Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee - Why blog


I began journalling when I was in my late 20's. First I filled spiral notebooks and then moved on to bound sketchbooks that I sometimes covered elaborately. They were a mix of poetry and sketches and events in my life. I have them still - some filled to the brim and some only begun before chaos pulled me away from that particular journal. But I do go back to journalling. And I do refer back to events and pictures and insights in the old ones on my book shelves.

Since the advent of blogging my journalling has switched to the Internet. Y360 was my first exploration of this new means of putting thoughts to paper. And when it closed down I realized there were some very significant blogs amidst the trivial day by day stuff. All the blogs are now on Profiles but I transferred significant ones to Chats with Charley II unwilling to again put all my eggs in one basket.

When the court adjourned on Friday I realized there was some confusion over just what happened in June 2007 and want occurred in July 2007. So today I went to the old blogs and looked it up. It was so wonderful to have them there with pictures to refer to. And it made me aware there was a reason for this trial to take so long -- it has helped me remember the events of three years ago - and to get all my ducks in a row as it were through my journalling on line.

Currently enjoying some downtime from the trial. And yesterday I was centered enough to get back to painting on the triptych. Followers of mine on Facebook and blogland are probably getting tired of seeing this. But to me it is not merely a painting but an event. A milestone in my artistic development. And this last couple of weeks of trial and painting has proven that CBT or no I can solve complex problems given the time and space to do so.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fair's Fair


Life is about balance, alignment, harmony, and unity; from balance in your Chakras to the Greek ideal of moderation in all things. Including, I believe, moderation. Life can be a pendulum that swings to the extremes at times. But it is always good to get back to your center.

I whine recently. It was my day to whine. I really needed to whine. It was good for my soul. And I was very gratified that one of my whines - the absence of my modem for my Qwest DSL - was heard and honored with an offer for assistance from Qwest. This is the second time I have mentioned a product or service in a blog and gotten a response. The first was with Swanson Vitamins. I love their product and their commitment to the environment but putting their vitamins in appropriately sized containers.

Admittedly there have been lots of times I have bitched and moaned about a company and been once more ignored. Amazon is one of those. Everyone raves about Amazon.com but I have had very few positive experiences with them. So even with Google offering a free link to blogspot that can earn you money I have avoided it. I cannot recommend them.

But I am currently recommending Qwest DSL. (I am reserving the right to change my mind because Qwest has changed the agreements with me in the past and the billing charges.) I can get only the lower speed (1.5mb) on the DSL due to the quality and age of my feed from the fiber optics box up at the road, or so I was told. I was warned that I might have skips with my streaming videos. And given that even with the top speed on my very expensive Wild Blue satellite ISP I was having to buffer and at times just not attempt to watch Netflix Instant or Hulu I was prepared. So yesterday after finally having the time to install the DSL I ran a few tests.

I was most pleasantly surprised! I guess my 25 plus year old twisted pair phone line is not as bad as I thought even with the splice that had to be made a couple years back. MagicJack, which I returned because it did not work on my satellite internet, would probably work on my DSL but I am rather upset with them because they did not mention it would not work and they waited a full month plus to refund my money after my return. I do remember these things.

You play fair with me and I play fair with you. And unlike newspapers I even follow the story up and note the positive.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Just Let Go or Not?


There are times life seems very difficult to navigate, the path perilous, the whole journey out of our control. And any and all attempts to change direction or pick a safer route are rebuffed letting us know quite totally we have no options but to keep on keeping on. So do you just let go?

If you are hanging on to the edge of a cliff with your finger nails then letting go does not seem an option unless you have recently decided you can fly. And W.C. Fields said even a dead fish can swim downhill. Still, riding a runaway horse in the direction it is going is easier. And actually one of the only ways to regain control of it. Rather like steering a car sliding on ice the way it is skidding even if that is a cliff edge. Bottom line there are no easy answers. And nobody on the outside can really know what your decision should be. Or decisions.

The last few weeks has certainly shown that life is complex enough that one answer does not fit all. I had to fight about the modem and I had to let go about the completion of the trial. As much as I want the latter to be over the prolonging of the agony has been beneficial on several levels. When I took the stand yesterday I was very clear about the sequence of events almost three years ago and could at last be unemotional in my testimony. I had one lingering question in my mind and that did not come up by the time we had adjourned. And on the hour and thirty minute drive home I remembered where I could go to find the answer - my old 360 blogs archived on Profiles or transferred to Chats with Charley II.

Blogging helped the modem issue too. I had mentioned it in My Day to Whine on this blog and Qwest read it. The modem is here and I have been reading through the instructions so I can install my DSL today.

I had intended to spend the weekend veggie out over  Netflix movies but it seems that there was a major wreck on the route my rural mail carrier takes. Pepe was not involved but the back road is totally blocked by a tractor trailer rig. What was this man thinking? We consider it a rental car road at best. A Jeep Rubicon road in bad weather. It is mud and flood season and he is mired in the mud which by Sunday could be flood with rising temperatures. I am hoping for mail service by Monday.

So I guess it is a re-watch weekend. That and Hulu and Netflix Instant. Or drive to Taos to take in a movie there. Which brings up the third choice in the let go or fight debate - change course.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Turn to Whine

Qwest, my telephone provider and maybe eventually my DSL provider, called yesterday with an automated message saying they were now billing me for my DSL. They gave me a number to call if that was not appropriate. It wasn't. I have yet to receive me modem due here last Friday. That is the bad news. The good news is my old ISP has been as responsive as ever and ergo not disconnected that service which actually seems to be working for the first time in a month. I think that is proof it was their fault and not mine.

Turns out the number Qwest (as efficient as old Ma Bell) gave me was the incorrect one. It assumed a technical issue. And technically it was. They mailed the modem to the wrong address after my very carefully delivered instructions about not the rural route box! So my modem is in Las Vegas and has been there since Friday. I would be coping since I am not without internet except this morning we have one of those snow storms that sticks to the satellite dish and I have been outside sweeping it off five times already and each time thinking, "once I get DSL I won't have to do this anymore."

My sister called to advise me I should not be trying to diet under the stress I am on. She didn't get that a weight gain just adds to the stress. But so does the ex-husband (his testimony necessary for my case) who yesterday decided I was staff and demanded I take down a telephone number so I could call it and get a fax sent to him. I was in the bath and at the end of my play nice rope and told him just where he could shove it.

Men are like cats in that they expect owners to be staff. I no longer own this man and have no desire to ever own one again. They do no purr and they are not warm and fuzzy like Wee Willow and The Darkness. I will take a purr kid any day over a man. Dogs are even better because I can tell them what to do. And take them to obedience training to be sure they do.

I have noticed that having to listen to the male chauvinist pig of a contractor and be in a court room with only one other woman (my lawyer) has brought back all my Gloria Steinem sentiments from the 60's and 70's. I don't have any bras to burn but I am willing to substitute a short list of men.

I think men have missed the point. Given modern tools, cloning, artificial insemination, equal lending and housing laws, and supposedly equal pay a woman no longer needs a man in her life. So the key here is men have to make us want them. I personally think they are failing miserably.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee

I admit to totally vegging out yesterday - or as a friend suggested took some serious down time. I just knitted, watched DVD's, caught up with some friends on the telephone, and bonded with fur kids. Stress, especially prolonged and continual stress, does have an effect on mind and body - any body - but more so if you have had a CBT or suffer from fibro.

Today I am actually going to have Monday Morning Chat over Coffee with two artist friends and Katherine's new studio. Us artists love to show off our studios to other artists. But there is an added incentive to go as John, Katherine's husband, is catering. Boy! Can John ever cook! More about this gathering later no doubt.

My modem for my new DSL is suppose to arrive today. Interesting enough my satellite seems to be working well. No doubt that ISP solved MY equipment problem without showing up at my door which lends credibility to my argument it was their equipment problem. Too late, Jose. And for future reference let it be known that I loath tech people that assume that I am stupid.

I signed off last night thinking I might have a mother board going out. But awoke this a.m. and after doing a couple things think it was an unstable platform due to an out of date Java Script. Knowing such things is why I do not talk to the first round of idiots at tech support. But I think the arrival of the new modem and the removal of the old is a good time to disconnect my tower from all peripherals and give it a good dust off and out.

Dashed off a few notes to my attorney via e-mail this morning. I had sat in the quiet predawn in the lobby of the St. James and made notes on the events of Friday. We are going to have another spring storm this week. Moving in on Tuesday and continuing through Wednesday but they are still unclear as to track. Meanwhile two days of high 40's to melt the snow already here. May actually be able to put two marinas on Lake Coyote.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Court Case Thus Far


Sitting in the court room listing to the testimony of the plaintiff and his witnesses was rather like going through the looking glass with Alice. The world as I know it seemed to be turned upside down. The contractor's version of things was so far from my own as to be almost laughable if it was not what I was going to be judged against.

So much of this case is he said/she said. But he did make a couple blatantly erroneous claims that we can prove wrong - one with the drawings themselves and the engineer's testimony and the other with a photograph. He did amend his lien downwards from 21,600 to 14,300 based on the fact he did not give me credit for a couple payments. And that makes the lien on its face in error and may mean it gets dropped on a legal issue. But he got one of his carpenters to lie for him. My team was able to trip him up on cross. Lies, especially reluctant ones, are difficult to maintain.

The contractor claims he had a written contract with me and that I stole his copy. I am not exactly sure how that could happen. He said he left both of his copies of a three part form in the "permit box" on site. This is certainly not reasonable and customary. And I know for a fact he never gave me a copy.

Still it was a very disheartening day and did not move with the pacing of a Perry Mason episode. We just got into the first 10 minutes of the defense case when we recessed for the day. Supposedly it will be continued on Thursday but we have one witness that may not be able to make that day. Next available court date would not be for two more months. We are now into two full years since they filed the lawsuit. Not exactly speedy justice. And I am yet to be convinced it is justice in any form.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

An Unexpected Stop at the St. James

The St. James Hotel in beautiful downtown Cimarron, New Mexico is a great placed to take visitors to our state. It was the center of the wild west and claims as guests Pat Garret, of Billy the Kid Fame, Bat Masterson, and Black Jack Ketchum to name a few. It was a bar brawl including Jack that made for a couple of the ghosts that are said to still wonder the halls. It was not on my itinerary for Friday but a spring snow storm changed my plans. And the plans of several hundreds of spring breakers.

From Raton to Angel Fire Cimarron canyon is a required bottleneck. The narrow twisting road that winds beside the Cimarron River and the Palisades is challenging driving in the best of times. Add ten inches of snow, growing dusk and five wrecked vehicles and the State Police consider it impossible. We were all directed to the St. James for dinner and/or drinks to await the clearing of the wrecks.

The St. James has an excellent kitchen and it was a wee past dinner time. Dinner time was when court recessed to be continued on Thursday next. The plaintiff and his friends headed to the White Bar in Raton. Myself and my two witnesses headed in two cars to see just how far we could get before the snow storm closed in. All afternoon the court security staff had been giving us updates with road after road falling like dominoes to the major snow making system out of Colorado. Around 9 the management of the St. James released some reserved rooms (note: if you cannot get out generally nobody else can get in) and we did the college days thing of how many people can you squeeze into a room and still get any sleep. We were all tired enough even the ghosts could not keep us up.

I want to extend my heart felt thanks to the State Police, the citizens of Cimarron, and the staff of the St. James for making what could have been a very difficult time a very pleasant and fun adventure. I am definitely going back to the St. James for a meal and to say hi to new friends I made.

BTW I am home now. The canyon was open by this morning and so after a great buffet breakfast that came with the room we took off to Angel Fire and the abandoned fur kids.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cut off and Away


There are times when you can stand in miles of badlands and feel totally embraced and cared for. And other times when you are in the middle of a crowd and feel totally alone and isolated. There are instances when you know only you can do what needs to be done whether it is make your way out of the wilderness or to the other side of the crowd. You look for reference points to guide you and yet they seem to be cast into the shadows or erased by the mob.

In the past difficult times in my live seem to be surrounded by isolation. When I most want to reach out and touch someone or gather their assistance or guidance they are unavailable. And now is no different in many ways. Pivotal people are out of range to contact. My ISP service goes down when I am most dependent upon e-mail for communication with my legal staff.

In the past I have wondered if this is merely spirit's way of telling me to look inside for help and not depend upon others. It is me that must find the answers. Still in my fleeting links with my ethernet community I have been very gratified and bolstered by thoughts and well wishes.

So tonight having read through my 13 pages of homework for court tomorrow I feel well armored for the trek ahead tomorrow. However the major winter storm which comes on the tomorrow afternoon I am not that sure of as I will be driving home in it. Let's hope with very good news.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Get me out of here!


A friend of mine in Blogland said she just wanted to hide yesterday. I can certainly understand the sentiment but I was so out of it yesterday I did not even get an opportunity to think about hiding until this morning. Then I just wished I had. Instead I operated on automatic pilot getting signals from the legal team on seek and find missions and the infamous "only three more questions" which occurred no fewer than three times.

Then there was trying to find a reasonable hotel room in Raton, New Mexico. I was doing Priceline.com because of limited budget considerations. The sleepy little county seat of Raton is on Interstate 25 heading north to Denver and has no hotel beyond 2 1/2 stars. It goes for $107 a night! I don't sleep in one star hotels so I made a bid on a two star. They wouldn't take them. I get to try today. Meanwhile can anyone tell me whether they have struck gold again in that town?

I was trying the artistic version of hiding which is escape into painting. That worked reasonably well between telephone calls. So well at one time I forgot a meeting in town. I am president of the board and showing up is a good idea. And fortunately I had not opted out of answering the telephone or I would have missed the reminder. Then on one of the seek and find missions I found a notice for payment of my safe deposit box. When did that start being $76 a year? And what in hell is in it.

And so began the list of to-do's for today:
  1. See bank and close box. Can I pay for just the one month I am late? 
  2. Dye hair - or is it better to look like a slightly insane little old lady on the stand? 
  3. Go back to Priceline.com and make another bid - cross fingers that there has been an economic down turn since yesterday. 
  4. Decide what to wear on the stand - this is governed by metal detectors entering the court house ergo no belts, no jewelry, no jeans with rivets and zippers. Dress for power or look sweet?
  5. Wash best joggers because that is only thing which fits criteria in number 4.
  6. Coordinate with my two witnesses. They are men and evidently think I am making hotel reservations and supplying transportation. I think this is the fault of mothers.
  7. Reschedule Wednesday. Last minute appointment with legal team in Taos so everything that was to be done one that day has to be on today. Thursday morning is already over scheduled.
When the list looks like this I know what I will be doing - avoiding reality and hiding at my studio desk working on my triptych and another painting I want to start.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee - Importance of Being Alice


I saw Alice in Wonderland, or is it Underland, yesterday. It was a day that began badly. First my bathroom scale broke. Then the satellite internet. I, and my friends, were trying to beat a storm over and back to Taos and conflicting weather reports did not give us warm and fuzzy feelings about the venture. But go we did. And when I left my modem still had not captured a satellite. I was in etherland withdrawals.

We arrived at the Taos hot spot, Micheal's Kitchen, confronted by a bit of a line and realization it was spring break for most of Texas and all of Oklahoma. We began to dread what we might find at the local movie house. It was packed but we did get in line early and with good seats after a very good brunch. And endless chatter. Ronnie says men need about 100 words a day and women require 1500. His wife, Jessica, and I being artists we go for days without meeting our quota; alone, isolated in our studios talking to paints and silver that don't answer back. So line waiting at Micheal's and the theatre offered plenty of face to face chat time.

I love Lewis Carrol's creation of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I have seen the original Disney animated film numerous times, a stage production or two, had it read to me as a child, and then read it to my sister. Still have an annotated version of the book on my shelves. I have my doubts about anyone doing it justice and was not all that sure about 3D and my brain. But Johnny Depp, as the Mad Hatter, and ensemble transported me to Underland beyond the original Alice.

Movies intended for children tend to have morals (not that many children in the audience really) and if this one did it was about the importance of being Alice and having enough noughness. Or would that be spelled nuffness? Another lesson for me about the forthcoming trial this Friday. I admit to being beaten down by the prosecution and we are not in the courtroom yet. But two years of not being heard can do that to you. So when I take the stand in my defense I need enough noughness or nuffness. I need to be the Alice that can slay the Jabberwaukie. 

I arrived home to find the modem had found the satellite and I could get my ether fix. And wondering when they come out with the Alice in Wonderland DVD will it be in 3D? Can it be in 3D?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Finding that Often Ellusive Inner Strength

Elizabeth Swann - Pirate King

A friend of mine who is trying to find her level of peace in a new and alien environment she chose wrote recently of closeting herself in her room with re-runs of Frazer, the television sitcom of the past. I bought a DVD set of the old Bonanza series. Good always trumped evil in the old west of Ben and his three boys; Hoss, Little Joe and Adam.

I also recently re-watched the Pirates of the Caribbean trio of films. At Worlds End is by far my favorite for any number of reasons beginning with Johnny Depp and continuing on to Elizabeth Swann - Pirate King! But I particularly like one of the closing scenes where Becket, the evil commercially driven leader, tharns out and goes down with his shredded ship. I find a great deal of hope in that image and image my contractor as Becket.

Which all leads to my conclusion that film and television are our modern myths. Chose the right mythical icons and they can give you hope and inner strength. Choose the wrong ones and you could be Edward Scissor hands. At another time in my life Sigourney Weaver in her Alien persona was a hero of mine. The Alien flicks broke ground on several levels. Alien became one of the first horror flicks to become an A (not a B) movie. And the female became the hero! No running down the steps in a darkened house in high heels and screaming. She saves herself and the cat. But Elizabeth Swann, Pirate King, saves not only herself (and the monkey) but all that is good in the world. And all her fellow pirates. Well, minus a few fatalities. She is a hero worthy of the Dianna warrior myths of Greek legend.

It has taken us a long time to get back to allowing women power in our myths. I say let us not lose that. I personally want to hold tight to the Pirate King image this coming week. I may need to re-watch At Worlds End. And perhaps a Bonanza episode or two to let me know there was a time when good triumphed over bad in the west. I cannot take my six gun or sword to court. Metal detectors. But inner metal does not set off alarms.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee - And the winner is . . .


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
I like the Oscars for two things: The best and Worst on the Red Carpet, and a list of films to add to my NetFlix Queue. So with the internet there is no longer a reason to watch the impossibly long homage to the movie media. I just get all my information from the Internet - including best and worst moments thanks to YouTube.

Pixars UP - Best Animated Feature

So here I sit with my short list of films that had merit as far as the Academy. And my list. Frankly, I don't think I am going to see The Hurt Locker. It looks like merely viewing it might hurt. I have a very strong sense of empathy. And I have my doubts about being able to identify with Precious.

Julie and Julia is already on my NetFlix queue and next up to be mailed to me. Up in the Air is definitely going on the list. And I must admit it is there because of George Clooney. And Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is on my list because of Jake Gyllenhaal and costumes. I guess I am turning into a dirty old woman in my dotage. But my love of costume flicks is never ending. And I am really thrilled with the direction animation is taking so Up is up on the list.

But life is not all movies. I am rather shocked at how fast March is speeding along. I have to get busy on tax preparation. And the court date for the lawsuit is only 11 days away. Weather will be awful today so I think home and in the studio is a good place to be working on the taxes, triptych, Netflix queue, and backing up the desktop. It has been an age since I did that, and I got a fan failure message this morning: Press F2 to prevent system failure. Which leads me to wonder if the computer nerds work for horror flicks too. BTW there does not seem to have been any really good horror films on the A list lately.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We Call it Mud and Flood Season


The day time temperatures have been above freezing and to a good ten degrees some days. This on top of three feet of wet snow in a week and something has to give. Obviously you would say the snow, but if you were to look out my window it would seem that just as much is there as was before.

Snow melts funny. It seems to do it from the bottom up. The moonlight shining on the snow fields this morning indicates that there is a glaze on the snow so some melting must happen where exposed to the sun, but all the melted snow is under it. It seeps out on to any area that has been cleared of snow by graders or shovel and forms puddles, and on our improved dirt roads - mud. And where you cannot see this dissolving of snow into water it sneaks downhill toward streams and bar ditches and culverts and, oh yes, Lake Coyote! It is no doubt expanding under its blanket of snow.

It is this slow seeping of moisture under the snow pack that is so beneficial to our forests. It increases the moisture in the soil and in the trees and lessens the fire danger during our summers. It is good up there in the tree-lined ridges of our mountains.

But here in the relative lowlands us locals call this mud and flood season. It usually makes its appearance in March and runs through April depending upon the amount of snow to melt. Note we are likely to get more snow to add to the mud through April too.

There are a couple rules about mud and flood season: Don't wear white is one. Don't bother cleaning the carpet until May. And always travel with a second pair of shoes in the car so when you get to your friend's house you can step out of your muddy boots on the porch and slip the clean ones on.

This is when newcomers to the area reconsider the advice given about not installing white carpet, and the importance of a mud room for the pets to traverse through and guests to switch into those clean shoes.

But the absolute best part of mud and flood season is it means spring is not far behind. And under that seeping snow the grass is greening up and the seeds and roots of sunflowers are getting ready to spring forth. If there is mud the green cannot be far behind.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee


Where did February go? Have you ever wondered why we could not take a couple days from months with 31 days and give them to February? Whatever would be wrong with that. And on leap year it would have 31. Still no problem because six months have 31 now and four would still have after surrendering a day to February. Who thinks up these things?

Anyway February is gone, and in my opinion, two days early. Which makes me late for all those things I had put a March 1st deadline on. Here it is March 1 and my taxes are not prepared for the CPA, I don't have my painting inventory spread sheet even begun, or the weight lost I wanted to lose, etc. The list goes on. Two more days would have helped.

Though given that February is such an awful month perhaps it should be shorter. We could do away with it all together but then I suppose March would be awful then and we would be yet another month away from spring flowers.

Maybe this blog should be Mindless Monday Morning Mumbling over coffee. Clearly more coffee is required. What I meant to cover in this blog was my inability to abbreviate my life to 140 characters on Twitter, or a couple lines in a status message on Facebook. But given what I have written maybe I should keep it a lot shorter.