Friday, October 30, 2009

Good day, sunshine

It's been sort of dreary and grey the last couple of days, so it feels totally joyful to have it be sunny and bright today.

We didn't get as much snow as we had thought we might get, but the ski valley got 12", so that's a good start for them. The temperatures have dropped was 9F this morning around 7:00 a.m.

When it snows, one of the tasks for Mr. Sunflower is to keep the solar panels cleared, so they can operate at maximum capacity. We (the dogs and I) accompanied him this morning as he did this. Along the way I found these little sunflowers wearing snow hats and thought they were pretty cute.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It takes a village

Today is the annual radiothon for Tao's Citizens Against Violence, an outreach organization/shelter that is fervently working to reduce domestic violence in our community. I've heard that domestic violence is up because of the down turn in our economy. I have no problem understanding how that could happen.

Statistics are grim (1 of 3 women will be raped in her lifetime), but if everyone remembers to support these groups, in whatever way you can, perhaps one day we won't have to have these big fund raisers. Remember that some of the worst sufferers of domestic violence are children and pets.

I didn't grow up in a home with physical violence, but there was another, more insidious thing happening: mental abuse. Abuse seems an extreme word to use, but it's the only one I have at hand right now. I saw my mom's end of life be miserable because of it, and I know how it has affected me. I can say my dad did the best he could or knew how to do, but the results linger long after his death. For those of you with children in your lives, I urge you to remember that sometimes what seems like a joke to you can hurt more than a smack, and a little bit of criticism can go an awfully long way (if it's even necessary).

On a lighter note: I've been herding dust bunnies and taking care of Mt. Washmore this week, so my creative time has been in bits and pieces. I've started some more log cabin squares (in front of TV at night) and have been working in my sketch book. Don't recall if I mentioned this before, but this summer I was inspired by my friend Liz to finally get the pencil, the book, and the eraser out and just go for it. Today I'm sharing a drawing I did while eating dinner one night last month. The painting on the wall is actually a copy of a real oil painting I did in class some years ago. I love that I have the freedom to make my world be any colors I choose. May you, as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Busy Monday

Today was town day...getting/sending mail, stocking up at the grocery store, other errands. First thing I saw when I went out the door this morning was my lavender bed, looking rather wintry and festive.

Today was my deadline for mailing the afghan made of the log cabin blocks. The blocks ended up being approximately 15" square, so I only needed 12 to make a nice blanket. By Saturday morning I could tell it was going to be a push to get 9 done, assemble them and finish the that's what I did. It turns out it's still large enough for the current campaign for items for the older children (ages 7-14) in Afghanistan, and the smaller blanket, which is one larger log cabin square, will go next month for their campaign for baby blankets. It felt really good to get these in the mail and I've decided I should just keep cranking stuff out so I have it ready to ship when needed. I thought these would eat up a bunch of my stash, but it barely grazed the surface. Gee, wonder how that happened.

Took the pic of the mountains as we drove home from town. I love when the winds are blowing the snow off the peaks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cloud report

Taken at 6:00 p.m. The colors in the sky did not come through in these photos. It was quite spectacular.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What a trip

We left San Diego early Thursday morning and drove out through the Imperial Valley. If you're not familiar, it's an enormous agricultural scene down there in what would otherwise be a desert wasteland (courtesy of water diverted from the Colorado River). We saw miles and miles of hay, stacked so neatly and high that from a distance, it looked like buildings out in the fields. Part of the drive we were only a stone's throw from Mexico, and saw the border fence that has been built in some places. We also saw pastures of sheep, sand dunes, and a stand of wind mills.

From there we cut through Phoenix and up through Payson on our way back to Winslow. Payson is where the author Zane Grey lived in his log cabin. (The cabin burned down some years back, so I don't know what is there now.) As we climbed out of Phoenix, we started seeing the saguaro cactus, indigenous to the Sonoran desert. Many of us envision the saguaro when we think of a desert scene.

We arrived in Taos late yesterday afternoon and discovered some snow on our local mountains. Traditionally we assume we'll get our first snow on Halloween (down at our elevation, that is) this week is time to get the rest of the firewood up to the house and be ready.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time to go home

Tomorrow we head back to NM...a drive of almost 1,000 miles. I love to joke about how I had to move 1,000 east to live in The West. Curious.

My friend Liz and I were walking in the last day or so and found these flowers draped over a fence. I'm not quite sure what they are, but they caught my fancy. Note the camera shake. Sorry.

It has been a good trip, but now it's time to go home and jump start my other life again (the one that doesn't include Starbucks every morning and frozen yogurts every afternoon).

Thought I'd share a photo of this little Taos Fixer Upper, just for grins (check out the sign).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trip project

For this trip, I packed every little bit of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted that I could find in the house. It's fun on road trips, because I can take lots to work with, and my palette is extended.

I'm planning to make 20 of these blocks for a 4 x 5 block blanket for children ages 7-14 in Afghanistan, the current campaign of Afghans for Afghans. Deadline is the end of October. It takes about 3-4 hours for me (including daydreaming time) to make each block. I'll crochet them together and crochet an edging. Putting them together is the most fun for me.

Yesterday I thought I'd go poking around the internet to see what projects are active for donations these days. I found one that particularly interests me, making blankets to comfort wounded and disabled soldiers. This project is called Blankets of Hope. I also found a long list of groups looking for donations on the Interweave Press site.

These are the blocks I've made so far. I have a hard time not being controlling over the colors and find it's best for me to pick blindly from a basket and not think it over too much.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hurricane Love

I'm not usually one for posting much about my family, but today was so funny, I can't seem to let it go.

I went to my grandson's Pee Wee Soccer League game today...he is almost 4 years old, so I imagine the other kids on his team are, as well. Their team is called the "Hurricanes".

Today is the first game I've been able to attend. It was hilarious. Our little guy was not very excited about playing, and when he got out on the field, he wanted to engage the coach in conversation and hold his hand. Finally, the coach paired him with Gianna, and they spent the remainder of the game, racing around the field, holding hands, totally oblivious to what everyone else was doing. It was pretty darned cute.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Traveling days

Tuesday night I found myself in the historic La Posada hotel in Winslow, Arizona. I know I've posted about this old hotel before...but if you're not familiar, it's the last of the old Fred Harvey hotels that was designed by Mary Colter. It was closed in 1957 and used for many years by the telephone company.

It has been lovingly restored these last years and whenever we cross the desert on our way to California, we try hard to stay there. If you're in the area, I recommend you stop in to visit, or stay, and schedule a meal at their fabulous restaurant.

While walking their grounds, I found this unlikely person resting at the base of a tree. She is, to say the least, a little out of her waters...but as with all things La Posada, her presence just seemed right.

Tuesday afternoon, after checking in, I decided to find a quiet spot and sit and sketch. I found a bench tucked into an alcove across from the back entrance to the hotel. I love the sentiments on these doors and wanted to share them with you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gratuitous cloud pictures

Two days ago, as I was driving down to Arroyo Seco, this cloud bank was lying low over the mountains.  It was so very dark and ominous, not to mention a bit unusual, I pulled over for one of my iPhone paparazzi trips.  The edge of this layer was rolling out to the far west, over where I live.  The darkest part was over the pass to the ski valley. 

BadBoyCloud At the end of the day, when the clouds lifted, there was snow on them thar mountains.  It was spectacular.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

There are no mistakes

Years and years ago, I had the opportunity to be around an extremely talented woman who could take just about anything and make it seem exotic and glorious (Barbara Chapman, if any of you know of her).  I remember her telling me there are no mistakes.  I have to say that I never quite got on the program with that concept, but I like the sentiment a lot.

A few weeks ago I had something go terribly wrong with some very specific things I was dyeing.  I'm not sure yet what happened, possibly the change of my water source over the summer...I'll have to do serious diagnostics later this month or next.  All I know is that a whole lot of roving ended up not looking like I wanted it to look.  It was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back, to be honest with you.  I felt  pretty down in the dumps.

Last week, when I went on my fall retreat, I decided to take those same rovings along to contemplate what may have happened by studying them.   I have had some physical problems for several months that have kept me from doing many of the things I like to do, including spinning.  I hadn't planned on taking my wheel on retreat, but did so at the urging of Mr. Sunflower.  I'm sure glad I did.

I decided that my pain was there no matter, so why the heck not spin.  Guess what?  The rovings looked really pretty once I had them laid out and subtracted my expectations from them.  I managed to spin 8 of 13 of them in three days and loved every minute.  Now I have some new yarns to put on my Etsy shop when I reopen in early November (if I don't decide to keep them for myself).

Barbara was right after all, I just needed to let myself be more open.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Happiness is a locked gate.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

One year ago today

At 5:00 p.m. on Sunday of Wool Festival 2008, we closed the doors of Taos Sunflower Yarns & Fibers forever.  Wow.  Where did that year go?

Time was spent mopping up the many loose ends that came with the closing...bookkeeping, packaging  and counting the remaining inventory, fielding phone calls, correspondence, and having to turn away sad faces at our door on the days we were still working in the shop. 

A month later we (Monte and I) opened the Etsy shop, and got thoroughly absorbed in all things Etsy for the next several months.  It was an intense learning curve (still is, actually).  Suddenly I found myself spending countless hours on the computer trying to understand all this "social networking" stuff.  Not so good for me!  I made it about one month (if that) on Twitter, failed miserably at being an on-line group person, and have had a love-hate relationship with Facebook, which I have now winnowed down to only a handful of friends and family I know I would never ever hear from otherwise.  It recently came to me that "social networking" might be a nice euphemism for voyeurism, but then remember I've chosen to put myself out there and need to suck it up and take what that may bring back to me.

It's been a year of big changes for me personally.  I'm really enjoying the chance to learn new things, travel a bit more, and spend more time hanging out with Mr. Sunflower and enjoying our little piece of the forest. 

I feel like something big is around the corner, but I want to rest a bit more before I step out there to see what it might be.