Saturday, April 30, 2016

Pond Revisited

As most of you know, I had a big pond in my back yard. It was dug by the ex, and was one of his projects. When we became no longer WE, I decided it needed to go. Mainly because it was a lot of work and worry to maintain, and it wasn't my dream that had to be managed, it was his. So along with purging the other crap in my life, it needed to go.  I successfully relocated 4 turtles and about 100 fish and drained it, then the work started.  That big hole needed to be filled in. Unfortunately I tore a tendon in my arm doing some of the initial work and am restricted from lifting anything with my right arm. Bummer!  I have a college student who mows my lawn and is always looking for extra money and he was more than eager to help me with this project. So I had 10 tons of fill dirt delivered and he went to work.  I did help, probably more than I should have, but I just can't help it.

 

It took him about 5 hours to fill in the hole.  I let that settle for a couple of weeks and then my college boy and I went to the nursery and bought 15 bags of potting soil and what I lovingly refer to as earth worm poop to cover this. I had also put in a drip system so it will get watered every morning.  In one section I have been transplanting some tiff grass to fill in a bit more of the lawn. That is growing really well and by the end of summer it should be nice and thick.

Today, the one year anniversary of my divorce, I went to the nursery again (they know me by name there) and bought plants for the flower side of the bridge. I got those all planted and I'm excited to see how they do in the months to come. I even went out and moved my gnomes so they can watch over things.  (I took this picture before I moved those guys)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Photo Friday - Blossom

This week's photo challenge is "Blossom". I thought these Iris from my front yard was perfect.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

One Year Later


It's now been a year since Bill moved out - Feb. 7, 2015. A lot has gone on in that time. Apparently he remarried a few months after the divorce was final, to someone he just met, so I guess he got over me pretty fast and that proved to everyone what I told them about his insanity. One of my sisters told me she was surprised when he left me because I was the only one who loved him and made him "somewhat normal". I should probably add that he went crazy in Dec. 2013 as well, and he moved out and I let him come back about 3 months later - big mistake!

I feel like I have peace in my life for the first time in about 5 years. One of my boys told me that I wasn't "me" when I was with Bill, and he's right. I was always on edge when we were with my kids because later I would have to defend what they did and said. It was the same with my family and friends. And with them I had to try to explain Bill's strange behavior. I'm lonely, but I was lonely with him in the room too, and I don't have to put up with the crazy behavior, emotional abuse and stupid financial decisions.

I'm singing in my community choir, and I joined the Methodist church in November and sing in their choir too.  I also joined a women's group at church and have the most wonderful friends there that I can share my joys and sorrows with no judgment. I have a large group of friends from all the different facets of my life, so I consider myself lucky.

My family has been amazing. 2 of my brothers have been here and helped me with things around the house. Mom and I think they should come every few months to help both of us with our Honey Do lists since we have no "Honeys" to "do" them. 4 of my 6 siblings, a brother-in-law and my oldest son, Christopher, visited in December to help celebrate Mom's birthday and we had such a great time. In September I went to Oahu with 2 of my friends from the law firm and we are planning more trips. I'm also looking forward to going home to Montana this summer.

I've found there are some things around here that I can't manage alone. A friend's husband had to help me get a bike tire off - turns out I needed a metric wrench which I didn't have. He also helped me jump the battery on Mom's car when it died. The guys at the pawn shop have been great too. They've given me some tools for free, and taken a lot of old junk off my hands. I reciprocate by taking them goodies that I bake but don't want to eat. Nick helped me hang a ceiling fan and wash windows, Myron and Marty put up my Christmas tree and a friend of my sister's and her husband helped take it down, and there are some things have to just wait until I can figure it out. I really need a pickup truck and a saws-all (I don't even know if that's how you spell it but I know what to do with it), but that will come in time.

Oh yes, about my last name. For now it is still Elliott. I didn't go back to Redfield because my Mom and I have the same first name and when I was growing up it was confusing for everyone. I actually had people ask me if I was Sylvia Jr! Don't they know that women aren't Jr's? I thought about going back to Graham so I'd have the same last name as my kids, but that would mean a conversation with their father, and we haven't talked since about 1998 so that might be awkward. Christopher wants me to change it to Skywalker so he can say he's really the son of a Jedi - hmmmm, maybe....

So to all my family and friends out there, thanks for being there for me. I appreciate you all!

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Art -

I had a request from a friend to post some of my recent art on my blog so here is a little update for those who don't follow me on Facebook. 

I took an online art class and learned a new technique for painting in which you first do inkwash shading, then apply color over it. The picture below is that technique without the color. I liked how this looked in black and white so much that I decided to leave it that way.

This iris below is done using that technique. 

This was a Christmas gift for a friend. I realized after posting this that I had added some "beard" details in white before I gave this away but I didn't take a picture of the finished project.

 This painting below was a Christmas gift for one of my sisters. She likes butterflies and I had taken a picture of one in my garden that made a perfect model.
This was the start of a painting I did for my sister-in-law. She loves flowers about as much as I do and has beautiful gardens every summer. I thought she would appreciate these zinnias.
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This is the finished painting.
This was what I gave my Mom for Christmas. A friend of mine had gotten a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her coworkers. I took a picture of it so I could draw and paint this. I framed it in an ornate black frame and it looks wonderful.
This sunflower was done with the inkwash technique. I love how it turned out.






















I painted this iris for a commission but I didn't like the color so I didn't use it for that project. I did give it away for a birthday present.
This one I did at the hotel's outdoor bar when I was staying in Hawaii. It was too windy for the beach that day so a glass of wine and some painting was in order for the afternoon.
This one I did for a good friend for her Christmas present. I love the bright colors and the vase turned out great too.
I wish I could do this all the time. I have so many paintings and projects in my head! Some day...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Blessings

A few days ago I had my air conditioner maintenance company come for their routine check of the system. They were here back in February and warned me that there might be a problem developing but I was in such a fog then that I didn't pay much attention. The news on this visit was not so good. The compressor was dying and because it holds freon it would cost $4000 to replace, or I could get a whole new AC system that was up to current building codes for $8000. It was a hard decision but I decided to get the new system so I don't have to worry about it. But now there is the part about paying for it. I worried and fussed over that for a few days and nights but then came to the realization that I do have options that other people may not have, great credit, a good job and resources to pay for this unexpected expense. I have a coworker who would have to go without AC if this happened to her. She has no resources and no credit - I am blessed, sometimes I just need to stop my whining and realize it.
This is the crane taking the old AC unit off and the new one is sitting on the ground ready to go up.
Then I was thinking back over all the other 'bad' things that have happened to me since January, and found the good in them too. My husband moved out and filed for divorce, and as soon as the divorce was final a few months later, he was engaged to someone else. How sad is that?  This whole episode, as well as the 3 awful years before that made me realize that he didn't love me, or care about me the way a real man should. I was just a stop over for him to get what he needed at the time, and he had no problem walking away and convincing another poor woman that he is the perfect man for her. I should have known that someone who would not talk to his own children for 8 years could/would do the same thing to me. My blessing was to come out of that relationship stonger, smarter and more determined than ever. 

I had a scare in June that I might have breast cancer. That whole episode showed me that I have wonderful friends who will be with me through thick and thin. I am blesssed to have these friends and my family in my life.

I'm still trying to figure out the blessing behind the broken water pipe in my front yard that took $5000 to fix. I'm sure there was something in that as well - maybe that my tree out there got a good soaking and made it through our extremely hot summer in good shape.

I Stand Before My God Alone
Our choir has a new song "I Stand Here With My God Alone" and that's what I named this watercolor. It says that I will put away blame and be responsible for my actions. I think this whole song means that in the end, it is just you and God, and as I told my choir a few weeks ago, when the time comes for your death, you better be right wtih God because it will be just you and him. I plan on going in for a hug!  I am blessed to be in this choir and blessed to be able to do my artwork as well. I'm so excited and blessed that other people actually like it!

A few months ago our daily newsletter at work suggested writing down 3 blessings a day for 21 days. I did that, putting them on post-its on the fridge. I think it does help to stop once in a while and write down your blessings so you realize just how good your life is, despite the trials you face. I had no trouble filling up those post-its.  And like the old song says, "count your blessings, name them one by one..."  I plan on continuing to do that.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Too Many Choices

Today I needed to make cookies to take for church tomorrow. Our ladies group is serving the goodies between services. I had everything I needed except peanut butter chips so I ran to Walmart to get some. I hate shopping for food at Walmart but I needed a glass water bottle that my friend said I could get there - but I never found that.  Anyway I grabbed the chips and headed home. Little did I know that they now make packs of "chocolate" chips that are a mixture of PB and milk chocolate. I don't really like milk chocolate, and the recipe I was making calls for PB chips only so I had to separate them.  Remember when all they had was semi sweet chocolate? We got excited when they came up with butterscotch chips, and then PB chips. They could have stopped there. Too many choices just leads to disaster in all kinds of ways! Hopefully I'll figure out something to put the milk chocolate chips in one of these days - until then they are hanging out in my freezer.
I also made some wonderful almond shortbread cookies with raspberry jam in the middle. I found the recipe on Pinterest. They were simple to make and SO yummy!

The heat of June and July is oppessive here and keeping things growing is a challenge. I planted 4 varieties of sunflowers a few months ago and only 2 came up - rats! This is the big one and it was quite spectacular.  It has since given up the struggle and I cut it down so I can save the seeds from the birds. The other one is blooming how and it has 5 buds on it. Kind of strange to see that tall stalk with 5 flowers.

I like to find unusual plants when I go to the nursery and a few months ago I found this one. I forgot to write down the name of it so can't share anything but the beauty/oddity.
I also have gerber daisies, 4 o'clocks, cannas and some groundcover flowers that are happy. My herbs are also doing well - mint, sage, rosemary and basil. I still have a lot of cherry tomatoes.  I've eaten hundreds of them and given away hundreds as well. They are all voluntary and I have no idea where the seeds came from, except they were probably in my compost.

The purple flowers below are palumbo. I love this color. I even traded in a diamond ring and got an ice blue sapphire which is almost the same color. Not a bad trade for a ring I'd never wear again.

I have planted 4 packages of flower seeds in my front flowerbeds. I'm hoping this fall will be very colorful! Stay tuned for the show!

Saturday, July 11, 2015