My sister sent me a picture of a silo tree one day. She came across it last year on the side of a road, and neither of us had ever seen one, but apparently with smaller farms dying out there are many of these trees in abandoned silos around the midwest. The roof collapses, a seed gets inside, and the silo becomes a secret nursery that protects a baby tree from the winds. But the little tree has limited time in the sun and works extra hard to find its way to the top, forgoing a lot of the bottom branches and growing extra tall, finally exploding into a giant canopy at the opening. The silo finds new purpose as a fortress, and a sapling that had slim chances in the harsh Great Plains winds ultimately grows tall and strong. Together they are a work of art.

Everything about the tree reminds me of my sister's tenacity through life, especially this last turbulent year -- one where no matter how tired, sad or hopeless she was some days, she pulled herself up, took care of other people and animals and flowers, and she found reasons to smile. But most importantly she has found her silo fortress in the form of Shelby, and I wish them many happy years together, united and strong against the winds.


For my sister who is getting married tomorrow...

Their eyes met and all doubt was swept away
in a glad certainty. They belonged to each other;
and, no matter what life might hold for them,
it could never alter that. Their happiness was in
each other's keeping and both were unafraid.

-- Anne's House of Dreams


Worrying about what might happen
next is like carrying a heavy box in
circles instead of waiting to pick it up
until there is a use for its contents.


Thinking today how exciting it is to find anything with real hand-writing on it when checking the mail. Usually there is none, except maybe when it's time for birthday or Christmas cards. Worse than none is the junk mail with fake handwriting to fool you into double-checking, then even more insulting because it tends to be an offer to buy an ugly house, which hurts my house's feelings. 

I used to be a big letter writer, as was my aunt and some of my friends, so over the years I accumulated a big heavy box packed solid with letters and postcards. I finally went through the box a couple years ago and got rid of all but a handful. It felt like a crime, all those thoughts and words going to the dumpster. But I reread them first, and they were words and thoughts meant to only be shared with me --my younger dumber self, not some person who is tasked with sorting and trashing my stuff after I'm gone. I thought about this while going through my mom's things last year, stopping to read some things and feeling intrusive.

The box also had lots of notes. Some as far back as junior high or taped on the doors of my first apartments or under the wipers of my car... How delightful it was to find a note shoved through the vents in my locker. I think the last one I ever got was just the hand-scrawled lyrics of  Journey's "Open Arms."  Too bad I always hated that song.

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Except when they are in my hair....


I just mentioned to someone the other day that coming across a praying mantis or a walking stick was the jackpot in childhood bug wrangling, and there was one greeting me eye-level on the door this morning. It's just as exciting now as then except my feet hurt for no reason.


Thanks to kind folks sharing via the magical roads of the sometimes dark Internetworld, my "Freedom" print of shelter doggies sailing off to adopters suddenly sold quite a bit the last few days, giving
me the funds to help a small pitbull rescue tomorrow. Some previous prints have gone to a local shelter and a couple other rescues.

I have been Santa's elf packing up prints today. I am a VERY very small business, so this amount of shipping all at once is crazy.


You can see the Freedom print here:

I am thinking of a new painting for this purpose. Waiting for a dog or kitty face to give me the right idea.


Was talking to the neighbor about sci-fi movies and how it would suck to be stranded on a hostile planet with monsters.
I hadn't even really finished that sentence when we realized that's kinda where we already are. Sometimes anyway.


I can't paint with oils...

Okay, started playing with acrylics on canvas, which was really fun, but tried to switch over to oils and was banned from the art world for my atrocious attempts. I will have to drop oil for a bit and come back to it or I will end up surrendering paintbrushes. These are the acrylics...


Owls and grumpy little dogs

Here is a clay painting for a friend having a baby soon. It's her nursery colors, and she likes owls. I like owls too, but for some reason I haven't made very many. I think I've only drawn a few since I was a kid...


Now that I think about it, I rarely draw a dog either, and I LOVE dogs. But here is my neighbor's dog in acrylic. I haven't worked loose on a canvas in a long time, and it was fun.