This morning I sat down at my computer and received a message from my friend Ruth Buchanan.

“Hey Tara. Hope you, Key, and the cats are OK. How the the art going in the new house? I have a favour to ask. I can’t get my favourite sketching pencils here at the moment. They are General Sketch and Wash (588). I can usually get them in a 12 pack from Amazon or in a 2 pack from Fred Aldous, but all are out of stock in the U.K. Would you be able to get me 2 of the 12 packs and send them if you are doing an art shop please? They would need plenty of bubble wrap to survive posting unbroken!!! Of course I will send you the purchase and posting costs of you let me know how much. No worries if it is not possible. Ruth xxxxx”

Obviously, this was an artistic emergency! I searched a couple of my art supply sites, but in the end I ended up purchasing from Amazon. Now, I don’t order from Amazon too often (my last order was Nov. 2020), so an Amazon order is a bit of a treat. Between orders, when I see something I like, I add it to my wishlist. Then, when I need something, I decide what I’ll splurge on. In addition to Ruth’s pencils, the kittens got a new toy and I got a couple new puzzles and wireless headphones. (Key’s wishes are fulfilled through Chewy.) This little shopping adventure is definitely the highlight of what has otherwise been a loser of a week (more about this later.)

Apply the paint…

April 27th I attended a virtual demonstration by Liz Walker for the Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS.) Liz is a good teacher and the demo was excellent. As I’ve been flirting with “flatness” and general experimentation, I decided to use her prompt to whip out a couple of marbled papers and see what I could make of them. Honestly, I defy anyone watching Liz to not get ideas.

Black Beauty
Red Dot

Liz is a great inspirer; I find that the reality of making a painting is much harder. These are only about half done. Essentially, they are at the ugly stage. That’s a hard stage to get back to, but I’ll try. Regardless, it was fun.

Friday (May 14) is the deadline for this painting.

At the Friday check-in for Roaring 20’s, Ruth pushed me to think about this piece in a new way. This piece was conceived to enter in the National Sporting Library & Museum Polo Poster contest. I have no illusions that it will win (or even get in), but I like to try. Because of the venue, a realistic horse will be necessary. I didn’t want to try to do a whole elaborate scene, but I did want something that would convey movement and complexity. On Friday, Ruth looked at it and made me think about the piece in directions I hadn’t even considered. Seriously, a whole series paraded through my brain. For this piece, I am choosing to go with the “original” idea (or nearly), but I’m pondering doing it again. And again…

For Roaring 20’s, this month’s assignment is pattern. Sunday I started work on an assignment, but instead of doing a small square, as the exercise suggested, I used a rather large ruined sheet that I had been trying to figure out.

Mondrain Meets Kunstler

This is so meditative. It was wonderful. I still have a lot more pattern to add. And it got me going on other projects.

None of these are even vaguely close to to being done. I probably shouldn’t even show them. But I always like to prove I’m working…

Now, on to my other misadventures.

Under the weather. Or something.

While 2021 is behaving itself so far (a few hiccups, but we’ll let it slide), for me it’s turning into the year I got old. Now, I’ve spent the last ten years complaining about getting old, but this year is making me wonder if I’ve just arrived. At the beginning of the year, I got some unpleasant test results and had to go on some new medications. This resulted in three months of intense pouting. But in April I gave up and conceded that pouting was not effective and I should buck up. Then the pollen came.

I take allergy shots because I have such bad allergies. But this year the beginning of April (grass and trees are starting to get in gear) was greeted with a spate of unseasonably warm weather that catapulted the pollen charts off the maps. I coughed. I wheezed. I dragged. I got my first Covid shot at the end of March, and I didn’t think I had a reaction, but in retrospect I do wonder if it didn’t help the general malaise. On April 27 I got my second shot (yeah!) and again had no reaction. No fever. No chills. No aches. I just had the allergies of death. By the weekend my face hurt and I was (dry) coughing pretty vigorously. In fact, I felt so bad, I was concerned about having “walking pneumonia” and so I called the doctor. They agreed that it was most probably a little sinus infection from the allergies and prescribed antibiotics.

Unfortunately, the antibiotics either weren’t effective or I didn’t have anything bacterial. I spent the next five days coughing more, feeling worse, and generally grumpier than all get-out. My cough turned into a wet cough and everything seemed to get more inflamed. I was so happy on Friday when I finished the course and was looking forward to a three day weekend. I hadn’t been down to the beach house for a couple months, so I packed up the gang and headed out. As usual, I forgot something; this time it was my C-pap machine.

Mom liked a very soft bed, while I prefer a significantly more firm mattress. I always have a hard time sleeping at the beach and I’ve been debating getting a new mattress, though Mom’s isn’t that old. But between the softness, the lack of C-pap machine, and the cough I got no sleep Friday night. Logically, I must have got some, but all I remember is hour after hour of coughing. In the morning I got up, took the dog around the block (coughing all the way), and resigned myself to the fact I would have to head home that day instead of Sunday.

By six that evening I was home, but I was whoozy, sick to my stomach, and running a slight temperature. As I have written about before, I am not a good medical patient. I also have an overactive imagination. I spent the whole evening saying variations on, “Remain calm. Take two aspirin and call the doctor in the morning.” When I woke up today, I did not have a fever and felt a lot better. I still have a cough. And not much of an appetite (like that’s a hardship.) But otherwise, I’m at least as good as I was on Friday.

But I will need to call the doctor tomorrow. I hate that.