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.

runcation

runcation, n.: The action or an act of weeding. Also occas.: the action of rooting.

There are many jokes about Oregon and summer and rain.

“Oregonians don’t tan, we rust.”

“Oregon summer: the best two weeks of the year.”

Question:  “What do you call two straight days of rain in Portland?”
Answer:  “A weekend.”

“It only rains twice a year in Portland:  October through April and May through June.”

Question:  “What does daylight-saving time mean in Portland?”
Answer:  “An extra hour of rain.”

I really like the last one.

In this spirit, Oregonians don’t wait for good weather to accomplish things.

Today I had one goal–to get in some good weeding time. so after a few quick errands, I made my way outside. The sky was overcast with clouds of varying blackness around, but it wasn’t raining right then.

Over the next hour and half I weeded in various states of rain. Finn, who is clearly much smarter than I, moved in and out of the garage at each change of weather. But I persevered.

However, when the rain started to look like this, I gave up.

rain

Birding at the beach

I don’t get down to the beach to visit  my parents as much as I probably should, but this weekend I made my way down for a quick visit. The Audubon Society of Lincoln City was offering their monthly Saturday morning walk and Mom and I decided to spend the morning birding.

The group went to two restoration areas at Tamara Quay and Pixieland Restoration Site on the Salmon River.

The last time I went birding with this group was in November and on that day I saw many birds as well as river otter. I was blown away by the group leaders.

On this trip I was again amazed by the group leaders, but we didn’t see as many birds… but we could sure hear them, and the leaders helped us with ID.

Here are a few birds we did see. Additionally, we saw (but I didn’t get good pictures of): Rufous Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Yellow Warbler, Warbling Vireo.

After this trip, Mom and I went home to check on Dad and make lunch. When he took a little nap, Mom and I headed to Salishan for a little more bird viewing.

This time we took Finn, who as always seemed to enjoy himself. On our way back to the car, we did a little window shopping through the Salishan Marketplace, but mostly we just enjoyed their flowers.

It was a great day. We got some strawberries in Otis and had strawberry shortcake for dessert. I only wish Dad could still participate and that I could get down to see them more often.

The painting harlot?

I am normally a pretty focused person. Point A to point B. I read my emails and file them. I weed one bed at a time, in a counterclockwise path. I knit one thing at a time.

And then there is painting. In spite of having eleven paintings going on, I started two new ones tonight.

"Between Classes" - needs to get darker

“Between Classes” – needs to get darker

untitled - hard to judge, has masking on

untitled – hard to judge, has masking on

My favorite blogger, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, adopted the name of her blog “Yarn Harlot” because of her similar propensity in the knitting arena.

Pearl McPhee calls this “startitis”. According to her, there is no harm in it. No one is hurt by starting a new project. Yes, she occasionally write letters of apology to her unfinished projects, but let’s face it… some project just don’t stand the test of time.

I’m not ready to write apology letters, and without any deadlines looming. Well… maybe I should start some more!

Life list addition

Since taking a hike with Ashley, I’ve been traveling a little extra during Canemah hikes to see if I can spot the dark visitor we spotted but couldn’t identify. And today… I found him! In almost exactly the same place, stalking a squirrel (apparently he had one squirrel pinned and the other was chattering vociferously at him). When I walked by, he took off into a tree and the squirrel darted out a few minutes later.

owlI marked the tree and stepped off the path to see if I could see him.

It’s pretty dark back there, so the photo quality  is not the best. But I’m going to tentatively ID this as a Great Horned owl.

I’m a little unsure because I don’t see “horns”, but nothing else in my ID book fits.

I’m going to email this to the Audubon society to get a firm ID.

This is so exciting for me! I’ve always wanted to see an owl in the wild.

It was really cool the way he waggled his head checking me out.

I just couldn’t be more thrilled!

owl2

 

Unexpectedly domestic

After the excitement of the show this weekend (the last day was a great cap to an awesome weekend) I took an extra day off to do exciting things like laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

quiche_finalAt the farmer’s market on Saturday I had bought a zucchini in hopes of making a Weight Watcher’s recipe that had been featured a couple weeks ago.

This desire to bake something is unexpected. The motto in our family is more along the lines of “When it’s smokin’ it’s cookin’, when it’s black it’s done” or “The fire alarm is the dinner bell.”  If I was to appear on a Cooking Channel program, it would probably be Worst Cooks in America rather than Chopped. Still, something about this recipe appealed to me.

I remember the first time I had quiche; it was at my friend Anna’s house and I didn’t know what it was. It took a lot to talk me into it.

So what inspired this desire to make a zucchini quiche? Got me.

And it was good. My only comment is that when they tell you to chop the zucchini fine, they mean a lot finer than I did! Didn’t effect the taste though.

Other Dinners

I also took Finn for a hike. We saw a robin fighting to kill a little snake. It was gruesome, but a little funny because the snake was so big the robin couldn’t fly off with it as we approached. He kept dragging it down the path. I was glad when we turned so the robin could rest!

Not too many flowers are blooming now, but there are still a few beauties.

 

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