What are you up to?

brianvds

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So, what have you been doing? Or seen or witnessed? What's the weather like where you live, or what does it look like, or what have you bought or sold (not necessarily art related), or what are your pets doing? A thread for general stuff that doesn't fit in anywhere else.

Me, I have been paying regular visits to my local nature area, and took a pic or two of (among other things) this rather cute mongoose:

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The little fellow was remarkably tame and eventually allowed me to approach to within a few meters, completely ignoring me and just going about his mongoosey business:

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Great idea for a thread! It will be nice to get an insight into what we all do when we're not making art 🙂

I like the mongoose! I've never seen one, they look like fun characters.

The weather hasn't been great this weekend so I haven't ventured far from home. Yesterday I sat with a coffee and a book in the park and watched this being set up in preparation for the Edinburgh Fringe Fesrival that starts next week:

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And did a spot of gardening, and am quite proud of this marrow I've grown:

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And also these apples. My tree managed to produce one apple last year so this makes me happy:

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Great idea for a thread! It will be nice to get an insight into what we all do when we're not making art 🙂

I like the mongoose! I've never seen one, they look like fun characters.

People always want animals that look as cute as that for pets, but of course, wild animals make horrendously bad pets. :)

The weather hasn't been great this weekend so I haven't ventured far from home.

Well, you do apparently live in a part of the world not renowned for great weather... :)

And did a spot of gardening, and am quite proud of this marrow I've grown:

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You'd be the envy of Yayoi Kusama... :)

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That mongoose is so damn cute, it's not even slightly funny. :ROFLMAO:

For my birthday, Hannah got me a plush meerkat because I love them so much. It kind of looks real and makes me smile. Brian's mongoose reminds me of a meerkat! We have a zoo not far from here. It's a special zoo that's like a reserve called the Living Desert, and I went there for my last birthday. We got a special, personal tour on a golf cart. They only had one meerkat then, but I think she got a partner. When I went to that zoo, I got to feed a giraffe by the way. I look atrocious in this photo, but here's proof!

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Lately, I have not been making art, but it's been kind of on purpose. Partially because I am trying to take care of my health, which is being monitored by a few different specialists as of late, testing for different things (I've been wearing a heart monitor), and I'm also trying to practice the art of relaxation--something I really don't know how to do. I've never known how to take care of myself. I'm trying to be better.

Art hasn't been coming "naturally," and I don't want to force it. I've almost quit going on Instagram altogether. I post something every couple of days and then leave for promotional reasons. I don't stay there or compare my output to other people anymore. It's too depressing to realize how prolific I never really was. I posted a link to a recent interview I did here just to keep myself relevant.

I've been doing boring things, like cleaning out my closet and donating most of my clothes to charity, throwing out crap in my garage that's been there for too long, giving away art supplies I don't use, purposing not making any big plans, and trying to downsize my life. Trying to anyway.

I recently won a big award for artistic achievement, which is a big honor, really. I haven't received the check yet, but I'm researching things to spend it on, like fixing up my car, and some art stuff I need, including a new studio easel and a table.

As far as selling anything, I usually don't reveal sales of art, but here's something that happened. I have a few pieces up in a local group show. The most expensive one was apparently sold on the opening weekend. It was almost a sold-out show. The piece was marked with a red dot and marked "sold" on their website too. Almost two weeks later, the gallery owners told me that someone was interested in it. Whaaat??? Then they said the person who is interested might buy it, but they are not sure. That was why they marked it "sold." I had to tell them to take the red dot off and make it available again so it wasn't held up in limbo. What the hell is wrong with people? I couldn't wrap my head around that one. Meanwhile, I was excepting congratulations from several friends and spending that non-existent money in my head over those two weeks, like some kind of hopeful idiot. Yet another weird gallery experience to add to my list of oddities. Here is the piece that sold/didn't sell/might sell/don't hold your breath:

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Oh well. Back to binge-watching movies and napping. :ROFLMAO:
 
I love your mongoose pictures, Brian! ❤️ Cute little critter.

Kay - congrats on your apple harvest! It's so rewarding when your patient tending bears results - those look gorgeous! I do not exactly know what a marrow is or how it tastes: a squash of some kind? Anyway- it looks perfect and is a good size, so yay for you!

Love the pic of you feeding the giraffe, Ayin! I'm jealous! They're one of my favorite critters: so prehistoric looking and beautiful. About the "not-sale" - that's some crap! How does a gallery staffer make such a mistake? I loved all the pieces from this particular series, so here's hoping the potential buyer makes up their mind.

A great interview, btw. You're one of the bravest people I know. ❤️ And in case I haven't said it yet, BIG congrats on winning this award!!

I've been doing very little art. I've gone through several minor procedures over spring/early summer to help knock the back pain into submission, to where standing/sitting isn't such an ordeal. Recovering very slowly. I've been installing a pollinator garden in the back yard of my new bungalow (built in 1950; it ain't new and I'm in love with it!).

Some random pics - coneflowers and black eyed susans in front of ilex bushes:

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I've been visited by several butterflies!

Monarch:

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Eastern tiger swallowtail:

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Black swallowtail:

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And of course some honeybees:

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I also have honeysuckle, swamp milkweed, Joe Pye weed, and bee balm - all late summer bloomers, so everyone is attacking the purple coneflowers. :LOL:
 
@Triduana , nice haul from your garden! Just goes to show what a little RAIN (are you listening National Weather Service??) can do for plants. And humans who are tired of watering the plants every day. Oh, and what is a "Fringe Festival"?

@Artyczar Congratulations! That is a terrific honor and your work is worthy of it. Take some time weeding out things you don't need in your life; the art will stay with you, promise. In fact, it sounds like you might be on the cusp of some art-changes- maybe new ideas, maybe new media, maybe a new genre- maybe all three. Doesn't matter, only matters that you let it happen, and sometimes, that happen starts by you literally cleaning out things in your life that just don't fit anymore.

And taking care of yourself. Don't make me lecture you in private messages- my degree is pre-med; I can lecture better than Nurse Ratchet.

@Terri , really nice flowers, and your butterfly visitors are lovely. The swallowtail on the cone flower is a painting ready to be made. We get Black swallowtails and Blue Pipevine Swallowtails here; lovely creatures that really like the Mexican Bird of Paradise bushes, and, dang it, laying their eggs on my Dillweed. THAT is an issue, but one I cannot fix, so I just try to harvest before destruction. Speaking of which, a Sphinx moth laid eggs on my Heirloom tomato plants, and I found two of those danged hormworms and tossed them over the garden fence before they could eat the stems bare- I'm having enough trouble keeping the plants alive, let alone blooming or setting fruit. it's just too hot.

muttermuttermuttermutter

Anyway, what I am doing is working at the easel when I can; my Dear Husband (DH) is a retired disabled veteran and he has some issues that rear their ugly head at times; his neurologist tells me it's okay to call them "spells" 'cause that's what she calls them. It's a seizure-like problem linked to PTSD, which puts another layer of complexity into the problem because DH, the poster child for testosterone poisoning, always believed anyone who didn't face imminent, throat cutting death with a rusty bayonet probably didn't have PTSD, instead, they were a... word that starts with P and often means cat. So now he's hoisted on his own bayonet, and has to re-do a lifetime's worth of assumptions from Start. It makes him a tad... crabby at times. That's when I go in the studio, tell Alexa to play The Band LOUD and don't come out for awhile. After he has his spell (seizure-like movements and balance issues, mostly) he gets a migraine, and his sumotriptan. Good night Sweet Prince.

Which is where he is now. And I am just going to wait another hour or so, then go to bed myself and read myself into slumberland. The National Weather Service has promised me rain "tomorrow" every day this week- and they LIED to me- but this time, they say they mean it. They'd better because I am sick and tired of watering!

And, because I marvel at this, we have three dogs currently (down from five) and one of them is mine! It's surprising, I don't dislike dogs, I just always preferred cats, and DH liked dogs and kept collecting them, until we went to an adoption event and he saw this scared little lhasa apso-mix-ish dog, and we adopted him- Charlie. Charlie had been trapped in the desert by a rescue; they'd been trying to get him for almost a year; they figure he was tossed out when he went from cute puppy to chewing ElDestructo dog. People do that here- and will tell you, "Even coyotes have to eat". Makes me not like a lot of the people here. Anyway, Charlie always got really still and quiet at night, and sat up next to me, and when I would fall asleep, then he would, too. Because what Charlie had apparently learned in his short life was, when it gets dark, you get quiet and still, and that way, maybe you don't have to literally run for your life. We've had Charlie for about three years now, and Charlie is my dog, and I am Charlie's human, and I have never had that kind of relationship with an animal in my life. It's really a marvel to me.

Charlie, who I have told to stay with DH, and he knows what that means and does what he is told to do- unless there is a rabbit in the yard. Then all bets are off.
 

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And, @brianvds Thank you for starting this thread- it is a great idea. I'm impressed with your mongoose encounter- although knowing their prey, it's a wonder you weren't a bit worried about some horrible snake somewhere near by- here, while they are technically protected, we... "Relocate any snakes via shovel out of the yard."
"In pieces"
"To the garbage can".

They can be out on the property, but not in the inner fenced yard- that's MY territory, and I defend it.

You got some great shots of the critter- nice camera work!
 
And, @brianvds Thank you for starting this thread- it is a great idea. I'm impressed with your mongoose encounter- although knowing their prey, it's a wonder you weren't a bit worried about some horrible snake somewhere near by- here, while they are technically protected, we... "Relocate any snakes via shovel out of the yard."
"In pieces"
"To the garbage can".

They can be out on the property, but not in the inner fenced yard- that's MY territory, and I defend it.

You got some great shots of the critter- nice camera work!

Snakes are common here, but very seldom seen. I can't remember when last I have seen one. Particularly this time of year: it's winter, so snakes are mostly still asleep. The mongooses eat mostly insects, and I would guess this is a rather difficult time of year for them, with not much prey available.

With a mongoose that tame, I'd be more worried about rabies, which they are known to sometimes carry. I see in Wikipedia that with some genetic types of yellow mongoose, they can carry it without showing symptoms for years. And thus, cute or not, it is best to keep one's distance.

@Artyczar mongoose and meerkats belong to the same family of critters, so they are fairly closely related. The yellow mongoose is in fact sometimes referred to as the "red meerkat" (their coat can vary from yellowish to reddish). So they do indeed resemble meerkats quite a bit.

We also have plenty of weaver birds here, and I noticed last week that the males are beginning to change into there yellow summer coats - a sign that spring is not far off!

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Kay - congrats on your apple harvest! It's so rewarding when your patient tending bears results - those look gorgeous! I do not exactly know what a marrow is or how it tastes: a squash of some kind? Anyway- it looks perfect and is a good size, so yay for you!
Thanks Terri. Yes a marrow is a type of squash, a bit like an overgrown courgette / zucchini. We had half of it for tea last night, I scooped out the middle and filled it with spicy chicken and cheese sauce and baked it in the oven. I got a mized packet of squash seeds - there are some bright yellow ones I haven't tried yet. We are going to be overrun with the things!

Oh, and what is a "Fringe Festival"?
It's an enormous performing arts festival that completely takes over Edinburgh for most of August. Think theatre, comedy, dance, cabaret, music, and pretty much anything else. Anyone can put on a show, so it's very diverse; I've seen everything from harpsichord recitals and samba bands to Romeo and Juliet with zombies. I'll try and get some photos next week - a lot of things just happen in the street, so you can just wander around and see stuff at any time of day. It's a lot of fun!
 
Thanks for the replies!

Terri, love those butterflies! JStarr, no private lectures, please. I hear them from a few other people already. ;) I love Charlie by the way! Makes me miss my pup so much. :( You are so lucky to have Charlie as a close friend. That's what I miss the most...a nonjudgemental friend I can always rely on. Something like that. And someone to cuddle with that is made of fur. Brain, that bird is gorgeous. Looks a little like a, oriole. I used to have bright oriole that hung out outside the window of an apartment I used to live in because there were banana palms there. They made hanging nests. Kay...zombies and cabaret scare me. 🤪
 
@Triduana I look forward to seeing pics and hearing about all the festivities at the festival. Think... paintings.... 🤩 🤩 🤩

Ayin, at least you know people care enough to lecture, right? Nearly as good as a furry pup.

I had a stroke a little over six years ago- no notice, no health problems. Turns out I have a bad allele on my MTHFR gene (I will take a few seconds for those with a wicked sense of humor to just guess what that acronym stands for...) which is one of those Who knew? things. It is usually found if there are fertility problems, but that is to laugh- I used to figure I could get pregnant using a guy's toothbrush. Turns out, one of my sisters and two of her daughters have it, (and she and one daughter have had TIAs) and my daughter has it; I'm unsure of sons because, while they all told me, Yes, Mom, I'll get that checked, they haven't. Same with our siblings, although we've both been vocal about just getting a genetic test and find out; we were all always adventurous children, mayhap they still are.

I lost bits and pieces of my left side- a muscle impulse into my hip, my knee, my ankle and the two smallest toes, and proprioception (knowing where a body part is without looking/touching it) for a couple days on the left, and have a 1.5 cm bright spot (dead area) on the right posterior basal ganglia- the part of your brain that tells everything "GO!" So, while I can walk, easily, every so often my left leg is a fraction of a second slow in moving, especially the foot rolling through the stride, and I limp, although if I don't pay attention, it's more like Igor clumping along. I'm right handed, so no problems there, but have what is called parathesia (para= abnormal, thesia = sensation) in my left hand which means it is pretty much always asleep-feeling, so sometimes if I am hurrying, I forget that hand can't "feel" correctly and can drop things or jerk or just act weirdly. Not that such is anything new.

Just part of living- I was pretty danged healthy all my life- a couple injuries that healed well, no disease or problem, so I was far more lucky than many. I'm Medicare-age now, which is a nonplussed idea- getting to fifty took forever, and the next decade was still quite long, but these past five years have gone lickety split!

Keep moving around, Folks- it's the best way to stay alive.
 
We got a new car! His name is Otto.

It’s sitting in the garage all shiny and fancy and it’s a very pretty and unusual color and I hate to say the brand because it’s embarrassing and makes me feel like a snooty snob. (So, no photos, please!) But it was the hub’s choice, and because I don’t care much about cars, I just went along like a good wifey. Plus I decorated most of the inside of the house with minimum feedback from him, so what’s fair is fair.

The reason we got this, our first big fat SUV, is because the little HATCHBACK just isn’t suited for this expansive, dramatic landscape. It was transported out here from the “civilized” east coast and once we took it out for its first NM ride, it was…scary. It felt like we were sitting in a go-cart, way too low to the ground. It felt we’d get squashed to death any minute by the passing big rigs. It felt incapable of protecting us, and was too delicate bumping along over unpaved roads. And besides, it was getting old, like it’s owners.

She does okay though, puttering around inside the city and was well-cared for and there are already two offers waiting in the wings. But before we sell it, I have to learn how to drive this new one with all its difficult digital gizmos and gadgets. That’s why it has a name…so we can command it and boss it around like authoritarian human rulers. I did my first drive the other day and will keep going a little further until I’ve hit all my usual spots and know I can get around to wherever I need to get around to.

You know…this is Wild West driving out here…pedestrian killings, machete dancers on the sidewalks, freeway distractions of a tumbleweed or llama or naked man, side-saddling motorcyclists with no helmets, road ragers with guns, debris flying out of junky trucks, tail riding and stop sign speeding and on and on. Seems there are no rules of the road. So, I MUST learn how to ride my horse before joining in with the rest of the demented herd.

In the meantime, the little old car was rudely pushed out of its “protective garage womb” in order to make way for the new interloper…and now has to sit outside in the searing heat, getting dirty, and is totally vulnerable (#4 city in US for car thefts). Now isn’t that soooo typical….tossing aside an old reliable pal for a prettier and younger model?

It hates us now, I’m sure. And that…makes me sad.
 
Oh and by the way, as somebody who spent most of her time on Wet Canvas in the Cafe Guerbois and Debates sections….these are my kinds of threads. Just a bunch of general non-art yakking. I mean come on, it’s already filled with mongeese and giraffes, flowers and fringe festivals, dotted marrows, Nurse Rathchet and Charlie. And now fancy pants Otto pushed his way in, too.

Thanks for starting the thread, Brian and for everyone sharing these good pictures.

And congratulations for the AAAA - Arty’s Artistic Achievement Award. ((Clap Clap!))
 
CONGRATULATIONS!!

Otto will be terrific for you- I'm aware of how guilty it can feel to get a new something when there's nothing really wrong with the old something but a vague feeling. Also have been doing the steep learning curve of going from a comfortably-dumb low-IQ car to a full-on, I'll-handle-that-little-Lady damned near AI-robotic car; I get yelled at for not using all its nifty features like speed control in heavy traffic. Holy crap- what part of heavy traffic do you not understand? What part of people here die because they are such stupid drivers makes you think the car can scan up a quarter mile ahead and see the hat** slamming on brakes because a light turned yellow, or the bicyclist who feels the rules of the road are only for cars and is weaving up through the lanes- why would I depend on a mere forward sensor?

It irks DH, but too bad. If I'm going to be a traffic statistic, I'd prefer it not be one wherein she trusted the assistive features of the car too much.

But I gotta tell you, that woooeeeee! mileage is terrific!

Congratulations- I think Otto and you will come to an understanding. Try telling him how nervous you are about how smart he is, and that you hope you do not disappoint him....

Flattery is a powerful tool with tools, sometimes.

**A hat is a snowbird* who drives in an overly cautious fashion to the irritation of other drivers- even other hats; hats are generally only visible in their automobiles as a hat and two hands on the steering wheel. Also sometimes known as a Q-tip for the view other drivers have of them from the rear: a white cotton-y looking head barely above the seat headrest.

*Snowbird: A retired person who hates winter so much they leave their main home in the North every autumn to travel down to the Southwest, usually, to live in a condo or park model RV. Some drive gigantic Class A RVs and will be found in the right lane on an interstate but the left lane in city traffic- don't ask. Snowbirds are often lost and so unpredictable drivers. The really sad part is how many snowbirds come down their fifth or sixth year and have a stroke, or heart attack, or pancreatitis and get stuck here because they now need skilled care. That part is really difficult, especially for the spouse. Hope, in many of those cases, is so often disappointing.
 
Congrats on Otto, Olive! I imagine it's a German car? Just a guess because of his name. Don't feel guilty! You probably need that thing. But I know what you mean. I feel guilty because of my award too. (Thanks for the kudos.) That's just the way I'm wired I guess. Or that's just the number my mother did on me. Forever feeling guilty about random things. :ROFLMAO:

I am sorry about your stroke JStarr. That's F'ed up, but I'm glad the long-term effects aren't bad. I'm trying to take care of whatever I need to now so I don't have a stroke myself. I'm doing pretty good so far, but have to get a couple more tests, like the results of this monitor I'm wearing for the rest of this week, and a pulmonary test on Thursday, both to see how bad some recent diagnoses I've had. Hopefully, neither is too bad. I don't think it's too bad, but I still can't walk more than a few hundred feet right now. Probably nothing modern medicine can't fix...I hope. I think the cardiologist wants to do cardioversion which supposedly fixes one of the things. We'll see. Talk about inheriting genes. This thing was something my dad had. Thanks, Pop! His ticker was screwed.
 
I'm trying to take care of whatever I need to now so I don't have a stroke myself. I'm doing pretty good so far, but have to get a couple more tests, like the results of this monitor I'm wearing for the rest of this week, and a pulmonary test on Thursday, both to see how bad some recent diagnoses I've had. Hopefully, neither is too bad. I don't think it's too bad, but I still can't walk more than a few hundred feet right now. Probably nothing modern medicine can't fix...I hope. I think the cardiologist wants to do cardioversion which supposedly fixes one of the things. We'll see. Talk about inheriting genes. This thing was something my dad had. Thanks, Pop! His ticker was screwed.
Well, see, that's an issue, not being able to keep the blood oxygenated enough to walk a normal pace for, well, whatever is needed.

Study up on your diagnoses, ask questions of your docs, and decide what is best for you. And after that, follow instructions.
 
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