Monday, December 28, 2015


I'm starting with the critters.  I call this one Miss Piggy, but really she's a javelina.  There is a small herd that walks by my door almost every day.  One day I left my door open while I was singing, then I stepped outside and scared Miss Piggy, who let out a huge noise and leapt backwards, as did I. When I looked outside, there she was staring at me (below).  Evidently, she had been laying against my wall listening to me sing.  She and a friend spent the afternoon lounging outside until the rest of the herd showed up.  Once I knew she was there we just let each other be and I could come and go.  Below are some of the photos I've taken since my first day here.  They're my favorite photography subject at the moment.

I didn't see Miss Piggy's friend at first because he/she totally looked like the rocks he/she is sitting next to below.  Being so close to Miss Piggy, I noticed a very strong smell.  Evidently they have musk glands that enhance their odor.  Usually when I see them their noses are to the ground like little vacuum cleaners.

This is one of my best manifestations.  Months ago I wrote my intention of where I next wanted to live.  For my living conditions I wrote "I have a large, sunny, beautiful space with my own bathroom, heating/cooling, internet, and a large area to work in."  I think I've done it.   Below is a shot from the top of my street, Lucky Street.  Just west of Tucson, it's so easy to drive into town, I love it.  It's the Sonoran desert and cacti abound in every shape.

My room, below, built of 18" wide adobe bricks, with log beams holding up the roof.  The room is large, very sunny, with lots of space to make art, inside and out, and comes with a bathroom.   The adobe makes the room totally soundproof.  I've never yet heard Dan, my landlord, come or go with his car, about 15 feet from the room.

Below, working on my latest painting in the kid/pet series.  I bought up lots of books at two library sales, one in Hermosa Beach, CA and the other in Mesa, AZ, so I have a good stock of reading material.

I spent a whole $60 on furniture and below, right, was the best deal for $30, a perfect little kitchen hutch. With my hotplate and toaster, I'm good to go.  The heater easily keeps the place warm on cold nights. 

I've been collecting interesting looking pieces like the candle holders that make up this pillar.  I'm making a shrine for the top of this one, inside the box.  The pieces are finally coming together, and surfing the local thrift stores is teaching me how to get around in Tucson.

Looking out my door into the back yard.  All yards in Tucson are desert.  No mowing.

Below is Dan, my landlord, a retired English professor who taught poetry at the University of Arizona for 17 years.  He only looks serious like this when I point the camera at him.  It's his writing studio I've invaded for the winter.

I bought a ukulele when I was visiting Oregon last fall, so was happy to find a ukulele meet-up group in Tucson. Yahoo!  Below are Srin and Paul, very enthusiastic players.   I also met Peggy (not pictured) during a meeting and she invited me over to play the ukulele with her.  Basically, she gave me a free lesson and we played easy children's songs that used mostly F, C and G7 chords.  Painful on the fingers, but she introduced me to tiny little bandages that really help a lot. It turned out that Peggy only lives a couple of miles away, amazing, as I usually only meet people who live at least 20 miles away.  While we were playing she mentioned that she and her deceased husband had lived in Australia for a while.  I had a feeling that she had been there the same time I was living in Australia so I asked her what year and sure enough they first went there in 1974.  While her husband had taught at the University in Perth, my ex-husband and I lived in New South Wales where he was head of the Sculpture Department at the Riverina College (it's now New South Wales University).  I was the college photographer (1974 to 1976).  All of a sudden I'm meeting ex-academic people.  A karmic loop?

I went to two Meet-up Christmas parties - one for vegetarians and this one, below, for psychics. This picture was posted online (someone stood in the doorway and yelled "smile!"- click).  In January I'm joining a hiking group, a Rumba class, and a writer's group.  If all this doesn't keep me busy I don't know what will.

And below, a picture I took after Christmas dinner at Deany's house.  Dan has been telling me about his friend Deany since I moved here so I was pleased to be invited to dinner.  But, here's the strange part.  Deany's friend Candy, on the left, is from Wellington, Ohio, about 20 miles from where I grew up, and Deany lived in Elyria, Ohio, (where I grew up) and her daughter was born in the same hospital I was born in.  Deany is a psychotherapist and travels all over the world working for the American military.  

The day after Christmas I drove out to TerraSante, the community I've stayed at a couple of times over the years.  Also stopped to see Victoria, below, with whom I made some videos and am making more in the next few months.  She gave me a tour to show me all the updates, but only the plants in the greenhouses are still green, underneath their protective coverings.  Couldn't resist taking pictures of the nests, this one inside the greenhouse where the bird used strips of plastic.  Very clever.

I have to add my friend Fran's photos of her lovely works with clay. The first picture is Fran with her daughter Roseanne, who got her Phd in Business from Stanford and is doing very well.

The chicken, and lady on the left are Fran's and the two other ladies and the sphinx are Patti's.  I love everything.

Below, the torso, the plant holder and the address slab are Fran's.  It's so wonderful to see this work.  I have such amazing creative friends!

Below, I bought this fossil at a thrift store, thinking it was a spider, but the more I looked at it I realized it's a scorpion.  I'm a Scorpio so I like it even better.

A neighbor's front yard below.  In Tucson you can really use the local vegetation to keep people away.

I found lots of sticks lying around so I started building my version of a large wreath.  I wanted to look at some of my goddess faces that had been packed in a box, so this seemed the perfect place to put them out. Think I'll finish painting them.  Looks like a mouth with teeth.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Los Angeles, Mesa to Tucson

As you can see, I've moved back to Arizona for the winter.  I guess I'm officially a Snowbird.  Below are photos from the journey, going backwards in time.  First is Kaya and Hal, who let me stop over for a couple of nights in Mesa.  They are fantastic tour guides, taking me to three park areas to see how beautiful mesa is.  Kaya also took me to a writer's group she's teaching, two thrift stores and the local library where I was able to stock up on books that should last me a month at least.

I forget the names of all the places, but they have unusual trees and lots of wild horses which we weren't able to see but everyone we met had.  Evidently there are over 700 horses running around the desert and as they multiply they are rounded up.  Oh yes, it's the Salt River.

Below is a sacred mountain only the local tribe is allowed to climb.

An underwater worm who seemed to like it there.  I thought worms drowned in water - why else do they come out after it rains?

I slept in Kaya's office and hanging on the wall was the painting below, one I painted many years ago (? about 25 years ago I think).

Coming from California where everything is MUCH more expensive I had to photograph the sign below because cheap gas in Cal is $2.79.  This sign is from Mesa but in Tucson the gas is even cheaper at $1.81 to $1.91.  I filled my tank up and it cost me 14.73!  That hasn't happened in a long time.

After driving 10 hours from Redwood Valley, I arrived in Hermosa Beach to visit my sister Janice.

I spent Thanksgiving week with Janice.  One day we headed to Watts to check out the Towers built by Simon Rodia in the 1930's.  Below are photos from the outing.

Once a month Janice volunteers at the Nature Center in Palos Verdes.  This was a very educational trip for me.  Not only did they have a very interesting herbalist give a talk and let us try eating her delicious concoctions, below, but the center's building was once where Nike missiles were assembled, next to a missile site operated from 1914 to 1982 for coastal defence.  Now welded shut, there is six stories underground where missiles were stored, with elevators and launch sites.  At one time 30,000 people worked here.

There are two bunkers, as well as silos and elevators for the missiles, and lots of concrete.  This all amazed me because I had driven down this road in the past, before 1980, and I don't remember ever seeing anything, because, I guess, it was all underground.

Elevator shaft with a great ocean view.

Cool rust

Below are a few photos from Redwood Valley