“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”Groucho Marx

I absolutely love this quote!  Dogs really aren’t your true friend though.  Who is smart enough to walk all over someone and have that someone still believe they have a best friend forever?  Only a dog!  Granted, some dogs may stand by even the most worthless of humans but, hey, has a dog ever invited you over for dinner?  Ever  brought you anything outside of a newspaper or fleas?  And where did the saying “work like a dog” come from?  Most of the dogs I know spend their days romping around outdoors or snoozing on a sofa.  I wish I could do the same.  Some friend.
In my own little world  what makes life worth living is the warmth and inner glow of loving family and the best of friends, a few dogs included.  Family is what life is all about but a variety of friends make my daily living interesting and diverse.  Friends are like those pebbles you pick up walking along the beach on vacation and bring home to put on your bookshelf or use as a paperweight.   Soon you have a nice little pile of pebbles of various sizes, shapes and colors.  Friends.

If you can count maybe two or three people who have been there with you along your trek through  life you are blessed.  These are people you can drop in to visit every few years or so and it still feels just like you live around the corner and visit every day.  You carry on just as if yesterday wasn’t a decade ago.   You really know each other and your shared history is a precious thing.  I have a few of these friends in my life and my life is so much richer because of them.

New Artwork


Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything here and I really don’t have anything to post today either.  I do have a couple of new pieces of artwork I’d like to share with you though and here they are.  “Who” the owl is from a photo inspiration taken by a friend years ago.  I always thought it would be fun to try to paint feathers and it really was.  I drew the eyes and beak and the rest all just fell into place.  The “Taos Coneflower” was from a photo I took while my husband and I were vacationing in an old adoble house in Taos, NM next door to the Mablel Dodge House.  Our place used to be an art studio and it had wonderful overgrown gardens.  It was a most peaceful and relaxing stay.Image

Friends and Relatives

Instead of loving your enemies – treat your friends a little better” ~ Edward W. Howe

Have you ever met someone you wish you hadn’t?  Someone who really shouldn’t be a part of your life but somehow you just can’t erase them from your acquaintance list.  Maybe a co-worker, an ex spouse or the tax man?  Being a laid back easy going sort of person, I do not meet this type of person very often.  In truth I can only think of maybe one or two people, if I think really hard, that I would like to eliminate from my life.  Some of you may have relatives that fit into this “wish I could eliminate” category and I do pity you as you really can’t choose your relatives can you?  Wouldn’t it be fun though if a family could have a vote on who their relations bring into the family????  I might never have been married….. hmmmm.  I think a new family member should be submitted to a written exam, personal interviews, personal skills demos and perhaps a scavenger hunt for good measure.  Maybe a dowry for the family members would be nice.  I know I could use some new sheets (they are expensive these days), an espresso machine or a vacuum.  Then, once the newly elected family member joins in everyone would theoretically be compatible and they could all live together in a grand and happy compound.  Rather like world politics I’d say.

Contrary to what many people think, money can’t really buy you status. It can temporarily give you a false sense of class, but true worth comes from the inside.  The people I allow to stay in my life are primarily those who I have a great deal of admiration for.  I am constantly being amazed at what we humans can accomplish and produce.  Personally, I enjoy being surrounded by friends who are witty and creative.  Laughter brings out the joy of living and a day without laughter is a rather dull day I’d say.  So, enjoy your friends, relatives and acquaintances and pick them out very very carefully as they reflect your personality and confirm your worth.
My pastel of an Akha Bride – do you think she was voted into her new family?  I think so.

Riding the Porcelain Bullet Train


“I got food poisoning today.  I don’t know when I’ll use it.” ~ unknown

I have never been one for posting every mood swing or personal health blip on facebook for the entire community to see.  It may not be that I am so self-involved that I want to put my friends through that misery of eye glazing numbness, but that everyone has up and down days so why waste wall space posting ordinary daily occurrences.   Yesterday was a day of epic proportions health wise and, even though I still won’t post my hurling adventure on facebook, I can blog about it here since it was not only very painful but delightfully colorful and could have resulted in a modern art canvas or two if I had known what was about to occur.   Imagine here refrigerated art or a canvas coated in polyurethane to preserve its creativeness, spontaneity and texture.

Yesterday was St. Patty’s Day and while others were indulging in green beer, Irish soda bread and lamb stew I was enjoying a late lunch with my dear husband at a sushi bistro we were, up until yesterday, quite fond of.   Yes, I broke my own personal mandate that “why eat out when we can eat better, cheaper and without table manners at home?”  In the future, I will follow yet another simple rule: never ask a waitress which dish would be a better choice as I am very confident that they are all under pressure to push diners towards menu items well past their sell by date.  You know, that old restaurant accounting principle FILO (first in, last out).

The days of chili beans stuck on trowel textured walls after an evening of drink are well past me and, try as I might, I cannot pull up from my memory bank the last time I spent the evening vomiting copiously while riding the porcelain bus, or, in this case, the porcelain Bullet Train.  St. Patty’s day will now and forever more hold a special dark spot in my heart as the day I lived through the greatest bout of food poisoning ever – or, at least the greatest bout of food poisoning ever recorded in my own personal record book of life.   The human body is a beautiful piece of engineering and I learned yesterday  just how fastidiously capable it was of expelling, down to the last little teeny tiny grain of rice, food that really wasn’t supposed to be ingested.  Think five hours of the heaves here with a bit of expulsion at the bottom end and a face so swollen and red from regurgitating that even now, much later, my puffy eyes won’t focus properly even with my glasses on.  The entire episode was like clockwork – run to the bathroom, rinse, sip, sit down for twenty minutes or so and then run back to the bathroom to begin the cycle again, continuously, for five hours.  And all this going on while shivering from cold even though it’s around 80 degrees here in Houston.  The good news is, well, there just isn’t any.  I should have indulged in green beer and Irish soda bread instead of breaking with tradition and having sushi on St. Pats day.

It’s now, as I finish writing this, 3:00 am and I can tell I will be functioning in a different time zone for the remainder of the weekend.  Just think, if my son lived in Guam I could call him right now and I could talk to him mid-afternoon (the normal weekend getting out of bed time for him).  Or, I could call and surprise my daughter who lives five hours behind us in Honolulu.  Either way I can turn this into a win win situation.  So far, I joyfully consider this a win win situation just for surviving my food poisoning adventure and, as every woman knows, there is a silver lining somewhere.  For me it was getting on the scale and having it read two pounds down.  I think it should have been at least five.

My stomach aches just from looking at this……..

Marjorie’s Barns


I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing. Johnny Carson

I grew up in a part of Ohio where, on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, you could soon be out driving rural country roads past scenes you normally only see in photographs.  Many of those country roads would take you past farmland, crops growing in the sun and barns of all shapes and sizes – a lot of barns – both functional and derelict.  To me a derelict barn is extremely beautiful as well as depressingly sad.  Beautiful because of what that barn has added to the landscape through the decades.  Sad because of the memories brought to mind.  I think about what that barn once represented and contributed to the area throughout  its lifespan.  It’s a reminder that in a time well past there was a family, and perhaps generations of family, dependent upon that barn for their livelihood.  A barn represents warmth and shelter as well as storage, whether it be harvested crops, farm machinery or livestock.  It’s beginnings may well have been the result of a barn raising based upon community spirit and tradition, the sharing of time and skills in exchange for a satisfying result, a job well done and the feeling of belonging and contributing to someone else’s life.  A barn, to me, is an image of the American spirit and of times long gone.  As our country moves away from the individual farmer and embraces corporate farms these barns will rapidly fade from our landscape.  Some may be razed and their carcasses picked over for beams to reuse in upscale housing developments, others are just left to decay and settle into the earth.   Barns have always evoked a sense of closeness with the land.  The beauty of their structure and landscape settings is something that the world will one day miss.


I know that the way to learn is to copy from the best but I have never been one who thought that was something I would like to do.  Our last art class project was to use warm colors and paint a landscape using as a resource a photo of Richard Schmid’s  oil painting of “Marjorie’s Barns”.  I must admit that I am pleasantly pleased with my pastel results.  I used a sanded paper and did an under painting with pastel and water before putting pastels over that.  I believe the under painting gave the field a depth I would not have been able to achieve using only pastel.  I have learned something new.



“Life is like a new hat. You don’t know if it suits you if you keep trying it on in  front of your own mirror.”  Shirley McLaine.

This is such a delightful quote from such a free spirited personality.   I adore it and only hope that I can move through life each day with a new hat perched upon my head.  Living life and sharing life is a gift received and passed on to others.  Today, time is the most cherished and sought after luxury in the world.  Have you ever thought about where all that time you didn’t know what to do with while growing up went?  Hopefully, it wasn’t wasted standing in front of your own mirror!  As I look forward to my future decades and think of ways to wear new hats, I wonder if when the circle is complete I will again reflect on what to do with all the time on my hands.  Only time and hats will tell.

This is one of the results from a live model session using vine charcoal and various paper, paint and embellishments.   Collages are so much fun and just like real life – made up of bits and pieces gathered from here and there.

I wonder if the British wear hats to shield their heads from the drizzle or is it because they live life to the fullest and don’t let the rain dampen their spirit.

British Wedding Fun

Take Down That Photo !!!


“And no greater treasure has brought homes more joy
Than a curious, active, and lovable boy! “    Author Unknown

My son is in the U.S. Air Force and flies B52 Bombers out of Minot, ND (Brrrrr) and soon from Guam.  When he was in training and during his first solo, he took a photo of himself with his phone while up in the clouds and sent it to me – big mistake.  Being an avid Facebooker I posted it immediately – much like any other proud parent would do.  Around midnight, long after falling asleep, the telephone rang and without any preliminary greeting or even a welcoming “Hello Mum,” I was told to “TAKE DOWN THAT PHOTO“…… apparently, it’s against regulations to photograph yourself during your student solos!  Hmmmm, I wonder why?   I’m still a proud supportive parent and also proud that he showed me the stern, demanding side of him that I thankfully do not see.  To me he will always be the chubby cheeked little boy I love to hug, all six plus feet of him.


This watercolor was very difficult to do as the original photo was quite dark and you normally don’t see any land behind clouds, it’s usually a big blue sky.  I know the gear is probably not drawn completely correct but I am sure that the viewer gets the idea.  I was happy with the shadow in the bottom left and also with the mask over the nose.  Somehow, I do believe I found the sunlight glint to make it realistic and, as you can see, I did take artistic license with the hand.  This photo below is the reference photo AND the photo that I had to take down from Facebook ….