David and I are recently back from a couple of weeks at Sunapee, the family lake house in New Hampshire . . .

Sunset with Loon
Sunset with Loon

Dark and Light Sunapee. . . where the sunset light on the lake tends to be breathtaking.

My quest for the perfect loon photo continues (and will never stop, I’m pretty sure). Although I’m finally realizing I’d need a longer lens and a tripod to get an excellent shot, I got a few decent shots this year.↓

Two loons right in Gardner Bay!

Loon in the GreenLoon in the Pink

As peaceful as the above photos look, in fact the potential for mess and drama is always rather high in a big house with a lot of people. And in a vacation home, someone or other is always arriving or departing, or moving bedrooms, which are sort of first come, first served, with occasionally some midweek shifting about if needed. Plus, the house is 90 years old, so there’s almost always a new maintenance issue or two (or three) to manage or work around. This year was no exception. And although Chelsea and Will could not join us this year, of course there’s family . . . lots of family.

IMG_9644It’s a little like summer camp (only a little), with all the possible activities . . .Bailey. . . (and the spiders), but no “Reveille”, thank God, and the only hard and fast scheduled agenda item is cocktail hour at five o’clock . . .

Brother-in-law Doug and Brittany
Brother-in-law Doug and Brittany
Courtney (and David, of course)
Courtney (and David, of course)


In an effort to minimize the chaos of so many people sharing one house, over the years certain expectations have become . . . let’s call it, firmly establishedThere’s a definite Approved Way to do most things, from folding dock towels to washing dishes to how many seconds you can vacate a chair without pushing it in to the table (not many). It works reasonably well for someone with a personality like mine, since I tend to be the instruction-reading-and-following kind of person. (Sorry–I know you thought I was more exciting than that.)

But although I’m usually relatively on-board with the Approved Way at Sunapee and elsewhere, I’ve finally figured out it doesn’t work as well in creative endeavors . . . ↓

Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport

. . . Seriously. This is NOT what a roof is SUPPOSED to look like, but how cool is it? (David and I spent the night before our flight at the new Westin Hotel and this was our view.)

Remember my previous attempt at watercolor back on Folly Beach? I’m ecstatic to report I finally found an excellent class for beginners here in Fort Collins. Woohoo! I happened upon the glorious paintings of Sibyl Stork during an artists’ studio tour a few weeks ago. Sibyl’s work is vibrant, color-rich, sometimes a bit mysterious or whimsical, and all-around fabulous, so I immediately signed up for a class, which started the day after we got back from Sunapee. I was still in “trying to do it right” mode, since that’s my default, but what a revelation the first class was. I wasn’t anywhere NEAR “getting it right” but it was just SO MUCH FUN. Sibyl is such a gentle, encouraging soul, all you want to do is keep painting and trying new things. In the midst of all the tragic news and the wrenching struggles of many we know and love♥, what a joy to have this little respite. Thanks, Sibyl!

I read a wonderful article recently, “The Days of Reveille and Taps” by Dominique Browning*, in which the author writes of summer camp and the joys of discovering water skiing: . . . nothing could dim the pleasure of wiping out  — being allowed to wipe out, being urged not to be careful, being pushed to the edge of what I could do . . . .

Doesn’t that make your heart sing? “. . . allowed . . . urged . . . pushed to the edge of what I could do . . . . ”

Wishing you all the freedom of discovery and the joy of the wipeout!

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ∼ Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert cartoons**

*New York Times Travel Section, 17 July 2016 — And be sure to check out Browning’s book Slow Love: How I Lost my Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness. Loved it.

**Yes, I’ve used this one before, but it’s too apt not to give it another appearance.

♥ Our little buddy, Sam, is still in the fight of his life against cancer, so please continue to remember him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.