Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Again and Auntie Boo's Gazing Ball

Self portrait in mirrored ball

My Auntie Boo had one in her garden. It was blue. I was fascinated with it. I was also fascinated with Auntie Boo. She really wasn't my aunt, Mother told me way later, but just a dear friend of my mother's we called Auntie. Decades later I would meet my long lost cousin Judy, and she would tell me stories of her Auntie Boo, who really wasn't her aunt. All sources of more knowledgeable information were gone by then so we could never prove our Auntie Boos were one and the same people. But I like to think so. It isn't a far leap to imagine my Aunt Zelma, Judy's step-mom, and my mom and Boo friends.

When you are young full names and addresses never occur to you to horde. She lived in a very old house in an old section of Kansas City, and she had this garden she seemed on the edge of losing control of. And in this garden was a blue gazing ball on a pedestal. I was enthralled with how it distorted the world around it.

Auntie Boo's world was distorted too. It wasn't what I was being led to believe all futures for women held. She was unmarried but lived with a friend. Rather unheard of in that day and age. And Aunt Zelma was a divorcee married to my Uncle Ray, mother's brother. Both Boo and Zelma had jobs. Zelma managed a dress factory and Boo worked for Hallmark. My mother's job was being a mom. But Boo and Zelma made me think of my mother as unemployed. I loved listening to them talk about work.

I loved that blue gazing ball. I remember thinking I would have one in my garden one day in the house I would buy for myself with my money from my job. There have been a few houses I have owned, and lots of gardens but as of yet no gazing ball of my own. I think I would rather remember the kaleidoscope of images I saw as a kid walking around Auntie Boo's gazing ball in her garden.

I have no idea whatever happened to Auntie Boo, Judy didn't know either. Somewhere in my busy life of collecting houses and keeping jobs I missed the dying of Aunt Zelma too. Judy's passing was a shock but no surprise. Part of Mother's job as a stay at home mom had been the keeping of family histories. She died too early and too suddenly. She was gone before I had realized I was suppose to be keeping notes.

A friend of mine is into researching her family tree. My cousin Billy did the Hildebrand side of things and shared it with me. It seemed so dry and storyless. My sister and I toy with the idea of the Binford family line. But Auntie Boo was not a branch on the tree. I want to know if Zelma, Mary and Boo were high school friends, and the adventures they had. Only they could tell me and if they did I don't remember. I guess I should have spent more time listening to Mary (my mom) and Boo talk on our visits and less time in the garden with that gazing ball.

But I was always a gazing ball sort of child. I never could understand why Alice left Wonderland.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Vernal Equinox

Photo by J. Binford-Bell

We had the most delightful spring weather last week. Of course the calendar says it was still winter. And now that we are at last to the Vernal Equinox and the first day of spring it is snowing. Will snow much of this week.  Had to go to the long term forecast to get to a day of high 50's and all sunshine. The weekend will be wonderful they say.

I don't know why I am concerned that the seasons seem so off time. They often are here in the mountains of New Mexico. Not unusual to get a real dumper of a snow storm in April.

April 25, 2011

I am just so ready for spring. And rain. I want to hear rain on the roof and watch the grass outside my studio green up as I look. But I have more firewood to burn. I only ordered a cord this last fall because I wanted to work through all the old wood that seems to linger in the far back corner of the woodshed. Looks like I will do that. Then this fall I can begin again with three new cords.

I am not the only local resident having problems staying in today. My neighbor asked about my garden plans just yesterday. I do know I need to refresh the soil in my raised beds. And my last summer experiment of the squash against the studio wall was hardly worth the effort. Not enough hours of sun. But I am not hoping for spring so I can jump into gardening. I am hoping for spring so I can sit on my studio stoop and take in the sun. And load the fur kids into the car for long walks with the sun on our shoulders.

I am wishing for spring so I can get out with my camera and capture birds and flowers.

Photo by J. Binford-Bell

And enjoy lower electric bills. So I can pay for the higher gas bills filling up the car to take those trips to the lake's edge.

Photo by J. Binford-Bell

What are you looking forward to in the season to come? When the grass is truly greener, the days warmer, and the sun hangs around longer.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Taxes, Winter, and Mud

Winter Forest by J. Binford-Bell 

Winter returned this week in measured doses. It shared time with spring. Yesterday it snowed about six inches and melted by afternoon. It did that about five times. Snow then what locals fondly call Mud and Flood. It seemed a good time to do taxes.

I hate doing taxes. Even though I pay someone to do them for me I have to prepare the year to take in. I can generally get the that done in under four hours even counting clearing off the library table to have a place to sort the receipts. My disgust with the process last year resulted in a desk top box with very visible folders to sort things into as received. That helped. A couple years before I had developed a spread sheet with all the necessary categories listed. That is also a great help.

This year, however, I still hated it. I had an epiphany though. I think what I hate is reviewing the year on a monetary level. I have mastered cash flow but not cash stay. And it always amazes me in hindsight how much money I have spent. I reduced expenses for the business - good news. Income for art sales - was down on paper. I expected that. Rental income up. But there were the dying Astro van bills, and the infamous tooth extraction. Both painful things to remember. Paying car registration fees twice in 2011.

Time to grab the camera and record another snow fall. Procrastinate by spending hours in my dry darkroom. The computer was expensed in 2010 but it needed repair in 2011.Then back to another hour of milestones in expenditures. My life in Blick Art receipts. Put on boots to wade through the casual stream of melting snow to drag in firewood. Back to tallying Artisan receipts. Plugging in numbers on that spread sheet.

So in review what I want for 2012 is more happy memories in black and white and dollar signs. And I really want to appeal to RBS, and Hobby Lobby to put more ink in their registers. It would be nice to read them with our ruining my vision.

This morning taxes are off to accountant, car is off to have front brakes worked on (please let it be just that), more mud in my immediate future but small price for living paradise. And before winter bows out no doubt there will be more snow, and more mud. Time to focus on the April/May Photographic exhibit at the Angel Fire Visitor's Center, and making happy memories.

BTW there was one great set of receipts. Those for the vacation with my sister in October. Time to plan the next.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Moving Forward?


When I first bought my house I had all sorts of grand plans to remodel and renovate. Time and money are silent regulators of such plans. For a while I was moving along like gang busters though as is my nature not on a single track. Working in one room seemed to necessitate things with another.  And frankly shit happens.

Events - a long time renter moving out - made it necessary to devote time to the attached duplex apartment so it could be rented to provide revenue. And the studio addition did not go as planned time or money wise and I ended up having to devote energies and finances to completing it so it could function as it was attended. Then the economy took a nose dive. Contractor I dismissed sued me for work he did not do.

I was in the midst of doing my bedroom when all that happened. Carpet had been ripped up, walls half resurfaced, computer and computer desk shoved into all free space left. Hell, I only slept there I thought as I patched and repainted living room ceiling after the carpenter fell through it. For a while my focus was the living room so the computer and home office could move there. Then back to focusing on the art business in the finished studio. And money going to a dying car. It is a very, very long story.

Recently events demanded that I turn my attention back to the hovel I called my bedroom. Just clearing out the junk that remained after moving the computer - can junk grow - seemed beyond me. But it had to go if I was going to move the bed. Removing it was not an option because the spare room is now a storage area for the junk and boxed paintings (I have a larger inventory than I need given I am not doing fairs).

I spent a couple days just planning my strategy for painting the floor before moving the pirates bed in from the duplex unit - fortunately it moved in pieces - a couple rather heavy. No way was I letting a stranger - or even some friends - upstairs to help. If felt like a train wreck. One you did not want to admit had happened to you. I had such plans for my bedroom and now I was not even that sure what they were. I stood for some time just trying to remember. And acknowledge what had gotten done. The closet remodels were done. And the majority of three walls ready to prime and paint. And I know what I want to do with the floor once the walls are done. It would be nice to be in a place where I could strip the room and do the walls, paint them and then do the floor. But I am not.

I might have given up just about then but for the pieces of the queen sized pirates bed leaning up against walls in the hall and shoved into the already crowded spare room. Saturday it was assembled in my bedroom on the opposite wall where my bed had stood. The wall that had been relegated to stuff that seemed to belong no where else. I promise to make the spare room my new project once I figure how to get rid of the now unneeded box spring shoved in there. See previous mention of broken van.

Sunday I sorted through laundry that previously had no place to be beyond a basket or two. There was a pile to go to the thrift store and jeans and sweats got sorted into the under the bed drawers (one of the reasons I really wanted the pirates bed). The bedroom looks huge and open and not like a hovel at all. I can see my original plan and am now deciding on a step by step plan to achieve it. My neighbor and I are planning on renting a storage unit together to store the excess stuff that life and having rental units creates. We are planning a spring yard sale, and I am looking for a pickup and driver to hire to handle the box springs, etc.

I think I just may get the choo choo back on track.