Sunday, August 6, 2017

Memory Monday

“Relationships don't always make sense. Especially from the outside” 
― Sarah Dessen,


   At my last memory  I was telling of my first year to teach and my relationship with Dick, future husband.  He has now been transferred to Stead Airforce Base, Reno, Nevada.  Stead no longer exists; it was a small base near the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The main purpose of Stead was for  survival military training and helicopter training.   The guys were taken out into the mountains and dropped and had to make their way back to base.  Because of his college major, Dick is, as he would later say, "flying a large metal desk".  He was in finance working in an office on base.
An aerial view of Stead AFB Reno, Nevada
We are writing to each other pretty frequently.  It is now spring and he writes ..."why don't I come out to Reno instead of  signing a contract to teach again in NKC for the following year." My response back is "Is this a proposition or a proposal???" I wasn't about to go running out there if he was just lonely and wanting company!  He counters with...A Proposal!  I declined the offer for the next year of teaching and made plans to go to Reno...I had a car and my faithful German Shepherd   Dagmar (who is huge by now) so what could go wrong?

At this time, neither of us had met each others' families, outside of Cousin Bonnie whom I introduced in an earlier memory who taught right across the hall from me.  So I was quite surprised to get a letter from Dick's mom, inviting me to dinner on a Sunday out to their farm.  They were farmers, residing north east of Kansas City by about an hour and a half.  The nearest town to them was Bogard, Missouri, a small rural town where Dick had gone to school, graduating with a class of 12!  I accepted the invitation and received another letter with directions on how to get there.  I guess they thought I might not be able to find the place because we made plans for me to meet Dick's brother, Fay in Bogard and I would follow him out there.  The road at that time was not nearly as well maintained as it became in future years.  We wound around on narrow gravel roads,  crossing a one-way bridge, and finally came to their farm...the house set on a hill overlooking the fields and barns
The Harold Dodds' farm
All the way out there following Fay, I am thinking "What in the world am I doing? I don't know any of these people!  What had Dick told them about me?"  But of course my fears were unnecessary; nicer people you could not find.  It was a bit awkward though; my salvation was Dick's little sister, Janice who was 14 years younger than he, only seven at this time.  She wanted me to play games with her and that I could do!  When we sat down to dinner, Dick's dad, Harold, asked me about the price of eggs in the city.  Other than livestock and grain farming, raising chickens to sell eggs was their main business. Well, I had no idea, but I didn't want them to think I wasn't smart about my money so I said my roommate did most of the shopping; I did the cooking and we just split the total grocery expenses.
The Dodds' house many years later after a new owner added a deck on the front.
An aerial view of the farm taken probably in the seventies 
I survived and even found my way back to the city with no harm done!  I guess I got a good report because Bonnie knew all about it by the next day at school!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

An Update!

“Some times things just fall off your plate.” 
― V.K. Springs
     As the saying goes, time flies!  It has been over two weeks since I have blogged.  What have I been doing!! Well, looking back, I have been busy...I've had a couple of friends who have been in need of a little help which I was happy to be able to offer.

                                          

      And I went on a quick trip to Tan-Tar-A Resort on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for a family reunion with my daughters, brother and SIL, niece, nephews, spouses, children and their grandchildren! All in all I think there was 29 of us from about a year old to me....the family Matriarch!
The Venable Clan
The Venable Clan Team Bowlers!
The resort had a small bowling alley on the grounds..so seven of us decided to give it a whirl. My brother was our official score keeper!

I had not bowled in at least thirty years and my score showed it...but what form!!!!  And I could  walk the next day!
Lake of the Ozarks from one of the many decks
"Come play with us!"
The lodge where some of us stayed has these realllllly loooong halls, so my fun daughters and I had images of the hotel in "The Shining" where the twins would appear... and, of course, we had to take a pic!
     When I got home, I started some physical therapy for real...I had only gone a couple of times before we left.  I had been having  a bit of an pain in the butt (I know, that leaves me wide open for jokes!)  I thought I was probably developing some arthritis in my right hip, but my doctor tells me it is my back...so am trying some therapy to improve my condition!  I am all for anything that does not involve surgery! So I am going twice a week with a regime to do at home daily.

My therapy place....five minutes from my house
    And the Monday after we got home, my NTAQ group met for our July meeting. This month's challenge was "The Peasants" by Picasso.

"The Peasants" by Picasso
A group picture of all our challenges from the Picasso...with a little furry consultant!
This was my choice....my challenge is in the middle row on the  left, a small one right above the larger one with diamonds on the top.  I had added buttons for the flowers...the rest of my piece is pretty abstract. One of our goals at our meeting is to critique our art; I wasn't crazy about the overall look and everyone frankly told me the buttons were not adding to it.  And I agreed!!  I just wanted to hear if everyone else felt the same way.  So I have taken the buttons off and am doing French knots in subtle colors....much better look!  I'll post it when I am finished.
     I am also in the midst of my final phase of renovating my condo.  I am having my kitchen floor tiled replaced and having some more cabinets built on a blank wall.  So that has kept me busy picking out tile, granite, backsplash etc.
     And....I am trying to get my "Van Gogh Iris" finished by Monday when it is due to send a virtual entry to Cherrywood Fabrics. I did decided to take the white off and am now in the process of quitting the flower itself....now debating whether I need any more color on it in the way of a border or just keep it black.  Of course, time may be the deciding factor!  If by 11:45PM on July 31, I don't have the colored border on, it will remain as is!
This still has the white border on it...I haven't taken a picture of it with just black background.
And the reasoning I am taking time to blog is that I need a little break from sewing for the sake of my neck....those of you who sew know what I mean. I thought if I started to read something, I might not get back as quickly!
    

Monday, July 10, 2017

Memory Monday

  "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."
--Mark Van Doren


This is My First Art Class!!
     I have taught for one semester and I learned more in that one semester than in four years of college...at least in the field of education...the actually being in front of a classroom.  According to Mark Van Doren, the guy I quoted above, teaching is the art of assisting discovery.  And I'll have to say, as much I was the teacher, all my students were also MY teachers! I discovered knowing the subject matter is not the most important thing in teaching...getting to know your kids, caring about them, inspiring them, the intangible  things, are of equal or even more importance. 
      Teaching was not all I  was doing that year....this was the first time in my life I was living independently.  so I was also learning to be an adult!  Managing money, taking care of an apartment, being responsible for a car, time management, etc.. The only credit card any of us had then was a gas credit card.  Everything else was paid for by check or cash.  Linda, my roommate, was from a small town not far from Kansas City so she would go home pretty often...but then I would be off with my buddy Beth.
           I don't know if this is true of all first year graduates, but Beth and I missed college.  We still had several friends at Mizzou so we would go back every once in awhile, especially during football season. And to get to my hometown in Illinois I would drive through Columbia, home of Mizzou and would often stop by for a break in my five hour drive.  On one of those trips, I stopped at the Coronado Club...you remember that bar stool that went home with me?  Well, now that I was earning my own money, I felt guilty about being such a thief and wanted to pay for the stool. To my surprise the Coronado Club was closed down!  I couldn't seem to find anyone who was part of the ownership.  But at least I tried! (Now don't tell me...the only reason they closed down is because  of my theft! I think they must have bigger losses than one bar stool!)
         Meantime, Dick has graduated from Basic Training at Lackland and has now moved on to Wichita Falls, Texas to Sheppard AFB for continued training before a more permanent post. He came by to visit me on his way through.  This time he had a a car so we didn't have to spend time at the railroad depot!


Sheppard AFB
       I have been searching the want ads to try to find a puppy of my own.  All the dogs we had at home were bird dogs...setters, pointers, hunting dogs, which was ok with me...I loved all dogs.  But I had a particular interest in German Shepherds because of a television show "Rin Tin Tin"! So when I found an ad for one in the KC Star, I had to go see what they had!  The address was not in a very good part of Kansas City so my roommate went with me and a guy friend of hers!  The couple who had the mother were a very young, sweet couple with several small kids and this German Shepherd female who had just had a litter of nine puppies! I could see why they would want to sell them off...their living conditions were far from perfect.  The guy told me the mother and father were both registered with the AKC which I found hard to believe but went along with him.
My adorable German Shepherd puppy!
      I picked out the runt of the litter!  She was so cute!  The first thing I did the next day was to take her to the vet to get her shots and get her checked out.  The only thing wrong with her was that she needed a good bath! I wanted to give her a German name so I christened her Dagmar!  Linda's dog, who was about five, tolerated the invasion of a new puppy in her life, but she made it known that she was the Alpha dog and even though Dagmar grew by leaps and bounds and overtook her in size, Linda's dog still ruled the roost!! And I did send in the papers to see if she was a registered dog, and sure enough, she really was! I was in no position to breed dogs or planned to show her so that didn't mean anything to me so I did go ahead and have her spaded.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Another Blog on Books I Have Read

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” 
― William Styron

    I have read/listened to several really good books lately.  I'll begin with my audio books...


    "The Drop", a Harry Bosch mystery, makes for a good audio...typical detective story that I don't have to  concentrate too hard to enjoy.


   "When She Woke" is your modern or rather futuristic "Scarlet Letter"!  This was an audio, but would probably make for a good read too.  The main character, Hannah,  lives in a time when just about everything is a sin, especially any sexual escapades and the punishments are very harsh! The blurb even describes it as the modern "Scarlet Letter", her lover (I'm not giving anything away...you would figure it out real soon) is even the Reverend Dale..(Dimsdale was Hester's guy).  I give this a five star at least for the audio.  I may have to check out the written version to see if it might be bookclub worthy!


     This also was an audio book which would probably be a good read.  The author, Noah Hawley, is new to me but if any of you are Fargo fans, he is the primary writer/creator of that series.  He also wrote for the tv show "Bones" and many others.  This is not his only novel and, although it was my first, it will not be my last to read by him!  A definite five star suspense!


     We have all read "Gone Girl" so Gillian Flynn will be familiar to you.  "Gone Girl" was actually her third book....this, "Sharp Objects" was her second, and "Dark Places" was her first.  I have read all three now and all are good; she does get better with each writing.  This one is a quick but entertaining read...a real page turner!  Probably a three to four stars.
                                                  

     And my last review is "Day After Night" by Anita Diamond (author of "The Red Tent")...I would give this book six stars if possible!!!  I read it several years ago and loved it then.  As it is my turn to pick the book for my Villas Bookclub this month, I chose this one.  Because it had been so long since I had read it, I thought I better reread it...I loved it again just as much as I did the first time! It is the fictional depiction of a real event, the escape of over 200 "detainees" on October 9, 1945 from the interment camp Atlit in Israel (before the country was established) in 1945 when the British were trying to stanch the flow of Jews from Europe into The Promised Land. I have given you a link to the camp if you wish to read more about it.
     Two of my books, "When She Woke" and "Day After Night" could be examples of what can happen with the wrong people in power...perhaps a lesson to be learned in literature???

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Latest Art Process

“For the great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.”—Vincent van Gogh

     I had blogged earlier about the Cherrywood Fabric contest....this year's being a 20" x 20" art quilt, using primarily four pre-selected Cherrywood Fabrics and inspired by any painting by Vincent Van Gogh.  I had decided to do an Iris, using the technique I learned in the workshop I took at Asilomar from Melinda Bula.
The Morris Iris  

I am doing a large iris from Van Gogh's many pictures of irises. My "model" was a picture taken by a friend of mine, Morris Meador, of one of his irises from his garden. 
My Enlarged  iris
     The first thing I did was to do a line drawing of the iris, then take it to Kinko and get it enlarged.   Then I color coded and numbered the sections with the fabric I was going to use.  And, using colored pencils, I colored one of the three enlargements with colors as close to my fabric as I could find.  Keep in mind that although Morris's iris is a beautiful white and lavender, I had to use specific fabrics..three shade of blue and a black. I am allowed to use other Cherrywood fabrics as long as 75%  of the work is with the selected fabrics.

Swatches of fabric at the top; iris colored with pencils.
     I then took the fabric I was going to use and added Steam a Seam...a fusible paper which is ironed on  to one side of the fabric.  The paper backing is left on temporarily. I had numbered the third enlargement to match the colored one, then cut out all the little pieces and traced them on to the back of the fused fabric.

Traced fabric, ready to cut and place on fabric
     I had traced the enlarge fabric onto a white fabric so it was kind of like putting a puzzle together.

Stage One
Two
Three
Four
     After all the pieces were adhered, I pressed them down permanently, then I carefully cut the whole flower out and placed it on the black background. I haven't attached it permanently yet because I am trying to decide whether I want to use it like this or to add some white around some of the edges.  I am posting both here..with and without a white border.

and Five
With white border
     So I would like you to chime in your opinion before I continue.  The next step will be to fuse the whole iris to the black background, layer it with the batting and backing, stitch/quilt it all together and add the binding.  The Cherrywood challenge is due August first so I have almost a month to finish. This has been a really fun project albeit time consuming.  I think I will probably do more with this technique.  I think I have shown what I started on in the workshop last winter...a landscape which I hope to get back to now that I have used the technique on this piece.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Trip to Arkansas and Missouri

“Not all those who wander are lost.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring
       Last weekend, my daughter Andrea and I took a little road trip.  My granddaughter, Kathleen, who is a student at University of Central Missouri, was having a birthday the following week so we decided to go see her and do a couple of other things in the process.
        First, we spent Friday night in Bentonville, Arkansas.  We had tickets to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit at Crystal Bridges.

A write up about Dale Chihuly at Crystal Bridges
     The link I have given you by clicking on his name will take you to a really great website with lots of information about him, his works, and several pretty cool videos.  I did have to check out the eye patch...he was in a car wreck in England in 1976....he went through the windshield and had a lot  of serious cuts from glass on his face and lost an eye as a result.  I find that ironic that glass is his passion and yet caused him so much pain!
A Chihuly weaving
     Initially he was interested in weaving.  The above piece is a bridge between his weaving and beginning interest in glass.
 A display of his cylinders with Native American  rugs for a background.
  At one time when he lived in the Northwest, he became interested in the Native American Art...the weaving and the basketry.

Red-Orange translucent glass
In taking pictures, I was as fascinated by the reflections of the glass on the wall behind and the surface upon which the glass sits.  The artwork is displayed beautifully!
Amber glass..a couple of pieces hanging on the wall.
     Notice the wonderful reflections on the wall behind the display on the wall.
Yellow translucent glass on a very cool board.
A Series of glass containers and some of the baskets which inspired their shapes.
      On Saturday, we drove up to Warrensburg, Missouri to see Kathleen and take her to lunch.  Then, after we toured the campus and saw her apartment, we went Carrollton, Mo. to visit for a bit with my Mother-in-law/Andrea's Grandmother who turned 98 this past May!  As Kathleen was free that afternoon, she went with us. We visited for a couple of hours, took Kathleen back to UCM and drove back to  Bentonville where we spent the night.
      Sunday morning we went back to Crystal Bridges to see the outdoor  Chihuly exhibit.  It was equally fabulous!







   Back inside, we saw some artwork that had not been at Crystal Bridges the last time we had visited a few months ago.



                    There was a wonderful display of some Andy Warhol works..his animal prints.



  There is a Frank Lloyd Wright House that has recently been added to the art work on the Crystal Bridges acreage.  The story of how it was obtained is fascinating.  Then after seeing all we could see, we headed back to Texas.