Monday, October 16, 2017

Is It Fall Yet

It was cold enough this morning that I am wearing my happy house-shoes. They are much too warm for summer, but quite cozy in the cold. We did not run the air conditioner last night and actually put a light blanket on our summer bedspread. I slept like a baby. Well, I did have to get up and let the bad girl-dog back in the house. And I did take a benadryl and an ibuprofen before going to bed - one for my allergies and the other for my achy legs. Still I think the cool weather was a big factor in my good night's sleep. I love this cooler weather.

It was 90 on Saturday while we were in WF. My Uncle Bob (you can search uncle bob or bobby on my blog for lots of posts) was in town for his "last high school reunion." At the age of 80, I guess he doesn't think there will be more reunions. When Uncle Bob is in town, I drop everything and head to see him. He is special. This time, he had his eldest daughter with him, which was another treat. Since she lives in Hawaii these days, I rarely get to see her. Uncle Bob dropped her off with Jesse and me, and we spent the day visiting and having a great time.

This is an old photo with my Uncle Bobby and his girls. The one I visited with Saturday is on the left. I saw the other two cousins at Mom's funeral. They always bring sunshine and fun. And when the three sisters get together, LOOK OUT! It gets plum crazy.
Last Thursday only Robin Egg came to art. We painted pumpkins. Can you tell which two are mine?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Probate Done

Yesterday I managed to get my mom's will probated. Fortunately, Texas makes things easy for people like me  - simple minded :) 

Last week I sent my siblings a text concerning the court date, but I did not hear back from any of them. That was okay. I didn't need them. I was just keeping everyone informed. Then yesterday morning while I was scurrying around getting ready to go to WF, my little brother called. I still had time to talk to him, fill him in and give him my two cents concerning the family settlement thing that my other brother thinks is necessary to have drawn up. Then the other brother called. I didn't mind hearing his two cents, too, but I was out of time and needing to go. At my age, it takes a while to get going, to get dressed, to get my mind in gear, and to get out the door with everything needed for the day. I appreciate my brothers' input, but it was too late. It was my way now.

I picked up my friend, Robin Egg, to go with me and make a day of it in the Falls. Our first stop was the Empty Bowls event at the MSU museum. This is an event to raise money for the WF food bank. A ticket to the Empty Bowls gets you a handmade ceramic bowl and lunch served up by many of the local restaurants. Because Jesse and I had thrown bowls (about 500 bowls were made for the event) last month in preparation for EB, we got two free tickets - which were $40 each at the door. Anyway, Robin and I picked our bowls and then had lunch at the various booths/restaurants. The place was packed.  Here we are enjoying soups with our bowls.
Since we had some time to kill before court, we went by Michael"s for a bit of shopping. Then I took Robin Egg on a tour of the Great Falls area showing her Jesse's house, schools I attended, neighborhoods I lived in, etc. I'm sure it was all rather boring, but I held her hostage.

The court/probate thang was interesting. My lawyer had another case before the judge. We got to listen in on the case of a family trying to settle the estate of a brother who died and left no will. Then my case was up. It was simple. The judge said it was amazing that I had the will and everything was in order and how easy it made things. And it was easy. And now it is done.

Robin and I headed over to Frank and Joes for some coffee. Jesse joined us bringing her laughter and joy.  The day was pretty perfect with the cooler weather, the sunshine, good food, free bowl, and a good friend to share it with.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Give Up and Go Home

Sometimes it is just better to give up and go home. Friday was one of those days.

The day was going pretty well for me. I went to paint with my friend Barb, who was one of the painting ladies from way back. We watched some watercolor videos and did several exercises on painting ocean waves and then storm clouds. When her husband came to see what we were doing, I said that we were painting up a storm - ha! After I left Barb's, I went to get my hair cut and colored.  Going to the hairdresser always makes me feel better.

Once back at the Lazy B, Toby wanted to work on the fence. With my hair looking great, I thought why not? It reminded me of the time I got my hair done in NM.  Because my hair is think and wavy, it will do most anything except lay down and be flat. The hairdresser loved my hair and enjoyed fluffing me up. When he was done fluffing, I looked amazing - maybe not like myself - definitely different. The hairdresser was quite proud of himself and asked what my plans were for the evening. When I told him we were planning on working cows, he was horrified.

 Such is life with Toby. No matter how good your hair looks, he still wants to do ranch work. So Friday night when he wanted to do fence work, I put on my fake diamond earrings and work clothes and headed out to be his ranch-hand. As sometimes happens, Toby has an idea of what he wants to do, but has not thought out the small stuff. We have been using the four-wheeler to pull the wire from post to post. The part we are doing now is down in the creek-bed and then up a hill past the neighbor's pond to a corner post - some pretty tricky terrain.  Toby decided that I should take the truck and flatbed trailer and drive down to the work area on a well traveled trail, while he came with the four-wheeler. Since he had the pond dam worked on last week, he took off on the four-wheeler to drive across the dam and check things out.

So I took off in the truck and was soon waiting on Toby at the fence. But he didn't show up. Hmm. I thought about the recent rain and the re-worked spillway on the dam. I bet it was muddy, and Toby probably stuck the four-wheeler in the mud. Even so, there was little I could do about it. Sure enough, he came walking to where I was in the truck. He said the four-wheeler was stuck in the spillway. He needed the chain, the tow-rope, and the come-a-long. I handed these tools to him. Still, there was little I could do to help him. So he gave me instructions to string a wire (from the left over spools) across a short span -  across the creek. While waiting on him to unstick the four-wheeler, I pulled a strand of barbed-wire across the creek using the spool of wire Toby had pointed out. But the spool did not have enough wire on it, and it was too short. Wasted time! Then I had to roll the wire back up, which was a real pain.

Toby finally showed up with the four-wheeler, and we managed to string one wire. I pointed out to Toby that he had probably better cross the wire and get on the neighbor's side of the fence in order to get the four-wheeler home. He ignored my advice. Instead, he slowly drove the four-wheeler down the hill toward the creek. He was going very slowly when the earth disappeared under him (couldn't see well in the deep grass) and the four-wheeler rolled over with Toby. It did a complete 360 and came to an upright position in the creek-bed depositing Toby out in the grass. It was one of those slow motion things. Interesting to watch, kind of funny, and horrifying all at the same time. He was not hurt at all - thank God. We had to use the chain and come-a-long to pull the four-wheeler out of the creek-bed. Then we had to work at getting the four-wheeler up the hill and back to the house. There was no point in trying to do any work. By this time the sun was setting, so we gave up and went home.

Yesterday afternoon we went back out to try again (of course, I had had my toes and nails done earlier that  day - perfect for ranch-hand work). We managed to get two wires strung this time without any mishaps. Yay!

Today, I am going to WF to court - to probate Mom's will. Yay again!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Art Solace

It was supposed to be cooler yesterday with lots of rain. It was not cooler, but it was warm and muggy. I spent the day working on a commission piece.  An old friend from Red River asked me to paint her family cabin in RR. It is not a very exciting subject, but it means a lot to her. It means a lot to me too. I spent lots of time in my growing-up years playing with my friend. Later my brother rented the cabin and got married out on the patio. So, yeah, it is a good subject.

We had family camp last weekend in the Wichita Mountains. I camped with my son and the GGs. Jesse did not camp with us. She opted to go home and sleep in her own comfy bed. Smart girl. Fortunately it was a bit cooler at camp or I might have melted in to a puddle of butter. As it was, I was still warmer than the average person. The GGs got up three times during the night to say they were hearing noises and were scared (elks bugling, raccoons rustling, etc.) or had to go to the bathroom. Then Bo got up with leg cramps from playing too hard during the day. After not sleeping so well, I got up at the crack of dawn to help with breakfast by making a huge skillet of cream gravy. The GGs were sound asleep at that point. By Saturday night, I was one tired puppy. I told Toby that next year if I say I am going to camp out with the GGS, to just shoot me.

My art girls have been painting pumpkins. We may try some fall leaves too. They seem to be good watercolor techniques involved - good lessons, good subjects, very seasonal. Today is the art ladies. I will probably make them do pumpkins too.

Speaking of art ladies, I have some sad news. For years I painted with three other ladies every Wed. You can see lots of our adventures and paintings by searching art ladies on my blog. We had a great connection and lots of fun times. But eventually I moved on from that group for different reasons, but I love those ladies and keep in touch. One of the ladies, Jean, has been fighting cancer for a while now. It seems she is at the end of her battle - and she has lost the fight. It makes me sad. Sad for her family. I was supposed to go see her this week with one of the other art ladies, but it is too late for visitors. So very sad.  Here we are together - Jean is on the far right.

Then during art on Tuesday my Mom's old buddy from Red River, Lottie Tweed, called. I didn't take the call at that time not knowing the number, but Lottie left a message to call her back. Just hearing her voice made me tear up, but it was not the time for tears. I returned her call yesterday. It was really great to hear from her and catch up on family and friends. But it was difficult too. Several times I had to suck it up and not cry. She and my mom were like sisters - two peas in a pod - great friends. As always, Lottie was joy, a comfort, and always a lady. But it made me sad. I know it sounds like I have a lot of sad days, but really they are just sad moments. All is well.

Maybe, emotions make for a better artist. It seems that retreating into my art is very soothing. Soothing doesn't seem to be the right word Encouraging is a good word too, but still not perfect. Solace, maybe?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Getting Things in Order

Things are going well. I’m sorry that I have not posted. It’s not because I don’t have anything to say. It is more that our internet woes are still with us. We are still using our phones as mobile hotspots, which is not such a bad thing. The bad thing is watching our data usage. If we just use our phones, there is no problem. If we start using our tablets or my laptop, the data goes much faster. The good news is that we found out that if we use all our data, we do not get charged more, but our internet speed goes way down. We have done that once, and it is no fun.

I started my little girls art classes earlier in September. This year I divided them up into two groups – younger and older. I had 12 girls taking art. That is just too many for me to get around to when teaching. Six girls in a class works much better. Everyone gets more attention that way, but it will keep me busier this year. Plus, I still have my older ladies group on Thursdays.  My buddy Robin Egg comes to that class, and her husband has been coming over to use my pottery wheel out in the barn. His pottery is pretty amazing, and his enthusiasm is rubbing off on me. I have been doing a little more pottery.  I found a good deal on another wheel and bought it so that he might teach some too. I don’t really think that I am a very good potter, although I love it. But teaching pottery is more than I can do right now. I’ll leave that to Frank for now. We fired our first pieces. Now we need to glaze and fire again. I really need to get my life in order, my artwork in order, and not be so scattered.

We have Toby’s mom settled into a very nice nursing home. It is a new home in Burkburnett. You should see the artwork on the walls! They are cowboy/oilfield paintings and photos. Burkburnett was a boomtown at one time, and of course, it is ranch country.  The owner of the nursing home is from St. Jo, TX, and has many Donna Howel-Sickles prints. There are also lots of Kenneth Wyatt prints. Wyatt is from Tulia, TX, and has a gallery in Red River, NM. I love his work. I love Donna’s work more. It is fun to walk around the building to see all the art. And there is the ice-cream machine. It’s a big hit with Toby’s mom.

Toby and I have still been working on the fence – a yearlong project it seems.  We have been stringing wire and pounding posts. Toby has this handy-dandy post-pounder that makes the work go much easier, but it is still work.  I have small cuts on my arms where the barbed wire has bitten me. I look like I’ve been in a catfight. Fortunately, it is getting cooler, and the heat is not such a problem. My allergies are another problem. Still, I think we are on a roll. We may beat our yearlong deadline.

Church camp is coming up. They moved it from the end of October to the end of September. I plan on camping one night with Jesse.

This afternoon I put on a small pot of beans to cook. I had the thought that Mom and Dad used to make small pots of beans for just the two of them after we kids all moved away. And then I cried. Funny what sets me off!

Friday, September 08, 2017

Each Day

So many times I've wanted to post my thoughts and happenings, but things have still been busy.  The day after we buried Mom, Toby's mom had to be put in the hospital. It was a simple UTI, but with older people that can become complicated. Infection, dehydration, meds, all effect the body as well as the brain. Things go downhill fast. A person can seem okay, until they see a coyote hiding in the corner behind the ornamental plant. Then maybe they think that someone is trying to poison them, so they quit drinking water or eating. Anyway, to make a long story short. We put Toby's mom in a nursing home a week ago. We cleaned out and moved everything from her little apartment. She is doing well in the nursing home so far. They are doing lots of therapy with her. But she is still a very frail 87 year old.

I've been dealing with insurances and lawyers. I tell ya, it's enough to make a preacher cuss! Not really, but close. I'm really doing fine with it, but it is not my thing. Today I spoke with my great-uncle-by-marriage. He sold my parents life insurance policies back in the 80's. For some reason Mom quit paying on hers several years ago. I had called Uncle Joe to find out what he knew. He told me that he had gone to Mom's house and talked to her about the policy. He had been trying to help, but she had been ugly (for lack of better words) telling him that she didn't need his help.  So, he left, and the policy was dropped. I explained to Uncle Joe that it was the dementia that caused Mom to be ugly, that she was combative with me and anyone whom she thought was telling her what to do. He said that she seemed "okay" to him. Of course, Uncle Joe has always been the out-law in-law, so maybe he thought Mom's being rude was normal. But there it is. After years of being friends with Joe, she was ugly. And that is dementia. It is not just someone doing goofy things or saying odd things, it is someone's personality changing. Consider that when dealing with people.

Emotionally, I'm doing okay, too. Maybe not as good as I did after Dad died, but okay. After Dad died, I felt an immediate relief. I was very close to my dad and I still miss him terribly, but with Mom, I'm feeling very lost now and then. Taking care of Dad and his cancer for the last four years of his life was so very easy. It hurt to watch Dad go downhill, but there was not the constant worry. Dealing with Mom has been emotionally difficult for a so long. I would have thought I would feel the same relief that I felt with Dad, but I have not. Maybe it's because I am still dealing with her estate and dealing with Toby's mom, etc. Or maybe it is that both parents are gone now. Maybe I am grieving for both of them together. Maybe it is hormones.

I have had great comfort in friends and family. All will be well. I'm going to start my little girls art class soon. Hopefully things will get back to normal. Each day gEachets better.