JANUARY 23, 2018

Creating a Family History in 2018

One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.

Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.

At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.

I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!

Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.

I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.

My first step is to start a journal of family traditions. Include photos, recipes, music, and memories of holiday gatherings: Thanksgiving, religious gatherings, trips to favorite places, and annual community events.

Commitment to Your Work

I wish I had known sooner in my career how important it is to organize and protect preliminary work.

Saving my best work comes naturally, too naturally in truth. I don’t have room for all those frames and paintings.  Photography and scans help, but even those take money and time I don’t always have.

I have been very remiss in saving my sketches, ideas, and ‘not what I intended’ pieces. These can be inspirations for future work. I recently came across a series of abstracts I had created of dancers; these were just explorations of movement in the bright colors I loved most. I am currently working on sketches of dancers that are similar in nature and hopefully will complete a series of large acrylics by the end of the year.


Creative Spark

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke”

(Vincent van Gogh)

Spanish Dancers

February Events

Groundhog Day

St. Valentine’s Day

Presidents’ Day




December 26, 2017



Commitment to Your Art

Find a workable schedule that encourages daily work time.


Creative Spark

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

(Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist)

January Events

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day



Finding a New Path

One year ago today, my life changed. It almost ended forever.

Months, possibly years, of stress took their toll. I had a heart attack on November 7th, 2016, and two days later in the Cardiac Care Unit, I had a stroke.

Stress was probably not the only cause of this. I have a strong family history of mini-strokes as well as heart disease. I didn’t eat as well as I should, by any means, nor did I exercise regularly throughout my life. I have battled several autoimmune diseases that have co-morbidities with heart disease: Psoriatic Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Sjogrens, and that major demon of Diabetes.

It has been a terrible battle, but nothing as challenging as my heart attack and stroke. I was sick for weeks before they occurred, so ill that this political animal no longer wanted to hear about the elections or the candidates or the future of the world. I was physically unable to vote early, something I had done for more than a decade. I was in the CCU during the election and didn’t have to finally choose any candidates. Staff and medical teams were forbidden to discuss the election, a blessing for which I am very grateful. I was in no condition to think about politics.

Like many others who survive life-threatening events, I am immensely grateful and am finding my way to a new normal. The opportunity to get some things right is an undeserved grace.

I’ve been working on myself and the apologies I owe, the forgiveness I seek or can offer. I am focusing on things I think matter in the long run: family, friends, giving back. I haven’t been on social media as often. My writing and art fell by the wayside while I worked on learning to do complicated things like walking, eating, and bathing.

I no longer waste so much time on being angry. I do still get upset but I try to think about whether I would want to fall dead with those being the last words I said to someone. The answer is almost always no.

Shortly after coming home from the hospital on the day after Thanksgiving, it snowed briefly. I was like a kid. I realized that I had been blessed: I got to see snow again! Neither I, my husband, nor my son had thought that would be possible.

Sometimes blessings are wrapped in fear and loss. I am learning to recognize them. An integral part of my recovery is acknowledging the losses and welcoming the gifts.

The Mighty Renegade

The real “circle of life” is harsh and beautiful. The river flows still.


The story begins back in 2003 when Baja gained Washakie and her two-year old daughter, Bacardi, during a skirmish with Prince. Since that time, Baja and Washakie, have been inseparable. Fourteen years is a long time for a band to stay together in the Pryors, yet these two forged a strong and enduring bond. They were a striking matched dun pair. Baja was unmistakable with his  two-toned mane and tail and his strong, muscular build. Washakie shared Baja’s dun coloration and had soft, doe-like eyes. These two with Washakie’s blue roan daughter, Bacardi, became a fixture on the mountain. They were quite elusive and weren’t always seen, but when they were, there was no doubt to their identify.

IMG_4301 This was one of the first photos that Nancy took of Baja’s band. This was in May 2005. Bacardi had her first foal, stripe-y little grullo foal named Freedom. He did not…

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