Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pirates Don't Send Flowers

A long time friend of mine, some 40 years, and I were talking about our misspent youth yesterday. Though our lives, even when separated for years, have largely paralleled each other, we have one major divergent path. She got married and stayed married for forty plus years. Longest I have ever stayed married - nine years. But we are both attracted to pirates. So yesterday's coffee was about the pirates in our pasts.

And since it was Valentine's Day we discussed that too. Her mate of all those years made a big deal of VDay. To look at my past you would guess that VDay had something to do with victory in Europe during WWII and I was on the losing side. I have only been sent flowers once. The man involved with the nine year marriage and much longer friendship knew to buy my truffles instead; when he remembered.

How, one has to ask, can anyone miss Valentines? Trust me it is possible. I never much liked the day to be frank. I blame that on two things 1) Mom and Dad never seemed to make much of it, and 2) I worked entirely too long in the food and beverage industry financing my education, and what I came to call my way early retirement. If you want to be foot loose and fancy free, and what pirate doesn't, there are two areas of business where you can always get a job: Restaurants and bars, and construction. Become a bartender pr chef or learn to drive heavy equipment and you will never go hungry.

It is also where you will find the most pirates.

Chefs, bartenders and waitresses loath VDay, Mother's Day, and Easter. So I never reminded a boy friend or significant other of any of those days. I decline all invitations out for any of those days. Who want to go out and mingle with rude people upset it is crowded and service is slow. Duh?

Now that VDay is over all the chocolates will be fresh so I will stop in at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Taos this week and buy myself some truffles.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ten Years Ago

Bryce Canyon

Ten years ago this August my sister and I took our first Utah Thelma and Louise road trip. Part of it we were camped at Kodachrome State Park, a twenty minute drive from Bryce National Park. We made daily excursions to the hoodoos and to check on our cell phone messages. Only at one or two overlooks could you catch a cell phone signal. Can you hear me now? became the trip's battle cry.

Oddly we had gotten the cell phones for emergencies. Two women traveling through unknown country. Sounded like a good idea. But they were useless on the slot canyon trails. And only hit and miss to stay in touch with friends and relatives. BTW the new smart phones are not any better in this area. Debbie began the trip with a digital camera which was smashed running from lightning strikes in Arches. I clung to my film camera. And we diverted to St. Charles to get Debbie a film camera. It would have been sad to be in Utah without a camera and digital cameras were way more expensive than film in those days.

Chinese Dragon 

Like many photographers we only noticed the weather if it rained on our lens or cast shadows on our subjects. Or like in Arches began hurling down lightning bolts while trying to take a picture of Delicate Arch at sunset.

But rain in slick rock territory is life threatening. We were photographing up this side canyon at the foot of Bryce when we noticed the clouds gathering.

Storm coming

And then the little stream we kept hopping across seemed to get wider. We curtailed our intended trip up the canyon and returned to the van just before rain drops began to fall. You cannot watch storms approach for days because they build within in hours, minutes it seems, over the bluffs.

Rain over the bluffs
And the water is not absorbed but runs down the slick rock to the canyon floors. There was this huge bridge we had been crossing for day to and from our campground. Only a tiny trickle of water ran below it. So the size of the bridge over empty red gully was a constant conversation point. But that day as we crossed over the fifty yard span of concrete it was nothing but raging water below us tossing around tree trunks and limbs.

And it had not rained that long. Our campsite was not even wet.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Creative Incompetence.

Now that we have computers, Megapixel cameras, software and smart phones we think can all be website designers,  marketers or even freelance writers. Where we once hired professionals we have become do-it-self misfits. I notice this most in Call for Entry notifications.

I find my internal editor kicking in whenever I get an email about a new exhibition to enter or a notification from the last as to my acceptance or non-acceptance. Please people, proof read. And have another person proof read to see if you said what it is you thought you said but didn't really. Try not to be cruel and insensitive when you email "sorry" notifications. Be sorry. That works.

Never, ever use all caps and bold in an email. And especially not in sorry notifications. And when sending out call for entry emails do have all the hot links work not just look like they should. And do describe the show you intend accurately. Artists base their submissions on the description of the show. Try to be clear and concise. We are all reading a half dozen of these a week some times. We are trying to pick the show for us. The one we think our works will fit into. Money is short and we would rather not waste it our our time.
A good vocabulary is nice but too many words is off putting.

Then, and this is very important, be sure the jurors you hire to vet the entries know what the exhibition is to be about. We feel betrayed if you mis-advertise your intent. And do not chat with others about the jury process before the notifications go out? Arts is a small community. We do gossip. Definitely take the time to notify those who did not succeed in making it into your event. They took the time to enter so you should take the time to respond.

If you do not think you can handle all that then hire someone to do it for you. And do not assume that because we do not apply for your show again that we are off our art or discouraged. We keep lists of events that mistreat us.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Oh, how they grow!

Plants in May 2009

I have this widget on my bogs that links other similar blogs the reader might be interested in. This photo was from my blog about the plant table which I had just completed. Could not believe how small the plants were. Yesterday I took some photos of the same plants now.

Some of the original cast in 2014

Not a totally fair comparison because the crown of thorns on the left had two feet pruned off of it. The euphoria in the center of the top photo is on the right in the lower photo. Most of the plants got so large I pruned and germinated. The euphoria in the lower left is just the top of one which got nine feet tall. And my one little jade plant in the far right of the upper picture generated three other jade plants from leaves. They got so large I gave them away. And the mother plant is now three feet high and almost two feet across.

Obviously in the almost five years since the original blog the studio has been good for my prickly friends.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

At Last - Snow

At Last  - Snow

Chatted with our county plow guy at the post office last week and the subject, of course, was the lack of snow to plow. The county snow plow had not been moved since December 19th. For a ski area this is bad but it is even worse for the approaching summer Fire Season. In March the forest service measures the snow pack to determine fire danger and issues in the watersheds. The snow pack recharges our aquifers. And with the prolonged drought there are dry well issues. If the drought continues newer wells will be knocked off.

So when snow fell on the 31st of January everyone was happy. It was a very wet snow but not much off it. Maybe two inches, when here in the mountains, a foot would be more ordinary. But not this year. Or for much of the last four years. And the temps this winter have been 15 to 20 degrees above normal - recorded normal. That is the problem with weather forecasts at the moment. We are so far from normal that none of the computer models based on normal records work.

In the last forecast for the 31st Denver was to get a foot but only received about six inches. Starting tonight there are snowflake icons in all the next ten days but it is chance of snow or slight chance of snow. And no guesses about depth of snow.  We have all become rather skeptical. Like, "We will believe it when we see it." I worry about my trees and bushes.

And the future. When will be have a winter with no snow? Water will soon be the new oil so those who believe in fracking will have to one day realize they have soured the only water they have to drink. Think that is silly? I understand it was one of the subjects for the BLM management plan for our new national monument, Rio Grande del Norte.

God, what a mess men have made of things.