Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Admission and Acceptance

I think one of the hardest things anyone who is 'creative' can do is to actually stand up and say "I am an artist" or "I am a writer", out loud and for the world to hear.  A few years ago, I literally did that - stood up and acknowledged I am an artist.  



This admission came under fire recently and I had to step up and really put my money where my mouth is.  A lady had come into the library a few weeks ago and was checking out 2-3 books on Photoshop.  We got to talking and I told her I knew Photoshop and if she had any questions, I would be glad to help if I could.  I gave her my website and we parted ways.

The two weeks ago I got a phone call at the library.  It was this same lady who wanted me to tutor her in Photoshop basics.  It seems she is an artist who had entered a show and needed to do some things in Photoshop for this show.  She had an additional issues in that she could only spend about one hour a day in front of the computer due to eye issues.  She wanted my help and would pay me for tutoring her.

I was extremely flattered and all puffed up as I hung up the phone and then my 'inner critic' paid a call too.  Who was I to think I knew anything about Photoshop and especially to get paid to pass on that lack of knowledge?  But I went anyway and much to my surprise and delight, I did know at least the basics and could answer her questions!

Next week with be three lessons in Photoshop I will have tutored.  Next week also starts school again and a couple of the books for my graphic arts classes are looking so yummy!  I can't wait to play again and learn some more techniques.

This experience puts me one step closer (I think) to actually looking at putting my artwork out into the world.  Maybe...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Brewfest Mandala


Today school starts again.  And while I am excited about the prospect of another semester, I am still basking in the glow of Saturday.  It was fun on several different levels and a great intro for Savvy into the kind of opportunities which abound here in Montana.  

Off to study!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Helena 150 Birthday Brewfest Volunteering

One of the things the girls and I did over the years was to volunteer for things we liked to do.  We enjoyed the Ren Faire and volunteer over several years.  Not only was it something we enjoyed, but by volunteering, some of the costs of going to it were not there.  When you are a single mom, 'free' means a lot.  Time I had, money I didn't always have.

So when Savvy moved here (2 weeks ago) and I realized she enjoyed craft beer and we saw this sign for the Helena 150 Birthday Brew Fest, I checked it out.  Boy, $20 per person to get in.  BUT....if you volunteered you got in free and only had to work a 3 hour shift, which would leave you 3 hours to sample the different beers. 



Saturday dawned and it was promising to be a beautiful day.  Not too hot, no rain, sunny, light breeze - perfect day for being outside.  And the event was held only a short walk away from the house (that way I didn't have to worry about parking or driving when I possibly shouldn't - just in case).

We were assigned to work as servers at Quarry Brewing, out of Butte.  First off, the owner and brewer, Chuck Schnabel, was great.  He explained the 4 beers he had brought with him and let us taste each one.  Then I finally got an explanation of what an IPA beer was.  And then the fun began!

Chuck, owner and brewer, on the left.



Savvy really got into the whole event.  If she had been selling, rather than giving away the beer, we would have made a fortune.  Frankly, I started getting worried that Chuck was going to load her up and take her back to Butte with him to work.  (And what's really funny is that Chuck's father-in-law, Butch, was there visiting...from Arizona.  Like a couple of blocks away from where Savvy use to work. Can you say really small world?)

I learned that I like an "Irish Red", something malty, rather than something 'hoppy', like an IPA.  The venue where the event was held was great, and the crowd wasn't a 'spring-break' type crowd.  More mellow and less barely 21-ish.  The music was good and upbeat, mainly country.  I also learned that there wasn't enough food vendors to go around and the ones there were running out of food.



We had to wait almost an hour and a half to get our 3 tacos at 6pm.  They were good though and luckily the food truck we got them from parks out by the library every week.  My job was to bring Savvy different beers while she was in line.  There is a whole vocabulary involved with craft beer and it's really fun learning all about good beers.


Our swag from the event, beyond not having to pay $20 to get in, was an event t-shirt, a tasting glass, a t-shirt from Quarry Brewing, several bumper stickers and coasters from the different breweries.  The coasters interest me from an artistic/design point of view too.  And pork bones.  We were the first people to go over and ask the BBQ people, as they were stripping the pig, if we could have bones for our dogs.  Frankly, when we asked I think people in line were thinking they could gnaw on them until they got their food.

We are already eyeing the Montana Brewers Fall Festival in Missoula in October.  It's only 2 hours away!





Saturday, August 16, 2014

Odds and Ends

I didn't really have anything planned for a post today.  But I did have a few assorted photos of things which have cropped up this past week which were interesting.

The first is the seed pod of a yucca plant which is growing in the 'garden' in front of my doctor's office.  I was there this week to get 'stuff' done so I could qualify for gift cards from our insurance company based on preventive actions.  My appointment was at 7:00 am and the doors opened promptly at 7.  I was there a few minutes early and went over to take a look at these pods.






























They were really fascinating and about the size of the palm of my hand.  And HARD.  So I am over there poking and touching them and taking pictures with my camera and pretty soon had 2-3 other people over there, poking and prodding and discussing how odd they were.

Then this week, Texter has been trying to figure out how to get Lady K, a bag and a car seat through various airports on her way from Montana to North Carolina.  Lady K was a willing assistant in this endeavor (whether we wanted her to be or not).  I looked up to see everything strapped down and on and in....


I think Texter was getting a 'thumbs up' approval from Lady K.  The car seat is strapped to the rolling bag by the way.

But the oddest thing, and perhaps the funniest, was when I picked Savvy up from work and was heading home.  We were stopped at a stop light and this is what was in front of me....


I've seen a lot of things covering the ball on the hitch, but I think this one takes the cake.  I'm still debating if it is funny or creepy.  Right now, I'm leaning toward the creepy side.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Cherries Are Murder!

I am slowly becoming use to the fact that I can't start off in April with strawberries from a U-Pick-Em farm, which becomes June and peaches, then fall and apples.  However, unless I wanted to drive to Virginia, there were little, if any cherries, to be had in North Carolina.  Montana, on the other hand, is now awash in Flathead Cherries - dark red, juicy, sweet, plump and just darn good eating.

Texter and I bought 4 pounds of these beauties from a friend, partially because it was a fund raiser for one of her daughters.  I took some with me to Arizona and still had about 3.5 pounds left over.  So it became a quest to find recipes to use them in.

I found a great fresh cherry scone recipe online at Created by Diane.  I am not as much of a fan of scones as Savvy, mainly because I find them a little less sweet than I really like.  But these were just sweet enough for me.

But what I really had fun with was this.....


Our living room/kitchen is all one big room with an island dividing them.  So I am at the counter, watching TV and pitting cherries.  I looked down to see drops of blood all over the counter.


I realized if someone walked in and saw me with red on my hands, the 'bloody' knife and drops of red everywhere, it would look like I had committed murder, or at least attempted it.  No wonder so many mystery novels have a cooking theme!


So the results of my evening of mayhem was one batch of fresh cherry scones, 1 faux-cheesecake-ish pie and a pint of cherries in vodka (now sitting in Savvy's closet where she is monitoring their progress).

Note:  no humans or animals were harmed in the preparation of these cherries!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Savvy's Adjusting...

rather well, as a matter of fact, to Montana.  We arrived a week ago, Saturday morning.  By Friday, she was working.   Hopefully, we will hear in the next day or two about a second job she really wants.

But this is one of the reasons I encouraged her to make the move....

Shakespeare in the Park.




Actually, I had forgotten about it until I got to work at evening.  I picked her up from Qdoba and brought her back to work with me.  She was going to hang out and read until I was ready to go home. But instead, she walked out the front door of the library and right into the set of "As You Like It".


As you can see, she was hating every minute of it!  She already has her menu planned for next year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

School Is Just Around the Corner


These aren't my actual textbooks for this semester.  They will arrive tomorrow.  There is nothing like new books for the start of school and school supplies.  I think when I'm 106, I'll still be getting school supplies in August!

So the past few weeks, I have had planners on my mind.  With Savvy now in the household and having to get her to/from work (or 2 places of work), I need to get 'organized'.  I want my 'routine'.  Sadly, Lady K does not understand, nor does she care about, routine.  After all, when the world revolves around you, why should you care?

I started taking classes (and stopped and then started again) when the girls were younger.  In fact, when I was taking my math classes, Texter would 'grade' my exercise pages for me by checking them against the answers in the back of the book.  When kids are in school it is easy to explain you need your homework time also.

Problem is, Lady K is way too young to understand, or care, that Grandma is doing homework.  And since I am the morning person, I have one eye on her and one eye on chores, or whatever.  When school is in session, morning is my time to review what I need to get done for the day and get started on assignments.  Let's hope "Wild Kratts", "Sesame Street", and "Curious George" can hold her attention while she destroys the living room in the morning and I can get some work done.

But the next couple of days will be spent setting up my 'organization' for the semester.  Normally, I print out the weekly assignments and check things off as I go.  Lots of paper and ink.  This semester I am going to start out my making note of my assignments either in writing in my calendar and/or using OneNote to record the lessons and tasks for the week.  So we will see if I am successful at saving a couple of trees.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Creative Play

It seems like forever since I have sat down and taken a few minutes to be 'creative'.  Darn LIFE keeps getting in the way.  But earlier this week I was reminded we all need to take time and be a little 'arty' every day by Daisy Yellow.  In a week I will be up to my ears in homework for school.  And if everyone keeps their fingers crossed for me and the wait list clears for my Philosophy class, then I will have my Associate of Arts degree in December.

I pulled a couple of pictures I took on my whirlwind trip to and from Arizona last weekend.  The first is a flower from a shrub at a rest stop in Arizona.  Here is the original picture....



And here is my mandala created from it....



I decided since the reason for this trip was Savvy, I would take one of her boulder pictures and create a mandala.  One of the things I like about making the mandalas is the surprise you get about what turns out from using only a portion of the picture.

The original boulder picture...



I really like this picture because it is so 'otherworldly' to me.  I think of it as the setting for a Mars movie.  Either that, or they look like Rodin sculptures or modern art which should be in front of a museum somewhere.

And this is the mandala....


This one actually makes me dizzy looking at it.  I feel like I am falling into the center, very much a feeling of vertigo.  Savvy and I did have a giggle with this one, because once again I have created something which looks like a lot of vaginas, flanked by ovaries.  With upside down hearts.  I prefer to think of it as honoring the goddess.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Little Blackfoot Meadows - Butterflies and Flowers

Little Blackfoot Meadows is a hike I want to repeat at the end of May, first part of June next year.  Even when flowers should have been winding down, there were thousands of thistles, goldenrod, asters and the remains of the springtime flowers going to seed.  And bees!  And butterflies.  So here is a flora tour of August on the Little Blackfoot Meadows trail.  (I HAVE to get a wildflower ID book.)


Hillsides covered in thistles and other wildflowers.


And bees busy everywhere.  They were way too busy to care what we were doing. 


A bird I need to identify.


Butterflies everywhere!



















The flowers looked like extra-large Queen Anne's lace, but the plant was about 3 feet tall or more.  I am sure it is in the same family.