Friday, January 29, 2021

Winter Inside

Hello!  It's with a mixture of envy and joy that I read posts from my blog friends in the south and other parts of the world where the temperatures are well above freezing and gardens are in bloom -- or at least a lot closer to that glorious state than they are here!

Between winter and the Covid situation, I'm venturing out rarely. That's not all that different from a lot of winters, but at least in the past, an excursion to Home Goods or lunch out with a friend could break up those long days. It's a long haul, but we're getting by!

Rick and his brothers are working hard to get things well set up for their mom. When he's not doing that (or work -- he still works), he's trying to get in as much cross country skiing as he can. So my kitchen display is dedicated to him!

These figures are all ones my mom had in her collection. I really love their cheerful faces! They have such personality!

They are a collection of skiers, climbers and even a golfer. They make me smile.

I've been in the kitchen a lot lately. The other day I went on a quick-bread making jag and turned out four loaves of pumpkin and apple bread. Madeleines are on the cooking agenda today. 

Because at times like this, we need something sweet!


Winter is a good time for tea and these cute British icon tea tins are another thing that makes me smile.

So does this cute fellow...

...and the little friends by one of my favorite winter trays (bad lighting, but hey, that's life. I'm not Annie Leibovitz.)

The snowfolk have taken to appearing in other spots around the house, too. I love changing up the cabinet with the seasons.

Although it would probably be smart to take the Christmas plates down! Still, I really love them! And besides, who sees them but me?!

My stress test results were pretty good so for now and till Rick and I are fully vaccinated, we're using meds to deal with the a-fib. So far, no side effects and I'm hoping we can take care of it with just the meds indefinitely. From my point of view, this was the best possible outcome. Meanwhile, I've been painting a little and doing some Valentine decorating (more on that to come). And, during the Bernie-meme craze, I had my own fun adding Bernie to photos.

This one says it all.

Keep cozy, people. And keep wearing your masks.

Sharing with:    Pink Saturday      /     Love Your Creativity     /     Tuesday Turn About     /      Share Your Style       /       Let's Keep in Touch

Monday, January 25, 2021

Life In Our World

A spot of winter decor, some backyard bird watching, time at the doc's and just getting through winter. That's about it in our world of late.

Lizzie has found a new sleep spot. I moved the "Happy Tree"to a short table and Lizzie decided she needed to make it one of her new spots. I can't tell you how much looking at this little tree cheers me up on cold, dark, gray days.

When not sleeping, she and I have been doing some backyard bird watching. The cardinals are too fast for me, but some of our friends at Lizzie's Bar and Grill hang out in the trees between snatching some seed.

These purple finches never hang out at the finch feeder. I might replace it and just mix their seed in with the other!

And of course the chickadee is one of my very favorites!

I've spent way more time at the hospital and doc's office than I'd like -- they had to redo the scans for my stress test multiple times. By the time I left after the second day there, I felt like the techs were my new best friends.

Rick knew I was brain fried after all that -- so he made a wonderful coc au vin for dinner!

He's been spending a lot of time on the phone and the computer as he and his brothers walk through the continuing care situation for their mom. There are several plans, depending on her physical ability, on the table. We just hope that she can gain back as much of her mobility as possible so she has choice.

Meanwhile, we've been binge watching "Schitt's Creek," falling in love with "All Creatures Great and Small," and beating out contestants on "Wheel of Fortune." I'm thrilled that "Finding Your Roots" is back and a short new series about Agatha Christie on PBS is interesting. Rick's skiing, I'm reading ("A Woman of No Importance" and more by Donna Leon and Elly Griffiths. And I finally finished my Covid journal (or at least volume one...more on that soon enough.

Snowfolk are quietly taking over the house -- outside....

....and in. They're so darned jolly, I can't help but loving them all!

 And a spot of good news. After an abysmal start-up to distribution of Covid vaccine (honestly, fast-track a vaccine that is great, but don't assist with any plan for distribution? Sigh...) I got my first vaccine jab! Rick, on the other hand, is stuck in roll-out hell because this thing is so badly managed so he's still waiting.  I'll still be wearing these for a long while! (Yes, we used to dry our nylons on the shower bar.... that was then, this is now.

(And they keep your face warm in winter, too!)

Sharing with:    Saturday's Critters     

Thursday, January 21, 2021

One Giant Group Project

One of the things I do miss about working is the energy of the students who served as our interns and paid students. I was thinking about this, about the world we are leaving to the generations behind us and the words of one young woman, a student working in my department, came to mind.

One night, after a screening, I drove her back to her dorm, as it was late and pouring rain. We were talking school and projects, the frustration of group projects and then she said, "But then, life is one big group project." 

One big group project. True enough, isn't it?

We may do our world solo, appreciating the autonomy that comes with making our own decisions and operating on our own schedules. But sometimes we all need a little help -- whether it comes in the form of actual assistance or through the support of others who are on our side, urging us on to achieve our goals.

The group project concept crosses a number of areas. Take your creative soul, for example. I speak only for myself, but I find that when I can work and create as part of a group, I tend to discover new things more quickly, fall back less on old (and sometimes poor) habits and take chances I might not do on my own.

I love a class situation when a bunch of people who may or may not start out knowing one another end up encouraging and suggesting or asking for your constructive advice. There is something organic about how, during the course of creativity, conversation and ideas flow -- sometimes related to the project at hand, sometimes completely off topic -- but valuable.

It is almost as though by the very act of creating in company, something in the brain opens up to be receptive to all around us, whether it is the seasoned advice of an expert instructor or the casual comment of the person beside you -- "What if you moved that a little to the right?"

And while I have to say that while my creative work is my own, every piece, every photo, every word owes a debt to someone, someplace in time. Someone who encouraged, guided, taught, praised, questioned or listened.

The same holds true of just about everything in life. If you have a walking buddy, you might be more likely to get out and walk each day. If you're taking a class that's difficult, having a study partner can help clear some of the fog. I know I never would have come through my two semesters of statistics in grad school without my study group pal, Tom. The bonds forged through those cold winter days of trying desperately to get my brain around something so alien forged a lifelong friendship.

Group projects were a factor of my everyday life when I was still working. With every television show you watch, every event you attend, there are far more people at work than you can imagine -- far more than are "seen" by the general public. You see the television show. But it is the product of not only on-screen talent, but the director, audio and video crews, the graphics specialist, the writer, the editors and more. And the fact one knows about the program it at all may be related to what I did, with communication and promotion.

Rick is dealing with a giant group project right now. His partners in this will be his four brothers and no doubt me, their wives, his mom's medical team, his mom and her friends. All will need to work together, sharing tasks and ideas to determine how to handle the living situation after she is released from rehabilitation. This "project" will be taking place from five households thousands of miles away, as his four brothers are spread out over four states, none in which is where she lives. It will not be easy, not everyone will agree and there will probably be tears. But ultimately, everyone must come together for a common purpose -- the best care and situation for this dear woman whose life was turned upside down with one fall.

l look at our world and domestic situation and as usual, my mind goes to Covid. Can you think of any greater group project than that of developing a vaccine for a virus that has affected millions worldwide? And they pulled together, doing this in record time.

Now it is up to us to get our vaccinations, wear our masks, keep our distance and stop the spread. It's our giant group project and together we may not be able to make it disappear -- no miracles there -- but we may be able to get a handle on it so we can go out to dinner -- inside -- or hug each other and those little munchkins who are growing up so fast in front of our eyes. Or rather, on Zoom or Facetime. 

This is our collective group project -- probably one of many, including healing our country. What are some of yours?

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Art of Lord Robert Baden Powell

Two years ago this month, Rick and I were in Dallas for his mom's birthday. We took time to visit the National Scouting Museum, then located in Irving, Texas. One of the exhibits that fascinated me featured the art of Lord Robert Baden-Powell.


Powell served in the British Army but for others around the world he is best known as the founder of the world-wide Scouting movement, first the Boy Scouts and then with his sister Agnes, of the Girl Guide and Girl Scout movement. He also wrote the first editions of "Scouting for Boys." 


What people may not realize about Baden-Powell was that he was a remarkable artist who painted almost every day from his childhood. His father was an amateur artist as was his grandmother and he came by it naturally and with support. 


He had an interesting style, shifting his brush from one hand to the other with little change in style or skill. He worked in pen and ink doing advance sketches for his paintings. He spent many of is later years in Africa and many of his paintings reflect this. 


Baden-Powell's first British Army commission sent him to India. 

His letters home included stories of the people and sites he observed and they were liberally illustrated with images describing the scenes. He was also an avid art journalist -- long before art journaling became a "thing."


He also received an invitation from The Graphic, a newspaper offering payment for his sketches from the front. 


Baden-Powell was an avid traveler, both through his Army commissions and independently. His travels took him to Switzerland...


....and to Canada.


Some of his work was done while touring Tunis and Algeria. He wrote many books and often his later works focused on African themes.


In 1910, he retired from the army organized the scouting movement. When girls appeared at the first Scout rally in 1909, they told him they were "Girl Scouts."  He and his sister then formed the Girl Guides, which evolved into Girl Scouts in some areas of the world. 


When Baden-Powell retired in 1937, he and his wife, Olave, whom he had married in 1912, moved to Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.


I wonder what he would  think of recent controversies in the Scouting world. I know that being an Eagle Scout was a big part of Rick's growth and development and always spoke highly of the movement.

 I'm so glad I was able to see this collection before the Scouting Museum in Irving closed. Powell's art is a wonderful example of both watercolor work and journaling...

...and certainly an inspiration.

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