Gardening on Easter Sunday 2014

Easter Sunday dawned with a bit of clouds in the sky, but no snow or rain.

Last night my roommate said she wanted to put some straw as mulch on the first garden bed. I really wanted to clean the weeds out before she did that. When I got up and saw she was still sleeping, I went out to the garden and began pulling weeds. I really couldn’t imagine having the mulch on there before I did this. It is hard enough to tell some of the good plants that have similar leaves as the weeds from the weeds.

Later I saw her just pulling the straw out of her car and putting it along the wall. She didn’t come talk to me then, and as she drove away, just barely said anything. Later in the day, she walked past me in my office numerous times without saying a word. And then went for a walk after she and a friend had talked on the porch. Not sure if she is upset with me, or just in mood of not wanting to talk. But not her usual way of being. I guess I will just have to wait until she gets into a talking mood again.

I had meant to just work on that one raised garden bed. But since the soil was so perfect for getting weeds out, I dug up some of the Bouncing-Bet that is keeps getting me in trouble with Manitou Springs. It is considered a noxious weed and is very hard to get rid of. It has a lovely flower, but is poisonous. It was used to make soap for many years, then suddenly it lost favor and became listed as a noxious weed. It also has a root system that goes on forever and will grow under rocks then send out shoots. So I was a little pro-active in starting to dig it up when it was just beginning to show up in some areas. I know it will be an endless task this summer. Good Exercise?

Being Easter Sunday, quite a few people were out and about. As always, people walking by tried to engage me in conversations. Some just say “Beautiful Garden” or “Hello” or “That’s a lot of work.” Then keep on walking. Others ask me questions about the plants and how long have I lived here, etc.

This time I met an artist just returning to Manitou Springs. I mentioned to her that Commonwheel was looking for a “wall artist” we got to talking a little more. She told me that she grew up here and graduated from High School the same year I bought my house. When I told her when I graduated, she looked a bit surprised and said that I didn’t look at all older than her, let alone 6 years older. That was a nice compliment and made my day a bit brighter.

Then there was the local bee-keeper with a baby on his back, who asked if he could buy some of my poppy plants. I told him he could have many that have escaped out of the one raised bed dedicated to them. He said he was really interested in perennials. He said he would come back this week and perhaps if he gets a good honey harvest will trade me some honey in the fall. I had no intention of selling the poppy starts, but barter for honey, that works for me.

Poppies & Bees in my Ruxton Creek Garden

I also have lots of real catnip that I offered. It started long ago in one area of my side garden from seeds I harvested in the fall from a couple of hiking trails. Then was pooped out by my many cats over the years into every area of the yard and garden. I have to treat it like a weed or it would take over all the raised beds. I do replant it in areas I want it to grow, but it really prefers the areas I don’t want it growing.

Hopefully he will come back this week to get the poppies and some catnip, and when he does, I had realized I have lots of mint and some Iris that could also be thinned. Not the perfect time of year to move iris or poppies, but I imagine they can survive as they are both very hardy plants. And I know the mint will as it also thrives like a weed even where one doesn’t want it to grow. I didn’t dry any last year, and can hardly wait to have fresh mint tea again as I just ran out of the dried mint for a couple of years ago harvest.

I was really happy to see the Peonies starting to sprout up and dug up the invasive catnip and other weeds that were trying to grow in the same area. And there looked to be a couple of Columbines in another bed that I gave growing space to by removing more catnip and weeds. Plus there is chard and onions growing from last years vegetable planting that needed some weeding around.

So I kept doing “just a little more” weeding and digging until it really hurt to stand up. Plus I was hungry and thirsty, as I hadn’t had my usual brunch and it was almost 3pm. So it was really time to quit working in the garden for the day.

I had a light snack, then did some cleaning in my office and now am blogging to catch up with days I have missed with my focus on the “Old Spokes” gallery show for Commonwheel Artists’ 40th Anniversary.

Feeling a bit of stiffness setting in as I write . . .

All day I have tried to connect with my hiking buddy for a hike on Earth Day this Tuesday. Can’t miss my weekly hikes very often or it will be hard to catch up and do the goal of 52+ hikes this year . . .

Iris in my Ruxton Creek Garden

Can only hope for my garden to look this beautiful again this year. This is the bed I was weeding today as it looked some years ago.

I Don’t Do “Nothing” Well

 I had planned on taking the day off on Saturday after the opening for “Old Spokes” at Commonwheel.

I gave it my best shot at resting, but I really don’t sit around and do nothing very well. And even though I felt pretty exhausted, I couldn’t just sit and do nothing or read all day. Though, even though it was a gloriously sunshiny day, I wasn’t up for a hike.

So sitting out on my sunny porch, I decided I needed to clean it up a bit. I wanted to be able to sit at the table for lunch or work on a computer out here in nice weather again. And the half-blind squirrel needed a better place to get fed than on the box I use to elevate my leg.

And then there were the pheasant feathers in a large plastic container that needed to be either thrown out or salvaged to be used in some feathery jewelry. Even with having put a moth killing item in there, the remaining feathers were pretty ragged looking. And the dead eggs made it a real challenge to clean up. But I did it. I always swear I will never again accept ring-neck pheasant feathers from a hunter, then someone brings me gorgeous looking skins and tails and I accept them. I have learned to always put them in a sealed box with moth balls and leave it outside for at least 3 months before checking to see if they are really clean of bugs, or if they have bugs that eat feathers. If they have bugs, I try and cut off the feather parts without the fuzz and again put those bits in another box with moth balls for a bit of time to be sure no bugs are traveling with those cleaner feathers.

So I cleaned those up, swept off the porch, threw out a chair that the squirrels had tried to get the stuffing out of to line their nests and washed off the table. There was a glass table top that no longer was connecting properly to its legs. Cleaned that up and left it in its metal ring, and placed it upside down on a long wooden bench to use for feeding that squirrel buddy. The porch is a much more useable space now. And later, I washed the sheet that is covering the old futon, not that it looks very good, but better than it did.

Didn’t sit long again. Went into the back yard to look at the tree that had been cut down by my neighbor, but the tree trimmers had just left much of the trunk and branches on the hillside. In trying to figure out how to get it off the hillside, I began to move some items around back there. Last year before the flooding, I had done some clean up, but had left boards with paint on them that couldn’t be burned in a fireplace leaning against my house. Not a good thing to do! So I hauled all of that to the front yard. And I found a couple of waste baskets. One would allow me to get rid of a waste basket that came from a place with not really positive energy, so time to switch it out for one that my recent tenant had left under the porch. 

I want to hire either my new tenant or the neighbor kid who both have trucks to take some things to the dump. There are odd bits of furniture and rugs left by past tenants that need to leave the yard. Some have been hanging around since last year, and some from this last tenant moving out. Just time to get it taken care of and make the yard look not so junky. Oddly, my tenant hasn’t been home the last two days, maybe on a family Easter Holiday trip. I always like to offer work for pay to my tenants when possible, and he had been interested in doing that when I mentioned it when he was moving in.

When I was flipping a rather heavy metal cabinet towards the gathering area, a young man walking by asked if he could help me. I said sure. He just picked it up and carried to where it needed to go. Ah, youth!

Next, I looked at the porch I use for my photo studio. I unburied lots of gardening tools, and many items that could just get thrown away or used better. I took many items in to my laundry room and washed them off. This is when I washed the sheet from the couch and washed the garden gloves and a few other really dirty items.

As I was in the laundry room waiting for the washer to finish, I decided to clear off the top of the dryer, which led to clearing off some items on the floor and another cabinet. So that room also feels more spacious and one doesn’t have to carefully reach over a stack of items to reach the light switch. Much better!

I found the perfect container to store the “Old Spokes” that had been carved by Sophie Cowman many years ago. At least I feel they will be much safer until I figure out what to do with them permanently.

So the day progressed and I just kept cleaning up different areas rather than actually resting.

I do wish I had thought to take some before and after pictures, but I didn’t.

I had thought about working in my garden, but somehow kneeling and pulling weeds sounded harder than doing what I ended up doing . . . maybe tomorrow as it was gently raining as the day ended and that would soften the ground a bit.

“Old Spokes” Gather At Commonwheel Artists in Manitou Springs

The Celebration of Commonwheel Artists Co-op’s 40th Anniversary was a highly successful and Fun event!

The Gallery was filled with beautiful art and people.

Art Patrons at "Old Spokes" at Commonwheel Artists Gallery

Old spokes were there showing off their most current art endeavors and friends of old spokes all had a delightful time reconnecting and laughing about old times and delighting in friendships that are never ending.

Roger did a stellar job hanging the myriad of styles and shapes of art that showed up. He found themes of colors and shapes or concepts that worked well together to created areas of interest and drew one’s attention to those areas all throughout the gallery.

Jeff Shook’s Gong Show was a hit. Literally. One can actually strike the gong to hear it resonate. The video images playing inside the center had people fascinated with it all night long.

Jeff Shook's Gong Show in "Old Spokes" at Commonwheel Artists Gallery

Some sales were made from the show, but the night was a really good night for sales of member’s art in the regular shop area. Win! And we do need good sales to stay afloat after the flooding and fires of the last two years that have made it difficult for the Commonwheel to stay in the black.

A bowl by Coreen Abbott who teaches at a University in the San Francisco area was one of the first art pieces to sell. I took this photo before it had it proper label, hence the price tag attached to the bowl.

Coreen Abbott's bowl in "Old Spokes" at Commonwheel Artists Gallery

She was the first part-time manager for Commonwheel Artists Co-op starting at the MayBe shop location, then when it moved to its new space at 102 Cañon Ave. Her work was always very intricate and has become even more detailed and precise as she has grown as an artist.

And then the next sale was of Sophie Cowman’s Quilt. She was the owner of the MayBe Shop that became the Commonwheel’s first gallery space. A true founding member and unique individual.

Quilts, Carvings & Clay in "Old Spokes" at Commonwheel Artists Gallery

Her carving to the left of the quilt had the humorous and true label that often was related to Sophie’s work until sold, “Unfinished”.

The Quilt by Ginger Muñoz and the Glow Pot by Marc Jenesel were perfectly paired by Roger to create a very interesting focal point in this show.

During the pre-show set-up time when artists brought in food for the table and were admiring all the work in the gallery, I relaxed into having a good time and knowing that the show would be a huge success.

But an odd thing did happen. Someone I had had a big falling out with many years ago over politics had been sharing many of the FaceBook posts I had done for this show. She showed up with and envelop with a few articles of past Commonwheel information and a large rough cut ruby. When she presented all of this to me, I had about 3 other people talking to me about last minute details and asking if certain people were coming tonight. So I wasn’t totally focused on her gift. And it was a very lovely gesture to bring a ruby to Commonwheel’s Ruby Anniversary event. I will have have to think how to thank her and have a conversation at some time other than amidst such chaos. But at that moment in time, I am sure I didn’t give her quite the response she would have liked. I let go of the awkwardness of the situation as best I could to take a moment to thank her by telling her that it was a really lovely gift, but I had people all around me needing my attention to get the finishing touches for the food table and a few other last minute details that needed attending to by me.

All night long everywhere I looked there were people smiling and laughing and closely inspecting the art in the invited guest gallery area and in the members area. What a wonderful evening it turned into.

Artists at "Old Spokes" in Commonwheel Artists Gallery

I did get some very good photos but quite a few of mine were a bit wobbly . . . and fuzzy, as I tried to take them holding onto my food plate. I would see a group of people and would hold the camera up and press the button, but those didn’t always come out quite as I hoped.

In the picture on the left above has two generations of Cupits and the one below has two generation of Ahlen’s. Watching kids grow up and have an interest in art is always a delight.

So I was very glad to see Barry Kaplan had his camera with him and was taking photos he promised to share.

Jeff Shook, Barry Kaplan, Karl Ahlen at "Old Spokes" at Commonwheel Artists Gallery

One of my most favorite entries was Darlene Hardie’s “Ben and Jerry Shirt” with Jerry Garcia and Benjamin Franklin smiling out into the gallery. Having my “FlutterBy” framed mask paired with that piece really made me smile.

Wild Things in "Old Spokes" at Commonwheel Artists Gallery

The night was a constantly changing scene of artists and friends that ended at 8pm. 

I then helped the members who were doing the clean up.

It was a beautiful night – no coat necessary. I walked over to the Keg where Arch Hooks was scheduled to play and members of the Cultural Singles group was meeting. I had some interesting conversation with a couple of wild ladies and connected with another wild woman friend and her husband that are fans of Arch’s. Was the perfect way to end the day, dancing to good old rock’n’roll!


Successful Opening at Commonwheel Artists Gallery for Old Spokes

Tax day came and went without my even noticing it.

My accountant has all my info and usually files for an extension. So won’t know what I owe for quite some time. I am very complicated with a variety of businesses, none of which make a lot of money yet. Not that I won’t someday soon, but not last year – the flooding and other craziness kept me from staying on point with all of my businesses other than Commonwheel Art Festival.

One Wednesday it snowed a wet, heavy snow that caused the MSAC Board meeting to be cancelled. I did lots of posting for the “Old Spokes” gallery show at Commonwheel Artists Co-op. Got the Tweets done also. So grateful that Facebook allows you to schedule posts so can do them on one day and not have to do them daily. Same for Tweets. I use Social Oomph for scheduling Tweets. So not having a 3 hour meeting was very helpful in giving me extra time today.

I had planned on seeing how the show was coming together, but then I didn’t want to walk to the Gallery in the snow just for that reason and I was sure Thursday would be soon enough to check on how Roger was doing with hanging all of the artwork from over 40 artists.

Darlene Hardie, Roger Tolzman, Julia Wright & Charlie Hall at Old Spokes at Commonwheel

And I was having all sorts of trouble getting the printer to print on a heavy paper and have the color look good for the Artist Statement and Memories pages. I swear, if I do something for the 50th Anniversary it will not involve artist statements or a memories book. Someone else can do that. It really took too much time and I was obsessed with making it look good and be interesting. And it did in its final rendition. It was like herding cats while juggling monkeys to get this project completed. One would think a professional artist would have: 1) A Bio; 2) a Photo of themselves; 3) A photo of their art work that they could easily access and send to anyone interested in their art. Not so for many of these people. And then working with 72 dpi images that needed to be 300 dpi for printing, well, it was interesting.

And I actually took time to watch my favorite, almost my only TV show, Survivor – my guilty pleasure, while I ate dinner. I have a couple of friends who watch it also and we always plan to watch the long finale together. We have dinner first, then settle in to an evening of visiting and watching this show together. Twice a year is about the only time we actually have time together. She was on my Festival committee and quilting member of Commonwheel years ago when we started this tradition.

So on Thursday I did go down to the Commonwheel and it was lovely weather again. Ah, Springtime in the Rockies, so much fun.

I brought three notebooks, the 25th Anniversary, a photo album from that show and this new one. I discovered some people had brought work in that had never responded saying they would bring work. And I had missed printing a couple of Bio pages. So I had to redo the index page and get the other pages printed. Someone had brought in a hand written sheet with photos on it that was one of the original founding members, so I really wanted to include her in the book. Getting the scanner I bought to work was another challenge, but got it working so I could scan her photos.

Marc Jenesel, Coreen Abbott & Ginger Muñoz at Commonwheel's Gallery Old Spokes show

I was to have the final webinar for Easy Book Content with Tony Laidig tonight, but will have to listen to the replay.

As on this night there is a really fun party held by the Gazette for “Best of the Springs” Award winners. Commonwheel Artists Gallery won GOLD for best commercial gallery after not placing at all last year. Or maybe we missed in just the Indy awards last year. But we were in the top three for both this year. Gold is always a real plus to get yourself noticed all year round. The food at the party is really great. Different winners supply the food and I did eat pretty carefully this year, as it is easy to really overindulge. Skipped the items that were heavy on bread like pizza and sandwiches. Had sushi from my most favorite downtown restaurant, Fujiyama. That alone made my night. But I also got a quickie, 5 minute chair massage that helped relax some of my tight muscles. I know I really need to call Sarah and get a full massage soon.

I had skipped having any alcohol as I was feeling a bit tired and am really glad I did. When I got home, I just kind of collapsed. I thought Glee would be on, but it wasn’t. So I looked at the channels with movies and found Forrest Gump. My roommate had mentioned watching it a few days ago and I decided to just sink into bed and watch it. That was a good idea, as I just felt more and more tired as I allowed myself to relax and let go of needing to be on the computer than evening.

Paul Rogers & Michele Loftis at Old Spokes

A really wide variety of styles and media of art work made this show really fun to see in Commonwheel Artists’ Gallery in Manitou Springs, Colorado.


Hiking While Ignoring A Health Challenge

This last week I went a very different hike from the ones I have been taking with my usual hiking partner.

The last one I took with her was very leisurely and easy filled with birds. That was a fun hike done just in time, as the next day it snowed about 4 inches and then was cold for a few more days.

Last Thursday I went with someone I had never hiked with before, but was very comfortable with taking a very challenging hike. She had actually gone partially up this trail recently and really wanted to go further, but wanted to be with someone, as it was a bit more difficult than she enjoyed hiking alone.

We went up the Williams Canyon trail and this and brought to my full attention what is lurking above Manitou Springs just awaiting the next rain storm to come tumbling down.Rocky Road in Williams Canyon Manitou Springs

The beginning part of this hike used to be the road that came down from the Cave of the Winds. That road hadn’t been used in years as a road, but was the way to get to the Williams Canyon hiking trail. There was no road any more. The whole area was covered in rocks with a bit of a trail carved by hikers that have gone before us. The fact that there was an obvious trail in many places reassured us that many people have been hiking up here recently.

Williams Canyon Manitou Springs Culverts

The creek was in a new location than we were used to seeing it. And the drainage pipes were all torn up. The power of the water that came down this area on August 8, 2014 was unimaginable to both of us until we actually saw the destruction with our own eyes.

We just kept saying “Wow!” as we hiked up and back down. At one point I said “I know I have a larger vocabulary, but this just invokes ‘Wow!’ from me when I see the changes and the new beauty of this area. And moments later, I heard my hiking partner say “Wow!” exhale as she looked at a huge piece of rock wall that was now in the middle of the old road about 8′ from where it had been for many a year past.

There was only one place that we really felt was dangerous, but we climbed up and over it, and did get back down it on the return without any harm to ourselves. But I have to admit, that was not the safest thing to do. We moved slowly and carefully, planting our feet solidly in many of the rockier and narrower areas on the trail. And a couple of times we sat down and used our butts to anchor ourselves to get down a few slippery or high places. We both kept wishing for legs just a few inches longer in few places.

The colors in the water and the rocks were more brilliant than I had ever seen them before. And our reward was reaching the bottom of the waterfall where if felt like being in Paradise.

Waterfall in Williams Canyon Manitou Springs

It was just so peaceful and awesomely beautiful, I had a hard time leaving. Especially knowing I might not get back here again for a very long time. The construction of the walls to keep rocks and other debris from coming into Manitou Springs is scheduled to begin soon. I am sure they will not allow hikers on the trail when this is being done as a safety issue for the workers and hikers. And they plan on working 7 days a week for long hours each day to get these walls built before the Spring rains begin.

Plus I have no desire to hike this area when there is any chance of rain! As you can see this was a very sunny day and we had both checked the weather to be sure there was no rain or snow predicted to the West or North of the canyon area.

I have been dealing with a health challenge that is very annoying and makes hiking a bit painful if I pay attention to it. I have had some deep holes in my skin that fill with clear liquid. There are about 6 in different spots on my body that are just a bit annoying and I have gotten a couple to totally heal, but others are being very stubborn and ugly. The worse ones are in a cluster on my left ankle of my leg that has a circulation problem. A rash actually developed there. It starts to heal, then gets ugly again. I keep trying different essential oils, as that is what healed the other sores, but it is a slow process. But the essential oils that worked on the first sores, only kept these from getting worse, but didn’t get them to totally heal. Frustrating!

The rash and sores on my ankle are placed in a way that my hiking boot top just rubs on it a bit. So far I haven’t had to give up hiking because of this annoyance, but I am really glad to get my boots off at the end of the hike. And  very grateful when I am able to hike in just my walking shoes on some of the trails.

I recently again switched the essential oils that I was using and I was happy to see this morning that they did look much better. Still pretty angry and red, but not as swollen. So I am hoping I am on the right track to getting them totally healed before I go on my trips. I really want to be able to swim in the pool one evening at least in Salt Lake City.

And continue to hike in beautiful and challenging areas wearing my hiking boots in comfort again.

Rocky Road in Williams Canyon Manitou Springs

I need to catch up with my Spirit Renewing Hikes blog and will later this week. When I do, there will be many more pictures of this hike up Williams Canyon on April 10, 2014 and what we saw there.

Old Spokes and Hikes Looking Back

Since my last post over 8 days ago I have been going non-stop to keep up with my world.

And that did not include posting on my blogs. Glad I gave up the idea of having to write on them both daily.

The Art Festival and the “Old Spokes” gallery show have needed a great deal of attention and work. But I also slipped in two really good hikes just to keep me sane and moving a bit. I have to admit, I will be really happy to have the “Old Spokes” show up and the opening over.

And finally got up to the Festival Storage unit today with the Zebulon Pike Boys to look at the feasibility of creating signs with Fab Lab to get people aware of the Art Festival that won’t be located in a very visible place. So can we get signs painted in a way that draws attention to the idea there is an event that visitors want to stop and jump on a shuttle and go to that weekend? That is my hope and vision.

I also worked Commonwheel Artists Co-op shifts twice this month that were not in my schedule. One I get to trade for a Summer shift. Yeah! That gives me a little break in August when getting close to the Art Festival time. The other, today’s worker barely got to her home last night driving through over 6″ of snow up the pass and didn’t want to drive down this morning. I had to arrange with the second shift worker to come in a bit early as I was meeting the Zeb Boys at the storage unit before the morning shift ended. She was agreeable to this, so I took the shift for pay. And I did get a bit of Facebook posting for the “Old Spokes” show done while at the shop. It was a very quite day. I don’t think I saw 10 people come into the shop. Not good for sales with that few people. Hopefully with the sun shining in the afternoon more people came in and shopped.

I had a meeting with a reporter from on small town newspaper and have a very large picture of me and a nice story about the “Old Spokes” show in last Friday’s paper. I would have liked him to have used some other pictures of the art work we sent him, but can’t argue that it was a good story and should get people’s attention to help Commonwheel celebrate its Ruby Anniversary all year long, starting with this Friday’s opening.

We have had a couple of wild snow storms recently. 60 degree or higher weather one day, then 4″-6″ of snow when we wake up the next day. Then sunshine and it melts quickly. We do need the moisture and I have been happy that I didn’t have to travel on those days.

I had a Commonwheel Association meeting the same week as the Festival committee meeting. Made for a busy time to be sure I had reports and agendas all done. The Commonwheel meeting was a bit contentious. Our President is trying so hard to keep us on track after the flooding and our retreat, but there was some really negative energy that came out at this meeting. It is hard to work with that and feel like we are progressing and doing what we can to keep Commonwheel healthy mentally and financially.

And keeping up my own enthusiasm for creating the Art Festival when so many people have left or will be out of town so making it harder to get some jobs handled . . . Makes me a little bit crazy some days.

Then there was my getting distracted by working on a graphic using the human spokes that had been carved by Sophie Cowman and were part of the original symbol/logo for Commonwheel.

Commonwheel Artists Co-opOld Spokes

Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them at first, but have posted them a few places just for fun and gotten some interesting feedback. And some of them just look so joyful and glad to be out in the world again, just had to post it. Then I added hands from a 1977 newsletter and placed it on the logo, just kept messing around as if I had time to spare.

Ellis Fab Brush Mowers sold the piece of used equipment they had me put on the web site which was good news. And they have another one that I replaced the sold one with last night. Haven’t heard back with changes I am sure they will want. I am not always sure how to write up and place photos for this type of equipment, but get a good start, then wait for their suggestions to fix it to their liking. And the other one did sell off the web site, so something is working there. Anyone need a used New Holland 9030 Tiger Tractor with lots of extra pieces of equipment?

I went to an opening at this ritzy gallery on Saturday night. There was no free wine, had to purchase it. And the artist had posted “Who has great food? Potatoes.” So one would have thought at least the food would have been good there, but it also was for purchase, and not cheap! Strange concept in my mind or I am just spoiled? The show was a father and daughter event. It was beautifully presented and their work was fabulous. They complement each other very well artistically.

My friend Ann was there with her mother who had just gotten moved from her long time home in Kansas. Ann’s husband suggested they should go across the street to an Italian restaurant that had a gluten-free menu. Since I was hungry and I was going to the Millibo Art Theatre for the Six Woman Play Fest and didn’t want to drive home to eat, I joined them. It was fun spending time with these lovely people and catching up a bit. And I am so grateful that I have a little spare cash that allowed me to do this. Plus Ann wanted to share meals, which is a very Wright family way of enjoying dinners out together.

Her Mom made me think of my Mom and a bit of sadness came over me for being an “orphan” now. I have always enjoyed her Mom when she visited in the past and plan on spending some time with them both for a game night occasionally which will resonate with me for the times I spent with my parents playing cards and Rummikub. And as a bonus, I will get to spend some time with my friend who I have missed greatly as she had been focused on her son and his needs up until this year when he headed off to college in Denver.

The plays were all interesting and thankfully ended on an up note this time. I much prefer to leave the theater laughing than crying. Had a very decadent brownie for desert and supporting them. Just glad it didn’t keep me awake as it was very sugary, but tasty too.

Tonight is a full lunar eclipse. I am not sure I can stay up until it happens. Or maybe will set my alarm and crawl out of bed at 2am. There isn’t a cloud in the sky right now and the full moon is shining brightly above on this very chilly night. Just not sure my energy level is such that this will work for me, but it is a rare occurrence. And then there is the nickname for when the Pink Moon turns into a “Blood Moon”. That seems a bit eerie and not exactly a comforting thought to watch it.

And since my last posting I have attended four Tony Laidig Webinars that keep me inspired and looking forward to the time that I can focus on writing for myself and not just for Commonwheel related postings and advertising pieces.

Commonwheel Artists Old Spokes Show has Consumed Me

I have spent way more time on the Commonwheel Old Spokes Gallery Show than planned.

I am now at the point of getting the finalize pieces for the Artist Statement book finished, but some just keep rolling in for me to work on the photos and the Bios to make them look good.

Tomorrow my friend and founding member of Commonwheel is coming to help proof what I do have done. Will be interesting when it comes time to print them and see how many photos actually look good from so many that were sent at 72 dpi rather than a printable 300 dpi.

On Friday night, he and I spent a fun evening together going to an art opening at Fountain Valley School for a mutual friend who is retiring after teaching there for 31 years. He and his artist wife are moving to N. Carolina where they say they are closer to family. There were many of us “grey hairs” that showed up. I had some interesting conversations and the art work was fun. But made me wish I understood how to use glue and paint to create some of the found object art ideas I have had. Looking at his was inspirational and frustrating too.

At this opening,  I invited one more person to be in the Old Spokes show. Hopefully his wife will get me all the info and photos I need quickly.

I wore the sandals I had bought at Kohl’s and they were very comfortable on both of my feet. Win! Glad I bought a second pair as it has been a long time since I have found shoes that comfortable.

And a City Council woman needed me to send the info Ann had sent her before and or Press Release about the show so she could write a proclamation about honoring our 40 years in business at the next City Council meeting.

On Saturday morning there was a MERF (Manitou Springs Emergency Recovery Fund) meeting that I attended. Didn’t learn much new, but was reassuring that they had most of the funding in place. Although there is a concern that the bids could come in higher than expected. They do have funds to dredge the creek and hire a couple of extra people to help with clean-up should there be another flood.

Mostly they wanted people to sign up as volunteers and state their skills. I signed up to do photo-documentation, as that had been something lacking last year. People just started cleaning out muddy basements without taking photos of the condition is was in and what they had lost. The insurance companies wanted documentation that many did not have.

I, and other Commonwheelers, took many photos of our muddy basement and the piles of items that came out of it and were no longer usable. So we had no problem with our insurance claim.

I had remembered to bring my camera on the walk to and from Venue 515 where the meeting was held. Birds and squirrels posed for me in many places. So I was really glad I had put it in my pocket.

I wore the new sneakers and they also were very comfortable! Now I have a pair of clean sneakers and a pair I can wear on walks without worrying that I am destroying them.

Two Saturdays ago, I went on a “stroll” with the Deja Vu Singles group at Fountain Valley Nature Center. I had never been on those trails. It was delightful.

Pikes Peak Reflection on a pond Fountain Valley Nature Center

I had thought that the ponds were still enough for me to get some wonderful reflection photos that I am always looking for to use in a books some day. Though there was more movement in the water than I realized when taking the photos, they are interesting images that could be useful in the future.  Snow covered Pikes Peak in the background made for some beautiful images from many angles.

Will be so glad to be done with the Old Spokes show and get back to using my time for my own projects to makes some money in the near future.

The many water fowl and other birds, including Red-winged Blackbirds were in great abundance.

Goose & Red-Winged Blackbird at Fountain Valley Nature Center

I kept thinking how my hiking friend would love to see the birds. She gets so childlike and beautifully entranced when creatures are around. She talks to them and they often seem to respond by coming closer. She brings out the child in me at those times.

The ducks and geese created interesting trails in the water. I tried to capture them and was somewhat successful.

Geese at Geese at Fountain Valley Nature Center

I did think I had more images than I saw when I got home. Still learning how to use this camera each time I go out. And our hike leader showed me some things about my camera that I didn’t totally understand before. But not sure why I always think I took a picture that isn’t on the camera when I download them. Curious . . .

(And this was the day I actually went to Kohl’s for my first spending spree, not the day of my health appointment. I am a bit confused in time recently.)

When I got home, I checked the weather and discovered that Wednesday would be a good day for a hike this week. So I left a message for her to call and me and see if she was available. She was, and so we made a plan for me to pick her up after my webinar.

That didn’t work too well for me. There was no posting of the webinar by Tuesday night, so I assumed it wasn’t happening. But it was. They posted in the early am, but I didn’t open my computer in the morning and I had changed my time to pick up my friend to get an earlier start on the day hike. I guess I missed a good Q&A session that I haven’t listened to yet. My Genius Factor is lagging behind a bit . . .

And the Aine recording on Tuesday couldn’t be heard by phone, it was only available by computer playback. I listened to that as I cleaned up my office a bit, and found some bills I needed to attend to quickly. Aine is going to Brazil to see John of God with a 3 week window at the end of January next year. Wish I could afford even a 1 week stay with her, but not in my budget. Many years ago, just after the minor surgery that gave me a major complication that makes wearing shoes or tight pants difficult, I somehow connected with someone who was going there. He took my photo and a short note about the healing I desired. When he returned, he brought me a crystal blessed by John of God, and some herbs to take. I place that crystal on my leg every time I work with my MAP / Co-Creative White Brotherhood Medical Team during those meditations.

The worst thing that happened this last week was the cottage roof is leaking! A flat roof is no fun when it begins to leak. And I still owe my handyman/plumber from the water line replacement job he did last month.

When cleaning up my desk, I discovered I hadn’t paid last month’s Comcast bill and can’t get into the account. When I had dealt with an uninvited user that a tech helped get removed, I had changed my password and secret question answer. I am still in my Comcast email account, but can’t get into my billing account. And of course it is the weekend and there is no help to be had by phone until Monday morning.

Financially I am not in very good shape, but working on it as best I can. Wrote up some bills for other people that do owe me some payments for work I have done.

What I really need to do is to get more books written and figure out how to make some money from my photographs in the near future. And promote the books I have written and published to make more sales.



Another Shopping Adventure

I had bought a cassette player on my last set of errands. The one in my feather studio is fading away. I have lots of cassettes and they are easier to change out than CDs when working with glue and feathers.

What I hadn’t realized was that the speakers I wanted to hook it into had only wires for the connections, not pins. That didn’t work.

And at Kohl’s on my last shopping trip, I had gotten two $10 Kohl cash certificates that needed to be used quickly. Plus an unusual timing made it possible for me to use my 30% off coupon during two of the days the Kohl cash could be used.

I hadn’t brought the coupons I collect for my friend to her on my last trip over in her neighborhood, so called and told her I would do that.

I had found a really nice blouse the last visit that when I wore it, many people complimented me on it. So I thought I’d check for another blouse.I did find a plain teal top that would be about $3.00 with my discount and bought two more pairs of sandals bringing my total a little above the coupons value. But I really haven’t bought shoes in many, many years, so was happy to find one that felt comfortable before my other ones totally fell apart.

I had planned on checking into a pawn shop for speakers, but when I was chatting my my friend, I told her about my speaker problem. At first she dove into her bags of cords to see if she had a converter. But no, she didn’t have the proper type of converter, but had a better idea. She had a whole little cassette player and radio that she wasn’t using. She had gotten it for free from a friend she helped with a garage sale. It even has a remote control so I could switch from cassette to radio without touching it. And it wasn’t even plugged in. She said she could use the shelf space much better with it gone. Win!

One never knows what will come one’s way when just talking about a situation with no expectations.

Future Travel Plans for Young Living Convention

I am making plans for a couple of trips in the next few months.

Recently my friend from Sharing Inner Health asked if I wanted to go to the Young Living Convention at the end of June. Not really good timing for me, but I was considering it. This is the time for many advertising deadlines for the Art Festival, so means I really have to be on top of things to be comfortable leaving for a week.

I have always taken my vacation times in Spring and Fall and gone to visit my family in Oregon. But with both my parents gone now, that wasn’t such a pressing place to go. Though I do want to spend time with my brother and his family, I knew that wasn’t happening this Spring.

The next day she called and said, “We have a ride. You’re going aren’t you?”

Someone who has gone many years and loves driving was happy to have other passengers to share the cost of gas. This did push me to making a decision to go.

I spent some time going over my finances and they had a 2-payment plan for the event which was very reasonable to start with using the Early Bird discount. All in all, decided I had wanted to do this for years, and it is the 20th anniversary for this event, so will probably have some fun extras happenings and promotions. So Yes, I wanted to go. Just barely affordable, but I can make it happen.

Then there was the matter of a motel room for 6 nights.

I have been told I snore, so was concerned about that even with just Kathleen. She had mentioned the possibility of sharing a room with our traveling companions, but I wasn’t totally comfortable with that.

My Greek friend showed up and brought me some cookies and suggested we meet Kathleen for tea. Which worked out perfectly to discuss the motel situation. I said since Kathleen was already in a stressful situation with her housemate, neither she, nor I needed to have a stressful series of nights in Salt Lake City. Having 4 people sharing a bathroom, the fact that she meditates for a long time in the morning and my possible snoring, made me think we should just share a room ourselves.

I called the motel earlier that day and the woman said they had not Senior or AARP discounts that week. Kathleen had suggested I go on Expedia and Travelocity, but when I did that, the rates were actually more than what her friend had paid and I was quoted by the motel desk clerk. So I suggested to Kathleen that she call the motel and make a reservation, as I just have a debit card and have occasionally run into problems using that for making reservations using it compared to someone having a credit card.

She left promising to do that task. A little later, she  called me back and joyfully announced that when she called and made the reservation. At first the male clerk was a bit brisk and suggested we try Travelocity for a better deal. She told him we already had, and the cost was higher than his rates. Then he got really nice and said, “Well, let’s just take care of you here and now.” And the rate she got from him was better than what her friend had gotten, or I had been quoted earlier. Win!

I still need to figure out my motel situation for the weekend Creative Industries Conference May 1 and 2, but am just going to relax about that a couple more days to see what my friends in Villa Grove can do for me or share a room with someone.

I am looking forward to being around many like minded creative people at both of these events.

And hopefully getting my creative juices flowing again on projects that will benefit me financially a bit more than the time I am spending on the 40th Anniversary Old Spokes Gallery show.

Though I am really looking forward to the opening and connecting with friends and seeing all the work from Old Spokes hanging in the Gallery.

April Fools Day Had Me Very Stressed

And that is no joke.

Skipping ahead from my last post to now as this is sort of written out in an email.

I had a health appointment with a doctor to analyze the abdominal cat scan I had a couple weeks ago. This had been ordered by two different doctors at appointments within just 10 days of each other. I haven’t seen a doctor in almost three years when my doctor of over 25 years had gone into private practice. I had put into my mind that their reactions to the lumps in my abdomen were just because they had never felt these fibroids that I have lived with for over 12 years and nothing new.

But on April 1st, the first 30 minutes of my day, then the next 90 minutes leading up to having to be at Commonwheel to sign up for the next 6 month of word dates on the calendar had me spinning.
I really hadn’t been stressing at all about my health appointment that was scheduled for 11 am today until all this other weirdness came at me all within less than 2 hours.
I was awoken from a sound sleep by the phone ringing at 7am.
It was a past Commonwheeler calling from Florida about the 40th Anniversary Old Spokes show saying she couldn’t have all the items I needed for the Artist Statement as she was in Florida helping a mutual potter friend to get back to her Colorado home a month earlier than planned.
And she had forgotten about the 2 hour time difference.
In my groggy mind, I told her that was fine, friends come first and I could work with her being late with the photos and Bio.
Then she put our friend on the phone.
Our mutual friend sounded like the “circular” phone conversations I had had with my Mom for a few years before she passed.
This conversation was very upsetting and brought back lots of sad memories that rushed into my head.
Just as I hung up, a huge crashing sound was heard outside my window shaking me up quite a bit. Then more smaller crashes, and the sound of saws.
They were removing an old heater and its “chimney” and not being very careful about noise and just 3 feet from my outside wall.
The day before, I had discovered that my toilet was constantly running, and had turned the water valve off after flushing it last night.
After using the toilet, I couldn’t turn the water back to flush the toilet. That had me stressed a bit.
Then there was a missed call from my plumber friend while I was in the shower saying he had the stomach flu again and couldn’t help me with the toilet or the cottage leaky roof until he was healthy again. Adding to my feeling of stress a bit more.
And while I was in the shower, a big brown fast moving spider that I couldn’t identify as not being a Brown Recluse kept scampering along the wall. I usually capture and take spiders outside. But he me nervous as I couldn’t properly identify him, so I drowned him instead. Then had a wave of guilt rush over me.
I stopped and took some deep breaths and fixed a quick breakfast.
And as the time approached when I would normally, on every other Tuesday, be settling in for a Group Healing phone call with Aine, I had to get out the door instead. I needed to be at Commonwheel to get in line to sign up on the work shift calendar. For some odd reason, Aine had cancelled the last one with no explanation. I really hate missing these calls and being in the circle with others to send energy to the Earth and others who need healing. But then I also couldn’t afford not getting good dates for working the Commonwheel Gallery during the summer months when I had lots of things to get done relating to the Festival and I was traveling for one week near my advertising deadline. So it couldn’t be helped but to miss this call.
My driveway comes out onto a very busy road and is on a blind curve and people often tend to gun their car to go faster coming from the left. When I got to the end of my driveway, the construction vehicles were parked so it was even more difficult than usual to see if it was safe to leave my driveway from the right. And of course, I hear someone gunning the engine to speed up coming from the left. I sit and breath, the bravely pull out into the street and safely get on the road.
Normally I would just walk to Commonwheel, but having no idea how long it would take doing the calendar and having my health appointment that was about 30 minutes away, well walking wouldn’t work.
When I came into the Gallery, many people had already arrived before me, remembering how a double member had taken forever to get her shifts last time, I just stressed out visibly. And as I mentioned I had a health appointment to make, my voice even shook. I realized I was not doing well. So went to make some copies for the Festival and someone was using the copier, so not a private space, nor could I do what I needed to do then.
I had some masks that I made on Sunday to put into the Gallery, so did that while I was waiting. So on one level I was focused on what I needed to do, but on another level, I was visibly stressed. And a couple of people commented upon that. I used the phone call and the doctor appointment as the reason for my stress, and that is basically true. Just had let it all get me more worked up than normal, and that isn’t good.
As I mentioned earlier, this health appointment had come from seeing 2 new doctors within 10 days of each other and both pushing on my abdomen and saying in worried voices that they wanted to order the very same test, a cat scan of my abdomen. And the person who set the appointment had been clear I needed to see a doctor, not a nurse practitioner for the results.
I had easily stayed calm this whole month of waiting for the reading of the Cat Scan, that they just had never felt the uterine fibroids I have had these many years, and they are large, but not really a bother, and that that was all they had felt. Nothing new or more threatening.
And my past doctor had monitored them with the rule that if they gave me pain, or other problems, we would look at other options.
But the memory of the reactions of those two doctors kind of took over my mind a bit after the talk with Patty . . . so now all of this was coming into my head and getting me more nervous about what they would say with all the other odd things that had happened this morning.
Plus all of the odd extra things on my mind for the 40th Anniversary show and the challenges of the relocation of the Art Festival just sort of engulfed me, put me into kind of a high stress mode.
Even my blood pressure was higher than normal at the Doctor’s office. And I knew it.
I asked the nurse to give me a minute to breath, after the reading confirmed it was higher than normal.
The nurse agreed that was a good idea.
Five minutes later, the second reading, it was closer to my normal numbers, which are usually pretty low.
I was ever so happy to see I had a woman doctor, as I had been used to a woman doctor for many years and seem to relate better to female professionals than males.
She began by telling me naming all of my organs and telling me they were healthy and normal. Then she said there is a large mass in my uterus, that is partially calcified, or in other words, very solid.
She concurred with my past doctor that I didn’t need to do anything other than what I have been doing with these fibroids, unless I have pain.
I asked her about my herniated navel and she said that unless it was causing me pain not worth surgery right now.
Another reason one of the doctors had me do the scan was because I had a complaint about a bad pain in my back that would radiate out causing me extreme pain. I could breath into it, drink water, lay flat and take a Percogesic and it would dissipate. But it worried me more than the fibroid. She said the fibroid was no where near where this pain began and I might want to have a look at my lungs, since is was behind there. I keep thinking it could be from a pinched nerve, but she had no opinion about that.
So then she said if I did want to do something with the Fibroid, it would involve a major surgical procedure, as was not small and being solid the laser surgery would not work. This would involve an expense and a long recovery time.
Or there was a procedure that had successfully reduced the size of such fibriods. It involved inserting a tube into my leg and injecting a gel that would stop the blood flow to the uterus and usually reduced fibroids up to 30 percent.
I must have turned white, as she asked what was wrong.
This procedure brought up the horrible time when I had a minor surgery that resulted in a major complication that I deal with every day. I told her about it quickly and briefly. It involved a tube in my leg and cause a huge blood clot. (I really do need to write this story soon.)
She agreed I probably didn’t want to do anything right now at all. And totally understood why I had such a strong reaction.
So I left there feeling good about the diagnosis, but rather perturbed at myself for being so stressed all morning long.
Yet writing this, I doubt anyone else would have stayed much calmer.
At least I didn’t yell at anyone or lose sight of what was truly important and stay on track to getting where I needed to be on time and taking care of what needed to be done that morning.
I had planned on getting some errands done, including shopping at Kohl’s with my 30% off coupon and looking at another day pack that had a water bladder for sale at Costco for a very good price. And so I did all that. And felt pretty calm and able to make good decisions about what I was buying. Even found some sandals that felt as good as ones that I have had for about 15 years and were falling apart. So that was a really good find!
Got home just in time for an interesting webinar with Tony Laidig.
Fixed myself a nice dinner using the cooked chicken I bought at Costco.
Then wrote a bit on my Spirit Renewing Hiking blog about the Calhan Paint Mines to end the day on a positive note.
Still just too much on my plate when this should be sort of my down time . . .