Monday, January 29, 2001

Bits of home and office

Bits. I made some beanbag pillow coasters out of fabric that I loved to look at. I thought about selling them on eBay, then was glad I didn't. They worked for awhile, but eventually the beans inside got soggy and weird. I was using real beans, and the condensation from the outside of the mugs and glasses eventually made the beans think it was time to either disintigrate or sprout. Or get mooshy and give out an unpleasant odor. But they were fun while they lasted. The Favorite Horse Stories book was recommended by someone, and I think it had an actual short story with a tapir in it. I'll have to look it up again. My hand-written notes under the book list several tapir species with numbers. I see I was deeply into some project, because the books are about digital documents and the folder contains photos and slides. What else is new?

This mug came from a trip to Chicago to the Brookfield Zoo, where I was invited to take part in a meeting with other IUCN/SSC members to brainstorm about a virtual library. I had put the 1997 Tapir Action Plan online, which only seemed natural to me, and then I found out it was the very first IUCN action plan to go on the Web. Cool. I'm proud of this achievement, and to have been in the forefront of something. So they wanted my input for the digital library. I like buying mugs as souvenirs. It was a nice thing to have as a keepsake, but I also bought them for presents. I couldn't have found something less bulky and heavy that I liked as well? I guess not! The credit card swiper terminal on the right is for the Tapir Gallery Gift Shop. I remember how I got started in 1996 or 1997. I went into the local bank and said I wanted to do business online, and they said, "We've never done this before, but we're going to take a chance with you because you've been a reliable customer. We're going to set up a credit card processing account for you as a test case!"

Sunday, January 28, 2001

Elvis at the back door

This is Elvis at the back door. It looks like someone has been trying to get in using the screen. Before we moved here, the garage had been converted to a family room and the deck and sliding glass doors were added. The area wasn't quite level, and on more than one occasion, the glass door simply did a belly-flop into the room. The carpeting prevented breakage, but one time it nearly landed on me and one of the dogs. We kept trying to get it fixed, but the landlord was a do-it-yourselfer and he couldn't get it right.

Saturday, January 27, 2001

Badger art and snow

I drew this badger in the mid to late 1970s, and took the photo today. It was amazing to me that I used to be able to go to the basement educational department of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and check out taxidermied animals the way you'd check out a library book. I could take them home and draw them again and again until they were due back. I've always liked this badger. The drawing is done in dark pencil, and is about 12 x 16 inches, I think. It was one of my best. Sometimes I'd go to the museum and draw the bigger animals in the Hall of Mammals or draw dinosaur bones. Kathy, who worked with me in my graphics business was also an artist, and when work was slow, we'd sometimes go draw. But the post date of this picture is the day I took the photo. I want to be able to draw as nicely as this again, but I'm rusty and it's not coming easily. For an enlargement of the badger's face, see my web album.

This pic is nothing special, it just shows what the snow was doing. That weedy stand is my garden. I'll have fun with it again in spring.

(Your visit to this blog helps us build traffic to support tapir conservation. We usually have some badgers in the gift shop!)

Thursday, January 25, 2001

A beautiful day in Palisade, Colorado

From morning until evening this was a gorgeous day to be out taking photos. I'd driven off the Internstate on some road in Clifton and couldn't help but stop for a few pictures. The air was crisp and cold, and the vista was magnificent. This is Mount Garfield from the Clifton side.

Mount Garfield on the left and Grand Mesa on the right. Palisade is nestled in between, but you can't really see it from here. Maybe some of the trees are in Palisade. I think this area is all Clifton where I'm standing.

Grand Mesa under snow and clouds.

Here's Grand Mesa from smack dab downtown Palisade at 3rd and Main.

Grand Mesa from the sidewalk in front of our house on Milleman Street.

The Bookcliffs from our front yard. The snow was gone by late afternoon, but as always, the play of color and changing light fascinates me.

The Bookcliffs and Milleman Street. This is looking eastward or maybe somewhat northeast toward the Rockies, much too far away to see.

Sunset on Grand Mesa from our back yard.

I love the feel of the sky this evening.

While the sunset isn't spectacular, the sky glows behind the trees making a beautiful way to end a day of changes.

Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Drawing again and Palisade scenery

I've taken up drawing again after having done very little or nothing with it for years. It seems your eyes and your muscles start all over again, or almost all over again, after this long. It feels clumsy and it's frustrating, but I decided I wanted to see how good I could get before I get much older, since it's something I used to do pretty well. I began taking a class at the art center in Grand Junction.

It's all exercises at this point. The infamous gesture drawings. But truly, if you can learn to do them well, it will help a lot. If you ever wonder if gesture drawings have any point, find some by Rembrandt.

Peach trees and snow at the end of Milleman Street. This is looking approximately west toward Grand Mesa.

I suppose this would be southwest. There's Grand Mesa and some smaller hills.

Simple and small. The early days of TPF. The gift shop items are in the white cabinets. The rugs are from Salasaca, Ecuador, brought back by Craig Downer.

Monday, January 22, 2001

The post office and train station, Palisade, Colorado

This may be the only photo I have of the Palisade post office, I'm not sure. It also shows the train station on the right. Both are tiny, but then so is Palisade. I took the photo from the dentist's chair after he moved from the old building on Main Street.

This post office became a huge part of my life, because once I started the Tapir Preservation Fund and its online gift shop, I was there many, many days getting postal rates and shipping packages. When I want to see how the gift shop has grown and how our efficiency has changed, I think back to these early days. I started by taking each package to the P.O. to weigh it and get the shipping rates, then return home and contact the customer, charge their credit card, do the final packing, and take the box back to ship it! Now we can do it in a couple of minutes online. We still use Priority mail, but the systems are so much faster and the post office picks up at our store every day!

There were a couple of really nice clerks, and then there was Irene. Not to belabor it, but I disliked her and she disliked me. She had two classes of customers. One set would get into her line on purpose, and the other set would avoid her at any cost. She was just rude unless she liked you, then she was all smiles and schmooze. I kept trying to be nice to her, but when I started the business I had a lot of very pertinent questions such as, "How much does it cost to ship this box to Germany?" She couldn't be bothered. She once gave me the rate to Austria instead of Australia, and when I suggested that the rate sounded low and could she check it, she got mad. "Same difference," she said. (!!!) "No, Irene, it's on the other side of the world. Could you check it again for me? Please? Thank you." I think she finally quit just before I moved away.

Anyway, it makes me appreciate how much we can do online now!

Sunday, January 21, 2001

Leila in the snow

As overexposed as it is, I like this photo. It's one of the few, if not the only picture I have of Leila lying in the snow. She seemed to enjoy it, as she did so many things. It might sound crazy, but she seemed to have an appreciation of the outdoors and what it had to offer. I'll get to that more later with the sunset pictures. The exposure makes it look like burning hot summer, but I assure you, it wasn't! Hey, Leila, you are so adorable!

Friday, January 19, 2001

Downtown Palisade, Colorado, and Elvis with two wood tapirs

This is one of my favorite Mt. Garfield photos, with the leafless peach trees and snow. I took it from the end of our street (Milleman) where it crossed the main road into Palisade, which has the picturesque name of 37 3/10 Road. No, I'm not kidding. The Grand Valley is on a grid system. Further down, it's called Elberta Avenue, but I'm not sure if the name is official up here near I-70.

That's my Mazda hatchback parked in front of our group mailboxes on 37 3/10 Road. In the distance is Grand Mesa. Our house is the second (tan) one behind the blue one on the left. Mt. Garfield is behind me. The view of Garfield from our back deck was uninterrupted and glorious before the blue house was built. They're nice people, but I sure appreciated that view and I hated to see it go. The round-topped trees are globe willows. They grow like weeds, and they look beautiful. I'd never seen one until I came to Colorado in 1992, and now I love them.

The red building is The Livery, an old-fashioned bar that looks like a movie set and has a nice atmosphere. I'm standing in the parking lot of Family Food Town. Yes, this is Main Street. You can just see Grand Mesa in the background. The building with the blue banner has had some incredibly good restaurants in it, but inevitably they go downhill when (I imagine) they can't keep up the quality of food or the chef they opened with.

That's a nice shot of Grand Mesa, showing also what a teeny town this is. The population might be 2,000? So how do I not go crazy? Internet (web site and business), e-mail, books, friends, husband, pets, artwork, genealogy, gorgeous scenery in every direction, camera, and . . . I'm a "project person." I always keep busy doing something that (to me anyway) is fascinating.

Here's more of the Family Food Town parking lot. The white roof is a gazebo with benches. The big tan building next to the red one is the bank (downstairs) and offices upstairs. My dentist's office used to be up there.

More exciting downtown Palisade. I'm not sure why I included this one, but it's uploaded now, so there you have it. There are a couple of sidewalks in downtown Palisade, and this proves it. The street light is nice, too.

From the Family Food Town parking lot, you can see Mt. Garfield to the northwest and the train tracks on the rise in front of the white buildings. I sometimes walk down here to get exercise. Our house is up near the bluffs. There's a lift gate, or drop gate, where the tracks cross Main Street, and I always love it when the trains come through, even though they're long and make you wait. I was surprised one day to hear that one of the white buildings was a meth lab and had been busted. I had not thought of meth labs. The idea never crossed my mind. I was too busy dealing with tapirs. Why would I be thinking of meth labs anyway? I just remember it was a big surprise to think about that kind of drug operation right where I'd been thinking everything was so basic, plain, harmless and legal.

This is Elvis with two carved balsa wood tapirs from Peru. She (Elvis) almost looks motherly. This is a bench on our back deck where I took photos for the online gift shop. It was interesting, because the light was so often extremely bright. I had to jump through hoops to get anything I could use.

I guess Elvis has had enough. 'Bye-bye, Elvis.

Sunday, January 14, 2001

Getting back into painting

Today I photographed some of the arts and crafts I'd begun to pick up again. Above is a painting of Nietsche. It wasn't anything about him personally I wanted to paint, but I found a picture on a book cover in a magazine, and I thought the face was dynamic, so I got my old paint and brushes to see what came out of me. It's not a style I'd ever tried before. I wanted to use paint. I think that was my overriding feeling. I wanted to put paint on canvas. I wasn't sure what I wanted as far as the images, only the expression of feeling with paint, although I didn't want to do a complete abstract. I like recognizable images.

This is a bulletin board I had in the back bedroom, which I was turning into my art room. I had set up the canvas to photograph. For the painting, I'd taken an old frame, painted it black, and simply stapled some canvas onto the back of it. The blanket is just a backdrop for that. Above are pieces to a "watercolor quilt" I never finished. I love, love, LOVE the gradation of colors and pattern in this style of quilt. I'd found a book and was making my own design from the style. Here's a link I just found online to someone's water color quilt gallery (not mine :) Also on the bulletin board are several framed tapir stamp prints that Kate had made and sent to me to put in the online tapir gift shop for Christmas ornaments. Kate was very generous and creative that way, and we had unusual ornaments for sale each year. In the center is a page from a calendar I liked. The entire calendar was made of Egyptian prints by David Roberts. I just love this guy's work!

In another experiment, I found a photo of a Russian Orthodox (?) church, and used that as a model for color, because I liked the shapes. In the end, I liked the colors a lot, but the composition didn't feel right for a finished work. Still, I was getting into it, not sure where I wanted to go. Decisions about art are some of the hardest, and don't let anyone tell you differently! There are so few "right" answers, and so many, MANY decisions to make. It can really cause a person to feel nuts and very unstable. You simply don't have the easy answers of 6 and 6 make 12, and you sign on this line and mail the form. Of course, I hate forms much more than I am confused by creative decisions, so I guess I was born to deal with the inscrutable (from Latin: in + scrutari = to search).

In this case, I drew out some Egyptian heads and decided to let things flow from there, using both an Egyptian-style print fabric and paint. I kind of like what happened, but it's clearly two different paintings, which I never resolved and never finished. Interestingly, it also came from two different images. Here is an image from a collage I made showing three ancient Egyptian faces.

Here's the art room in it's current incarnation. I wrote more about it in an earlier post.

Saturday, January 13, 2001

A heavy snow day in Palisade

This is quite a big snow day for Palisade. Old-timers say snow used to reach three and four feet deep here thirty years ago, but the most snow I ever saw accumulate was about four inches. Mount Garfield is to the west behind the tree branches.

I always love the patterns the snow makes on the Bookcliffs. It brings out the geology in a way you don't see as dramatically under any other conditions.

There's Leila wondering what to do with snow. I think she enjoys it.

Beyond our fence you can see the tops of the bare peach trees on 37 3/10 Road (alias Elberta Ave.).

I included this picture to show Grand Mesa beyond the rooftops. The big, round tree is a globe willow in its winter clothing.

This is our front yard, with our re-planted Christmas tree and the globe willow I grew from a sprouting stick. The dark area to the right is the canopy over the front door. It's not that cavernous, but the contrast with the snow makes it look that way.

This is my garden in less snowy seasons. I've had a hard time making anything grow in ground that was saturated with weed-killer, so I started with a smallish plot where a few plants managed to survive and even thrive now and then. It looks pretty covered with snow.

By afternoon, you can see that some of the snow has melted, bringing out the strongly horizontal rim-rock even more.

Here's a view of the easterly direction of Milleman Street.
You can see these photos in my Palisade web album, too.

Friday, January 12, 2001

Mt. Garfield near Palisade

This lighting on Mount Garfield is glorious with the dark clouds behind. Unfortunately the elements of trash day and the power poles are not so glorious, but this is the only photo I have for the day. I took the picture from our front sidewalk on Milleman street. If I'd walked a few yards into the peach orchard at the end of the street, I could have avoided trash cans, streets, wires and signs, but the light changes so fast, I would probably have missed the drama. Other photos will be different, but this is my memory book image for January 12, 2001. No matter how you look at it, this scenery is breathtaking.

Thursday, January 11, 2001

Elvis, a very good cat - Palisade, Colorado

These are just some pictures of Elvis on took on January 11. She's a good cat. Nice and soft and friendly, with very few bad habits, except for biting sometimes, which most cats do. She especially likes to wrap her arms around the dogs' faces and gently (?) bite their eyes. They tolerate each other well. Film at eleven.

Today is also my dad's birthday, but I didn't see him, since he lives in Arizona.