Clouds

A little gale will soon disperse that cloud.

For every cloud engenders not a storm.

Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short.

Many thanks to our old friend Bill Shakespeare for once again writing a guest column on this blog.

Still more snow

The usual guidelines for setting out plants in this area is anytime after Mother’s Day or May 15th, whichever comes first. It’s usually safe from freezing, but this year has been a little different. When I first heard that it was supposed to snow on Monday, I really wasn’t worried as it had been so warm. And the TV weather persons didn’t think the storm would amount to much (they were uniformly wrong).

It started off with a bit of snowy rain. As Mr. Dog did not like this, we took our walk inside the giant hardware store and then went out to dinner (he is a Labrador, so of course he loves to eat).

But after the sun went down, the snow kept falling.

And it didn’t stop until all the trees were bent over under the weight of snow. It was about eight inches of snow here, a friend measured the snow at her house and it was twelve and a half inches!

Then after a bit one could see a patch of blue sky. And those big clumps of snow on the branches started crashing down as it warmed up.

So as the snow melted away I could see the mess left behind by the storm. I got out my trusty bow saw and quickly cleared up these branches so that I could get my car out of the garage. Unfortunately, the plum tree in front of the house looked to be a total loss, the main trunk had snapped. As I looked closer, I noticed that one branch was spared. I had thought about trimming this off, but had been too lazy to do this. I tied up the branch in the hopes that it would grow straight, and now I just have to wait for Mother Nature to quit playing tricks on me (for a little while at least).

The petunias in the barrel would have been a total loss, except that the deer had already come by and eaten them. 😉

Ace

It started out innocently enough. I ran into my friend J at the grocery store and she had a service dog. I said something to the effect that I didn’t know that she needed a service dog, and she said that she was just training the dog, getting him ready for the task of helping some unknown person.

So then we had lunch about a month ago and she asked if I would consider hosting a service dog for a short period. I have been looking for a new dog and haven’t found one (the dog must be well behaved, not a pit bull and have floppy ears). So I said yes to the foster, and now Ace resides at my house.

He’s a two year old chocolate lab. This is him hard at work at a class we went to (too bad I wasn’t working as hard).

We had been out shopping and he was just sitting in the car while I put everything away. If he is wearing his vest he can legally go anywhere, so we have run a lot of errands together.

He is pretty good looking and everywhere we go people tell him how handsome he is, but he hasn’t let this praise go to his head (so far at least).

He does get plenty of beauty sleep, here he is taking a quick nap, but he is ever ready to spring into action if required.

He is a fully trained service dog, but his first owner didn’t bond with him, so he came back to the trainer. Now he is studying for a new task, and soon he will be on his way to his forever home. But in the meantime, I am enjoying his company while it lasts.

Books

Besides just being a writing conference, surprise, surprise, there were also books for sale. And me being me, I just had to acquire a few new books (also a surprise). So what did I end up with?

Okay, perhaps there might be a few clues to improve my writing in this tome, which was the reason why I was at this event.

This book was also recommended in one of the seminars, but it was the cover that really made me purchase this. 😉

I sat next to this writer at one of the meals, and he gave me this book because we both think that dinosaurs are cool.

At another one of the meals I sat between a writer of “scientific” vampire stories and a writer of vampire erotica. (Scientific means that he created a plausible scenario for vampires to exist, and he deleted all of the Hollywood vampire tropes. Watch for his series V-Wars on Netflix.) For some reason they did not discuss the differences in their vampire stories. 😉

I also bought this book, because he had given me the free one, so I wanted to support him.

Not shown are two “romance” books that I picked up. They seemed involve erotic possibilities rather than love, and I threw them away because they were boring. I much prefer a good murder mystery (preferably set in England, because we know how murderous the English people are). Who knows what this says about me, perhaps I shall write a book about it for the next conference. Or not.

Write On

If you are reading this, then you have perhaps realized that I am not much of a writer. Here’s a small sample:

This picture hangs in a museum. Underneath the portrait someone composed a poem, in latin no less, about what’s going on in the picture. And one is invited to write their interpretation of what’s going on in the scene. And this is what I wrote:

In spite of all this I had decided to go to the local writers conference to see if I might pick up a few tips. The speakers were all quite serious, the agents were all quite serious, the editors were all quite serious, the writers were all quite serious, and then there was me. I like to focus on the peripheral.

One of the coffee urns had this interesting replacement pull (I’m not sure if is a monster, or perhaps some sort of intergalactic mermaid.) No one that I showed this to had even noticed it.

The parking lots at this fancy hotel were all down hill, so I did a bit of hiking through the cars. And you know how much I love window stickers. I’m sure that this car owner was attending conference.

If you’ve ever been to a conference banquet, then you know all about the rubber chicken (I wish to state for the record, that is not my rubber chicken!) (No offense Floyd).

If rubber chickens can come to these things, then surely Pteri would be welcome. (He is my emotional support dinosaur, so I really should get him a tiny vest).

So did I actually learn anything at this event? Yes. That I probably will have to keep limping along in my old style, with an eye for the oddities of life. And that is not all bad, at least from my point of view.

Art or?

I’m not sure why having Art on the street has become so popular and necessary. It supposedly draws in tourists with their all important tourist dollars. Maybe it is for the locals to admire, or just something to spruce the place up. Well for whatever the real reason might be, there is a lot of art on the streets in my town, at least in certain parts of town.

Wow, is this the latest from a pop artist, like J. Koons? It’s certainly looks to be done in his style. No, it’s merely a prop for a tourist shop and one doesn’t have to make a special trip to a museum to see this. It’s on display every day. (Note the lovely reflections in the window behind this fowl).

How about this interesting hand? Is it part of a gallery display costing big bucks in Santa Fe? No, it’s another bit of street art for a shop.

Surely this is a bit of art? I mean it is reminiscent of the works of both Pop and Surrealist artists. Sorry to disappoint art lovers, it is yet another example of tourist art, designed to draw one into a shop for souvenirs. (You don’t want to forget seeing a Sasquatch on the street and the stop sign surely compels one).

But not to despair, there is actual Art for the intrepid tourist to discover. This artwork has a tiny solar panel at the top so it actually lights up at night (in a sort of Pop meets Surrealist way). And as one can see there were tourists strolling along, so I guess all of this art drew them in.

Making Art

I like to draw and I like deer (but I don’t really know how to draw them). But there was a ‘photo of the day’ in the newspaper (yes, I read a physical newspaper) recently of a rather nice looking stag, so I decided to try to draw him.

So I made this drawing in my sketchbook with a watercolor pencil and I liked it so well that I decided to do another version of it.

This one was done with watercolor pencil and ink on a postcard. I was going to send it to a friend, but I thought it turned out rather well, and I was afraid that I could never do another one quite as good (probably true).

So I decided to try and draw this image in different ways. Here he is in watercolor and ink with a red stripe outline against a dark background.

And here’s the opposite, a dark deer against a light background. (I don’t really like the way this one turned out, I think I should have used a different color for the light and made the darker bits darker. Oh well, that’s another drawing.)

This was a different sort of image, abstract blobs of color against a pale gray background, outlined in black pen. The antlers are a helpful clue, one can guess that it’s a deer.

I found it interesting to try different ways of doing the same image, and I hope that I learned enough to make another ‘good’ drawing. Perhaps I will send the postcard to someone, someday (but not today). 😉

Spring snow

Spring snows are much different from Winter snows because they are usually quite ephemeral. The overall temperature has started to warm up, and snow doesn’t stick to the roadways as much. But, there was a rather severe blizzard on March 13th this year, which is sort of unusual. There was not a lot of snow, but there was tremendous wind speed, and it was dubbed by meteorologists as a “bomb cyclone”. Which is a fancy way of saying that the atmospheric pressure dropped more than 24 millibars (whatever these are, but apparently it is quite a bad thing), and this intensified the wind. Of course people did not take the warning about the storm seriously and bad things did happen: about a thousand people were stranded in snow drifts along the roads, a friend was in a 44 car pileup, etc.

I could just about see the house across the street, so I was staying home. And I had to dig through a bit of a snowdrift to be able to leave two days later.

Because this was such a huge storm, when the next one approached, people tended to get a bit hysterical about it.

Here’s the morning of the next storm, it was warm and clear, looking to be a beautiful day.

Right on schedule these lovely big snowflakes started to fall. But the blizzard bit failed to materialize here in town, it stayed up north, then moved to the east. This storm was only a “baby bomb”, which really sounds sort of cute and cuddly.

This was the only aftermath to the storm at my house, I had to scrape off the windshield before I could go anywhere, so it was not too bad (much to the disappointment of the local tv newspersons).

Bees

I know by now that you are wondering why I bother to stop in at the pub. It’s across town, it’s expensive and it is hard to find a parking place there. But there is an attraction to the place, it is called “The Golden Bee” and every time one stops in the bartender will throw an embroidered bee at one. Now most of the time it is just a regular bee, but they do feature a number of special bees throughout the year. And I try to show up for a pint on those special days.

So this is the very newest bee. In fact I got the first ones that they handed out. They have a big space symposium every year, all sorts of government types and defense contractors show up, so they make this special bee to commemorate the event. I had to get these before the conference started because the place is packed while all these free-spenders show up.

These bees are from: a big conference (they will make a special bee if your event is big enough), St. Patrick’s Day (no green beer is served here), Christmas and the Senior golf tournament from last summer (it was on TV).

This is what I usually do with the bees, I put them on the dashboards of my cars (the rocket bees are from previous Space Symposiums).

They do end up all over the house, these ones are in my sewing room.

And this is the lamp in my bedroom.

And these bees are hanging out in the dining room. There are so many bees in my collection that you might be thinking that I go there an awful lot (really, I don’t). But, these bees represent years and years of stopping in (also it’s a lovely place to take out-of-town guests). So I won’t actually have to go there again until July 4th, Halloween and Christmas. Hopefully by then they will have a new delicious cider on tap. 😉

Pub

My faithful dictionary defines pub as an informal British term for a public house; inn; tavern. And there is one actual pub in town, imported from London some years ago. Of course this means that London has been short a pub for many years now. But with the commercialization of real estate in London they lose pubs constantly, so I suppose it is a good thing that this pub landed here where it is appreciated.

These pub fittings were originally shipped off to someplace in New York City, and about 58 years ago they came to rest here in town as part of the fancy hotel. The original pub was rather small, and a few years ago the new owners expanded the place so that they could get more tourists in. Apparently they have evening sing-alongs with a piano player, but in all my years of stopping in I have never been to this (also I have a terrible singing voice).

Here’s a bit of the lovely main bar. There is not an infinity of bars, but there are a lot of mirrors about the place to bring in some light (it is properly dark for some serious drinking).

The antique and the modern sit side by side, the television at the top is almost always turned to a sports channel (yawn). Quite often it is tuned to golf, as the pub is part of the hotel, which also has a golf course nearby.

They have lots of period details to evoke that Olde England experience.

Are these the sort of things one might find in a pub in situ? I doubt it. One might expect to see beer advertising and photos of the patrons perhaps. But this sort of thing does add a certain quaintness to the place, and we are paying extra for this experience.

The Fuller’s tap had this lovely griffon on top, so I asked the barmaid to take a picture of it for me. It perhaps best symbolizes the very nature of this pub, a mishmash of various bits and pieces put together to make a new sort of animal.