December – the end of my fourth year of retirement

Took my grandchildren and husband to see my two paintings in the Cardiff gallery – MADE in Roath. Another special moment for me.

Continued to hunt for a bungalow for my mum to buy so she can move closer to me. It’s such a big step for her at 90. Also it’s difficult for me too. So many worries about this.

Christmas arrived at speed. Christmas Day at my son’s house was new this year – manic with 2 very excited grandchildren. Boxing Day with my other son and his two great dogs was just as good. I think I actually enjoyed Christmas!!!!!!!!

Now I need to think about the last four years. What did I plan to do when I retired?

1. Clear out all the mountains of STUFF I brought home from my Art room and office after 100 terms at the same school.

2. Swim or walk somewhere every day.

3. Play for a minimum of one day per week with my granddaughter – no rules.

4. Find out about volunteering to help somebody.

5. Join in with a kindness every day.

6. Have lots of long lunches with other retirees/escapees.

7. Sleep in. Get up later than normal alarm setting – later than 7 am.

8. Think and do art.

9. Plan visits abroad

10. Phone mum every day.

11. Don’t die yet.

12. Laugh with someone more often.

 

Well what a list…….

I have made a start on number 1. Plenty to do.

Completed and continuing number 2-5.

Number 6 – occasionally – need to do that more.

Number 7 – Alarm set to 7.10a.m. by hubby but I don’t get up then, listen to the radio, read, get up slowly.

Number 8-11 completed and continuing.

Number 12 – still to do.

I don’t think I’ll add anymore goals that’s certainly sufficient for the moment!

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September -October-November

Autumn into Winter

September was just doing my normal routines, duties, daily drawing, grand – parenting and visiting Mum in Preston. The big event was the front room parquet floor being restored. After being covered since the fifties it was an amazing transformation. It is fantastic. I love it. It is now my favourite room.

October continued, but at the end of the month I collected mum from Preston and we all went to Saundersfoot for a week in a gorgeous house overlooking the beach with a hot tub. It was great to have 4 generations of my family together. Helen is expecting their third child in February so we’ve lots to look forward to. It was a wonderful week. I started my third year of daily drawing this week.

November was my birthday month so I invited my sons and their families to my house to celebrate. It was perfect. Two of my paintings were accepted for the Winterwall exhibition in the Cardiff MADE gallery. I was so chuffed. Quite a special day. They are white treescapes on tissue paper. The trees are tiny silhouettes on top of the mountain opposite my house – my daily view.

My annul visit to the O2 to see the ATP Tennis finals happened in a different way – I stayed with L. (university friend) and together we managed to see the Tate Britain’s Rachel Whiteread’s exhibition and the tennis, some long conversations and then I visited my brother and his daughter and met my new grand niece Erin for the first time as  well as my other two grand nice and nephew. A frustrating visit but the kids were superb.

December 2016 Starting my 63rd year here

Started a new painting on December 1st, large white base for a line landscape. I fancy working with different “whites” to create depth and a line of trees on the horizon in paint or pencil – not sure yet how it will develop.

As Christmas grew near I managed to catch a vicious virus that I took with me when I collected my 89 year old mum to bring her to my house for a week over Christmas. We were both very ill and I was very anxious about her. We muddled through although suffering and not eating or feeling very sociable. I continued to Edinburgh for New Year and slowly began to improve. I had a lovely time with my brother and his partner – walking on the beach in Portobello, having a Turkish bath and a swim in Portobello, watching the fireworks over Edinburgh, walking on Arthur’s Seat on New Year’s Day, drinking fresh ginger tea in Espy’s. My drawing returned after many days when I just could not pick up a pencil. I was worried that I would just not return to drawing. Drawing again really helps the way I feel as I recover and find my appetite again. Now I can also return to my white painting in January.

November’s challenges

After a week in Tenby I thought this month would be such good fun including my 62nd birthday, but instead it proved to be a difficult time with more difficult questions than answers and emotions at high alert. C’s launch event was emotional, felt vulnerable and the past came flooding back, colouring my emotions and reactions, not unreasonably but dramatically. I still haven’t decided how to proceed but things are slightly more open, though still a way to go. Honesty is more and more important to me. I’m bored and despondent feeling so humiliated by the actions of others. At my age I should be happy and contented. Or is that a myth……

Went to London to see the semi finals of the ATP tennis and saw Andy Murray narrowly beat Romanic then Djocovic demolish Nishikori. Caught the river bus to the 02 which is great fun. A great event but an argument with the security people soured it a bit. Also didn’t get to see my friend at the V & A as she is so ill after chemo but did have a wicked time in the Prints and Drawing Study room. They provided me with 6 boxes of botanical prints from 16th – 19th centuries. It was like Christmas!!!! I was in my element and just sat drawing poppies and irises and dandelions – only got through 3 boxes. I’m going back there!!!! Didn’t get to see my brother Lester and his family – that’s a story in itself but not now – very angry and fed up. So you see rather a lot of emotional turmoil this month.

My 62nd birthday arrived and my birthday lunch in an expensive restaurant was not good because of the mediocre weird food. Disappointing. But company was good. Happy times have been experienced when I’m drawing in the mornings or swimming or working as a Samaritan and playing with my grandchildren, helping people. Also planning my summer holiday in Rome and Venice – can’t wait.

My thoughts about my life return in this birthday month as usual. Memories can be positive and affirming or destructive because of the hurt within them. I had a conversation with someone about forgiveness, trust and being able to move on to put the hurt behind me. They talked some real sense but it’s not a logical progression, it feels like a wavering image I just can’t get it to stay still and get my mind to come to a conclusion or a way forward. I suppose the future is always unknown and you have to take a chance and take action to make things change or accept things as they are now.

October 2016 Tenby and Glasbury Art Exhibition

 

One highlight this month were getting my egg sculptures sorted for the art exhibition in Glasbury. I felt rather special having a special plinth to display them, where people could walk around them, peer into the glass domes to see the drawings, getting multiple viewing points. Apart from the white tablecloth not being ironed it was perfect. Didn’t make any sales but I was truly chuffed and honoured to display my work there. It was a superb exhibition with a hint of controversy about the local life drawing class’s work displayed! An anonymous woman approached the organiser and complained that there was pornography on show – she hadn’t seen the work but had heard at the church coffee morning all about it…… (Enough said then). Is it really 2016? Soooooo daft. It made it to the B & R paper that week. Notoriety at last.

Secondly our annual visit to Tenby appeared at the end of the month, staying in a lovely huge house from the 16th century, walking on the beach, cooking together, the grandkids splintering the quietness of the thick walls  for a few days, playing cards, drawing, meeting old friends and sampling the new brewery ales. Such a delight. From mum at 89 to George at 20 months I like this little ritual. Good job I can afford to do it each year.

Helping others sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. I like doing it. Samaritans is one way but also in my old school too. Art workshops have been fun this month – drawing with food, Chinese ink painting. My own drawing comes up to the 365 day mark so I have been completing a daily drawing for a year…..I genuinely didn’t think that would happen. Roll on Year 2 of drawing. How can I celebrate this?

Bought a new Canon SLR camera off the internet with 2 lenses and 2 screens for indoor shooting. It feels good to get off my phone and shoot some proper photographs. I’ve missed that.

C is working towards the launch of his new book. Not happy about that….Need to work out what’s going on and how to stop it. Deeply hurt.