Friday, March 24, 2017

Geraniums

This was the art project for yesterday's Art Ladies. It was an exercise in finding and defining the lost line. We dropped in red for the petals and green for the leaves and burnt sienna for the pot. Then we went back in and defined the leaves and petals somewhat with darker values. It was a good lesson on spreading watercolor as well as defining line using value differences. I should tell you that I stole this image from Pinerest. Some people may not like that, but I feel like this was just our rendition of the image for the purpose of learning. No one is going to sell these little painting exercises. I know, I know. I should probably not use images from the internet, but I did. And they turned out quite nice.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gift Giving

Everyone knows that I'm not good with gift giving or birthdays in general. Maybe it is because I think gift giving should be something personal and thoughtful, or useful, or fun for the giftee. 

Even Christmas gift giving is difficult for me. It was a relief to me when I finally figured out that Christmas is not about giving and receiving presents. On some level we all know/knew this, but we find it difficult to buck the system and not give gifts. For some reason we put pressure on ourselves to buy everyone some sort of gift - often when we don't have the money for such giving. And often the gifts are not personal or even what people want or can use. What I finally discovered was that I didn't have to do that - I could give gifts to whom I wanted or not. It's that simple.

At Christmastime I cringe when I see all the Wal-Mart aisles filled with junk gifts, knowing that people buy that crap to give to friends and relatives just so they can give something - anything - spending money they can't afford to spend. The people who get such gifts end up putting them in a closet or maybe a garage sale. I say, "Stop the madness!"

I feel similar with Christmas cards. When I get a store-bought card with someone's signature or worse, printed name, I wonder, "Why?" Could you take a little time and write a brief note or something personal? I like Gene's Christmas gift/card - he takes a few minutes and calls people. I love it - personal and caring! So, when we stopped giving so many gifts to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, I started painting little cards and sending them to people. I hope that it is a wanted gift - something special for the person.


Years ago, my best friend gave me a set of earrings - about five or six little earrings on a card. Normally I would love such a gift, but the earrings were not well made and were not something I would wear. It made me feel like, "Does she know me at all?"  Because I think it is good to give gifts we would like to get ourselves, I thought that my friend must have chosen the earrings because she liked them for herself. So, I told her that I was not really fond of them, probably would not wear them, and offered them to her. It was a big mistake. She didn't want the earrings either and was hurt that I would return them to her. On the other hand, what she showed was that she had bought me a cheap gift that even she would not use. Hmm, that didn't make me feel special, and isn't that what gift giving is all about?

On my recent birthday, I got several really nice little gifts - things people put some thought into giving. I like that! the gifts were not expensive, but useful and fun.  I also got several painted cards - I like that too - personal and caring. But also recently, someone brought me a couple of items that they had picked up at the Dollar Store. I knew they meant well, but they were not items I wanted. I tried to not take the gifts - showing them that I had plenty of those items already, but they insisted that I keep them. But I don't want them. I'm picky about such stuff. So I tried using the stuff - not good. So what now?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Booboo Weekend

Toby took Friday off to get some work done on the house. Going to WF every weekend really cuts into our farm-fixin'-time. We still do not have the fence fixed, and the horses are still escaping on a regular bases. I'm beginning to hate them. Toby had a guy who was suppose to build the fence, but he has not been seen for months. Then we found another guy to work on the fence, but once again, he has not shown up or answered Toby's texts after the initial work. I think he may have found a "real" job. Good for him - bad for us.

So Friday, we started working early. There is the giant garden which Toby started this year - like we didn't have enough to do. There is also the yard work to do now that spring has sprung. Since we got the stucco finished, I can now do landscaping.  But with all the other work around here, I don't know if and when we will gett'er done. Anyway, Bo, the Grandboys and GBN2 came out Friday afternoon.  GBN1 is now old enough to be part of the youth at church and they go to camp every March. She and her mother went to camp; the rest came here.

Toby had called for a load of topsoil to be delivered for my yard - landscape.  The dirt came in a big belly-loader, which was quite exciting for the kids. Even more exciting was the long bed of dirt that the truck left behind. The kids and dogs were all over the dirt - what fun! Then Toby used the big tractor to spread the pile of dirt around the yard. We worked a little with shovels and rakes to spread the dirt, but watching kids and working was too much. And in the afternoon, that side of the house gets terribly hot. And it was hot! Spring is here. Eventually, I filled the big bathtub up and put the boys in it. They like to swim in Booboo's tub.Then we fed them and sent them home. Bo said the boys were asleep by 7:30.

Saturday was spent as usual in Wichita Falls. Lately though, we get up and do a bit of gardening before we go. We also had to take a post-hole-pounder back to a neighbor. This pounder fits on the three-point on the tractor. It is one heavy piece of equipment. Toby and I had to wrestle it around to get it on the tractor and taken home. I tweaked my knee some way while helping Toby with the pounder. It is not too bad, but gets sore after walking much.

Then on Sunday after church, we kept all the kids. It was suppose to be for just a short time, but it turned out to be an all afternoon affair. GBN1 was already worn out from being at camp. Although everyone was in need of food and naps after church, we all hit the ground running. We played in the dirt and rode the four-wheeler, painted, fished, etc. Their parents showed up around 3 PM to get the kids, but before they had even walked in the door, the baby fell and split his forehead open. It needed stitches so off they went to the ER while Toby and I kept the others. More playing. It was a hot day. Everyone had bug bites. GBN1 fell in the pond while fishing. GBN2 managed to scrape herself up in the wild berry bushes. Mr T came out unscathed, although I did pick several ticks off of him. The horses escaped and had to be rounded up and fence fixed to keep them in. By the time the parents were back to get everyone, we were all breaking down. It was mostly fun (except for the ER run and horse escape) but exhausting.
Before stitches - happy
After stitches - not so happy

So we didn't really get much done around here. After a weekend of grandbabies, I needed to do some major housecleaning. On Monday Toby came home and wanted to do some welding on the fence. I had to go be the gopher and the fireman rather than clean house. Today the little art girls are coming. I need to get prepared - cleaning the art room and setting up their art. 

My Mom has decided that she wants to move to a different apartment at the elderly living place. I guess we will do that next weekend. Yay.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring Break Museum Trip

Jesse is on spring break this week. Last year on her spring break we made a trip to the Amon Carter art museum to see Thomas Hart Benton and kick around Ft Worth. This year we went to the Dallas Museum of Art. They had a Mexico exhibit with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as well as other Mexican artists.

Since Jesse taught AP art history classes, she is very knowledgeable on different artists and art movements. Frida and Diego were very interesting people - if not a bit wacko. Jesse was a good art guide telling me stories on Frida and Diego. I enjoyed all the art, although some of it was a bit dark - Mexico and all its turbulence was an influence on the artists. You might remember that Jesse dressed like Frida last Halloween for a school carnival event.

It took us a while to drive to Dallas through the traffic and road construction, but we weren't in a hurry. It was a good thing we were flexible, because once we got there, we stood in line for well over an hour to get into the Mexican exhibit. And that was just the upstairs part. Then we went downstairs and stood in line again (only much shorter this time) to see the rest of the exhibit.  While we were in line upstairs, we ran into my sister-in-law from Austin and her mother. My SIL was visiting her mother who lives in the DFW area, and they had decided to see the exhibit also. My SIL's mother is 90+ years old and as spry and smart as they come. Still, standing in line would have been hard on her (it was hard on Jesse and me) so she was in a wheelchair. They had already seen the downstairs part of the exhibit and had come up the elevator to see the upstairs exhibit. That is when we saw them. Such a crazy thing! We stood in line together for a little while and then entered the upstairs part. The whole exhibit was really good, but my SIL was right - the downstairs part was the best. Jesse and I took this selfie with the Two Fridas.

After we had seen the entire exhibit we headed outside the DMA to the food trucks. It was really a beautiful day for setting in the park and eating at the little tables provided. There were probably seven or more food trucks to choose from. Some of the trucks had long lines. Since Jesse and I were pretty tired of lines and very hungry, we chose the Asian tacos and basil lemonade. It was good, but both the tacos and the lemonade were a bit sweet for my tastes. We would have liked to have seen some of the other exhibits at the DMA, but we were worn out and it was almost 4 PM. We needed to head home to avoid some of the Dallas/Ft. Worth traffic. I drove while Jesse rode shotgun and worked the Google Map, which took us home some unusual way. We eventually got out of the city area. By the time we got to Decatur, we decided to stop and eat again. Museums make you hungry. By the time we got back to WF, I decided to spend the night with Jesse. We picked up a movie at a Red Box and cream for my morning coffee. Then we curled up and watched Brad Pitt in "Allied." The movie was just okay, but not great - kind of disappointing. But I had a great time with my daughter.

The next day, I ran several errands in WF and picked up my mom for lunch. She was on her good behavior. It made for a good day before heading home to OK.




Thursday, March 09, 2017

Birthday and Mom Dreams

It's my birthday, and I am fifty-nine. If I was ever going to "hold" at a specific age, this would be the year to hold. Sixty sounds old. Maybe I don't want to go there. I think I will just stay here for awhile. Someone told me that I did not look 59. I told him that I hoped he was thinking I looked younger and not older. Of course he said younger. I probably don't look a day over 55.

I had several dreams of my mom last night. I don't know if that means anything. Yesterday I called her to check on her. Our conversation was short, but okay. She doesn't talk to me much unless it is to chew me out. So, when I call her and ask if she is doing okay and if she needs anything, she is confused - on the one hand she wants to just visit nicely, but something in her mind tells her that she is supposed to be mad at me. So she starts out fairly normal and then gets short and snippy. In her mind she has been mad at me for a long time, although she doesn't have a good reason. "Reason" is the key word here. There is no more "reason" with Mom.

In one dream, Mom was confused. She was wearing pajamas and a string around her neck holding her phone and shower scrubbies, and other things needs to keep up with. Odd. Then she became confused and started to get upset. So I sat her in my lap and comforted her. In the second dream, she was getting dressed and wanted to cut her hair. So I helped her cut her hair and it looked really cute and she was laughing and fun - like the old days. Both dreams were good - I'll take them as a good sign unless you dream-sayers tell me differently.

Last weekend we took Mom's China dishes to her. She had called me several times through the week to tell me that she wanted her China - wanted to have a dinner party. Every time she called, I agreed to bring her dishes, although my mom has never used that China as far as I can remember. When we got to her apartment, she was coming in with her boyfriend, Robert. He was carrying newly bought hanging clothes from Dillard's. Mom had bought herself some suit dresses. I was horrified and fairly upset. Mom does not shop well when I take her out. She gets tired, she can't stay focused, and she tends to want things that she will never wear - like suit dresses. We bought her several dresses last summer that she still has never worn. I have taken her shopping several times this winter and bought pants and blouses and jeans that I have never seen her wear. She can't seem to deal with all the clothes in her closet, but she constantly thinks she needs more clothes.  I cornered Robert and told him that HE was NOT supposed to take her shopping. He scrambled away saying he had to go take care of his dog and left the apartment PDQ. I didn't say anything to Mom about the clothes, because what would be the point. And besides, I was hyperventilating.

I don't want to deny my mom her shopping, which seems to make her happy, but she needs guidance and Robert obviously does not provide anything other than a taxi service. This shopping expedition was more like a fit-throwing or a "I'll show you!" type thing, because she is always wanting Pete or Jesse to take her shopping (not me, because I guide her too much). I doubt she even tried the clothes on. Later when I had some time to cool, I went online to see how much she had spent. We keep her bank balance down to a minimal amount since she loses her debit card every other week. She had spent close to $1100.00. I was back to being horrified.

I really don't know what to think or do concerning Mom and her money. Giving her a debit card is part of her freedom, but it is a bit like giving a four-year-old a credit card. We could take the card away and give her a cash allowance each week. Is that better? Would it make her angry? Yep.

One of the most difficult parts of this whole dementia thang is knowing when to let her live her life as she sees fit and when to step in and help her. If she only understood my dilemma and my love for her...

Then earlier this week Mom called to tell me to come get her China - that she didn't want it after all. Then she said, "You are not supposed to put it in the dishwasher. It causes the silver to fade off!" I told her that I had never used her China and had never put it in the dishwasher or anything else. She said, "Oh. Well, I don't need it. Come and get it." Whatever.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Art, Horses, and a Baby

We have had a Mexican crew working on our stucco for the last week or so. It has been fun having them around - they were happy and singing and working.  The work was actually a bit noisy at times making it hard to teach art, but we got through it. I'm just glad they did the stucco and I didn't have to do it and my house looks great now.

It has been funny to come driving up to the house while the workers were all over the yard and the house and all my critters hanging with them. The miniature horse was often with them because he can get out of the electric fence and eat the green grass up near the house. Then there is the lone chicken that Toby set free since she was not laying anymore. The workers had obviously been feeding her, because she hung out with them too. I saw her with a banana peel in her beak.  Of course the dogs liked the attention. Anyway, it was funny - looked like a wild party at the Lazy B.

Yesterday, along with all the workers and the critters, my art ladies showed up. I had cars, ladies, animals, workers swarming the house. As we sat down to do art, one of the ladies mentioned seeing my horses out on the road. Dang it! I had to go round them up and put them back inside the electric fence. Three times I had them almost inside the fence when they turned and bolted for the edge of the pasture near the road where there is no fence right now. Finally, I got a bucket of feed and managed to get them to follow me into the electric fence area. I was worn out. When I got back to art, steam was radiating off my head fogging up my glasses. If I had had a gun, we would not have any horses anymore.

Then we did art. Everyone was great to already be working on art without me, since I was off playing cowboy. But when I got there, I had to help and instruct a bit - check out everyone's work. No problema. One of the girls has had a new baby (about 3 weeks old) and brought the baby and her mother to art. I thought the mother was coming along to watch the baby. Wrong. The mom did art too. The baby slept most of the time, but then woke up, nursed, and needed to be held. By that time it was obvious I was not going to get to do art, so I held the baby. It was rough, but someone had to do it.

Toby was late getting home, which gave me time to kick back and relax. Well, relax as much as possible. My mom called twice to give me a good chewin' out. Ah dementia, I hate you more than I hate the horses today.