Blog Archive


Final Painting of the Summer

October 02, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Over the summer I managed to complete twelve paintings, some I’ve yet to share with you. Two of my more successful paintings were inspired by photographs posted by fellow bloggers, and I appreciate being given permission to use them as inspiration for my paintings. The photograph that inspired my last painting was taken by Tabor at One Day at a Time.             Over the weekend I added finishing touches to Chess Game. I completed it just in time; this weekend it began raining and the temperature dropped nearly twenty degrees. My days of painting in the warm garage are over, at least for now. I can handle the cold but the light is now too poor for me to paint effectively. Mrs. C ...

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Happy Retirement

October 04, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
          Mrs. Chatterbox has worked nonstop since graduating from college, and yesterday she retired after working twenty-one years for the City of Beaverton. She inherited a volunteer program that was spotty at best, and she grew it into an organization of over a hundred volunteers. Hers was the only department that actually saved our City money. You can see on the giant check in this photograph—presented to our chief of police—the amount she saved taxpayers by having volunteers perform jobs police officers would otherwise be required to do, freeing them for more important tasks.         I’m extremely proud of all she’s accomplished during the course of her c ...

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The Neon Museum

October 16, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      When I was growing up, I was a member of a large and boisterous ethnic family. Mrs. Chatterbox says she felt like the groom’s parents meeting the bride’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I was the baby of the family, and over the years just about everyone has passed away. When my mother breathed her last on Christmas Eve of last year, we were reduced to a family of three, but now we have a daughter-in-law and we couldn’t be happier.   Our flight to Las Vegas was pleasantly uneventful and after arriving we were picked up by the wedding party who were on their way to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, nicknamed the Neon Boneyard—a burial ground of old neon signs retrieved from demolished ho ...

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Partying with Nurses

October 18, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Our son’s wedding was perfect; the weather was wonderful and the setting magical. The bride couldn’t have looked more beautiful, and the groom didn’t look too shabby, either. Mrs. Chatterbox lost it when CJ gently stroked his bride’s hands to keep her calm during the ceremony. But when all was said and done I was left with a question I needed answered.   Have any of you ever partied with nurses? Before our son’s wedding, I hadn’t either. It hardly needs to be said that my partying days are long behind me, not that there was ever much to brag about. I’ve always hated beer and that’s what most college guys drank back during my salad days. In fact, I was deemed an “early cras ...

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Einstein Dreamt Here, and That's Not All...

October 20, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
After CJ and Andrea’s wedding, Mrs. Chatterbox and I rented a car and began our quest to find a mysterious plot of land my parents purchased near Palmdale, California. My parents paid taxes on this land for over fifty years and I figured this would be the best opportunity for a family member to actually see this property.   Alas, we failed. We drove around for hours and were unimpressed with the area. After fifty years, little has appeared to change in the area. The lake, giving the small community of Lake Los Angeles its name, never materialized. Odd to name a place after a lake that doesn’t exist! There weren’t signs marking the area, and a mile or two after paved roads ended I began worrying our rental car would ...

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Lemons into Lemonade

October 23, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
On our last day in Palm Springs we decided to try the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. I’d heard that it rotated and provided a great unspoiled view of the valley. It ascends to 5,783 feet and brings you to the cool air in the San Jacinto Mountains. It was ninety degrees at the base and forty degrees cooler at the top, but we’d been warned and brought jackets. As I mentioned, the trams rotates, but only the floor so it can be rather disorienting. Mrs. Chatterbox felt a bit unsteady by the time we arrived at the top of the mountain, but on the way down I suggested she stand in the middle of the tram because it rotated less. She was fine when we reached the bottom.              View ...

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Would This Letter Deter You?

October 25, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      Now that Mrs. Chatterbox is retired, she’s going through her parents’ boxes and sorting through items we didn’t deal with when her parents passed. A letter prompted a rare dust-up between us. We knew her dad had been adopted around the age of two and we also knew he had a younger half brother, but we didn’t know he’d tried to make contact with his sibling.       If you can’t read the letter from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, dated 1945, it reads as follows:   Dear Mr. Petty,   We have received a letter from the foster mother of your brother. She says she has given the matter of your meeting due consideration and that she is not will ...

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Up Close

October 27, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
An old adage tells us that seeing is believing, and the next best thing to seeing with your own eyes was a photograph. Cameras came to define an ultimate realism. Of course this was before computers could digitally alter photographs. When I was an art instructor, students would ask me how to paint realistically. I’d ask them to explain what they meant by “realistically.” They’d say, “You know, like a photograph.”   This bothered me enough to reply, “Why would you take days to paint something that looked like it could have been captured in a nanosecond with the click of a camera? If the final result of your effort looks like a photograph, then you’ve failed.”   Having said t ...

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Do You Believe in Magic?

October 30, 2017 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Magic; an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source. —Merriam-Webster—   Halloween is upon us, and with it comes costumes and a celebration of things that go bump in the night. From an early age I was attracted to mysteries and the unexplainable. My first experience with magic came during a school field trip to a San Francisco museum where I saw my first Rembrandt. I knew about oil painting because my neighbor had taken painting lessons and managed to churn out uninspired pictures of apples and eggplants. Seeing a painting of a human being that looked capable of thinking and breathing seemed like magic. Later I’d learn many of the techniques that create what I once considered magic. Toda ...

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