Thursday, May 29, 2008

What the heck is going on?

I am feeling quite out of sorts.... out of touch with my blog (and worse yet, out of touch with the blogs of others) means out of touch with myself. Things ARE happening. It just seems as though new home, new living situation, and trying to work in a new space are taking most of my energy right now.

But I AM doing things. It's time for the annual foray into Audubon Adventures land. I've worked as lead illustrator on this project for some years now, and although the format has changed (read: more photography, less illustration), there's still plenty to keep me busy. There are illustrations to be done, but I'm also learning to do photo research and acquisition for the publication. And there are always a few other contract things going on: a brochure, a 20th Anniversary design for a favorite non-profit, some interp signs (as always). A busy time.

In between all that, the new yard is shaping up to be an interesting place. Among the oddities we inherited (and there are many, just you wait!) was a silk flower wreath of dubious aesthetic value over the front door. It was destined to come down, but not a priority item.

Oops. Too slow.

House finches apparently liked the decor better than we did, and started dragging nest materials up there. Dang. I've had birds nest over my door before. It's not fun. For us or for them. So I climbed up to see how far along they were.

A tidy swirl of grasses, but no soft lining and no eggs. Perhaps it wasn't so far along that I couldn't take it down and encourage them to relocate.

Not 5 seconds after I took down the wreath, the male and female finches appeared. She with nesting softies in her beak, and he with copulation on his mind. (sigh) They were obviously quite agitated to see me there instead of their dream home. So the DM and I searched the front wall of the house and found another nail a few feet to the left of their previous real estate. As far as the aesthetics of OUR home go, the location isn't ideal, but we've already determined that our decor choices differ markedly from those of finches. I put the wreath back up and as soon as I went back inside, she assumed possession again. No hard feelings.

She seems content to sit fairly quietly in the new location when we go in and out the door. (Rather than bolting in alarm every time we approach from inside or outside.) She was sitting quite still when I climbed up to try for a photo, but wouldn't you know it? Simultaneous with the depression of the shutter came a large and rumbling delivery truck. More than she could tolerate. So for now we must be content with an image of construction, and the new location, location, location.

I realize we look like people who were probably really bad at Pin the Tail on the Donkey when we were kids. Or maybe like folks who decorate whilst wearing a blindfold. But what are ya gonna do?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

You say tomato


Here in the Heart of the Rockies we're still waiting for actual spring. Yesterday the DM and I attempted to attend the opening of the National Small Print Show in Creede, but were turned back a fourth of the way into the journey by snow and wind and fog. Sheesh.

Our friend Susan brought us tomato plants the day we moved into the house, protected in their pots by little red wall-o-waters. A few hours later her husband Richard showed up with a row cover and clothespins, announcing an overnight low forecast of 21 F. Double sheesh.

Since then we've been on a weather roller-coaster... each evening looking at each other and wondering if it's safe to leave our tender proto-garden exposed. We've covered it more often than not.

At this rate we'll be stuck with store-bought tomatoes until October.

I always laugh at the current popular tomato deception. You know the one: tomatoes sold "on the vine." Never mind that these are still industrial, hydroponic, never-see-a-speck-of-soil tomatoes. They're on a vine. They must be better.

In truth they are still hard and tasteless, BUT... we have discovered one advantage.

Yesterday the DM held up this piece of vine from our last disappointing tomato adventure and said, "Doesn't this look like something from a Tim Burton movie?"

Absolutely. And it looked darn fun to draw.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's official!

The DM has affixed Colorado plates to his car. He lives here now. :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pointy end down

Pencils. Brushes. Carving tools. All have pointy ends which, when put to their proper purpose, are applied to some sort of surface. Perhaps you remember this, but, OOPH! Seems like another lifetime since I exercised this particular skill.


Our new abode came with a yard that suffers a bit from recent neglect. We started to remedy this situation over the weekend, with a trim to the lawns and an application of H2O. The yard sports a variety of green matter, including two ancient and decrepit (but perhaps willing to fruit) apple trees. It also has two scrubby shrubs which appear near to flowering as honeysuckle. A few minutes tonight with pencil and brushes and water bucket and pallet on a familiar table in an unfamiliar space rendered this little sketch of a not-yet-blooming twig. It ain't great, but it's a sketch instead of a photo of boxes and their contents. Hoorah!

It's going to take a bit for this to feel like my working space, but I think it will be good once I get it all sorted out. The DM is getting his space sorted out, too, and it was nice to make this sketch whilst listening to live background music. Of course, both of us are suffering from weeks of hand and finger abuse: packing, lifting, moving, unpacking, dusting, scrubbing, arranging. The skin of our respective phalanges is cracked and tender, so we sound like two old grumps as we work: "Ooh. Ow. Yikes. Ouch. Ooph."

Bit by bit... back to business.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A funny moving story

Please note that there is no comma in the headline. It's not a funny, moving story. It's a funny moving story.

I think it's safe to say that there are very few things about moving that can be considered funny. I find nothing amusing about boxes and chaos. However. When one adds the enthusiastic help of friends to the chaos....

The last thing to be emptied and shifted on Saturday was The Dreaded Storage Shed. Boxes and my bicycle and a big, heavy cabinet and other awkward things. I went out back to The DSS long enough to point at various items and say, "Take that, leave that," and then my attention was called to supervise something else.

Hours went by.

We ate pizza and drank beer with our crew at the new house. They visited for a while and then went back to their respective lives. We dug a space out on the sofa, squeezed in, and stared stupidly at the wall for a while. Then the DM said, "Let me show you where the shed stuff ended up for now."

We headed out to the new back yard, where there is a head-scratching array of odd storage spaces. This here, that there... and the bicycles under there.

"You didn't tell me you had two bicycles," said the DM in a slightly aggrieved tone. "If I had known, I might not have gone to the trouble and expense of shipping mine out here."

"But I DON'T have two bicycles," replied I.

Perplexed and then alarmed looks were shared as we realized that our moving crew had shifted the neighbor's bike, which had been propped in front of HIS shed, next to mine. So we piled the bike into the car and headed back to the apartment, where I knocked on the door and announced our crime. Luckily, John The Neighbor hadn't yet realized his bike was missing, so he saw the humor in the situation and was quite gracious about it. Phew!

But let that be a lesson to you all. If we move to your neighborhood, and then subsequently move out, be sure everything you own is locked down so it doesn't accidentally get schlepped along in the tide.

Settling in

We can see parts of the floor! We have internet again! We have a functional kitchen! And..... (drum roll please).... I have an almost finished studio.


Do I feel guilty that the room that is most settled is my work space? A little. The DM's studio is still in disarray, but it has come to the forefront of our attention now. Some furnishings are needed before much more progress can be made there, so we'll be focusing on that during our Trip to the Big City tomorrow.

As for the world outside the walls of the new house... (IS there a world outside the walls of this house? We haven't seen it much.) We've been enjoying much-needed and long-overdue rain the last couple of days, hoorah! So far the house seems to be holding back water (a new roof is due some time before the end of the month).

I haven't been able to pay much attention to what our yard list might be looking like... but I am well aware that we are infested with pine siskins and house finches. They never shut up! The last two days we've had a yellow warbler working the trees out front... delightful! And there are a couple of fat squirrels about... we've been giving each other the evil eye through the studio window.

It's back to work for me this morning... a conference call is on the schedule within the hour. I am twitchy to pick up a pencil for something other than list-making or shelf-marking. Soon.... soon....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

At least the boxes are in a different place now....

There's a song I can only vaguely remember... name of band, tune, and most of the lyrical content are lost to me.... but it's about moving. The lines I DO remember have to do with strong buddies and boxes and needing more beer and getting kinda grumpy.

We are most fortunate to have an unbelievable cadre of strong and able buddies who are willing to pitch in and shift a house in a mere 3 1/2 hours. They remain steadfastly NONgrumpy and are easily sated with beer and pizza and MnMs. I don't know what we'd do without them. And, of course, having such able and enthusiastic helpers means we've already had a party in the new place. Such a deal.

Pizza and beer in the new living room.

So. We woke this morning in the new house... morning sun in the bedroom windows and fumes of fresh paint in our noses. (Forecast last night called for a mere 21 F! No sleeping with the windows open for us!) Our house internet won't be hooked up until Tuesday, so we packed up our gear and walked down to the Salida Cafe for coffee, tea, and a web fix.

A few more minutes, another cup of coffee for the DM, and we'll head back up the street. The Plan for today is to get my studio in at least functional order, since I need to get back to work ASAP this week. Of course, it's a lot like that little sliding tiles game: one open space into which you push an adjacent tile until somehow a picture is miraculously formed. Yesterday the problem was that I couldn't find the empty space into which I could start sliding things, but today it all seems a tad more clear. I have to CREATE the empty space by doing something with all these books. :-)

Some of the 40+ boxes of reading material.
I donated a bunch of stuff to the library bookstore before the move. Really, I did!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The end in sight

Sounds ominous.

Yes, it's 4:00am on Moving Day and I am awake. The DM and I have been madly shifting boxes and painting an upstairs room of the new house over the past few days. Today our Darling Friends (the DFs) will come to help with furniture and other ungainlies.

As usual, my studio is the last thing to be organized for the move.... mostly because it contains so much odd-shaped and non-boxable STUFF. Drawing boards and lino blocks and framed art that needs homes and crates and bins and sketchbooks and mailing tubes and more art and more frames and more glass. Horrible. It is not nearly as organized to go as I'd like.... but time is up and we're out of boxes.

The good news is that the DM and I decided that both of our studios (he's a musician) will be on the first floor of the new house. This a relief because it means we do NOT have to haul awkward and heavy equipment upstairs, nor do we have to haul many of my (I am not kidding) 40+ boxes of BOOKS up there. In an effort to keep our DFs, we shifted all of those already ourselves. Photos to come.

So here's the house. Already I love views from upstairs windows. Expect sketches once I find my pencils again.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fame and Glory

It's time once again for the Colorado Art Ranch Artposium, about which I have written and blathered on from time to time. Unfortunately, given the current state of domestic disarray, we will not be able to attend the upcoming event in Steamboat Springs (although it's gonna be a good one, and you should go if you can!).

Still, I am pleased to report that my status as a Nomad, whilst about to be tarnished by non-attendance, is at least in working order. The fabulous poet, educator, and writer-about-town Marj Hahne has just published an article about the Art Ranch concept in Cairn Magazine, featuring a little photo of yours truly and her workshop participants at the inaugural Artposium last year. Thanks, Marj!

Our lives in cardboard

The DM arrived in good order (aside from a backside shaped roughly like a car seat) on Wednesday, and we've been somewhat manic ever since. Boxes have been arriving for several weeks, but between the final shipment and the emptying of the car... well.... we're living like this just now:


We'll start shifting boxes this weekend, to make room for me to pack up my belongings, and then The Big Move takes place NEXT weekend. We are both ready to be finished with complete disarray (the DM has been purging and packing and shipping since February), but OOPH. All signs point to disorder for some little while yet. We can not WAIT to fill the cardboard recycling trailer with the remains of these few months.