Monday, August 31, 2009

August--A Bitter-sweet Month

I'm feeling melancholy as August comes to an end. This was a month full of family, moves, transitions and adjustments. The month was also full of highs and lows.

The painful decision was finally made to move my mother to a facility with full-time care. She had lived in her own condominium here in Eugene since my father died. She had a wonderful 18 years on her own, but her memory slowly decreased until she was unable to make decisions for herself. In February after a serious fall (nothing broke, thank goodness) we started in-home care about 20 hours a day. That worked for a time, but when her knees got to be so painful going upstairs to bed was torturous, we knew we had to find her a living situation on one floor.

The three sisters, myself included, were so fearful she would resist, be angry, be unhappy for the rest of her life. To our amazement and great relief, she accepted her new situation almost immediately. She was able to take her cat, Trouble, with her, and is surrounded by family pictures and her own furniture. After 3 days, she told me she hadn't been to her condo for a long, long time and couldn't think of anything she needed from there. She enjoys activities that are offered, and watches out for her housemates. As a friend said to me as we considered the move, Mother has potential now. When she was in her condominium, her potential was close to zero. Nothing new happened, and she was always going to be the one cared for. Now her world has expanded.

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I know many of you have been in similar situations with your parents. I appreciate everyone I talked to, and my sisters as we came to a consensus. This was a rough patch that turned out for the best for everyone.

Another move in my family was for my daughter Meg and granddaughter Angelica. Meg had been part of my mom's home care team, so she began looking for other employment. Eugene/Springfield has one of the highest unemployment rates of the country, so she decided to move North, close to our other daughter Rachel and her family. Although the move makes sense and she and Angelica look forward to new and exciting possibilities, it is a bit sad for Mike and me. For most of Angelica's seven years they have lived no further than 40 minutes from us, so we've been very spoiled seeing Meg and Angelica very frequently. One positive note is that we'll be able to see and visit with both daughters, son-in-law and three grand kids when we make the 3 hour trip north.

Here is a little photo essay of how I spent much of my summer with two darling little girls...

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husking corn and feeding the husks to the horses...

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swimming at the reservoir on a hot day...

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creating art in the backyard...

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dangling a stick in the back pond...

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And swinging time after time on the best rope swing in the world, flying over the the front pond.

So you can probably imagine why tears welled up in my eyes as daughter and two granddaughters drove out the driveway for the last time this summer. There will be other visits, other summers, but, boy, this was a sweet one!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spontaneous Camping Trip

One of the great things about rural living is that we can decide to spend the night on a mountain ridge at 3:00 pm, pull out of the drivewaty at 4:30 pm, set up a camp before dinnertime...

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all we need is a wide spot in the middle of a dirt road.

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Ah, the main reason for the adventure, sunset on the Three Sisters.

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And because we are on a ridge, we can see the glow on the mountains in front of us while the sun sets behind us. Here Mike and I are with our visiting granddaugher, Angelica.

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This morning we had a soft haze across the landscape as the sun rose.

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We are on top of the world.

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I love that Angelica is learning to appreciate nature.

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She also likes to take self-portraits.

On our way home we came across this gismo.

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heck is it??

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I took one last shot of the mountains graced with fireweed in the forground before we traveled down through the forest to home.

All this happened in less than 24 hours.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh Joyce, You Scammer

I recently had a brush with a scam. I'm posting all the information I can to help others out there be alert and cautious. Who would think that a small art website could attract the attention of scammers? But it did.

The emails from "Joyce" are direct copies. My replies are intended to entertain while letting you readers in on my thoughts every time I got a new email

May 29, 2009

Hope this message finds you well. I saw these creatives works on your web site and i will like you to get back with more details if they are still available for purchase.

Smoking dawn and Banana Shack

I will appreciate an urgent reply.

Best Regards,

Dear Joyce,

How did you find my website. I'm very flattered that you have found two paintings out of the millions out the web to inquire about. So if you are a scammer, you have at least taken the time to look at the website and name a couple of paintings.

By the way, English must be your second language, as you are make some leetle mistakes. Where are you from?

And why so urgent?

To get to your inquiry, both paintings have been retrieved from a large stack and are available to purchase.

Aloha, Margaret

May 31, 2009

Thanks so much for your response to my query about those creative works. I will like to proceed with the purchase of both pieces . I think they are lovely works. Can you get back with the price and size of the pieces so i can know how best to proceed.

I will look forward to hearing from you soon .


Oh Joyce,

How sweet that you have looked up "aloha" and ended with the Hawaiian word for thank you, however "Mahola" is misspelled. It must be that English as a second language thing again.

And yes, the prices are blah-blah-blah, and sizes blah-blah-blah.

June 2, 2009

Good to hear back from you. Yes,i will like to proceed with the purchase of both artworks. I think they are lovely work sthat will add alot of colours to our new wall and i hope to give them a good home. Advise if it is possible to give any discount for the purchase of both pieces.

I am presently away in London for my twin sister's wedding even though it comes at a time when i was preparing for a big move and also expecting a baby but it means so much to her. I should be back in few days.

Meanwhile,i will like you to forward your mailing address and phone number so i can inform my husband still shutling between our home in New Jersey and Jo'burg, SA on where to forward the payment . He has just been transfer to head the IT section of their head Office in Jo'burg.

I can also forward your contact info to the local cartage company that will be moving all our house decors so they can get in touch with you to arrange shipping details. They can arrange pick up FedEx pick up of the artworks from your studio.

I will look forward to hearing from you so i can know how best to proceed. Cheers.

Best Regards,

Wow Joyce,

You are some very important and interesting person. How wonderful to be married to a corporate big-wig, have a twin and be pregnant. To top it off, you are in London at a wedding! You are trusting me with so many details about your life.

Does your IT husband think it is a bit odd that you want to ship 2 paintings from Oregon to South Africa? I mean, you'd think he'd have a practical side saying, "Joyce, don't you think we can find some nice art in Jo'burg?"

Hope you have a wonderful time at your sister's wedding.

By the way, you can pay via PayPal or certified check.

July 15, 2009

Hope this message finds you well. I am very sorry that i have been unable to get in touch with you for some days now. I was hospitalised in London immediately after my twin sister's wedding. I almost had miscarriage but thank God,i am now feeling better and can't wait to have my baby and settle down.

I am not sure if my husband has been able to forward the payment to your address. I will check with him and get back to you later today or tomorrow. Anyway, i have forwarded your contact info to the Moving agency that will be handling the shipment of all our house decors. They promise to get in touch with you asap. Try and arrange the shipping details with them. I will also like an update from you as soon as you hear from the movers.

Meanwhile, i am having some kind of problem with my other email account. You can get back via this email and i will look forward to hearing from you soon as you receive this email so i can be sure we are on the same page. Thanks for your patient.

Best Regards,

My goodness Joyce, I haven't heard from you in over a month. I am so sorry to hear about your illness, near miscarriage, and problems with your email account.

I have now created a reasonable backstory for you Joyce. I believe you are a mail order bride from Russia. That means your sister must be also. So that explains your language issues and also some of the details of this transaction are not what I would do. But if your "home decors" must be handled by a "moving agency", so be it.

We are indeed on the same page...what page is that?

July 24, 2009
Hi Margaret,

Hope this message finds you well and thanks for all your patient and concern. My husband said the payment was sent this morning so i will get back later today with the tracking number.

Meanwhile, i have forwarded your contact info to the Moving agency that will be handling the shipment of all our house decors. They promise to get in touch with you asap. Try and arrange the shipping details with them. I will like an update from you as soon as you hear from the movers.

Try and acknowledge that you get this email. Cheers.


Things are moving right along, aren't they? I'll let you know as soon as I hear from the movers.

July 25, 2009
Good day,

I have received communication from Mrs. Joyce Gillian that we should work with you to ship some artworks with her other house decors to her new house in Johannesburg, South Africa when you two are through with the transaction,as she advise.

I will like you to give me the kind and nature of the things she want to ship.I will like to have your studio address aswell,so i can make arrangement with any nearby Agent that will be coming for the pick up once you and Mrs. Gillian are through with the transactions. Thanks.

I will appreciate your earlier reply .

James Carter.
For: Expressmover.
The atlantic House.
48 Caledonian Road,
Kings's Cross.
London D 4 7 BT
Agent No..206-338--3153

Well, Jeff--my studio is in my barn. Do you think you'd like to drop by from London to pick up those two paintings? Let me know when to expect you.

I'll give you props for giving me a legitimate address, although I can't google your company name.

July 25, 2009
Hi Margaret,

Hope this message finds you well. Thanks so much for your concern and patient regarding the whole transaction. It has been a very difficult time with alot of things on the plate.

Anyway , i will like to inform you that the payment has been sent to you by my husband and he was advise that you will receive it on Monday. It was sent via UPS and the tracking number is 1ZAY7253NT95696688 .

I will also call you later today for more details .

Meanwhile,i will like you to have our both addresses ,you can add it in your mailing list. I will like to hear about your future works and art shows. Our address in the states is...

269 Park Ave, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

While our new address in SA is....

BLK 30AB10,
Nelson Mandela Way,
807LA,South Africa.

Try and get back as soon as you see this email . Cheers.

Best Regards,

PS. Have you heard from the movers ?

Joyce, I googled your lovely home in N.J. and found there is really a home for sale at that address. Also the tracking number is for real so I will get a package in the next day or two.

How nice that you want to keep up with my art work.

Could I be wrong about you?

On July 27, 2009 UPS delivered a check to me for $4000, about $3000 more than I'd asked for the paintings. It was a check from Lowe's Inc. issued by a bank in South Carolina.

Joyce--I received a check.

July 28, 2009

Good to hear you have received the payment for the paintings. Thanks
for your update. I am very excited and can't wait to have artworks on
our wall.

Regarding the payment,Jeff sent your payment with that of the moving
agent that will be handling the shipment of all our house decors (
the paintings inclusive ) because he didn't have full details of the
transaction since i was sick when he sent the payment.

Therefore,i will like you to get the ball rolling, I will like you to
go and cash the payment, remove the asking price for the pieces and
forward the leftover to the movers so we can be able to conclude the
transaction on time.

I was able to get in touch with the movers immediately i saw your
email and i was informed that they are presently on shipping tour and
will like to come for the pick up as soon as possible. He promise to
get in touch with you later today.

Meanwhile, i will like you to keep me posted as soon as possible on
the progress of everything. Thanks.

Best Regards,

PS..Try and confirm your phone number so i can call you asap. (
541-912-3400 )

Oh Joyce! You sent me too much money. I mean the check really looked good, and I could have been silly enough to cash it, and I might have been crazy enough to write a check for the difference. But Joyce, I ain't no dumb bunny!
This is just like all the scams I've read about. And guess what? When I called the bank in S.C. they said the account did not exist.

By the way, what the heck is the "shipping tour" that your movers are currently on!

July 29, 2009

I tried the phone number you gave me throughout yesterday but the number is not working. Try and get back asap. Have you heard from the movers?

I will look forward to hearing from you soon.


Dear Joyce,

My friend, when I contacted the Oregon State Attorney General this morning, he advised me to have no further contact with you. He asked that I mail him all the evidence--check and UPS package. I also sent him copies of your emails.

Sorry to end our correspondence like this. Did you hear from the Attorney General?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

People's Choice Award

Last Friday I found out that "Proud Lady" won the People's Choice Award at the Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House art exhibit. Since the show opened June 1, 2009, visitors had been given ballots to choose their favorite piece of art. I'm very happy about it.

Further exposure came to the painting as it was the one painting featured on Lane Arts Council's First Friday Art Walk flyer.


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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Been Rafting

Yes, I've been floating below the radar for a week. It was a lovely trip down the Rogue River. And don't let the photo fool you, I only row short sections of the river when it's very flat water.

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The scenery is so beautiful...

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But the river can be dangerous. Here is a small inflatable kayak wrapped around a rock.

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After a morning and lunch on the river, we enjoy a long afternoon of relaxing...

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And perhaps painting.

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We saw a lot of wildlife including birds that posed for us. Here's a cormerant drying out.

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And a great blue heron.

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Here our rafting group at Zane Grey's cabin, one of the historical sites on the river.

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Now we're back home. Stay tuned for more life and art tidbits.