Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Changes

How the garden does grow

Summer solstice just happened but I was lagging a bit behind with spring organization. So much goes on in May and June in my mountain area. Gardening gets going full bore and the lawn needs mowed. Again I notice. Time seems so used up already. But you need to take time to photograph the Chinese Cabbage, not just make sure it is watered enough.

The abundance of the garden has made me look at vegetable keeping. My refrigerator with its freezer on the bottom wants to freeze foods kept in the vegetable keepers. I keep cheese and packaged meats and things there. And bought some Rubbermaid vegetable keepers to keep my salads. And they are doing quite well, but almost always full. Froze my first bag of spinach. Summers I drink frozen fruit smoothies and eat great salads of mixed greens grown in my garden. Seems the lettuce and spinach produced early. Guess I am getting the bow tunnel science down. I am still a bit away from the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and snow peas for stir fry.

But I have also been looking at things I have been putting up with like my handheld phones for my land line. I had to be on the telephone to NM Tax and Revenue for almost two house recently. The old vTech system did not have a speaker phone even on the base unit. I have cussed it for two years. And the batteries don't recharge quite as well as they did so during the two hours on the phone I had to exchange hand held units twice. Once that meant running up the stairs. So I vowed to upgrade.

And not just the telephone. Because I was in my studio with my laptop and the only available chair was my studio stool if I was going to stay close to the laptop to follow the tech's instructions. If I had a hand free I could have moved the laptop but there are no comfortable chairs in the studio. Or weren't. I vowed to upgrade that.

Amazon provided all the information I needed to chose a new vTech, in red, which had all the features I was missing on the old phone including a speaker phone in each handset. The thrift store in Eagle nest provided the chairs for the studio. Three folding teak chairs in excellent condition. And they are so very comfortable. Folding is rather a requirement so I can move things out of the way when making frames or boxing up for a exhibit.

Folding teak chair after washing

Every once in a while you need to stop and take stock of what you have been putting up with for lack of time or money. I found an instant new home for the chairs I didn't like and boxed up some other things to go to the thrift store. I am vinegar washing the teak chairs. Then took a walk around my property even though I did not have the time. Irises planted years ago are finally blooming. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

I Wish You a Bucket

Thicke in the Bucket

There are days I truly envy my cat. Thicke has it made. All the food he wants. Petting when it suits him. All the boxes he could dream of. And a bucket to hide in. He is truly the Cheshire Cat of my highly imaginative childhood. I always wanted to be able to erase myself like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. At a minimum I want a bucket to hide in.

Winter is my bucket. Summer just seems so exposed. I seem too much out of my comfort zone. Too many things to do and too little time to do them in. Too many events I should attend. All the summer people are in town holding court. They are all having parties or the locals are having parties for them. I would rather see them one on one. Max three for lunch. Last week was such a social whirl I just totally forgot some things I had on the calendar. My virtual bucket. "Oh, I forgot."

But in truth some things I just ignored. Like the balloons. Yes, not easy to ignore 42 hot air balloons all weekend long. But they don't land in my backyard fortunately. And if you have done a huge lift off of 650 balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival what is 42? The balloon field in Albuquerque is being anonymous. I am not anonymous here. If I want to photograph the balloons I want to be anonymous. Six hundred and five balloons is Thicke in his bucket. Give me the geese on the golf course before opening day instead. Or my current project - the wildflowers of summer.

One of the mana y mana invitations I did attend was a photographic exhibit and talk in Taos with Loretta. The photographer who created the exhibit of several other photographers' works talked about having hidden behind a camera since the age of five. Hidden from her fears as she recorded them in pictures. She was telling my story. The camera is my bucket. The studio my plethora of boxes.

I have two events on the calendar this week I will attend. I will, no doubt, take my bucket with me. BTW when people talk of bucket lists I think of things I want to photograph. And like as not they can be in my backyard.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Singular Moment

The unexamined life isn't worth living, Socrates

There are moments in our lives which stand out as singular. Events, seemingly insignificant cause, us to alter a belief or a course we thought we were fixed to. Studies show that intelligent and liberal people are more likely to have these satoris.

Some months back I vowed to not choose a presidential candidate to back until 90 days before the election. If Canada and Australia can choose a leader in such short time certainly the USA can do without the two year two ringed circus we seem to think necessary. Especially if the SCOTUS (2000) or compromised voting machines (2004) is going to be the way a president gets into office. Note: I did not say elected

The internet is a wonderful window into the world and what the world knows and yet a few moments spent on any social media site and you know there are people who have the blinds down and the drapes closed. I said upon graduation from the University of New Mexico that my ideal profession would be researcher. And the internet and Google has made it possible at least as a hobby. A blame my father. He bought us the World Book Encyclopedia and always encouraged us to look it up.

The goal of not picking a candidate gave me the freedom to look up the records as opposed to spouting the party line, and being dedicated to defending it.

My parents were Democrats and we lived in a Republican precinct so I suffered for that. In a time when girls my age had teen idols I worshiped John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A Catholic, heaven forbid. So I attended mass at the nearest Catholic church because I wanted to know what was so horrid about that. Nothing I found. I did find out my father had been raised Catholic. The pope was going to colonize the US. Now we are willing to hand it over to Jesus. Or at least people who claim to know what he wants.

So while I was in this place of self-imposed examination of the candidates I also examined the process. And became firmly opposed to the two party system long before I voiced that. Trump and Hillary just supported my conclusion. So right after I voted for my preferred Democratic candidate in the primary I changed my registration from Democrat to un-affilated. Or totally independent of all party politics. I have been both, you know. Republican when that was something to be admired and then back to Democrat when it became evident it was not the grand ole party anymore. 

My parents were abhorred about the Republican period and no doubt they would be upset about this new independence. But my research shows it is a growing trend. Currently independents out number Republicans and Democrats put together. So why is it those to obsolete and totally dysfunctional parties get to choose who we vote for? Which brings me back to not choosing a candidate I would vote for until 90 days before the election. Right now I know it isn't Hillary or Trump.

Hillary was eliminated when she announced she had won before the last round of primaries. My singular moment. This was not working for me. I thought in 2008 I wanted a female president. But not this one. Not anyone chosen by this flawed and corrupted process.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Another Birthday?

I get it wrong about every 35 years it seems. The year I turned 35 I was sure I was only going to be 34. Mother told me I was wrong. I argued with her. "I am your mother. I think I know when you were born."  She was wrong about some other things so I didn't easily concede her point. I had to go to the calculator.

This year I have been telling everyone I was going to be 72. Mother isn't around to correct me any more, but my kid sister is. And if I was going to be 72 then in January she was going to be 62 and she has a vested interest in that. She corrected me. So today I turn 71, but realistically what difference does a year make unless it is a milestone year like 21 and you could drink legally without your false ID. BTW I made the mistake of celebrating that birthday twice at the same bar with the same bartender. He graciously wished me, "Happy twenty-first Birthday  again."

Hard to believe that was 50 years ago. There are some moments in your life you can remember with penultimate clarity and that was one. I could also make a docudrama of my journey through a windshield a couple years before that. Or the out of body experience following the moment my skiing career ended. Or just a couple years ago and what the canyon looked like the morning after my second cataract surgery. 

Other things I get wrong like what year was I in school when the art teacher crossed the room in seconds to stand before me with a raised mat knife. I have never looked at a mat knife exactly the same again.

The mind is a strange and sometimes twisted thing. Especially mine because I inherited my father's memory for all things read. And I love reading and research and knowing too much information. Google is my paradise. And yes, I still misplace the telephone, have to have a set place to put my keys, and will wander around the house wondering what it is I was looking for. But I can still recite the Gettysburg address and several Walt Whitman poems. I don't think I am senile but I could use another external hard drive. I live by my desk calendar but am frequently looking at the wrong page.

Two days ago I was sure I was going to be 72 today and not 71.

I sometimes wonder if a triad of witches attended my birth and informed my mother to prepare for a bumpy ride. Largely it has been fun, but then I like roller coasters.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Revealed Truth on the Road to Raton - ????

There is nothing like windshield time to allow you time to think about nothing really. And that is good because we live in a too busy world with too many talking heads telling us what to think about; what to fear. My father, who was first a pilot and then a traveling salesman, used to talk to me about the nothingness between point A and B, whether those were airports, military bases, or cities along the empty highways of the southwest.

There is a lot I can tell you about the road to Raton. It is divided almost in half between canyon through the mountains and wide open high plains. I have taken the road enough times because of art deliveries or pickups, court cases (Raton is the county seat), seeking the sometimes elusive bison, or photography treks, that I know where the turns are, what the next mile marker will say, the speed limit changes, and where the bison just might be.

I always allow two and half hours for the trip. This is an allowance I make for those bison which just might be hugging the fence. But, realistically, it is a casual two hour drive. Once it took 24 hours because of a snow storm blocking Cimarron Canyon. Yesterday I did it in a hour and thirty minutes which included a stop at the Cimarron Canyon State Park Visitor's center for renewal of my state park pass. I love state and national parks. And I love park rangers. They love the land they steward so we have immediate common ground. That stop, because we chatted about the current trend to sell off mining leases on park land to foreign countries, and that his wife is also an avid photographer, certainly took longer than twenty minutes. And then there was the pit stop at the transgender state park facility. So I did Angel Fire to Raton in 70 minutes!!! Or less. There were no bison or antelope close to the road and going out the skies were boring but still that comes close to flying.

I can bend time. Mother called it day dreaming. But Dad, the pilot, knew better. It gets close to "Beam me up, Scotty." No wonder I am a Trekkie. 

On the trip back there were still no bison or antelope close to the fence requiring a photographic rest stop, but there were the clouds and the distant storm on the horizon. 

You just have to stop for New Mexico skies even if you are not a photographer you need to pull over, get out of the car and smell the air and feel the electricity in the air. Being a photographer just makes it better. I stopped twice for the clouds. And obviously again suspended time because I reached my valley just 90 minutes after leaving Raton.

I had not been looking forward to the road trip. Seemed there were other things I should have been doing. I am often wrong on such matters. It was the perfect day to hit the road. I got my paintings picked up for the Old Pass Gallery, went to the Raton Pass Inn to meet a new Facebook friend in person, dropped off some small paintings there, and touched base with my Raton artist friend, Carl Swanson. But those are just the things on the list which necessitated the trip. I know I also accomplished lots not on that list. And those things while in the transporter were the most important.