Monday, October 29, 2012

Moody Monday

Full blood moon tonight so maybe that is the reason I feel moody and am having trouble getting motivated. Or maybe it what all the work on my to-be-done-before-winter list yesterday. Or maybe it is that 1/3 of the United States in under siege by a hurricane named Sandy.

I find myself thinking of Star Wars and Obi One saying there was a disturbance in the force. And Sandy colliding with the cold front that passed over us is a huge disturbance. The two of them are creating a super storm that will go down in the history books. It is peaceful here in my mountain home but that seems like a lie given what is happening on the eastern seaboard.

The house feels chilly and I do not seem to be able to warm up but the thermometer says that is all in my mind. I am brewing myself yet another cup of hot tea and pulled another afghan over my lap and I sit at the computer - life line to what is happening outside my bubble.

Nice to live in an area where there are no hurricanes or tornadoes or earthquakes of much note. Drought and firestorms because of that drought seem small in comparison to what New York is going through right now. A Facebook friend is reporting on falling cranes because of the winds that have not reached their peaks yet. If I had the power I would transport everyone out of there. Even the preacher that says this is happening because of our tolerance about gay marriage.

I do not want to know such a god as that.

A neighbor gave me some apples. And I was thinking of baking a crisp. Why do I medicate my moodiness with baking? It isn't even the eating. Just the cooking seems to lift my spirits.

After The Ball

After the Ball by John Silver

Tired but happy this morning back in my Black Lake residence. Away from the sometimes maddening crowd of the Willow Manor Masked Ball. I live such a solitary and reclusive life as an artist that meeting and greeting all those people was exhausting. But it left me with many wonderful memories to fill my days. There is unpacking to do but for now I just want to sit and sip my coffee, and sort through the grand moments.

Must thank my hostess, Tess Kincaid, for the wonderful hospitality. And all the other attendees for wonderful inspiration. Find myself already planning for next year.

Johnny had to get back to Monument Valley for some additional takes on The Lone Ranger. Our pilot dropped off him and early and they flew me over the monuments as the sun was just beginning to strike them. There had been a snow yesterday.

The Angel Fire airport was a cold and desolate place. But it was only six miles from home and my fur kids. Hope all the other attendees made it home safely. Especially those with homes on the east coast in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Off to the ball

Breakfast on Board

My date, Johnny Depp, was late, but he did pick me up at the Angel Fire Airport. In the greatest of Leer Jets. I was all bundled up against the cold in my traveling outfit which included the Harlequin coat I will wear later to the ball. As soon as we took off and topped the mountains breakfast of Eggs Benedict was served.

I thought I would be way too excited to eat a thing but I had skipped dinner doing last minute packing and was ravishingly hungry even sitting across from Johnny. He had brought along a couple of friends from the latest film he is working on. In fact the flight was late because of having to skirt the tails of Hurricane Sandy. He and his friends were all dressed as pirates. Does solve that worry about white Tonto makeup all over my gown.

Cannot wait to see Willow Manor as this is the first of their famous balls I have been to. Going to have to be really grand to beat all the excitement of preparation and the fabulous jet ride there. I, like my friend Barbara, brought two gowns just in case I do my klutz thing and spill something but finally made my first choice - the vintage taffeta gown. It looks awesome with the Harlequin coat for chilly chats on the balconies and walks in the garden.

The gown sans the wine red gloves

The vintage ruby and pearl necklace

My dancing shoes by no means glass slippers

And the Gemini mask hand made by moi
I will be putting the black face forward and sipping my beverages through a straw until the hour of unmasking and the buffet is laid out. I designed the mask so it slips up and becomes a hat for the main revels. Johnny wants to borrow it for his next film. As long as I get credit no problems.

And so off to the ball. My first every virtual grand ball at Willow Manor. Hopefully I do not turn into a pumpkin. Though with Sandy off shore we may all be held hostage at the manor. Glad I threw in an extra change of clothes just in case.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oh, joy! The perfect date!

Johnny Depp has accepted my invitation. But which Johnny Depp will show up - Captain Jack Sparrow or Tonto or just Johnny if there is such a thing. So now my gown for the event has to be perfect. And just when I think I have the decision made I find another possibility like this beautiful vintage satin gown below.

I absolutely love the train on it, and the below waist stitching to cut down on flounce. And unlike my other two top runners it seems to allow more room to breathe. And no hoops to manage. Though I spent enough time with hoops during one theatrical production to be able to know the ends and out of them.

And then there is this wonderful vintage reproduction. But knowing klutz me I would probably be snagging bracelet and purse on the detailing at the waist not to mention the delicate netting over the skirt. All together better for a more delicate person.

Giving the gown below another look because of its simple lines, the detailing of the capped sleeves, and contrast color below the bust line to draw attention up. And it is taffeta. I love the sound that taffeta makes. I could wear white gloves with this one.

And I do not seem to be able to delete this one from my choices. But I would go with black satin long gloves instead of the wrapped ribbon. Time is getting short. I really must make up my mind. Our hostess Tess Kincaid is wearing a wonderful blood red gown.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Accessories for the Willow Manor Ball

The mask is the biggest accessory for the ball but of course I have to have shoes even if my long gown will cover most of them up. I find as I age it is more an more about support for my high aches and balance. I like these because they had a sort of vintage look while providing a lot of support for the ball and arch of my foot. Not going to slip slide out of these. But they are a bit tall. The ones below are more sporty and shorter and will be perfect for wearing with my black jeans and silk blouse when traveling.

I have my big black Epiphany camera bag but I obviously will want an evening purse. I hate the ones I have to hold on to. I want my hands free for the buffet and dancing and taking pictures. I have the bag below that I take routinely to art openings and receptions.

Which leaves jewelry. Jewelry with feathered masks is an issue I have found. You do not want a lot of prongs that will snag on the feathers. So I was looking for something with a smooth surface around the neck. And a clasp that will not snag. But I wanted it bold enough to not be ignored. This vintage ruby and pearl  necklace is perfect. The clasp is in front and the center pear shaped stone is magnificent  I doubt, however, I will wear the earrings with the necklace. I have an antique set of ruby stud earrings I will wear instead. Besides sets make you look cheaper. Coordination is the key to jewelry.

Bracelets and rings are even more problematic when dealing with masks and cameras. But with all that bare arm in all my final possible picks for a gown I definitely want something on my left wrist. I chose a queens chain bracelet by one of my favorite jewelers Jessica Duke. Instead of the heart she is putting a ruby cab on the tab. I already have a very beautiful ring by Steve Kriechbaum I plan to wear

Now I just have to decide on which of the gowns I have been looking at I will choose. Time is getting short so I best make up my mind. Obviously with all the jewelry bringing in red I have definitely decided on the Harlequin coat.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Packing Light????

Obviously this dress with hoops will not fit in my standard luggage set. Nor with another possible choice below either.

For getting to the masked ball at Willow Manor I considered the advantages of an old steamer trunk. I actually have several that I have rescued from yard sales and antique shops. One I used for years in my days in a traveling troop of performers. I think it is time to rescue it from the storage shed and work on restoring it this winter like the one below.

This would be my first choice if our Masked ball was to be on a cruise ship. Or if I was traveling there by train. But alas I have to pare it down for air travel. Wonder what American Airlines would charge in over fees for this baby? So I am setting for something far more practical for my gown and accessories - this wonderful gown length destination bag.

And for the mask I choose I have gone back to my love of vintage with this fabulous hat box. I figure among the feathers I can pack some of my accessories like shoes and evening bag. But I must have my camera. Never go anywhere without my camera which always brings up those carry on restrictions so I am going with a bag by Epiphanie

This one has plenty of room for tablet, camera, makeup, cell phone, jewelry, and travel snacks. Just what the well organized photographer needs. Okay, so I am not well organized. I can pretend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Masked Ball To Pack For

And so came death by J. Binford-Bell

Tess Kincaid is throwing a grand masked ball at Willow Manor this Sunday. Which brings up that age old question of what to wear. First I must make a decision about a mask. The above one certainly fits All Souls Day. 
Gemini Mask by J. Binford-Bell

But two faced Gemini certainly is a winning possibility. I love watching the confusion of people not know which of the two faces to talk to. Adds a bit of spice to the evening. And it will look divine with the Harlequin coat I just picked out.

Would you believe $6,000?
But then I think the Zebra mask would be very nice with the coat too. And it would go well with some zebra shoes I have been looking at.

Zebra Mask by J. Binford-Bell

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Down to just three possible black dresses. And still trying to decide whom to invite to go with.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Noble Experiment

Raton Facade

Last Friday a friend and I headed east to Raton, New Mexico to cast our ballots in the 2012 United States Presidential election. The two hour drive across the plains gives you a lot of time to think and talk. We did not have to think about our vote because our minds were firmly made up. But we talked about how deeply divided our country has become. This great experiment of ours is not working. Something has to change.

I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln's Springfield, Illinois speech of June 18, 1858 in which he addressed the issue of slave vs. free: "A house divided divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free." It took the bloodiest war in the history of the world to resolve that issue. And the years I lived in the south made me doubt that the wounds of that war were ever going to heal.

Now we are divided Red and Blue, Republican and Democrat, Christian and freedom to believe as you will. Politicians have played on the differences and erected fences against either side talking to each other. Such must have been the tension along the Mason Dixon line in the days before war broke out with brother fighting against brother. To avoid another civil war I think we need to call a Constitutional Convention as provided for in Article V of the Constitution. Our system is broken and it needs fixed.

 "Even though the Article V convention process has never been used to amend the Constitution, the number of states applying for a convention has nearly reached the required threshold several times. Congress has proposed amendments to the Constitution on several occasions, at least in part, because of the threat of an Article V Convention. Rather than risk such a convention taking control of the amendment process away from it, Congress acted pre-emptively to propose the amendments instead. At least four amendments (the Seventeenth, Twenty-First, Twenty-Second and Twenty-Fifth) have been identified as being proposed by congress at least partly in response to the threat of an Article V convention."

What is clearly broken is the election process, including but not limited to the Electoral College. At the time our constitution was written maybe we needed two years to campaign for office. Not so today in this age of rapid communication. And maybe we needed the safeguard of the Electoral College procedure to prevent a do over of the election should a candidate die between election and swearing into office. But not so today. Nor should candidates be allowed to buy an office. Or buy the voting machines that will tally his votes for that office.

We need to put a sense of power back into the hands of the people and that means taking that power from the millionaires and billionaires and mega corporations and lobby groups. "Government of the people, by the people and for the people . . ." Enough already! This election has shown just how bad it can get. And there is a real danger of a popular vote for one candidate and election of the other by unfairly distributed Electoral College numbers.

At the county court house in Raton a 91 year old couple, the Romeros of Raton, were voting early. And a young woman came in with her daughter to vote. The court house staff gave the little girl a sample ballot and pencil to fill out. I hope when she is old enough to vote voting will still mean something. And that it will continue to mean something until she is 91 or older. But if that is going to be true we have to do something decisive and we have to do it soon.

After you cast your vote connect up with others in your state to begin the process of calling for an Article V convention. Save our noble experiment.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Off to Vote Early

On the edge of the plains

I live in Colfax County, New Mexico. It and its immediate neighbor to the west, Taos County, was split off from Mora County to the south of me. The county comprises 3,768 square miles of which only 11 square miles is water. Much of the county, the part I live in, is in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Most of the rest is prairie. The largest single city in Colfax County is Raton on the far east side of the state of New Mexico. Or about one and half to two hours drive from where I live.

Raton is the county seat. All district court houses are in Raton. If I get called for jury duty I have to make that drive twice a day because the county does not pay for overnight stays for jurors. And I have to drive to Raton to vote early tomorrow. Many of us have come to resent Raton.

The county seat was once Elizabeth Town which was a mining center. And then moved to Cimarron which I will pass through on the way to Raton. Cimarron is much more centrally located. And it once had a small district court office so if we needed to file liens to do other legal business we did not have to make the long haul. It was closed last year. And the county recently built a new court house in Raton instead of Cimarron. Bitter feelings were also cemented.

The population of Colfax county in the 2010 census was 13,750. Raton argues it is the largest city and ergo should be the county seat, however, its population has fallen 5.5% and in 2011 had only 6,829 residents. So less than half the county. Meanwhile us mountain folk have increased. But Raton maintains its dominance because of policies that make it difficult for us to vote or participate in county government. Guess where all county meetings are held? Guess where all county records are stored? But guess which side of the state provides the most property taxes? And gets the least services?

This alienation from our own county is increased because it is easier for us to shop in Taos or even Santa Fe. It actually only takes me about 10 minutes more to get to the city different. I could serve on Taos or Mora juries with less sacrifice of time and gas than I can Raton. But tomorrow I and a couple of friends are making the drive through the canyon and Cimarron and off across the plains to Raton to cast early ballots in this year's presidential election.

This morning I listened to analysis of how my vote will not count because only the swing states matter and to a point that nobody is even aware of the huge issues in the southwest. Water is one of those issues. And that we end up being the dumping ground for nuclear waste. I am acutely aware that Raton does not give a damn about half of its county. And now acutely aware that the United States doesn't give a damn about New Mexico. But I am going to vote anyway. Then I am going to work on changing elections in the United States through getting a constitutional convention called, and then seeing if we can split the mountains off from the plains in Colfax county.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This Will Change My Life?

New beginnings in the kitchen by J. Binford-Bell

Creative minds seldom have neat houses. And yet as a creative mind I seem surrounded by less creative friends with Martha Stewart houses. In the best of times I want their ability to keep things neat and in the worst of times I want to remind them that Martha Stewart went to jail.

Oprah, before she left the public air ways and my radar, claimed on one of her more noted (at least by my friends) shows that uncluttering your physical space allowed you to unclutter your life - i.e. streamline you for success. Books have been written on the subject. I own a couple. Uncluttering has become one of the two subjects I hate. The other is how much weight lost on this last diet. I have a couple friends I have deleted from the let's-have-lunch list because this seems the only two topics they can discuss. Not unlike toilet training and crab grass removal of my youth.

I am afraid I am one of those that puts dieting and decluttering in with making the bed - I am just going to have to do it again. And again. And again. Don't believe me? Think about it. My friends that have decluttered for much of the last five years seem to still be doing it.

Meanwhile I diet when the jeans don't fit as well, and declutter when I cannot find a thing I am looking for. Or while looking for just the right spice things fall out of the cabinet. So yesterday I cleaned and organized the cooking cabinet. It is the one with the flour and sugar and spices needed for my creative flair in the kitchen. BTW the wine glasses and cupcake cups are on the top shelf because they are seldom used and that shelf is above my reach anyway.

This was not cabinet one in my organizational spurt. Just the day before I had moved the coffee mugs from the cabinet on the north outside wall of the kitchen to a cabinet on an interior wall so they would not be icy cold.

New Beverage Center

This spurt of organization had the benefit of creating an open lay-down area right next to the refrigerator. And the cold cabinet above it now holds storage containers that are going into the refrigerator when full. anyway.

Open counter space

No this is not decluttering. Very little got tossed beyond empty spice bottles. And few items went into the boxes for the thrift store. This is creative organization. I did that on my bedroom a few months back. Round three or four of that effort. It has a ways to go by it is getting closer to the bedroom of my dreams. BTW I do not routinely make my bed. I creatively rearrange my studio all the time. And when I am not doing it I am thinking about doing it.

I currently have two areas of my house I have been ignoring - the spare room and the hall. Well, I do not have to live in either place.

I doubt that my efforts in the kitchen the last couple of days will make any major miracle in my life appear. I will, however, have warm coffee mugs, be able to easily find the spice I am looking for, and not drop the huge kettle of green chili stew on the way to the refrigerator. That is worth something.

Will it stay this way? Doubtful. I do not have Oprah's extensive cleaning staff. But you can be sure I am not talking about it over lunch. I probably only did this because my mind has been on a new moon ceremony scheduled. The focus of the ceremony is beginnings and intentions. I have been thinking about what I want. My mind mediates best on such things when doing mindless tasks. Gandhi spun wool. I clean cabinets in the kitchen, organize the paper rack in the studio, comb through the summer clothing going to the thrift shop.

Clean cabinets. Clear mind. New beginnings? Certainly more room.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It is only the 7th of October!

It is that time of year when all the cattle moves down to where they were dumped off last spring. We are a summer pasturing area. And most privately owned fields are connected by opened gates to public grazing lands. In the middle of summer all the cows and their calves are at the top of the mountains. And then by some signal only they know they start to head down.

About the same time, and maybe to the same obscure signal the birds begin to gather and head through to the south. The snow is a bit unusual for this early in October. The water isn't frozen and as soon as the sun comes up the snow will melt into the ground.

But this morning the snow covered the gold grass and the fog cloaked the mountains altering the familiar landscape of my mountain neighborhood. I wasn't dressed for the cold or the damp nor am I mentally prepared for winter which waits in the wings rather impatiently. I was happy to see the sun.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October 1st

Country Roads
I love fall. I love the way it looks and how it smells, the clarity of the air and the brightness of the light. If only summer and not winter followed it I would be in absolute heaven. We are currently being treated to a wetter than normal fall which would be good given a drier than normal summer. But it seems to bode a wetter and colder winter. And I am not ready for that. I want my Indian Summer. Seems layering of coats and hoodies is beginning early.

My photographer friend came by for some greens yesterday and I surveyed the remains of the garden. The good news is that without the poly tunnel I would have already cleared and mulched. But the oregano is going great as are the mustard greens and Swiss chard. I even had Romaine lettuce looking good. This means I have extended my growing season from 100 to 150 days. Next summer I can plan my garden around that. And with the right plants at the right time maybe even lengthen the season some more.

Soon time to mulch the beds, roll up the hoses, bring the container gardens inside, winterize the mowers, lay in firewood, get new windshield wipers on the car. Summer is over and I have not done half the things I had intended. Forecasts are for more snow this winter as I stated before. I even went upstairs and located the snow shoes. In the winter of 2006, are last really bad one, I had stored them in the garden shed which I could not get to without snow shoes nor open the doors if I had.

But I have enjoyed my summer and fall. I have taken lots of photographs and walks. Been successful on my garden experiment. I got an artists guild formed. I had more time without doing the art fairs and I admit to just plain wasting some of that time. It felt good to be idle a bit. I took on more pet sitting clients but painted less. But what I painted was what I wanted to paint. I think that is very important.

I have to rehang the show at the Angel Fire Visitors Center today and then it is back to the abandoned painting I was working on and some selected tasks not done over the summer as planned. Hopefully there is still an Indian Summer to be had.