Tuesday, November 03, 2009


An environmental television program was so shocking to me that I immediately changed the way I dealt with the plastic in my life.

Before seeing this program I had a huge collection of both paper and plastic bags. I had taken plastic bags to the recycle bins some stores provide. I had started to opt out of some plastic bags when my purchases were easily manageable, joking that I was ‘saving little plastic men’. Now I refuse all new plastic bags when I shop with the exception of the produce bags for small multiple items like green beans or bulk goods. I am reusing my collection of plastic and paper bags until they are unusable. They will then go to the recycle bin. When the collection is depleted I will sew up some bags or make some out of used newspaper. See how here: Ro's Newspaper Bag Project

I have also become more aware of how plastic goes into my garbage cans. I will rinse out a plastic milk carton and use it to collect all the different bits of plastic that I once tossed away without a thought; the strips that are torn off lunchmeat packages, used ziploc bags, used plastic wrap, or I might corral all the days plastic in a used ziploc or empty plastic peanut butter jar, I also try to use storage containers (I have been a huge ziploc bag fan for a long time) more for leftovers and such, you get the idea. I have also stopped using plastic straws and bottled water.

When I refuse plastic bags now, I say, “I am trying to save our world one plastic bag at a time. Everyone can help in some small way. Perhaps the following facts from an environmental blog that I found will have you thinking twice about the plastic in your life.

Environmental Impact of Plastic Bags

More and more people around the world are becoming aware of the environmental issues surrounding plastic bags. Considering their somewhat placid appearance, the impact of plastic bags on the environment can be devastating. Here are some facts about the environmental impact of plastic bags:

  • Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistaken them for food
    The manufacture of plastic bags add tons of carbon emissions into the air annually
  • In the UK, banning plastic bags would be the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the roads each year
    Between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year
  • Approximately 60 - 100 million barrels of oil are required to make the world’s plastic bags each year
  • Most plastic bags take over 400 years to biodegrade. Some figures indicate that plastic bags could take over 1000 years to break down. (I guess nobody will live long enough to find out!). This means not one plastic bag has ever naturally biodegraded.
  • China uses around 3 billion plastic bags each day!
  • In the UK, each person uses around 220 plastic bags each year
    Around 500,000 plastic bags are collected during Clean Up Australia Day each year. Clean Up Australia Day is a nationwide initiative to get as many members of the public to get out and pick up litter from their local areas. Unfortunately, each year in Australia approximately 50 million plastic bags end up as litter.

Fortunately, some governments around the world are taking the initiative to deal with the environmental impact of plastic bags by either banning plastic bags or discouraging their usage.

Perhaps you have some ideas on how we can help the world's plastic bag and garbage problem.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Strong Life Test for Women

My results:


Not surprised by my results.

Monday, September 14, 2009



I was housecleaning my Email when I came across a thoughtful observation I had made to someone a while back. I have followed and admired this popular blogger for most of my blogging history. She certainly didn't need my advice, I was agreeing with hers when I posted the following parable.

"If you want visitors you have to answer the door, invite them in and entertain them. Devoted fans dwindle fast when you stop opening your door."

It has occurred to me that my blogging behavior is much like my life. I often don't answer my door (lots of good excuses, no good reason), seldom invite anyone in ( ) and therefor I don't have to worry about entertaining anyone.

I have been avoiding blogging and pretty much my life. Just wanted you to know.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Last Landscaping Chapter


I enjoy seeing 'before and afters'. You've shown me yours, and now, I'm showing you mine.

The process was fascinating and worth getting up at such an early hour (Early for me, since my usual bedtime is around four am). I didn't get up because the noise bothered me, but because I couldn't stand to miss something.
As you saw in the last post, the lawn was removed and the reusable rocks were gathered onto landscape fabric. Plants that would be replanted were put in pots.

My precious tree was pulled out. This I did not watch. The tree was a volunteer that I could see when I was at my kitchen sink. Birds loved it and it was sad to see them come back, sit on the fence and look quizzically in the direction of where the tree had been.

Also, on the same note, I watched the lizard that lived in the rock wall in back frantically scurrying around after his home had been disassembled. Yesterday I woke up to a bird in our living room, later in the afternoon we caught a cricket inside the house, and last night we chased a tiny mouse, without catching it, all over the house. We believe all this is happening as a result of the destruction of their homes and of our doors having been opened so often the past two and a half weeks.

And then the potty was delivered!
An area for the patio is graded and the foundation for a section of it is painstakingly built up.

At the same time the rock retaining wall along the golf course is deconstructed, graded, landscape fabric laid and the rock wall reconstructed. It was a weeding nightmare without the fabric. Plus, gophers were having a party with the lizard there.

The pavers are laid making the porch wider and more usable. Monday a handyman is coming over to start work on putting a sliding patio door in where the window visible in the picture is. Then we will have better access to our more usable porch and new patio.

The dry creek bed is shaped. The boulders are carefully maneuvered into place with difficulty and my guidance. Then it is filled in with river rocks. I spent some time after the workers left and on the weekends rearranging rocks so they look more natural and will continue to do so.
A Red Sunset Maple and a small broom are planted.
A white, fragrant Lemoine lilac and yellow daylilies are planted beside a couple of dinasaur eggs.
The back is complete.
Our lavender lilac is replanted to the opposite side of the porch to screen the porch and a mugo pine is planted to screen the neighbors utility boxes.
Hostas are planted in the continually shaded area under the front entry because I love them!
Hostas are planted in the continually shady area under the front entry because I love them.
A juniper and some lambs ears are added to the front plantings and then the small river rocks. And then, TA DAH!!
The landscape project is completed. The landscapers think there should be more plants in the front. I have always been a rock freak and like the serenity of the expanse of all the rocks. I also, don't want to obscure the view or use more water. After all, we live in the desert.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Xeriscaping our yard

(In a small space, anyway!)

It isn't easily discernible, but, the front yard is peppered with piles of dirt created by gophers as they tunneled their way under our lawn. The lawn is that lovely shade of yellow because our sprinkler system has been messed up since fall.
The weeds are a result of......well.....neglect.....pure, lazy and shameful neglect. Why are most of them so green and healthy?

This is our porch, which we never use because there is no direct access to it. It is really the only area of our yard where we can create a pleasant, private area to use. We seldom sit on the front porch which is on the north side, and in 4 and a half years we have sat on the tiny back patio maybe twice. The patio is on the golf course and also the south side. So, even if we were willing to dodge the golf balls, the sun makes it uncomfortable to use. So, we hope to address it all with pavers and xeriscaping.

I created several plans. I obsessed. We visited several landscapers. I obsessed. When we recovered from the bids we were given, we selected one. I obsessed. I am still obsessing. So many decisions. I obsess over every single one, then worry I may have made the wrong decision. At the same time I am chanting that it is all going to work out perfectly. I'm talking dogs and new tricks here now.

Work began quite unexpectantly Monday. I will explain and post pictures soon.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Yes, I dropped a quart of cream, the top flew off and coated my shirt, created a waterfall of cream dripping down the side of the cupboard and created a white pond on the vinyl floor.

I was attempting to distract myself from the project I was working on by fixing myself another cup of coffee. I figure that the spillage was an unpleasant reminder that I had limited myself to one cup of coffee a day.

So, I came in here to check my email instead and found out I had a new comment on my blog from z. Thrilled, I went to my blog to read it and decided to post. So, in the end I have distracted myself from my project as well as avoided extra cream calories!

The project I am distracting myself from is xeriscaping our yard. I must make a decision as to which landscaper we should have do the project. Since deciding to buy a sofa that turned out to be more uncomfortable than a bed of nails, I haven't had much confidence in my ability to make decisions. I have it nailed down to two. Any suggestions on how to make this expensive decision?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Miss Me?

What's Up?
I have been thoroughly depressed about using a computer since returning from our trip to Seattle last month. I was looking forward to blogging about our trip when I turned on the laptop computer for the first time in over a week, clicked on Bookmarks, and there were none. Tried our main computer. Same thing. I have been pulling out my hair since then.

While working on it today I noticed that I only have 8 more posts until my 100th. You know, the one where you post 100 things about yourself. If I post this,it will only be 7!!

I am in the process of making positive changes.

Friday, January 30, 2009


I just watched this video on beth's blog and think it is so fascinating that I wanted everyone to see it. http://callibeth.blogspot.com/ (Schroll down and click on the January 29 U Tube post) How'd they do that?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

z at http:razorbladeoflife.blogspot.com generously assigned me the letter S. I couldn't believe my luck. I couldn't wait to follow the meme instructions which are.......

You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it on your blog.Then people leave comments on your post and you assign them letters and the cycle begins once more.

Letter S.

1. I love the letter itself. S is so spindly, spirally, sassy, smooth and need I say sexy (I'll probably say that a lot in this meme).

2. I love the letter S so much that the name of my first born, who I love, begins with the letter S and who was born in San Diego, a city I love and that also begins with the letter S. Those who know S will agree that she is a a sensational ray of sunshine.

3. I love my son. He is simply sterling, amazingly talented and skill full at putting things together and solving problems. Supportive, sentimental , straightforward and sensitive.

4. I love my spouse. Such a smart, selfless, sharing, successful, sound man of substance. He is occassionally; somber, silent, sometimes silly and always super sexy.

5. The first word that came to mind when I read that z had given me the letter S was succulent. I love the word and use it a lot when appropriate, like when I encounter foods like succulent crab, chicken, pork; things that are so tasty and juicy that you want to suck them into your mouth until you explode. Savory is another delightful taste sensation that I love; savory sauces, seasonings and spices that bring ordinary ingredients to a higher level of sumptuousness. It is all quite sensual if you ask me. So sensual that some succeed to the level of orgasmic. I know that doesn't start with an S, but it brings us to......

6. I love sex. Get that surprised look off your face. I know you were expecting it. Start with someone special whispering sweet words in your ear, then, softly touching your bare skin with the tips of their fingers. Lips softly skimming the point of your nose, your cheeks and perhaps your chin and forehead before succumbing to the hungry desire to connect with the succulence of your lips. Soon buttons and zippers will be impatiently maneuvered off and more serious touching and kissing starting. The skillful savoring of lips on your sensitive places can take you to another succulent level, where supple hands might start suggesting secluded islands where satisfaction can be found with a silky stand of splendid attention. (That was purely gratuitous!)

7. I love smooth silky stationery. Until I started blogging, I constantly filled marvelous journals of smooth and creamy paper, with wide lines (that are preferably not harsh black), with all kinds of thoughts and plans. And I would usually write with a fountain pen and a lovely color of ink to suit my mood.

8. I love to shop. For me that doesn't mean that I love to spend money. On the contrary, I love to save money when I patiently wait for something that I want or need to go on sale.

9. I loved the book "Sophie's Choice" as well as the movie starring the spellbinding Ms Streep.

10. I love spellcheck.

There are my favorite S's. What a lovely letter to be assigned. Thank you z. If anyone else wants to be assigned a letter, let me know.

January 24, 2009 2:03PM

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, painter of American landscapes, dies at 91


Andrew Wyeth's 1948 painting "Christina's World."

I am deeply saddened by this news. For many decades I have been a fan. Over a decade ago I first visited the Brandywine Museum in Pennsylvania where I was emotionally overwhelmed by Andrew Wyeth's temperas and watercolors. Since then I have imagined myself meeting him there, perhaps sitting on a bench watching the Brandywine River float by, and having him mentor and admire my own work. Now, that dream has died.

By Mark Feeney
Globe Staff / January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, whose evocations of a timeless rural present along the Maine coast and in Pennsylvania farm country made him America's most popular living artist and whose 1948 painting "Christina's World" became one of the most famous artworks of the 20th century, died today.

Wyeth, who was 91, died in his sleep in his home in Chadds Ford, Pa., after a brief illness, the Brandywine River Museum said in a statement.
Perhaps no American painter has ever had as strong a hold on the popular imagination as Mr. Wyeth did over the course of his seven-decade career. As the critic Brian O'Doherty once noted, "Wyeth communicates with his audience, numbered in millions, with an ease and fluency that amounts to a kind of genius."
One mark of Mr. Wyeth's special status is how often he was summoned to the White House. He was the first artist to receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1963. Richard Nixon held an exhibition of his paintings and dinner in his honor in 1970. In 1990, he was the first artist to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. President George H.W. Bush, presenting the award, noted that Mr. Wyeth's work "caught the heart of America."
Yet Mr. Wyeth's popularity never translated into critical acclaim. Although rarely dismissed outright, Mr. Wyeth was seen as a peripheral figure, at best, and an artistic anachronism. "They are just sort of colored drawings," the critic Hilton Kramer once wrote of Mr. Wyeth's paintings, "illustrated dreams that enable people who don't like art to fantasize about not living in the twentieth century."
Mr. Wyeth's shaky standing with the art establishment was underscored in 1986 when it was revealed he had spent 15 years secretly painting a neighbor, Helga Testorf. News of "the Helga Paintings" made the covers of both Time and Newsweek. Time's art critic, Robert Hughes, voiced the art-world consensus when he mocked "the great Helga hype" and dismissed the resulting exhibition of the artworks as "an avalanche of Styrofoam and saccharin."
Mr. Wyeth was the most famous member of one of America's most renowned artistic families: His father, N.C. Wyeth was a noted muralist and book illustrator; his son, Jamie, is a highly regarded realist painter.
Jamie Wyeth once likened his father's work to that of the poet Robert Frost. "At one level, it's all snowy woods and stone walls. At another, it's terrifying. He exists at both levels. He is a very odd painter."
Much of that oddness had to do with a kind of self-imposed mutedness: of tonality, emotion, subject. Mr. Wyeth once described his approach to art as "seeing a lot in nothing." There is a sense of almost-palpable restraint to his work, of a sought-after narrowing of visual possibility.

That narrowing begins with locale. All of his work is set in the vicinity of two places: Chadds Ford, where Mr. Wyeth was born, grew up, and as an adult lived seven months of the year; and Cushing, Maine, where for most of his life he summered. (Mr. Wyeth later moved nearby, to Benner Island.) Other than a trip to France and England in 1977, he never left the United States, and only rarely did he venture beyond "Wyeth country" at home.
Your favorite Andrew Wyeth painting?
Mr. Wyeth painted in a consistently dry, austere style. Starting in the 1940s, he preferred to paint in tempera, a process that suspends pigments in egg yolk rather than oil. Tempera, he once said, allowed him to avoid painting "a picture that looks like a painting. People who like the paint surface don't understand what I'm doing."
There was nothing excessive or inessential in Mr. Wyeth's work. He strove for an almost-mannered simplicity. The mythic emerges from the specific in his work. "I've often said, ‘If I was really good, I could have done the field in "Christina's World" without her in there.' The less you have in a subject, the better the picture is, really."
In form as well as content, Mr. Wyeth's painting is unemphatic, uninflected, even-toned. "My work is very subdued in color," he said in a 1997 interview with CBS' "Sunday Morning," noting his fondness for earth tones. Both visually and spiritually, his temperas and watercolors are the painterly equivalent of sepia-toned photography: His barns and fields and no-tech interiors provide a pre-patinated sense of the past.
This pairing of ostensible contemporaneity with seeming distance in time helps account for the unsettling quality Mr. Wyeth's work can often possess. The Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko once remarked, "Wyeth is about the pursuit of strangeness."
Rothko added, however, Mr. Wyeth "is not whole as [Edward] Hopper is whole." The comparison was not gratuituous. In its prevailing air of human isolation, Mr. Wyeth's work bears an obvious kinship to that of Hopper, who was a friend. Hopper is one of three artists whose work can be seen as, in a sense, triangulating with Mr. Wyeth's. The others are Winslow Homer, with his restrained palette; and Norman Rockwell, with his easy accessibility and tendency to nostalgize.
Such an anomalous group suggests how difficult it can be to assess Mr. Wyeth's work. It's notable that the owner of "Christina's World" is New York's Museum of Modern Art, the most influential institution in the 20th-century art world. As for Mr. Wyeth's allegiance to representation (and not an especially innovative form of representation), he once declared, "I'm a pure abstractionist in my thought."
The youngest of five children, Andrew Newell Wyeth was born on July 12, 1917, in Chadds Ford. His parents were Newell Converse Wyeth and Carolyn (Bockius) Wyeth. His father had moved to Chadds Ford to work with the celebrated illustrator Howard Pyle.

A frail child, Mr. Wyeth left school just two weeks into first grade. He received the rest of his education at home. Mr. Wyeth's art teacher was his father, and he'd spend hours drawing and doing watercolors. "I played alone, and wandered a great deal over the hills, painting watercolors that literally exploded, slapdash over my pages, and drew in pencil or pen and ink in a wild and undisciplined manner," he said in a 1976 interview with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Thomas Hoving.
American artist Andrew Wyeth's paintings
The Wyeth family spent their summers in Needham, where N.C. Wyeth had been born. They began to go to Port Clyde, Maine, when Mr. Wyeth was 10. Mr. Wyeth once described the look of Maine as "all dried bones and dessicated sinews." In 1998, the Farnsworth Center for the Wyeth Family in Maine opened at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.
Specializing in watercolors and landscapes, Mr. Wyeth had his his first one-man exhibition in 1937, when he was 20. He met Betsy Merle James on his birthday, in 1939. They married a year later. That same day in 1939, she introduced Mr. Wyeth to her friend, Christina Olson.
Along with her brother, Alvaro, Olson would become one of Mr. Wyeth's favorite models. Their Pennsylvania counterparts were a farming couple, Karl and Anna Kuerner.
Mr. Wyeth's painting of Christina Olson, unable to walk because of a childhood bout with polio, crawling through the fields toward her 18th-century farmhouse, would sell for $1,800 and become one of the most reproduced images of the last century. Now the property of the Farnsworth Museum, the Olson farm was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It's the only site placed on the list for being the subject of an artwork.
The death of Mr. Wyeth's father, in an automobile accident in 1945, marked a major personal and professional transition in his life. "When he died, I was just a clever watercolorist — lots of swish and swash," Mr. Wyeth said in a 1965 Life magazine interview. "I had always had this great emotion toward the landscape, and so, with his death ... the landscape took on a meaning — the quality of him."
One of Mr. Wyeth's best-known images is "Winter 1946," a tempera showing a boy racing down a hill. On the other side of that hill was the railroad crossing where his father had died.
Mr. Wyeth had always been intensely private, which made the brouhaha surrounding the paintings of Testorf all the more striking. Not even Betsy Wyeth had known of their existence. Asked what they were about, she gave a one-word answer, "Love." Was her answer born of jealousy — or calculation? That answer, combined with Wyeth's secretiveness and Testorf's ripely Nordic sensuality, lent a not-so-faint whiff of sexual scandal to the news.
Mr. Wyeth sold 240 renderings of Testorf in 1986 to a Pennsylvania businessman for $6 million. In 1990, the businessman sold the paintings for an estimated $45 million.
"What the Helga?" a 1986 New Republic headline asked. The next year, the paintings began a lengthy museum tour, including a stop at the Museum of Fine Arts, in 1988. It opened at the National Gallery, in Washington, where Mr. Wyeth became the first living American artist to have an exhibition. In 1980, he had become the first living American artist to have an exhibition at London's Royal Academy.
Mr. Wyeth received the gold medal for painting of the National Institute for Arts and Letters in 1965. In 1977, he became the first American painter since John Singer Sargent to be inducted into the French Academy of Fine Arts. President George W. Bush awarded him the National Arts Medal in 2007.
"All I can say at the end of my life is that painting has been my one interest, nothing else but art," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1997.
In addition to his wife and son Jamie, Mr. Wyeth leaves another son, Nicholas, an art dealer, of Cushing; and a granddaughter.
Funeral plans were not immediately announced.