Discovery is the spice of life when we encounter something or someone unexpected. In that discovery, we learn something new about ourselves or the world through the heart and soul of another as I did at the Downing Museum harbored in the Baker Arboretum in Bowling Green, KY.
The Downing Museum holds most of the artist’s greatest works– a continuum that shows his evolution as a artist. When he first moved to Paris and worked as a secretary at a law firm to support his art, Joe could not afford expensive paints. He improvised with paper, crayons and staples–accessible to him at his job — to create mixed media art. That is how he began.
For most of his early years he lived and worked in Paris but at one point he and a fellow artist bought a house in Menerbes . The ancient village in Provence gave him a great sense of peace he recalled to friends and family. The space with its adjoining garden created the inspiration for his major works of art. The Downing Museum is a part of the Baker Arboretum, managed by Western Kentucky University. It is a lovely place, fitting to house the works of a man whose eye for color, shape, line, and texture merged into works that give one peace when gazing upon them.
One of my new roommates has a saying whenever we needed a piece of furniture: “It will show up.”
At first it was annoying when we sat on two chairs with a round of glass-top (scavenged from the side of the road) and several cardboard boxes.
Since then, our third roommate arrived and we have completely decked out the house with thrift store finds such as my $10 desk, a $48 couch, $6 – $8 chairs, etc. One of us managed to negotiate a gorgeous long dining table for $40.
We call ourselves a “senior activist community”. Our oldest member, at 85, runs circles around us with his Tai Chi, biking, tennis, and musical practice on his recorder.
What I am learning is profound. First, together we have more for less: each of us pays $400 rent plus ~ $40 in utilities. And, second, I am amazed at the really great “stuff” we can find at Thrift stores if willing to “wait until it shows up.”
We are each adults with careers – yes, we are still working – and our own grown kids and families. So we live independently, coming together to throw a party, discuss ideas, and help each other achieve our goals. Recently we hosted a house warming with friends of each of us. The house was packed and we all had a wonderful time.
Together does bring more – more of the right kind of things that make life easier and richer.
A lot has happened since the last post on this site. First, I published my first novel (Threshold), and second, I’ve relocated to Tucson to promote it. The story takes place in Tucson primarily but it is relevant to Southwestern cities and to anyone concerned about climate change–or not.
In Tucson I am trying another new form of living: cohabiting a shared home to reduce costs and enjoy companionship. While this arrangement specifically helps me with a short term stay (6 mos.) to market my book, it is also a little experiment to see how this arrangement might work for me on a more regular basis back home.
First, the house will be shared by me and two friends, one I know and the other friend is new to me. We found a 3-bdrm house in an historic neighborhood of Mid-Town Tucson in walkable distance to the university, shops, post office, and library.
The house was built in 1947 by the man for whom the neighborhood is named Harold Blenman and is in the Blenman-Elm Neighborhood. The home is a brick style ranch with a xeroscaped lawn including beautiful desert plants and trees and a gazebo with picnic table and large brick barbeque. The neighbors homes are a variety of styles, also xeroscaped and in pastel colors and brick or adobe.
Just ambling out of the Little House on Belmont Street this morning on a 64 degree day, sun shining and the Downtown Market bustling
…past the First United Methodist Church and Rectory… past diners on the sidewalk in front of Palanzo’s enjoying breakfast.
Crossed Palafox Street to the Christ Church and Abbey.
Pensacola’s Church Circle at the intersection of Palafox and Wright is impressive, including the Emanuel Lutheran down the block from Christ Church…I amble on a blue sky day under the undulating arms of old oaks …
…past the new Main Library to the Victorian B & B.
…deeper into the neighborhoods under the arms of palms and oaks.
Talked with owners out grooming their lawns. There is so much pride. One owner explained that his home is over 135 years old.
…on to Devilliers Street .
Stopped at the Gathering Place, a bookstore owned by Georgia Blackmon, life long resident and local historian and woman leader. We chatted about books, and the long tradition of the African American community. Belmont Devilliers holds one of Pensacola’s richest musical traditions, evidenced in the local art.
Walked under the oaks to two of the historic African American churches, both over 100 years old. We are deep in one of Pensacola’s cultural districts.
After a wonderful morning strolling old Pensacola streets and neighborhoods I turn for home onto La Rua Street. I discover a brand new B & B, and the owner Michael Greene. See the next blog introducing this exquisite new venue on the hill overlooking Church Circle. Here’s a peek:
No, I have not died or been run over by a four wheel vehicle while on my two-wheeler. I’ve been thinking, plotting, and in the process, becoming a tiny space genius. Sorry, I am bragging a little here, but if you have a bunch of objects that need to go into an impossibly small space, I’m the Girl to Call.
Example One: Instant Office
Starts with 1) moving my business laptop from the end of the bed to the desk so that I am looking outside to green;
2) rolling the file drawer with a Samsung wireless laser printer on top to the “office”;
3) hooking up a portable Brother DSMobile600 scanner; 4) setting up music to play on a micro amplifier (Jam), and Presto! Instant Office is here.
Stay tuned for the next amazing solution to space issues: Seat at the Table.
Living downtown continues to enrich my life. Palafox Market was humming with music, art, and a proliferation of food and fresh products from local cottage and for profit businesses. Here is my fare for this morning. Strawberry Fig Preserves and fresh eggs, and (not in photo) dewberries from Mark and Katya Hainds farm; organically grown carrots, wax beans, and aquaponic lettuce each by different growers. Also not pictured is the Cuban pastry I ate!
I rode my bike down to Bikes Plus, right across from the market. They put a side mirror on my handlebars. We talked about biking accidents in Pensacola. Our population does not have a bike consciousness, i.e. looking out for bikers. Also folks like me need to be much more aware when riding! So it goes both ways.
Hope everyone has a great Mother’s Day Weekend. I am blessed by Tommy and Amy and the Furs in Nashville who sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, and my daughter Heather and Jay in Virginia Beach who sent me the blessing of Bueno Vista Club’s second album, Lost and Found, which I just love. Check it Out! I love #5, Black Chicken. My kids are still my one great treasure…
The garden is coming along. Heating up here, so watering everyday. However, I think I will probably reap only a little fruit before July fries everything. I’ll nurse it along and chalk it up to my first try, then start seedlings to plant in August for a fantastic fall and winter garden. Hey! Did you know Florida has its own prickly pear? Mine is flowering.
Still in love with my Little House on Belmont Street! It’s just the right size for one person. Might be a squeeze for two unless super compatible!