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City Hall Park 2015City Hall Park – Watercolor on a 1/2 sheet of Arches 140# coldpress

City Hall Park is an oasis among the tall buildings in lower Manhattan.  I used to go there frequently to eat lunch, chill, sometimes listen to concerts or look at art and, of course, people watch.  Mostly you see other office workers, occasionally a celebrity and once in a while this guy:

Living in NYC has its perks with celebrity sightings.  But I have to say I was a bit jealous when my sister traveled to the Washington, D.C. area (Virginia, actually) to an event and got to meet Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg a/k/a Notorious RBG.

When my sister got back she texted my brother who does not read my blog and me to tell us about the weekend.

The Sister:  I won’t lie…it was a thrill to meet Justice Ginsberg.

My brother who does not read my blog:   I met Darth Vader.  The Sith lord, Leader of the galactic empire, Supreme commander of the Imperial fleet, Suppressor of the rebel alliance, Basically an evil bad ass.

The Sister:  You win.
I guess the term “celebrity” is relative.
The above painting was started and stopped over a period of months and many times almost got turned into scrap paper. I think I managed to save it enough to say that I like it.  It was a learning experience, that’s for sure.

Monica's bulldogHand made card – painting of a bulldog puppy

The asthmatic bronchitis is gone and I can breathe easily again.  What a relief. Breathing is important.

In addition to not being able to breathe I have not been sleeping.  Anyone who knows me will not believe this.  I can always sleep.  I can sleep early, I can sleep often.  I can sleep long and hard.  I can sleep in the daytime and the nighttime. There has never been a time when I could not sleep.

Until now.

Not only can I not fall asleep and am up all night,  but if I am lucky enough to fall asleep I wake up at 3:oo am and walk around the apartment or watch horrible 3:00 am TV infomercials.

As I post this I am drinking Chamomile tea. I was told it was calming and could help one sleep.  We’ll see.

I did have some time to paint a birthday card for my niece.  She’s a big fan of bulldogs.  Since I can’t get her the real thing I found some cute bulldog puppies on-line and painted one of them.  Happy Birthday Monica!

Pansies 1

Pansies 2

The Husband and I were both at or near the World Trade Center on 9/11.  He was there as an NYPD officer and a first responder.  I was there because I worked two blocks away.  I am convinced that many of my bronchial issues are from breathing in the burning air for the 100 days the fire burned.  But this post is not about 9/11 per se, but more about remembrances.

Yesterday The Husband and I were talking about my bronchitis/asthma/whateverthehellthisis. He was nagging asking me to see a pulmonologist.   (I finally made an appt.)  As we were talking we remembered the time shortly after 9/11 when he came to visit me in uniform in the building I had been relocated to.  There was a new receptionist.  The Husband came to the 36th floor and asked for me.  The receptionist called me and when there was no answer she left her desk and started to look for me.  With panic in her eyes, she told everyone she saw “THE POLICE ARE HERE FOR CAROL!”.  I think she thought I was about to get locked up.

The pansy got its name from the French word pensée “thought”.  I’ve always liked pansies and their beautiful faces.  In the language of flowers pansy is a symbol for “loving thoughts”, remembrance” and “free thought”.

One day while perusing the internet, I found a video of an artist Karlyn Holman using an “Elegant Writer” Calligraphy Marker for watercolors.  I thought it was interesting and wanted to give it a try.  I did the above two small paintings using the Elegant Writer marker and then watercolors.  I think I need to practice, but the technique was fun.

6 lb weights6 lb weights (unused) 9″ x 12″ watercolor on 140 Arches coldpress

It seems like I think you do.  But I don’t.

I was extremely perturbed to discover that someone had hacked an old email address and started sending out those annoying emails and links to a “lose weight” website to everyone in my address book.

At about the same time as this unfortunate discovery, I had dusted off my box of 6 lb. hand weights to give to The Husband to pack.  As I lifted the box, which was clearly an effort, Hubby laughed and laughed and said that was the most exercise I had gotten with these weights since I bought them.  And could he throw them out.  The answer is “NO!”.  When we finally move I plan to use these to have very buff arms.

I also plan to grow to 5′ 10″, weigh 100 lbs and learn to speak Spanish.   Oh, and lose my belly fat. Hey, you never know.

 

 

 

peony 2

peony 1

Peony cards on 140# Arches coldpress

I never had allergies to anything.  Ever.  One time I had a rash on my arm which I attributed to stress but my sister dragged me to her allergy doctor anyway.

Dr. V:  What are you allergic to?

Me:  Nothing.

Dr. V:  We will test you by pricking you with all these needles in a grid pattern on your arm and see which ones you react to.

Me:  I’m not allergic to anything.

Dr. V:  Prick, prick, prick.

Me:  Ow, Ow, OW!

After the required amount of waiting time:

Dr. V:  Oh, you’re not allergic to anything.

Me:  Response cannot be printed here.

So imagine my surprise when our winter polar vortex turned the spring into a pollen vortex and I started sniffling.  Which then went right into my chest for a very acute case of asthmatic bronchitis. I’m still not all the way better and I’m still not convinced that I have allergies, but I do know this case of bronchitis knocked me for a loop.   Ugh!

New Mexico

New Mexico landscape on the Rio Grande – 15″ x 21″ watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress

The peonies are in bloom and they are one of my favorite flowers.  I needed some cards for friends so I figured I would paint a peony or two.  I also finished my New Mexico landscape which I’m happy with.

WordPress told me that this is my 300th post!  Wow!  Who knew I had that many paintings or that much to say.   Thanks for visiting, looking at my art and reading my posts.  Cheers!

And finally, here’s a picture of my dog.

Kaiya

NYC Lovebirds 5-3-2015Lovebirds 15″ x 11″ watercolor on 140# Arches coldpress – based on a photo from Paint My Photo

I am over my retirement guilt.  One morning I woke up and decided hey, this isn’t half bad! Now its a whole new normal.

One new thing is that The Husband and I are home together all day, every day. He and I have both worked our entire adult lives.  We’ve had varying incomes…sometimes he made more, sometimes I did. But now that I’ve stopped working to get ready for the move out of NYC I have no income.  He has a pension.  I do not like this.  And what I like less is that he has now taken to calling himself “Big Daddy”. In the 3rd person.

Conversation regarding the big purge of the apartment:

Me:  ” We got rid of so much stuff, but I hate to give away those old fashioned china dishes we have.”

The Husband:  “Big Daddy is ok with you keeping them.”

Me:  Huge eyeroll.

We have been going out out together for the morning dog walk.  Then we pick up coffee and something to eat and sit on our stoop and dine “al fresco”.

Today on the stoop as an old man with a cane walks by:

The Husband to the old man:   “How are you?  Have a good walk.”

Me:  (after the old man passes)  “Who’s that?”

The Husband:  “He is the father of the couple that live across the street.”

Me:  Oh

The Husband:  “You don’t know anyone on the block, so why are you so upset about leaving?  Big Daddy says ‘bye-bye’ NY.”

Me:  Huge eyeroll again.   “Big Daddy will not be happy with Little Mama’s foot up his a$$.”

And so it goes.

Wish us luck.

The above painting is from a reference photo from Paint my Photo.  I want to give the photographer credit but I can’t find it on the website anymore.  :(    If anyone sees it would you please let me know.  I want to credit him or her for the photo.

And for no reason here’s a picture of the NYC skyline at sunset taken by moi on the always exciting BQE:

Manhattan sunset skyline 5-2-2015

 

It’s been about 4 weeks since I stopped working.  I still miss my office and my friends. I miss the routine.  I miss the problem solving of work, but not the red tape and bureaucracy.  And I certainly don’t miss the daily commute on the subways during rush hour.

New Mexico landscape

New Mexico landscape, WIP – watercolor on 1/2 sheet of 140# Arches coldpress

Charlie our friend and my late night dog walking buddy thinks I’m crazy.  As does practically everyone I know.  I’m sure I’ll get the hang of this soon enough.

Charlie came in for the weekend to visit his son. We also got a chance to visit. He’s been living up in Maine for 3 years now.   It was like he never left the City. One night while out at dinner we were talking about shows we’ve been watching.  I told him we now have Netflix.  Streaming, not the disks. Charlie said in Maine they don’t have streaming internet, just screaming internet.  He spends most of his time screaming at the computer waiting for things to load.  Then he gives up and goes to the library because they have internet access.

My retirement reWirement continues and so far I just feel like instead of having a rewired brain I have a lot of disconnected and frayed wires.   My ever so thoughtful niece Caroline gave me this book:

1001 ways to relaxI’m not relaxed yet.

At least my Netflix streams.

The above painting is from a reference photo I took when The Husband and I visited New Mexico in October of 2014.  I know….it doesn’t look like New Mexico. But it is.  I swear.  While painting this I tried to keep it loose like the beautiful beach-scapes Stephen does.  I may work on it a little bit more, but not much.  Off to see what the #476 way to relax is.

 

 

IMG_5338

Daffodils in a Fiestaware pitcher – watercolor on 140# Arches cold press

I was so excited that spring had finally arrived that I ran out and bought some daffodils and put them in my green fiestaware pitcher.  I love this pitcher.  It was given to me by my long-time friend Jim who had boatloads of the stuff.  He has since curated his collection to a few select pieces and sold the rest.  I was lucky to get this item and I always have it on my mantle, with or without flowers.

Thank you all for your comments on the previous post.  My retirement or “re-wirement” as my friend Joan calls it is a work in progress.   I have not relaxed one day since being home. I have anxiety dreams each night and still think on Sunday nights, like tonight, that I have to get up and go to work tomorrow. I’m sure this will pass and my rewirement will begin.  I am looking forward to being rewired.

The Husband and I have been purging, packing and painting so we can move. Where to?  That’s the million dollar question. I heard about this book by Marie Kondo, a former Shinto shrine maiden:  “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” I haven’t gotten it yet, but read enough and heard enough about it to get the gist. I will get it one of these days after I’ve tidied up my bookshelves. I’ve also seen some videos she has of organizing an underwear drawer.  Now, Miss Kondo is a very petite woman.  And not an American.  After I watched her fold her teeny tiny underpants and teeny tiny bras and put them neatly in a teeny, tiny drawer, I realized I would have to modify her methods.  I have bigger drawers.  In both senses of the word.

I am continuing to purge, but my green fiestaware pitcher will be with me wherever I end up.

On another note,  I recently discovered I have a severe case of this:CarcolepsySo in case I’m ever in a car with you as a passenger, don’t be offended if I doze off.

birch trees 3-1-15Birch Trees – 1/2 sheet of Arches 140# cold press

All cars look alike to me.

Someone:   “What kind of car do you have?”

The Husband:  “A 2014  four-door Ford Taurus”

My brother who does not read my blog: “The V-8 engine in my car has fluid and sporty handling, while allowing me to maintain control….suspension…curb weight…transmission…powertrain….”  He could go on and on.

Me: “A gray one”

If The Husband, the doggie and I are walking down the street and our dog stops and sniffs at a car and then keeps going, the Husband will say to me, “do you know whose car that was?”  I will say “no” and he will say “OURS” (subtext: dimwit).

Last week we arrived at the Sister’s home after a 2 and a half hour drive from my office. I was inside with the dogs and The Husband pulled the car into the empty spot in the garage.

Shortly after playing with the dogs, we decide to head out for groceries. I pressed the button for the garage door opener and began to walk past OUR car. As I stood between the Sister’s car and ours I look out to the open area where we normally park.  “Where’s our car?” I scream.  The Husband just stares as I realize I’m standing next to it.

We both laughed and laughed.

 

Flowers for a friendFlowers for a friend

No you’re not seeing the same painting as the previous post.  I needed a get well card or gift for a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.  (She’s doing great.)   And after I painted the last bouquet I decided I would paint some flowers for her.  On a card. With the breast cancer ribbon on the vase.

I hope she likes her flowers.  I hope you do too.

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