And Now For Something Completely Different…

The Virtual Paintout is back after a long hiatus this year.

(Check out the link in my blog roll on the right of the page.)

Each month Bill Guffey, the wonderful artist who runs the whole shebang, picks a spot somewhere on the planet for artists of all stripes to convene and travel the streets via Google Street View and then submit their artwork of the spots they find interesting.

The choice this last month was the U.S. Virgin Islands.

My husband of 42 years passed away in June. He always encouraged me in my artwork and had been after me to get back into it, but his months long illness and radiation treatments took their toll on both of us and I just didn’t have the will to do that.

So when Bill started up his website again in August, I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t have quite yet what it takes to do a full blown painting, so I found this rooster strutting his stuff in front of a house and did a quick sketch using color markers. And here it is.

I call this one “Funky chicken.”

funky chicken


“Crucified Man Had Prior Run-in with Authorities”


From Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post:

I guess this is how we are writing up the victims of crimes now. I did not realize that when you boarded a plane you gave away the right to have your past remain your past, but a theme of life these days is that only people who have never done anything wrong, or are in some way related to Donald Trump, deserve to go through their lives unmolested. 

In accordance with this new house style I am writing up an incident whose anniversary some people are celebrating this week. 


The gentleman arrested Thursday and tried before Pontius Pilate had a troubled background.


He had had prior run-ins with local authorities — most notably, an incident of vandalism in a community center when he wrecked the tables of several licensed money-lenders and bird-sellers. He had used violent language, too, claiming that he could destroy a gathering place and rebuild it.

At the time of his arrest, he had not held a fixed residence for years. Instead, he led an itinerant lifestyle, staying at the homes of friends and advocating the redistribution of wealth.

He had come to the attention of the authorities more than once for his unauthorized distribution of food, disruptive public behavior, and participation in farcical aquatic ceremonies.

Some say that his brutal punishment at the hands of the state was out of proportion to and unrelated to any of these incidents in his record.

But after all, he was no angel.


What I Did On My Summer Vacation…

splash mountain3

I’m the fourth one back—with the upraised arms and the big mouth.  Grandkids are in front of me and in back.  My son-in-law is bringing up the rear.

I had a wonderful six days in So. California with my son and his family and my daughter and her family from here in Texas.  We did a 12 hour marathon at Disneyland and I could have stayed longer but we had to get up early the next day to be at the airport by 8:30 a.m.  The thought crossed my mind to hide out somewhere in the park and live off of what I could scrounge from the trash receptacles, but unfortunately they keep the place so clean I’d probably starve to death.  I could ride the Indiana Jones ride, Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn bobsleds all day.  Space Mountain makes me nauseous.  And I plugged my ears when we had to walk by It’s a Small World to keep that brain worm of a song from working its devious mojo on me.

For those of you who’re waiting patiently for my book—it should be up on Amazon sometime this week.  Finally got that sucker finalized and submitted.  I’m currently working on the Kindle version, which I know nothing about but am muddling my way through anyway.  Stay tuned…


Romancing the Stone

My son and his family were here in Texas this weekend from California and one of the things they wanted to do was hike to the top of Enchanted Rock.

(Please click on the photos for enlarged views.)

Enlarge the view and, yes, those are people way up at the top.

Here’s a short video from the Texas Parks and Wildlife department:

Seven of our four adult, four kids and one grandma party of climbers decided to take the vertical attack in ascending the dome.

Two of us, my daughter-in-law and I, otherwise known as The Lame and The Halt, opted for a modified switch-back approach at about the three-quarters point in the climb.

My DIL suffers from a knee injury that causes her knee to sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies when she walks, and I have plantar fasciitis (heel pain) in one foot, with a little tarsal tunnel syndrome thrown in for added enjoyment.

We were traversing in a more diagonal fashion back and forth across the face of the rock instead of climbing straight up and it wasn’t long before we realized that we’d lost sight of the rest of our little group.

At that point we couldn’t see the top of the dome.  We looked around us and saw no other climbers below us either.

It was just us chickens.

This must be how the Donner Party felt.

Finally we saw two women walking down from the summit and I asked them if the end was in sight.

One said, “Oh, there’s a flat area and then it’s just a little more after that!”

Her companion said, “You’ve got a long way to go.”

Great.  An optimist and a pessimist out on a hike together.

But we did manage to get to the top not too long after everybody else and I have to admit the views were spectacular.

You can see the effects of the long drought on the vegetation.

Triumphant granddaughters!

I give new meaning to the name "Rocky."

Granddaughter in obligatory "pushing the boulder" pose.

On the downhill walk, looking back toward the summit.

Interesting rock formations. Discuss among yourselves...

Dear Governor Goodhair: Forget Cain, please send rain.


Hell on Wheels

Memo to a couple of female bicyclists I encountered today:  

I know it’s fashionable for you to ride in the “Hell Week” here in the Hill Country.   

(This is where bicyclists from all over Texas converge on our county in March for a week of long-distance rides.  The highways are lined with cyclists huffing and puffing up inclines while 70 mph traffic blasts by in an intricate ballet of sudden lane changes to avoid sideswiping a wobbling rider.)

I know local folks have been told to be nice and “share the road” with the roaming packs of togged-out poseurs and Lance Armstrong wanna-bes.

But when I come down my road and slowly and carefully approach the stop sign at the highway, please get your bitchy asses out of my way. 

Don’t stand in the middle of the road, fully aware of my presence, chugging out of your designer water bottles while giving me the stank eye because I’m inconveniencing you in some way. 

Thank you.

(And I thought hunters were bad.)


Sayonara to S.F. Paintout

I felt I had to squeeze one last painting in to the Virtual Paintout for February.  The location this month was San Francisco, with a plethora of possibilities to choose from for painting sites.

While cruising around Golden Gate Park, I came across the Hagiwara Tea Garden, a very lovely spot.  This doesn’t do it justice but I think it gives the feeling of a peaceful Japanese setting.


S. F. Paintout #2

Here’s my second entry into this month’s Virtual Paintout for February.  I thought I’d better get on the stick because the month is fast disappearing.

This one I call “The Kibitzer” because it looks like the elephant is reading over the woman’s shoulder. 

I found this scene at 704 Bridgeway in Sausalito, across the Bay from San Francisco.  I went to Sausalito in (what seems like a millennia ago now!) the late 70’s with my husband not too long before we were married.  He had grown up in S.F. and I had only visited it briefly, so this was a great introduction to the area.  We took a ferry over to Sausalito and enjoyed walking around the town and peering into the shops.  A very pretty locale.


Feb. Paintout: S.F.

So, the Virtual Paintout for the month of February is the San Francisco bay area.  What a lot of opportunities there are there!  Bill Guffey (the genius mastermind behind Virtual Paintout) has drawn the boundaries from Santa Rosa in the north, to San Jose in the south and east to Antioch.  That is a lot of territory in which to find subjects to paint and draw! 

That being said, I knew exactly where to find my first location: 

48 Grattan St. in the city of San Franciso

This is where my husband and his two brothers and their mother lived.  The house is a three story “flat,” and the family lived on the third floor while his grandparents lived below them and were the owners.

I did the painting from Google street view showing how the house looks today.  But as a twist, I included a drawing from a snapshot of my husband and his family out in front of the house on Easter Sunday in 1952.  (There is actually more of the house next door showing in the snapshot, with its arches and columns.) 

My husband was amazed at the size of the trees on this street now.  When he was living there, the street had few trees and the ones that were there were quite small.  What a difference almost sixty years can make!