Bad Day at the Drawing Board (but That’s Life!)

Remember that old Sinatra song, “That’s Life”??? It goes like this…

That’s life (that’s life), that’s what all the people say
You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

Well, it isn’t May, yet, but I sure got shot down today.

At the drawing board, that is.

You see, I was wanting to do some sketches of my grand daughter Josey today. She is 14. She is beautiful. She is a love of my life. And I wanted to get her down in my sketch book again.

Because I have in the past…

Here’s a sketch from 2006 when she was about 5 or 6. It is in my very first everyday sketchbook when I started doing little drawings on a regular basis.

Josey 2006

Isn’t she the cutest?

Then a couple years ago, she fell off her bike and broke both her wrists! And yes, my gorgeous grand daughter is a monumental clutz. Always has been. From the time she could walk, she fell down as much as she went forward…

Josey arms

But oh how I love her! And what a delight it is to see her grow up – and mature – and torture her mother to death like her mother once tortured me! hahaha!

BUT… today has been a disastrous drawing day. I was able to make a couple quickie sketches of the Jo-bear that I liked. Here she is sitting in a booth at one of my brother’s restaurants… and by the pool when we went for an overnight adventure last December…

Josey sketches 2015

Then I tried to do a serious drawing to showcase her special look. It turned out terrible. Looked nothing like her. And I actually cut the first one right out of the book and threw it away. Surely I could do better the second time around….

Nope… second attempt was another disaster.

What? Did I really forget how to draw? I’ve been doing portraits for nigh on 30 years… what happened?

I don’t know, but I got out a pad of drawing paper and started going rogue freehand. Surely I can get a glimpse of my precious Josey that way. So here’s attempt #1…

Jo1

And attempt #2

Jo2

And attempt #3

Jo3

And attempt #4

Jo4

Now don’t even tell me what’s wrong with these drawings… some have fat cheeks, some have a too-big nose (her nose is long, but not BIG) and I don’t even know why I can’t get it to look like her!!!

Well call the squad because I’ve done lost my cotton-pickin’ mind. And I can’t remember how to draw.

So I cut out the photo I was working from and pasted it right in the dadgum sketchbook.

Josey failure

So there.

Pfttt…

I’m quitting drawing for the day and going to play Facebook games. How ’bout a little Farm Heroes or Pepper Panic or Candy Crush? How much skill does that take? Probably more than I have right now, but don’t call and check… I’ll be yelling BINGO!! when the blitz hits… I’m a failure at the drawing board today.

Hopefully I recover tomorrow.

Hey, I know – why don’t I just paint apples or petunias – nobody knows if those look like they really should!

Yeh, that’s it. I’ll go do fruit bowls and y’all will think I’m wonderful and won’t realize what a putz I am.

Ugh… back to the drawing board in a day or two.

Sorry Josey. You are so beautiful and I couldn’t do you justice. But I will soon… Love you bunches my precious one!

Everybody else, stay tuned. I’m just having a bad day – but why shouldn’t I post that as well?

As Frank Sinatra so eloquently serenaded… That’s Life…

And hopefully I’ll be back on top in June….

Marvelous Marinara

If I am obsessed about anything… it has to be TOMATOES.

I love to eat them.

I love to grow them.

I love to paint them.

I love to cook them.

I truly think I have the heart and soul of an Italian. Because besides fresh tomatoes – which are delightful to eat right off the vine – the next best thing is marinara sauce. Who can live without it?? I can’t…

Now I only grow a few plants. Honestly, if you grow them right, a few plants will produce enough tomatoes for a family. And that’s all I can be responsible for. I would feel guilty if I had enough of the ruby fruits for an army. God forbid any go to waste.

So I also grow some parsley, oregano and basil. And when they all come ripe, I pick until I swoon with the fragrance of the Italian saints. I pretend I’m my grandmother while I harvest everything into my upfolded apron and bring it all into the house. Then I plan how to preserve the bounty until the next growing season. What a joy!

So here’s how I make marinara…

marinara

Of course this happened last fall and I’m just now getting it recorded into my sketchbook. No matter…

There’s time to grow tomatoes… and there’s time to DRAW tomatoes. I am fortunate enough to do both as time permits.

And just think… I’ve been eating these harvested fruits all winter and soon it will be time to plant the garden again.

Thanks be to God for the blessing of TOMATOES!!!

PS… I just realized that I made a similar post late last August called “the Tomatoes Won’t Wait!” – complete with some of the same photos…. Sigh… I guess that just proves how much I love tomatoes! I really can’t help myself about them…

Spring is Coming!

Oh how I love Spring!!!

However, it sneaks up on me like a cat stalking a mouse. I wait and wait for it to get here and then all of a sudden it has come and gone! Of course, I’m never TOTALLY oblivious. The trees do come to life with the most gorgeous pastel blooms… all shades of pink and white and lavender. And I delight in cherry blossoms and tulips pushing their dainty heads above ground. Then there are grape hyacinths and phlox and sand cherry florets. Those can hardly be ignored.

I also adore the lily of the valley. Even if it throws me into conniptions of sneezing. Man, that tiny sprig has an almighty powerfulness about it! One little stalk in a vase on your work desk will let you know all day who’s taking over the room! Much as I love it, I would have to take the clipping to the far side of my work area so it didn’t drive my nose bonkers!

But the highlight of the spring season – beyond flowers – is the Morel Mushroom! My dad called them “sponges” and would take us out to the woods to hunt for them. Sadly, I could rarely find them. I knew what they looked like, but they hid – incognito- in their shrouded little place among the base of trees and fallen logs.

Now here’s the thing… I think you either have a talent for finding the morels or you don’t. I once had a neighbor lady who was so good at hunting them that here’s what she did… she would actually have her husband drive her around on rural county roads while she hung her head out the window in search of morels. Every once in a while she would yell “stop!” and he did…

She was a little mite of a thing while he was a big ole brute. So he would stay in the car while she raced out and disappeared into the woods. Soon she would be back with a load of morels that would shame a priest into confession. In fact, she always got so many, that as long as I was her neighbor, she gave me a mess of them, too! Glory be, they were wonderful!

But that was many years ago and I haven’t had a taste of a morel in more than a decade. Some years ago I did come across them in a locally owned grocery. I saw them and stopped dead in my tracks. Morels? For sale in the grocery? Really?

Yep – and only $12.99 a pound.

Huh???

Well, I had to have some, so I put a few in a plastic produce bag and held my breath at the checkout.

Funny enough, they weigh almost nothing, so a dozen or so was less than a couple bucks. Sure wish I could find those again – I’d buy a whole big bunch!!!

Anyway, it is almost SPRING. And all the delights that come with it are on the way. And whether or not I have any lilies-of-the-valley… OR… morel mushrooms… I’ll be doing my annual once-a-year happy dance. I dearly love SPRING for so many reasons. And I do get to wondering these days how many more springs I have left.. which truly makes each one all the more precious to me! And here’s my sketch for today in honor of spring being almost here…

lilys2

So if you are an Ohio-an like me… run outside when the temps get above freezing. Watch for the bulbs to start blooming. Enjoy the creek waters rising higher and the mushrooms poking their spongy heads above ground.

And if you know anyone who hunts morels and has a sweet spot or honey hole where they find more than they can use – tell them I need a stash of those delightful morsels to remind me how fun life can be when the earth comes back to life after the winter freeze.

Viva le Spring!

The Cleaning Lady Dilemma…

Please, God, let me have a cleaning lady again…

Because, really, I HATE to clean. Not that I haven’t been doing it all my life…

But luxury, for me, is a cleaning lady (person) twice a month!

Back when I had a corporate job, a 4 BR house and was on my own, I DID have a cleaning lady. She was AWESOME. She would notice things I never looked at and took care of them pronto.

I would come home and the house was sparkling – straight out of Leave-It-To-Beaver-Land.cleaning lady

I would inhale the scent of pine-sol and float around my abode like a fairy sniffing magic dust.

That evening I would slide into my newly made bed, smelling the fresh sheets and drifting off to dream-ville knowing that anyone could knock on my door and I would say, “why, come on in!”

Now… I live in a 1BR apt. It doesn’t need a cleaning lady. I would be remiss to spend my meager retirement income on such a luxury. But oh how I want to!

Today, for instance, I got out my new “steam mop” to clean the floors. I had already swept and wanted to finish off the process. But the sprayer thing didn’t spray. I tried and tried. No spray.

So I clicked the cleaner bottle out of its holder and it was empty. Oh… OK!
I went to the pantry and got a new bottle. BUT… it needed the lid off the old bottle to fit into the slot on the mop handle. Okey Dokey.

Ahem…

I could not, for the life of me, get the lid off the old bottle to put it on the new bottle.

And believe me, I tried. First with tapping… then pounding… the old bottle on the counter. Hmmmm.

Next I got a butter knife and tried to pry the lid off.

Then I pounded some more and pried some more. I got out the pliers.

Still, the lid wouldn’t budge. So I got out my old Ginsu Knife from the 80s – it will cut through anything!

After sawing off the lid from the empty container, I still couldn’t put it on the new bottle.

Back to the butter knife and pliers. No luck.

Half an hour later I was seriously considering taking said lid out to the driveway and running it over with the car a few times. But I knew that wouldn’t work.

So I stood back and looked at the mess I had created. My arms were aching and the expensive mop was sitting idly by in the corner. But I would not be beaten…

I took the new bottle of cleaning liquid and poured a small amount out onto the floor. I then ran the mop over it to accomplish the cleaning. Voila – mission accomplished.

Now that is NOT how that pricey mop is to be used! And I still don’t know what the answer is. All I know is I desperately need a cleaning lady!
Please, God, let me have a cleaning lady in my itty bitty apartment! Please, please, please!!!

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