Sunday, February 26, 2012

On a threshold

Window Shopping

Here we are at the end of February. I had hoped to have my duplex unit rented by now. But I don't. Fortunately the universe has been providing the extra money I need to make ends meet if just barely. It would be wonderful if I could sustain and grow that extra income and get the duplex rented to reliable tenant.

Spring is beginning early it seems and there are things I want and places I would like to go and I am tired of the static of winter. I want to bloom and grow and branch out. Though frankly I haven't a clue about the direction I want. I know I need to wrap up some things that have been hanging out and then propose a plan for myself. At my age can it be long range? Or should I stick with 5 year segments. Still there are days that 5 years seems very, very long range. And not all that desirable with my current budget frankly.

Having lived through the best of the economy I am finding the worst of the economy oppressive. News reports say there are hopeful signs but then there are the rising gas prices which are awful for a person on a limited budget and/or an artist. Spring does, however, make it easier to rent my duplex. People don't move around here in the winter.

April/May will be the photography exhibit at the visitor's center for me and my sister. I am excited about that. Both of us have done well with our photography as far as prizes and I have sold several framed prints. Spring also begins the rebirth of the studio tour.

I am reminded today that at times it is necessary to shut one door before opening another. But we are never entirely sure what is on the other side. Thresholds are not that easy to cross.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents' Day

Mount Rushmore
When I went to school, sometime shortly after the dark ages, we had Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday. The south never celebrated the latter for various not-forgotten-history reasons. And at some point the federal government thought it made sense to put holidays on Monday. The only holidays not effected by this move to maximize the three day weekends available in any calendar year were the 4th of July (which for obvious reasons is always on the 4th) , Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Commerce loves this trend because it gave rise to the Monday sales event. And so on this day ads abound for Washington Birthday Sales. Lincoln has been forgotten because it does not promote well in the south. And perhaps it is appropriate that this day be known for huge sales in the name of our first president because he was also the father of the expense account . . . and padding the expense account. Lincoln, btw, was our 16th president and the first Republican President. He is famous for being assassinated at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth during a performance of Our Country Cousin. All that is part and parcel of his defeating the south in the bloodiest war in history and freeing the slaves and ergo why the south never celebrated his birthday.

Presidents Day is great for ski resorts. The town of Angel Fire is full of skiers from the surrounding states. Most notably Texas which would not be here if we called it Lincoln's Birthday. In fact, most skiers don't know it as Washington's birthday either unless they read the ads for sales over coffee before hitting the slopes. Since women shop and men don't maybe we should really call this First Ladies Day. Washington, after all, was known to have slept around a great deal. So maybe there is a point to all this needless spending on a Monday.

I am staying home. Certainly not going anywhere close to a retail outlet. My sister and I were thinking of taking a few photos of this land of the free and home of the brave the presidents have governed to better or worse degrees but there is a winter storm advisory including 40 mph hour winds and wind chills of -10. That could be a bit off putting to our skiers too, but there is fresh powder. We got about 4 inches here, which if you are a powder hound isn't real powder, but it is possible to ski without a great deal of special skills.

I don't think Washington or Lincoln skied. Though Washington had a lot of experience with winter storms during his days at Valley Forge while he was perfecting the expense account.

And so with a bow to the Rocky and Bullwinkle show and Fractured History I wish you a pleasant Presidents Day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Watching the weather change

Frost and Fence by J. Binford-Bell

It has been a strange day. And a strange February. It began with freezing fog and frost on a variety of surfaces creating a winter wonderland. Then it began to snow but the temperature was 37 F and it melted and dripped from eaves and trees. Now as the temperature drops ice sickles are forming.

February has been a series of such storms if that is the word for them. None of them have given us more than an inch of snow which has lasted for only a brief period of time. Still it is moisture. But February is generally a lot more moisture. It and March can be when we get the biggest snow falls. Snow that comprises much of our mountain snow pack to prevent fires in the winter. Everyone already is taking of a hopefully wet May to make up the difference.

The weather bureaus seem as daunted as we do. Yesterday the forecast on NOAA was for snow through Wednesday though only an inch a day. Now there is no snow forecast beyond today. Definitely climate change. The damp of today feels more like a California winter than my mountain home. I have the fire not because it is cold but just wet.

Quickly looking back on my week I have to say it has been as changeable as the weather. Thought I had a renter and then decided I didn't. Thought I could fix the washing machine but the repair man just picked it up for parts. So not providing washer and dryer in the rental unit.

Height of the week was that my sister and I won three of four prizes in a photography exhibit.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I want my life back

Stations of the Cross by J. Binford-Bell

Since January came to a close my life has not been my own. It seems to be over scheduled with all manner of things to do and people to meet. Way, way busier than I am used to by a long shot. And not with a schedule of my making really. I have had to bend to the scheduling requirements of others.

I am a morning person. I prefer to get the majority of my major tasks out of the way before noon. Leaving my afternoons to work quietly on the computer or with sketch books or veg out watching streaming video. And by 6 p.m. I want to roll up my sidewalks, ignore the phone and wind down for bed. I will admit to sometimes hitting the bed at 7:30 with my kindle and the fur kids. As a self-employed artist this works for me.

But as a landlord trying to get my duplex rented it hasn't worked. I find myself sitting up and waiting for someone to show between 5 and 6 to see the place. And to make sure they don't miss the place I have all the lights on. The green me is upset about that. But tonight the new renter is to drop by the deposit to hold the unit. Money is a good motivator, but I thought they would be here an hour ago. Did they forget this was Super Bowl Sunday? They don't seem like the type that would have over-scheduled that.

I am really tied tonight as I worked all day moving things out of the duplex and either packing them up or stationing them by the door to drop at the thrift store tomorrow before I pick up a key to a house I am doing some caulking and minor repairs on. Monday and Tuesday look like full days on that project and then back to getting my duplex in shape.

Meanwhile my home is chaos. Reorganized my tool bags this evening to be sure I have everything I need besides what I have to pick up at the hardware back from the thrift shop. And the appliance repairman is to call about the estimate on the part for the broken washer. Transmission went out because of constant overloading he said. So in addition to my time not being my own neither is my budget. Which is why I am still up waiting for the check.

Next week looks oh so much better - well after Wednesday, or maybe Friday. But then I have to come up with 5 images to enter in a show with a deadline of the 15th. I am behind on that because of everything mentioned above. And three social engagements loom. Three in a week. I consider myself a social butterfly if there are three events in a quarter.

I am so busy I wake up afraid that something is falling between the cracks. Like my calendar. Just dug it out from under my stack of notes about repairs to duplex, and the other house, and the new renters, and the shows I am considering entering, and receptions for same. So my theory was if I wrote this blog tonight with all the crazy hamster wheel thinking when I do go to bed I will feel I have it all handled.

Well, it is a theory.