Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Garden Bounty ~ August 30, 2012

Last night's dinner was directly from our Garden of Eatin'.

Early Girl, Golden Globe and Chocolate
heirloom tomatoes
lemon cucumbers, carrots 
and a spritz of balsamic vinegar.
Oh Yeah!  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Wonders ~ August 26, 2012

On a delightful morning stroll
along the Mad River near Blue Lake, CA
we find a number of these little guys
along the waterline.
They're about 5/8" long.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rango Meets the Renaissance Faire ~ Aug 19, 2012

I wish I could record my dreams as they are unfolding. Sometimes I remember the essence of having had a dream, and other times I remember vivid details for little awhile. I jumped out of bed this morning and bounded into the living room where Rod was trying to read the paper. I forced my way into his consciousness with a sort of verbal speed read of the dream to help me remember details. He looked up from the paper and just smiled.  

It never ceases to amaze me how our brains put seemingly unconnected experiences together in the world of dreams. We watched Rango Friday night, a delightful animated story with Johnny Depp as the lead character, out to find the "Spirit of the West" and save the town of Dirt. 

Rango Movie Poster

Yesterday we participated in a fully costumed, mini version of the Much Ado About Sebastopol Renaissance Faire at La Bodega to help raise awareness of the upcoming Faire in September at Ives Park.

2011 Faire

I'm walking down the dusty main street of an old frontier town. Two other travellers join me along the way and we move from the prairie to high desert, to forests dense with foliage and streams. We start to climb and move into a steep canyon. We hear a soft noise and look up to a shelf on a canyon wall and see a small cabin with no front (like a shadow box). Watching us from the perch are an owl, a griffin and a cat who are no doubt guardians of the realm. Though no words are spoken we seem to have permission to proceed.

Fantasy Art Nouveau Painting - Verdantis, Keeper of Earth (11 X 14)

Verdantis, Keeper of the Earth

Balancing Act, ACEO, griffin and cat whimsical fantasy art by Susan Van Camp
Further into the forest we come upon a large manor house. The front door is open and we step into the doorway to see if anyone is home. A man and woman in Elizabethan costumes are laughing and chasing each other around the great room with goblets in hand. They see us and invite us in to join the revelry. Once we are inside, the house appears to be high in a tree. It slowly rotates on a geared apparatus and stops at seven different points. 

Castle The Castle Of Morgan Le Fay And Princess Welcoming Travelers, Alan Lee, Antique Print, Printed In USA, 1984
The Castle of Morgan

Looking over what could be described as a porch railing there are herds and flocks of grazing, flying and swimming beasts, the likes of which we've never seen. Each stop on the rotation reveals a different world, all of which seem to be quite peaceful.

The lord of the manor offers us a libation and slices a small piece from a very strange looking fruit or mushroom to brew some tea. The remaining portion starts to grow and change into weird shapes as we watch. At that point we decide it's time to move on, so we thank our hosts and continue the journey.

La Source
La Source

Though I still don't know who my fellow travellers are, the surroundings are looking more familiar. We come upon a spring that seems to flow from a large water pipe in the middle of nowhere. As we follow the creek I realize I'm close to home. It flows through our neighbor Susi's yard, then moves underground down the slope of our land to the neighbor's below. Aha, now I know why the ground is always wet at the bottom of the property.

We are all travellers on these hidden highways. My dreamscapes are often unexplainable but I always enjoy the ride. Many thanks to Etsy artisans who always seem to be able to help me illustrate my journeys. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wings Over Wine Country ~ August 18, 2012

Every summer we make a point of attending the Wings Over Wine Country Air Show at the Charles M. Schulz (as in Peanuts and Snoopy) Airport. It's a delightful way to share the day with families, veterans, flying enthusiasts and just plain folk like us who are drawn to vintage war planes, fast and noisy jets, and aerial acrobatics. It's also an in depth living history lesson from award winning announcer Danny "Skytalker" Clisham.

I started the day with a designer pancake from my favorite chef ~ can't decide if it was a Marine Harrier or the F-18 ~ but no matter is tasted great smothered in a cloud of fresh strawberries!

One of the most moving moments is the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight that pairs a state-of-the-art fighter aircraft, the A10 Warthog in close formation with a vintage P-51.

My favorites are the old war birds from WWII ~ there is something about the sound of those prop driven engines.

Then again, there is something so totally primal about the throaty roar of a Harrier or an F-18 overhead that makes you scream at the top of your lungs and jump up and down. I've gotta get a bigger telephoto lens!

Whatever your favorites are make a point to attend an air show near you, it's a thrill of a lifetime and a chance to thank veterans for their service.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Breast Cancer Journey ~ Post Script III

My husband came with me yesterday and waited while I met with my oncologist. It was my first appointment since surgery and radiation treatments for breast cancer 10 months ago. Joyous news ~ there are no signs of cancer in my left breast.

Jump For Joy Original Painting Figure Art Sunset Silhoette Dancer Landscape On Canvas
Jump for Joy

When I came back out to the waiting room to let Rod know, the only thing I could think of was Usain Bolt's classic pose after winning his Olympic races.

Never one to be embarrassed by spontaneous acts of joy, I dropped my purse on the floor and struck the pose. I did get a few sideways glances but Rod, and several others waiting on appointments, burst out laughing. They knew without words what it was all about.  

It's important though, to remember the five year rule of thumb on being considered cancer free. My five years will coincide with the next Summer Olympics so here are my medal goals, 2012 is already in the bag so to speak:

2012 ~ Year I ~ Iron
2013 ~ Year II ~ Copper
2014 ~ Year III ~ Bronze
2015 ~ Year IV ~ Silver
2016 ~ Year V ~ Gold

If you find yourself a member of this club that no one wants to join keep these things in mind. It is important to be your own advocate and believe you will succeed. A cancer diagnosis is only a small part of your life window. Take responsibility for your actions ~ eat well, stay positive, write or talk about it, and exercise. Your friends will fill your sails and provide the occasional kick in the butt as needed.

you're braver than you believe
stronger than you seem
and smarter than you think"

Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed
is more important than any other one thing"

Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just a Thought Series ~ August 21, 1976

Early morning fog
Blankets the coastal sands
Waves heard but not seen
Diamonds in the spiderwebs
On the porch

In Solitude - Old Polaroid Style Vintage Look Original Photograph 8x10
In Solitude

Peaceful here today
No promises to keep
No place to be
Enjoying the solitude

Monday, August 6, 2012

Congratulations ~ You're Our Big Winner ~ August 3, 2012

When I'm out in my studio I always have the radio tuned into 95.9 the KRUSH. One day early last week, listening to the Blues with Bowker, I heard him say something about Blue Wing Blues Festival and be the 5th caller to qualify. On a whim I counted to five and dialed. Lo and behold I'm caller number 5 and in the running for a mystery package, since I hadn't heard all of the lead in.

I came home from my errands run on Thursday morning (2nd) and there's message from the KRUSH "Congratulations, you're our big winner, call in for details". What we won was BBQ dinner and concert tickets for the Blue Wing Blues Festival opening night and overnight accommodations. A spur of the moment adventure is our favorite kind, so we pack Friday morning and head out around noon. First stop is lunch at Cousteau Bakery in Healdsburg. 

Our destination is the historic Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake. It's just our kind of place: small with a colorful history. Despite occupying a prominent position on the main street of town, the hotel property had, for over 40 years, been vacant and uncared for prior to its purchase by Lynne and Bernie Butcher in 2003. With the contributions of local craftsmen they undertook a 2 year restoration, upgrade and expansion. For more about the hotel, it's history and upcoming events go to ~ it's definitely worth a visit.

Our room is one of the upstairs garden rooms with a porch that looks over the shaded venue between the main hotel and the Blue Wing Saloon. Rooms are decorated in period style and very comfortable.

The bands set up on the porch of the hotel and seating (for about 100) is arranged in the shaded courtyard between hotel and saloon. Music starts about 5:45pm and is over by 10pm. We can still party hardy, but not as late as we used to, so this is a great idea. 

Twice as Good 2XG ( opened the show with the blues and had everyone rocking in their seats. About half way through the set, the BBQ fare was laid out and guests got up in sections to serve themselves. Most of us were dancing as we worked our way through the line.

By the time the Zydeco Flames ( were half way through their set most of the crowd was on their feet dancing. The old knees got a workout, but weren't complaining, dancing is good for the soul and good medicine.

The "Winners" with our host Bernie Butcher

The acoustics and performances were nothing short of amazing. This is a great small venue, along the lines of Sebastopol's Studio E, Rancho Nicasio or Petaluma's Mystic Theater. The final event of the Blue Wing Blues Festival is Labor Day, September 3rd. Might want to put it on your calendar.

After breakfast on Saturday we headed out to Fort Bragg on Hwy 20 for lunch at the North Coast Brewery and headed down the coast for home. It's a beautiful drive and about 30 degrees cooler than Upper Lake. Checked a small flea market on the way out of town and found some treasures. Once home: dinner, a hot tub and early to bed. Sunday we made Gravenstein apple sauce and watched some of the Olympics. A weekend well spent.

A special shout out to the KRUSH and to Diane and George Rawls (Allora Da Car) who donated the tickets that made our weekend.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Just a Thought Series ~ Oct 28, 1975

Child of nature
Daughter to the sea
Warm water woman
So full of love
Feel my movement as a song

The Nereid - Art Nouveau Mermaid Goddess 8x10 Print
The Nereid

Tears of joy ~ Morning rain
A river finds itself
With the suddeness
Of an autumn sunrise

Zion Watchman Photograph Sunrise - 13 x 19 matted Fine Art
Watchman Tower Zion National Park

Gently moving from the hills
To awaken and to nourish
All that it touches
Paths of no resistence
Caressing with subtle fullness
The caverns and smooth curves
Of a mountain
Of a man 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reaching for the Sun ~ July 25, 2012

I grew up in Mill Valley on the middle ridge of Mt. Tamalpais, a magical mountain to all who climb her slopes. My girlfriends and I spent countless hours in the woods hiking and exploring: fire roads, deer paths, creeks, the old rail bed of the Crookedest Railroad in the World, and the ruins of old inns and cabins that had burned in the 1929 fire. It was better than any modern day amusement park. The only criteria from our parents was to look out for each other and be home by dark.

It continues to be foggy in Stinson Beach so we decide on a trip up Mt. Tam for a picnic and walk. Sure enough we break into sunshine just before we get to the end of the road at the top. Perfect!

Blue sky at last!

The fog hovers to the west, but it's warm on the bench where we have lunch before taking the trail around the crest. The views are spectacular. There is such a simple and serene beauty here it captures the heart. While doing a little research, I found this wonderful poem by poet and artist J.L. Stanley.
Fire Trail at Midnight on Mt. Tam

I walk by starlight
Up the winding fire-trail
Between sandstone and scrub oak,
Up to the edge of a terrible cliff
And listen to the waves break
So far below.

The stars explode here
Away from the city glare,
They skitter and hiss
Making me gasp
As they fall from the sky.

I feel several thousand years
Younger, as I pause,
Closed in and breathless
On this moonless night wondering
When I had forgotten the sea
And the stars and roads that wind slowly.

And if I could believe
This road would lead
To other roads and on and on
It would be enough.

Me thinks the next time we ascend the robes of Tamalpa it will be by the dark of no moon. The State Park closes at dusk but some of my childhood haunts and trails are no doubt still in existence.