Posted in Bigotry, Photography

Speaking of Many Things

If you’ve flown over the Gulf of Mexico along the US coast between Florida and Texas and looked down, you saw thousands of off shore oil rigs. Let’s think about this for a minute. Hurricanes are fairly common in this area. Remember the BP disaster? The oil well that wasn’t supposed to barf oil into the ocean for days? The oil well that had safety measures and took a few days to cap off because the normal ways to cap off the well didn’t work? Remember that? Multiply that by a few thousand and add a Category 4 hurricane. Suddenly the Exxon Valdez starts to look like the queen of environmental safety.

Why isn’t the military helping to evacuate people along the Texas coast? We’re paying soldiers whether they work, rescue, or sit in a chair. And we don’t have to pay them overtime. We paid for all sorts of fancy cargo planes. Wouldn’t these cargo planes have been a good way to evacuate hospitals and prisons? What, you think prisoners can just leave and go for shelter in a safe place? Don’t be silly. We are judged by the way we treat the least respected among us. If we treat prisoners inhumanely, we’re barbarians.

A hurricane shelter in I forget what city in Texas is supposed to be hurricane proof. So was the levee around New Orleans. Until it broke in more than 50 places.

A friend works disaster areas doing body retrieval and identification after the disaster has passed. She said many people in New Orleans who died were found in attics. They kept going up higher, and then were trapped in the attic where they drown.

Residents of one Texas city were asked to write their names and social security numbers on their arms. That’s actually incredibly good advice. It’s tough to identify a body that’s been submerged, then baked in the sun until found a week later. Writing your name and social security number, using a waterproof marker, makes it much easier to identify your body. A tattoo is even better.

The sex-offender-in-chief pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff in Arizona. I didn’t think the sex-offender-in-chief could do worse than his disgusting remarks about the violence in Virginia caused by white supremacists, KKK, and Neo-Nazis. I was wrong.

I wanted photos of the eclipse, but didn’t want to spend $80 for a special filter. Looking at the sun damages your eyes and your camera pointed at the sun damages the sensor. One woman on the Digital Photography School Facebook page paid $177 for a top-of-the-line filter and still damaged the sensor in her Nikon.

I like Jimmy Breslin’s theory of journalism – look at where all the reporters are, and go in the other direction looking for a story. Everyone has shots of the eclipse. I have something different. I wanted to test out my new graduated neutral density filter. I set the Canon up on a tripod, focused on the mountains behind my house, adjusted the filter, and took photos about every 10 minutes from an hour before total eclipse to an hour after. Where I am, the eclipse was maybe ¾ rather than total. I had forgotten how unnatural the world looks when the moon passes in front of the sun. The shadows in the photos appear odd.

Beginning of eclipse 8-21-17

The beginning of the eclipse. Darkest of Eclipse 8-21-17

The darkest it got. Roosters crowed. Shadows looked weird. The darkness looked unnatural.

End of eclipse 8-21-17

One hour after the peak of the eclipse.

While I had set the ISO at 100 and the aperture at f/11, I neglected to set the shutter speed. Because the camera automatically used a shutter speed that compensated for the darkness, my photos aren’t dramatic. They are different from the other eclipse photos, though.

The Digital Photography Photo Event organized for today is to take a photo of your street and post it on the page. It’s hard to have a glorious street shot when you live on a boring street and need to keep every identifying feature out of the photo. Several years back, someone tried to burn my house down. I’ve been stalked. You want an exciting life? Be a criminal defense attorney. I took some shots this morning, but I’m not sure if I’m happy with them. They’re all right, but they aren’t magnificent.

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My Street 5 8-26-17

My Street 3 8-26-17

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My Street 8-26-17

I did not hold the camera crooked. Look at the bottom of the sign post. The sign post was hammered into the ground at an angle.

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The original photograph. Rocks can be fun to play with in editing.

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The same photo played with in editing.

I’m having a problem getting motivated to work in clay. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe I shouldn’t be worried about it. Maybe I should bury myself in the media that hold my attention now. Beads. Sewing. Writing. Photography.

Tuesday was my birthday. To celebrate, I bought sliced roast beef, horseradish, made kummelweck rolls and had beef on weck. It’s a Buffalo, NY delicacy and I miss it. The horseradish was fairly decent but not the pungent, clear out your head horseradish I’m used to. It was old fart day at the grocery store, and I told the clerk I am an old fart. She asked for photo ID. I told her it was my 65th birthday and asked if she wanted to see my Medicare card. She declined. Who lies about being older than 60?

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing here.

Looking for a gift? Check out my store here.

Posted in Beads, Bigotry, Clay, Fiber, Photography

I Think I Found A Good Antidepressant.

And it doesn’t cause suicidal ideation. No prescription required. Maybe shopping therapy really exists. I’ve been depressed, angry and anxious since last weekend. My birthday is next week, and I got a 25% off whatever I buy that’s not on sale coupon from a local sewing machine/quilt shop. I also had 3 60% off coupons and 2 40% off coupons for JoAnn’s. I needed some jewelry findings, so I went to JoAnn’s. I must have counted my coupons wrong, because I was a coupon short. The lady in line behind me had a 60% off coupon she couldn’t use, so she gave it to me.

After that, I went to the sewing machine/quilt store. I had intended to buy fat quarters, but there weren’t any. Almost not any. If I wanted to let someone else pick out my fabric, I could buy a bundle of 20 fat quarters all folded like stars. I decided to buy half yards of assorted batiks. I have a sewing room full of medium value fabrics so I focused on light and dark. I picked out 16 batiks. What amounted to 32 fat quarters cost less than the 20 pre-selected fat quarters. I’m happy. In fact, I’m no longer depressed, and I have no idea what I’m going to make from these half yards, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

My writing class started yesterday and I was a bit anxious about going on campus. New Mexico State University has a large student body, quite a few international students – many from Arab nations, and a number of women who wear what I call traditional Muslim dress. I don’t the correct names for the garments. I will not let haters force me to hide so I wore my Star of David earrings and a necklace that has my name spelled out in Hebrew. Nothing of note occurred.

I’ve been working on learning brick stitch because I want to make earrings with dangly fringe.

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At the moment, I’m playing around trying to get good at brick stitch. Design will come later.

Yellow Mexican bird of paradise bushes grow like dandelions. They bloom like dandelions, too. The red variety is finicky. Just getting it to grow is an accomplishment. Rarely does the bush ever flower freely. We’ve had enough rain lately to cause the red variety to bloom.

Red BOP 8 8-16-17

Red BOP 7 8-16-17\Red BOP 6 8-16-17\Red BOP 1 8-16-17

R BOP buds 1 8-17-17

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R BOP 2 8-17-17

A reader had asked that I post photos of the house when it’s painted. I can’t do that. I take great care to keep my address a secret. My driver’s license lists my post office box. I am required to keep an address on file with the New Mexico Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, Federal District Court and the Supreme Court of the United States. The only address on file is my post office box. Many years ago, before I started keeping my address a secret, someone tried to burn down my house. It wasn’t difficult to figure out who did it and why. It was because of something that had happened in court a few days earlier. Since then, I’ve been diligent about not letting people know where I live. I won’t post a photo of my house, but I will show you the colors I chose.

Color corrected house color 8-17-17

Jim is almost finished painting the house. Next will be painting the front door red-violet. Then the blue-violet on the garage doors.

The semi-precious gems I ordered arrived, and I started making earrings. Most of these are in my store here.

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I did a bisque firing on Wednesday. It took me 8 hours, but at least I didn’t have any destroyed pieces. Next: spend lots of time glazing and do a glaze firing. While I was doing the bisque firing, I worked on bowls using a slump mold. I’ve got three sizes and I’ll be glazing them glossy black. I used a clay that doesn’t thrill me because it fires brown and all of the glazes are dull and uninteresting on brown clay.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  See what some other great artists are working on.

Posted in Bigotry, bipolar disorder, Photography

Skinheads, Photographers & Bipolar Disorder

Jim and I went hiking on Friday. He was on vacation last week and he used his time off to paint the house. The leaks around the windows were caused by the paint failing and water seeping into the stucco. So, the house is getting painted. The white is now a soft green. The trim is going to be peach. The front door, which faces south, will be red-violet. The garage doors which face east will be blue-violet. Any paint with red in it will fade in direct sun. I’m hoping that the blue in the blue-violet will outweigh the red and the doors will stay purple longer. The garage doors get hit for a half a day all year. The front door is under a roof and never gets direct sun.

Back to hiking. We went up on the Organ Mountains. The last time I set up at the Farmers Market, a lady asked if I had any photos of the Organ Mountains. Um, no. I needed to remedy that. The traditional, and over done, view of the Organ Mountains is the view one sees from downtown Las Cruces. The mountains were named Organ because they look like organ pipes lined up. We were on a different side of the mountains and I got photos of a part of the mountain most people don’t see.

Dripping Springs 18 8-11-17 use this one

Dripping Springs 17 8-11-17 use this one

I tried getting a decent shot of a few hummingbirds, but I wasn’t successful. I have a collection of Where’s Waldo shots.

Dripping Springs 20 8-11-17

Dripping Springs 19 8-11-17

I had the 18-55mm lens on the Canon and I really needed the 75-300mm which was home. I can’t do decent close shots with the 75-300mm and I can’t shoot birds with the 10-55mm. I don’t take both lenses because I don’t want to change lenses when I’m outside. This is a desert even though everything looks green. Dust, sand, pollen, and any other crud that’s blowing around damages the sensor.

This morning, I got into a posting match with someone on Facebook. The thread was about people who just have to come up to you when you’re shooting and start talking to you. Personally, I dislike that. Actually, I detest it. Art is a way for me to return to center when I’m either depressed or manic, a way for me to heal emotionally, and a way for me to heal physically. When people come up to me and start asking questions, I want to ask them if they would appreciate it if I came up to them when they were working and demanded they stop what they are doing and talk to me. Whereupon a troll emerged. I’ll skip the truly nasty stuff although it was amusing when he told me to stop responding to him. I tried hard to point out that if I could control my moods, I wouldn’t be on psych meds. I kept telling myself to stop responding to this person because I’m never going to convince a troll of anything. Part of my brain wanted to keep posting because I had an opportunity to tell people who don’t know much about bipolar disorder what kind of struggle it is at times to get back to center.

Why not just tell people I don’t care to talk to them right then because I’m working? Because it’s not that simple. “Leave me alone. I feel like jumping off a cliff,” is not something I’m ever going to say although it is something I do feel on occasion. Such a comment would precipitate a call to 911 and the situation would deteriorate. If I think you’re trying to take me to a hospital, I’m going to try to kill you. That’s not an overstatement. Have you ever been in a locked ward? You lose all control. Someone else decides what meds you will take, and you will take those meds or you aren’t getting out of the hospital. Telling the glorious doctor the meds aren’t working doesn’t work. I’m the crazy person so what do I know about what I need? Under no circumstances will I let you take me to a hospital.

The manic version would be worse. “Look you fucking idiot, I’m working so leave me the fuck alone.” That’s particularly pithy if the person at whom I’m snarling is accompanied by a three-year-old.

I wouldn’t bother any photographer. The one time the situation came up, we were in the Everglades at the edge of a pond looking at water birds. I asked the photographer – who got there first – if I would be in his way if I stood where I was standing. He said no. That was the entire conversation. I don’t know why he was there and it’s none of my business. All I know is his equipment cost more than mine and that he knew the Latin name for the ducks we were looking at. I made a comment to Jim about the coloring of the ducks – it really was spectacular coloring. That’s when the photographer told me what kind of ducks they were.

So, if you see me and the Canon trekking about, wait until I’m done shooting to talk to me. We’ll both be a whole lot happier.

I’m deeply disturbed and frightened by the national news. Skinheads marching because a statue of Robert E. Lee was to be taken down. Counter demonstrators. Things got ugly, the police intervened and the governor called out the National Guard. Later, a bigot drove a car into a group of counter demonstrators killing at least one and injuring at least 19 others. There’s a photo in the New York Times of the car plowing through the crowd. The photographer was behind the vehicle and there’s a nice shot of the license plate. There’s also a shot, not so nice but very well done, of a black man flying off the back of the car after the car had run into him. A white man is upside down in mid air after he had been struck. The photo and article are here.

These are equal opportunity skinheads. They don’t just hate blacks, they hate Jews as well and probably a slew of other groups of people. That’s scary. That’s infuriating. That’s wrong.

Being upset, angry, and scared, I turned to art. I started making beaded Stars of David. Once I get the technique worked out, I’ll be putting Star of David jewelry in my store,  DebThumanArt.com.

Star of David 2 8-1-17Star of David 1 8-13-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.

Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Jewelry Photos Are Tough

I wonder if my new glasses are affecting my ability to focus the camera. I needed new lenses because my prescription had changed. My glasses finally came in and I’m working on getting used to them. I’ve worn bifocals for 23 years and I’ve always had a line in mine. I don’t want the progressive lenses because I know way too many people who have them and don’t like them. Anyway, every time I get new frames, the line in my lenses is in a different spot. It’s a tiny difference, but it takes my eyes a couple days to get used to where the line is.

I have spent the last couple days photographing jewelry and I’m not happy with the results. I have beads out of focus in nearly every photo. I’m going to have to reshoot – for the second time – the earrings and this time try having more space between the camera and the earrings.

Here are some of the earrings I’ll be putting in my store, DebThumanArt.com, over the next day or two. Yes, I know these photos aren’t the best. That’s why I have to reshoot almost everything. Thank God for digital! I’d be spending a fortune on film and developing otherwise.

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I tried putting together a necklace from a pattern I found. I must have ripped it out a good half dozen times. Now, I hate what I made. It will not lie flat.

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I’ve been hiking. It’s a getting healthy thing. I need to lose weight. I need to increase my endurance. I’m hoping the weight loss will help with the neuropathy. I’m not sure why it should, but that’s what I’m hoping.

Jim and I went hiking on Thursday. Remember how Jim hated my Canon DSLR and only wanted to use the Nikon point and shoot? He refused to learn how to use my camera. So there we were walking up the mountain when Jim appropriated my camera and refused to give it back. I did get a couple shots.

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Every time I reach this spot, it looks to me as if the trees were marching up the mountain.

There are several abandoned buildings along the path to Dripping Springs. I’d love to be able to go inside this building, but it’s roped off. The Bureau of Land Management maintains this part of the Organ Mountains. No going off the path – it’s a fragile ecosystem. No playing in the abandoned buildings. No picking the flowers.

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Notice the cactus growing out of the top of the wall in the background.

We did get to where the water was flowing. It’s called Dripping Springs, but this wasn’t dripping. Too much water and way too noisy for dripping. This may not look like much of a waterfall, but for the desert, that’s a huge amount of water.

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And we made it to the end of the trail.

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We set up at the Farmers & Craft Market on Saturday. Finally, we had a Saturday without rain. I’m selling my art each time we set up, but I’m not making a whole lot of money. I’ll keep at it, though.

Jim is painting the house. We discovered the windows leaked because the stucco paint had failed. New sealer and new paint solved the window problem. The house is a soft, almost mint green. It’s going to have peach trim, a marine green/blue metal roof and a purple door. I haven’t figured out what color to paint the garage doors.

I’ve been taking photographs of the zinnias, cactus and nasturtiums that are blooming.

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Nasturtium 8-4-17

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Cosmo 8-2-17

Cactus 3 8-2-17

Cactus 2 8-2-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.