Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Missing in Action (Or Inaction)

I've not been blogging because I haven't been doing art. But I have been reading a plethora of novels and have been reading watercolor books and mentally planning my next art piece. I have also been mentally planning the next steps in both the Adirondack painting in progress and the barn scene painting in progress. I just can't seem to get past the thinking stage.

But I have been encouraging my little ones to sketch. Does that count?

I was given a couple of angels as a gift when I participated in my nephew's wedding in the far western UP last year and my little one is in love with them. Miss M sketched her rendition of them (with just a little bit of help).

Miss M drew everything except the arms; I helped with those.

I helped with the arms and the words.
I awakened to a beautiful sunny wonder world of snow this morning and couldn't resist opening all the blinds around the house and getting a few pix. Here is my favorite so far. 

I have to drive out to the Potter Center this morning to pick up the watercolor that was being displayed for the month of November and I need to stop at the grocery store while I am in town. I am also planning to spend some time with my daughter at her house to help her get her iTunes set up and get her iPod ready for use.

Who knows, maybe I will actually do some art today......

I hope your muse hasn't deserted you. And if you happen to see my muse would you please send her home.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful Again Today

We woke up to no heat at our house this morning. It is a crisp 59º in here, but I am quite able to find good things about it and be thankful that:

the baby didn't spend the night last night
it is 51º outside and sunny
the roads are clean and dry for my trip into town to purchase a new sprayer/filter
the store where I had to go to get them is nowhere near the busyness of Black Friday
the hubster will replace the filter and we will warm up prior to the baby's stay with us today

On Wednesday Miss M and Miss P spent the day and we went out to lunch. We each took a journal and did some sketching while waiting for our food. I decided to try to sketch my fork and the girls followed suit. Miss M drew hers still wrapped in a napkin; Miss P drew hers without even looking at a fork, and mine has a knife added and could be better. But we all sketched together and had a stressless wait for our food.

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house yesterday. My kids came with the girl tribe, except for Miss K. She was with her mother this year. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, squash (provided by my dear SIL), green bean casserole, two kinds of dressing (the hubster made traditional and I made a sausage and dried cherry variety for the first time), ham (brought by a dear BIL), and three kinds of pie (BIL brought pumpkin, I made cherry, and the hubster made apple.). We had a lovely day.

Here is the table just before we sat down - I forgot to get a picture of the turkey just out of the oven. It was beautiful.
Nephew Evan and Niece Drew had just found a seat.
And here are the pies:

The hubster has the furnace running and now is waiting for me to join him outdoors to rake the last of the leaves. He will do the tractor and I will do the raking. He is unstable on his foot still and the last time he raked alone with a fracture boot on one foot, he hurt his back and it is still a bit sore. I will go help him and we will actually have fun because we always do when we work together - at least I have fun. I wonder if he does, too.

Gotta go. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and that you had a lovely Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RIP Faith

My daughter's little girls, Miss M and Miss P, had two cats - Trevor and Faith. They were both rescued from the shelter. They had Trevor first, but he was Mr. Adventure and got out one day and was gone for about a month. My son saw a cat of similar color squashed in the road near their house and was pretty sure Trevor had gone to that big cat farm in the sky. The little girls put out posters and patrolled the neighborhood to no avail and their Mom said nothing about the cat in the road.

After some time, they went to the shelter once again and picked out Faith. She was smaller and still had claws, but Miss M fell in love. Shortly after they brought Faith home, Trevor showed up at the back door and they've had two cats since.

Not too long ago, the three girls moved in with the Dad and took the cats, but that household has a pit bull that is an indoor dog and Faith was terrified. She wouldn't even come out to eat. The girls are now back in their mother's house with the two cats and have been for several weeks. Trevor was his big "no problem" self, but Faith was terribly thin. We gave her lots of love and food and expected her to bounce back, but after all this time she was just getting worse and worse. She was taken to the vet yesterday to see if this was an inexpensive treatment thing only to find that she had something terribly wrong with her liver. She was put to sleep. Only Mom was there, but she was in tears. The vet wrapped her in a towel and gave her a box to transport her in.

The three of them buried her in the backyard and Papa will help the girls make some kind of marker for her - much sadness for these two little girls.

The girls are coming for dinner tonight and staying overnight. I think we are going to draw and paint Faith. Maybe this will offer a bit of catharsis for them.

I just did a quick sketch this morning, but used a Staedtler liner so the eyes are a bit much. Next time I will sketch her in pencil and then use watercolor or watercolor pencils to add the color. Here is what I have now:

And here is the reference photo provided by the girls:

We'll miss you, Faith.

Today, the hubster has physical therapy followed by a follow-up doctor visit and then the three girls are coming out for dinner and the little ones are staying overnight. My daughter has to be at work at 6 AM tomorrow. Miss M doesn't have preschool tomorrow and Miss P has half a day. I will take her in at 8:30 and pick her up at 11:45. Meanwhile the hubster has the dentist at 11:20 and one of us is scheduled to work at the antique mall in Mason from 2 until 6. Busy, busy, busy.

I guess the house will have to get a reclean in the afternoon after the girls go home and before the pies are made. I may do some of that cleaning today. The hubster is out right now removing the bird feeder from outside the front picture window so that I can clean the window. It is a tad cold to be washing windows outside, but it is a mess. Gotta love those birds, but they make a mess of the window. We may move the feeder further away into the yard.
I hope you are staying warm and are enjoying the build up to the Thanksgiving holiday. The thing I am looking forward besides having lots of family around is the wonderful aromas that will be experienced from Wednesday until we eat on Thursday.


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Real Post on My Repaired Computer

Shortly after I posted my little blurb this afternoon, the computer shop called to tell me that my computer was ready and that they were able to retrieve all my data. Hallelujah!

Now I can show you some of the art I've done in between reading some really good books.

First of all, I thought you might to see what my computer looked while in kernel panic.

Scary, scary!!!

Here are a couple of sketches I've completed in the past week:

While I don't think any of them are particularly special, it does me good to be able to share them and my little girls think they are super - they are so nice and are my biggest fans.

The rest of this week is going to be very busy, but I am hoping to spend some time in the art room and make some progress on both the farm scene and the Adirondack chairs. Hopefully I will have something to show next time I get a chance to post.


And So It Goes

I was heartened by the better connection I am getting with the new AT&T device that I decided to upload pix to my laptop and post to my blog with updates to my sketching and watercolor. The card reader wouldn't read the card from my point and shoot camera (I usually just load it right into my desktop computer bypassing the card reader), so I retook the pix using my SLR camera whose pictures are always read by the card reader - no luck this morning.

So, I am able to read the blogs to which I subscribe and have even been able to leave a few comments, but I still have no way to load pictures. I will keep trying and will try to keep doing art.

This week is extremely busy getting ready for Thanksgiving. We are expecting between 12 and 15 people for dinner. I may have Miss M and Miss P all day Wednesday and overnight on Thursday and perhaps overnight on Friday as well. Their Mom, who works at Toys 'R Us is scheduled for 8 AM to 10 PM on Friday.

I have been reading dozens of good books and trying to stay upbeat in the face of technological failures seemingly on all sides. The hubster is getting better and has given up the crutches. He is still going to physical therapy and is making strides.

I hope you are having fun planning for the holidays and that you will have loved ones around and will keep the stress to the minimum.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Still No Desktop Computer and The Funk Deepens

I called the people who have my computer only to be told that hard drives are not being shipped right now. One reason he gave is that there is a very high demand for them right now; the second reason for the delay according to him is that Thailand is experiencing severe flooding right now and 90% of all hard drives come from there.

I am in a funk. The good news is that I've read 4 books in the past two days. The bad news is that my new hotspot (read cold spot) is so extremely slow that I cannot upload pix to my blog site and I only have a few things to share. The funk continues.

I am hoping to get things into better shape soon. Is there anyone out there who can tell me why if the wifi hotspot device is reading 4 bars and I get an RSSI of -47 and a Transmit rate of 73 that I can't get any speeds on my computer faster than about 6 kB per second. What am I missing here?

I am busy with the hubster and the girls and am the hostess for about 14 family members for Thanksgiving so hopefully will not have much time for sulking. It is not in my nature to be pouty and unhappy, but circumstances are trying to push me in that direction.

I am going to go try to get happier and hope sincerely that you are having a great weekend and that your internet is working and you have time to do some art.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kernel Panic

My computer has suffered a kernel panic and is now in the shop in Lansing awaiting a hard drive transplant. When I called Apple support, they determined that the serial number of my computer was one of the ones that is eligible for a free hard drive replacement. Apparently, some of the Seagate hard drives being used in Macs were defective. I didn't have a back up and am now regretting it very much.

It will cost around $100 for the shop to recover my data. This is considerably less than the $2500 I was going to be charged many years ago by the "experts" when my LaCie back up drive died. Needless to say, I am shopping around for an exterior hard drive to serve as a back up.

I will continue to try to do art every day, but probably will not be sharing it here until I get my machine back, which is expected to be in 2 or 3 days.

I have Miss M overnight tomorrow night and the hubster has physical therapy today and Thursday. I have an eye doctor appointment on Friday and have Miss Z overnight Friday until Saturday afternoon. It would appear that I won't have much time to miss my computer in the time it will be gone, but I miss her terribly already. I suppose if I am going to talk about my computer like this and call it "her", I should give her a name. I'll have to think about that one.

While I am gone, I will try to stay current with the blogs to which I subscribe and may even be able to leave comments here and there. It looks like I won't be playing Snood, Solitaire, or Pinochle until my computer returns. I guess that just gives me more time for reading, crossword puzzles and art.

I hope you are having a lovely and productive day and that you are finding time for yourself.


Monday, November 14, 2011

This and That and More Progress on the WC WIP

It's been another busy weekend and is shaping up to be a busy week as well.

Miss M is coming this morning to spend time until I take her to preschool at noon and then at 3:30 I am picking up Miss P and we are going to spend some time together while her little sister, Miss M, goes to her ballet class. I think the two of us are going to the Potter Center so Miss P can see the art that is displayed there which includes my small one called "Reflection". Then we will stop somewhere for a bite to eat before I take her back home.

The hubster has therapy on Tuesday and Thursday this week and I have an appointment with my ophthalmologist on Friday. I am planning to get some glasses with bifocals - but this time the right lens will be clear glass so that my uncooperative eye won't be affected.  I am so looking forward to a life without searching for the cheaters so I can read.

I did a little sketch of Miss M holding her cat on Saturday, but it is hanging on her refrigerator and I don't have a photo of it. I do need to get back to sketching every day, but for some reason I've been in a funk and haven't been sketching at all.

I did more work on the watercolor farm scene and am still liking it. I still need to do the detail work, but so far I think it is coming along nicely. Here is what I have so far:

I performed a system update this weekend now that I won't be kicked offline for using too much bandwidth, but something obviously wasn't "digested" by my system very well because some of my programs are not performing as they used to. I guess I have some trouble shooting to do today.

I am hoping to do some sketching today and hope to have something to share tomorrow. I do have some house cleaning to do today, but I cleaned the bathrooms and did a bit of dusting yesterday so maybe just a bit of vacuuming will do for today.

I hope you will have a wonderful day and that you will make some time for yourself and your loved ones.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Internet Access

I am trying a Wireless Hot Spot device through AT&T and so far am pleased with the results. I am going to give it a weekend worth of browsing, uploading and downloading and see how it goes. If it continues to be as good as it is today, I will cancel on Monday.

I've had the grandgirls all week and haven't gotten anything else accomplished, but am planning to do lots of catching up on art.

I have a favorite photo to share with you from Christmas time in the UP from a few years ago.


 I want to acknowledge all the former and current servicemen and servicewomen on this Veterans' Day.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

EDinNov 8 and Watercolor WIP

I've had another incredibly busy day which began with a phone call to Hughes.Net again. This is the third day in 8 in which I was unable to get internet access. To say I am frustrated would be an understatement.

I took my daughter out to lunch and then did a bit of grocery shopping before taking her to pick up her two girls from school. I came home and made a wonderful chicken salad with avocado and hard cooked eggs for dinner and finished the book I was reading.

At this moment I am able to get online, but am not sure how long that will be true. So I will show you the sketch I attempted for this 8th day in November and then will show an update of the farm scene in progress.

This is a city scene with lots of buildings and a bridge over a river.

Watercolor WIP

Interestingly, blogger allowed me to upload the pencil sketch, but I had to use Flickr and copy HTML text to bring the watercolor wip into this post. Go figure.

Tomorrow I have Miss M in the morning and will take her to preschool around 12:30 at which time I will finish the grocery shopping that was cut short today because of having to be at school to pick up the girls.

After that I hope to come home and work a bit more on the farm scene. 

I hope you are finding time for your art and that your internet connection and blogger are treating you better than they are treating me.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Busy Weekend, Daily Sketching, and A New Watercolor WIP

I'm not sure where the time is going, but it is already a full week into November and I'm not sure I was done with September yet. At least the weather has been pretty nice so far and it isn't a typical bitterly cold November (yet). I suppose part of the reason that time is going by so quickly is that I've been so busy. We had the lovely Miss Z from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon and then had Miss P and Miss M early Sunday afternoon until I delivered them to their Mom's and into bed last night. I got home around 11 pm. So busy, but so fun.

While Miss M was here she did a bit of art for me and I thought I'd share it with you:

Miss M's Art
While I really like the cat with the yarn, I am totally in love with the "patchwork" dog and flower.

 On Saturday and Sunday I worked in my Every Day in November journal and here are the two sketches:

Niagara Falls


And finally I began a new watercolor using a picture from a lovely book by Terry Harrison (I love how he explains things) called, "Rustic Buildings and Barns in Watercolor". I am hoping to work on it a bit more today, but I have Miss M arriving around 8:30 this morning and I have her until I deliver her to preschool around 12:30.

Watercolor WIP

I am expecting my friend, Nancy, to come over for a visit this afternoon and am so looking forward to it. We haven't had the opportunity to get together for a long time and I am missing her.

The hubster continues to improve as far as exercising his right foot and ankle and has actually been outside a bit. This is not only good for his physical being, but is a great boost to his mental outlook as well. 
I am still having issues with blogger and trying to upload photos, so I spend a bit of time uploading my photos for the day to Flickr and then copy and paste the HTML code here. It works fine, but is an extra step hassle regardless.

I've just about drained my first mug of coffee and am ready for another. If I am to get anything done this morning, I'd best get moving.

I hope you have some plans for your Monday and that all is fine in your world.


Friday, November 4, 2011

EDinNov 3 and 4

I had serious problems with my internet connection yesterday and so was unable to post. In order to troubleshoot when I call tech support, I run a web response test. The desired response time is under 12 seconds and I am asked to run the test 5 times in a row and then average the results. On Monday when I spent a bit more than an hour on the phone with them, my speeds were in the twenties and thirties. The test records the number of seconds it takes to load very small images. Yesterday the test generated these results:

64.6 seconds
82.9 seconds
128.7 seconds
128.2 seconds
74.6 seconds

Needless to say, I was frustrated to the max and unable to get even the most simple pages to load in any reasonable amount of time, and I spent way too much time on the phone to tech support again. It appears that my connection is running in the 3 or 4 second range this morning. My concern is that it will not continue this way.

Yesterday was the hubster's first physical therapy appointment and it went well, but we were there for far too long. He is now able to put a bit of weight on his right leg and is much happier with the crutches with that bit of improvement. He did a series of 6 different exercises several times yesterday and was actual in a bit of pain be bedtime. He took a pain pill and had a good night.

Later in the afternoon I took him up to the mall and out for a burger and beer. We had a good day overall.

I just read a really good book by Ann Patchett called "State of Wonder" and am beginning another by Jeffrey Archer. I will let you know how that one goes.

I drew the little girls' cat as yesterday's EDinNov assignment so here is the November 3 sketch:


Today I did a little value study of a mountain lake scene:
Mountain Lake

It is quite cold out this morning. I have an appointment for a haircut later this morning and we have Zoë overnight tonight. I am hoping to have a wonderful day. I need to stop and get some fruit after my haircut and then need to do a bit of house cleaning (ugh!). It is imperative that I vacuum the living room before the baby arrives as she can find the smallest thing on the carpet and her mouth is her major sensory organ these days.
I can smell the coffee that I made on my way in here to post and I think I need a mug or two in order to properly get this day started.

I hope you are staying warm and are making time for yourself.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

EDinNov 2 and Sunset WIP

I've sketched a garden shed as my every day in November Day 2 work. I find I have to make myself find something to sketch to meet the requirements. I've decided that my November challenge will be separate from the other art I am working on. Here is the building:

Garden Shed

I've also added some darker color into the sunset work in progress. Here is what I have for now:

sunset wip

The water is looking greenish and that is not my intent at all and now the yellowish reflection needs to reflect the darker sky color. That will be my next step.
I have a couple of books ready to be picked up at the library and the hubster and I are working on a 750 piece panorama of Chicago puzzle. It's a toughie. For now it is time for the afternoon flavored coffee. 

I just finished a couple of miles of jogging on the treadmill so after coffee, it is into the shower and then to the library. The hubster finally has his first physical therapy session tomorrow so we should find out a lot more about his convalescence then.

Don't forget to make some time for yourself today.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Every Day Month and Sunset WIP

I have joined Leah and the November Every Day Month. For my first sketch, I used what I had to hand - my coffee cup on my desktop.

I've also been working on my Leelanau Sunset painting.

This is the second time I've written this post today. The first time it acted like it was adding photos, but when I published it, there was just a broken link indicator. I hate it when things don't work.

I ran into town today and took my "Reflections" painting to the Potter Center. The other paintings that were there looked WAY better than mine, but I stuck by my decision and turned my in. I am going to take Miss P to look at the display some time later this month. She said she'd love to go take a look.

On my way home, I stopped at the office supply store and bought 100 CD-Rs that were on sale and bought some large binder clips. I then went next door to Michael's and bought 4 bulldog clips along with 2 frames that were "BOGO". After that I stopped at my daughter's and hooked up her printer to her computer.

This afternoon I made some "monkey" muffins (banana oatmeal) and the hubster and I enjoyed a couple warm out of the oven with some flavored coffee. Yummy!!

I hope you are having a good day and that you are enjoying this beautiful weather. My thoughts and positive energy I am sending to those of you who are on the east coast in the dark. I hope you get your power back on real soon and that you are keeping warm and safe.

As a workaround to my uploading photos in blogger, I copied the location and chose from a URL instead of loading directly from my computer. I think this works.