Monday, September 29, 2008

A Santa Fe Garden

I went out searching for yard sales this weekend and found the most beautiful garden! I passed it by and then spun a U turn to go back and give it another look.

Fortunately the owner was out tending her flowers and she seemed quite pleased when I asked if I could take pictures.

Remember to click on any photo for a larger version.

This is what first caught my eye.

I loved the color on this bloom.

Look closely and you can see the pollen in the center.

The morning glories were my very favorite,
so I took the most pictures of them.

They ranged in color from a pale baby blue

to an intense dark blue

If you look closely here you can see the delicate thinness of these blossoms.

As they reach for the clouds you can see the light through the petals.

Just lovely.

I particularly liked this stalk, which had both
blue with white spots
white with blue spots!

Just one more morning glory.

This one was so amazingly royal purple, I had to include it here.

This kind gardener then invited me to see the rest of her garden.

It was just as beautiful as the front yard.

Isn't it great the way these blooms cascade down from the sun?

While I know that cosmos are a staple of many gardens,

they always amaze me with their simple beauty.

One last shot of her shade garden.

These inpatients reminded me so much
of the flowers along the Santa Cruz coast . . .

Gosh, I guess I miss my garden! Oh well, at least there are folks like this wonderful lady who shared with me. It was a special gift indeed.

And now on to an entirely different subject . . .

A month or so ago, we decided that we really didn't like our Subaru and have now sold it and bought a 2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara, which we both like a lot better. That has kept us busy for the last few weeks, so that's one reason I haven't been posting a lot (in case anyone was wondering).

And tomorrow morning we'll be leaving Santa Fe and heading down to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta, Yee Haw!

Life is Good!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

RIP Paul

Well, Geez.

I woke up this morning and did my usual get on the internet thing.

And WHAM! I read that Paul Newman has died.

I can't begin to describe how sad this makes me feel.

It seems he's been in my life forever as a kind of cultural touchstone. I find his passing almost impossible to assimilate.

Incredibly gifted, amazingly gorgeous, determinedly committed to his ideals and family, I could go on and on.

We are so fortunate that we can remember him by his many film roles. I first discovered him as Ben Quick in the Long Hot Summer and I have to admit he set my young hormones racing.

Fast Eddie Felson was another revealing portrait in a pair of landmark films. His portrayal of a young Eddie Felson in the Hustler won him his second Best Actor nomination (he was first nominated at Brick Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). When he reprised the role in 1987 in the Color of Money, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science FINALLY saw fit to award him with a Best Actor Oscar. That said, he needed no awards to shine.

He was always solid, but for me it was Hud that cemented him forever. While the whole film is a sublime cinematic experience (check out the superb cinematography by James Wong Howe, who won a well deserved Oscar for his work here), it is Newman's performance that was a revelation. To see an actor possessed of such charm and grace portray such an unprincipled, amoral cad was a revelation. While I was appalled, I couldn't stop watching. And Hud has stayed with me for years. It certainly doesn't hurt that the rest of the cast (Melvyn Douglas (Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), Patricia Neal (Oscar, Best Actress in a Leading Role), Brandon De Wilde) were all at the top of their game.

If you haven't seen it, Hud is a true masterpiece pf American Cinema.

Then came John Russell in Hombre. I think this is one of the more overlooked films in Newman's varied career, but it's a particular favorite of mine. Suffice it too say that if you've never viewed this film, do so ASAP. I promise that, after seeing it, you'll be thinking about It for a long time to come. It also contains some of the best dialogue ever heard in a film..

I could, of course go on forever on the films of Paul Newman. The characters he realized are so varied and memorable. So let's take just a moment and remember some more of my favorite portrayals by this gifted thespian. And see if you can remember the films without clicking the links!

Chance Wayne
Larry Flint
Lew Harper
Butch Cassidy
Hank Stamper
Henry Gondorff
Reg Dunlop
Michael Colin Gallagher
Frank Galvin
Gov. Earl K. Long
Sully Sullivan
John Rooney
Max Roby
and last but certainly not least
Doc Hudson

Wow! Even I didn't realize what a roster this would be.

While his acting accomplishments are certainly what brought him to the world's consciousness, what is really amazing is the man himself.

Not content to rest on his laurels, he always stood up for his convictions and was never afraid to put his fame and money to good use.

Married to the lovely Joanne Woodward for fifty years, their lives and dedication to their morals stand as an example to us all. To read a bit about their philanthropic endeavors (Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good) click here).

But here's what it all comes down to. The world is immensely poorer for his passing.

So go buy a bottle of your favorite product from the Newman's Own line and give a bit of money to the causes he supported throughout his life.

My condolences to his family and many friends.

RIP Paul, you will be missed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Music . . .

My computer is back up and running and so am I!

There's a wonderful Goodwill here in Santa Fe, lots of great books and music, what a treat!

I just picked up the soundtrack to Somewhere in Time, a movie I've loved for years. Part of what makes this film so memorable is the haunting musical score.

So I have to ask myself, why have I never purchased this fine music?

Well when I walked into the Goodwill and looked at the CDs, there it was.

Now I try not to get too excited, because about half the time, at thrift stores or yard sales, you'll see a CD case and get all excited, only to find the case contains something you've never heard of, or worse yet is completely empty.

So I was pretty jazzed when I opened the case and found the CD inside, clean and unscratched.

But the real revelation came when I got home and played the music.

What kind of incredible power does music possess?

As I was listening, the effect was almost visceral, it moved me so deeply.

It changed my whole afternoon. My skin got warm, and a feeling of such expansiveness filled my soul, what can I say?

It was heaven. What a wonderful gift music is to all of us.

Do we realize how lucky we are to have such bounty at our fingertips?

So I want you to dig out some piece of music that moved you in a special way and sit down and experience a bit of wonder for yourself.

And I'll try to get back into this blogging thing.

Life is good.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Sad Tale of Woe (long and pitiful)

I've been busy for several days now . . .

There I was, sitting and playing on the computer, when my weekly message came through that it was time to back up my hard drive.

So I did.

And not five minutes later, I put my trusty cursor over an item in my menu bar and got a white drop down box with nothing in it. I waited a moment but it seemed that my computer was frozen. DRAT!

Being the good Mac girl that I am, I knew that I needed to press command option escape to quit the frozen program, which I did.


I waited a few more moments and tried again. Zip . . .

Oh well, there's always the hard restart. Now that's not something I like to do, but I know that when you are completely frozen, that is often your only course of attack, so I did the hard restart.

And finally the computer started up, but it seemed to take forever. Uh Oh, I knew something was wrong.

I checked my backup to make sure it was good, Then I unhooked my external hard drive containing the good back up and went to work.

Let me say here that while I'm no genius when it comes to computers, I've been working on one Mac or another since 1987 and have a pretty passable knowledge of troubleshooting.

So I repaired my permissions and did a restart. This time I got a strange little symbol I've never seen on a Mac before. A circle with a diagonal cross, sort of like the international No symbol. What was this!

Now it was time to pull out the big guns, so I resorted to Tech Tool Pro, my Big Gun of choice. I booted from the CD and my goodness, it said all kinds of things were wrong. How could this be? I certainly didn't know, but I set about fixing everything back to it's proper alignment.

Did I mention that this was taking HOURS???

So finally I got the machine to say that the laptop was now nice and healthy with everything like it should be.

So I rebooted. Again.

And got the dreaded international No symbol again.

Well Phooey!

I really do hate to admit that I can't fix something like this, but it seemed it was time to kick it up a notch, so I called Apple.

I explained everything to the nice little girl on the other end of the phone and she said she'd never heard of this either, but said she would ask around.

Later (not MUCH later, but long enough) she said she had talked to another tech who said it sounded like the problem was a corrupted System. I explained that I hadn't recently tried to summon Demons from the Internet, or installed any software or anything else horrible. So did she have any idea as to what might have caused it?

No, she did not, but she insisted that a clean archive and install would do the trick, and said she would wait while I did it. I told her I really wanted to get another backup if possible and that I would do as she suggested and call them back if I needed further assistance.

Now, all I had to do was find my original install discs. Have I mentioned that while I live in a mere two hundred square feet of space, I still sometimes, hard as it is to believe, misplace things.

Like my original Laptop discs.

Thus starts the great cleaning project.

You know, I look at this rig, this Cholula Red that I love, and I think, the size is just perfect, enough storage, but not too much, a place for everything and all that.

At least that's what I think till I can't find something I really, really need. Like those disks.

I proceeded to empty every single cabinet and drawer, looking in every conceivable nook and cranny. I found old chewing gum, books I've read and meant to get rid of, dirty socks, close to a hundred Cd's (I have an iPod, why am I carrying these Cd's?). The list goes on and on.

I found backup disks in seven different containers, some in the bedroom, some in the living room, some in the cab over.

What is wrong with me? Am I THAT organizationally challenged? That's a rhetorical question, no reply needed, thank you very much.

So anyway, I finally found the disks, buried in the bowels of the motor home. Did you know that motor homes have bowels? They do!

So I proceeded to do a clean install, and you know what? It still didn't work.

Long story short, I am the victim of a hard drive failure, so all my diagnostic tricks are totally worthless!

And now I have to send my poor sick lap top off to Apple to be fixed (which I could do myself, but it would void my warranty, go figure . . .)

All of this is to tell you that I'll be offline for a few days. Probably whimpering and crying, huddled in my bed, strung out from computer/internet withdrawal.

Waiting for the return of the Fed Ex man to bring me back to life.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

the Dark Knight

Wowee Zowee!!!

As regular readers know, we don't get to the movies as often as we'd like.

For months now, we've been trying to see the Dark Knight, just missing it several times. When I discovered that it was still showing here in Santa Fe, off we went.

A bit of history here . . .

Ever since I saw Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, I've been a fan of Christian Bale. The film featured a stunning performance by a then twelve year old Bale, and I've followed his career ever since. If you've never seen this film, I highly recommend it, as well as the semi-autobiographical J. G. Ballard novel on which it is based. Amazing experiences both.

But back to Bale.

Watching him through the years, I'm always impressed with the chances he takes and the variety of roles he's willing to tackle.

So you can imagine how intrigued I was when I heard that Christopher Nolan was reinventing the Batman franchise and had pegged Christian Bale for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Just a year prior the pair had done impressive work in the Prestige. This sounded intriguing!

And I wasn't disappointed at all, I thought Batman Begins was just about perfect.

Then some months ago I read about the Dark Knight. Again, written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale (as well as Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, returning in their roles from the original), this looked promising.

But the big word was that Heath Ledger would be playing the Joker. Wow, this sounded great. I've enjoyed Heath Ledgers' work for a long time. When I first saw him in 10 Things I Hate About You, he was obviously on his way up. Then came the Patriot, Monster's Ball and finally his jaw dropping performance as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain. The boy had the chops, there was no question about it.

But a super villain? Hmmm . . .

Then I saw the makeup for the Joker and I have to admit I was immediately turned WAY off.

I was determined to not read all the reviews and just make up my own mind (even though it took months for me to finally see the film.

All I can say is Just Amazing!

This is some movie, unlike anything I've ever seen before.

You walk into the theater expecting a dark, well made action film.

And it's certainly all that, but also, so much more.

Let me start with the acting. As much as I love to watch Christian Bale, Heath Ledger owns this film. Yes, the makeup is macabre and grotesque, but you know what? It's also perfectly apropos for this character.

And after about five minutes, you've become so fascinated with the character, the makeup just doesn't matter. This is the most complete and convincing character I've seen on film in years.

And of course Christian Bale is great as well as Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart, superb to an man.

So we've established that the acting is first class, a real cut above anything I've seen in quite a while.

But then there's the story and the script.

Don't be misled, this is no rock em, sock em, shoot em up. Although it has elements of that genre, this film delves right into the very nature of Good and Evil, the choices we make every day as to how we will live our lives, the reality of how terrorism affects us, the moral choices that are made by both ordinary people and those who govern every day.

Heavy, thought provoking stuff and beautifully presented in an entertaining manner,

Go see this film, it's a knockout.

And I hope Heath Ledger gets an Oscar. What a loss his untimely death is to us all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset and In Between


Lots of pictures to come . . .

Remember to click on any image for a larger view, these really do look better at a larger size.

This is just a series of pictures I've been taking over the last few weeks since we've been in Santa Fe. No particular order and not much text.

Ready? Here we go.

Sunrise, right outside our rig.

Here's the other side of the rig at sunset.

We took a drive up to Abiquiu,
home of the Ghost Ranch,
made famous by Georgia OKeeffe.

See why she raved about the light and the countryside?

These striations are unlike any we've seen in any other part of the country.

More Ghost Ranch

The heavy clouds changed the look of the mountains, adding even more color.

Here's a shot of one of the burros that live on the grounds of Ghost Ranch.

This is kind of dark, but I liked it that way.

Notice the hoodoos in the background.

As we were coming back to Santa Fe,
we found this lush and lovely valley.

This is on the other side of the road from the river.

Isn't this the most beautiful country?

Now we're back in Santa Fe.

This is a morning shot, and yes, the sky is really pink.

I thought this cloud seemed to be rising from this bush.

Another pink morning.

While the dirt here is red,
this color only appears very early in the morning.

This is another sunset.

The sky just seems to get richer and deeper,
then boom, it's dark.

We took a drive down to the Santa Domingo Pueblo.

Suddenly the sky darkened.

While in another direction, the sky was bright and blue.

But the black clouds won out.

Within a few minutes we were in the middle
of a whopping New Mexico downpour.

By the time we got home, the rain was done
and we got to see this.

Hope all the cloud pictures are OK. I love these skies.

They make me happy and serve to remind me how good my life is.