Monday, November 30, 2009

I Did It!

Well it is November 30th and this is my 30th post. So I managed to crank out 30 post in 30 days and I completed NaBloPoMo. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be trying to find something to write about. Most of the days were easy to find something to write about but there were times that I sat at the computer and struggled about what I should write and there were even times I had to come back to the computer two or three times to complete a post. Some of the post this month were pretty personal - not something I usually feel comfortable doing. But I found that it was a little cathartic and it felt good. Other post were nothing but fluff and probably a little boring but it got me to write. I was able to sit down, gather some thoughts and eventually get them down in words. They may not all make sense and maybe one day I will down and read them all and see what I get out of them. Even though it was a struggle on some days I have to say I enjoyed this challenge. I am not sure if I could continue writing something everyday, it was pretty challenging and a little time consuming. Maybe in a few months, after the holidays are over I may take this challenge again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Isn't It Suppose to be Winter?

Winter started early for us in Santa Fe or so we thought. We had some snow and a few cold weeks back in October but then it was gone. Well not all gone, the mountains still have some snow on them but not much. Ski Santa Fe has had to postpone their opening due to lack of snow and warmer temperatures. The last few weeks have been unseasonably warm and the days have been beautiful. Now I am not complaining because I love the sunny days where the temperatures only require you to wear a light jacket. But I am missing the cold and the snow. Since moving to New Mexico I have come to relate the holidays with the cold. I not sure why. I grew up in Louisiana and can remember wearing shorts for Christmas. Now that I have experienced that "White Christmas" I just feel like the cold and snow just make it all more Christmasy.

The weather reports for this weekend called for colder temperatures and some snow. Well here it is Sunday night and it is a little colder than it had been but there has been no snow. Well at least not in town. Hopefully, the ski basin has gotten some new snow. I decorated the house for Christmas this weekend and was looking forward to seeing some snow on the ground. We will be traveling to Louisiana for Christmas this year and I am hoping that we get some snow in Santa Fe before we leave - it would make the holidays a little more special.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tis the Season

Today I spent most of the day decorating the house for Christmas. I have lots of ornaments - I collect Hallmark ornaments, Radko Ornaments and Thomas and I also collect pairs of ornaments when we travel. I spent a lot of time just unpacking things. The ornaments are kept in their own boxes so I have to unwrap them. I put up two trees - one has all the Hallmarks ornaments and the other one has all the other ornaments. One tree is completely done now. That is the Hallmark tree. We also got those boxes back into the attic and out of the way. Some of the Hallmark ornaments don't go on the tree. I scatter those around the house on shelves and tabletops. I also got wreaths up on the doors and a few other decorations put up around the house. Tomorrow I hope to put up the second tree and get the rest of the decorations up as well.

I really enjoy decorating and it usually takes me two to three days. Partly because I look at each ornament and reflect on where we got it or why we got it. Putting up the ornaments really bring back memories and get the holidays off to a great start. We are planning to drive to Louisiana to see my family for Christmas so we really only have about three weeks to enjoy the decorations. So if we can finish decorating the house tomorrow we can just sit back and enjoy them and have time to do some shopping and do some other holiday things. Well here is to a great holiday season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Christmas Season Begns

Well, its Black Friday and I didn't step one foot into any store. Honestly, I just don't get it. Stores are open every single day. Do you really have to get up at 4:00am to go shopping? I don't care what kind of deals they are having, the idea of this is just ludicrous. And it's not just the getting up and out to the store so early, it's the crowds and the pushing and lines. I think I will leave my Christmas shopping for another day.

So instead I stayed home and worked on some things around the house. One thing I did was get the Christmas decorations out of the attic. I got the tree set up but the ornaments won't go on until tomorrow. I also got wreaths on the doors and a few other things up around the house. I am looking forward to the holidays and I love the way everything looks with all the decorations - just so festive. I am hoping to finish up tomorrow and have the boxes back up in the attic. That way I can just sit back and enjoy them.

We don't have a lot of exciting things planned for the holidays yet but we do have a few. Dinner with friends on a couple of weekends. A play and dinner with cousins in Albuquerque. And we will be traveling back to Louisiana to spend Christmas with my family. I am hoping that the holidays are relaxing and fun. Sometimes you try to do too much and it just becomes too stressful - I am going to work hard on avoiding the stress. So here is to a happy holiday season.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

Thomas and I had a very relaxing and quiet Thanksgiving day. It was the two of us and his Dad. We had turkey, cornbread dressing, green beans and rolls. For dessert we had apple and pecan pies. We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning while cooking and this afternoon we watched Angels and Demons and Night at the Museum. We talked about how lucky we are and how thankful we are for our lives.

I am most thankful for Thomas. At the end of December we will celebrate our 20th year together. This relationship has been so incredible and he will never really know how much I love him even though I tell him constantly. He is supportive of everything I do and is always there for me. He is the kindest, most loving person I know and I am lucky to have him. Thomas, thank you for an incredible 20 years and for everything you do and for who you are.

There are other things I am thankful for . . . family, friends, our health, our wonderful home, having jobs in these trying times, comfortable lives, freedom to travel and the ability to live our lives as we want to. We had a wonderful day and we want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lets Take a Walk

I frequently go for walks around Santa Fe exploring different areas and always looking for something new to see or something I missed on previous walks. I also take pictures during these walks so I try to look at things differently. For my post today I decided to take you along for a walk in downtown Santa Fe.

I decided today to park in the PERA Building parking lot as my starting point for my walk. This lot is across Old Santa Fe Trail from the New Mexico State Capitol (aka The Roundhouse). I didn't go into the Capitol today but I do make a point to visit every now and then. There is a large art collection in the building and they have different exhibits in the Rotunda - so I like to stop in to see what is going on. But instead I headed toward downtown on Old Santa Fe Trail. I passed the Lamy Building (which houses a Visitor's Center) and across the street is the Guadalupe Cafe (a great place for breakfast). As I walked down the road I passed Rio Chama and the Pink Adobe - two popular restaurants. After a short walk I reached the San Miguel Mission (claims to be the oldest church in the country). I stopped and took a few pictures and then continued. Just across De Vargas Street from the Mission is my favorite pizza place in Santa Fe - Upper Crust Pizza. From here I continued up Old Santa Fe Trail passing Garret's Desert Inn/Ze French Bistro and crossing Alameda Street. I walked past The Inn at Loretto and stopped at Loretto Chapel. I took a few pictures but didn't go in. But if you are visiting Santa Fe it is worth a look - the Chapel houses the Miraculous Staircase. Across from the Chapel there are a few galleries that are nice to walk through. I reached the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Water Street. I turned left and reached the corner of Shelby and Water. Usually I turn right here and make my way to the Plaza. But today I continued on Water Street. I stopped in at Santa Fe Hemp - they have lots of items made from hemp as well as some great bumper stickers and buttons. Always a nice time stopping in here. Just past this store is Cafe Pasqual's - I understand it is a nice place to eat but I have been in Santa Fe for 20 years now and have never eaten here. This is at the corner of Water Street and Don Gaspar. One of my favorite places in Santa Fe is at this corner - Doodlets. This is a great little shop with lots of eclectic and fun merchandise. After a short visit here I walked up Don Gasper and turned right on San Francisco Street and made my way to the Plaza. I turned left on Lincoln and walked past another nice restaurant - Plaza Cafe. At the corner of Lincoln and Palace I took some pictures of the Plaza and the Palace of the Governors and then turned left on Palace and walked in front of the Museum of Fine Arts. A short walk took me to the corner of Palace and Grant. At this corner there is the Chuck Jones Gallery and the Santa Fe County Offices. I turned right onto Grant and reached the corner of Grant and Johnston. A little ways down Johnston is the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum - I opted to just keep walking on Grant and skipped the museum today. I walked past the Georgia O'Keeffe Research Center and reached the corner of Grant and Marcy. Here is where the new Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau is located. I didn't go into the building but I did walk around it and through the courtyard and took some pictures. The Convention Center takes up most of the block and by walking through I ended up on Federal Place. Across the street from the Convention Center is the main Post Office and next to that is the Federal Courthouse. I walked past both of these buildings and reached the corner of Federal Place and Lincoln. I made a right turn on Lincoln and ended up at Marcy Street. I turned left here and walked past Design Warehouse, Il Piatto Restaurant and Marcy Street Card Shop before reaching Washington Street. I made a right turn and passed the Santa Fe Public Library, Inn of the Anasazi, The New Mexico History Museum and The Palace of the Governors. Now I was at the corner of Washington and Palace. I turned left on Palace and walked pass lots of shops and a few restaurants and galleries - Rainbow Man, The Shop, Kokopelli Gallery, Susan's Christmas Shop, The Shed and then I turned into Sena Plaza. In this area is Goler Shoes, La Casa Sena, Poem, Todos Santos and a few other shops. I walked around and took some pictures and then continued on my walk. I turned right on Cathedral Place and walked past Cathedral Park, Institue for American Indian Arts, St. Francis Cathedral and La Fonda Hotel. I followed Cathedral Place around a curve and stopped at the corner of Cathedral Place and Water Street. I turned right on Water and walked past Old Santa Fe Trail to the intersection of Shelby. I turned left here and made my way to Alameda. I crossed the street and walked across a bridge over the Santa Fe River. I turned right and followed a path along the river for just a short way. I turned right and went through a gate and a parking lot for some apartments eventually reaching De Vargas Street. At this point I was at the North Capitol Complex. I turned left on De Vargas and walked past the Inn of the Five Graces and the Santa Fe Playhouse. I reached Old Santa Fe Trail and was back at Upper Crust Pizza and San Miguel Mission. If I had turned right here I would have returned to my car in a few minutes. Instead I decided to continue on De Vargas. I passed the Mission and Upper Crust and then passed the Oldest House in Santa Fe and then reached the Mission Cafe. Across from the cafe is the PERA Building and the parking lot where I started. So I returned to my car after a very enjoyable walk. The day was a little chilly but very beautiful. I mentioned places that I like and notice while walking. There are lots of sights, shops, galleries and restaurants downtown that are worth a visit. I hope you enjoyed this walking tour and get to visit some of these places yourself.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting Prepared

Today I spent the day getting some things ready for Thanksgiving. First I made a cornbread for the cornbread stuffing that I am going to make on Thursday morning. Also for the cornbread stuffing I use a chicken. So I boiled the chicken to separate the meat from the bone and make some chicken stock. After the chicken cooled I took the meat off the bone and put it aside. Then I strained the stock and put it in a container and then into the refrigerator (when it gets cold the fat will separate from the stock). I then took the meat and cooked it with salt, pepper, onions, garlic and celery. When that cooled I put it in the refrigerator and took out the stock to take the fat off the stock. Then this was put into the refrigerator and now it will be easy to put the stuffing together on Thursday.

The next thing I wanted to do was to make some pies. The first thing I did was to make two pecan pies. I preheated the oven and got all the ingredients mixed together. I poured everything into the crust and topped it off with pecan halves. Once they were in the oven I started getting the stuff ready for an apple pie. I got everything mixed together and ready to put the pie together. But I had to wait for the pecan pies to finish cooking. That gave all the spices a chance to mix with the apples. I got the pecan pies out of the oven and finished putting the apple pie together. I got it in the oven and watched it carefully - this is the first time I ever baked an apple pie. When I felt it was done I took it out of the oven and put it on top of the stove with the pecan pies to cool. I think I did a good job but I guess we won't know until Thursday when we taste them. They do look pretty tasty and I am looking forward to dessert on Thursday.

I feel pretty good about what I got done today. It will make Thanksgiving morning a little easier and I can spend some time watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The turkey has been ready for a week now. Thomas got a fresh turkey and de-boned it and got it all seasoned. It is in the freezer and ready for cooking. We are going to have some homemade rolls, green beans and mashed potatoes along with the turkey, cornbread stuffing and pies. I think it is going to be a very tasty day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Out for a Walk

Mid-morning I decided I needed to get out of the house so I went for a walk on the property. Daisy is always up for a walk so she tagged along. As I walk she tends to run just a little ahead of me but never goes very far - in fact she always stays where she can still see me. It was a nice day and we had a great walk. We did about a half mile and pretty much didn't see anything. It was a pretty boring walk truth be told. So anyway we sat for a while, well I sat, Daisy walked around and explored the area but soon got bored and I could tell she wanted to start heading back. We started walking and not long I looked up and saw a coyote about 100 yards away. The coyote hadn't seen us yet and Daisy hadn't seen the coyote. So I kept my eye on the coyote and we kept walking. We only went about three steps before Daisy spot the coyote. And she started barking. If you read my post - Daisy and the Coyotes - then you know that she doesn't like them on the property. She starts barking and it is very high pitched and very fast. Since I was with her she tends to be a little braver and she started toward the coyote. At first she didn't go far and she kept looking back at me and I kept walking trying to ignore the coyote and hoping that Daisy would follow me and leave him alone. No chance! She just kept barking and slowly crept closer to him. I finally realized that she wouldn't stop until he was gone and by this time she was getting closer to the coyote and he hadn't retreated at all. I looked around to make sure that there was only one coyote and then I made a decision. I decided to start running toward the coyote knowing Daisy would follow me but hoping that the coyote would turn and run away. I lucked up. Daisy stayed close to me and the coyote took off running. By the time we got to the fence the coyote was no where to be found and Daisy had calmed down. It still took me a while to get her back to the house and calm her down. I made her come inside the house with me just to let her relax and maybe forget about the coyote. Later I let her out again and the first thing she did was go to the back of the house to check things out. I was glad to see that there were no coyotes present and she quickly forgot about it and went on to play as normal. I am hoping that the coyotes will eventually stop coming to the house so that she will be safe and stop freaking out. Even with all this drama today we both had a great walk.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

An Early Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving today with Thomas' Aunt and Cousins. Some of the family are leaving on Tuesday for Peru so they wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner all together today. So this morning Thomas made a fruit salad and some whipped cream. I put some green beans in a casserole dish with onions, garlic and olive oil. About 45 minutes before we were to go to his Aunt's house I put the green beans in the oven to roast them. At 2:00 we got Thomas' Dad in the car and we headed over to his Aunt's. It was a nice visit. We started eating right when we got there. There was a huge turkey, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato salad, asparagus, beets, fried chicken, little ham sandwiches, little turkey sandwiches, two kinds of stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and a green salad. For dessert there were two pumpkin pies, pumpkin chiffon, cranberry fluff, two fruit salads and chocolates. It was quite a spread and all of it was really good. After dinner we sat around and visited and had coffee. It was a great way to kick off the holiday week and now that I had some turkey I am looking forward to more on Thursday. Well here is to hoping that all you have a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Missing Out on the Day

Today was a beautiful day, sunny with clear blue skies and there was a chill in the air. Unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy it. Lately I have been feeling down and some days are worse than others. When I woke up this morning I was feeling okay and I started doing a few chores around the house. I then got on the treadmill but only managed to walk three quarters of a mile. I just didn't have the motivation to do more. After I stopped my walk I did manage to complete three projects I was working on. The entire morning I just kept worrying but it wasn't anything in particular. The problem is that I worry about everything I say and do and I worry about what people think. I always want to do the best I can and when that doesn't happen I beat myself up. I take things personally and I dwell on them. I can't shake it and I end up removing myself from whatever it is that I failed at.

I took a short walk on the property this afternoon and I took a few pictures. I didn't really feel like doing this but I needed to take at least one picture. I returned to the house and spent about three hours reading. I never moved. I sat in a chair and just read. There was another project that I have been wanting to do but for some reason just never got to. So I went to the computer and started working on putting a book together with the pictures from my As I See It 2008 blog. I am doing this through Blurb. They are having a special that ends this weekend. I am hoping to get it finished tomorrow morning and get it sent in.

I am glad that I got a few projects done but I really want to shake this feeling of sadness. Unfortunately at this time I have given up on a hobby that I was involved in and I have done some thinking about it. I thought that I could continue with the hobby but everytime I think about it I just get more sad. I am trying to work on things and trying to enjoy things without putting too much pressure on myself. The day wasn't horrible but I didn't get to enjoy the beautiful weather the way I would have liked.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Filled Up With Memories

Tonight we had a Netflix night. We watched Disney Pixar's Up. I really liked this movie. It was a great way to end the week. The last few weeks I have been feeling down and this was just the lift I needed.

Up is the story of a 78 year old man and an 8 year old boy. A very unlikely pair. The 78 year old man - Carl Fredricksen is just a boy himself when the movie begins. He has a hero named Charles F. Muntz. He meets a girl named Ellie and they realize they have the same hero and a lot of common interests. Ellie has a scrapbook that she titled 'My Adventure Book' and she admits that one of her dreams is to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls. Their story continues as they grow up, get married and have their own adventure called life. They never make it on any big adventure. After Ellie dies Carl decides to move their house to Paradise Falls when the courts force him to move into a retirement home. So he attaches a ton of balloons to the house and takes off. What he didn't realize was that he had a stowaway - Russell. An 8 year old boy who is a Junior Wilderness Explorer and is trying to earn his last badge so that he can become a Senior Wilderness Explorer. Their adventure takes them all the way to Paradise Falls and when Carl gets there he opens Ellie's scrapbook to put a picture of Paradise Falls in the book. At this point he realizes that Ellie has already filled the book with all the adventures of their life - none of them were the adventure she first dreamed of but they were still important to her. There is a note at the end of the book that Ellie left for Carl to go on and live his own adventure and that is what he does - he and Russell have a great adventure.

Now I enjoyed the entire movie - it was wonderful. But what I really loved about the movie is the way they emphasized that we don't need grandiose, over the top excitement to have an adventure. Everyday of our lives is an adventure if we just look for it. It was incredible how Ellie filled her book with their wonderful lives. It really got me to thinking about some of the things that Thomas and I have planned and haven't been able to get to yet. It doesn't seem so urgent to do all these things - if we get to them great but if we don't that is okay as well - I know we will have a wonderful life. It has been wonderful up to now.

We have taken a trip to Europe, two trips to England, spent time in Vancouver and Victoria in Canada and seen a quite a bit of the United States. They were all great trips but after watching Up I started thinking about some of the simpler things. Like hiking up to Raven's Ridge and sitting on rocks at the edge, enjoying the views and watching chipmunks running around us. And cross country skiing on our property after a good snowfall. Spending an entire Saturday lying in bed and reading. Redecorating the house room by room. Road trips to anywhere (we really love driving together and spending time in the car - it gives us a chance to really talk). Taking walks in the arroyo behind our house. There are thousands of other things we have done that were our own adventures - plenty to fill a scrapbook with. This movie really made me smile and brought up a flood of memories that span the 20 years Thomas and I have been together. Thanks Disney I really needed that.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Day of Catching Up

I woke up this morning with the intention to get a couple of things done around the house and then head out to run errands. But you know how plans change. I made some coffee while still in my pajamas. Once the coffee was done I put on my thick terry cloth robe and went outside. It was a cold crisp morning with lots of sun. I sat on the porch and drank my coffee, listened to the birds and enjoyed the briskness of a beautiful Fall morning. I ended up staying out on the porch for about an hour. Then I went back inside and took a shower and got dressed.

I then spent about 10 minutes catching up on email and while I was at the computer I needed to get some pictures posted on my As I See It 2009 blog. I had gotten behind in my posting. I had a folder with pictures picked out up until yesterday. So I picked one from yesterday and while I was having coffee this morning I had taken a few shots and liked one of those. So now that I had all the pictures picked out I started posting them. It took me a little while because I was 12 days behind. Well I got caught up and it felt good to have all those up on the blog. So I shut down the computer and moved on to the next little project, cleaning the house. It didn't take me too long to get the house clean, I had done some cleaning just a few days ago. As part of the cleaning i also did two loads of laundry and watered all the plants.

Once that was completed I thought about what else needed to be done and I decided I didn't care what else needed to be done. It was a beautiful day so I grabbed my book and went sit out on the porch and read. I was pretty close to the end of the book so I just stayed out there until I finished. I left the book on the chair and Daisy and I went for a walk - it ended up being about a two mile walk and then we returned home.

Since today seemed to be about playing catch up and getting things completed I decided to get the bills and accounts done. There wasn't much to be done and I was finished in about 30 minutes. So I then dealt with all the little papers that were strewn all over my desk. By the time I finished I had a clear desk. There were a few other things that I took care of and then got everything ready for work tomorrow. By this time Thomas was home and we sat down for dinner and after dinner we relaxed and watched Star Trek. Now I am getting this post done and the I can say that I had a very productive day and feel like I am caught up and ready for the weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Room for Improvement

I have some issues and I have been working on them. The biggest issue I am dealing with is low self esteem and lack of self confidence. On a day to day basis I deal with it okay. But there are times that I feel like a fish out of water and I just worry about everything I say and do. It happens a lot when I am with groups of people. I second guess everything I say and do and when I leave the group I worry about what they thought about everything I said and did. I am also a perfectionist. Whenever I do something I over think it and I always find fault with it - without exception. It seems that I don't want to find the good in things. But it isn't a conscious effort - the negative just overrides the positive.

A good example of this is a recent note I received related to a hobby I am involved in. The hobby is letterboxing and the note was about one of my letterboxes I have placed. The note pretty much stated that the clues I wrote for the box were worthless and because of that the person looking for the box ended up having a very bad day. Well, I took it personally (and it was - it was specific to me and my actions with this box). And it made me feel horrible. I immediately started thinking about all the negative notes I have received and they pushed anything positive about the hobby out of mind. Now this isn't the only negative note I have received but it is the proverbial straw and I have decided to back away from the hobby. Why do I want to put all this effort into creating and placing a box (this is not a simple task for me - one box usually takes me about three weeks to complete from beginning to end - from research and planning to executiona and placing). I put a lot of myself into it so that the person that goes to find it has a good experience. Well from the negative comments it appears that they aren't getting a good experience. So I don't want to deal with this so I end up removing myself from the activity. Now I am not stupid and I realize this doesn't actually solve the problem but it is the coping mechanism that I have developed. This is what I am trying to change. The last two weeks have seen me take an enormous step backwards in my work. But I am not giving up and I am hoping that I can come up with a better way to deal with this and look at the negative as a learning experience and reflect on the positive aspects and know that I am doing something right.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Daisy and the Coyotes

Our property borders an arroyo and there aren't very many house around us. So the arroyo is a great place for coyotes. I routinely see coyotes out in the back of the house. Usually one or two at a time. They will come pretty close to the house and one morning I woke up to find one peeking in the bedroom window. Needless to say I am not surprised when a coyote shows up for a visit.

The problem that has arisen is that Daisy is very protective of her territory. One day I heard her barking but it wasn't her normal bark. So I looked out the window and saw that she was barking at a coyote at the back of the property and I could tell she wasn't happy about it. I went outside to scare the coyote off. Boy was that a mistake. She seemed to think that she needed to protect me and she took off chasing the coyote. She didn't stop until she had chased the coyote off the property. I was very worried about this. Someone had told me once that coyotes will lure dogs away and then attack them as a pack. So I decided the next time I wouldn't go outside. Instead I would just open the door and call her into the house. Well, the coyotes have come around about six or seven times that I know of and I'm not happy about it. I keep wondering if they keep coming to get Daisy to chase them out to the arroyo. Luckily she usually doesn't chase them unless I go outside so I don't think she will ever follow them.

Today though I got more worried. I heard her barking again and I knew there was something going on. Her bark was high pitched and very fast. She was also at the back of the house and looking toward the fence line. So I looked out the living room window and saw two coyotes. I kept scanning the area and spotted two more. I have never seen four coyotes out at the same time. The most I have seen at once was two. Daisy is a little smaller than most coyotes so I don't want her to get too territorial and start chasing them. I watched out the window for a little while and Daisy never tried to approach them but because of her barking they kept looking toward the house. I then noticed two of them starting to come a little closer. So I went to the front door and called Daisy. This time it took her a little while to respond to me but eventually she came into the house. So I went back to the window and noticed that all four of the coyotes were a little closer. I left Daisy in the house and I went outside. I picked up a few rocks and a big stick and walked slowly toward the coyotes. As I approached them two of the coyotes ran off past the fence and disappeared. The other two slowly retreated but decided to hang out at the fence line and watch me. I waited a moment and they didn't move so I continued to approach them. That did the trick, the two of them finally left. I kept Daisy in the house for about an hour and the coyotes didn't return. So I let her outside and I noticed that the first thing she did was go to the back of the house and check things out. Gratefully the coyotes never returned. I love that I have a dog that wants to protect me but unfortunately she probably isn't big enough to take on a coyote. I hope they don't come around again and I definitely hope she won't try and chase them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Unlikely Hero

It seems the Christians could learn something about compassion, love and most of all discrimination from a 10 year old boy. This 10 year old boy lives in Arkansas and has decided to not stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance until Gays and Lesbians have the right to marry. He stated in an interview with CNN that the reason he decided this was because of the last few words of the Pledge - "with liberty and justice for all". He feels that if Gays and Lesbians aren't allowed to marry then how can we believe in the Pledge. I think this insight from a 1o year old is amazing and yet supposedly mature adults have these incredibly closed minds. I wish I had the strength and courage of this young man. Don't get me wrong I don't hide in a closet but I am not out there fighting for this right. My family and friends know I am gay and most of the people at work know I am gay but now that doesn't seem to be enough. I am not sure what I am going to do about it but it seems like I need to take action. I will never be able to thank this young man (by the way his name is Will Phillips) for his support of my rights.

I guess I never really thought about the Pledge and I am glad that this came up. When you think about the entire country for years has been saying that every American should get justice. This is the exact point that people who support Gay Marriage are trying to get across. We want the same rights that all Americans want and we want the right to get married. Now this part is for the Christians - we don't want your blessing or the support of the Church. We want our legal right to marry so that the families we have built are protected by the government that we contribute to. Thank you Will Phillips - you are my new hero.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Stick People

Today I went to Albuquerque with some friends to attend a class at Papers! to learn how to make a paper wreath. But before the class we did a few things. Peggy and Diane did a little letterboxing in the bosque - they found a crawdad, a climbing tree and a pedalin girl. It was fun and nice along the bosque but it was really cold. Before the class we had some dinner at Il Vicino. We had a nice dinner and got to relax in a warm place before making our way to Papers! for the class. We made a nice wreath that was pretty easy and could be made for just about any occasion. The one we made tonight was for Christmas. But all you have to do is change the type of paper you use to get the desired effect for whatever celebration you wanted.

But the thing that stood out for me was the stick people at the Bosque School. A group of New Mexico arts organizations have gotten together to present LAND/ART. So after the letterboxing and before dinner we made our way to the Bosque School to see an exhibit by Patrick Dougherty. He uses tree saplings to create semi-permanent sculptures. At the school he created three sculptures that are faces. They stand close together and are intertwined with a tree. It was incredible. You can walk through them and look up into them. They are pretty tall (maybe 20 feet or so) and the structure is wonderful. There were also a few pieces that were not anything specific - more like little rooms that you could walk through. I was truly amazed at the artwork and now I want Patrick to come to my house and create one in my yard. No way is that gonna happen but I can dream. You should check out the website and see if there is anything that he is doing in your area and try to get there to see it. I promise you won't be disappointed.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Running on Low Energy

I slept in today, it was 8:30am before I got out of bed. And when I did get moving it was pretty slow. I mustered up enough energy to walk three miles on the treadmill. But I walked a lot slower than normal so it took me a little longer than it usually takes me. Once I worked through my exercises I took a shower and got dressed. Thomas then took me to Lithia to pick up my car (I finally got it back after almost a month in the shop. Lithia has lost a customer - horrible service), and then I had to run two quick errands - I needed to go to the post office to mail a package and then to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I wanted to take pictures but I wasn't sure where to go and I really didn't have that much energy. I finally decided to drive to Randall Davey Audubon Center on Upper Canyon Road. I only spent about 20 minutes there and only took a few pictures. I just wasn't feeling like doing too much and it was getting colder. So I left and drove straight home. Once I got home I picked up the book I was reading and sat and read for about an hour. I only read for an hour because I got really sleepy and ended up taking an hour and a half nap. I don't usually take naps and so this was weird and I am not sure why I am so tired. After waking up Thomas and I talked about what we wanted to cook for dinner and then started cooking. While we ate dinner we watched a movie (The Botany of Desire). The movie was pretty interesting but by the end my eyelids were feeling pretty heavy. But I managed to find a last jolt of energy to get a blog post tonight for NaBloPoMo. So now that I got this post done it is off to bed. I am hoping that I have more energy tomorrow, I have a few things to get done.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Date Night

It was a busy and stressful week for both Thomas and I. Work has been crazy for both of us and there were some things that happened at the beginning of the week that really upset me and I haven't been able to snap out of it. So anyway once the work day was over I called Thomas and asked if he wanted to go out on a date. He was all for it. So we met at home and fed the dog then we freshened up and headed out.

It was a simple night out but a very enjoyable one. We had dinner at the Plaza Cafe Southside. It is located near the Regal 14 Theaters. We sat and talked and relaxed. We talked about the week and then we talked about what we were going to do for Thanksgiving. And we also didn't talk. It was so comfortable and was a nice end to a crazy week. After dinner we decided to walk over to the theaters to see what was playing. We decided to see 2012. It was a pretty good movie, it kept my attention for the full 158 minutes. It was a bit melodramatic for my taste. If they wanted us to believe that this is what is going to happen on 12-21-12 then they should have made it a little more realistic. Anyway I still enjoyed the movie and I loved sitting next to Thomas in the theater. I also love when we have date night - it really helps to smooth out a rough week.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Answering a Question

I worked today and it was a pretty busy day. Nothing exciting happened it was just a normal work day. So when I started to write this post I was having a very hard time coming up with something to write. So I resorted to Plinky for some inspiration. Here is the prompt I am using for this post.

What would a road trip companion learn about you when traveling with you for the first time?

They would probably learn a lot. I like to stop for oddities along the way (check out Roadside America) and I like to stop at antique shops. I also love visiting State Capitols - the buildings. I think it is so interesting to see all the different styles of buildings in each part of the country. And I love national and state parks - each one is unique and interesting.

But the absolutely most important thing someone would learn about me on a road trip is that I rarely stop for the bathroom. I can drive for hours on end without having a pit stop and if my traveling companion needs the bathroom they had better speak up or it could be a very long ride. I don't know the reason why I don't need to stop very often - maybe because I have a destination in mind and I just want to drive until I get there or maybe I just don't drink that much while on the road so I don't need to stop. Whatever the reason I always tell my traveling companion at the beginning of the trip that I don't stop often so they need to let me know when they need a break.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lichen and Moss

This morning was absolutely gorgeous so I decided I would go for a walk. I thought about where I wanted to go and finally decided I would park at St. John's College and take a walk on the Atalaya Trail. Now from the College it is about a seven mile round trip hike but I didn't want to hike to the top. I just wanted to go on a nice little walk. The trail from St. John's is #174 and it joins with trail #170 which starts from Ponderosa Ridge or Wilderness Gate (not sure about this subdivision - I have read both names). I walked from St. John's to the intersection of Trail #170. It was great, the temperture was in the low 60's so it was very enjoyable. I also had the trail to myself - I did not see another human during my entire walk. It was so peaceful. I also take pictures everyday and I was looking for things to photograph. I did see a few birds but I was never able to get close enough to take pictures. Usually I can find a few flowers to photograph but I didn't see any today. So when I reached Trail #170 I had only taken a few pictures. I decided to find a place to sit for a while just to relax so I walked a little on Trail #170 and found a good size rock near a tree where I could sit. So I sat on the rock with my back against the tree, holding my camera and hoping that a bird or two would come by so I could take some pictures. Well, no birds showed up but some lichen caught my eye. So I took a few pictures and then saw a different type on another rock and took pictures of that. I decided I would start back down the trail and look for lichen or moss to take pictures of. As I walked and found things to photograph I wondered exactly what the difference between the two were. Just from looking at them it seemed to me that lichen was drier than moss and was lighter in color. Lichen also felt harder to the touch and seemed to have more texture. I decided that when I got home I would look it up and learn a little more. Here is what I found . . .

Structurally, lichens are among the most bizarre of all forms of life. That's because every lichen species is actually composed of two, possibly even three, distinct species of organisms. One species is a kind of fungus. Usually the other species is an alga, but sometimes it can be a photosynthesizing bacterium known as a cyanobacterium. Sometimes all three organisms are found in one lichen. You can read more about them at Lichens.

Moss is a very simple type of plant that lacks conventional roots, stems, and leaves. It refers to any species of the class Bryopsida and is part of the division Bryophyta. Bryophyta means the first green land plants to develop during the evolutionary process. Moss is thought to have evolved from very primitive vascular plants. Moss has not given rise to any other kind of plant. You can read more at What is Moss?

I had a great walk and found a few differnt types of moss and lichen. I actually enjoyed hunting around to see what I could find. Below are a few pictures I took.




Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Relaxing Day

Today was a very relaxing day. I decided I didn't want to put a lot of effort into it so I just did what I felt like doing when I felt like doing it. I really was not in the mood to do much - especially if it meant that I had to exert any amount of effort. So here is a list of what I did today.

1. Had a cup of coffee and watched TV for an hour.
2. Had second cup of coffee out on the porch and read for a little while.
3. Paid a few bills.
4. Took a walk on the property and took a few pictures.
5. Sat in the recliner and read some more.
6. Had a tomato and cucumber salad for lunch.
7. Took a walk on the Dorothy Stewart trail, sat on a bench and enjoyed the views, took some pictures.
8. Returned home and worked on a book binding project.
9. Watched three episodes of Bones.
10. Walked three miles on the treadmill.
11. Soaked in the jacuzzi tub.
12. Blogged.

Not a terribly interesting day but I did manage to avoid any type of responsibility (except for the bill paying). It was a nice day but I am still feeling pretty down. I did make some decisions about whether or not I wanted to continue participating in a hobby. For now I am taking a break - we will see what happens next year.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Few Dozen Steps Backwards

Yesterday I wrote about trying to think more positively. I thought it was working but today is totally different. In the last 24 hours I have had some very negative comments sent to me and it just deflated me. I got really defensive and wrote back. My comments were not received well. And I understand why - I wrote back in the heat of the moment and I let my emotions get the best of me. I am very thin skinned and I don't take criticism well. If I hear something negative it just triggers all kinds of emotions and I get very down on myself. I spent most of today taking walks and thinking about things. I wasn't able to get out of the funk. I am still very down and have distanced myself from the activity that brought about all these feelings. I guess I have more to work on than I thought. I am hoping that I can work through these feelings quickly and get back to feeling positive. But when you have been told you are worthless since you were a kid it becomes ingrained and it doesn't take much for those feelings to surface again. It amazes me that no matter how many positive things I hear it is only the negative ones that I remember. Maybe one day I will feel normal and good and have a little self confidence. But for now I am going to lay low and hope that things get better soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thnking Differently

Today was a nice day. This morning I did a few things around the house and then got my stuff ready to go to Albuquerque with friends. Diane and Peggy picked me up sometime after noon and we headed south. We talked along the way about a lot of different things - one which really got me thinking (I'll get to that a little later).

Once we arrived in Albuquerque we did some letterboxing, then went to have a little dinner before going to our book binding class at Papers. It was a great day with friends and the weather was perfect and the class was really good.

But now about that thing that got me thinking. A couple of years ago there was a little incident that happened that changed some things. I know that sounds very vague but the details of the incident aren't really important - what is important is what I feel about it. And what I feel about it is very self conscious. One thing about myself that I don't like very much is my lack of self confidence. I can usually tolerate some criticism but it depends on how it is delivered and under what circumstances. What I can't deal with is negative comments that come up often. It makes me feel stupid and inadequate and then I usually withdraw from whatever I was doing that drew the negative comments. Let me give you an example - you know when you are at a birthday party and it is time to sing Happy Birthday. I have been laughed at and told so many times that my singing is awful and I can't carry a tune. So now I won't dare sing in public, maybe at home or in the privacy of my car. There have been many times in my life when I have been told that I was bad at something or where I was told I was wasting my time doing something so I stopped doing those things. Now don't get me wrong it isn't like I never heard anything positive it is just that for some reason all the negative things override any of the positive things. I also find that I withdraw from people when these things happen. Most of the time I just feel like there is so much to deal with in life that why should I hang around people who I feel make me think bad about myself (not sure if that makes sense) or participating in activities where I am constantly reminded how I don't measure up. I realize I am not perfect and I can't make everyone like me or I can't succeed at everything I do or that all of my actions will win praise but I would like to feel good about myself without withdrawing from things. I am working on that - I am trying to look at all things and find something positive about it and not let it bring me down. I am finding it hard to change my thinking. I have gotten a little better but there are times when things happen and I find myself feeling really bad. The first thing I do is start thinking negative and I have to catch myself and change my thinking. This is something that is important to me - I am tired of feeling that I can't do anything good or positive. I really want to feel like my life is good and that in some way I have contributed something (no matter how small) to this world. And I want to feel good about myself and not self conscious when I am around other people. I want to feel like no matter what I do or say and no matter what comments are generated from them that it is okay. I am working on it, so hopefully soon things will change. I am glad that a conversation with friends got me thinking because that is what I need to do to make myself think and feel differently.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Preparing for Class

Today was a quiet day and because of that I am having a difficult time finding something to write about. So I decided to just write about one of my activities that I did today. It is pretty mundane but it at least gives me something to post.

So what did I do today that I decided to blog about - well I prepared. Tomorrow I am going to Albuquerque with friends. We have a few things planned but the main reason is to attend a class. This is a craft type class - more specifically a book making class. It is being held at Papers! in Nob Hill. The end product is going to be a book that is wired bound. I am really looking forward to the class because I love learning new ways to do things.

The announcement for the class included a note that you could bring things to collage in your book. Since Thomas and I recently returned from a trip to the Oregon Coast I decided that I could put together a book that documents some of the highlights of the trip. I went through all the pictures that I had taken while on the trip (all 1171 of them). I picked some that where part of a group and some that were part of an activity. The rest that I choose were pictures of things or places we really enjoyed. I sized the pictures to what I wanted and then printed them out. cut the pictures from the pages I printed. I next made a few fold outs with groups of pictures and then organized the rest of the pictures so that I can use them tomorrow. When we travel I usually collect brochures, ticket stubs and various other things. So I went through all of that stuff as well. I choose some things that I might want to use tomorrow and put them with the pictures. Next I went through all my craft supplies. I found some stickers and embellishments that go along with the trip - so I add that to my growing stash of things to use in the collage. Since I am bringing that stuff I would need a container and since I had a container I decided to add a few pens, scissors, glue, ruler and a few other things. Everything is packed neatly and ready to go - I am hoping all this preparation helps make it easier to enjoy learning how to make the book and putting the collage together.

I know it seems like a lot of work just to make a book but I wanted it to be a nice reminder of our trip. And besides being prepared for things always makes me more relaxed and I am able to have a better time. I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mmmmm Pizza!

But not just any pizza! Pizza Village pizza! But not just any Pizza Village Pizza! It has to be a Dupe Special.

Imagine a very thin and extremely crispy crust and then cover that crust with a savory sauce - I said cover, not flood. Sprinkle some cheese over the sauce, just enough for flavor without over powering anything. Now add pepperoni slices, small bits of hamburger and tiny shrimp. Finally add just the perfect seasonings and there you have a Dupe Special. Ça Ç'est Bon!

Oh man, the more I think about it the more my mouth waters. I really love this place. I first ate here when I was in high school. On Friday nights after the football games it was a race between Carencro High and Northside High to see which school could get there first and fill the place. Northside had an advantage because there school is only a few blocks from Pizza Village. I went to Carencro and we had our fair share of getting there first.

Can you believe that with all the amazing food down in Cajun Country my favorite is pizza. Now don't get me wrong as a Cajun there are quite a few food items that I miss now that I don't live there anymore. I try to get a good sampling of my favorite foods when I visit but it is hard to get all my favorites each time but one thing I never miss out on is pizza from Pizza Village. I always save one meal for this place and I always get the Dupe Special. But all their pizzas are good. They also have great salads and I usually share one with someone just because I have to leave room for the pizza. I have also been known to have them make me a few (only partially cooked) and I freeze them and bring them home with me. I can then have one every now and then to tide me over until my next visit to Lafayette.

I am sure there are people out there that would disagree with me about the pizza here but I don't really care. I have fond memories of this place and I love the food, atmosphere and service. So if you ever find yourself in Lafayette, LA drive to 1935 Moss St. and give it a try - I think you will it enjoy it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thomas the Ghost

Back at the beginning of 2008 I decided to take pictures everyday and post those pictures on a blog. I decided to do this so that I could learn more about photography and learn to look at things differently. My photography is getting better and I definitely look at things differently. You can see some my photos at As I See It 2008 and As I See It 2009. Because of all this picture taking I have been reading lots of different blogs and looking at lots of different photos and investigating lots of different websites. On Halloween I was looking at different websites and I came across an article on how to photograph ghosts. Well, I haven't seen any ghost around the house lately so I had to make a decision if I was going to be able to complete this challenge.

Someone had to become a ghost and since I was taking the picture it turned out to be Thomas. Now don't go getting all worried or upset. As soon as the picture was taken I resuscitated Thomas and all is back to normal. I really had fun with this project and I loved learning how to manipulate photos for different effects.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Can't Repeal Love

In May of this year the Maine legislature passed a bill to allow same sex couples to wed and the Governor signed that bill into law. Yesterday the residents of Maine voted to repeal that law. This makes Maine the 31st state to oppose gay marriage by popular vote. Currently there are five states in the Union that allow gay marriage - Massachussetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Iowa. So are we to assume that because 31 states don't want gay marriage and only five approve of it that it is wrong. To me all I get out of it is hate and discrimination. One of the main reasons that opponents of gay marriage give is that it is morally wrong, that the bible condemns homosexuality.

Now, I am not an expert on the bible but I do know that most people who use the bible only use it when it suits them. What I do know is the basics of how you treat people and I know the ten commandments and the golden rule. I feel that if you live by the ten commandments and you do unto others then you are doing pretty good - especially since we know that all humans are infallible - even though most of the religious right seem to think they are perfect and can dictate their beliefs on everyone else. I am not just being emotional and I am not making generalizations. I am speaking from experience.

I have been in a committed relationship for 20 years now but to the moral majority (and I use this term with tongue in cheek - because most of them are no more moral than I am and they are certainly not the majority - they just act like it) that doesn't mean anything. The reason I bring this up is I am trying to prove a point, actually several. First, most religious organizations can't even get along with themselves. Look back in history and you can see consistently how factions of one religion broke off because they had different beliefs - they couldn't even work out their differences - couldn't they have prayed together to solve their problems (I mean really - I can't tell you how many times that people have told me they will pray for me). On a more recent and personal experience one of Thomas' brother left his church. He and about half the congregation decided they couldn't get along with the rest of the church so they left. He even worked for them and quit his job over it without having another job to go to. Now should I trust this guy to make a decision about whether or not I should be allowed to marry the man I love. Second, most religions agree that sex before marriage is morally wrong and living together before marriage is also wrong. My dad recently got remarried. He had been living with his current wife for about 10 years before they actually got married. Why did they wait so long? The woman he married was divorced and she was waiting to get an annulment from the church so they could get married in the church and they did. So the matter of them living together was overlooked by the church. So it seems if you pay the church to erase your first marriage then you can remarry in the church and all is good in the world. Don't you think God still knows what you did and just getting a human to erase it on paper makes it okay in the eyes of God. Third, let's talk about honoring your mother and father. Thomas has four brothers and none of them do anything to help out with taking care of his dad and they weren't very much help when his mom was sick as well. I remember Thomas' mom crying and disappointed because one of his brothers had to do things with the church so he cancelled coming for Thanksgiving dinner. So the two gay guys take the responsibility of taking care of the parents but are not allowed to get married. I write these things so that the flaws of the religious are shown and so that maybe people can see that their thinking and justification of opposing same sex marriage is just that - flawed.

There is a rumor out there that quite a few people believe that homosexuals have a choice in their sexual orientation and that they can choose not to be homosexuals. Really! So I guess one morning I woke up and decided I was going to be attracted to men. For what reason - so I could be taunted and teased, so that I could be beaten up in the locker room in high school, so I could be condemned to hell, so I could be denied the right to see my partner if he is in the hospital, so I could be denied the right to marry the man I love and get all the same rights and privileges associated with that union. So I pose to you heterosexuals who see homosexuality as a choice - did you choose to be heterosexual? So, if you did couldn't you just as easily choose to be homosexual? I thought not. Please use reason with this, I am gay because I am gay - that's it - there is no mystery and I don't need anyone to find a 'gay gene' to prove why or why not someone is gay. It wasn't the way I was raised, it wasn't the way I was treated, I wasn't recruited and I certainly wasn't brainwashed - I was born this way - I am a child of your God and I know he loves me as I am even if you don't. And I know in my heart I don't have to be heterosexual to be loved by God.

All this fighting to deny rights to other humans is just crazy and the reasons are even crazier - like the one that if they allow gays to marry each other then the next thing that will happen is that people will want to marry their dogs. That is really insulting - I am now nothing more than a dog - just because I am gay I am no longer human. If the opponents of gay marriage really believe this then I feel that their IQ is severely compromised and how can people take them seriously.

There are so many other crazy reasons that they are using and you can read all of them at Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives. I am not a proponent of outing gay people - I feel that each individual has the right to live their life as they see fit. But I am encouraging, pleading and even begging any gay individual that hasn't talked to their family and friends about it to dig deep within themselves and come out. As we talk to family, friends, coworkers and anyone else we are close to people will be more comfortable with homosexuality and I know in my heart that one day we will have all the rights that we are suppose to have. And to the people who are using religion to fight gay marriage I say to you - I don't want or need your blessing or the blessing of the church but I do expect the legal recognition from the government that I pay taxes to and for whom I vote. Fortunately this is only a setback not an end. Gays will not go away because of this. We have been around since the beginning and we will be here until the end and we will eventually get the right to marry legally with all the benefits.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Remembering A Friend

Today is an anniversary. The memories associated with this anniversary are both good and bad. One year ago today we had to let our wonderful bulldog Boudreaux go. He had been getting weaker and he also had a very large tumor on one of his legs that really made it difficult for him to walk. I have so many good memories of Boudreaux. He was a very loving dog and loyal to no end. He had a very sweet disposition and would constantly follow me around the house. During the day when we were at work or running errands he would stay in the house and greet us warmly when we returned. When we traveled to Lousisana to see my family for Christmas he would accompany us on those trips. He really traveled well and loved being in the car. He also loved attention - he always wanted to be petted but his favorite thing was to be rubbed on his belly. I really miss him and the house has had an emptiness that I don't think will ever be filled. On that day one year ago my heart was broken and it was one of the saddest days of my life, of course with time I am feeling better and I know we did the right thing by Boudreaux. My memories of his twelve years with us are still vivid and I treasure each and every one of them. So here's to Boudreaux - I love you and miss you my friend.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Little Sand, A Little Soda, A Little Lime and A Lot of Heat

***A Quick Note: The Oregon Coast Visitors Association saw this post and put it on their website under Stories from the People's Coast. If you have a moment go to the following link and leave a comment for my story and I may have a chance to win a prize. Thanks!
A Little Sand, A Little Soda, A Little Lime and A Lot of Heat

A few weeks ago we were on vacation on the Oregon Coast. One of the things that caught my attention was the prospect of looking for and possibly finding glass floats. At one time Japanese Glass Floats could be found along the coast but the chance of finding one now is pretty slim. These floats were used on nets by fisherman and sometimes the float would break off the net and eventually find its way across the ocean to the Oregon Coast. Now a days some towns along the Oregon Coast place modern floats blown by glass blowers from the area on the beaches. They are usually placed between the vegetation line and water. Sometimes they are hidden in plain site or hidden behind beach junk. So on a couple of occasions we took some long walks on the beach and looked for tidepools, sea shells and floats. We found the tidepools and the sea shells but the floats eluded us.

While driving through Newport one day we saw an art glass studio and noticed a sign for glass blowing classes to blow your own float. We didn't stop that day - we just kept driving to our destination. The next day happened to be a cloudy and rainy day. We did manage to get in a three mile hike before we decided that we had had enough of being wet. So we made a choice to abandon the outdoors and find something to do indoors out of the weather. We returned to Newport and made our way to The Edge Art Gallery. We thought if we couldn't find a glass float we would make our own. So we went in and inquired about the class. They informed us that they didn't have a class that day but we could come back the next day. Unfortunately we couldn't make it back the next day. So we decided to look around the gallery and maybe just buy a float. Then we were completely surprised - they decided to make the time for a class just for the two of us. Now that's what I call customer service and good business. Going out of your way for the custormer - what a novel concept.

We read a brief safety letter and signed a consent and then the instructor took us back to the studio. The instructor's name was Jeff. A young man who was very pleasant and went out of his way to make this experience a great one. He turned out to be an excellent instructor and he managed to make us feel relaxed while we handled molten hot glass. The first thing he did was explain the process from beginning to end while demonstrating each part. Then it was time for us to begin. We first got to choose our colors. I picked three different greens (one that was a little iridescent) and one blue, Thomas picked a bright blue and white. I made my float first and then Thomas made his. The steps were the same for both floats so I will just go through them once.

Jeff picked up a glob of glass from one of the furnaces and then turned the blow pipe over to me. I had to keep turning the blow pipe so that the glass didn't just fall to the ground and to keep the glass in a crude ball. Then I had to put the glass into another furnace to heat it up. Once it got hot enough I took it over to a table where Jeff had spread out little chips of glass - these chips were the three colors of green that I had picked out. They were mixed together and I just rolled the hot glob of glass through the chips until the entire glob was covered. Then I reheated the glass and again rolled it in the chips. This was done four or five times. All the while I kept the blow tube turning and the glass centered. I reheated the glass in the small furnace and then took it to a bench. I sat on the bench and rolled the tube on the supports to keep the glass centered while I took a large pair of scissors and stabbed the glass and twisted it. This was done to create swirls with the color. I did this three times - heating and twisting then Jeff took the blow tube and went to the large furnace to add more clear glass over the green color. He returned it to me and I reheated it and then went to the table with the colored chips - this time Jeff had spread out the blue ones and I rolled the glass through the chips only adding minimal color. I rolled the glass on a flat table to smooth it out a little and give it a little shape. Then the glass was heated up again and then it was back to the bench to twist the color again. After two times of this I heated the glass up and then Jeff blew a bubble into the glass to get it started. Then he reheated the glass and I sat at the bench with a wooden form while Jeff placed the glass into the form and shaped it. Then we switched places and Jeff attached flexible tubing to the blow tube. He kept the blow tube rolling on the supports to keep the shape while I blew into the tube to expand the float to the size I wanted. At the same time Jeff used scissors to make a weak spot on the glass just before the tube so that it could be separated from the tube. He then held the glass over a padded bowl and I tapped the tube with a wooden paddle and the float separated from the tube and fell into the bowl. Jeff added a loop to the top so that the float could hang. He then transferred it to the annealer to cool.

It was an incredible experience even though we had tons of help. I really enjoyed our time learning to blow glass and I have a new found respect for the artist that create wonderful works of art with glass. We didn't get to see the finished pieces because they had to be transferred to the annealer so they wouldn't crack. We left the studio with terrific memories but without our floats. We decided to have them shipped home and we would have to wait to see them. Yesterday we were surprised when they arrived in the mail. They aren't exactly perfect but that is part of their beauty and we have a great souvenir of our time on the Oregon Coast.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A New Challenge For Me

Last year I thought about joining National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) where you write 30 posts in 30 days but I just wasn't sure if I had enough to say or even if I wanted to say anything - especially every single day. But for the past year I have blogged more and now I really want to give it a try. Part of my problem is do I have anything to say or does anyone really want to read what I have to say. But I realize it doesn't matter. I can write about anything, even if it doesn't make sense and if no one likes it that doesn't matter either - the real reason for doing this is to get better at blogging. I have a lot of thoughts inside my head and most of the time I have a difficult time organizing them. I am hoping that this little project helps me to get them organized and I can write about them.

So I have joined NaBloPoMo and this is my first post. I want to focus on what is happening around me and write a little about it. For the past two years I have been doing a photography blog called As I See It. I take pictures everyday and post one picture on the blog for that day. It has helped me to look at things around me in a totally new way. I notice more and have gotten better at taking pictures. I am looking at this challenge in the same way - maybe it will help me to think about my world differently and open my mind a little. It may even help me to become a better writer (since I have never seen myself that way).

I spent a lot of time today debating about whether or not to start this project and there were more positives than negatives. I guess I spent too much time thinking about it and not actually doing it since here it is the end of the day and I am just now posting. Now that I am actually writing something I am feeling more confident that I can do this. There are quite a few things that I want to write about and I am looking forward to finding my own style and improving my skills. So with one day down there are only 29 more to go.