Sunday, March 06, 2016

Spring in Tucson

  The writing on my Barter book is done and it's being edited!

At this point it's called The Secrets of Bartering:
 How to Live Well on Very Little Money

I still have to design a cover, then format and upload everything to sell as an E-Book on  Dan is editing it for me and he's very good at picking out things that need rewording. It's going to read as smooth as butter.  I hope to have it uploaded within the next two weeks.  Below is the contents page.

I've literally lived and traveled all over the world using barter for everything:  rent, doctors, dentists, mechanics, computer repair, airline tickets, and meals.  I've done work exchanges for beautiful places to live in countries like Australia, Mexico, India, and Ireland.  It's a great way to meet people, make friends, and learn.   I have walked the walk, now I'm going to talk the talk and spread the knowledge.  I think of it as a path to economic freedom.

Below, at the Gem Show, I got to meet Brian and Yolanda Busse, from the cable tv show Prospectors.  I haven't had a tv for over a year but this used to be one of my favorite shows.

The second time I went to the show I went with Cristina, who I lived with three years ago in Tucson.  She's sitting in a chair carved out of a giant crystal.

Brian at the hobby store off of Speedway, showing me how to fly my drone.  I now know how to get it up but I keep crashing it into trees.  To thank him I went on Saturday to shoot the radio controlled car races they hold at their store (in the parking lot that's now a race track).  I still need to edit and upload it to Youtube.

Below, Mark inspecting the terrible masonry job I did on attaching my 13 concrete goddesses to large stones along the arroyo behind Dan and his neighbor's houses.

They are very hard to find.  The last time I walked there I found 6 of them.

I decided to clean out the storage room attached outside my studio.  It had been filled with cardboard boxes and when the door was closed the pack rats moved in.  To pack rats, computer and printer boxes are furnished condos.  Over the years rattlesnakes moved in, too.   I slowly raked things out of the room to keep the dust down and shoveled it into large garbage cans.  As I slowly pulled things out a largish, pissed-off rattlesnake, too drowsy from hibernation to attack me, thank Gaia, appeared.  Can you see him, below?  Took three days to persuade the snake to leave.  We kept removing it and it kept coming back.   Dan mentioned having it killed so I just hosed it down which made it swirl in high speed circles against the wall.  After that I left him alone and he went away and hasn't come back.   Not a fun way to wake up but better wet than dead.  I want him alive to eat the local pack rats which have a habit of eating wires under car hoods.

Raked, shoveled, swept and hosed out.  A tool room.  Dan gave me an extra month's rent for this.

I met Valery while on my morning walks.  She has a beautiful house up the road and one morning I caught her walking her two dogs while wearing what looked like an ankle length mink coat.  She only weighs around 100 lbs. and it was a really cold morning.  She claimed it's a fake fur but I kept teasing her.  We hung out and she invited me to go with her to visit her house outside Bisbee where we dropped things off then headed into town for lunch.  Valery, originally from Minnesota, started out as an actress and playwright in New York City, then at 35 went to work for Goldman, Sachs where she eventually became a vice president.  I saw her lift a heavy chair over the edge of her truck, carry it on her shoulder into her garage where she opened the door to the house and carried it inside.  She's smart and surprisingly strong for her size.

The copper pit.

Bisbee is a nice little town.  After lunch we walked around but I felt very antsy and we headed back.  I had agreed to give a talk at ArtSeeds, a store on Campbell, but had gotten the date mixed up in my head and ended up going to Bisbee instead.  I now have such a busy social life I need to keep a daily calendar.  I gave the talk the following afternoon and it was very successful.  I talked about my travel book and bartering.  They asked if I could come back on a weekly basis and I agreed to come back every two weeks. I sold books and enjoyed talking to people about what they could barter and trade.  

I suddenly had the urge to paint Toby, my friend Kaya's dog.  She e-mailed me some of her favorite photos and below is how it looks so far.  I've only had time to put about an hour into the whole thing.  I do everything in sweeps:  a fast sketch, then quickly painting in with solid colors (like a cartoon), adding shading and highlights, etc,  It's about half way through.  He will eventually look like he's lying in grass and not a carpet, I hope.

My wonderful writing group, left to right: Tori, Joyce, Ellen, Jean, and Susan.  They have the most interesting stories of any group I've ever been with.  It was their motivation and support that inspired me to finish my book.  Thanks!!!

I started making goddess faces again but left them out in the sun to dry - which made them crack.  I always have to learn everything the hard way.  I've put the surviving goddess in Dan's driveway.

I photographed Diana's paintings for her before she left town to visit her son who is a new father.  She took a watercolor class and these are a few of the animals she painted.

Diana and I like to go to thrift stores together and right after she left I made my biggest find.  A Dancing Siva.  I was so excited when I saw the price, $20, I grabbed it without really looking.  I thought it was a goddess but when I got home I realized it didn't have the large breasts a Hindu goddess has.  It turned out to be a Dancing Siva who represents the end of the old garbage and starting over, a rebirth of everything new.  How perfect for me.  I looked online and a 25" tall, cast iron Dancing Shiva costs from $600 to $1000.  It came from an estate from someone who had died and I happened to walk into the store when they had just set it out.  I collect spiritual art.  

I picked up this old jar for 75 cents at another thrift store.  It says, "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS SALE OR REUSE OF THIS BOTTLE".  When I got home I looked it up online and found that it was made over 100 years ago in China and used to have medicinal (opium?) wine in it.  It was thought to be worth between $95 and $115.  My first two good thrift store finds.  Fran says I can sell them on Ebay but I think I'll give the bottle as a gift and keep the statue.  I've been so busy working on my book since the Gem Show ended that I haven't gone to a thrift store in a while.

The first two necklaces I've made from my Gem Show hoard.  Chrysoprase with an old pendant from Afghanistan, left, and faceted pyrite with small hematite spacers.