A beautiful scene greeted me, bathed in sun rays were the lovely blossoming lilacs in the garden. An amazing alluring scent wafted across the garden drawing me close to admire the delicate lavender petals.
We are so lucky to be living in the Inland Northwest in the “Lilac City” of Spokane, WA! Spring is celebrated here with a “Lilac Parade” honoring veterans. Followed by, “Bloomsday” a 7.4k run on the first Sunday of the month of May. The China flu pandemic postponed it to September 2020. This long walk makes me get up and get into shape each spring.
Every year thousands of runners/walkers complete this for the coveted secret Bloomsday shirt each year. I wonder if the shirt design this year will reflect the fact that there will be no lilacs in bloom as we come back down the hill into Spokane? I have done this course at least 15 times, and have the shirts to prove it! As an extreme introvert, a crowded event like this is completed only to prove to myself that I can survive as I walk a good 7-1/2 miles up and down hills in a choking group of strangers. Then, I quickly retreat back home to recuperate in quiet solitude with the garden, forest and dogs. Whew.
Lilac Love is Widespread
I was born in Colorado and have distinct memories of my grandparents stopping in to visit us. Grandpa would have a handful of lilacs in his hand to give to Mom, and their scent would fill our house with smiles.
Lilac (syringa) is a prolific blooming bush with conical shaped groups of four leaf petals. The lilac flower has meanings and symbols associated with it, with more specific meanings for each color of the species. My bush is associated with first loves, being the light lilac shade .
Here is what Pete does during quarantine here in Elk WA. He welds up the oil pan from the red plow truck that his wife broke. I left the truck in 4-wheel-drive while we drove around looking for escaped doggies last weekend. Oooops!
Clunk, clunk, clunk and bang.
We got a ride home from the neighbor, Yay! I felt absolutely terrible, because I know his “to-do list” is insane already, but what can I say? Sometimes, I do the stupidest things and really regret it afterwards. This is one of those times.
I used to always work with my Dad in the shop watching him arc weld, and he taught me to solder and weld too. It has been many years since I fixed up my first pickup truck, but the smell of the torch and metal reminds me of the folks I miss.
Honestly, I always admire how talented Pete is. He is a truly talented metal working dude, picking up steel wire and patching that pan perfectly. Not many husbands can do something like that. He does it as if it wasn’t even a big deal. Lucky me, I certainly have a keeper in Pete.
Country hicks enjoy staying at home, what quarantine?
We choose to stay home and garden, canning what we grow and also cooking all our meals from scratch. Country folk know what is going into their bodies and are able to pronounce all the ingredients in their foods.
We tend to take our time. Living rurally makes us limit our trips into town. Why? Because, the drive there and back takes enough time to necessitate this. We plan a whole day of errands whenever we go into town, so, we don’t hardly ever run to the store for one item.
For years I have watched working people, getting-in-line at fast foods on the way home. Rushing around, taking kids to numerous after-school programs as they run around like a chicken-with-their-head-cut-off. Finally, they arrive home exhausted to open a box of cold food for dinner. Unfortunately, this routine allows no time to wind down. Rush to eat, and head to bed and do it all over again the next day.
Before the quarantine, I’d see people buying boxed fast foods and frozen bags of ready-to-heat-up stuff. I’d wonder, has everyone forgotten how to make basic foods? Baking bread, rolling out pasta, roasts, stew, soups, whole chickens, sauces, and casseroles from left-overs. It’s not that hard and truthfully, homemade food tastes better.
Besides, a whole cart full of flour, sugar, produce and meats amounts to about half the cost of a cart full of fast food packages. I’ve often walked out of the store wondering how families can afford to buy expensive, less healthy foods like that?
I am hoping that American citizens are re-learning how to cook delicious family favorites in their own kitchens. We are discussing things, playing games and laughing with our loved ones. We can wean ourselves off of fast foods with their chemicals and poor nutrition. If we do, our society could weighs less and be healthier.
We could embrace less activities filling each and every waking moment of our lives. We haven’t attended that plethora of activities and we have discovered that a little “down time”, does us all good. Maybe a few of the activities can be eliminated to make things easier. Instead, we can learn how to relax and refresh ourselves.
When this restriction ends, it would be best if we realize that we are in charge of how we choose to live our lives. We can embrace the choice to spend time at home, with our families first and take better care of ourselves.
I just wanted to share my impressions of the fear of the “Corona Virus” being exhibited by the general populace of Spokane Washington. First off, I should share that the word Corona does not bring up a vision of creepy bacteria spores to me. I think that the owners of the Corona brewery should file a lawsuit to whoever decided to change this flu name to their brand name. Seriously.
I go to town and shop every two weeks or sometimes only once every month. Arriving early, I had to park in the outer regions of the parking lot at Costco. I found that there were no carts available at the store, which was a first, so I had to go back outside to get a cart from someone who had just finished loading their car.
I was shocked by the change in the stores as I was buying staples and groceries. The store was more crowded than I have ever seen it. People had carts full of bottled water and toilet paper, and very little groceries. Strange. I asked one couple who had 2 carts, one of toilet paper and one of water, “What are you going to do with all that toilet paper and water?” They looked at me as though I was a crazy lunatic and said in unison, “The Corona Virus”. Really?
Honestly, publicizing that we should stock up on bottled water and toilet paper. What good does that do?
The logic is missing something here. Now is when we need to remember common sense. We live in a region with an overabundance of clean drinking water. So, why the bottled water?
What good is a ton of toilet paper to a household facing a virus? Having a clean bottom is not going to save my life, neither is having a large abundance of TP in stock at the house.
Common sense preventative measures?
Elevated health conscienceness, striving to take the best care of myself.
Withdrawal from unnecessary contact with possible carriers.
I don’t put much worth into what I hear on the news anymore. The broadcasts have become extremely unbalanced. We are stuck with a biased political rhetoric instead of newscasters giving us two sides of a story, allowing us the opportunity to make up our own minds. The news has become an unreliable source of information for me, one that I choose to ignore. A virtual waste of time, as it continues to spew political pollution and fear into our midst.
Yesterday I was able to go and paint plein air with some friends from our Spokane Watercolor Club. We went to the James T. Slavin Conservation Area just, off of highway 195, and it was really chilly 24º F, but did warm up to 40º around noon. It was surprising how close to Spokane it is. And, the conservation area covers a lot of ground (600+ acres) with a lot of different natural wonders to see. I was able to paint two sketch images while I stood on a little knoll directly in front of the parking lot.
First a Watercolor Sketch
I painted while looking south standing upon the first knoll near the parking lot for the first plein air image. It had meadow grasses with scattered burgundy bunches of bush, then going off into into where the forest pine and birch tree line appears. I made a rudimentary watercolor sketch of this scene, but stopped there, as my watercolors and water were freezing. But, when the other artist’s arrived, I learned about a trick that stops that from happening. I love painting with other artists, because, you always learn something helpful from each other. If you want to know the secret, you’ll have to come paint with us to learn. 🙂
Second is an Acrylic Sketch
The second image is painted using acrylic paint on a canvas board. Standing at the same location but turned to face west where a pair of pines flanked the left side, with grasslands reaching off into a distant treeline and hill silhouette behind. These colors are a little tricky to get right, but are quite beautiful when it comes out right. Neither of these plein air sketches are any way near finished, but the scenes are embedded in my mind and I am sure I’ll be able to finish them in my studio.
I am not up to strenuous hiking, but thankfully this area is easily accessible with parking close by so it was a totally rejuvenating day. Being able to paint with other painters has revitalized the artist in me. It was surprising how many people walk their dogs there. There is also evidence of a lot of horse hoof prints on the trails. In about a month, that whole field is going to be covered with wildflowers, one of the local ladies told me .
EYE CANDY SURPRISE!
Next month sounds like a great time to schedule another plein air painting trip there. Yep, I’m looking forward to it.
Yesterday one of Pete’s brilliantly beautiful red amaryllis bloomed. It has four red beauties on it. S0, we took our camera, trying all kinds of settings to get great photographs of it. I definitely plan to be painting this blossom while the bloom lasts and afterwards using the best of these pictures.
If you know my wonderful husband Peter, with the green thumbs this is one of his favorite flowering bulbs. I think he got a lot of it from Mom. When I remember all the beautiful blossoms that used to greet us during the holidays at their house.
“Each blossom has six petals, six thing-a-ma-jigs along with a longer thing-a-ma-jig. Hmmm. I’m not a botanist knowing all of the correct terms for the parts of an amaryllis bloom. So, I had to google it to find out more and be able to finish this post with a modicum of knowledge.
Amaryllis – A bulbous plant with white, pink, or red flowers. Meaning determination, strength and love. Amaryllis in Greek is a female name meaning, “to sparkle”. Some more Googled info to put in your gray matter.
Here is the first of the monochrome portraits all finished. I am very happy with the look of this and hope it ranks well in the monthly challenge program at the next meeting. It is a veritiable challenge to get depth and shape in using only one color. I believe it was done using Ultramarine blue or cobalt, now I am not sure. Some day soon I have to go ahead and mark my watercolor wells on the pallet. The only sure fire way for me to keep the names straight. Honestly, I just dab into whatever color feels right to use rather than knowing which color should be used scientifically. It is the artist (lack of) logic in full force.
Can’t wait to go to the Spokane Watercolor Society meeting scheduled for January 18th (Saturday) at 10am at the Spokane Art Supply Classroom here in Spokane, Washington. Truly, a case of, “birds of a feather” hanging out together. It is so much fun to visit with other artists and compare methods. I haven’t been able to attend any meetings for quite a while. Health issues prevented me from doing much of anything for the past half year. It is great to be feeling better and I am hoping to be able to get out more now.
I’d be glad to have you come as my guest to explore your interest in watercolor painting. You’d probably like to come check out this meeting with me. It really is a great help to be able to hook up with others interested in art, as you are. Email me here if you are so inclined and we will work out the particulars about where to meet, driving or carpool etc.
Today is a happy painting and writing day for this person.
The amazing thing about this whole series of pictures showing Lottie take her turn are the changing facial expressions and reactions of all the people as they watched. Jenka affects the whole group and this game got the whole family going. In this first image you can see avid interest as Lottie selects which piece she is going to take.
With the middle of the column already pretty unstable, it was getting difficult to remove pieces without making it fall. Nerve racking. The boys are surprised at which piece she chose.
They watch the piece move. Look at the intense expressions while watching with anticipation (including a tongue).
She does it without having the blocks topple over and it blows Isaac’s mind.
Lottie is feeling truly triumphant! Yay! La Dee Dah!