Weather and Health Challenges Have Put Me In A Funk

Since returning from the Creative Industries Summit in Salida, I have been dealing with some challenges.

My body has not felt very good the last week or more.

Exhaustion was the first challenge.

Then I realized I was experiencing neck pain like I hadn’t felt in years. I determined my head was off its axis – something I lived with for many years. That misalignment puts the pain right behind my eyes. And it travels up and down my neck to shoulders and middle of my back. Not fun at all.

So on Monday, I went to the local $15 a visit chiropractor to see if he could give me some relief. I had never gone to him before, he had taken over the practice from another chiropractor who did adjustments for $10 for many years, then changed it to $15 a visit just before he left his practice and this new person took it over. They don’t deal with insurance companies or keep records of the visits or take credit cards. Seems to work for them. And I had had a couple of people recommend this new person, so decided it was a good idea to try to get some relief by a visit to his office.

And did seem to help. As the day wore on, my neck felt much better.

I had also scheduled a massage for Tuesday with someone I had traded some essential oils, my book and a membership discount for 3 massages last year before the flooding happened. On Tuesday morning, she called and said she was sure she had already given me my three massages for the trade last year. That didn’t sit well with me, as I was pretty certain she had only done 2 of the in trade massages. She said she was moving and would look it up in her records that she keeps for patients. She hasn’t called me back yet. I called today and told her message machine that “Yes, she had given me 3 massages last year. The first one I paid for and was how we got to talking about essential oils and that conversation peaked her interest. She came to my home where we worked out the trade for 3 massages, and I had two of them last year. So there was one still due me. But if that was not how she remembered the 3 three massages she gave me last year being done, to give me a call and we could talk it through.” Haven’t heard back from her after leaving that message either.

Tony’s Tuesday webinar was on how to take better photos and turned us on to one of his most favorite plugins to use to tweak them after they are taken. This plugin was being offered for FREE for a limited time. Usually it costs $99, so as soon as the Expert Media Show ended, I went and downloaded it. And I have gotten lost playing with it. It has some really cool effects, but one of the best features is it will darken, make a sky more blue. And it will find details and sharpen them. Some times that is good, sometimes really ugly. I have fallen in love with the “surreal” filter to use for future fun images.

The day after my neck began to feel better, my right knee gave out and sent some sharp pains up my leg. Whoa! What is that about? And this is the leg I rarely have any trouble with and didn’t have the blood clot in years ago. Applied many essential oils and given it some gentle massages. The Lemongrass seems to be helping a bit and Young Living AromaSiez takes the pain away for a short time. And I am still tired . . . so adding more pain isn’t helping my mood or energy.

Cloud Drama in the Spring

I had wanted to go on a hike on Thursday after going to a meeting with an Insurance Agent and the person coordinating the Beer Garden for Commonwheel’s Art Festival on Labor Day weekend, but decided that wasn’t a good idea. Or at least not to schedule with my regular hiking party. And then the weather was predicted to be cold and maybe even snow!?!

I was really glad I had brought my best camera with me.

Cloud Drama on Pikes Peak

The weather started out beautiful, then the clouds came in.

Cloud Drama on Pikes Peak

So I did stop and take photos of clouds and Pikes Peak and birds that posed for me in a couple of places. I have some very dramatic images of the Peak. And as I headed home through the Garden of the Gods where I wanted to take a short gentle “hike” it began to splash large white drops on the windshield, so that was not weather I wanted to walk in with my knee so achy.

Oddly walking in straight line actually made my leg/knee feel better. But bending my knees on stairs or getting in and out of the car, of my, that did hurt.

I decided to drive down Cañon Avenue to get home and there was big equipment dredging the creek. I parked and got out in the sloppy weather to take some interesting photographs of this process.

Dredging Fountain Creek in Manitou Springs

I did arrive just as the last bit of debris was dumped into a truck that left, so I didn’t get many photos of the debris actually being lifted out of the creek. But I did learn how the smaller pieces of equipment get in and out of the creek. They get lifted by the larger equipment.

Dredging Fountain Creek in Manitou Springs

It was just drizzling, but I did get a bit damp and chilled before the equipment moved out of my safe range of focus. 

I went to the Taurean Birthday party with Deja Vu Singles Thursday night. Had some fun conversations and danced a bit. I am really good at one-leg free form dancing, but that doesn’t work when someone asks you to slow dance, but only irritated my knee a little bit, or so I thought. The chocolate, chocolate cake was a real delicious treat for this chocoholic.

Luckily, I had a short “Tune-up” massage with Kathleen of Sharing Inner Health on Friday morning.

I walked over to her office and and took my secondary camera as the sky looked like it could rain hard any minute. But it never did. She relieved some of the pressure and as I said before, walking on flat ground helped my knee feel better.

I went home and had a bit of lunch, then headed back out with my best camera and took some spring photos. I walked back to Sharing Inner office and took some green leaf and flowery photos to put on her web site to replace the drab winter ones that are there now.

Sharing Inner Health Office

And the flowers were coming out in many areas. Unfortunately so was the wind. I had some problems getting photos that were not fuzzy from moving leaves and petals. Still, I got some really lovely ones.

And the pansies gave me an idea for a book. Have to think about that a bit more, and get my “Sustainable Festival” book finished before I start another project.

Am having a real hard time on Saturday to get motivate as my knee still aches badly. I did my posts done for the next show in Commomwheel’s Gallery: “Demented”. And connected with people to come pick up their art work when “Old Spokes” closes on Tuesday. So I didn’t totally slack off.

There was to be some dancing tonight, but it got canceled due to the illness of one of the band members. Probably a good thing for me to not be dancing on this knee.

I am doing some more catching up with my blogs, but that is not really very productive. Still, doing something which is better than feeling sorry for myself.

So have been using cold packs and that seems to help. Maybe one more day of this and then it will be better . . .

Pansies in Manitou Springs

FantaFaces Mask Shipping Saga Continued

After the Creative Industries Summit, I came home feeling totally exhausted.

I know I have been handling more things than my norm, and I haven’t gotten the down time from the Art Festival that usually happens in the winter months, so I guess it should have been anticipated that I would wear out one of these days.

On Saturday I basically took the day off.

I went down to the Local Grocery Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 1pm. It was delayed, so enjoyed some samples and talked with some friends, but was barely standing. Then got in line to buy some expensive organic berries. Their system wasn’t working properly. My Greek walking friend was a few people behind me in line, and was looking more peaked than me. She needed to go eat, so I told her to give me the cash to purchase her berries and I would pay for them if the line ever moved towards the cash register. And it did.

After I paid for the berries, I found her at Good Karma just a few doors away. I decided I would have some lunch and visit with her. She came to the counter and paid for my lunch. She does get to park in my driveway rather than pay for parking, but that’s not something I expect to be compensated for, but she insisted. So I graciously said thank you and enjoyed a bowl of French Onion Soup.

I went home and mostly rested and napped on Saturday. I haven’t felt this tired in years! And My neck was hurting, it felt like it was off its axis, so that didn’t help. The bad pillow situation on my trip probably caused the neck pain. I had thought I fixed that before causing myself any health challenge, but guess not.

I took a hot bath that evening, felt a little better, but awoke feeling in pain and tired on Sunday morning. I did give in and on Monday I walked to the local chiropractor who charges just $15 for a short visit. That did help quite a bit.

I did check my emails and looked at the tracking of the FantaFaces masks I had shipped and it said they had reached Portland on Thursday. It didn’t dawn on me that it “arrived at destination” only meant the Portland distribution space, not the home of the person who ordered the masks.

I emailed her saying I hoped she had had fun at the event and would she send the extra shipping payment to my PayPal account associated with the email address I was sending that email from.

What I saw in an email from her on Sunday was quite a surprise. The masks had not arrived!

The same message that they had reached their Portland destination on Thursday was the last bit of information on the tracking site.

And of course all UPS offices were closed on Sunday, so I had to wait until Monday to figure out what had happened.

On Sunday I worked in the garden a little with my roommate. She planted the “birthday” Delphiniums and Raspberry bush she had given me. She also planted a few other plants and moved some out of the food beds and pathway. I wasn’t much help.

We also got the hoses out of the basement and placed in the garden to water the beds. Unfortunatley we discovered the long one that connected to the other ones in the garden had holes in it and didn’t have enough pressure to get water to the raised beds. Switched it out with the other long hose. Then brought the one my ex-tenant had left in the back to the front to use for watering until I can buy a new long hose.

I checked in with my regular hiking partner, but couldn’t set a date for a hike until I felt better.

On Monday I called UPS and they told me the package had been mis-sorted and sent to Tualatin, Oregon and my client would receive it on Wednesday. I said that it wouldn’t do her any good, as the Gala she needed it for was last Friday. They had no explanation for how a guaranteed delivery in two days package could get mis-sorted.

They told me I had to contact the UPS store that I shipped the masks from to get a possible refund. I was not a happy camper on the phone. So called the store and told him the story. He told me I needed to come in to get a refund. So I got in my car and drove there to get the refund.

I had no idea if the client would want to keep or return the masks and was thinking I had spent some money I shouldn’t have if she did want to return the masks. An unnecessary addition to my stress and exhaustion factor that I could really have done without.

I may never use UPS again to ship. The Post Office has always delivered my packages on time, or even faster than predicted.

I got my refund and emailed her again with an explanation of what had happened and the UPS tracking info showing where the masks had gone. And asked if she wanted to keep the masks or return them. I also said I would refund the shipping cost.

She did say she would let me know when the masks arrived, but had some sick kiddos, so was a bit slow in responding.

On Wednesday she emailed me that the masks had arrived, she loved them and would figure out somewhere to wear them.

Small Tiger and Winged Turquoise Masks

Commonwheel Art Festival Marketing and Beer Garden Meetings

After my birthday weekend, I had lots of meetings before heading off to Salida for the Creative Industries Summit.

Monday, April 28, I met with Rocky Mountain Highway coordinator for the Beer Garden at Trinity Brewery on Garden of the Gods. He had a meeting there and I had a meeting near there shortly after that, so it seemed reasonable to meet at Trinity.

I learned he was going to the Creative Industries in Salida also. He is looking to apply for a grant from the Creative Industries and wanted to see what it was all about. Plus never hurts to connect with people in the music industry and other festival coordinators to see how we can all work together. He was at a couple of the same workshops that I attended. One was directly related to Colorado musicians and another was related to a 4-day music event in Denver. I learned some things from each one of those, but mostly it made me want to figure out ways to network more in our area to get people to festivals and events that spotlighted local talent.

Kayaks on the Arkasas River in Salida

The Beer Garden contract is close to being finalized. We didn’t want to sign anything until we had the Insurance piece figured out. Both entities are happier with how the contract reads, so know we will have a beer garden with RMH’s running it. Just need to get a few more pieces in place before signing off on it.

He has an Insurance agent that did the policies for the Music Festival and the Beer Garden for MeadowGrass on Memorial Day Weekend. I suggested we go to her together and see how we can work to get insurance for both pieces for the Commonwheel Art Festival. The next day he did email me with a date and time to meet with her and him the next week. So that is where I am going tomorrow morning and hoping that this will get one big piece for the Art Festival in place and off my “to do” list.

I had ordered a Bloody Maria when I arrived and as he was moving over to his meeting, he said he’d buy me my drink. Nice.

My next meeting was a Commonwheel Board Meeting. It was held at a member’s home because of the flooding last August made Commonwheel’s basement unusable and we lost all our chairs even if we wanted to meet there, it would need some chairs.

I had a 2 for 1 Kentucky Fried Chicken coupon that I decided to use for my dinner. What I didn’t realize that in the “To Go” box there was no utensils or napkins. Dang! I had picked up a straw, so used it to shovel the cole slaw out of its container. And I did have a napkin in my glove box, so was able to eat and keep my fingers sort of clean.

My next meeting was a Commonwheel Board Meeting. It was held at a member’s home because of the flooding last August made Commonwheel’s basement unusable and we lost all our chairs even if we wanted to meet there, it would need some chairs.

We had a lot to talk about including the new POS system and the timing of that. Some Board members really want to change the way the shop looks, others are totally opposed. The one member who wants the potters to not show work on the best lit, top shelf, so have less space to use, covers the top of her jewelery case with multiple, not matching earring displays. REALLY!?! She wants more space while asking others to use less space. And the Potters bring in about 50% of the earnings at the Gallery. Does this make any sense? Does to her.

All and all, for various reasons, this was a very frustrating meeting for me. I often wonder how these members think.

When I mentioned how much more difficult the Festival coordination is this year with a committee of 5, including me, compared to 7 or 8 in the past, another member told me that was a large committee. WHAT!?! We have more to do in the past with fewer members, but 5 is a large committee?

I said I was wondering if we could even do this in the future as more new members joining recently live farther away and many more members than normal are away from town that weekend plus losing a key committee member who did a great deal of work during the Festival. A different member said “it was too much work for the little return.” Another member quickly added that the Gallery would not exist if it hadn’t been for the input of profits from the Festival that has kept the organization in the Black, where as the Gallery has operated in the Red for many years.

And then my favorite comment to me was spoken, not you are doing great keeping this alive after last year, but “Your reports ramble.” And when I said I had typed them up the last few meetings, that didn’t change that opinion of that member. And no one said, but she has a lot to convey and needs help to be offered and that is the central issues in most of my reports, other than letting the members know what is getting done to keep the Festival on track, and hopefully more financially successful this coming Labor Day Weekend.

Grumpy Rock along the Arkansas River

I went home wondering if Commonwheel will survive past its 40th year. Wrote a bit of rantings in Word thinking of sending it to the President of Commonwheel as she wants to know how things are going with us on a personal basis. Slept on it, and didn’t send it, but still considering it. Some of my points are ones we might want to address at another meeting. But maybe need to rewrite it a bit . . . or not.

Tuesday morning, I found myself wanting to sleep in when I suddenly realized it was just past 9am when my Aine phone Healing Circle starts every other week. Grabbed the phone and dialed the number to just be a few minutes into the session.

This usually helps me center myself and gives me insights on how to keep my Spirit healthy and happy.

After this, I moved slowly into my day. Emails and Festival needs. But mostly worked on getting my HieroGraphics Books web site looking like I would want to send people there. I had wanted to have my “Sustainable Event/Festival” book done, but realized that wasn’t going to happen, so focused on getting this web site up.

I had a Manitou Springs Chamber Marketing Meeting at 2pm that I had gotten myself invited to a couple of weeks ago. Like I needed another meeting to go to . . .

I was really glad I went. I spoke up for the Arts, 3rd Friday Art Walks and the Commonwheel Art Festival to get some advertising help using the grants the Chamber got for marketing this year. I really liked some of the campaigns the marketing group that had been hired was planning, and not so much one of them. Especially disliked the picture they are using in a couple of ads, but held my tongue, as it seemed pretty agreed upon by others to be used. It looks like the little girl is making a bad face as she sips water from a mineral spring, not a happy face. I did help convince them to keep “events” in one ad they were shortening some of the text. I need to come to few more of these meetings to make sure the Art Festival does get some help this year with its new location and other challenges it has to meet this year to be successful.

Came home to discover that Tony Laidig’s weekly Expert Media Show was canceled as he was driving during the time it usually happens to a big event in Wisconsin. So I put time in creating a special business card for the Creative Industries Summit that had a little bit of information about many of the hats I wear. Not a card I would hand out normally. And it did work very well at the Summit. If I was talking about FantaFaces, I could say, just add the normal URL info to pull up that website, same with Commonwheel Festival. Plus, I could write the proper email or website URL for different conversations on the back if that was appropriate. I handed out lots of these cards for many different conversations, so they worked well for me.

And I did get my HieroGraphics Books web site looking how I wanted it for now. It has information about the books I have written and published on CreateSpace and Kindle. Plus it has information about books I have published for other people. And lots of links to my other businesses and blogs like this one.

I did make sure I had good directions to my friend’s house and knew the route I was taking to Salida, so felt comfortable with getting on the road in the morning. What I didn’t get done was packing for the trip to Salida. And as the last email addressed that and how inefficient I was doing that, I won’t go into that here again. 

I was hoping to get my weekly hike in on the trip, but didn’t. And into this week, not sure how to get one this week. I am sure I will figure it out.

Sculptures in Salida - Rocket Man


Creative Industries Summit in Salida Colorado

On Wednesday, April 30, I was getting ready to go to the Creative Industries Summit in Salida, Colorado when I saw an email from Etsy.

A woman in Portland, Oregon needed a FantaFaces mask by Friday for a Gala Event. I sent a message back saying I knew it would cost at least $20 to ship it and if she wanted me to do that, to call me in the next half hour.

I had hoped to pack the night before, but hadn’t gotten it done, so was packing earlier in the day trying to figure out all I needed. I hadn’t traveled in a while, so was not getting it done in perfect manner. And little did I know then, that I would forget something that I needed, but luckily could do without. I did get all my Young Living Essential Oils I really needed packed. And I took each of my books in case I could use them in some way at the Summit.

About 10 minutes after sending the email,  my phone rang. The woman who wanted the mask asked if it would cost the same to ship two masks. I said yes, so yes, she wanted me to ship her two masks. She immediately paid for them and I packed them up. Since I was driving, I thought I would go to a UPS store thinking that might be cheaper than the Post Office and they guarantee two day delivery.

I got everything in the car, or so I hoped. Quite a bit later than I had meant to be leaving, but off I went. This trip was basically paid for by Manitou Springs Art Council and Commonwheel. And then I had lodging with a friend, so it was pretty much a free ride for me and I intended to enjoy it fully.

When I got to the UPS store, the clerk told me the cost would be $32 to be guaranteed delivered by Friday. That was the cost of a mask . . . I went out and tried to call the client. No answer, no way to leave a message. (What I didn’t know was that the phone number that had showed up on my phone was not her actual phone number.)

Thinking it through, I decided that if she didn’t want to pay the extra $10, it would still be better for me to just send them off and consider that I had paid a commission to Commonwheel as if I had sold it there, not Etsy. So I went in and got it shipped to her. When I asked the clerk if he wanted the email for the client, and he said it wasn’t necessary. (My second mistake, not insisting he put that on the information sheet.)

River on the way to Salida

I had decided to drive the beautiful Arkansas River canyon rather than go through South Park as I have done many times. It was a really beautiful drive and I stopped a few times to take pictures, but didn’t do a walk as I was getting a later start than planned. It was really enjoyable and beautiful to see the snow covered mountains and the very blue river surrounded by walls of interesting rocks on one side or both in some areas. There were many fishermen in the river enjoying the sunshine.

River in the Canyon

I arrived in Salida about 5pm and got to my friend’s home before she got off work. I was pretty sure I was at the right place when I saw all the plant starts seen through the window. As I walked to the door, I could see her Corgi inside. I was very happily greeted by her newly acquired Corgi and a kitty named Easy. The both just wanted petting and I was happy to oblige.  This home was away from town and had 360 degree views of mountains in the distance.

When my friend got home, we relaxed for a bit, she changed out of work clothes and gave me a tour of the homestead. Then headed into Salida for a dinner at a Riverside Cafe. I had a fish taco and Margarita, perfect way to end a day. She showed me the best way to get to and from the location where the Summit would be held at the Steamplant Event Center on the river.

SteamPlant Event Center Bikes_5904

I still couldn’t get in touch with the lady who ordered the mask to tell her that they were shipped. And when I was unpacking, I realized I had not packed my other pants . . . Luckily the ones I was wearing would work with the tops I had packed. This was a good test “drive” for packing for the week long Young Living Conference at the end of June.

Next morning I got up and took some photos of the surroundings and listened to the birds that were filling a field next to her yard.

Corgi in the Mountains

Hard to leave, but headed into Salida to register. There was a new magazine, “Colorado Journeys”  for advertising galleries around the state. I thought that very interesting and got the information on it to show our marketing person for Commonwheel.

The first day started with registration and got to see some vendors with information that related to ways to advertise or training of youngsters. Then there was the first session. After that was lunch. Lots of networking with other people that were from various cities and had other interests. An singer and a video created from his song with the help of his band members was the main focus of the presenters during lunch.

Two more sessions afterwards, then an incredible reception of local food and breweries giving samples of wines, beers, whiskey and more. Yum, and enjoyed some bourbon and wines. Then went on the Art Walk to galleries with another MSAC Board member. It was interesting to see how many galleries were also the studios of the owners. Some galleries were owned by someone who was not an artist. One had many artists work that we knew, which was fun to see. My walking partner was really good at engaging the owners in conversations and we learned a lot about the art world in Salida.

Downtown Salida Colorado

I was a little bit tired and missed the driveway to my friend’s house, but realized it quickly and got turned around and back to her place before it was totally dark.

Birds in a Field outside of Salida

My friend mentioned her feet were sore the other night and I had shared my Young Living Pine Essential Oil with her. She told me that it really helped her. I gave her a copy of my “Discover Essential Oils” book to learn more about how that one and others might help her with some other health challenges she was experiencing.

I sent an email to the person who bought the masks from her computer seeing that they had arrived in Portland that day, so felt sure they would get to her home on time. Still couldn’t reach her by phone, and I couldn’t get my voice mail in this area, so quite trying to call her or anyone.

The next morning started with a breakfast at 7am. I got there a little late, but on time enough to meet and talk with a few other new people and some I had met the day before. It was really chilly in the tent, but the food and conversation warmed us up.

There were two more sessions in the morning and the Governor’s Award Luncheon. The Guerrilla Marketing session was really interesting and gave me some ideas to use in the future for both the Festival and the Gallery. The music of Ian Cooke and the poetry reading by a young National Poetry Out Loud winner was a perfect bit of unusual entertainment for a group of Creatives.

In front of the tent was a crazy car that was part of the Trinidad Artocade that was created by an artist friend, Rodney Wood.

Rodney Wood's Artocade from Trinidad

Wild and crazy, always had people looking at it. Had a short visit with him and another friend who lives in Villa Grove and was in charge of the video equipment.

After the luncheon, I headed for home. But not before taking some photos of the kayaks in the river and the most fun bike rack – a radiator – near the Event Center. Rafting and kayaking are two major recreations on this river. And bikes are the basic mode of transportation for residents of Salida.

Bikes and Kayakers in Salida

I stopped a few times to take some more photos, but at the places that one could park, there really wasn’t anywhere to walk very far, so I just kept driving. And I was really exhausted for some reason. Thank goodness for my Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil, that kept me alert. Wish I had thought to bring some Ninja Red with me, but I hadn’t. So it goes.

I pretty much collapsed when I got home and slept deeply, knowing I couldn’t have done anything else.

Road home through the River Canyon

Celebrations with Green Drinks, a Ruby and of a Birthday

I had some good times with friends this week and took some photos of flowers and a ruby practicing with my “macro” skills.

A community member had given me a rough cut ruby to celebrate our Ruby anniversary. I had some fun photographing it on Tuesday. I had picked up a rusty bottle cap walking home Monday and the colors in it made an interesting contrast to the ruby. I was feeling a bit rough and rusty myself that day, but my spirit was shining through just as the colors of the ruby did in the sunlight.

Ruby & Rust for Old Spokes Gallery show

On Tuesday there was also a Tony Laidig Expert Media show that related more for people with SmartPhones than to me without one. There are many reasons I would like to have an iPhone, but need to make it work financially before I can make this upgrade. Just hope my “dumb” phone stays healthy for a little bit longer.

On Thursday, I got some good progress made on my “Sustainable Festival/Event” book that I would really like to have even a rough pdf version on a web site before I go to the Creative Conference in Salida next Wednesday.

I went to the Green Drinks in Old Colorado City and exchanged cards with a number of new people. Really tasty food too!

There was a Flood meeting at City Hall that started at 7pm, same time Green Drinks ended. I got there a little late, but I don’t think I missed much. Many people from a number of government organizations all had presentations. The best thing I heard was that the funding was in place for Phase 1 & Phase 2, plus they had funds to dredge the creek.

I went home and worked on preparing some photos for my hiking blog and actually did one post. Got more posts done over the weekend to almost catch up, as I am doing on this blog now.

Friday I got a meeting set-up for the Beer Garden on Monday, well, it took a few more emails over the weekend, but we did settle upon a time and place to finalize the contract.

A Commonwheel member artist sent some ideas for the  poster for the Art Festival. Art Festival committee members had chimed in on some things they liked, and some they would like to see differently. I got a bit obsessed with trying to make some changes using PhotoShop to one of the images and sent those ideas back out to the group.

I had to fast this night so I could have blood tests done in the morning at the 9Health Fair in Manitou Springs. Not really all that hard to do, just had to quit eating at 7pm so I could get blood drawn sometime after 8pm. Watched my “guilty pleasure” TV show, Survivor as I ate. Then did a bit more work on my book before going to sleep.

Saturday, my birthday, I got up, took a quick shower and “hiked” over Osage to the Congregational Community Church where the 9Health Fair was taking place. It was a bit difficult to do my morning routine without adding any Essential Oils to my body before getting dressed. But I remembered not to use them, which was good as I didn’t want to do anything to change my blood chemistry after fasting all night.

There was barely even a line for the the blood tests. So got to get that over with very quickly. And I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen in quite a long time. Also engaged in a conversation with a member of the Running Club as I waited for a test. He asked me for the URL of my hiking blog. Wouldn’t that be fun if he actually made some comments there?

There were numerous other “tests” to take and a dental “exam” available. Since it wasn’t very well attended, I did do a few more of the “tests” and learned that I need to do some more types of stretches and exercises to get my body into better shape.

And as I suspected, I really need to afford going to a dentist sooner than later. Wish my cash flow was a bit better to make that happen next month.  Will have to look at this after I return from the Creative Summit in Salida.

 My birthday was a strange day. I knew my roommate was working a 9am to 9pm shift, so I knew she wouldn’t be around to share a meal with that day. No one in my family wished me Happy Birthday. But Google+ did. Weird! Then a series of Facebook posts showed up from many friends. This continued into the next day.

A long time friend did call and ask if he could buy me dinner so we went to his favorite Ethiopian, Gluten Free restaurant, Uchenna. He is also my plumber and handy man that has been like a brother to me for many years. We got caught up talking about things not related to my house and its challenges. I really want to know more about the grain Teff that is used for the rolled “bread” that is served with many of the meals.

In my childhood, the day after my birthday was often the day to celebrate my birthday along with my Grandmother and my Uncle George, as that was their birthday date.

I woke to the smell of sage having been burned in the house before my roommate left to go tend some horses at a stable she volunteers at. She called me on her way to the horses and said she wanted to cook dinner for us and her boyfriend. I suggested we ask my plumber friend who she is also helping with some healing using herbs and she thought that to be a fine idea.

She came home with many plants for our garden as my birthday gifts. Delphiniums, an interesting vine, a Clematis and a raspberry bush in a planter because we both like raspberries.

I had bought some flowers on Friday when I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up my elastic and then to Home Depot where they were having a sale on plants.

We went out to the garden where I did some weeding and she turned some manure into one of the beds that I had cleared the day before so it could “cook” and be ready for planting late next month.

It was a cool day, which actually worked well for us working in the yard together.

We came in and she went to work in the kitchen. She got her boyfriend to bake an Angel Food cake from a mix in the pantry. He said it was rather complicated, but it came out beautifully.

As some of the food was placed on the table, she was goofing around with the plastic salad tongs making like a lobstr and they suddenly split apart and one flew towards and broke one of the wine glasses filled with wine and sending glass everywhere. That caused the salad her boyfriend had brought and the Deviled Eggs not be safe to eat. Luckily we had fresh spinach, Jicama and an Avocado to make a new salad.

And I was really grateful it wasn’t one of my hand blown or antique wine glasses that got destroyed.

It was pretty funny too. The look on her face was priceless. My laughing and smiling helped to keep the situation light-hearted. So dinner progressed without any other incident and the Angel Food cake with strawberries was the perfect cake for me with many childhood memories from when my Mom used to make them from scratch.

And then I have spent hours catching up with this blog and my hiking blog. Really past my bedtime now.


Hiking Ute Trail and a Long Day at Commonwheel Gallery in Manitou Springs

Woke up feeling a bit achy the Monday morning.

After yesterday’s gardening adventure, the muscles in my upper legs and butt were a bit sore. Though not too painful, just a good reminder that I need to exercise is ways other than hiking to keep all parts of my body in better shape.

I worked on the Commonwheel Artists Art Festival correspondences, including the Beer Garden Contract. It looks much better, more equitable for both parties. So now just need to meet to finalize it unless another objection pops up from a Festival committee member or the Board.

Backing up a couple of Fridays ago. Manitou Springs has a very fun kid oriented parade. It is a Lantern Parade and it takes place at night and on the sidewalk from Soda Springs Park to Mansions Park. I had planned on going to StarGazers and the parade started a bit late. So I didn’t get photos of the participants at the end, just the beginning.

Lantern Parade in Manitou Springs

These people walked very fast and bunched up too much for good photos, so I am sorry I didn’t go down to the end and take more pictures. I did drive by, but the parking area was very full, so I just went on to StarGazers and dancing.

The man with the street cone horn is Steve Wood and was the instigator of this idea about 4 years ago. It has grown much larger since that first Lantern Parade in Manitou Springs.

I connected with my hiking partner on Monday, and we agreed to meet for a hike in Ute Valley Park on Tuesday at 11 am. It was predicted to be the nicest day of the week and I really couldn’t go any other day, so that sounded perfect.

I went down to Swirl to meet up with people doing the Creative District tour about 4pm. The members of the tour had to leave early, but I did get to meet one of them. A couple of the tour guides and another gallery owner was there, so we had a drink and talked about upcoming art happenings and that the tour went well according to one of the guides.

I had planned on eating there, but everyone left before anyone wanted to order food, so home I went, fixed dinner, then caught up with some personal computer emails. And I think I got to bed early that night so I could be rested in the morning for the hike. And my butt did hurt, so deserved another good night healing sleep.

I met my hiking partner at a location that neither of us wanted to leave our car, so we both drove to the Ute Valley Park Trailhead. I had never seen that parking totally full, even on a weekend, but it was this day. Luckily we saw that a couple of people were finishing their hike or bike trip, so we waited for them to get in their cars and leave so we could park there.

The park is a bit dry and rocky. It had some magnificent views of Pikes Peak. And I am trying to find a very iconic view of how we interact with Pikes Peak to enter in a gallery show. The photo below is more about a view one of the trails we could hike rather than Pikes Peak and the Waldo Canyon burn scar that can be seen in the distance.

Ute Valley Park Trails in Colorado Springs

It was a lovely day, not to hot or windy. My hiking partner was feeling a bit tired this day. Whereas I was happy that the Essential Oils and a good night sleep had helped my aching butt muscles feel much better this morning and they were not a hindrance to my enjoying the day. But we didn’t hike as many trails here as we could if she had not felt tired.

Pikes Peak & Rocks at Ute Valley Park in Colorado

Still it was a lovely hike in this rather urban park. Way more mountain bikers passed us on the trail than one would have expected on a week day. Knowing that some other trails in the area have been closed since last year’s flooding, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I got some fun pictures of a few birds that posed for me in one area. I attempted to place Pikes Peak on a table (rock) at one point on the trail. Once again I wished for bluer sky when taking this photograph, but that wasn’t in the cards today. I might of even gone back when the sky cleared a bit later in the hike, but my hiking partner probably would not have agreed to retracing our steps.

After the hike I went to Costco and did a bit more grocery shopping to add some more fruits and veggies to my food options at home. I have really gotten into the Costco roasted chickens as a fast protein base of many different types of meals. But wanted some other veggies to add some variety to those meals.

Wednesday I worked all day at Commonwheel Artists Co-op. Not many people came into the gallery, but some were really fun to chat with and get them really looking at the art work in the “Old Spokes” show and other members’ work.

Art Work at Commonwheel Aritsts "Old Spokes" Gallery show

Quite a few people got into conversations about the strange creature made from recycled materials. That allowed me to talk with them about the concept behind the gallery show and Commonwheel’s 40 years of history of bringing local artists in to display and sell in the Pikes Peak Region.

Hard to make sales without people in the gallery to sell to . . . A couple did measure some work of one artist to see how it would fit in a space at their home, so that was promising. And I did sell one of my FantaFaces feather pendants, which made my day a bit better.

After I closed the Gallery to the public, there was a meeting to discuss changes some members wanted to see to the whole space or how they wanted the Coop to look in many ways. It was a somewhat heated discussion at times. There wasn’t really a feeling of compromise nor was any change actually agreed to during this discussion.

I went home really tired and was glad I had an easy quick meal to fix and eat. Then headed to bed early.

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.