Posts Tagged ‘sketchbooks’

March 6, 2014

While Dad showers and shaves I sort through newspapers, hang up clothes and sketch.  I have plenty of time…….. plenty of time.  A very long time passes before the shower is turned on.  A long time passes…… and then another long time passes.  Eventually the bathroom door opens and a clean but unshaven Dad joins me.  I send him back to shave.


Playing Card Queens – Mandala

I’ve been remiss lately, not having the energy to go through what it takes to convince Dad that if he puts one words down in his green sketchbook, more words will follow.  When I awoke yesterday, I decided that I wanted Dad to complete his green book. He has only a couple dozen pages left.  After telling him that I needed a bit more time to complete my “Queens” mandala, he agreed to pick up his pencil.

Drawings or Words ... or both

Drawings or Words … or both

Drawings or Words

Drawings or words, –

My choosing.

How about if I just sit, –

And think about

Drawing or writing?


Words seem

Not to be coming

Or drawing either, —-

What’s to be done?

What’s to be done?

Words fill libraries

Libraries galore

So why should I add


When he finished his poem, he drew his sketchbook.  I asked him to try the clock and he happily continued to draw.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Dad’s poems. It is definitely worth the struggle to pull these gems out onto the page. Words may be difficult for him to find these days, but playing Rummy 500 isn’t difficult at all!  Again, he clobbered me .


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I arrived at Chelsea in time to reserve a table with a perfect view of Chef Mike making fresh pasta, plain, spinach and tomato.

Table setting

The tables were set beautifully, a plate of dipping oil at the center of each.  Bright red and white striped napkins and plastic forks added to the festive spirit of the luncheon event, back by popular demand.  An invitation had been extended to residents of the neighboring community.  A lovely lady named Barbara joined Jane, Dad and me at our table for four.

Prior to Jane and Barbara joining us, Dad and I had plenty of time to write and draw.  I pulled our sketchbooks out of my backpack and handed the green one to Dad.

“You’re not going to let me look back, are you, Chris?”

“No, Dad, I’m not.”  I was a bit stunned that Dad remembered the comments I had made on previous visits.

Dad resists writing.  He will do just about anything that works as a legitimate distraction to put off searching for words that fit together in his brain to write on the blank pages of his green sketchbook.  As more pages become filled, he has more to review allowing him to delay the current day’s writing task.


at Chelsea

With Chris

In the dining room

More than a dozen people

Almost all talking at once

It seems

It’s pleasant

People seem content

Chris sketches

I write

Whereas Dad usually considers his punctuation carefully, he omitted it completely this time.  He did cross out the word “almost” and write “more than” above it, correcting his count of the people in the room.  During the past month I have noticed Dad’s focus on counting things, whatever things come into focus in any sort of multiples such as lug nuts, clouds, trees, chairs and people.

Chef Mike gave a wonderful presentation.  I am grateful that Chelsea has so many pleasant, committed employees who truly reach out to connect with the residents and make them feel as if they are home.

Chef Mike making pasta dough

At the far end of his table, piles of fresh dough, red, green and white lay stacked and ready to put through the press.  Mike had been making the dough since early in the morning.  Serving more than fifty people fresh pasta is quite an undertaking.  Each of us were offered three servings of the delicious fettuccine with either Alfredo Sauce or Oil and Garlic Sauce.  Red and white wine, water and soda were also served.

The pasta drying rack

Fun was had by all.  Smiles and laughter filled the room.  Anna took over cranking the dough through the pasta press while Chef Mike headed to the kitchen with his first giant batch of fettuccine.  No one left the room hungry.

The weather was dismal, a few snowflakes mixed in with a drizzling rain.  After last week’s adventure, I wanted a bit of dry ground to walk on rather than the swampy paths of the local parks.  After kissing Jane good bye, Dad and I agreed to play cards.

“What would you like to play, Dad?”

“Oh, I don’t know.  What would you like to play, Chris?”

“I’d like you to choose.”

“Oh.  I guess the usual.”

“What is the usual, Dad?”  I wasn’t trying to be testy, I just wanted Dad to wake up a few brain cells if possible.

“You know, Chris, the game we usually play.”  Dad is so good at getting the answers out of someone else, or at least trying to get away without really having to search for an answer.

“And what do we usually play?”

Dad scowled at me.

“Dad….. I’m not trying to be difficult.  I know what we usually play.  I’m just hoping that we can work together to wake up some of those brain cells of yours that appear to be getting a little lazy.”

Dad smiled.  “Well, okay.  It’s that rummy game…. gin rummy?”

“Great!  It’s Rummy 500.  I’ll deal the cards.”

After two games I had to leave.  I was meeting a friend in Clinton.  We were heading to Princeton to hear the Gorilla Girls talk. (It was fabulous.)

Before I left, I showed Dad the poem he had written and the drawings I had done during the Pasta Luncheon.

Chef Mike making fresh pasta

“Looks like we had fun, Chris.”

“Yes, Dad, we did.  We had a wonderful time.  I love you.”

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