Heard Around the House

Just some random snippets that stood out in my mind, some of them not that funny, but included anyway because it stuck in my head.


Heavy rain is coming down and the wind is strong, strong enough it seems trees could come down. Deirdre was caught out in the  woods on a walk when the sudden storm came in. Deirdre, soaked, walks into the house. With a huge grin, she says– “That was AMAZING!!!”

A different day, the sky got really dark during the morning and another sudden rainstorm came through:

Titi: “Oh no!! It’s raining, and Deirdre’s stuck in the house!!”

Deirdre stopped doing her math for a bit, and went out onto the porch to watch.

From in the house Dad gave a running commentary on what she was doing: “Now she’s sticking her head in it! I saw her stick her head in it! Should I give her a push??”

Titi: “I think that’s what she’s hoping for!”

Continue reading “Heard Around the House”

Stuck in the Muck of Lethargy

The sky was so beautiful at sundown on my walk today. Such a light, clear blue, and the dark trees at the horizon in stark relief. There were dark clouds that looked like big puffs of smoke suspended in the air–very dark and dramatic. Then an orange and pinkish glow began to seep into the sky near the horizon. It was clear, and fresh, and poignant. Despite the fact that I had missed most of the sunshine today, it was still one last final cool breath that made me feel a little more human.

I felt so listless before going on the walk, trapped in my slothful body. It’s the same old, same old of every day, but some days it’s even worse. It feels impossible for me to make myself do anything, and I hate doing nothing; I feel like I am just suspended in nothingness, and I feel trapped. When I feel that way, going for a walk is a nice escape, and a nice refreshment. But today as the sun sunk lower and lower and it became grayer out, it became harder to get the gumption to go out. To go out looked like a walk into the grayness, and when my mood is gray already, I want something cheerful and inviting. My cousin was here with her baby boy visiting Titi, so I wanted to hang around while she was here, but I wasn’t really conversing with her. Yet even though I wasn’t conversing, it was enough of a strand to keep me in the house.

On my walk, I thought about how my current reactions to the passing glum or helpless feelings I have are so much the same as how I’ve reacted in the past when I was in a much deeper pit of glumness, such as in early 2015 when I was feeling sick, and feeling awful emotionally. It may be on a much smaller scale now, but I still feel a chill when I am reminded of it, as if those bad feelings might come and take over again. And I am reminded that I can’t beat it back by my own willpower. Continue reading “Stuck in the Muck of Lethargy”

Today’s Painting Struggles

This post is a long, detailed one about my struggle with painting a still-life set-up, and since it’s more about the technical aspects of it, I don’t know if anyone (non-painter) would find it interesting to read.  I have had the idea of writing about my art processes for a while, but after working on a painting I tend to be too tired to write about it.

It’s probably pretty boring to read about, but maybe writing about it will help me remember what I’ve learned. I need to get more concise, though, because I’m not going to want to read through a 1,000+ word blog post to remind myself of things I learned. 😛

I think I will re-post it to my art blog. (I started that blog a while back, but haven’t posted much to it. I haven’t got the format how I want it yet, as the picture previews from the posts aren’t working like they should.)

I’ve been bummed about how my artwork practice has been going lately, but today was better.

It’s not that today’s painting attempt was so was so wonderful, but I felt encouraged. I tried a new arrangement which worked a little better, it had more of a variety of colors, and I was able to paint a little more loosely instead of obsessing over each color tone being exactly right. I feel encouraged that I can, eventually, make some progress–I feel like there is a way to get out of the rut. I started to ease out of that rut today.

When I attempt to paint something, I have been feeling like I just don’t know how to do it. What happened to my eager enthusiasm and confidence that I could paint anything? I used to feel that as long as there was good lighting, I could paint anything. All I had to do was look at the color tones, mix up those colors and I was good to go. (This may be my selective memory.) But lately, I can’t tell what the right color tone is.

For instance, my current set-up has a vase, some drapery (a blue T-shirt as the “ground” color and some other fabrics draped in the background) and two nectarines. I can’t tell what colors to use for the vase–it’s a creamy off-white color, but more bluish or grayish in some spots, or greenish, or yellowish where the light hits it. I can see those subtle color shifts, but what exact color that translates into is perplexing. The color I used for the shaded side looks all wrong–too flat, not rich enough. The colors I’ve used for the mid-tones area all blend together into a whitish mud, instead of giving the impression of the shiny reflective ceramic it is. And the lit-up side of the vase looks very yellowish in comparison, but actually most of it is a more muted and greyed down yellow.

Then there’s the shiny, gold-colored rim around the top and bottom of the vase. That’s really throwing me for a loop! Where the light hits it, there’s some bright yellow, but the rest of the rim are subtle tones I can’t discern.

The nectarines are easier in one sense–there is very obvious red, yellow, and orange on them. It feels a bit more straightforward to begin finding the right color: squirt out some bright red, and some darker/cooler red (Alizarin Crimson), and make transitions between the two (with yellow, yellow ochre, and/or burnt sienna added to give more richness). However, there’s not a super clear lighting pattern on them. There’s a few highlights, yes; but the transition of the tones across the rest of the spherical shape is not so clear to me. I can easily make my nectarine look redder where the real one looks redder, and more orange or yellow where the real one looks orange or yellow–but how do I give it a sense of light, so it actually looks three-dimensional? Or as my art teacher would put it, “has a good sense of form”.

Continue reading “Today’s Painting Struggles”

All in a Normal Day

Evan and I got grapes and apples from Frog Pond today. We’ve both been meaning to, but just couldn’t get around to it. So today, we went together for moral support. The place was packed and lined with cars, and at first I thought I wasn’t going to find a place to park.

We both got a little confused as to how things worked, since apparently we were supposed to ask them to get the crates of grapes for us, but we were allowed to take a bushel-basket of apples ourselves. Then there was the hemming and hawing about how much to get. We wound up getting two crates of Concord grapes, a bushel of Cortland apples, 1/2 bushel of Empire, a little less than that of McIntosh (Dad hates them, which made us uncertain; we didn’t know if that was just him being weird), and a few Snapdragon just for eating. I came home and tried out some. None of them were as flavorful as I’d hope, but I liked the McIntosh and came to the conclusion I really don’t like Empire much.

We spent the afternoon separating grape insides from the skins, and then cooking down the insides to separate out the seeds. It was monotonous work. We started out saying, “Why did we think this was so much work? It seems so easy,” and then remembered why, as it began to get old after squirting dozens of grapes.

But the fun part about it is the conversation. I wish I could remember all of Caleb’s quips, but they have flown out of my head. Justin said “other people changed when they became a teenager, but Caleb still stayed a Hammie,” which he thought was “so wonderful,” and he wondered if Caleb would continue to be a Hammie with all of his goofy, hilarious sayings, all of his life. At which Caleb laughed and said something like, “‘Look, it’s an Aged Hammie!”

Continue reading “All in a Normal Day”

Pondering Ambition

Today seemed like a short day. I have a cold and I got up on the late side.  I got on the computer first thing, a habit I had purposefully stopped for awhile, but now am reverting back to. It’s hard for me to resist the pull of the computer, even though so often it winds up being wasted time. Somehow, getting on Facebook feels like checking in with the rest of the world, but in reality I wind up skimming through lots of things with no substance.

Deirdre came in from being out with the chickens and said (in her best guilt-inducing voice), “You should go outside, Cadie! It will make you feel ALIVE!”

It was indeed beautiful out, in the characteristically striking way of autumn where the light seems golden.

“But there’s so much shade,” I protested. I love autumn, but for some reason I find it depressing how much of our property is in the shade much of the day. Deirdre thinks I’m being ridiculous when I say such things.

“Not any different than even earlier in the morning in the summer,” she pointed out.

I stayed staring at the computer long enough to make me feel really bad about not going out, even though I was technically doing something productive on there. So I went out, and explored some  paths in the woods–for about two hours, I think. The sunlight was thoroughly enjoyable.

While walking, I was struck by something I’d like to do this fall. The way some leaves were gleaming golden made me wish I had my camera and could take a short video clip, like those I had taken on a bike ride last week. I was really happy with the video clips I took then–evening light gleaming on a field, transitioning to video of Canada geese flying across the sky–and wouldn’t it be cool if I could make a whole video montage of various scenes of autumn?

Continue reading “Pondering Ambition”

Flowers and Fun – Part 2

Part 2: Rah, Rah, Rah and Hoo-Rah-Ray!

When Deirdre and I got to Abby’s, she and the kids weren’t back yet; she had to pick up the other girls coming to the sleepover. There was a text on my phone saying, “This is Millie. My mom says we’ll be a little late because we have to mail packages on the way back.”

It seemed wrong to just walk in, but the house was un-locked, so Deirdre brought her stuff in. We didn’t know what to do while we waited, and we both had the idea that we could wash the dirty dishes for her till she got back. We knew they’d get extremely indignant about us doing their work, but it seemed like a good deed nonetheless. Just before starting the dastardly deed, I texted her that we were breaking into their house. 😉

I washed, and Deirdre dried and attempted to figure out where the dishes were stored. I kept nervously glancing over my shoulder to see if they were back yet, as if I was doing something naughty to be caught at. I said I felt like I was burglaring their house, and Deirdre chuckled; then I said, “Actually, she’d probably be less outraged if I was burglaring her house than if I was washing the dishes!”  and Deirdre laughed and agreed.

I got maybe 2/3 of the way through the dishes when Deirdre said, “Oh… they’re here!”

The kids all streamed out of the van chanting and yelling, “Deir-dre! Deir-dre! Deir-dre!” …Well, Abby’s girls were, at least. I felt the impact of someone hitting me, and little arms wrapped tightly around my legs; I looked down to see who–Ezekiel.
Continue reading “Flowers and Fun – Part 2”

Flowers and Fun (part 1)

Part 1 – Flowers, flowers, flower-pig! (Mom actually called me that after my gluttonous purging and hoarding of flowers this morning 😉 )

Deirdre-dear is sleeping over at Abby and family’s house tonight. Today was well spent–in the morning, making Jell-O chock full of fruit to bring them, and making bouquets to bring them, in the afternoon dropping Deirdre off and inadvertently visiting with them for a few hours, then belatedly off to Rundy & Debbie’s to help with spackling.

I spent a long time on the bouquets. My first thought was snapdragons–the (likely) last burst of snapdragons have been blooming, and I thought they’d be a nice bright pop of color. I cut them ALL, feeling a bit sad to chop them all down, but I wanted to collect the bright gems of color into a vase. There are pinks, yellows, and a deep burgundy. But unlike last time I made a bouquet of snapdragons, when it looked just like I envisioned, it didn’t look right–not in any vase I tried.

They didn’t look very cohesive.



My next thought was that some yellow flowers–various types of rudbeckia (black-eyed susan) we have blooming now, like the pretty Irish Eyes which have wider petals and are pale yellow in the outer edges of the petals and orange in the center–would look really nice in the white pitcher vase I bought at TJ Maxx (I bought it specifically for the purpose of using it as a subject in a painting, and just now realized, hey, it can also be used as a vase 😛 ).

Continue reading “Flowers and Fun (part 1)”

Paint and Paint Again!

I haven’t been working at the farm anymore lately, but I’ve still been getting up earlier than I used to. It’s been quite nice to have longer days. It can be frustrating to feel like I’ve spent so much time lying in bed and so little time actually doing anything, so I feel happy that I’m starting to go in the right direction.

I’ve also been doing a lot more painting lately. We’ll see how long this lasts. Somehow, I feel hesitant when I can tell I’m getting obsessed about something–it makes me feel like I actually ought to be doing something other than what I’m obsessed about. I’ve been trying to paint organic objects like flower bouquets, or peppers from Evan’s garden, lately. I have been feeling frustrated, even though my obsessive compulsive urges make me want to keep going.

After working on my painting of peppers this morning, I looked at some paintings other people had done of peppers on Pinterest. Examining their paintings, it looked so simple, but it feels so hard when I try to do it! I also saw a still-life painting with a flower bouquet that made me want to try that again. I really want to DO it, not just look at other people’s pictures. So I cut quite a few flowers from the garden and made various bouquets–pink and purple and white cosmos, and yellow flowers like daisies, black-eyes susans, and mini orange cosmos (I don’t think they were called mini, but the blooms were tiny).

After struggling to paint a couple other bouquets recently, I had the foresight to realize I needed to pick whichever one was simplest for me to try right now. I chose the yellow daisies, set into a pale blue creamer. Continue reading “Paint and Paint Again!”

Moments of life snippets

Deirdre was curious about the coconuts she had been seeing at the Great American, so Mom wound up buying one the other day. Deirdre seemed slightly abashed that Mom bought it just because she was curious, but she was nevertheless eager to get it open.

Sadly, the coconut flesh was hard as a rock, and it gave off a strong fermented smell. She said she knew right away it wasn’t going to be a good one–“I was disappointed right away when no liquid came out.”

Today, when Mom and Dad were shopping at Wegmans, they bought her two more coconuts at Wegmans. Again, she seemed a little surprised/embarrassed about it–just because the other one wasn’t good, didn’t mean they had to buy more. Justin picked up on that and teased her whenever the subject came up that Mom & Dad got coconuts for Deirdre because she is SO OBSESSED with coconuts.

I was glad they got them. Deirdre’s face lit up as she shook the coconuts and could hear water sloshing around. “Now that’s more like it!” she said with a big grin. “Listen, you can hear it sloshing, and coconut smells waft out!” I couldn’t smell any coconut, but she insisted she could.

Continue reading “Moments of life snippets”

Oh, the struggle!

My current obsession is a painting I am trying to get started on. I feel like my feet are dragging in thick mud and I just can’t get them out. I’m trying–honestly, I AM trying. No matter how hard I pedal, the wheels spin in place. I was just about to take my poppies reference photos and start sketching out poppy arrangements onto canvases. But Titi had a canvas of hers up on my easel then, which was still drying, something she was going to bring as a gift to our cousin today.

So I sat down to sketch out the arrangements instead–there were several different arrangements I had painstakingly found photo references for yesterday, and today I found that when I sketched them, I could visualize how it was going to look a lot better than the awkwardly placed photos. Not only that, but I could see places in which a poppy I had chosen didn’t work well (too similar to the one next to it, needed to be either more simple or more intricate, looked better in another spot, or a different shape looked better in the composition) and try out some other ones in those spots. I felt like I was making progress.

But now, I just don’t want to even look at the drawings. Too many drawings, too many choices, none of them at the place yet where I’ve got it nailed down and I know it’s going to be visually pleasing.

Continue reading “Oh, the struggle!”