Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Week that Was

And then the leaves were gone

The lone tree on the hill was glorious last year but this year it seemed to suffer from the drought. By itself on the hill you could see so clearly that its leaves were smaller and its foliage less dense. The monsoon rains came in September in earnest and while they were nice in the amount they were late. Late for almost everything important like trees and deer. First year I saw fawns with spots in October. Almost as if the does had waited and rushed to reproduce when it will be too late for their offspring to survive the winter. Maybe even the fall.

It has been a rough fall. Temperatures have been lower than usual and the golden trees few and sometimes far between. Like the lone tree on the hill few reached peak color before dropping all their leaves. Summer came late and left early. Fall just could not seem to make up its mind.

Grove of gold

I was surprised last week to find this grove of aspen in glorious color. They had stayed greenish for too long. Not that intense almost spring green they turn just before gold but a sort of muddy gold that led me to believe they would just fall to the ground and turn brown.

Leaves on the ground

Last year every leave on the ground was gold or orange and this year they are just less green. Seems an analogy for the summer. Just less. Less rain, less days between major frosts, less balmy days to enjoy, virtually no Indian Summer. And then it is over leaving us all to wonder what will winter be like?

And then they are gone

Even the computer models doe not seem to agree but then they all rely on past weather which in this era of climate change is a flawed model. I have talked to my firewood provider and he was to deliver me two cords this week but it rained so he is late. Seems to fit so I am not in a panic. Life just seems to be like that lately.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Photography is a sport

Along the Rio Grande

The aspens because of the drought have not been colorful this year like last. So in a last ditch effort to capture some gold in them thar hills my photography buddy and I set off for the river edges in the area. First was Embudo canyon along the Rio Grande and then on to the Rio Chama near Abiquiu.  We got lucky but not without getting out of the car and hiking remote paths to get unique perspectives.

Unfortunately after about two hours of doing that and taking some 80 pictures my card in the camera failed. So I cannot show you those pictures. They are forever the "fish that got away" sort of thing. And they included to fly fishermen on the Rio Grande. A fly fisherman told me once that it was not the gentle and passive sport it appears to be. Wading through rushing water and standing on slippery river rocks and casting in an exact rhythm does involve lots of fine tuned muscle movements and balance. So does photography.

Reflections in the Rio Grande

Hold camera above head and fight through the bushes to stand on the edge of the water and then lean out to avoid putting the dead tree off to the left in the frame. Standing on one foot frame shot and take picture. The picture blow required one foot on a rock and one on the shore.

You definitely do not want to capture the same image as the person in the high heels with the iPhone. But then she would never kneel down to capture a small cottonwood sapling.

New beginnings

Or lie down to get the reflections on the river through the dried grasses on its edge.

My photography friend is part mountain goat I think. BTW we didn't see any of those this trip.

Jessica on rock

The picture blow was relatively easy because I took it leaning out of the car window. But we wanted to get to the river beyond those trees and that took some off-roading and then waling along winding along a trail to get to the river's edge. Let me mention fly fishermen again because it is them that break the trails for us photographers.

Peaceful meadow
There is a path in there somewhere. And not for the faint of heart. You have to be after the good fishing spot or the perfect photo that the women in the heels with her iphone could not get.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

And we are off to the ball

And it is off to the Ball

The runway is still being repaired in Angel Fire so I had to throw my bags in my car and get to Taos early to meet my dates Henry Standing Bear and Walt Longmire.

Lou Diamond Phillips

Robert Taylor as Sheriff Longmire
 It is cold and dark here on the Taos Volcanic Plateau before dawn but I think I have been promised a catered breakfast once the jet takes off for Ohio.

 I am told a couple other members of the cast of Longmire are coming too but it is suppose to be a surprise. They had heard of the great fun to be had at the 6th Annual Willow Manor Ball. Seems last year's date, Johnny Depp has been talking about the Trinidad Rum

Bracelet by Jessica Duke
At the last moment before I left the house I spied my Jessica Duke silver bracelet from last year's ball and put it on. Something old to bring to the new adventure.

See previous blogs for everything I have packed. And stay tuned for breaking news on the fun to be had at Willow Manor. Who do you want to see from the cast of Longmire?

Longmire cast

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Hammered Silver Necklace

My friend pointed out I had forgotten shoes to wear with the morning dress and I suddenly realized I had forgotten a lot of accessories. The above necklace will go with the morning dress and also with the travel suit and blouse I chose below.

Went for a burgundy silk blouse instead

The ballet slippers will be a nice relief for the high heeled boots I am wearing with the harlequin costume too. When you are dancing all night it is good to have alternatives.

Taking off the elastic and putting on black satin ribbon

And decided to throw in last year's travel shoes because they had a lower heel then those recommended by Bee. These will go very nicely with the black satin lapel suit.

I think one of the reasons I forgot accessories is the harlequin outfit I am wearing does not lend itself to jewelry because of all the ruffs. But I found these gold cuff bracelets for some added bling. They go with the gold trim on the ruffs and accents on my dress boots.

Was about to quit shopping when I found this antique charm bracelet to accent my travel suit. I can also wear it with my morning dress.

Okay, I think I have got it now. Need to make sure I have everything I need in the camera bag.

Tomorrow? Must pack

Omg! The 6th Annual Willow Manor Ball is tomorrow and I haven't packed a thing. Hitching a ride on a Leer jet with some film folks in route to Toronto from Monument valley. What, after all, is an extra passenger on a Leer. But do need to pack light. And fortunately I spend a fortune on just the right luggage last year so got it out of the upstairs closet. The hat box for of course the red hat. And those wonderful ruffs on the harlequin costume. Would not want them to be crushed.

Wearing a simple black traveling suit and of course the cape and derby from last year. No extravagant gown to go into my fold over bag this year but I got a lovely old fashioned morning dress for brunch. It will look great with the cape for the Ohio chill.

And I have been busy rearranging my Epiphany camera bag to make room for the new camera. Looking forward to taking pictures of the party this year. I think I said that last year and got overly involved in chasing down my date who was overly involved in Bee's Trinidad Rum that she has again set ahead.

Well, off to pack. Must not forget a single thing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Five more days

Walt Longmire played by Australian Robert Taylor

It was clearly going to be difficult to beat my date for last year, Johnny Depp, who came in his Captain Jack Sparrow get up. And my favorites to invite this year are very popular in my set so I invited both. And both are coming.

Henry Standing Bear/Lou Diamond Phillips

Hey, I am not possessive. I am more than willing to share. But what a hoot walking into Willow Manor with one on each arm. Trying to talk Standing Bear into Cheyenne garb. Then it occurred to me that I might want to cowgirl up my harlequin costume a bit and figured I might be able to do that with a really flamboyant red hat. I, of course have two red hats. And a burgundy wide brimmed buccaneer hat, but since I am wearing the same coat why not blow it on a hat. Rather like this one.

Or the one below with more big ostrich plumes, but it is a bit late in the fall for straw. Can always doll up my leather red hat.

Ruffles that match the harlequin ruff would be perfect. I think. Now has black and clear Austrian Crystals as a hat on it. Then there is this painting of an equestrian Harlequin. My burgundy hat has the same shape. Could just change the plumes to match the harlequin costume I have chosen. The burgundy goes better with the cape.

Equestrian Harlequin

Obviously horses are going to be involved in the weekend.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ten days and counting

Last Year's Harlequin Coat 

There is to be another ball at Willow Manor. The invite sent me to my virtual closet to look at last year's treasures. Johnny Depp was my date but sadly just a lend/lease for the night. I have thrown caution to the winds this year and extended two invites. Wouldn't it be grand if they both came?

Of all my fabulous attire last year this Harlequin Coat was my absolute favorite and it will definitely serve as my traveling coat this year too. I am considering shunning the tight fitting ball gowns. I want something I can slide down the banister in, or like my friend, Barbara Lake last year, swing from the chandelier with abandon. If I get my wished for dates I will have to be ready for anything including midnight rides on half wild horses.

I love this Harlequin get up. Looks to be very comfortable and free. Would like it with pantaloons and pirate boots like these.

And  instead of a full mask I have considered exotic make up.

Or just the great little Venetian half mask like the one below.

So many decisions and just ten days to go. Virtual shopping is so much fun. No bills.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Creative Life

Ocate Fix-it-Upper by J. Binford-Bell

You might be an artist 
you have a set of twelve dishes
for a large dinner party
so you can go twelve days with out washing them.

J. Binford-Bell

Or making the bed comes second to stretching a canvas or you take the money for next months mortgage and buy a new 24.5 mega pixel camera. And a beautiful fall day is not for doing outside chores but grabbing your camera and hitting the road to find great photo opportunities.

Artists, or any creative people, just see the world from an entirely different perspective and set of priorities. That became really clear to me last week as I spent some plastic money for a new camera on the same day my tenant notified me he was breaking his lease. My immediate reaction to not having rent money past November if it does not get rented was, "Will just have to spend more time in the studio painting. Doesn't cost me much."

At such times I am more excited about the transition from film to digital photography than seems possible. I can take pictures and it will not cost me a cent until I have to print them up because the image sold. And because I have the new camera I will get out in all sorts of weather to take pictures so I do not need to spend time or money on gym membership. Just strap on the snowshoes and call the dogs.

On a more practical note I am very pleased with myself for building my studio with all its passive solar design. So far this fall I have not had to turn on the heat. Just one fire in the woodstove this week. And I am not freezing. Just thankful for all the afghans I have crocheted as lap robes, and shawls for sitting at the computer early mornings. And the fingerless gloves so I can still paint or snap a photo or type a blog even in the coldest morning before sun warms the studio.

I would love it if a single artist moved in to my rental. Might even lower the rent. Especially if they are great at coffee chatter about art. I do not knock on the tenant's door to borrow a cup of sugar but I might well knock if I have run out of brush cleaner or mat board. How sweet that would be.

Going to advertise and think positive about the new tenant. But probably not for too long. It is fall and the colors while not outstanding this year are still a draw. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Do not argue for your limitations

I have reached 68 a few months back. It was a major milestone for me not because of any physical issues but because both my parents had died at 67. Them and what seemed an inordinate number of my relatives. Only two seemed to live past 67 and they went into their 80's but one forgets that in the year of your parents' death.

So happily into 68 I find myself feeling invincible except when around a friend of mine that seems preoccupied with dying soon. Now reason why she will. Probably won't. But she is always saying she is old and she is a year younger than I am. I pass it over because she is recently widowed and her late husband wanted most that she die with him. Yesterday the topic was retirement homes in Florida. She obviously has done some research. "We're getting old. We need to be looked after." This said as we were putting up snow fence.

"I'd be dead in six months if I did that," I told her when she proposed I join her in this. Florida is a toxic state, the average altitude is 13 feet above high tide surge, it is the most corrupt state in the US currently, and Republican. But worst of all there would be nothing to do but sit in an air conditioned sterile apartment. Note: the two relatives that lived into their 80's were very active people. I truly believe it was Uncle Ray's mowing of lawns with a push mower that saved him. I want to die riding my mower around my 2.3 acres. Or shoveling snow. I can no longer live hard and die young but I want to live hard and die fast.

When I taught Adaptive Skiing our motto was, "Argue for your limitations and they are yours." It saved my life after my head injury and saves my life style now. But I realized this morning as I was beginning this blog that I argue for my financial limitations all too readily.

I was on the verge of buying a new camera because I feared the old one was getting rather tired. And the moment I got the notice to break the lease from my tenant I cancelled the order. But the old camera is still failing. I need a camera for my business. AND I need a camera for my exercise. Photography is a sport and it gets me out of the house and on long walks through the countryside and over hill and dale. I do not know if I can get it off on ACA as a wellness program but I should be able to. My camera is to me what Uncle Ray's lawn mower was to him.

Live a limitless life! And live it fully.