Monday, August 1, 2022

Art making without a downside

May 22, 2022
In every retirement community there can be a plethora of activities. Indeed, just reading the monthly schedule here at my new place can be overwhelming. Because I'm still needing to spend time reorganizing the drawers and cupboards in my apartment to make logical sense (hastily put away belongings can allude discovery), I've not tried many activities other than exercise. Today, however, I attended an art session that's held every Monday afternoon. 

At my house for the last five or more years I've been reluctant to knowingly make a mess because, yup, I have to clean it up. But an art class here? There's no clean up required! 

August 2022

When I stayed at this community for two nights back in May (the sales' department's recommendation to avoid  making a hasty decision about such a huge life-change), I attended the art session taught by an amazing and gifted artist, Everett, a young man I know only by his first name. He offers meaningful instruction and gentle guidance to everyone who joins his weekly sessions, finding a way to genuinely and sincerely praise everyone's best effort. Today we drew hands after warm up exercises of figure poses by Everett himself. For the main subject, we could either choose to copy pictures he provided or draw our own hands. I chose the latter.

After today's session of an hour-plus, Everett asked me if I wanted to see and/or keep the drawing of calla lilies I'd made back in May that he'd kept it all these weeks. By coincidence, it, too, was a charcoal piece; Everett offers a cycle of various media through the weeks. Although I had no desire to keep the drawing after tossing dozens, maybe hundreds, of old works of mine in the downsizing process, I took photos of the lilies, as well as today's drawing. Thus the pictorial subject of this post. How freeing it was to make a charcoal mess (crumbles of charcoal, and a smudgy table), yet need only to wash my own hands and depart from the studio. What a life! 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Forging a new lifestyle

In contrast to my suburban-trail walks with no curbs, few trip hazards, and lots of birdsong, I'm now learning a new morning walk routine. These photos were taken alongside my new place and down the street where a deluxe apartment high-rise is under construction. Yes, lots of sirens and traffic, cement and barriers, but even in the big city, morning brings a certain amount of calm and peace as it begins to rouse to blue sky and sunlight.                   

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Farewell to my daily encounters with Mother Nature

It's been awhile since my last post, and the month is running out. Some of you may recall I've held to the commitment of a minimum of two posts a month. If I can't do that, I should give up my blog. So here I am on countdown, but what a crazy month it's been since my last entry on Saturday, June 25!


That day was supposed to have been my first Open House on what I was anticipating to be the long and laborious trek of selling my house. Instead, I received an offer the day before (June 24) that was too good to pass up. I accepted it, so the June 25 Open House was canceled, as well as all subsequent ones. Today the sale was recorded and, for the first time since 1987, I am no longer a homeowner!

I'm exhausted as I write this. In this past month I've discarded, donated, and offered up hundreds (maybe thousands) of items. Multiple trips to Goodwill have been made and ultimately a junk service arrived at the house to cart off everything that wasn't packed up or disposed of in all those various ways. I've unpacked most of what was moved into my new apartment at a retirement community in urban Seattle on July 19. Three of my offspring sprang into helping action, so I had help of at least two of them for an entire week. Lucky, lucky me.

I admit I'm proud of downsizing and getting into a space more appropriate for an old woman. I also admit I'm regretting some of my decisions about what to get rid of and wishing I'd ridded myself of some of the things I moved. Several dozen boxes of 'stuff' and a few pieces of furniture are stashed in a rented storage unit for further review as soon as I'm able to step away from settling in. I hope to have disposed of everything in storage by year-end. Undoubtedly I'll be writing about that agony in future posts.  

As happy as I am to have made the decision to move to a retirement community before I need assistance, I'm also nostalgic about the natural beauty I left behind. I shall never forgot the fragrance of evergreens and scents emitting from the abundance of beauty our earth's covering supports. The beauty of the Sammamish River as it flowed nearby never failed to move me.

 I'll be writing lots about my new urban environment in future posts; today I'm sharing a tiny bit of that beauty I left behind.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

No lululemon for us . . .

Almost thirty years ago I was reminiscing with my sister, Judy, about shopping with our mother for our 'good' clothing, quality-wear from an upscale women's clothing store where we had help of Miss Miller, the equivalent of a personal shopper. Miss Miller would present garments she'd selected for us to try on, responding to Mother's phone call a day or two ahead, but Mother would be the tie-breaker if differing opinions arose over which garment to buy. It was she who ultimately determined what was age appropriate and becoming to her daughters. If she didn't approve, it was unlikely we would be getting it, although sometimes Miss Miller, the personal shopper, could gently change her mind. 

Because Judy and I were having trouble remembering each other's favorite items during our conversation, we decided to make renderings of them from memory to show each other. I made these twelve little watercolor sketches of my favorite items; she did the the same of her favorite outfits, and we gave them to each other as birthday gifts in 1993. A dozen years later, we traded them back so we each had a visual record of our own favorite clothes. Recently I rediscovered mine tucked away in the back of a drawer. I'm sharing them here because they may not make the 'cut' during my giant downsize endeavor. 

The four above are high school vintage, 1955-1958.
The comments are to my sister regarding what I
recalled about them back in '93. Mother enjoyed
taking us shopping, and I certainly don't remember
ever complaining about such excursions! 

The four items directly below show garments
from college days, two purchased in anticipation
of making a good impression as I went through
sorority 'Rush." Even though they didn't get
me an invitation to join the sorority of my
choice, I happily wore the clothes throughout 
 four years of college and many more years.

The outfits depicted in the last four drawings
are all about my wedding, way back in 1962.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

M-m-m . . . you smell good! What is it you're wearing?

Women of a certain age (try over 70) will no doubt remember being asked that question. If not, it's likely they didn't wear any scent. When I was growing up, it was taken for granted that most adult females wore cologne, toilet water (lol, even that term can mystify some young people today), or perfume. 

I was not alone in the years of older teen-hood and early twenties as I searched for my signature fragrance. Every department store had multiple sales women walking around with sample scents to try. Most of the college-age women I knew wanted to have a gentle fragrance that would be associated with us and unique in our circle of friends. Did we really want others to know we were around the corner? or had arrived at a party? I hope not . . . but I digress. Fine perfumeries and cosmetics companies still create and market fragrances, but thankfully, patronizing public spaces while doused in your personal scent is no longer an acceptable norm.

I was twenty years old --1960-- when I found my scent, a French perfume called Visa by Robert Piguet.  I was in Paris with my parents and tried a sample at a Parisian perfumery. It was so beguiling (both Mother and Dad said it was a lovely fragrance, as wafted from my wrist to their nostrils) that I bought a small bottle and began to wear it. It was entirely mine. No one I knew had ever smelled it, heard of it, or noticed it for sale before. Months later when I had used up the small bottle, I had to research where I could buy it in the USA; it was tricky to find. Nevertheless, there was a distributor somewhere in New Jersey, as I recall, that put me in touch with a Seattle specialty shop carrying it. Eventually I had to order it from a perfumery in New York.

As the years went on, it began to be more and more difficult to find. I'll spare you the details and perhaps you've already figured out why my favorite perfume either had to be discontinued or renamed. Yup, my lovely scent had become a brand-name of a new concept and EXTREMELY popular product called the 'universal charge card.' Gulp.

And who wanted to smell like a credit card? Was there any market for a perfume with that name?  I'm sure sales plummeted and eventually Visa by Robert Piguet was no longer to be found even at the New York perfumery. I kept hoping Robert Piguet would rename it and market it under a new moniker, but no. The scent was retired forever in the early '80s.

This tiny bottle in the photo goes back, I believe, to my first purchase in Paris. Of course, these sixty-plus years later, opening the cap releases the putrid stink that only perfume-gone-bad can exude, but I've kept the empty bottle tightly closed as a reminder of an aspect of the person I once was. I am tossing it away today as I begin a giant downsize for a giant move I'll be making. More about that to come. I thought it only fitting the the first thing to throw out would be the smallest thing I own. The photo and this post will help me remember those long ago days and my personal scent called Visa!


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Casting a long shadow

No doubt you've heard the expression "She (he) casts a long shadow" as many times over as I have. It's trite but an effective visual, often meant in the most complimentary way. Most of us would take pride in hearing that said about about themselves. 

And . . . it can also be used in a detrimental way to describe how someone has negatively affected a discipline or enterprise. It's all about context.

On May 20 slightly before 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, I turned away from the blinding sun rays coming at me from the western sky. I was out for a short fresh-air jaunt before settling into an evening of streaming a Seattle Symphony concert in my living room. I looked down and was amazed at what I saw. 

Really? I have THAT much influence? OR . . . am I that big a pain in the you-know-what?  Don't answer! 

Friday, May 20, 2022

How lucky can a person get

Today, as I looked out my window, I had to ask the question: Does it get any better than this? Certainly it doesn't get any prettier as the trees and lawn green up and the sky turns blue with spectacular clouds rolling by.

In a five minute walk I can be at one of two local parks: The golf course we, the people of Bothell, saved from development (it's still unnamed, but maybe soon) to roam and meditate, and a snippet of land known as "Red Brick Road Park" to get my steps in without any obstacles (like people or bikes). Red Brick Road commemorates the last remaining section of roadway that 100 years ago connected Bothell to the outlying areas of Seattle.

No kidding--it doesn't get any better than this, nor does it get more beautiful. I am one lucky person.
Peek-a- boo view of (former) Wayne Golf Course Park
Red Brick Road Park