Monday, June 27, 2016

Inside the mind of an artist

I can see already that I should have brought some candles. It's dark in here.

I was looking at my gallery wall this morning, hoping to be inspired by past successes. Yet, all I can see are the negatives. My palette was far too limited. I do have half a dozen paintings on the wall that I purchased or was given. These are the bright spots on the wall. All the rest, save a few, are beginning to bore me. There is one painting, one I purchased recently that makes me smile every time I see it. It's title is the '8 Legged Horse'. The artist had a small show at the coffee shop next to our Art Center and I was immediately drawn to this painting. I had to buy it. It was only $60 and I thought that was a steal.

The painting has been created with watercolors, crayons, pencil, pen and ink, stampings and other unidentifiable markings. All on watercolor paper. It reminds me of Basquiat's paintings but it's not a copy of that artists style. It has its own inimitable style.

I know...your six year old could paint one better than that. I've heard it all before and it doesn't bother me anymore. The fact is, in most cases, your six year old is probably twenty years away from painting this well. I say 'in most cases' because there are some six year olds that have not yet been burdened by the demands of their friends and parents to paint a 'pretty picture'. They are more than capable of painting what's in their imagination.

(I found some drafts and decided to post them as is. this is the last of the pair)

Cutting Loose!

We're almost there...we've had the son of a friend working on ridding us of DirectTV. He is a TV media techie and I've been buying all the parts necessary for the move, just as he directs me. He has been installing them ; a receiver, Qbox, iLink, Harmony multi function remote and an indoor antenna. Last night he was in the attic installing the antenna and it look like we have all the local broadcast channels except for CBS. We'll have to work on that one. We already have Amazon Prime TV and Netflix. Since we will be saving about $100 a month, we can afford to pick up some pay channels that are wireless. HBO and others have already left the grip of the cable/satellite providers. I expect others will soon join the ala carte TV business.

Yes, it cost us to buy the equipment, but it is ours and we're not paying rent for it. It also cost us to have it all installed. By the end of 6 months of this freedom we will have paid off all of those expenses simply by not paying DirectTV.

Our installer is coming over on Monday to give us a run through of all of the features of the new system; web browser, DVD, email, music and more.

Considering our age, 75 3/4, I think we're doing a good job of staying abreast of the times. We have solar power. We have a MacBook Pro and an iPad. We're removing our lawns and going all xeriscape.
We use Messaging... I think we're pretty comfortable in the 21st century.

Time does go by

It's already June 27th and it's successor is only 6 and half hours away. The past weeks have been terrible for me. My hip pain has taken over everything. It's all I can think of.

I've been to the pain doctor and had the corticosteroid shot at the first of the month and that one failed to stop the pain. Then another, directly into the 'ball and socket' of my hip. (surprisingly painless) That one has failed after I enjoyed 2.5 days without pain. I also had a MRI of the right hip which showed arthritic degeneration of the bone in the joint. I will be seeing the doctor in a week and I'm afraid she will give me a referral to an orthopedic doctor. I'm not afraid of what the doctor will say, as I'm eager to be rid of the pain. It's the other pain I don't like; the pain of adding another doctor to the long list of specialists I'm well acquainted with. The pain of filling out forms that are just like the hundreds of similar forms I've had to fill out over the past 8 years. I want to be 'chipped'. An injection that places a small microchip below my skin. An electronic device can read all the info on it and I can go back to reading the 2 year magazines in the waiting room.  

I have a feeling that a new hip is in my future...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mangos and more...

We went to Trader Joe's this morning (I love the Pickle Popcorn) and since it appears that the Trader has gone nuts over mangos this month, I picked up some Mango Salt Water Taffy. This is really good! No, I don't work for Trader Joe's but I am a devoted fan.

Back to the mangos. With Trader Joe's advertising of mango everything, a memory of Hawai'i came to me. It was 1999 and again I had to spend a week in our Honolulu office. As usual it was a great place to work. I was able to order manapua for lunch each day and I had a hotel room in the Ala Moana hotel, high above the city. Also, I had made plans to take my vacation starting right after my assignment here. My wife was coming over in a weeks time and we would then stay in the company condominium until it was time to fly to the Big Island. I had searched the web for a place to stay and since I wanted to avoid the tourists, I found a small residential area hotel in Hilo, the Dolphin Bay. I made reservations without noticing the fact that the hotel had no telephone or internet connections. While I worked the secretarial staff adopted my wife found things for her to do during the day and then invited us to dinner parties at night. All great memories. Then it was time to get on the inter island airline and fly to the Hilo airport. It was a small plane and there were few passengers, maybe 20 or so. There was a couple seated in the row across from us and I couldn't help but overhear their conversation and from what I heard, they were assuming that this plane was going to the Kona airport. Sure  enough, when the pilot announced that we were just 10 minutes away from landing at Hilo, the couple rang for the flight attendant. It was quickly determined that, yes, they were on the wrong plane. And, yes, the flight attendant had made a mistake by not noticing the incorrect tickets. What to do? The attendant said that they could rent a car (the airline would pay for it) and drive to Kona or they could stay on the plane and fly back to Oahu and then take the next flight to Kona and refund the cost of the ticket It was finally decided that the couple was going to fly back to Oahu. The whole situation was handled with smiles and laughter...the island way!

We found the Dolphin Bay hotel and it was in the middle of a residential area. It was just a two story hotel, much like a condo. There was a nice kitchen and the rooms were large. In back of the hotel was a small jungle area with a path through it. It was owned by the hotel and once you stepped into the 'jungle' you were removed from the local civilization.

With our suitcases unpacked I went to find a place to plug in my portable modem for my laptop. It was then that I discovered that I was cut off. Then I saw a note that said if you really need a telephone, there was one in the managers office but not after 9 PM or before 7 AM. I decided to do my best to enjoy this break from my 24 hour a day electronic leash. Another note told us that fresh mangoes and bananas for breakfast were available at the office. The next morning I walked down to the office and there was a large stalk of bananas hanging from the eaves and a basket filled with mangoes. I picked four of the bananas and took two mangoes. Back at our kitchen, I peeled the mangoes and sliced them. Bananas and mangoes were a real treat for breakfast. The bananas were the small tropical variety with a taste that you wish a a market banana had. Both items were so fresh and delicious that we looked forward to making the walk down to the managers office each day. Sometimes there was banana bread as well. And when the banana stalk was almost empty of its treasure, another one was put in its place.

More later  

(I see that the hotel now advertises that wifi is available. I guess they they had to give in. I would give the hotel 5 stars for people who are not looking for luxury but wish to enjoy the island without being insulated from real life on this beautiful island)

Thursday, June 9, 2016


As noted in my last post I had voted before election day. The results are pretty much as I had predicted (to myself). After the election here in California the Republicans are in wore shape than ever before. They took a beating because of the Hispanic voting bloc. The state is now 40% Hispanic and the Republican Party here hasn't figured that out yet. In the Red county that I live in the majority of voters are still Republican. But it is slipping and I can see this county becoming Purple in the next decade. The Central Valley of California has always been reliably Republican because it's economic base is agriculture. Some of the wealthiest people in California live in this hot and dusty valley. The hired help they all use is 99% Hispanic but they can be depended upon to not vote or not vote against the wishes of their employer. They want those jobs. The Democratic Party has mostly abandoned their efforts in the valley; they can use the money more profitably in the Democratic  coastline.

This city never saw Hillary. Bill Clinton came to Redding; an hour away. But Bernie came to Chico and held a rally at Chico State University. The Universities have been good to Bernie but that is not where the reliable voters are. And now it's over for him. I thing we can expect a concession in the day after the D.C. vote is counted. But Hillary would be foolish if she doesn't offer him an important position. If she doesn't, the students won't even bother to vote. They will have been convinced that all mainstream politicians are crooks and liars. She should think about the fact that Bernie has the power to hold on to a large segment of voters. Without him they will just go home and sit this one out.

On a different note; It looks as if the recent corticosteroid injection has failed to do the job. Two days after the injection and I had some fearsome pain and had to rely on my cane. It was the level of pain I used to have seven years ago and just before the second surgery that relieved me of the pain. I was hoping I would never experience that again. That kind of pain has come and gone during the past five days but it has never gone away. As usual, it is worse during the afternoon and evening hours.

It 's time to go play some Rummy and stop thinking for awhile...

Friday, June 3, 2016

I voted

Yes, I voted without anyone seeing my face or examining my birth certificate, passport or drivers license. I did have to put a stamp on the envelope so my DNA could be recovered from the stamp...if anyone was so inclined to pursue any case of voter fraud. There has never been any cases of voter fraud here, even though we have immigrants and Mexican nationals living right here among us...

I have to stop. This whole voter registration blockade just makes me furious! How dare they stop people from voting?

Well, we have made the news around here. Bernie Sanders was in town to speak at a rally. This was a real surprise as this is a deep red county. The city is probably purple. But where Bernie spoke, the university, the crowd was mostly blue. Thank goodness for the students. The combined rural and city population is close to 100,000 and they had to move the rally from the auditorium to an outside venue because of the size of the crowd.

You might think that I'm a Bernie supporter from my comments so far. But I am so divided on this election. I admire and dislike Hillary. The same for Bernie. But who can make their presidency a slam dunk? Who will be guaranteed a win over Trump? At this moment in time it looks like Trump is beating himself. He is his own worst enemy and he doesn't know it. And if any of his staff knows it , I'm certain they are afraid to tell him.  I keep looking for him to be caught in something that is unforgivable. I'm sure it's there to be found.

I was looking for someone with the class and intellect of Obama. Michelle would be my choice but she is wise enough to know not to go down that road. Oh well, it was a dream.

On another note; I had an injection of a corticosteroid into my left hip. It seems to have calmed things down. The pain is not completely gone and now that it is close to dinner time, the pain has increased. It has nothing to do with dinner, it's just the time of day I'm concerned with. I had the same injection last August and it only lasted a few months. Then, in October, the recurring pain was diagnosed as something different and I had more injections in different places and they didn't do anything for me. In the meantime, I was taking opiates on a regular basis. Not too many, but more than none is a cause for me to worry. And of course, over a period of time, the Norco became unable to block the pain. Now, I haven't had enough pain to warrant taking anything during the past 32 hours. Before this last injection the pain was nonstop and I was becoming more and more depressed. I haven't painted in a month or more. Perhaps this time the injection will work and work for more than a few months.