Tales from the field #11.

I’ve been locked out of a few places before – my house, my truck (multiple offenses) and my motel room.  Motel 6 are particularly good at having the key not work the next evening, but that’s always an easy fix.

This weekend I went to Flagstaff and fairly easily found my Airbnb location.  The owner I knew had taken the weekend off to go hiking out of town, and out of cell phone range.  There was another guest also, but when I arrived the place was empty.  And locked.

It had been a busy week and I’d skipped the part where I’d written the entry instructions down because I thought they were in a text on my phone.  They weren’t.  They were on my email which I couldn’t access until I got my laptop onto wifi.  I couldn’t get onto the wifi until I accessed my email and found my host’s wifi and password.  Catch 22.  I could always find a Starbucks, if only I could get onto the web to find where one was because I don’t know Flagstaff well…. Catch 23?

I wondered how friendly the locals were.  This is a fairly rural area – down a cinder gravel road.  I was in luck.  The second house I tried had a 4 furiously barking dogs and a friendly homeowner who stuffed them back into the house and sat on the steps with me and was willing to let me use his laptop as well as his wifi, though mine turned out to be faster.  Email accessed and problem solved!

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Tales from the field, #10.

This tale doesn’t have a picture.  You will see as it progresses why I couldn’t post one.

At the end of February, I was packing up from a show in Indian Wells.  The booth is constructed of walls that come in two pieces, and these go six to a bag (three tops, three bottoms).  Individual wall halves weigh about seven and a half pounds (about 3.5 kilos for my European fans), so not difficult to lift, but can be awkward to handle in small spaces as they’re about 3 feet/1 meter square, especially if the wind catches them. The sides have metal bars that accommodate velcro straps top and bottom, and the bottoms also have wind-out adjustable feet.

I’d packed the art and two bags of walls, which were laying at the back of the booth.  I took down another top half, and to this day I don’t know whether I caught it on the side of the desk, tripped over something, or the wind caught the wall, but down we went.  The wall went off in its own direction and I went onto the two bags of walls.  I mentioned the hard little feet, didn’t I.  I caught myself right on the padding.  The girl padding.  Really hard.

Aaargh, I groaned out loud, and clutched at the point of impact.  The guy from the next booth came running over.  What happened?  I hit my tit, I groaned.  Sorry, girlfriend, I can’t help you with that.  By this time I realize that I didn’t break any bones, am not bleeding, and it’s one of these things that I’ll laugh about later.  So I started laughing now.  At this point the couple who across the aisle run over.  What happened?  I hit my tit, I laughed between painful groans while rolling around on the floor clutching the area of pain.  I looked up at the three of them and they’re all standing there groaning and laughing in sympathy, and holding the same body area that I am.

I ended up with two bruises the same size and shape as the booth feet.  One green one black.  Now you know why I can’t post a picture.

Sonnet Challenge #22

Just in case you were wondering, there are actually a lot more sonnets being written than I post here, but I thought I’d put this one up as I was reading it to D yesterday and we had a good laugh.

 

Flip flops
Flip flops are such a comfy thing to wear,

the shoe with a relaxing attitude.

Slip on vacation hooves and then you’re there –

Flip from a boss into a cool dude.

Your toes feel freedom, something that’s so right.

No more stuffy socks inside the thong!

They’ll fit feet that are narrow, deep or wide,

and waterproof!  You really can’t go wrong.

If it’s too cold for flip flops, stay inside

and flip around the house until it warms,

then hit the beach and dip them in the tide

,the sand won’t chafe your heels, you won’t get corns.

And when you crave a lazy day that’s tops,

kick off the pumps and slip into flip flops.

Tales from the field #9

Well, well, well.  Seems like spelling is not a prerequisite for the City of Calabasas!  This trash can was at the back of my booth on the weekend.

Misspelled trash can sign

I guess someone will need to recycle themselves back to remedial spelling.

Monthly Mailing May

Here’s my monthly mailing newsletter – reaching out to everyone with whom I cannot reach out face to face.

More birds.

I only had two students in my Paint the Night class last night at the Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley, but they both had fun.  One of the questions were, what kinds of birds are they?  Jenibirds?  Blue fronted swifts?  This is a very popular image, and sometimes students use their own imaginations and create red-fronted Jenibirds, or once, blackbirds.

twopairsofbirds

Tales from the Field #7.

Sometimes the trip to or from the show is as eventful as the show itself.  The trip to the Phoenix area I particularly enjoy because there’s a short-cut from Mecca to the I10-eastbound up Box Canyon.  On the outbound trip, which is during the day, the geology is very scenic.  On the inbound trip, which is usually around 10pm, it’s one of those dark-sky zones where you can stop and enjoy stars without the interference of city lights.  The alternative is to go up to the I10 in Indio, but the Box Canyon cut-off is 25 miles shorter.

On the way to Carefree, I got to the top of Box Canyon, where it joins the freeway, only to find the on-ramp was coned off and blocked by several pieces of heavy machinery.  The next on-ramp to the east is at Chiriaco Summit, maybe 4 miles, and to the west, the Indio on-ramp.  Yes, a 50 mile round trip.  Aargh.

Just to complicate matters, I’d been having some slight thermostat problems with the truck.  Although it wasn’t overheating very much, from the last trip, it seemed that if I stopped to let it cool, it got hotter.  The plan had been to try to drive to Blythe to get a replacement thermostat, if necessary, doing the work in the parking lot.  I had not planned on stopping between home and Blythe – a 2 hour leg of the trip.  And it was starting to look like I was going to have to stop at Chiriaco anyway, that second cup of coffee was working overtime, and I didn’t think my bladder would make it another hour to Blythe.

I hopped out of the truck and talked to one of the workers who pointed me in the direction of the foreman.  He said that at the last bend in Box Canyon was a side-road, marked by two cones, which went up to Chiriaco Summit.  Perfect.

detourtochiriaco1

Desert definition of ‘road’.

However, when the foreman used the word ‘road’, he didn’t quite say how ‘roady’ this was.  At first there was a dirt stretch, followed by gravel and more dirt, and eventually panning out into ancient blacktop for a while, then changing between the three options before it joined I10 at Chiriaco Summit.   I had the ‘road’ to myself.  It passed little bridges where washes ran down, and these were inevitably full of trees and bushes.  Ah, if ever there was a road I could leave the truck running at the side of it and run behind a bush!

Road between Box Canyon and Chriaco Summit

Ah, relief is in sight!

No need to stop at Chiriacco!  When I got to Blythe and bought the thermostat, I think the truck realized I was serious about doing this open-hood surgery myself in a parking lot without a mechanic in attendance. I’ve not had a problem with it since.