Queen of the dorks

I have been wanting to write that headline for a couple of days now because I have been really feeling foolish.

I have had a year–365 days–to get my act together for the 2014 Equine Art Show. The minute I got my 2014 calendar, I marked the date. I have obsessed about my three paintings to send up. I taken them to critiques, posted about them, and tweaked them.

In May, just before my Open Studios of Beavercreek show, I ordered mats for my most likely entries. Last  month I send in the entry forms and other paperwork.

All this time I was figuring on purchasing the frames as the last detail. So Monday, I sat down to order them. It was the last day I could order them and get them before the “SHIP!” date on my calendar. I paid, feeling good about it all, then went to view the prospectus to make sure I had covered everything.

Then I saw it. The “SHIP!” date was the last day they would accept paintings. They changed the timeline from last year. Thus a week of insanity has begun.

By the time I figured all this out, the frames had shipped, so I couldn’t get them speeded up. And because they are custom, I can’t send them back. But they won’t get here in time.

So today I did a Goodwill crawl, trying to find frames that would match. After four Goodwills, I gave up and went to an art store that has some discount frames. I found the frames, but still had to get the plexiglass at Home Depot and cut it.

woundIn short, this whole event took seven hours from leaving the house to leaving the UPS store with my receipt. I’m exhausted and my hands look like this from cutting the plexiglass.

But “Sizing Up the Competition”, “Trackside Discussion I”, and “Distaff Divas” will arrive at Emerald Downs on Tuesday.

Knock on wood.

Next Sunday, July 13, I’ll be heading up for the day to see the show, enjoy the races, and pick up the pieces again. Anyone want to come?

 

I know a secret!

I didn’t do much today. My big goal for this weekend was to get the new Watercolor Society of Oregon website updated, and it’s almost 11pm, but it is! It will still be a few days before the technical types get everything just so, but my part is up to date.

To take a break, we headed down to Canemah. After getting a little way in, we started to see these:

Upon closer inspection, they were filled with video equipment. Then we came across a security car:

securityIt turns out the new TNT series “The Librarians” (which shot at the Oregon City Library earlier this week) will be shooting in Canemah on Monday!

So now… you all know this too! I probably won’t go back on Monday, though the chance to see hottie Christian Kane is almost overwhelming.

Of course, Finn was thrilled by all the developments, but we persevered and continued on our hike.

Finally a moment

sunsetIt’s been a week since I had a moment to sit down, let alone write. Frankly, it’s been a little TOO busy around here, and I’m glad to be facing a three-day weekend to tackle a few things.

Almost every day this week I’ve had something I meant to write about, but it’s just been too busy. So consider this a random recap post to get y’all caught up!

Saturday

Saturday my friend JJ took her inaugural trip with her new company, The Traveling Ewe. I designed her new logo and we offered a ticket, but I had other commitments, so I turned it down. I think this was a mistake! Everyone had a great time and they saw a 3-hour old cria (baby alpaca). It looked like an amazing trip and I’m so proud of JJ for making this work. I’m marking my calendars for future trips!

However, I stayed home to tackle some other issues. First, I had an AirBNB customer, a cute and sweet couple that were in town for the weekend to attend a wedding. As this was my first customer, I felt I should be around. This couple was SO sweat and respectful. I hope they are all like that!

I also hit the farmer’s market because I had a canning get together planned for Sunday. I got a box of green beans, two flats of blackberries that needed to be used quickly, and my knives sharpened. Good times.

theline

The line… all the SEO horses were in and they never took their eyes off me in hopes of cookies!

(Dirty) Fritz

(Dirty) Fritz – Why I’ll probably never own a white horse!

It was also my day to muck out the stalls at SEO. I mucked the stalls and played with the horses, particularly a cute boy named Fritz. He’s a character!

After hanging out at the barn, I headed over to a party I had been invited to. Being invited to a party is something of a treat for me, so I was pretty excited. It was a nice party, not in the least because we got to meet Kathy’s new baby, Coco, as well as admire the new chicken coop (with chickens) and meet the next-door mules. Good times.

Sunday

After all this excitement, Sunday rolled around. My friends JJ and Arminda came over and we canned. And canned. AND CANNED. We canned until almost 9pm. It was a long day… but we got:

  • Strawberry vanilla jam
  • Blackberry jam
  • Blackberry sage jam
  • Blackberry ginger jam
  • Dilly beans

cans1 cans2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday

Monday was weigh-in day and after last week… well, I need some success. I had a thoughtful week, even with Saturday’s party (and potato chips…) but I was still nervous. I am DELIGHTED to report that I had a quite significant drop and am now within a pound of my 10% goal. That will be a COMPLETE part for me. You’ll hear more about that later, I’m sure.

But after attending my meeting and walking the dog, the day was pretty shot. What remained was eaten up with the laundry I didn’t do on Sunday with canning.

Tuesday

Believe it or not, Tuesday found me canning some more. I had MORE beans and I love just straight beans too. A couple of batches of straight beans were pressure canned and the day was done.

Wednesday

Wednesday I’m back to taking painting classes from Anji Grainger. I started a couple of new paintings (dogs) to fill out my pet portrait portfolio. I don’t have pictures to show, and I still need to grab a couple of permissions, but so far I’m pleased.

Thursday

Which takes me up to today. I got off work early to attend some doctor’s appointments. After doing that, and taking Finn for a walk… well, you’re caught up.

Summary

It’s been a busy week and there’s more to report, in some ways, than I have. But at least now I’m caught and I can try to write better posts from now on!

It’s leaving that makes me come back

Tonight after work (at the end of a LONG week) we went down to Canemah. It’s amazing how much things changed in just a week. Metro had mowed, so the landscape looked like this:

Things seemed pretty quiet, but I saw a lot of baby birds and anxious parents.

But all in all, it was a pretty quiet walk. We got in the car to head home. And saw a little pod of three deer!

What a great way to leave! I can’t wait to come back.

Why I won’t let one up get me down

Today was weigh in day and for the first time since starting my lifestyle change endeavor I was up.

Now, last week was not a bad week for me, so this was a little surprising. I didn’t go over my points and I exercised every day.

However, it was also not a great week for me. It was a tough week for me physically; I took pain killers 4 days out of 7.

eatingIt was also a hungry week for me. I had moments were I envisioned myself a little like Godzilla, eating my way through the town.

10coverpaperIn fact, more than once I found myself thinking of one of my favorite books in the Stephanie Plum series, Ten Big Ones. In this book, Stephanie (the main character in the series and a some what unlikely bounty hunter) goes after a skip whose crime is described as follows:

“It says here she held up a Frito-Lay truck?”
“Apparently she was on that no-carbohydrate diet, got her period and snapped when she saw the truck parked in front of a convenience store. Just got whacked out at the thought of all those chips.”
“I’ve been on that diet and this crime makes perfect sense to me,” Lula said.

In addition to this, it was a rather emotional week, with a lot of family changes taking place. I really don’t want to talk about it…
titus2So, with all this, I think exercising everyday and staying within my points is a HUGE accomplishment.

It is scary, though. I really want to make my 10% goal. It will be the first time I’ve done that. All the other times I’ve tried to change my lifestyle like this, I’ve gotten close and then sort of lost focus. So this little pep talk is not to take me back, but to remind me what I’ve learned!

Here are the things that I can work on in this coming week:

  1. I think I’m a little dehydrated. It’s been muggy and I’ve been busy. I’ve had a bit of a headache all day and I’m achy from all my work over the weekend. I need to work on my water intake.
  2. I need to do a better job of planning an afternoon snack.
  3.  I need to do a Starbucks skinny hot chocolate 1-2 times a week, not 1-2 times a day.
  4. I need to work on how I eat on the weekends. While I’m not going over my points, I’m also not getting in enough fruits and vegetables during my busy weekends.
  5. i need to make sure I get enough sleep (I read a good book and stayed up too late this week…)

I really think this week was a function of dehydration and not feeling well, because I’m doing so much correctly. I’m going to end by focusing on this.

  1. I signed up for a walk-the-dog-daily challenge and have done it for one week.
  2. I have gone over my Nike Fuel goal each day (more activity than my goal.)
  3. I have eaten breakfast every day.
  4. I had a salad for lunch four days out of seven.
  5. I attended my Weight Watchers meeting.
  6. I tracked every day.

I can do this. This is a good check in and a good placeholder.

lose

 

 

It’s all over but the laundry

This has been a busy weekend and I’m tired now.

Saturday Morning

So Saturday was a full-on day. I had to wake up early and head to the Farmer’s Market to grab supplies for the week, then went to Grapevine Gallery to pick up “Milky Way Fisherman” from the Open Studios of Beavercreek show. But 9:30 I was headed to downtown Portland to join the Urban Sketchers of Portland in Director’s Park.

The idea of the Urban Sketchers group is that a group of people get together in interesting locations around Portland to do sketching, plein air, or whatever other kind of “immediate” art strikes the artist’s fancy.

As this was my first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found a very loose group of about 20 sketchers arrayed throughout the square, doing everything from quick sketches to full-on water colors. Most artists worked in small books and there was a great variety in the length of time people took on their various projects.

I can’t say my own work was great. I took a sketchpad, pencil, and my camera. I am embarrased to say that I think I spent more time with my camera than sketching.

But I did a little sketching. Nothing that jumps out as a painting, but good practice.

Saturday Afternoon

meandpaintingAt 12:30 I headed for the Oregon Society of Artists. As part of being in the Rose Festival show, I needed to sit the gallery for an afternoon.

It was a really high quality show. I can’t show you pictures other than my own, but here I am with my painting, which is among the first you see in the gallery (prime position!)

It was a nice day and there were other art things going on in town, so it was pretty slow. Still, I feel like I made a new friend in fellow sitter Lynne Patton (who incidently got first place in the Rose category for her painting “Copper and Roses.”)

 

 

Saturday Late Afternoon

From the gallery I headed over to the SEO barn to play with the horses and clean the stalls.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been there, so there were a few new faces!

In short, I left the house at 9:00 am and returned at 7:30 pm. It was a busy day!

Sunday

I’ll admit that Sunday was a little more laid back, but I’m still tired at the end of the day!

In addition to weeding, I did a major house cleaning because I have an Air BNB guest coming this weekend. 7 loads of laundry, floors are clean, windows are washed, dog walked. I’m tired now.

Summary

It was a good weekend, though probably not the most exciting one to tell about. Sitting the Rose Show gave me a lot to think about as far as composing a piece for next year.

There are two basic categories for the event: “Roses” and “Making Memories.” “Roses” is mainly about, well, roses. While each painting in the show was unique, the category was, by definition, pretty limited. I think in order to get into the prizes the painting will need to be perfectly executed and have an original element. Not too different from other shows, but the uniqueness is something to consider.

rose1 rose2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Making Memories” was more open, though they do suggest scenes from the parade and festival, Portland scenes, or painting evocative of making memories. I think next year I’d like to enter two paintings, so I’ll have to do some thinking about this.

For the Urban Sketcher’s group, I’ll try to go again, but it’s not going to be a high priority on my list. Buildings and people are fun, but not my primary source of inspiration. If I go again, it will mainly be for quick draw practice.

 

Raptor report

I almost stepped on a bald eagle today.

That was how I was going to start this post; but I have calmed down a little and decided to go with something closer to the truth.

So, after work today we headed down to Canemah. It looked to be a pretty average summer Canemah evening.

 

We were just getting into the flat area before leaving and a HUGE bird errupted out of the trees in of me. Because the trees were in the cliff area, it felt like the bird was flushing from under my feet!

It was an immature bald eagle. It lunged into the sky and flew a shaky circle, before landing in a nearby tree.

But that’s only half of the story! When it erruped, within seconds a whole crew of other raptors came out as well. I counted six vultures, two red tailed hawks, and the bald eagle. I also saw a Great Blue heron!

Then the ospreys who area nesting across the river started getting involved!

My suspicion is that there was something the raptors (not the ospreys) were feeding on and that I somehow arrived just as they finished. And here is my “proof”… also happening to be the coolest picture I think I’ve ever taken!

baldeagle3

Bald eagle cleaning its talons while flying (can you believe I caught this on camera!)

Lazy painting night

dvdTonight was my painting night, but I was really tired, so instead of tackling my mountain of works in progress, I decided to watch two videos I rented from the Watercolor Society of Oregon library.

I am a rather “loose” painter and I have really liked some of the effects I’ve seen on YUPO® (a synthetic paper.

I rented two titles:

The first title, in spite of its name, was really a basic class on using YUPO®, It was excellent and inspiring, though I need to get a few tools to do some more work.

While watching it, I pulled out my YUPO® and did the following starts.

long warmI also dragged out an old ice painting start from back in February.

icepaintingAfter finishing the first title, I started on the second. I only made it through about an hour, but I’m at once inspired a little scared. It’s like taking your first driving lesson from a regular car instructor, then five minutes later getting beside the wheel with Mario Andretti!

I’ll try to finish the second video tomorrow and then do some more work this weekend. I think doing some small painting might be a great summer project…

 

The (Beswick) birds & (bomboides) bees

It’s National Pollinator week. I have been saving pictures of bees for a while now to do a big post about bees. So when I went for a hike this evening after work, my goal was to get just a few more bee photos.

beswickwrenAnd the first thing I saw was this gorgeous Beswick’s Wren.

It was a good birding day in general at Canemah. I also saw a Bald Eagle, hummingbirds, song sparrows, blue jays, robins, flickers, and Cedar Waxwings.

I also saw a lovely Downy woodpecker (one of my (many) favorites). I didn’t see my Great Horned owl again, though.

I’m glad I’m blogging this, because next year around this time on a similar kind of overcast day, I’d really like to take my chair down and just watch for a while. It was really a good day because all the birds were really chattering and singing away.

 

californiagroundsquirrelI also saw my nemesis for identification. I’ve asked everyone what this creature is, but no one is sure. I think California ground squirrel. A mountain beaver has been suggested and sighted in Canemah (not by me), but I don’t think so.

Okay. Onto my original topic… pollinators (specifically bees).

Bees

There is a page that I love called Bees of Oregon. I love it because I can’t identify anything and I’m amazed the author can! It’s truly amazing.

As I’m sure everyone has heard, pollinators like bees are under threat. They are too amazing and vital to lose! Don’t use pesticides!

Remember the knitting when loosing weight

I’ve been a little blue today for no particularly good reason. Today is also weigh-in day, but I was expecting good things and I wasn’t disappointed. Another loss for a total of 29.6 lbs obliterated!

Unfortunately, I still have a long ways to go. That distance is very daunting and a little voice starts to discourage me sometimes. In spite of my progress, I still have so much to loose. Also discouraging is that no one really notices any changes. Hardly even me. Yes, things are getting loose, but really…

tara

Me the day before I started Weight Watchers, 29.6 lbs heavier than today.

tara2

Me, this evening, after 8 weeks on Weight Watchers (less 29.6 lbs)

There is just not a HUGE difference.

But as I was giving myself a little pep talk, I realized the similarity of my weight removal journey to knitting.

 

 

Knitting is really  just a series of little loops. One or two little loops doesn’t make a big difference; a few hundred makes a baby hat; a few thousand a scarf; a few tens of thousands a sweater. No matter the item, however, it’s all just a bunch of little loops strung together.

Back and sleeves of sweater (with ever helpful cat)

Back and sleeves of sweater (with ever helpful cat, Bella)

I am currently knitting a sweater (my third upper-body garment and my first “in pieces”.) I have completed the back and I’m working on the sleeves, which I am knitting simulataneously.

I’ve been knitting on this since the end of February. I’ve been planning on knitting this for two years prior to starting it. My anticipation for this sweater is intense.

And I’m bored. I want the thing done.

See the connection?

 

 

 

Loosing weight is a bunch of little steps (loops). In working on my lifestyle, I am not depriving myself; when I knit, it’s in my spare time or with friends. In one session of knitting, you don’t see progress, just like in one or two weeks you don’t see your weight loss.

These things take TIME! Persistance. And maybe a little humor.

I think I can do another day… and another row.

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