Skeleton Sketches-Poetry and the Visual Arts

Sketch by Quinn Clarice Mae for an assignment to imagine a model without skin.

What does it feel like to be a skeleton

But not know you’re dead?

It started at a tea party,

my fascination with skeleton’s

about town.

I called her Lady Ellsbeth.

She sat carefully perched

on the piano bench called

into service for extra seating.

Lady Ellsbeth arrived late.

Her tea was really quite hot.

She perched it on her pelvic bones

her hands being busy supporting

her on the bench. Occasionally

a vertebra fell. Carefully, she’d

tuck the offender under her feet

like an unfelt stool. Odd, you say.

But you’ve never been one

I’d guess, a skeleton at tea, that is.

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge 2019

Pen and ink sketch by Quinn Clarice Mae DeRuiter

I really wish this gentlemen had stayed,

buried that is. There’s quite a hole in his head.

I know since he had taken a selfie.

He was quite enamored with this craze.

Clinched in his dead teeth, a smoke

dangling from an elegant ebony holder.

The right side of his head was missing.

No, not all, just a neat bite like half circle.

The grave seems a most fearsome place.

No wonder I keep meeting skeletons

as men and ladies about town but

how on earth did they get out?

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge 2019

Pen and Ink Sketch by Quinn Clarice Mae DeRuiter

Then I met him. Corporal Clement by name.

A most dapper fellow dressed in full uniform

circa Briton, WWI, is my guess.

“What am I missing?” he cries as he wanders about.

Fingers, some teeth and some ears weren’t there.

But I don’t think his fellow escapees could tell him.

Dig up as many as he likes. They weren’t there.

Clearly his gas mask is gone. I’m sure that’s why

he’s down to bone and fabric. But his gun,

multi-purpose after death, could dig up various

skeletal parts to help in his endless search.

But he hadn’t counted on these high society types

who were absolutely no help being obsessed

as they were with life in the 21st,

century not infantry.

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge 2019

Lady Ellsbeth, Wife of Sir Thomas Ellsbeth 1645-1682.

Sir Charles Haworth IV 1792-1840.

Corporal Alexander Clement 1898-1917

About the Art and the Artist: The artist, Quinn DeRuiter, majors in art at the University of Omaha. She just finished a semester abroad at the Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy, For the first sketch students were asked to draw the live model as though she didn’t have skin. There will be more skeletons featured here since I find them fascinating. Quinn posts on Instagram as femme fatale_quinn.

Posted in art, Imagination, pen and ink sketches, Poetry, poetry and art, RV Life, Uncategorized, Visual Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shadow Selfie as Self Realization Art

In a picture of the black and white lines of a playground,

I find myself an alien being with angled arms, tilted head

And strangely straight legs. Where is the crooked woman

I see in the mirror? Yes, arms and head are akimbo to take the shot but

Look at the legs, they are straight so is my body.

What magic is this?

In the parking lot suddenly another is there.

Look at her all straight-legs, even body not curving left.

The next time we arrive at the park, I see tree shadows on the parking lot.

An idea-I love trees. As I do my morning stretches, I look at the sturdy oaks on the hills

Around the house. Straight, strong their roots go into the earth

And grab on. I want that to be me sturdy and reaching into the earth.

The. Idea-

Becomes reality. Standing in front of the shadow tree,

I become part of the tree. Legs expand the trunk.

Look how solid we are.

My head is nestled in with the leaves and branches.

I become young green and able to wind bend.

Another idea-

What fun. Tree and I are crossing the line.

Rebels we trick what is real. What is not.

We shadows are real. Possibilities travel in the sap

Of our strength. Even if only for the moment of this

Late sun time, I am strong, straight. My stick, a new root,

Cracks macadam and drives straight into the earth.

I leave the possible world with another new idea.

Only the concrete posts of chain link fences

Share my shadow ground. The links have disappeared.

I am surrounded by post shadows

Of my expanding strength.

What is possible?

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge 2019

Posted in art, Graphic Art, Imagination, iphoneography, Observation, Photography, Poetry, poetry and art, trees, U-Turns, Uncategorized, Visual Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Framed Invasion

By Quinn DeRuiter part of final art project

The man with the ravens

head invades my mind. A Siamese

cat draped over his arms is

a feline accessory to complement

his careful look.

Raven’s glossy wings sweep

back in an unseen wind

to fly them all somewhere.

No one seems to know

the destination. They may

not care. They have each other

and so content they simply

ride together out of fixed

time. The next picture

waits to receive them maybe

in a place of possibility

and constant motion.

Janice Eskridge 2020

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Garden Meditation Focal Points

Before I leave my newly landscaped yard, here are focal points we created.  Photographs are courtesy of my iPhone 11 Pro.  With the current Covid-19 shelter in place orders, these spots create soul food.


This is the llama that started it all.  For this sculpter the llama stands for companionship. I gave one long standing friend one for her garden and I have one.  He sits near my favorite pepper tree and is in clear view from my lounge chair reading seat.


My husband had this well seasoned frog.  He put his flat rock seat in the center back position  of a created rock circle in our side yard.  I can’t say I know where the frog was hiding in our yard but he’s perfect.  On my daily yard walks, I always stop and notice him and enjoy the rocks, flowers, frog and dark soil  Frog sits in the garden behind our rock wall.


This lovely sculpture is called Peace.  I found her and loved her and brought her home to my new garden, in the new home I created as a newly single woman.  Now married, again we left her grounded as she has settled into her home facing the rock wall with all its flowers and trees.

I am so grateful that our backyard landscaping was finished before Covid-19 forced us to to shelter in place.  I must confess I am enjoying the peace.  More of this journey to follow.

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iPhone 11 Pro Portrait Mode in the Garden

I decided to use the same plant to show the different portrait mode settings and how each one can be used to highlight a plant in different ways. So either this geranium feels very loved at being photographed and talked to or it wonders why it just can’t be left alone to flower in peace.

This is portrait mode natural light.

This is portrait mode studio light. I like the blurring of the background and some of the leaves.

This is portrait mode contour light. For plant effects I don’t see much difference between this effect and studio light. I continue to lose visual acuity. Usually on my iPad I can see the differences by blowing pictures up. That is failing me here. If anyone knows, I’d appreciate a comment. (i could look it up I’m sure. But I like to be able to figure it out. OK stubborn.)

This is stage light. I love it with plants. The camera needs to be able to find the subject inside the circle. This can be tricky with plants. After I’m through sharing my geranium torture, I’ll share more plant stage light.
This is stage light mono. I love how the glistening edges of the flower shine through here. I’ve used the stage light mono of Moishe the Tervuren for a card and it was stunning. The printed picture was amazing even though my older iMac couldn’t handle the full resolution of the iPhone 11 Pro photo. (Note i cant upgrade on my iMac to the latest operating software-planned obsolescence.)
This image is high key light mono. I missed this option earlier. So the blossom is gone and there is a group of buds. It was tricky to get the lens to see the subject. When it did I took the picture. Are there buds in here? I can’t tell. I did say stubborn. I will do this until I really can’t see much. This may not come. Ophthalmologist is trying new stronger medication.

Selfie in high key light mono or how I discovered this setting.
The humble marguerite bloom in stage light becomes a spinning petal of sunlight.
My favorite stage light image are these daffodils. They speak for themselves. They encourage me to find the worlds in various parts of our newly landscaped yard and to sing their images into being.
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iPhone 11 Pro Max- Playing with New Camera on Portrait Mode

IPhone 10 had portrait mode but I only used it like a macro lens for flowers.  I purchased the iPhone 11 Pro for the camera. Max was to help me see better. So let’s begin.

The first portrait I tried was a selfie on stage light.


This is me. I am seated with a white wall behind me. This can only be described as beginners luck. Why?  I got the perfect black background.

I’m skipping some of the exploration process to stay with portraits. By the time I took this next portrait I had played around with indoor plants. I discovered less light and dark backgrounds. So we have a gorgeous dog. Doggie portraits here we come. I had a plan. In my plan I got Moishe the Tervuren to sit and wait on dark rug and lighter wall. Moishe got tired of my fussing so he laid down. This portrait is not a total failure.

I like his face. He’s trying the ‘I’m gorgeous you won’t make ma stay sitting will you?’


My next attempt.  It’s not a bad portrait.  I like the lighting and Moishe’s pose.  The background is not great but I had it on stage light and expected black.  No such luck.

By now my poor husband is literally jumping up and down in his seat.  He wants to get his hands on my new phone and camera.  I give in since my efforts were going in the wrong direction.

He put it on portrait and stage light.  Here’s what happened.


This is wonderful.  It is on portrait stage light mono.  By now I’m growling.  Here’s where I was going wrong.  My vision isn’t wonderful.  I was missing a key element.  When you set up your camera for a portrait stage light, the words indicating the stage light setting have to be high-lighted in yellow.  If it isn’t the setting doesn’t work.  Glacoma is stealing my visual edges so I simply didn’t see or notice this.  Nor did I notice it anywhere in the how-to’s I read.  Could have been there, but I missed it.  So Ah-Ha happens.


I like this casual portrait of my long suffering spouse.  I snapped without warning.

There is much more to the portrait mode.  I will cover that next time.

Posted in Belgian Shepherd Tervuren, Dogs, iphoneography, Life with a dog, Photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Air of My Mind-Art and Poetry

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Florentine Falcon a screen print on etching paper by femmefatale_quinn (you can find her on Instagram)

In the Air of my Mind


between waking and sleeping

a world waits to be seen

a cave of light

a place between sea and land


a flash of red wings beat the air

feathered armor covers all of him

in his talons a cobra pulses truth


in my delirium of night 

I fly with them looking 

at the green iridescent

tunnel opening, closing


it comes close, retreats

I’ve never been able to enter

or exit its green invitation

red wings spread open 

their layered feathers


like cobra I’m clutched in strong talons

I’m trapped in a journey of green


beating wings raise us

the tunnel is all green light

now expanding now contracting


we fly out through the iridescence 

into sharp reality

    Janice Eskridge ©️January 2020

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Morphine and Fentanyl-A Chemical Concussion


September 10, 2019

I disappeared for awhile. I’d been in a rough patch health wise. One night I was curled on bathroom floor in pain too weak to move, my husband called 911 and an ambulance arrived. My husband raced down the hill to beat the ambulance. From here I need to use what’s been told to me.  Because of the pain the doctor wanted to use morphine. Jack pointed him to the part of my medical records that says no morphine. Nurse leaves. Comes back with a shot that is a blend. Jack is led to believe not morphine. She starts the injection. I complain of feeling heavy. Then I lose consciousness. Jack, my husband, loses it. Nurse disappears. Then admits shot was morphine and fentanyl. 

The journey begins-one I have no knowledge of at this point. For three days I’m comatose. All bodily functions shut down. Jack, family members and friends take turns sitting with me. As best I can tell I came out of it early one morning. I see it’s a hospital but I can’t find a call button.  I start yelling ‘help me.’  From there it goes nuts. One doctor is furious that I dare disrupt his night. Leaves. It seems his patient died while he was gone. I have a hard time believing this memory.  In it I hear the doctor sobbing that he is ruined.  Something happened.  Nursing staff confirms it.  Or was the whole thing a dreamed up crisis from my crazy brain?

The drugs aren’t done. Delirium arrives. I live in my own reality with only brief moments of knowing where I am. While the people who love me are panicked I’m having quite the time in my altered reality. Inside my world the nurses are practicing for a spectacular performance complete with a conductor. In flowing lavender and green dresses the nurses danced sometime in mid air. Then the Christmas portion started. Traditions from another country in the days past  Christmas complete with dancing bears and happy families celebrating by giving each other gorgeous oranges. 

These are clear even now. Soon worries surface. I hadn’t received an invitation to the performance. I’m sure it’s punishment for what happened earlier. Days later I’m STILL fixated on the missing invitation. In my head I go up and take a picture of the announcement on my bulletin board. Finally it’s clear to me no performance. Rats it seemed really cool. In moments of reality I’m aware the nurses and aides are not treating me well. No clean sheets. I’m never allowed to get up even to go bathroom. As days go by I have some crazy times inside my messed up head. The funniest had me in the room which was round-really some architects master plan- but my bed is tilted and under the bed is water with floating mangrove leaves. They tell me that Jack just bought me the most expensive truck they had available for people in round rooms. On hearing this, I think, “Why haven’t I killed him?  In front of my bed is a green hill and country roads.  One has 5 huts lined up. Jack had married four native women. Again, “Why haven’t I killed him?”  Each of the wives claims her hut. But I’m not moving. 

There are longer moments of clarity as drugs leave my system. I remember doctors. I remember neurologists coming in to check where I was. I made sure I knew day, date, place and my name

Around September 14-15

At one point I have the last delirium moment. In this one we’ve been to the movies. One had the dancers in lavender and green the other was a cartoon head dancing with birds. As I’m more in reality, Jack insists they move me to another floor..  Here I’m mostly present except at night.  I start having lucid dreams and sometimes they become reality for me. In them, every task is difficult and its hard to remember all I need to do.

Around September 17

Jack succeeds in  having me moved to a rehab-skilled nursing facility. I had to pass a neurological test to be released.

At the Skilled Nursing Facility the lucid dreams are always about the hospital and what I have to do to get tasks done. There was a bed with buttons I had to push to create hot spots. I was cold. I spent hours mad at myself for not finding the buttons. The night nurse came in and raised the heat in my room and fixed covers. Finally sleep. 

The one date I know for sure is October 1.  That is the day I left rehab and went home.  At home I maintain reality except for after dinner.  Tired, I start to go into lucid dream world and difficult tasks I must perform.  I know it’s happening.  So I started a mantra to myself ‘Just let the routine take over.  Rely on muscle memory to do things.  Keep it simple.  Keep it simple.’  It works after about two days of this I can last all day as myself and be present.  It is now October 21st.  I still have therapists coming to the house helping to rebuild the muscle lost during the week in the hospital when I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed until the last two days.  

What happened to me is not isolated. Jack did some research and learned that in older women morphine is a problem. Women admitted for total hip replacement are given morphine, have delirium, released with delirium (usually to a nursing home.) They often die within 3-6 months of release from hospital. 

I I am grateful to feel like I am myself again.  For awhile I was lost-a strange feeling.  Rebuilding ‘self’ is lot of work.  I wonder now if I’ll ever stop second guessing myself. What remains clear are the friends and family who visited me. During the delirium, I remember faces. I could latch onto a well known face and be present for a bit. Helen, a good friend, floats on my left. I see my brother framed in a door. Jamie, my son, is on my right and worried about missing the cardiologists visit. It is here I start to come back for longer moments. I remember the cardiologist explaining about a newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation. I remember wanting to be sure Jamie got the details. This begins the long struggle back to clarity. Poor Jack. I think something’s real when it’s not. He is left to explain to brain dead what is real. 

I am lucky to be where I am. Without my committed spouse, family and friends I doubt I would be. So be an advocate. Hospitalized patients need visitors so staff sees them as people apart from the hospital. I’m not sure what you can do about doctors who ignore chart and family.  They need to be called to account. And beware of morphine’s effects. Give thanks each day for clarity.  

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The Artist-Poetry and the Visual Arts


Selfie by Quinn Clarice Mae DeRuiter

The Artist

I walked behind the old city at twilight.

There, a wood called to me.

Entering it wrapped me in a twilight mystery.

Eyes, I felt them just there behind a wall

topped with a strange silver pattern

of stretched and twisted humming hieroglyphs.

Behind and through it, the staring eyes

of an autumn girl.  She was part of the whole

yet a separate meaning.  She stared straight

ahead and through me intent on the last

near purple magic of coming night.


Morning, I hurried to the wood.  Eyes glowing

she smiled but nothing more.


In the city, they said I’d glimpsed the golden

owl that lent his stories to the wood.


But I couldn’t let her go.  At sunset, 

I was there again.  So was the autumn girl

staring at the setting sun.  Following her gaze

I saw a tree with leaves bursting with golden fire.

It whispered perhaps sang.


Back in the city, I found the autumn girl

seated on a wall bathed in the setting sun.

Her glowing pen drew magic.


Lost inside, I walked into her world

and made it mine. 

                      Janice Eskridge © 2019 

About the art and the artist:  Quinn Clarice Mae DeRuiter is an art major at the University of Omaha.  She just returned from a semester of study abroad at the Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy.  “The Woman on the Wall” post was her art that she did outside of class.  This photo was a selfie assigned by a teacher in Florence.  As Quinn commented on Instagram, ‘The selfie skills it required to take this photo were next level.’  Quinn posts on Instagram as femmefatale_quinn.  

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Meet Tacara’s Moishe Meshindi-The long haired dog

I mentioned the long haired dog at the end of my last post.  I thought it only fair that you meet him.  Moishe is a Belgian Shepherd Tervuren.  This breed is long haired and are very, very intent herding dogs.  We keep Moishe busy doing agility and chasing balls.  I also do long distance obedience with him.  So with no further ado meet Moishe our very furry child.

Alert Moishe

Moishe is an avid TV watcher.  He polices football when it gets too rough.  Worries about other dogs.  Barks when they don’t do what he wants.  Enjoys Animal Planet TV.  Lions, tigers, elephants, monkeys etc. are amazing.

Moishe watches TV

Here you see the very distinctive Terv ears.  Soft and wonderful to pet, they identify the breed from a distance.

When you own a Terv you are never alone ANYWHERE!  Go to the bathroom?  Forget it door pushing, getting in behind you, door guarding, all skills that seem to be bred into the dog.

Moishe/me last night trailer

This is the Moishe and I in our Lance 2375.  We had to buy a trailer with enough space for Moishe to be with us wherever we are inside.  No not the bathroom here, but hallway beside?  Yes!  Here you can see the distinctive male terv ‘mane.’  (Although Moishe could do with a brushing.  Sorry Busy!)

Next comes eating and the ever present Terv interested in sharing your plate.

moishe begs for food

I am disabled.  Moishe and I do Motor Scooter Agility.  quite the challenge for me.  He’s a wonder at paying attention.  I have many rules to follow-like pointing scooter towards next piece of equipment, worry about which side of me he’s on.

M & I at agility

irresistable MoisheI leave you with irresistible Moishe.  The classic Terv ‘I’m so adorable how could you ever ignore me.’

Goodbye from Moishe and I.  My companion, my nurse when I don’t feel well and a faithful follower of my husband Jack.  May you all have some fur in your life.

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