Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reading recommendation and remembering the ranch

Here's a reading recommendation: From this week's Newsweek Magazine, read Dahlia Lithwick's piece, From Clarence Thomas to Palin. It's really wicked. Here's a quote, "John McCain has mastered the fine art of turning women into campaign accessories: flag pins with nice calves."
The second week we were gone, we spent at the Circle Cross Ranch near Alamogordo, NM. What a lovely place - high in the central New Mexico Mountains. They had had a lot of rain, and the wildflowers were blooming in profusion. It was a quiet time (if you don't count Hurricane Ike and the financial meltdown), and it was great to spend time with Marty and John. Old friends from college who live in El Paso came by the ranch to visit. They're very interested in the area history, and they were excited to see this historic ranch and talk history.

Today's pictures are of friends dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, and a typical scene from the ranch.

Hurricane Gothic

Home, but remembering

It was back in the routine with a vengeance today. It did feel SO good to get back into the pool and exercise and stretch and catch up with all the swimmers' news. Even Wal-Mart wasn't too bad. I only forgot 2-3 things and have to take only one thing back. Guess that's not too bad.

John won high for the session that ended 1 September. I had been high until the last round, but ..... The guy who organizes the sessions gives each winner a gift certificate to the restaurant of his/her choice. That'll be nice. And after that, we got our much needed haircuts.

To recap some of our trip, we had a great week in Southern California. We always enjoy spending time with A&A - and they did show us a good time. We ate well and played a lot of bridge, of course. But we also spent a day on Catalina Island. We drove around in a golf cart, checked out the museum and waterfront, and had lunch. The boat-ride over was nice, too.

We went to San Diego over the weekend to visit with Alison and see her new house and her lab at Scripps. We stayed at a neat old hotel not too far from her house, the Lafayette Hotel. We met Joe and saw a lot of the little beach towns in the area. On the way back to the LA area, we stopped at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana to see the great exhibit of Chinese terra cotta warriors.

We went to the Getty Museum in Malibu. This branch of the Getty had been closed for about 7 years and had only recently reopened. A&A had not been there since the renovation, and enjoyed getting to see the changes and what had been left the same. It's an awesome facility and collection.

Another museum we took in was the Petersen Automotive Museum in downtown LA. It's a very interesting collecttion of automobiles and things relating to cars and trucks - well worth a stop. And one afternoon, we took in a movie, Vicky Christina Barcelona. I'm not a particular Woody Allen fan, but this was a pretty good flick. We even got to visit with John's two nephews and their families.

There's really a lot to see and do in Southern California - and it's especially great when you have good friends/family to visit with and to show you around.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


RIP - Paul Newman - What a loss of a really nice person. One tribute I read had the best description: He had the soul of a character actor and the looks of a leading man. He really did always seem to play against the type of his good looks in his best performances. He'll be missed.
I got more things caught up today. All the laundry is done. The bills are paid; the check book balanced; the calendar updated and checked. It's back to the regular routine tomorrow. I even figured out that we could watch the new NCIS episodes we missed on Comcat's On Demand. The plot is thickening. And then I actually sat here and watched "You've Got Mail!" All of it! I confess, I do like that one.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Home again - September 2008 version

We're home! And exhausted! We got home about 11 p.m. last night, after a full-day's travel (about a 2-hour time difference from where we'd been for two weeks). So we're not worth much today and probably won't be for a while.

We had a great week in CA, visiting with John's sister and brother-in-law, with an overnight side trip to see our granddaughter in San Diego. She's doing well in grad school, and it was a special visit. In the LA area, we went to Catalina, to the Malibu Getty Museum (which had recently reopened after a multi-year closure for remodeling), to a movie, etc., along with all the family visiting and good eats.

Our second week in New Mexico with John's cousin and spouse on their ranch was wonderful, too. The news wasn't good while we were there (Hurricane Ike and the financial mess), but being isolated in the mountains kind of kept that all at arm's length for us. I do feel for all the folks being terribly affected, though. The family and friends we have in Houston are all okay - mostly had minor tree damage and a week-long power outage. Those poor folks along the coast have really had awful devastation.

The tour in Copper Canyon was great. The Canyons are spectacular, the train ride was fun. Our tour guide was excellent and the other participants made up a good group. The less good parts were a couple of days of long bus rides (after all, it's the "west", and things are far apart out there) (and which our guide made more palatable with lectures and a couple of movies), and the bug bites we got on a river trip. But two of the hotels were exceptional, with one literally stuck on the edge of one of the canyons. What views and what an array of stars at night!

We spent one night in El Paso with an old college friend, and it was fun to renew that friendship and get acquainted with her husband. Followed by a long, but gratefully uneventful trip home.

So far, we've gotten the bags unpacked, the laundry sorted, the mail gone through, the bills paid, and most of the computer stuff caught up. The "to-do" list includes doing the laundry (tomorrow), getting to the grocery store (Monday), downloading the photos from the cameras (probably tomorrow), and hopefully getting further caught up on sleep.

Glad to be back home!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gone again

We're waiting for our transport to El Paso for the start of our Copper Canyon tour. I'll be back in a week or so when we get home.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunny Sunday

The news coming out of the Houston area has been so tough. I really feel for those folks - having "been there, done that". We were still in Houston in 1961 when Hurricane Carla hit. We had four small children, with Jean only one month old. We had no damage to the house, but were without power for a week. And that was where Dan Rather got his start - broadcasting for the Houston CBS affiliate from Galveston, through the whole storm, with one of the first weather radars in the country. He was called up to the network soon after that. We have heard from my cousin - she got power returned this afternoon, and had only some limbs down in her yard.

Another beautiful day in the New Mexico mountains - cool and sunny. An "old school chum" and her husband who live in El Paso came up to visit us at the ranch today. They're very interested in the history of the area, so it was a treat for them to see the place and meet John and Marty and talk about history. We'll see them again when we return from the Copper Canyon trip. John took us on another ride up into the hills again. The flowers are getting even prettier, with even more in bloom today than yesterday.

Be sure to click on the link to "Funny the World" to read Bev's entry for today. She's got a good one!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

From New Mexico

We're at John's cousins' ranch in New Mexico. It's east (and up) from Alamogordo, and south of Cloudcroft. We flew to El Paso yesterday, and took the van shuttle to Alamogordo, where they picked us up. We'll be here until Thursday, when we go back to El Paso to meet up with the Copper Canyon trip. There is no cell phone reception here, but (obviously), they do have satellite and a computer connection.

Of course, we've been glue to the TV - watching Ike roar ashore in Galveston and Houston. Anne & Nick stayed put. They've gotten a generator which will keep up their refrigerator and freezer going, and maybe to use the microwave occasionally. So barring falling trees on the house, they should be okay. No telling how long they'll be without power.

We had a great visit in CA, and enjoyed spending time with the folks there and getting to see Alison and nephews and families.

The weather is gorgeous here. They've had so much rain in the late summer - the pastures are all green and the cows and horses are fat and sassy.

I'll post again when I can.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tuesday morning

There's coastal fog again this morning - usually presaging a glorious day in Southern California.

We had a lovely day at Avalon on Catalina Island yesterday. It's a charming community, climbing from the ocean up the hillsides from the waterfront. It's small and old and funky - touristy, but not the really bad stuff (if that makes sense). The 70-minute boatride over was uneventful. We rented a golf cart (very few regular vehicles allowed on the island) and drove around town for an hour or so. The museum had an exhibit of Catalina pottery. This was new to me, but some interesting stuff. It is reminiscent of FiestaWare, but has a more matte finish. The pottery started with building materials, and gradually branched out into decorative tile and tableware - being most popular in the mid-to-late 1920s. I don't know the dates of FiestaWare. Somebody look it up and let me know.

John and Al went for a walk in the Botanical Gardens, while Ann and I walked along the waterfront and checked on possible tours, lunch spots, etc. By the time they got back, we had missed the tours we were interested in, so we had some lunch, and then took an earlier boat back to the mainland. I think we all napped through most of the ride home. It was a lovely day, and it was a real treat to get to see this legendary place.

Dinner and bridge finished off the evening. Al and John pretty much whipped up on Ann and me tonight. We'll see how this evening's contest go - John and me against Ann and Al.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday morning - Pacific Time

We had a great weekend, visiting with Alison in San Diego. We got to see her lab and the critters she's trying to raise and encourage to propagate. She took us out on the Scripps pier to see some of the gorgeous Southern California coastline. We got to see her new apartment and meet her fellow. Joe is a really nice guy - I'm glad we got the chance to meet him, too. We stayed in one of the old SD hotels - the Lafayette. It's been gently refurbished, and was a neat place to stay.

We stopped at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana on the way back. They have a superb traveling show of the Chinese terra cotta warriors. We always love a chance to see one of these exhibits. And this was one of the best we've ever seen. It even included models showing how it's been determined that the craftsmen made the statues.

We're off early this morning, taking the boat to Catalina Island. This will be an all-day trip - including renting a golf cart to get around, and taking a bus tour into the Nature Preserve. So much to see and do.

We're taking lots of pictures, but you'll just have to wait. I trust everybody to keep the home fires burning and the internet working properly.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Southern California

We're already getting time-adjusted, and enjoying visiting with family. Our flight was wonderfully uneventful - even arriving 20 minutes early. Ann & Al are in great shape. As always, it's a great treat to spend time with them. We had a short visit with Bob, Janet, and the kids yesterday. And we're headed to San Diego today to visit with Alison. It's been over a year since we've seen here, so this is a treat.

Sarah wrote that she and her roommate had had to evacute because of TS Hanna. But from the news this morning, it looks like Hanna went through quickly, after making landfall just north of there. So now we wait for Ike and Josephine.

We've got some neat stuff planned to see and do. And I'll just bet we get in a few hands of bridge.

I'll check back in when I can.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's time to fly - bring cash

Well, I wussed out - couldn't watch the Repub Convention. Just a bad person, I guess.

We really are starting to settle in to the new gallery. A couple more of the artists checked in and brought some pieces in for the Gallery Hop. There's a good ad in the newspaper's In The City give-away magazine, touting the new location.

Both bags are packed and ready to go, as well as the camera bag. I'll get my tote bag finished off tomorrow. John had the frustrating time. He was going to print out the boarding passes, and spent about an hour plus a phone call trying to get it all done. Only to find out that we couldn't do that because we don't have an e-ticket - we have a paper ticket. At least we're not flying on Southwest, so we already have seat assignments. And we are aware that American Airlines is now charging $5.00 for each checked bag.

Then I went on line to find out if a meal was being served. Well, yes, there is food available on the flight - for a price. A bag of potato chips is $3.00; a wrap or a sandwich (alone) is $6.00; and for only $10.00!, you can get a sandwich AND chips. Be still my heart! I guess we'll pick up something in the airport to take on the plane - or else just be hungry until we get to Ann & Al's. This is a photo of an American Airlines meal from an earlier time.

We will have access to a computer for the first two weeks we'll be gone, but I don't know how regularly I'll get the time to write. Please keep checking in, and I'll blog when I can.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hanna, Ike, and Josephine

Sarah said that the College of Charleston had had an evacuation drill, and that if it looked like Hanna was coming through, the students would just get sent home for a long weekend. Of course, they've done this before, and understand the drill. But hopefully it won't come to that. It certainly is being a busy year for tropical disturbances.

I took a bunch of paintings to Studio2/Gallery2 this morning. One of the other artists came in, too. Things are finally starting to shape up, and the space is looking like home.

We watched programs we had recorded from last night (recorded while John watched the TN/UCLA debacle). Then I started watching We watched programs we had recorded from last night (recorded while John watched the TN/UCLA debacle). Then I started watching Irma La Douce - what a fun movie that is. I know I said that I was going to watch some of the Republican Convention. But there was no way I was going to listen to Thompson and Lieberman - and, of course, the two head Republicans were definitely not invited into the house.

Monday, September 01, 2008

It wasn't a holiday for Gustav

Gustav is now inland, with wind, rain, and potential tornadoes still to come. Things were certainly bad enough - even without devastation like Katrina. At least the evacuation was well handled this time, and the government services were pretty much under control. But, watch out, Hanna and Ike are out there waiting in line.

The YMCA was closed today because of the Labor Day Holiday, so no swimming. I did get to Wal-Mart early, though. I didn't have to get much in the way of groceries, but I did find a pair of jeans and some black pants. I went out again, looking for a denim skirt. It's too late in the season for that, but I did find a khaki skirt. That'll work. John brought the suitcases up, so now I'll have to make some decisions.

I picked the paintings that need to go back to the Gallery for the city-side Gallery Hop in a couple of weeks. I had to be sure everything was priced, and that there was a list of the larger pieces. Vicki said that nearly everything had been moved. She's going to do more throwing-out as she unpacks the boxes. The other artists will be coming in to help with hanging for the show and generally getting things ready. I really hate that we won't be here for the event.

Today's photo is one of my paintings that willl be hung. It's 36x18", acrylic on canvas. Any suggestions for a title?