Last Photo on the Card: February

Bushboy asks us to submit our last photo in February.
The rules are simple:
1. Post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone for the 31st January.
2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
4. Create a Pingback to this post or link in the comments
5. Tag “The Last Photo” or #LastOnTheCard

February Month of “Lurve” – #16-20

Whoa! I have five days to catch up on this challenge, Paula’s February Love Me!

Feb. 16: I love…my house. We moved here in August 2019, a compact, pristine little house (it’s actually a duplex) waiting for us. Everything is new & modern, nothing is malfunctioning (and if it does, we call maintenance who comes to fix it right away and we don’t have to pay for it), there are no stairs, we have a tiny screened porch and a patio with an elevated plot next to it where we can plant whatever we want, and adequate storage space. I think this house is the most satisfying thing about living in this senior community. I was so sick of our old house – nearly 100 years old, it had old plumbing, poor water pressure in the shower, and three levels. The washer & dryer were in the basement, and our bedroom was on the second floor. Now when I want to wash clothes, I just go from my bedroom to the washer & dryer unit off my kitchen. There was always something going wrong at our old house and we had to replace the roof twice. We don’t need to worry about any of that here!

Of course, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff, but I didn’t mind that. It was good to downsize!! The only drawback is having only a one-car garage, so one of us has to park in the driveway.

We live in the house on the left – the red Subaru is Dale’s.
View from the window of our second bedroom, which we use as our entertainment center – TV and computers are here.

Feb. 17: I love…my family. I grew up with three sisters and one brother, and both parents. We were not a dysfunctional family, we got along for the most part. My brother was really mean to me when we were children, and my oldest sister was kind of bossy too, but still we were a remarkably cohesive family. Now my parents are deceased, one of my sisters is also deceased, but we all have kids, and most have grandkids. I love and cherish my large extended family!

Our daughter gave us this photo in a frame. These are the members of my family who were there. But there are many more.
This photo was taken in 2007 (also in a frame) when we gathered to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. She is in the middle of the first row, wearing a black & teal outfit.

Feb. 18: I love…my knickknacks. I have a lot of small figurines and other knickknacks that I have accumulated during my travels, or sometimes they were gifts. I have a lot more than pictured below!

Still life of five random things I have collected over the years! In back is a little round box that opens into a traditional neighborhood scene, from Cuba; at left is a black clay turtle, which also has a whistle; and a Mexican alebrije – a seal made from copal wood and then brightly painted with beautiful designs! On the right is a circle of Peruvian figures made from clay and painted in traditional dress; and a snake I bought at a craft fair, because I just liked it.
Maybe you have seen a meme on social media of a cutout photo of Bernie Sanders at Biden’s Inauguration, placed in other photos. He was sitting near the back and was hugging himself in the cold. A friend crocheted this figure of Bernie for me. She also makes mittens (full size, that you can wear!). Bernie Sanders himself has capitalized on his meme by having it printed on T-shirts for sale; all the proceeds go to Meals on Wheels of Vermont.
This is Josephine (Josefina), a javelina made out of metal by an artist in Tucson, Arizona. I am doing a series of photos with Josephine in various random locations. Here she is on my piano keyboard! (A javelina is a type of wild pig native to Southwestern USA.)

Feb. 19: I love…coloring. A few years ago, there started to be coloring books for adults on the market. They were promoted as being relaxing. You can find coloring books of anything from scenes from Outlander to Cats with Hats to Amazing Mandalas and geometric designs. It is really calming, so I tend to do it while watching the news! I bought several sets of gel pens, which are my favorite medium for coloring, but I also use colored pencils a lot – which are good for doing shading in the pictures – and markers. I like experimenting with different color combinations and it also helps me to color small details without going outside the lines – a good practice for when I need a steady hand for doing water colors or drawings. Here is a sampling:

Feb. 20: I love…walking. Walking is my favorite type of exercise. I like walking outside especially, because I can appreciate the nature around me, and it’s possible to find small things to admire, something I can’t do if I’m riding a bike, for example. I walk in any season as long as the weather isn’t too cold – it’s really the wind that keeps me inside!

On the walking path of our campus, a few days ago.
On our campus – I liked the shape of this autumn foliage!
At Cuba Marsh in spring
Duck on a pond with water lilies, at Chicago Botanic Gardens last July

CFFC: Animal Art

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic Non-Alive Animals. Of course, any representation of an animal has a real animal in mind as the artist creates it. But the rendition may be very close in appearance to the real animal, or it may be whimsical, or abstract. It all depends on the craftsman’s talent and point of view.

It was hard to choose photos for this post – so many to choose from! Everywhere I go, locally or abroad, there is animal art. Animals have been subjects for every kind of art imaginable for thousands of years…

Such as the first known painting in the world, a painting of Egyptian geese on papyrus at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo,

and the god Horus, usually represented as a hawk, at the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt.

Also at the Egyptian Museum is a throne of King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was not found until 1922, with most of its grave goods intact – it hadn’t been subjected to many tomb robberies!

This elaborate throne contains many symbols and images of gods, such as twin lions on the front. One of ancient Egypt’s sacred symbols was the scarab beetle, depicted in the cartouche on the front of the arm; the hieroglyphics within the cartouche generally are names of kings, so this may have been Tuthankhamun’s. Embracing the throne of either side are the wings of the vulture, a bird considered to be a protector of kings. In this case, he represents the king-god himself, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The ancient Chinese civilization also had many animal representations, one of the most common being the guardian lion. This one is in front of a restaurant, House of Szechwan, in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Generally depicted in pairs, guardian lions stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs, temples, government buildings, and the homes of the wealthy. The concept was to show the emotion of the animal, in this case ferocity, as a symbol of protection.

Deriving from this Chinese custom, there are people today who have a pair of lions as lawn ornaments, like this one in Des Plaines. He might look more ferocious if freshly painted!

Here are another example of a Des Plaines lawn ornament, this cute little bird sitting on an orb.

There were many whimsical animals on display for sale or as decoration in the charming small town of Poulsbo, Washington, north of Tacoma.

In Evanston, Illinois, there is a little known museum called the American Toby Jug Museum, which we discovered during Chicago’s annual Open House in October. Toby Jugs are ceramic figures, usually depicting well known persons, but also animals. The history of the toby jug, or philpot, dates back to 18th century potters in Staffordshire, England and was popularized by colonists in the United States. The top of each toby jug has a spout for pouring, but nowadays, these figurines are primarily for ornamentation or collections.

After the wedding we attended near Poulsbo, Washington, we spent a day in Tacoma before returning to Seattle for our flight home. There is a beautiful Museum of Glass there, which has many objects designed by the famous Dale Chihuly, but there is also a fine collection of glass sculptures by other artists, such as this beautiful horse.

Horses are the subject of many works of art, including statues of famous heroes mounted on horses in many European cities, but I am only including two 2-dimensional renditions, one a drawing of a palomino I drew a few days ago, and another one at a short film display at the Ij (Eye) Museum in Amsterdam.

While in Amsterdam, we visited the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam, founded circa 1213 CE. Under the seats of the choir were unique carvings – some rather bawdy! – including this one of a pig.

Most people love animals, and there are many examples of whimsical animals to delight human sensibilities. In the gardens behind Melk Abbey in Austria are some cute creatures, mostly fantastical combinations of human and animal, but there was this turtle:

In Passau, Germany, which we had visited the previous day while on our Viking European cruise, while walking around town on our own, we came across a dachshund museum! Big and little dachshund statues were in front of it.

Who could resist being delighted by several painted cows in the town across from Mont St-Michel in France? Here is one of them, my personal favorite (I love that bright blue udder!).

Our daughter loves Hello Kitty, and for her bridal shower, Hello Kitty was the theme! I bought these as party favors.

Some animal sculptures are cute,

At Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles, Illinois

but some can be a bit intimidating!…

Giant spider at Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.

L-APC Checks and Stripes

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week has the topic Checks or Stripes.

Mosques have striped carpets where the worshippers line up to pray. (Cairo, Egypt)
Blinds in a friend’s apartment (Des Plaines, IL)
Stripes on steps (Des Plaines)
Fences are striped. (Chicago Krisha Society)
A fence with both stripes and checks – at The Church of All Nations in Jerusalem
Bottle Tree Ranch near Victorville, California (one of the sites on Route 66)
Seats in ancient amphitheatre in Caesrea Maritima, Israel
Woven striped design on my bottle holder that I bought in Peru
Beautiful inlaid (some of them checked) designs on small tables & other items in Aswan, Egypt
Stripes and Checks in a coloring book (photo modified)

FPQ: Rediscovering My Joys

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week encourages us to look inward, at ourselves. Fandango writes: I saw this question on a site that offers up a bunch of “deep, philosophical” questions and this one intrigued me. It’s about evolution, but not in the context of Darwin’s evolution of the species. It’s more about evolution of the individual and about who you are and how you change over time. Here’s this week’s question, which is essentially about you. I hope you’ll have fun with it.

Is the concept of “you” continuous or does the past “you” continually fade into the present and future “you”? (Yes, it’s both.)  Considering that your body, your mind, and your memories are changing over time, what part of “you” sticks around? (My essence, my soul, my identity).

Now that I’ve answered both questions in brief, I will expand, as I am wont to do!

I once had a revelation about myself that I told my daughter: You may have changed a great deal since childhood, but whatever you were good at and interested in when you were 10 will come back around when you are an adult. Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy challenge has a theme related to this: rediscovering your childhood joys.

For me, it was art (I drew and doodled incessantly) , languages (I fell in love with Spanish in 5th grade), cultures (I was fascinated by the pictures in my parents’ National Geographic magazines), cats (I have always had one as a pet, except when my son had allergies growing up), and writing (I wrote many stories and even a short novel when I was a kid).

This is one of my more recent drawings – it’s a combination of drawing and watercolor. First, I chose a photograph I had taken. Then I drew it freehand with black pigment liner. Then I used watercolor pencils for the color and background.
Another of my obsessions – cats. This is the best cat drawing I have done, but not the only or most recent one!

Another art form I love is photography, as any reader of my blog knows. I first started taking pictures with a Brownie black & white camera when I was about 10.

I took these photos of my friends with my Brownie camera in 1966!

In high school, I bought an Olympus SLR and got “serious” about photography. It helped that I had a boyfriend who was a photographer, and he taught me how to develop my black and white pictures. Later I installed my own mini darkroom in the second bathroom of an apartment I lived in in college.

In my late teens and early adulthood, for years I tried to become something that I couldn’t become – a musician (I’m not very talented in music, much as I love it), a best-selling author (I don’t have the discipline), a counselor (I have trouble giving advice on the spot) – and then I dreamed of being something that I could become, but didn’t: a linguist, an anthropologist, a translator at the United Nations – and finally became something I’d thought about in childhood but never thought I could become: a teacher. One of my sisters was a great teacher and she was very patient. I have never been patient.

I wasn’t actually a great teacher. I was, in fact, mediocre as a classroom teacher, and kept losing classroom teaching jobs. I was better at being a “pull-out” resource teacher (teaching ESL and bilingual literacy to smaller groups of students who came to me during their classroom’s literacy time). I was better at this because I didn’t have to worry about 10 things at once and didn’t have to keep track of 20+ kids at the same time. I also love languages and was very passionate about language acquisition and a strong advocate for bilingual education. So that job (where I spent more years and was happy) utilized more of my strengths: using Spanish every day, teaching English as a second language, enthusiasm about learning, working with students, doing creative holiday projects and writing projects with them.

I started a paper recycling club at my school one year, and this is me receiving an award worth $200 for the paper recycling we did. The money was used for the school’s club fund. I have always been passionate about environmental issues.

On the other hand, classroom teaching emphasized my weaknesses – midway through my teaching career, I found out I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This is not a good thing to have if you are a teacher but at least I knew it wasn’t because I was a failure – at discipline, executive functioning, at remembering to send in my attendance every morning, at trying but never succeeding at being organized. This diagnosis helped me become more accepting of who I am and not ashamed of what I am not.

Now I’m happily retired and doing the things I used to spend hours doing when I was a kid: drawing, writing, learning foreign languages, pursuing intellectual interests such as politics, international affairs, and traveling (I didn’t do these last few much as a kid, although I have fond memories of family trips and I never avoided controversial topics with my parents, which didn’t always work out very well). I love other cultures and seeing new things.

Here I am with my cousins in Tanzania in 2018 (that’s me in the light colored shirt) – we are about to learn a traditional dance in a Maasai village.

These interests have always been a part of me, even though I have evolved a great deal in my journey of self-discovery. I’m not so hard on myself as I used to be. Finding out about having ADHD was a revelation about my entire life – why it was hard for me to make new friends, why I daydreamed so much, why I talked out of turn in school, why I was a “slow reader” (I wasn’t slow – I just got distracted so that by the time I had finished a page, I couldn’t remember what I’d read and had to go back and read it again), and why I was constantly losing things.

Besides the self-discovery that comes with maturity, I look back at my life and sometimes feel I really haven’t changed that much. I’m still me. I sometimes think I’m still that girl I was in high school. I still have the same soul, which I will have until my dying day. I carry buried memories and emotions of the last 68 years in my brain, but I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, because that doesn’t matter. I have a good life – everything I need and much of what I want. I’ve been lucky, I know that and I am grateful.

The Hunt for Joy: Making a Rainbow

Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy is in its 18th week and the theme for this week is Make Your Own Rainbow.

I love to draw and occasionally paint. I also enjoy coloring books. Here are two coloring pages I did. The first is called “Rainbow Wheel Mandala,” done with markers. The second is “Rainbow Tessellation,” done with gel pens.

Some of my other artwork: The first is called “Arizona Desert,” which I painted with acrylics; the second is untitled, drawn with charcoal pencils.

As bloggers who follow me know, I do a lot of photography also. These photos I took in various places at various times.

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Gay pride at Solstice Parade, Seattle

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Colorful scene in Regensburg, Germany

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This colorful Tanzanian bird is called lilac-breasted roller, and it really does seem to have every color of the rainbow!

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Sunset over North Atlantic Ocean

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A real rainbow, South Dakota. We should have stopped and hiked over that field to the end of the rainbow to see if there was a pot of gold! 😉

 

 

Blogging Insights in Quarantine

Dr. Tanya has a question she asks each week. This week, #27, it is: What are you doing to ‘repair’ (re-vamp or update) yourself and your blog during the lockdown? 

I haven’t really done anything to change or revamp my blog. I am probably blogging more now, but some days I don’t blog at all. One thing I’m making time for is reading other people’s posts, from pingbacks on other challenges but also from the Reader. I should do a lot more of this, I know.  People will respond more to me if I am commenting on their posts also. So some days when I am not inspired to post anything, I spend my blog time reading and commenting.

Also, I want to do more writing challenges on my blog, which is why I decided to start participating in this one! I love to write, but sometimes I can’t think of anything to write about, so these prompts are helpful.

We’ve been in quarantine since mid-March, and it is going to continue at least until the end of May, maybe longer! When it first started, I wrote down some things in my journal that I could do with my extra time, which I enumerate below with modifications (although I’m retired anyway, so my schedule hasn’t drastically changed. The main thing is that our senior community no longer has any activities, which I really enjoyed.):

1. Read more. – This is happening, although not a lot more. Since the book groups at the library that I belong to have been suspended, I’ve been doing more reading of books I acquired or had around the house, and just want to read. But now the book groups have gone virtual and I participated in my first Zoom book group this morning! So now I am reading the book for the next meeting. The library is choosing books we can download on Hoopla free of charge if we have a valid library card.

2. Do artwork. – Since my art classes have been suspended, I’ve had to motivate myself to do more artwork on my own.  I’ve done several drawings, and am working on a drawing of one of my grandcats, Freddie, on a dark background using colored pencils. I’ve done a practice drawing and have seen what I need to improve. I want to give the drawing to Freddie’s “parents” – our daughter & son-in-law. My son-in-law is an excellent artist too, and I think he will appreciate it very much, if it comes out well. I also wanted to do some painting, but can’t find my paints!

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Here is a drawing of a cat I did recently – it’s not Freddie, though!

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This is the style of drawing I want to do of Freddie. I also have been drawing a lot of swans, because we have two pairs of swans here and one of the pairs will be having cygnets soon! I want to photograph them, and draw them as well.

Besides my computer in our extra bedroom (where our TV is also), I have a desk in the kitchen, which has been used since we moved here as a dumping ground and storage for a variety of miscellaneous items. I want to clean up that desk and make it my art desk! My art stuff is all here in the room with TV & computers, but it is becoming impractical, because I have acquired more supplies and have a lot of finished pieces. So I want to transfer all those things to that desk and have convenient places to put everything. That means finding a place for everything else that is currently being stored there!

3. Work on travel photo books. – I finished my first Shutterfly photo book about Israel and received it in the mail last week! Now that I’ve done one, I can see where I can improve and also know better how the photos look on the page, so now I am working on a couple of others of recent trips.

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My Shutterfly photo book of our trip to Israel

4. Sort through and put away the things in boxes that we haven’t gotten around to going through in the eight months we’ve lived here.  – This is a project in progress. I’ve sorted the box of bathroom stuff and sorted everything into bins by category, with labels, for easy access.

Last weekend we had some warm days so we spent time in the garage going through boxes we hadn’t unpacked yet. Some stuff I threw away. Some stuff we put aside for my church’s huge rummage sale. The stuff we wanted to keep is now consolidated into one box plus one Trader Joe’s shopping bag – which is sitting in the living room! So now I have to put that stuff away.

5. Put up wall art. – I really need my husband’s help with this. I’m not good with hammering nails into the wall in the right places and putting the things up straight. I’ve been dropping a lot of hints, and he knows it and so far isn’t taking the bait!

6. Exercise as much as possible. I am being gentle with myself, because some days the weather is crappy so we don’t want to walk outside. If the weather is even halfway decent, we walk around the campus twice, which is two miles, and then go out again later if the weather is good. When we have to stay in, we have been recording the exercise classes given on our closed-circuit TV station by the fitness instructor here, and then replay them and follow along. That’s what we’ve done the last two days, but tomorrow I will go out walking again. I’m trying to be more consistent, as much as feasible during quarantine, in my exercise routines. I have to admit, though, I can’t wait until we can go back to the fitness center and the swimming pool!

 

 

GCB-TTT: Lockdown Limbo

A Guy Called Bloke Banner Topical Tropical Trinity JPEG

Topical Tropical Trinity questions are about your interests, your passions, your hobbies and activities and about living your life in general.
Each weekly game will have a fixed ‘subject’ and ask you two basic questions – and one three fold question.

Today’s Questions for Topical Tropical Trinity are based on ..
“Lockdown Limbo”
Q.1
How long have you personally been in lockdown – when was the last times you were out and about and will you automatically return to your life post-lockdown?

My husband and I live in a senior community, which declared lockdown (stay-at-home) the week of March 17. I’m don’t remember if the governor declared it that week or the next week. We have a new routine which took a couple of weeks to adjust to. We get our news from staff and exercise classes on TV – we have 2 close-captioned TV channels here.

I’ve only been “out” (off campus) a couple of times since then. It doesn’t seem that long though. The last time I was somewhere other than here was not for a good reason – I found out my son had OD’d on pills due to depression, and had been in the hospital, but was released. We went to his residence and pounded on the door and yelled his name until he answered. We had to find out how he was. He was OK, but this stay-at-home order is making life very difficult for him. He suffers from depression, a diagnosis he’s had for many years, which has made it hard for him to work steadily. He last worked for Uber, but he doesn’t want to do that now and have “random people” in his car. So he’s stuck at home and is getting bored with watching movies. (Things are really bad for him when he says he’s sick of watching movies!)

When this is all over (if ever!), I will resume my former life but it won’t be terribly different. I will start doing meetings with friends live instead of on Zoom, and I’ll go back to my book clubs, church and choir. When we take walks around here, we see some of our friends doing the same, so we stop to chat while standing on opposite sides of the road. (One friend carries a large umbrella – he’s figured out that the length of the umbrella plus the length of his extended arm is the mandated 6 feet!)

Q.2
Are you happy with your progress so far and your ability to stay sane? [Alternative question – When did you pass Go on the Insane journey – how is that going for you?]
Both Dale and I still have our wits about us. Dale spends a lot of his day watching Facebook videos. They are very eclectic musically, and sometimes very humorous. I read, write, blog, draw, do housework (Dale does that too), and try not to snack much – I’ve been able to keep my weight and have actually taken off a few pounds by eating only two normal sized meals a day, plus a reasonably healthy snack. We watch special programs the social directors provide – old movies, lectures, Cirque du Soleil, funny videos. We go out and walk around campus every day. Nature continues its march into spring, so I have a lot to delight me – green grass, flowers, and the mating of our resident swans. In May, I’ll start my garden. Since our community has most things we need – meals, exercise equipment, parties and other activities in “normal” times – we are not finding life so different. And the social directors have contests and games for us too! When the cygnets will be born is one of the contests – I said May 20, but now I think it will be earlier.

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5 swan eggs!

I do miss my church and library friends, however.  And I can’t wait to be able to travel again! Will my reunion in Arizona still take place in June? What about our cruise to the Amazon next November? Right now, I have no idea.

I did get a feeling of dread earlier this week when our governor announced lockdown will continue through May. Our state has had more than 20,000 cases of COVID-19 and the death toll keeps rising, although Chicago isn’t suffering as much as New York. The good thing is that he’s allowing some businesses to open, including golf courses, so that will get Dale out of the house!

20200425_141849The alteration in our routine means never going out without masks, (fortunately I know people who make them), calling in our dinner selections by 2 pm and having it delivered to our door. The most alarming thing is the amount of Styrofoam we’ve accumulated and the amount of time I spend wasting time!

 

Q.3
Have you started a new hobby?
Not a new one, I’m just trying to get back into my artwork (I miss my art classes!). I think about trying to take up the piano again, but keep resisting. Meanwhile, I have projects I’m trying to get done, because I have no excuse not to! I’ve already completed one, which was organizing and labeling the things in our linen/bathroom closet.

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This is my most recent drawing.

Actually, I have started a new hobby – I’ve downloaded a new game onto my phone called Wordstacks, and have quickly gotten addicted. I spend way too much time on games and puzzles on my phone. I also am reading more, because it doesn’t matter really when I go to bed or wake up.

Wordstacks logo

When was the last time you talked to the toilet? [No to the toilet not in the toilet]
I don’t talk to the toilet – I don’t have to because I talk to myself a lot, carrying on full conversations with me, I talk to the cat, to my husband, of course, and to some inanimate objects, but not the toilet. This has always been normal for me.

If you share the house with others – either animal or human – how is the extended home time coming along with loved ones?
Too much togetherness, I guess, but I think in general it’s been more bearable having someone else living with me. I pity the residents here who live alone! Our cat is overjoyed at having us around all the time. She can now beg for scraps from our dinner again, and we aren’t constantly leaving to do activities. Dale is the one who ventures out to stores to buy groceries about once a week. I’m looking forward to him going golfing again because he sometimes becomes demanding! 

I think the change hasn’t been as onerous for us as for others, such as our kids. We are retired so are used to fluidity in our routines and we don’t have a workplace to go to or income to lose. I mentioned our son; our daughter and her husband are working from home, but our daughter still has to go into Chicago three times a week on public transportation, so she won’t let us come near her or her husband, or our beautiful grandcats! They moved into our old house when we moved here, so they’re renting from us. They are especially grateful now, because they each have their own “office” in different parts of the house, and they can chill out on the deck out back. Our daughter said if this had happened when they still lived in their apartment, she would have killed her husband by now! Both love to cook so sometimes they deliver food to us, which is a treat!

On the Hunt for Joy: Collections

I’ve missed a few of these lately, but I’m back in the game now. In Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy challenge, the subject this week is collections.

I have a lot of collections, most on display. Unfortunately, I don’t want to part with any of this stuff so I’ve had to figure out how to fit them in around our much smaller house!

I have a huge collection of refrigerator magnets from around the world. Why? Because they’re cheap, don’t take up much luggage space, and they make good souvenirs. I keep most of them! These are on the side of one filing cabinet but I have many more (that are holding papers on the actual refrigerator!) not shown here.20200312_231139
I keep my cat collection on two shelves – most of them are here. I acquired some of them abroad and others from my mother. On the far left is a bead and wire lion that I bought in a village in Tanzania. In front is my alebrije cat from Mexico (more on them below). Next to that, the tall one you can’t see very well is an Egyptian cat. In the back on the left is a ceramic Manx cat my mother bought me, and the blue & white one on the right was hers.
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I put my cheetahs on a top shelf, peeking out at our living room. (The small one my son made in school, so I display it as the mother’s cub.)
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I actually have more cats scattered around – one made of cement in front of the fireplace and another made of papier-machê, as well as framed artwork.

As you can tell already, I like ethnic stuff – things I buy in other countries or other cultures. My newest collection is Navajo kachinas, hand made and in different sizes. Each represents a character in Navajo mythology. They are quite expensive, and I treasure them because for many years, I wanted to collect kachinas but couldn’t afford them!
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Alebrijes are brightly painted carved wooden figures from Oaxaca, Mexico. You can find these even in some international stores here, but all these I purchased in a village in Oaxaca that specializes in these little figurines made from a soft wood called copal. The large one, an otter, was specially made for me and brought to my hotel when it was finished. The cat’s and armadillo’s tails come out – they’re separate pieces, and so are the quills of the porcupine. (My real cat was curious about what I was doing!)
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I happened to get a collection of birds, quite unintentionally, but they are all quite nice. The loons and the largest bird were my mother’s. She loved birds. The others are from Mexico. The two black birds on the front left are actually whistles! They were also made in Oaxaca, Mexico, out of black pottery, another craft Oaxaca is famous for.
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Books! So many books, so little time… I managed to narrow my books down to mostly two bookshelves – I had four full shelves of books in our old house!

I have several coloring books and often work on them while “watching” the news. Most of the ones I’ve done lately are mandalas and flowers.20200312_234657
Finally, these are some of my drawings and paintings. I’m not sure I’d call them a “collection” but I suppose they are. I hope to frame some of them to hang on the walls.

Last and First Photos

Bushboys World has a new challenge, to post the last photo taken in January. I actually haven’t taken any ‘real’ photos the last several days, just my artwork. So here’s the last photo I snapped of a drawing I did on Wednesday. I am practicing drawing portraits. This is of a little girl named Zia that we met in Luxor, Egypt in Dec. 2018.
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After that, the next photo I took was today, of my son’s new (used) car. He bought this car from a friend a couple of months ago. It was the most expensive car he’s ever purchased, the newest (2017) and the first time he’s bought a Kia. Since he is away for awhile, we drove his car to our daughter’s house and parked it on the lawn. It isn’t safe to leave a car on a street in Chicago for more than a couple of weeks – someone might consider it abandoned! Either that, or someone will try to steal it. So here it sits in the suburbs, until he returns to drive it back home!
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