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Story #4 Being New to Colorado Springs

December 17, 2015

Looking back now, it was a huge thing for us arriving in a new city that we had never seen, knew nothing about. We were a bit overwhelmed. Plus, it was two days before Thanksgiving, and every store was packed, the roads were congested, and we were trying to find grocery stores with our gps. Thank goodness for cell phones with navigation!

Since we were in a Residence Inn in the north end of Colorado Springs, the view was fabulous, and we had a “one bedroom suite”. That meant a small kitchen with pots and pans, silverware, etc. So we found a nice grocery store called Sprouts, and I bought an organic chicken to put in the oven on Thanksgiving. And bought organic avocados for a $1.oo apiece. Carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, Amish butter, and everything we would need for a meal. I felt secure.

On Wednesday, it clouded up, and sure enough, the snow came. The roads were horrible. They don’t plow here! I am not kidding. They just don’t plow, because well, it will melt soon. Oh boy. On Thanksgiving day, there were accidents everywhere! Most people here, aren’t from here. And they don’t always drive well. Lots of accidents all the time, people texting on their cellphones, blabbing on their cellphones, not paying attention. Pow! Bam, crash. People drive fast. The speed limit is 75 on the highway. The Air Force Academy is here. Lots of people on the move. Coming and going. So anyhow, Thursday, as I started to prepare dinner, I went to put the chicken in the oven, and realized I didn’t have an oven! Oh No!!! Damn. Well, plan B. Cut the chicken into quarters, and put it in the Le Creuset on the stove. I was glad I had that pot, and my good kitchen knives. Seared the bird, and put the carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and lemon in the pot instead of in the chicken cavity. Fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and oh yeah! What a good meal. Happy Thanksgiving, with much to be thankful for. A good trip, a new place, a new start.

By Saturday, the sun was out, and the ice and snow melted, like everyone said it would. Ok. Now it was time to start looking for an apartment. We drove around, looking at different neighborhoods. But it seemed so unfamiliar, and so not what we were hoping for. Huge housing developments, condo developments, one after another. Then open space. Then more endless cramped housing. Oceans of rooftops, crammed into developments, homes with no real yards, no landscaping, just families crowded together like sardines. Man, this is not what we had hoped for. A little bit of depression started to set in. One night, I realized that I was seriously bummed, and wondering if we should just get back in the car and move on. I knew that my energy had gotten bad, and I needed to change it.

The next day I got up, and found a place on line that looked different, cool, modern, and not what I was looking for. It might fit the bill. I called, made an appointment, and we went to a part of town that we had not known about. And there it was. Our new home. A one bedroom octagonal apartment. Wow. It was nice. It is built over a garage, which would be ours to use, it had a loft space. It was bright, open, high ceilings, beautiful kitchen. Ok. Can we manage it? Will we pass all the credit checks? Will they take two cats?

Answer, yes. It is ours, and we prepared to moved in. And so our new life begins.

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The Drive. Story #3

December 13, 2015

After a wonderful pizza party at Cathie’s on Friday night, we loaded up our car early Saturday morning. A few things in the car: important papers, a week’s worth of clothes, my Miyabi Knives, a couple of Le Creuset pots, blankets, flashlight, 2 cats in carriers, a litter box and music. Music. Now, I must tell you, that one week before departure date, our car, a 2002 bimmer station wagon (touring), decided it did not want to make this trip. It acted like a spoiled child. Alright then, as we were faced with safety and reliability, this was not good. We researched, talked to our trusted mechanic, and the consensus was, get a new vehicle. Damn! We found that Toyota of Newburgh was our best bet, and we traded in our car, and got a 2012, certified used Toyota Highlander. It was the best move we have made in a while. We did that whole thing in one day. Walked off the lot with every single thing taken care of.  It was officially ours, with the same plates I had from my Toyota pickup truck, and the bimmer. Now, we were ready.

Saturday morning was a beautiful sunny day. We said goodbye to our neighbors, and drove away. It was hard. I couldn’t look back. We cried, and then we just went. Put on some driving music, and off on our adventure. On The Road Again. Remember that one? We played it every morning, first thing, to get into the trip. Canned Heat, 1968! What a great song. The cats knew what that meant. A long day of driving.

So the first day, we only got through Pennsylvania. Driving driving driving. Lots of beautiful fields of green, nice farms, it was pretty. Which was different from NY. NY is beautiful, but was well into the fall season, and past peak leaf time. Pennsylvania was still looking pretty verdant. The cats, Buzzy and Fuzzy, were in their carriers, trying to make sense of it all. Fuzzy, little miss nosey, just curled up and said ok. Buzzy, Mr. Big Stuff, was pitiful. He gets motion sickness, and we had gotten anti nausea  medicine for him. Well, forget it. That didn’t work. He drooled and vomited the whole day. Cried, moaned, and was entirely miserable.

As we got to the eastern side of Pennsylvania, I was driving, and there were quite a few tunnels to go through. These were blasted out of the mountains, so it was really fascinating. We stopped somewhere, as the sun was directly in front of us, setting in the west, right in my line of vision. That was it. Time to stop. And that was how we drove every day. Until we couldn’t see, because of the setting sun.

We snuck the cats into our room, and fortunately they didn’t meow or say anything. They kept quiet, and we covered their carriers with jackets and stuff and put them on a luggage carrier, that we wheeled through the lobbies to our room. What a riot. We felt like thieves.

Day two, we discovered that the music on the radio had a huge effect on the cats. Especially Buzzy. We found that stuff like the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, that kind of stuff soothed the cats. Buzz settled right down once we put on the station with all that old music that I like. America, Michael MacDonald, you know what I mean.  We just zenned. Thank goodness. I will have to write to my vet back in Newburgh, and tell him to forget the medicine. Music is where its at!

Day two, we made it as far as Terre Haute, Indiana. Found a fantastic Mexican Restaurant, and had a wonderful dinner. But oh man, the next morning, my back went out. Yikes. I knew that was a serious digestive problem. I couldn’t even put my socks on. Arghhh. I took a bunch of Advil, and gradually it subsided. Wow. On the Road Again!

Day three, we got about an hour past Kansas City, Missouri. Getting through Kansas City was like driving through Hartford, Conn. times 10. What a road. Exits on the left, on the right, lots of curves, packs of motorcycles taking up lots of lanes, wow. It was intimidating. But that would be our last night on the road. We knew that the next day, Tuesday, was the big push. Make it through Kansas, and into Colorado. Wow. What a concept. We had no idea of what to expect.

Day four, we were ON THE ROAD AGAIN! The cats were a little fussy that morning, but we put on their music and spoke in singsong tones, and they settled in for the long haul. And it was, a long, long haul. Kansas was beautiful for a while, and then came the wind turbines. Oceans of turbines, as far as you could see. And fields, huge farms, big Agriculture farms that send the message of Big Business and corporate money. Unsettling! The grain storage buildings that look like cities. Then came the oil rigs. Then came the monotony. After 2 1/2 hours I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I couldn’t focus, so Terry had to drive again. But we made it. We got to the Colorado line, and hey, wait! It was this little sign, that said, of course, Welcome to Colorado. But it was small, and we just whizzed by and said hey, thats it????? Yup. And the terrain was still the same. How disappointing. No mountains in sight, still flat as hell, but here we are. The clocks didn’t automatically change, and we kept watching to see when in fact, they would change. It took at least an hour. And then we noticed we were ever so gradually going up. It was sneaky. You really didn’t know for sure, but yeah, my ears started popping. We stayed on the highway as far as Limon, and then got off onto route 24. That would save us about two hours. Rather than go to Denver and come down route 25 to Colorado Springs, route 24 cut off lots of time and we saw the real local scenery. Bison farms, prong horned antelope on some ranches, and lots of Black Angus. And so we came to our destination about 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. Colorado Springs. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The Tuesday before the Black Friday Shootings. The Tuesday before the snow and ice storm that hit Colorado Springs on Thanksgiving Day. Well, here we are! Wow! Look at those mountains!

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When the Rain Washes You Clean- story #2

December 5, 2015

The evening that the pod left Newburgh, with all our worldly possessions, we were left wondering. Will our stuff get there ok? Did we do a good job packing? Are we nuts? Are we doing the right thing? Are we really doing this? Well, yes. We have set the wheels in motion, and we are off on an adventure. Right or wrong, this is it.

We were exhausted physically and emotionally. Our wonderful neighbor Cathie, was letting us stay with her until we would pack our car to finally depart. So we went to her house, took showers, and decided to go have a nice dinner out. We deserved it. Not knowing quite where to go, we got in the car and drove to the corner. Which way? I said “turn right and see where the car takes us”. Ahhhh. By mid block, the answer presented itself. The River Grill. A nice restaurant down at the waterfront. Overlooking the Hudson River. How apt. As I said when I left off last time, it had started to rain. Not hard. But how refreshing. It was still rather warm for this time of year, and the rain seemed nice.

We got down to the restaurant, and it was a little crowded. But the waiter took us out onto the deck area, that was now protected with plastic, and had nice tall heaters to keep us warm. It was enchanting. Not crowded out there, and very intimate. We got to watch the barges going up and down the river, the ferry going across to Beacon, and it was just so beautiful. So familiar. Our last time there? As we ordered dinner, then ate and talked, the rain got heavy and wind picked up. There was now a palpable edge. It was exciting. There was a real energy in the air. More rain. More wind. And then, the electricity went out. All up and down the river. Blackness! The other diners and Terry and I drew a collective breath. And then we all started laughing. I know I did. The waiters and the owner of the restaurant came out with candelabras, votives, and any candles they could find. Picture that! It was magical! It was a sign, that all the years we had lived here, invested in this city, was coming to an end. A beautiful end. All the wild energy, the ups and downs over the years, was presenting itself in this storm. It was right. It let us know that we were doing the right thing. A song came to mind. A Fleetwood Mac song. One where Stevie Nicks sings how “when the rain washes you clean you’ll know. You will know”. And I knew. We knew. This was the right thing to do.

We had a wonderful meal. We had a wonderful time in Newburgh. But it had run its course. It was time to go. We left the restaurant in the dark, laughing, and feeling good. Hopeful. Relieved.

Goodnight, Newburgh. Goodnight New York State.

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A New Phase of Life- stories about moving. Story #1.

November 29, 2015

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Today is Sunday. I think. The days sort of blend together these days. I am in a new place, an unfamiliar place. Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is early in the morning, as my system is still on Eastern Standard Time. East coast time. Colorado is 2 hours behind that.
My mind wakes me every morning, because it is churning away with thoughts and stories, and I would like to share some with you. I might jump around a bit with stories, but that can’t be helped.

We have arrived here with some sort of luck. Meaning, that things went our way weather wise, and I take that as a very good omen for the future. When we were loading up our pod, it never rained. We ordered a 16’x 8’x 8′ POD, and gave ourselves 2.5 days to load it. Just the two of us. No professional packers, just my husband and I working incredibly hard. At our age, I’m sixty, and he is 68, we felt we were still able to meet this challenge. And we did. But not without a bunch of Advil every night.
We have not moved in 23 years. So it took us all spring, summer and fall to prepare for this major event; a change of lifestyle. I posted things for sale on Facebook, we had a yard sale. We tried to get new homes for our two cats, to no avail. As fall set in, we realized we were still in the house, and needed to really get on the ball. So we did. We made it happen. The POD company says this size POD holds three rooms of furniture. I’m not really sure about that, but we filled it as best we could. The thing is, easels, art supplies and paintings probably constitute one whole room. That didn’t leave a lot of space for everything else.
The idea of culling all of one’s possessions to fit into a box is a bit overwhelming. Can I save this? What about that? It truly was a difficult thing, and a mind blowing thing. And a liberating thing. My mother had periodically done this as she got older. One needs less and less, and once you embrace that concept, it gets easier to do.
As we got down to our self imposed wire, the weather held out. We packed boxes, we took a lot of stuff to Goodwill. We donated lots of nice furniture, tools and things to The ReStore of Habitat for Humanity. That felt really good. Still good weather. Wow.
The cats were getting really nervous, as their environment changed daily. They needed lots of extra love, and food. So as the house emptied, this move became a reality. There was no turning back. Our direction had changed a few times, and now we were set on Colorado Springs, with reasons I will relate another time. The final days were upon us. The Pod was packed. The POD left. That was a Thursday. The Thursday before Thanksgiving. We hoped to leave on Friday. The schedule says the POD will arrive in Colorado on November 30th.
So, that Thursday, waving goodbye to the last of our possessions, we watched the truck with the big box on the back, the box that had our stuff, head off on its journey.
What a feeling. Overwhelming sadness, excitement, uncertainty; so many emotions were bombarding me simultaneously. It started to rain.

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A beautiful day for……

June 22, 2015

 

It is Monday, June 22nd, 2015.

After a long week of celebrations, my 60th birthday, Father’s day, the Summer Solstice and a visit from my oldest brother who lives in California, today is recovery day. Get back in the groove day. We have had all kinds of crazy weather, but today is high pressure; sunny, hot, and breezy. Just perfect for varnishing paintings from 2013 and 2014, and laundry.

 

 

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New Class

April 23, 2015

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I finally was able to take a class that I had been trying to get into for a long time. Monotype. At the Woodstock School of Art. It was a three day workshop, which was Monday through Wednesday, 9-4 pm. Wow. Long days. I had to leave here by 8 am., to get there for 9. Up the Thruway and then up the mountain.

 

There was a lot of information given, and it can sometimes be an overload. But in this case, the teacher, Kate McGloughlin, had a wonderful way of presenting everything, in her easy but no nonsense way. What a great instructor. What fun. And on top of all that, the other students were brilliant artists, and nice people. Serious and dedicated to the medium. It was a pleasure and a treat to be around such a wonderful bunch of people.

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Rain is Coming

March 8, 2015

Yucatan Rain

Here is a new piece I did since we got back from Celestun, Mexico. This went through a lot of changes before I got it the way I wanted. Stuff happens along the way that you like, but sometimes you have to let that go to achieve your original idea. Sometimes you can go with the flow. I stuck to my idea, and this is it. Loose and colorful.

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Back again.

December 30, 2014

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After all this time, I am back to writing. I do love to write. But I have been writing more emails, in short story style to family and friends. Maybe I should write and not paint. It is a thought.
Or write, paint, take violin lessons and not cook and clean. But wait.
I love to cook. And talk about cooking. And write down recipes I have come up with. And photograph the dishes during the cooking process, and then plated. It is another creative outlet, that satisfies the soul and the stomach. And friends and family. Ah, what to do, what to do?
There is never enough time to do it all, if any.
As I am getting older, turning 60 in 6 months, I need to do better. Health wise. So I am swimming again. We go in the morning, and do laps. Then lunch, and, by the way, what’s for supper? So, where does painting fit in? I have to learn how to manage my time.
I wake up during the night, thinking about all this stuff. That is when things become clear. Because I am processing while I am sleeping. Interesting how the brain works.

So, attached, is the painting of the restaurant that was blocked in at the Open Studios Tour. You see it in the prior post. Well, after all this time, I finished it. It took a while, as there were many interruptions. Like a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. To see if we could really live there. Hmmm.
And, a stress test nightmare. And Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And I sold my truck. AUGGGHHH. Why did I do that? Many reasons.
But here we are, and here is the finished painting. Cafe Macchiato, in Newburgh, NY.
Love that corner, love those curtains! Pure Vermilion. $62.50 per tube. Uh huh.

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Open Studios

October 6, 2014

 

 

This year, 2014, was the most exciting Open Studios for me. This is my fourth year on the tour. We had around 50 people exhibiting this time. The first year we had maybe ten.
I was fortunate to have a space offered to me, so I could be downtown in the walking tour. The last two years I was in my home.
This was much more fun, for two reasons.

First, I was in a twenty two hundred square foot loft space, that was brand new, and in a wonderful old factory building that is being being rehabbed with artists spaces. The owner has his own company in the building, but is allowing a whole wing to be devoted to artists lofts. Very cool.
Secondly, while I had one section of the wide open room, an amazing and very professional photographer used the other area. She was wonderful, and the two shows flowed nicely from one to the other.
I set up my area exactly like my work space at home. I brought easels, a work table, and all of my tools, brushes and a couple of new paintings that I am working on. It is, after all, Open Studios. So why not show people how I work? Look at the pictures. The light coming through the windows was very dramatic, and enhanced the show. Wish I could always bein that room to paint. Wow. That would be amazing.

 


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September 23rd, Autumnal Equinox

September 24, 2014

 

I have been a little lax lately. You know. Uninspired, confused, or distracted. Even sick. Ugh. Allergies. All of the aforementioned.

But I have recovered, and am excited to be showing at Open Studios this coming weekend.

Here are a couple of new paintings I am starting, and one I recently finished.

Come see what’s going on! Sept. 27 and 28. Newburgh Open Studios Tour. 11:00-5:00 both days. Get your map at Newburgh Art Supply. A free walking tour, 50 artists.

 

 

 

 

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