Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Special Announcement!

Half of the fun of Art & Soul for me is planning future events. Everything from researching locations to watching the jury evaluate class proposals is quite fulfilling. I can’t stress enough how wonderful our 2006 jaunt to Pienza, Italy was. Not only did we have a marvelous instructor, Ms Lesley Riley, but the city and atmosphere were amazing. We longed to return again, but the decline in our poor dollar has made International travel all but impossible for many of us. I desperately wanted to organize a small event somewhere out of the ordinary – and yet charming. And by gosh – I think we’ve done it!

I am happy to announce that we will have a small retreat in Nova Scotia! The date will be Aug 10-14, 2009 and will feature only 3 instructors: Lesley Riley, LK Ludwig and Judy Wilkenfeld. They will each teach two 2/day classes. Our proposed schedule is to have classes Monday & Tuesday then Thursday & Friday, with Wednesday off as a day to explore the area. The retreat will include: classes of your selection, six nights lodging, six breakfasts, 5 lunches and 2 dinners. Transportation to the island is not included. We will be staying at the
Old Orchard Inn which is in the Annapolis Valley region and the Bay of Fundy.

We will be saving the dollar from the Euro – while still enjoying an international retreat! Yippeeee!!!
The instructors are currently busy working on their classes/descriptions. Registration and all information will be on-line Aug 15, 2008. Size will be limited to 60 attendees – I hope you can join us on this wonderful adventure!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Hotel for Portand attendees!

We have completely overwhelmed the Embassy and the Sheraton in Portland. Both room blocks have sold out --- there isn’t a closet available at either property. However, good news prevails! The Sheraton has just built a brand new art deco property called: aloft. It is located in the new Cascade Station shopping center – which is just down the street from the Embassy. Cascade Station features IKEA, among other trendy shops and restaurants, is on the MAX line for easy access to downtown Portland and brings another fun element to Art & Soul.

This hotel looks incredible. Although I am not personally a big fan of art deco or anything modern – I can certainly appreciate what they have achieved. Here is an excerpt from a press release about the new chain:

As a Vision of W Hotels, aloft hotels are shaking up the lodging industry with urban-influenced design, accessible technology, style and a social atmosphere. aloft hotels offer a total sensory experience, with guest rooms featuring loft-like nine-foot ceilings and oversized windows to create a bright, airy environment. The centerpiece of each aloft room is the ultra-comfortable plush platform bed, and large stylish bathrooms complement the guest experience with oversized walk-in showers and amenities created by bliss® spa. Each aloft room is also a combination high-tech office and entertainment center, featuring wireless internet access and plug & play, a one-stop connectivity solution for multiple
electronic gadgetry such as PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players and laptops - all linked to a large flat panel LCD television for optimal sound and viewing. aloft offers atmospheric public spaces designed to draw guests from their rooms to socialize and make friends. Guests can read the paper, work on their laptops via hotel-wide wireless internet access, play a game of pool or grab a drink with friends at the re:mix SM communal lobby area and bar w xyz SM. The re:charge SM fitness center and splash, the indoor or outdoor pool, give travelers options to de-stress and re-energize; while re:fuel by aloft SM, a one-stop food and beverage area, offers sweet, savory and healthy food, snacks and beverages to grab & go, 24-hours a day.

The BEST part is that Art & Soul attendees are being given a huge reduction in the rate! The Sheraton is honoring our $124/night – so if you haven’t booked a room – go for it. Here is what the sales manager says you have to do: call Aurie Cacho (503)-335-2854 at the Sheraton to make reservations at the new aloft Portland Airport Hotel at Cascade Station! Do not have call the hotel (aloft) directly yet as it will confuse the process. The actual reservation process should be settled sometime next week. Please indicate that you are making an overflow room reservation at the aloft Portland at the A&S group rate and she will manually put in the reservations.
Sounds exciting. I am anxious to know what you think! Who enjoys the upscale, trendy hotel and who is happy lounging in our old diggs?

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Callous Act

Wednesday, we discovered that someone had dumped a mamma cat and 7 kittens at the Corbett house. Fortunately, we had been at the house a few days earlier, so we knew that they hadn’t been there long. The poor things were starving and thirsty and they greedily pounced on the food that we put out. Mamma and babies are not feral, so obviously someone had been taking care of them before deciding to get rid of them. The babies are about 4-5 weeks old and cute as a kitten can be.
I don’t understand this behavior. First of all, be a responsible pet owner and have your animals spayed/neutered. There are countless programs to assist with payment for the procedures. And secondly, what kind of person does this? What a selfish, shallow act. Driving to Corbett is about the same distance as driving to the Humane Society. This coward knew that the house was vacant….and took the opportunity to relieve him/herself of a responsibility he/she no longer wanted. With the kittens being so small, they could never have made it to the front porch on their own so we know that they were “hand delivered”.
During the 20 yrs that I lived in the lodge, we could always count on numerous “stray” dogs and cats appearing each summer. Many had been attempting to forage on their own before finding their way to the house – others were quite healthy and had just been thrown out of a moving car by our driveway. I’m glad that I was there to help them, as we are with this new family. I would certainly like to get my hands on the creep.
So –anyone in the Portland area who would like a kitten – I’m the person to contact! We moved them to the barn and they are occupying Zahara’s stall. As long as the weather is nice, the horses are outside enjoying fresh pasture. Abby has her hands full taking care of baby ducks, baby kitties and baby horse. She loves every minute.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Menagerie Grows

Ah Spring. Babies are beginning to take up residence. Aside from 5 week old Dexter, we now have 4 mallard ducks – and Abigail is mamma duck. They follow her in single file as she leads them from their enclosure to the pond for a daily swim. When they were only a week old, they swam in my bathtub. Jada, our Rottweiler was quite concerned when they peeped and would look at Abby as if to say – “help them”. They also enjoy sitting on her lap as she watches TV with Jada at her feet. Herding 4 ducks is no easy task – Abby has informed me that she does NOT want 4 children when she grows up – but Jada tags behind and helps scoot them along. It will be fun to see if they take up permanent residence in one of our ponds when they are fully grown and released.

Dexter is doing quite well, and mom Zahara is beginning to show her weight gain and is looking really nice. Dex is our little clown and should be a great horse for the right people. Vonnie calls it the “Pee Wee Rodeo” whenever we have to hold him down for a check up. Most of the time he just follows us everywhere – until its time for some serious business – then he shows us that he is a horse after all. We hope to find them good homes later this summer.

Annie, our mauled kitty, is having difficulty with her leg. Arthritis has taken a nasty toll on her elbow and after she races around the house – she suffers for a couple of days. It breaks my heart to see her in pain. She endured so much to keep her leg but we may have to amputate after all. She and Pica, our other ‘found’ kitty are best friends.

I'm busy working on retreats for 2009. We are getting ready to go "live" with Abigail's Art Retreat. The classes are wonderful for adults and kids alike. The cost will include your choice of 3 days of classes, three lunches and two dinners. AND - most all supplies will be included. Some classes WILL have an additonal nominal supply fee depending on the type of materials required for the class. The cost will be: $1300 for adult + child and $650 if an adult wishes to attend alone. For those that stay at the Embassy, we will have some special activies in the evening to keep the kids busy. I'm pretty excited about this new venture and can hardly wait to get it uploaded!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Animal Savior

I am so excited for my friend and attorney, Scott Beckstead. He has just been offered the career of a lifetime (well it is to me and HIM). He will be the Director of a new horse sanctuary being set up by the Humane Society of the United States. The sanctuary is located just outside of Roseburg, OR on an 1120 acre property that is an absolute paradise. They will take in a large number of PMU mares from Canada who were rescued as they were being shipped to slaughter, as well as a couple dozen mustangs. These horses will live on the property for the rest of their lives. After that, they will take in needy horses on a case by case basis, with the hope of rehabilitating them and finding them loving homes. I can’t begin to tell you the chills of joy that I feel for him and his family. They have dedicated their lives to the care of unwanted animals – especially horses – and this opportunity is well deserved. My deepest congratulations to them!

To learn about PMU mares, go to:
It will make you very angry that the practice continues across the country. Hot flashes are indeed unpleasant, but what is done to these magnificent creatures is criminal.