Author Archives: releaf1954

About releaf1954

I am a mother, a grandmother, a tie-dye artist, a singer and a yodeler. I started this blog because I dreamed of doing other creative things, such as painting, doll making and art quilting. I decided to let my inner children out to play, because they were getting really frustrated with me for having all kinds of glitter, glue, fabric, beads, paint, canvases,yarn and embroidery floss in the house and never doing anything with them. They wanted to actually make stuff. I need their innocence and enthusiasm, so I said, "Yes" and started this blog to document the process and keep myself motivated. They said, "It's about time."

I’m Back!

It sure has been a long time since I have put up a blog post. I decided to give myself a break because the “every Wednesday without fail” thing had started to feel like a burden. I was having trouble coming up with things to write about and I wanted to give it a rest for a while. I was just about ready to get back to it when we had a little election in America and I didn’t want to talk about that, so I prolonged my break. I had no heart for blogging, but time kept moving on and, suddenly, I have reached another blogiversary. I don’t want to let one of those pass without posting something.

I started this blog four years ago because I wanted to motivate myself to do creative things. I was arriving at my fifty-ninth birthday, which meant I was about to begin my sixtieth year and I didn’t want it to be another year of procrastination. I wanted to give creativity a chance. I promised myself that I would do fifty creative things before my sixtieth birthday. I also promised myself that these would include at least one art doll, one art quilt and one 16” x 20” painting. These were the creative pursuits that most called to me, but that first year was, otherwise, wide open. I did all kinds of creative things and, of course, put off the “Big Three” until very near the end of my blog year.

I met my goal that year and then I started thinking about a goal for the next year. I surprised myself by enjoying painting more than any other creative pursuit I tried that year. My second blog year goal was to create fifty paintings. I procrastinated on that one, too, but I met my goal. Then it was time to pick another one. Painting was still fun for me, but I had spent that second blog year painting almost exclusively indoors. I wanted to push myself into a larger world, so I set a new goal that I knew would be more challenging than any I had set before. I decided to do fifty paintings en plein air. I hoped and prayed that I would not procrastinate, since that would mean painting outdoors in the coldest weeks of the year but, of course, that is exactly what I ended up doing. I finished my fifty plein air paintings just in time for my birthday. Most of them were tiny, but I did paint fifty of them. I was happy, but I was exhausted. I decided not to set a new painting goal for my fourth blog year. I did keep up with the blog itself for another eight months. Then I hit a wall. I was out of town, on a wonderful vacation that turned scary when my husband had a health crisis far from home. I just didn’t want to write about that. I didn’t want to write about anything. I was only going to take a short break, but I couldn’t make myself go back to blogging.

Until today, that is. Today, I am starting a new blog year. I haven’t painted lately, but I find myself itching to set up my palette again and get started. It’s a Sta-wet palette that has been sitting closed up all this time, so I will be tossing all the contents and airing it out for a while. I am ready for a fresh start.

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About the Blog

My regular followers probably noticed that I didn’t publish a post last Wednesday. I was in a hotel that night and being in a hotel that night was not the original plan. According to the original plan, I should have been home by then. I was not prepared to write another blog post on the road. I did try, but when it got to be 10:20 pm and I saw that I was just getting a good start, I decided to let it go.

I decided to let this one go, too, but then I realized I wanted to explain why, so here I am. I chose to keep up the Wednesday blog posts because I was enjoying them. I looked forward to Wednesdays because they were my blog days. I’m not sure when that sense of anticipation turned into a sense of obligation, but it did. It made me think of my favorite quote from Ghostbusters II, “The joyfulness is over.”

I want blogging to be joyful. If it’s not joyful for me, it can’t possibly be joyful for my readers. I’m tired. I was on the road for a solid month and being home is both a relief and a disappointment. I saw so many wonders on my vacation that it’s a little hard to adjust to daily life again. Still, I missed this house. I missed my children and grandchildren. I missed my fellow singers in the Don Thompson Chorale.

It is good to be home. It is good to be back in my comfy chair. It is good to be singing again. I’m sure it will be good, eventually, to be blogging again. Just not every single Wednesday without fail. That’s not fun any more.

Even More Vacation

Last week, we made it to Portland, Oregon and Voodoo Doughnut. Today, we are still in Oregon. I’m pretty sure we will be in California later today, but Oregon is making it hard to leave. We spent several days on the coast. We camped at Lookout Point, where we could hear the ocean from our campsite. The sunset was gorgeous.
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We spent three nights in Tillamook, at the Western Royal Inn. That was not our original plan, but my husband had a health problem that cropped up on Friday and we needed to hang around until Monday for a follow-up appointment. He was okay after treatment and we took advantage of the extra time in Tillamook to see some more of the Oregon coast. We saw the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast, on Cape Meares, and the tallest one in Yaquina Head State Park.
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We saw two Oregon Heritage trees, Big Spruce (the largest Sitka Spruce in Oregon) and the Octopus Tree.
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We saw trees so mossy, they looked as if they had soft green fur coats. Forests here are deep and wet. We haven’t seen a Sasquatch yet, but we wouldn’t be at all surprised to run into one among these endless tall trees.
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Yesterday, we made it to Crater Lake, which was fogged in and surrounded by snow-covered evergreens. We stayed there quite a while, throwing snowballs at each other and marveling at the view. Our patience was rewarded when the wind picked up a bit and cleared enough of the fog that we could actually see the lake. I have never seen water such a deep shade of blue. Pictures don’t do it justice, but I will add some anyway. We took dozens.
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When we finally pulled ourselves away from Crater Lake and got back on the road, our journey was blessed with a beautiful rainbow.
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Oregon, how can we leave you?

More Vacation

Too many wonders. Not enough words. I took hundreds of pictures in Yellowstone. Here’s one:
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We camped there, in the Norris Campground, for two nights. We saw as much as we could, but you could spend a lifetime exploring that place and never see all there is to see. Old Faithful is a must, of course.
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My favorite place in the park was the Norris Geyser Basin. It was full of spitting geysers and pearlescent pools.
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When we left Yellowstone, we went straight to Grand Teton National Park, which was breathtaking in a whole different way.
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We saw potato fields in Idaho and onion fields in Oregon. We saw beautiful parks and waterfalls. Today, we landed in Portland, Oregon. My one goal was to make it to Voodoo Doughnut, but first, we needed to find a parking spot. Portland is a busy city and it wasn’t looking good. We were almost about to give up in despair, when my husband spied it — a spot on the curb, just a few blocks from Voodoo Doughnut.
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Success!

Vacation

We are on vacation and I am seeing marvelous things. I’ve already crossed two things off my bucket list: Mt. Rushmore and Devil’s Tower.
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They were both impressive, but it was easier to leave Mt. Rushmore than it was to leave Devil’s Tower. Mt. Rushmore is a wonderful work of art, but Devil’s Tower has a natural spirit that is more ancient and more sacred. As long as there have been people living within sight of Devil’s Tower, they have considered It a holy place. It is breathtaking, even from a distance. I gasped the first time it came into view. I kept marveling at it all the way to the visitor center, where we got out of the car so we could get even closer. We thought we might just get a good look and move on, but there was a trail we just couldn’t resist. It goes all the way around the tower. It’s just 1.3 miles, so we thought it wouldn’t take long, but we were wrong about that. Progress is slow when you stop every few feet to take a picture.

We changed our minds about getting back on the road and making some progress towards Yellowstone. We decided to stay in the Devil’s Tower campground.
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We wanted to spend more time with this view.

Vacation Time

This is going to be one of those, “I don’t have time to blog today and I just came here to tell you that” blog posts. I have spent the last few days trying to do all the things I absolutely had to do to before my husband and I could go on vacation. We start that vacation tomorrow morning and I need to pack up my netbook, so I need to make this short and sweet.

Short, anyway. I’m excited about my trip but exhausted from getting ready for it, so I don’t think I will start feeling relaxed until I get out of the state of Florida. That doesn’t take long when we’re heading north. Jacksonville is only about forty minutes from the Georgia border. It takes a lot longer when we’re heading west, which is what we’re doing tomorrow morning. The Florida panhandle is long, but we will jog north into Alabama at some point. We might even be catching part of Georgia. My husband has probably told me exactly where we’re going, but I’ve been stressing out over preparations, so I don’t remember.

I let him plan our whole route last September and we had the best vacation of our lives, so I have no qualms about trusting him with this trip, too. He has retired from his office job, so this journey will be more open-ended than the last one. I told him I would like to see Mount Rushmore and Devil’s Tower and giant redwoods if we have enough time. I’m the one who needs to be back. There are tie-dye things that need to be done.

I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with this blog while we’re on the road. We will be camping in our Little Blue Teardrop Trailer and some of the campgrounds may not have wifi or even a phone signal. I just don’t know, but I will keep up if I can. We will be seeing some beautiful scenery, so I know I will want to share pictures.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of the load-up.
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Once I add this netbook, I think we’ll be done for tonight.

An Evening Walk

My husband spoke up at seven-thirty this evening and said, “Do you want to take a walk?”

“A walk?” I said, “It’s seven-thirty on Wednesday and I haven’t written a blog post yet. I don’t even know what I’m going to write about. I don’t have time for a walk.”

“You could take pictures on the walk and write about that,” he said.

I didn’t have a better plan and he really wanted to go on a walk, so I gave in at that point and we headed out the door. The first thing I saw was our little garden patch in the back yard. The oregano had been wilted and bedraggled after our most recent heat wave but then Tropical Storm Hermine passed by and gave us rain. It looks perky now.
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Next was our neighbor’s small citrus tree. If you are a regular follower of this blog, you may remember seeing a small painting of this tree during last year’s landscape challenge. It’s still pretty cute. I may have to paint it again.
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After that, we noticed something we have to watch out for or we end up bringing them home on our shoes – hitchhiker burrs.
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This passion flower was spectacular. It was very near the sidewalk so I could get a good shot of it without zooming or trespassing.
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I love this white picket fence with flowers at its feet.
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We wandered on and came to a cactus garden in full bloom.
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We often see bald eagles on this phone tower, but you’ll have to take my word for it. They didn’t show up this time.
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We never know what we might see when we’re walking through our neighborhood. We have no idea why there was a dead mop in the road, but we can all make up interesting stories about it now that we have a picture.
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We could have turned toward home at that point and had a short walk, but if I was going to walk at all, I wanted to hit the one and only Pokestop within reasonable walking distance of my house, so we continued on until we arrived at the community garden. This was the first time I had ever seen a lure on this Pokestop.
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Even with the lure, I only got a Pidgey and a Rattata before we walked on. I don’t think the young man who placed the lure even got those two. He was involved in a heated telephone conversation as we passed by.

Once I hit the Pokestop, I noticed that it was getting dark, but it was too late to take the short route home, so we kept going around the two neighborhood schools. I had to use the flash to get this pretty shrimp plant.
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There’s a retention pond between the two schools and I couldn’t resist trying to get a picture of all the ducks settling in amid the reflections of the schoolyard lights.
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There was barely any light left in the sky as we hurried back to our house. I wish I could have taken a picture of the owl that swooped over us as we neared our driveway, but it happened too fast for me to capture it.
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I did get this oddish, though.