New Toys

I always have too many books (I did de-accession five books this past week), but one can never have too many toys.   And these are the toys that I mostly acquired in NM this summer.

These are the blinged out Godzillas and dinosaurs.  The Godzillas came from a toy store in  Santa Fe and the large dinos came from the Natural History Museum in ABQ.  The pterodactyl was found in a local art supply store and is my new favorite dino.

I didn’t really have enough time to carefully peruse the purchase of these wind-ups, my parking meter was about to run out!

This lovely hopping eyeball was a gift from an old friend.  Of course he had two, so I got this one to take home with me.  Thanks BooBoo!

These are tiny toys, I got two of each in case I wanted to make earrings out of them, but they are so adorable I think that I shall keep them as is.  And I do love jellyfish (from a distance at least).

The teeny tiny dinosaurs make a nice contrast to the larger ones.   They are very detailed in spite of being miniature.   I expect that They will be lovely to photograph in absurd situations.   And I don’t have to find room for them on an overcrowded bookshelf.

Wildflowers

I had let my tiny front plot of grass become a wilderness, before I finally did something about it.  I mowed about half of it, but I did try to leave all the flowering bits for the bees and this is what’s left.

I have no idea what this is, but it seeded itself next to some Anise (this escaped the beds first and it is everywhere), so I have let it  grow on.

The yellow flowers are unknown, and the purple flowers are escaped from the flowerbeds.

A different one.

The biggest part of the wilderness is made up of oregano.  I expect that I planted a bit of it to use in cooking, but it escaped the boundary and set up shop in the lawn.   The bees love it and perhaps they are making some interesting honey with this somewhere.

And this is the back yard.   These flowers appeared a couple of years ago, and they grow without any assistance from me.

Besides all the wildflowers, I have a small section of tame flowers.   I think I planted other things as well, but due to neglect the main thing that survived was the marigolds.   They will probably seed themselves in the lawn for next year, and the patch of grass will get smaller.  It’s more for the next crop of bees.

Local Icons

Every place brags about the famous persons who lived at or were born in the locale.   And who wouldn’t want to be immortalized on art that covers up a street corner utility box?  Located right next to the juror’s parking lot in downtown, we have this exemplar of civic pride which celebrates these local icons.

This writer (1830-1885) was born and lived in the east for most of her life.  Coincidentally enough, she was one of the many tourists who came out to see the Falls of the previous post.  And she met and married her second husband here.   She did have a house in town and part of it is preserved in the local history museum (of course it was torn down).   She wrote a scholarly book about the failure of the US Government to live up to the various treaties signed with native tribes.   But she was more famous for a romance novel about the same subject.   She was buried at the top of the Falls, but was later moved to a cemetery.

This well-known inventor (1856-1943) only lived here for a brief time in 1899 (the building is no longer standing).  He came to do electrical experiments at high altitude (no word as to whether he visited the falls).  After blowing up the electrical grid of the city, he returned to the east.

This silent film actor (1883-1930) shown here as the character he portrayed in “London After Midnight” was actually born here.   His grandfather started the school for the deaf,  and the family lived nearby (and the house still exists).   Famous as “the man of a thousand faces”  he only made one talking picture.  The civic auditorium bears his name.

This woman (1918-2005), shown here in a demure pose ran a nightclub/bar about 2 blocks north of this spot starting in the 1950’s.  She featured well known jazz musicians and “everybody” was welcome according to her sign.  The club eventually became rather run down, so it was demolished and replaced with a parking lot in 1975.  The city does have a festival in her honor every year (and you know how much I like festivals, so of course I go).  And  I think the others should have festivals as well.  😉

Touristing

There are several attractions here in town for tourists, and as I am a resident, I try to avoid them.  But a group I belong to wanted to go to this one, so I decided to give it a go and see if it was worth seeing.

And it has been a tourist attraction for a very long time.  The donkeys are no longer available, so we parked over by a fancy hotel and took a shuttle bus.  Then we took a tram uphill to the attraction, and then there we were at last.

So this is what we were there to look at.  Those tiny ants are people walking up the 285 steps to the top.   After walking up all these steps, one can go hiking (in case one is not tired yet), or spend $149 to ride a zip line down.  Or if one is old, like myself, one can ride an elevator to this overlook spot and take a photo.

There were scads of tourists roaming about the place, even though it was a rainy, gray day.   This tourist was taking selfies with the waterfall as backdrop.

It was a good idea to take the photos before the rain, because afterwards it was a waterfall of mud.  Not nearly as scenic as the before.

Where there are tourists, there is an opportunity to take their money.  This rather mangy looking stuffed mountain lion is at the entrance to the restaurant, run by the fancy hotel.  The lovely thing about the park is that dogs are allowed (and I don’t think that they have to pay the admission fee) and so there were lots of pups there enjoying the place.   I vaguely remember visiting over 30 years ago, I think I shall wait another 30 years before I go back.   😉

Court

It had come time to do my civic duty, and report to the courthouse to potentially serve on a jury.   Fortunately in Colorado it’s one day or one trial, so you don’t have to show up all week like in some places.

So this is the new and improved courthouse, the vintage courthouse can be seen in the reflection.   The table out front had volunteers who were ready to pray with you, in case you had doubts about the efficacy of your attorney.  😉

I was reminded of something Liam said after he spent time drawing another courthouse “The rich get justice, the poor get the law”.

After filling out paperwork designed to elicit our views without actually asking (what does “where were you born or what radio station do you listen to” have any bearing on being a juror?)  we were marched off in line to the courtroom.   Perhaps on seeing our motley crew, the attorneys decided that they had better settle the case and not depend on us for a verdict (I was already in favor of hanging). 😉

So we were free to go having discharged our duty for the year.   There is such a lovely view from the courthouse that I decided to take a few snaps.  (No cameras are allowed in the courtroom).

The view to the north.

The mountain.

The southern mountain.  And notice the empty street.

And because I was already downtown, and had a place to park in the juror’s lot, I walked over to where they were having a major bicycle race.   The streets were blocked off, and these courageous cyclists were racing through our potholed  and pitted roads.  We cheered for them as they whizzed past, then I was off in search of a way out of the blocked streets.

Making Art

For many years I have been an exhibitor in Fine Arts at the State Fair.  In fact their acceptance of a piece that was rejected at a quilt show was how I decided to continue making art.  Over the years I have had a lot of good hang spaces and have even sold a couple of pieces (also have won ribbons and prize money too).  The show has a lot of entries and a huge rejection rate, so it is a good thing to even get accepted.  I had an idea for this piece, but after going to Santa Fe and house sitting a bunch of geriatric dogs and a naughty cat (she bit me quite deeply on the hand) I did not have a lot of time to work on my entry.

So this is where I started, with a drawing of a lion.    I usually spend a great deal of time dithering about fabrics, etc.   but I really didn’t have time to do this, so I just banged it out.  I will admit that I bought some of the fabric in Santa Fe.   Some of it worked and some did not make it into the final piece.

It doesn’t look much like the vision in my head, and it would have been better with more fabrics, but it was more or less together, and I found a piece of background fabric that I thought worked with the face.

I crammed it in my domestic sewing machine (not the giant industrial) to quilt it.  As I did this I was glad it was not a more complicated design.

I finished sewing the last bit at 10 pm the night before it was due.   And later I realized that I forgot to put the whiskers on it, but

it was accepted into the show!   So I was pleased, and can’t wait to see it hanging in place.

Art

Yesterday was First Friday Art Crawl, so in spite of the rain and traffic, off I went in search of Art, free wine and nibbles.

First up was the fanciest gallery in town.   I have been near it before, I knew it was there, but I had never actually walked in through the door.   As it was gloomy and raining I was the only one there, so I had a chat with the young woman who works there about selling art (she had just sold a painting and was looking for another one to display).   Their prices were mostly in the 2K  range for a small work, and 5-6K for a large painting.  In the sister gallery on the other side of the hotel, some Texans were trying to decide between the picture of the Longhorn or the buffalo, so another sale racked up for the gallery.

They also sold lawn ornaments.   But I saw nothing that said “buy me” to me, so I was off to the next stop, hip galleries in the alley downtown.

What could be hipper than a wailing saxophone? (at the hotel I heard distant bagpipes, definitely un-hip).  There is a secret sort of hipster bar hidden across the alley, I knew I was not among my people.  😉

This gallery was next door.  This artist’s work was much more interesting that the stuff I had seen earlier, and was much more affordable at about 1.2K for a large skillfully painted portrait.

I did not get a picture of the artists who were flogging their work at the comic book store.   But their pictures of aliens and outer space were quite reasonably priced at $30, and I am somewhat sorry that I did not buy one.   It was an interesting evening of art appreciation, perhaps next time I will find something I can’t live without (but no more books, really).

Dogs

Back before the digital age, photographs were not ubiquitous things. One had to compose the scene in the view finder, fiddle with the various camera settings, take the picture, send it off to be developed and hope for the best.  My friend GA had a post recently about a person who collects vintage dog photographs.

http://spitalfieldslife.com/2017/07/09/libby-hall-collector-of-dog-photography-x/

She has selected some of her vast collection of pictures into books, and so I got several of these (I know that I said I wasn’t going to buy any more books, I guess I was lying).

And these books really are quite charming.   Back when photographs were expensive and difficult to make, people went to the trouble to immortalize their dogs, because dogs are important.   As I thought about it I realized that I have jillions of photos of my dogs.   They are mostly of interest to me, but I keep them because they remind me of the love of my dogs.

This was the first dog I had as an adult.  We got him in Louisiana, and he moved with us to North Dakota before coming here.   He was laying in bed when I snapped this picture.

This picture of my next dog hangs on the refrigerator.   I took it here at the house as he was resting on the landing looking cute.   He was sure that his duty was to protect the house, and he did this faithfully.

I paid to have this photo of Miss P taken by a professional photographer, and it hangs in the dining room.  She is wearing her floral collar that we bought for her in Hawaii’i.

This is my tiny vintage dog photo.  It was taken sometime in the 1930’s, and is a bit crumpled with age.   This was Joe, and that is my grandfather holding him.   My mom kept this photograph, and because she liked it I have kept it too.  Because I am the keeper of memories in my family and I remember these dogs.

Another Village

My town started out as a village, the nice place to live without the rowdy saloons and brothels near the mountain.   And as it grew it swallowed up the nearby villages to become a city.    But if a village is distant enough to the city, it stays a village, like this one I visited this past week.

The retired horse-drawn farm implements of the past reinforce the bucolic setting.

I don’t know if this was a livery stable, garage, or store, but I look at it and think that it would do admirably as an artist’s studio.  If only it was nearer to town.   Although if it was nearer to town, it would probably have already been torn down and replaced.

This former store is still full of stuff, saved for a rainy day perhaps?  Or perhaps it was just too much work to get rid of things.

This village is still here, but the train that served it is gone.  I suspect that some of the residents make the long commute into town to work.  And at some point in the distant future, the city will come to swallow this place up as well.

Steeple Chasing Pt. 3

I’m sure it’s great fun to plan a grand church full of beautiful details, but what is one to do without the wood and slate to make a nice tall steeple?

How about a church made of plentiful adobe (mud brick).  This church lacks fancy details, but it is cool and dark inside, and it is still in use even though the modern church building that replaced it is nearby.

But it is not enough to have a beautiful building.   This adobe church in the village of Lamy (named after the famous archbishop of Santa Fe) lost it’s congregation and priest at some time in the past, when the use of the railroad declined.   It still has it’s lovely stained glass windows, just waiting for a special occasion to be put back in use.

This church was started in 1706, but it was modernized in 1793 (when the old church fell down) and the towers were added.  As it sits in the middle of a tourist spot, it has pretty much been left as it was .   It’s a quiet little oasis in the middle of a bustling area (and still has a priest).

The grandest cathedral in the state is this one.   The first adobe church was built on the site in 1610 and bits were added on over the years.  When the first bishop arrived he thought something a little fancier would do, so he commissioned this building.   They ran out of money for the steeples, but there is a place for them to go.

I had never actually been inside the church until recently.  I had read that there was a Star of David in the decorations of the church.  And oddly enough it is true.