Came into View

On January 9 my husband and I went to Allentown, PA, to pick up unsold artwork from the Baum School of Art’s holiday show. The school is located in the middle of downtown across the street from the Allentown Art Museum. Both of these places are very familiar to us from years of visiting Allentown.

The city is undergoing a lot of change right now. After declines in industry and manufacturing and a period of drift, the city is renewing itself in a lot of different ways. Its location is advantageous, it has a significant population, there are several colleges in the city, and it borders Bethlehem, PA, another Lehigh Valley city reinventing itself.

Downtown Allentown was further changed by the construction of the PPL Center, home to a minor league hockey team and an Arena football team – not to mention lots of special events. New restaurants and hotels have followed as well as residential apartment construction.

I’m glad to see it. I like Allentown a lot and the city has been good to me as far as my art career. That’s another area undergoing growth – Third Thursday art evenings and plenty of events at the museum, the school, and other art venues in town.

Anyway, driving in, we noticed a building coming down to clear a site for new construction along Hamilton Street.

Once we were finished with our errand we walked a few blocks to take a closer look. I can’t resist watching a building in its demolition process. Here are some pictures.

Here’s part of the building still standing – Hamilton Street facade.

From the side looking toward Hamilton.

Side view. Now it gets interesting. Look at that staircase ghost – think how high the ceilings were in this building.

The handrail is still in place. Somehow that touched my heart. I was thinking of how many hands had slid along the metal in all the years of the building’s life.

My husband directed my attention to the back of the building. The former bathrooms, to be specific. There they are, stacked on above the other.

Now that’s interesting to think about, isn’t it? All this time these rooms were one above the other, completely separated and never to be seen in comparison with each other.

Now I really felt for the building. Bathrooms, well, they are private spaces and now, here they are, front and center.

I don’t know what’s going on this site – it’s being cleared all the way back to the next block. I’ll keep my eye on it.

On the way out of town, we passed West Park, where I have done so many years of Art in the Park. Looks very different from the scene in June, when we are there.

January, 2018.


June, 2017.

A nice trip and I’m looking forward to the next time we are there.


Getting the Hurt Leg Fixed, Epilogue

To remind you, this story started on Christmas, 2016, when my husband fell down the stairs and completely severed his left quadriceps tendon. This serious injury cannot heal by itself and required surgery, done on January 6, 2017. He went home in a brace, unable to bend his leg for weeks or even touch it to the floor. He required assistance with every detail of living, and so I was fully occupied for months. Remember this scene from Chapter One – in the hospital awaiting surgery?


January 6, 2017.

You can read the previous post in the Hurt Leg series, which will lead you to the earlier ones – but I’m writing a tiny update here. Really, the story will never be finished; an injury like this one leaves behind complications and changes that do heal, but physically and mentally, a scar remains.

But this is the Epilogue, so let me get on with epilogue-ing. We decided to revisit the hospital on Christmas Day 2017, walking in under our own power, to eat lunch in the hospital cafeteria. One year earlier, we did the same before we left for home to start the long healing journey. I particularly remember this occasion as a near meltdown for me as I tried to push my husband in a wheelchair while carrying two plates with grilled cheese sandwiches on them.

A cafeteria employee helped us out last year, getting us to a table. This year we did it on our own. We chose grilled cheese sandwiches again to commemorate the earlier meal.

This section of the cafeteria where we chose to sit is new – I guess they reclaimed space from another section of the building, because it was not here last year. We amused ourselves by watching cars coming into the garage outside the window – see that yellow bar at the entrance? You’d be surprised how many cars barely fit under it, or, in one case, have to back out, confusing a line of cars behind it.

But they all cooperated and got it worked out in the end.

Let me tell you, it was a great feeling to be leaving the hospital in good health and needing no repairs. I’m glad we made this little trip – it seemed fitting to mark the anniversary of what for us was a life-changing event.

Christmas evening we attended a party at the home of our friends and neighbors, John and David. We helped set up the luminaries along the driveway for them earlier in the afternoon. How nice to be able to accomplish that task with knees that work well!

We are thankful for everyone who helped us in the last year and for all our good friends. Here is to 2018, here is to our own lights shining, and here is to being illuminated by the lights of the others in our lives.

I Continue to Practice Handwriting

You may remember my no-longer-secret ambition to improve my handwriting.

Here are a few recent samples – these from June:

and August:

I’ve got some thoughts on handwriting and what this quest has meant to me. But first, I’ll show you some of my tools.

I have learned a bit about pens and inks, enough to realize there is a whole world of handwriting that has been hidden from me until now. I now peruse pen and ink sites and read books on handwriting, not just how to do it, but also on the history of it. My tiny ambition has opened a whole new subject to me.

In my corner of the handwriting world, I have settled on medium nib fountain pens and rollerball pens as my favorites. Fine nibs and points scratch and drag at the paper for me. I like a nice thick flow of ink. Here is my current set of friends.

Top to bottom: Pilot V-ball 7 rollerball; Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, medium; 2 different Lamy Safari fountain pens, both medium nib; a new pen I haven’t tried yet as I just received it in the mail today, the Pilot MultiBall rollerball medium; and the Platinum Preppy fountain pen medium.

I also am very fond of one of the cheapest pens around, too – Bic Cristal is my everyday go-to pen.

You may wonder about those pages of handwriting. I have developed a habit of practicing handwriting while watching television at night – I take notes on the show I am “watching” (when I’m not working a crossword puzzle or reading. You can see why I say “watching”.)

Anyway, I started the practice for…practice. But I have found handwriting to be a soothing meditative activity. I take my time and work to form the letters in a nice manner rather than in my hasty scrawl of the past. Writing has become a pleasant activity in of itself, not just something I have to do to get my thoughts on paper. I love seeing lines of nicely formed letters and words emerge and I love using a good pen full of quality ink.

Here is my ink filling station. I keep my inks on a shelf in the cabinet in the dining room.

And here are the ones I am using now. I can recommend all three of these inks. Beautiful colors and thick, intense color. That is what I like.

I am glad that at this later stage of life (I learned cursive handwriting in 1966) I can learn something new, I can improve a habit I was not happy with, and I can still stumble into an unknown world and find excitement in exploring it.

Handwriting is art to me now. I use it in my art, literally; I find inspirations in my handwriting practice for my poetry-writing; I enjoy the look of a nicely-written grocery list. I’m glad I took the step to try this handwriting thing out again.

I said okay.

When you work for a bank, and you are presenting a loan to your boss for approval, stop talking when the pen goes to the paper and scrawls out a signature. Just stop. There is no need to say a word more.

twenty years

As they say, a lot can happen in twenty years.

the insubstantial

It is what holds the pieces of your life together.

Getting the Hurt Leg Fixed, Chapter 10

On June 7, we visited the surgeon. It was time for a checkup on my husband’s left knee.

To remind you, this story started on Christmas, 2016, when he fell down the stairs and completely severed his left quadriceps tendon. This serious injury cannot heal by itself and required surgery, done on January 6, 2017. He went home in a brace, unable to bend his leg for weeks or even touch it to the floor. He required assistance with every detail of living, and so I was fully occupied for months. Remember this scene from Chapter One – in the hospital awaiting surgery?


January 6, 2017.


As he healed, things got easier – first he could touch his foot to the floor, put weight on it, bend his leg in the brace, walk without crutches, and finally say goodbye to the brace itself. He has faithfully attended physical therapy and regained full flexibility in the knee.

Other changes have come about. This experience forced us to think about how we manage daily life, and some changes were made. For one thing, my husband moved his office to a suburban location for a variety of reasons, one being that it made his schedule easier for PT, but also added to our quality of life by making work more accessible and convenient. He also was able to work from home during his recovery and found that it could be done with good results. These changes are permanent and I like the new schedule – we have more time together. That means a lot to me.

We also were reminded how much we value being able to run, to hike, to take walks, to exercise. The recovery process for his knee will take about a year. Though it has healed now, it is weakened, as is the right leg, and it will take another six months or so for that strength to come back, as much as it will. Still, my husband last week ran about 100 yards on the track at the high school – a milestone. We do not know the final outcome, but we do know that with this doctor visit, we are ending one phase and beginning the next one.

But I’ve gotten ahead of the story. The doctor was pleased with the knee’s status. He said, “I could torture you with asking for another visit in three months, but I don’t think you need it.” We were very happy to agree and left the medical office building for the last time. I had a bit of superstitious worry about making such a statement, but I have decided to be firm with the fates and let them know we’ll do our part if they will do theirs!

So, take a look, as we wave goodbye. And end the story of the hurt leg here, with our characters driving off in the car toward home.

Doctor's office 6-7-17 small

a little more tired, a little more

To this I say, sit down, and take a load off your feet.

he did

It’s time for some more advice from the little artist trading cards. You can look forward to a few bits of…something… coming along here, in bits and pieces, here and there, now and again…

noticed it

noticed it

noticed it

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