Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

*Copyright notice* All photos, writing, and artwork are mine (
© Laura J. Wellner), unless otherwise noted, please be a peach, if you'd like to use my work for a project or you just love it and must have it, message me and we'll work out the details...it's simple...JUST ASK, please.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

End of Year

Rust 12/24/2011
 It's been a long, strange year...with all the good that I experienced, I dealt with the bad...the loss of my mother being the defining moment...one thing I've learned out of this, the deeper the sadness, the greater the beauty.

 My digital sketchbook is so chock full of beauty...I'm having trouble keeping up with what I find to photograph...
Hoar Frost Morning

Hoar Frost

Viola Leaf on Stone
My camera has lingered in the garden, photographing the decay of leaves, their paper thin skins lying on the barren surfaces of stones...
Snow Covered Dirt Road 12/24/2011
 The trips to visit my father in the nursing home take us past places of interest, and I'm always finding something along the way...
Hook and Cable 12/24/2011

Electric Plastic Santa Light, 12/24/2011
 Yes, Santa came and left presents...including a nice dusting of snow on our hilltop acre while folks down the hill had none...it was pretty nice having an exclusive white Christmas...
Snow Morning

Popeye Two Months Later...
 Popeye has been a bright yellow tabby spot these last two months... he's a special little guy...I guess he came when I needed him, and when he needed us...he's settled in and is happy and healthy, he loves napping on the "people bed" with his buddy Butters and the two new additions to our family who came to us this year enjoyed their first Christmas in their new home. (They are just as spoiled at the rest of them!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Digital Sketchbook...

Grape Vine and Leaf, 11/25/2011
White Leaf

Grape Vines

Mock Orange Leaves

The Tangle on the Fence

Peony Leaves

Hosta Leaves

Hosta Leaf

I've been up and down, and all around...the turkey turned out perfect, the dinner was a spread of all spreads, I out-did myself again...Thanksgiving is thankfully come and gone...I'm resting quietly today, taking a load off to hopefully stay out of FMS flare-up land...this is always a "dance" that I must step lightly along and gently...trying not to set off that wretched bomb that ticks under my skin, in my connective tissues and joints, in the cartilage between my ribs, and in my head where there's something going on in the wiring of my brain that sends wayward signals or something...

Whatever...does anyone really know what Fibromyalgia is? (Other than a gianormous pain!)

I'm just damn lucky that I'm on the upside of whatever it is and I didn't have a flare-up start in the midst of all of the prep and festivities...I did all right. I can't complain...and so here I am, I'm surrounded by sleepy kitties and a snoring dog, so I'm pretty close to nap time myself...it feels good to have the option to not do a damn thing today!

Hi, Popeye! What a perky pair of ears you have!
Monday the stitches come out and the "fancy" collar goes away...we can't wait!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Post-op Popeye...

Well, our little poop-deck kitty made it through the surgery to remove his damaged eye...he's livin' it up in a high collar and good pain killers, he's got a long recovery ahead, but his quality of life is going to be so much better than what he had when he first emerged from underneath our front porch, half-starved, suffering from a terrible eye injury and infection...he would've died. I hate thinking about that reality...saving his life is priceless.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Vacancy, 11/5/2011
 Here are a few images from my digital sketchbook...these are photos I took on November 5th when I traveled to visit my father in the nursing home, this is the Jackson Potato farm on Route 31 in the town of Tyre near the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge...it's flat land, fertile black soil that has been farmed for generations, I have always enjoyed passing through this long stretch of road, watching for migrating birds...Canadian geese, snow geese, swans, and ducks.

Dirt road going into the field

The wall

Looking in

Looking up

The Remains

The empty building

I've been bedeviled by FMS all week long...muscle spasms, aches, tingling limbs and skin, sharp, prickling pains in random places, random numbness here and there that comes and goes, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion...the usual, but unusually intense (my legs and arms are like lead, I feel like I've run a marathon)...it's been cranked up an extra notch, "turned up to eleven"...the "how come" of it can be analyzed to death, I can blame it on a dozen things from the weather, to diet, to stress, to grief, to over doing it, to not doing enough, to nothing at all since it must be all in my head...it is what it is, a flare up...they come and go no matter what I do or don't do, the damn thing happens whenever and I'm a mess, emotionally and physically...it's frustrating.

In spite of it, I go forward...tho' on occasion I allow myself "time out" when I need it...hot baths are a must!

We have officially adopted our little stray friend, Popeye, who came to us unexpectedly on October 28th...he's currently recovering from a very bad infection, and will be having surgery to remove what remains of his ruined left eye on Tuesday, November 15th...we're keeping our fingers crossed that all goes well, and he will be getting better soon!
Popeye, our little one eyed kitty
The picture I'm including here is from a couple of days ago, he is improving every day...the bright shiny green eye that remains is very expressive...he's a quiet, contemplative little fellow wearing yellow, loveable, and is very fond of gently head butting me in the mouth first thing in the morning (he's been living in the bathroom since his arrival.) He's been coming out to meet the other kitties for the last few days, and today, since I've been home all day feeling poorly, I let him out to roam freely, mingling and napping...he's shy and curious, the boys have become accustom to his smell through the door and have had brief, nose touching meetings, so they quietly welcomed him, and accepted him without much fuss...probably the easiest integration of a new kitty ever! I'm guessing they know on their level of awareness that he's injured and sick, so they've been on their best behavior...although a few cases of bushy tail has gone around, the boys haven't raised a paw or growled...not even a whisper of a hiss in response to any of his warnings...they've been good boys!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


There are times in which I feel like screaming "Stop the world, I want to get off!" Yet I stick it out, day in and day out, getting it done, the whatever "it" is that comes my way...sometimes it's just one thing after another..."You know, it's always somethin'."

Like the rest of the country that got it, we got the first snow on Thursday night...a black out came along with it too...and when the power came back on, the storm itself was pretty much done, so I gained a false sense of security thinking "all's well" and started various tasks all requiring electricity...Laundry, Cooking Dinner, a Hot Bath...and then Bingo! A brown out...so everything had to be shut down...soggy laundry in both machines, partially cooked components for dinner was tucked into the fridge to be continued another time, (I had guacamole and chips for dinner instead, yummy enough, but it wasn't my planned baked heavenly mac n' cheese.) And we also ran out of water in the tanks. Drag.The brown out went on all night with several power outages mixed in during the wee hours until finally by morning the power came back on full...could've been worse...just annoying. It became bitter cold out, dropping into the 20's burrrrrrr! I'm grateful for our woodstove to keep us cozy.

 Max and I went outside late that night to admire the stars and the white blanket covering our acre of the world. He became fascinated with something under the porch, so I called him away (always fearing there'd be a skunk under there one of these days! He's been sprayed before, and I've been lucky enough to not be near ground zero of the deed at the time!) I shined the flashlight around and didn't see anything or hear anything...no tracks in the snow...we went inside with caution...I didn't put the pieces together until the next day...

From a white out, to a black out, to a brown out...the morning was very white...

On Friday afternoon, I came home early to take my doggy to the vet for a quick check of his infected ear, and just as my son and I were getting ready to leave we heard a kitty crying...and there under our porch was this pitiful little fellow with a badly injured eye (very likely he got biffed by a car and amazingly survived)…we coaxed him out, got him into a cat carrier and took him along for the ride (arriving a little late for our appointment.) It’s clear he is not feral, that he belongs (or did belong) to someone, he’s people friendly and neutered, go figure how he came to be all the way out here on our acre of the world. They find their way to us, the little critters who need help…it’s just us. So a free vet visit later, with free antibiotics and free advice, I’ve been seeking help through a cat rescue group to get the little guy fixed up, we are going to become the foster home, and I’m also chipping in to cover surgery to remove the eye (which won’t be cheap!) The eye is so badly damaged it can’t be saved (but the kitty can be saved.) So…you might laugh (or be appalled), we’ve named this tough little buddy “Popeye” (I am what I am and that’s all that I am)…he’s a real sweetheart and very lovable…aren’t they all? I don't want to post a photo of his face just now, he's not a pretty sight at the moment, it's just heart breaking. Whatever his story is, we may never know how he came to be under our porch in such rough shape, but for now, he’s safe with us, and hopefully will recover and live out the rest of his natural life in peace and secure that he will be loved…

Popeye napping
And so that’s my story…never a dull moment! I have a full plate in my life and I wouldn't want it any other way!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday night....

Maple Leaf and Seeds, 10/22/2011
It's the end of a creative weekend, I took several long studious walks around the acre with my good dog, Max...the dog sniffing the ground for interesting smells, and I looking at the ground for interesting objects to photograph...filling my digital sketchbook with more pictures...

Maple Leaf Layers, 10/22/2011

Maple Leaf, 10/22/2011

The Remains of Summer's Lilies, 10/22/2011

Viola Leaf on Stone, 10/22/2011

Wild Cucumber and Burrs, 10/22/2011

Willow Leaf, 10/22/2011

Mushroom Group (under the lilac bush), 10/22/2011

It felt good to be so productive image-wise...although I've been a bit woozy at times, fatigue mostly, but some of the woozy feeling is from euphoria because I finished my first painting since my mother's passing...it's good...it's what I wanted to do with that blue-black square that I had staring at me for a week...
The Blue Square Window 10/23/2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Milkweed Leaf, 10/14/2011
I'm trying out a new background design...I think I like it...for now.

Old brick, with accidental paint. Summer 2011
(Oops!) I spilled some turquoise paint on an old brick during the summer when the wind knocked my little paint cup off the table on the porch...look how pretty it is now! If you look close at the milkweed leaf photo, you'll also see some flecks of turquoise on that too! They were all in the same general area of my studio table on the porch. It already feels forever ago...

It's been a quiet weekend (and a long one, as we took Thursday and Friday off)...for this I'm grateful. I needed the down time to reboot my brain, get some rest...I even made time to tip on the couch and watch a movie (Out of Africa, again.) Although the weather has been threatening there have been some moments of pristine October blue in the midst of the gray, sunshine to sit in, I made time to watch the world go by...

Leaves on the path, 10/14/2011
My little dog buddy Max has had a bad middle ear infection, but is on the mend, poor little fella, never complains...he's the best of good boys about taking his pills. His birthday is October 20th, he will be 12 years old.

My father has gotten better in some respects, but worse in others, dementia seems to have gotten the better of him (this is how his father went, and my mother warned us this is how it is going to be.) He has reached a plateau in his recovery, and it's very sad to see him slipping away from us a little at a time. He time travels mostly now, and his busy mind invents many scenarios, one happens to be a girlfriend...oy vey, right? Somehow I believe that his being smitten with a lady so soon after my mother's death is not a bad thing, it is filling a hole that he's feeling inside...and there is nothing finer than the euphoria of being in love to make you feel good when you're feeling so sad...I'm not going to deny him that bit of happiness even if it's only in his mind. He knows us, he is happy and safe...this matters most of all.

In all of this, I've managed to find quiet. It hasn't been easy. As you can see, I've taken lots of pictures...

White Feather, 10/14/2011 Just a lone feather on the leaves...
October Rose, 10/12/2011

I've moved along to visit other chapters in Drinking from the Fishbowl, and added some new work to Layers of Illusion, so I'm slowly getting back into the rhythm of writing... a new canvas that I've started is waiting for the next layers of paint, I'm pretty excited about it, yet apprehensive, it's one of those moments of uncertainty, I'll be all right once I'm "there"...some smaller works on paper have taken shape...fooling around with colors, staining papers and making marks...

I couldn't resist turning the milkweed leaf photo into a duotone, the texture is so beautiful!