Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanks And Giving

Roger left for San Diego to visit family on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was invited but the dogs would have to be outside during our Thanksgiving day events and knowing our kids, I'd be out there with them so I opted to stay home. Actually it turned out to be a good decision. They would have been up and over the back yard wall to see the dogs walking in the park.

Our friends Paul and Diane from Quebec. We met them a couple of years ago when we were in Florida and this year we decided to all get together here in California on Lake Havasu. Paul cooked the turkey and Diane sides then decorated a beautiful table for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Thankful for great friends, great food, lots of laughs and good conversation.

We all contributed to the dinner. Paul cooked the turkey and Diane made cranberry sauce. Betty made a frenchstyle green bean casserole while Bob made glazed sweet potatoes and gravy. I made stuffing and mashed potatoes. It was a feast!!

A few days have gone by, Roger returned and had a fantastic time with his daughter and grandson. Nothing like connecting with family. 

I've been having trouble with my Chromebook here and can't seem to get it to load photos from my camera. It's been really windy for a couple of days here and people have been on their computers a lot so I'm hoping that's the issue. I bought extra space from Google to store my pics so it's not that. Hmmm. 

And where did this come from? I've been clearing cache and cookies, deleting photos and adding them to Google Drive. I have never been a computer person, it's so out of my realm, but yikes, I guess I may be becoming one now. 

This is the first draft of the piece I'm working on for a client. It's on a 12' x 12" canvas that I gessoed with gray gesso. It adds strength to the canvas and gives me a neutral background to work off.

Then starts the reworking. The eyes are off so they need to be remeasured and I'm thinking the snout may be a bit too long for the angle of the dogs head. I also blocked in some color. Not necessarily the correct color for the dog bt it gives me a base. Right about now I'm thinking ,"Will this really work.?"

This is when the years of painting, studying, drawing come into play. I forget what I'm doing technically and just rely on my inner instinct and knowledge. 

I then place the eyes. This gives me reference for everything else, mouth, snout, ears. 
Today I'm feeling good about the progress. (Yes, there have been days that the canvas goes in the forget about it pile and I restart the whole process.)  

Today's selection of music in the coach is Hair Nation on Sirius radio. Yes, another not known fact, I LOVE hard rock and hair bands. Roger and I switch it  every other day or so. He likes classic rewind and I go Hair Nation or 80's channel. 

So I'll close for today. Success in figuring out what was going on with my photos and the blog, success in working on the 12' x 12" commission piece and success in having my health and talent to do all these things. Some down days but I think all have those and I'm thankful to even have those days. 

My biggest thanks today is for all of you that follow along on this adventure and keep me going. I'll do an update on CiCiBlue soon. Her sewer bay door is almost completed then we need to get onto our insurance carrier to see if the awnings will be covered. One over the door will be but not sure about the slide toppers over the slide outs. The crazy winds here are doing a number on them. Poor girl is old and needs a spa day for sure so we will see. 

Have a great day!!! Thinking of you all.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Life In Back Mountain Country And It's Mating Season

That's what I saw on the sign..Back Mountain country and that's us. The road in is 10 miles but to me it's the scariest road I've ever been on and it takes about 25 to 30 minutes to do the 10 miles. We are isolated and yes it is taking time to get accustomed to it. I like being able to jump in the car and drive to someplace quick but here you really need to plan because it's a days outing. I thought I always wanted to boon dock and be totally away from civilization and maybe it's different being out there but here I'm in close proximity to a lot of new friends. So, maybe it's not isolation I'm feeling but claustrophobia. haha.

We drove to Parker Dam the other day to ship some artwork. Parker Dam is at the end of the 10 mile road from the campground and has a small post office, open from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.  We left here at 9:30 and actually arrived a little after 10 and couldn't figure out why it had not been opened. Ok, here's where it gets a bit crazy. In the campground we go by Arizona time. A 2 hour difference right now from the east coast, friends and family, however, Parker Dam goes by California time, the 3:00 hour time difference. Packages in hand we went back to the car and crossed the Dam and drove up to Lake Havasu City, about 35 to 45 minutes on 95 North. They have a larger post office and we needed to do some shopping for provisions. (Provisions because we don't go that often..haha) 

We then started our travel back and forgot there was no left turn on to 95 south after coming out of Safeway. Take note! Actually it was a bit fun because we got to cross over the London Bridge. Not THE London Bridge but a London Bridge that a man purchased and rebuilt. On the other side there is not much of anything so we turn around and voila'..we drive over it once more. 

You may remember when we first arrived we were in the cheap seats of the park. Our choice but not realizing there was no cell reception due to the mountains on either side and we decided to move down to row B, second row from the Lake. 

Before at least 50 of our new friends moved in.

I cherish this view. Morning coffee in the drivers seat!

So, on our way to row B, Roger took a left hand turn and the sewer bay door was attacked by a huge boulder and really scrunched up the whole door, so much so I couldn't even take a photo of it and maybe only one person heard the story. I couldn't stay upset because poor Roger drove from Florida to New Hampshire then from there to California. A great job. Our friends Betty and Bob next to us and with who we traveled with said, hey, we can fix that. 

They took took the crumpled door off and went beyond the gate and Bob pounded away. 

They hung it to make sure it would actually hang correctly. At this point I was happy and figured I could get paint and go over the scratches and at 55, 60 MPH, who will see poor CiCi Blues bumps. A line went straight up just past the door latch and that whole corner folded up. It was so sad.

 On our trip to Lake Havasu City the other day we bought a electric sander and packages of different sand paper plus a quart of Bondo, oh and an assortment of plastic putty knives. 

I guess I missed the conversation when Bob told us he did body work with his brother for a living for years. The outside panel wasn't adhering to the back insulated part of the door so Bob put in small rivets and is covering them with bondo. Also covering and smoothing the "yucky" parts. I have the codes for CiCiBlue's paint so I called Country Coach in Oregon and asked then if they sold paint. They do sell touch up paint but I would have had to buy bulk for this job. After explaining the whole ordeal the woman told me to take the codes to a body shop and they could duplicate the colors. 

Yes, I am overwhelmed and floored! And did I mention speechless. I'll keep you posted.

Happy hour is around 3:30 P.M. now due to the sunset coming in earlier everynight. We meet at Bob and Betty's next to us and I "hide" under their slide out so Lola can't see me and start calling me to come home. Our friends Paul and Diane join us. Last evening Diane leaned forward and calmly said, "Sheila, come out here, something is crawling just behind you". I wanted to panic, thinking oh lord, spider, so I very slowly got up and went out behind the group, then turned to see what was crawling. A Tarantula! He was coming under their rig full force towards us. Bob grabbed a broom and started to whisk him away. The Tarantula reared up on his hind legs and was ready for a fight. Bob and Betty have an adorable Labradoodle, Snoop, who sits out with us and the fear was Snoop would go after the Tarantula. They bite and hurt and they can turn quickly and have needles they jet out. Not very sure about that part, I'll do more research but they shoot out something that would stick in Snoops nose for sure. I grabbed my phone quickly and Googled if they are endangered and poisonous and read mating season in Fall and Spring and if you see quarter size holes under rocks you have found their homes. 

Just then two women we know came down carrying their small dog yelling, "Tarantulas" They had come upon them too. Tarantulas come out at night and on our walk I saw holes under every boulder on the grassy area.  And yes, Laying in bed my thoughts turned into a Japanese monster movie with tarantulas roaming everywhere until dawn. 

The Santa Anna winds came in last night and rocked and rolled us til dawn. It's still cold and blustery out but not as bad as the 40-50 MPH gusts we had during the night. It will slow down about 8:00 P.M. tonight and be a calmer night wind.

You can spot the white caps out on the Lake.

And when the wind is howling and the coach is rocking, this is what one does. 

Have a great night all and see you tomorrow. (Lord, I'm such a city girl..hahah)


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Beyond The Gate..Ya I Did It!

11:30 A.M. we climbed into Bob's truck and off we went for the adventure which will take me "beyond the gate!" The photos I took are from a moving vehicle so maybe a bit blurry and through a window so maybe a bit dull, but after today I will go back out there just to take photos or paint. Oh ya!!!

 It may be hard to see but that's a natural bridge up there in the mountain. I'd like to go back and stop and get a better photo.

This was and "oh myyyy" look. We started ascending and Betty said, don't look down, but I had too. I'm saying "we really drove this road coming in here?" It's a "2" lane road and I say that very loosely because if CiCiBlue was on it and another RV came towards us I'm not sure how we would both fit. 

Parker Dam, California. The short cut for cars during the day to Parker, Arizona and the road to Lake Havasu City. No Rv's or trucks can pass on it since there is an 8 ton limit and the skinniest road ever. They close the gates at I believe 11:00 P.M. and Open it again at 5:00 A.M.

The bright green of the Colorado River.

And we arrived at our destination. It's right after we come off of the Dam road.
(Yes I just giggled reading that too) 

Voila'...It was amazingly delicious and I never eat the skins but today.. 
Roger ate a wing and I brought home the breast after eating a leg and thigh!

Bob took a crazy winding road into a park to show us the backside of the damn so we would never have to think about what it would look like!! It is an adventure!!

On our way home I kept seeing strange holes in the rock formations. Wyatt Earp lived not too far from here and in his later years mined for copper and gold in them there hills. I need to do more research on that. Interesting. I know when we were up in the "cheap seats", Joy told us that the reason we couldn't get any reception was because of the minerals in the rocks. Hmmm.

Found a better pic of the natural bridge formation. Roger commented that in just a few days he's noticing growth and color change in the desert and mountains. I'm seeing the greens change. Blue green and sage..there's a lovely softness to them. Very exciting!!

And so I did it...went beyond the gate! It wasn't as bad as my head makes it seem at 2:00 A.M. when those goblins appear. Today I envisioned CiCiBlue riding out over the road and there was really only one part where I may be on the floor not really..I'll be crocheting feverishly!! 

We are doing it!!!

That's it for today..have a great night and don't miss out on your dream even if you fear going past the gate. You'll be ok!!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Going Out Tomorrow

Huh? Going out tomorrow? Since we have been here I have been the only one not to go "beyond the gate". I have been hesitant to drive out on the twisty narrow road and have actual nightmares about it. Silly me. It's called Blue Bar II and it's in Parker, Az. They have broasted Chicken from noon til 2:00 P.M. and it takes like KFC but better. Yes, it takes food to get me beyond the gate!  It's been a running joke that I haven't left but once I do it, watch out world! I'll let you know tomorrow how it and all!!

My new paints and brushes arrived this week so I'm back to work full force. Re worked a painting for a client and just heard from her and she loves it. She said I captured his personality and likeness "Perfect".

Then this small piece. I have washed this off, repainted with a different background, three times until I thought, ok, what is it I love about the campground. The wild Burros and the light at night with the mountains glowing. First they are orange but near sunset they turn a purple. Not sure if you can tell the sky is yellows and pinks on your P.C. Ahh, new paints and brushes..I'm feeling a productive week ahead...after I leave through the gate and return!! (Deer in headlights look)

6" x 6" oil on gessoed masonite 

"Just Passin' Through"

I love getting the feel of the paint again and just using strokes to convey what I'm feeling about the image. Again, I'm looking forward to seeing the progress as I paint here. 

This little girl walked right up to me. You aren't supposed to pet them but, sigh, I had to touch her fur. I didn't have food so she left and joined her companion. Maybe Mum or sister that was waiting by the front of CiCiBlue.

No food?? Ok, we're outta here. 
And off they walk.

They joined up with 4 of their friends on the grassy area and Lola wanted to join them. Ugh. Thankfully her new training collar let her know she was staying with me. They kick so Lola will not go near the burros!!

Time for dinner then a movie so I'll be rested for my big excursion tomorrow! 
Have a great night and think good thoughts for me as I go over tiny, windy, incredibly steep in some parts with big drops into an abyss road.  Probably not that bad but in my mind right now it's Everest!!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

This Is Really The Sunset And Other Things

This was taken with my phone. Add orange and yellow and you have even more intensity. Everyone in the campground was out for this sunset and the color was all around us, amazing. It's things like this that make it all worthwhile. 

It doesn't last long as the sun sets quickly here. Our neighbor told me that in early morning at sunrise you get colors like this too. Ah... One eye is open at sun rise. One morning I will. 

This past week Roger and our friend Bob drove to Gilbert, Arizona with our inverter. When we moved CiCiBlue down from the cheap seats to row B, we hit a boulder and our electric decided to stop working. Jim House to Home is the local RV go to man and he came and brought us new house batteries. (no pun intended on that one). He then removed said inverter and from that point we had to have a charger on the batteries to keep them full.  Monday morning, Roger, Bob and Ozzie took off for Gilbert. It's near Phoenix so about a 4.5 hour drive, My job was to go and check the light on the battery charger and make sure it was still working. At about 9:30 P.M. I did my final check and all was fine. I did get up just after sunrise so I could bring Sammy and Lola out for their morning constitution without running into other dogs. Perfect. I tell them ,"mumma needs her coffee" and we all go back to the rig. 

Coffee was made and I even did english muffins. I got comfy in the drivers captains chair and had a great view of the Lake then decided to turn up the radio. Hmm. No radio. Drank and ate with the blessed silence then went to use the bathroom. We have an electric toilet. No flushing was happening. Oh, yes I knew what was happening but texted Roger and quickly asked if the radio was broken. There was no way I wanted to hear the battery was dying but that's what he was texting back to me. For the next hour and a half with Betty's help, we changed the battery charger to Bob's charger, found that to be acting strangely, then Betty putting her head into the battery bay so we could get a good reading on the voltage. Did I know how to do all this before hand?? No. Roger was texting like crazy with me responding and realizing, ok, I need to know all this. The charger it turns out is meant for a car or quick charge not an RV battery, so it got to a certain level then kicked off. Tomorrow Jim House of House and Home is coming to Black Meadow Landing and replacing our inverter. Happy dancing all around here.

Lola woke me up about 2:00 A.M. barking. "LOLA...NOOOO". I went as far as the bathroom and heard snorting and shuffling so I looked out the window. Three adults and one baby. The three adults were standing on something, ripping it apart and chewing it up. We found out this morning they found our box with the solar lights in it, dumped out the lights and proceeded to eat the box. The ENTIRE box!

The baby stood patiently, by our front door ,waiting for the adults to finish their meal.

One random burro went galloping down the center of the street to meet the others at the trash bin. You could hear banging and bottles breaking as they took every trash bag out. I had to wake Roger up so he could experience this so together we hung out the window watching. He was able to take these photos. That's Bob and Betty's golf buggy and you can see scraps of our box on the ground under their rig. They do not eat Duct tape. Such a thrill. 

So what's happening with my artwork.  The top is a commission piece that I absolutely love just as it is but his owner would like more his face showing so that's on the schedule along with more dog commissions that I so need to finish. The second and third paintings are experimental. I should have left the burros at the bottom alone but I messed it up and in the process of redoing it. Ugh.. and the one on top of that is my attempt at the southwest palette. Ugh. With the sunset so brilliant tonight I have decided to just forget there are people out around and take my supplies and go paint outside. Tomorrow my new brushes and paints will be arriving so it's a perfect time to just get busy. I can do this!! (going from my pet portraits to plein air...then to my pet will be interesting to see the progression)

We don't have tv in the coach which I thought was going to be horrid, but I just read Dan Brown's new book, Origin, and I loved it. We did hook up to Betty and Bob's Tailgater and we can see the news but I had forgot how horrid and depressing it all was so having no TV is really a blessing! I may even start painting at night!!!! 

So, on that note I'll close. The burros will be coming in tonight since the trash bins are really full and the coyotes will be howling. We sleep with the window open for the wonderful air and of course, wake up with the commotion so for tonight, bed!

Have a great night and try a night with no television, no news. It's so refreshing!!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

What? There's A Chicken Bone In My Bra!

So, why Sheila do you have a chicken bone in your bra? And you really put one in there? 

Yes I did and here's the story of that one.

Lola and I have been having a tussle of sorts because of her constant vocalization out the front window at every dog or every sound that she hears. Silly me has been also vocally loud right back at her and true to Newfoundland ways, she is tuning me out. So I spent last night feeling guilty and decided today to be calm and assertive. (But not the Whisperer ways) This morning having coffee she saw a dog walking and started. I whispered for her to come , a few times then said "treat" and there she was front and center. (yes we need to work on that) All day I have been really soft spoken to her and using treats as a reward. We have been working great together. So it was time to take her out and walk up along the path where there is grass. As we all left the coach Roger said, "Oh the burros are here" . Now we would have a challenge.

As they eat they snort like horses. The bins were full this morning so they came in over night and dragged all the garbage bags out then the coyotes drag the bags across the yard. Joint effort. 

So, Lola and I start to go by. Ozzie has already let himself known to them as he passed and Lola usually follows suit, but today I had treats. "Good girl, HERE, good girl" as we passed by. A fellow camper stopped me to ask if I needed spinal surgery, (ah, not today thanks) and Lola was still being fantastic. (I limp at times from a tight psoas muscle.) The man had surgery a few years ago and now he's fantastic. Anyway... (that was just side info of our walk past the burros) Lola and continued and I was so proud of us. That's when she scooped her head down and grabbed the chicken bone that was on the ground from one of the trash bags. Oh nooooo. 

We now are in the "Lola, drop" stage of our walk. I grabbed some treats, about 4 small pieces and put then in front of her nose. Nope. I then got hold of the said chicken bone and said sternly, "Release!!". Nope. Ok, more treats..a good handful actually. She likes these morsels so now we are there, she did a good sit for me but kept a good grip on that bone with me on ones side of it. I trust her. The Labs? Oh my fingers would be a little gnawed right now but they would have eventually left it. 

The moment of truth...a handful of treats Lola for that old ,thankfully dried, chicken bone! I held them to her nose and I could see the wheels could she drop the bone, get the treats and retrieve the bone once again. She got the treats, I got the bone! And I don't have any pockets or bag to place the chicken bone in. I carry the doggie bags in my bra a lot of times and the treats are in the treat bag which she would bug me for all the way home.  When we did make it past the burros, very casually I will add, she got the "bonus" treats!! Same treats but given with much hoopla and praise. She did great!! 

Just another day in the adventure. Why don't I have pockets? Oh because when I put something that smells really interesting in them they get found and I end up with a hole. Just another day in the adventure with dogs!! 

Time for happy hour so have a great day and beware of chicken bones laying on the ground when you don't have a pocket to put it in!! 

Have a great night and see you tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Not Even Noon

It's 11:07 A.M. here in California and it feels like I've already put in a days work. Bob and Betty went into Lake Havasu City and said I could use their golf cart to do my laundry. Up at 7:00 and over to the Laundromat by 8:00 A.M. So unlike me. Haha. I have had a basket of laundry since we left New Hampshire. It just keeps growing so this morning I was determined to get it all done. While it was spinning I went to the office to pay our rent then back down to collect said laundry.

I watched a man having so much trouble trying to get his 40' RV into a spot and totally sympathized with him. I think he hitched his car back up and left. Today there are about 74 units arriving and yes, it's a huge park. I'll go ride around later and see if he found a new site.

Here is the main purpose for the blog today. After we had breakfast at the diner we decided to go up on the hilltop and see the Cemetery.  From what I hear ashes have been scattered here and pets buried. One plaque was in remembrance of someone's wife,mother,artist who passed in 2010. "please don't put me up here Roger" was all I could say but she must have truly loved this place.

There is a young man that works here and in his spare time goes up and makes amazing sand sculptures. I tried to take the pics while we were rolling along but since I was driving Roger insisted I keep both hands on the wheel so we wouldn't roll over the side of the mountain. Oh ye of little faith!!!

There is a sheer drop off! 

We passed by the golf course that is up on top of the mountain. 5 holes and quite long. I was really surprised and people bring their clubs and are quite serious. Then we had to descend! Roger said "Let the engine work for you going down". "Ok hon, and the brake?" Ah... yes!!!!! 6% grade on this and the other road up and down is even steeper. But, what a view! We could see mountains behind mountains!

So it's not even noon. Laundry done, exploring down, at least for the morning and now for another cup of coffee. I'll start my paintings soon and that will be my afternoon faire. Hoping our new batteries arrive tomorrow. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the batteries don't give up the ghost. Roger has been putting our charger on them until they are fully charged then remove it until we are close to death  Bob is at Harbor Freight buying two lanterns. One for us. It will be great for being outside when it gets even darker and perfect if we have to sit in the dark before our batteries come. ( deer in headlight eyes) Fingers crossed.

Still not I'll end and start the second half of my day. (what am I thinking getting up so

See you tomorrow and hope the rest of your day is magical!