Category Archives: Family

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Spring Into Summer

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Spring is over but many of the trees are in full bloom. This one is amazing. The gal that does my hair has them lining the front of her house. The blooms are as big as my hand.  She said … Continue reading

Pushing A Little Harder

So here we are, another month zooming by and we’re halfway through the year already with Midsummer’s Day upon us this weekend. And what a strange year so far it’s been but at least we are slowly returning to normality, or should I say most of the world is. For Dave and me, life has gone on pretty much the same as normal and we’ve enjoyed ourselves. Both in the garden enjoying the glorious weather the UK has experienced the last few months, and indoors, with the TV turned off most times as we’ve listened to music, played computer games, chatted, shopped a lot online, and generally doing not a lot. The planned editing and rewriting work necessary on my latest novel has come to a standstill. Not for any particular reason but I think most of us have during these peculiar times, lost the impetus and mojo. Mine’s slowly returning. Slowly being the operative word.

Instead, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting and pushing myself out of my comfort zone with my art. For my birthday back in April, Dave treated me to some watercolour pencils. I don’t do watercolours, so this was a big step away from the normal. I’m still practising with them and as yet do not have anything I’m willing to show anyone but one day…

Spring brought forth such beautiful flowers this year and as you know, I love flowers, so I thought I’d paint something different from the usual bluebell scenes, painting lilacs instead after having picked a few sprigs whilst out walking and seeing many photos in magazines and online.

For this work, I painted a different way, one I’d only tried once before, that is painting in most part with cottonbuds instead of a brush. It’s a simple technique – use 1 or more cottonbuds secured together with an elastic band and dab on the canvas. I think it worked well and will certainly be using them again. Apparently, it’s a great fun way for children to paint too.

With my next painting, I pushed myself even further. I am not good at painting or drawing people but often felt my landscapes would benefit from the inclusion of figures. But oh dear! This has often led to the ruination of good work. Then last week, I saw a few photos of the new little lady in our family – little George’s (who’s not so little now) new sister enjoying a day out with her mother at one of the UK’s lovely horticultural gardens.

One photo in particular caught my eye, and because you couldn’t see Daisy’s face, I thought it a good starting point. Also, as she wasn’t fully in the frame, I had to work at drawing the missing part of her figure. I’ve included the original photograph as well as the result of my efforts and hope I have captured her as best I could for the moment.

It worked out well, although the freehand drawing of her I did as practice before committing to canvas was actually better than the one put down using the grid method. Perhaps I’m not so bad as I think! Regardless, I still need to practice my people painting skills, perhaps one day even venturing as far as doing a portrait. Watch this space… but don’t hold your breath.

See you next month, when I hope to bring you an update with news on how little George is progressing. Meanwhile, stay safe, stay happy and enjoy life.

Kit Domino’s Website and Blog

Bluebell love and holes in the lawn…

I hope everyone is doing well. I’ve lost count of how long we’ve been in lockdown here in the UK and we’re kind of getting used to it. I certainly can’t complain because I’m locked in with my hubby and BFF (one and the same!) and our baby girl (four-pawed). We have plenty to eat, we’re warm and dry with a roof over our heads, and the weather up to now has been absolutely great. I know for some people it’s been and continues to be awful and my heart goes out to them. As Lavada referenced in her post last week: the storm is the same for all of us but the boat and the journey are vastly different.

IMG_20190418_192338_596During April, we usually take a long walk through the bluebell woods. Since, at the moment, we’re only allowed to have a daily walk in our own locale, getting in the car with Vivvy and heading to the woods is off the table. Last year the bluebells were amazing and from what I remember the weather was pretty good too.

But the bluebells in my garden have put up a lovely display this year. I’d completely forgotten that at the end of last season, I dug out some of the plants from where they were starting to overwhelm the small bed, and put them in a pot ready to plant up when I had sorted another space for them. 20200426_143002After putting the pot in a utility corner of the garden I completely forgot about it and look at what happened! Without additional soil or any kind of tending, they turned into the display at the forefront of the photo! Don’t you just love the resilience of nature?

If you look close, you will see the green upturned sieve with a plant pot on top behind the bluebells. That, my friends, is courtesy of a certain little lady who adores digging holes in the lawn. I covered the space over with earth and scattered some grass seeds but, despite a very stern warning, said little lady wanted the particular spot of the lawn returned to its former state, hence the need for the makeshift covering. Wonder how long that will stay in place? 🙂

Bets, anyone?

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Life in the Slow Lane

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Well, that was a slow month! And not because of lockdown either. Strange times, but the restrictions in place haven’t impacted on us as much as it might on others. For Dave and me this is our usual way of … Continue reading

April Stress…Aren’t We All Stressed?

Jillian here. Happy?!? April. I’m sure we’re all worried about our loved ones and trying to keep ourselves safe and healthy. I know a lot of people are tired of being on lock down, but sadly, that isn’t me. I wish I could be home, but my profession is considered essential. If anything, my life is more hectic now than it was before- and add in the worries about elderly parents and friends- I’ve found myself in panic mode more than once. I have to  make an effort to breathe slow and settle down. I have a bad worry habit and it’s hard to let go and let God. I hate being a control freak, but I am and when things are out of my ability to control, I fret and sometimes say things I shouldn’t. Perhaps we all do that.

I feel tired all the way to my bones.  Not sick, but just weary.

We lost my dad’s younger brother (76) in mid-March- he had COPD and was cleaning his house with bleach and was found unresponsive in his bathroom and passed away four hours later. He will be very missed. My family is super close and we have a hole now where he was. My dad and he talked all the time and it’s been hard on Dad.

A dear friend lost her mother (78) – who I adored- she was a sweet, sweet lady full of love and laughter- she also had COPD. Neither have been counted as Co-vid deaths, but it’s odd that they both had respiratory issues and passed away in March- no autopsies for either. No funerals. My cousins got to see their dad but my friend didn’t get to see her mom. It’s incredibly sad.

Three out of the four people who work at my office live at my house so we’re def. isolating and staying away from others. We aren’t seeing any live appointments and documents are being left outside for us to bring in. The new normal?  Hopefully, not forever.

Now that I’ve depressed everyone, Here’s a picture of my sweet grandson, Benjamin, to make you smile. He is my heart.

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A Time for…Projects!

Okay, these are strange times, aren’t they? I hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

Here in the UK, the weather this week has been a great help – sunny, sometimes warm, and it feels very springlike. So we’ve been making the most of it with coffee-breaks in the garden, followed by a bit of weeding and pottering, and even sitting and catching up with some reading.

20200324_120656Of course, Vivvy loves having us around all the time, and she’s enjoying walks with both of us rather than just mostly AJ. Like her mum, she’s a summer baby and is never happier than lounging in the sun. She loves the water, too, and can find a stream or muddy puddle at a thousand paces. Strangely, she won’t go near the little paddling pool we bought for her and eyes it like it’s going to pounce and attack her. It’s so funny watching her circumnavigate the offending pool with a beady eye and at a very safe distance.

IMG-20200324-WA0000I thought this cartoon was so appropriate for these times, especially since AJ is incredibly gregarious and when he says he’s taking Vivvy for a walk and will only be an hour or so, I know to basically double it because he’ll find someone to talk to along the way.

Like most people, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’d like to accomplish during quarantine and here’s a list of some of the projects I have in mind:

  1. Redesign and re-plant one area of the garden
  2. Clear out wardrobes and cupboards
  3. Declutter the garage
  4. Take an online writing course I’ve been wanting to do for ages
  5. Finish writing a new romance series that has been on the backburner for way too long

I’m sure they’ll be a few more things to add, but that’s basically what I’d like to accomplish.

So, over to you. What are you planning to do during this period? What projects are you going to undertake/finish?

Maybe, when this is over, we can all share how much we’ve achieved 🙂

Stay safe everyone. Sending huge cyber hugs…

Gallery

Late, Tired, Frustrated and Needing a Nap

Jillian here – late yet again. It’s becoming a habit for me, it seems. I’ve had a great couple of months but it’s wearing me out. I made the trip to Birmingham, Alabama which is about 4 hours from me. … Continue reading

February Fun and a Bit of Sadness

Jillian here.  I was going to get this post done on the 6th and set it to go off on the 9th like I am supposed to but since I wanted to write about what I had going on the weekend of the 7-9, I figured I’d wait until I got home and share what happened. When I got home, I posted a picture on FaceBook and then was hurt and sad and lost all motivation to post about what had been a wonderful weekend.  Back to that in a second.

Friday night, I was happy to serve as a judge for the Regional session of the National Moot Court competition. It’s hosted by my law school and since I’d already committed to a book signing on Saturday with some friends in Alabama, it made sense to volunteer to do this as well as I’d be in the area (about a 3.5 hour drive from home).

It was a great competition and seeing these law students be so passionate and competent about the fact scenario they were assigned was wonderful. The law schools are doing an excellent job teaching advocacy. When I was in law school (In the dark ages) we didn’t do moot court until our last semester. Some of these students were second year and very well-versed in how to try a case. Makes me proud of the changes in legal education.

The next day was the book signing. It was the last event I’ll be part of in RWA. My membership expires in March and I won’t be renewing. I’d have resigned but I had this event with ladies I love and treasure so I stayed for it. I hate to leave the Birmingham, Ala chapter but I can’t countenance what is going on in the national organization.

I sold some books, met some new readers, someone who used to work for me here in Pensacola who moved up there, and also some old friends. My sister-in-law and her daughter live up that way and they came to see me as well. It was lovely for them to be there and supportive and buy a copy of each book I had.

Here comes the sad part:

One of the other authors took a photo of my sis-in-law, my niece and me.  I usually don’t allow pictures of myself as I am embarrassed about my weight. I never had an issue until my second child was born and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to lose. It’s even worse since I had my hysterectomy. I beat myself up every day about it. I am hungry a lot of the time- I don’t snack- I eat my three meals – even my son says he can’t figure out the issue since I don’t eat a lot.

Against my better judgment, I posted that picture on FaceBook. A woman I’ve known since I was a little kid commented with a rose emoji at first.  Then she must’ve thought about it a minute and came back with “You’re still pretty even though you’re fluffy.”

I can’t even imagine saying that to someone. Believe me, I know I’m fat. I see myself in the mirror every day- I am always beating myself up about it. I sure don’t need her pointing it out. I was so hurt, I couldn’t even think the rest of the day. I cried off and on- silently – and even almost didn’t eat dinner- which was just grilled pork and a cob of corn. I am still sad today. I’m embarrassed enough without someone calling me out on it. I want to hide. All the time.

I’ve always been a happy person with a love of laughter. I hate that she stole my joy. I can’t get her words out of my head.  All I keep hearing is, “You’re fat but still pretty.”

Guess what? I don’t feel very pretty.

 

It’s That Time of Year Again.

Another year, another family cabin. This one, our 17th, was just as much fun as any of them, even if we were shy 4 of our family members. We still had 17. Yikes. When did my family get so big? From an aging perspective, it’s wonderful to see everyone thriving and the family growth. Sometimes, it’s a little daunting, too. We started all that? 🙂

One of the fun things I do to prepare for our 3 night adventure in the snow is to add pictures to the digital frame. I raid everyone’s FB pages and my own pictures and there are now over 1500 pics on the frame. Baby pics to current. We always set it on the kitchen counter at the cabin and it becomes the focal point of the weekend. People stand around chatting and oohing and oh-no’ing as their lives are encapsulated within the frame. We love it.

Anyhow, thought you’d like to see a few pics…

Wildlife… (deer and wild turkeys)

We do a jigsaw puzzle, bake cookies, play games…

The kids LOVE the half-court gym where we stay…

And the snow…

We have Christmas (finally)…

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And we paint wood and rocks. This, by the way, has become one of the highlights of our weekend. (And I hope to do a March blog inspired by this.)

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And through all this, we talk. Catch up. Reconfirm how strong this family is and how much we love each other. It’s…awe-inspiring to be part of it all. I am so lucky to have the family we have.

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I hope each and every one of you have special memories to bring a smile to your face.

And an early Happy Valentine’s Day!

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
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For once, I’m lost for words…

It’s not very often that I’m at a loss for words, but I have to admit that I’m struggling with what to write for my January blog post.

January has been a challenging month in many ways with some niggly health problems which have kept myself and AJ pretty much home-bound. AJ, a great outdoorsman who absolutely loves taking himself and Viv out into the woods and fields every day for long walks, has been suffering from a painful condition called plantar fasciitis. He’s been walking with a stick and can only manage short walks. He’s been doing his exercises every day and thankfully he seems to be on the mend now, much to Viv’s delight (mum doesn’t walk nearly as far as dad does, LOL).

Plus, we’ve both had some chesty virus which had hung around for ages, and I’ve had a flare-up of a stomach problem that rears its ugly head this time of year for some reason. All-in-all, it’s not been a bundle of laughs around here 🙂

So, the only thing I can think of to post about is the great movies and TV series we’ve been watching (thanks, Netflix!) One of which has been the new Witcher series. Has anyone been watching? Of course, it has Henry Cavil to recommend it, and he’s always easy on the eye (even as Geralt), so I think that perhaps added to its appeal. I’ve also especially enjoyed The Last Witch Hunter (see a pattern here?) and The Crown and Virgin River. Plus, here in the UK, we have a show called Dancing on Ice which I’m enjoying and a couple of excellent crime drama series.

At first, it felt like all that enforced TV watching was a waste of time and I kept feeling guilty that I didn’t have any energy to write, but it has certainly filled my well, and I’m ready to get back to some serious writing now.  Fingers crossed.

How has your January been?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myself