Monday, March 28, 2011

TW3 - March is almost gone

The taxes were filed electronically this year by the accountant who does my taxes yearly. It always strikes me about this time that I pay a lot to have my taxes done when I make so little money. How much simpler my financial life would be if I just took my Social Security check and ran. But I argue I cannot live on SS alone. Who can these days. Two years without a raise while prices they don't seem to track in the inflation index just keep going up and up and up.

I look at what I make on my rental vs what it costs to keep it rentable and I wonder why. I look at the cost of supplies for art which is not currently selling, not to mention fair fees gambling on an improved market by summer and again question the decisions I make. Last year it did come out on the plus side for both ventures, but it would have to be way more profitable to make the effort seem worth it.

But I try not to judge a book by its cover or a year by the first quarter. For an artist the first quarter is all outgo and no income unless like one of my artist friends and you have a stack of commissions. I don't. And then there is the now gone tooth. Like years depressions are always worse in the beginning. I think it is the denial factor. One more piece of chocolate and I will be up for the day! I remember thinking that in my wild and crazy youth and the next drink.

I am told this dismal beginning on 2011, the year I looked so forward to because it was not the loathed 2010, was because of Mars in Pisces and very soon now it will be moving into Aries or just has. And things will be a lot better. The joke in our family was just around the next bend or over the next hill. Mother was always sure we would never get there. Dad was oddly the eternal optimist on our destination of the needed gas station. And since he always had held together the damaged bomber until the home airport on friendly territory came into view I generally sided with him. However, Mother's extreme negativity (or fear) did penetrate. And especially where art is concerned.

She told me being an artist was stupid and so I avoided being one for decades - my redneck period. It was not until after her death I was able to dare to sell my creative output. I have not cut off an ear as she would point out continually as the end result of being creative, but I seem to be living up to her prediction of starving artist. I win awards while other artists get commissions. I get raves and others get sales. I need a seachange in my soul. I should exorcise my mother's voice. Let it be gone, except in the matter of fudge recipes, with the end of March!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

End of the Line?

Bridge to Nowhere?
Facebook has been full of glitches and viruses for several weeks. Today it took our rather successful and quite fun little photographic group, Picture Picks, and reduced the members from 131 to 12. It won't let us communicate with any of the 131 to let them know what is going on. Since we have a new event running we opened it for ease in posting whether Facebook thinks you are a member or not.

It has gotten me wondering why I am a member of Facebook. Seems the last couple weeks friends have left or been bounced off because of viruses and malware. Facebook continues to not vet any of its applications and oddly people seem to continue to play them and spread the disease.

And lately posts seem to be all about "repost this if you agree." I hated chain letters as a child, hated chain e-mails as an adult, and loath this repost thing that is going on. So the question is to stay or not stay. If FB would allow it I would keep my fanpage and delete my profile. FB is not even wanting to consistently post my linked blogs. But then why bother with that? Per the stats on Blogger nobody visits this one anyway. But then it was all about being a journal and it is still that.

Does Facebook realize with its glitches it is killing off a good thing? Yahoo didn't.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Been here but not done that

First it was the toothache and then a general sort of malaise. It took a friend on another blog telling of her woes to let my soul know I have been depressed. Work awaits in the studio but it has not gotten beyond sketches on the canvases. The house is a mess even if I have tied the studio so I could mat and frame my photographs for an exhibit.

It isn't as if I have done nothing but everything I do seems to require such effort and seems so quickly to need redone. Like the kitchen. I wish when depressed I would not eat but I keep thinking there is something I can cook that will cheer me up. Actually the hamburger on flat bread was quite good last night while crying through the movie Secretariat. But the calendar says it is spring even if the weather doesn't quite. Summer fairs loom not all that far away and there are paintings to paint.

I need to get back to my exercise regime so ambitiously begun before the offending toothache that made movement painful. There are things also that could be done outside if the wind would stop. And the standard poodle is just half trimmed. So many things that could be done - or re-done like working through the mess on the computer desk and table again. And I pulled out all my matting supplies in the studio to do the photographs and have not put my toys all away. The camera sits ignored in spite of encouragement about my photography.

My excuses are all now gone. No calendar full of tasks to complete. No horrid toothache. The studio awaits. Now to find my motivation. I can remember in my amateur acting days turning to a director in the fourth row of seats and asking, "What is my motivation in this scene?" And he provided his answer. Or the answer he thought the author would have given. Now there is nobody to ask but myself, and I am having difficulty coming up with answers. If I were writing the play I would put in a new patron or two, several nice sales at the galleries I am in, a new gallery in Arizona or Utah, a dearth of work that must be replenished, spring wildflowers pushing through snowmelt ground, the awful spring winds stopping. But alas I have to work with the script I have been given and cannot thumb through to the next scene.

So difficult to find one's motivation in March!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who thinks up these things?

The smoke alarm in the studio (that is the white dot at the top) decided it needed a new battery today. It is per building codes within a foot of my peaked ceiling at 14 and a half feet. I have a great, but very heavy, ladder that will reach that distance and when painting the studio used it in its teepee form to get the upper reaches of the walls. But since finishing the studio I have moved in studio cabinets and made it a great deal more difficult to get to the offending alarm.

Don't you utterly hate that sound they make? My fur kids hated it even more and acted rather more than me and in fact acted as if there was a major thunderstorm going on. They clung to my feet while panting while I tried to figure out an attack that would work. The ladder does extend straight and would reach but it is very heavy and with my luck of late I saw broken lights or broken legs. So I went to get my neighbor to at least spot the ladder.

Us two old ladies managed to lift it into position but I am glad there was not a video camera around because it might have looked like a scene between Lucy and Ethel on I love Lucy. The battery got replaced. and quiet once again reigned among the fur kids. My question is why they cannot make smoke alarms with rechargeable batteries. This one is hard wired and so the electricity is there to do that.

I know why they must be placed high because that is where the smoke goes first. But here in the mountains people have great rooms that reach 20 and 30 feet at their peaks. There just seems like there has to be a better way. This battery lasted 3 years. I figure if I am still around when it needs replaced I might just shoot it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

TW3 - Hold on you're in for a bumpy ride

I used to adore roller coasters. I was not that overly fond of amusement parks in general and spurned totally certain rides that I found not fun in the least, but I adored roller coasters. And one day with my sister rode the Orient Express over ten times. But I like my life more like its a Small, Small World at Disneyland. Okay, maybe not that calm. At the moment, however, a few rounds of safe and predictable would be quite nice.

I can generally see how unsettled my life is by my choices in entertainment. This week I have been re-watching A Touch of Frost and Cagney and Lacey via Netflix streaming video. I am re-reading a James Lee Burke book Pegasus Descending and playing Bejeweled Twist more than I generally allow. It has been a bumpy ride lately with the washed cell phone, the toothache and extraction, waiting for yea or nay from several shows applied for, and the ups and downs of spring weather to just mention a few things. The toothache had definitely disturbed my sleep and I found myself frequently waking up with feelings if impending doom.

Tooth at last gone I am sleeping better but find myself wanting to ride the merry-go-round for several hours instead of facing what life might hold: is there another tooth with a cavity ready to go ballistic, will the gaping hole from the now gone tooth heal correctly, will I be refused from the shows I really want, etc. I am known for long lists of this nature. Mother gave me the curse of headlines. Never once did I go against her recommendations without imagining the worst: Coed locked in Juarez Jail/ Mother insists she believed her daughter to be safe in the dorm. Or Protester arrested for Bombing Capital Building/Mother insists her daughter was always such a good girl.

All that said it is the first day of spring. Let us enjoy life and acknowledge that somehow or other it always works out if you don't live and an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane area. Or next to a nuclear power plant.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Through the glass darkly

It was a strange day yesterday, the Ides of March. I could blame it on the tooth ache and infection it caused as well as sleep deficit, but it was somehow larger than that. I found myself awake in the predawn and reviewing the seemingly disconnected vignettes.

My dentist is in Questa where my now deceased ex-husband and I once lived. I called Dr. Jameson first but he could not see me till Thursday and my toothache did not make me a patient person. So I made an appointment with Dr. Brown in Red River. He takes Jameson's overflow and has come highly recommended by several friends that find him being 20 minutes closer a definite plus. I am not overfly fond of dentists but once I find one I can trust I am excessively loyal so I began the day with a sense of betrayal. Very fitting for the Ides of March.

The 40 minute drive over Bob Cat pass into Red River had a surreal aspect to it which could have been the unseasonable spring weather, returning to a town I used to know intimately, or just the effect of pain meds. Ever notice that when you have a toothache that is all the world seems to be about? Everything seems to be through the haze of pain and the fear it will get worse. My father told me once that people seldom die in the dental chair but I have never quite believed him. I am even sure on some elemental level that toothaches can be fatal. Ethnic memory hawking back to the days (pre dentist) when if you couldn't eat your died?

The dentist Brown wasn't who I thought he was. I had a memory of having been introduced to him before but memory was evidently faulty. But I seemed to vaguely remember his hygienist. She was once going to buy the land directly behind me. I found myself thinking of No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre, but then dental offices do that too me. Stress seems to recall CBT symptoms too. I found myself feeling rather like Alice through the Looking Glass. Overwhelmed with information about my appointment in Santa Fe, feeling betrayed by my regular dentist that he had not spotted the beginnings of this HUGE cavity, and trying to just get back into my car and headed home, I was ambushed by Sherry.

Sherry once asked me to let Marcus go because she wanted him. Don't you hate those conversations? She didn't even know him well enough to know he was on the verge of re-marrying wife number 1. Sherry runs a hair salon by the dental office, something I had forgotten until she popped out to tell me that wife 1/3 had sold the house in Questa. The house I had lived in when married to Marc. She delivered this news on Main Street in the middle of spring break in front of a building Marc and I had done the electrical on. I remember the tattered green awnings and Sherry's awful hair do. Why do stylists always overdo their own hair?

Then the dentist pops back out to inform me that of course I should go back to Jameson for further work. He and my ordinary dentist are the best of friends. I seem unable to speak as if toothache and loss of voice are married to each other. I clutch my referral information and the little envelope of x-rays showing the offending tooth and head vaguely toward my car which I had to park blocks away.

Franz Kafka springs to mind. Or a film noir movie. Which leaves me with the question of which dentist to see for followup after the tooth is pulled and I need a spacer. Part of me wants to divorce Questa like I divorced Marc. Which would mean leaving Dr. Jameson and seeing Dr. Brown. I find myself wondering what else Dr. Jameson missed. What other time bombs are ready to go off in my month. And this morning I woke up feeling I owned an apology to Dr. Brown for some reason.

I think I will leave all decisions until I no longer have a toothache, and my vision clears.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

TW3 - Treading Water

Japanese Tsunami
Some weeks just don't go as planned. I knew I was going to be busy with a couple pet sitting jobs but I imagined being able to get a lot done between runs and walks and feeds. I could blame it on energy level or that there was just not enough time to sit down and get involved with a drawing lt alone the beginning layouts of paint. But realistically my mind had not wanted to pet sit and paint.

And then came the earthquake. Followed by the tsunami. And of course keeping up with last minute developments on the potential nuclear melt down of three reactors damaged by the quake. Okay, I admit it but I am a natural disaster junkie. I find the workings of our earth awe inspiring and constantly educational. I don't merely read the reports but research everything about the storm or the quake or the eruption or the wave. I took geology in college but we have learned so very much since then. And the Internet seems to have it all.

The question is where do I go to take my exam? If I was to go back to college it would be to major in hydro engineering. As a kid I built dams in the gutters to subject rain water to complex paths. I learned early that what you do with water upstream effects how it behaves downstream. And what the earth does under the ocean effects what the mass of water above it does. Strange stuff water. Stranger still is the earth. Combine the two along a shifting shore and sooner or later disaster will happen.

I have to wonder why we build on our shores. And build, and rebuild and rebuild again knowing hurricanes love to wipe out our feeble efforts. Or once again it will rain and the Mississippi will rise and break down its levees. Or live within sight of Krakatoa knowing it will erupt again. Reminds me a bit of the ant hills I used to terrorize in my youth while wondering they did not move out of sight of my sandbox.

A definition of insanity I always liked was: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think at heart I am a cliff dweller. I want to study water from a lofty distance. I suppose tomorrow I need to get back to painting - watercolor painting. Watching what pigment in water does on a surface - changing the flow and direction of water still.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

TW3 - Spring?

It is early days in March and spring in the mountains is a fickle thing - here today and gone tomorrow but there are certain warning signs like the urge to sweep out the cave. I seem to be caught up in decluttering my spaces and putting some level of organization into my life. Being an artist with a very creative mind I cannot guarantee just how long this mood will last. But I am hoping until at least gardening season.

The Aspens are blooming. No photo. They are not pretty during this spring trend of theirs. They just make your eyes water, throat scratchy and nose runny if you are allergic to them which I am. Spring winds seem to cooperate with the spreading of their pollen. No haven is safe from them.

And it is Spring break - the last hurrah of winter tourist season. So while I have this desire to leave my cave all the strange people in town make me want to rush back into it very quickly. Some locals escape entirely which means I am busy with my pet sitting business at the moment. That is good for my economy as this is the month that fair fees have to be paid.

And new art work has to be planned for the up coming fair season. I have a triptych and three other works in the planning stage currently. Stretching canvas today and transferring sketches to the surfaces and then decluttering the studio before beginning any serious painting.

I am currently fighting off the desire to repot plants, clip and groom the dogs, and wash the jute rugs. The weather can turn so bad so fast in March. I don't need frozen rugs hanging over the fence or freezing dogs under foot, but a glance at the next ten days shows the temps climbing into the 50's F. Sunbathing anyone?

Friday, March 4, 2011

March! And the Mad March Hare.

No, not a new amusement ride. This photo was taken after an earthquake in New Zealand in September. Sidetracked Charley has often featured photos of rails and bridges and trains. This one seemed very appropriate to have in by blog images file. I downloaded and forgot about it until today when I was searching for an image for my blog on March, the month. The lion and the lamb (in like one and out like the other) has been done.

There is something always so unsettling about March. You are thrilled it is no longer February which can be so depressing but March can be so unpredictable. It isn't quite spring but it is also no longer winter. And I get lured into believing the outdoors is going to be wonderful but then retreat inside because of the wind. Supposedly the wind creates positive ions which have a negative effect on mind and body. Yesterday I began looking for my proportion wheel so I could change sizes on some drawings and know what size stretcher bars I would need. I wanted to sketch. I ended up only looking for that darn 4" wide white plastic wheel.

In the process of searching the usual places I began throwing away paper from my in and out boxes (found a program from an art fair in 2008 and an application for a show from 2007. That sparked a flurry of spring decluttering focusing on the studio and my computer desk. There is now a huge black sack of passe paper in the middle of the living room. So the negative energy of positive ions can have a positive effect? I didn't find that darn wheel. But I found my favorite eraser. It is a vinyl free purple oval disk that does not make eraser dust. And the directions for making backup recovery disks for my new desktop computer. But I digress. What prompted this blog was March and March weather and my March mood. Why am I constantly reminded of the March Hare in Alice and Wonderland?

Today's weather will be typical March in my humble opinion. It will be rain and snow. But Beetlejuice shines in a clear predawn sky so obviously all this happens later today. Beginning tomorrow I have pet sitting gigs and restrictions on my free time to roam so I am going over the mountain today to get stretcher bars ergo that frantic search for the proportion wheel yesterday.

Speaking of unsettled has anyone noticed gas prices? They jumped 27 cents a gallon here in the valley while oil barrel prices remained relatively unchanged. Back to thinking about that March Hare in Alice. What is a March Hare? Besides the character in Alice. A March hare is a hare during its breeding season in March, noted for its wild and excitable behaviour. I rest my case.