Blooming Palm Tree

In the apartment complex are several palms standing 50 feet tall. Last year one was taken down for some reason, maybe of old age as it was loosing its huge fronds. I noticed a couple times a huge dried one on the pavement as I walked by to get the mail.

Because of their tall height I never looked up. Then I ordered a recliner for the back patio. When relaxing on it I could only see  high in the sky. A couple doors down I noticed another tall palm. Sometimes I thought it housed a murder of crows. I could hear their loud complaining coming from the tree though I never saw them.

Then, one day, as I rested on my new recliner I noticed the palm had huge yellow blooms hanging between the fronds. My goodness, could it be, could it actually be blooming? I had never seen this before except on my small palm that lived in my bedroom.

Many years ago, maybe 35 or 40, I brought home a pot of palms from the nursery. With careful counting I discovered there were twelve tiny plants no taller than eight inches each. I repotted them into a colorful pot and there they lived for many years, never changing or getting bigger.

When they began to grow some of the plants would give up the struggle and leave the area for those stronger. Those that remained grew big and I had to repot them from time to time. Finally I had five in a eight inch pot. They sent out new fronds regularly stretching up and out. They loved the area next to the bed in the corner of the room with the window close by.

One day while watering the palms I noticed a complex construction, yellowish in color, many branched. There were weirdly constructed flowers. Can it be? The palms were blooming? I had never seen this before. And no, I didn’t get dates as there were no other palms around. The blooming thing eventually dried up and dropped off and that was that.

Recalling the Troubles

Today I began to change my ebooks into a format that can be printed. Kindle Direct will print my ebooks if I get the material ready. I tried to upload Rufus and the Games and the report from them was there were not enough pages. As it was put in a design for ebooks there were not the 24 pages they require . So the job I have now is to lengthen each book.

I made a list of pages I could add to make the story run the length Kindle Direct requires. To add 6 pages I could have a glossary, a description of characters, a synopsis of the story, a list of discussion questions, a biography of the author, me, and a page listing the whole Rufus series. Sound Good?

The first problem is several of the pictures are darkened somehow. Maybe the photos I took with my phone didn’t catch enough light. Anyway they will need to be redone.

Another glitch: there are empty pages and I don’t know how get rid of them. Then I tried something and now, there is an empty page between all the pages. What do I do now? Brings back the memory of struggling with the computer to get certain things done. I don’t know enough computerese.

I know if I were working on the program that handles pages, things would be easier. But I forget how I change that into regular microsoft word document. Duh! Maybe I’ll go back to that and I’ll remember how to make the change when the book is finished.

Rufus and the Games

I am excited to do this. I’ve always wanted to see my books printed. I didn’t have the money for that kind of expense so I uploaded them as ebooks on Smashwords. com for nothing. Now Kindle Diect will print them for nothing. They make their money when people order the books. Hooray!

My Art Closet

My art supplies take up half of a closet in the bedroom that serves as my art and computer room. I bought metal shelving that stands easily in the closet and houses the many things I need to make pictures. Taking up space are the fourteen books in which I pasted a collage or drew a page as a graphic record. Most of them are mixed. It’s only recently that I do just the graphic record of my life. The collages aren’t backed with anything and stand in a pile on top of a cupboard.

The bottom three shelves house the blue topped containers in which I store acrylic paints, water color paints, puppet making materials, and charcoal and pastels. At the very top is a box with three containers for the colored pens. The shelves below store colored pencils, a container of wire, hangers, screws, etc for hanging pictures. I have a small box with my house tools, three screw drivers and two pliers. The hammer lays between things. Here and there one can find watercolor crayons, bottles of glue and gesso, card stock for making greeting cards, specialized paints, and books on color. It has everything I need when I have an impulse to make a picture.

Design Factor

Because of covid and the fact of no longer driving a car I shop on Amazon for everything. The orders come in many size packages and with various packing materials. The other day a piece of packing material, rough but light, 14 by 20 to fit the size of the box, with intricate indentations caught my attention. I liked the design feature of  the boxy spaces, supposedly to provide strength to the thing which protected the product I had ordered. I decided to hang it on the wall.

A friend of mine in her visit the other day noticed it and said, “Isn’t that a piece of packing material?”

“Yes,” I admitted. “I liked the design of it.”

She shrugged and continued discussing the topic what ever it was. People learn to expect such behavior from me.

When I mention art one might immediately think of pictures hanging in a gallery or in a living room. The fact is that one can find design in everything, living and nonliving. Anything you look at in nature has design in its making. And human beings use design in everything they create. And that is what fascinates me in my visual world. The shape, the color, the line, the response to outside or inside events, the influence of distance and more, create the intrigue of the thing I’m observing.

I’m considering adding color to this packaging material to make it my own.

E Book Sale on Smashwords

Beginning on July 1st and running through to July 31st, you can get my ebooks for $.99 each at Smashwords.com. Go to my page, Chlele Gummer, and sample a couple. The series begins with Rufus and the Games, and runs through the rest in this order: Rufus and the Honker Chorus, Rufus Meets Coyote, Rufus Meets the Birds, Rufus Meets Sqeaky Squirrel, Rufus and His Broken Toes, Mystery at Spring Lake, These are My Things, Rufus and His Sisters Part One, and Rufus and Hiw Sisters Part Two. Yes, there are ten stories of Rufus, the Canada gosling. I’m considering having them printed into paper backs eventually.

Rufus Stories on Sale

July 1st is the first day of a month long sale of my ebooks, the Rufus series. Currently they are selling for $3.99. In July I will offer differing titles for $.99. The first week “Rufus and the Games” and “Rufus and the Honker Chorus” will be on sale.

The first book in the series, Rufus and the Games, finds Rufus practicing the skills he needs to compete in the games: clacking, swimming, flying. Because he hatched later than his sisters he’s had to practice harder on the skills he needs. His parents discovered that Rufus could do things that others couldn’t. The coach also discovered this skill and instituted an activity including it. Read to see how the story ends.

Rufus and the Honker Chorus, the second book in the series tells of Rufus’s desire to sing in the chorus. He consults with Professor Muse to see what he needs to do to be able to compete. On the day of the audition Rufus wakes up unable to make a sound. He doesn’t want to attend the audition but his mom takes him anyway. Rufus does make it into the chorus in a different way. Read to see what his involvement is.

To buy them go to https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/R4u3pU.

Creating the Last Book, Hug A Slug, Scoot a Newt

        In 2012 I finished the nine month training to be docent at the Bouverie Preserve near Glen Ellen. For thirty some years they have provided a hiking program for third and fourth graders which included an in class program featuring what the children might see on their visit. The following week they were bussed out to the preserve and led on a hike in groups of five or six with a docent and a parent. I did that once a week during the season.

       In 2020 I thought of making a story of our hikes which featured the same stops through the preserve giving the children the experience of four different habitats and the animals and plants that lived in them. Being a sewer and saving all fabric scraps forever I had two large drawers full. I had made a wall hanging picturing 21 birds all out of scraps. I thought how about doing the pictures that illustrate the hikes all in fabric. The textures of the cloth works so well in picturing the natural scenes I would use in the story.

       I bought heavier multimedia paper, 14X17 inches, to glue the fabric on. There were five hikers, four students and a docent. I realized I needed to make several of each, moving or sitting in different ways. That way I could creat the background of the trail and the creek within the different habitats and place the hikers and the docent on the picture when I photographed them.

       The story followed exactly how the hike would go. I made pictures of the ants, the galls, the newts, the turret spider, the salamanders  and others things we’d focus upon. Since I used the people in many pictures they aren’t glued on.

       I hired an editor who’d check my work and put the book together. She also found a publisher that I used. And for a few hundred dollars I had thirty books to sell which I do now and again. You can order a book on this website.

The Spider Episode

As you get to know me, you will realize that I am a devoted naturalist. I do not immediately kill spiders when I see them in the house. I even stopped washing them down the sink when I discovered them trapped. It seems they cannot handle the slick enamel and are stuck. I throw them a towel which they can get traction on to crawl out of the sink.

In my bathroom in the high corner above the door lives a daddy long legs. He’s been there for several months. One time he came down to the floor. I think I scared him for the next time I used the bathroom he was back in his web looking down on me.

Yesterday I discovered two daddy long legs in the tub. I knew they were in trouble because they hadn’t left after several hours. I realized they needed a towel to aid their escape. They were situated at each corner.

As I put the first towel down the spider in the far corner got spooked. He backed away from the towel. He moved like he was rushing to the other corner then he stopped still. I put the second towel down near the other spider, being careful not to spook him. I left them thinking that they would be gone soon.

The next time I entered the bathroom I noticed that only one spider was still in the tub. I didn’t see the other spider anywhere. But what was that laying next the the remaining spider? It looked like a spider leg. I don’t remember seeing it before. My gosh. “Did you eat that spider?” I asked. I bent over and studied the remains and they sure looked like a spider leg.

The remaining spider also look bigger and darker than I remembered. Since he was still in the tub I picked up the towel and situated it in a better way. He took notice, went right to the towel, climbed up and over the edge, dropped to the floor and ran to a corner under the sink. I felt good about saving him.

As I left the bathroom I looked up to the daddy long legs in the high corner. He looked so small and thin in his web. I wondered if he got anything to eat.

When I entered the bathroom again I noticed another spider leg sitting on the counter directly under the spider on the ceiling. What! I looked at him. He changed. He was bigger and darker, much like the spider I saved from the tub. Oh my gosh. “It’s  you. You ate him and took over his web!”

I studied the leg again. I know it sounds really crazy but I think that’s what happened. I googled Daddy Long Legs to read that they do eat other spiders. I will add the pictures I took soon.

Hanging an Art Show

      My next art show will be hung soon at the Glacer Center. It features Endangered Animals. I wanted to bring some of them into the limelight so people will feel that what they do has consequence in endangering other animals and plants.

I worked for several years on the paintings and in the last couple of months I have been framing them. When I had a car I could drive to Good Will and find frames that I could use. Without a car I have been ordering them from Amazon. They are all framed and stacked behind the couch in the living room.

Each picture required a little explanation which I typed up on heavy paper and then cut into even squares to place under each picture. I ordered putty to use to mount these labels. It doesn’t tear the wall paint when one takes the labels off.

On Wednesday of this week a friend will pick up my paintings and me and drive us to the Glacer Center downtown. She’ll help me carry them in , decide where each one will be placed, and then do the process of hooking the wires and hanging the pictures. The last bit will be placing the labels. I am hoping it will go smoothly and we will be done in a couple hours.

The art reception will be on June 19 at 12:30 pm. I plan to have plates of shrimp, cheese and crackers, and vegetables and dip. I  will  provide some wine for those who like it. I may talk a bit about the show and answer questions. Here are three of the pictures to be shown. These are acrylic paintings.

Lemur
Panda

The Graphic Book

  I began a graphic diary a couple years ago. Drawing figures is challenging and I enjoy figuring out how the head tilts or how the hand looks from a certain angle. Proportion of the body is important to make the figures look real.

The purpose of the diary is to get all the story in one picture. I drew the lunches I had made for various groups of friends. I have pictures that I drew using colored pens and/or colored pencils of having my hair cut. Other times I draw what I’ve done with friends such as a hike.

At first I put the pictures in the same art book as the collages. Now I have a separate book for each. The diary has new art pages to use each time. The collages I put on old crossword puzzle books or I have found I can make them  without gluing them on a page. So I end up with a pile of collages.

Waiting at the bus stop.