Monday, December 31, 2012

The Ruins and The Lights

Phoebe with her cousin Roy Peter

For Christmas we traveled north to visit family.  While we were there we took some day trips.

Chloe near the entrance of Tuzigoot

With a storm brewing over the mountains we headed out to the Tuzigoot Ruins.  It's an ancient city near the top of a mountain.

Chloe with the storm coming behind her.

This is the path to the site.

Phoebe led the way.  The clouds are threatening.

There was a lot to see.

Many winding staircases and paths.

It was like a mini Machu Picchu.

The girls loved showing their little cousin around!

Snow on the cactus

While we milled around the visitor center the storm hit us.  First it hailed and then it snowed hard and fast.  Naomi was too thrilled for words!  (My kids like to moan and groan that they don't remember snow). Anyway it snowed repeatedly while we were in the mountains.

We also visited some other ruins, while we were in the area...

Here we are on the path to Montezuma's Castle.


Phoebe posing by the rock face near the castle.

Naomi with Montezuma's Castle in the background.

Montezuma's Castle is definitely an amazing site to see.  It lacked the intimacy of Tuzigoot, though, where you could walk around inside it.


These are some rock windows.

Naomi studying the ruined, and ancient rooms, (or maybe she was just looking in that direction).

I think at one time they allowed visitors inside some of the rooms, but things started to deteriorate quickly so now you just peer in from outside.

This I think is a beautiful photo except for that annoying thing in the lower right. 

Near the castle is "Beaver Creek".  Didn't see any beavers.

 Not for lack of looking though.

Montezuma's Castle was an incredible place.  It's amazing that people used to live inside the face of these cliffs.

After the castle we decided to go to Montezuma's Well.

We had to hike up the hill to the top.


The well is a collapsed limestone cave that the native tribes used for centuries.

On the full moon they do special events here with luminaries.  Perhaps we'll come back for that. This is where my camera died... So no more pictures of the well.

Me in the foreground with my new hat and Phoebe in the background.
On our last night in Sedona, Mike's Aunt and Uncle took us out.  First to "Pizza Picazzo" where the waiter took one look at Chloe and said "Where are you from?" Chloe looked a little panicked for a minute and after a very pregnant pause said "Phoenix."  Since we've moved so much that's a loaded question.... Do I give them my life story or just tell them my latest address?

Anyway, after dinner we headed over to "Red Rock Fantasy"....

 Most of the displays had a special theme.  This one was called "Small World" (no, they were NOT playing that incessant music!)

This is a "Andy Warhol, Pop Art" display.

Other themes were harder to pinpoint.

Each display was one you could vote for.  I guess the families or groups that did them can win a prize.


This fountain was very pretty but there were extension cords running through the water...

Here's a picture of Naomi trying to electrocute herself. (GAH!)

It was a cold (I'm such a baby since we lived in California), but beautiful walk. 

Tonight is New Year's Eve, I hope everyone has a wonderful night!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

A truly disgusting 24 hrs

Stomach flu... Need I say more? I'm eating a few things again though which is good.  My stomach seems flatter so those bulimics are on to something.  Something really gross, however.


Anyway I've opened an etsy store called "Painting in Circles"

I just posted this painting for sale....

It's only $10.00!!

We spent Christmas and last week in the mountains.  It snowed!  We saw some ancient ruins, and spent time with family.  I have some great photos to share once I get organized. Cheers! C

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Bear for Christmas

It's one of those weeks where things seem to be shaping up. EBay was going well so our shopping was done for Christmas except for gifts for each other between me and Mike, when of course everything begins to break.  First it was our tablet that we use to draw with on the computer, then in the same day my computer bit the dust.  So much for buying gifts for each other.  I was feeling pretty down, because the kids get upset when every gift under the tree is for them and there's nothing for us, also there's rent and food and .... Well, the usual.


Then I cleaned my kitchen and took out the trash.  I spied him in the corner sitting alone near the dumpster, where residents put things they just can't bear to throw out (ok, sorry about that.).

Anyway, I brought him home and decided to clean him up.  I figured my kids were too old, but maybe there was a prechool that would love him!



Okay, I was wrong....



They absolutely LOVE him!  They frantically cleaned their room to find a spot for him!

So now I'm feeling better.  Christmas will be whatever it will be, and this homeless, ginormous bear is here to stay. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Cold Desert

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” 
 John Steinbeck


It's cold now.  Not "New England" freezing cold, but each morning as I get the kids off to school I can see my breath puff through the air, and I have to wear socks. It's getting too cold for sandals, and we're wearing jackets each day.  For Christmas we're heading north again into the "high desert".  I know it's colder there so we'll be packing winter coats.

Christmas is fast approaching and... Well, I'm not ready. At all. At least the kids are still in school for next couple of days, and I can follow the hoard of shoppers to the mall, careening my way through the mad, mad traffic.  People here in Phoenix drive so badly, I see about one accident a week.
 

This promo video for a film Mike (my husband) did some creature design work on was just released today. They show his concept drawings in it which is pretty cool as this kind of thing is rarely seen by the public!

 Anyway, yesterday I was driving in the city and put on my right signal to change lanes, and the craziest thing happened, an SUV in the right lane slowed down and LET ME IN! He even waited for me while I slowly processed that he was really doing this! It's a Christmas miracle.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last Minute Shopping

Today for us is the last day of Hanukkah, which for me is the first day I really concern myself with Christmas.  It's a Saturday 2 weeks before Christmas though and I know going even to the grocery store will be unpleasant to say the least.

When I was in my early 20's and just out of art school I worked in a place called " The Museum Company" in the middle of the hugest mall in New York's Capital District.  We sold everything from reproductions of famous sculptures and fancy prints of Monet and Van Gough on giant canvases to things like "The Scream" printed on ties and key chains. As Christmas approached we stayed open later and later and hurried shoppers packed the store from "Black Friday" onwards. The worst days being Saturday and Sunday for the weary employees.  The recycled air would get us all sick and my manager usually ended the season with walking pneumonia. For 2 years in a row I came in to work on Christmas Eve expecting more of the same madness of the previous weeks to be pleasantly surprised by the mostly empty store and a handful of dazed shoppers (almost all men with a  panicked look in their eyes).

When we lived in Argentina, the thing that impressed me the most about Christmas was that very little fuss was made until about 2 weeks before.  There was no Thanksgiving, so Black Friday didn't seem to happen either.  In Argentina planning things way in advance goes against their very beings.  My kids used to get birthday party invites the day before sometimes. We shopped for Christmas ahead of time like we always did and even on Saturdays the stores seemed the same, not particularly crowded. Then we decided to pick a couple things up on Christmas Eve. It. Was. Crazy.  Every store was packed and shelves were emptying quickly.  We managed to buy a couple extra gifts and just went home exhausted!

This year I've delayed more than usual. Part of it has to do with money being tighter.  I'm selling some things on eBay to help get us through....



My "Moon and Stars" mandala painted on wood makes a nice gift.

This is one of the watercolor illustrations from my children's book "Night of The Armadillos" being auctioned with a signed copy of the book. (More illustrations from this will  be going up too).

I'm also selling one of my favorite paintings "In The Elevator" -watercolor on illustration board.

Anyway I hope you all take a look.  I ship to your home so no hiking through stores or long, hot lines to wait in.  As for me, I think I'll go shopping on Christmas Eve. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

YES! Another 12-12-12 post!

This is me jumping on the bandwagon. Following the crowd.  It's three 12's all in a row and it's for the last time in my life (unless reincarnation is a thing).  Okay I'm over it now.

Things have been pretty good this week so far.  The Metropolitan Art Institute (the school Chloe applied to for next year) contacted me and said they are processing her application, asked a few questions and said they'd be in touch soon.

The great news is, I was hired as a teaching artist over at The Phoenix Center for the Arts.  I'm doing outreach programs starting in January at a charter school downtown (YAY ME!).  I spent about three weeks researching different places to send my resume and gathered portfolio samples to send off. Then carefully packaged and mailed them.  When I came home on Tuesday and told Mike I got the job he poked around on his resume for about fifteen minutes and then posted on Facebook to say he was interested in teaching art at the college level.  So now he has an interview at one University and a contact looking into another university.  I guess I do everything the hard way.

Three weeks ago, just before Thanksgiving we started having trouble with our hot water.  In that it was lukewarm.  Which meant sucky showers every day, and not the greatest water for washing dishes.  After banding together with the neighbors to complain and console, they put in a new water pump.  The water got colder and now we had an annoying and constant hum that sounded like a lousy didgeridoo player droning away.  Then last night the most amazing thing happened... THEY FIXED IT!!!  We just had the best showers ever!

Now for your amusement, this is a photo of Phoebe I found  on my computer this morning.....

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Flakes" onstage and First Friday revisited

The entire 3rd grade performed "Flakes" at Naomi's school (short for snowflakes I imagine-something we don't get here in Phoenix).  They sang and moved about and it was definitely a really good school performance.  I think it's because this school has a music department that put this together instead of dumping these things on the over burdened teachers like they did in California.

This week We took Chloe on a school tour of "The Metropolitan Arts Institute", which is a really diverse art high school downtown.  It's also a prep school as well.  We put in an application for next year. I'm so hoping she gets in. The school she's in now is a huge inner city school that has been pretty overwhelming for her.  She has now joined the poetry club after school though and they travel off campus doing slam poetry events, which she loves.  It combines writing and performing, her two most favorite activities.

Chloe outside a gallery on Roosevelt St.
For the last couple of months we've been enjoying the "First Friday" event here in Phoenix. 

Fork and Knife ceiling sculpture
Basically it's a city wide art event.  Museums, galleries and artist's studio's become open to the public.

This is a community mural project set up by the art center.  Many people were painting large panels (some with spray paint so the fumes were a bit intense).

This mural was defaced downtown and one First Friday a team of volunteers were busy restoring it.

More of the same mural

Here I am watching one of the many bands perform.

Mike grabbed a pencil and did some life drawing at one of the open studios.

Chloe and Phoebe in a flying bathtub
We also dropped by the Children's Museum.

Here's Naomi enjoying their padded room (something every parent needs).

Actually the soft sculptures were quite beautiful.

Phoebe spent some time showing these little ones how this worked.  It's actually a conveyor belt with velcro patches.  The children are sticking little plush spiders to the velcro and when they hit the spinning fan at the top of the conveyor they fly across the room. The little boys in the room were crazy for this!
Naomi at the scarf machine
This is a crazy machine that sucks in colorful scarves, runs them through elaborate tubing and shoots them out at the children.
The children's museum was definitely a hit, I think we'll be back again. 

This week I've posted this mandala up for auction on eBay.

It has a "Day of The Dead" theme and is strung with a braided leather cord for hanging.




"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut

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