Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008, magic, miracles and music!

This years magic began on training wheels - in January I started a new volunteer position at 3Rivers Hospital. At times its been a challenging ride, but each shift leaves me with an attitude of gratitude. I'm so truly thankful to be working with the individuals that staff the surgery department, better known as PACU.
My other volunteer position, selling raffle tickets at the Britt Festival was as usual, a total blast. Pushing over three thousand tickets, I won the big prize this season again, winning two tickets for the concert of my choice next year, and five minutes of fame at the 2008 volunteer picnic.
With so many magical concerts this season its impossible to reach back and pick highlights since every single one was memorable in one way or another.
The season opened with Crosby Stills and Nash and ended with Bonnie Raitt. In between I also worked, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, The Neville Brothers, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Steve Miller, and Michelle Shocked. Clearly at the top however was the Craig Chaquico concert with Jesse Cook opening, two incredible guitarists each one so singularly amazing. Michael Franti played the Britt for the third consecutive year and we took Daniel along this time. Lyle was back and he was of course simply fantastic, meeting him and having my picture taken with him after the concert, next to nirvana.
It was a great summer weatherwise, and hard to believe, Dave and I made it down the river only twice, but we got out to the coast and camped for a few glorious days on the Chetco river.
Lots of company this year, my high school friend Carol came to visit in March with her friend Lori, who ended up renting my studio downstairs in the fall while looking for a permanent teaching position in Oregon. Ruth Ann came up from the Bay Area two times and joined us at the coast for two days of our Chetco camping trip. Martina, Dylan, and her Mom, in from Germany, came up for a week in July. Francis, Ted, Jamie and Paul, Deb and Robert Yee all visited as well.
Sadly we lost Bullet this summer to cancer and still feel the loss, and even more, so does Maggie. She got into a moonlight tangle with a raccoon this summer and was fortunate to escape with minor injuries and an unwanted (is there any other kind) trip to the vet.
The end of the year was miraculously punctuated by hope and the election of Barack Obama. Here's to the economy rising to a better place by this time next year. 2008 is almost a wrap, and as my friend Leah wrote today in her blog Barn Door Tagz..."Good Riddance!"
Heres wishing you a New Year of prosperity, good health, and peace of heart and mind.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

The snow, the food, and the beautiful Christmas eve candlelight service at Newman Methodist, it truly was a Christmas to remember. We had Lori and Bills incredible red sauce on Christmas Eve with ravioli, gluten free gnocchi and we fired up the grill for some salmon caught at Albertson's.
After dinner we packed up everything including the tree because a storm was moving in... and the possibility of not getting up the driveway, headed to Daves' in the pouring rain, stopping on the way through town at Newman Methodist for a spectacular spiritual infusion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

But is it art?

These holidays the lines are blurry, and in a sober way, in regard to the art of making art. Baking, decorating the charlie brown tree with homemade decorations, or the dog...taking photos to post or working on illustration jobs. Its all art and all about art.
Challenging as it is to focus these days on the stuff that brings in an income, and with my studio rental turning over after the new year plus an assignment to work on, I created two image stamps for a clients website in between baking some Gluten free cookies, and uuhhh, decorating the dog.
My computer was just relocated -for the third time this year, and now sits closer to my kitchen, between the kitchen and the fireplace, and with a direct view of the television. Does it get any better than that?
It does, add Pandora radio into the mix and you have commercial free tunes for any musical taste. I love Pandora, (thanks Ruthie for turning me onto it).
These days the Christmas tunes are worth dialing in and provide the perfect backdrop for making art, for clients or gluten intolerant b-friends.
I rented two videos this week, The Bucket List, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The Bucket List, was as contrived as Hollywood can pump out, yes I choked up at the end, but in the process I felt emotionally manipulated.
I read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly years ago, more than once, its a short read with a lasting impact and I was curiously excited to hear it was being made into a movie. Since its usually the case that the movie is nowhere near as good as the book, this was one I didn't want to see, but couldn't wait to see.
Its taken two years for the desire and the actual video to merge, and I have to say this movie was as good if not better than the book. Julian Schnabel, an eclectic artist and filmmaker was the director, the cinematography and the acting were fabulous, and the result was as artful as a film gets.
Weather wise we have been fortunate here in Southern Oregon to get a light version of the full on blizzard affecting the upper Pacific Northwest. Lori's husband Bill had the nail biting drive up from New Mexico this week, and we had a wonderful dinner together on Sunday evening between storms. Last week Lori landed her dream job teaching art at a fantastic school in Salem, Oregon. I'm sure she will be a tremendous creative asset to their staff. We will miss her spirit and cooking around the ranch!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fun with Maggie

Maggie is nowhere near as amused as we are this morning. She is in fact wasted from the hike around Limpy Creek yesterday, not wanting to even go outside this morning, allowing us to put the silly santy hat on her and pose for some pics I plan to submit to the SF Chronicle holiday pet pics section. As you can see, she has had it by the time its begun, tolerant good sport she is, she let us play for a good ten minutes.
Well we had fun.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it Snow!

Many of my friends who have come to visit have walked the botanical trail at Limpy Creek. A mere ten minute drive from the house, no matter the season or the weather, draped in dogwood blossoms or fog, its magical and mood changing. It takes on an even more ethereal quality in the winter when dressed with snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowing at last

Maggie and I went over to Daves on Saturday night expecting to get snowed in, instead it was only a light dusting, enough for the early morning photo op above. This morning we woke here on Marcy Loop to the real deal and headed outside, meeting up with Lori in the driveway, slideshow below.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baking cookies

A few years ago in 2005, and my how time flys, I registered a domain and designed a logo and a website for it... ( the purpose being to create an online dog cookie business, with additional dog related items to buy. At the time there was a gal in town that made the treats and I hoped to partner with her on the actual products. Since then Danielle has moved out of town and I dropped the ball on the website project. Lately Maggie has not been all over the Costco cookies shes been addicted to for years. So I decided to experiment with baking some homemade ones with the outside chance I would get crackin' and get the dog cookie business happening.
Or at least the website finished so I could sell it to someone who actually wants to bake and sell dog treats for a living.
These days with the temps dropping, any excuse to turn on the oven to bake is a worthy idea, and our four pawed test kitchen approved round one. Woof!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Backyard brew haha

This week the sun finally reappeared, Dave fired up Mr chain saw and we went looking around a corner of the property for some dead Madrone to cut for Lori. I was surprised how much we found and hauled out. Afterwhich we torched the pile of brush back there, sipping tea, taking pictures and laughing about past bonfires we've had in the backyard.
City living was never this much fun.