Monday, May 31, 2010

Grumpy Bones and Rototillers

First off, I want to tell you that rototillers may be a wonderful device for working the soil in your garden, but they were designed by sadistic sons-o-beaches who chortled when they understood how much my shoulders and arms were going to hurt. I curse them and their pet pomeranians too.

Jim and I had to move a small (6 ') Japanese Maple in the front yard, and had to dig a 4x4 hole, then dig up the tree, and move it to it's new home. Took two days, and I still have a mess to clean up, but I'm too danged tired. My bones are grumpy and I am walking like an old old lady.

Of course, it's on top of my walking for a half-hour each day (except yesterday) and some weight training. I'm skipping the weight training on days when I am using a shovel and the rototiller. I don't think I could hold the weights right now. Moan, whimper, grumble. Getting in shape hurts. I am such a weenie.

Meanwhile, I did spend some time painting yesterday, and after mushing around, changing the composition, decided that this painting was finished. I'm not delighted with it, but I know that I learned a few things, and am ready to tackle the next one. So many things to paint, so little time.... (and went back and did some more work on it, so will post an updated photo one of these days.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Painting, Panting and More...

Completed a 3-Day workshop on plein-air painting (fancy word for painting outside). I couldn't believe how tired I was each day, and how much energy it took to spend all day painting, even when I was sitting (took a camp chair). My eyes refused to focus by the end of the day, felt gritty (although that can be blamed on the winds), and I felt like I'd walked for miles.

Can I admit that I loved it? I had the time of my life. The days whizzed by, and I know I'll be doing more. My easel has smears of paint on it, I've refined my "kit" and I'm pondering how to improve my setup for the next time.

Found out there is a Facebook page for Susan Sarback's students, so I posted there. Might be able to find painting "buddys" so I can go out with someone to the parks and rural areas around Sacramento. I am so unaware of the world around me when I am painting, that it's probably safer to paint with a friend.

One thing that came out of this session: I am so out of shape, and out of breath when I haul stuff (thus the panting), that I must make an effort to clean up my act soon if I am going to enjoy my passion. So, have started a two week "turnaround". Prevention published a book.. (they have books for every diet under the sun, or so it seems.) I'm walking in the mornings, and two out of three days, I've worked with weights at home, used the inversion table and strretched on the large ball... (that feels soooo good.).

I also ordered a small vibration therapy unit after trying them a couple of times at festivals. It's a bit out there, and I bought the least expensive one I could find.
been looking at them for years: chiropractors have had "chi machines", and the really pricey ones at fairs have intrigued me, plus, every time I stepped on one and tried it, my joints and legs especially have felt wonderful for quite a while afterwards. Then, while watching a qigong program, the instructor taught a "shivering" or shaking technique that reminded me of the machines. Thus, a present to myself for my 60th birthday. The delivery email says it might come today. Whooo hooo. If this one is good, I might invest in a higher-end unit in the future. Also ordered some sports bras and a pair of walking shoes. Essentials, dontcha know?
I'm also thinking of some massage therapy. Something to balance the torture with a hedonistic treat that isn't chocolate or high fat... We will see.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ladies of the Baskets

Three Pine Nuts Yesterday, in the warm May weather, the Pine Nuts gathered to work on baskets. I thought I'd show some of the work that took place, in various stages of completion. Yesterday's blog had one basket, but here are a few more. Mine is noticeably missing, as is a couple others that I missed with my camera. We work primarily with pine needles, gathered where ever we can find them with long shafts (12" to 18" are the best). Joan, Donna and Linda are pictured here.

Joan's beginning

The basket on the right is one started by Joan, using some dyed needles for accent. I believe she will be doing a large basket, with embellishments.

Below is a basked being done by Peggy, who does very neat, clean work. (Much better than my own somewhat disorganized attempts.)

Peggy's Basket

Linda's Basket
The basket on the right is Linda's basket, but this one is different, as it is made with seagrass. The coloring on the center piece and the aqua thread lend a lovely feel to it, and I can't wait to see how she adds to the top edge to finish it.

Donna's Basket

This basket by Donna has a traditional feel, and illustrates the warm look of the materials. The sides have begun curving inward as it coils up.

Melinda's basket is finished, and as her first, is a lovely piece. The center is made from a slice of walnut shell, and the thread is 4 ply waxed Irish Linen.
These are samples of the fruits of our labors. While we were there, we had a chance to see Joan's beautiful jewelry work, and trade ideas for embellishments on future work.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gazing Balls and Tequila Jello

Loretta's Basket

This is a sample of the baskets created by one of the Pine Nuts, a group of women that started making baskets up at Camp Sacramento several years ago.

Today the May meeting of Pine Nuts convened, and we met, ate, worked on baskets, laughed and traded hints and information on art, baskets, food and life in general.

The ladies gathered with pot-luck salads, home made rolls, and various goodies, including a lime jello salad made with tequila. uh, you could REALLY taste the Tequilla. I had seconds. :^)
We worked on the baskets, planned the next meeting (to gather needles from a Canary Island pine that grows in Davis) at Peggy's place, and talked and talked and talked....

Pine Nuts Gathering at Joan's
Pink Gazing Ball

Several Baskets were finished, new ones planned and lots of progress on ones started months before. This was a lovely spring afternoon, a sunny break between storms, with squirrels in the cherry tree, jays screeching overhead, bees working the citrus blossoms in the orange tree. Visually interesting, socially fulfilling, tastebuds delighted, it was almost perfect. Oh, and I picked up a small, old Tonka toy truck to use as a painting prop.

The meeting was at my friend Joan's; an artist who plays with multiple mediums, including jewelry and some lovely mosaic gazing balls that are scattered around her garden. They are covered bowling balls with glass tiles, and I think I have a source for one or two so I can do one myself. Joan's garden is scattered with columns, statuary, and these marvelous balls. I am inspired.

Just add gazing balls to my list of backyard projects.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Draggin' My .... Feet

I finally figured out why I've been feeling so achy and blah. I'd had a suspicion that the new meds that the military doc had given me were the reason, but couldn't find anything in the literature they stuff in the Rx bag to account for it. This morning, my hands and feet, in fact - all my joints, were swollen. I happened to look at the bottle of the new blood pressure meds, and saw that the amount of diuretic was 25% of what I normally was taking. Not enough, by a long shot. I had to take off my wedding ring, it was cutting into my fingers. Retaining water would account for all my joints hurting, and lack of energy, general crankyness.

After calling the Military Treatment Facility, leaving a message, someone called me back, and tried to tell me I was mistaken, that I was getting the right dosage, but I think she was only someone who was trying to interpret a chart, without specific knowledge of anything pharmaceutical, so I explained it slowly in small words, and asked that the doc call me. At least I have an appointment to see him on Friday.

Using the military medical system is going to take me some time to get used to it, and I realize now that I am going to have to watch everything with sharp eyes, and not take for granted that they are necessarily smarter or more vigilent than I am.

Meanwhile, I don't have much energy. I worked on the pavers a couple of days ago, did two sets while Jim took apart his truck in the garage, and I'm still recovering.

This too shall pass.