Sunday, December 28, 2014


On Christmas Day we woke up to almost a foot of fresh snow on the ground.  After opening presents and stuffing ourselves on turkey, some of our family adjourned to the yard for snowman construction.

The snow was a little dry and it wouldn’t roll.

The kids took it as a challenge and resorted to stomping the snow down in storage tubs.

They stacked the big hunks up with plenty of decisions on design and engineering.

They went so far as to take some of the snow inside to warm it up enough to use as mortar between the blocks.  Complaints from inside followed.

The snowman grew in size and personality.

 Finished product!

This morning we got up to discover even MORE snow.  Beavis was soon putting our new snow thrower to good use to dig out our driveway.  I’ve drawn a red line around the snow on top of my car so you can see how much had fallen.

 When the guy with the snow plow came by to clear the street we welcomed him with mixed feelings.

 Note the big wall of snow he is leaving across our parking area.

Still, the snow blower took on the drift and sent it high into the air.  When Beavis was through there, he went across the street and plowed out our new neighbors.  They are from Taiwan and haven’t had time to tool up for Idaho weather yet.

Just for fun here is a little animation of what it's like to be inside when Beavis goes by the window with the snow blower.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Our December in Southeast Idaho has been unusually warm.

For quite a while our backyard looked like this.

Then we got this wimpy snow.  It wasn't long before that all melted.

We were all wondering, where's the white stuff?

Yesterday morning we woke up to a BIG storm.
Along with lots of presents, Santa brought us a white Christmas!

A note to Linda Sue from The Elf.
"Where in stinkin' $#!+* Siberia did you send me?!"

Saturday, December 20, 2014


The Virtual Paintout is visiting Rome this month so I went along to see where Google Street View could take me to set up my easel.

Since the cameras stayed mostly on the street there was no looking inside the Vatican or the Sistine Chapel.  But that’s okay because there’s a virtual tour of the chapel which takes a while to load but gives a chance to examine everything there at leisure without the crowds.

 Another disappointment was seeing the Trevi Fountain drained and being renovated. 
A news story by the BBC, related in a very Cumberbatch voice, can be found here.

Still, there were several museums available for virtual tour, mostly filled with lots of marble statues in various stages of undress, and lots of chunks of columns and relics from ancient structures.

No Google Street View car went down the Spanish Steps like cars do in every action movie shot in Rome. 

But I found a great view of the city from the top of the steps which I used to create this painting.

There is also a very thorough tour of The Coliseum.

 So I used one of the halls where a guy was doing a photo shoot as my next subject.
see my location here:

Then I virtually wandered down into the city and noticed an exhibit of Warhol Paintings was on display there.

So my last painting was a driveby of the show posters.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I came across the bicycle rack on campus one morning last April.  Sunlight was streaming through a break between tall buildings and bouncing off all the shiny metal surfaces.

I took a few photos of the little scene and even created a blog post about playing with one of the pictures in Photoshop.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for inspiration for my next painting.

 I remembered the bicycle rack and brought up one of the snapshots for another look.
I decided to try and capture the memory of that sunny spring morning in a painting.

The first big chore was to simplify that very detailed subject and create a value drawing.

 Then I used tracing paper and a felt marker to draw out the edges.

 After a few days and hours I came up with this finished painting.  Still, some of the colors looked a little muddy and others weren’t as intense as I would have liked.

 So back to the drawing board.  Hoping I’d made most of my mistakes the first time I came up with this final version.  I’m calling it, “Bicycle Rack.”  Not very imaginative, perhaps, but I’m sticking to it.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Okay, so it’s been weeks since I've posted something here.  My excuse is the calendar.

 I think one’s attitude has a lot to do with which side of the shopping we are on.  I’ve been trying to have a good attitude but it’s been a challenge.

Along with the aforementioned shopping, there has been the decorating and the gatherings and---well, you know.

 I tried out a new recipe.  A friend was bragging about how wonderful his Christmas Stollen was.  I figured I should learn how to make it since my hubby’s family is mostly Scandinavian.  Besides it gave me a good excuse to break out the yeast and sugar and fill the house with yummy smells.

 Mine looked a lot like this recipe picture except I left out the nuts since I was taking it to a party. I plan to make more, this time with nuts.   I’d never used cardamom spice before but found it a nice change from cinnamon, and recognized the flavor from those lovely Danish pastries I’ve enjoyed.

 Good news:  I’ve been selling a lot of paintings from my Etsy Shop.

 The bad news:  the huge lines at the post office.  Good news:  I’ve had time to read a lot of your blog posts on my phone while standing in those lines. Today I had to stand for quite a while behind a guy whose back pack smelled like a rotted carcass.  The whole place smelled like wet socks and sweat.

One other note.
Our post office has changed their sign with the really bad spelling mistake.

This time, no list; less chances for error.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Once again some of the family wackies participated in the Race to Feed the Hungry Fun Run on Thanksgiving Day.

They paid their money and pinned on their
numbers for the 10k, 5k and one mile run, walk, or get there however, challenge.

 Some of them wondered what they’d been talked into.

 They all seemed excited to have an excuse to act weird in public.

 CindyLooWho got singled out by a local news station for an interview that ended up on television later that day.

 The group participated in the costume competition and gave credit to CindyLooWho for their crocheted turkey hats.

 Winners of the completion won a pie.  We got a LOT of pies.  This may be the first Thanksgiving EVER that we got sick of pie.

A short video of the big warmup.

Finally the three thousand entries lined up and took off.

Off like a herd of turkeys.

 DH and I waited at the finish to cheer them in.  It wasn’t long before we recognized a redhead wearing a turkey hat coming in from the 5k run.

 His sister was not far behind.

 Another brother.  They were easy to spot in the crowd in those hats with the long yellow turkey legs.

 Beavis went by in a blur, finishing the 10k run.

 We got a kick out of watching all kinds of groups with strollers, wheel chairs, and even dogs go by.

 Here comes CindyLooWhoo finishing the 10k.  Yay!!

 A couple of sisters trying to outdo each other in the final sprint.

 Dad and Mom and the youngest Sim.

Last but not least the shortest turkey and his dad.

 We’ve burned off a bunch of calories. Bring on the feast!

Monday, November 24, 2014


Sometimes, when I first wake up, I feel like I’m walking around in a fog.

Weather like this makes even the ordinary appear a little ghostly.

Even the birds look uneasy in the fowl weather. (Did you see what I did there—haha!)

Common trees look like props from a bad horror move and the more I stare the more zombies appear.

Finally the sun begins to break through the mist.

It looks like an evil eye.

A really evil eye.

The clammy air turns the steam from the big potato processing plant into clouds.

With or without fog the concrete plant looks gray and cold. 

Okay, enough dreary. What happens when the fog lifts in California? UCLA!! Have a good Monday.