Friday, October 27, 2006

Pumpkin Patch

My version of a pumpkin field.

Another slide taken in the 80's and manipulated. Oh the joys of a new scanner and Photo Shop Elements!

Happy Fall! Even the air in the desert is beginning to feel different. The morning and evening light make me feel giddy. We'll have been here a month on the 30th.

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Toy!

After suffering through a few years with an inferior and temperamental scanner I broke down today and purchased a new one! This one scans slides and negatives!! I used to regretably load my 35 SLR with slide film and never got around to having prints made from the slides.

I'm amazed at how well the Epson scanner turns slides into digital images that I can manipulate in Photoshop Elements. Very exciting! Somewhere packed in a box in the garage there are black-and-white negatives that I'm dying to scan!

My daughters were pre-teens when I took this photo. Corey, on the right, phoned me today to say that she'd taken 4 year-old Jack and 9 month-old Matthew to the pumpkin patch this week. This particular pumpkin patch was on Hwy 1 near Moss Landing in Monterey county.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Palm Tree Study #1

When all else fails turn a photo into a Virtual Rubber Stamp! It works for me!

I was driving around in circles on Wednesday trying to find my way to a grocery store that I shopped at last week and couldn't locate again when I glanced out the side window and saw a perfect row of palm trees. The traffic signals in this area can try the patience of even the most patient person, which isn't me, so I was able to rummage around in my purse, find the digital and aim it at the trees before the light changed. The photo is rather mundane but when pre-visualization kicked in I pretty much knew what I wanted to do with the image. Viola!

A Neil Diamond song characterizes Los Angeles as a place where "palm trees grow and rents are low." I just read that the palm trees in L.A. are currently threatened by a disease and that they are being replaced with oaks, sycamores and other native species.

Palm trees were originally imported from Latin America and have come to be synonymous with warm weather and movie stars. Palms are believed to grow like weeds and tower over buildings in a single bound; they don't provide much shade and they aren't very effective at trapping air pollution so why are there so many palm tree lovers?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The second week!

I never thought I'd say this but I miss pine trees! Pine trees were my nemesis for decades with their release of pine pollen. I can't remember when I started to dislike palm trees and now I live palm-tree-land! I'm trying to see the humor in the them but that is difficult when the tree I see from my house is ugly! It is sunburned and droopy. I've begun a new challenge - to photograph a few of the millions of palm trees in my new hometown with a goal to portray them in unusual ways . . . Maybe a study of them will give me a new perspective!

The second, lousy, photograph was taken at noon from the patio. I'm hoping that when we get neighbors they don't block the view of the mountains with huge trees! See those spiky pole-like things above the roofs? Palm trees!!! A palm tree has been planted every few houses in each block. Happily our house wasn't one of the chosen ones to receive one.

A great friend wrote me today what she referred to as a "yelling at me" email! I needed it! I'm only posting the last paragraph here:

"Gail, you are surrounded with stimulae. You have one of the most creative minds I have been allowed to visit. You have this whole seeing thing down perfect. But you aren't channeling it into a controlled vision. Instead you are letting it become chaos. And to protect yourself and survive, you have shut down. That is good - sort of - but then you can't sit back and complain about it. The way out is to be like a kid again. Look through the eyes of a child. Find the wonder. The rest will follow."

Hope it helps. I care.

My response to her quotable email:

HUGE THANKS for this! No one else has said the right things! All I keep hearing is, "you'll get through this" until I'm blue in the face! I've never faced so many life changes at the same time . . . The problems and challenges keep adding up until I can't see the forest for the trees! I hadn't realized how much I have shut down, which is a protective mechanism that I've used in the past, and I don't want to dig my way out of such a deep hole again!

I had a sense that I was reaching out for help, but it wasn't coming. Friends and family keep telling me that my sense of humor must be getting me through these long days, but I know that when I tell them the stories about that latest saga I work hard to make them sound funny! Humor hides pain as most comedians will attest to and I'm no different when I use that tool. Not that I would ever profess to be a comedian!

I worked very hard yesterday to get the boxes unpacked and out of the Great Room so that we'd have one place to sit where there weren't undone things staring at us! I also set up my very nice unbelieveably large bedroom with work stations (computer desk, drafting table, sewing machine etc.) so that when I woke up this morning the first thing I saw was a familiar sight; the possibility of work-in-progress. I think I feared that I might turn a brand new house into something it "shouldn't" be, but then my creativity would be stiffled if I didn't have a place in which to work. My room won't win any decorating awards but it works for me!

On a personal note: My rambling thoughts (many of which are self-pity) need some taming as they've run amok for way too long now and I can finally see some brighter days on the horizon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

First Sunset

The first night in our new home the sunset put on a spectacular show for us! We, however, were too exhausted to appreciate the view from our windows! The move put me into energy and mental deficit that most likely will take me months to recover from! The last night of packing on Sept. 28th was full of weeping over the amount of things I still had left to do and what the impending future felt like! All signs were pointing to the desert but after being here a little over a week my heart is heavy with the loss of what my life was like! I don't recognize this life yet and the heaviness of the heat plus the long distances I need to drive to get to any store has me in near hysterics most of the time. And then there is mom's memory loss! She doesn't recognize a lot of her possessions and the ones she remembers don't seem to exist.

This is a gated community where gate codes and/or transponders are required in order to get inside the complex and another set of keys to get into the mail room which is 1 mile from the house!!!! There are numerous glitches one being that the dryer needs an adaptor so that we can plug it into the wall! And of course the electricians are busy so laundry is piled to the ceiling! And don't get me started on the trash pick-up! The Waste Management company keeps running out of trash cans before they get to us but we at least got permission to put out 3 large plastic bags for tomorrows pick-up. It wasn't hard to decide which stinky trash to put into them. One is full of cat litter and the other two . . . and on and on . . . boring mundane stuff!

I didn't think that I'd be as disoriented as I seem to be about not being able to see the ocean on a daily basis and by the 89-104 temps that seem to be "below normal" for this time of year! Below normal?! What did I get myself into?!

This area of the desert has seen a huge spurt of growth over the last 3 years so a lot of the stores are new which is grand and I know that with time I will find my way around and start "seeing" the beauty of the desert, but right now I can't seem to dig my way out of the pity-pot. So, I'll go outside on the patio where there is a warm breeze and look at the stars, something I couldn't do on the Monterey Peninsula at any time of year.