Friday, March 22, 2024

bill and Charlie

  This painting was painted many years ago in  Newburyport. I don't have a good memory but I remember painting this one on my birthday. Bill was living with us at the time. They have on their jackets because the house was cold.

Bill and Charlie


Sunday, January 7, 2024

Christmas 2023

Winter Night.      
Our house, Audrey, Charlie, Douglas and Christina
There is no place like home



This is the first day after Christmas Day and I am starting my letter of my life in 2023. 

At 87 I am upright on two feet, not a pain in my body, but the energy is becoming less and less, and the grocery bags heaver and heaver. Last March the pacemaker was replaced because the battery was running out of the one I had for 8 years. I just wish they could charge up my body. I had the virus or whatever was going around and I was tired and weak for longer then  I expected. One gets along with a little help from friends. Every day is precious and everything is done with awareness. Life is wonderful as it always has been , just slower. 

This year I went to Maine June and July and stayed with Doug and Christina in the old homestead.I flew with Lucy, Christina’s daughter and Johnny, from Eugene to Boston than a bus to Portland where Doug picked us up. Lucy’s Grandfather turned 90 and there was a party for him and Lucy and Johnny had a party for their friends because they are were getting  married in September in Eugene. Not many would  be crossing the country for that.   

It was an amazing lush year for everything growing, flowers, to blossoming trees. Fist fields of buttercups and lupine then followed  by the hedges of rosa rugosa roses, filling the air with their fragrance. It was cooler and wetter than usual and I didn’t get into the water until July. The ocean water is getting warmer and warmer. It was quit comfortable to stay in for a while. I didn’t stray from the house, painted outside in the yard, or places up and down the street. I painted along the shore sitting on the granite rocks and if the tide was right I would slip into the water and float  for a little bit and then with a cold body warm up on the granite heated by the sun. In all the years I lived on Back Cove I could skinny dip because there was never anyone around. I painted 19 paintings of Maine. I met with old friends, went to shows and galleries and took a few trips with Doug and Christina.Of course I had my fill of lobster, clams and seafood. I also helped Doug with sorting out my paintings. He took photos an I wrote a little description for each one. It took awhile. Everything takes longer than you think it will. Then it was time to go back to the West coast. Doug drove me back to Boston for my flight. Charlie’s sister Cookie, her daughter, and Charlie’s other sister Sue’s children came from Quincy and we met and had lunch together. Sue died a couple of years ago. I am glad we had a little time together. 

 The Farnsworth Museum had a show of Edward Hoppers paintings done when he summered in Rockland in 1926. Along with his paintings were Andrew Wyeth’s painting of Rockland done  forty years latter. I saw that show three times. Rockland has a museum and about twenty galleries.It is interesting to get the history of different times in a place. Rockland in 1926 was a city of 9 thousand with all kinds of industries that supported each other, railways, trolly lines, the beginning of automobiles . There were all kinds of trade people, stores, fish factories etc. In 1962 Charlie worked at the Thorndike Hotel In Rockland.. The hotel built in 1857 was still in use in 1962, owned by the  brother of Louse Nevelson the famous painter sculptor. The city had fallen into decay. Downtown was empty and boarded up, yet this was the time Wyeth was painting in the area. (It is interesting to note that in 1962 in the club in the Thorndike Hotel we met and became friends with a person that sold real estate. This person showed us the home we bought in 1984 on Back Cove Waldoboro.) 

When  Charlie and I moved to Newburyport in 1968 and the city was abandoned, deteriorating, beautiful buildings covered with asphalt shingles, a city that  was famous for shipbuilding,  trading clipper ships, one of the most beautiful cities on the East Coast going back to pre revolution times. With real-estate prices being so low in Newburyport back in the 60s creative people moved in started fixing up the homes, bring back downtown. Now the houses in Newburyport cost half a million or more. On Back Cove in Waldoboro a place I lived for 32 years nothing changed, a few barns fell down. No one was able to change the  downtown of empty storefronts, new little business came and went. I think it best we don’t know the future, otherwise we would never take the adventures we do, always thinking it will come out ok. Yet connecting the dots is interesting. I have probably lived through the fastest changers in the world  from the invention of TV to internet to iPhones, communication on a global scale. I don’t understand how any of it works. 

When I left Maine the weather there continued to be wetter then usual. Back in Eugene August was hot and dry. It seldom rains in Eugene in the summer and it can get hot, a few days of 100. I rode my trike to the river to cool off. The temperature  of the river water was colder than the ocean water in Back Cove. Our apartments do have air condition units. I live on the north side and don’t get sunlight so my apt is cooler. Chris took me to the cannabis farm if the weather wasn’t to hot. I would bring my watercolors and paint outside or read a book. I like to wander around the farm, look in the green houses, see what’s growing, check out the chickens and the vegetable garden that managed to produce vegetables, chocked with weeds and covered with cucumber  beetles. I help out a little bit, in the spring planting vegetable seed and later picking vegetables and sorting out bins of onions or potatoes. Chris would have me to dinner every couple of weeks. I always look forward to those meals because I have never had food anywhere that is as good as what he makes. 

August rolled by and then Lucy and Johnny got married Sept 2nd at Johnny’s parents home in Eugene. A  large sprawling house, open spaces and high cathedral ceiling, big wooden beams and beautiful wooden floors. There is a deck around the outside where guests sat at tables and ate. I love this house in the country  surrounded by  woods. It is like a museum with beautiful art on the walls. However I wouldn’t want to live there. Lucy and Johnny ,the bride maids and  groom men did a dance routine for the guests. Luce has a friend that is a dance teacher and she choreographed the dance. Everyone loved it. It was a a nice day and a beautiful wedding. Lucy works at the university  and Johnny works at landscaping. He loves trees. They bought a little house in Eugene.

In the fall everyone was coming down with the flue and many residents at Ya Po Ah got it including me. It was mild but left me tired and weak. I still haven’t got my strength back. Ya Po Ah is like a little community, a diversified group of over 200 residents, The 2nd floor has a dinning room, entertainment area, TV room with a pool table  and a library.  It is used by card players, knitters, music group, line dance group, philosophy, tai chi, exercise, bingo, birthday parties. We have a Resident Association that meets once a month where all the heads of committees talk about what’s happening and upcoming events. We have a bus that takes people grocery shopping. The bus also takes us on trips, the coast and other places of interest. Also outside are about 50 garden spaces. Mine is 12 x 4 feet which is the largest size.  Christopher lives about a five minute drive from here. This building includes hud housing. I pay a third of my social security for rent. I have never been so well off. 

Ya Po AH was built in the 60s. It is the tallest building in Eugene. It sits at the base of Skinners Butte with trees behind the building so it doesn’t stick up like it would if it was in the middle of the city. However there are only two elevators for 18 floor. They break down a lot because of constant use. Everyone waits for the elevator. It is the place where you meet people and get the news. All the friends I have live in Ya Po Ah. Chris  and Lucy and Johnny are the only people  that live in the city that I know. My small world revolves in and around this building. I see a lot of people here, say hallo, make small talk in the garden or around. I have a few friends that I know fairly well and enjoy their company. Alike draws alike so my friends don’t fit into normal reality. They have interesting histories as we all do when we look back to our younger selves. I like hearing their stories. There are some very talented  people that live here, and people that are generous and give of  there time helping out in a lot of things that go on here, like helping  in the dining room or kitchen or collecting recycled cans from the trash closet every day. There is a couple of people that work in the gardens almost every day. Of course we look after each other when we need help. I am lucky to live here.

I have to say that earth is heaven for me. I love being physical. I am not interested in sitting meditating waiting to experience bliss. I like the feeling of all the senses, hot showers, cold ocean and warm rocks, the taste of Christopher’s cooking,  the sound of calling seagulls, and wind rustling  the leaves or wind roaring, causing the sea to crash over rocks like thunder. I like the smell of new mowed grass and the fragrance of lilacs. I look at nature with wonder and appreciation of it’s beauty. I see the potential of thousands of paintings I want to make.

Humans as flawed as we are have created magnificent cathedrals, temples, carvings, tapestries, all art, music, dance, poetry, great inventions. Yes greed and power have caused wars but always comes rebuilding. Creativity is our nature. Imagination is our inspiration.


When I got to Eugene I had to put my paintings in storage. However over 100 paintings are hanging in the halls of Ya Po Ah  some of my best paintings. There are two  galleries in Eugene that show professional artists paintings. They have their roster of artists and have shows booked in advance. A city of over 150 thousand population,  two art galleries !!!  Just think every town of a few thousands people along the coast of Maine has a gallery or artist studios to visit. Portland Maine has a wonderful museum and the colleges and universities also have great museums. I never knew how lucky I have been to see so much art, original paintings. 

Eugene does have great Muriels  that cover the whole side of buildings. They are all over the city. Eugene also has fine crafts and every Saturday in the summer outside is a place where they set up their booths. It is a fun place with food vendors and live music. Also in the same area is the farmers market, one of the oldest in the country. I go to the Farmers market every week I can, fresh organic vegetables and bakery booths with  crusty breads and sweet pastries. I love the people of Eugene, friendly and helpful.

Thanksgiving this year was in Ashland. Diane’s brother, daughter and family live in Ashland. Her mother also lived there and she pasted on this year. Diane is Chris ’s wife.  Ashland is special during the Hollidays, a beautiful decorated down town with many interesting shops. It is know for it’s Shakespeare Theatre. The Halliday season starts the day after Thanksgiving. I love it because it is my favorite time of year.  Christ bought my tree and put it up for me, and helped with the lights. It is the best tree I have ever had, 8 feet with space between the branches to get all my ornaments hung. 

Ya Po AH puts on a Christmas dinner for the residents, We have a Christmas party and a trip to see the lights of the decorated homes in the north side of Eugene, a residential area of about 5 blocks. This is a holiday tradition in that neighborhood that has been going on for years, and many people drive around to see the displays.  I have never see anything like it. This year Christmas was at Christ and Diane’s house. Chris picked me up in the morning. Diane made breakfast, pancakes and bacon. Early afternoon a friend came over and we opened our stockings. Chris made dinner, roast pork. I haven’t had pork for years. Of cause anything Chris cooks is delicious. In the evening we watched a Christmas move.

It is now the 4th day of Christmas. I celebrate all 12 days, put on all my lights, listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies and admire my magnificent  tree. I miss the snow. I prayed for snow back on the East coast when I was little. I love all the stories of the north pole, snow and light and  magic. Miracles happen and Santa’s generosity  is in the hearts of people.  His spirit never dies. It is a wonderful contrast, the cold dark winter nights. Animals burring down in there protective holes, resting, dreaming. Humans coming out of the cold, entering warm homes heated with wood in fireplaces and stoves. Light shines from windows onto the snow. This is not a fairy tale, it was real for me living in Maine.There is something wonderful about surviving in the cold. It is a challenge, a time to be prepared for. It is satisfying , comforting . The best part of Christmas is sharing, being together with friends and family, all ages together, children to grandparents. 

Of course we can’t all have friends to celebrate with or a wonderful cooked meal to share. Yes there are those out in the dark, homeless and many of them live here in Eugene. Be thankful for what you have and pray for those without. We must imagine  a better world and believe it will change, believe without any doubt, believe knowing it will change into a world with compassion, tolerance without judgement. Together the energy is growing, spiraling toward peace. I feel blessed to be alive now in these times as chaotic as it is appears because I see a better future and I am helping with the millions of other souls to manifest this future reality. As it says in big letters on the top of Ya Po AH    “PEACE ON EARTH.”

May your love energy radiate out into the world. Everything is connected. Peace health and happiness. Merry Christmas to all

A few quotes for inspiration

All winter long    beneath every snowing. Guess what we saw  beneath every snowing,   a thaw

And a growing,  a greening and growing.          Native American  

Again, again we come and go,    changed, changing.  Hands join, un-join in love and fear,   

grief and joy. The circles turn,  each giving into each, into all.    Wendell Berry

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’ m Possible!”   Audrey Hepburn

If my mind can conceive it,   if my heart can believe it,  then I can achieve it.    Muhammad Ali

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance —each beautiful, unique and gone to soon.

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are things we can’t see.  

The Polar Express. 


Tuesday, December 26, 2023


This years tree is the best one I have ever had. It is 8 feet with lots of space to get the ornaments on. 
There are ornaments from the 1960s till now, three new ones this year. 
for me the tree is Christmas. I celebrate the whole 12 days. I am wishing everyone a Wonderfull Holiday, peace , health and joy.

houses on the north end of Eugene that have fantastic light displays

my nativity

This is a huge estate


Saturday, August 12, 2023

Summer days

Saturday farmers market and people at the river. I have been going to the river almost every day since I have been back. Mornings are cool but by late afternoon it is in the 90s. This coming week predicted to be 104 for about 4 days



Sunday, March 26, 2023

Spring is official


Took the woodland path from the top of Skinners Butte. Trillium is just starting to bloom. A trip to Sweet Creek last week to see the falls and rapids. Lots of water running, powerful.

Thanks everyone for your birthday Wishes


plum blossoms

sweet creek falls

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Valentines day


When I was a child on Valentines Day all the children in my class would bring valentine cards and we would put them into a decorated box. When the time came the valentines cards were drawn out  one by one and given to whoever it was addressed to. I can remember putting my favorite ones into a scrap book. My grammar school had 8 rooms one for each grade and the valentine box was a tradition every year

  After grammar school I received only a few Valentines and then after a few years the scrap book disappeared .Now you can go on the computer and look up old valentine card images. I even saw ones I had received back in grammar school. I think Valentines day should be a national holiday.

This day is mostly for lovers or those that love one another. LOVE needs to be expanded, because the word has a narrow meaning when it really encompasses everything. I believe everything is created from love. It is an emotion that can’t be defined only felt. Here are some of the actions that love creates; passion, compassion, respect, forgiveness, surrender, kindness, deep affection, enjoyment, caring, appreciation for. It is action, a force. It is entanglement. It is giving and receiving. Everything needs love or it withers or even dies. One can also love nature, for it’s beauty and the peaceful feelings it emanates. So I think we should up grade Valentines Day and send our love forth. Who knows, it may bring peace to the planet.

Audrey Bechler

In the super market yesterday and everyone was buying flowers

these were like the grammar school cards we gave each other

I think I might have been given this one in school

my little animals

older hand made fold up cards


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

christmas letter 2022


This is the Ya Po Ah parking lot


Cold weather, snow squalls, and the Peace on Earth sign on top of Ya Po Ah  means the Christmas season is here. Time to reflect on the year’s events in my life. Last Christmas it snowed on Christmas Day, just a little accumulation but enough to add to the spirit of the season. Last Christmas was at Chris and Diane’s  home here in Eugene. A quiet and pleasant day. This year I will go to Ashland to Diane’s daughter’s house where other family members will come on Christmas Day. I love it when there is a lot of people.

Last winter went by fast , cloudy, rainy,  but also some sunny days. Nothing unusual happened that I can remember. Spring was rainy, making all the vegetation green and vibrant. Eugene is a city where bikes are used a lot and there are bike lanes on most streets. After my trike was stolen another resident let me use her trike that she could no longer ride. There was an electric bike fair that I went to in the spring and I decided to buy a recumbent trike, two wheels in front and one in back, pedal with electric assistance. I shopped around and bought the trike  from a company in China.  It didn’t take long to get here and arrived in a large box. The bike had to be assembled so I found someone here at Ya Po Ah  that likes to work on bikes to put it together. I had no idea it would be difficult. I know nothing about bikes. If I knew then what I know now I would have taken it to a bike shop. It was frustrating for the person that put it together , and I am sorry for that but it did get assembled. I brought  the trike to a bike shop to get the chain put on and adjustments made.  The trike is in my apartment, because there is no safe place to store it. A safe storage space was going to be built for the residents of Ya Po Ah that owned bikes and the structure they are building is not designed  well and I can’t  even get the trike into it. So I get around on my friend’s trike which is outside locked up on the old posts. Update on recumbent trike, everything working except throttle button. The motor will turn on when peddling. Chris took the trike to the farm, no storage here yet. 

The last of June I went on a camping trip with Kevin, the person that drives the Ya Po Ah bus. We went in his car to Smith Rock State Park, and got there about 11 o’clock.AM  I found a place to paint this amazing place, while Kevin and his dog went hiking. In the late afternoon we headed out to find a place to camp. We found a spot off of a logging road  and Kevin set up our tents. We were 5000 feet up and it got really cold when the sun went down. I was cold all night. The next day we headed out to see the painted hills. It got really hot .He drove on and we stopped at Sheep Rock where there is a great  museum of natural history with information about the history of that area that goes back millions of years. I tried to make a painting of Sheep Rock but the light on it wasn’t good. Another night of camping in the cold. Kevin gave me his sleeping bag and I was warmer but still a little cold. Next day it was hot again. Kevin is a great person to travel with because he travels everywhere and knows all the interesting places to see. Both of us love the water and we found a good swimming hole along the river we were following.  I have friends that live in Redmond that I haven’t seen in 40 years and we were able able to stop there, for a couple of hours, on our way back to Eugene, They own a number of my paintings and Pam showed them to me and I couldn’t remember any of them. The paintings were of Newburyport where we lived back in the seventies. 

I was tired the next day  which led to sleeping for 3 days and then going to the clinic to find out what was the matter with me. I had a bladder infection and had to take antibiotics . It knocked the stuffing out of me and I had no energy. I was recovering from that  and fell in my apartment and  broke my right wrist. All this time I was hoping to get to Maine and the hot summer was  slipping by, no swims in the river, no energy . But slowly everything improved.  .

 Doug booked my flight and I arrived in Maine the last of August and had my six week with family in my old house in Waldoboro. The first two weeks in September were warm and I was able to swim off the rocks in the cove but Doug had to go with me to help me get out as my right arm was still weak . I was able to see most of my friends, had a couple of outdoor painting days with a couple other artists friends and went to the museums and galleries.  Had three days in Newburyport, saw friends there and made day trips to Salem, MA and Cape Ann. Chris came out for a week and we hooked up with him in Boston and drove south to visit Charlie’s relatives. Of course we had lobsters, clams, mussels, oysters and fish. It was a jam-packed six weeks. Chris picked me up October 11th  in Eugene airport and drove me  home to Ya Po Ah.

The good thing about being in Maine in October was being able to see and experience the fall color. Within a few weeks green leaves turn to the brilliant yellows and reds and whole hillsides are dotted with a patchwork of mixed colors. The blueberry fields are also one carpet of deep dark red. The back roads of the area where I lived are winding, narrow and follow the up and down contour of the hills. They also follow beside the inlets and coves. The sea water moves in and out over and around the massive granite shore where mostly pine and oaks grow. When October comes, driving around the back roads one sees the  display of nature,s rainbow colors. 

The fall color hadn’t begun when I got back to Eugene. It was still in the eighties and I was able to go to the river and have a couple of dunks. However the temperature dropped into the fifties and summer ended abruptly. The trees in the city, of which there are many varieties, turned color and it was a very colorful, long season. Now the mornings are in the thirties warming to the forties in the afternoon. It is dark at four thirty. The city is aglow with lights for the Christmas holidays. We make merry here at Ya Po Ah with a number of events. The seventh was a great party with food, singing, dancing and yes Santa visited us too. Santa doesn’t just come to children. 

Children and family; Even though my mother and father came from big families there aren’t many of us living. Many of my cousin’s children I never meet. I was not one to keep in touch. My oldest, Douglas, is now sixty. He makes pottery and sells it on Etsy. Christina ,his mate, works on a farm. They will be coming to Eugene in January. Christopher lives in Eugene and he and Diane work and operate a cannabis farm. I am grateful that I can be with them  quite often.

Charlie went to the other side 2007. I lived alone on Back Cove until 2016. Due to heart problems  my sons convinced me to move too Eugene where my youngest son lives.  I went from living in an isolated, sparsely populated area to a city filled with people. I was amazed how friendly the people are. Soon after moving into Ya Po Ah I made friends. Now I have become a social  person , learning about other people's lives, and older people have interesting stories, interesting personalities. Many have overcome difficult situations. Living in Ya Po Ah is living in a connected community, a little village. Back in Maine I wore the same cloths every day. Now I am stylish. I like skirts. I Put on different cloths every day and people notice . The people of Eugene are uninhibited, open, friendly. They remind me of the old hippie days. The Saturday market is a great place to watch people. My social skills are improving. I take part in many of the activities. I love the people here at Ya Po Ah, even the ones I don't know personally. I have learned from them. I appreciate life more than ever. I think it is because one has to be aware  of every action, to pay attention to details, to listen with respect, to help when needed. Slowing down and knowing you can't do what you used to do. Prioritize: I work at what I love to do. If I don't get much done, does it matter?  Here are a few things I am working on. Don’t interrupt a persons conversation, respond as soon as possible to acknowledge what someone said or did. Answer emails and messages. I am on Facebook and hardly go there. Thank people, tip service people, they are underpaid and be patient . What matters is being part of humanity, of living life, learning from living. Being physical with all its feelings and emotions, to experience with awe being alive. I will never understand humans but I can love them, I can feel good being around them. Every one, every person is here for a reason and I believe it is to care, respect all livings things and work toward love and peace. As it says on top of Ya Po AH    PEACE ON EARTH.

One little story about my lost iPhone. Two weeks ago at the clinic the nurse asked what antibiotic I was on for the congestion in my lungs because it might be a touch of pneumonia . I went to look it up on my phone, and no phone in my pocket. The phone was in a case along with credit card and medical cards. Back at Ya Po Ah I search the apartment and no luck. Then I called the bank and canceled the card. Well I panicked. iPhones are expensive .My friend Prem was helping me and we were using her phone. I called Doug for help. He said I had Find my iPhone on the computer and we managed to set it up. A map appeared and there on the map an arrow pointed at my phone and location. The phone had fallen  out of my pocket on the way to the clinic. While we were talking to Doug he said he was getting a call from  my phone. Meanwhile Prem had entered her number to call and then she was getting a call from my phone. A person that works at Mountain Rose Herbs picked up the phone and called the numbers. I couldn’t believe how all this happened. Wow: technology and honest people. I have had several situations this fall, one after another of caring individuals  that have helped me. You think a situation is going to be a disaster and it turns out to be  a positive reminder how good, honest and considerate people are.

 At our Christmas dinner where we sit at long tables I started to talk to  Kim, next to me,   a resident I see often but don’t know well. A lot of people at Ya Po Ah volunteer for non profit organizations, because they have time and like to be with other people. Kim works once a week at a free food distribution center. Food is brought in every day and her job is to sort it out and put it on shelves. There is a lot of canned goods but also fresh food from local grocery stores like Whole Foods. What surprised me is that she said anyone can go there for food. No one is checked for income or being homeless, or jobless,  NO PAPER WORK  of any kind is needed. Food comes in ,food goes out to whoever needs it. Now that is service to all. With no strings attached!! 

One other item . Eugene has MANY homeless people and a lot is going on to help them. I just want to say that Eugene Weekly does publish stories about individuals that have died homeless. There are many circumstances that lead to being homeless.  I appreciate  those articles that give us time to think about the lives of others.

Back to Christmas and all the things I love about Christmas: music, lights, decorations, traditions, Christmas trees, ceremonies, gatherings, giving and receiving and for me snow. It is a magical time of year, when miracles happen. This is a time to be with loved ones, to share memories, stories, food. It is a time to forgive and be forgiven. My apartment is decorated with a seven foot real fir tree, and greens everywhere, lights across the ceiling and fake candles that look real. I just sit and enjoy my surroundings and listen to Christmas music.This year we had an open tour of our decorated living spaces.  Only five participated. I liked that other people were able to see my decorations. That same evening our singing group came around on each floor caroling. 

Children love Christmas. Their imaginations are real.  They are joyful and all people should enjoy Christmas as a child. Santa is still with us . The angels are singing. Strings of lights are strung around trees, bushes, fences, doorways,  roof eaves . All the lights shining in the dark, beautiful, magical. Think about the meaning of light. Remember and be thankful.  It is a wonderful world. It is us, we together that make it so.

Some uplifting sayings

The great sea has set me in motion

Set me adrift, 

And I move as a weed in the river.

The arch of sky

And mightiness of storm

Encompasses me,

And I am left

Trembling with joy.      Eskimo song

May all things move and be moved in me

And know and be known in me.

May all creation dance for joy within me.    Chinook Psalter

When I rise up

Let me rise up joyful

Like a bird

When I fall

Let me fall without regret

like a leaf.              Wendell Berry