Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Austin's New Skyline, Frost Bank, 360 Condo, and Seaholm Power Plant II

Here is the second of my paintings from my two hours of free time on Sunday. I noticed as I was leaving at 3:30 that the light was just getting dramatic enough to help me make heads and tales of the skyline.

My daughter has been sick on and off since October 7th and I've just gotten my fever and flu symptoms today. I can only pray this means we will have some sickness out the way this winter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Austin's New Skyline, Frost Bank, 360 Condo, and Seaholm

Painting makes my brain hurt.

I painted "en plein air" yesterday for the first time in a long time. It was like an out of shape person trying to jog and play chess at the same time.

Some folks I know focus a lot on the loss of old Austin, and while I am always a big fan of the classic, and will forever miss the original Las Manitas, I have a great respect for some of the new buildings that make up the new Austin sky line. They sometimes remind me of NYC. I mean this as a compliment.

In this painting I've got a piece of Frost Bank, the 360 condo (which reminds me of the Chrylser Building), and three stacks from the old Seaholm power plant (which is the bit of old Austin that reminds me most of Providence). Texas meets NYC meets RI...

I was sitting there on the side of the Lamar bridge painting, getting a sunburn in October, chasing away bees and red ants, using a brush that was just a little too big for my tiny canvas, wondering why I put myself through this suffering. There was no way anyone could pay me enough to make all this worth it.

Today, as I went back to my day job as a graphic designer, and completely romanticized my paint out, I hit me that I wasn't doing it for the money.

Friday, October 23, 2009

"4 Awful Awfuls"

October 7, 2009

Mom: "We went to Newport Creamery and had "Awful Awfuls." Dad had two and Pam and I each has one. Dad had chocolate and Pam and I had coffee, no Dad had 2 coffee and I had coffee and Pam had chocolate."

Dad from background: "They were buy one get one free."

Rhode Island has seriously tastey ice cream. I know this because Austin's selection does not compare. The Newport Creamery in Rhode is a sort of diner/restaurant/ice cream shop chain, where you can get ice cream all year round. They serve a seriously good shake, called an "Awful Awful" (awful thick, awful good). Rhode Islanders love that kind of humor, as a kid I thought it was genius. We mostly frequented the Newport Creamery in the mall, and it was like Santa came early, as they always gave you any extra shake that wouldn't fit in your glass.

The illustration has all 4 of my favorite flavors, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. It sounds like they have expanded their selection. I object.

Happy Birthday Mom, Surf n Turf Style

This post is from the night of my mom's birthday, she and my dad went out for a nice dinner at "Remington House" in Warwick, RI. It's totally cute, on the bay, in a historic inn.

There are very few restaurants they can go to alone, as many have separate bathrooms for men and women. I've thought that it would make sense for true handicapped accessibility that there be always be a bathroom option for folks with a handicap who require the assistance of their opposite sex partner.

Mom: "Tonight your father and I went out to dinner for my birthday, I didn't want to go, but then he talked me into it. We had a nice time. I got surf n turf and my steak was bigger than his! and he just got a steak."

Totally unrelated:

Mom: "I would put baby powder in my hair, after working till 7 o'clock Friday night at Aunt Lou's restaurant, to hide the smell of the restaurant, so I could get to the Hendricken mixers by 8."

Me: "Did someone teach you to do that?"

Mom: "No, I think I just made it up?"

Interesting, I remember trying this myself, as a kid for some reason.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Invite a Cat and Mouse to Tea

It's true, your cat and mouse do so long to be invited to tea.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Anniversary, 38 years, October 2, 2009

Tonight is my parent's 38th wedding anniversary. They went out for dinner, Italian food. My mom is feeling down and didn't have anything for the blog.

Her words to me last night were spoken quietly, accompanied by an insecure laugh, "What do you think I just sit around all day coming up with ideas?" I guess I had kind of thought she might. And I could tell she looked forward to feeling better and working with me again.

The following is one of my favorite love stories, from the day before my parent's 37th anniversary, October 1, 2008.

Last year, my mom almost died of pneumonia. Her stay in the hospital with late stage MS was incredibly stressful on her and my dad and the hospital staff.

What few people realize, myself included until this experience, is that when you are in the hospital, in order to receive the care needed, you must be able to communicate your needs with the staff. I knew based on a near death experience with my pop in the hospital, that having an advocate could be the difference between life and death. But I couldn't have imagined how ill equipped hospitals were to deal with patients with memory and independence complications.

While in the hospital, my mom was unable to lift her head. And due to over 40 years with MS she was in this situation with short term memory loss, and some dementia. So, she would forget little things like how to work the TV, and big things, like how to ring the nurse.

She would tell the dietician she had a test scheduled and that she wasn't supposed to get dinner. The dietician would take her on her word, my mom is quite convincing, and cancel her meal. But there wasn't a test.

We would stay with my mom at the hospital all day until we had to leave at 8 o'clock when visiting hours were over. After leaving, we would get calls from my mom panicking that she couldn't get a nurse. We would try to walk her through how to find the button, but often the button was moved. Sometimes someone would move even her phone and cut off the only thing she could remember, her home phone number. I had flewn in from Texas and nothing was as stressful as leaving her in the hospital for the nights alone.

When she couldn't stay in the hospital any longer, they discharged her to a nursing home. They took her there by ambulance and my dad met her there. My sister had researched the best nursing home, called ahead to get her therapy with a family friend in that nursing home. I was back in Texas.

Here is a piece of the call I got from my sister on October 1, 2008, one day before their 37th anniversary.

"YOUR father took her home! They called the police! He won't be able to take care of her. She hasn't been able to even lift her head for 3 weeks, she still has her cath in!"

I phone home.

"Hi, Dad."

"Well I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but I took your mom home. The nursing home was too hot, and she doesn't do well in the heat, and we waited for 2 hours and no one greeted us, and your mother didn't want to stay there. I wheeled her outside to get her some cool air. And I realized as I was standing there that she hadn't seen the new roof, that they put on while she was in the hospital, so I asked her,

'Want to go see the new roof?'