Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Attention to Detail

I've always been a person who needed to put in detail. While an art student, I drew with ink and pen and did the most detailed drawings. Then my eyes began getting bad in my late 40's and drawing was a bit difficult.

But today isn't about drawing at all. Today is about gardening. Look at picture below and tell me if you think this isn't a natural-looking setting.


I worked on this yesterday, hauling in rocks, moving dirt, digging up the snow-on-the-mountain plants you see draped across the wood. One is a very large grape vine, below it is actually a piece of split-rail post (which I sawed by hand!). The rocks I've moved from an area I no longer use and this took a few loads because rocks are heavy.

I love when blossoms come on and I'd like to share a few with you today.

These are bluebells

This is a black variety of hollyhocks, which I've been enjoying for a few years.
Hollyhock are biannual

above are the pink and white hollyhock, and in front are the daylily "Stella de Oro"

Foreground is the brick which I put in myself a few years back. The white flowers along the edges are candytuft and alyssum. In background are the daylillies, and to the very right is wormwood, has a nice silvery-blue color which I love. 

And here is a garden visitor you absolutely want--a dragonfly.  We have a larger one with a white body that looks menacing (to mosquitoes), that comes through once in a while. 

I'll have more blossoms coming up soon. My Shasta daisies, and other things next time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Spring Blossoms Late

But better late than never, right?

Here is a beautiful Columbine, which I'd transplanted last year and it took off--and I guarded jealously from the deer! The second pic shows the hosta that came in beautifully too.


This small garden was developed last year, after my husband and I cut out a lot of debris/dead or unwanted trees and growth. I worked hard on this planting. I have several different plants, which will each have their own blooming season. The Iris popped out, and they were showing as well, but didn't take a picture of them.

However, the lupine did well in it's new spot.


This is under that water tower I mentioned in a previous blog, where I worked (again very hard to eradicate unwanted plants, soil, etc.) in order to put in plants I had waiting for the rain to stop and soil to dry out at least some.

Below, this doesn't look like much, but this is from a rose bush. I harvest 90% of my plants either from parent plants, seeds or division. This one went in next to one I transplanted last year. When it finally blossoms, I'll get a picture of it.

I'm a collector of many things, rocks, plants, and even moss. Above, you can see that moss does really well under a tree, and it's even coated a rock next to the little bowl where the birds drink, or take a bath. Taking up moss is easy, since it basically grows across the ground. It's so thick in places, and I love the different kinds I find either on our property or in the woods in the park.

And speaking of rocks... I have been working on this section, which is blasted by the sun, and I've worked hard on, but once the heat came in, I had to quit. However, I have been working on it and will have more pictures to show at a later date.


As we live smack dab in the middle of the forest preserve/wetlands we not only get deer, but other unusual birds or animals. Both Dennis and I have seen the turkey, and some other people have seen it too. Well, here is a picture of it in our backyard. Later on, we learned that people (birdwatchers) who had spotted it--the birdwatchers who come out here--were looking for it, and some woman who spoke to my husband who was ready to leave on his mower asked him whether he'd seen the turkey. Of course he didn't tell her that we had, or we'd have the bird-watching paprazzi pouncing on this place.
This is a female. I've never seen any male, so she's a bit lonely. But she definitely is camera shy, since she came up from the prairie behind the barn, and made her way casually across our lawn. I knew exactly where she was heading.

She's heading into my secret woods (Lorelei's Enchanted Forest), which we've had to protect from the other forest preserve workers who seem to be demented about chopping out trees and vegetation. My husband has had to warn them on several occasions that this area is off limits, they are not to touch it. The deer and, as you can see, large fowl, seek it for their piece of mind. No one can come barging in, as the tangle of grapevine, sticky berry bushes and a few well-placed gates prevent anyone from just wandering in from the park.

More later on in the season as things progress. I'm waiting on my blanket flowers and Shasta daisies to open up. I hope to prevent deer from taking interest in them as well. We've got a new brood of fawns--my husband saw 3 crossing the road from the field into our woods, which is their favorite place to rest and hide from people, only just this morning.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Jack The Ripper... Is the Case Really Closed?

I'm not sure why my curiosity pulls my interests to such macabre subjects, but the horrific crimes of Jack the Ripper have never been solved as to who actually was the Ripper.

Until now. Or, at least we're to believe.



I bought this book about a week ago and I've been reading it with avid curiosity and interest.
Patricia Cornwell is the author of the internationally acclaimed Dr. Kay Scarpetta crime series. In this book she has revealed who she feels is Jack the Ripper, using all her knowledge and spending $$ on bringing in other experts in various fields.

I have to admit she has done a wonderful job of eliminating all of the other possible people who were thought of as suspects. Either they weren't in the area at the time of certain murders, or, in the case of The Duke of Clarence, he was--well, to me sounds as though he was slightly mentally challenged.

These murders all happened in the most disgusting places in London, the "East End" where just about anything happened and did. Murder wasn't new to this area of Whitechapel, however, these murders were unheard of. They were horrific and disfiguring. It's as if a lunatic had struck these women of ill repute.

Cornwell contends that Jack the Ripper was an artist named Walter Sickert was behind these murders, and she puts for quite a theory. Other than the artwork, she points to various Ripper letters with more doodlings than you'd think would be, or should be on a Ripper letter. In solving the cases, there is very little to go on. However, I'll say the jury is out on this for me. I have yet to finish the book, and for other reasons I'm not going to say I agree or disagree with her finger pointing at an artist. Much of the evidence could point to him, since he kept a lot of "secret" rooms, and he disappeared for long periods, where no one knew where he was. Not even his wife, or friends.

Let's examine the art

Cornwell points to the art of Sickert to make the suggestion that these paintings are oddly similar to the murdered victims. Just for the record, Sickert was quite an impressionist. Bold colors and lines are part of the impressionist's form. Below is just one of many paintings he did. He was quite good, for impressionism--not exactly my cup of tea, but then again each his own. As an artist I can understand it better than Cornwell, who began writing as a reporter, then worked in a Chief Medical Examiner's office of Virginia and then published "Postmortem" and the rest is history, as they say.

Walter Sickert’s painting Sickert’s Nuit d’ete – or Summer Night – evokes victim Mary Kelly’s death bed scene


The above is a strange angle for the pose. But possibly that was the artist being quirky. But do note that around the neck there is a string of pearls. Is it merely a string of pearls? Or does it hide the slash at the neck? This is The Ripper's "ha-ha", taunting, states Cornwell. Cornwell has explained the Ripper cut the throats of his victims from behind, first, in order to kill them, and to keep from getting blood all over himself. Then he went to town on other parts of the body. Police records have shown that he would disembowel the woman, and take a souvenir--usually her uterus.

She has learned that Sickert also suffered from some sort of deformity of his penis (you'd have to read about this for yourself), which may have given him pretty much grist for the mill, so to speak.

Sickert’s painting Putana a Casa shows a prostitute with bizarre black brush strokes on her face, which are eerily similar to the savage cuts on the postmortem picture of Catherine Eddowes’ face

The above painting, Cornwell claims she finds the black slashes on this woman's face somewhat disturbingly not unlike those slashes to a Ripper victim named Catherine Eddows. I've seen the pictures of both this one and the victim in the book. Above I only see the artist using black as the shadow. Very dramatic, and somewhat dreary. I'm not seeing what she's seeing.

More if you have interest in this:

Here is an article from The Sun about Cornwell's investigation into these murders. WARNING about some of the photos--there's one that particularly gruesome. Plus there's a video--not gruesome, but interesting as well.

There is another interesting article and this is for her newest writing about her investigations into Sickert (hah, what an appropriate name for a sick murderer such as the Ripper). This is called "A New Ripper Mystery: Why Patricia Cornwell won't stop hunting him"

I'm not quite finished with this book, "Portrait of a Killer", which was written in 2002. I must say she does a very thorough job of giving you the facts, and gives a good description of London and the times during 1888. The police, of course, were baffled, and she points out that forensic and crime labs and so forth were not even a dream. They were only just getting to fingerprints at the time. But this guy was clever, he knew how not to get caught.

As for me, I'm only partially convinced by some of the things she's brought up. I hope to get my hands on her second book, which was published this year. There was also one called "Chasing the Ripper" prior to all these.



Product DetailsRipper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert [Kindle in Motion] by [Cornwell, Patricia]

So, if this is of any interest to you, go for it. Like I've said, I just have a morbid curiosity. My murder mysteries will always have something to do with murder. I just won't put the gruesome parts on the page.

One of my books, Trill, did deal with a mother and son psychopath team, and I nearly forget about this, until this morning when it came up in my editing the 7th book in the series, Interlude.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Because I Can

Hi, all. Well, I've begun my second week off from work for the summer. Feels like longer, somehow. Maybe because I've gotten a lot done. I worked on the garden, and hard to believe it was 80's last week and we put in the window air conditioner, but had to take it out again as it got cold. We had highs in 40's last 2 days!

Since the weather turned bad, I turned to my novel(s), and got the sixth one in Sabrina Strong series finished! (Yay), and because this one has such a cliff-hanger, every time I finish it, I have to read on to the next one, and I do believe others who are fans of the series will HAVE to have the next one. So, I'm going to try and get the 7th one done this year as well, because I think it will be a one-two punch in sales. I don't see any reason I shouldn't get it ready for my publisher now, rather than waiting. Wait for what?

I've got so many interests, gardening and writing are just two. The garden is an extension of my need to be with nature. Maybe because I'm a Virgo? That's an Earth sign. But my writing is that creative side where my fantasies and intellect are both explored and allowed to become something I can visualize--if only on paper.

I'm not one of those people who sits at their computer or I-phone and go on-line to try and drum up sales at facebook sites. I find that to be a waste of time. I don't know how those people [who do] get anything done in a day. I mean is this gadget in their hands all the time? I've got a house to clean a husband to feed, and a dozen other little things that need my attentions throughout the day. [I had to stop here and take care of laundry, breakfast and dishes] Not only that I find the use of gadgets somewhat annoying. People aren't communicating with their mouths any more. They expect you to text them. I told Dennis, when we heard that his sister's children won't call her and expected her to text them, instead, I'd never put up with that. They don't want to speak to me, then fine (a good thing I have no children). I see it on the NIU campus all day long. When someone makes that phone so important to them that they can't look up and see a 12 ton bus coming at them, and I have to step on the breaks, that's really ridiculous.

So. No. I refuse to be part of this technology era. I'm not bending and if my sales suffer, so be it. I'd rather enjoy life to the fullest on this planet filled with animals and birds, flowers and such.

One of many toads that live in my gardens, eating bugs
You never know what you might find if you just open your eyes!
Deer that come grazing through our yard. If you aren't looking out the window while they're here, you'll miss them!
Well, that's all for now. Hope you remember to look out at the birds or flowers today. Just sit outside and enjoy nature in a park or if you have a nice backyard. Try to just not be on your devices for five minutes you might be surprised what you hear or see!