Category Archives: Doings

More Landscapes

It was a bit hard to select landscapes, I don’t typically photograph landscapes, although I could easily post 10 pictures of the mountain in all its glory. But, I rooted around in the various photos on my phone and came up with another batch that shows some of the places that I’ve been to, more or less recently.

This spot is along the Savannah River in a city park, I was visiting for a great-niece’s high school graduation. I was drawn to the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. It reminded me of when I lived in the south.

There is a high spot near Dallas, and this is it. (I see why Texans like to come to Colorado and New Mexico to look at mountains, they could really use one here.) Another niece was graduating from college.

I went to college in this town in New Mexico, and this is the oldest church there (started 1706, this building was put up in 1793 after the first one fell down.) It occupies a prime bit of tourist real estate now.

I was at M’s cousin’s house, standing on the front porch when I took this. It looks like it might be Mordor. Is it? Not really, but it is the original village site, they moved over to this side of the road when the railroad came through.

This is my favorite place to visit. That is the dome of St. Paul’s, being gradually hemmed in by all the new construction. 🙁

As a bonus I included this landscape painting (possibly from the Tate) taken because I like both cows and dogs. And it closes out the series with perhaps how a landscape was traditionally viewed (but it still might benefit from a pterodactyl or two). 😉

Landscapes

There are always those calls to post something on Facebook, like four things one has done, states or places one has visited, personal faults and confessions, etc. And like the chain letters of old, one is encouraged to keep it going. So far I have resisted the siren call of these things, but, for some reason (I am bored) I decided to follow the landscape challenge. I did not copy and paste the directions (I am not that much of a sheep, plus I am not sure how to do this ;-). But I did follow the directive to put the picture up, and to not say anything about where or what it was (that bit was easy). So here for your enjoyment are days 1-5.

This was from the very first batch of pictures taken with my latest phone. It is from a rather spectacular local city park.

This is my favorite village in northern New Mexico. I snapped this picture as we (me and M’s cousin) were barreling down the freeway. We weren’t going to stop and visit, so I am amazed that the picture came out at all, as we were going so fast.

I took this in August, 2018 of the old steel mill south of here, and I took the picture to prove that any picture is made better when one adds a pterodactyl.

And it was a perfect post for April Fools Day.

This picture is from last summer. I was at the last rest stop before the New Mexico border. One has to go up and over the pass to reach this next state.

This is an old picture that I think I took with my first digital camera. I was born in this city, just south of the downtown area. I do pre-date the Arch by some years. I was driving around taking pictures and was at the stoplight at 14th and Jefferson by the Federal courthouse.

So now you know, dear reader, the what and where of my landscapes.

Hot Dog

I still read the daily newspaper (delivered to my home by mysterious means early each morning). And I was excited to read that the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was in town. I caught a glimpse of it when I was driving along downtown, but I had an appointment, and couldn’t quite catch up with it. But all was not lost, there it was at the supermarket the next day.

Of course I have seen the previous versions driving down the road in years past, but this was my chance to get up close and personal with one. To see what it was actually made of (custom fiberglass body on a truck chassis). Yes, I do want one.

And here it is, a giant driveable hot dog, perhaps leading the way to the future with its spaceship-like design. It had a pair of drivers who were handing out discount coupons and swag (like the postcard).

This is just one of the many (six) Weinermobiles and it came all the way from Wisconsin.

I don’t care what hot dogs are actually made of, they’re delicious (in moderation).

But not everyone loves them. I guess there is no pleasing some pterodactyls.

Reflections

You know how much I love shadows and reflections. Shadows are mysterious, what on earth is casting a shadow in that shape. Then there are reflections (unless one is a vampire), with multiple layers, the item in front of one, and simultaneously, what is behind one. It’s just a wonderful juxtaposition.

Sometimes I am not sure why I bother to go out in public. This was a gallery show of contemporary art, which is not usually a favorite. But it was after the holidays, I was bored, and there was booze and a gallery talk, so it was just the thing. This is a picture of doors, the reflections are of the opposite wall and outside.

Here’s the other “not exit”, and this one shows something that was actually in the room. (Later they were playing “not music”, so I left).

This reflection has outside, the entryway, and the gallery talk. As usual the gallery talk was more complicated than the art.

A reflection and a secondary reflection of the main thing, this knotted string piece.

Here’s a bit of art that I found more to my taste, paintings of things, with the artist. All of the lights are outside on the street, which was rather empty as it was a cold night. Oddly enough (to me), this area has begun to attract tourists, and one frequently finds them wandering about, following their phones. I suppose that progress, like art, is in the eye of the beholder

Dino for a day

Everyone who was ever a little kid knows how fascinating dinosaurs are. Giants who once ruled the earth, now extinct (maybe) and existing only in imagination, what’s not to like about them? So I spent a day indulging my love of these prehistoric beasts.

The local dinosaur museum does not have any actual dinosaurs, but it does have rather a lot of bones, including my personal favorite pteranodons. (Dear other dinosaurs, yes I love you too).

The museum is located in a mountain town, up the pass, a gateway to tourists seeking the great outdoors.

This dino is much closer to home, in fact, it’s right in my neighborhood. All lit up for the holiday season, I decided that I must pay these dinos a visit.

How serene a scene.

It was a cold night and I was almost alone with the beasts, freely wandering among them.

What’s more adorable than a newly hatched baby dino? I guess my secret is out, these dinos are part of a miniature golf course. And I did get a hole in one, so now I am part of the tribe.

Italian for a day

I finally noticed that it is quite close to being Christmas (that ubiquitous music was my first clue) and so I decided that I must drive south to obtain some tamales before it is too late. (If you don’t order them in time, there won’t be any for you). So I called up a friend and asked if she would like to go along, and she said “yes”. And she had other goodies in mind, so off we went.

And what she was in search of was Italian treats. So the first stop was a tiny old-fashioned corner store that has been there since 1921. I know that Dean Martin is an Italian icon, but I did not realize that this was also the case for Bing Crosby and Elvis.

I did stand in the long line to buy a few treats, but they had been sold out of her favorite since 9:00 am. But this was not the only game in town.

So off to the tamale place, only to find that they were sold out. Fortunately, there was another batch steaming away in the kitchen, so we paid for some to be picked up later and then it was off to yet another Italian store.

Eight miles out of town was this family-run farm stand (it’s actually a giant steel barn). It was loaded with everything one needs for a festive feast, freshly made cookies and confections of various sorts, locally produced jams and jellies, frozen ready to bake pies, and much, much more. This was definitely the place to be.

There were the bakers rolling out long strips of dough to make potitca (yes, spellcheck that is how it’s spelled). What is potitca? Well it’s some sort of yeast dough that is traditionally covered with finely chopped walnuts, sugar and cinnamon, then rolled into a spiral and baked. And it is necessary for Christmas! We bought some (and a few other interesting things that they had) and it was back on the road to home. Mission accomplished.

Making crafts

Besides making the occasional piece of art, I make a lot of crafts. What is the difference between art and craft? That depends on who one asks, but in general if a piece is decorative, useful or made by a woman, then it’s craft. And here is what I have been up to.

I did not make this quilt top, but I did all the stitching that holds it together. I have a giant industrial sewing machine and I move it around (by hand) to sew the patterns. I used to do this for customers, but I rather lost interest when computers became common for quilting. I only quilt for myself and two others now. The owner of this top said that my name was in the “Navajo Times” for some quilting I did for her, so I guess I am famous for quilting. 😉

I always say “If you can wrestle an octopus, you can knit a sock,” because I use five needles for this sort of knitting. Some of my friends like to knit the sort of things that are art, but I stick to the practical and mundane.

So this is my most recent project, indigo dyeing bits of fabric. I have done lots of dyeing with chemical dyes, but this type of resist dyeing was a first. These bits are not exemplary, but I love them and can’t wait to make more and sew them into some sort of project.

And then there is this sort of craft, done using a machine (laser cutter). I’m not really sure if it counts as a craft, because I had to learn a computer program, and it was somewhat automatic from there. But this is unique, and I caused it into being, so I suppose I can include it.

This really had minimal input from me, it’s someone else’s program and I made no changes to it. What is it? Why it’s a 3-D printed DNA cookie cutter, but I did sit there and watch the machine do all the work. Perhaps that will be the way of the future, but I hope not. It is interesting to see a machine make something, but I have much more appreciation for items that show the maker’s hand.

Cooking

My friend D called me last night to say that something had come up, would I like to take her place in a Thai cooking class? Well of course I said yes! I love Thai food. So this morning I got up early and hauled myself over to the class. Me and seven other women were there to learn how to prepare these delicious Thai dishes. A pair of us were assigned to each of the recipes and this is what I made.

Yes I know that this does not look like much, but, it is red chili paste, the basis for many different recipes. The hard bit is having all these weird ingredients on hand (galangal, lemon grass, shallots, chilis, etc.). I chopped thing up and then whizzed it into a paste with a hand blender (my partner had toasted and ground the spices).

This was being made by another group, and was for a pork and noodle salad (much tastier than it sounds).

This was shrimp and pineapple fried rice, served in a pineapple bowl. It’s a lovely presentation, but I am not the sort of cook who fusses much with the appearance. If food is good it quickly vanishes.

Here’s our tasting plates: shrimp and pineapple fried rice, laab woonsen (pork and noodle salad), tom kha gai (coconut chicken soup). And all of these were quite delicious.

This was the one I worked on, beef Massaman curry. It has thinly sliced beef, white sweet potato and onion, cooked in coconut and beef broth with the delicious red chili paste and other spices. It’s served with toasted peanuts, cilantro and chopped up hot chili. Although I had carefully chopped up the chili per the recipe, neither me nor any of the other diners added this to their curry.

There really wasn’t anything difficult about these recipes, other than they were multi-stage preparations with weird ingredients. So I think that I could make this again, after a trip across town to the local Asian market. I probably shall do this, someday, perhaps.

Fair

Since people first started doing agriculture, there have probably been harvest festivals. Here we have a similar event, the State Fair (without all the pagan stuff of the original harvest festivals).

Yes it features all of the essentials of a good fair, with plenty of free attractions, as well as the sort that cost money. Last November when I was taking the shuttle from the airport there were a number of folks travelling to Pueblo to pitch their acts. So I did hear quite a bit on the trip about the business of being a professional stage hypnotist. Apparently only one of the guys was hired.

This was a troupe of incredibly cheesy cowboy actors, who staged a little shootout between evil do-ers and the good guys. I was quite surprised to see that they had fans of their little melodrama, who knew? (Or imagined this was possible).

Also in the cheesy entertainment category are the racing pigs. Now the pigs themselves are adorable as they run around their racetrack, all for the prize of a cookie (surely it’s not good for pigs to be eating cookies). But the cheesy part of the show is the announcer. He gives the pigs ridiculous names that are puns on the names of various celebrities, while giving out a line of patter. To engage the crowd, he appointed one person from each section as cheerleader. If one’s pig won, the cheerleader was given a plastic pig’s nose to wear while doing a silly dance. It was a prize most coveted by the under 5’s.

What would a fair be without rides? It’s all part of the tradition.

And then there is the food; various foods that are fried or served on a stick, but are an essential part of the fair experience. This stand was serving up all-American Mexican treats, fried sticks of dough covered in sugar. Things that one might never eat if not for the fair, it’s all part of celebrating the bounty of the harvest (and perhaps an echo of the pagan celebration after all).

Out to lunch

One of the good things about having a service dog (even a temporary one like Ace) is that they can go anywhere as long as they are wearing their vest. I had to pop in at the local art museum, and as they have have a rather nice restaurant, it seemed like the perfect place for lunch. And with a service dog I can sit inside, rather than being banished to the outside patio.

This is their take on French onion soup, which is one of my favorites. It was dark and delicious, chock full of caramelized onions.

Because I was sharing I decided to order the burger instead of the salad that I wanted. Again, they serve such lovely food at this place, the burger had pickled onion and peppers on it, and arugula instead of plain lettuce.

You can see how mouth-watering the food was. (Ace could hardly wait to get his portion.)

The most peculiar thing about dining at this establishment is the mural. Who on earth thought it was a good idea to have a man’s butt front and center? Oh those crazy 1930’s bohemians. The amazing bit is that is has featured here in this bastion of conservatism for all these years. I suppose it is ‘artistic’.

Ace took no notice of the surroundings however, so after our repast we went on our merry way.