Friday, August 12, 2022

Mountain Trip - Letter to Jo

I typed out a letter to my friend, Jo, but it would not send. So I pasted it here:

 The mountains were very nice. It was good to get out of the heat for a week. Toby was supposed to join me on Friday when my friend Joy's husband came up. But things turned out differently. Toby bought seven longhorn cows and their calves. The guy who sold them to us was out of grass and water and the cows were looking pretty poor. I helped Toby get the fence ready for the cows before I left for the mountains. The guy kept the calves to wean them off the cows and is supposed to deliver them later. In the meantime, the fence did not do much to hold the cows in. They were looking for their babies. Several times they jumped fences (which is better than going through the fence, maybe). They jumped the fence and the cattle guard to go to the neighbor's place to the north of us. The guy is not very friendly to me and called me to let me know he didn't like my longhorn cow.  He is better with Toby. Little does he know that it is me that he should fear. Naa, I will be good, but not friendly. The guy is an a$$. Anyway, Toby spent my week in the mountains rounding up cows and working hard for Halliburton and decided not to come. By the time I got home on Sunday, the cows were more settled and staying in. Toby sent me a picture of himself wearing a cowboy hat and said that he was no longer all hat and no cow.

My friend, Joy, has a cabin up Bitter Creek not too far from the cabin that my father built back in the late 50's. The cabins are on Forest Service land and have lots of restrictions. They are older cabins and so very wonderful.

I loved drinking my coffee on the porch in the early morning or sitting outside in the sunshine in the rockers visiting. We had several visitors - old friends mostly. People would just show up and sit for a while. We also took the old Jeep that came with the cabin 50 years ago and went for a little drive.
We drove up to the Upper Valley. There was amazing devastation from the 120 mile-an-hour wind last December. Roads  and trails were still closed, although they had a few cleared. We stopped to see an old friend who lives in the Upper Valley. She said she had been home when the wind hit wiping out trees on the hillside beside her home. She was lucky  that none of the trees hit the house. Lots of people were not so lucky. People in Red River are still talking about that wind and the downed trees.

We drove down to Cerro and El Rito to have lunch with Patsy. You met her at the Suzy Boggus concert that we all went to in Taos years ago. Patsy's flowers were beautiful.

Then we went to another friend's house to eat lunch. Her flowers were beautiful too. It was great seeing old friends.

I took pictures of the flowers and painted a little watercolor from the photos.  Jesse drove up to RR on Thursday, and that night we went to listen to Michael Martin Murphey at the Cowboy Evening thing further up Bitter Creek.

They served barbecue. The music was good, but it had been raining all day and was pretty cold. It was an outside venue - a huge tent had been set up since it was raining.

We went home early to get into our pj's and snuggle into blankets and watch TV. Gosh, I love the mountains!

It has been a busy week since I got home. We have our CTAC season kickoff this Friday. I had to help hang art and get ready for the reception. Not to mention all the catching up around the house. It is good to be home. Did I mention how much I love the mountains?

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Mountain Time

 I am in the mountains. It is delightful. Back in June my friend, Joy, asked me to come join her at her cabin up Bitter Creek in RR the first week of August. Her family would be here the week before (grandkids), but were leaving on the 31st. Her husband would be coming up the next week, but she had a week to herself. So, she invited me up. Heck yeah! I arrived on Sunday evening, so I have had two full days. The weather has been mountain-perfect. It had been very rainy, but seems to have slowed down this week and only sprinkling a bit in the afternoon. Of course, people up here think that it is a bit warm, but then they have not had weeks of triple digits like in OK and TX.

So far, I have been pretty lazy. Mostly, I have been visiting with old friends and hanging out at the cabin. Yesterday, we went over to Questa to see friends in El Rito and Cerro. Both friends had the most beautiful flower gardens. Their yards were green. The flowers and veggies were amazing. I took pictures to paint. So far, I have not had time to paint. Hopefully, I will find some time. 

When Joy's husband comes up on Friday, he will stop in WF and pick up Toby. Toby will get to stay for a few days and then we can drive home together. 

I'm going to try and post my last watercolors: July 20

July 21
July 22


Friday, July 15, 2022

More World Watercolor Month 2022

 Sorry, my blogger buddies. I am way behind in my blogging, again. I have been doing my painting a day and will post. Also, I have glazed 30 cups and put them in the kiln today.  I'll try to post some pics of them too. The CTAC director called yesterday to say that one of their art teachers for the big week-long Arts Explosion for kids has not been responding to emails, texts, or calls. Monday is Arts explosion and they are worried this teacher might not show up, and would I possibly cover for this absentee teacher. Let me back up a few months and explain more. The two years that I participated in the Plein Air Painters of NM, I did not help with the AE, and I felt a bit guilty, since I am on the board and I can teach. The last couple of years, though, I have taught at AE. So earlier this year, I was talking to the director for CTAC and sharing some ideas of what I might teach this summer, when she said, "Has anyone asked you to teach this summer?" Well, no, they had not. I guess that was her way of telling me that they were not going to ask me to teach. Ouch! That hurt for a minute, but it was really okay. Yet, there is always that underlying feeling of "why don't they want me to teach".  The absentee teacher is pretty perky, but I lived long enough in Northern NM to know a fruit loop when I meet one. This lady may come across as a gung-ho teacher, but she is definitely fruity. I hope she proves me wrong on Monday. In the meantime, I have been putting together a little watercolor lesson on trees, and I used my practice pieces for World Watercolor Month.

July 9

July 11

July 13

July 14

July 15

Saturday, July 09, 2022

World Watercolor Month - Week 1

 It is July - World Watercolor Month. Since I have not done much painting, I thought I would participate again this year. Maybe it will get me painting more. I have been busy with pottery - just letting you know that I am not a complete slug. #WorldWatercolorMonth2022 #WorldWatercolorMonth

July 1

July 2

July 3

July 4

July 5


July 7


Thursday, June 30, 2022

 Yesterday I did my last CTAC meeting as the president. I still have a couple of years to serve on the board, but at least I will not have as much responsibility. Yay! During one part of the meeting, we discussed by-laws. The by-laws used to say we had to have a minimum of nine people on the board, but at some point in the past, the board lowered that to five people. Our director wanted to take the number back up to nine. Right now, we only have eight board members. I brought up the fact that if we vote to move the number back up to nine, we will be breaking our own by-laws. Everyone assured me that it was okay - it didn't matter as long as we were looking to add another member. Really? So what the heck difference does it make if we change the by-laws or not change them. It is not as though we are going to be thrown into by-law jail. Just my thoughts.

We have been home a week, since our little trip out West. The weather was stinkin' hot when we first got back, but then it cooled off on Sunday, and that lasted through Tuesday. Then it got hot again. I may melt. We got a text from the electric company asking people to not use so much electricity (air conditioners) in the afternoons especially, because they were having trouble meeting the needs. So, what would happen if we all had electric cars? Would that send the electric companies over the edge; could they make enough to meet the needs in the heat of the summer? How about the freezing months of winter, if we had to go all electric? Sometimes when the house is too warm, I am tempted to get in the car and drive around using the car's air conditioner. Well, maybe not this year.

Of course, I was doing a pile of laundry when Toby got the text from the electric company. He said that I should hang the clothes on the line rather than using the dryer. I may have snarled at him. Truthfully, I don't mind hanging clothes on the line, but I am picky about it. There are certain clothes that I do not hang on the line - underwear, socks, and his dress/work shirts. I explained this to him, "There is no way I am ironing your shirts, which takes up electricity, too!" So I compromised and hung out my usual towels and jeans, but this time I added t-shirts. He helped me :)

Back in the 70's there were lots of new condominiums built in Red River, NM. Builders put in baseboard electric heaters, because they were cheap to install (but not cheap to run). Every Christmas through New Years when the town filled with skiers and families for the holidays, the electricity would go out on on Christmas Eve and many of the other days during that week. All those skiers got off the slopes and hit the showers and turned up the heaters and turned on their blow-dryers, while restaurants were seating people for dinner all about the same time - it caused an overload every year. I believe they finally did something to fix the problem, but it was an every-year occurrence. Who knew "occurrence" had two r's in it? 

We did some babysitting on Tuesday. Lindsay and Shay were out of town. I kept the babies from 6 AM to 8 PM and was worn out, but it was fun.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Vacation 2022

 Toby and I got our little Casita ready for a trip and took off last Sunday afternoon for Ft. Cobb, OK. Why Ft. Cobb? Well, our real goal was to head out to Albuquerque to visit friends and go to some clay shops, but we also wanted to do some camping and kayaking. After very little research, Toby found Ft. Cobb Reservoir, which is about two hours away from our home and not far from I-40 to Alb. It was a beautiful drive north of Apache, OK - beautiful farm land. We found our RV spot after driving around for quite a while - may have been the theme of our vacation :) The lake was full, and our spot was near the water's edge so that we could put the kayaks in easily. 

Since we are early risers, we got up each morning and kayaked around the little inlet where we were camped. We saw deer, raccoon, rabbit, crane, snakes, etc. We also spent a lot of time sitting outside watching the people. It was not crowded at all. There were quite a few large RVs around the campground with children and dogs, which are always entertaining. As long as we sat in the shade, the breeze kept us cool. 

After a couple of days, we loaded up and drove west through more beautiful farm land until we got to Sayer, OK, where we got on I-40. When we arrived at my sister's house in Amarillo, we unloaded the kayaks to leave there, since we would not need them in NM. My sister took us to eat some seriously good burgers down on 6th Street - Old Route 66 - at a place called Golden Light. I had the green chili cheeseburger, while Toby had the Waller Burger - jalapenos between two slices of cheese on a burger. Really good stuff!

My sister took me to Hobby Lobby to pick up a cheap watercolor kit, since I had packed paper and brushes, but left the paint at home.  I had wanted to paint while at the lake, and I had plenty of time, but no paint. Once again, Toby and I sat out at the campground (Ft. Amarillo Campgrounds on the west side of Amarillo near Camping World just off I-40). The night was so cool that we slept with the windows open and the fan going. The next morning, we met for a Mexican food breakfast before leaving Amarillo. Toby rode his bike to the restaurant risking his life in Amarillo traffic that does not seem biker friendly. He made it fine. Before we left, we picked up some bakery goods from the Blue Crane on 6th Street. Then we headed off to Albuquerque. We did stop in Tucumcari and split a green chili cheeseburger at Blake's Lotaburger simply because it was a tradition. 

As we came down into the valley, it started raining on us - Yay! Alb. could use the rain. The land up and down I-40 was so dry! We stayed at a campground up the Turquoise Trail toward Madrid, NM. The campground was in the foothills of the Sandias and was typical NM. - nice, but a little rustic! We set up the Casita and then headed into town to meet my old friend Kathleen, whom I had not seen in about 30 years, but have somewhat kept up with on Facebook.

We met Kathleen and her family at their club off Tramway. They live on the east side of Alb. so it was very convenient to get to. How do I explain my friendship with Kathleen? Her grandparents had a cabin in RR, which they built in the late 1940s. Kathleen had a little sister, Angela, whom I may have mentioned before on my blog. As children growing up in RR, we ran together and became good friends - but mostly just summer friends. Kathleen's mom was my mom's age and they were also friends, but my mom worked through the summers at the beauty shop and did not have much free time. Although Kathleen was several years older than me and not really my running buddy like her sister had been, there was still a shared childhood time. There were memories and experiences shared from 50 years ago - Red River memories. It was so good to see Kathleen!

The next morning Toby and I had time to kill before going into Alb. We decided to drive up to Madrid, NM, and see if the little art community had changed much. We got there about 9:45 and nothing was open except a coffee shop. The lady there said things should open up around 10 or possibly 11. Nothing had changed in Madrid - ha! We walked up and down the street and waited until a few shops opened. Some of the shops were serious art galleries and some just curios shops. It was interesting. We took pictures of the cactus and scenery for possible painting material as we drove back to the campground where we took a nap before heading into Alb. 

In Alb. we visited NM Clay, which was amazing. The place was huge with all sorts of clay, glazes, and other pottery stuff. The people were helpful and friendly. Then we drove to Coyote Clay. It was on Edith Street - kind of an older area. They make glazes at Coyote Clay, and it was more of a factory with a very small show room. But they were also friendly and helpful. We bought some glazes that have been difficult to find here in OK. 

Next we headed to Sadie's to meet my old friend, Kathy, for supper. Sadie's is a well known restaurant in Alb. - a place we used to eat at often. I did mention via text that we could meet at Casa de Benavidez, a restaurant, which Jo and Gene had suggested, but my friend did not respond to my text, so Sadie's was where we met and ate supper. I had the chili relleno, which was pretty delicious. Toby had stacked enchiladas, which he said were only so-so.  

Like my old friend Kathleen, Kathy is an old RR friend, and I have blogged about her before. It was really good to see her and catch up on lives. I had seen her a few years ago in Taos (she had lived there for years before recently moving to Alb) when we met her at Orlando's for supper (always eating, aren't we?) along with our friends, Jo and Gene. It is a bit more difficult to keep up with Kathy than Kathleen. Although Kathy is an amazing business woman, she is rather social media/computer illiterate. And let's face it, social media is only as good at keeping us informed as the people who use it are. We really only see what people want us to see. Getting to see my old friends in person was important to me. We aren't getting any younger. 

When we got back to the campground after our Alb. time, we relaxed and enjoyed the cool weather. Each night in NM was cool - almost cold. We slept with the windows open and the blankets pulled up on us. We also got packed up and ready to head home the next morning. Rather than making coffee the next morning, we stopped at a coffee shop that had beautiful hollyhocks. I do love them so! They always remind me of my home in El Rito. They should be the State Flower of New Mexico. 
We headed home and stopped in Amarillo for lunch and to pick up the kayaks, which we had left with my sister. The trip was smooth sailing all along the way. We arrived safely about 6 PM to unload the Casita.  Jesse showed up with my dogs. Some friends showed up with their family to swim (I had told them to enjoy our pool while we were gone, and they did not realize we were back already). So it was a bit of a circus with dogs and kids. But the circus is a fun place!