Saturday, August 13, 2011


Today, we brought this girl home from a shelter. They named her Molly and we think it suits her nicely. We think that's what we'll call her too.

We don't know much about her story before she met us, but we plan to write a much better one for her from this point forward. We had only sort of been thinking about a dog for Emma (though, really, if it's a dog, it's for the whole family, right?) when we met her and it was just, well, fate.

We spent some time sky-gazing too, by the light of this amazing full moon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


For whatever reason, I came away from our retreat with more pictures of trees than anything else (except for sunsets)! Here are some of my favorites:

I love the twisty shapes all over this tree. There seemed to be lots of ways you could climb into it and hide.

This tree was so pretty - its feathery leaves such a bright green and its branches criss-crossing in such a pleasing way!

During one of our beach visits, my friend took us to see this cluster of long-dead, bleached tree trunks. I was so taken in by their shapes - roots that reached out for a drink some time ago and were left hanging in mid-air as the sand eroded away...

One of the trees is completely up-ended and its roots have been decorated with shells by beach-goers. It reminded me of a shoe tree, only it was so much prettier.

Be sure to click on this one so you can see it bigger. The shells are so much cooler when you see them up close!

Artists' Retreat 2011: Day 3

By the start of our last full day in South Florida, we were all pretty relaxed. We got to the beach later than we'd planned, but just at the right time anyhow. Clouds were rolling across the water, but we didn't mind.

There were conchs everywhere. Broken shells, yes - but real, live ones too, just off shore. Oh - and sand dollars too! Did you know they aren't really white at all? They were all so beautiful, but of course, we let them stay in their homes. Some treasures are not meant to be taken as trophies.

The sky cleared up a bit and we thought this parasailer looked really great in the blue sky.

We left for shelter in the peak hours of heat and sun, because nobody really wants to paint and write while they're all sweaty, do they? Of course not.
We returned to the shore for one last sunset. The surf had turned very rough, but the view was stunning. Emma covered herself up, feeling a little pitiful about her sunburn.

The clouds were gorgeous,

and the sunset was too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Artists' Retreat 2011: Day 2

After the excitement of our first day, we settled into a nice, deep bliss. We slept quite a bit and spent more hours than we'd planned to at the beach. There were paints, but we hardly used them. There were cameras, but only a handful of photos were taken. The beaches were so empty - I guess it must have been because of Tropical Storm Emily in the vicinity. Whatever the reason, it was wonderfully peaceful. We all got more sun than we'd planned and Emma got way too much sun.
Here are some of the things we saw:

We ended the day at Lovers Key State Park. It really was one of the most beautiful beaches I've been to, and I'd highly recommend it. The only problem is that we were rounded up and ushered out of the park as soon as the sun sank below the horizon. I usually like to linger a while - that's when the sky's colors really become amazing! But, even with the security guard following us up the boardwalk (we were the last ones out of the park and the chatter over his radio was definitely about our "one last car" in the parking lot), I stopped to take one last picture.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Artists' Retreat 2011: Day 1

This past weekend, Emma and I embarked on our annual artists' retreat. In short, it's really a sabbatical - a chance to rest and refresh our minds, which usually leads to some nicely creative thinking! We really had such a lovely time, experiencing new places & trying new things.
On Friday, we wandered around Naples on foot and took in the European atmosphere. Balconies and lovely flowers everywhere! So nice.

We stopped in a local coffee shop for a drink (it was so incredibly hot that day!) and visited a fun vintage store. We had seen its proprietress, uh, sloshing down the street a bit earlier. She was a hoot. Loooots of black eye makeup, really big hair and slurred speech that matched her gait, if-you-know-what-I-mean. But her store was darling.
We kept meandering down the sidewalk because it led to the beach and we just had to see the beach as soon as we could. Everything feels better once you know for sure that the beach is there.

Friday night, we went to Ft. Myers' Art Walk festivities. It's a little bit like our First Friday here in Lakeland. There were galleries and a bead shop, live music and hipsters everywhere. I was asked about my tattoos more than once and got to talk to a sweet older gent about lenses and such, once he saw my camera.
We walked up to see this great building, lit up so colorfully,

and stumbled on this great art project! There was a live model in striped tights, posed in front of tables filled with paper and pencils. Emma had been shy about participating in activities that night, but when I asked her if she wanted to sit down and sketch the girl, she immediately accepted the offer!

I think she did a great job, don't you?

Once we had thoroughly explored the area, we stood by the river for a bit. That's what rivers always seem to want - some quiet company - and we were all too happy to oblige.