Day at Joan's

Just returned from a long, happy day at my friend Joan's and I am very tired. Thought I ought to update those of you who follow the blog on two things. First, Charlie the Gnome, named after Joan's late husband, is now fully painted. I'm thrilled with how he came out. I had some trouble mixing the correct color for his boots. I thought we had purchased brown paint, but we hadn't, so I mixed a purplish brown color and added a red wash over the top. Also, I think his yellow leggings are kind of snazzy.
 
Joan's husband Charlie loved gnomes, so this fellow is really a tribute to him. It was actually Charlie's gnome. Joan wants to move him down the driveway to her new home, but when we tried to pick him up earlier this summer, we broke his right hand off. We purchased some epoxy and glued it and it seems to be holding, but we may put his red, duct tape "cast" back on after his sleeve dries.
Painting Charlie is symbolic of a lot of things -- he is a link to Joan's past, the days spent in her old house with Charlie, but painting him is a celebration of the future, the days ahead in her new house with her pugs. Somehow, once I entered the doors of "Pugdom," her home in Warren, Vt, years ago, I became part of her story. It served me well, I was looking for something -- friendship, community, a place to escape and belong, something for my heart to latch on to -- and I found it. So, now I paint gnomes and name puppies, while her other friend, Jane, cleans the garage, moving years worth of stuff down the road to "3C," the new house.

In addition to painting Charlie, I got to spend some time with the new puppies today. Five in all, three big black boys, one black girl, and one little black boy -- the one I call Batman. He is about half the size of the others, but he seems to be thriving, he's just tinier than his siblings. I think this is a picture of him, although it's hard for me to tell. Everytime I picked him up, Waffles, his aunt would get all upset. She was more worried than Griffles, his mom. They all seem healthy and strong. I look forward to seeing them open their eyes.