Monday, September 28, 2015

The Eclipse of the Super Blood Moon

Last night we rounded up the kids (which only seems to get more and more challenging as they get older, even though they now don't need help with shoes, don't need to even wear jackets here and have no particular reason for taking forever!) we also brought Oscar, and headed away from the city lights out to Goodyear to watch the eclipse.


We headed out to the Estrella Star Tower.


The Star Tower is is 50 feet high and excellent for sky viewing. It's surrounded by a park and some waterfalls and is really quite nice. It also sparkles when the sun sets.


This is a glowing sign on the side of the building. The place was full of people last night.



They aren't in this photo though. In fact our photos are kind of lame.


Night photos are just not so great with our camera.


This is the view from the top of the tower.


So our pictures of the eclipse are not so great.

But, my good friend Kelly Clark Moncure in San Diego captured some amazing images. Of course she's a professional photographer and an awesome one!

©Kelly Clark Moncure


After standing for an hour on the stone tower we all felt pretty hot and hungry. (Yes, it's still pretty hot after night fall) We headed over to a pizza shop and watched it from there. Over all though it was pretty amazing though, and a great night out!

In other news....


Last week Phoebe made this incredible cheesecake for Mike's birthday. It was quite delicious. 


I managed to finish my second glow worm this week for The Grand Ave. Festival.


Anyway this is his head.


He's now waiting for the festival in our closet.


I've also made great progress with the second bird I'm building.


Here's his body in progress.

Also, the exhibit Mike's art is in at the Blue Wave Gallery was reviewed in Art Scope Magazine. They called him a "SciFi Michelanglo"!



And finally last week was the first day of class at the Montessori school pre-k. One little boy was helping me tape his art work into the frame. I said to him "You're very good at this, do you help your Mommy wrap presents at Christmas or Hannukah?"
 "What's Monica?"
"It's a holiday like Christmas, where you wrap presents and give them to family." Then he got really quiet, but for the rest of the day he called me Miss Monica.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My rainbow knee and an art update


Well, my knee is no longer swollen from last week's tumble, but it might make good reference for someone's Halloween make-up.  

head close-up
I've been pretty busy this week with work in the studio. My second Glow Worm is coming along for the Grand Avenue Festival....


He's getting there, but he still needs his legs before I can start painting. I've also begun work painting the chair for my commission....


As you can see the chair for the new bird is a different style than the original one from my show, it's also heavier and hurt like crazy when I dropped it on my feet (I have got to stop hurting myself!)

"An Intelligent Breed" from my show "Books of Whimsy" at the Central Gallery

Anyway this weekend Chloe went to Anaheim with her friend to visit Disneyland (lucky kid), so she's gone for a few days. Yesterday was the last day in the season to use our Big Surf water park tickets, so we sent Phoebe and Naomi and a friend. They were filming a movie while they were there. They managed to get some water bottles from the catering table and had a great time watching the film crew shoot the movie.

Mike has a new exhibit up in Amesbury, MA at the Blue Wave Fine Art Gallery, for anyone in the area, stop on by!!


Also I have some new paintings up for sale in my Etsy store....




And Scorpio.

Hope everyone's enjoying their weekend!






Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Leaving Texas

 Our last night in our rented house was most fortunately uneventful. The only odd moment happened in the middle of the night, when I woke up and realized all the lights were on. I limped about on my gimp knee and shut them off. By morning when I woke up much of the swelling was down on my knee, so I got to packing.  I was too sore to help Mike load the car, but I did manage to clean up, pack some and wake our kids (which is no small task). We left town and headed west for our long drive home.

Chloe, Phoebe, and Oscar in New Mexico

 There are travel centers and rest areas when you drive around in the west that embrace a theme. Usually it's dinosaurs or Indian Teepees. Our first stop in New Mexico had an old west theme.


  The whole place was like a movie set.


  Of course inside they sold the usual indian pottery, pieces of petrified wood and scorpion keychains sealed in plastic. The drive was long and dull, but early on in our trip we started seeing signs for The Thing....


  Seriously, they advertised their rest stop 200 miles down the road in New Mexico (the stop is in Arizona).  So we stopped, because at this point they'd been advertising to us all the way there and now on the way home.
  It cost a dollar to go to The Thing "museum"....


 We followed a footprint trail into a colorfully painted barn, that was pretty hot, and dusty. Inside were all these displays. Here you can see there's an old car.


A display of strange doll figures.



Some old fashioned phones.


A bizarre display that demonstrates torture devices.


Naomi studying some of the odd looking wood sculptures.


These strange wood sculptures were literally everywhere. On many shelves and hanging from the ceiling!


This was also in the "museum". As we followed the footprints we began to get impatient. What is this thing? Is it a rock? Where is it? Finally we turned a corner and faced this banner....



It was in the glass case in front of the sign.


So here it is.... The Thing.


They called it "The Mystery of the Desert"


 Anyway it was hard to photograph, but it's some kind of mummy. My kids were convinced it's the fake kind of mummy, but I don't know.  It wasn't the greatest museum, but it sure was nice to get out of the car! After this we didn't really drive that long before we just had to get out of the car again.


The sign said we were in Texas Canyon (which was for some reason in Arizona).


The canyon was surrounded by boulder encrusted mountains.


Chloe and Phoebe were nice enough to pose for the camera


Me leaning on the girls with my swollen knee.


A rather nice picture of Mike and I for once. :)


From here it was back to the car! We finally stumbled through our door in Phoenix by evening (or maybe it was just me who was doing the stumbling). Oh well, vacation's over...Back to real life!


Monday, September 7, 2015

The Tramway and Downtown El Paso

  Yesterday morning we took it slow. Mike and hiked with Oscar in South Mountain Park (or we tried to). Then we realized it was way too sunny, so we went to check out where the Wyler Ariel Tramway was so we could come back with our kids when they woke up.

The ticket counter

  It looked like a nice little activity at 8am. No one was around as they were just opening and the view from the parking lot was fabulous, we could just imagine that the top of the mountain would be amazing!
  Around 1:30pm we finally got all our kids moving (teenagers!) and drove over to the Tramway. It was packed! For labor day weekend everyone showed up to ride the tram. They told me when I bought the tickets it would be an hour and a half wait!


So we waited....


We looked at the little displays they had up. This was the old gondola car they used to use.


We watched the two little yellow cars bring people up and back, seven at a time.


We learned about the counterweight (the giant concrete block) that went up and down as the tram climbed up the mountain. Until finally it was our turn!



We rode standing up inside the gondola, which was different than the one we went on in Argentina to go up the mountain and at the San Diego Zoo that flies overhead.


It seemed like we were go slowly up the mountain, but when the other car passed us it zipped by!


The view was spectacular, but we were a bit crowded inside.


Naomi inside the tram.


The view from the top was pretty awesome. 


Mike and I at the observatory.


The girls and I at the top!


Staying in the shade.


When you climbed to the top of the observation deck you could get a close up view of the radio tower.


It was pretty amazing.


From the top you could see El Paso, all the way into Mexico and into two other states, New Mexico and Arizona!


After milling around a bit and checking out the gift shop it was time for the ride down.


Our ride down arriving at the gate.


A final shot out the window.

   After the tram we had a late lunch at the house. When I came back I plugged in my phone in Phoebe's room and after lunch I went to check on it. I sat on the floor leaning against my daughter's bed and uploading photos from my phone while it was still charging in the wall plug. As I sat there I felt a tapping on my lower back from under the bed. I assumed it was the cat and kept swatting my hand back at her to make her go away. Then I finished, got up, and walked in the living room, where the cat was sound asleep in a chair by my husband. He said she'd been there for half an hour at least. I ran back into my kid's bedroom and looked underneath. It was empty.
  Anyway between the strange incident with the dresser (see yesterday's post), and the fact that every night so far in this house my dog spent wandering in and out of each bedroom whining, while my cat had her night time irritation level set on high, I was getting a little weary from it all.


   That evening we went to explore downtown El Paso. This is Phoebe by a cafe made from shipping containers.


By a statue in the plaza.


Naomi and Chloe at the big fountain by the art museum. 

After walking about it was time to get dinner before all the lightening we kept seeing turned to rain. We stopped at a place called the pizza joint and while the girls sat out at the sidewalk tables with Oscar, Mike and I went in to order and get drinks.


I guess the interrupted sleep got to me, because when I came out with the drinks Oscar jumped out in front of me and tripped me with his leash. I landed pretty hard and by the time I was going to bed my knee had swelled up like a grapefruit!  This was going to be a long drive home....




"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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