Friday, October 29, 2010

Fabulous Foto Friday

Moreno Valley from Palo Flechado Pass
Thought I would get a bit closer to home with this week's photo. This was taken about six miles from my house as the crow flies. I was coming back from Taos with a friend. I had my camera with me because of the extended time of dismal weather. I just knew sooner or later the overcast skies had to break and give me a peek at the peaks which no doubt were going to be snow-capped. The mountains and clouds had been playing peek-a-boo for the better part of a week and fall turned to winter.

This photo shows just a hint of that snow under Touch Me Not's cloud hat, but it also shows the shadows of the clouds across the Moreno Valley, all framed in pines and bare Aspen branches. Glad I had the camera. But then yesterday I left it home and Wheeler Peak made an appearance with its solid white winter crest, but no doubt I will that again and again in the coming months.

Monday, October 25, 2010

That Was the Week That Was Six - Or is it five?

Winter at the top and fall below the clouds
This was the week that fall at last succumbed to what can only be described as winter weather. Us New Mexicans (even those in the mountains) are spoiled. We seldom, if ever, go a day without some grace from the sun. But if we saw the sun here for more than a few minutes a day since Thursday we celebrated it. I did get a peek between the clouds of the full moon on Friday. I think it was full. I only saw part.

Wednesday, however, was glorious and I posted a photo blog about that. See below. With the weather being not nice to get out and hike I began a round of frame making forgetting that the damp of the seemingly endless rain (rained 2" at my house on Thursday) would slow down the drying of glue and paint and varnish. Obviously, I had forgotten what life was like in the southeast. Still slow progress has been made.

Yesterday, the winds of winter arrived. I loathe them. They just seem to penetrate all clothing and suck the heat from my house. Hoodies are now inside attire. The woodstove got drafted into full time service this weekend to dry the air and chase the chill. And yesterday I realized I did not have a jacket that kept out the icy wind and so after three years of doing with the old bought a new one on line at Sierra Trading Post. I love them. Got an Oakley winter sports coat for a third of original price. It will probably be here about the time we move into a "sucker hole" in winter.

A sucker hole is when nice weather returns briefly and leads you to believe winter is in the distant future. We have sucker holes in January that lead you to believe winter is over. I just love New Mexico. Don't like the weather? Wait 10 minutes or drive 10 miles. Today, however, I am staying home and inside and keeping the fire going.

Yesterday I went again to the spa with my friend to take the waters. I love aquafit exercises and have shared them with my friend. She, in turn, has inspired me to once again swim laps. I dug out the exercise swim fins and we challenge each other on one lap more. Boy do fins work the legs and gluts. The scale this morning confirmed I have lost six pounds. Four more to go in four weeks to meet my Holiday fair goal. Applause!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall is Over

The "S" word has been sneaking more and more into the weather forecast and as we are nearing the end of October that is to be expected. The local ski areas begin "making" snow at Halloween because then our weather will be such they have a chance of keeping it around. It is supposedly a La Nina year which means dryer and warmer than normal. I think I can live with that, but a lot hangs on the ski slopes for our tourist dollar input.

But the rural electric coop is again raising its rates. It has to buy power from other states because all the power generated in the four corners area from our coal and our rivers goes to light Los Angeles and Las Vegas who seem to waste it. So with higher electric bills in the future warmer is definitely nice. And I have three cords of wood to burn for heat. But snow pack is what makes our forests healthier to avoid fires come summer. And it is how our aquifers are recharged. So I am divided. How about rain at my altitude and snow 200 feet higher?

Don't mean to be picky. And I certainly know if you don't like the weather in New Mexico just wait ten minutes or drive ten miles. And there always is some doubt in any long range forecast because of the mountain effect. Still all the local pundits like to have their predictions. At the ski area when I taught there we used to say, "It isn't snowing until it is snowing." And thus far even with the "S" word in the forecast it has not snowed except at the top of the mountains.

But I think I can predict with a fair amount of accuracy that fall is over. Mind you New Mexico weather has been known to prove even this simple forecast wrong in the past. But the firewood is stored and most (but not all) of the fall tasks completed (history has shown there were be other nice days to do the rest) so let it snow if it must. Chances are it will be here today and gone tomorrow. If it falls at all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Beginning of the end of fall

In college we used to play a verbal game where we tried to decide what a particular friend was in terms of a food, or an animal, or a season. We really did have a hall mate that was lemon jello. And one of my best friends was the ferret. The trouble with that game was that the comparisons, if aptly made, stuck. And somehow I find my subconscious mind still playing the game.

Marc was fall. His birthday was the end of September when the mountains of New Mexico put on their grandest show and we traditionally rode the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge railroad over the mountains to see the color. Or drove up to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. I thought of both as a way of saying goodbye. His wife chose to not have a memorial service here and I am not the only one of his friends hanging in limbo. Both trips seemed to long and I could not see myself doing them alone.

Fall lingered, way longer than is normal, as if waiting for me to make a decision of how to let him go. Yesterday I had to go to the dentist in Questa, where Marc and I had lived together, and I took the camera to avoid all the memories. I hide behind my camera at times. I take it to social events where I don't really want to mingle and appoint myself instead as official photographer. Yesterday it just became a focus on all the memories. You cannot move forward until you let go of the past.

Wheeler Peak through the trees
Wheeler Peak through the Aspens
And knowing we had three days of rain in the forecast let me know I would be saying goodbye to this spectacular fall too.

The colors of fall
And Questa except as a place where my dentist is. And a place I once lived with a man I loved but could not live with. I could say the same of Questa.

Cabresto Valley and the burn area
Cabresto Valley

Monday, October 18, 2010

TWTWTW Five or TW3-5

It has been a glorious fall and no recap of the previous week should ignore that. I have of course been out and about with my new camera. Did I mention I have a new camera? Trekking the aspen covered hills with the fur kids has been one form of exercise. And a good friend has me back working out at the spa. Thus far just in the pool with aqua fit exercises, but it has made a difference. Amazing how when you expend more energy you have more energy.

That, as they say, is the good news. The bad news is I got water in my ears which seems to have combined with fall allergies to give me a really stuffy head. I feel like I am walking around in a diving bell. But this too shall pass. And I hope soon.

Finally getting around to frame making. Got all the wood glued together into framing strips and sanded. Now to just start cutting the correct lengths and gluing them up in squares and rectangles to be painted and stained and fitted on "naked" pictures hanging about the studio. Just one more step in the process of getting ready for the Rio Grande Holiday Festival in Albuquerque followed in less than a month by the Seven Years and Six Sensational Ladies exhibit at Artspace Gallery on December 17th. I am one of the six.

So it is going to get busy. Hopefully not too busy to exercise but too busy to over eat because I want to be back to my size ten's by Thanksgiving.

Oh, and still no news on the lawsuit. Legally the judge was suppose to render a verdict in July but begged off to August because they were moving the court house. Two weeks ago both lawyers sent a request for a new date to expect the verdict. But still no news. And maybe that is good. Who wants to have to move before Christmas.

Monday, October 11, 2010

That Was the Week That Was Four

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
Totally an up and down week. As the song by Joan Baez goes - Some days are diamonds, some days are rust. For reasons I cannot explain my ex's death August 22nd really hit me this week. It began with last Monday when a trip to Taos seemed to invoke his memory at every turn. The good news is I have not had to worry about dry eyes.

On the good news side I finished two paintings I had been struggling with, the sold one of them, got half of the do before the snow flies list done, finally confronted someone about a forgotten debt (they forgot - I hadn't), gotten back into exercising, picked more raspberries, developed an outlet for left over masks and costume items, received two more of the Connie Shelton Charlie Parker mystery series, and had two pet sitting gigs come up for extra income.

On the rust side of the equation beyond the leaky eyes I wasn't careful about my low blood sugar and had a major event. Coupled with the water in the ears since swimming laps I have felt like an alien life force.

Received a copy of a letter from the lawyers reminding the judge we are still all waiting on the verdict which had  time of July per court regulations, a promise of August due to moving of the court house, and did not show up in September. Maybe that is the connection to the bad week about Marc.

I met Marc before my mother died and when she did I felt like a total orphan. It doesn't matter what age you are when your last parent dies it can happen. And because of my mobile life style with the company I and Marc both worked for home base was always my parents house. So an orphan and homeless. Marc had just bought a home in New Mexico that we visited. And in a year we were married. I have often wondered just how much of our relationship had to do with that at drift feeling of that year.

I have my own home now but that is challenged by the lawsuit and divorce or no Marc was in so many way my anchor. I feel totally lost at sea now. It hits me in huge waves. I tell myself this will pass. It seems to pass for men faster than women. Of the two men I know widowed in the last year both are in relationship. Of the women I know in the same situation none are. In fact most seem to be saying never again.

I once promised to never say never because it always got me in trouble. And realizing my need to find some solid ground and how much trouble reaching for anchors (that are sinking) has gotten me into in the past I thought I would amend my never to IF. IF I found a man of certain criteria I might be willing to consider a date. The following is a short list of the non-bargaining points:
  1. No heirs and at least worth $2 million
  2. An Italian villa as well as a home near here
  3. A Rubicon he leaves at the airport for when he flies his jet in.
  4. Loves fur kids
  5. Is sober and has been for at least two decades
  6. Has a good sense of humor and a childish sense of fun
  7. Enjoys food, art, and intellectual conversation
  8. Likes to buy me things
  9. Does not consider duct tape a permanent solution to a temporary problem
Any one that thinks they could meet these requirements is welcome to apply. Warning: The screening process can be extended and difficult.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A day of tasks

We have been blessed and plagued of late with thunder storms building by late morning. When there are booms and flashes the last place you want to be is on top of a ladder even if you know there are things to be done before winter settles in. Today I finally got around to them.

It was beautiful weather for working outside around the studio screwing down siding that had warped because of the weather. And finally putting up the last two strings of rope lights I had bought two years ago for Christmas decoration. They are white lights and so will be great when the studio is open for an event in the evening. Speaking of night events I bought and put up a solar powered motion sensor light at the corner of the studio near the gate. I rather like using the studio entrance personally but the motion sensor lights are by the main entrance to my house.

Speaking of those lights. They are florescent and I hate them. In fact I tried using florescent lights on all the exterior of my studio and house. I gave them an honest try and today I switched all but the two on the front walk out with incandescent. When the weather falls around 40F it takes forever for a florescent to come on bright enough to see by. So as soon as I buy some more incandescent bulbs the ones on the walk way are also getting replaced. I turn lights off so I see no reason to put in bulbs that save me energy if I leave them on. AND make me feel as if I am going blind.

I also got the new flag pole installed so my Open flag for my studio can wave when the studio is open. I spent extra money on a heavy duty flag pole and support to tolerate the winds here.

Today's list of tasks was accomplished in spite of sleeping late and dealing with a plethora of phone calls and requests and two pet sitting gigs. Remaining to be done are the stair rails (and some rope lights to light them), the new solar light for the distant storage shed I never ran electricity to, and the tacking up of some other trim in front of the house and putting steel wool in the Flicker holes in the siding, oh, and hauling away the trash in the front of this picture.  But I do feel as if I have made a good beginning.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Another Fabulous Foto Friday

La Sal Mountains Utah
The date is May 2010. We are off roading below the rim at Canyonlands National Park. Second day of our Utah adventure. It snowed on our way up which gave the La Sal Mountains in the distance the tremendous cap of deep snow. We are in summer weather gear on the canyon rims.

But the interesting part of this photo for me was how close that mountain looks. We are approximately 15 miles outside of Moab at this point. And the La Sal Mountains begin 20 miles the other side of Moab, but the air is so clear the sandstone tower looks like an immediate neighbor to Mount Tukuhnikivatz  - 12,482 feet (3805 m) and little Tuk to the left. Mount Tukuhnikivatz is obviously big Tuk.

Mount Peale, the tallest in the range, reaches 12,721 feet (3,877 m) above sea level. The range contains three clusters of peaks separated by passes. The peaks span a distance of about 18 miles (25 km). The name of the range dates to Spanish times, when the Sierra La Sal (meaning the "Salt Mountains") were a prominent landmark on the Old Spanish Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles, which if you look at a map is a bit out of the way but it avoided crossing the Grand and Glen Canyons on the Colorado River. Moab, Utah was where the trail crossed the Colorado and skirted around the bad lands of the Colorado Plateau. In this picture the Colorado river is tucked out of sight in the winding canyon at the foot of the tower.

BTW, the Colorado River has water in it at this point. Lots of water. Phoenix does not suck it all out to below Lake Mead.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nightmarish Night

Nightmare by Fussli
I don't know if it was my day, littered with a multitude of activities, or my night, disrupted by howling coyotes and activities next door, or the strawberries and cream I ate for dinner, or just the lack of routine in my life of late but last night was fraught with nightmares.

Per Wiki
A nightmare is a dream that can cause a strong negative emotional response from the sleeper, typically fear and/or horror. The dream may contain situations of danger, discomfort, psychological or physical terror. Sufferers usually awaken in a state of distress and may be unable to return to sleep for a prolonged period of time.

Nightmares can have physical causes such as sleeping in an uncomfortable or awkward position, having a fever, or psychological causes such as stress and anxiety. Eating before bed, which triggers an increase in the body's metabolism and brain activity, is a potential stimulus for nightmares

In mythology the nightmare is a ghost or night demon that terrorizes people while they sleep by sitting on their chests and suffocating them. The victim is paralyzed, unable to cry out, and aware of a frightening presence in the room. A similar sensation is associated with alien abductions. Most nightmares are combined with that paralysis and to me that is one of the most terrifying parts. I am totally unable to wake up and escape the nightmare. And if I fall asleep after waking from one my brain seems to go back and continue where it left off rather like the Friday the 13th horror film series.

Last night's series of horror flicks of the subconscious did not have monsters as in Edward Scissor Hands by events I would not want like a beloved fur kid dashing into traffic over and over. Or holes that kept appearing in my walls opening it either to the outdoors or to an energizer bunny sort of neighbor just "making a few small changes."

There have been a lot of "small changes" in my life this year and I admit to being rather unbalanced by them. Things and people I thought of as solid in my life have vanished or seemed uncertain. The incidence of nightmares is up but I seldom have a whole night of them. The real scary part of nightmares for me is that upon waking I wonder if they are prophetic. Does the holes in the walls relate to the court case that has yet to be decided but has the power to take my house away from me? The fur kid rushing into traffic symbolized the ones close to me that have died? Are these dreams just about my uncertainty or warnings of the future that might be. I am afraid I took Dicken's A Christmas Carol rather too much to heart.

I was a strange child (and perhaps a stranger adult). It was not The Monster from the Black Lagoon that gave me nightmares but Tarzan. The musical Brigadoon disturbs me still.

Whatever the reason for my marathon of disturbing dreams last night I am exhausted this morning and very reluctant to go back to bed any time soon.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weather About to Change

Storms on outskirts of Albuquerque
We have had such absolutely delightful Indian Summer weather. And one forgets that by the end of October we could have our first snows. Historically the local ski areas begin to make snow around Halloween because the temps are such they can begin to build a base. But the temperature has been in the 70's with 74 F scheduled for today. However, there is rain forecast and tomorrow will be in just 60. It is 6 am here and sun has not made an appearance yet.

Winter is coming like it or not. I have the firewood bought and stacked in the woodshed but there are a list of other tasks to be completed before winter hits like the railings on the back steps and the grass trimmed around the flower beds before it is laid down with snow.

But I also have less than two months before my big show in Albuquerque. That issue makes me almost look forward to less than perfect fall weather so I will want to stay in the studio and work. New Mexico rarely has consistent bad weather so no doubt I will be able to do the outside chores for much of October. There will just be days when a fire in the wood stove will be nice. And I will want to stay inside the sun warmed studio.

My goal is to finish the current round of paintings and then do some frame making. That would also be a good time to get the railings done on the steps. Get all the messy saw stuff done at one.

I am at the moment kind of looking forward to the rain of the next couple of days. I love watching weather move through in the mountains. And we need the rain.