Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thanks to Mary Ann, and Joys of Asilomar

To Mary Anne
These virtual roses flew through hyper-space
their petals velvet soft and tinged with pink
rich with imagined fragrance. Who would think
that you have never met me face to face?

But hearts and minds can share past days of glory -
march with Cesar, mourn when Bobby died.
I pour your cup of tea. You're by my side.
We linger over story after story.

These are the gifts that I would waft to you:
blue skies, blue water always by your shore,
forget-me-not and larkspur, Stellar's jay.
I wish for you a wealth of all things blue.
I wish continued friendship even more
and Peacock Blue to cheer my every day.

For those who do not understand
the above verse, go to Peacock Blue
and see the post for August 27.

It turns out that I will have a few (very few) days at home after all. I'll take advantage of it to post a tiny sampling of the joys of our Asilomar reunion. There was a total of 26 or 27 Smiths, Shocks, Bishops and Andersens there, most for the full three days, but not everyone stayed for the full time, and I will not even try to post pictures of everyone, only samples of the pleasures of our glorious party. And don't forget that picture of waves breaking against the rocks that I posted last time.
Music is an important part of every Smith reunion.

Anna and Cedric rock-climbing.

From my window at dawn.

Otto and me with great-grandchildren Summer Bishop, Jon Andersen, and Baxter Bishop

Bicycling along the shore.

Photographing tide pools

Just visiting..

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nostalgia already!

Our Smith reunion and Otto's 90th birthday celebration at Asilomar was as wonderful as anticipated! Asilomar is one of the jewels of the west coast, and to be there surrounded by people we love, most of whom we see rarely because of the distance at which they live, was a tremendous joy to both of us. The picture above is a small sampling of those I hope to post next week when I am again in web range.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Something - and Someone - Nice!

If you're wondering about that pretty card down on the right-hand side of my blog, go to the August 16 posting on Peacock Blue

Mary Ann (nonizamboni) at Peacock Blue has a consistently wonderful site. Check out her beautiful collection of photographs of blue flowers on her August 17 posting.. Especially the bottom one, which her husband photographed in Idaho. Be sure to click on it for enlargement of the spectacular patch of wild forget-me-nots in a lovely ferny setting.

Friday, August 17, 2007

After saying I might never mention an art form beyond the doodles of a couple of posts ago, I came across this picture that granddaughter Josie had sent me of one of my watercolors that she had had reframed. The large watercolor was done on the spot (patio of Menlo Arts Center near Stanford University), and the teensy watercolor in front of it is one I copied from it - just for the fun of it. That white spot is just a reflection on the glass of the frame.

One doesn't have to be rich to feel rich. Here are a few of my cheap pleasures (doesn't that sound wicked?):
Sharpened pencils with good erasers at hand wherever I might reach for one.
Kleenex or similar tissues in reach anywhere.
A fresh bouquet on the dragon chest in the entry hall.
Mozart playing on the hi-fi - or the Beatles - or Simon and Garfunkel.
E-mails from my favorite people.
Comments on my blog (hint!).
Hearing Otto come through the front door.
I've been sorting things to go to Asilomar with us next week. I'll have to neglect my blog starting Tuesday, since Asilomar makes a point of having no electronic equipment, such as TVs or telephones in the rooms (which I will not miss at all!), and I doubt that they have internet access for guests. My laptop will be with me. It always is. As my suitcase slowly fills, I realize how partial I am to every shade of green clothing, from my new spruce-green slacks to the several blouses in several shades of yellow-green. Plus an apple-green sweater. One of the things I love about summer is the profusion of green leaves in thousands of different greens, and each of those greens in sunlight and shadow or with light shining through it.

Until next week. Have a happy time!

Monday, August 13, 2007

What Happens Next?

What happens next? That's always the question, isn't it? I THINK I know what will happen in the next few days. Our plans are to go a week from tomorrow to Asilomar, that wonderful State of California resort near Monterey, for three days of a family reunion and the celebration of Otto's ninetieth birthday. I look forward to it with pleasure and every expectation that it will be wonderful in every way.

Yet I have recently read the news about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, and I can imagine the ordinary, daily expectations of a commuter returning home to supper, to reading the paper, watching TV, overseeing the childrens' homework or getting dressed for an evening out. How could that commuter foresee that a moment later he miight find himself in the Mississippi river or balancing on an unstable sloping slab of concrete among tangled wreckage?
Here is my take on the unpredictability of fate:

The day of destruction dawns like any day
- birds at the feeder, crumbs upon the table -
“We’re almost out of toaster bread,” she says
They hear no murmur of subterranean stresses

to cause new rifts to gape, to split wide open
when earth’s crust slips or an inadvertent word
release tsunamis of ocean or of tears.

The day of destruction dawns like any day.
Perhaps the undetected clot will migrate,

the rusted bridge truss break.

“I’ll buy another loaf on my way home.”

And who knows?
Maybe this is not the day
the world will end.
It might still be a day

like any other day.
Phyllis Sterling Smith

Sounds pretty gloomy, doesn't it? I don't mean it that way at all. Life is rich and wonderful, and my real point is that I want to be sure to be in the present moment, experiencing it in all its wonderfulness.

I've been copying old photos of Otto for a board that Dianne wants to assemble for the Asilomar birthday party.
Here is a tiny sampling of some from different stages of his life: baby, young father, grandfather, recent.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Doodling around

We took Myrtle to the airport today, and the house seems very quiet without her cheerful presence.

Yesterday she and I found ourselves at the dinette table with a box of crayons and assorted papers: papers with computer printing mistakes on one side but one side bare for reuse (Otto and I seem to generate a lot of those), regular writing paper and several small drawing pads. We decided to use the technique of just letting our fingers (those holding crayons) flow at their own sweet will. I liked the doodle to the left (Myrtle's). She did a number of others, but they were on that used computer paper, and the back showed through when I scanned them. My solitary doodle of the day is the one on the right.
my doodle

I have produced quite a few crayon abstracts, much more intentionally done, of course, than in my semi-conscious doodle mode.. Metamorphosis below was done on a 12x20 sheet.

Most of my artwork has been representative, usually landscape watercolors, but also water-color and pastel still lifes and portraits. However my subject today is doodling. I'll take up other art subjects later or never.

Happy doodling!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Day After Kite Festival

The day after the kite festival, Byron and Myrtle went, in the very early morning, to the same site on the Marina in order to fly Byron's new stunt kite with no interference from friendly but crowded skies. These photos were taken by Myrtle. They were having such a good time that Byron brought Myrtle back to the house at almost noon and rushed away almost too late to get to his afternoon job in Santa Cruz. Myrtle's nose was a bit sun-burned, but she was beaming happily over the great fun they had had. Aren't brothers and sisters wonderful?
Byron with a kite string in each hand.
Aloft at last! Note twirling kite-tail as Byron masters a trick.