Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What became of the Kitchen Pantry?


Wish my pantry looked like this. What I have is a small closet just off the kitchen that I added shelves in for the storage of stuff. Once that stuff related to the making of masks. Part of getting out of the mask business and back into painting and building the studio was having that closet back to store necessities like light bulbs and batteries, and paper towels, and more and more canned and boxed goods.

Three winters ago we had six feet of snow in two days. The entire county was paralyzed and snowplows were used for opening up major arteries which had been closed down for three days. You have to go through a canyon or over a mountain pass to get here. And the gas tankers, food wholesalers, and tourists were either not getting out or not getting in. The tourists not getting out meant the filling stations and grocery store were soon empty.

Locals, who work in the tourist trade, were not getting out of their houses because the snowplows were too busy. So thanks to the three week supply of goods I had in my little pantry closet I survived. Last winter it was the economy. This spring it was the flu. WHO says stay home for seven days. And their advice for a pandemic in your area is avoid human contact for three weeks.

So as the White House warns us that the H1Ni virus will hit particularly hard this flu season I am looking at the depleted state of my pantry. Time to take inventory and begin building up stocks again. So many in our country shop from meal to meal. The kitchen pantry has either vanished or been turned into a broom closet. I am considering taking half a hall I don't use and turning it into an even bigger storage area.

I want to enter winter with three cords of firewood and a full pantry or two. I want propane tanks for my camp stove and fresh batteries for my lanterns, more lamp oil and candles. I want to be able to stay home for three weeks if necessary.

Friday, August 21, 2009

And Who Are You?

As a child and even as an adult, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland has made a lasting impression on me. The caterpillar asking Alice, "Who are you?" was one of the most frightening scenes in the Disney movie. Maybe because I had an uncle that was a great deal like that caterpillar. He used to pick up my doll and tilt her back and forth to see her eyes close and open and then pick me up and tilt me and ask why my eyes did not open and close like hers.

Do adults know the scary questions they pose to children? I could not have been more than four or five at the time. I think it was later before Disney came out with the movie of Alice in Wonderland, though Dad used to read from the book certain selections. My favorite was The Walrus and the Carpenter. I used to take the book and read it to myself at a very early age. Is that why I have "Wonderland" dreams. Or do we all dream like that at times and Lewis Carroll tapped into it with his words.

Last night was one of those dreams. I climbed out of a car driven by my niece because she wanted to party with strangers at a rave on the Rio Grande River. And she had left the dogs behind. I went in search of them. They seemed always just within sight like the White Rabbit. Following me instead of me them we walked along the river and through a huge house where a party was going on (mad hatter's tea party?) then out the other side to a large open meadow (the Queen's Rose Garden?). The dogs would not keep up and the sun was setting and I seemed never to get closer to home.

I woke up carrying the dream with me into my day. What was I looking for? Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee or the Cheshire cat. Or me? Answer to that age old question: Who are you? Or why don't your eyes blink open and closed?

Now they are making a new version of Alice starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. I have always identified with the Mad Hatter. What character in Alice in Wonderland are you?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another Box Gone Astray


Another Internet purchase has gone astray. I love to shope on the Internet but it comes with certain inherent issues; mainly shipping address. I live in a rural area and have a postal box up by the highway. And a street address. If a package is being shipped by United States Postal Service they will deliver only to the box. And if UPS only to the street address. Fedex in the area is so screwed up I don't even want to hazard a guess.

But everything only gets more complicated from that point. Because my street address is technically one zip code and my box address another. I live in the unincorporated area of Black Lake which technically does not have a zip code. UPS and Fedex are not suppose to use zip codes for delivery, but they do and if I have my box address on a package then UPS gets it on the wrong side of the mountain and Fedex puts it in the wrong distribution center.

If I put the street address on something which is being shipped by US mail it winds up in general delivery at the Angel Fire Post Office. I don't go there often. And sometimes not until the package has been returned to sender.

I only want to know on the shopping cart page what shipper they are using. Hey, I've tried keeping track of this stuff in a note book but they change shippers on me all the time. Blick Art Supplies ships direct from the manufacturer at times and by their method. And I just got the following message from Swanson Vitamins and Health Products when I mentioned they hd shipped a package UPS to my USPS box:

We have forwarded your comments, concerns and requests to the proper department. Please know however though that it is our shipping department that decides how your orders ship, therefore the best way. This is not decided until the order reaches the shipping department, which is after the order has been placed of course. Please also know that how your order is shipped, is stated on the shipping confirmations sent to you when your order leaves us.

Yes, I got the shipping confirmation and immediately contacted them. They can change the address with UPS. I cannot. I have tried. For a while I felt alone in the world on this issue but now with the USPS closing some of its post offices and shipping centers (anyone know why they cannot compete with UPS and Fedex?) more and more Internet shoppers are going to be encountering this issue.

I have asked my US representatives to just assign my community a zip code. No need for a post office. Just a zip code so that UPS and Fedex knows we are not Angel Fire or Ocate but Black Lake. Seems like such a small thing. Just five numbers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Side Roads of Life


One of the side roads I took last week with my sister and her husband was to this meadow at the crest of the mountain ridge. It was here a couple weeks ago we had seen the herd of elk and we wanted to go back to get better pictures. The elk evidently did not share our same agenda and on the two mornings we laid in wait with cameras did not show up.

Day one we picked a location in the trees and suffered for our art as we watched the dawn sun begin to warm the air and earth just beyond where we stood shivering and hungry as we had delayed breakfast to be there. Yesterday we wised up. We ate breakfast before our early predawn departure and picked the sunny side of the meadow.

We sat soaking in the silence and the sun and the beauty around us in relative comfort. We had even dressed in more appropriate predawn clothing. Yes, I know it is August but in the highlands that means the nights are getting chillier again. In fact we even had a hard frost the night before. That is early for even this altitude.

As I said, the elk did not make their scheduled entrance upon our carefully orchestrated stage but all the birds showed up. Including a pair of hawks trying to lure their fledglings from the protection of their nest into flight. Most every little nature dance was too far away to photograph well and so we just sat and drunk it all in.

Our moment of Zen. We watched Mother Nature open for the day.

I live about 5 miles from here as the crow flies. People pay big bucks to come here. I just have to stop keeping on in my routine and take a side road up the mountain.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I am disinclined to acquiese to your request

I want to applaud former President Bill Clinton for his recent trip to North Korea to negotiate the release of the imprisoned journalists. Some of us are born diplomats and some of us aren't. I noticed we did not send GW Bush. And they did not send me.

In my youth I used to do anything (often self-destructive) to a avoid a fight or not burn a bridge. I listened to a relative, a visitor in my own home, call me insane and crazy and held my tongue. I later quietly suggested to his wife they might cut their visit short or find another place to stay. But there was no yelling and hitting on my part at that time. Or most if not all of the hundred other times I suffered his verbal abuse.

Somewhere in my thirties it dawned on me that holding my tongue was directing a lot of anger that belonged elsewhere back at me. I was chronically depressed, had a problem with alcohol, and liked to toy around with suicide attempts. I say toy around because the major criteria for any attempt at suicide was to not leave a mess someone else would have to clean up. Then I began cleaning up my act. I learned to say no and enough. I stopped saying I was sorry and told people it was not my fault.

I am no longer chronically depressed. But a consequence of telling people where they could get off with unacceptable behavior is I have not talked to my brother in twenty years. (See earlier paragraph about relative.) I have not missed the chronically abusive relationship at all. But lately I have been in contact with his son (who is also not talking to him) and his daughter who is. Via e-mail she gave me her dad's telephone numbers and said he would like to talk to me and urged me to call HIM.

I am disinclined to acquiesce to this request. And karma be damned. I am totally happy with my life just the way it is. Now should he call and apologize I will accept it. But I doubt we have a future relationship unless he has undergone a sea change in spite of what today's horoscope claims. I have moved on and I don't need him to approve or disapprove.

BTW one response to karma can be that you are not going to go through a lifetime with that person ever again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Research on dog Origins


There is evidently a lot of time, energy and money being spent on determining how and where dogs were first domesticated. Asia has been held as home of the domestic dog because of the genetic diversity to be found there but most recently scientists are leaning toward Africa. I have to wonder if in the grand scheme of things such as pandemics and world economic collapse it really matters.

As a life long owner of canines I know one thing for sure: Man did not domestic the dog. Woman did. If the origin of dogs are wolves (or even jackals which are another counter theory based on white on throat and tail) then it was done as puppies and only women would plead the case of a litter of wolf puppies. Tribal man who just killed the mother wolf would have seen the puppies as future moccasins.

However, I do hold to the theory that dogs domesticated themselves. Early man developed trash dumps and the omega wolves (bottom of the pecking order) in a pack would have seen that as a buffet. Omega wolves are into pleasing the providers of food and that would have been women. I don't see primitive man as taking out the trash. No doubt the cutest of the trash puppies got fussed over and ultimately taken home. Then the trash does not have to be taken to the dump. The garbage disposal is right there. And more than willing to please its new pack leader - the woman feeding it.

As to dogs being used for hunting and herding by men I think that was only on the urging of females. "Take him, honey. I am sure he will be a help chasing the elk back toward you." Women tended the goats and sheep. A dog that ran the sheep was of no use so pawn him off on the men.

Nobody paid me any money for this research. It is entirely independent but if Pedigree wants to give me a few bags of dog food for my fur kids I have no objection. They prefer lamb and rice.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Geospatial What?


I was in an art fair recently where the judge tried to cram as many $10 terms into a 50 word judge's statement as was humanly possible. It has many of us with too much time on our hands racing to the community center public use computer and going to on line dictionaries. And ending up in philosophical discussions about how the term was applied.

One of those terms was geospatial cultural influences. Basically that is how the land in which we live influences our culture and ergo our art. By that determination I believe I am part Navajo in culture, because we love the same land.

But it does not merely explain what I paint but it also explains what people buy to hang on their walls. So clearly I paint the wrong things for the visitors from the plains. But then I also live in the wrong space to nurture my geospatial cultural heart. But then priests don't all live in Rome.

So what is my relationship with the geography around me? I grew up in New Mexico - split between the mountains and the high dry mesas. Maybe part of my heart belongs in both.