Monday, December 20, 2010

A touching momnt

This morning Shreve (Daily Coyote) informed me that there was a Jacquei Lawson animated Christmas Card from Barbara. I managed to bring it forth and it filled me with so much inner feeling of gratitude  and love for the human race. First of all, it was a work of Art. Santa coming down the chimney in a cloud of ashes. The two dogs assisting, the beautiful setting, everything helped fill me with remembrance of Christmases past. When the children were young and when Sam was alive. I sat for a long time, with tears in my eyes feeling thankful and happy. Barbara thank you, and Shreve, thank you. I tried to Email Barbara, but nothing would make it go.

It now turns out that we will have one granddaughter here for Christmas. Tory who is becoming a Service woman, (Coast Guard) will be here with Anna and Steve. She is stationed in Petaluma Ca. and will be driving up. Pray for good weather for her. Now I will have to make Swedish Coffee Cake. Tory learned how to make it when she was a young teenager. (Don't tell her, hers is better than mine.)

They leave to return to Bainbridge Island on the 28th of Dec. After that I will send out another blog. Merry Christmas to all my blog readers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent. Santa Lucia and much more

I have been so busy, what with creating presents, wrapping presents and mailing presents. All that is now behind me, my little home is decorated and if I get a shot of energy, I may bake some cookies. 

I am well. I can prove it. For on the 15th I saw my doctor for our semi-annual get together and that's what he told me. I would like to lose 20 lbs and I would like a little more grace. But how can you complain when most of the motors that keep me alive are humming along correctly.

Ariel sent a comment today, even though I have not blogged for ages. I started responding to her, and then thought I could instead write a blog and answer her comment at the same time. I don't want want to lose all my friends out there in this new world.

She mentioned that she grandmother used to eat burnt toast. We never had toast for breakfast. It was oatmeal daily forever and ever. My little brother hated oatmeal and refused to eat it. He would have to sit at the table till his plate was clean. When my mother had to get us older ones off for school, she would leave the dining room and often the plate was empty when she returned. We had a large, massive corner chest. It was larger in it's lower section than the upper one. The front of the lower part reached almost to the floor. There was a small opening with curved edges. Too small for a mop or a broom to fit under there. One day the dining room had to be painted. Two burly men came to help move the chest out of the corner. They could not budge it. It had to be taken apart. The upper section was heavy but the lower part was doubly so. When it was finally moved, Lo and Behold, there were many many piles of oatmeal left by my brother. Some had green hair growing on them. My brothers small  hand with his spoon could fit under the small opening.

But I began speaking of burnt toast. We like Ariel had no toaster. In the living room we had a fire place. Not open like we have here now. It was a box like thing and in the winter a fire burned all day long. If the fire had been refilled and was burning near the opening at the top, we would sometimes be allowed to stick a long fork in a slice of bread, open the little door at the top and then to hold the slice of bread above the fire. The bread had to be a certain distance from the fire or it would burn. There wasn't much space to waste. Many slices were not secured  correctly and if they fell into the fire, that child was out of luck for we never got another slice. The older children were much more clever and the younger ones would cry. It smelled so good from the bread toasting. But, oh how hot it was on the hand holding the fork. Agony!

The above happened only in the afternoon if it was too cold to play out doors. Or in the evening when it was too early to go to bed and too late to be out doors. If I remember correctly, we never got butter or jam for the toast. No finger marks in the living room.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Martin Luther

After making forty tomato halves ready for their two to three hour stint in the oven, I sat down to wait for the paper. Since it is snowy outside the paper was later than usual. It is promised for seven but usually comes earlier. It is now 6:56 am and my cat and I are anxious about the well fare of our friendly paper person who works on the paper all day and delivers papers at this horrible hour. My book, which I had taken yesterday to read with my breakfast 'THE PAINTED VEIL BY Somerset Maugham' was still in my purse and when you get to my age, getting up and down from your chair, is not something you do willy nilly. So I sat there thinking of Thanksgiving times of the past. 

In Sweden that is an unknown holiday. We had a holiday around the same time of year with equal big stir in the kitchen. It was Martin Luther's birthday. The lutheran religion is the state supported religion. People are free to join any church but then they must help support that that body. What caused the big stir in the kitchen? Everyone must cook a goose. I never had a goose dinner when I was growing up. Nor did I ever have a turkey dinner. Kalkon Must have been the size of our oven in our wood heated stove. It was difficult to keep a steady heat for that many hours. It was a school holiday, it was the beginning of the voting for the Stockholm Lucia, and it was the beginning of all the secrets connected with Christmas. And now I hear the paper being attached to the door handle. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tragedy and Beauty

What is so tragic? I have to live till April without baseball. Last week there was news in our little daily newspaper about the Mariner's Star Pitcher getting an award. It reminded me of better times. I know the season will begin again in the spring. But will I be here to enjoy it.

We are having our first snow. I can't call it a snowstorm for it is so calm and peaceful. And so beautiful. I think every time I go outside my blood pressure goes down to the normal degrees. If I had high blood pressure it would be theraputic to just sit outside and enjoy.

I had the weekend with FAKE IT IN FABRICS class. It was successful but the time was too short.I enjoyed the give and take between all the participants and there were successful endeavors to be finished after class. I hope all are being worked on. It is so easy to say 'later'. I would love to hear about the progress people are having.

Anna and Steve are coming on Wednesday to have Thanksgiving with me in what is now Gilbert''s house. I am sharing some of the cooking for the meal. I have to go to the store for supplies and more snow and heavy winds are predicted for this afternoon. But there is tomorrow and if the roads are too difficult, I can ask Anna or Steve to get what I need. Wish me luck.

And happy Thanksgiving to all. And if there is anyone who can, please send one dollar to 

402 S Valley St
Port Angeles  WA 98362

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ancestors, continued

You may wonder why so many Swedes went to America. Late 1800 Sweden was a very poor country. The kings of that time,and previously were constantly at war, mostly with Russia. Inheritance laws were unfair. The eldest child would inherit all. Since my grandfather was a teacher with an unbelievably low salary, there would be nothing to inherit. It was a law really concerned with a farmer's estate. My Grandfather owned nothing. He was given a home until he was retired, and then he rented houses until he died. He retired around the turn of the century. He had enough of a retirement pay to rent some very large houses in Viken. I heard him say once, bitterly, I have now earned more money in retirement pay than I earned my whole working life.

I know I have mentioned the aunt who went to America and who never came back. Every time her name was mentioned, people would quickly change the subject. Yesterday I began searching old blogs to see if I could find her name. I have searched all sorts of places in my brain, and I can not find it. I have thought about her more than all the others. Could she have gone astray over a man or over many men? Could it be a sexual disease that killed her? Could it have been drugs or drink that killed her. She was a beautiful woman when she left Sweden. I often thought that maybe I could find her history somehow, but now I can't even remember her name. If her name pops up in a dream I will write it down before it disappears again.

Aunt Ida was the apple of her father's eye. She met and fell in love with a young man in Viken. He proposed to her and after they were engaged he told her he would like to go to America to try to find gold either in California or in Alaska. He would come back to get her as soon as he was ready to get married. This made my grandfather happy because he could keep his favorite daughter at home a little longer. My grandmother died either 1908 or 1910, and Ida was the hostess in her father's house until Martin finally was ready to settle down. The young couple were now in their early fifties. Too old to have children. What a tragedy. They settled in Colorado. I finally got to see Aunt Ida, when she was a widow, and just a few years before she also died.

When Ida left, my mother was the only one to help out with her father. There was Olof, who never left Sweden. He had a little more education than his siblings, and became a banker. We were sort of afraid of him because of his high standing in the community. Actually he was only a teller. He married one of the Cato girls. They lived in the city.

There is a lot more to tell of this family. Next time

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I used to own my grandfather's logbook. In it he had written what a kilo, or what a ton of coal cost. Also, what it cost to have a cow betackt (the a with an umlaut). It meant a calf would be born soon. But their first baby would be born before the calf was born.
The job he got made it possible for him to get married. His fiancee had lived with her family in the city named Helsingborg. Here she was pampered, and lead a comfortable life with indoor plumbing. Her father was a successful merchant. The store was called Tengwall's and was still in the same place when I was growing up and owned by a woman who was my mother's age.  She had inherited the store. I remember going there with my mother to give Hildur her Christmas present, which yearly was the same potted tulip, which had been forced to bloom in time for this Holiday.
The job grandfather was given came with living quarters. Half the building was the schoolroom.  The other half was the Olsson's living quarters. The water pump was outside the kitchen and the Outhouse was as far from the dwelling as possible. This had to be shared with all the students in the school. Poor Botilda, it must have been a rude awakening for her. Grandfathers pay was miniscule and as far as I know, they never had a pair of store bought socks or stockings. In every photo of my grandmother, she was seen with the five sock needles, working on a new pair of socks for her eight children. Or maybe there were seven children.
Soon after marrying, Ivar was born. And then the others followed. Either my mother was the youngest, or morbror Olof was. My mother was born in 1886. Many of her siblings had already emigrated to America. Next in turn came Alma, who worked in NYC as a baby nurse. I forgot to tell about Ivar first. He had a good friend from school who left first to go to America. He ended up in Walla Walla Wasington, working for a grocery store. He convinced Ivar that the streets were paved with money and to hurry up and follow him. I wish I had seen his diary to read about his trip across the Atlantic. I know he landed in New York. But how did he get to Walla Walla. What adventures did he have on the way. He did not last long in the West. He returned to NY and became a teamster. How he got money to buy a team of horses I don't know. He worked for the Swedish American Line and delivered luggage and other ware. He married Henrietta and they ended up in Upper New York state as Maple sugar farmers. They had one daughter named Louise.

The next time I will tell you about Alma and Ida, both interesting cases. And then following will be the stories about one whose name escapes me at the moment. I know nothing about her so what you will read will be my own phantasy about her. Everytime her name was mentioned, the conversation changed and looks told one there was more about her that would not be fitting for small ears to hear. So do not believe what you hear, for chances are that I made it up.

Friday, October 22, 2010

FAKE continued

It is now a week since our successful week at the local quilt store. Everyone who participated was a star.

 Jan and her mother Joanne who came from California to experience something new. They were very talented and I am eager to see their finished work. 

Joanne had a more detailed time doing Matisse's Sunflowers. How she executes the two flowers will be important and if the first attempt fails I hope her second one will be perfect. We have a preconceived idea of what the flowers should look like, but how did Matisse see them? That's the secret of being a good FAKER.
Jan, her daughter, worked on the painting of a neighbors that is so rich in especially the colors. She finished the basic part of the fruit, but had all details to work on at home. She is a busy lady and I hope she does not wait too long. There are fewer details, both in the background and in the foreground. So the red persimmon has to star in perfection.
And then there was Ann from Bainbridge Island. She came knowing what to do with the photo she had invented. Fascinating watching her work.  It was a landscape from Kansas with mysterious things happening in the distance. It is going to be revealed to us when the work is finished.
I held the class because a friend from Bainbridge asked me to help her make Matisse's Red Room. In the last minute she had to go with her husband to a convention. I will offer to give her a private class here in my home, some Saturday of her choice. It will be easier to have the lesson here. 

Next blog will be a continuation of my Grandparents lives. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Saturday was finally the day for the class. I don't know how many sleepless nights I had before the event. How would I get all my materials from my place to the place where we were to meet? And then back home again. Baby sitting for Gilbert's dog, solved one of my problems. When I arrived at the house I would enter through the garage. In the corner I would pass a very meaningful wheeled object. If I could borrow that, I felt I could manage one trip from my place to the street where I would park my car. Sewing machine, coffee maker, and all the boxes of material would probably fit on the thing. And if it were as manageable as it looked, the hill up to the car would be no trouble. And the short length from the car to the classroom would be a snap. I tried to hire some young person with muscles but could find no-one. And then Betsy, a friend,  who had already taken one of my classes and was doing it again said 'I'll help you'. And she helped load the car, she said I'll bring my coffeepot, she was an absolute gem. And in the classroom she was an inspiration.

The Quilt store whose class room we used, was a big part of the success. They were so helpful and so kind to the students. Everyone got a ticket when they arrived and then could dash into the store to buy the item they needed and then could pay when the class ended. I had to be very demanding when someone left to go to the store. It is so exciting to wander through the stacks and stacks of fabrics. Someone buying a needle could spend an hour looking at yardage for a future project. So each time someone would go to the store I would give them a short time for the errand. "You have four and a half minute' or something equally ridiculous. We had only one day to work together. And when the day was over they could spend all the time they wanted. 

Betsy was the star of the moment. She arrived knowing what she wanted to do and never stopped working. Her project was fabulous. And her independence and personal touch was exciting to watch. The others all did well and had a great FAKE to take home to finish. How well all worked together was an inspiration. If they didn't live so far from each other I think real friendships were born that day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I wish I could remember what the Swedes called the bed that held more than one stranger. During snowstorms people would never turn out a person who needed a safe port. Often beds were in short supply, and the bed would be made from both ends. And people would sleep with their heads next to the stranger's feet. I those days with no indoor plumbing, I can imagine the odors that issued forth from the feet of the stranger, and vice versa. People were lucky who could manage a bath a week. But what has this to do with pregnancy.

Grandfather had met the love of his life somewhere. Probably in the school he was attending in order to get his teaching certificate. He lived in on a farm North of Helsingborg in exchange for work (milking the cows in the morning and in the evening). School started at eight o'clock, and the walk to the school took 45 minutes. Weekends he was free and he would walk to Helsingborg to see Botilda. Her father was a businessman and they lived in a great house, probably with in-door plumbing) There were times when the weather was so atrocious that Botilda's parents could not send the swain out in the night. And then they would fix the bed 'skafottes'. And they would put the couple in the bed with what they thought, the security of the sheet between them. And that was the way Botilda got pregnant.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Last blog was misleading. I told about feeling more insecure than ever about my punctuation. Actually, that was not caused by the book, THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG. There was a short mention about the comma in a certain sentence. But that little sentence caused a big uproar among the ladies present at the club meeting. The person leading the conversation, a good friend of mine from long ago, has her doctorate in education, and before her retirement was a principal in one of our elementary schools. She mentioned that little sentence about the 'comma' and with that there was as huge discussion about all sorts of grammar. I did not enter into all that for I was afraid of revealing my ignorance. But it certainly was enough for me not to rush into another blog. After much scolding from my PLOT daughter, I agree that I should let the faults drop where they may.

My maternal grandfather, whose picture I have on my desk, was born in Sweden in 1838. His mother died when he was born and his father either died soon after, or could not take care of him and he became a foster child in a neighbor's house. When he reached a certain age, I think eight, he was indentured into a farmers house and his term was until he was sixteen or eighteen. I don't know if the farmer was supposed to let him go to school during this time. It sounds as though his father had sold him into slavery. I remember his telling us children that when he was sick, the farmer's wife would give him nothing to eat. How he got his education or how he became a school teacher I don't know. I wish I could remember what he told us when we were little, for he loved to talk.

He graduated from the teacher's college, got a job, married his pregnant girlfriend within one week. They had seven children who lived. (I never heard about others) I will tell you about the ones I got to know. I will begin my next blog with how the pregnancy happened.,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One day

Yesterday, first Wednesday of the month, I had to go to the book club. The meeting was being held in a house not far from where I live, a house with an extraordinary view of the waterfront. I have been there once before and once, long ago, the first time I attempted to go there, I searched and searched and after a while I got in my car and went home again. (I think I told you that I rejoined the club after years of having been a non-member) Well, I had the address secure in my mind and I ventured forth.
The street is a narrow path. On one side of the street are the back yards of people living on an ordinary street. With all the stuff that people have have behind their houses. And the other side of the street are mostly fenced in properties, with houses built on the edge of Port Angeles. (Let's hope we never have an earthquake)
And so I came to the correct number. Parked my car on the nearest side street. Got my cane and wobbled over to the front door of the house, wondered at the lack of goings on and used the door knocker. A friendly Brittany came by to see what I wanted. A beautiful Brittany. No one came to the door. The thought entered my mind that I would probably go home again if no one showed up. All of a sudden, there stood an attractive man with gardening gloves on his hands. Before he could ask what the heck I was doing there, I asked him if this was the place for the book club meeting. He then informed me that I could find the same numbered house at the other end of the street. When I got there, there were about twenty cars parked on the side streets and one car pulled up and parked on a little place that had a basketball pole. There was a tiny bit more space so I inched in there and saved myself a long walk.
The meeting was fabulous. Everyone liked the book and everyone had found so many hidden messages. I think I told you last time that the book was THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG. I know what the book did to me. I am twice as insecure about my punctuation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It has been decided

Thank you all for voting on my blog. The result of the vote was stunning. Not a single NO vote. And so many YES votes. A humbling experience. I have chosen my new carpet. I have the blessings of the director of our home office. Now I have to set a date with the carpet people.

I am teaching a class on Oct 16. I am so nervous about being able to do it. Two people are coming from Southern California, one from Bainbridge Island and the rest from Port Angeles and Sequim.  The subject of the class is FAKE IT IN FABRIC. I have to tell you how the name came about. I may have told you sometime in the past. A good friend was visiting in Washington D.C. She and her husband went to an art show and saw among other things a painting by Matisse called ' Lady with flowers. She bought a postcard depicting that Matisse. When I received it I remember what a horrible feeling filled me. 'No matter what happens between now and my final days, I will never be able to own a painting like that'. It was something like greed and avarice that filled me. I remember I was in the middle af a daily chore when my husband handed me the card. And I was ashamed of the way I felt. And then I told myself 'I'LL MAKE ONE'.

I went into my sewing room, looked for suitable fabrics and began my new art form. Trial and error and beginning over and over again I finally finished the work. And for some reason I was as happy as if I really had a Matisse in my possession. It proved that it was not the hundred or so millions I was craving, it was the beautiful scene of lovely colors and perfect composition that appealed to me. I have made many others but none has filled me with happiness the way that first one did.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A short, short visit

Anna and her friend Dana came from Bainbridge Island yesterday morning. We met at a breakfast place, finished early, and they went to the house on the beach to pick up a piece of furniture that Dana had bought during my garage sale. I drove as fast as was legal for an appointment with my dermatologist. I walked in and was seen at ten sharp and at ten-o-five was told not to worry, I did not have the bad kind of cancer on my arm. (We have been told so many times that when a spot on the skin changes and gets an irregular edge, go to the doctor.) Good news.

I now have another question that is worrying me. In a totally different area. Where I live, a wonderful beautiful place, management made a huge mistake when they readied my cottage for a new inhabitant. They ordered new carpeting throughout the place. The cheapest stuff on the market. It is awful. Every footprint shows and it is always soiled looking. My friend down the lane and I have compared notes, and she has now replaced everything in her cottage. When I saw the change, I was astounded. The comfort of the better kind of carpeting is huge.

But there is a distinct difference between us. She is in her early or middle seventies and could now be living there for twenty more years. I am ninety, or nearly ninety one, and I may have a much much shorter time. Should I spend that much money on a new carpet? There ore lots of people with nothing but mud under foot. I will ask my financial advisor if he thinks I can afford it, but he cannot advice me on my sense of right or wrong. I could ask my four children to vote on what I should do. 

Writing this blog has changed my mind. I will let you, my readers vote on yes or no. I know I can take it out of my saved up living expenses. Please all of you comment on this problem.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some ups and some downs

My life is getting too hectic. I rejoined a Book Club I used to belong to many years ago. The reason I left the club was that so often I had not read the book by the time we met to discuss it. The reason was that my mother had told me, often, that 'we don't read in the daytime'. When I went to bed I always began reading whatever was current, and as soon as I opened the book, I fell asleep. Now I can read as much as I want in the daytime. 

Today was the first meeting of the season for the book club. After this there will be nine more meetings and then the summer is free. Today was spent picking the books we will read these nine months. Several I have already read and the rest of the list is fun to look forward to. I will tell all of you what the books are later.

The reason I mentioned the word hectic is that I am going to teach a class titled FAKE IT IN FABRICS. I wake up in the middle of the night asking myself 'how will I handle that problem'. And then I lie there trying to solve it all. Luckily the class will be small. Two people will arrive from California, Two from Bainbridge Island, and the rest of the group live here in the environs. The date is October 16 and I can't afford to loose all that sleep. I will try to copy Scarlet O'Hara and say to myself, 'I will worry about that tomorrow. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

First day of school

I remember the very first day of school, when I was seven years old. The year was 1927. I was surprised the other day, when I read a story comparing Education in various countries, when I saw that beginning School is still when you are seven in Sweden.
My first day was wonderful. First the smell in the class room. I have often wondered what it was that smelled so promising. Was it coming from the pencil sharpeners, or was from the black surface on the floors.
 Somewhere in a drawer I have a picture of our first class. Most of us looked scared but my face showed no fear. Froken Andersson, our teacher, looked happy to be there. She was old. Now that I am ninety, it seems wrong to say she was old. I know she was under 65 for that was when people were pensioned. And I know she taught many years after my one year stint in her class. So maybe she was in her fifties. 
We had a small class. I remember a girl whose name was Gerd. Her father was something like a coast guard. She was next to the youngest in her family of many children. It was before the birth of Kleenex and the poor girl had a nose that needed one, but she had learned how to keep whatever was happening to herself. She had to keep her mouth open so she could breathe. I think it held her back. There was one of the Petterson girls. Stina, Brita and Greta. I don't remember which one was in my class for all three of them became friends through the years. Their father was a carpenter. Their mother must have been a seamstress for they all had cute clothes. The school was located on the main street of Viken. Our entrance was from the back of the building, but the teachers living quarters had an entry from the main street. Next door to the south was a clock maker's store. His name was Holm and he was a very dapper gentleman. Next door to the clockmaker was the 'smidga' The horses went there to get re-shoed. 
I knew how to read before the first day of school. I think I must credit my sister Birgit with that.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another bus drive

Today is tuesday. On our Calendar it says that 'Errands' will leave at 9.30 am. I left my cottage at 9 and walked, with my cane, up to my garage to get my shopping cart. Walked around to where we can get let out of the bus on our way home, parked my cart by a bush, and walked down to the place where the bus parks when picking us up. That little operation took exactly half an hour. I am practicing now so I will know how to behave when and if I loose my driver license. The whole event was amazing. And I now know why Park View Villas was voted the best retirement place in Clallam County.

The bus was nearly full. One person in a motorized Wheel Chair got on on the ramp on the back of the bus. Three of four took their walkers along on the bus, four or five used their canes and the rest of them walked on by their own balance and power. One woman who is either 94 or 95 walks as though she is about sixty. I checked her cart when our alotted hour  was nearly up and she had two candy bars in her cart. 

Before we got to Safeway the bus had dropped a couple off, to cash checks in various banks. And one man was dropped off at a dentist's office. One man was left in a Foot Clinic and a couple of women were left at other doctor's offices. Our driver, whom you have met before, is uncomplaining . It was raining and he opened the doors at these offices for everyone who left the bus. When we came to Safeway he handed each of us the carts that were going to hold us up while we were in the store.

The woman with the two candy bars remembered that she had promised a fellow inmate that she would apply a warm damp compound to an aching area of his, and when Keith heard her woe he gave her an early trip back to the home, and then turned around and collected the rest of his flock.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A small world

Today I was invited to play for someone in a Bridge Tournament. I think there were four or maybe five tables. The affair was held here at Park View Villas, my home address, and before we played, we had lunch in our dining room. It was interesting, for I do not eat there normally and my thinking lately has been, Why don't I eat there? I don't know how much it would cost to have two meals a day there, but I think maybe it would be less than I spend in the grocery store. After todays lunch I am glad I still have my independence. We had soup and a sandwich and grapes and for dessert a small container of ice cream. When I see my MD and he compels me to go on a diet, I may feel it would be a good way to lose weight to eat in the dining room.

Something very interesting happened at the table. The conversation around our area of the table turned to 'Have you read'? It was fun hearing what people were absorbed in, and I took a few notes. Suddenly I heard the woman across from me say, Have you read a book called The Daily Coyote? No one responded. So she went into great detail and took a lot of time describing the Vespa Story and the fabulous photographs. When she finished, I said, 'Who was the writer? She searched around in her head, and out came Sh, Shr Shreve Stockton. And then a light rose on her face, and she said 'Is that a relative of yours'. I brushed my nails on my vest, and said.... She is my Grand daughter.

Then I turned my attention to the person sitting next to me. She was talking about a book titled something about a house on a beach. The beach was located in Liberia. I asked, if the author mentioned, had dealt with how her parents or grandparents had settled in Liberia. She said Yes, and that she had gone into great detail about how freed slaves had been allowed to leave USA to go there. I said Commodore Robert Stockton had been instrumental in getting the people who wanted to emigrate from USA to Liberia the passage they needed for the trip. And then I told how Martha Alderson has written a book about that historical chapter. And who is Martha Alderson? Her middle name is Stockton and she is one of my favorite three daughters.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A couple of firsts

Yesterday I joined a TAI CHI class given here at our place. At 8.30 AM. I walked down the hill with my walker. It was sunny even then, so I had to wear my straw hat. (that hat always makes me feel jaunty) People think it is an affectation but my dermatologist insists. Tai Chi was a blast. I did everything wrong. The teacher asked before we began if I am dyslexic and I said I was when I was young and she looked 'Oh, not another one' But all my fellow searchers for balance told me not to give up too soon. For forty five minutes we strove for perfection. I was facing the teacher and when she said 'right arm' I moved my left arm. Next time I will try to sit next to her, so I can copy her better.

At ten I had an appointment to have my nails done. I walked back up the hill when the class was over, got my shopping cart where I had Jane's birthday present ready to mail, maneuvered up the seven steps to the level where my garage is, and realized that there was very little time to get half way to Sequim. So I broke a few speeding laws and made it with only a few minutes over due. And now my second first. At 12.05 I arrived at the Port Angeles post office. There was one human being besides me. The clerk. Never before have I encountered that kind of scene. By the time the clerk was through with me,  there were six people waiting to be served.

In the afternoon I had to call down to the office and ask if we had a nursing service available. There was so I said I would be down directly. Got my walker again and began walking down the hill. Our wonderful office director chased me down thinking I was in need of assistance. I just had an angry looking injury on the back of my arm. Before moving from the house on the beach I had thrown out a bowl full of small rocks that grand children had given me through the years. There were heart shaped ones and round ones and square ones. I needed those rocks for a project Jane had started us on earlier. I drove over, and there by the garage and near the Lilac bushes we had planted in 1983 was the whole bunch of my rocks. So I stole them. Reaching for the best one, way inside the lilac bush, a branch hurt my arm. I needed that very one and pushed harder. I checked for blood, but there was none. When I got home I checked again but only an ugly spot with something protruding. It did not hurt any more so I forgot it. Doing my hair in my sleeveless shirt I saw an even angrier spot with something looking like a part of the bush and a fairly large red area surrounding it. Since it was Friday and I had nothing that would kill germs I felt I needed some one to look at it. The nurse practitioner pulled out what was protruding and put germ killing stuff on it. And finally it began bleeding. Today is Saturday and I think I will live. Or in other words I think whatever kills me, it won't be a lilac bush.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My house is empty

The three girls left this morning and I miss them already. The only sign that they were here, the refrigerator is still full of wonderful food. This morning Martha made an egg omelet and used up a variety of food and it was delicious. But there are so many more remainders. We went out to eat several times but cooked dinner here except last night when there was a request for Blue Flame ribs. We ordered take out, and there are even two ribs that I can have with my Vodka and Tonic tonight. 

Remainders and reminders. My heart is filled with the warmth of their love. I have told you that we have two new families in our immediate neighborhood. Martha said,  'Let's invite people for a quick little coffee hour so they get to know who lives near them and all of a sudden there were ten or twelve people gathered in this little minute room. We had tiny sandwiches with cucumbers and thin, thin ham, and sugar cookies and chocolate covered almonds.  

I was encouraged by the girls to use my walker more. So I walked down to their car, using it, and I have to admit it is much easier to walk. And so another long fare-well. I don't want to rely on the walker too much, for walking with it makes me feel old. I am old, but do I want to feel it?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Who appreciates it when it's there

This morning, at the clinic, while waiting for the blood thinning technician, I was watching another victim. She was reading our local paper. It is so thin and so elongated that she was having to pick up her right leg, putting the heel of her foot on her left leg to prop it up. There she sat, comfortable as can be, occasionally letting her hand scratch the foot resting on her knee. She was wearing go-aheads. (fancy ones) I wanted to tell her to enjoy her youth. She wasn't so young. She was wearing black and probably on her way to her office job. It was a pose impossible for me.

Later in the day I was standing at the counter of our office supply store and when I got the change  after my purchase I dropped a coin on the floor. It looked like a nickel and I weighed the effort of picking it up or the waste of not picking it up. I decided for the latter. Then the customer standing next to me picked it up and it turned out to be a dime. I think I would have made the effort for a dime. But my goodness, it is tiring to go in and out of a couple of stores.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heart warming

Thank you all for commenting on my blog after this long hiatus. I am touched. And I have missed all of you, also.

Here at the home, we have missed our bus driver, Keith. He has spent several weeks in Sweden and Norway. He should be back any day. He promised he would buy the third book by Steeg Larsson in Swedish. I will be able to tell you if the translator does a good job. I am in the middle of another 900+ book and it is riveting. Called the OUTLANDER. While my computer was down I read THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH. Another 900+ page book. I highly recommend both of these books. Early history of our life on this earth. 

Aging is a strange experience. When I was 89 plus 395 days, everyone I met said 'I can't believe you are that old'  You should see me now! I am struggling to walk with a cane. I have a walker but am hesitant about using it. My face is aging faster than my legs. And for the first time I have rhumatic kind of pains in joints most people don't know the names of. I don't want you to think I am complaining. I am so lucky to be able to do what I do. I love my cat. I love my children. I love living where I am. And I am lucky to be able to drive and be that independent. I am mentioning this only as a surprising thing I have discovered. 

Gilbert, my son, who is living in what was our house till he bought it years ago, is in southern California. I promised I would go down to keep his dog company. Rusty is the father of Cap. I go down around noon. On my way there I buy lunch to go, and eat it at our dining room table. Rusty knows a few crumbs will fall to his benefit and he is happy to see me arrive. Then we go out in the fenced yard and when he has done his duty we go back in and I sit in what was my chair to read whatever I am reading. Quite early I drop off for a nap and I am sure he enjoys my snoring. My naps rarely last longer than half an hour. A very nice neighbor takes Rusty for a walk in the morning and another in the evening.

Next week my three daughters are coming for a four day visit. We are going to celebrate Jane's birthday. I have a large bag of frozen raspberries in my freezer. Jane loves to can things and we are going to make jam and all share what evolves. A friend, Donna, picked the berries in her yard, froze them and gave them to me. What a friend. During the days they are here I have a feeling there will be no blogs.

Friday, July 30, 2010

my computer is working again

Fun things have happened since the last time I wrote. Chris, my daughter in law, and I went into Seattle on the Senior Center bus to shop at IKEA. I drove a mechanized shopping cart for the first time. Easiest thing. Wish I had tried much earlier. Didn't buy much, but so much fun looking at all that merchandize. The meatball lunch was great. On the way home we stopped at Trader Joe's  in Tacoma and there I bought their triple Ginger Snaps. Yum.

Here, back at the farm, things are developing. The place is more beautiful than ever. The gardens have been manicured and it would be difficult to find a weed anywhere, nor a blade of grass that is longer than it is ordered to be. All our windows have been cleaned on the outside. The flowers are sensational. We have a marine layer of what looks like fog, but isn't every morning. It lasts a few hours in and then you  could imagine you were elsewhere, for it gets warm in the afternoon. No one is complaining.

We have had two cottages unoccupied for a while, but now they are all rented. A couple from Minnesota are moving in to the one directly across from my place. May turn out they are relatives of mine. For all people from Minnesota are Swedes? So I have heard. Lots of relatives went to America around the end of the 1800s. A lot of them never wrote home after they left Sweden. So who knows.

To all the wonderful people who have blogged, wondering why there was so much silence coming from my blog, I appreciate your concern and your care. I have missed blogging, but now that my computer is healthy again, I will try to get in touch more often.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sorry about this long silence

The porcelain painting lessons were very enriching. But the traveling took a lot out of me. I am now convinced, that when you are ninety, you cannot do all that you want to do. I hate to think what my condition might have been, had I driven myself. Each time I returned home, I vegetated one whole day to get restored. Another reason for my absence from my computer is that there are so much sensational coverage of sports on the TV. Baseball continues. (Mariners are loosing too often, but if you are a real fan you continue hoping). Then the World Cup in soccer. And the basket ball is working toward the end of the year. And to day is the last day of the Open in golf. I am going to watch that as much as I can. And I want to begin a new project. I am going to try to do a small Panama type of embroidery of a few leaves and one or two flowers from the bush in my backyard. I hope I haven't waited too long.

EMDK managed to get a message to me, regarding the windmill in Viken. I am so grateful. She told me that Lindberg didn't come from Denmark. I knew that. But his ancestors came from Denmark. We read in the papers that he intended to visit the small village and every time we heard a plane flying overhead, we would search the sky to find the plane, and then we would say, That's Charles Lindberg going to Denmark to see his relatives. There were very few planes flying overhead in those days. But our imaginations were flying everywhere.

A very good friend from our Diablo days who had three children came back for me to remember how kind she was and how talented she was. Her son, who is an attorney, happened upon my blog and managed to get in touch with my son. He had found a portrait his mother had painted of him, and he wanted to come deliver it. And so I was invited for dinner when they touched base. It was wonderful getting caught up with them. We had lost touch when we moved to Laguna Beach. His parents had moved about the same time we did. So Christmas cards must have been lost. I have always wondered what happened. She was so talented and so unsure of her talent. I am sitting here looking at a huge bouquet of flowers, brought from the big outdoor market in Seattle. Thank you Tom.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Adventure

Tomorrow I will go to Bainbridge Island for a series of lessons in Porcelain painting. In 1945 I took lessons in this subject in Sweden while I was waiting for Sam to come from Germany to join me. I painted the soup terrine (sp) and the tiles for a coffee table and a couple of lamps and smaller items. I have never found a way to have ware such as this fired and I felt taking lessons from this teacher whose work I really admire was the solution to finding these sources.

The classes are early in the fore noon so I have to leave here early in the morning. Luckily I don't have to drive for Gilbert and Chris will take me to Polsbo, more than half the way, and Anna will pick me up and take me to my destination. I am so lucky to have such co-operative relatives, for I am a little unsure of driving that far. The second class will be on Saturday and I will be spending the meantime with Anna and Steve and their new Blood Hound. I'm anxious to meet her, the dog, and to see all the new things in their house, such as a new kitchen and other alterations to their house.

And tomorrow night Anna and Steve have invited good friends of mine who moved from here to Bainbridge a couple of years ago, to come for dinner. That will be fun. Friday Anna and I will have some shopping to do. There is the most fantastic yarn store there.

Saturday is another class and then I will reverse my mode of travelling. A neighbor, Mary Fran has promised to check on my cat while I am gone.

A historical thing happened last week. Ken Griffey Jr retired from baseball. It made me very sad. I have shed a tear over a baseball player only once before. When Lou Gehrig gave his farewell speech in Yankey Stadium in the late 1930s or early forties, I shed many tears.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I don't know if I ever talked about the windmill in my hometown. When I was little and sent by my mother to the bakery to buy a loaf of bread, I had to pass the windmill where the farmers were waiting in line to have their seeds milled into flour. In my earliest memories of this, they were accompanied by their horses who had pulled their wagons. Later they came in tractor pulled carts. There were huge round stones piled against the the wall. I think they are still there.

The reason I am bringing up the windmill is that someone sent a picture of a windmill in her tract in Denmark. If I knew how to do it I would include the photo she sent me. And I would write to my best friend in Sweden to get a picture of that wwindmill and ask all of you if you think they could have been built by the same builder.

My father's grandfather came from Denmark and settled in Viken. He built the windmill there and later became a shipbuilder. He named the windmill SOFIA. It is now restored to its full glory. They are raising money to keep it as an exhibit from the past. When we were in Sweden with Gilbert and his family we were given a tour and demonstration of how it worked in the olden days.

All I know is that his name was Lindberg and that he came from vaguely the same area of Denmark that Charles Lindberg came from. Now I would like to get news of who built that Danish windmill, when it was built and is it identical to the one in Viken. I will let you know if I solve this interesting story.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What a coincident

Yesterday I went to our Farmer's Market to check out the hats that I spoke of when the bicycle ladies were here. There were no hats to my liking. (We just had a week-long meeting of ESPRIT, a convention for cross dressers, and no doubt they bought all the good ones) I had dreaded going there, for they are in a new place in town and I didn't know where to park and I didn't know how many stairs I would encounter. I drove around looking for a parking place and there were none on the street. So I went into a little alley below the building and found that there was an outdoor elevator taking you up to where the action is. And even better for my next visit, there is handicap parking even closer to the elevator.

So I looked around for the hat department. There sat a lady working on some llama yarn. She was not carding or spinning, she was melding two colors of the yarn and making it into a ball for future sale. So I asked her if she had been coming to the Port Angeles Farmer's Market for long. Did you come when it was held on eight street? She said yes. Did you ever have a basket with kittens? She said yes, many times. In 1998 I got one of your kittens. Oh, are you the lady who came after the funeral of your husband? I said yes. And my cat is still alive and healthy and I love him so much. We laughed and she said 'I have to get a hug.'
I did not remember what she looked like in 1998 but the whole setting was so similar.

To Em in DK. Are you in one of the Dakotas or are you in Denmark? Glad to know there are Salmon berries in your area. I think they got that name because the berries are salmon colored. Sorry to say I have no pictures of my water colors. I think 1% of my attempts have been successful. Most of my tries have been small scale, cards and such.

Friday, May 28, 2010


I am speaking now of my condition. I feel happy about several Salmon Berry bushes in full bloom that I have to pass every time I am on my way to my garage. And I am equally thrilled when I open my curtains in the morning. Every time I have to go to the grocery store I pick a small bloom with a couple of buds and they last on my kitchen counter two or two and a half days. I am promising myself that I will paint a watercolor of the bush or at least a card of the single one sitting on the counter. Watercolors are difficult to paint for it is such a fleeting time one has to accomplish anything. I promise myself TOMORROW. If I dawdle too long I will have to live until next year when they bloom again. I am such a coward.

My own condition has been a sorry story. I don't think I told you about having to go to the dentist a couple of weeks ago. I had a tooth way back in the rear of my mouth that had at one time suffered a root canal. About four or five years ago that tooth broke off about level with my gum. As time passed this loss caused pain in my jaw joint. So I had to use pain medicine. I took two extra strength Tylenal every morning and two every evening. It made my life tolerable but unbeknownst to me, it totally threw off my blood-thinning treatment and suddenly that had to be re-arranged. What a nuisance. I should not complain for I have been lucky as far as health is concerned.

My good friend Toni, came for a visit. I told you about her fabulous gifts while she was here. Yellow orchids, a bottle of rum from her home Island in the Virgin Islands, a wonderful dinner at our best Mexican restaurant and it goes on and on. And then I got a large envelop with probably 15 American stamps. In it a beautiful embroidery from the Panama area. I love the work they are famous for and I am going to try to copy that. It will not be a native American sort of pattern. Maybe I can try to make a Salmon berry pattern. I will let you know what develops. Thank you Toni.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Read Cassie's comments

I read Cassie's comments several times and I felt I received a history lesson. It is so well written and so sympathetic to the cause and yet so opposite from the way I think. If the Latinas who moved to Arizona were treated the same way I was treated when I first arrived, they would feel at home and would return to Mexico just to see old friends and relatives.

I told earlier about a trip Sam and I took to Mexico. On a train. The train left San Francisco and went to El Paso via Los Angeles. We had tiny bedrooms but ate food that was like food from the best San Francisco restaurants. Our American crew left the train when we crossed into Mexico at El Paso. The chef remained on board but he was a tourist like the rest of us. I wish I knew how to find were I discussed this trip. I think I will google Copper Canyon and see what happens. See you later.

Tried it , but found nothing about our trip. There were thirty to forty passengers on the train. Our cars were attached to the Mexican locomotives and sometimes we had to sit and wait for what seemed hours for a train to come to haul us to our next destination. When we came to big cities the train would wait for us at the station so we could check into a hotel to do our bathing and shampooing. And our sight-seeing. I think we stayed in Mexico City for five days. After that stop we headed for Mayan Country were we saw the pyramids. And we also got to see how the people lived there. Our guide took us to his home and showed how all members of his family slept in 'hangmattor' (sometimes I search in every nook and cranny in my brain for the right word in english and in this case it has taken over 24 hours and it refuses to turn up.) If I had a pencil I could have shown you what I mean.

When we waited for a long time to get going I would sit on the steps of our carriage and soon a child would arrive, curious about a rain stopping just there. I would do a quick drawing of the beautiful face, tear off the drawing to give the child, and as soon as he or she scampered off, there would be ten more waiting. If there was any pushing, or getting out of line, one of our porters would quietly restore order. By the time our train left that spot, there would be hundreds of faces waiting and two hundreds of big black eyes looking disappointed. What beautiful people they were.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another fabulous weekend

Friday Anna had eight of her bicycle friends for a sleep-over at Gilbert's house. (G is back in Colorado) All, except one, were recipients of the socks that I told abut earlier. All of the ladies slept in sleeping bags in the master bedroom. with the door open, protected from a sea lion invasion* only by the screen door. They did not know about this danger until the following evening.

After breakfast the whole gang arrived at my place. It was so much fun seeing them again. All of them came to Anna's and my birthday party, and they had spent the night with me while the house was mine a couple of times earlier. So I feel very close to them. They spent a couple of hours here and then the gang broke up. Most of them went biking at Lake Crescent and the other group went shopping. A Holland American cruise ship was in town, which was an awesome sight. All the merchants were behaving as if it was a common occasion hoping all tourists would come back again. Two of our ladies bought hats at the Farmer's Market. Hats knitted in wool and then boiled. They were good looking hats and cost only forty dollars. (I am buying one next Saturday)

That evening I was invited by them to have dinner. Even had pick-up service so I could have a drink there. The drink was impressive. Even had a parasol in it. A Margarita. The food was impressive too. Leg of lamb, roasted potatoes and a huge salad. For dessert we had chocolate ice cream with a wonderful sauce. Some people put salt on it. We sat at the table talking for a long time after dinner.

In the afternoon I had a long conversation with Jane, my third daughter. I told her how tiresome older people are, so self-
involved and so insistent on talking about themselves. She jokingly said PUT A SOCK IN IT. We laughed, but I went looking for a sock to take with me in the evening. I used it a couple of times but everyone at the table said, no we want to hear about your life and your adventures. It turns out, that among the eight people there, Anna is the only one who still has a mother. So I will adopt the other seven.

*Maria, who lives down the street came over to see what was going on in Gilbert's house. There were four cars in his driveway. She also told of the sea lions who have invaded their house. Four baby lions and a non-lactating female live under their deck. And they smell so awful it is difficult to remain in the house. Gilbert was notified of this and he said he had it checked before he left and there is nothing under his house.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Night time radio

Last night I woke up at 2.30 and my radio was tuned in to KGO in San Francisco as usual. I always listen for a while to John Rothman when I first go to bed. Sometimes for hours, sometimes I can't remember a word he said for I was tired enough to go to sleep as soon as my head touched the pillow. That's what happened last night. And then I woke up too early and listened to Ray Thaliafero until five am when I got up to take a shower .

What I heard Ray say upset me SO much. He was correct but I never heard it before and it is true what he said. The discussion was about the governor of Arizona. Her latest edict is that there can be no studies in public schools about black or Mexican traditions. A man had called in saying: My parents came from Italy. They came legally, became citizens, and led fruitful lives. Why can't the Mexicans do the same? Ray said 'where your parents black?' No they were Italians. 'What color were they?' They were Italians. 'Were they brown? No they were Italians. Were they yellow? No they were white. Ah, they had no trouble getting to be citizens. Read up on our history and see what happened to the first chinese who came here. They were used to build our rail roads and then could not become citizens nor could they buy Real Estate. And how did the blacks get here. They were shipped in to become slaves. And how long before they could become citizens. And how long before they could ride the buses or eat in our restaurant? And what about the mexicans? When they come across the border because they want to earn money to send home, they work in the fields and live in sub standard housing, and get sub standard pay.

This is what I remember from this nocturnal conversation. I can not get this out of my mind. And what have I done during my ninety year long life to ease or help anyone so unfortunate. I remember paying a woman twice what she charged for doing my laundry in Georgia. She charged quarters and I paid her dollars. I did not have any money for we were paid $60 a month and our room and board, but her charge was ridiculous and she picked up and delivered. That is a tiny thing to put on my grave stone.

Maybe one other thing could be put there also. I never allowed anyone to use the N word in my presence. Even my step father-in-law. We were sitting at the dinner table in HIS house and he used it. I said I will eat in the kitchen if you must use that word. He never did it again and we had a fine relationship while Sam was overseas. But ninety years. I could have done more.

Maybe, one scary day when I had to drive around the Los Angeles area to find a town were we would like to move. The free ways were new to me. I was in Long Beach I think, when I saw a huge building in the distance and discovered that it was Sears.
I stopped and went in to ask were I could have a cup of coffee. They sent me to the seventh floor I think. I got a cup and looked around to see where I could sit. There were not many people there. I saw a table with a teenage boy and asked if i may sit. He nodded. Then I tried to start a conversation and realized he spoke no English. That was fun for me for I had had four lessons at the famous language school in New York. I tried and tried. Finally I made out that he was going to go to work someplace. I asked him about School and he hung his head and said no dinero. I said save money and later and he just got sadder and sadder. I had never seen anybody so without hope. I've never forgotten him. I hope now he is rich and honest .

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weekend number 2 plus

I forgot to tell of all the wonderful things that came my way last weekend.

Anna brought a gift bag that had something strange in it. I had to guess and my first guess, because it had a long handle sticking up, was that it had to be a musical instrument. The weight of it made it impossible to think it was something intimate.I took too long to guess, so it was revealed. It was a ten foot coiled hose with a long handle to irrigate all the flowers and herbs on my little 'deck'. Anna went out to water at once and discovered that a ten foot hose with a long handle would not reach from the farthest corner where the source of the water came from to the side where most of my herbs are. And so Anna went back to the store and got the next length in hose. I can now get baskets for hanging. no way I could have reached to water before.

And I got a book and a card from Martha about food. Michael Pollan's FOOD RULES. Amusing short little thoughts about our new rules. Enjoyed the one that said 'thank you to mother who would not let us eat margarine'. Martha also sent a magazine called WRITER'S DIGEST and page 54 WRITING ADVICE and out of 16 advice blogs there is one called PLOT WHISPERERS FOR WRITERS AND READERS 'The always inspiring Martha Alderson helps you tackle your plot problems' What a great gift. I always feel she is inspiring.

And then Toni brought me a magazine Spring 2010 AMERICAN ARTIST. There are 8 pages about Toni and illustrations showing her paintings. Since I gave her her first water color set when she was a little girl, and painting lessons it made me feel warm and happy. Toni also gave me an orchid with yellow flowers and a bottle of rum that came from her island in the Carrebean.

There was more, but Edgar is sitting outside the front door asking to come in.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend number 2

If you would like a Willie Mays quote, read the comment Kin Gordon left on the last blog titled Weekend. Kin is a friend from long ago and I am so happy to have heard from him again. Do any of you remember our trip to Mexico at Thanksgiving time the same year we moved to Laguna Beach. Trip was the four or five year old who bought a five dollar watch from a street vendor and was so proud of having a watch, that he asked constantly for someone to ask him 'What time is it'. And when we crossed the border on our way home, the watch stopped. Kin Gordon is his older brother, and a finer person you will never find.

Mother's Day weekend was eventful. It began on Thursday. A friend from early Laguna Beach who now lives in the United States Virgin Islands and Anna and I met for lunch at John Wayne Marina for lunch. We spent hours remembering our close friendship in Laguna. Toni was the young girl who lived next door to us. She spent a lot of time in our house learning about drawing and later about Water Colors. She is the one who came along to harvest green tomatoes when I needed a super-tireing job to get over our sad loss of Schotzie, our miniature Dachshund. We picked what seemed a ton of tomatoes and I had to pickle them the next day. It, or Toni saved my sanity that day.

Back to Thursday, I had shopped earlier that morning. I bought fish rolled up with crab and oysters and aspargus and on my way to the register I thought 'What if she does not eat fish'. So I went back and bought three steaks and sweet potatoes. And fruit for dessert. Luckily she loved fish, so I had enough for two dinners. Saturday Toni took us out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. And we needed a huge dinner Saturday, for Anna and Toni drove West to a place where you can look for concretions. Absolutely round rocks, some as small as a thimble and others as big as a baseball. I sat in the car reading a book for there was a lot of climbing that my knee cannot tolerate. It was a successful hunt for they found many, many. I wonder how it went at the airport when they found all the rocks.

The art show on Friday evening was uneventful. I have a few people who would like to be told when I have another session of classes in FAKE IT IN FABRICS. And I met some fascinating people. And I had my first Chocolate Martini. Yum.

Sunday Toni and Anna left early so Toni could catch an early ferry so she would get to the airport on time. I had been overdoing it so I spent Mother's Day in my PJs and answered phone calls from family and friends and today Monday I feel full of energy again. So I went to Mc Donald's and had a hamburger and a hot coffee and chocolate drink that I had seen on an ad on television. It was forgetable but I am glad I did it.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I had an unusual weekend. I had nothing planned except Mariners baseball and reading my heavy Willie Mays book.

On saturday the phone rang and a woman said that she, her husband and a couple from Sweden had run into someone who said that he knew a ninety year old Swedish woman who would love to practice her Swedish with someone. It was confusing for me too. I said, yes I would love to speak my old language with someone. The person who called put her Swedish friend on the line and we chatted for a while. And it was good to hear and the person came from the province next to the one I was born in. I came from Skane and the person on the phone lives in Smaland. Where Orrefors glass comes from. It was a short, interesting little interlude and I went back to my book

Sunday I was in the bathroom cleaning Edgar's cat box. The phone rang and by the time I made it to the phone it had stopped ringing. And so eventually I went back to my book with the game in the background. (they lost the third game in a row) It was nice to read about a sixteen inning game pitched by Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal at Candlestick Park and Willie Mays finally hit a home run and won the game. I drew a happy sigh. There was a knock on the door and I called out COME IN. And there were the four people I mentioned earlier. They had tried to call and got no answer. They were on their way to Walmart to buy a bathing suit and decided to stop in.

My little living room filled up and it was a lovely time for me. Everything that had been confusing the day before on the phone turned into a lovely interlude. Four of the nicest people made my day. The Swedish gentleman is here to attend a convention of international importance. It begins today in Seattle and it deals with the future of the sources of power for the world. They all saw the photo of our four children meeting the King of Sweden and apparently the King's granddaughter is also attending the convention. If he had the chance he would tell her about the story of Anna sending her letter when she was a little girl inviting the King for 'tea or coca cola'.

And then when we were in my bedroom looking at a FAKE IT IN FABRICS his wife said, I love your art. And I have mine. It is my voice. And I mentioned a song my mother used to sing, about a bird that sat in the evening in the uppermost treetop saying
'Ive sung all day long but not sung enough. She then sang a song about a bird in the most powerful, beautiful voice that I will never forget. Even if I live to be a hundred, I will never forget her. We changed addresses and I know we will keep intouch by mail. What a great day!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Art Show

A store in down town PA has asked me to exhibit paintings and examples of my FAKE IT IN FABRICS during the Art Walk early in June.

I was asked to send a bio and I have had many difficult moments trying to figure out what to send. Every time I would begin it sounded as though I was writing another blog. So it will be my new blog.

I think they want me to show a couple of paintings and mostly concentrate on FAKE IT IN FABRICS. I have made several Matisses, a couple of Van Goghs and many other lesser artists in that media. I gave a class at the PA senior center that was successful for me and for the persons in the class. I have been asked to have another class and before summer I hope to have another one, with two people coming from California to attend.

Anna is supposed to act as my agent and it is a learning time for her, as it is for me. I will offer to do a FAKE IT IN FABRICS for anyone who would be satisfied with a FAKE. It will be expensive but I can guarantee it will cost a lot less than the original.

We have a Yacht building company, or maybe two, in PA. One of the companies built a half a million dollar yacht named Vango. We saw it out in the Straight being tested before it left our waters. There was a story in our daily paper which claimed that the name of the yacht came from the fact that they could not afford an original Van Gogh. I was so tempted to ask the designer who did the interior of the yacht if he would show the owners my Van Gogh done in FAKE IT IN FABRIC. I, of course, lost my nerve.

While working on this I have managed to send a bio which is adequate with, when did I start painting, where have I exhibited, with whom did I study, and who shaved my grandfather. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dr Blemer

This name was mentioned before, long ago, but I do not remember in what capacity. When we moved to Port Angeles one of my first errands was getting a library card. The library was nearly a hundred years old and not in very good shape. Most of all, it was an exceedingly ugly building, for many years ago it had needed more space and a new addition was hiding the lovely original building. The friends of the library needed new members and it was a fun group to work with. We raised between one thousand and two thousand dollars every year on a book sale which lasted over the weekend. It was hard back breaking work and most of us were more than spring chickens.

One day while sorting books, I found a book that dealt with Dr Blemer and his famous house keeper.

First I have to mention that Dr Blemer graduated from the medical school at Mc Gill University and in his senior year he was voted the most likely to succeed. He, however, married a wealthy woman who belonged to a Christian Science Church. After I knew him, he worked from 5AM to 10.30AM, seeing mostly farmers who came in from the country side and me with my chronically infected throat. I the afternoons he played golf. When he was needed for a huge accident of some sort he always behaved heroically. He also helped me with Martha and her speech problem.

And so, twenty five years later, I find this book in Port Angeles, dealing with Dr Blemer. It seems that he and his wife had given the escaped "trunk murderer' Winnie Ruth Judd a job as a house keeper. She had a car registered in her name and when a murder occurred in Danville all strangers were suspect. Her relative had borrowed her car, the Highway Patrol stopped him and found the name Winnie Ruth Judd on the papers in the car and all of a sudden she was in trouble again. She was declared not guilty and the murder of a Psychiatrist's wife was never solved. The murdered woman who was shot in their patio early on morning was an aquaintance of mine when we lived in Diablo. A friend of mine and I were invited to lunch with her on the patio where she later was murdered. We did get to see fabulous paintings by French Masters hanging in her house.

Sam and I were happy to have left Southern California where we had never really felt at home. We lived in a virtual paradise, with the most breathtaking view of the ocean. We had tennis and swimming daily as a possibility. We had two couples who were dear friends and we did many things with them, such as playing bridge, playing tennis going to Palm Springs for golf etc. Suddenly both couples went through divorces, and Sam an I felt harmed by them too. Both men had philandered and possibly the younger of the men felt he had permission to do the same after the news came out about the older one. These were both men of quality, we thought, one a Superior Court Judge and the other a professor at UCI. We were devastated and felt as cheated on as the wives did.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Herb Caen

It was time to try to paint Herb Caen. One of his good friends was Barnaby Conrad, the younger brother of one of Sam's best friends, Hunt Conrad. He paved my way and Herb said yes when I presented my plan.

I had to see him at 2PM after his walk about town checking up on his pals. And after his leisurely lunch with his friends. After 2PM he spent a couple of hours at his desk in his office taking copious notes from incoming phone calls. He laughed a lot and obviously enjoyed his life and his work. ( Historically, at one time Herb and the owners of the paper had a falling out and Herb quit and went across the street and worked for the other paper in town. Thousands of people gave up their subscription to the Chronicle and moved their allegiance to the other paper. However soon the Chronicle realized that they needed Herb and they settled their difficulties.

In Herb's office I sat next to his desk. It was difficult to concentrate for he was very amusing. The calls were constant and the repartee was exciting. It was fun to read his column the next morning remembering how the item came in while I was sitting there. At one time Herb said he would pay me a bundle if I would give him a turned up nose. My portrait of Herb was a disappointment to me. There was a good likeness but it was not ART. I got much publicity especially after the portrait hung in
deYoung Museum. I gave the painting to the educational channel in San Francisco and rumor had it that it was bought by a hotel on Market street and they hung it in the Herb Caen Suite. When we lived in Northern California I often wanted to find it.

And then I was going to paint Bishop Pike and Willie Mays. One day Sam come home from work and told us that his partner in Southern California had died and he was supposed to take over his job. We moved. We had lived in Diablo nearly 20 years and I had been very active in the schools and in our church and in the world of art. We had made such good friends. I saw myself as others saw me and after we moved and I knew no one and I lost my identity. I remember going to Martha's graduation ceremony and sat there not knowing a soul and I felt I was invisible. We lived there until 1983 and I think I painted no more than five or six successful paintings.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Famous San Franciscans

Don Sherwood was a popular early radio talk show host. He was intrigued when he agreed I could come and paint while he was broadcasting. I was nervous and packed the car the night before I had to begin. His program began at 5AM. I left home in the dark, and worried all the way to the city. How would I get the palette, my brushes, the canvas, my small easel and my purse from the car to the building into the elevator. When I arrived I found out I had to sit in a small glass booth next to a larger glass booth where Don was to broadcast. Not the best of arrangements for there were many reflections in the glass. I could hear him as if there was no glass separating us and in the middle of the hours I was there he suddenly introduced me to his audience. He was a very amusing and quite handsome person. He did not sit still for a second. I found out early that this portrait was not going to succeed. I thanked him profusely for having agreed to let me try.

I saved the painting in our garage and a couple of years later someone asked me to enter a juried show in Walnut Creek. I repainted Don Sherwood's eyes and made them into small, small raisin like eyes. I signed the painting and my entry
NEEK RETLAW. The painting was accepted for the show and when Herb Caen told about the joke there were many more visitors to the Art Exhibit. WALTER KEEN was famed for his paintings of little children with huge eyes. O rather, Walter Keen was famous for the paintings his wife painted of children.

By the way, a commenter on my last blog, asked if the sharpshooter was Annie Oakley. No. My sharpshooter was often on the same stage as Annie Oakley. My friend's married name was Semmelmeier. We all knew her public name from the newspaper articles from the Chicago papers, but I forget.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More on painting

Maureen and I had had a long time of admiration from a distance. She was a gorgeous woman who had at one time been involved in Hollywood. She was an accomplished swimmer and had won many honors in College and the powers in Hollywood had decided to train her for one day taking over from Esther Williams who was not getting younger. That kind of picture with huge casts and imposing money outlays for the studio suddenly became passe and Maureen married a man who had kicked a football longer than anyone else in the yearly in New Years Pasadena Spectacle. Both of them became models and then moved to Diablo and became our neighbors.

Anna, our daughter who was 10 was extremely shy and Sam and I decided a horse would give her not only good posture but also a good feeling of who she was. Maureen gave her lessons in horsemanship. Anna could not ride her horse outside our property before getting her graduation papers from Maureen. This has been a long intro into my association with Maureen.

We formed a loose business deal and rented a building in Danville. We called it DIABLO DESIGN CENTER. It was located between Dr Blemers office and the local cinema. It was an old building with lots of charm. It was covered with cascading flowers. Peter Blos who lived in Berkley was happy about not having to drive to Burlingame and agreed to teach in what became my Art School and with a name like his we also lured four or five other well known painters to a come out to Danville. It was a success from day one. I bought twelve easels and signed up twelve students for most of the classes. (many drove from Burllingame). I kept one day for teaching a beginners class. A friend built a model stand and Peter brought his own lighting equipment. I want you to remember the name Blemer for it recurs in 1983 after we had moved to Port Angeles.

You may think I was well on my way to becoming rich. I painted the flowers that covered our building and sold it almost at once. I also fabricated a construction of old sewing machine parts and named it Mary and the child. A big horse owner saw it and bought it even though I had put a ridiculously high price on it for I wanted to keep it. He hung it in his elegant tack room
Maureen who was an architectual designer was busy designing a home bought all my mistakes in painting a loaf of Wonderbread. The man who sold the company the new type of paper used in the bread wrap wanted me to paint a loaf, sitting on red velvet. I accepted his offer and the price he was to pay me. I bought the bread and the velvet and a piece of Brie cheese and a bottle of red wine and proudly showed him what I had created. He threw up his arms and said 'I want a loaf of bread on red velvet and nothing else.' (he was Gilbert's baseball coach') And so every monday I bought a loaf of bread and began a new painting. Our children were not allowed to eat that kind of soft white bread so I usually just stood there after another failure and made the bread into a factory building with a river in the foreground and skyscrapers in the distance. Or I made it into a luxurious sofa with a teen slouching on it. There were many weeks of failures. Finally I said 'I cant make it'.

But Maureen bought every one of the failures. Since she knew they were supposed to be a Wonderbread she did not pay much for them. She had all of them framed in very expensive frames and when I saw them years later I think she got away with a coup

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not continued

I could not say continued for this will be an attempt to tell you what happened between the time Anna was less than a month old and when she went to college. First we had Martha and a year later we had Jane. And when Jane was born I was disconnected. My MD was worried that the negative blood situation (can you tell that here that I am faking it? I can't remember the right word. But Martha was born slightly anemic and Jane had to have a transfusion.) We were so lucky to have four healthy children.

And that was when I was going to fill my time with projects that could make money. Hence art classes. I had four children who were five and under. I spent as much time as I could painting and drawing. As my talents seemed to be in the portrait area I was in the right place in Thomas Leighton's class. He was a stickler for details and it was good discipline to follow his instructions. The worst dressing down I got in his class was once when he felt I had not cleaned my brushes correctly. I felt like a ten year old about to get a beating. But I never allowed my brushes to dry unless they were cleaned in thinner and then soap and water.

His studio was near the old baseball stadium, on Bay street. I remember starting out early on my drive to San Francisco on Wednesdays. I had an hour or more to only worry about the car nearest to me. And then I of course worried about my car making it over the bridge. I drove a 1939 Chevrolet that we bought from Sam's partner. We called it the green hornet. Sometimes it refused to start, but I watched the repairmen we called to see how they fixed that problem. On the passenger side they lifted the hood, looked worried for a while and then they grabbed a thingamajig and jiggled it slightly and then the motor would start. I said to myself 'I can do that'. One day I was going out for lunch after seeing the dentist, and since the car wouldn't start, I took off my little white gloves and moved the thingamajig. When I lowered the hood, my dentist was standing there laughing. He said, I have a few problems with my car, when can you come over. ( I digress again.)

Thomas Leighton's studio was serene with two doves usually cooing in their cage. Always we enjoyed classical music. There was a fellow student who had an interesting past. She was a famous sharp-shooter and when she was young she had shared the stage with world famous shooters. On one occasion the Chicago Police department asked her if she would help them prove how safe a certain vest was for the force to wear. She or her agent agreed. In front of thousands she shot this policeman who fell down dead. He had forgotten to put the protective things into his vest. It was such a shock to her that she never shot a gun again. After much urging she brought with her the Chicago newspapers and it was interesting to read about all the investigations that followed. And to see how beautiful she was as a young woman. She was elderly when I met her.

Thomas Leighton was such a stickler in adding everything in detail into his paintings. I enjoyed the discipline but I did not like that kind of painting. We would have a professional model for four weeks And we would paint embroidery on her skirt and each hair shown correctly. One day on the last day of the model Mr Leighton said to me 'I think you are finished.' I said 'since there is half an hour left my I get a canvas in my car and just see what I can do' He frowned but said yes. In twenty minutes I finished the face of the model and I think it is the best painting I have ever painted. So when I heard of a teacher in Burlingame whose name was Peter Blos I tried to get into his class. He critiqued my paintings and said 'yes I could attend his classes.' His portraits were wonderful with loosely applied paint. He would mix a brushful of paint on his palette and then study the next stroke he was going to apply, and then he would add a little more amber and then study again to see if he now had the correct nyance. It was a discipline of a different kind.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Plot II

I told you how I exhibited paintings after I was invited by the owner of our local cinema, against the advice of my teacher, who said I was not ready to show. And how my hair person said she wanted me to do her portrait. I charged her $25 and painted a; horrible portrait of her. It was partly her fault that it was horrible for her ears sat in the wrong place on her skull. My powers of observation were not acute enough to realize that they were sitting too high on her head. Everyone knows that the ears are supposed to be between the eyebrows and the bottom of the nose, On the side of the head of course. She loved her portrait and when she gave me the $25 I took them to San Francisco to take lessons from Sir Thomas Leighton who charged $25 for four days of lessons. From 10AM to 3PM. I arranged for a baby sitter from 8.30AM to 4.30PM. I paid for her out of our grocery money. She was a real find for she liked to bake and cook while she was there. She kept all four children in the kitchen so she knew where they were and what they were doing. Her name was Sadie and I soon found out she did not know how to read. She made apple pies with potato flour for thickening.

After I had learned more with Thomas Leighton I took the portrait back from my hair dresser and painted her again in oils and this time I knew about her ears, and the painting was a success. And I was very proud of it.

It did not take me long before I rented a space I could use as a studio. I began teaching a few of my friends what I had learned as a painter, and soon I had a long list of people who wanted to join my class. It was a heady time and I hoped it would continue but then came the time for us to move to Southern California. We moved when Anna had gone off to UC Davis so a lot of years had passed since she was less than a month old. My memories seem to shrink the time between these happenings.

Friday, April 9, 2010


When my three daughters were here for the birthday parties, Martha, very generously gave me a long hour of tutoring. All this time since, A paper that she helped me has been sitting by my computer, looking very threatening. There are twelve Post-it-notes decorating it.

At first her question to me was What made made you want to paint?

On the first little yellow slip it talks about how little money we had when the children were young. Sam worked hard and he worked daily. He was a self starter which was lucky, for he had no boss checking up on him. He could have worked one day a week and stayed home with me for the other six. I am afraid I would not have urged him to drive off early in the morning for I would have loved having him home.

There was one day when he should have stayed home. But it was a Friday and he had to go to the Furniture Mart i San Francisco. I was sick with a high temperature and possibly a strep throat. He got Gilbert fed and diapers changed and left him to play in his room. By pulling my side of the bed over to the door of Gilbert's room, he became stuck in his room. Anna was asleep in another bedroom and I had fed her and changed her. Then he put a glass of water on my bed side table and in the last minute added a bottle of aspirin. And then he left to return at seven or seven thirty that evening.

I fell asleep. And when I woke an hour or two later, I was shocked to see a white powder all over the floor in what as Gilbert's domain. I soon found out that he had taken the aspirin into his room and tried to eat what he thought was candy. I was desperate. What if he had eaten too much. What to do.

I called our pediatrician whose office was only five or ten minutes away. She said 'I will be right up to check on him.' When she arrived she went immediately to Gilbert. I took her into our bedroom and showed her how Sam had arranged for Gilbert to be safe. She told me to get back in bed and went in to check on Gilbert. She looked on the amount of white powder on the floor and offered to give him a white pill and he stuck out his tongue and shook his head. She came back to tell me the good news, that she felt he had not eaten any and might have stomped on them on purpose. And now how is Anna, she said. She is still asleep. I will show you. So we went into the third bedroom where Anna slept peacefully. Anna was less than a month old and as cute as a button with her bright red hair.

You should not have been left alone, as sick as you are. Do you have anyone to call to come to help you? I said yes I would do that. She left, and as far as I remember never sent a bill for the house call. And that was the last house call by a doctor.

All the little yellow post it notes did not help me stay organized. I was supposed to begin the way I did and then go on to tell you why I began taking art lessons. Was it to quiet an inner need to express myself? No. It happened when Jane was born two years after the story of the aspirins. I suddenly realized that we were going to have four children in college at the same time. And somewhere I had learned how much that cost. I had to do something to help. And next time I will tell you what exciting adventures happened because I was bound and determined to get rich and famous.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Another long hiatus

Is there an excuse for waiting this long and what could have kept me this long from the computer? I will let you in on all the what fors.

I think all of you know about my son in law, Steve. I call him Peter Pan, who will never grow up. He has many endearing qualities but that is a great one. Anna, his wife, who is one of my favorite daughters (I have three favorites) and Steve decided, that since it was going to be Anna's sixtieth birthday around the same time it was my ninetieth we would combine our celebrations into one party.

Apparently Steve wears home made sox on his feet when he enters the house of one of their friends. Some of them are outragiously colorful. When asked where he gets them, he replies From a mother in law who loves him. And then someone said, would she make a pair for me? His answer was Send some money to the Port Angeles Food bank and maybe she will. So twenty four couples took up a collection and sent more than six hundred dollars to the food bank. Two days ago I finished the twenty fourth pair. I rushed over to my neglected computer and it would not work. Last night, another favorite daughter, Martha, helped me overcome the problems. Martha is the plot lady you can read about on Shreve's advertisers. And by the way, Shreve has promised to insert a picture of most of the sox in question.

And then I have to warn you that another favorite daughter, Jane, sent me a huge book. The note with the book said:
HAPPY BASEBALL SEASON from three of your fans, Anna, Martha and Jane. The title of the book is WILLIE MAYS, by James Hirsch
It will take me to the time of the next World Series to finish it. Last night the MARINERS won in spring training exhibition play and I will hope for many more victories. Life is so exciting!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What happened on Monday

After making an appointment on Friday, with a big shot from our local Y, I arrived at 7.45 AM on Monday. The parking lot was full and the Gyms were humming with all machines at full speed and mostly men panting, working up glowing patinas and much sweat.

My Y big shot who listened to my story about being totally graceless when attempting to rise from a sitting position and my desire to strengthen my quadriceps and my gluteus maximus introduced me to two chairs that she felt could improve the strengths of the two areas I mentioned. I did ten ups and downs with ease on the first one and then when I came to the second one I felt very insecure. My feet were sort of enclosed to make them feel secure, but the seat I sat on was a flat square surface, no bigger than a small book. I managed one push back, thinking I was going to run out of room in the back and land on the floor, but miraculously it stopped in time. The second one began OK, but half way back I fell off the chair, landed on my shoulder and my butt while my shoes were still tied in the foot thing. Luckily, as soon as my feet were untied I attempted to get up. My Y big shot and a gorgeous man who interrupted his work on a nearby machine helped me up.

After discussing my problem, I decided that I would attempt to strengthen my problem areas at home, and then I would join her class in balance when it begins in April.

There is no way could ever feel secure and dignified at that place. I hope they will hold the balance class somewhere else.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The reason for waiting

The party was a huge success.

Saturday was an unusually beautiful day. No clouds on the horizon and no wind. The girls were fully prepared and rose from bed with a song in their hearts. My neighbor, Mary Fran, who had been such a big help in securing the room at the church, said, let me know if I can be of help. She let them go earlier than first thought possible. And with that they began the decorating and the preparing the food. I was not there, but when I arrived the hall was decorated and the food was getting ready. Wine or water and cold and warm treats were served as people were arriving. It was wonderful seeing both old friends and new friends from my new digs. And then the time came to sit down to eat. We had never decided how people should sit, so it just happened. I would have liked to sit next to every one there, but that was impossible. A chair with a balloon tied to it was my designated spot.

Several people have asked for the recipe for the OLIVE-STUFFED CHEESE PUFFS that were served before lunch. Here it is...
1 1\2 cups flour
2 cups finely grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounzes
i\2 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 to 5 dozen olives, well drained
Combine above items. Take about a teaspoon of dough, enfold the olive and shape into a small ball. Place balls on an ungreased rimmed cookie sheet and freeze for one hour. When frozen put balls in freezer bag and freeze until firm. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and bake until golden brown. About 15-18 min.

The main course was a chicken salad inspired by the Barefoot Contessa. What made ours better than anything I've tasted before was the addition of the Chutney. She mentioned col Gray's but I had made my own apple chutney. We used it freely and I could have eaten the whole huge dish of salad dressing with a large spoon. People are still raving on about how good it was. We bought seven or eight pre roasted chickens from Costco. And we bought the wine from Walmart at an embarrassingly low price and I, with my uneducated taste of wine, thought it was delicious.

The cake was ordered from a restaurant with a strange name. People around here pronounce it DUPIES. It is a French name that sounds ultra-elegant when you pronounce it correctly. DUPUIS. There was one chocolate cake and one lemon one and both were great.

For me the greatest part of the day was seeing old friends and hoping there was time to spend a few moments with each one. That was not possible, but I now have hopes of seeing each and every one for breakfast or for lunch so we can talk. Our friends from California were unable to come because of health reasons but Sam's nephew and wife came from the California and as it turned out they ere terrific at helping with the party. Sudenly they took it upon themselves to put all the dishes in the dishwasher that spews out hot clean dishes every five min. So when my three girls were finished restoring the place as it was when they arrived, the dishes were done . ( Janice, this was the spot were you called and we had our long talk. Which I enjoyed so much . Wish you had been able to come.)

Martha and I had time one day for me to have a lesson on PLOT. I will spend the time trying to put all that knowledge to use on my blog. It concerns my short attempt to paint portraits of as many famous San Franciscans as I could get near. I had permission to paint the portraits of Bishop Pike, Don Sherwood, Herb Caen, Willie Mays and Governor Brown. I am sad to say that I only achieved two of them and I do not know if I failed to do the others because Bishop Pike died or because we moved, or because I was unhappy with the results of the two I did paint. You'll have to wait and see. With Martha as my Plot helper I should have an easy time.