Thursday, March 31, 2016

Izzy Petrou

I have to show off another great-grand cat, which I have never met in person. She is the first cat in the Petrou family since the tragic demise of the late, great Mookie. He lived to be quite old, so the girls had never had a kitten when they were small, since Mookie came before them. He was a beautiful Maine Coon cat, about the size of  a VW Beetle, almost.
So, basically, Izzy was greeted with the joy only an adorable kitten can engender. I have pictures of her cute kitten antics, one of which was a kind of skittering crab walk, where she hopped sideways on all fours. It was a much admired talent. She was probably smothered by the Mookie-bereft family, which had been catless for several years. I remember visiting when he was old and the girls were young, and their asking if they could get a gerbil when he died. They weren't being heartless; they just wanted something little, I think. Anyway, Izzy filled the need very well.
Since the arrival of Francine, I hear that she has become a bit distant, obviously feeling betrayed by he former adoring humans, and spends a lot of time outside. She does not like Francine the usurper. I find this unusual. Sixto has adopted a cute fluffy gray neighbor cat, with which he frolics out in the yard. And Dupree and Herman, the constant tiger interloper slept side by side on the back of our couch, which was Dupree's spot, like Sheldon's. Maybe it's because Izzy and Francine aren't into sharing space or humans. As I mentioned before, girl cats are different.

Drawing Class

We finished Susan Shie's online drawing class last week. This was the second class I took this winter, and it was so enjoyable, mainly because of the quality of the students. They were talented, creative and witty.
These classes are not instructional; that is, Susan doesn't tell you how to draw, or critique your work. She does some videos demonstrating how she goes about her own work, as well as showing different media. We have specific assignments, specific as to topic, but allowing each student to develop her own interpretation of that topic. Aside from these assignments, there are various "Special Eventsr,"  which arise as things that may dominate the media. One can choose to participate or not in these events. My previous drawing of Emma was related to the death of Harper Lee.
We have a private Facebook page,  available only to the students in each class, where we make our own albums and add our drawings. You can see everyone's work and comment on it. Everyone is supportive and encouraging, so that creates an atmosphere in which you can experiment and have fun. Participants are from all over the country, and occasionally from Europe.
The above drawing was my response to the assignment called "Blues." I thought of the Blue Man Group, while most of the others did musicians. It all worked, of course.
I'm going to take a break, but will get back to the class later. They run for four weeks, and are offered frequently. It helps to keep me from my IPad addiction. Almost.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Francine Petrou

I have two great-grand cats who live in Germany. I have never met them, but there are photos emailed or on Facebook from time to time. One is pictured on this post. Her name is Francine. The other is named Izzy, and I'll write about her another time.
I did the painting above about three or four years ago. It is from a photo taken by Elena, one of my granddaughters, who is a very good photographer. I loved the colors in the photo, especially the twilight blue outside the window, the bright red chair, the dark red wine and the general yellow glow of the whole thing. It was very Gabrielle  Munter.
Like most cats in our family, Francine is loved and spoiled. We are cat crazies, all of us. We like dogs, too, but appreciate the feline ability to take care of themselves better than canines do. Ours have always been people oriented and not  aloof, although females do seem to have that attitude more than males. (As I type this, there's a sleeping cat curled up on my lap.)
Francine is a tortoise shell cat, prefers the indoors to outside, is a little plump, and loves to do cute
poses on the stairs, which requires caution on the part of the humans who live with her. She and Izzy do not get along. These things I only know from hearsay.
The picture below is another, quite recent photo by Ellie, who was trying to read at the time. I was struck by the similarity of her face to the look in the earlier photo. She gives one a straightforward look, confident, and in charge of the moment, a sense of entitlement.
Cats! What good are they?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Maple Syrup Time

This past Sunday was the last pancake breakfast day this year. Because Lent was so early this year, there were only three Sunday's available before Easter. The fish fry Frudays had the same problem. We only got to one of each this year. Both are down home, community doings  in very small local villages, with people coming from far and wide to experience that Norman Rockwell ambience. (I've written previous posts about both in the past, including one fish fry during which I managed to break my left hip.i proceed cautiously at such events these days.)
The Shalersville pancake breakfast is presided over by Mrs.  Goodall, a slow art 90 something retired teacher, newspaper columnist and doyenne of Goodell Maple Orchard and farm. She is quite tall and motions people to their seats. Young students attend the tables, filling coffe cupe, offering refills on pancakes and sausage. Everything runs like clockwork, but there is never a feeling of being rushed.
It is a thoroughly satisfying experience.
The fish fry is held in a little town called St. Joseph, founded in the late 19th century by German Catholics. There's a scattering of houses and farms surrounding an umpressuvely large church and school. The dinners are held in the huge gym, which is filled with crowds of fish lovers, served by  dozens of elementary school students. Again, it is extremely efficient, and the food is excellent  - cod, shrimp, Mac and cheese, green beans, potatoes baked or fried, slaw and homemade desserts. No seconds, but you don't need anything else.
Well, both these events are over for the year, but we still have a couple of church spaghetti dinners left. One must eat, after all.