Thursday, May 29, 2014

No to the Writing Retreat

Tonight is the first night of an annual writing retreat that I usually attend. About a month ago, I decided not to go.

If I were there, I probably would be getting ready for bed, maybe reading or writing a journal entry. I would have attended the opening meeting--which is a mixture of meet and greet with a boring review of the weekend timetable--mostly unnecessary because the timetable is printed and handed out.

I didn't go this year because I left last year's retreat with more negative than positive feelings. That was a first. Why?  Well, it was usually hot last year; I wasn't able to write outside. Some of the other writers annoyed me. Maybe I just need a break.

It ends up that this is a good week for me to be home. I've got a few tutoring students scheduled this weekend. I'll go on a WPA mural tour, though I won't be needed to lead a group.

Plus, I still hope to arrange a writing retreat of my own.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Introducing Jake

Jeff's sister Melissa's family adopted a four-year-old golden retriever named Jake. We stayed with him over Memorial Day weekend.

We don't know much about his background. He's from somewhere in the south. Apparently Jake was an outdoor dog who dug holes in the yard because he was bored. So his "family" gave him up. Why do people like that even get dogs?

Jake's mellow and friendly, if a bit clingy. But, that's understandable. He seemed a bit nervous when I first took Spike up for a short visit a few weeks ago. But he and Spike adjusted quickly; they mostly ignored each other.

This weekend, the four of us (including Jeff) hung out on the deck and took walks together.

I wish Jake a happy new life.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Posting Procrastination

It's been two weeks since my last post.  There's no one reason, and no good reason.

I read once that if you do something 21 days in a row, you can develop a new habit. It's much easier to fall into bad habits. Skip the gym for a days and you forget to schedule visits. Miss a few days of blogging, and suddenly two weeks have passed.

I saw, heard, read, experienced several things over the past few weeks that I wanted to write about, but didn't. I may still write about some of them. Some topics are gone, like the lilacs that bloomed a few weeks ago. I wish I had picked some. I also wish I had written about my feelings of hope when the Mets were four games over .500 at the end of April.

Both lilacs and a winning season are gone now. I'm out of luck with the lilacs--at least in this area. I read in the New York Times about a  Lilac Festival in June on Mackinac Island in Michigan. I won't be going there; I'll have to wait until next spring for lilacs. As for the Mets, it's still early. We'll just have to see what happens.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bark in the Park

Yesterday Jeff, Spike and I headed to Citi Field for a special Bark in the Park day. We've been to two or three at Shea Stadium, but this was our first at Citi. We were worried about rain that had been predicted earlier in the week, but the weather was warm and sunny. If anything, it was a little too warm for the dogs; Spike spent much of his time under our seats. We used my promotional Mother's Day t-shirt to help shade him.

After the fourth inning, we moved up to the concession area which offered a little shade, and left the game early. If it had just been Jeff and me, we would have stayed for the whole game. But we didn't want Spike to be too uncomfortable. He was clearly warm, but in good spirits, especially when he got a hot dog. On the way out, I received a World's Best Dog Mom coffee mug.

On the ride home, we listened to the rest of the game. It went into extra innings. Even leaving early, we hit a lot of traffic. I was glad we left when we did.

The Mets beat the Phillies 5-4 in the 11th inning, after tying it in the 9th. Ruben Tejada singled in the winning run. The Mets had lost five in a row. This was a big win. As I've written this post, the Mets beat the Yankees 9-7, on four home runs and a brilliant defensive play by Lucas Duda. Let's keep this streak going. One more win and we're back to a .500 record.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Good Day

I had a good day today, even if I didn't accomplish all of my goals.

It was a beautiful spring day--one of those days when it's a pleasure to go for a walk with Spike in the morning.

I did my first practice tour as part of my docent training. It went really well. I knew I could be good at this, but I didn't expect to be good on my first try.

I took Spike to the dog park this afternoon. Yesterday was our first visit since his operation. He was so happy to be there; it made me happy. I tried several times to get a good picture. This was the  best:

Jeff got home around 5:30 tonight. He's been working long hours and I was glad to have him home early when I was feeling so happy.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Celebrate Spike de Mayo

A few photos to help celebrate Spike's half-way day. He's thirteen-and-a-half. The first is from a Bark in the Park event at Shea Stadium in 2005 (we're going to our first at Citi Field this Sunday.) The second is from his birthday in 2012 (He's with his cow Eleanor--I named her after the cow on Green Acres.)

I took Spike to the vet's today to get his stitches removed. I told the people at the front desk that I hoped not to see them for a year. Spike's neck still looks a bit tender, but he's a trooper.

Happy half-way day Spike. We love you.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Collage Workshop

Tonight I went to a Creating Collages  workshop at the Westport Arts Center. This is the first  instructional event I attended there. Before I had gone to lectures/discussions.

The workshop was fun. The instructor's style was much more abstract than mine. She gave me some ideas about using colors, shapes and textures, and tearing and wrinkling papers. I'm not crazy about the two collages I made tonight, but I'll continue to work with the techniques.

WPA Mural Docent Training

Norwalk has one of the largest collection of artworks from the 1930's Works Progress Administration; many are located in City Hall. Yesterday I had my second of five training sessions to become a docent. The eight of us in the program are from backgrounds of education, art history, history and marketing. 

Last week I read through a large notebook of materials that the trainer provided. The materials include some good background information about art visualization techniques, and many factoids about the artists. But I was a bit frustrated. I needed more information--more facts about the artworks themselves (not just a list of people in some of the paintings.)

I had some trouble getting my point across, but finally made myself clear. A few people seemed to agree with me; one offered to give me some fact tidbits. Later the trainer acknowledged that all of us will bring something different to the program, and all of our tours will be different.

By the end of the session, I was having fun. I'm psyched about this program; I think I'll do a good job