Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Dogs Life




Mr. B and I have two West Highland White Terriers or "Westies".  



I was starting to write this post about how sick they both are but then what hit me was how much happiness and joy they have brought to our family.  



Mika our 10 year old is a little "Tom Boy".  She is constantly rolling on or in something and so she is constantly in need of a bath.  She has pink-brown legs from allergies and stiff matted fur.  But oh is she a happy dog.  Never worries about a thing except what time breakfast is being served.  She is constantly under foot and curious as to what you are doing.  She likes to be included.  She gets one cup of food and is a little on the "round" side.





Max our 13 year old is sophisticated, will play when he feels like it and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.  He surveys our backyard like it's his grand estate and he is responsible for every little leaf.  His fur is silky and white and rarely needs bathing.  Max gets two cups of food and is always slim and trim.  


Why does that always happen to females?


Lately they are not wagging their tails very much.

Mika  has Pneumonia and something else going on with her respiratory system that has yet to be diagnosed.


Max was just diagnosed with kidney failure.  





 Just a month ago they would both happily jump in bed with us for a little morning snuggle but as soon as they hear the word "breakfast", they would run around the corner, down the hall and skid into the kitchen, while leaving area rugs scattered behind them.  Then they would dance and chase each other until breakfast was served.

Not for the last week or so. 

They are both sleeping a lot and Max has stopped eating for the most part.



They are best friends.  And they are both my comfort and joy.....






“Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.” - Max Eastman

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Personal Kryptonite

Song - A Work Song of Boat Trackers in SiChuan Province

My personal Kryptonite is Plein Air Painting.

You know....painting mountains, trees, streams, lakes, etc.  OUTDOORS!

Suffice it to say that I like air conditioning or heat, no bugs, nor sand in my shoes.

Am I getting OLD?

I am currently in a three day workshop with Tim Horn.....oh my!

Tim painting the dock & boat house

The workshop is being held at China Camp in San Rafael.  It's beautiful.  It's historic. Tim is an incredible artist and teacher!

But I can NOT paint a tree.

I haven't given up. I keep taking classes and workshops because I love looking at other people's plein air paintings but.....I struggle so.  Too many leaves I think!


China Camp was a Chinese shrimp-fishing village which thrived on this site in the 1880s. Nearly 500 people, originally from Canton, China, lived in the village. In its heyday, there were three general stores, a marine supply store and a barber shop. The village was used extensively in the filming of the 1955 movie "Blood Alley"starring John Wayne. Today the fishing village is maintained by the Park Service, with the help of Frank Quan, a descendent of one of the original residents, who lives there. (From Wikipedia)

We began day number one with big cardboard blocks.

Now some of you may think this is easy-peasy.  But depending on the weather, those blocks can change color in an instant, they are constantly changing their shadows and can be rather challenging.

Tim says if you can paint these blocks, you can paint anything. (yeah...right!)

Here he is changing the color of his white block - not so easy-peasy

Tim is especially known for his vintage car paintings, Marin farmland & (my personal favorite) Airstream trailers!!!!  (Hint Mr.'s on my Bucket List)

Please check out his amazing style.....

Today we painted in the morning with a demo at lunch time and then painted until 4.

Tomorrow I get to do it all over again.

Two little cuties on the beach

The old SEA BREEZ shrimp boat

Some of the existing homes on the beach

The shrimp furnace

The Sea Breez

The dock at China Camp

I painted the "snack shack" this afternoon - I love the old 7-up sign on the right.

I painted this group of buildings in the morning.  We were supposed to be looking for a light/dark pattern.

Time to pack a lunch for one more day at China Camp tomorrow!

 "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." -John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First One in the Water

Song - Surfin' USA by The Beach Boys

For years now, I have really wanted to attempt painting a "Woodie" so I have been wanting to go to Santa Cruz and see "Woodies on the Wharf". So this last Saturday I had it circled in red on my calendar.


But it was not meant to we ended up having commitments at home.

Mr. B and I were able to head on down the next day to enjoy some time in the ocean air.

The weather was incredible.  It was so clear that you could see across the Monterey Bay!

 We spent time with my parents at their cabin and then the four of us headed to the Wharf for dinner.

I'm not a big seafood lover and after seeing this guy in the window, I opted for the prawns.

Fond memories from my youth but now I'd like to keep my teeth!

After dinner we strolled down the wharf and watched people enjoying the Boardwalk.

A tank of fresh crab

The Big Dipper

Cocoanut Grove

Warm evening to sail

On Monday morning Mr. B and I had breakfast on the Wharf and watched the surfers near the Lighthouse.

Small swells but they seemed to be having fun!

The closest I got to a "Woodie"


I discovered a mama seagull on top of an outbuilding on the wharf

She seemed to be saying "What are you looking at?"

Then a little head popped up and I realized she was protecting her little brood.

"Hey, what are you looking at?"

.....I mean haven't you ever seen Spiderman playing a guitar before?

"Hey, what are you looking at? oops! I mean....check me out!"

"You'd catch 'em surfin' at Del Mar, Ventura County Line, Santa Cruz and Trestles." - The Beach Boys

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