Saturday, March 22, 2014

Security is a Big Truck

Bluebird of Happiness

To my city bound friends my new acquisition makes little sense. But if you live on the edge of a national forest in extreme drought you should consider it a survival tool: BUG OUT NECESSITY.

Real estate season is beginning next month and so is fire season. While the flatlanders and out-migrators are looking for their castle in the trees abutting the seemingly lush forest us long term locals are reordering our Must-Go and emergency boxes in case there is a fire. Before moving to the wet side of the mountain I lived a half mile from the front line of the Hondo Fire for 22 days. I had watched the black and red billowing smoke signal its setting of the ground speed record of nine miles in a half hour. That was May. I bought my house in the large meadow with only one tree in November of that year. I thought I was safe.

Across the street and one of the rare snows this year

The hills around me are forested, however. I joke I would rather see the trees than live in them. Truth is it would scare me to death to live in them. The few small fires in the neighboring hills have proved I did not get through those 22 days of 1996 unscathed. First was the divorce and then the PTSD. When I could afford it I traded sold the Neon and bought an Astro Van. I told myself it was for the art fair business. I knew it was for evacuation of myself and my pets. When a couple years ago I told myself I could live with an economical Corolla. After all I was getting out of the art fair business and settling into my studio.

This year's extended drought and a total lack of what us locals lovingly call the mud and flood season had me waking up in cold sweats again. The fires in Colorado and the Jemez below us last year have not helped be sleep well. So when I agreed to do a month long gallery show in Trinidad, Colorado I began seeing it as an excuse for another van or a pickup. I kept looking for smallish and economical. Definitely did not want to be in the computerized era after my friend's Jeep Liberty rental got zapped by lightning and immobilized. You do know forest fires start to generate their own weather, don't you? Dry lightning most notably.

My hording of money, combing of all Craig posts, and stalking the couple empty lots that boast cars for sale bore fruit this week with the GMC Sierra SLE pictured above. It is a BIG truck but I live on a dead end road and if I have too I can drive over the stream and through fences to get out of here. And even without the camper shell it will take me, the fur kids, and those emergency and evac boxes. And the camping box from the storage shed. And all my art to Trinidad Main Street Gallery.

It has been too long since I have considered what I can get out of my house given 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or two hour evacuation notice. So with escape parked in the driveway my work in the next couple of weeks is cut out for me. Bug Out preparation will go right along with washing and cleaning my new chariot.

And if the rains come and the forest greens up then it is a way to take me and my dogs and my cameras up to the mountains I love more than I fear.

Forest Road 76 in wetter years

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Some Days are Diamonds

Been a bit of a roller coaster week. It is spring here in the mountains and there is no telling if winter or summer will show up any given day. I spent time in the garden this week pulling off the winter devastated plastic on the poly. And the next day the temps fall to 18 degrees. I feel I am on a time clock. All these things which got moved up because there is going to be this window I have to align myself to.

Yes, the cataract surgery is minor but there are all these restrictions pre and post op to align yourself to. Even exercise will have to be curtailed. Allergy meds not used during a high spring allergy season. No lifting, not exertion. No out in high spring winds. So I am trying to cram as many forbidden things in the next month as possible. I should be in the most restrictive period when the garden needs tilled and planted and the plastic stretched over the little seeds.  Considering stretching several canvases (yes, that can be exertion) so I can just sketch or paint for the week one and two I have to behave.

Meanwhile my repaired camera is back and the skies can be amazing.

New Mexico Dawn

And I have had this wonderful relationship with my muse lately. I will be working on the finishing touches of a painting and already plotting the next one in my mind.

Wild Horse Run almost done

I think I could use some patience but maybe artists are not patient. We are perfectionists and we want it our way. So maybe I will just hope for perspective.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Enough Already

There are times when the currents of life get off balance. Or the tides are just going against you. Or you have skated along too smoothly and it is all catching up. And having just had a great bitch session with my neighbor I fully believe it is a tidal wave or sea change or something. This is not just about me.

Yes, there is a lot going on in my life right now. That hit me this morning when I came down the bedroom stairs and realized my aging standard poodle, Mardi Gras, had not had the best of nights. She is in beginning of liver failure and has her better or worse days. The vitamins the vet prescribed are doing well when Mardi deems to take them. She is great at cheeking pills. She managed to get my curling iron down the stairs, the dog food bowls knocked over, three of my six foot cacti laying down, etc.

She was trapped in the far corner of the studio behind the Crown of Thorns. And I was so exhausted last night I did not hear a sound from downstairs. So add lots of guilt to the good night's sleep.

My eyes are still soft boiled after the extensive cataract exam. And I was befuddled enough  it took me a couple days to realize I probably have a mild allergy to the drops they put in my eyes. This does not bode well for the two surgeries in my future. Yes, they are suppose to be a piece of cake but it takes no fewer than six trips to Santa Fe. All while I have a seriously ill dog and a one-woman-gallery show to prepare for.

And gardening season is approaching. And there is always a bevy of critics. No not art critics. Organizational critics. Ever notice how everyone is more than willing to let you do it ALL until they think you did it wrong (even when they haven't a clue what wrong is) and then they are all over you to fix it now (when of course they could have done it in the first place)?

Enough already. I quit.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Where does the time go?

This was suppose to be a weekly post of my progress through life. An on line journal. But it has been over two weeks since I last posted. I stared at that date for a while and tried to remember what had happened in that time. At first I did not have a clue. Had to walk backwards through my physical calendar which lays beside my computer. First I had to find it.

My library table is totally a mess. Which means I have been spending too much time at my computer because of submitting sorting through photographs to submit to a printer. And editing photos of paintings I have finished in the last month to submit to another show. I have spent extra time trying to market on social media. And enjoyed some good results.

And then there was the broken camera which had to be sent back to Nikon. Under warranty but that also takes time; hurdles that have to be jumped through on the computer. Then I had to drive to Raton and up to Trinidad, Colorado. The Nikon D3200 is off in California so back to the Nikon D90. Love that camera.

I am looking forward to having the D3200 back because I do not think it ever behaved right in the four months I had it. All the pictures I am entering in the April photography show were taken with the D90 and half the pixels. It isn't all about pixels.

And my life has not been all about photography this last couple of weeks. In fact it has been more about painting. Finished one, framed two and began a third. And if you think my computer center is a mess the studio is worse.

Four of these paintings went to the New Mexico Women's show in Raton.