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Tread lightly with your brush

“There is no pure black in nature,” asserted Sabine Baekmann-Elge, as she distributed supplies for her monthly Water Color Open Studio Class. She passed around tubes of paint, elegantly named Sepia, Ochre, Paynes Grey, Terra Di Siena, Gamboge and others to squirt into our paint trays. She educated us on the cold press 140 pound rag paper and directed us to observe how the water behaves when it interacts with the paint and the water.

I accidentally distracted myself with thoughts of, “I know pure black hearted people that exist in nature” and, “Black is my favorite color” and, “Wow. I never thought of observing the behavior of water.” Sabine redirected my attention to the paint brushes. “Tread lightly with your paintbrush,” she admonished, “they will last much longer. If you press too hard you will ruin them.” I thought this was a great metaphor for our bodies, if we take care of our health and not push too hard with poor choices, we would live better. And that if I tread lightly with the people in my life, my relationships will last much longer.

The nine people who were with me on that Friday afternoon began contentedly painting hibiscus flowers while listening to Yo Yo Ma reverently playing Bach’s “Suite No. 6 in D.” The sun was finally streaming through the window and the door was open to allow in a cool breeze. Strangers in the beginning of the class were now convivial compadres asking each other for advice and complementing one and another on their work.

I, however, was still considering painting metaphors, the language of color, and how I could manage a trip to Fabriano, Italy, from whence the watercolor tubes came. I observed how Sabine interacted with her paint and her students, and I appreciated the joy she brought them. Frustrated with my own inability to wield the brush, I asked her for help. She used caring, encouraging, patient words.

“Look for the dark undersides and lighten up,” she advised pointing to her own exquisite painting. “You are heavy on the color.”

My painting talent is much akin to my singing ability which manifests the musical register of a lawn mower. When I discovered that I enjoyed thinking and learning about painting more than actually painting, I relinquished my brush and my frustration. I lightened up.

As I was cleaning up after class, I overheard two students, both over 70 years old, discussing how happy they were that they participated in this class. Both of them had wanted to watercolor paint for at least 50 years and one of them keeps a written list of activities she wants to try before her life ends. She was giddy as she described how she was going to cross “watercolor painting” off of the list and continue to paint. I am grateful to Sabine for inspiring the rare, little-kid happiness and sense of real accomplishment the whole class felt.

I, too, can cross this one off of my list. I think I am better suited to painting pictures with words and appreciating art. And I like being heavy on the color. Especially black.

Waste not, want not

Several concerned diners have asked me, “What do you do with the leftover food?” and “How do you handle the after-lunch food scraps?” I must say that I am proud of the answer.

Any extra food from the serving line is frozen into divided plates that are delivered to our homebound people who request frozen meals. We do not throw away any food. The food scraps left on peoples’ plates are scraped into a separate bucket by the diners at the end of their meal and are distributed to a woman named Joanie for her farm animals, including her pig named Rosie. We are often asked for scraps for chickens and can usually oblige.

Healthier living instructors

We need one more volunteer instructor to teach the Healthier Living class series. It is a six-week class that assists and educates people who are living with chronic illnesses. We have a grant that will pay for your training in Denver. Call me, Jodi, at 264-2167.

Hearts and Arts

School is out for the summer and so is Art in the Den. Rebecca Pepiton, Pagosa Springs High School art teacher, and her husband joined the Peace Corps and will be working in China.

Doris Prior thought our walls would look empty, so she called her quilting friends and asked them to lend us their quilts for a show. Doris and Helen Bartlett spent a Thursday morning lovingly hanging the quilts in our dining room for viewing.

Local quilters have sewn souls together with their work for generations. Come to the Silver Foxes Den at 451 Hot Springs Boulevard and see their work.

Thank you

Thank you, Nancy Dickhoff, for your entertaining talk on fitness and nutrition.

Thank you to everyone who signed up for the craft and jewelry show. I am so sorry we can’t have it.

Fox Trot mischief

Our Fox Trot Challenge events this month are:

• June 8 — Biz Greene, speed walking expert and trainer, will give a speed walking lesson in the community center gym. More steps for us!

• June 22 — The End of the Fox Trot Challenge Extravaganza Ice Cream Celebration. Come for ice cream and bragging. This walking program was hard and we deserve a treat. All events begin at 12:45 p.m.

Pancake breakfast

Summer is here and so is our budget deficit.

We are again hosting monthly pancake breakfasts to help support the many services the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center offers. Come to The Den Thursday, June 10, from 7 to 9 a.m. for delicious pancakes, with ham or bacon, fresh fruit, juice and coffee or tea. Enjoy it all, plus great company, for only $5. (If I don’t eat them all first. I love pancakes.) See you here!

Craft and jewelry sale

Our much-anticipated craft and jewelry sale has been cancelled due to lack of vendors.


Are you homebound or know someone who is? Let the Silver Foxes Den help you with your meals. We have expanded our service to the more rurally isolated areas of the county and would like to help you help yourself.

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal home-delivery program remains available to those closer to town four days per week, and frozen meals on Thursdays. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give me or Musetta a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Weekly activities

Friday, June 4 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Gayle Tuggle 12:45 p.m.

Monday, June 7 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m., Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, June 8 — Chair Massage 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Biz Greene Fitness Walking 12:45 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m..

Wednesday, June 9 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; Poker 1 p.m.;

Thursday, June 10 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, June 11 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11:00 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; ASI board meeting 1 p.m.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, June 4 — Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli, roll, strawberries, whipped topping.

Monday, June 7 — Beef roast with gravy, baby carrots and potatoes, mixed vegetables, cantaloupe, roll.

Tuesday, June 8 — Tilapia with mushroom sauce, cucumber salad, spinach, pears, roll.

Wednesday, June 9 — Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetable medley, pineapple, roll.

Thursday, June 10 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, June 11 — Chicken cordon bleu, brown rice, asparagus, apricots, roll.