Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Taking things easy

Above photos, December 15. Leaving Boise, Arriving Austin.

The past month has been pretty much of a blur. I was able to go on my planned trip to Idaho and spent two weeks there. Doctor had told me to get a lot of rest, and that is pretty much what I did.  Spent time with my Mother and other family members. Spent a great deal of time just sitting by the fireplace drinking hot beverages and relaxing.  Hubby did most of the cooking plus took very good care of me.  It is really hard for me to sit back and let anyone do things for me. It always has been, which is part of my persona, but things need to change.  After the heart attack and all the meds I am on, I do feel really tired most of the time.  So I guess I am getting pretty good at this resting thing, simply because I have no choice.  And when I do have a choice, things are going to have to be a lot different from now on.

I've been back home almost a little over a week, and have had several doctor follow-ups. I'm back at aqua yoga, and I have had to modify quite a bit and it still tires me out.  I've been told it's expected so I am going with the flow and taking things one day at a time.  If I sound blue, it's probably because I am, but I think it will pass as I feel better.

Fortunately hubby and I don't get too carried away for Christmas anyhow. This year will be even less than usual and it is just fine. I have these 3 little lighted ornaments in the bookshelf in the family room and that is it for décor.  Oh except for wrapping a string of wire lights around one of my succulents on the hall table.  Ha.  We have lots of candles, they are battery operated and come on when it gets dark and go off 6 hours later.  So there is no need to get stressed about Christmas, because it will come and go without us.  I have been to no retail establishments since coming home except World Market and Target and they were very quick visits.  These little lanterns are from World Market and are new this year.

Little brown succulent in glass terrarium

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Not my best look, but I feel fine now

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.  A very laid back day for me and the hubster today.  Last Saturday while out visiting the East Austin Art Studio tours, I suffered a minor heart attack.  Spent two nights in the hospital and got out Monday evening. Needless to say, it was not a lot of fun, and I am very glad to be back at home. This was a total shock to me, as I have been doing all the right things for my health.  Lost weight, exercising, etc.  But there were a few things I was neglecting. Some of the medications I was taking were raising my blood pressure, and I was not monitoring it so didn't know.  I was also not practicing my zen techniques for not getting myself wound up too tightly.  Ha Ha

I saw the cardiologist yesterday and was reassured that I am going to be fine, if I take meds and calm down. When asked if it was safe for me to take a flight out of town soon, he said...Only if you fly first class!  I like my Doctor! It's back to aqua yoga tomorrow at the Y.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Even though I know...

It's crap made in China, and most probably contains lead, maybe other toxins... and all the other ramifications of buying stuff made in China... Sometimes, not often,  the "prettiness" of something outweighs my social conscience. Such was the case today at Targets One Spot. Well, what USED to be Targets One Spot.  Mostly now, the stuff that catches my eye is $3. instead of $1.  They mix the two together so that sometimes you think it's a buck until you get to the check-out.  A young lady was telling me that as we both were picking out candles.

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand.  I read about these on a favorite blog called Target Addict. They looked really pretty but I wasn't interested in spending $3.00 on candles I don't need and may not want to burn, because of the above mentioned issues. Darn, they were pretty in person too.  Faux mercury glass. As I was sniffing the scents, Pumpkin Butter, Fall Day, Autumn Air, Cypress Cedar, another lady noticed and asked me about them.  She then decided she might need 10 of them for tables at an upcoming fall wedding! Good thing I had already picked my 4 and had them in my cart.  She wanted them to all be the same scent, but I convinced her that it might be nice to have them different, since all the glasses were so pretty.  Anyhow, with my 4 and her 10, we cleaned them out. She thought she might go to another Target and get even more.  Part of the appeal to me is just the cute little glasses, which if one does burn the candles, could be used for mini vases later.

Monday, September 7, 2015

It may not be ART, but it sure is fun!

The crazy new phenomenon of Adult Coloring books is so funny and interesting. I did not know it existed until a few weeks ago, when I walked into Barnes & Noble for the first time in a very long time.  They were everywhere, and everyone was talking about them. I couldn't believe it.  How did this happen without me knowing about it?  It seems to have taken over the world.  There have been several magazine and newspaper articles mentioning it, as the new way of relaxing and getting relief from the technical world. Very good therapy, they all say.  I think I have to agree.

Since then I have ordered a few on, bought a few here and there, dug out all my markers and pencils, and started having a great time with it. Yes, I admit, I have even bought a few more sets of pencils and markers, and am eyeing even more books.

Yesterday a friend took me out for a belated birthday breakfast, and then we went to Barnes & Noble and got all inspired once again.  We came home and spent several hours coloring.  The time flew by, and we had a very relaxing afternoon.  My kitchen table was loaded down with supplies.
I have only bought 5 books so far, and these 3 seem to be my favorites. I like the Posh brand ones as they are about the size of composition books. For some reason, I like that size.  I have started several pages in both of the Posh books.
A page I finished yesterday. I used markers, Prismacolor pencils, Gel pens in both glaze and soufflé style. The gel pens get a raised embossed look, even though it does not show up on a photo.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What I've been doing

The end of July I went through two weeks of carpenters and painters hanging around the house.  Doing a job that was supposed to take 4 days.  In the end, they did a very good job, but the head contractor really underestimated their time.  There were days that they showed up at 8, days that only 2 showed up because someone worked so hard the day before he was sick.  Other days he couldn't locate his crew in the a.m. so they didn't come till mid-day.  It was very trying.  Yikes, I hate having anything done to the house.

Anyhow, the job got finished just in time for us to leave for Idaho again.  Three weeks there were wonderful, hanging out with family and friends.  While there we had our outside decks painted.  It took 3 days, including the prep work.  The guys showed up at 7 a.m. every morning, which was really nice. They did a wonderful job of removing any traces of the old redwood stain, and transforming my decks to a beautiful grey. The first step in getting rid of beiges, browns and reds.  Next spring we will have them paint the house a nice grey/green with black trim. The interior is already taking on the blue/green/grey theme a bit at a time.  There is still a lot of beige I am going to keep for the time being, such as the carpets. I am choosing color tones that go with it. I thought I might have to get rid of all the beige, if going to grey. But I am seeing a lot of beige/grey together and it looks fine.  I have some rugs that have grey/black and beige in them. I don't want to, nor have the energy to do it all at once. Just a step at a time.

We arrived in Idaho in the midst of another heat wave, and after a few days, and some dry lightning storms, the entire state was burning up with wildfires.  The smoke curtailed a lot of our outdoor activities, but we still had a good time.  Hubby worked in the yard regardless, but I could not have the windows open because the smoke was so strong it made me ill.  The smoke makes for some beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but is terrible on everyone's health.

I had limited internet connection while there.  I could read blogs, but somehow Google decided to mess with me and I could not sign into my own blog, and also could not comment on anyone elses with out being signed in to Google. Very frustrating, so now I am catching up on reading blogs now that I am back home.

I got a wild hare that I must do something arty while there, besides color in my new coloring books, which is just for fun and relaxation.  And another subject entirely!  I have a lot of art supplies there at the house, but I always want to do something different than what I have the supplies for. So off to Michaels and Aaron Bros I went and got some spray paint.  I am always so impatient, so I didn't even change clothes to get started. In this photo you will see that I grabbed a plastic bag to put over my shoes, just in case. The plant material is goldenrod. First I tried pounding some, but it was way too dry.

Below, partly finished, work in progress, using 3 colors, the paper is watercolor paper. A good start, who knows what I will try next. Maybe some shadow sketching of the plants.  Might cut some up for collage backgrounds.  Anyhow, it made me feel good to mess about a little bit.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Who buys rubber rain boots in July? In Texas!

It's way too hot to wear them, much less shop for them.  I had tried to get these boots last fall and they were all sold out in my size and never seemed to get them back in.  Well, last week during Targets BOGO sale, I hadn't given any thought of buying a thing, because I didn't need anything.  Then I remembered those boots and went online to see if they had them. Lo and Behold they did and a few mouse clicks later, they were on their way. And 3 short days later they were on my doorstep.  Not only did I get one pair half off, I got an extra 10% plus my 5% Target red card discount.  Even though the boots had gone up $5. a pair since last fall, that little discount made up for it.  Sure could have used these when we had our torrential downpour and flooding earlier.  But now I will have them for next time.

I already have a pair of plain black "mudders" up at my other house.  Now all I need to find is that pair I saw once, in cowgirl style with the Skulls and Roses, and my rubber rain boot wardrobe should be complete.  You are probably thinking, why on earth would anyone need more than one pair of rain boots...and you are right.  But, because apparently, I can't ever have just ONE of anything, that's why!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

and then June slipped away into the abyss

As all days run together, I managed to while away the hours of the entire month of June. As I've mentioned, every year about this time, I get the blahs. It begins with the heat creeping in and the A/C having to run 24/7.  The non-stop rain and flooding was added to it this year.  Although the rain doesn't bother me, and would not have, if it hadn't been for such serious floods we had around here. The ground has become so saturated that now if we get a storm pass over, there is standing water in a matter of minutes. The above photo was taken on one of the days before another storm hit.

 My personal schedule has been yoga on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Most days I came home and collapsed into a 2 hour nap. Tuesdays and Thursdays were taken up with Physical therapy exercises and at least one Dr. appt. every week. Some days my knees feel almost normal, other days I am hobbling around like an old granny.  I did tell the Dr. I saw yesterday, that I now have a full time job, just taking care of myself!

Its a very mundane life around here. I have longed to do some artwork, but just haven't had the energy to even clean off my messy work table.  I walk into the room, have a look about, then turn around and leave.  Even hubby has suggested that I might not feel so gloomy if I'd create something. Wow, could he be right?  I suppose/know so. I guess I feel if I don't have any artwork to share, I have nothing to write about.

One really positive thing that we have been doing for a few months, is juicing.  Here's the usual morning juice.  Kale, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, and 2 small apples. It's my job to get the veggies prepped, then from the time Hubby takes over, running them thru the juicer and cleaning the juicer, the time is less than 10 minutes. Hubby really turned his nose up at the idea of kale..but with the other ingredients, you can't even identify a kale taste, so it's worked out well.  As long as we don't run out of apples. 
Now that we are into July, I am going to try to get with the program and get some creative stuff done.  Hubby will be traveling a lot this month, so I will have a lot of alone time. That means I can spread art supplies out all over the place and not have to pick them up in time for dinner.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Busy April and May

Hubby and I spent 3 weeks in Idaho.  While there we relaxed, visited with family, went to a couple of concerts, an art fair, spent Mother's Day with my Mom. Hubby got to play some golf, and we spent as much time as we could just enjoying our house and garden. Lots of spring flowers were coming into bloom.  I did not have reliable internet there so spent very little time on the computer. Actually it felt quite nice to be away from the computer for awhile.  It rained one day the entire time we were there.

Back yard

metal cranes by pond




orange tulip
Tulips and hyacinth
First peonies-for Mom

Walk by the Boise river

Geese crossing, an every day occurrence

Friday, March 27, 2015

Some days it's amusing, some days annoying

Something I've never written about here on this blog, is the challenge of growing up as a girl named Barbara Anne. All through school, in a very small town, there was another Barbara Ann in my class. We started first grade together and graduated together.  Keep in mind this was a class of 20 kids.  I was in high school when those doggone Beach Boys put out that song.  It should have been flattering, but from then on, every room I ever walked into, people would break out with BaBaBaBaBabra Ann.  Yikes. Oh, just as an aside, my best friend was named Peggy Sue...remember her?

Through out the years I have gotten used to almost every place I went there was another Barbara. It hadn't happened for awhile, but recently... Well, when I went for my bone density scan the gal who did it was named Barbara.  We laughed about it.   Then a few weeks ago, at my Orthpedic Dr. I walked in for my appointment about the same time as another lady did.  There are only two of us in the waiting room.  As I sat down, the door opened and the office gal called out Barbara.  I thought, wow that was quick.  Usually I have to wait an hour! Well, the other lady got up and went in.  Later the nurse said "did you see what happened" which I replied, "it always does."   So day before yesterday I went in for the last appointment for my root canal. I am the only one in the office, another lady comes in and sits down.  Ellie, the receptionist calls out "Miss Barbara"...and we both look up.  Yesterday, I went in for my eye exam, to the place I have gone for 15 years.  They have a new receptionist.  Bet you can guess what her name is.  When it happens twice in 2 days..YIKES.

At least, so far, in my aqua yoga class I am the only Barbara out of 12 ladies. But it's just a matter of time, you know it is.

Here is Barbara Anne Conner, circa 1956, 7th Grade.  I am only showing this one because of the cats eye glasses.  I saw 2 pair yesterday at the opticians office that were remarkably like these.  NO...I did not order them.  I did however order a geeky looking tortoise shell pair.  I may or may not show you those when I get them.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

All roads lead to Austin

It's that time of year again, when craziness descends upon our town.  It's called South by Southwest (SXSW). It opened yesterday and lasts till the 22nd.   Thousands of people from across the globe come here for this festival. Some of the entertainment are big name bands, others are new young bands hoping to be discovered.  Most of the streets downtown are closed off to through traffic. Traffic in general becomes even more of a nightmare than it is on any normal day. Many of the locals have come to really dislike this event. Reason: it has gotten so large it is almost out of control.  The preview magazine alone is 59 pages!  For this entire time, the city is immersed in SXSW.  If you have business downtown, forget it, you won't be able to find a parking place or even get to where you need to go. We try to get anything we need from downtown in the 2 weeks prior to this event. I pity the folks who came here on vacation, not knowing about this.  If they want to go see the Capitol, it will be a real challenge to get there.

Now, hubby and I love live music, and the first 10, even 15 years we lived here, we attended every festival and event that was held here. Not so much any more. It is just too congested.  And we don't have the energy for it, darn it. We will go downtown on the train and attend a few events that are held at the convention center and some of the small venues.  But no big concerts for us, nosiree. Some things are streamed online, so I may catch a few acts that way. This event brings a lot of entertainment into the city, and a HUGE amount of $$$, but more and more it brings a lot of complaints, and a lot of changes.  In years past, people who did not want to be here during the event, would rent their houses out. Also, people would rent out a room or two in their houses.  Well, no more of that, once the city got wind of it. Seems they were competing with the hotel industry too much. As if it even made a dent...just my opinion. You know those hotels who raise the $250. a night rate to $750. a night and more.  Now folks need a permit and have to pay taxes on the money they make.  One way around that now, is people who wish to leave the city are doing a house swap with someone who wants to come to the festival.  Hubby has a friend who has a condo right downtown.  He is swapping for 2 weeks with someone in San Francisco.

Add to this congestion, the Austin Rodeo starts tonight, and the expo center where it is held is just down the road and across the freeway from where we live. So more congestion, traffic wise.  The lineup for music is Willie Nelson tonight, Dwight Yoakam tomorrow night, and so on and so on, up through the 28th. Even The Beach Boys are playing one night.   We love living in Austin, but sure do wish progress hadn't progressed quite so quickly around us.  We are happy that the racetrack is on our side of town though, because that is something we go to.  Hubby has Moto GP, motorcycle racing coming up April 11 through 13.  He is going to it, not racing in.

Well, that is just a snippet of what goes on around here in my little city. As much as I gripe about the congestion, I really do love having so many choices in entertainment. Even if I don't have the physical stamina to go to much of it anymore.

Monday, March 2, 2015

We had a frosty week-end

The news said that Friday night and Saturday morning there were over 200 auto accidents in Austin. This is the natural occurrence whenever we have icy weather. Everyone makes fun of "Texans on ice."

I would have been happy to stay in but we had tickets to the Austin Symphony, so we trekked out over the icy overpass and slid around with the other Austinites, to get downtown. It was 34 when we left home.  It was blowing sleet as we drove.  But we made it there and all was good. After we crossed the rotunda and climbed the icy stairs to the hall that is.  The people sitting next to us came in late, and during intermission she explained that they had spun out on one of the high overpasses and she was still a little shaken.

The show was called Fantasy in February, music from your favorite fantasy films.  They did music from Harry Potter, Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia, Fantasia, and several more. Quite a few people were dressed in costume, so it was funny to see so many Harry Potters and Gandolfs and hobbits and such. There were a lot of costumes I had no idea who they were or from what movie. After the orchestra was seated, the conductor paid a tribute to Leonard Nimoy who had passed that day. At the end of the show as everyone was leaving they flashed this photo across the screen.

After the show it was still very cold, but a lot of people walked out to admire the Austin skyline, which seems to stretch out more every month, with another high-rise of lofts and retail.

The next show we have tickets for is "The Mighty Russians" all Russian composers.  I sure hope it will be a warmer evening.

Sunday it was just as cold and windy with icy rain. We stayed in and watched golf and ate soup and drank a lot of coffee and chai.  Last night we binge watched the last 3 episodes of Downton Abbey. Now we have to wait till January 2016 for the next season. Drats! But the new season of House of Cards has just been released on Netflix so that is some comfort.  I don't even know what else is on, as we don't watch a lot of things.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

She who works well under pressure

Well, I finally did a wee bit of artsy stuff and boy did it feel good! I've been running in circles for the past two months, and had not taken any time for making art. I did not even start a new journal this year, even though I had gotten supplies out and they have sat on my worktable all this time.

I've known all week that today would be my last day at physical therapy, and I thought it would be nice to take a little something to my therapist. But did I do anything about it, nope...  It kept percolating in my brain, even though I didn't know quite what I would do.  I knew it had to be something quick and simple. Finally last night about 7 p.m. I started running around like Chicken Little for awhile and almost gave up. But then  I grabbed a box of already in progress Artist Trading cards, but couldn't find a glue stick or an ink pad that was not dried up.  Yikes...I need to purge some supplies and reorganize what's left.  Anyhow, here's what I ended up with. Nothing to write home about, but it sure was nice to do something. Now that I am home, I need to clean up the mess I made while throwing things around.  The bottom line is, now I am jazzed about making stuff and am going to continue to finish some ATCs and maybe even start working on that journal. Sometimes all you need to do is say the heck with chores and things that have to be done and just MAKE TIME to create.  I know all this, why do I keep forgetting it?
The middle one is for Scott, my therapist.  Left and right are for Melissa the office gal, and Mariah the assistant, who loves owls.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

100 Years Ago

Today would have been my Dad's 100th birthday. He was born in Nebraska and was a farm boy until he came to Idaho.  Before he was my Daddy he was a Cowboy and remained so for the rest of his life.  The photo on his funeral card is one I took 19 days before he died.  He looked good for 99. The smaller photo, on the horse named Ranger, was taken in 1936. I used it for the covers of the cds we made for the family, of some of his favorite songs.
 R.I.P. Daddy, I miss you every day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How I let January slip through my fingers

January came and went and flew by in the blink of an eye.  I have spent the entire month going to Dr. appointments and to physical therapy 2 and 3 times a week.  The therapy seems to be helping, but it is very intense and wears me out, so I don't get much else done, except the exercises I need to do at home on the off days.

No artwork, nothing creative of any kind.  I feel like I am just keeping my head above water. I am hopeful that one of these days I will be able to get something creative done. Oh, here is one photo I took with my phone and did a cartoon effect on.  We have been eating a lot of clementines and mandarins this winter. They are sweet and juicy and easy to peel.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Pecan pie appetizer before breakfast, with happy news that Downton Abbey starts the new season on January 4th.

Our team won the Fiesta Bowl last night, and we are getting ready to watch the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game later.

It's 34 and "sleeting" here in Austin, Texas right now. A good day for staying inside.