I hate to drive long distances (over four hours away), so after I got to Santa Fe, there was the question of how to get back.   I could take a plane ($$$) to Denver, and then take the shuttle home.   Or I could take the train and see if I still liked it as a way to travel.   I hadn’t taken a train in America in years (at least 35), but I had taken trains in Europe, so I decided to give it a go.

The first issue:  the train doesn’t actually go to Santa Fe (because of the grade), so it was off to Lamy, NM.

The train creeps along a similar, but slightly different path than the interstate (motorway).   I wondered who had lived in these adobe ruins, and how long ago that was.

This ruin was the Casteneda Hotel, built by Fred Harvey to draw tourists to the southwest.  It hasn’t been in use for years, but someone with deep pockets is renovating the place in the hope of attracting rich tourists  (who like to ride the train) again.

The train does feature this lovely observation car so that one can watch the scenery as it goes by.   No photos, but I did see wild turkeys, buffalo, deer, antelope and elk as we rolled along.

This is M’s uncle’s place, and I know that I have posted pictures from the house looking towards the tracks.  That’s Santa Clara mesa in the background.

And I know I have posted lots of pictures of the mound, too bad that it was an overcast day this time.   And you can see that it is dry as a bone there.

The beautiful high plains of New Mexico, with Capulin in the distance.  I never get tired of this view, although I am usually looking at it from the other direction as I come over Raton Pass.   Yes it was definitely a great idea to ride the train this time.

Still more art

There is a certain pleasure in unchanging exhibits at art museums.   It is quite lovely to visit with one’s favorite pieces of art.  When I was a youngster I loved to visit Hosukai’s Great Wave  in it’s hidden corner of the big art museum.  And I thought it was was both beautiful and enigmatic (and a lovely shade of blue).

But there is also something to be said for changing exhibits, especially in a smaller museum, like our local museum.  One never knows what sort of things might be on display:  like these bits of art from Haiti.

I have no idea what this means and all the artistic blather that inspired this piece, I thought it looked interesting (and it was covered in glitter, which is always a good thing).

I do love surrealist art as well.

I had wondered what to do with my collection of tiny plastic figures, here was the answer staring me in the face.

Why not?

Sometimes one has to just surrender to the art.


Halloween only comes once a year, October 31st (although people do sneak in extra parties around this date), so what is a person who likes to dress up to do?   Cosplay offers the opportunity for one to dress up as a myriad of sci-fi and popular culture icons.  Young women favor sexy characters, like Harley Quinn, etc.  but there really wasn’t a way for old people to play too.  Until now.

Star Wars created the opportunity for some great cosplay, this was a temporary booth where one could rent fancy dress, be an empress for a day.

But for some costumes one has to have the build to wear them.   If you’re tall, and wish to be anonymous, how about Chewbacca?  And you don’t have to say anything.

Then there is dressing up as an old Luke Skywalker and princess Admiral Leia?   (And save the rather chilly slavegirl Leia outfit for the very young women).


He seemed a little tall for a Han Solo, but obviously was having fun with it, and I suppose that is the main point of doing this.

More Inspiration

Although my town is in always in the shadow of the metropolis to the north, we do get the occasional bits of interesting things happening.   Besides getting to see Lynda Barry, this month also offered a chance to see in person some artwork from another artist that I admire, but only know from the internet.  And it was fabulous!

This is a picture that I took from a video installation (sorry for the picture quality, I am an indifferent photographer).  Chiho Aoshima does these anthropomorphic high-rise buildings, mixed with images from Japanese folklore.

It makes me want to squee with adorableness of these buildings.

But there is a fly in the ointment, a mythological figure turns into a cloud of black smoke and then the volcano erupts in this paradise.

Alien ships appear.  Notice that the foreground is a cemetery, yikes.  And what does it all mean?

A floating deity appears briefly in  a cloud.

Then a  tsunami knocks over some of the buildings, and makes the rest wobble about.

Bad things are happening, the black and white building grows legs and gets up to move because things are so bad.   But the standing buildings grow construction cranes to repair themselves, the sky clears and the rainbow returns.

There’s a happy ending, until it starts all over again, much like life.


Back in 2014 I decided that I wanted to go to Europe, and that it would be nice to combine this trip with some sort of workshop or real reason to be there.   So I came up with two great choices:  One was learn to write a blog, with the author of the blog Spitalfields Life.  This was a two day workshop in London (and this is why this blog exists).  My other choice, was eight days over two weeks in France, to learn to write cartoons.   As I speak terrible French and could not leave Miss Dog in the kennel for too long I decided on London.

So later I was going to take a class in New York state from this second choice, I had signed up and paid my money, but Miss Dog was ill and I was afraid to leave her lest she die in my absence.  So I had never seen this artist in person until now and I was really excited to have the opportunity to see her right here in town.  The snow didn’t materialize, and it was two wonderful hours of hearing Lynda Barry speak.

She has moved from drawing about life, to the intersection of neuroscience and art, which are two things that I like.

And I love that she shares some of my obsessions, like octopi,  blackbirds, chickens and ghosts.

I did say that she was inspiration too, here is a page from my first collage book, which she kindly signed.

I had shown this page to the author of Spitalfields Life last November, and he mentioned that he had gone to the same college as the poet, just 400 years apart.  🙂  (So they never got to hang out together).

It was fabulous to see her in the flesh  and hear her talk.  And I decided that if I ever get a chance to take a workshop with her I must seize the opportunity.  (Maybe).




More Art

The local public university, which started out years ago as an extension of the state university, located in an old unused tuberculosis hospital, has slowly been expanding into the surrounding area.  And that is good, because there just was not enough *#*^!+# parking at the main site.  And one of the expanding things that the university has is a new art gallery space in a theater building.  The inaugural show has just been hung, so I stopped in to check it out.  I missed the actual opening, and this is good because there were apparently 650 people crammed into the space for this (and it certainly means I would have missed out on the wine and nibbles).

I have paint cans and other bits of stuff laying about in my garage, why didn’t I ever think of displaying them like this?  (Oh, it’s because I would trip over the strings).   What you can’t see in this picture is that there was a barrier to prevent any mishaps.

The woman barely visible in this shot is studying to be a curator, so that she can put together shows like this one.

The artist only needed two colors of paint to finish this one.

I guess he forgot that paint runs.

This one is made up of multiple canvases,  painted together to make a work large enough to cover the entire wall of this gallery.  And me and the other two people at the show got to enjoy the works without any art talk to distract us.   😉


First Friday:  the day of the month that all the local galleries try especially hard to flog their wares.   The better ones have wine and nibbles, but on this day I decided to try the local museum.   Recently acquired by the expensive private college, it seemed like it might be an interesting venue.

This statue formerly stood at the east end of the hall, now he’s here at the west end, ever at the ready to put an arrow in the ceiling, if required.

There is a lounge, shown here full of hipsters.  It had a cash bar and art for sale: today it was knitted objects and hand spun skeins of wool, artfully displayed.   I actually knew one of the artists from my knitting group, she was one of women who was under 100 years old.  🙂  I don’t know if she sold anything, but bravo to her for getting a show.

What kind of a hipster event would it be without this guy?  Stylishly dressed (for a hipster) in his fedora and ink, he was doing a painting in neon colors under a black light.   (These things take me back in time:  Old guys wore fedoras when I was a kid, and who could forget the popularity of black light posters when we were hippies).

Apparently one of their paintings in the permanent collection has gone out on tour.   This portrait of a local girl was painted by John Singer Sargent at the family estate in England.  Her life and this very portrait is examined in a new book “Sargent’s Women” by Donna M Lucey.   Elsie is getting her moments of fame, only a hundred or so years late.

So that was it, cash bar and no nibbles, perhaps I shall cross this off my list of first Friday venues.


A reflection can be either a thought or an actual thing.  I keep most of my reflections on things to myself (for the sake of sanity) but I do have a fascination with the reflections seen in mirrored and other glass.  I love the way things get all wiggly and distorted, like this view of the back entrance of the old AT & SF train station, as seen in a nearby building.

The tip of the Gherkin rises out of the top of a smaller building, looking quite stumpy.  The towering monument to commerce overlooking the scene looks as though it is ready to wobble into a massive pile of rubble.

This dark and gloomy view of Cheyenne Mountain results from the smoked glass on the building.   The sky was actually overcast on that day, but it wasn’t this dull.

This is a more typical reflection of the beautiful blue skies and mountains.   I had gone out to get the newspaper (yes, I read a physical newspaper as I am a dinosaur) when I noticed how glorious the sunshine and clouds were.    If I was better at art speak blather I could go on and on about the inner meaning of the juxtaposition  of the double images, but I’m not.  So I’ll just say beauty is where you find it.


As my house is near a park/open space, there are a lot of deer that wander through the neighborhood enjoying the landscaping and hanging out.   I have named a number of them, although I am not sure if they recognize their names.  🙂   Some I see only occasionally, and others I see more frequently.   And these ones are my favorites, although I do love them all.

This is Rosa, who is the friendliest of the bunch.  She came right up to me the other day when I was out fetching the newspaper.   She just seems to like people.  She had a reddish ear, so I decided her name must be Rosa.

This is Tamara, and she is quite easily spotted.   She stopped by without her youngster for once (he must have been off learning how to be a stag).   She has been coming by for the past three years at least.   I’m not sure how she injured her leg, my veterinarian friend though that she might have been struck by a car.   Her full name is Tamara the lame, but she still gets around and enjoys a full life.

This stag is the newest deer to be hanging around the house.  From the shape of his antlers, I have decided that he must be Albert’s grandson (Albert used to sleep under the deck some years ago).   He had obviously been fighting and lost an antler.  He also has an injury to his right hock.  I called the Department of Wildlife to see if they could patch him up, but they only euthanize injured animals (not an option).   However, they did say that he could survive with only three legs, and that there are a number of three legged deer wandering about town.  So I do make sure that he has plenty of water, and I am hoping that he makes a recovery as he seems to be rather nice for a stag.

My friend’s great-grandson stopped by one day and was excited to  see the “cows”, so now he expects to see them every time.  But they are on their own schedule, and I feel fortunate when I get a glimpse of them.

Power to the people

I get a number of invites to things, for this day I got an invite to tour our municipal power plant.  The local real estate interests would love to close down the power plant as it is located where tourists might see it.   What we will do for electricity (especially to power our electric cars of the future) remains unclear, but realtors would make lots and lots of money off the deal, they imagine.   Anyway, I decided to take a peep at what goes on there.   (Sorry but no pictures were allowed inside of the giant machines and such).

There has been a municipal power plant here for a long time.   Under the nearby downtown area, there are tunnels for steam heat pipes, connecting a several block area.   But they haven’t used this feature  for a 100 years or so.

Of course it has been updated and expanded over the years and so we enter the facility through a more modern part of the plant.   This turbine that sits out front, is from the unit that caught on fire last year (user error) and could double as a bit of art, for the art on the street program.  🙂

It is rather large to disguise from tourists, but it has a lovely graphic quality.  Perhaps we could shine lights on the side of the building to help pretend that it is something else.

My proposal is to simply re-categorize it.   When a friend’s grandson was small, he thought it was a cloud machine.  Municipal cloud machine sounds so much more friendly, then it could stay where it is until 2035.