Thursday, May 31, 2012

High School Reunions

I have been very good about avoiding my high school and college reunions up to now. It has been largely easy as for most of them I lived outside the state and nobody after the 10th high school one was able to locate me. And I graduated out of my class in college as I had quit for a year or so to get more money to attend. Then graduated out of summer school. Nine months later I could have taken a trip back from the east coast to New Mexico to go through the ceremony but I was into fighting for an end to the war in Viet Nam.

That I am going to my high school class reunion this year I blame on Facebook. Took everyone a while but I was found out mostly by the ladies of Mu Heta Sigma (the misspelling of Eta is so it is MHS as in Manzano High School). We were a service organization and a few of them decided to throw together a '62, '63 and '64 joint reunion.

Me in third row and Leslie in front

Leslie McHugh set up a FaceBook group for the reunion and asked me to join. I would sneak back now and then to see if any of my old classmates were admitting to being graduates. I admit to doing my absolute best at forgetting high school. I tried to be invisible during high school and denied attending once I got to the University of New Mexico. High school was not a happy time for me to put it mildly. I frankly hoped the reunion group would ignore me.

But this week I dug out the old annuals. This required a trip to the storage shed, moving everything off the mostly empty steamer trunk and digging them out from under old stuff I wondered why I had not tossed. I wondered briefly why I had not long ago tossed them but evidently their internment in the steamer trunk with the university annuals and scrap books was penance enough.

My graduating class was 345 and I always joked that anyone that went to a reunion I would not want to see. And anyone I really wanted to see wouldn't be caught dead at one. That makes me sound like a bad girl but everyone seems to have called me sweet and cute. I didn't get wild and crazy till college.

Out of the three classes in this reunion only 176 have committed to attend. A couple I would have really liked to see like my first ever boyfriend will not be there. A couple I thought I wanted to see again I now know I will be spending the evening avoiding. And three of those I shared that annual page with, who I would really liked to have seen, have not connected up on FaceBook. My prom date is one of the missing in action and maybe that is good.

I am still at a complete loss as to why anyone wants to relive their high school years but I am going through the year books and trying to get to know the person I tried so hard to forget existed - Me as a teenager.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Week in Review: Mora, Dawson, La Cuerva, Ocate

It has been an interesting week. My friend, Terry, has been visiting from Washington, DC. We have managed to carve out a couple days of photography while she has been here. The first day was to Cimarron, visiting mutual friends, Sherry and Steve, and then on to the Dawson Cemetery where I had never been.

Dawson Dead by J. Binford-Bell

There is no greater gift to a photographer (other than an unlimited gift certificate at B&H Photo) than another photographer to explore with. The average tourist or traveler or even those with smart phones does not understand those of us with DSLR's and a spiritual imperative to record what we see.

And it is really great if we can carry on conversations and tell inside jokes. My sister and I share that. And so do Terry and I. But only one or two other friends. So while not taking pictures we talked - windshield time as Jessica and I call it.

Patchwork in Ocate

Tony's of Ocate by J. Binford-Bell

One good exhibition seems to merit another so we took off to Ocate, location of my favorite real estate fix-it-uppers. Then on to La Cuerva. Both of us had been there before but there was so much more to explore. Like the backside that most people don't bother looking at.

Some reinforcement required by J. Binford-Bell

Reflections by J. Binford-Bell

Then on to Mora. What is it about photographers that love the ruins and wrecks. The cracks and what others would call trash? I had a mother-in-law that hated that I loved the falling down carriage house for a subject for paintings and photographs instead of the rest of the pristine and newly painted homestead.

Inside the old mill by J. Binford-Bell

Maybe it is a desire to show to others the beauty they often miss. Or that we want to record what may in the future not be there; replaced by a super box store with no charm and grace.

Mora by J. Binford-Bell

Or maybe it is simply that beauty is in the eye of the beholder of the DSLR if you just stop and take a moment to see it.

But the true beauty is in friendship and someone to travel with if just for a day or two. Take your gifts where you find them and be grateful.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blue Monday

Smoke from Arizona Fires

Last Monday, as my frequent readers know, it was on the eighth day or more of damp and sometimes rainy weather with heavy clouds. Here in the mountain southwest we all go a bit crazy if we don't see the sun every day. However, the rainy weather did a lot to give us a burst of green this week.

Spring greens

The air was so clear and so fresh it almost sparkled. And the Aspens did their best to add that wonderful spring green as they leafed out overnight it seemed.

Eclipse behind clouds

Clouds partly obscured the eclipse last night but the sky was so blue. Then this morning the air smelled like smoke. And what I thought might at first be fog did not clear when the sun came up.

Smokey Mountains

I have the New Mexico Wildfires site book marked on my browser so when the haze did not go away I looked at the fires currently burning in New Mexico. None were up wind from us. But the three in Arizona are. If you have been close to the front line of a fire like I was in Questa with the Hondo Fire even distant smoke can make you edgy.

Here we sit with the tourist season just around the corner. We need more moisture. Memorial Day up to 12,000 Harley Riders will be in the Enchanted Circle area. Lots will be camping. Chance of rain tomorrow but just wind today. It is probably what blew the smoke in. Hopefully it will blow some rain clouds in too.

And the smoke away.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Warts and All

Midsommer Murders family

I read an article about viewers so identifying with the characters in television series that when the season or the series ends they get depressed. I at first blamed this on the "cliff hanger" season closers that often have me in tears. Alright, I cry easily. But it got me thinking of the shows and their characters I identify with the most. And they are more and more English or Australian mysteries and dramas. The actors they employ as leading characters have character: warts and all. And they clearly are not sewn into their costumes.

There frankly was not a single character on Desperate Housewives, which just ended its long run, that I could identify with on any level. And I tried to get involved with Revenge but it has been decades since I was in the age group of any of the leading roles. The American TV series I do watch seem to have at least one or more main characters that are middle aged or over: NCIS (which is obviously killing off its oldest), NCIS: Los Angeles (Hedy has tendered her resignation), Castle, and White Collar (each of which have at least one middle aged lead).

But I find myself gravitating more and more to English mysteries. This should not surprise me as I read Agatha Christie more often than Ellery Queen. I like that a murder will upset tea better than a mad cap shoot'em up. But I also like my characters real and with flaws beyond the bedroom. I am so upset that I did not discover The Last Detective until the series was over. Or Da Vinci's Inquest, a Canadian series, until it had completed its run. Netflix allowed me to become totally immersed in both.

Da Vinci's Inquest

The male leads all were older and flawed and the women dressed appropriately to their jobs and did not have plastic improvements to their figures. What cop besides Becket on Castle can afford that?

I was thrilled to discover that another British series I had fallen in love with would be producing a sixth season: Doc Martin. American producers would never consider the lead character good looking enough. Nor is he very lovable. But I love the series. The acting. The intelligent and complex plots.

Doc Martin

And while I am leaving out tons of favorites I have watched and mourned over the years like Inspector Morse, Return to Cranfield, Miss Marple, and now Hercule Poirot. I cannot wrap this up without mentioning Foyle's War. This British series taught me more about the complex relationship of the English with WWII than I ever learned in history class. And they did it with great drama and acting and without belittling my intelligence.

Foyle's War cast

If you look at the current high rated favorites being produced by the British; Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes and the soon to be released Prequel to Inspector Morse I obviously will have many more non-American options. I definitely want to explore Canadian and Australian series that being produced and I hope that Hulu and Netflix provides more of those options. I want real people to identify with and not Barbie Dolls.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rainy Day Monday Two

And the sun shone weakly by J. Binford-Bell

It seems to have rained for a lot of days - or threatened to rain for a lot of days. Here in New Mexico we are not used to a lot of consecutive days without the sun shining. And if you are counting it did manage to peak through from time to time. Rather half-hearted to my way of thinking. I want to get back to the studio but its windows do not radiate light and warmth. The dogs seem mostly in hiding because of the rumble of thunder from time to time.

From yesterday afternoon to now we have gotten a half inch of rain, but rainfall before has been a bit minimal. A couple showers yielding a scant 1/4 inch. But mainly it has been what I would call California winter days. I spent a couple months one winter in Laguna Beach. Never actually rained but it was forecast as a possibility daily.

The fog would roll in (not sure it ever really rolled out) and such dense and wet fog you could not see the beach. The fog seemed to muffle the sound even or the suppressed the waves. Even with no rain going out required a rain coat and hat. You came back cold and damp. There was one small wall heater that seemed to also be dampened by the endless days of no sun. Facing a return to New Mexico I gave up on finding a sunny day and headed to the beach for some body surfing. I think the water was warmer than the air.

Just the memories of those days makes me want to stoke up the fire here in present day. It seems to be rather feeble because of the 40% plus humidity for several days. The firewood, even in the wood shed safe from rain, seems to have absorbed the damp in the air.

The Internet promises a return to sunny days and plus 70 F weather tomorrow. I am resisting the urge to climb back in under the covers and wait until then. Another log for the fire, locate the fleece lined hoodie and the half gloves, heat water for tea.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rainy Day Monday

Spring Rain by J. Binford-Bell
Raining.Not snowing. But a gentle rain that reminds me more of California in the winter than New Mexico in the spring, expect it comes and goes indicating some cloud movement over the mountain.

Thermal lift of the air up the sides of the slopes breaks up solid clouds and also takes the moisture streaming in from the south and builds thunderheads to entertain us. The weather station at the Albuquerque Airport used to keep track of the days the sun had shown. Definitely the vast majority of the 365. Even if that shaft of sunlight was fleeting and in the distance.

Light by J. Binford-Bell

Rain in the east is an entirely different animal. I got so depressed in Washington, DC one fall because the sun did not ever seem to break through. I even started putting hash marks on the bathroom mirror with an eyebrow pencil for each continual day of rain. I felt so much like a prisoner.

But rain in New Mexico is a rare thing and a fleeting thing so often we sit and just stare at it outside the window. Or like me today, take pictures of it. It is a beautiful thing. Makes me feel like dancing.