Sunday, November 27, 2011


I suppose it is natural to think of traditions during the holidays if only in the manner and style in which we prepare the meal and set the table. But a friend of mine here in blog land recently recalled an old man fishing that stood with his hat off in silence while a funeral convoy passed. I have not seen many funeral convoys or corteges of late. But then I live outside a small community that until recently did not even have a cemetery. But I do remember my Uncle Ray passing this bit of behavior to me on his lawn in Kansas City.

My father also always stood in silence with his hat off and over his heart when the United States flag passed by in a parade. It is in there will all the other passed down knowledge given to me by my elders. And I was of the generation that believed traditions like wedding ceremonies held back progress in society. Age has changed me. I now see so many of these stumbling blocks to progress as glue that holds a society together.

The fisherman that stood in silence with his hat off as the procession of cars passed was acknowledging his part in the human condition. One day he might be the body in the lead hearse. Will anyone stand for him? My ex-husband's wife did not even hold a memorial service for him so that the community he lived in for over twenty years could say goodbye. Such traditions or rituals are a step in the process of healing - of closing the open wound left by a member's passing. But a lot of smaller traditions are a way of cementing a society even if it is only opening a door for an elderly citizen. Or a woman with a baby in her arms. Or a young man on crutches.

Automatic doors or the hurried pace of the life we have set for ourselves seems to preclude these traditions taught to us by our parents. I might be part of the last generation that remembers these things. Have I passed them on to anyone younger. As anyone younger listened? Obviously not because we now think it is perfectly okay to bust down doors and run over the weak and frail and pepper spray others to get the best bargain on a big screen TV.

This time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is suppose to be on most church calendars a time of reflection on our own lives (not a make others wrong). What are you doing to tie yourself to other humans, to acknowledge your commonality and not your differences? What oil are you spreading on the wheels of society? Are you letting someone with less items and a screaming child go first in line? Are you parking further away in the big box store lot so someone who needs it can have access to the handicapped space? Are you opening the door for anyone that might have trouble doing it themselves.

What little traditions or common courtesies have you learned and buried in some recess of your mind? Time to revive them and share them openly. Time to make our society a kinder and gentler place to reside.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shopping in Taos

I was reminded this morning when I considered my topic and searched my brain for a lead photograph that when I originally began this blog I used old photos I had searched in Google for. This was one of the first ones I used. Fortunately blogspot keeps them all in Picassa albums so I was able to get it back for today's topic of shopping in Taos.

The wagons now have wheels but I don't know that the look of my fellow customers have changed much. Taos residents can be an odd lot. Especially at Walmart.

First stop yesterday was Albertson's. I had made a list of items I needed for my after Thanksgiving open studio event and I am more familiar with their layout of products than Smith's. And I was trying to avoid Walmart to be honest. I seldom, if ever, go into Walmart once the holiday season has kicked off. I am obviously not a good American consumer. Albertson's also has the bogo sales on things - buy one/get one. They had extra thick organic pork chops perfect for stuffing but I digress.

My goal was to get one or two things I was out of but all else for the green chili stew, biscochitos, cheese plate and hot spiced cider for the Friday and Saturday event. Ever notice how fast you can shop when it is your usual list but how slow things go when you have some unusual items on it? And so it was in the paper aisle yesterday trying to decide on paper bowls, plates, napkins, and hot drink cups. None of the numbers were what you would expect. Experienced shoppers know it is 10 hot dogs and 8 buns per pack. But quick what is the number of paper bowls in a package? With Hefty it is 10 or 25.

And how many might you use for an open (as in advertised to the public) event? That is highly problematic in Angel Fire and this time of year weather has a lot to do with it. I chose my menu because it would all freeze (green chili stew) or be eaten by me (cheese and rice crackers) or could be mixed in smaller batches (hot apple cider). I think I can cope with anything from one to 50 so I got fifty cocktail plates, bowls and drink cups. And an almost infinite amount of plastic spoons. Experience has shown that I use plastic spoons for everything from yogurt to go to mixing paint.

I think I am all set for the party. And the next couple of weeks of other stuff like canned dog food. My goal is to not have to drop into the local market for anything. With gas going down and their prices going up it almost becomes cheaper to drive over the mountain for more than three items. The one thing I could not find was sterno. Had planned to put the apple cider in the chaffing dish. So had to go to Walmart anyway (camping section in case you are looking for any) but they had only the little cans. Finally decided it was more economical to but a little crock pot (my big one will have the green chili stew in it). Used to have two but I think I was in a decluttering mode. Oh, well, the old one was in harvest colors (picked up at a garage sale?) and the new one is black to match the big one.

All my paper dinner wear (isn't that an interesting term they have picked up?) is in red. What does not get used for this event will be serviceable at Christmas and then at Valentine's. Small party like events are suppose to be the way to promote your art and studio these days. And what I spent on food and accessories was a great deal less than the standard booth fee at a fair. And that is without the gas and labor to get there.

Last year I was in the Rio Grande Holiday show watching people walk off their turkey dinners. This year I will be sitting in my warm studio probably painting Christmas decorations until someone shows up. Ambiance sounds better.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Summary of the Week that Was

Mt. Wheeler with snow cap
Finally got back from vacation mentally. And moved out of idle into a gear that at least got something done. Biggest thing was getting the desk moved out of the studio. It gives me so much more room and the person that came and got it is really enjoying it. With it gone it makes it easier to rearrange things and prepare the studio for my Holiday opening, November 25 and 26.

Another boon to mentally returning from vacation is I got out the camera and snapped some more photos. Though honestly I was still thinking of fall when a snow capped Wheeler Peak revealed itself from under the clouds.

The weather was nicer than I though given the really cold nights we have been having - like the single digits. And so my walk up the lane to look in at a friend's cats invited lingering to get that just right photo.

Fir tree cones
And then some lingering over captured images on the computer and Corel Paintshop Pro 4x.

Seed Drill

Some Modifications
And I made some modifications in my life beyond the studio. Finally gave into buying a Kindle. Tired of struggling with reading in bed print that is too small or the light not just right or holding up a heavy hard cover book. I am having trouble waiting for it to arrive but I continue to work my way through The Private Patient  by P.D. James with its tiny, tiny little print.

Time to put the peddle to the metal and get busy with the studio re-arrange for the Holiday opening I have planned. A return to unseasonably warm weather might be nice but currently it is gale force winds and more snow. Even the dogs don't want to go out.

Focus in
Meanwhile I need to tighten my focus on what needs to be done and do it. Guess I am still not totally back from vacation.

Monday, November 7, 2011

TW3 - Lost Time

Not sure where the last week went. Yes, there were little things I got done but there were also huge blocks of wasted time. Almost as if once back from vacation physically my mind took its own vacation. Yes, I caught up with laundry and I got all the photos I took edited and organized. Still need to upload to FlickR. But the list of things I was going to jump right back into like sewing projects (though I have the area to do them established) and cleaning up the studio (the bags are unpacked and no longer in the middle of the floor) are not done. Every other day I have been doing 20 minutes of light weights but not moving beyond that.

I did join the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce but I have not done a write up and e-mailed in in to the membership manager. It is the end of the first week of November and I have to get the peddle to the metal soon. No more watching streaming videos all day long. Or playing computer games past my bedtime.

Yesterday the local firewood supplier delivered a cord of firewood and I had to get out and stack it before today's scheduled snow. The physical exercise felt good. Today I have assigned limits to my computer time. I do have to do that CofC write up today. And I want to sew up the pj's I cut out so a streaming video or DVD while doing that. And I need to work on the todo list. I seem to have lost the before vacation one. And never made one afterwards. Too much freedom obviously goes to my head.

Are you a list maker? I have gotten so I cannot survive without one. Can you?