Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday morning . . . .

6:00 am - I woke up about 3:00 am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. That hasn't happened in a long time. Now I'm up, I've fed the dogs, and writing the blog. ■ It's raining. In fact it's been raining since about 5:00 am. Here, I just grabbed a shot of the radar image. It looks like a lot of it has passed, but still more to go. ■ It looks to be a good day for drawing. I've got two commissions to work on. ■ More later on . . . 10:15 am - The rain earlier started and stopped and started and stopped and now it's raining again. The radar picture on the right shows what's ahead of us today. Look at all that rain to the west of us. ■ All this rain and warm weather should get rid of the rest of remaining snow. Now I have to look forward to getting the ladder out and cleaning the gutters of the leaves that fell in at the end of fall. Always something to look forward to!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ramblings . . .

The picture is of our living room. Ok, it's not the whole living room. I'd need to take a few pictures to cover it. ■ The Grandfather Clock (I know it doesn't need/should be capitalized, but it's a sign of respect in this case) was hand-build by my father-in-law. It's beautiful. I wish he were still around. The picture to the right of the clock (just above the ladder-back chair) is a beautiful watercolor painting of our home done by my good friend Johnna Stutler ( It was a gift from her to my wife and I. I love the painting and wish I could do half as well. ■ The painting on the wall above the table on the left side of the picture is of the Scott farm, which is now part of O'Hare airport. My grandmother on my father's side was a Scott. ■ The couches - both have flame-stitched upholstery. The one in the foreground belonged to my grandparents on my mother's side; the love seat on the right side belonged to my parents. ■ I do believe that I'm rambling . . . and I'm tired. It's almost 11:00 pm. I haven't been up this late in a long time. Time for bed. ■

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More snow! Oh, no!

7:22 am - Not only is it overcast and dreary out, but it was also snowing when I took the garbage out this morning. It's too warm for it to stick, but, boy, am I sick of snow! ■ I decided which view to draw of that home - it from the right side. Why? Because that's the view that will be most familiar to them over time as in coming home that's the view they'll see. It also provides more depth that a straight-on view. ■ 2:30 pm - Look at the snow now. It's started sticking about an hour ago. March 28th and the snow is sticking.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yesterday I went out and took a few pictures of a house I've been commissioned to draw (over on the left). Now I've got to decide which view to use. I think a couple of quick sketches might help me decide. ■ I have to take my wife's new car in for an oil change this afternoon. It'll be nice to drive the new car for once. ■ This past Sunday we watched (on and off) a program on hamburgers. It made me hungry for a 'burger, so yesterday for lunch I ran to Wendy's and got a burger and a fish sandwich. Sometimes a fish sandwich just "sounds" so good, but they're always marginal. Heck, fast food is always marginal. ■ On to the sketches. 12:55 pm - Ok - I did a few quick pencil sketches to see how the drawing might layout. Now I've got to choose which one do draw. I'm thinking that the view from the right-side might be best - that's the way they'll come down the street to their home 98% of the time. On the other hand the view almost straight on does eliminate some of the trees, but it doesn't give the drawing the same depth as the views from either side. Hmmm . . . . I think I'll let it sit for awhile.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Backs, canes, and drawings

The picture is of some of my continuing cane collection. It's not all of them as I know I have 1, or 2 in my closet, 2 by our bed, at least 1 in our front hall closet and I think 1 in each car. Unfortunately none are exactly the same - no matched sets. That would be nice to have (a matched set) as too many times I'm forced to use 2 canes to get around. ■ Finished a few little things today. Also got out and took a few pictures of a home I've been commissioned to draw. Now I've got to go through those pictures and see which view is the best one for the pen and ink. ■ I need to do a little straightening up in my studio. Too many extraneous papers, frames, and mattes lying around. I also need to get out my paints and see what shape they're in.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More thoughts - no decisions . . . .

The picture almost looks like a UFO. Or maybe my imagination is getting carried away at this point. At any rate, it's not a UFO - it's just a lamp by my desk. It would be more fun if it were a UFO! ■ Got some little things done today, but, as always, there's a lot to do. ■ I've been thinking about trying to do a drawing-a-day, but I don't know if I could do that. There are people that do a painting-a-day. That's tough. Hard to do, and maybe impossible to keep up over an extended period of time. I do want to get back to trying some painting. I've got some watercolors which are good for watercolor washes on pen and ink drawings. But, I'd love to try some acrylics, or even oil painting. I think I'd need some instruction on oil painting. I've never tried that before. Heck, I've done very little with acrylics. Ok, and not much with watercolors either. ■ What do you think?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A sleepy Easter Sunday

It's been kind of a slow, sleepy Sunday - Easter Sunday to be exact. Should have gone to church, but didn't. Should have done a lot of things, I guess, but didn't. I did cook a ham on the grill. Delicious. We had ham, a great scalloped potatoes recipe that Holly found, and buttered cabbage. And for desert there's some banana cake. I've got to go downstairs and have some - cake that is. ■ I didn't sleep well last night. Didn't take ambien and it showed. I was up around 2:30 am and stayed up for an hour, or so before I could get tired enough to try and get back to sleep. I've just been kind of dragging today. ■ Lots of thoughts running through my head. I had done some watercolors, or watercolor washes (over pen and ink) awhile ago - ok, probably over a year ago. I think I may do some more of those. And maybe try some acrylic painting too. I'd try oils, but I've never painted with oils before and I'm not sure how to go about it. And of course there's the reverse glass painting - of which I've done very little . . . . so many things to try . . . ■ It's about time for bed . . . and maybe a little cake before . . . . . .

Saturday, March 22, 2008


It's been a busy day, or at least it seems like it. Shoveled some snow - and boy was it heavy. That snow from yesterday was dense. All I did was shovel our sidewalks and I was out of breath for a bit. This is the type of snow they call "heart attack snow" - way too heavy for people to shovel - ok not young people, but us older folks. ■ The picture on the right is the non-moving result of trying to get a javascript applet to work. This is a still screen capture of it, but in the applet the water moves. Whoever wrote it did a great job. I used it on our band's website (still using it) about 7 years ago and it took me awhile to "refigure it out" and get it to work again. ■ Did ribs on the grill tonight. Simple and delicious. ■ Watched a show on food in Ireland. One of the items they showed was smoked salmon and it made me hungry for my smoked salmon. Mmmm . . . I think I'll have to smoke some in the near future. ■ Lots of thoughts running through my brain. Maybe I'll share some of them later. ■

Friday, March 21, 2008

More snow . . .

11:45 am - That's a current picture of our neighborhood. I must confess that I'm sick and tired of the snow. This has just been a brutal winter. And now it's March 21st and it's snowing - again. Total accumulation is going to be somewhere between 3 and 9 inches. At least we know this snowfall won't stick around very long as the temperatures during the day are above freezing. ■ 2:00 pm - It's still snowing. I think we've got about 6 inches so far. My next door neighbor shoveled my sidewalks and driveway (bless him) and now you can't even tell. I'd like to get out there and shovel (ok, I don't really want to shovel, but ...), but my back is kind of out today. I keep hoping that it'll loosen up as the day goes on, but it's just not doing that. 3:15 pm - thought I'd add another picture. The village plowed earlier today - around 10:00 am, but hasn't been back since. We were going to go out and see my old band play tonight, but with this snow and bad roads we've decided against it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Brain scan

6:15 am - Lots to do today. I need to clean my office; start on a drawing; go for my brain scan; and give a guitar lesson. ■ Yesterday I went to Elgin to a friend's house and we jammed a bit. It was a lot of fun. Can't wait to do it again. That's the guitar (my Tele) on the left that I took to his house. Got to get the garbage out to the curb. Back later. ■ 3:45 pm - back from the MRI of my brain. It's a closed MRI and it's confining and claustrophobic. A couple of years ago we were in Ireland and one of the people in our group was a co-inventor of the open MRI. I wish our hospital had an open MRI. At least it was only a 20 minute ordeal. Not too bad.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New template

I decided to try a different template for the blog. I may try some others in the future to see how they look. ■ That's Mollie lying on the floor near the fireplace. Just relaxing with her people while they watch some TV. I took the picture with my iphone and since there's no flash I had to bring it into Word and lighten the picture up a bit - otherwise you'd be wondering why I put a black picture in the blog. ■ I've got a bunch of stuff to do today. Got to call for an appointment for my brain scan; order some med refills, and go and do a little jammin' with a friend down in Elgin. Off I go. ■ Bob and I had a mix-up on the time, so we've postponed the jam until tomorrow. ■ I did make an appointment for my brain scan - doesn't that sound scarey?! I'll do that on Thursday and they can see if there's anything abbynormal - I had to use that term from "Young Frankenstein." A great - classic movie. ■ We did burgers on the grill tonight. They were good. ■ All for tonight.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Good craic.

We've been cleaning the house getting prepared for cribbage tonight. I've vacuumed, washed the floors and will have to run out pretty soon and get some ice. And I still need to get at the family room. ■ Holly's telling me that I've got to run for ice now! ■ It's 12:35 am - way too late for me. In fact I can't believe I'm up this late! Had a good cribbage night. And no, we didn't play cribbage, but instead talked all night long catching up with our friends. Good "craic" - Irish, as I understand it, for good conversation and good fun. ■ When I came back upstairs to go to bed and to first put a finish to this blog posting, I noticed that the picture, or conglomeration of pictures on this blog posting almost looked like a flag - but with the stars out of place. So, I recombined it - what do you think? Does the one below look a little more "flag-like"? I never thought of it before. Hmmm . . . . ■ We had corned beef and cabbage for cribbage dinner tonight. It was delicious. Holly also bought two cases of Smithwicks - a fine Irish beer. Delicious. ■ Oh, the cribbage folks liked my book. Their homes actually lead-off the book, as they are some of our oldest friends. Now I have to put in an order for 3 more copies. ■ Well, lots to do tomorrow. I''ve been working on an Ireland video for Holly to take to work and I've got to finish that so she can take it to work on Monday. ■

Friday, March 14, 2008

Warm with the fire!

We're warm with the fire on. Actually it's pretty warm out - 47ยบ, but the fire was still nice. We sat around the fire tonight, watched a little tv and had a couple of Smithwicks. We drank Smithwick's when we were in Ireland and enjoyed it. I think I like Red Hook's ESB a little better, but they're close. ■ Saw my "sleep doctor" today. I'm doing fine and may be able to ease off the Ambien. The fewer the meds, the better. ■ More of the snow is gone, but some of the piles in the parking lots around here will be around for awhile. ■ Talked with a guitar-playing friend tonight. Next Tuesday I'll drive down to his house and we'll do a little pickin'. Should be fun. ■ We're hosting our cribbage group tomorrow night. It's always a fun time, although we don't play cribbage any longer. It's just an excuse to get together once a month and catch up with one another. ■ Ok, off to bed with me!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sunny and warm . . . I'm lovin' it!

A nice, sunny, warm day. It's good to see the snow leaving. Hopefully we won't see anymore of it. I think everyone has had enough snow this year. The snow leaving has uncovered a ton of fallen sticks from my trees. I wonder if I'd be better off using a rake to get them all. Hmmm . . . ■ I'm cooking chicken on the grill tonight. In fact I'd better start the grill. Back later. ■ 8:35 pm - The chicken turned out pretty well. When it gets warmer I'll smoke the chicken instead of just putting it on the grill. ■ We watched a History Channel show about diamonds. Very interesting. I've seen some of it before, but never the whole thing - typical male - I'm a nonstop-remote-channel-switcher -- I almost never see a whole show of anything. They began talking about the diamond mining in South Africa and I said "ah, kimberlite dykes." I explained to my wife that I thought that kimberlite dykes were basically pipes of magma forced up in the earth, but said that it had been too many years since I had completed my geology minor for me to be sure. With that Holly got up and went to her pc to look it up - I simply grabbed my iphone and looked it up on the web. It's been pretty nice having the iphone. All of my blog posts from the cruise were via the iphone. I could internet access anywhere I had a cell phone connection. Unfortunately (for me) the international-roaming-data-rates were kind of expensive. Next cruise will only have blog updates from Puerto Rico! ■ Did any of the previous make any sense? I'm not sure, but I am going to bed now. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The snow is melting ... finally!

The snow is finally melting. It's good to see the grass again, or at least we're starting to see the grass. It seems like it's been forever! I expect all the snow will be gone in the next few days - except for those huge piles in the parking lots. I wonder how long those will take to melt . . . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dolphins and twins

You're probably wondering what this picture is about, or of. Well, read on . . . We were snorkeling between our boat and a beach in St. John when two dolphins - a mother and her baby - came swimming between the boat and the beach - that's the dark spot/line in the water that you see between the two people on the boat. It was really a thrill to see this. The dolphins were only about 20-25 feet away from our boat. The baby dolphin stayed right alongside the mother as they swam. What a sight and thrill for us. Just wanted to share it with you. My wife had the presence of mind to grab her camera and catch this shot. ■ And congratulations to one of our best friends Vicki and her daughter Sarah and son-in-law Chris on the birth of twins - Ben and Will. Congratulations! ■ It's supposed to be in the 40's today and the next couple of days, so maybe we can get rid of some of this snow. Heck, maybe all of it! ■

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time changes . . . and . . . .

5:30 am - We went through time changes this weekend. The Caribbean is 2 hours ahead of us and we had to change our clocks at home to an hour ahead ("spring forward, fall behind"). For us the transition was probably smoother as we only had to adjust for 1 hour rather than 2. However, we still had to set all of our clocks here at home an hour ahead. All, of course, except that I forgot to change the alarm setting on our clock radio in our bedroom. We had to be up very early the Friday we left so I set the alarm to 3:00 am --- and you guessed it! - it went off at 3:00 am this morning. Not so bad. I simply turned the alarm off and went back to sleep - but with a nagging "something in my mind" that something wasn't right. My sleep induced, bad cold, slow-as-molasses-in-March thoughts finally got around to the fact that I needed to get up and reset the alarm for 5:00 am, or we'd sleep way past the time for us to get up and get to work. Talk about crawling up from the abyss! At any rate I finally did it and reset the alarm. I ended getting up around 4:30 am. Now my back is kind of out. Oh joy. ■

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Home and Cold . . . brrrrrr . . . and sniffle . . . .

We got home last night. It was a long day traveling. We finally got off the ship around 10:45 am and then checked our bags in a bag checking facility so that we could wander old San Juan. Took a free trolley and walked to El Morro - the large fort at the entrance to the harbor in Old San Juan. After El Morro we started walking back and stopped for lunch along the way. After lunch we collected our bags and took a taxi to the airport. It turned out that our flight was delayed getting in from Chicago due to snow and cold weather, but finally took off about an hour and a half late. ■ I picked up a cold late Friday and it kept getting worse Saturday. I froze on the flight back simply because I had a fever. I'm pretty miserable today too. Holly had this cold at the start of the cruise and she passed it on to me. ■ You would think that the above picture was taken at night, but it was actually taken during the day. The bright sunlight caused everything else to look dark.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

11:10pm - We're home!

Finally home sweet home after 8 glorious, warm, sunny days. I think
it's about 20 cold degrees here. Where are those warm March days?
The photo is of a portionof El Morro in San Juan. Goodnight!

7:40am - San Juan

Getting ready to exit our stateroom and gather for departure from the
ship. Our flight doesn't leave until later this afternoon, so we may
walk around Old San Juan, or perhaps visit the Barcardi factory.

Friday, March 7, 2008

10:46pm - Off the north coast of PR

I've got cell service again. The ship in the picture is a Celebrity
ship that was behind us when we pulled out of Bonaire. Will be home
tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday - Granada

Tried sending a blog posting with a photo attached, but it was taking
forever to try and send it. We're here in Granada. Bought some
spices - got to when you're on the spice island! We've had a boat
drink and a little lunch. The ship will be pulling out in a few
minutes bound for our next port - Bonaire. We haven't been there
before, so we're looking forward to that!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, March 3, 2008

1:50pm - St. Kitts

Went to a beach today and bobbed with beers. It's one of our favorite
activities and we intend to do more of it on the other islands.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

3:55pm - St. Thomas

We've been to a beach on St. John's; snorkeled; had some drinks; had
some lunch; some more drinks; and are back on our balcony for a few
more drinks before we go to dinner in 4 hours. It's beautiful here -
we'd like to live here, but reality least
sometimes......jeeze, reality.......

May be last post until we get back to Puerto Rico. Don't know about
cell phone connections elsewhere.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Almost ready to pull out

San Juan at night.

6:30 pm - Sunset in San Juan

The sun is setting. We'll pull out at 11:00 pm tonight. Right now
we're sitting on our balcony having drinks.

View from the back pool bar

2:30pm - my 3 berry boat drink

1:00 pm - Checking in

It was a breeze checking. We're now inboard and in our stateroom.
All of our balconies connect. It's gonna be a fun cruise.

9:30 am & Blue skies

I can't get a great picture out of our hotel room window, but I think
I captured a little of the blue sky down here. In just a few short
hours we'll be boarding the Crown Princess. I can hardly wait!