Saturday, April 11, 2020

Yeah It's Friday

And you wonder, what difference does Friday make since we don't go anywhere right now during the pandemic.  Well, and this may be sad, lol, in our area it means we will have some fun things to watch on TV tonight.  On "off nights" we watch a show called Decades that takes the date of the day and goes back through time to say what the news was on that day.  Then past Dick Cavett shows. Actually it's all interesting.

So the Friday family meeting.. With Florida's stay at home order the business Roger was working at went to just essential hours so he was back home. We're missing Jamie but found out later he and Pam were making fish tacos...we'll catch him next meeting.


Reading on social media with the friends I am connected with that other artists are having a difficult time right now being creative. As artists, we are so accustomed to being isolated so why is this one any different? Could it be the non stop news and Press coverage ?  People on social media still raging their political agendas?  

So I step away and come to my small space and work.  Sometime ago I told a friend that I'd paint her beloved Harley Dog for her. She was responsible for us getting Ozzie. I started a small painting and then we started traveling. I found the unfinished painting not to long ago and right then she and I spoke. This is on a 12" x 12" stretched canvas and for me a perfect time to immerse myself back into my painting.


It's coming along nicely!!


This is an 11" x 14" stretched canvas. I donated a gift certificate to a Newfoundland groups event and my friend actually won the prize and this is her Newfie, Layla.  I was also honored to have painted her other two Newfies also.




Quickly blocking in color that makes sense to me before I dive in. 



I bought fun fabric to make us masks. Our plan, even though we take one day at a time right now, is to go to New Hampshire and be at our favorite campground where we also work camp. (and did I mention my little studio is there also)




Right now we are doing "to go" preparations. We had two of our tire sensors go wonky on us on our way south this past October so we sent for new "innards" for those.  Here in Florida the weather is getting unusually hot and the forecast for the hurricane season is that there will be more storms.  So that in itself is a incentive to get things ready for rolling.  Florida still has the stay in place order and we may have been the only seasonal people in the park to actually follow that, lol, but to be fair, we don't have a house up north and from living there for so many years, we so know it will snow on Easter! lol (And the Park doesn't open til mid May)

So to end I'd like to introduce you to our resident Gray Squirrel...(my children know right now I'm singing THE song..) Roger has a plastic container with corn inside that he can throw out for the birds,  Our little friend decided to chew his way through the container , crawl in, an help himself. Duct tape, hot sauce, and cases of water bottles did not deter him. We put the corn into smaller buckets and keep them in the car now.  He crawls in and out still to get the leftovers. 




Friday actually turned into Saturday..lol..

Stay safe everyone and I'll see you again soon.

Warmly,
Sheila



Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Brayyy Dee Bunch...The Bradeee Bunch


Yes, we sang it! Our first Family get together ! The isolation I think makes your loved ones even more precious, if that's possible.  My daughter Erin had us all download Zoom and we had our first "meeting". Of course we laughed and sang the theme song then all spoke at the same time as families do. It was 20 minutes of pure joy! We had to end for our youngest granddaughter to have her on line dance class.  We will all meet again this Friday.




Erin sent me this recipe from Skinny Taste for simple and quick bagels. 

One cup of self rising flour, because that's all I have, and one cup of 
Greek yogurt. Since we have an air fryer, I put it on at 280 degrees to pre heat. Really fast by the way.  After mixing the yogurt and flour with a fork I made 4 balls and rolled them into a long tube and joined them to make a bagel. One whisked egg or egg white is then brushed over the top to give it that golden brown hue. Place them on parchment paper and into the fryer.



I sprinkled sea salt on these but you can use what ever seasoning you like. I brought some this morning to have coffee with two friends here at the park..6 ft away..and they loved them.  It seemed like a normal day there for awhile. We all need a day like that.



I still work and my tiny studio in CiCiBlue is getting a bit....crowded.  Under the table we have boxes with can goods and jars stored, next to our basket of laundry,  with unfinished boards half painted and canvases drawn and ready to go. Then we actually have dinner at night as I push stuff back.  If you do any painting or any kind of craft, you know how hard it is to pack up at the end of the day then unpack every morning.  Just the way it is right now.  I've been finding the creativity is hard sometimes to activate in this new way of life but I've promised people that I'd have things painted and that has given me purpose.  I know once I get it going I'll be on a roll.




This is a photo I took of our Chocolate Lab Ozzie this morning.  As I look at it he looks like a Black Lab and he looks like our Sammy that recently went to the Bridge.  Maybe Sam needed to pop back in to say hello. We miss you Sammy Sam.


So we are still here in Florida at the Park we stay at. Today I rode my bike up and around the gas station, usually quite busy but not any more. So I took the time to take this photo.  Lola and I walk up to this field at night and that corner by the fence is her "spot".  The funny part it stays her spot every year.


Riding in we see the Lake. Its small but peaceful and calming. Behind the trees is a large marsh area that goes all the way up to Rt. 1. A few more "lakes" I believe are in there as well as "critters". I've only seen a wild hog out by I 95 but we hear the hounds chasing them during the season.


Across the lake there's a tiny alligator swimming.  Hard to see but he's a speck in front of that single tree. I'll get a better shot of him soon. 


Coming up the main road towards CiCiBlue. She's on the left hand side with the blue floaties on the windshield wipers to protect them from the sun.  With the news of the virus not ending anytime soon here in Florida or elsewhere, we will be putting on our windshield screens to help keep out the heat and sun.  We canceled our weeks stay in Ga. yesterday for the 22 nd of April and thankfully since this has been our home base, we can stay as long as we need to.  The park has officially closed to others. Our fear too is will that be what happens if we left to go North. ? A lot of people are traveling to their homes north without knowing what they are driving into so we are happy we have a safe place to stay.  haha..can you feel my anxiety?




So from our family to yours, please stay safe and healthy. We really are in this together.


Hmm, that was a fun hair cut..maybe I'll go back to it after all of this is over.. Lola said she liked hers too.


Warmly,
Sheila and the gang!!!

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Biggest Find EV_AH

I'm from Boston and still have the accent. LOL

So, my day!  Took my ride around the park and gas station and planned a list for Roger to go to the grocery store. Our friend Lois called and said she over heard someone say that Family Dollar was getting a shipment and would be open around 1 P.M.  So, Roger said...that was the plan.

As you know people started hoarding paper goods and wait..everything they could grab. Living in an RV fulltime, we can't store alot and frankly, we would not hoard.  We are down to one roll of toilet paper then , YES, Roger sent me this picture!!



I've been giddy all afternoon. And they are perfect for our system. BONUS!!

The next big thing was Amazon delivering a couple of things I ordered.

I wanted to try the copper knee sleeve. Right now, even though I measured it as it said, it's a bit tight but feels good.  I'll see how it goes and let you know in a few days.  My knee has been doing ok but I notice sometimes at night its a bit swollen.  I feel like it has a bit more protection with it on.

Oh, and the Benefiber? Somehow the M&M's just don't give me enough and with the stress right now I figured it wouldn't hurt.



It was a challenge painting a digitized photo as a painting. But..it's done and my client is happy. Getting Fed EX to come get it so I can ship it off.  Now on to the next couple. Thankful and Grateful.


So that's it for today. Waiting for Roger to come home so I can start the wiping down of everything that comes in including him.  As all of you, that's our new normal.

Just finished wiping groceries and sadly, people grabbed more than one package of toilet paper. 

But on a positive note before I post this, I started baking again after 5-6 years of our full timing. My daughter sends me her recipes she gets on Skinny Taste.  I've made muffins and doing that today, just waited on the eggs and tomorrow I'm going to make simple bagels without yeast.  (you so know what I'll be blogging about tomorrow and if they are fantastic I'll post the recipe)

So, have a great rest of the day and please stay safe.

Warmly,
Sheila


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Quiet...

When we are in New Hampshire for the summer we are in the woods and it's so so quiet. It's peaceful and I'm at home.

Today, here at our park in Florida, I went out for my daily bike ride around the park and up around the gas station.


We are about an hours drive to Orlando International Airport so we are in the flight path from the planes coming off the ocean and could track others going over us heading North or South with Flight Tracker.  The sky was just one contrail after another and when they'd come in over the ocean, just about over us, they would slow as they headed for the airport. You actually heard the engines lower and it almost sounds like they stalled then powered up again.  The quiet. No planes have come in over the Atlantic in the last couple of weeks and the one or two contrails that we did see went to four or five as people flew from New York to south of us.  It's now back to maybe two, but to Orlando. 

No one is out here. It has been crazy hot, close to 94, 95, which is early and people do stay in.  But there's a quiet I can't explain.  The noise from I 95 has lowered, less cars. It's Sunday so not so many truckers but we will probably hear them more this evening and through the night. I sleep with my window open so I can hear the sound. (City girl and it puts me to sleep. Except when one blows a tire. lol)

Not sure when we are leaving so thankful we're here and safe.  We workcamp in N.H. so praying all will be well and Roger says we can make it in 5 days rather than our usual 2 days here and maybe 3 there way of travel.  As Roger says a lot these days, "were living the dream"..but, as I say back to him smiling..."We are". 

Sitting outside last night with a lovely breeze we actually had company!




Roger throws corn onto the round for the birds and this guy came over but didn't see us sitting there. Then he did! 


I've been working of this painting for a couple of weeks now. The reference photo is digitized to look like a painting. The client asked for the portrait to be similar.  It has been a challenge but the client is pleased. A bit more to do on it then off it goes.


The Original Reference Photo Below



Well that's it for today. 

Stay safe and know I'm thinking of all of you.

Warmly,
Sheila





Saturday, March 28, 2020

How Life Has Changed...For All Of Us

When we packed up to leave our campground in New Hampshire this past October, as I was locking my cute little studio, I got a premonition that something was going to happen that may stop us from coming back next season.  I've got them throughout my life so I'm not surprised and I tend to rationalize them. I put it in the back of my mind as I just didn't want to leave my little studio. (and that may very well be the case).  Now, enter Covid-19. The feeling is still with me but it just may be I'm picking up the universal anxiety. (and missing my cute little studio, my family there and the park)

Our son has type 1 Diabetes so he is off limits, our daughter in NH along with our Granddaughters and a Grandson in the Navy. A lot of texting. I noticed the other day my hand was hurting, lol, but it could also be my playing mindless games on my phone.  On Thursday mornings, myself and two other women meet , 6' apart and have coffee together, just to feel "normal".  Roger has been working at Jackson Hewitt doing taxes. He's loving it but as you know the tax date has been extended so his hours are getting less and even though in Brevard County here in Florida, the numbers are still relatively low, we are considered....seniors.(73) (we are but I refuse "elderly".LOL ) Soon he' ll be home 24/7 and maybe then the "feeling" will stop.

So what do I do to stop the crazy from getting in my head?


"Never Gets Old"
Cold wax and oil

I was doing this one for a show here in April but of course that has been canceled. The positive is I can see a few places I may want to darken areas so nit a bad thing to hold off til the Fall.


No name for this one but I splurged and bought a great set of watercolors, Schmincke.  this is on a 12' x 12"  140lb watercolor paper from my rodeo references. I'm loving how the watercolors just flow..positive?...I ordered more watercolor paper to paint more.


This is in progress. I was doing this for the show also . Cold wax and oil. Positive on this is I really get to look at it, relax and have fun.  This is a friends Croft in the Highlands that I absolutely fell n love with. Talk about DNA memory.  This is one of her photos and thankfully has let me use it. 


Then I celebrated a birthday. Roger had to work so the dogs and me went crazy!! Yes, they slept!!



Strawberry airborne. Hey...I know how to party!!!


My daughter sent me a recipe on blueberry ricotta muffins. Actually they were chocolate chip
but I added in blueberries with them. Positive? I haven't baked in years. lol Healthy and fun.


Commissions still need to be done. Working now on two more.

The campground we stay in is behind this BP station. It's also a Stuckeys and were right off of I 95. It's usually packed with cars coming off for fuel along with truckers. This was taken in the middle of the week right around noon. The positive? People are really staying home and I get to ride my bike around without worrying about getting hit by someone not looking. 


And....the huge positive...we get to sit outside our rig, by a small lake, watch the gator and watch a launch from Cape Kennedy.  This is the AtlasV.


I pray you are all safe and your families as well. That's what's important. We are happy right now staying in place with people we have known since we started this journey. We feel safe. We are looking forward to heading North as long as it's safe to do so but for now it's day to day and praying we really don't run out of toilet paper. LOL LOL . Roger was able to buy kleenex. LOL  We couldn't have even if we wanted too, no extra room. Positive? we know how to do this..after living behind a locked fence for weeks in Orlando trying to get our coach fixed and having no sewer....ya, you get the picture.  and yeah....Roger's making breakfast! 

love you all and pray you all stay healthy and well. oh, and find laughter in the insanity. 

Warmly,
Sheila









Friday, March 20, 2020

How Life Has Changed

Well, it's almost been a year since I last checked in with you all and I bet now you think I'm going to chat about the virus crossing the world.  Not today because that's not what changed our world this past year. As you may have remembered our Sammy got us across country and back then this past summer we could see it would be his last.


Near the end of our season in New Hampshire he stopped jumping up on our bed and stayed on his bed at the foot of ours. He was still able to climb in and out of the rig but when we got to Florida mid October we had to do a boost so he would get up the stairs.  His amazing zest for life was such a life lesson for me with my wonky hip and in November, a torn meniscus in my good knee. (That's a story in itself. lol )  He wanted to go out so we hobbled together and enjoyed our time. On one of our walks I heard his rear legs toenails scrapping on the road, he was starting to knuckle. Our Chocolate Lab ,Fergus, knuckled when he had brain cancer so we knew like was changing for Sam. He kept on going even on the days we thought, oh this is it. He'd rally, wag his tail and want to go out for that walk. On some days it was 4 or 5, but he was our boy and we knew we'd miss him.


I told our go to Vet Mike that I'd pray at night that he'd go quickly so I wouldn't have to make that call but every morning he was up wagging his tail, wolfing down his food and wanting to explore. And I was thankful.


Our daughter and oldest granddaughter came to Florida, January 22 and Roger and I went to see them at our sons house. Returning home I found Sammy laying on the floor and only able to lift one side.  A small stroke? I don't know but I knew the next day it would be the end. So many nights I slept on the couch beside him because being in a tight area scared him so that last night that's where I was, stroking his back to let him know I was with him.

14 years and 4 months shy of being 15.

Sammy lived his life vigorously. Swimming in our pool non stop even when we weren't in it.  Fast doing agility but unable to be away from me in a crate so we stopped. A catcher of birds, a lover of life and truly loved to travel with us in the coach. 

We have heard his toe nails on the floor and his actual bark . The puppy he loved and raised, Ozzie, is lost without him so he has taken over his spot in the living area. He's finally stopped moaning, yes, dogs mourn. Lola, who Sammy lost patience with because her playing was body slamming and poor Sam would be in pain.  She learned quickly Sammy was off limits.


So on May 10 we will lift a glass to his memory. 
A great life lived!!!






And, omg, I miss him terribly.

Warmly,
Sheila




Saturday, July 20, 2019

Time Whizzing By....

Wow, slow it down...that time! Before we know it we will be preparing to leave for the south and you'll say, what in the world did you do?

We arrived safe and sound at Wellington Camping Park in Lee, NH.  We have come here for the past two years and this year we are actually workcampers.  A beautiful park set in a forest along the Lamprey river.  I took this photo the other day as I was sitting outside the office. The park is full with seasonal campers and I tend the office while Roger cleans the bathrooms and gets the trash.


The other huge bonus was the Wellington family let me have an old shed that was left last year and guess what I did with it?!!!

I have an art studio!!!!!

The mosquitoes are crazed right now so I bought one of those magnetic screens for the door. As Seen On TV.  It velcros all around the door frame and then during the night, falls down.  I have chair tacks so I put those across the top and voila'...it's perfect.




Happy artist!!!

...and her assistant!!!


And look what I've created in my new space!!

Arizona Plains...18" x 12" x 2" cold wax and oil on cradled board.


I've totally fallen in love with cold wax medium.  You'll be seeing so many more pieces.

Our Senior boy Sammy.


He's 14 and has weakness in his rear legs and every time I think, oh this is it, he pops up wagging his tail and is ready to go for his walk or gallop up his dinner. He's not ready yet and doesn't want to miss a thing.  Everyday he teaches me something new, one of which is slow down and enjoy the moment and I do. I push the daily aches and pains away and just enjoy. 


A few of the paintings I did this summer.  I work inside the rig on super hot days and on the days I do watercolor.  The days we work are 6 hour shifts alternating 3 to 4 days, my assistant, Lola, gets panicky that I'm not around so I'm happy to be inside for a bit. 





The story of the washing machine.!! Sweet lord.... So, before we left Florida I grabbed the handle before the blinking light was a steady slow blink. Sigh. I pulled it and stood there with a handle in my hand, not attached to the door.  We were able to rescue the laundry but that was it.  This summer, Roger was able to get a replacement handle and together we actually repaired it and it's back up and running. Believe me I am so gentle with the handle it's like a sacred artifact!

The story of the toilet. Last year it was awning and slide out covers, this season it's appliances.  In Florida our electric toilet died and we bought a similar electric toilet from our friends. It had been in their rig when they bought it and smartly, they pulled it out and put in a foot peddle model.  We installed it before we came north and it made a loud noise similar to our old one just before it passed away. Oh yes, the replacement toilet died. The positive note was it had a handle in the back that if you bent over, rested your head on the back part, you could turn the handle so the disc would open and flush. That's a positive you say?? HAHAHA, yes it actually was. Then that glorious moment came when Roger said.."It's time isn't it". A resounding YES!!! 

Amazon had the same model in electric and foot model. He ordered the foot pedal model, china bowl, easier to clean I think and I feel more like it's "Home" ,to be delivered in a few days. 

UPS dropped it off a the owners home and her son brought it down to us. Thrilled, I called our new, he actually comes, RV repair guy.  Roger went out a few days later to the store, came back in and said Amazon delivered an electric toilet! NOOOOOO!  He called and they said they'd refund us and we noticed they charged us more than it was listed for so bonus on the refund.

Jeff, the new RV guy came and installed our new Throne!!! And yes I'm super cautious about stepping on the paddle extension...Haha...


Toilets, washing machines, work camping and painting...then I get to see my girls!! I was adopted so I never "looked" like anyone in my family. You do have similar habits, expressions and people say, "you look just like your Dad", of which I loved, but my daughter Erin, far right, is the first person I ever connected with biologically.  Then her brother Jamison. Sometimes I feel like I'm a start of a lineage but when I see what my two grandchildren do I wonder what ancient ancestor passed that trait down.  In front of me is Morgan. Artistic, talented with a love of adventure.  Then Kelsey, an amazing dancer with such a passion. I cry every time I see her dance. Where does that talent come from? Proud Mum and Gram!!



So that's it for now. More paintings for show and tell soon . 

With the crazy heat across the country please stay safe and hydrated and remember your pets need this attention also. Lola and I will be in and out quickly today as well as our Sammy. Ozzie seems ok but I'm thinking an in and out for him also.

Until next time, be well and thanks for following along on the adventure of a lifetime.

Warmly, (probably not the perfect word for today,,haha)
Sheila