A Sign of the Times, Vacationing in Coachella Valley

We love spending time visiting Coachella Valley in December, visiting friends and family. Only no one was going in 2020. We had to get out, so we packed up the car and headed west for a two week road trip anyway. In our planning for the trip, we knew some of the things we normally do would not be open. However, our favorite thing to do wherever we vacation, is visit National and State parks. This was still an option.

We stopped in West Texas and Arizona for rest and to visit friends, but our ultimate destination was a vacation rental in Indio central to several parks. Shortly after we arrived, California went on a serious lock-down. We even got an emergency alert on our first hike. That night, we had a nice dinner at one of our favorite outdoor dining spots, then stocked up on groceries. We would spend the rest of our time hiking and picnicking during the day, then cooking meals hunkered down at “home” each night.

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Moving Forward

Plans to move to the Pacific Northwest squashed. Travel and socialization on hold. Definitely haven’t felt like writing. Taking a tip from a fellow blogger, I started looking at photos from last year’s travels. Celebrating 60 and finally embracing my status as a retiree, I was excited about the international travel we booked. But I stopped writing half way through the year. Moving forward, it’s time to write again. I took a writing workshop this week called “Mining Memories” through Thurber House to give myself a “jump” start!

A mob of kangaroos crossing the road in Western Australia.
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This One is for You

Featuring Fine Art by Kristine Schneider

Smile, this blog is for you! For those of you missing graduation, prom, birthdays, weddings and other celebrations, this piece is for you. Artist Kristine Schneider occasionally preps her canvases in “Burnt Sienna” and works the color back out through her technique. One example of this is the oil on canvas art deco camera called “Lovely Tonight.” It reminds us that even though we are missing some of these events, we can still celebrate them.

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Maggie’s Shire – Creating A Pandemic Fairy Land

Do you believe in fairies, love creative re-purposing, or like positive stories about how people spend their time? You might be interested in what my fellow third culture friend Miriam Lusk Berry has been up to during this pandemic. In addition to being a nurse, Miriam is a Mom, a daughter who gets to live with her own Mother (rather than be separated) and has a beautiful Grand Pyrenees mix named Maggie. Maggie deserves some credit, for it is her walks that produce the treasures used in creating her “shire.”

Maggie
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Neighborly Love – Artist Kristine Schneider Has A Message

My husband Mark and I have been walking around our neighborhood daily (sometimes twice) to get outside and work off the lasagna and other home made comforts. Look, there’s another one! Who is making these?

Someone in the neighborhood was making something of their own – huge colorful banners for their yard: A strong blue eyed nurse presenting the word “Love” for World Health Day; the word “Victory” rising up out of darkness with the sun shining its rays onto a garden; a collage of happy images surrounding the words “Find Joy in the Little Things.”

That did it. I had to find out who was behind this. The third banner was the first one I’d noticed that had an artist’s name on it. So I began my social media digging.

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Artistic Wonders of Waste

Having just completed my second full year of retirement and getting ready to marry/combine households, my latest hobby has been trying to purge items from my home without generating waste. I’ve gotten quite good at selling, donating, regifting, recycling and repurposing. My main hobby, however, is travel and I’ve noticed a trend in the use of abandoned items to serve greater purposes.

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The Fabric of Friendship

Real friendship protects intimacy and is sustained over distance. Real art is like a bolt of fabric – a creative, continuous process over time. My art is to write about the creation of art.

My blog was started to write about retirement, but has expanded to include travel, art and anything else that amuses me – such as how much time I’ve been spending with fabric. At the first of several post-retirement workshops (three of which were dedicated to fabric) I made this painted silk scarf and promptly gave it to a friend. It reminds me of the many old friends I have, near and far, who have stayed close to my heart.

My second fabric workshop was also silk painting, but using slightly difference tools and techniques. This time I travelled across the country to meet with three new friends that I’d met in Molokai. We bonded further over several hours of creating these beautiful ocean hued treasures on the drying rack.

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Modernism Week – No Sitting On The Bed

Daylight Savings began this morning. I stayed up past my bedtime and woke up too early. Now I’m stupefied. Here is another good reason for procrastinating on my writing goals. Several interviews done and zero drafts completed this year. I must remind myself of how and why I  write.  There is no deadline and I’m not getting paid. This blog is about my crazy retirement adventures, not just promoting art. In honor of that philosophy and not getting enough sleep, take a look at these fantastic “keep you up all night” bedrooms from Modernism Week in the Palm Springs area last month. Continue reading

No Bull, This Art Sparks Joy!

What does The Houston Rodeo and Marie Kondo’s Netflix show have in common? Nothing, but that’s not how my mind works. I can lasso a tangent faster than you can process my last sentence. Even though I read her book a couple of years ago, I’m still dealing with clutter and still wonder what brings me the most joy. I didn’t find the expression “spark joy” helpful when dealing with things like pots and pans, or cleaning supplies and many other things that I need and use. It doesn’t help when curating art work, either, because I just want more! Continue reading