Recent work


Top right and bottom left are oil on canvas; the others are pastel on board. You can see more of my art on my Facebook page, Karen Strecker Galleries.


Are you a bitchy mother-in-law?

Do you worry if you might be a bitchy mother-in-law? Fear not, heres a checklist : 

1) Do you have a key to your adult children’s home? Do you invite yourself over several times a week, just pop in, no announcement - especially when they are likely to be fornicating? When your kids have changed the locks, do you go to the neighbors with a sob story about how you were supposed to water their plants, con the kay outta them, and not only allow yourself egress? Have you done this more than once? 

2) Did you hijack your son’s wedding, make impossible demands on every one (re venue, meal, date and time, pre and post wedding activities), start fights, force the bride to cancel her bridesmaids’ hen party, try to make the bride look Vietnamese, personally make her 1 hour late for her own wedding? 

3) Did you call your daughter in law every single morning after the birth of your first grandchild, read her the weather report, then tell her how to dress the baby, and what she should do with it that day? When she was 35 years old and on her second child?

4) Did you con your new daughter in law into, without her knowing what was going on, forging a painting that you were supposed to have turned over to your ex 10 years ago (but have been fighting over, ever since) ? Did you rope her into triangulation over your divorce settlement from a decade ago? 

5) Did you, upon being told not to, sneak around the corner to force feed your grandchild a flan that the dog had peed on? 

6) Did you unload useless household crap on the happy couple (when you yourself lived in a 4000 sq ft , 3 story suburban home while they lived in an 800 sq ft townhouse w 2 kids, 2 dogs ) and then pitch a fit when you invited yourself over, used your key to let yourself in, and the crap you just off-loaded wasn’t there? Did you give them a huge Mary Poppins style pram, when they lived on the second floor with no elevator? 

7) Did you offer to throw them a party - then built a new addition to your house, a whole new wing - then complain you had no $$$ for food, and force a struggling young couple to pay for this party (that they didn’t want in the first place) so you could show off your grandchild to your own friends? Bc you didn’t invite any of theirs?

8) Did you force everyone to eat a roast that you made, after you made a toast and broke a wine glass, which shattered into the cooked meat? 

9) Did you offer to pay your young adult son + his wife $200 to paint the 4th story dormer on your beach house (they were so poor they agreed to do it) and then when they were done, refuse to pay them?

10) Have you ever eaten all of the special ice cream your d-i-l hid, in the back of the freezer, so she could have just one thing for herself - then eaten it again, when your son replaced it? 

Bonus) Do you buy xmas abd bday gifts for your s or d in law? In the 26 years we’ve been married - Hubs’ dad always gave me a gift card to some store I liked. A mensch. My m-i-l, if she gave me anything at all, gave me a “gift w purchase” that she got for buying makeup.

The good news is : I have vowed not to do any of these things to my own children's partners


The Soul of the Garden

Only a year ago, I started building my backyard garden. Prior to my recent efforts, this had been hell’s half acre, a wasteland of dead stick trees and dead grass. Giant muddy areas churned up by dogs. I began last summer by planting three areas of native plants, attractive to pollinators. Butterflies, bees, and dragonflies soon followed. Drawing insects by providing a food source then attracted birds of all kinds : hummingbirds, cardinals, jays, Carolina chickadees, Robins, doves, mockingbirds, kites, owls, hawks, and more. Raccoons, possums, skunks, armadillos and bunnies also stop by. It’s a little wild, but that’s by design.

Tree of 1000 chimes - all my wind-chimes go onto this one tree. As the breeze moves around, the tree sings. I can tell by which chime rings the way the wind is blowing.

Above: This is where I have coffee and read the paper every morning. Below: I owned a motley collection of Salterini mid century modern iron patio furniture, acquired from years of yard and estate sales, which I recently had refinished.        

                                                                Now it all matches!

Above: Trees and sky..... the view from my pool as I float around, listening to the birds chirp, or music playing from the stereo speakers piped outside. I am so fortunate to dwell in this peaceful, beautiful bubble.

   There is still plenty of grass for dogs to play frisbee. Fruit trees and vegetables are mixed in with my other plants.

A neighbor gave me all sorts of pots and garden art doo-dads.....now all I have to do is fill them. 

Ollie the Owl 

                     Close-up of a bee on an echinacea, or Mexican coneflower.

My greatest joy is flowers, and I’m still working towards a goal of year-round blooms from different species. Here is a sampling of what bloomed for me in Year One :

The garden is a welcoming refuge for all : Above, Neighbors over for social distancing Happy Hours

Brewing beer

Making pizza 

Quiet time

Sunday brunch 

       My beautiful friend Adrienne at a garden party we threw pre Covid19

Hubs enjoys his Father’s Day gift, above

                                                            ......and the pool, above

                                                                    Cocktail hour

Credit goes to my hubs, who supplied all the labor for this project. If you want to see all this loveliness live, come visit some time. February has quince and some early bulbs blooming. March for the daffodils and iris. May and June are the best for roses. July for coneflowers, day lillies, and daisies.