Friday, June 27, 2008

A Day in LA

Back to the doctor at UCLA for Jennifer's throat. With the traffic on the freeways lighter than normal we made good time and arrived early. I had my little sketchbook in my purse but no pencil. I settled for a blue ball point pen in desperation. In the corner of the waiting rooms sits a endtable next to the many chairs. On this table is a giant nose made of marble with a bronze plaque proudly mounted on the top front with the artists information and probably the name of the piece, although I dare not walk over and look too closely at this giant nose. I assume they felt it to be appropriate decor for a top ears, nose and throat doctors waiting room. I suddenly started to wonder about the decor in maybe the proctologist office for example, the urinary doctors offices? This is how my mind began to wander as I sat in the office drawing a giant marble nose. LOL After we got some good news about Jennifer's breathing we felt like celebrating so we decided to go out to dinner and to a play at the Geffen Playhouse which happens to be just across the street from the hospital and the medical center. We sat in the courtyard and drank coffee as we waited for the playhouse doors to open. The courtyard is really lovely with wonderful plants and wrought iron tables and chairs surrounding a fountain. I sat and drew, with my blue ball point pen and happened to capture these masterpieces. LOL just kidding, the sketches lack many things but did give me a few minutes of relaxation as I became absorbed in the details of the buildings, both inside and out. We were one of the first to arrive and I always enjoy watching people and in L.A. there are such colorful people to watch! There were a lot of older people, many who seemed to be regulars and came in greeting everyone. There were those who were dressed to the nines and those who were underdressed. There were several gay couples sipping their wine as they walked around the room. It was great fun, just the energy in the room was exciting. I love when we take this long day and make it an adventure, I can't wait till we come again!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pool and painting, doesn't get much better than that!!

Today we were being baked alive as the sun heated us into the triple digits. Marta came over and we had lunch, swam and watched my grandkids. It was a much deserved lazy day as we drank sangria and thumbed through magazines. It was so nice to just visit and hang out with a friend. So much is going on in her life, I hope she will start to heal. The pool is staying at about 82 degrees now so its easier to get in and it still feels refreshing. Its funny how much work it is to just lay out by the pool. We have to make sure everything is shaved, pulled up, pulled in and we have to have a cute bathing suit and cover up. Waterproof makeup if you decide to wear it and a cute hat, sunscreen and a recent pedicure. Sunglasses, music, reading material and a towel all just to relax. LOL That calls for a nap! I think Marta headed home to do just that.

I did make myself pull out my much neglected paint brushes and paint and do the Wet Canvas WDE challenge. Here is the girls husband, Duane. He has a great smirk and I loved the picture. Maybe he was checking us out by the pool!! We did look pretty cute.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Oasis

We went up to visit my mom and hook up her electricity. I hadn't been to "the valley" as it is called for over 4 years. I won't bore you with the reasons, none seem good enough to have stayed away so long. Both my mother and my youngest brother live there. My brother bought a piece of property and created a home and successful business. My mom followed and helped him while she searched for a place of her own. She found a 5 acre parcel that overlooks the valley almost to the ocean. This is where she began building her dream.

My mother is talented in more ways than anyone I have ever known. You might think that I say this only because she is my mother. I am not alone, in fact, most people she meets feel this way about her. She is generous to a fault, and works harder than most people a 1/4 of her age. She never complains and her soul is fed through the satisfaction of her labor. One of the great loves in her life is gardening, flowers, roses, and design. She has worked most of her life in design. Making things beautiful is her greatest gift. She can turn the ugliest things into coveted treasures. She has a Midas touch and all of us consider ourselves golden to have her in our lives.

Our trip would take 12 hours, and the closer we got the more excited we all became. We drove through the central part of California, agricultural land, without much to look at. But as we start getting closer to her neck of the woods the hills start to green, the fauna and flora become richer and denser. The last 45 minutes consist of windy roads covered in oaks and bay laurel trees. The shadows lap over the road to create dark, mottled tunnels and then open up into sun drenched asphalt again. Our eyes struggle to adjust as we make our way around each turn. At dusk we have the added worry of darting deer which have been known to aim for passing cars. Their homes are in between Booneville and Philo. Both are small towns where if you blink you have missed most of it. We slow down as we make our way through the heart of Booneville passing, the senior center, elder center, fairground, general store, hotel, cafe, ice cream parlor, nursery then we can increase our speed as we pass miles of vineyards on each side of the road. Mountains surround us as we make our way through the valley that is being consumed by grapes. I recognize the white picket fence that is the vineyard next to my moms and brothers place. The sun is almost gone yet as we drive in there is just enough light left to see the explosion of color that awaits. It is like visiting a botanical garden, a retreat in all aspects of the word.

No matter how busy my mom is she always is the supreme hostess. The house is spotlessly clean, a fire is roaring in the fireplace and there is music playing. Each of our rooms has been lovingly prepared for us, clean sheets, warm feather down comforters and fresh flowers fill every room. Dinner is still hot and waiting for us even though it is 9:00pm. We can't wait to get out and get our hugs then to explore, see all the changes that have taken place since we were last there. The house is always warm and comfortable with her there. I love just having coffee with her in the mornings or ice cream at night. She loves to feed us well too, we all gain weight when we visit. No wonder I found that I was so tired the whole time I was there, my mom said I was just relaxed! I knew that I had been drugged with the food, wine, summer breeze and a mothers warmth.

The yard was full of flowers and gravel paths that both Jennifer and I spend many mornings exploring with mom. I often was so overwhelmed with things I should paint that I couldn't paint at all. Everywhere I turned there was something else that needed to be painted, an artists dream. I took almost two hundred pictures since they have decided to sell these dream parcels. The truth about living out a dream is it is often better in the dream than in the reality. Although the area is really beautiful it rains much of the year and country living is hard work. Running out of water, losing power, no emergency services, no shopping, no close neighbors makes it hard. My mom is tired and suffers from arthritis so she now wishes to live closer to her doctors and have less to care for. She told me this visit that no matter how hard she tries nature keeps taking back the land. Its so true, we struggle even in the city to keep out the weeds and there is a constant reminder that it is not really ours for long. If anyone was wondering where Randy is during all of this, well, we did have our walks but he worked much of the time. Doing moms electrical for her cottage. He told me to enjoy my time with her and I did! Here are some of my sketches while I was visiting in my moms Shangri-La, I will post the real photos on flickr for anyone interested. Such a wonderful week with my mom and family.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A New Toy!!

I got a new case of pastel pencils so I can do some details that large pieces of chalk won't allow. I was dying to play with them and was looking for something small to sketch when I saw it! Jenn's pill holder. Since her accident she takes a ton of medication, its really sad. When I first brought her home from the hospital my goal was to try and reduce the amount of meds from her system. It seems as though when your in a hospital environment they give you a pill for everything. It took me months to weed through what was necessary and what was not until we arrived at a much reduced number of meds. I also wanted her to be aware of what she was taking and not allow people just to give her meds without her consent and knowledge. I know I can't be there to watch over her forever. While she was still very blind we spent lots of time feeling meds, tasting meds and letting her put her own meds together, with me closely watching. Over the years her vision has gotten better to where she can actually see colors and it helps her sort through her meds. We got these small containers, like the ones they serve condiments in at restaurants for her hold her meds in by her bedside. I know, lots of unnecessary information about this silly sketch. But Jenn now adds vitamins into these little cups and the other day I was talking to her about all the pills she had now added to her daily medications. It was a sea of color, these pill manufacturers are making pills in all colors. This was my sketch for my new pastel pencils, it was fun and challenging due to all the ovals, circles and angles.
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