Thursday, April 25, 2013

Some "Sweet-est Favorites" before Flying Off to Telluride Reunion

This has gotta be one of my happiest memory journal pages. Following some trips or events I like to just sit down after the fact and nest into what was the very, very "favorite-est" parts of that time. It is with this page I did just that for my "Women's Journaling Alpine Retreat 2013". On our final retreat day we'd all assembled delightful, diverse lil' "Harvest Books". Kind of what we in brief, had "harvested" from each of the rare and rich spirits of the women at this retreat.

T'was one of the most riotous and creative times at the entire retreat and I wanted the nest my book securely in my journal. I adore my book, with it's tumble of word descriptions in the middle page and then, the individually designed page by each retreat participant, chattering joy, inventiveness and personality across the small, folded pages. It's such a treasure, so unique! I chose this copper, iridescent envelope which I cut off so as to display and make accessible my fold-out book. I loved the "serendipity" of the rusty, copper-ish fishing hook and Chef Izzy's simply elegant business
card residing so cohesively on the page too. Truly a statement of tender gems my life has been sprinkled with ... reminding me I am absolutely blessed.   :)

And not much less charged with happy energy, the opposite page starts chronicling my Telluride Reunion trip. For not much less than a year, I'd made my decision to make this travel down memory lane. And as it unfolded, not only did I get to reunite with many friends but, I was able to show at THE gallery of my dreams too. This page gives you a peek out the final plane flight that took me from Denver over miles of exquisite Rocky Mountain terrain into Montrose. It was just east of Gunnison that I began seeing the small clumps of yellow dotting the mountains below. Oh WOW - - it was my beloved Aspen trees in their golden autumn garb. I nearly cried. Some of you know how connected my heart is to these trees ... many times tears have come to my eyes just being under these lovelies. And it really grounds me to my Colorado roots.

When I reached Montrose my ole' friend (as in having been a friend for forty five years) picked me up with hugs and excited conversation. We shopped for groceries for my next week in a lil' B&B and settled in to meet her new husband. Their cozy home cuddles up against the eastern slopes of the long valley leading to Ridgeway and seeing ole' familiar territory where I'd so long ago lived stirred my heart. We barbecued dinner in their front yard barbecue (which you see here) then, moved inside as the evening cooled.

Boy, did I feel like I was home. I folded myself into the deep mattress and covers of Colorado nights, smiling at the anticipation of the coming days.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Visits to a Hospital and a Birthday

My residual retreat memories juggled with my annual birthday collage creates pages in contrast.

It was the final day at the retreat when one of my participants began feeling ill. We were blessed to have a retired nurse within our lil' family group and the three of us, the uncomfortable patient, our nurse and I became a trio that learned about the medical facilities in the San Andreas area. Not a bad thing to know since I frequent the beautiful, rugged country at least once a year, but, somehow, not what you'd request.

We were gifted with quick referrals to both the local nurse at the Bear Valley Emergency Response and then, a smooth drive down to the nearest hospital in San Andreas. Never fear, all turned out well, and our precious participant was declared safe, well, and out-of-the-woods, so to speak. This lil' sketch of what I vaguely remember of the small hospital (you'll have to understand that my focus was not on gathering images to update my journal while I was there) mainly reflects the darkness of the night and the glowing promise of safety in the yellow windows. My mind recalls much more when I see this sketch ... as with all my journal entries. A long night ... with a grateful ending  :)

The opposite page presents what has become a tradition with me: the collage from all the dear birthday cards I receive. I always had this pile of cards after my birthday ... wondering how I could throw 'em away while wanting to save the memories forever. So this has become my solution.

This year there seemed to be a floral theme, but two cards in particular had special meaning. One, of course what this wacky Tweetie bird!!! Not only did it give me a great suggestion for my b-day ("go shake your tail feathers!!") but the bottom of Tweetie is up on a lil' spring so that when I hit it - - it does shake!!

And then, the other special card with the tilting tea cups tells the tale of a revived friendship. This friend from nearly forty years ago seemed to disappear from my life. She'd not responded to any of my phone calls nor my birthday cards for over three years (we're both Virgos). It was this year that I'd given up on her and skipped mailing her a birthday card. So when I got that tea cup card from her - - it more than made me smile. It gave me back my dear friend :)  How coincidental was it that in just a matter of weeks I was flying off to a Reunion in the tiny mountain town where she lived. And I could reunite with my friend in person too! My heart was just singing for this birthday.
Life continues to be thoroughly fascinating ... don't you agree?!?!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Retreat's Thursday flows into Saturday

My Thursday at the Women's Retreat just echoed another day in paradise, with no relief in sight! After arising early (yes, only the quiet fishermen we up on the lake at the same time), awareness-awakening yoga, and another amazing breakfast, I introduce paperclay, one of my favorite mediums. Here you see one of the participants determinedly creating paperclay pizza! Yes, I did say pizza!! Endless ideas have to cease to allow a quiet Buddhist Meditation before it's lunch time.

Chef Izzy outdoes herself again (with Roasted Asparagus, Poached Egg, and Brioche and Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette) and happy round tummies we waddled down to the "Miwok Holes" area. There Jean instructs us in the dual assignment of imaging and writing our own Haikus. I love these stacked granite shore rocks with fasciniating rings demonstrating different water levels with a few yellow leaves clinging on to Autumn. So this become my subject for the Haiku. And you can see my resulting page too.

Thursday evening tumbles into Friday. We are served home made jams by Izzy and not only were the yummy but all us artists were in love with the glowing colors as the sun shown thru the jars! Of course, I had to paint them! Friday at the Retreat included making our precious individual books (stay tuned to upcoming blog entries to see mine). The formal instruction/schedule ends after our Alumni Lunch and participants sprinkle around doing their own bidding.

Saturday finds us all finding our own fun direction. I'm seeking some solitude and head off to the East end of the lake for a solitude filled sketch. Some of the others had gone on out on a mission to pick up any stray fishing line and/or fish hooks cluttering the beaches. So when they all returned with some actual "beautiful" rusty ole' hooks, I selected one that had to go in my journal. Here I've installed the hook in Mod Podge and sliced the business card of the quite delicious Mexican "El Vachero" Restaurant we ventured off to Arnold to try.

I'm really pleased with the diversity of this page and how it all melds together. It so is reminiscent of the quickly flying-by-time there at the end of the retreat. We all wanted to cling onto the close friendships and the exuberant laughter that we so often shared. But we all knew . . . our time together was trickling away.

I found my journal actually got kinda of shaken up and out of order. You see we had a medical emergency that had to be dealt with and it did scatter the usual organization of my mind. But I learned I could handle it and come out grateful for my health, the "miracle" participants present at the retreat and the eventual positive outcome nurtured by everyone's caring.

Life is a miracle . . . sometimes I just need reminders!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Retreat Wednesday's Wanderings

This glowing Wednesday morn was greeted with smiles and anticipation. Today we are quickening thru our yoga, munching thru breakfast (although you can see Darlene, who's made a personal commitment to quickly sketch each breakfast, working away!) and plumply packing  our fabulous "brown-bag" bundle for our hike over to Duck Lake.

It's a mild four mile round trip up over the ridge behind Lake Alpine, dropping into a wide yawning meadow. Along the path we doddle for photos or nature detailing (did I mention one of the participants was a Botanist?), finally reaching Duck Lake and her languid granite surroundings.

Before our sandwiches, we launch into one of the two processes planned for our afternoon. Here is my resulting "Word Whittle" page, which I later illustrate according to the word I had selected. Can you guess what my word was? We break for our mid-day meal sprinkled amongst the trees and rock chairs. Sighs follow our round bellies and it's a good time to just watch Jean's demo for our next exercise. Once we attempt to understand "seeing" the way she's described, we patter off individually, seeking perfect subject matter for our version of "shadow-seeing". My "shadow" page not only reflected trees I was seeing, but I also had a flood of my own shadow side crop up. So I wanted to reflect that with the pensive portrait I found of myself ... keeping it also in solemn shadow monochromatic rendering.

Once back to the Lake Alpine cabins, we slithered into relaxation. The most robust activity we could indulge in ~ was the reading of our previous word exercise and sip wine! Our evening meal, "Lemongrass infused Jasmine Rice, Summer Beans and Ginger Marinated Prawns" was savory. Leaving the remaining hours filled with invested conversation and even some journal work (which I recall became so hilarious that I had tears of joy pouring down my cheeks!).

Gosh . . . and we just have to get up and have all this fun again tomorrow!!