Art Of Moving With A Dog

Moving is never easy for humans. Humans are lucky, we know what is going on and that there is an end game. All a dog will see is change at best, abandonment at worse. We have had our rescue dog, Zip, for over five years. We have never moved since he arrived in our home. So this is a first for him that we know of.

We started packing in earnest when we listed our house. We constantly worked our way through the house saying we can live without this. At that point we either rehomed it, trashed it or packed it. So things started changing around our house slowly and Zip did not seem to mind when love seat that gave him window access disappeared. He looked at the moving boxes as a new vantage point and as long as his humans were around this was ok.

Last Thursday the movers came and loaded up everything but the clothes on our back that were going to make the trip cross country in the car. I was once again not sure what he would think. It did not seem to phase him too much.

We were blessed in that several of our friends offered us accomodations since the buyer’s loan was having all sorts of things that were delaying our closing. Once again Zip just settled in like it was his home. He’d always been a good visitor, but moving into another’s home,well one could never tell what to expect.

Our next step is spending hours in the car as we move across the country. He has never been a good car rider so it is a bit of a question how this is going to go. He is taking an anti-anxiety medication each morning before getting into the car. He is seeming to do well in the car but our laps are his first choice. We have a seat belt set up for him and cushion on the center console, but he is always looking to sneak down onto our laps.

We will keep you posted on how he does as we change locations as often as we change our underware.

Decoration Day – Full of Memories

I was a lucky kid, in that I got to spend lots of time with my grandparents and have lots of memories of them. One memory that is still vivid as an adult years later is the Decoration Day ritual.

I remember big black ants climbing all over my Grandma’s peonies. She planted lots of flowers and had what I would call a cutting garden, but I only remember peonies being ready for Decoration Day. The arrival of the ants was a sign that she would soon be cutting the flowers and our family would make the annual pilgrimage to the cemetery for Decoration Day.

As an adult I don’t remember whose graves we took flowers too. On that side of my family there were not many who served in the arm forces so suspect we just put flowers on assorted family member’s graves irrespective of if they passed away in service.

Grandma would create flower arrangements that were put in jars that had been saved for just that purpose from the goods we bought at the grocery. We would pile in to Grandpa’s oversized car, Grandpa, Grandma and whoever in the family had come for the day. I don’t remember much about the trip, if it was long or short. I could not tell you if we stopped at more than one cemetery, but I can clearly remember the jars filled with water and full of flowers to be delivered to honor loved ones. I can see the sloshing of the water and the rearranging of the flowers that my Grandma had so carefully selected with each bump and turn in the road. It was a moment of honoring those who were not there any longer. It was time for family. It was a passing of another season.

Thanks to Photo by marek kizer on Unsplash

I still think of the day as Decoration Day, even though in 1971 Memorial Day became a federal holiday. I remember the rituals that allowed me to spend time with my Grandparents. I think of all the servicemen and women who gave their lives for this wonderful broken country. I honor and thank them and their families for their sacrifice. I hope we do them justice in how we live our lives.

“On this day, take time to remember those who have fallen. But on every day after, do more; put the freedoms they died for to greater and nobler uses.” –Richelle E. Goodrich

My Identity – What I Did Not Pack

The time between when we close on our current house and when close on our next house will be a four, possibly five, months. On Thursday, the movers picked up our household belongings, and they are going into storage for the indefinite future. We will be keeping some clothing and select belongs with us in our little Ford Escape as we travel and visit friends and family. I learned that trying to figure out what I think I will need to have for my art supplies and what I will pack was one of the hardest things I had to do. It was more than high grading my studio supplies. I am not sure but I think it is a combination of my personality and my comfort level reflected in what I kept and what I packed.

It was hard to let things go into the packing box knowing I would not see them again for months. A friend of mine said that when I unpacked them it would be like finding friends again. This experience also serves as a reminder that what I have is a blessing of abundance. I got rid of supplies that maybe did not turn out to be my kind of creative. I also let go of supplies that I could not see myself using again. Sometimes we creatives try things and after making a few things it turns out to be “been there-done that-don’t need to do it again”. Supplies that fell into that category I allowed myself to let go of as well. I think we creatives tend to hoard things because we might want them again. It makes more sense to share with others, rather than discover several years later that the product is no longer usable. It took me weeks to slowly figure out what I thought I would not have “to have” for the next few months, what I would pack away and what was better served by giving it to someone else.

After may layers of packing I have finally come up with a very full satchel bag that will be my art supplies for the foreseeable future. In my bag you will find:

  • My good watercolor brushes in their case. There was no debate on these.
  • A custom watercolor pallet case with personally selected half pans and a swatch sheet.
  • NeoColor II – I debate long and hard between this and Inktense pencils. I chose this one because I thought it would be more flexible
  • A water soluble graphite pencil and sticks.
  • A collection of cube ink pads. It is a collection of Archival, hybred, and Distress inks.
  • 5 stamp collections
  • 5 stencils
  • Watercolor sketch book
  • Dyan Reavley small art journal
  • Small dot journal for daily journaling
  • My Mixed Media journal for my year long weekly art lessons
  • Two zip pouches of assorted materials that can be used for mixed media, classes, and art journals
  • Clear gesson
  • Small collection of soft pastels.
  • My pencil case with assorted pencils
  • My pen, watercolor, marker and other goodies bag.
  • Liquitex clear gesso

I was also allowed an art box of things that was fully enclosed for items that may not traveling the bag well. Here is what I selected:

  • Acrylic Paints – I picked an assortment of craft and art paints.
  • PVA glue
  • Stabilo pencils in black and blue
  • A black archival ink pad
  • Glue stick
  • Assorted pens, pencils water brushes
  • Gel matte medium
  • Lindy’s Magical and Shaker water colors
  • Prima metal wax
  • ratty craft brushes.

I would have to say there were two things I packed a day before the mover came that were actually the hardest to let go of but space prevented them from even being considered. I hated to let go of my sewing machine and my Sizzix cutting machine. They are two things I use all the time in so many of my creative endeavors. I hated to let them go and have already had occasions when I wished I had them.

If you had to use only a few of your many art supplies what would you keep out and what would you pack? Are there supplies that realistically you are not likely to use again and would better served by giving it to another person to use?

Emptying the Larder

Since I last wrote RangerSir and I have sold our home. It has been a ride like no other home sale we have experienced before when selling prior homes of all sorts, in many different states and locals. We will be having a closing on June 1st. One of the things we must do before that date is empty our larder because we will not be moving directly from one home to the next. Nor will this move be a local one. We will not be moving food. We must empty our freezer and cupboards.

I still make pies using the same rolling pin RangerSir and I found at an estate sale when we first got married.

After years of living without a grocery store just minutes from home, we developed a habit of having a well-stocked pantry and freezer. We bought our beef, pork, and lamb from a locally known rancher. We raised and butchered our own chickens. We stocked up on meat when it was on sale, so if tonight we wanted brats on the grill, it was possible without running to town by looking in our freezer. Our freezer was well stocked. If beans or can tomatoes were on sale in the 10 for pricing option, we stocked up so we could make chili if the day turned cold. Our full pantry always had lots of options available.

Apples and cranberries almost make something like a tart cherry pie.

This last year in the midst of COVID, a friend offered us apples. We accepted the gift and went about putting them in the dehydrator for snacks, and making enough apple pie filling that we could have a pie a month before apple season next year. I love cranberries and when they were in season, I bought multiple bags and froze them so I could make a salad, relish, or bread when cranberries were no longer in the store. I did not think much about this because 2020 had been such an unpredictable year. I did not know for sure if we would move or 2021 would be another year spent in Montana. COVID taught us life was a toss-up and anything was possible and any plans could be upended.

In 2021 we sold our home and found our moving plans for retirement back in play. Because of how the sale’s timing, it turned out we were short on time on our exit plan. We suddenly realized we had five month’s worth of apples, and bags upon bags of cranberries, and just weeks to use them up. I decided that I would make pies. I found a recipe for cranberry apple pie. I made five pies, mixing the two together in a pie mashup.

I’ve never made pies in aluminum foil pans before. I did not get the browning I wanted but oh they did make wonderful gifts.

I enjoyed making the pies. It took my mind off all the craziness happening with the sale of our house. I enjoyed more giving the pies away to friends. It moved me further along in the continuum of getting ready to leave behind our home of over 20 years. Getting rid of the items in my freezer allowed me to mentally start to move forward into the next phase of our lives and journies. Our larder is not bare, but I can see and hope that by the time our last day comes that there isn’t much left I will have to find a new home for.

Picture A Day

I have been working on taking a picture everyday with my phone. I am not looking to take photos that will end up in National Geographic or get printed and hang on the wall. They are all about documenting the moments of this life I am living. I don’t know what I expected when I decided to do this in 2021. It is turned out to almost be a visual gratitude journal. It is also a memory box of little moments I have forgotten were it not for picture. When I look at the pictures I have taken I can see so many moments that are good. Some are simply photos of the food that I have made, others are of art or craft projects, some are of my family, there are weather and the landscape photos, and some are just plain nonsensical. It isn’t easy to find something to photograph each day, but with time and practice it has gotten easier. I worry less and shoot more.

Night time walk using regular mode

One of the other benefits of capturing a moment each day with my camera is that I have learned to use some of the more advanced features of my phone. I was doing an evening walk the other night and I learned how to use the night mode to capture my home and see the differences it makes.

Same shot using night mode on my phone’s camera.

It has been fun once I got over the worry about shooting good and relevant pictures. I encourage you to do the same. Let me know how it goes for you.

The snow itself is lonely, or if you prefer, self sufficient. There is no other time when the world seems composed of one thing and only one thing! Joseph Wood Krutch

Do You Know What It Looks Like?

In November RangerSir and I signed up for a class that was going to help us move to a more healthy lifestyle. With RangerSir finishing up his first year of retirement it seemed an opportune time to really think about our new lifestyle and the impacts COVID had also had on us. The class was focused on moving toward healthy weight and activity levels that would provide benefits to your body in the form of improvements in your glucose, blood fats…etc. As I have reached my first major goal, I am re-evaluating what healthy looks like.

When I first started this program for me it was mainly setting goals were about loosing weight and being more active. They were easy goals to set because they were very number driven. Now I as I reached my first weight goal, I was forced to recon with the fact that a number did not make you healthy. Nor did it possibly reflect my goal which was to live to be a healthy, active 82 year old woman. Sort of a strange goal, I know. What happens when I get to 82? But when asked about my goal this is what popped out of my mouth at one of the online weekly sessions as part of this class.

But looking at this goal there are much bigger flaws than the number 82. What does healthy and active mean to me? What does a healthy active woman look like to me?

I hope when I am 82 I am still out there walking daily, just not in the a place where the snow blows
By Diana @ Looking Out the Window Posted in Fitness Tagged

Moving Forward in a New Year

Before COVID began running unchecked in 2020 some creative friends and I had asked ourselves, “if you could go to one major class who was your dream instructor?” When you live in a sparsely populated place like Montana it almost always involves travel. Any creative class is a big dollar and time commitment. The group of had identified a couple of classes that crossed over all our varied interest that might have made a group road trip possible. The front runner was in October for four days and had two instructors, one from Arizona and one from the UK. Each of us was looking at how we might make it work in our personal circumstances. Instead in 2020 we stayed home. I had no idea what 2021 would bring, but travel did not seem like something on a plannable horizon. I knew I wanted a chance to expose myself to things that would challenge my creative bent. I choose to enroll in an online year long 28 instructor, 50 week journey with a focus on mixed media and art journaling.

I signed up in November for my 2021 online class. Immediately I got a series of bonus lessons that were there to help ramp up my creativity and tide me over until the class formally started January 1st. I did manage to complete all but three of the preview bonus lessons. I also took this time to look at my personal art supplies and tried to figure out what I had, what I did not have, and what substitutions I could make. I researched and compared finally buying a new art journal for the year.

Each month there is a topic or theme for the next four weeks. This month it was “Reflections.” The first lesson was taught by a mixed media artist from the UK. Her suggested theme was reflection on the previous year. Her techniques was a combination of things I had done before and was very comfortable with and a couple of things that I had to say hold on a minute, before I tried it. In the end I worked my way through all the techniques.

In the end I chose not not look back and reflect but capture my mantra for looking forward into 2021: “This Moment. This Life.” I wanted to focus on the moments and not allow myself to get hung up on big things such that I lost a connection to the amazing moment I was in. I wanted to focus on mu life and what I could do to make it better and let go of things that I can’t impact. This image does not show or capture all the layers that went into this journal page. Mixed media and art journaling tend to have layers of creativity that contribute the the end project, but are not obvious to the viewer. I had been exposed to this in other classes I had taken and often use some of the early layers as an opportunity to get my creative juices going and build on ideas.

One of the pre-class instructions was to find a black and white image that you felt captured how you felt about 2020. I found this in a magazine and fell in love with it. It is a man who appears to be moving very deliberately forward. He is carrying a satchel that looks heavy and for me he is carrying his history, good and bad. It spoke to me and I felt it was perfect not knowing exactly what it was going to be used for when the supply list came out the week before the class. In the end it was just what I needed on my journal page.

Another of the instructions was to add journaling to your page. Usually I write it freehand in a flowing cursive. Sometimes I use asemic writing leaving it up the the reader what they see an what it means. In this case I chose to add words that I had printed. They captured works I am hoping for as we move forward. A keyword journal if you like.

I enjoyed the first class. I learn some things and was encouraged in my art. There was focus on the process but always leaving the door open for you to find your own way. There are several places and ways for the students to share their work. I really like this because it is amazing to see how so many people see and hear the same lesson and yet their work looks nothing like another’s, but you can see things that let you know that they were in the same class as you. It will never be as good as being there in person, but it is better than doing nothing at all.

I finished this before the attack on the capitol. I worried that some folks would read things into this. I debated about going ahead and publishing this post, but decided that I would. I decided that I can not control what others think, nor can I let myself be silenced by worry about things out of my control. It is one of the many times I will chant to myself my 2021 mantra, “this moment. this life.”