Friday, November 16, 2018

First Snow, good-bye David.

It isn't a huge snow, but unusually early.  Here in New England we are getting the flip side of global warming.  I'm not going to talk about that because there's nothing to say.  Like so many other species, we have used up our environment.  Like so many other very successful species, we are doomed to extinction.  Well, that's nature.  I'm glad I got to experience life as a human being.  I'm also glad I have no grandchildren.

David is dead.  It's been a couple of weeks now.  He has been sick for a long time with cancer getting worse and worse.  By the time he died he was not the man I knew when I met him so long ago.  He wasn't the guy who was my best and closest friend for so many years.  I have only to read my old blog entries to remember the huge part he played in my life.  We were inseparable.  I had so many experiences I never would have had, because of him.  My life in Eastport was, for years, my life with him. As so often happens with those kinds of relationships, everything changed when he met Thom.  I expected our friendship to change dramatically, and it did.  Nevertheless, I have still been part of David's life peripherally.  Thom has tried his best to find a place for me in their life with some success.  I admire him for that and am grateful.  I will miss David, but no more than I have missed him for the past many years.

Bye, David.  I loved you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Mural, and Patrick, on my Mind

It seems like this mural is going to take forever, but we are making progress.  My partner has gone to Venice with a friend (who can blame him?) so I am working alone for a couple of weeks.  One of those weeks has already gone by and I have only ventured over to the house once. Patrick has been sick, which has taken up all of my attention.  He is almost recovered now, but he is 16 years old and I can't expect much of him.  I used a lot of my pay for the mural to pay vet bills, but I certainly don't regret it.  I'm happy that I had the money.  It's hard to think about Patrick dying.....he has been my baby since Lytton died.  As his time approaches, I think about getting another dog, which I will surely do.  Why I let myself in for the pain, I will never know, but I will.  I read a story a few years ago in a magazine written by a man whose dog had just died.  He said that getting a puppy is the first step- toward devastation.  How true that is, and yet I know I will do it.  I still haven't been able to bring Lytton's ashes home..even thinking about it still makes me cry.........yet never once have I regretted having him.  The same will be true of Patrick.  I try to prepare myself, but I know I can't.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Mural

We have slowly made progress on the mural.....actually a little more than the picture shows.  The job is getting a little tedious, and I look forward to getting it done.  It is a big, somewhat tedious job and I can only hope that the money we earn will make it worthwhile.  Payment has not been discussed since our patron gave us a down payment before we began.

Jim and I have evolved into a partnership where our individual strengths are maximized.  He does the drawing on the wall in pencil.  I paint the general scene, then he follows with the details.  I sometimes have to reign him in or he would be painting the keyholes on the doors of the buildings.......but he agrees that he needs that reminder.  He keeps me from being too lackadaisical. We were hired to do a rather "whimsical" painting of the town, not a photo-realistic representation.  We are generally having a good time and end each day with a mutual admiration session.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Paint Eastport Day

This is my painting for Paint Eastport Day, which rolls around every year at this time.  Participants sign up in the morning, then take their paints out and do a scene "en plein air." The paintings are auctioned off to the public at a reception at the Arts Center at the end of the day.
My painting was done beside the Todd House, a bed and breakfast down the street.  The owner of the place ended up buying it at the auction.  There were a few other bidders, but my reserve was a hundred dollars......much more than the typical bid.  I had the guts to do it because I knew Ruth was going to by it and how much she was willing to pay.  There is probably a rule against such things, but the money goes to the art center, so I doubt that anyone would mind.  The next week I sold a painting at the "All Nudes Show," also at the Arts was the painting I posted the last time I wrote.  At the same time, a woman bought one out of Jim's gallery.  How this all messes with my head.  I am supposed to be happy and flattered when I sell something, but as I wrote last time, it messes with my head.  In an attempt to counter this recent trend in my work, Elizabeth and I have decided to give ourselves a new project. Also, the season is about over here, so the galleries will close, the tourists will go home, and I can focus on what I love to do.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Mural Begins

My friend Jim and I have been commissioned to paint a mural on all four walls of a dining room.  Of course Jim, the one with all the contacts, personality, and ambition, is actually the one who landed the job.  I was then brought in as an assistant.  We have been working sporadically on this for about a month now, and our progress is very little.  So far we have painted the sky on the walls and have just begun the actual subject matter, which is the city of Eastport.  This picture shows the initial proposal that we presented, a single section of one wall.  The jars are filled with the colors we pre-mixed from our basic red, yellow, and blue palette.Accomplishing that was a big job in itself, but at this point we are ready to begin

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A little pastel painting, new eyes and ears

I meant to start a landscape painting to put in the gallery, but my eyes fell on this photo in an old art magazine that had fallen on the floor of my studio. I couldn't help but get out my pastels and go for it.  I'm glad I did because I needed a boost after all the failed watercolors I have been doing in the last few weeks.  Just as I anticipated when I agreed to show in Jim's gallery, I have lost most of the joy of painting as I try to imagine what will sell.  I hoped to be able to manage this familiar and inhibiting psychological quirk, and I still hope I will.

In other news, I have new new glasses and new hearing aids that make me feel like a new woman.  I ordered both on line and never expected the quality to be so good considering the price. It's amazing what a difference there is between cheap and  real cheap.  I had a little more money than usual thanks to my new case worker, Amanda, who applied for all kinds of benefits I never knew I would be eligible for.    I splurged on improving my eyes and ears with remarkable results.  I'm a happy woman.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

The Whale watch and Old Sow

The whale watching trip was wonderful............not so much for the whales, though we did see quite a few curling themselves up out of the water.........but for the experience of being out on the water again.  I've loved it since I was a little girl, beginning with those days at Papa's camp on Cold Stream Pond.  There were a lot of boats there, small motor boats and Galen's racing boats.  We children, Mike and I, were always part of the hilarity brought on by the liquor consumed by all the adults.  The same went for my father's side of the family, Verona Island with the Fellows family on summer week-ends. In those days it was the norm for the adults to stay drunk from the time we arrived until we went home several days later.  For us kids it was just plain fun, whether we were thrown out of moving boats or holding up beer cans for the adults to shoot out of out hands.  We never saw it as never occurred to us that we were in any danger.  It was all play.  But I digress..........

The most significant thing for me on the whale watch was seeing Old Sow, the second largest whirlpool in the world (I don't know where the largest one is).  I've always known it was there, but despite its reputation that brings tourists flocking to see it, I have never actually seen it myself.  It's just off Dog Island, down the street from my house, but a whirlpool is flat, a hole, seen basically from above.  The whale watching boat cruised all around it to the delight of us all.  I took many pictures, but the one I posted here is really the only one that really shows the center of the thing.  The water all around the center is churning and twirling, and it is really huge.  Our little boat whirled around with it and then took off, its motor impervious to the wayward currents.

We were on the water for over three hours, cool and happy, while people in town sweltered in the 90 degree heat. We saw Eastport from the a different perspective , saw the backs of our own houses perched high over the water.. We cruised around Campobello, oohing and ahhing over the huge cliffs with their incredible rock formations carved out by the pounding ocean.  High up on top of the cliffs were areas carved out by other forces of nature...human beings.  Giant houses, mansions, lawns, and formal gardens crouched on top of the rocks, most sporting some sort of comfortable deck or other elaborate platform from which to look out to sea.  Most of the land is still forest, though, with trees clinging to the cliff by gnarled roots.  On the way back we cruised by the small basically uninhabited islands that are directly across from my house.  I look at them a hundred times a day, but have never seen them up close.  Up until now they existed only as one dimensional beauty marks on a basically blue background.  Now I think about them in an altogether different way.......something solid and bulky with sand and rocks and trees, most of which are invisible to my eyes.  Same with Old Sow..........I know her now.

I think of myself as basically a loner........yet how I enjoyed being included in other people's celebrations. 

Thursday, July 05, 2018

4th of July

This is the Navy ship that docked in Eastport for the 4th of July.  This is a tradition that has been going on since the 1800's, but I've forgotten how it got started.  After the Breakwater collapsed a couple of years ago, no ship was able to come in, but I believe it was last year when the tradition resumed.  The new breakwater wasn't completed, but hasty temporary accommodations were made.  Now everything has been rebuilt better than ever.  The town was, and still is today, full of white-uniformed young men and women being wined and dined, cheered and applauded.  They are a good matured bunch, no doubt enjoying the respite from their normal duties.

I went to the parade for the first time in a few years, and lover of ceremony that I am, I enjoyed that camaraderie with strangers that comes with ritual celebration.  No matter that what we celebrate has little to do with reality.  The bagpipers and bands from Canada still played the part of friendship, as did the audience, despite the fact that politically our relationship with Canada is at an all time low.  We all pretended for an hour or so that we were still friends.  After the parade I wandered around looking at the items for sale under the tents, resisting any impulse to buy anything.  As usual I was tempted by the jewelry, which I don't wear anymore, and the wonderful dresses, sweaters, ponchos, etc. in wonderful colors and designs.  The food I ignored, the home-made dog collars tempted me the most.  Still, I finally dragged myself back up the street without purchases, headed for the hamburger I knew was waiting for me at Jim's.  The walk downtown always seemed long to me, but yesterday I was hot and exhausted by the time I dragged myself through \my front door and into the shower.  I stayed home during the fireworks, though I would have liked to see them.  I simply couldn't face the walk again.  Besides, Willy needed me here to comfort him through the noise.

This morning Eastport looked like another town.  The roads crammed with cars and people yesterday were deserted.  Terry, the carpenter who has almost rebuilt the house at the bottom of the street by himself, was back at work.  The residents of the group home were slouched beside their dumpster, smoking.  Diana and her 4th of July guests had already left.  In a few minutes I am going on a whale watch with Jim and his relatives who are visiting.  Surely I will have pictures by the end of the day.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Wonderful Town

Image may contain: Jim Riccio and Cheri Walton, people smiling, stripes and closeup

How lucky to have been driving home last night from working on a project and catching this gorgeous sunset.  Jim (my new neighbor down the street who has become a great friend) and I were driving through downtown  just in time to catch it.  We went out to the end of the breakwater, parked, and spent a good hour taking pictures.  The scene changed constantly and it was impossible to catch all of the different mutations of color, clouds, and fog.  Actually Jim took all the pictures since my camera was home on its charger, while I simply absorbed the spectacle.  There had been a thunderstorm about an hour earlier, which I'm sure was the beginning of the weather system that caused the chaos.  The last picture was taken just before we left, as things settled down for the night.  At some point in the near future I intend to bring this blog up to date, though I have to say nothing significant has happened since I last wrote regularly.  I am getting older, of course, but basically not much has changed in my world.    I am 73 years old now, which is impossible to believe.  Yet I know that I first became aware of politics when Eisenhower became president.  I remember seeing graffiti on the board fence across the street from our apartment in Portsmouth that warned "Don't go back to the breadline.  Vote for Adlai E. Stevenson."  I remember the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I remember the race riots, the National Guard hosing down blacks on Florida beaches, the Viet Nam War. I remember clearly the assassination of John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King.  I remember the first satellite to orbit the earth, the first walk on the moon, the Challenger blowing up.  After that, the events seem less traumatic.  With time, one realizes that one's own life goes on no matter what......and then it ends no matter what.  I used to feel comforted by the fact that young people, with their energy and new ideas, would always come along and try to fix things that are wrong.  I wonder now if the world is  too big and complicated, that they have been forced to retreat into themselves.  I also know there is nothing I can do about anything.

So I scale down what impacts my little life in order to find great pleasure in what is around me.  Last night's sunset is an example of that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I'm still here........

So, it's been awhile and I won't make any excuses or apologies.  It's Spring and I am feeling my usual rush of happiness and appreciation at being here.  I couldn't help but take this photo, though........the view from my seat at the dining room window.  The return of the snow birds is a significant change in the personality of Eastport.  My neighbors Steve  and Deb arrived yesterday, wearing T-shirts and shorts, bringing with them a veritable stable of vehicles.  Their "camper" is almost as big as my house and has every amenity imaginable.  I was privy to a tour, and couldn't help but ooh and ahhh over the luxury of it.  It has been a vague dream of mine to own one of these things and travel all over the country (and beyond) in it. They had the boat delivered prior to their arrival.  Their two cars somehow appeared shortly after their arrival.They have a plane, as well, which waits at the little airport here.

When the kids were young, we went on a camping trip around the country, but our vehicle was a small Honda and we used one of those bubble tops on the roof to carry our belongings.  Phil did the driving and I sat in the passenger seat with my AAA travel guide in my lap. I have chronicled the trip elsewhere, but I can sum it up as probably the best time of my life. (Well, maybe not........I have so many best times of my life....)

Anyway, the summer people are arriving in droves.  I watch local maintenance people coming and going in all the summer places around me, turning things on, sprucing things up.  I am in the middle of it all, like a stationary sun around which planets revolve.  I used to enjoy the celebration of summer and its endless hoopla, then I hated it, now I observe it without much judgment.  It is just the way things are.

My new neighbor, Jim, has opened an art gallery down the street.