Thursday, November 29, 2007


The error was not caught before the publication was distributed, and Lowe's says it is disappointed in the breakdown in its proofing process.
I believe the proof is in the pudding- make that Christmas pudding..........
Have a festivus weekend!

Santa's Guide Book 2007

When I was very young my dad told me that Santa would rather have beer with his cookies instead of milk.

Looking back, I guess that would explain the Ronco Bottle and Jar Cutter that I received that year.

Well, times have changed and I guess Santa has to change too.

This year Santa has been issued a guide book of strict rules to follow in order to be politically correct.

It's quite confusing for the old guy, because each country has a different set of rules.

In England, Santa must refrain from all Christmas goodies and adhere to a rigorous exercise routine. A fit- skinny Santa portrays a positive role model for young Brits.

Children now leave fruit and veggies for Santa and a glass of water.

In Australia, his distinguishable laugh , "Ho! Ho! Ho!" will be replaced with a quieter, "Ha Ha Ha". This will not scare the children and more importantly offend women in that particular identity group. It's more politically correct. Don't you agree? Ha! Ha! Ha!

I believe that Americans started this whole PC nonsense. Because of this,

once Santa arrives in America the rules get even stricter.

First and foremost, Santa must undergo a thorough background check.

He must show his hands at all times in front of children to avoid the appearance of inappropriate touching.

He can longer place presents under the Christmas tree. They must be distributed carefully under the new and improved -politically correct, "Family Tree".

He is not allowed to smoke his pipe, because of the anti-smoking laws and he cannot make promises to children he cannot keep.

In some places like Ft. Collins, Colorado he is not allowed to appear in public and has been relegated to a museum.

Thanks to Al Gore,

he must change into a green suit when delivering presents to the Eco-conscious .

These are just a few pages from the Santa Guide Book 2007. There are many more.

So don't be surprised if Santa leaves you a lump of coal this year. He's not to blame.

Why not leave him a cold beer?

Who knows, you might get lucky and receive a Ronco Bottle and Jar Cutter...............

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Anne Frank Tree

Last Wednesday the chestnut tree that Anne Frank viewed from the attic window where she hid from the Nazis during WWII was scheduled to be cut down.
The 150 year old tree suffers from a fungus and poses the possible risk of falling and endangering the thousands who visit the Anne Frank House each day.
Fortunately, an Amsterdam judge ruled that the tree be destroyed only as a last resort.
The tree is still standing as a historical monument and a symbol of freedom.
Conservationists have been ordered to devise an alternative plan by mid January 2008 to save the tree.
For now the tree has been anchored with cable supports and tests have been made proving the tree is stronger than they originally expected.
When we were in Amsterdam last May for the tulip festival we wanted to visit The Anne Frank House. We decided against it because the line was so long. We couldn't even see where the line ended.
I was lucky enough to find this graffiti image on a building nearby. I used this cool photoshop site to create the postal stamp image.
Many of us remember reading 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in grade school. I now want to reread it.
In an entry dated February 23, 1944, she wrote: "From my favourite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind... "
"As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy."
You can visit and create your own leaf for the tree; a symbolic gesture to keep the tree alive.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

White glove test

After any big event one might ask themselves one simple question,"if I had it to do over again what would I have done differently?"
At this moment I am not wishing for that possibility, but only wondering how I could have done it better.
Would I have invited our German neighbors to my first Thanksgiving?
This is the question.
I had spent an exorbitant amount of time cleaning my house. I was prepared for the white glove test from Ingrid. She had us over to her house a while ago for dinner and I swear we could have eaten off the floor.
The Germans are notoriously good at cleaning.
Everything seemed to be going well until she excused herself to go to the bathroom. This I knew was my ultimate test. While the rest of my house looked fairly clean by candlelight, this was her chance to break out the white glove in private behind the bathroom door. I sat nervously chatting with the other guests for what seemed like an eternity. She returned with a horrified look upon her face requesting "essig". Essig.. essig I knew this word. I’d seen it on the menu at our favorite gasthouse, but why does she want salad dressing? Then it dawned on me, the word ’essig" is always paired with oil... AHHH she wants vinegar. Vinegar to clean my bathroom. I didn’t pass the test. Begrudgingly, I handed her the bottle of vinegar and off she went to clean my bathroom and then on to kitchen.
So back to the question.. Would I invite the Germans to Thanksgiving again?
The answer, why yes, but a couple of days early to help me clean.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kleine Pause

I am taking a short break. Please check back November 26th.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


For me there was never a fork in the road, just a pile of useless kitchen utensils.
It wasn't until I chose the right path that I learned how to use each one...............
My recent discovery of a very hidden talent for cooking has prompted me to host my first Thanksgiving dinner. John's parents are visiting us from West Virginia and I have invited Manuella and her parents.
My childhood memories of Thanksgiving have me sneaking most of the black olives from the relish tray and watching football with the men. The women did their thing in the kitchen and I wanted no part of it.
Here it is decades later and I am planning a menu for 8 people.
Trepidation is defined as a state of alarm, dread, or apprehension.
I have a 15 pound turkey and a German oven no bigger then my head,
which may be a good thing in case I resort to such peril.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Making it a big deal

This flyer on the first slide invites you to attend the Stuttgart Community Spouses' Club November Membership Event next Tuesday, November 20th at 10:30 in the Swabian Special Events Center on Patch Barracks.
I am the featured vendor and will be showing a number of my paintings inspired by a cooking class that I attended last Fall in Tuscany.
In fine print they bullet point- one on one time to speak with the vendor. This should interesting- something I am sure you won't want to miss.

Monday, November 12, 2007

As Fall Fades

We cast long purple shadows onto the clinging color as Fall fades...........

Thursday, November 8, 2007

From The Inside

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by looking through their home. Collectively, you can tell a lot about an entire community by perusing the realty pages on the internet. Looking at the photos that people choose when advertising their home on the market just fascinates me; their taste in furniture or lack thereof.

I often find a house I like and imagine how much better it would look with my furniture and my paintings on the wall.

It's amusing to me the certain rooms they choose noteworthy. Here's a picture of our teenager's unkept room. Please buy our house.

Some exclude photos of the inside altogether, but emphasize a large backyard or 2 car garage. This tactic only leaves you wondering how bad the inside could possibly be.
The following description of this house has me wanting to pack up and move to Yellow Springs, Ohio right away. "It has a wood burning fireplace in the living room with large windows overlooking a front yard with a beautiful mimosa tree that blooms every spring and it's known by many villagers for its outstanding flowers. Down the hall is an office that has windows that look out into the flowering tree also. "

This was all that was written and there weren't any pictures.

With that lovely description, it doesn't need any. I would own that house in an instant for that kind of notoriety.

I guess it's hard to judge a house from the outside. It's really what's on the inside that counts. Or is it what you 'see' from the inside that counts? This whole concept has me curious...........

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Great Adventure Continues

Many of you may not know that John and I met each other on (an online dating service in case you are unfamiliar).

With the increasing popularity of online shopping, I figured why not let my keyboard do the talking. I wasn't having the best of luck anywhere else. What was out there, in my age bracket was pretty terrifying to say the least. And actually, what I found online the first few months wasn't that much better. These were just the ones too hideous to show themselves in public.

Then one day I was sent a list of "matches" supplied by John was the first one on the list. My profile was also sent to him. We e-mailed each other for about 3 weeks before we finally met in person.

That was 5 years ago and we haven't been apart since. It has been an exciting adventure. I am not complaining, don't get me wrong, in a way I deserve it. You see when I filled out my profile for I kinda indicated that I was a thrill seeker-outdoorsy type. Because of this I have had to endure things I never thought possible for my timid self. Here are a few pictures of some of the things I signed up for. While the bicycling picture doesn't look that intimidating, just know that that was the week we rode with the Air Force Cycling Team across Iowa- 500 miles and slept in a tent every night.

And so the adventure continues, we have just learned of our next assignment. In 7 months we will be moving to Dayton, Ohio.

I ask you how adventurous is that? Don't laugh, I had to actually look on the map to see where it was. We are already looking at a few surrounding towns. One called Yellow Springs, which is a hippy haven, one that this thrill seeker could surely make home. I'd also like to live in a Mayberry-esque town. One that most people pass through on the way to somewhere else.

Finished painting


Deruta pitcher and pears

Tuesday, November 6, 2007



This is day 2 on this still life. These pears really are that big. The biggest ones I have ever seen. I just had to paint them. This is Katherine's pitcher from Deruta, Italy. The same pattern I have used before in a few paintings.

I should be finished with this one tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I am not God

She is finished except for a few highlights on her right arm.
This is actually the second portrait painting that I have ever done. The first was a complete disaster which ended a friendship. Two years ago my German neighbor wanted me to paint a portrait of her parents for Christmas. She was leaving town beforehand and wouldn't be back until X-mas day. She left me with one photo to work from and a horrible one I might add. They were both frowning. I had to improvise so they wouldn't appear so hideous. I did the best I could. I sent her e-mails of the work in progress and even one of finished painting. She never expressed disappointment.
Christmas morning was an entirely different story. I recieved a phone call saying that her parents were not happy and they wanted to know why they were so ugly. I felt that it wasn't a question that should be directed to me, but rather to the "Big Man Upstairs". I painted exactly what I saw in the photo.
There is an art to painting portraits. One I need to explore further. I am not worried about ending the friendship with the father of this little girl. Although it was a challenge to paint, I didn't need to improvise. She is a little angel.

Friday, November 2, 2007


This is not finished

and I don't know when it will be.

I have been commissioned to paint this for an old friend. It is a portrait of his daughter; a gift for his wife's birthday. Her birthday is not until December, so I have more time to struggle with it.

Lately, I have been a bit shameful posting photos of my paintings. There are artists who view my blog whom are more advanced than me. I feel that my still life paintings are sophomoric.

My non-artist viewers ooh and aah.

But isn't that the response every artist strives to receive? Truthfully, it's one of the reasons I created this blog in the first place. We are programmed early on when our so called masterpieces get haphazardly arranged on the refrigerator door. That is our pat on the back for a good dog that only aims to please.

Sometimes if I am feeling overly confident, I like to present a new abstract to this non- artist audience. I find it amusing watching them squirm to respond. They know how I yearn for that "atta-boy". They usually try to make sense by finding objects-I see a face or I see a fish. This is funny to me because my abstract work is purely formal. It is non-objective which means no objects in case you didn't know.

After 9/11 my agent decided I should only paint still lifes and hold back on the abstracts. It was safe. Safe art didn't confront and confuse you like my abstracts did. It was a crucial time when people wanted something to come home to that made them feel safe like a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. Something they could relate to. Gradually, I have been able to return the work that I prefer.

There is a huge part of me that feels that I don't measure up as an artist. Unfortunately, I define myself by my inability. The real stuff is very challenging to me. I love working abstractly. It seems to make more sense. I also enjoy its elitist nature by communicating to such a small audience. It's like a special secret.

This audience is growing smaller and smaller thanks to the negative media surrounding the petite Picasso(whom I won't go into right now) and the elephants and chimpanzees who miraculously yield brushes to produce paintings

that sell for thousands.

But it is this new product that has me seriously considering relinquishing

all my brushes to Schatzi and Sienna.

Maybe they won't find painting real subject matter as challenging as I do.