Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We're back and it's HOT...

I know I'm odd and always have been, but I don't mind hot weather. It's summertime and hot is what it's supposed to be. Sometimes hotter and sometimes not so much. Why get all hot and bothered over a weather condition you cannot change?

We were on the coast of Oregon for about 12 days and it was a great trip. 3 different houses were rented for us as we made our way down the coast. We read a lot and we walked the beaches, collecting rocks and driftwood. I took about 300 photos and now I must organize them into a final semblance of order. I tried to load the shots into hastily made folders on my PowerMac as we went along and that helped.

I will be exchanging photos with my sister as she was taking quite a few as well. I don't get much of a chance to talk with my sister as she lives in AZ and that's a far distance from Northern California. There are just the two of us left now. Both of our parents are gone and our middle sister died some time go. And it's on trips like this that we drag out all of the old memories and examine them; enjoying them once again. As I am almost 3/4 of a century old, the memories have become quite dear to me.

But, at the end of two weeks, we were almost completely out of things to talk about. We waved goodbye to them this morning and felt the relief that comes with an end to "being on." Quite common among Introverts. Especially as I had been Extraverting for the entire trip, only getting relief when I was asleep.

Also this morning; I weighed myself. I had stopped being sensible about my diet while we were on vacation and I was worried...but, I had only gained 2.4 pounds. We were eating 2 meals a day and that helped. I was also eating salt water taffy and pastries, and that didn't help.

All along the coast of Oregon we drove into and out of Tsunami Danger Zones. The people along the coast take it seriously and Tsunami escape routes are clearly marked. The last place we stayed, in Bandon, was 100 yards from the ocean, and although we loved listening to the surf and the fog horn, I was a little nervous about our proximity to the ocean. Then I noticed a Tsunami escape route sign at the end of the block and it was no more than a few hundred feet away and then a quick walk up the hill to safety. I resumed sleeping.

We are having our back fence replaced and today was the day to start. The crew removed all of the old fence and have set the steel posts for the new fence. The posts looks quite sturdy; we only need them to last about 20 years and after that...who cares? If I'm still around I will be 95 and would care less if the posts had failed.

Our back fence kept us from seeing quite a bit. Now that it is gone we can see the foothills and the 5 acres of brown grass that was directly behind us. We feel kind of naked without that fence...but the new one will be in place tomorrow.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


We have made it to Eugene OR, the home of the Ducks. It took us about 8 hours, including a great brunch in Dunsmuir CA. (Cornerstone Bakery & CafeThe weather was perfect and the traffic was light; and we were in no hurry. We have rented a Chrysler van and the one we have is a 2015 model with all of the gadgets and electronics. I had to get used to driving a full sized car after driving my little Scion Xb.

The one thing that the van lacked was a GPS unit and so we depended on Google Maps to get us to the hotel; that was a mistake. All of the commands to 'Turn Left' or 'Turn Right' were given right at the intersection and if we were in the wrong lane, which we were, it was impossible to make the turn so we would have find a place to make a U-turn and try it again. Over and over. But we are here now and will be traveling to Manzanita OR tomorrow, a simple 3 hour trip. Then it will be 3 restful days of reading, painting, walking and napping before we drive south to Florence...for another 3 days of the same.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Getting ready

We're taking off on Thursday morning for a 13 day trip down the Oregon coast. We're driving up to the top of Oregon; think Astoria, and then we will make our way down the coast, staying at 3 different houses along the way. My sister and brother in law are on their way to join us. They are driving from Arizona and once they make it to Sacramento they will park their car and pick up the Dodge van rental that we will use for the trip. We want to be comfortable on this trip. They will arrive at our house on Wednesday and we will make the first leg to Eugene in about 6.5 hours.

Back in the day...when I was young and stupid, I would drive for as long as I could. An 18 hour trip was normal for me. I would stop for gas and toilets and then back on the road. I'm surprised now that I wasn't served with divorce papers after a couple of those trips. But, she's still with me...

I was back in the balance lab today, doing workouts in the Balance Master. And they are workouts! The floor moves and walls slide back and forth and up and down while you try to keep an image, representing you, in the square center of the video screen in front of you. I'm actually getting better at it and that's encouraging. Even so, I bought a nice walking stick for our trip. Going through the crowd at the local farmers market a few weeks ago I suddenly felt 'tippy' because of the proximity of moving people all around me. The cane/walking stick is insurance for me.

The drought continues to take a toll. I've lost two birch trees so far and I have 4 more that are looking sad. The front lawn is slowly growing brown and by the end of summer it will be an exact copy of the  back lawn; already brown and lifeless. I'm really quite happy to see the lawns go as we have plans to landscape with plants that actually belong in this climate. Lawns (meadows) don't have a place here in the arid valley. Meadows (and birch trees) are found up in the high country, surrounded by big timber and not shopping centers.

Tomorrow I have to make sure I have enough sketch pads and watercolor paper for the trip. And I need to make sure I have an empty 'jump drive' for the photos I will be taking.

Ah, Oregon! Where it's green...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I've been profiled...

I was recently interviewed for our local Art Association's newsletter. It was an interesting process as I had never been 'interviewed' before. The interviewer was an artist as well and it was easy to answer the questions she gave me. After awhile I forgot that she was doing a job and I was disappointed that she had to go. The articles are published once a month and the subject is chosen by whether or not you say 'yes' when cornered by the writer. And she likes to interview people that live close by. I live less than a mile away so I was a prime candidate to be interviewed.

I copied and pasted this article out of the newsletter, but since I am the subject, I don't think there will be any problems with copyrights.

Member Profile

Featured Member Profile

Steve Dunn, pictured in his well-organized and spacious studio with tabletops he built to his own height. He began in carpentry and construction, but devotes full-time to painting now.

Steve is a long-time member of the Tuesday morning watercolor group. He's not just the only man but the only one working abstractly and with acrylic. This is a lively bunch, and he enjoys the comradery and exchanges. For instance, his random line of white oil on a black ground brought a comment likening it to the P-Wave or cardial pulse. Steve ran with that idea, repeating it over and over. The finished piece is called "P-Wave."

It's obvious that Steve is in love with surfaces as he renders oil pastel on cardboard or masonite and watercolor on "Yupo" paper for extremely fluid washes. Steve is primarily self-taught through videos and information on the internet. He strives toward abstract expressionism with great excitement in exploring the interior of the individual. He often has three or four canvases going at once, setting them aside to reevaluate later. His paintings begin with just making marks or color layers and from there he rides the intuitive process.

Steve is currently inspired by the works of Mary Heilmann and Anna Barne. Both painters
are worth a look if you love glacial planes of color that intersect and lead into geometric
corridors and beyond. Steve's work really takes off at this point because as he admits, "All artists steal and then make it their own."  His attitude toward painting is simply. . . "This is what I do."

Friday, June 5, 2015

My dizzy past.

In my previous post I talked about the periods of dizziness that I have been experiencing. That post set my memory in motion and I remember the many times I worked up high. We used to install the 'skin' on high rise buildings. That skin was made up of structural steel and a finish material of some kind; plaster or synthetic plaster. They would weigh around 400 pounds; some much larger and much heavier. We used an electric hoist that had enough counterweights on it to keep it from toppling over the edge when we began to lift the panel from the trailer on the ground. To begin hoisting we would take the safety cables down so that we could push the hoist out far enough to drop the hook and 'headache ball down to the waiting crew. Standing on the edge of the building with no safety cables to keep you from falling 20 or 30 stories is no place for a person with balance problems...but that was 30 years ago and my balance was fine.

Or the time when we were finishing up the Harrah's Hotel expansion in Reno and the elevator installers wanted to show me what work was necessary around the elevator lobby door on each floor; all 24 floors. I assumed that we would get in the elevator and stop at each floor to look. But no, we were going to stand on top of the elevator car and go from floor to floor and look from inside the shaft. Macho me, I wasn't going to say no so I stepped onto the elevator with the two mechanics. It was a small elevator, about 6' x6' with nothing to hold onto. In fact; right in front of me and at the center of the car were the lifting cables. They were always moving as the car ascended. I was told to be sure I didn't touch them. There was a 40 watt light bulb that didn't do much to disperse the darkness that surrounded us. Then I sensed rather than viewed the presence of the other elevators in that shaft. They whispered by us at very fast rate. We were climbing at what was called Inspection Speed while the other elevators were moving at their normal High Speed and that was aptly named.
We stopped at each floor and I would nervously make my way across the top of the car to look at the work. Then on to the next floor. With High Speed elevators on both sides of us, going about their business. When we reached the top I told them that I had some business to do on that floor and so I would have to miss the trip back down. But, thanks anyway.

I miss me....

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I've been having some balance problems lately and that's one of the reasons I've spent some hours at Enloe Rehab. My balance problems have been minor so far, a stutter step to keep myself from falling and I'm fine. I might turn my head and have to correct my balance. No big thing but I remember when my Nana fell and broke her hip and I don't want that to happen. A strong and vibrant woman was dead within a few months.

They have a balance lab at the center and I had my first appointment last afternoon. After a 'dizzying' round  of simple tests I was put into the Balance Machine, a computer driven device to measure your balance in varying conditions. You have to put a safety harness on that connects you to a support above you; this keeps you from falling out onto the floor. Just in case, mind you. I climbed in and went through 4 tests and repeated them once more. I didn't fall out and the computer generated a printout of my activities. I'm below average for my age as far as balance goes. But...I now have been given exercises to strengthen my balance. And all of this wonderful help comes from Medicare (and my insurance to pick up where Medicare leaves off). This is what every citizen should have; help when needed. No insurance and you fell and broke your hip? You have no insurance? Now the state picks up the very expensive tab when preventive help could have saved this person.

Tomorrow I go to see my neurologist for further input on my Mononeuropathy. I'm just guessing but I think it's the compression I see on the nerve as it exits the spinal column at L5. And that would require surgery to correct it. I really don't want to do that again. And I think I can live with it for awhile yet.

There's a severe thunderstorm brewing and moving toward us. I'm using Weather Underground and the Wunder map to watch the size and movement. It says 'rain in 5 minutes'. There are some drops on the windows but not enough to wash the car. Okay! big drops now and the windows are covered with them. The window we had cleaned for us about two weeks ago. Now we hear thunder and I saw some lightning. Now that we live in the new California desert we are fascinated by any water falling from the sky.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


I was reading a fascinating story about a 'troll farm located in St. Petersburg Russia. Here's the link to the article... http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html

 After reading it I decided to take a look at the 'audience' for my blog. You can find it on the Stats page under Audience. Here are the numbers for each country.

United States
Czech Republic
United Kingdom

Over the years I had seen these numbers before and wondered why Eastern European countries would even show up as members of my Audience. I had shrugged it off and never thought about it again...until today.