One of the things we liked about our house from the start is the outbuildings. It has a large shop for David and a small house for me.

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That’s my studio.  Inside is one large 20′ x 20′ room.

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This is from the door. I have everything I wanted in here.  A seating area, gallery wall, big work table, ample storage, color galore, glitter floor and music. 

David built my work table from sheets of sturdy plywood and 4 Ikea cubby shelves. It’s on casters, so it can be moved aside if needed. 

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I spend more time seated here than I expected. The chairs are comfy and swivel and rock. I got them for $10 each at Goodwill. The storage ottoman was also a Goodwill score ($4) as were the drapes.  The fun rug is from Ikea, as are the pillows.

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View from the seating area.

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My wall of tiny things.

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The cupboards were our kitchen cabinets in Michigan. David bought a new top that runs all the way across and also leaves a parking area for my paint cart. I painted the cabinet door fronts with chalkboard paint.  That big white desk was already in the room, built in, and it works really well as another work area.  The floor slopes the tiniest bit over there, so moving around in the wheeled chair is an adventure.

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This also came from the Michigan house. I’m going to set my sewing machine up here.  The twinkle lights are on a remote so I don’t have to dig for the outlet. I love remotes!

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Bookcases from Ikea. The grey panel is a metal piece from Ikea that invites the use of magnetic poetry. I have a number of sets to play with.

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My main workspace. I like having things out where I can see them and grab them easily. I didn’t realize how much more creative I feel with my supplies visible.  Dawn told me to get all the things out of their tins and boxes and she was right.  Having the colors visible and handy to grab is inspiring in itself. 

Here’s a few more pictures:
Cupboards with chalk paint fronts. Inspiration board.

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Built-in desk

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Gallery wall

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I found this amazing hand-hooked rug at Goodwill.  It needs some repairs, but even as it is, it is a beautiful piece of art.

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Visitor work station, across the table from me.  If I move things around, there’s also room at either end of the table.

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Happy happy glitter floor. I smile at this every time I’m out there. I’m so happy I did the glitter floor.

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Happy little otter painting I did yesterday. I am, as usual, working in miniature. I don’t know why I like miniature so much, but i do.  This painting is on a 3″x3″ stretched canvas.

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Another lovely day. Low tide has been first thing in the morning so I get some lovely light for pictures.

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I love catching shots like this. Some of the fun is not even realizing I have such things until I get home to look. 

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I spent some time in the studio. I’m learning that even pencil benefits from layers.  I found my good task light and that helps a lot. Eventually we are going to put in another window and tube lights over my work table. I look forward to that.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have a studio tour. It’s such an amazing space I have!

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Watched the sunrise this morning at Vista Park. Tucker needed to burn off some energy before an hour-long car ride to the vet. He’s been hurting a lot more this year, so I took him in for x-rays. Turns out the lower part of his hip socket (the acetabulum) didn’t calcify as hoped.  Well, most of it did, but there’s a chunk of bone that has begun moving into the socket, rubbing against the femoral head. No wonder he doesn’t want to use that leg.  Bone is rubbing on bone. The only fixes are surgery, either a Femoral Head Osteotomy  (FHO) or a total hip replacement. The socket may be too damaged for the replacement,  so if the doctor’s ortho guy agrees, it would be the FHO. This procedure was brought up when Tucker was first injured. It involves removing the femoral head. The ligaments and muscles then form a false joint. It’s a pretty common surgery in dogs with hip dysplasia, and it removes the pain. With proper rehab, and knowing Tucker, he could be running and painfree in a matter of months. The surgery would, in effect, pay for itself because we wouldn’t have to keep buying pain meds at $85 a month. It would be nice to know he’s not hurting.  Finally.  He’s a brave strong-hearted dog, but I know sometimes it’s hard. Like today, after the x-rays.

Once again, I’m grateful for pet insurance, which will cover about half the cost.

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Of course, even hurting, he’s a joyful dog. We used the chase the stick game to run off some of the energy.  All those lines in the sand are his, chasing different sticks.

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Today was an amazingly lovely day. When I took the dogs to the park (they are beginning to expect it now) it was a little cloudy, but off to the west were blue skies.

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This is Tucker’s recall. He runs back to me when called. I love that.

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Strange lighting (the others are very dark so I think the camera over compensated a bit) but I love it just the same. I like Phoebe peeking through. 

Went to town on a friend errand,  got to sit and watch the seals in the river. Mount St Helens was visible from my seal watching perch, and I got to go barefoot. I heard my first Robin (still 2 months away in Michigan).  My hair was lovely. It was a very good day.

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Mount St Helens from County Line Park, overlooking the Columbia River.

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Today was spent partly in the studio playing with watercolors and partly in the house hanging out with dogs. Late in the afternoon I suddenly remembered I was completely out of cat fud (always spelled that way since once of my favorite Far Side cartoons, where the dog is trying to lure the cat into the dryer with signs pointing to “cat fud”) and so I had to run into town and the pet store. When Hobie was left alone he was free feeding and boy was he free with it. He’s turned into something of a possum cat, complete with waddle, so I knew I needed some “weight control” fud. The kibbles are different but he ate it.  Hopefully it will work.  Every winter his previous vet, who only saw him in winter, would comment about his weight. I explained that he slimmed down in summer, but Dr Harrison was skeptical. One summer I got a picture of Hobie from above, and his outline perfectly matched the outline of a “normal ” cat they had at the vet’s office. Next time I was in, I showed him the picture and he never again bothered me about Hobie’s weight. I’m not so sure he’ll slim down as well here, as he doesn’t spend all day outside. He has adapted well to our house, and tends to spend more time inside. When he does go out, it’s never for more than an hour, then he’s at the front window staring at me.

Picture above is from my drive home. I drove through the deer refuge just at dusk, hoping to see some deer. I only saw the one, but she was close to the road and didn’t care that I stopped and rolled the window down. The hawk and swans I saw didn’t care either, but it certainly alarmed the ducks.

So in my last post I mentioned that I am home with the dogs and David is not.  A few days into our last run, we ran into our first winter weather, and I have to say it kind of undid me.  I was something of an anxiety-ridden wreck, crabby and tense.  I certainly didn’t want to be driving.  Fortunately, David knows me and he started the conversation that has led to the decision (endorsed by me, by him and most importantly, our company) that I will be taking the winter and spring off, so as not to worry about the snowy conditions.  While home, I will explore some arty options, like an Etsy store, to see if I can make some monies that way.

I did originally feel a little guilty, until David confessed that he would rather run solo.  He doesn’t sleep well when the truck is running team, and it makes him worry about his health.  He doesn’t like the crowded conditions any more than I did, and so it turns out this works well for both of us.  Yes, I am alone again, but it’s different now.  I have a more robust support system here.  I feel at home here as I never quite did in Michigan.  It makes a difference.

So it turns out I am a fair-weather truck driver.  I am okay with that.

Well, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I thought I had stopped cold a week earlier than I did.  See, life has gone and changed again, and so I’ve been adjusting to that.  More in the next post.  This one is for some pictures I have taken during that time.

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When last I wrote, I was in the hinterlands of Minnesota, being very cold.  Now we are home (me and the dogs) and just getting rained on regularly.  Rainbows have been sighted.

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I doubt I will ever tire of this view out my back door.  It changes by the hour.  This time I was talking with David on the phone and saw that strange tree shadow on the fog.  “Hold on a sec,” I told him.  “I gotta get a picture of this.”  So happy I did.

Here’s the view with full sun and no special light effects going on.  Still beautiful.

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My friend Kimberly adopted an otter in my name.  I was touched by the thought when I received an email.  I didn’t expect a package with this cutie in it, along with River Otter facts, a fabulous picture and an adoption certificate.  The package made me squee.

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The dogs are happily going to the park regularly.  I feel very blessed that this amazing place is just 1/2 mile away.  Tucker now recognizes my “walk the dogs” bag and starts dancing when he sees it.  I carry the leash, poop bags and my phone in it.  Some driftwood has been collected.  Driftwood in the Pacific Northwest is a bit different than other places.  Exhibit 1:

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This is the high tide/full moon line at the park.  So much wood.  Much of it is trees.  But there is some good small stuff to be found.  The main problem is that if Tucker sees me pick up a stick, he is oh, so positive that it is meant to be thrown for him.  So if I find something I like, I am then required to pick up others to throw.  He doesn’t bring them back anymore.  He just likes to chase them down.  Sometimes he might pick one up, but then he is unhappy about the mouth full of sand he gets. So mostly he chases and then runs back for more.  It’s an easy way to tire him out.

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Happy Tucker.

I’ve been spending my days doing little bits of art, playing with dogs, reading, listening to music.  I like it.  Nah, I LOVE it.  I love this place we have landed.

Oh, I did finish this.  It’s a gift that will be mailed Monday.  I don’t know if Jilly comes here or not, but I don’t mind if she sees it.  The picture is cute, but the real thing is amazingly cute.  I had posted on Facebook about how it was kicking my butt at one point, as I had dropped a yarnover and couldn’t figure out my mistake.  I unknitted that section twice before I finally got it right  Finishing it gave me a great deal of satisfaction.  I wish my skills had been where they are now when other babies were born to other friends.

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Sunrise over Baudette, MN. Where it was -18 F overnight. DNW -18. Poor Tucker is suffering. A vet told me he’d probably be more painful in the cold. They weren’t kidding. He is carrying his bad leg and obviously in pain, so I’m keeping up on his meds.  They help, but not enough. He needs warmer climes and some exercise.  He’ll be getting that soon.

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The big Baudette walleye was too big to fit in the picture. Should’ve been holding my phone the other way.

Kansas was cold at -3 overnight. The hotel’s heat in that wing wasn’t working right, blowing tepid to cool air into a cool room. The cold makes me crabby when I can’t escape it. It’s also doing a number on Tucker’s bad leg. His pain pills are giving moderate relief, as long as he gets them every 8 hours. But he’s still limping and carrying that leg rather than using it.

We left Kansas in the afternoon,  heading north to Baudet, MN. It’s currently -15, after a low of -18. The saving grace was finally getting to see the Northern Lights!  It was a small curtain of dancing green, mostly fugitive, but then suddenly beaming into the sky. I sat watching with a big grin on my face and tears in my eyes. It was beautiful and magical and I was finally seeing it. 

No pictures today. Crabbiness, bad lighting, lack of opportunities.   And it all turned around with one dancing green sky.

We left Michigan yesterday.  On the way out we stopped to visit friends we hadn’t seen in far too long. David’s known Jack and Chris as long as I’ve known Gen and Kimberly, which is practically a lifetime. We shared tales of adventures and travels, then they took us out to dinner. I had my first Creme Brulee  (two thumbs up!). 

They had a suet feeder up outside and while we sat talking, I watched all the birds coming in: chickadees, Chipping Sparrow, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse, Juncos, a wren I still need to check my book on, pale winter Goldfinch.

I only took one picture today, this one of the dogs in bed at the hotel.  Tucker moved before I could catch the one I wanted, but this one’s okay, too.  (Once I corrected for the funky yellow lighting)

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