding gift and have been lovingly cared for and used for over 45 years.  I am not really sure how I feel about someone coming into my home and my treasures and treating me badly because they do not believe in collecting anything.  My own son’s know the history and respect it, but my new family never asked. They assume I am a bad person because I have nice things and want to keep them nice.  Is that a crime? Is it a crime that I do not want them used at the beach or around the fire pit.  I have safely used them in the house for a very long time.

Now I do have a little Mesena Baccarat which is from a terrible marriage that last three months and for Heaven’s Sake I should have gotten rid of those many years ago.  It is soaking right now, as it is dusty from not being used in so long.

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In reality, this is what I would love to do to all the collections I have proudly collected, but I am realist.  These are no longer popular and damn it felt GREAT to throw them in the garbage and hear the glass shatter. I started laughing at what I had done and did not feel an iota of guilt. Looking at the shards of glass I had the passing thought, that life has harsh edges and we can hide it in a glass of wine, but it is still there.  It did my soul good.

No one in life should make you feel bad about what you have, what you like, what you nurture, what you care about and what you don’t want or need to share with them.

No one should ever think that what you have is automatically theirs or theirs to use. What happened to asking permission?

The home I live in now with my husband is not a “Family Home” although I was recently told it was.  No family grew up in this house, nor is it that “lake cabin” where you went every summer.  A family home is one where the family grew up in or went to every summer or winter. Ours is a home where I personally bought waterfront land, designed and built a home to live in, in any manner I chose. My sons family home was sold many years ago. It was a beautiful designed for my sons to grow up in and hopefully remember their father.

Grown children are welcome to come if they can abide by three or four rules.  If they cannot, they do not need to visit. It is sad to me that some grown children (not mine) think they have the right to come in to a house now shared with a wonderful man and think their rules (or lack thereof) apply to our house. It just isn’t so.

 

 

Changing Lifestyle