Archive for May, 2010

Homes have anniversaries too – the cabin is two


2010
05.30


As I sit here at the cabin waiting for paint to dry, I realize that Memorial Day weekend, two years ago, we moved in.  I think that has to be the strangest, funniest, and most unusual move ever.

Background

My husband and I used to go for drives all the time – up Kern Canyon, to Gorman Post Road, Rancheria Road at dusk to look for animals – but we hadn’t done that in a long time.   So approximately two years five months ago, I said, “I’d like to take a ride up the canyon.”  We did, we stopped at Cheryl’s Diner for lunch, and here’s how it went from there.

The Surprise Quest

  1. We talk about how we’ll never leave Bakersfield, even though our kids and my sister and even we are always talking about escaping.
  2. We talk about how everyone wants a place close to nature, with wildlife, better air, etc.
  3. I have a V8 moment: we could BUY A CABIN close by that anyone in the family could use to get away!
  4. We quickly do calculations in our head to see if we can afford it.
  5. We start for home and pass Alta Sierra.
  6. We see an open house sign and go in.
  7. We go back the next day and make an offer.
  8. We start escrow and then pull out when we find out improvements were made without building permits.

The Right Place

  1. Once started, momentum builds until we find the cabin we want.
  2. Being us, it doesn’t take very long.  Why confuse ourselves with too many choices?
  3. To get to this cabin to see it, however, we hike about ½ mile in deep snow.
  4. Our realtor slips and slides behind us in her Uggs.
  5. We get there, stand on the balcony, look down, and see a plowed road.  All the hiking for naught.
  6. Mark gets the car and brings it to us.
  7. We make the offer and wait for the brand new cabin (ok, a two-story house) to be finished.

The Preparation

  1. Ikea becomes our best friend.
  2. We make scale models of the rooms and scale models of the beds we liked at Ikea
  3. “We” means my husband because I can’t make anything precise that has numbers involved.
  4. Goal – sleep as many people as possible.
  5. We move the little beds around the little rooms and find we can sleep 12 if we buy two bunks that are queen sized on the bottom and single on the top.  Plus four beds and regular bunks.
  6. We make trip after trip to Ikea in Burbank, 90 miles away.
  7. Once, we pick up my sister at the Burbank airport and barely have room for her in the car.  Yes, we’d been to Ikea.

The Move, Memorial Day Weekend, 2008

That’s the cabin way up there.  The U-haul is in the neighbor’s driveway.

  1. Rent the U-haul.
  2. Enlist as many people as we can to help, which is the grandkids, our daughter, and her husband.  My brother showed up for a while too.
  3. Drive the U-haul and crammed cars and find we can make it easier by parking the U-haul in the neighbor’s driveway.
  4. Begin to understand just how steep our driveway (which is dirt) is as innumerable trips are made to the car.
  5. Realize stairs would be very helpful.
  6. Finally get it all in, realizing that tired Mark and Matt have to assemble all the beds by bedtime.
  7. Have the grandkids assemble all the lamps so we’ll have plenty of light.
  8. Turn on the faucets and find out we have NO HOT WATER!
  9. Call the builder in a panic, leave a message, figure out how to configure dial-up internet and send the builder an email.
  10. Get no response.
  11. Call the electrician whose name the builder gave us.

And next

  1. Watch the ELECTRICITY go out, negating the rush to put the lamps together.
  2. TRY NOT TO PANIC EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT LIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS AND PROPANE TANKS AND SEPTIC SYSTEMS AND WHO TO ASK FOR ANYTHING.
  3. Calm down
  4. Walk a couple of houses away, find out their electricity is out also, borrow candles, and go out to dinner.
  5. Laugh so hard on the way back from dinner, probably about nothing at all although cows figured in, that emergency restroom moments occur.
  6. The ELECTRICITY IS ON.
  7. The electrician has stopped by just out of kindness (Matt didn’t go to dinner) and says the hot water heater is no good.
  8. Send more panicked messages to builder.

Next

  1. Listen to your daughter tell the kids that they CANNOT STAY all weekend and they’ll be leaving the next day.
  2. Endure general displeasure.
  3. Sleep.

Settling in


  1. Get up Sunday morning to find the Bakersfield Six (grandkids) have made PROTEST SIGNS and “chained” themselves to the beds to prevent leaving.
  2. Have mom waver on leaving.
  3. Continue unpacking, go to Lake Isabella to pick up some needed items from a city that has a good hardware store, a Vons, but not much else.  Oh yes, a McDonalds.
  4. Return to find the kids washing their hair in COLD WATER just to prove they can do it without hot water.

Walking down to the Greenhorn Grill for lunch

  1. Go to lunch, get seated, look at the table next to us, and it’s OUR BUILDER who has not returned any messages.
  2. He says, “after I finish eating, I’ll install a NEW HOT WATER HEATER I have in my truck.”  (He only lives about 4 HOURS away.)
  3. His name changes from BUILDER to GOD.
  4. The mood lightens.

Monday morning

  1. We see a deer.
  2. Even though it’s Memorial Day, it lightly snows.

The rest of the weekend proceeds smoothly, but wow, what an introduction.

AND THEN we proceed to enjoy the cabin.  Mark builds stairs, we get asphalt put on the driveway, and we spend quite a bit of time up there.  I love going up alone.  I don’t think I’d be doing art if it weren’t for the cabin.  The kids come up, we sled in the winter, laze in the summer, and do a whole lot of nothing.

We have our Chinese lanterns on the balcony and I have my Star Trek flag hanging.

This is the wildlife we’ve seen, mostly on the drive up and back.

Wild turkeys

Wild turkey chicks

Quail

Robins

Stellar jays

Western tanager

Rose-breasted nuthatch

White-headed woodpecker

Black-eyed junco

Ravens

Other woodpeckers

Magpies

Martin – it was amazing to see a martin

Deer

Wildcats – I’ve seen four!

Coyote

Raccoons

Looking back at older posts, I see I’ve written lots about cabin adventures.  I don’t think my husband is enjoying it very much – yet – but this year we can work on that.  The rest of the family loves it.  During these years, retired but not old, family seems to be what it’s all about.  Giving your family good times and pleasure is everything.


And another one…nameless as yet


2010
05.29


Got one more collage done at the cabin that I think I’m entering in a show called Latination that Metro Galleries has in the fall.  In fact, Metro Galleries (that’s where I had my show last October) has a new website and it’s fantastic.  You can take a look here – and if you click the tab for past exhibits, you’ll see Altered Landscapes which was mine.  Anyway, be sure and use my link – it’s themetrogalleries.com.   Good thing I double-checked because I forgot the “the” at first and got to a site where I could get videos of hot girls kissing.  No thanks.

AND tomorrow I plan to do two things – catch up on everyone’s blogs and continue learning how to use the droid incredible.  My friend Michael called this evening from Sydney – yep, the one down under.  Miraculously, I managed to answer the call.  Answering is hit and miss, but the next thing I’m doing is reading the manual on answering.  New phones.  I’ll figure it out.

So here’s the new collage.

!

And here’s The Apple again.  Yesterday I said I had to fix something – a red part on a branch that I wanted to be just newsprint.  It looks WAY better.  Amazing what one little thing will do.

P.S.  I think the cats are happy that I’m home.


The Apple


2010
05.28


Yes! Finally.  I did a collage!  It’s been sooooo long since I’ve done anything but fingerpaint with grandkids.  The move gobbled up our time and energy, but now I’m at the cabin – been here since Tuesday all by myself – and I got something done.  Tomorrow, another.  This one, The Apple, is acrylic and collage materials (newspaper, crate label) on canvas.  It’s 16 x 20.

The tree on the left is full of negative words and headlines; on the right, positive.  Kind of an obvious theme but I wanted to do it.  I need to change one thing, however – the red paper on the branch on the right.  Needs to be neutral.


Confessions of a Photo Junkie


2010
05.27


You know who you are because your camera is your fifth appendage.

You have a running battle with yourself when you consider leaving the house without it. It’d be nice just to take a quick walk through the forest without the camera around my neck.  But what if I see a bear? I’ve never seen a bear, why should I see one now? Actually, my chances are probably better without the camera.  And I leave the house with my camera around my neck.  And walk through the forest, and I don’t see a bear.

But you DO see a red-breasted nuthatch!

You decide to drive down the hill to Kernville for lunch.  You’re tired of being cooped up in the cabin working on art, which is hard work.  It’s a scenic drive, so of course you take the camera even though you’re not in a picture-taking mood.  You stop once because it’s an incomparable view, but it never looks the same out of the car.  You even know the picture won’t be any good.

Of course, you completely forget your small ladder is in the back just so you can regain the height you lost stepping out of the car.

You have the realization, which you’ve had before but you’re having it again, that all your photos are taken from the perspective of someone 5’ 2”.  You decide to recruit people of all different heights ( i.e. family) to take the same picture at the same time and then compare perspectives.  You can’t stop thinking pictures.

You stop one more time on a wide pull-out  because, be honest, it’s hard to pass a pull-out and not stop because if you don’t you’re always fighting the battle with yourself.  Maybe I should have stopped.  Should I go back? What did I miss?

This time, though, you see a dead skunk.  Yes, you actually consider whether or not to take a picture of it.  But then the skunk moves.  It’s alive, and it’s dying.  You know now that taking a picture is completely out of the question.  You watch as the skunk tries to move, raising its head and trying to pull itself forward with front paws.  You realize that its back end is injured, by a car of course (and you fervently hope it wasn’t on purpose), and you watch as that little animal valiantly tries to live while life is slowly ebbing away.

All you can think about on the rest of the drive is that skunk.

Finally you get to Cheryl’s Diner for the cheeseburger you’ve been thinking about.  You leave the camera in the car.  How could you possibly need a photo of Cheryl’s Diner?  (Except that driving home, you wish you had a picture of Cheryl’s Diner for the blog.) After lunch you walk along the Kern River, and now it’s all over.  The photo junkie takes over.

And after that first picture, that first click of the shutter, you’re doomed.  Doomed to take photo after photo of the same thing just in case one is better than the other.  You think, how many river pictures do I need, anyway, as you click away furiously.  You say I absolutely will not take a picture of the sky and clouds because I’m becoming a cloud freak. You say, there might be sky in this picture but really, it’s a picture of the river.  I know people are starting to laugh at me.  My 15-year-old granddaughter texts me when it’s a good sky day.  It’s out of hand.

But, you tell yourself, clouds are like deer.  No matter how many you see, the next one excites you.

So of course you take a picture.

And of course you take more than one.  Because you probably don’t have a picture of the clouds just so.  The shade of the blue sky might be slightly different.  That’s a different pattern.  You’ve never taken that photo that causes everyone to gasp when they see it.  Plus, you haven’t been in National Geographic yet.

You pass some yellow flowers thinking, I don’t think I’ve seen those yet this year.  But I have zillions of flower photos. You stop.

When you get home, the first thing you do is upload your photos.  You can’t wait to see them, although you just finished seeing the real thing.  You scrutinize each one, deciding which ones to discard, and you keep them all.  You just never know…

Yes, you’re a photo junkie, and for the photo junkies out there – you know exactly what I mean.


The Permanence of Temporary Things


2010
05.25


Today I drove up to the cabin.  It’s been a long time because our impulse purchase of a house kept us pretty busy.  Plus the soccer tourney in Las Vegas, and visiting my daughter in Colorado. Oh, and the Black Eyed Peas concert.  Yes, we picked a busy time to move and as far as art goes, it’s been a long dry spell.  In Colorado, I resorted to finger painting with the grandkids. I’ve got some art ideas, though, so I loaded the car and headed up for almost a week.  It’s ridiculous how much I bring so I can work – but what can I do? I can’t afford two studios.

I didn’t bring the cats this time!  My husband took out the carriers a little too soon; Lily took a look and went behind the couch.  This time, Tiger joined her.  And I found myself thinking, the cats will be bored at the cabin. They can’t go outside.  Here, they have a full and rich life.  A full and rich life? Seemed odd to think of a cat’s life in that way.  But my husband also realized they should stay home to chase birds and stare at frogs.  Add those activities to sleeping and it’s a cat’s full and rich life.

As I drove, I found myself noticing the progression of grasses and plants.  Down at the lower elevations, all the lush green spring grass is brown, and the profusion of wildflowers is no more.  They don’t last – their presence is temporary.  But next year, if the rains are good, they’ll be back.  If not, the year after or the next.  In that regard, the wildflowers have permanence.  They are always, permanently, a part of spring, they just don’t last long.

Gaining some elevation, the grass under the trees was still green.

And higher yet, wildflowers.

Those fleeting, transitory bursts of color are now blooming at the higher elevations.

They didn’t cover entire fields as they do at the lower elevations– no matter.  They had taken the stage once again, only to have a short but brilliant run.

I saw a silvery bush and thought, oh, what’s that?  Should I stop?  Then I remembered.  It’s the purple thistle, the latest bloomer.  We could count on it again.  Doesn’t that make it permanent?  Another purple plant was making its last stand – for this year.

I missed the blooming of the buckeye trees this year – it doesn’t last all that long.  But next year I’ll see them.  Those stem-like things pointing up all over the trees? When in bloom, they are a mass of white flowers.  Stunning.  Again, I missed bloom due to its transitory nature, but baring a major environmental catastrophe, they’ll bloom again as the permanence of their cycle repeats.

We have free range cattle on one section of the road – Highway 155.  A calf was feeding right at the roadside, so I grabbed my camera and shot through the windshield just in case.

But as I pulled up with the side window down, the cow just stared at me.  Usually, they run, but that calf was intent on its meal.

You can talk about permanence as temporary here also.  The calves are born, grow and eventually die.  Meanwhile, the permanence of that cycle continues.

Can I interrupt here for a photography moment? There’s a tab for photo tips on this blog, and somewhere in there I talk about looking closely at your shots and not rejecting them out of hand if something doesn’t seem good enough.  And sure enough, look at this next cow picture.  Partial cows – a throwaway?  No.  Mom and baby match – how much their heads show, one eye.  It’s kind of cool to see it that way.

Interruption concluded.

Almost at Old State Road, the turnoff to Alta Sierra where our cabin is, I saw a blinding flash of color.  Oh my gosh, it was a bird.  Lucky I drive slowly up here, because I stopped to marvel at this bright yellow bird with the bright orange head.  Luckily again, the people behind me were driving slowly also, because they had to stop.  I’m sure they wondered what that crazy lady was looking at, because of course the tanager (it was a Western Tanager) was gone.  This image is from a bird website.

Just in case, I pulled over and watched for a while.  No luck.  That tanager is still there but for me it was a fleeting, impermanent moment.

I concluded that the whole idea was like eating in season.  You eat blueberries when blueberries are in season.  Then the rest of the year you don’t.  Same for all produce.  Again, foods of a transitory nature that are permanent in that they grow each year.  Especially if someone plants them.

It’s a good way to organize parts of life. We don’t get tired of what we have for that very short time (except zucchini, we get tired of zucchini) so we appreciate it all the more.  That’s why the artists Jean-Claude (deceased this year) and Christo make temporary art.  My husband and I worked on the Umbrellas and the Gates projects.  People lamented losing the umbrellas after their short blooming.  But if they were there still?  They’d be tattered and faded and no one would be looking any more.

But Mark and I look, and we still see them.  Every time we drive by Gorman and see the big sign, (this photo is courtesy of this photostream – anarchosyn’s photostream – on flickr) –

we think our umbrella hills are those, right there, where we installed them and opened them on that magic day.  For us, they are permanent.


Book report: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


2010
05.24

Just finished an amazing book by Rebecca Skloot.  Non-fiction. It’s about cells – HeLa cells.  Cells that are immortal because they grow and grow and grow, existing in probably every lab in the world.  Where did they come from? The cervix of Henrietta Lacks, a black woman who died young from cervical cancer.  The tissue had been removed without her permission during a procedure and that tissue truly revolutionized cell culture.

Ok, so what is so compelling about a science story? Imagine being black during Jim Crow, having little education, living in a downtrodden area of Baltimore.  Besides all the ramifications to that, which this book deftly describes, you have children.  After you die, your children know nothing about you, have one image – the one on this book cover – and some 20 years later, they find out you are still alive.  Or your cells are still alive.  They find out about HeLa.

At first I thought, so what?  So your mom’s cells are alive in cultures, have been used in major scientific discoveries such as the polio vaccine.  But it’s not a “so what?”  To this family, those cells WERE their mother, and as Skloot delves into the mystery of who Henrietta Lacks was and unravels it after spending literally years gaining the trust of the family, I gradually began to understand.

I’m not sure I can explain how powerful the moment was when I realized the emotional complexity of sorting out your mother from cells, or knowing cells as your mother, which helps the children define themselves.  To them, HeLa IS their mother.

These are HeLa cells.  Henrietta’s daughter carried this picture for a long time before giving it to her brother.  To them, it was a picture of their mother.

Their story touches upon so many issues, many of which are with us today – issues of abuse, poverty, lack of education, striving without too much hope of achieving.  Racism is alive in this story and it’s unsettling because of what Skloot and Henrietta’s daughter discover.  It’s a story of greed also – from many sides.  It’s also a story of self-discovery and growth and amazing strength.

If you have time, or can make time, read it.  You won’t want to put it down, and you will start to see life in a new way.  What is that way?  I don’t know – I’m still synthesizing my feelings and conclusions.  But it has to do with knowing oneself, and how a huge, grounding chunk of yourself comes from knowing your parents, especially your mother. Even if all you have is a picture of her cells, cells that became famous without your knowledge.

Flip the coin and imagine how the scientific world viewed HeLa differently when they had a face and name to put to them.  Someone to honor.

Finding your mom and getting to know her through cells is just almost more than the mind can grasp.  It’s a powerful story, a non-fiction page-turner.  Read it.

Being non-judgmental, inclusive, generous and positive: a reminder from the Glamberts


2010
05.23


“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes” ……. Mahatma Gandi

Late yesterday afternoon I did a quick check-in on Twitter and saw that Adam Lambert would be coming up on the KISS concert in Boston. Great timing for me – I didn’t even know there was a KISS concert.  I’m don’t know much about this radio live-streaming stuff.  As I waited, I reflected on my fangirl experience and realized I’d learned a lot about being non-judgmental.

I believe I have basically always been non-judgmental in that I try to be open to anyone, no matter how odd that person seems at first or what he or she looks like.  Others in my family tell me so – and that they operate from exclusion, not inclusion – they say so, not me.  I’m the one that invites people to Thanksgiving when they have no where else to go, and at first my family was not happy.  But I was cooking the dinner so I did it anyhow, and it turned out just fine.  Still does.  Why would we not include people if we are able to?

As I embarked upon my year-long study of fandom and started following other glamberts (fans of Adam Lambert) on Twitter, sometimes I’d think, That person is a little scary; why is that person so obsessed, or that person must be living in a fantasy world.  As I prepared to go to Fantasy Springs for Adam’s first concert, I bought flashing antenae, which – face it – could be seen as more than a little weird. And, let’s face it again, I was being judgmental about something I had no real knowledge of.  And I was a little bit scared. But I started to meet people, people I’d known only on Twitter, or whom I hadn’t even seen on Twitter.

This is what I found out. One woman, who seemed a little bitter and in need of attention, had experienced an unexpected divorce a year prior, right when Adam’s season of Idol began.  She had no children and was adrift.  This was giving her an anchor, at least until she sorted other things through.  Others had simiilar situations.  Some were just having fun.  Some, like me, had just fallen in love with this wonderful man and felt fiercely protective and supportive.  I didn’t think I was scary, obsessed or living in a fantasy world (although sometimes I’d like to).  Why had I been feeling so judgmental?

And I found out this: I was one of those fangirls that could be seen as a little obsessed (but could we say focused instead of obsessed?).  According to my previous thinking, I was just as scary as anyone else.

I remembered that one of my daughters likes the eHow I wrote on How to Control your Anger in Traffic better than any of the others.  In that little article I said it wasn’t worth getting fussed at drivers who sped ahead, did something rude, because we didn’t know what was going on with them.  Sure, they may be rude people, but they may be rushing to get to a hospital or a child, they may have had a horrible day, someone in the family may have died – we just don’t know.  So how can we make judgments? Perhaps of an act, but  not of a person.  If I live by the premise I try to, that everyone is doing the best they can, where they are with what they have, I have to believe that the rude person is doing the same.  I don’t have to like it or befriend that person, but there is it.

And this is what I found out, and have continued to see on twitter: the Glamberts are kind, generous, non-judgmental, inclusive, and caring.  They are positive people.

And I realized this: Adam never says anything negative about anything or anybody.  He’s a master of diplomacy, yet – that’s the way he is inside.  He is always telling people to be positive, that being resentful is “so yesterday,” that entitlement “isn’t sexy,” and when his fans ask if he likes gifts from them, he says of course he does, but he’d be happy if people gave him receipts from charities they’d donated to instead.  How can you not love this beautiful human being – beautiful inside and out – with an indescribable voice?

I guess like attracts like, and that’s why Adam has attracted such a large, loyal fan base that share his values.  He sets a positive, non-judgmental, inclusive tone.  When a Glambert -or – anyone – says something negative on twitter, that person hears about it – nicely, from other Glamberts.

Last night when being interviewed and asked about the fan gift thing, Adam said to donate to a charity and give him the receipt instead of a gift.  He didn’t specify what charity.  I tweeted to @glamulli to help spread the word about the fund drive I’m involved in to build the statue for Fannie Lou Hamer., seeing it as an opportunity to maybe bring in some money and shoulder my part of the fundraising effort.  I said $10 a person would help even. And that I thought Adam would approve of this charity.

@Glamulli did retweet my request because Glamberts can count on the support of other Glamberts.  It’s actually amazing.  Already someone has tweeted she made a donation, and not for Adam this time, but because Fannie Lou Hamer needs to be “remembered and celebrated.”

I’ve not been successful getting many donations. A plea on facebook resulted in two.  I’m guessing I’ll get more from Glamberts than any other source. It’s easy to donate on Fannie Lou Hamer.

So that’s my train of thought, my journey through judgment in the last few days, my belief that being inclusive is so much more positive than being exclusive.  I’m glad I was reminded of it because since I am not a perfect person, I have to keep on striving.  I hope I never become a perfect person – it would probably be boring – and it would end the journey, the climb.  We’ve got to keep climbing until the very end, when we topple over into wherever it is we end up.

Benjamin Franklin said it well: “The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.”

And like Fannie Lou Hamer, celebrate the positive.



Walk for the Arts


2010
05.21

I’ve been meaning to do this post since last Saturday.  I keep telling folks about Bakersfield and what a great little city we are and how our arts scene is exploding.  Last Saturday we had something called Walk for the Arts The Arts Council of Kern was behind the event, but many organizations formed teams to participate.    You walked a leisurely 5K, getting your passports stamped at 22 locations.  All galleries and museums were open with free admission, and there was music everywhere. At first, I said I couldn’t participate – I can’t remember why but I think I was supposed to be out of town.  As it turned out, I didn’t go out of town but I couldn’t have walked much anyhow after dropping that ladder on my toe. (The swelling is almost gone and it doesn’t look so scary anymore.) This is Jeanette Richardson, executive director of the Arts Council and she has really taken the organization to new heights as well as a position of respect in the State.  That would be the state of California. I took my granddaughter, one of the six of them anyhow, and went down to see a few things.  There’s a coffee house downtown called Caffeine Supreme, and I can’t argue with the premise for that name.  Thank goodness coffee is now good for you!  Anyhow Gina, the owner, has organized a farmer’s market/craft fair every Saturday – one more feather for us! This is Gina.  Ali and I enjoyed walking around the craft fair but took to the car after that.  Here’s a few photos of what we saw. This is a general idea.  It was a gorgeous terrific day. It was great to see the teens participating.  BECA has a table every Saturday – remember BECA? Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists. We drove over to the Health Expo where my daughter had a booth. My daughter is a neurofeedback technician.  If you know anyone with migraines, or chronic pain read this.  I’ll link to her web page so you can read about neurofeedback. Because many severe migraine sufferers are no longer having headaches, servicemen and women with PTSD (the link is to a local couple’s PTSD Diary and it can help others to understand just what they are coping with.  They talk about neurofeedback) are starting to relax, kids with ADHD are calming down.  It’s not a cure all but it works.  It saved my daughter’s life by enabling her to deal with chronic back pain resulting from botched surgery. No matter where you are in the country, Kim’s website can help you locate the neurofeedback provider closest to you. Next – lunch.  I took my granddaughter to Brimstone at the newly remodeled Padre Hotel and saw the biggest limo ever!  Inside we saw a bridal party taking photos. So that’s it.  Short day.  Time to return home for toe rest.  And other rest too.  I’m getting into one of those strange states of mind – I’m distracted, I’m Elsewhere. Ok, I’m not actually at the Elsewhere studio in Paonia, CO, but I’m going up to the cabin soon for some alone creative time.  I feel ideas about to spill over.  So I’m printing photos I think I’ll want to use and I’m raring to go Elsewhere.

The Shutter Clique: Oh Snap


2010
05.19


I know I’ve been saying for some time now that Bakersfield, CA is no longer a cow town. I’ve been talking about the burgeoning art scene – new galleries, First Fridays, and now something new (for me, anyhow) – The Shutter Clique! I can’t tell you much more about this group yet because my friend Terry Telford just told me about it.  Terry, whom I think I met on Twitter, can tell you anything about what’s going on.  She may not know it, but she’s my guide. I have a link to BakoArtistConnect on the sidebar – that’s Terry’s site, and also to Bakersfield Express, an online publication that covers the arts well.

Anyway, The Shutter Clique meets once a month for photo shoots, and last night we met at the old Woolworth’s store in downtown Bakersfield.  The Pink Ladies, who I think raise money for charity, volunteered to dress up and spend an hour or so, and a few kind folks brought their period cars.

What a whirlwind it was!  Speaking of whirlwinds, a photographer named Patrick Ang made a video of the whole thing – you can watch it here – and I think you should.  So entertaining.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million.  The woman in green at the beginning of the video is Jennifer Williams and she seemed to be in charge.  Perhaps she started the group.

So here we go.

Once we got started photographers were zooming around, getting shots from every angle.  It was like paparazzi.  And I had a rude awakening:  the only angle I could photograph from was the 5’2″ perspective.  Or straddle my legs like a tent.  It seems the getting up and down isn’t what it once was.

Great setting – I felt like I was in the movie Grease.  But – Sandy wouldn’t have recognized these ladies.  No skin-tight body suits for the Pink Ladies (ok guys, you have all seen Grease – right?)  In our day, we’re talking tats and piercings.

Oh the horror of it all – those 50’s parents would be shocked.  Of course, I have a tattoo also and soon I’m getting number two; plus we’re all parents, and we’re not shocked.

You know, I don’t even own a pair of glamorous shoes.  How I’d love to walk around in heels – but I’d fall over.  Age does take its toll.  I bet my Twitter friend Katherine has plenty of glamorous shoes.

The cars were really something. We were so proud of those automobiles – the bigger the better.

Gorgeous ladies – so nice to volunteer their time for us photogs.

Someone brought a very well-behaved dog.  This is my favorite picture of the batch.

You know, it was kind of funny being there.  My style of photography is slower and more deliberate.  I didn’t go popping around snap snap snap.  That’s not to say I won’t do that.  I’m going to learn so much from this group – watching them and looking at their photos.  There are always new ways to see.

I love how on my Canon 7D I can switch from color to black and white easily.

Even though the colors are popping, the black and whites seem more real.  I always marvel at that.

Ladies, let’s have some attitude.

And simple elegance.  Look at the fins on that Cadillac.  They went on for days.


Christina Sweet, who is multi-talented and very sweet, wants you all to know the cigarette is just a prop.  Hear that, kids?  I doubt that Christina’s kids will be reading my blog.

Me and my patterns – I like how the dress is reflected in the car.

So that’s it, folks.  My first go at this type of activity and it was great.  I am thankful, I mean really, deeply thankful, that there are younger people full of energy to get these kinds of groups going.

Coming attractions

Still have a post to write about the artisan fair at Caffeine Supreme, the Walk for the Arts, and the recent health fair.

The idea: maybe it’s enough


2010
05.17


The Idea


I need an idea.  I want to write a poem.

To write a poem, ideas must flow like kids on waterslides,

ideas more profound than isn’t the sky beautiful?

or, it’s a good cloud year, isn’t it?

But it has been a good cloud year, a good sky year.

My town, hung over with haze in summer,

cloaked in fog for the cold months,

has skies the size of the ocean

and skies as blue as the sea.

Maybe our skies are the ocean,

our clouds the waves.

We’re living upside-down.

Because my town has skies that billow,

shapes that tease of marshmallows and cream.

My town is in the West.

The West is the best of course.

Nothing interrupts the sky.

Maybe it’s ok to write a poem

about good cloud years and beautiful skies

after all.

Because skies and clouds take you out of yourself

and toss you into nature’s power and beauty.

Maybe that’s enough.