Where did June Go?

Mainly it went in a swirling of brain-drain as I trained and adjusted to doing a new thing while working from home. It has taken really three weeks to go from abject terror to only moments of wondering what-the-heck-am-I-doing, LOL. Toward the end of last week, which ends on Saturday, I had moments of – oh, I know what to do here! Or hearing someone else asking a question in our support chat and thinking, ‘isn’t that…?’ So slow but sure.

Working at home means no forty-five minute plus commute each way, but also means I make my own coffee and breakfast and lunch. And dinner. Sometimes I get to eat one or all of those sitting on the front steps. Sometimes I get to dash out afterwork because the sun is out and I can get a painting in and take photos of the evening coming on.

July brings with it World Watercolor Month so get ready for a more regular appearance of paintings here. After that – August Poetry Postcard Festival 2020 – although with the pandemic in play, some of us started early on that. I did a month’s worth of postcards during NaPoWriMo in April.

I feel the rhythm of my year changing and yet it’s the same. A few photos popped up in facebook of watercolors I’d done in 2016 and 2019 and it was interesting to see what was the same and what was different. Since being home I found a place in New Lebanon where there is a 360 degree view of the sky. Looking back years from now I’ll be reminded of the pandemic by many many panoramas of the sky and clouds and landscape.

Here are photos from today. Mostly clouds and landscape but a few plants and flowers and a couple mushrooms that snuck in at the end. Look close – some of the clouds were being visited by birds and other things!

29 June 2020 out and around.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Where did June Go?

4 June 2020

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. — Dalai Lama

Had a day of work training, all virtual, today. It’s been a long week and yesterday I allowed as I had hit the Wednesday wall. I was sure that others had too although I had no way of knowing what proportion their mix of work-anxiety to world-anxiety was. I couldn’t really tell what mine was.

Today was better work-wise, for me anyway. I found some hooks to use that gave me some grip of what is to come. Others sounded frantic and I thought – look at you MB, you’ve gotten over that Wednesday wall and found Thursday.

At the end of the day we had just an open talk session, unexpected but going on all over my company. People shared, offered support, cried. We talked about self-care and being aware of our needs and the needs of others but that idea that in order to help others we need to put our own oxygen mask on first. Be strong for ourselves so we can be strong and make things happen in the world.

I thought back over my long years at Apple and of times when my co-workers gave me unexpected but appreciated support and times when I stepped in to help someone else. Because, that’s what you do, right? You care about people and how they’re treated by the world and you try to do the right thing for them. I’ve told customers to leave. I’ve told customers – you’re sick, too sick to be worried about buying a new computer right this minute. Go home and feel better and come back. I’ve told kids – stop whacking your little sibling, because that’s not nice. Like I mean STOP it. Or, those are inappropriate comments and I’ll ask you to stop. OK, you don’t want to stop, I’m saying we’re done and you can leave.

So I pondered these things while listening. And I realized here I am, about to start in a new area of work, feeling very anxious and the world’s not helping me out. In 2001, my hire date for my new job was September 4 and my training was pushed back because our store wasn’t quite on schedule. The training started September 17.

I remember walking in and being so unenthusiastic about the whole thing. I remember thinking – just don’t quit. You need a job. You’ve been unemployed for a long time and you need this job. Don’t walk out. Everyone was so cheery and excited and I couldn’t make it happen. I remember how anxious I was because I really had no idea what the moment to moment reality of this new job would be. We all got through it, and it turns out that’s pretty much a daily thing, more often than not.

There’s been a lot of cheeriness this week but nothing over the top. I think most people have been worn down by the months of covid-19 and being home and moving from one crisis to another. We’ve spent a week together trying to learn virtual things in this new virtual world.

I’m sure it won’t be the last time of overlapping anxieties but let’s work to make the world good, as best we can, where ever we can going forward. Be kind folks, be kind.

All of my unedited cloud photos from today:

clouds 4 June 2020//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

4 June 2020

NaPoWriMo – Day Twenty-Six

Grey and rainy. Well, beyond rainy: hosing down rain and grapple and hail. Went to Hand Hollow and caught a glimpse of the same bit of heron head in the nest. It is hunkered down probably wishing it had a roof! Had to rummage some for a poem idea. I think we’re all about here now. I did manage to slap some Krazy Glue on my computer glasses this morning. And I did mess around with gouache while watching for the heron. It worked ok, but I didn’t have much of a plan going so the contrast and spacing isn’t all there. But hey, that’s what a sketchbook’s for right? trying things out? capturing things? OK here’s a poem.

Things I could have done
Should have done, must do
even those I’d like to do, well,
I stand in the quiet house
and they gather all around me
follow me down the hall
but I’m out the door
and down the steps before
any of them can grab me
not by the wrist or ankle or hem
I’m gone to who knows where
I sure don’t know or why but
today it is just not any of that.
And likely to be nothing at all.

NaPoWriMo – Day Twenty-Six

The Eve of NaPoWriMo

Yup it’s that time of year again – National Poetry Month! May all the words be with you.

Counting the Determined Spring

and trees, buds swelling,
and grackles, squealing
and volunteer daylilies
and startled calves
following placid cows
to unknown pastures
along strange paths
Trembling they look
wide dark eyes
hurrying into a
world, newly made.

Meanwhile I was out myself today, driving around, maintaining social distancing and giving myself a stern talking to about “what would Vincent do?”

The Eve of NaPoWriMo

The Light at the End of Day

Which comes pretty darn early now. These clouds were amazing. Taken in Stockbridge and West Stockbridge on the way home from the figure studio.

5 november 2019 evening//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Light at the End of Day

September Morning Treats

Morning Surprise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Spiders and the oxalis are still hanging on (click above for more images via flickr). The deer are munching on the hostas.

The other morning this was my pre-drive view:

September Morning Treats

Painting in the Rain

That’s what the first part of yesterday was all about. This morning has stopped raining for the moment so I guess I’m heading back out there.

And then the vultures came.

Painting in the Rain

Today’s Paint Outings

I took a few side roads today and saw a lot of interesting things and a lot of wildlife!

This afternoon the clouds were quite interesting so I did get a couple paintings done.

For some more photos:

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Today’s Paint Outings was originally published on

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Nine

I’m late today. I’ve spent a couple days with Mom and doing things a little off the path of normal. All is well, and I’m glad for everything. Rained hard just as I arrived home and I set the re-potted plants outside to imbibe. When it let up I went out to look at clouds and found the blue heron was building a nest, there was a pair of common mergansers and a bunch of noisy geese at a nearby pond. So I sat and painted a bit. Now here I am with today’s poem.

One cup in the sink
a spoon on the table
books in a jumble
alongside the bed
an assemblage of
sheets and blankets
pulled up over
irregular pillows
a shoe by the door
half-full cat’s bowl
trash at the curb
lights on auto
shrine silence
remembrance echoing
door opens
door closes again.

Risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
— Leo Buscaglia

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Nine was originally published on

Looking for Something to Paint

Note to self: I like snow. No, really. And except for the extreme heat, I’m good with summer. Definitely OK with spring. Find it hard to deal with that March to Early April gray-brown-ness. Bleah. So travel somewhere closer to spring in March or stay indoors!

Came across this pond in West Stockbridge and painted while watching the two resident white swans chase any other bird that came along, both Canadian Geese and Heron.

Looking for Something to Paint was originally published on