Glass Half Full


I’d vowed to myself that whatever the set up was last week, I’d take the easy way out and just paint the produce.  There was little opportunity to cop out, however.

Scotch and roses!  (Well, actually apple juice as a stand in for the scotch.)  I probably should have stuck with the whiskey glass, but I gave the white roses a try.  Interesting challenge.

This was the last workshop I’ll attend at least until after the holidays. Things are usually busy around the holiday’s and this year’s especially complicated. I’m pulling back from a few committments in order to give better attention to the things I am doing.  I’m taking an unexpected trip to Indiana for the memorial and Thanksgiving.

I hope to make time to paint on my own soon. The persimmons are flirting with me, I swear to you!




Brotherly Love


 My brother, John, rocking an O’Doul’s at the Wolf Lake High gathering, June 2013.

I can’t believe I’m doing this again. Writing about another brother gone. It’s almost a week since my big brother, John, passed away, but I’m dating this post the day he died of cardiac arrest after surgery.

Brotherly love

“Sal (14) & John (25) Oct-Nov 1975.”

My protector. I didn’t know until a couple of years ago that when Hydra and I first got together, John wrote Hydra a letter explaining that I was someone’s beloved little sister who should be treated with respect.

We were so close for a long time. When he came back from Vietnam I was ten or eleven. He took me to movies and picked me up after basketball games, and talked to me a lot on the drives. He never told me anything scary. I don’t really remember what we talked about, but it was good for both of us.

John helped me develop my taste in movies. He took me to some great films he thought I should see, and to just fun stuff too. Before he went back to Indiana this fall, we saw Live. Die, Repeat  (formerly known as The Edge of Tomorrow) together. Probably the last movie he saw in a theater. We loved it.


Can you hear that laugh?  I can! At the Wolf Lake High School gathering in 2013. So good to connect with old friends.

He loved nature. He had an artistic eye, which showed in his photography, artwork, and his home in Texas. He was difficult sometimes, but aren’t we all?


On our way to karaoke in Pierceton, IN, June 2013.  That was a very good visit. John recited part of The Cremation of Sam McGee.

We talked on the phone at least every week for the past couple of years, if not every day or two. The phone rings around that time of night, and you know what Hydra and I are thinking.

Family 1987This is who we were in 1987, right before Hydra and I got married. Brian, Joan, Sally, John, Peg and Herb under the maple tree in the front yard.

A Rose By Any Other Name – Roasted Celery



Okay, really the only rosey thing about this post is the shot of the base of the celery that I took after cutting off all the stalks.

Today I tried roasted celery for the first time.  I heard about it on KCRW’s Good Food podcast  and thought I’d give it a whirl. I went online and found vastly different recipes, as I’ve come to expect.



I decided to blanch (cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes) half of the celery and to just toss the other half into the oven as is. At 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. And then I put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes at the end for more carmelization.

I didn’t toss them in oil the way so many recipes suggest, but I did give the aluminum foil on my roasting sheet a little spritz of olive oil.



I have to admit that the blanched celery was more satisfying. The non-blanched was chewier and not quite as tender. Either way, the stalks needed to be cut up with a knife because the strings didn’t tender up much.

The flavor was slightly nutty and sweet, as one expects with roasted veggies. Though the stalks might make a nice looking side dish, next time I make a batch of mixed roasted veggies I’ll probably just add this to the mix.

The best way to fight the sadness at seeing summer produce fade away is to roast everything!


Turnips : Full Disclosure



It has taken me a while to post this painting of turnips and a bowl from last week’s class. I was not feeling it, and I don’t like this one. I mean, the only thing I do like about it are the parts that SD helped me with, really.

It was a bowl and turnips on some wonderfully textured burlap-ish fabric. Honestly, it was overwhelming. I felt defeated right from the start.

It might have been partly my state of mind–busy work day, but then I’ve been refreshed by the class in the past– but it might also have been overload. I mean, the papaya, glass and limes were a bit too much to do in three hours last week, and this was just mind boggling for little old me.

The other person in the class is much more advanced than I am and I think it’s good to set up things that challenge her, but next time I see something like this, I think I’m gonna drop back and kick some turnip butt rather than try to do all of it.  I was working on a stripe that went through the fabric, but I had to just blend it all out, and didn’t have time to get any subtlty into the whole painting.

Live and learn…one’s limits, sometimes!

Return To Me



I haven’t been up on the fire road around our neighborhood since some time in April or May, because of issues with my joints. I had several good days this week and decided to give it a try. There were clouds out there calling to me!

I feel a bit like I’m returning to myself after a focusing on health issues for a while.


See?  Really me!  Hydra was hiking the peaks at the same time.



Coming down off of the trail.


DSC_6817Cuttings from the woefully overgrown mini-rose!

Yesterday I did the first real yard work since spring. You can imagine how that went! I reclaimed about two feet of driveway from encroaching shrubs.  Two hours out there, and no hell to pay. Very happy about that this morning.

Also very happy that Hydra came out and helped me clean up the cuttings, etc., which is never my favorite part.

So anyway, that’s the follow up to my earlier post about the knee surgery, which some of you have expressed curiousity about.




Hello From Earth



Fooling around with the gazing globes in front of a neighbor’s house during one of my morning walks.



The full moon setting.



I’ve noticed lately, from photos that friends post online, that the sunsets are much redder than ours. We usually have pastels in the morning and evening. Peach skies and purple mountains on dry evenings. Amazing mixes of blues and purples in wetter weather.



I would really like to find one of these at a yard sale!


Passing Time in Pasadena


Is anything better than a cool beverage on a warm afternoon in the company of intelligent friends?DSC_6736Health and scheduling issues kept me from my writing group since May!  I’ve missed it. This time we met on Antipasta’s lovely back deck.  The planter beds are all constructed by her talented wife, out of reclaimed concrete.


This one’s for Kitty!  We were talking on the phone while I waited for meeting time to roll around, and this was the view in front of Antipasta’s house.  I told you it was hilly.

Pasadena’s great.  After the meeting I went to Blick’s for some art supplies.

I wasn’t sure how to get from one place to the other, so I spoke into my phone, “Blick’s Art Supplies,” about three times, to no avail (even though it had worked in the past.)

Finally, I gave up and said, “Dammit!”

Google Girl says, “Dammit!  American curse word.”