Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Good Day

It's not the best phone camera photo, but it was a good day. Tilly fell asleep at the foot of the easel while I painted a still life. So sweet.

These are camellias from our garden. They bloom about this time every year. The painting is a 9" x 12" oil on linen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Forever More

God bless the previous owners of this magnificent creature for eventually having the common decency to turn her in to a shelter. And thank God Almighty that we were at the right place at the right time so that we could adopt her.

The week long teeny tiny drama surrounding us naming and un-naming her is over, thank you very much. Many of you very kindly passed along wonderful name suggestions while we wallowed in indecisiveness. Forever more, her name is Tilly. It suits her AND we don't personally know anyone (or anything else) named Tilly.

Tilly has continued to wow us with how sweet, gentle, intelligent, well-adjusted, and wonderful she is. She's an incredible dog. Every new situation to which she has been introduced, save one, she has had exemplary manners. Except for her excessive malnourishment, the vet has given her a clean bill of health. She has even gained a few pounds, good girl.

There's nothing like a new addition to "the pack" to bring family and friends together. Everyone wants to meet Tilly! Much to our delight, Saturday turned into a day long impromptu party. It felt like Christmas almost....without all of the cooking. Our oldest daughter Erin and her parti poodle Raleigh even drove in from Austin just to meet her. Reese's sister Sarah and her family came over, Erin's best friend Kristi and her dog Jolene were here, and some of our wonderful neighbors rounded out the celebrating.

Before Erin left for Austin again, we tried to get the pets to pose for a photo. It didn't quite turn out like we envisioned. It was cute to see the three poodles together, Skipper the toy, Raleigh the miniature, and Tilly the standard. It's now glaringly obvious why Skipper is called a toy poodle. He looks like a wind up toy compared to Tilly.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Buttercup, Pippin, Maisy....????

Because we rescued our dog from the Humane Society, one of the provisions was that she be spayed before we brought her home. That means that we can't bathe her for another week. To say that she smelled bad is an understatement. She stank. So our daughter Joy agreed to come over and shave our little lamb. When Joy was finished, there was a pound and a half of dog hair not on the dog anymore, and she smells MUCH better. Thank you so much, Joy!

Skipper is tolerating the new pet. Here they are both sleeping at my feet while I type at the computer. So cute.

In this photo, I wanted to show the difference in their size. It's funny to notice that Skipper and I are wearing matching sweaters. Our hair is dishevelled, white, and frizzy, too. Must have something to with people and their pets looking alike. Even though our new girl is skinny, she still has a regal presence about her. She's a quick learner and is making great strides in her training.

There's a possibility that the new dog's name might not be Molly, as previously stated, which is why she remains unnamed in this entry. There's precedent for our indecisiveness. It took the Amazing Reese and me three days to name our oldest daughter Erin. We had a boy name picked out but for the life of us, couldn't agree on a girl name. Why is it that girls are never named Beauregard?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meet Molly

Meet Molly, our new pet, a standard poodle. We found her last weekend at the Houston Humane Society. She's a little over one year old and is a mess of matted hair and bones -- not much meat on her. It breaks all of our hearts to feel her bony skeleton underneath all of that fluffy matted hair.

Our 13 year old toy poodle Skipper mostly ignores her. To be fair, he is a little anxious around Molly, but that's his nature anyway. We expected nothing more from him. Rest assured, he's getting plenty of attention. All in all, we're enjoying the relatively easy transition of adding a new family member to the Hazel house.

In every way, Molly seems to be Skipper's opposite. There's the obvious -- she's black and he's white. She's huge and Skipper's tiny. She's hairy and he's bald. She's young. He's old. But also, she's relaxed and Skipper is perky and nervous. She's peacefully quiet and Skipper demands to be heard and seen. She stands patiently to be brushed and Skipper endures being brushed, snapping generously if we displease him. She gobbles her food and drink while Skipper plays with his food, throwing it around and picking at his food one piece at a time. Molly is sweetly submissive. Skipper is the classic alpha dog, very dominant. She can go up and down stairs with ease. Poor Skipper can't.

We're all glad she's home.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Studies in Yellow

The reason I paint so many still lifes is because I never have to check the fruits' schedules to see if they are available for me to paint. As long as the Hazel household can avoid eating the set up, I can paint. The ridiculously cold weather last week made painting indoors preferable, so I set up my willing models and began.

The new excessively happy yellow dining room was the backdrop for the latest still life, Studies in Yellow. The lemons came from a neighbor's yard, and the grapefruit and tangerines came from the farmer's market. The yellow bowl came from the Blue Bird Circle Shop as did the dresser on which it sits. The painting is a 16" x 20" oil on linen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


On a tip from a long time friend, the Texas Bar-B-Q trail lured me to Rooster's in Baytown, Texas for lunch.

Just looking at this sign makes me happy.

At first taste, the sauce was too vinegary, but before I knew what was happening, I was (practically) spooning that sauce in my mouth like a soup. It grows on ya'.

What you can't see in the photo is how good those ribs taste. The rub is sweet and spicy -- a perfect crunch on the outside and juicy melt-in-your-mouth meat on the inside. The chicken? In a word -- yum.

Yes, it was worth the drive.

Where next on the Bar-B-Q Trail? Suggestions?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Lettuce Be Friends

Is there ever an instance where a leak is a good thing? A leak in the ozone, a leaky faucet, a security leak, a leaky boat, a leaky diaper (ew)....all not good. Also not good, there has been a leak in our living room ceiling for years. It had previously been repaired on a number of occasions, lasting anywhere from three months to three years. Every time it rained, we ran to get buckets to catch the leaks. As one might imagine, this leaking wrecked havoc with our living room walls.

Last summer, a friend and I bartered services. The practical thing we Hazels got out of the deal was a repaired living room leak. Fingers crossed, this latest fix appears to be holding -- (four months -- woohoo!) Earlier in the week I couldn't think of a single thing to do right or wrong. Might as well do something, right? So I set out to re-paint the living room.

From our living room, one can look through the excessively happy yellow dining room to the wood paneled den beyond, which is a natural yellow orange-y color. On a color wheel, the complementary and split complementary colors of orange and yellow run from blue to red-violet. As much as it seemed like the right thing to do, I just couldn't picture us living in a violet toned living room. And all of the blues were actually giving me the blues. So, instead of selecting complementary colors, I chose three colors side by side on the color wheel : the yellow orange-y of the den, the excessively happy yellow dining room, and now a yellow-green for the living room.

The new living room color by Pittsburgh Paints is called "lettuce alone." Why would anyone in their right mind name a paint color "lettuce alone?" So sad. Any day of my life, I would much rather be bothered than be let alone. Please don't lettuce alone! SO, I've been having fun re-naming the color.....lettuce DO something even if it's wrong, lettuce be friends, lettuce laugh, lettuce sing, lettuce believe, lettuce dance, lettuce go for a walk, lettuce pray....the possibilities are endless.

True story -- the short version. When the Amazing Reese and I met for the very first time, I said to him, "Lettuce be friends." We've been married now for 26 years two months and 18 days, but who's counting?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


She couldn't decide quite how to begin, so she just sat there, staring at the computer screen. Maybe another cup of coffee would get the creative juices flowing. Nope. Well, at least she felt perkier. Sarah Hazel was experiencing one of those oft described creative blocks, both as a writer and a painter.

Her grandmother used to say, "I'm gonna do somethin', even if it's wrong." But Sarah couldn't even think of something wrong to do. "How is it," she thought, "that some days are creatively magical, and today is a non-creative dud?"

If her husband were here, he would gently, with a twinkle in his eye remind her that she was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Isn't that the definition of insanity?) And yet, she really thought that if she sat in front of the computer screen long enough, something, anything would happen.

Nope. Nothing.