Saturday, August 22, 2009


This is going to be a short post today (no pictures) because I just got home from the hospital ER a few hours ago. I should be on the mend now but just having to give in to a trip to the ER was enough! I don't like the hospital at all!

It has cheered me to read about everything you all are doing; there is nothing on the television worth watching really. So, you have been my entertainment today. Thanks for the entertainment. Really!

Friday, August 21, 2009






Thursday, August 20, 2009



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

tahnks to you Secret notbooks-wild pages

Just for the heck of it I decided to look up the word "umbrella" in the dictionary, since this group of colorful umbrellas, on the deck of the restaurant next to the beach we were sitting on, caught my eye. At first I thought that they just looked beautiful there; all the different colors opened up against the blue sky and the beautiful green trees. The sounds that emanated from the deck were also quite appealing. I overheard laughter, orders for drinks, food being consumed, children playing, motor boats revving, and dishes and utensils clanging. It sounded like a great party.

Today when I opened up Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary I thumbed down to the word umbrella and read the definition of this word. Now, despite the most obvious meaning (A collapsible shade for protection against weather consisting of fabric stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole) there was a less obscure meaning that seemed to pop out at me.

*Something which covers or embraces [a broad range of elements or factors].

I seem to always find some hidden meaning in what grabs my attention. My friend, Kathy, says that not all things have hidden meaning. Sometimes they are just what they are: an umbrella. But for me, this photo of this group of umbrellas represents something to me that I never quite thought about until today when opening up this dictionary. These umbrellas represent what is happening to me right now in my life.

I soon will be going through radioactive iodine treatment for my thyroid cancer and there are so many unanswered questions, so many thoughts that pop into my head each day. I am grateful for what I have and for what I have been given but I also don't want to (am not READY to) give these up yet. I have done lots of research on thyroid cancer and it seems as though it is "one of the best" (is there such a thing) in terms of treatment options and one of the ones that is most easily treated. Yet, still, there is that nagging worry that comes over me and takes me to "the dark side". It is hard to believe and still feels so unreal when I see the words printed on the page: THYROID CANCER as my diagnosis. I never thought I would get cancer. Well, maybe I did if I really am honest with myself.

My father committed suicide when I was seven and since that time I have been dancing with the thought of death. Certain momentous times in my life would be marred by the fact that "maybe I wouldn't live to see my twenty-first birthday", "maybe I would never get to see my house completed", maybe... Certain phrases I would use such as "my neck is killing me" and when we had our house on the market and no one wanted to buy it we said we would stay because, in reality, we really love it here and couldn't find anything that compared. I remember saying to B: "they'll just have to carry me out of here in a pine box". I wish that I hadn't said or thought these things. Now I wish that I could take them all back because maybe, just maybe, the universe might grant me my wish. I hope not.

I hope now that there is time for me to turn my thought process around. Remember that phrase "Be careful what you wish for"? Well, I never wished for any of this. It was just "a slip of the tongue", just a phrase that I've heard over and over in my past and somehow it got inside MY brain and came out MY mouth. I take all those thoughts and words back now. I hope I didn't make a deal with the devil.

I am going to remain positive throughout this, respond well to the treatment, and live a long, happy, HEALTHY life. There--I said it! These umbrella are proof to me that there is something out there that will embrace and protect me...from the sun, the wind, myself, my negative thinking, from sickness, from just about anything as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other in a steady march toward the future.

Now is all we have really anyway, right? The past and the future don't really exist. Maybe this is all just a dream. If so, I wish that I could wake up right now and feel "like my old self" again. Well, maybe not my OLD self! I wouldn't mind being a bit younger but with the same knowledge that I gained throughout my lifetime. If I can wish for anything that I want, why not wish for all the best, for all the good, for all the health that the universe can give. The universe offers us unlimited opportunities and resources during our lives (and beyond). It's what we do with them that counts. I'm staying under that umbrella! I'm not hiding though; not "covering". I'm "embracing"!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I found this totem pole sitting in a yard on our walk in Tahoe on Saturday. I loved the colors and despite the broken wing on the left-hand side, it made quite a statement in the front of that home.

Totem poles represent family lineage and often mythical or historical incidents and are erected before the houses of Indian tribes of the northwest coast of No. America. They also represent an order of rank; hierarchy.

I'm not sure what this totem represents to the owners of the house but as a sheer statement of sculpture in someones yard, it is quite impressive. For myself, there is always an underlying meaning to what I do, to what I place in my yard, to what I paint or collage. It's not always evident to the eye of those who are looking but for me, that lends an importance to the object too. It is not always about just the appeal of the color or the composition (although that is always important too) but the underlying message that I am trying to convey.

My Aunt once asked me "What were you thinking when you painted this?". I wasn't sure if that was an insult (as in: what WERE you thinking!) or if she just genuinely wanted to know what was going on in my mind and what I was trying to say. To this I say: it is not important what I was trying to say but what YOU get from it when you look at it. It should speak to you in some way. Not all art speaks to everyone.

Years ago my Uncle carved a totem pole and no one in his family wanted it. I raised my hand and said "I'd like it" and so he said "It's yours". This is a far-away shot of the totem pole as it sits in my garden space directly in front of my studio. I often think that it is such a special remembrance of him and his talent but more so, it reminds me of family lineage (albeit probably not mine). I think it would be fun for him to make one that represented our family--where we came from, what we believed in, our historical place on this earth. This sounds like a good theme for some art to me.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Over the weekend our family went to Lake Tahoe on a camping trip. The weather was so incredible; actually COLD! We needed extra blankets at night, sweat shirts and jackets when we woke up, and we had camp fires at night. There is just nothing like a camp fire. There is something mesmerizing about fire isn't there? The stories that have been told over all those campfires must be incredible. Too bad there was someone with a tape recorder at ever campground fire ring. Oh, the stories one could write. Talk about a reality show!

This photo of the B Squared (that's Bill and Bodhi) is taken on Saturday on our walk through the neighborhood. For years Bill worked at Tahoe every summer as the Tree Crew Supervisor for Placer County. He spent probably 6-8 weeks every summer taking down dead trees all over Tahoe when the weather was good and trees could be cut. During the Winter months only trees that fell down and blocked roads were cut up and the people are like vultures over a meal for the trees. Wood is expensive and when it is cut down on County property, it's a free-for-all.

Anyway, this tree is one that Bill cut down when he was working for the county. He actually had to climb this tree to drop it and it was probably 140 feet tall. He has no fear of heights like I do. I guess you couldn't be a tree-trimmer if you did! So, while we were on our walk he pointed it out and my sister and I each took a shot with our cameras. A couple drove by and said out their window "what a great Christmas card". So...Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I did this watercolor of some hollyhocks that were growing in my garden. B is always yelling at me to "cut those things down" because they grow so prolifically here and you could actually consider them a weed of sorts. After all, weeds are just flowers out of place. So, I went out there before the massacre and photographed them and saved them to a disc.

I love to paint with watercolors and colored pencils. I actually did a bit of colored pencil stuff on this down by the wire. It was easier for me to shade such a small area and I could get a variety of colors in there. I get lost in paintings like this. It is fun to actually do representational work because I get to play with shadows and shading to try to make the watercolor look like the photograph. It is not my only way to work but when I want to do representational work, it is fun. Somehow it seems to take the work out of it and my mind just wanders doing what my eyes tell it to do. Does that make sense? Art is hard work. Don't let anyone tell you any different. Lots of the work comes from "thinking".

On another note: today I received a postcard in the mail from a dear friend of mine. She (and probably all of you now too) knows that I collect postcards and that the mailbox is my favorite place to go each day. Well, maybe not EVERY day...some days IKEA draws me or the fabric store. Sometimes even a walk is exciting but they are all coupled with the daily trek to the mailbox.

The postcard I received today has a photo of some gorgeous trees covered with snow. I was going to take a photo of it but the batteries in my camera went dead. So, a description will have to do. Dark blue sky, giant green redwood trees, big billowy snow hanging down on all the branches, and snow on the ground. I is a bit out of season to be receiving a postcard of snow. I did enjoy it however, thinking about what is to come in a few short months and it gave my mind a brief respite from the heat here in California. And the wildfires. Mary Ann: are you OK there? You're not too close to Bonny Doon are you? I hope not! Stay safe.

Anyway, getting back to the postcard: the very BEST part is what the message said:

Dear T,

By the time the snow falls again, you will be feeling good again. The cyclical nature of things...

You have us. We have you. Thank goodness!

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." Ralph Waldo Emerson

(heart) SP

Now--------isn't that the best postcard message you have ever read? How apropos considering what I am going through but you really find out who your friends are at times like these. All it takes is a brief little postcard to really make a person's day. Or month. Or year.! I am that easy!

Thank you Sunny for saving me today. You are a dear special friend. I'll be gone for a few days camping at Lake Tahoe, enjoying my family, the trees, the lake. The food: not so much! No iodine diets suck!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Following Melanie's lead at "Secret Notebooks-Wild Pages" today, I am posting my photos of doors. The first is a wood block print that I did of a red screen door on a garden building.

This sweet red door is on a studio space next to a house in Auburn on Gold Street.

This is Rodney Mott's house. Rodney is an artist and I'm sure you can see that he has plenty of it on his front steps. I wonder what the inside looks like?!

This Auburn Victorian with the picket fence has a great front door too.

Doors aren't just about the front of a house: garages need doors too and here is a great set on another Victorian in Auburn.

Double doors.

Round doors.

And finally, another Auburn Victorian with a red door and a maple tree. Doors are like the jewelry that we wear except that we can't change the "look" daily, depending on what kind of clothes we are wearing or how we are feeling. But, doors also give the viewer a peek into the style of the owner and how "dressy" we want to appear. I think a front door can make or break a house. And, the color of the door is important to me also. I mostly love red doors although I have seen some classy doors in various colors. I wonder what the color choice says about the owners inside? Do you think that color welcomes, invites, says something about the owners? I can't imagine that a door is just a door. To me, there is always a reason why we pick a certain color for our front door. I'm wondering if a plain, undecorated, boring brown door also says something about the owners inside...hmmmmm...maybe?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Starting on Friday I have to eat a low iodine diet until my radioactive tests are complete. It looks like it will be approximately 2-3 weeks before I can resume normal eating patterns (September 6th). I am the kind of person who loves breads and sweets of any kind so I am thinking this is not going to be too easy. I am not allowed to eat any bread products, no milk products, no meats that are packaged or treated in any way with any kind of brine treatment because the salt might be harboring iodine. This is going to be a strictly fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and organic meat diet. Plain and simple. What better time than summer though, to have to be restricted to fresh vegetables and fruits!

Yesterday B went over to visit our friend Bob who is the proprietor of Mighty Fine Farms and sells at our local Farmer's Market on Saturdays. Bob sent me a huge box (this is only a portion of what he sent) of vegetables from his garden--fresh picked that day--and has told B and me that he will supply ALL the veggies that I need while I am going through my treatment. He is the most considerate, generous person I know, always helping others out and will not accept anything in exchange. He told me that I would take away the pleasure he gets from giving if I offered to pay him. I just cannot thank him enough. And, I know that I will be eating all the best stuff for the next few weeks. And, the bonus is that it is grown locally. "Secret Notebooks, Wild Pages" talked awhile back about Locavore (I think that is how it is spelled) and the benefits of eating within so many miles of where you live. This is certainly local. And fresh. And filled with love.

Do you see those flowers there in the vase? Those are from his garden too! Beautiful Dahlias in every color imaginable. Each week he sells out all his flowers. People love fresh flowers. There is something about having them in the house that makes the house feel "complete". I have never grown Dahlias but I know that they require lots of good soil and water. Some of Bob's Dahlias are "dinner plate" variety...literally the size of a large dinner plate.

I am feeling a bit apprehensive about what I am in store for in the next month but I am also quite sure that when love of this kind pours in...there is no stopping the potential of that love and what it is capable of. Don't you agree?

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Waft of mushroom
heavy earth scent
velvety brown fungus.

Haiku by Melanie Dooley

Friday, August 7, 2009


I found beauty in these shadows today. Wabi Sabi images for sure. Some of the best things to look at and enjoy are things that most people just walk past, step on, not take a second glance at. I like to look for the beauty in unusual objects as well as those that stand out. There is beauty in everything.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


It's Thursday. We woke up with the sky all filled with clouds and it has been cold all day. It was a good day for making a big pot of soup, sewing on my treadle sewing machine, and talking on the phone.

In the corner of my bedroom I have a board that has many postcards from friends. I love my postcard collection because it reminds me not only of some of the places that I have not been (and some that I have) but also, it reminds me of some of my friends. On the table in front of all these postcards is a photo of a dear friend of mine who passed away a couple of years ago. She is in the photo with her husband and the photo was done when they first fell in love, way before 1950. It is a sort of altar for Lela Mae. There are things there that she has given me and also a photo of me and her together. It reminds me of all the good times I had with her and I miss her to this day.

This is a picture of my bed and over my bed is the wonderful painting that Lynne Hoppe made for me and sent to me as a surprise. I talked about it a few posts back. Such a wonderful surprise and such wonderful art!

You can click on the last photo to see the crow painting close up. Isn't it wonderful? This crow is backed by copper that has been embossed with a design also. I know that it was originally meant to hang outside where the copper would gracefully age and turn a wonderful verdigris color. But...I cannot stand the thought of it being outside getting ruined by all those clouds, rain, and wind. I have moved it twice now since it came to me. For awhile I had it hanging in the bathroom, watching over my claw foot tub. Now, it is over my bed watching over ME! Looking at this CROW every time I am in my bedroom and knowing that it is watching over me when I am sleeping is very reassuring. Thank you, Lynne, for sending him to me. He is working his magic, that's for sure!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Recently, Willow (of Life at Willow Manor) posted a survey of sorts to see how people felt about commenting on blogs. For me, I feel that it is an integral part of the blog community. If you wanted to just remain anonymous, why bother looking or writing a blog? The purpose, at least for me, is to connect in some sort of a fashion. I'm not saying that we have to be best friends, but commenting allows the blogger to see that they are making an impact. We may not always agree but that is part of just being a human being on the blue marble called earth. We will not always agree with everyone but when we do, it is so rewarding. At least for me.

She has a sentence at the bottom of her blog that says that she doesn't believe in coincidence. Neither do I. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that everything is connected. To wit: the postcard I found in my stash of which I neither remember where or when I found it, but what a statement, right? I truly believe this.

So, consider if you will my abstract depiction of me and how I view this connectedness. While walking at our local airport today I saw these lines painted on the asphalt and suddenly realized that they could represent my views of me and how I connect to everything (blog, world, you name it).

This first photo represents me: a yellow "T". T for Teri, T for tenacious, T for assortment of meanings for T really.

This second photo represents how we are all individuals. We are alone in this world really until we make a connection with others. We have our own ideas and are influenced by others occasionally, but if you are anything like me: once I make up my mind I am pretty much set in my ways.

We're alone then we go in different directions. We make a choice to take a different road occasionally. You can also look at this photo as being the opposite too. You start out separated and then come together with someone with like opinions and tastes.

During our stay here on earth we make connections to nature too. Rocks, leaves: they are all part of the journey. I see lots of connections with other bloggers in regards to nature. Wonderful photos of spiders, hydrangeas, white pumpkins, animals, rain, stones, etc. What an enormous amount of possible items that we can create from and about. Life is loaded with possibilities and the possibilities are endless.

My point in all this, (granted it is very abstract but a point none-the-less), is that we can choose to go it all alone or we can do it together. I would rather make some connections to others and know that there are like-minded people out there who appreciate all that I see each and every day. And, not always what I see is what others see but I am willing to learn and be exposed to other's ideas and thoughts. I am fifty-plus years old and I am never going to stop learning. In fact, I look to learn something new each day and am excited when I make that connection with others. Thanks Willow, for opening it up for discussion and thank you for opening my mind to other possibilities too. Like the guy holding the card says: the point is to know it and understand it. Knowing is easier than understanding but I am here to learn.

Sunday, August 2, 2009



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