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November 2015

Good Thing I'm Not Being Graded


As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been taking an art class this fall at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. I've discovered that I really like to draw (who knew?) and I especially like working with colored pencils.  (I also really like my current instructor -- and would take nearly any class she might teach in the future.)

Anyway.  Today is my last class in this session -- and to celebrate, we're having a show-your-work/critique session  - with wine and treats.  I'm not nearly as intimidated by this (the showing and critiquing; not the wine) as I once was.  

I'm not really ready, though . . . it turns out - when it comes to art - I'm really slow.

(And busy.)

Finished or not . . . here's what I have to "show" today:


This is my flower.  I worked on it for weeks (I think I showed it in an earlier iteration here on the blog, some time ago.)  Not happy with the background, but - really . . . I needed to move on.


This one is actually finished.  (Watercolor pencils; how I love them!)  I like this one quite a lot, and I'm inspired to do more -- in a "series."  (Someday.  When I finish some of my other pieces.)


JoJo.  This one is off to a good beginning (as in, hasn't been tossed in the trash yet), but not even close to being finished.


And this is a brown trout.  In the water.  I've been working on it for weeks.  (This one WAS in the trash for a while, but Tom convinced me to keep going.  And my instructor encouraged me to keep going.  So I am.)  Again.  Not close to finished.

I work very, very slowly. 

Good thing I'm not being graded!

(At least I finished baking my treat-contribution to the class party.)

P'update: Hound of the Baskervilles


JoJo and Tom like to play fetch games every evening -- either frisbee or ball.  It's gotten really hard now, though, with the dark coming earlier and earlier.

Until today!

I picked this up at our pet supply store . . . 


a ball that lights up and glows! 

Seemed ideal, but I had my doubts.  Would it work?  Would JoJo freak out?  (She's a bit of a 'fraidy-dog.)

But, no.  Great Success!  Here.  See for yourself!


I'm not sure who had more fun -- JoJo . . . or Tom.  Whichever.  JoJo looked like one of the hounds of the Baskervilles, glowing and flashing.

Despite the darkness . . . game on, JoJo!



This week, Carole asks the Ten on Tuesday crowd to describe . . . Ten Places You Hang Out.

(Which got me humming.)  (To just hear the song, skip to :54.)


And then . . . I started thinking how really dull and predictable I am.  Because this list turned out to be hard for me.  And made me think that, well, maybe I need to get out more.

Kym corner

1 - Because mostly . . . I hang out at home.

2 - And, specifically, I hang out in this corner of the couch in my library.  (It's where I knit.  And read.  And stitch.)

3 - Or in my garden.  (Although at this point in the year, not so much.)

4 - Or on the patio.  (I'm missing my patio furniture.)  (But that means more time in my corner in the library.)

Gym in the mornin

5 - I also hang out at the gym.  (This photo shows my gym at 7:45 in the morning.  Still pretty dark.  But busy.)

6 - Mostly in the pool.  Or the spinning room.  Or the yoga/pilates studio.  (And whenever I get the chance -- in the hot tub or the steam room.)

7 - Tom and I frequent our neighborhood bistro quite often.  (We're "regulars" . . . so I guess you could say we hang out there.)

8 - And we have a great neighborhood coffee shop I visit quite a bit.  (It's my #1 place to meet up with friends.) (I'm headed there this morning.)

9 - I hang out at the KIA for weekly art classes.  (At first I was kind of initimidated there, but now I'm comfortable enough to consider it a "hangout.")

10 - And, of course, I hang out on Facebook, too. (Like so many of you.)

How about YOU?  Where do you like to hang out?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here, or read other hanginaround posts here.


It's the Little Things


It all started about a year ago . . . when I needed to replace my refrigerator.  

It quickly became clear . . . that my kitchen was terribly out of date (although pretty wonderful -- after all, I had a few up-to-date features like granite countertops and recessed lighting).  But out of date all the same because . . . 

Oak cabinets.

Brass fixtures and cabinet pulls.

Black appliances.

Just. Not. Cool.

I ended up switching out my refrigerator with one in a new "color" -- slate.  (Not stainless -- because it really doesn't go with oak at all; not white -- which just seemed way too stark in my kitchen.)  (Of course, black appliances are SO 1990s.)  (And not even available anymore.) Ultimately I replaced ALL the appliances with slate.  (So at least everything matched.)

But the brass?  Really dated.  (Especially with the new slate appliances.)


I would've loved to re-do the kitchen.


Already doing the master bathroom/bedroom.

And so silly, really . . . because everything is in fine shape.  
(Also.  Despite their being SO . . . outré . . . I actually LIKE my oak cabinets.)  (Just sayin.)

And money doesn't grow on trees.

For a while, I thought about painting my cabinets.  But there are just too many. 

So I decided to settle for a few minor tweaks.  Little things that would make a big difference.  Like. . . switching out the brass fixtures with new ones in oh-so-much-more-current oil rubbed bronze.

New cabinet pulls.


New fan.


New recessed light covers.


And . . . "conversion kits" to create pendulum lighting over my kitchen island!


Yes.  I still have my oak cabinets.  (My kitchen is VERY 1990 when it comes to woodwork.)


I have an updated look, and  I'm really happy.  (And it didn't cost a fortune, either.)



I'm thinking window treatments. . . 


And my special thanks to Tom.  Because he did the actual work to switch everything out.  (There were 40 cabinet pulls in the kitchen alone.)  (And I did sort of extend the switching-out into the bathroom off the kitchen.)  (I know that towel rod was a real bitch.)  Thanks, honey!



I found a great online source for cabinet pulls and fixures.  Great selection.  Really good prices.  Excellent customer service.  And . . . quick delivery!  And I got the light covers and conversion kits here.





Sundays are for Poetry




The sky began to tilt,
a shift of light toward the higher clouds,
so I seized my brush
and dipped my little cup in the stream,

but once I streaked the paper gray
with a hint of green,
water began to slide down the page,
rivulets looking for a river.

And again, I was too late --
then the sky made another turn,
this time as if to face a mirror
held in the outstretched arm of a god.

                        ----- Billy Collins
                                 Horoscopes for the Dead

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!



Once again, my week is reduced to headlines . . . 


Couple Ventures to Men's Clothing Store for New Sportscoat:  We go once every 15 years, whether we need to or not, says husband


Massive Great Lakes Windstorm Prevents Intrepid Walker From Completing Daily March Through Time:  Even the dogs wouldn't go outside! 


Windstorm Creates Dangerous Waves on Lake Michigan Shoreline:  Blows All Remaining Leaves to Detroit


Woman Goes for Annual Mammogram; Reminds Others to Get One, Too!


Family Dogs Turn Themselves Inside Out With Barking at Racoon Sighting in Front Yard


Blogger Scraping Bottom Less Than Mid-Way Through NaBloPoMo


Have a great weekend!


A Thanksgiving Throwback


Tom and I started dating during the summer of 1979 . . . when we were both home for summer break.  I was between my sophomore and junior years at the University of Wyoming; he was heading into his senior year at Boise State University.

We headed back to our respective colleges in the fall -- but our relationship held through the distance.  We managed to visit back and forth about once a month (usually traveling by Amtrak), and our phone bills were pretty high.  We also wrote letters.  (Lots and lots of letters!)

At Thanksgiving, I decided to drive up to Boise (a 17 hour trip) to be with Tom.  (I found a couple of other UW students who wanted to go to Idaho Falls, so they helped pay for gas and shared the driving.)  It was my first Thanksgiving away from my family -- and the first time Tom and I would celebrate the holiday together.  

We took these pictures of each other before our dinner that day.

Tom at TG 1979
Tom at TG 1979

And what do we remember most about that glorious meal now . . . 36 years later?

  • Tom recalls that we didn't thaw the turkey (about a 9-pounder) in time -- and ended up leaving it out on the counter all night.  (And we lived to tell the tale!)
  • I remember that our attempt at gravy failed miserably -- and, in fact, settled into a horrific 3-layer conglomeration that was not edible at all.
  • We both remember that we'd eaten big chunks of pie (probably for breakfast), but hid that fact in the photos with a clever placement of the wine bottle.  (Remember that Almaden wine???)
  • I also remember that my Mom wasn't terribly keen about my driving that far - or my not being home for the holiday.  In the end, though (because she really liked Tom), she gave me her blessing -- and sent us the centerpiece for our table.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving -- and such fun to remember that holiday way back then!

Thoughts on Welcoming a Daughter-in-Law


I raised Brian to grow up and become . . . himself.  To follow his own path.  To discover his own life.  To leave me.  It has always brought me great  joy . . . to watch him UNFOLD . . . right before my eyes.


I'm especially happy that Brian and Lauren found each other.  The two of them seem just perfect for each other.  As a Mom, there is really nothing better than watching your kid . . . grow up and find happiness.

And I am seeing that in Brian now . . . because of Lauren.  I am looking forward to seeing the future the two of them create TOGETHER.  I'm going to love watching their lives continue to . . . UNFOLD. 


 Last week, I sent Lauren a note (saying pretty much the same as above) along with a little "token" -- a symbol, I guess, of my passing Brian's childhood into her hands (and heart) . . . for the next phase of his journey.


I'm confident that Mr. Bun is in good hands!