Thursday, May 24, 2012

Use the handrail

My work week had an interesting beginning on Tuesday. I will spare you the photo of my face and bruises, but here is what my glasses looked like after Emily cleaned off the blood and bits of skin and bent them from a twisted mess of metal to something reminiscent of a glasses shape. I'm pretty sure the nose pieces are not supposed to look like that and their position in this photo might explain the deep gashes in my face.

Several people hipper than I told me I should tell people who asked what happened to me that I flipped off my mountain bike coming down some gnarly run, but since I don't own a mountain bike and couldn't possibly use the word "gnarly" with any amount of sincerity, I will tell you the truth.

I fell down the stairs.
I am 39 years old (and will be for the rest of my life as far as I'm concerned despite a looming birthday) and even at such a young and tender age, apparently falling down the stairs is possible.

I got out of bed and tried to coax my dog to go downstairs before me. The stairs are steep, she is old, and she hates them. She followed me down and was using me for a human shield to keep herself from falling... and about halfway down she stepped on my flip flop.
It was my right flip flop.
My hands were full.
I landed on my face at the bottom and am still finding various bruises. Honestly, once I stopped screaming long enough to realize I was still alive, all I could think was that I was grateful I didn't break my neck. Working in rehabilitation, I often worry about things like breaking my neck (hitting my head a little too hard, getting some kind of cancer they don't find until it has metastasized everywhere, getting my legs run over by a train, you know, every day kind of stuff).  Perhaps because I see such a disproportionate number of people who have been severely injured and I am convinced that this could happen to me also. But apparently not everyone who falls down a flight of stairs is irreparably damaged.  I only hope the scars heal before my wedding this summer.

Oh, and a big part of my job as an occupational therapist is teaching older people to do things like pick up their throw rugs (they almost never do this), consider getting a bird or perhaps a fish instead of a pet that can trip them (they never do this either), and to use the handrail if, for gods-sake, they can't move to a house without stairs. At least I can now say that this is what happens when you don't use the handrail or trade your dog for a nice hamster in a cage.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A trip to Taos and a few zombies...

Monday I made a quick trip to Taos for various reasons, but had time to stop by my friends Julie and Ashley Cloutman's shop, Taos Fiber Arts. They have just moved into a new location and the store is really coming together.  I am doing some reading up on Spanish weaving for the class I am teaching in June at Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center, so I was particularly interested in their new gallery room.  Right now Julie is displaying some replica Rio Grande blankets she is weaving. They are really gorgeous. In fact, I think she should hook up with architects nation-wide as these beautiful blankets are perfect for a southwest-style house.
Here is the link to my last blog post about this mother/daughter power-fiber duo which is the hottest fiber happening in Taos at the moment:

They even let Cassy visit the shop, though frankly that may be because she was threatening to bark on their stoop until I left. I warned Julie about the dog hair! But in true Julie-style she just said she would spin it.

They have an amazing loom that is a replica of something long past (also note the jerga)... I love the pulleys especially.

It is important to check out all Ashley's felt creations including her zombies. Ashley also teaches a lot of felting classes and she is a great teacher!  Call her up and drop by for a class.

Ashley is also making some gorgeous yarn.

Taos Fiber Arts: 208 Ranchitos Rd, Suite C, Taos, NM (575) 758-8242

And the wild irises are out... San Luis Valley, Colorado.

There are still a few spots in the Symbols of the Southwest class I am teaching at EVFAC in June, so sign up if you want to come!  It is going to be great.  More details following in a blog post soon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shifting sand

As those of you know who have been trying to pin me down on workshop dates for 2012 and 2013, I don't know where I am going to be living in 3 months. This is challenging for someone like me who wants A to lead to B to lead to C instead of having Ps and Qs thrown in. Order is what I like if you really want to know (perhaps that is another reason why weaving appeals to me).  Not too much order, but enough to feel like there is some ground under my feet.

There are a million and one factors that have to be considered in this decision and it seems like all of them have been reviewed a million and one times. (You'd be right if you think I have trouble making decisions.) Funny how it didn't occur to me until last week to consider which place might be the best tapestry/art center to move to. There are some good ones on the list... Santa Fe, Seattle, Portland, Boulder, New York City (okay, that one isn't on the list of places I'd actually live). If you were fortunate enough to be able to choose which city you wanted to go to and you were to keep in mind that my only niece who is 3 months old and cuter than anything I've ever seen lives in southern Colorado, which of these or others would you choose?

It has felt a lot like we had shifting sand under our feet for the last couple years. But we will be finding some firmer ground very soon.

To my students who have been so patient... give me a few more months! I know I promised you online classes and these are not yet ready. Somewhat unbelievably, my biggest problem with that is the lack of reliable internet out here in the skunk house. Being someone who values quiet and a simpler life I hate to say it in print, but I am never again living in a house in a city in the USA that doesn't have DSL. I am giving myself a loophole in case I one day have to live in a fire lookout in the Gila Wilderness.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Skunk saga reaches a conclusion... we hope!

Skunks have been a constant in my life the last three months. I want to say right up front that NO skunks were harmed in the making of this debacle. There were no babies or adults or corpses under the house when I finally crawled under there with my respirator on. None at all.

The story continued with another horrific spraying and a landlord who, after three months, finally showed up with a little guy named Buddy. I think Buddy is his real name. The landlord needed the littlest guy because the hole under the house was (before recent enlargement) only about 20 inches wide, recessed in a flower bed, and 18 inches high. The space under the house which I can personally attest is filled with black widow spiders and other crawling critters, is not much larger. Buddy was drafted to crawl under the house and look for skunks.  He saw none. He even stated, "it smells worse in the house than it does under here!" After crawling under there myself, I have to argue with that one, but Buddy has spent his formative years working as a painter, and the toxic fumes may well have addled his smeller. And likely also his brain as he and the landlord decided that dumping multiple boxes of naphthalene mothballs under the house was a good idea. After calling poison control, I had to convince him that they weren't a good idea and Buddy had to crawl back under the house to retrieve them.

The smell continued and I started looking for a new rental. Then my sister and brother-in-law had series of brilliant ideas.  Call the skunk expert. Vent the underside of the house. We bought a fan and the skunk expert (there is a guy who has trapped over 800 skunks and continues to play with the little stripey kitties--god bless him in every way) concurred that this was the best way to rid the house of smell.  I had the landlord cancel the also-toxic ozone treatment he was planning and last evening my most excellent brother-in-law installed this fan in the previously ugly hole at the side of the house.

I can't tell you how much better it smells in here. I can't smell naphthalene and I can't smell skunk. It is a revelation.

Prior skunk stories can be read HERE (The Cask of Amontillado) and HERE (Why Skunks are not smarter than I am).