Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where, oh, where does time go?

Talk these days at the store or coffee house is about fall colors and snow. Tourism in the area depends on both. Hard to say about the snow because we are not out of the drought yet. Better but not gone by a long shot. And that has also effected the colors. One always hopes we got enough rain at the right time. And that could be true in some locations.

But I drove through Taos Canyon yesterday and the leaves are already falling off after never having gotten to a glorious gold and orange. Several days of hard freeze browned out the red of the Virginia Creeper vines. And the freezes also put toast to my tomato vines even under two layers of plastic and with drop lights. Even some of the tomatoes froze. Need to pick those that didn't off the vines for fried green tomatoes or as experiments in ripening after picking.

Gardening was not a great success this year. Very late spring frosts and then very early sequence of hard fall frosts. It really is an experiment at this altitude and it requires a lot of attention. Attention which was diverted by random events through the summer and into fall. Busy four months. And so much remains to be done. And yet it already seems like there is not enough time to do it.

So in the midst of all the too much to do I got involved with freelance writing, doing odd jobs for others and now adopting a new fur kid to fill the void The Darkness left. It takes time to integrate a new pet. This will work out but I find myself wondering what it is I was thinking?

Meet Scrappy who I keep calling Chester
But I think it will all work out in the end. Just need to keep telling myself that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What are you afraid of?

My ultimate fear has always been walking on to the stage in the middle of the second act with the lines memorized for an entirely different play. Most of this life I have been a relative innocent who wakes up with panic about having forgotten to return a library book on time and sure they are coming to get me. I also believe anytime I get stopped by a police officer and he runs me through wants and warrants he will find something. And my arrest for either incident will wind up as the headline for the day in bigger font and above a mass shooting by an annihilator with an AK 47.

Totally irrational fears.

I have always believed nobody else has such irrational fears. Yesterday I watched a someone almost crumble over having to make a telephone call because she was terrified she did not know what to say. I patiently coached her in what to ask and what to say and all the time felt I was giving her the wrong advice. I ended up making the call because I would rather jump off the cliff than send a friend over the edge.

Maybe it is my previous lifetimes being questioned by the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem Witchcraft trials, but I awake from dreams in a sweat and desperately trying to find the right answers to questions that have no right answers like, "When did you stop eating children for breakfast?" My nightmares are making wrong decisions about which room to enter. Monsters and ghosts and mummies walking have never scared me. I can see the zipper in the back of the Monster from the Black Lagoon.

So it was no surprise to me at 2:30 a.m. that the nightmare was about forgetting what commitments I had made this week and already forgotten. Try as I might to snuggle back into the new pillows and the layered quilts held down by faithful fur kids I had to get up and check my calendar.  Everything in the future was carefully noted and nothing had been missed.

But seeing a friend have some of my same insecurities had not been reassuring. Instead it made me all that much more fearful. Maybe there was something to fear. Maybe you can wind up in Gitmo being asked questions you cannot answer because you accidentally called the wrong number and asked the wrong question. Such fears have no zippers that are visible.

What are you most afraid of?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Really? It's Saturday?

If time flies then it is supersonic these days. It is day 264 per my daily post on the 365 Day Challenge on my studio page. And it is Saturday! I usually post my reflections of the past week on Monday or Tuesday. But Saturday? Really?

I do not know why I should be so surprised because all day yesterday I thought it was Saturday. And Thursday I was sure it was Friday. I usually succumb to these time warps only in the midst of winter but it is the 21st of September. Tomorrow we are scheduled for our first freezing temps at night. I am focused on my still green tomatoes. But I have been too busy to do much about them beyond a second drop light in the poly tunnel.

Busy is good especially when it has money attached to it. I have been doing lots of paid odd jobs for friends. Money is good at this time of the year because there is firewood to be purchased for the winter, and the chimneys to be swept. Do you think of Mary Poppins when you hear chimneys? And snow tires to be bought and switched out on the car. But it hits me on mornings like this that if I am going for the money and doing everyone's before winter hits list done will I get mine done. Panic.

I hate those mornings when I wake up in a panic knowing I have forgotten something really key to my survival. I figure that can be solved with kelp for my thyroid or a well kept calendar. The latter I forgot to look at all week and the former I kept forgetting to take. And when shoved against the wall I will spend my limited home time on not what I need to do but what I want to do. Ergo last week with the kitchen totally in a mess, the second tent for the tomatoes not fabricated yet, the flashing not fixed and the firewood not purchased, reordering my studio. There was logic there somewhere beyond sheer avoidance.

When the first wintery winds blow I need a comfortable place to escape to. And my one woman show is nine months away. Got the painting area done but next I have to reorder the plants. Some of the outside for the summer plants have to be moved back inside and frankly there isn't room right now.

But hording money is good. Make it while you can. And try not to panic when you wake up and discover it is Saturday, September 21st, the 264th day of 2013, and there is a frost tomorrow.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Change Up

Historically for me I have done a weekly blog here generally on Sunday. Purpose was for me to record the week I had just passed through. I will not guess the purpose for my readers. Maybe just to catch up. It has be a small but elite group. Certainly does not have the following of Creative Journey, but it is more in the spirit of a weekly online journal which is where I began on the internet so many years ago.

No I am not going to end the blog. But Sunday is definitely not working out as I am busy throwing together my freelance articles. Boy, that makes it sound casual. Certainly has not gotten to that yet. But the purpose of blogging on line was initially to not lose my ability to write. I had begun to do this as an exercise to practice what it was I did not want to lose. I started it not long after my head injury December 24th, 2001.

We were all stunned by 9/11 and I had decided life was entirely too short and quit my job as a municipal court clerk to go back to teaching skiing. I believe I had only taught for about nine days when clipped by a young skier from Oklahoma. I do not remember the accident of three and a half hours around the accident. In fact, when I gave my report to my superiors and the EMT's I had all the facts wrong but they treated and streeted me anyway.

Twelve years is a long time before getting back to something I had loved to do. Freelance writing appeals to me because of the research and the immediacy of it. But while I was handling blogs pretty well I figured I could not deal with deadlines. Week three and thus far I have. And even with all the stuff going on in my life just now. You really cannot write in and say, "Sorry but my cat died."

But this weekend I had a really big event and of course worried about everything that can go wrong especially in the technical side of taking pictures. Bikes! I have never taken pictures of bikes! Probably submitted entirely too many but choices are good, right? Because I could not get back with an authority on a fact check I had to ask for a bit of an extension. And got it. And then got the facts before the extension was up. Small victories.

The hardest part? I saved that for this week. Going back to Red River where I have lots of old friends and not being the electrician who worked with Marc, now deceased, but a writer for the paper. Not the small local paper I did columns for but the other paper. Ice broken. Let's roll.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Necessary Losses

Shadow People

Sometimes our losses are real and concrete like losing a beloved pet or dear friend to cancer. And sometimes our losses are more on the nature of just learning the true nature of someone or something. We all tell ourselves fairy tales about people, places and organizations. We want to believe like Anne Frank that all people are essentially good at heart. Denial is a goddess given survival tool after all.

I realized a long time ago it isn't healthy to carry baggage around and yet I seem at times to be surrounded by people that do. And yet I want to believe they do not. I feel so betrayed when they pull from the past some sin they believe I have committed and must now pay for. I hate it when they bring out a long laundry list I in part cannot even remember and give me no time to explain or counter.

And yet if I were to sit down and bring up my list which I have forgiven them for they would shout me down as if I was making all that up.

It is so much easier to love my fur kids. They love me back so unconditionally. And are so much harder to say goodbye too. And that is because they were always real and not just shadows. They are who they are and not who I imagined them to be. They are not just shadows of what I believe.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little Successes

A mixed bed

I have this little bed under my studio windows that has always been rather unsuccessful. This year I added the shelf so I could put some potted plants to see if they did better. And then I added a hodge podge of other stuff. Sort of the nuclear option just to see what worked if anything.

The purple succulent I planted there a few years ago seems to have taken hold. As did the hollyhock I planted behind it because I had given up on it growing. First year for the hollyhock but it seems to think it is going to bloom. The peppers in the tins above were late entrants. And the geraniums suffered severely from a late frost. Thinking of weathering them over winter in the polytunnel to give them an early start next spring. One or two may be moved into the studio.

Just to the left in this photo is Borage. It is an herb good for kidneys and bladder and which I have tried here for several years. If it weathers over the winter I will be ecstatic. The Bee Balm seems to be making it too beside the orange mint. Maybe I just needed to overcrowd everything.

Borage Bloom among the onions
Onion Top

I generally eat all the onion seed tops in salads but didn't this year. This is a regular onion but a friend also gave me a start of Egyptian Walking Onions that are in this bed. Waiting for them to walk but I am getting some interesting tops from them. They should bend over and replant themselves.

Salsa peppers

The local nursery had a special half way through the summer on vegetable plants. And I bought this 6 pack of salsa peppers. It has now produced three peppers (2 red and 1 green). But seems to just be seriously blooming. Thinking of transferring this to under the polytunnel when the weather gets colder.  Cannot save the plants because they are annuals? But it might yield some more peppers.

This little bed is an experiment. And I learned quite a bit from it really. Hopefully the Borage, Bee Balm and Hollyhocks will be here next spring. The purple succulent has proven it can make it. And I have harvested onions from this bed into winter before.