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Archive for October, 2009

Dear Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee,

First I’d like to thank you profusely for the recent survey I received in the mail. It has helped me make a decision that has been weighing on my mind. As you so aptly pointed out, it is an:

“OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN PARTY DOCUMENT – DO NOT DESTROY”

Oh My God….I’ve received an OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN PARTY DOCUMENT. Yes, the survey is registered to me! My name is on it and everything. So it must be official. (rolls eyes) Oh wait…hold on…further reading indicates that I’m addressed in the ‘letter’ that accompanies the survey, as: Dear Friend. Okay then.

First of all, you say that my answers on the survey will represent ALL Republican constituents living within my Congressional District. WRONG. My answers (were I to give you any) would be MINE alone…not those of anyone else.

Both the survey and the letter are a laugh. I’ve never seen such a biased survey or letter of information. How can you, in good faith, make such grey, fuzzy statements and expound on them as you have here. Take this question for instance:

3. Do you agree with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to impose massive tax hikes on the American people?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Undecided

Well now, there’s certainly no generalization there, is there? (rolls eyes again) Or how about this one?

7. Do you support the Democrats’ efforts to create a massive new federal government bureaucracy that would be run by unionized government employees and would have complete control of your health care costs and choices?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Undecided

Are you kidding me? Who are you trying to brain wash here? Do you think we cannot read? Do you actually think we cannot study health care proposals & how they would affect us? How can you, in good faith, spend money on this piece of garbage you call an official survey and use it in an attempt to say it’s the wishes of the constituents? Truly unbelievable.elephant mugs If you actually wanted input from constituents regarding policies, wouldn’t it be a good idea to ask about those? Instead of simply filling this survey and letter with Democrat Bashing? Is that what this party has come to?

And the kicker: Your bold plea for money. And even if I cannot pledge any support this year, you’d really appreciate it if I would chip in $11. to help pay for the survey. *blink* Unbelievable.

You know, Michael Steele, I’ve never been a straight ticket voter. I have always felt that I researched the candidates and voted for those that I felt would best serve the public’s interest.  And even though I have been a registered Republican for many years, I see the party’s goals turning fuzzy…just like those mugs up there.  That’s why, after the last eight years of Bush,  I voted for Barack Obama & with his win, felt that there was hope for our nation.

So, your official survey has given me the extra push that I needed to make my decision.

I’ll be changing my party affiliation as soon as possible.

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Chalk it up to another coincidence? Today’s choice for my morning libations was a mug from  Dallas, TX, in the year of or near to 1999. Bob Dylan and Paul Simon (a rather unlikely combo) were in concert. Loved the mug – had to get one. It’s one of those comfy truck stop/greasy spoon mugs that just fits the hand & the drink doesn’t dribble down the side when you sip. bob dylan tea

So as I’m drinking my coffee/and later tea/ and bouncing around the internet….I come across a notation on Losanjealous that Bob Dylan & His Band are playing at The Palladium tonight & tomorrow night. Were I  in L.A. – I’d go see him again. And tickets are a paltry $56.50. Ouch, Bob. But I’m really glad he’s still doing tours. It was a great show in ’99 (even though I heard someone near us joking that they wondered if they’d have to prop him up) and I’m sure the current show is even better.

I came upon another slightly funny bit of information this morning on the Rolling Stone site…. In the same year, apparently the duo was fined for playing too long. Who knew… Go check it out.

And if you’re in L.A. – go check out Bob for me. Thanks.

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Ah yes…such a fantastic quote by Ambrose Bierce, who is best known for The Devil’s Dictionary. Now, after finding his definition of painting, I’m going to have to read more of his work.The guy was a genius.

My daughter and I just wrapped up an amazing, art intensive weekend. This is the third such time we’ve rented a cabin at a state park and loaded it with almost every conceivable art material out there. Okay, that’s not quite true. But be assured that we had baskets of collage materials; scissors, acrylic paints; brushes; markers; colored pencils; drawing pads; matte medium; a wide assortment of stretched canvas; work tables; lamps; work stools; a laptop loaded with photos and classical music;  etc. etc. etc.cabin-20

That’s right…we take nothing to chance. We know we’re going to need lots of light. So we not only take the extra lamps, but extra bulbs…just in case. Wouldn’t you?

It doesn’t take us long to get all of the cabin furniture out of the way, and replace it with our own ‘work’ furniture. So in the space of just a few minutes, the space becomes ours.  As working artists, it’s not the amount of time we have, but the ‘un-interrupted time’ that lends itself so well to that creative drive. We have the fridge & pantry well stocked; we have all the supplies we could ever want/need and we know our time is our own. Period. Amazing feeling, that.

good-morning-art-studioThis was the first time to this particular state park and the cabin exceeded our hopes. We had a whole wall of north facing windows! Absolutely an artist’s dream lighting situation. But of course the lamps took us well into the wee morning hours of creativity.

So after two full days & three nights of working….we hated to see the weekend come to an end. But we’re so stoked now, that we want to schedule another one soon. Of course we’ll be working in our respective home studios in the mean time…but it’s just not the same. Not.

So here you have a sample of our hard work. And I should mention, that the cabin had a flat screen TV with an endless channel selection. And we never had it on.

red chair

"Fort Garland: The Red Chair" by Lela Bouse-McCracken 12x12 Mixed Media

"Temporarily"

"Temporarily" by Alison Fowler: 24x24 Mixed Media

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Seriously. What’s with the pumpkin prices around here this year? After visiting something like two grocery stores, Lowe’s, and a nursery – and seeing prices in the neighborhood of 5 dollars, 7 dollars and TWELVE dollars? Are they made of gold this year? Whatever happened to TWO DOLLAR pumpkins?? Seriously. And it seems the Farmer’s Market has stopped for the year.pumpkin

Well, if I had to pay five bucks for a pumpkin…then I was glad that we spotted a young mother selling them off the back of her old, beat-up truck. A cardboard sign taped to the side said “Pumpkins $5.”  I knew she needed the money…and I felt so bad for the baby in her arms & the three year old who was asleep inside the truck. She was running the truck to keep her babies warm.  Gosh. But she seemed happy & the kids did too…and healthy. With the price of gas….I wonder if she actually made any money. We bought two big pumpkins & went back later to by 4 tiny ones for a dollar.

I love these pumpkins…but I can’t stop thinking about her.

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monarch migration 1During last week’s visit to Southwest Oklahoma, we were fortunate enough to observe a cloud of Monarchs that were stopping to rest in some small Willow trees along one of the canals at Hackberry Flat. This was the fourth such time I’ve been lucky enough to witness such a fantastic sight. Thousands of the gorgeous Monarchs swirling in and through the sky and trees…and finally settling into the trees for the night.

“Monarchs are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration. In North America they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the first frost. A northward migration takes place in the spring. The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do on a regular basis. But no single individual makes the entire round trip.

Female monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations. By the end of October, the population east of the Rocky Mountains migrates to the sanctuaries of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve in the Mexican states of Michoacán and México. The western population overwinters in various sites in central coastal and southern California, United States, notably in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz.

Monarch butterflies are poisonous or distasteful to birds because of milkweed poison stored by the caterpillar stage; their bright colors are warning colors. monarch migration 3During hibernation monarch butterflies sometimes suffer losses because hungry birds pick through them looking for the butterflies with the least amount of poison, but in the process killing those that they reject.” – Wikipedia

Here you’ll find even more information about the Monarch Butterfly – provided by the National Wildlife Refuge System. And as they say:

“The annual migration cycle of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. Every year, millions of monarchs migrate thousands of miles from Canada and the United States to overwinter in the mountain peaks in the states of Mexico and Michoacán in Mexico. This magical journey, deemed an “endangered natural phenomenon,” is dependent on conservation of habitats in all three North American countries – United States, Canada, and Mexico.”

The National Wildlife Refuge system may call it a natural phenomena – but I’m glad they went on to call it a ‘magical journey’  because I call it pure magic! And if you’ve ever seen it, you’ll just never forget it!

monarch migration 2



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Ah yes….finally my favorite season of the year is upon us! The mild days and cool nights of October soothe my soul. It’s time to scatter pumpkins around the flower beds, patio and porch.  And time to load the fire pit with pinon. ~ Gardening tasks are so much more inviting when you can smell the sweet aroma of pinon. The leaves have begun their annual descent and the flowering plants are giving us their last hurrah.

I took a photo tour of the flower gardens and terraces this morning with the Nikon D300 and oft ignored Nikkor 85mm f/1.4.  I have to start using that little jewel more! A photo tour of your gardens is a good way to record what was blooming and when. The exif information will tell you exactly when you took the shots, so it’s an easy way to keep gardening records. (Please always do a backup…because as we all know, it’s not IF your computer will die, but WHEN.) ;-)

Small Garden Area

Small Garden Area

We live on a forested ridge, so the flower beds and terraces get a lot of shade. I’m talking a LOT. One little annual that I’ve come to love is the Impatien. Not only do they show off in the shade all summer, but they re-seed. You can’t get a much more friendly flower than one that wants to come back next year. Right? :-) I’ve had Impatiens come up and bloom in colors that I never planted.  For instance, this year I planted only red and orange Impatiens. But my terraces have those colors – PLUS light and dark pinks – the light pink ones, I planted last year & some others came from my neighbor’s flower beds. In addition to bedding Impatiens, I have a pot of New Guinea Impatiens that have really done well & it is in deep shade.

This Gallery includes some shots of the impatiens and a few other plants that are still showing off on this second day of October, 2009.

So, what’s blooming in your fall garden? I’d love to hear your about your favorite flowers that are still showing off.

More fall gardening updates will follow. Stay tuned!

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