Thursday, April 25, 2024

My Sketching Project

 Every Christmas, my family has a fabulous Yankee Swap--all of us, four kids and four adults, with a pile of wrapped presents to chose from,  all on the coffee table. This year, I ended up with a Drawing Journal that provides a daily drawing prompt. There are 365 prompts in all, and I'm committed to doing all of them.

This one requested something reflecting Japanese architecture. I do all this free hand, and there's clearly room for improvement, but I'm coming along. It feels really good to have a year-long challenge where I'll learn and improve. I'm thinking I may give the final journal to my Jessica next Christmas. She may or may not appreciate it, but in my mind, I fantasize that maybe the great grandchildren I may never know might look at my doodles and get a kick out of them.

A musician friend once told me that almost all new music is pirated aka "borrowed" from what already exists. There are only so many combinations of notes. I wonder if art is kind of the same. Almost always, I'm googling examples of what the daily prompts require--draw a landscape looking down, sketch a storefront, create different hair styles, etc etc. And almost always, I sketch from a copy of what I find on the internet. I know many artists who paint from photographs, which is pretty much what I'm doing. I put my own spin on it, but for sure this scene already exists.  

I should add that as of today, I'm already 21 days behind. That's fine, because my Turtle Therapy way of doing things says that I won't let something I love become a chore. So I'm taking my time doodling. I'll finish by the end of the year, but at my own pace!

Love kj

Thursday, April 04, 2024


We didn't expect our new light fixture to cast a magical shadow on the ceiling. In the dark of night, it feels like Disneyland. 

JB and I are redecorating. New living room chairs, new rug, new dining room set. It seems that we do this every decade or so, and we have the slowest and best time making decisions and trying to pull together a cohesive presentation. We finally chose chairs, to be delivered soon, and we're pulling back our old dining table from JB studio to create a rustic-coastal look, whatever that is!

People say our space is cozy and comfortable. That's exactly the look I want. That's exactly how I want to view my life. I'm old enough to know that's not always possible, but when I get a run of easy living, I'll grab it with gratitude.

Which is where I am now, two years after two years of challenges and family hospice (not us) and weekly long distance travel and orthopedic hassles (me.) But finally, life is settling down. I'm writing and drawing and planning a garden. My family is wonderful. JB is having a hip replacement next week, but we're confident it will go well. Spring and summer await on Cape Cod. 

I should add that the climate is giving the inhabitants of Earth a frighteningly rough time, and it's our fault for ignoring the signs and warnings. The wind howled here all last night and there are concerns for coastal flooding. The earth is justifiably furious. Will we learn? Is there time to correct this?

I should also add that the political climate in the USA and worldwide is also dangerous. I couldn't ignore that even if I wanted to. But today, I'm just glad my daily life has settled down. So I'm leaving it at that. 

love kj


Sunday, March 24, 2024

Emily Rabbit & Easter

 Well! Here I am on almost Bunny Day, which kj said I shouldn’t say, because she said Easter is about something very serious, and religious even, but  I can't help it. All I can think about are:

  1. Solid Chocolate eggs
  2. Carrots dipped in chocolate
  3. One giant chocolate rabbit wearing overalls and a pink hat with a flower
  4. Mutilcolored Jellybeans
  5. Marshmellow chickens
  6. Grape lollipops


I hope if you celebrate Easter that you are thinking like I am, and not ignoring the benefit of M&M's and Cadbury cream eggs and Reeces peanut butter cups, if you want be nice to yourself or to somebody who would smile if you gave them one. 

If you don't like sweets (that is very sad), you could dig up a plant in someone’s yard and maybe put it in your own pot and maybe even give the plant to someone nice or someone you want to be nice.


I really cannot concentrate on anything right now except candy and jellies and lollipops. I hope you are smart enough to know what your priorities are like I do so you will not waste your time  worrying or working too hard.

Happy Easter from Emily R.

Friday, March 08, 2024

 I'm still doodling. This is my view from the couch. For some reason, my favorite views are through windows or doorways or secret passages. I recently read a book about past lives, and that often gets me thinking about how thin the line is between here and there. I wonder if there's a reason why I've always  liked looking through and beyond. Heck, I wonder if there's a reason why it's so much easier for me to be sedentary than it is for me to hike or walk in the woods or exercise just because. 

My knee rehab requires that I take walks and complete a set of exercises daily. Sometimes I don't, but usually I do. But rarely with enthusiasm! My good friends across the street are out at 6:30 am, in the rain, slugging through the sand dunes here in Provincetown. Their dog Basil is the lucky recipient of amazing free runs, chasing after seals (and always failing, thankfully) and running up and down sandy hills. Our poor Mattie, on the other hand, sits on the couch with me, as patiently as she can muster, until JB scoops her up for their daily walk. Soon, JB will have a hip replacement and I will be (have to be) mobile enough on my own to take over the walks. This is not something to complain about: Provincetown is a gorgeous spit of land, surrounding by the bay and ocean. The bay and beach is barely a block away from our home, and the sky and sunsets and low tides, with all its ripples, is magnificent.

These days my passion is back for writing, and I'm s-l-o-w-l-y learning techniques to improve my drawings. This is all couch work, which doesn't help my activity level, but does give me a cozy sense of contentment.

The last days have been an auspicious week, at least I think so. For the first time in TWO YEARS, my days have felt 'normal.'No crisises, no one to worry about, no long traveling, no challenges. My god mother Marie fell at home two years ago, and then my cousin Maureen got her terminal diagnosis, and from there JB and I have had our hands full. But now, it looks like we may have really, truly turned the corner. 

It's March, the days are longer and warmer, and my miniature irises have broken through the ground. My daughter Jess and my grandkids and my friends and family are well. Along with JB, I'm soon to be rewarded with a mini-vacation at a fancy hotel. A heated pool. A massage. Four star food. 

No complaints. Not today. I wish the same for you xoxo

love kj

Monday, February 26, 2024


 This winter I've been editing three books, thinking about another, and dabbling in drawing. Since it's just about the end of February here on Cape Cod, I'm also thinking about our small garden and when and what to plant. These are all things I love to do. 

The writing and editing is the hardest. And the VERY hardest is querying agents and publishers to see if they (one!) may be interested in my submission. The query is as important as the manuscript itself. It has to be impactful, well written, and concise. It has to be a page or less. It's a discouraging project, and the odds of being 'picked up' are tiny. But, I'm determined to test the market. If that doesn't work, I'll again self-publish, and that's okay too.

This drawing reflects the mountain village in Italy where my grandfather was born and raised. I've had various feedback about what to do with the foliage and shrubs. Some folks like it as is; others, including me, think it blobs of green are too flat and blah. This drawing is on page 32 of a book that gives me a creative prompt for all 365 days of the year. I'm psyched to complete it! It will be a surprise Christmas present for my daughter, Jessica.

Sometimes I'm not sure I'm spending my time wisely. These are all activities I enjoy, a lot, and why I judge whether or not they're worthwhile is beyond me....

love kj

Friday, February 02, 2024


 I've breezed through summer, and fall, and Christmas, punctuated by the challenging homecare and sad death of my 106 year old Godmother Marie, and a new knee operation that's had too many complications. I haven't written a new word until this week, and hopefully, finally, I'm back!  

I have a novel to edit and query, a poetry book to promote, a revised version of The Light Stays On to land somewhere, and all kinds of new ideas to ponder and write about. That's one important thing about writing: there's no need for boredom. I can always write. 

This year, probably because I've been on the couch and in physical therapy rehabilitating my knee, I've also started drawing and painting. I have this book called Draw & Create 365 that instructs me to create something every day in 2024, and I'm having a grand time doing that so far.

I chose this image today because the USA and the world is such a mess.  It's a challenge to be optimistic in this time, but it's important to hope for and work for kindness, hope, community. Almost every single person I know is a good human being: that has to count,.

I yet again apologize for being absent on my blog for so long. I'm still determined to do better!

With love, kj


Friday, May 19, 2023

Thoughts on Taylor Swift

 I’m definitely not an average fan. I ‘discovered’ Taylor Swift and her music not even a year ago, and besides that, I’m seventy-five. You won’t find me climbing up to Section H, Row 32 in any stadium. But I’m a writer, I love words that rhyme, and I like music. I’m also a counselor who senses that Taylor Swift is a nice person. At this point, I still don’t know which of her song titles go with which of her songs, but I’m learning. Her talent is amazing. It’s obvious that her sexy moves and glittered leotards are just window dressing for her incredible, multiple talents. Her song writing, her story telling, her catchy musicality, her stage presence, her physical movements, her connection with her fans—each of these are skill sets, and they’re extraordinary.

        That Taylor Swift is thirty-three years old with a seventeen year career is an incredible achievement. That she is filling 70,000 person stadiums night after night, presenting a forty-five song, three hour concert, on stage constantly moving and emoting and singing, without a break, is ground-breaking enough. The reviews I read and the video clips I see have catapulted her fifty-two city Eras Tour into a generational once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Taylor Swift has released over two hundred songs and her legion of fans know the sing-along words to all of them. 

            I should add that her phrases and images are also extraordinary: ‘They told me all my cages were mental/So I got wasted like all my potential…,’ ‘They say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new hell every time you double cross my mind…,From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes…,’You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath…,’ ‘You call me again just to break me like a promise…,’And if I get burned, at least we were electrified…”Cuz there were pages turned with the bridges burned, Everything you lose is a step you take…’


            These are words from an observer and a participant in life; from someone who knows how to frame and share images that we all understand.


 The Eras tour began with Taylor Swift snugly in her almost seven year relationship with Joe Alwyn, or so it seemed. For all that time, this couple kept their private life and relationship private, a remarkable feat for the performer of the Century (Century, not decade.) The breakup, announced on the opening night of her filled stadium in Tampa, was a shock to Taylor’s fans, who were quickly concerned about how she was doing. With a thumbs up from the stage, she made it clear she’s doing fine. Word has it that 'Taylor and Joe' actually decide to move on in February, and she’s looking forward to being more open in her personal life and relationships. She’s confirmed this so far by hanging out publicly with friends in New York City, more than once, and, as of two weeks ago, enter the rocker, Matty Healy.

            I don’t know any diehard Taylor Swift fans to check with, so I only have my own opinion, but only three months after ending a seven year partnership, and dealing with all the emotional feelings and fallout in leaving someone you truly loved, and jumping quickly into another relationship, isn’t usually the healthiest or smartest thing to do. Surely Taylor Swift knows this, because she’s smart and introspective and observational. Yes? So, what’s going on?

            Certainly, I have no idea. I have no agency into the private life of Taylor Swift. But do I think there’s some cause for concern? I’d say yes to that. It doesn’t help that the press and paparazzi are all over the Taylor-Matty story. There’s good evidence that she’s keeping herself pretty busy. That’s often a good coping tool to get through a break up. But also, major life changes need time to percolate. Even when a breakup is mutual or expected or healthy, all kinds of feelings come with it: attachment/abandonment issues, loss, old wounds, triggering  memories, outdated beliefs, old and new fears. A sudden jump into ‘dating’ again, and especially intimate dating, doesn’t allow time to process all this, and a guy who by all reports has been a ‘bad boy,’ who’s publicly made racist and homophobic statements, seems, well, a surprising choice. My guess is many (most?) of Taylor’s fans expected (hoped?) to witness a strong, amazingly talented woman rebuild her life as now-single and independent, with determined courage to move forward, on her own. 

            It’s so presumptuous of me to question the decisions of a woman I have never met, and whose relationships I know nothing about. So why am I writing this? Honestly, probably because, for what it’s worth, I have (unsolicited!) advice. I’m holding up a flashing yellow slow-it-down light. It’s my experience talking, just in case.  Don’t rush, Taylor Swift. Take your time, alone, and with your family and friends. Have fun. Breathe. Feel. 

            But don’t let passion drive you, not yet.