My husband, Chuck, passed away very unexpectedly on March 1, 2017. I wasn't going to write about in here, but it didn't feel right to try to keep on blogging as though my heart were still whole.
The preceding 12 months had been horrible for both of us; I lost my sister on March 16, 2016, then Chuck was diagnosed with cancer in June. He battled it with chemo and radiation and he won. In December, he was pronounced cancer free. The chemo took a huge toll on him, taking him down to just about skin and bones, but he was getting stronger with each day that passed in January and February. But on the morning of March 1st, I couldn't get him to wake up. His heart, his enormous, kind, loving, giving heart had just stopped. I know it was absolutely painless for him because he looked so peaceful. That's what I tell myself anyway...
I'm still having a hard time truly believing that he is gone. Everything looks the same...and yet nothing is the same. The animals and I are trying as best we can to adjust to a world without our center...if one can ever "adjust" to something like that. Right now, I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.
I hope everyone who celebrates Easter is having a good one. I've been horribly ill for the past four days, so no Easter eggs or chocolate bunnies for me. (Not necessarily a bad thing). I'm starting to feel better now, but whatever this thing was that I had really knocked me for a loop. It's impossible not to feel hopeful at Easter though.
Several days ago I spotted the first of the ladybugs. I was really surprised because it's been pretty cold here for April. Last night our low temperature was 30 degrees F. Happily, I saw more ladybugs today so I guess they're doing all right. This is the earliest they've hatched; usually the hatch date is around the middle of May.
This photo is from June of 2007. There isn't any sunshine around today; last night it snowed, and today the mountains that I live in are wrapped in fog and rain. After all the rain we've gratefully received I'm looking forward to being able to plant a few pots with some pretty blooms this spring. I might even replace one or two rose bushes that expired from drought.
This map shows what areas are still being affected by drought. The white areas are where the drought is over, the yellow areas indicate "abnormally dry," the beige areas indicate "moderate drought," and the two orange areas indicate "severe drought." The area where I live is still considered abnormally dry...maybe I better rethink replacing those water-hogging rosebushes and just stick with cheerful pots of annuals.
These photos of a Spotted Towhee are horrible, but I so rarely see them I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a picture of one.
The black shape in the bottom of the photos is the head of Purrcilla, one of my cat children.
She was making that strange little noise that cats do when they see a bird. I don't think the towhee could hear her, maybe not even see her through the screen and window glass, but Purrcilla was thrilled.
I've been spending a lot of time in my studio lately making cards for friends.
I backed the die cut on the front of this card with iridescent glitter paper, and used that same paper for the snowflakes. The camera didn't do a very good job of picking up the sparkle.
The die cut on this one has the same paper backing, but I inlaid the snowflakes with silver mirror board.
I used the iridescent glitter paper for the die cut frame on this card,
and made my own embossing powder by mixing Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder and Diamond Dust fine glitter from Stampin' Up. To get the camera to pick up even a bit of the shimmer, I had to shoot slightly out of focus.
I used the same embossing powder mix for the trees and sentiment on this card and die cut the frame from silver mirror board.
The interior uses the same embossing powder mix plus Ranger Super Fine Detail Silver embossing powder.
For the frame on this one, I used the iridescent glitter paper and my embossing powder mix for the tree and sentiment, but the sparkle didn't show up at all, even when I adjusted the focus.
I just stamped the snowflakes with white pigment ink and used the silver embossing powder for the sentiment on the inside of the card.
I'm going to have to dig out some of my photography lights and see if I get better photo results with more controlled lighting...I'm loving making cards, though. I'm still very new to it, so I make lots of mistakes. But, even with all the mistakes, it's so much fun and so relaxing!
Bye bye January...you went by quickly! That's the little path in the photo above that the skunks, feral cats and raccoons have made in the back yard. The snow is melting quickly now that the temperatures have finally gotten above 32 F.
A close-up of some little cat prints.
This photo, and the three following photos, were taken yesterday morning. Good thing I got them then, because they weren't there this morning!
My eye was caught by the colors of this little faceted crystal
hanging in my studio window.
I think it liked the sunlight we had today...the first in over three weeks! But, happily, the weather people are saying that it's going to start raining and snowing again on Thursday and continue through the weekend, with rainfall totals of up to 10 inches.
The sky is the same today as it was when I took this photo several days ago...that light, pearl grey that hurts the eyes nearly as much as bright sun. But the snow is gone, melted away by the rain. Still lots of snow higher up the mountain though, so the skiing is good!
"I've been thinking of heaven recently. Not the heaven of avarice - a heaven full of mansions and streets of gold - but heaven as a real, physical place. There is something about clear nights in the winter, the perfection of snow and ice in the light from the stars and the moon that always reminds me of the existence of God. When it's cold enough, the sky seems to empty and there is an infinite darkness, a sense that there is something unreachable and never-ending, something past the idea of heaven." from "Touch" by Alex Zentner, photo by Joni Niemelda
It's snowing here again today. What a wonderful winter this has been so far! I hope there's lots more snow and rain in Southern California's winter.
A few days after one of our little snowstorms, some really nice icicles formed. I grabbed my camera and took a few photos while the sun was out. It's been clouded over here pretty consistently for almost three weeks, and almost every day we've had a little rain! By my reckoning, we've received nearly 11 inches so far...yippee! Not enough to fill up the lakes and not enough to make the streams flow again, but still so very welcome.
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
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Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Is Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul ~ Jean Cocteau (That's Malcolm O'Mewy on the chair)
Feed the Hungry
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
What I'm Reading Now:
Give a Child a Book
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Care for a cuppa?
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains"
I'm three-quarters Native American (Oglala Sioux and Cherokee), and one-quarter Northern Italian. I live in a little cottage with my furry "children" in a beautiful mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wild creatures. I love animals (you probably guessed), books, photography, tall trees, clear lakes, rain, snow, tea, the moon, and creating all kinds of art.