Friday, October 31, 2014

Enough Already!!!!!

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Abraham Lincoln - The Gettysburg Address

I say this every election. Nobody cares. But I feel compelled to say it again because the DNC has taken possession of my inbox on two email accounts. And in spite of promises they have made in the last couple of days I doubt I will get them back for my use because the 2016 presidential race will formally kick off. BTW when does any politician actually govern instead of run for office? 

Election laws have to change. And not the way they recently were changed by Citizens United and the SCOTUS.

We as a nation began this dubious experiment when it took two years or more for all the citizens of this land to hear the results of any election. It now probably takes about two hours. Australia does it all including the campaigning in just 90 days. Just think only 90 days of 40 emails a day and four telephone calls a night. Not two years or more.

And all for naught because nobody will vote. And if they vote it will not count. Some hanging chad and SCOTUS will count. Or some cell phone app will flip every straight ticket like in Ohio in 2004. And what we want even if the votes are counted will not matter because 40 Tea Party members elected by a very small number of people have the right to bring the entire congress to a complete and absolute stand still.

And to break that deadlock a compromise guaranteed to negate the bill and its purpose entirely will be passed instead. Or the House of Representatives will try 40 plus times to repeal a bill previously passed.

Some how this sounds like a Dr. Seuss book except there is no humor in it.

But I will vote. NOW give up my email inbox and leave quietly.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Slip Sliding Away

Cap Stones

The Pope just said he believes in evolution and the big bang. Who would have thought such things would happen in my life time. And yet I am surrounded by people I personally know who believe the earth to be only 6000 years old. The cap stones in the opening photograph are older than that. And once they were on top of pillars of sandstone - the heads of goblins. And before that they were the top layer under a huge inland sea. All that we see is slip sliding away.

It is true of people too. Friends come and go talking of Michelangelo. I once told a friend, who was upset I was moving on, that it would not matter if I was staying because friendships come and go even if you live next door. She didn't get it. In fact she chose to never speak to me again. Instead she became fast friends with another friend I left behind at the same time. And that ended. Neither of us know what became of her.

The shared friend currently lives next door. She is moving soon. But our friendship has already slipped. She has slipped. That is one of the difficult things at our age. Is it dementia, insanity or Alzheimer's? So many people "retire" and move to some place warmer and easier. And with no friends.

In our youth we moved on to the next place and the next set of friends, the new job or neighborhood so very easily. The company I worked for sent packers on one day and loaders the next. I said good by to coworkers on Friday and began work at the new site on Monday. One year I was moved three times. That saved a lot of unpacking. I have no need or desire to move again. I know this place. I know the people at the grocery store in off season.

But my friend is moving to Florida, a place of complete strangers to herself and each other. But she has already become a stranger to me. And were we to meet again for the very first time I do not believe we would have anything in common. We have had an episodic friendship over forty some years. We drift away to other places and interests. And return without notice into each other's lives. But I feel she is gone this time.

The move is November 20th. Plans are to be back for summer. But like the Cheshire Cat I do not know if she can re-materialize. I am not sure there is much of her visible right now. I tried to tell her I thought the move would be the end of her, back months ago when I felt there was enough of her to listen and hear. We are past that now.

My sister just called to say her cell phone is dying. She asked me to personal message her my contact information in case her provider cannot save her SIM card. Are we losing our abilities to use our organic SIM card? After my Closed Brain Trauma, a friend who had been there and done that told me to practice everything I didn't want to lose. But you cannot practice for someone else.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Confession Time

Dream Home?

I love living where I live. I love living alone. I am a true introvert and really have few close friends. Most of them live someplace else. And that is mostly fine. I used to consider having an attached rental unit a chance for both financial and safety stability. Now I consider it and renters a liability. Renters have become plagues in recent years.

But winter is approaching and since the dreaded New Year storm of 2006/2007 I am a bit tharned about winter. Only about five occupied houses on my "block" and one of those is going to be empty all winter. She is a long term friend and I am totally pissed at her about it when I am not celebrating getting her neediness out of my field of vision. She says I am not a nice person which is why I have so few friends. She does not see that as a choice or her fault I am not nice to her currently. (note: Translation of not nice - I am not doing what she wants.)

So yesterday I drove to Las Vegas, New Mexico and fell in love with an alternative to living where I live. If I had money. If is such a big word. And I have to wonder if this live above/work below alternative in the plaza area of a historic town just isn't because winter is around the corner and I am a bit afraid of another 6 feet of snow even if it has not been 70 years since the last.

Yes, I present to the world a totally self-sufficient and together person, but sitting alone in my house with the winds whipping outside I can get into panic mode. Yesterday seemed to fuel that. As I was buy antifreeze to condition the pipes in the empty apartment, and Sta-bil for the gas machines I own it struck me all summer passed without fixing the snow blower. In fact because I was working for the neighbor who thinks I am not nice I was fixated on the money and ignoring my house and my list of things to do. I think she said I was not nice because I stacked my firewood instead of hers.

Mother raised me to be the guilty party. It is always my fault. I have spent time in therapy in an attempt to get over that. And unless it is late October and the wind is howling outside and roof panels from some distant neighbor's house are blowing by I am fine.

And I would probably go crazy living in a populated area. I do like my space. Hey, but the money to be able to do that would be nice. Selling a painting or two would make me fear less the approaching heating bills. Or my neighbor selling her house to someone I liked. Or having the perfect renter knock on my door. Or not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Over the Back Fence

I do not take long vacations. Partly because of finances. And partly because I am rather a home body. Besides there is enough in my backyard to keep be interested. The trek this fall was from here to Farmington to Pagosa Springs, down to Chama and over Cumbres Pass. This blog is about just below Pagosa Springs.

We were late for aspens but those we found were wonderful in their contrast to the trees already absent their leaves, and the dark skies of fall weather. The pickup allowed us to get up forest roads with ease and into areas not photographed by the average tourist. Just south of Chromo we took Buckles Road into the National Forest in search of Buckles Lake which we never got to. Another day perhaps. It was only a seven plus mile trip but photographers can take a long time to make that distance if the scenery is good. And it was.

Then you could also stand in the same spot and watch the clouds travel and highlight different spots on the mountain.

All the photos in this blog were taken in just about two hours on that one forest road but depending on which way you were facing or just where the clouds were or were not the colors changed on trees and sky. And sometimes it seemed even the seasons changed.

We were essentially driving the ridge up the mountain. The aspens were huge as you got closer to the top. Even without their leaves they were majestic things to behold especially up close. But standing on a ridge before the snow capped Sawtooth mountains they commanded your attention too. 

Golden crowns or not.

The ridge road allowed us views off both sides. And as morning shifted to afternoon the shadows shifted too.

More blogs coming on other aspects of this short but magical trip along the border of Colorado and New Mexico.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

All Life is Precarious

I have an old friend who insists we are old, and that I ought to act my age. It is time she claims to move to a retirement home in Florida and begin to die. I say Florida just makes you want to die. "Your life is precarious," she said to me over coffee yesterday. "You need to take it easier. You are too old to go hiking by yourself, or camping in remote areas, or climb ladders."

My mother, a firm believer in taking it easier, died at 67. And her older brother mowed lawns with a push mower until 87. But all life is precarious as the recent Ebola epidemic here in the states is proving. And if it was not a pandemic it could be volcanic eruption. There have been swarms of earthquakes around Mammoth Mountain just up wind from us. I married and divorced a man eight years younger than me. He died three years ago. We do not come with expiration dates though nobody has avoided the final exit yet.

I see no advantage to living each day so that I do not hurt myself. In fact, I can see a lot of advantages to living life at full tilt. I may be past the live hard, die young and leave a beautiful corpse but I will not regret having not done something. And I do not pay a lot for exercise classes. I have two cords of firewood to stack between packing for my four day photography trek. My friend is driving to Taos to take a senior yoga class. I probably do not get things done as fast as I did in my youth but they get done. And I feel very empowered by the things I do.

This morning I took both my dogs on a pet sitting job. They think it is their job too. Mardi Gras is 15 and at times I think it would be easier to leave her home. But I would hate myself if she was not given this opportunity to ride in the car, run the fields (yes, she still runs) and bond with her pack buddy who is just 11. If she drops dead in mid dash across the pasture I will feel I have done my best for her. My friends and family should feel the same way if I collapse hauling in firewood.

Monday, October 13, 2014

That Moment of Revealed Truth

I love taking pictures of reflections in mirrors and ponds and glass. Believe it or not regardless of the close concentration and focus one very often winds up with a picture you did not realize you were taking. I think that is true with those quick snaps we take of friendships, and marriages, jobs too. We put all our focus on the obvious, in the photo above it was the wonderful job I did trimming out a very difficult door through a foot of wall sandwich not cut straight. The photo I got was a duo of me and my cat.

And when it comes to friendships and marriages and jobs we keep our eye on the positive. Keep your eye on the prize: Friends for over 30 year, married for almost 50, working for the corporation for ten. And then something happens; often something silly and seemingly unimportant and we see the image beyond the surface. September was the third anniversary of my ex-husband's death. We were friends, co-workers and lovers for 23 years. At first I just missed our talks because even after the divorce we were great friends. But this year I realized I had missed all the signs he was dying. And ergo the opportunities to say goodbye.

September is always a pivotal month for me for any number of reasons. It is the anniversary of my discovery of my biggest lie to myself. And so I am always more reflective. Conscious or not it is a month for inventories of where I am. And like standing in front of my fantastically trimmed French door I end up seeing things I was not necessarily aware of seeing. A whole set was prompted by my sister's question about documents necessary should I have a stroke tomorrow. I did have one. It may still be around but then my ex-husband/best friend was still alive, my sister still lived in the state and my longest friend who lives next door was not moving to Florida.

I find myself thinking dying alone in my house intestate is a good idea. I really do not want anyone to rescue me from near death. And I currently do not think I have any friends left who will miss me. Just want the pets to not suffer.

And it is that caring for my pets that separate me from a person I for a long time thought was a friend. But she only cares for herself. Her pets were an accessory she no longer wants. And then this month there was the friend I suddenly saw as wanting the relationship only because it allowed her to constantly prove herself right at my expense. On a positive note another friend of long standing finally saw what I saw from the very moment she took a new man into her life. Like me she has never picked a good one. She just still suffers from relationship blindness for a least a year.

Once you have seen the image beyond the dark glass or the reflection below the waves of a pond there is no unseeing. You cannot put the Genie back in the bottle so it is a matter of seeing if you can live with what you had not seen before.

It is just the beginning of winter so a long time to think about it or not.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Revealed Truth at the Edge of the Gorge

The Gorge Filled with Smoke

There are times my singularity stands out so starkly even I gasp at its meaning. Yesterday, standing at the top of the horseshoe cresting the Taos Volcanic plateau was one of those times.

It had been creeping up on me all day during my drive down to Albuquerque to pick up a friend. Even my manner of friendship is unique. I have friends in rotation more or less and seldom more. Friends for me do not come in groups, cliches, bunches, collectives, or even covens. They are more often than not artists and as much loners as I am. I make few demands on them and do not accept many demands on me from them. One of the bigger demands is "stop the car." In my wild and crazy drinking days that had one meaning but now as a photographer it is infinitely more serious. My photographer friends totally understand this and are therefore preferred in the rotation, others are definitely befuddled.

Yesterday as my non-photographer friend and I emerged from the Embudo Canyon and the Rio Grande Gorge came into view I requested calmly (at first) she find a place to pull over. We had at the time been discussing the Gorge, Rio Grande Rift, or as she called it, the Crack. but also a worrying plume of smoke visible from Espanola, and from whence it came. Multi-focus conversations are a plus in my friends.

Smoke from the Alamosa Rx Burn

She was quite proud of herself for having the inside language of The Crack. I had never heard the term even though I had lived here longer, and was somewhat offended at the term. It just sounded rude. But that was not why I wanted her to pull over. It was the smoke from what I now know was the Prescribed Alamosa Burn in the Carson National Forest. Its position looked rather like a range of volcanoes had blown their collective tops. Besides it was incredibly beautiful. And I had to record it on my DSLR.

And it was a bit scary. Not that anyone else at the rather busy horseshoe pull over noticed. Several people were chatting on cell phones (one place known for good reception), a family was having Kentucky Fried dinner (Taos had been choked with smoke all day we were told), and there was to be some sort of welcome back party being organized for a friend driving up from Albuquerque. Nobody had a clue what was burning, one knew it was a prescribed burn (though he had been unaware they had changed the language from control), and two didn't know anything was burning. Several obviously thought we were a bit bonkers to care.

My friend is trying to gather information about the conflagration beyond "The Crack." And I have made the decision to just ignore everyone and everything but the view through the view finder until I can get home to the computer and my real buddy, Google. I have absolutely no doubts I was the odd one out, and I considered that a decided advantage.

I do not fit in. I have never fit in unless I am totally faking it. Mother used to give me faking it tips She never got that I do not want to fit in if I have to call the beautiful Taos Gorge the Crack. One of the new shows on TV this season is Scorpion about a group of geniuses that solve problems. They have a normal friend that is always giving them "fit in" tips. I certainly am not a gifted person on their level but I totally understand the "fit in" Tips. They are quite good at the look I know I give when passed these gems. That look has gotten me in deep dodo from time to time which is why I love a large digital SLR Camera with a big lens. It hides a multitude of sins.

I did get four or five pictures while wishing I had been there with Jessica instead. She is a photographer and would have totally understand staying until the sunset. Meanwhile the friend I was with went down one in the rotation because of The Crack. And I am sure she thinks less of me because I did not give her kudos for being among the insiders.

Two things were important 1) the pictures, and 2) that Google revealed it is the 4,400 acre Rx Alamosa Burn on the edge of the Jicarilla Apache land.