Sunday, August 14, 2016

Muy Contento

I've have spent this Sunday gardening. First it was on the patio working on my orchids and taking care of the new plants in the beds. And while I was working on what was there I was thinking about what next. How are the plants doing and if they don't adapt what I might try next. What I might buy at the San Miguel Orchid show. Under the tree, what I might plant that needs some shade but really good drainage.

Next I went up to the terrace carrying the box of plants and succulents that Ed brought me. Last year I bought a wrought iron baker's rack from and Karen and Jim planning to use it to plant succulents but I didn't have the right soil or pots for succulents so it was just a kind of messy place to put leftover pots and plants. Now it was refitted with the right pots and the right soil and I had a few succulents so I started filling the pots with the them.

Then I sat down in a chair on the terrace and relaxed. I could hear a lot of fireworks. Too many fireworks for Carly. She stayed with me on the terrace for a bit but then she went downstairs to the studio to her bed. She does not like the big boomers and these were big boomers and they seemed fairly close by.  I don't know what the occasion was today but I could also hear drum and bugles and a Mexican band playing for the Dancers.

There was a hummingbird attacking the blooming firecracker plant. A big lime hanging from the lime tree, A huge, beautiful yellow hibiscus bloom. A cool breeze. A blue sky with fluffy white clouds.  The sounds of Mexico. And so the time flew by with me just sitting in the chair looking and listening and thinking about what an amazing life I am living. I have so many blessings everyday.

It is hard from me to write about what I was feeling but I'm sure you have felt moments like this also. I was in a bubble of contentment and peace and thankfulness. No amount of money could have made this day any better.

Muy Contento

Monday, August 1, 2016

Weekend Getaway

Me:   I'd like to go see this Annie Leibovitz exhibition in Mexico City. You interested?
My Friends: You bet. Let's go!
And so 12 days later we were in Casa Gonzalez which is just a couple of blocks from the US Embassy and the Paseo de la Reforma in the heart of Mexico City. It had been about 25 years since I had stayed in the Casa Gonzalez guest house so it was such a treat to go back and see how it had changed. There are more rooms, wifi, better, much better mattresses, more gardens and outdoor tables and chairs but still the same charm and intimacy. The breakfast is fabulous although now you pay for it separately, the cost is quite reasonable. In fact the cost per night is more than 25 years ago but still unbelievable reasonable.
We dumped our luggage and went off to find something to eat but finding something to eat in the area around Casa Gonzalez is not difficult. There must be at least three restaurants in every block. Everything from a taco stand to an elegant restaurant.
In addition to the Annie Leibovitz exhibition we had made reservations for the Jessica Lang Dance Performance at Palacio de Bellas Artes on Friday night. We had great seats in about the third row center. The production was beautiful and the performance was amazing. Lithe, beautiful bodies that seemed to hang in the air or carry another person across the stage as if they were light as a feather.
Saturday morning we walked across the Reforma and into the Colonia Juarez to the building housing Leibovitz's exhibition, Women: New Portraits. The exhibition wasn't hung on the wall but was more of an installation on big banks of LCD screens showing one portrait at a time. This reminded me of a recent talk with a Gallery Owner who told me that she expected to see more and more photographs shown as an installation. Hard for me to believe because I still want to see a print but maybe that is just my age showing.
A nice comida and then back to Casa Gonzalez just before the afternoon rain.
I always want to try new restaurants and this time we headed out in the rain and back across Reforma to Havre 77 that has been open for about six months. The food was delicious and we got to talk to the chef-in-charge Gerado Ramos who previously worked here in San Miguel.
The next morning after another wonderful breakfast we were in the van and headed back to San Miguel. It seems like I always leave Mexico City before I'm ready to leave. So I'll go back again soon, even if only for a quick weekend getaway.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Universe Is Speaking To ME!

I had three of the weirdest things happen this week within about 36 hours. I wrote an inquiry about a workshop last March. I knew a couple of people who had gone to the workshop last year and it really sounded interesting to me. I didn't hear back and actually I was busy and I forgot about it. This week I received a reply from them and my inquiry was attached but it didn't show a date in March. Instead it indicated that they had received the inquiry on June 18th. I have no idea where it has been. I guess floating somewhere in cyberspace.

Okay, so that is one of the three things. The second one was that I happened to hear that Keith Carter was in SMA and I contacted him and I had lunch with him and some of his friends. Keith will be one of the instructors at the workshop. I've always wanted to take a workshop with him but it has never worked out.

And the third one is that I had been thinking about maybe taking a photography workshop but one with more of a retreat atmosphere so I'd been looking on line the day before I received the reply from the workshop to see if anything interested me. Nothing did. They all seemed too structured. Too much travel from place to place. I wanted something that gave me time to stay put in one place and dig deeper. Something that gave me time to work with images that I made. Something that gave me time to play with some ideas and techniques. Something more hands on.

The workshop is Spirit into Matter. The whole workshop takes place in a small village near Florence, Italy in a renovated Villa. The instructors are Keith Carter, Kate Breakey and Jace Graf--all people whose work I know and admire. The other thing that some people might not like but I love the idea is that participants are assigned some times to help out in the kitchen. I hear the meals are made with local produce and that they are fabulous. So in addition to photography I'll get to enjoy a "cooking lesson" or two.

When the Universe speaks to me, I listen. I'm going!

The photograph was taken in Italy when I was in Sicily in 2015.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day

I wanted to post some pictures of my sons and their boys so I started looking at old photographs. It took a long time because looking took me on a trip down Memory Lane.

This picture is from July, 2003 when Mike and his family came to visit us in San Miguel. It was a giggling wrestling match on the couch. 

This is Doug and his boys and it was made on June 17, 2006, ten years ago. June 17th is Doug's birthday and the picture was made in the morning.

Good Fathers. Wonderful Grandsons. I'm a lucky woman.

Happy Father's Day to Mike and Doug.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Now that the renovation work on the house is basically done, I have lots to do in going through stuff and either getting rid of it or finding a new place to use it or reframing pictures and the list goes on. But what am I doing? I'm playing with the iPhone.
This is a Costco Orchid that I bought this week just to have a flower in my bedroom. They last for weeks and so it ends up they are cheaper than buying a bouquet of flowers every week. I took pictures of it and then I sat down to play with photo apps.
It isn't exactly "right" but there is something about it that keeps me thinking about it and where I could take the idea.
"What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece."
Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My Latest Obsession

You may not have picked up on my latest obsession but I'm afraid that I am becoming addicted to Orchids. I've messed with them before but that was many years ago and I thought that the move to Mexico's high desert with low humidity had cured me. But alas, there is a gang here in San Miguel called the Orchid Club and it looks like they have lured me back. Last Fall, I was invited to their annual dinner so that I felt obligated to go to the Orchid show the next day. Between their kindness and generosity and the beauty of the orchids, I was forced to buy two. And that turned me on. I had to have more. Now I'm afraid that more is never enough.
Two weeks ago I was in Mexico City for the Orchid Expo....and I bought two more. I decided if I'm going to grow orchids I needed some help so I ordered a beautiful book, Understanding Orchids by William Cullina.  Today I talked friends into going to Celaya, can you believe it...on a the Celaya Expo de Flor. I bought three more orchids, a violet and a gorgeous white hydrangea. See, an orchid addiction just leads to other flowers. Now I have two violets because I bought one sad looking little violet at Home Depot earlier in the week.
The hydrangea? I don't know why I bought it. I've tried growing them here before but the soil isn't right for them so it is a battle to keep them nourished. But a white hydrangea is such an elegant flower and makes me think of lovely old southern homes with porches where you sat in a white wicker rocking chair wearing a pale blue linen dress in the late afternoon and drank tea, I really, really do have to try to get this hydrangea to grow so it can paint lovely pictures for me.
I do not know what kind of orchids I bought today. The one you see above is in a pot, one is on a piece of a tree and the other is mounted on a board. At least the ones I bought in Mexico City came with pedigrees.    

Monday, May 2, 2016

Construction Zone

I'm in Port Aransas and since I was last here in October it seems like construction has doubled. The first thing I noticed is that across the street from my hotel has been paved. The construction sign says that soon there will be 100 RV parking places. Last October it looked like it was part of the salt marsh. Maybe a bit higher than the land around it but not much.

As I have driven around Mustang Island I'm really shocked at all of the home construction. The picture above is a development of beautiful houses. They must be building at least 10 more with construction trucks parked on both sides of a new street. Just like you would see in any subdivision that is going up.  Most of the houses you can see in the distance are occupied with lovely landscaping and window treatments already in place. People are living there.

This isn't the only change that is happening but the thing that really hit me today is how fast the Island is changing. I am really glad that I started photographing for the book I'm working on in conjunction with the Mercer Logs some time ago. It is going to be harder and harder to find landscapes and things that connect me with excerpts from the logs.

I know I'll sound like an old Fogey because I hate seeing these changes but the lyrics from Big Yellow Taxi came to mind.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot