Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday Morning Chat - A day late

Trips out of town always seem to require one more day beyond the one more day you took. And the older I get the harder it is to hit the ground running when I get home. And the longer you were gone the faster you have to run to catch up.

We got 9 inches of snow the night before my return home. It is one of the reasons I stayed an extra day. I wanted them to have the roads cleared before I topped the pass into my valley. And they did. It did look like a winter wonderland but the dogs were sleeping peacefully in the back seat and I did not want to wake them to immortalize the early snow. Besides why encourage it?

Temperatures were already melting it off driveways and country roads. And you could hear the breaking of tree branches from the weight of it. Nature's way of pruning. I had to shovel my walkway to get the car unloaded. In addition to supplies I bought I had New Mexico travertine tile my friend gave me to skirt the wood stove in the rental unit. I tired before unloading the pieces of it I am doing a tea table with. Laundry awaits to be done and hung in the warm temperatures and sun today before the next snow storm hits.

And there are the two boxes of clothes I got from my sister. She was doing some extreme sorting for a garage sale and a move. She buys good quality clothes so taking home castoffs is a joy. One box is old t-shirts to cut and crochet into a rag rug. All this means I have to do some sorting myself to make room. But first today is about catching up here at home and doing the out of house tasks the next two days of more snow might make a bit difficult: grocery store, pet sit client visit, check on house I am sitting, post office to mail painting, restock firewood on porch, unload rest of car.

I think I am looking forward to being snowed in for two days. Sounds restful. Nothing like being out of Dodge to make you appreciate Dodge.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Word Thursday - Aesthete

My word for today came on my dictionary module on My Yahoo. I like learning new words or renewing my acquaintance with words I once used but have lost touch with. My word for today falls into that latter category. Aesthete is a perfectly good word but it has gone out of favor since the days of President Richard Nixon and his Vice President Spiro Agnew. It became popular at that time to be rude, crude and socially unacceptable. A fine tradition what was revived and honed by G.W.Bush.

The word aesthete began to take on the darker parts of its definition -  dilettante, professes to have, and indifference to practical matters. Artists and people that had a sensitivity to beauty were seen to be light in the loafers or of little use. Art itself was devalued. Beauty had value only if it could be mass produced in China and marketed at Wal-Mart.

A funny thing has happened as we have waded through the economic crisis, and as an artist (an aesthete) I have noticed, people seem to be returning to a love of beauty over quantity or just drinking in the beauty at galleries or tops of mountains or owning one small piece of art they truly love. Consumer is becoming a bad word and aesthete is once again taking on its good definitions.


a person who has or professes to have refined sensitivity toward the beauties of art or nature.
a person who affects great love of art, music, poetry, etc., and indifference to practical matters.
Also, esthete.

1880–85; < Gk aisthēts one who perceives, equiv. to aisthē- (var. s. of aisthánesthai to perceive) + -tēs n. suffix denoting agent

1. connoisseur. 2. dilettante.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Morning Chat - Winter Preparations

Almost two months ago I ordered three cords of firewood from my auto mechanic. He is very successful at fixing cars including mine but he is also one of those go-getters you find up here in the highlands that does other things to supplement his income. Selling firewood is one. And leading wild game hunts is another. Yesterday he called to say he had two cords of my wood. He wanted to deliver them before hunting guide season begins in earnest.

Couldn't have come at a better time. Weather is nice and soon to turn bad. So with some hard work I can get it stacked in my woodshed and under cover and behind locks before the rains come. This is my fall aerobics program. That and putting up/repairing snow fencing. The good news from my labors over the weekend is I seem to at last be hale and hearty. The flu I had this April/May (I truly believe it was H1N1) knocked me for a loop. The good news is I probably have a real good immunity for the coming flu season.

I helped unload the two cords of wood into a huge pile and then my neighbor, who also got firewood, and I went off to have a Chinese dinner. My other task for the weekend (besides the fencing on Saturday) was making myself an under-window bird feeder for the studio.

By removing the screen on the louvered window at bottom I can even feed the birdies without putting on snow boots this winter. And maybe even get some great photographs of my winter visitors if I keep the window clean.

I also collected some downed Ponderosa Pine Cones to make into fire starters but currently they are just too beautiful to burn and are decorating the wood stove while they dry and open up so they will hold more wax.

Needless to say they are very quickly going to have to move off the wood burning stove. The will be rolled in remains of candles melted down and then stored in a metal container for the winter of fires ahead. I do love this time of year even if it is a lot of work. There is a sense of accomplishment and well being with storing up for the winter. I suppose that is a hang over from our hunting and gathering, living in cave days.

How are your cave storage preparations coming?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Foto and Chat

This is Eci in the sun in my studio. Eci is one of the two cats I got from my friend Kathi before she died. It has not been easy to integrate Eci and Lily into my household. They are Siamese if you please. And I already have one Siamese among my purr kids - The Darkness.

While Lily remains stuck to her upstairs self-imposed restrictions, Eci is now downstairs the majority of the day time. This does still result in fights over the primo sunspot chairs but all in all it is working better than I had hoped in the midst of this battle when I regreted taking them.

I tried an experiment with Lily of not filling her upstairs food bowl in a timely manner and she ventured downstairs to the "public" feeder. I am wondering about totally stopping her own private bowl. I do think Eci does go up there to feed too from time to time. And he sleeps upstairs with Lily.

It is so hard to know what to do with cats. And I got sidetracked with the dog issue there for a while. Any thoughts?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Word Thursday - Getting Out of Dodge?

This is my version for the week of Word Thursday. Getting out of Dodge is one of my favorite phrases for when it seems necessary for my mental health to leave my little valley. I have been trying to get out of Dodge for two weeks now and things keep coming up like memorial services and pet sitting gigs and legal appointments. I am settling this morning for going over the pass to shop for necessities in Taos, but a longer sojourn seems impossible at this time.

This morning I began to wonder from where came this phrase of mine so I Googled it. And the Urban Dictionary says: "Get the hell out of Dodge" is a reference to Dodge City, Kansas, which was a favorite location for westerns in the early to mid 20th century. Most memorably, the phrase was made famous by the TV show "Gunsmoke," in which villians were often commanded to "get the hell out of Dodge."

The phrase took on its current meaning in the 1960s and 70s when teenagers began to use it in its current form of meaning - just leave and leave soon. For me it means I desperately need a change of scene. And I can even use it to mean get out of myself; stop obsessing over an issue.

A metaphysical friend of mine maintains that there is something to getting out of Dodge that does change the mindset. Going ten miles or crossing a natural barrier such as a river, mountain pass, or geological fault can change the energy. So lacking the time this week to go see my sister and best friend for a few days I will instead content myself by going over the mountains to Taos and roaming the aisles of the grocery store.

The above photo is of Dodge City, Kansas in 1870. And if history is correct there were a lot of reasons in those days for getting out of Dodge which was the destination for many a cattle drive because it was where the trains came. It had a lot of saloons and law enforcement issues.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Chat with friends

I got up this morning fully intending to write a blog. Was even going to write an Art Sunday one. Then because I was not on the Internet much yesterday I got into catching up with friends and recent events.

Then I needed to paint. It has been two days since I made much progress on the five small paintings I was working on. I am very close to finishing three. Don't like one at all and trying to decide how I am going to rescue it. The studio with the sun streaming through the windows is the warmest room in the house currently. So painting is winning out. Got my laptop open just to keep up with posts of others.

I am currently waiting for the paint to dry. Actually ink. I do my accents on my paintings in ink. Don't like to mess that up and so everything below where the ink is going has to be dry and each color of ink has to dry. This is generally why I work on more than one painting at a time. But only two right now interest me. I admit artists are weird. At least this artist.

And it has been a weird week. But the good news is the fur kids are getting along a lot better and I am so thrilled with that. Under the advice of my dog whisperer and a deep instinct I have decided to curtail all play days with the neighbor's dogs. I think they are just two dominate and unregulated.

Part of me is feeling like it is nap time but I really want to finish these two paintings. Or get them to the point where for a couple of days I can contemplate about them being finished. Monday I want to start on the continuation of the two others. The one I need to rescue will sit there for a while and bother me.

How goes your day? Oh, btw, as concession to Art Sunday I decided to post a Matisse. I actually saw The Red Room in a museum.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Foto and Chat

This is along the side of the road I walk every morning with my fur kids. I have been watching the Aspens turn gold for a couple weeks now. Weather has been against them being a fantastic display but yesterday the weather provided fog which gave everything a Gainsborough look. I posted several of the pictures I took in a slide show on Creative Journey. But the above picture is one of my favorites of those.

Why photographers like a particular picture they have captured is an age old question. This one does not show the Aspen's true bright gold. Nor does it focus on the biggest stand of Aspens on my road. But it captured the morning. I can vividly remember the smell of the wet grasses and leaves when I look at this photo.

We had experienced heavy rains the night before. The type that at this point in the fall colors can knock all the leaves to the ground but it didn't. The humidity and the temperature combined to create a wonderful fog which was lifting as Magique and Mardi and I walked down our quiet country lane. If you enlarge the photo you can see drops of rain still hanging on the fence wire. The rising sun is just beginning to touch the tops of the taller Aspens.

I belong to a photography group on Facebook - Picture Picks. We are a small group with weekly contests for best photo fitting a theme. Whether I am posting a picture or voting on my favorite pictures taken by others I am asking myself what is a good picture? What makes a fantastic picture? It is a very interesting exercise.

BTW, as I had to have both hands for the camera on this walk, the battling fur kids were free roaming. We made it the entire walk with prolonged stops for picture taking without any fur flying. Banner morning!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Word Thursday - Samhain and Paganism

As I mentioned in my other blog - Sidetracked Charley - my dreams and thoughts are turning to Halloween or Samhain which is the Wiccan new year.

Samhain is a cross-quarter sabbath; a night when the veil between this world and the next is the thinnest. It is a time to honor those who've died during the old year just leaving, as well as all ancestral spirits.

It has often interested me that regardless of our basic beliefs there are certain nexus in the calendar about which all festivals seem to cluster. One is of course Christmas, a Christian holy day. Chanukah is always close. And the Islamic New Year. But this time of shortened days and long nights was originally a Roman festival. And it is of course connected to the winter solstice which is honored by many pagan beliefs including the Druids.

"Paganism" refers to a range of spiritual paths. These are generally Neopagan religions based on the deities, symbols, practices, seasonal days of celebration and other surviving components of ancient religions, which had been long suppressed. Pagan can also mean anyone that does not believe in your religion. Some believe that in the early Roman Empire, "paganus" came to mean "civilian" as opposed to "military." Christians often called themselves "miles Christi" (Soldiers of Christ). The non-Christians became "pagani" -- non-soldiers or civilians. No denigration would be implied. See the website Religious Tolerance for further discussion.

Halloween, which came from the Celtic culture, and All-Souls, the Catholic holy day, and Samhain, a witches' sabbath, all cluster around October 31st. I find this one particularly significant because there is no astronomical event like the winter solstice to mark this day as special. It is often seen as the dividing line between autumn and winter as well as when the line between the living and the dead is the thinnest.

I find my dreams become particular prophetic at this time. And my thoughts turn naturally to those who are no longer in life with me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Day to Whine

I am going to begin with the positives about the week and the Been There/Done That Sale this weekend. Then I am going to whine so be warned. I don't whine often but when I do I am good at it.

De-cluttering the studio and my life was good all in all. Yes, it created some havoc in my life and the lives of my fur kids but in addition to finding junk I no longer needed I found things I did not know I had or had overlooked for ages even if they were in plain sight like my Ashford spinning wheel. I drug it down from upstairs, oiled it up, looked up the value of it on the internet, priced it and now am not sure I want to sell it.

And I got all my flat files and storage places in my studio clean out. Emptied some storage boxes I had in the far shed and have now filled them with things that did not sell but which I don't want to toss but certainly can be stored in the far shed. And I discovered I can put up some display panels in the studio for special events. I am leaving three up for a couple of weeks with the remaining "under glass" watercolors still on sale. And the studio is big enough to have a couple artist friends with a table or two each for another sale event.

Now the whine. I was talked into doing two days by a friend that was participating and then she just participated just one day but left all her junk for me to deal with. I had to call her three times after the sale was over to come and get it. The idea was not to have more junk than I began with. And I wanted my studio back. I want to paint. So I made a pest of myself until she at last deemed it within her schedule to come haul it off after saying, "if you want any of it I can just leave it?" NOT.

All which leads me to my major whine: Unclean communications. The older I get the more I just want people to be truthful and direct with their communications. And I do not want to be manipulated or taken advantage of or used or made to feel guilty for things which are entirely NOT my fault.

And I really, really want people to live up to their agreements. Death in the family is the only excuse but you need to call me and communicate that excuse. Don't tell me one thing and then assume I have through ESP figured out all your changes of desires and mind set. AND, definitely do not put me in the middle.

As it stands I currently still have some stuff which was supposed to be picked up at closing yesterday. And one person wanted me to handle what another person said they wanted. I refused. They can call each other. I provided the venue only.

The Been There/Done That Sale was definitely a good thing to do all in all. It introduced a lot of people to my studio and my work (even that not on sale) and it did it in a manner where I did not have to spend a bundle to have a reception here. So I may do this again. Maybe bi-annually. Once in the spring and once in the fall. In May it might be nice to introduce new work done over the winter before the summer fairs begin. But I am really clear about who will not be invited again to participate. Life is too short.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Foto and Chat

This is my calico cat Wee Willow enjoying a morning snooze in my computer chair. So for those that have inquired where I have been the last several days - not here. Life has not gone as planned lately and that means a break up of regular routines. And it also puts me behind on the Been There/Done That Yard sale this weekend. So I have to really hump it today and Willow will reap the benefits by having the chair again for her nap.

I did get over the mountain yesterday but not to do a photographic trip but to run Jan over for her car in Taos and pick up a couple necessities. Took the camera hoping to snap a few pictures of fall colors on the way home but it was so windy they would have all be blurred. And the wind was quite chilly.

Besides yesterday morning's fur kid fight, (which I mentioned on Facebook) seemed to use all my energy. Driving back over the mountain I realized an early return to get things done was not going to happen. Instead there was a nap in my future. The dogs seem to have reached a separate peace with each other which is good. Mardi, my older standard poodle, has some sore muscles. Magique seems ashamed by her misbehavior.

So today things must be done. No other day to push things off on to. Weather should be nice tomorrow and hopefully sales are brisk at the yard sale because I don't want to put all this clutter back.

Been trying to get the news on the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia and Somalia but with my schedule the last two days not easy. But while watching a webcast last evening I caught news about Google's new Wave. Why was I not asked to be one of those testing it out? Sounds cool. Anyone know any thing about it?