Monday, November 30, 2009

Memories, again

When we were touring western Nevada, I was fascinated by the logging operation we happened onto near the historic Bower House, north of Carson City. There was a helicopter hoisting cut trees, two at a time, off the mountainside behind the Bower House and dropping them in a pile just north of the historic site. Each round trip took less than 10 minutes ... pretty quick turnaround!

Checking out the registration number on the helicopter, I found that this particular Kaman Huskie was built in 1958, the year I graduated from high school. Only a few years before then, I was still hooking the chain around pulpwood logs we were dragging out of the northern Wisconsin winter woods with horses. By the time I was in late high school, Dad had an old Oliver tracked vehicle that we used to drag logs out of the swamps.

What a difference in technology! tv

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home ... just in time for the snow

We checked out of our resort yesterday morning, and must admit it was pretty comfy. Large room and large bathroom, everything worked properly and, of course, all the amenities we could want were on the first floor. The rest of the day was spent crossing Nevada and then crossing western Utah to get back to where we stayed Monday night.

It seemed to me that lots of the small towns we passed by on I-80 had an impermanence, a temporariness, about them. Some consisted of one or two frame structures, a few trailer houses and the rest RVs, campers and travel trailers. I had to wonder about the folks who live there ... are they single workers? Solitary couples? What kind of community life do they have?

We stopped for a late breakfast in Lovelock, looked like only one of the restaurants was open and the streets were vacant ... no traffic, no people. Kinda eerie.

There was a storm behind us, so it was overcast all the way to Salt Lake City. And SLC was overcast ... in a pall of thick brown smog. It stayed until we left this morning, and we noticed signs along the highway warning of impending air quality problems tomorrow. Looks like an inversion problem that awaits a remedy. Wonder how long it will wait.

Anyhow, we made a leisurely departure from SLC this morning. Has to be leisurely; the first hour or so consists of driving on an urban freeway (fortunately, the traffic wasn't bad on a Saturday morning). Soldier Summit was cold but not snowing and we didn't run into snow until we were between Monticello and home. Earlier, we enjoyed the fully decorated Christmas tree someone has left for passersby alongside the highway north of Moab.

Snow appears to have accumulated on the La Platas in our absence, and we had a brief spotlighting of sunlight on the peaks as we came down from Summit Lake. And, within five minutes of arriving home at about 3:30, the snow began to come down. Still is at 8:10 p.m.; wonder what tomorrow will look like? tv

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reno, etc.

Well, we did a quick tour of the loop south from Reno to Carson City and Minden and Genoa and Lake Tahoe and envrions yesterday. Ended up with a photo shoot in Reno, a little time of relaxation and then a delightful evening with Sandy's friends from the past in the evening.

The lower shot is from the shore of Sand Harbor ... such clear, clear water!

The photo shoot was of a cutwork (paper) quilt of hands done by a Reno Quaker, displayed in the Methodist Church. Very hard to photograph, but not near as hard as it was to make it! A beautiful piece of work! tv

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting to Reno

Made it to Reno! We're in the Sierra Grand Resort, which Sandy says was once the MGM Grand. For an old hotel, they have really invested in upgrading interior finishes and fixtures, etc. Big room, big bathroom and very comfortable, at less than we've paid for much less in other places. No in-room coffee maker or free coffee in the lobby, but a Starbucks at the bottom of the elevator!

On the way out of SLC, driving I-80 west, there were long roadside beds of water that were perfectly reflective. Don't know if that was because of the salt content or what.

Had a good lunch in the old Stockmen's casino and restaurant in Elko. I was kind of surprised that the street facades in Elko weren't as interesting as in Durango, Silverton, Ouray or New Braunfels, TX, where we've enjoyed strolling along, reading the buildings. Maybe fires changed the character of downtown Elko in recent times.

Anyway, it's a bright, sunny morning and we're off to Carson City and environs and, in the afternoon, tackling the photography of a paper quilt. Should be an interesting day with a "local" guide. TV

Monday, November 23, 2009

Salt Lake before dark

We made good time, getting away from home about 8, dropping Scooby Doo off at the Dog Hotel and driving, driving, driving. 'Twas sunny all the way, including bright sunshine and a stiff breeze and 25 degrees going over Soldier Summit, between Price and Salt Lake City ... we did NOT get out to take pictures!

Salt Lake City has got to be the longest metropolitan area in the mountain west. It just goes on and on and on, four lanes fairly full of traffic, even at 3 p.m. on a Monday afternoon. Oh, well, we're close to the west edge of SLC, so in the morning we can just hop on I-80 and head west into the great Unknown. tv

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Off to Nevada

This afternoon a group of us descended on Artisans of Mancos and began to deck it out for the holidays. We've been seeing people coming in and doing Christmas shopping for a week or so now.

This morning we got 15 two-box units of food packages assembled, hoping they will get to needy families in the Durango by Thanksgiving. There weren't any turkeys in them, but we hope the food boxes will help provide basic nutrition for a few families. I also made my report on the annual meeting of the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

And so now we're yawning at 7:30 p.m., fading rapidly but still with things to do. We leave tomorrow for Reno to spend Thanksgiving with Sandy's suns. We're only going to try to make it to Salt Lake City tomorrow, so it shouldn't be a long day and we don't need to worry about getting an early start. The next day may be longer, but we'll have the time change on our side.

So, it may not be too long before I rendezvous with the Sandman! tv

Friday, November 20, 2009


Poinsettias at a local nursery are a vivid reminder that the holiday season is upon us.

We had lunch at Arborena in Mancos today ... delightful little personal pizzas with delicious seasonings! While there, we chatted with Rena about the Christmas events coming up soon, decided to keep Artisans open till 7 tonight to be in solidarity with a couple of evening events on Grand Avenue this evening, lined up a Santa Claus for a couple of holiday gigs and just had a relaxing time. Doing business Mancos style!

I also did a little census of artists whose work is for sale in the downtown area ... there's at least 50! Plus another half-dozen or so with works in other places in the town of Mancos. That's pretty good for a little cowtown between the mountains and Mesa Verde! tv

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It is good to have Tom safely home. Those big cities always worry me! Tom brought home some some great pictures from Washington DC and beyond. Here are a couple of morning shots I took from the snow storm that rolled through the four corners last weekend. It was a beautiful snow and I am sure just a preview of the winter to come! I'm getting out the boots and mittens. sf

Public discourse

One of the things I kept thinking about during my days in Washington, D.C., was how I can personally improve my contributions to public discussion of issues. I realized I was starting to get into an oppositional, Socratic mode of discourse, thinking I was bright enough to poke holes in the arguments of others. I'm not. And what does that result in ... a boost to my ego?

It's especially tempting when I hear code words bandied about ... the Constitution, freedom, socialism, etc. I believe in the Constitution, honor the flag and value freedom, but somehow I think that means something different in practice when I say that than when some others say it. My inclination is to want to badger them till they 'fess up to what they really mean. Somehow I need to learn to back off, realize that's not my job, listen better and look for ways to open dialogue, seek common ground, etc.

In the meantime ... Oh, what a beautiful morning! tv

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sure is nice to be home!

Got home close to midnight last night (2 a.m. Washington time), driving through the cold Colorado night. Thankfully, it wasn't snowing.

Yesterday, of course, on the day I was leaving, it was sunny in D.C., so I got a few outside images. I was amazed that, in mid-November, so many plants were blooming and green and the leaves hadn't really changed much. The bottom picture of the Martin Luther statue was taken at Lutherplace, just across the street from the Washington Plaza Hotel, where most of the annual meeting of the general committee of Friends Committee on National Legislation was held.

I loved the scene of the mother and child sharing a quiet moment on Sunday morning by the closed pool. The city lies beyond, but you can't see the cars, the buses, the people.

National City Christian Church was a gleaming white edifice in the morning sun. Beyond, to the west, I was amazed to see the size of the trees growing on the tops of apartment buildings in the area.

The U.S. Capitol looks so much nicer in the sunny aerial view than it did when we were hoofing around Capitol Hill in the rain on Thursday.

The Washington Monument also stood out clear and bright as we were flying over after taking off from National. (I know, it got renamed for Reagan, but the building still reads "National Airport." Comparatively, the skyscrapers of Chicago's downtown area looked so small from the air.

The annual meeting was kind of an immersion experience in FCNL matters. On the one hand, it was an opportunity to meet the staff, on whom we rely for close-to-the-source updates on issues of national concern. Tightened budgets have reduced the staff size hugely, but they plug on, still the oldest (and largest) faith-based lobbying group on the Hill.

The other opportunity was the in-depth coverage of lobbying as an activity and of the issues of concern to Friends nationally.

On lobbying, I was reminded forcefully of something I'd heard before ... a written letter, sent through the U.S. Postal Service, may take three to four weeks to get to the member of Congress, because of the security procedures the mail has to go through. So, if you have an urgent message to get to a Representative or Senator about a current issue, mail isn't the way to go!

Heavy emphasis was placed on establishing a personal relationship with the legislator and his/her staff people. While there's a certain amount of tallying pros and cons, known credible sources may have more influence. A staffer for Sen. Lugar said an editorial in the Fort Wayne, IN, newspaper is way more important than one in the Washington Post. Another tip was that letters to the editor should include the name of the Rep. or Sen. you want to influence; their clipping services will automatically bring it to the legislator's inbox, if it is published. tv

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gray days at the seat of government

The picture above is the scene through my plane window for about 20 minutes of flying over the DC area at about 1000 feet elevation (judging from occasional glimpses of the ground) ... makes one think of birds, small planes, kites ...

It's gray and cold, typical November in Washington. My butt is tired ... breakfast at 7 a.m., worship sharing starts at 8 and the last meeting isn't over till 9 p.m. Oh well, at least it's all contained within the Washington Plaza Hotel. I ventured out yesterday morning and noticed there were pansies still blooming in the churchyard across the street. tv

Friday, November 13, 2009

Snowy Colorado!

It snowed some today but mostly rain. And I was hoping to take some fresh snow pictures to share. We had such a beautiful fall color season and then the world turned brown! I am really partial to color photography so I am anxiously awaiting some beautiful snow to capture with my camera. As I wait, I will share with you some of our FeVa Fotos pictures that we are using for the 2009 holiday cards. After hours of going through last winters shots, here are a few that we decided to use. Of course, when displayed they are in festive holiday card stock. And who knows, the way the weather looks tonight, it may be a winter wonderland out there in the morning! sf

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

He's off!

To which Sandy will probably reply, "We know that, but I love you anyway."

I survived the First Day School presentation, coming out with, I think, more clarity on what the Meeting wants to look into further. And I survived our monthly business meeting at Artisans of Mancos Monday night. Gave my "Sherman" speech about not wishing to be nominated for another term as president and not serving if elected. The meeting went well; I'm just realizing this is something I put out of my mind as much as possible between meetings and just don't want to have that responsibility any longer right now. Maybe again later, but not now.

Off in a little while to travel to D.C. for the annual meeting of the General Committee of Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobbying organization. This is my first time attending the meeting, so it's going to be a learning experience. I don't travel much by air any more, so it's been a challenge trying to decide what to pack, what to check, what to carry on, etc. We'll see how it works out. I already know from last time that I need to expect a little more time involved in check-in because of my metal knee.

Last night we listened to a development consultant talk about the planning steps involved in putting a development on the map, whether a 7-11 or housing or whatever. I liked his linear approach ... decide what you want to be and then figure out how to get there. He also wasn't one of those "Damn the county/state/US government for all their regs" kind of people, pointing out that most (85% was the figure he used) of the requirements add value to the property and prevent you from running into dead-ends or liability situations down the road. A practical example being, if you invite people onto your property for commercial purposes, you have to be sure they have safe access, a potty, etc. Good, common sense approach.

So, time to pack up and drive off into the darkness. Weather seems to be okay here and in Denver, where I have a tight connection, so I should have plenty of time to do my homework for the meeting and read more in Al Gore's new book, "Our Choice."

I'm homesick already! tv

Sunday, November 8, 2009

First Day

Up early, trying to get my stuff together to lead a discussion on Quakers and Punishment at the 9 o'clock hour Durango Friends Meeting. Not sure how that's going to go but, to use an old Quaker saying, "Way will open."

I wouldn't be up so early anyway if my guts would settle down. I'm feeling fine otherwise, but my innards are still in turmoil. Probably not helped by the extremely hot carne adovada plate I had at the new Mexican restaurant in Cortez; perhaps I should have given more thought to why they named it Pepperhead!

Earlier in the afternoon, we went to KSJD to do a stint of volunteer phone-answering during their pledge drive. We only got one call in two hours; it's early in the campaign and it was a beautiful day, so why would people be making pledge calls?

The staff person on the air during that time did fill time by doing a couple of on-air interviews with me, which gave me an opportunity to talk about the good things happening in the downtown Mancos area, including the successful Friday night events. Hope I didn't leave anyone out that should have gotten credit!

In the other interview, we talked about how technology and subject matter have interacted in the media, from setting type by hand, letter-by-letter (backwards!) to the electronic techniques and media today. At the same time, information people used to turn to newspapers to find is available almost instantly in electronic forms of communication. Local radio stations and local newspapers find themselves facing the same drive for relevancy.

Okay, back to work; I'm not up at this hour to blog! tv

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nice Friday evening in Mancos

Don't have pictures (must still be sick in the head!), but last night was a neat night downtown. Early November is 'tween season ... it ain't summer, hunting's pretty much over, snow sports haven't begun (for the simple reason that there's no snow yet to sport on) and the holiday season is still ahead.

Yet we had a nice turnout for our reception at Artisans of Mancos for our two new artists ... they brought in folks who haven't been to Artisans before, or at least not recently. Arborena had a special showing of gorgeous Christmas decorations (I'm in Scooby's cage for not bringing home a $500 wreath that must be six feet across!) and free wine and delicious puu-puus. Raven House and Goodnight Trail galleries stayed open to support the evening, the Bakery was open for supper and the Columbine had music and other activities. Ian's Distillery (our "speak-easy," located off an alley behind Raven House) had music starting at 7, and it's becoming a Friday night regular for quite a crowd.

We encouraged our guests at Artisans to check out the other places and I could see that many of them did. The response of several of the people that I talked to was, "Wow! You've really got a lot going on in Mancos!" Bingo!

We've really been working on this since Spring, and I really believe it's paying off. We have a combination of places to eat and drink and shop that is attracting people from Cortez and Dolores and even from Durango and Farmington. Mancos on the Move!

The joy I feel in this is, for the first time in the almost-21 years I've been here, folks are working together! There's been times in the past when throat-cutting seemed to be the rule of the day. Now, folks realize that we need to work together, we need to support each other and we need to market to what someone last night called the "near-bys" - regional customers - in order for us all to prosper in the long run. And it's working!

And it's a beautiful morning ... one on which we both had the same thought in our minds, "breakfast at the Bakery." Bye! tv

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Moping along

We're still here, Nurse Sandy and her grumpy patient.

Something porcine flu by Monday night, leaving me with a fever of about 100 degrees and other symptoms I won't go into in detail. It only lasted about 36 hours, but the temp went up to 100.9 ... and then down to 97.6, a basement temp I don't think I've ever had before.

I've been only mildly subnormal since then (I know, that's an opening for all the smart-butts out there!) but kinda wiped out. One of the other symptoms persists, resulting in a loss of about eight pounds of weight and loss of sleep. I don't need a lot of sleep at one time, but getting up to go to the bathroom every hour and a half doesn't equal a restful night. Plus lack of appetite.

However, Sandy has kept me resting, taking my temperature and drinking fluids, as well as making it so that I really didn't HAVE to do anything, and that has undoubtedly contributed to my bouncing back quickly. Still, taking it slow.

Gave me time to read a couple of more Iris Johansen books and an issue of Asimov's science fiction magazine and watch too much news and do too much Facebook. Now I'm back to Schultz's book on the Sand Creek massacre, which I'm about half-way through.

Also got a start on organizing my stuff for the trip to D.C. next week for the annual meeting of the Friends Committee on National Legislation's general committee. This will be a new experience for me; I expect to learn a lot. It's mainly several 10-hour days inside the Washington Plaza Hotel, so my memories of Washington's somber gray buildings in November won't impact me too much.

Being a representative to FCNL from the New Mexico Region of Intermountain Yearly Meeting will nudge me in different directions than I'm accustomed to. I'm starting out feeling like a zonkey ... I'm a New Mexico Region rep but I live in Colorado, therefore I will visit Colorado delegation members next Thursday, not the New Mexico delegation. And I need to bone up on the two major foci for FCNL at this point: Climate change and the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. I haven't paid much attention to the latter and the former is so big that it's hard to get a hold on it. In the end, I'm inclined to agree with those who say, regardless of the techno-fixes we try, the bottom line is the sheer number of people trying to live on this earth.

It's scarey to realize the holidays are just around the corner. I've got most of my gifts lined out, but there'll be a flurry of activity from now on. We're going to western Nevada for Thanksgiving, so that'll be a fun trip (barring deep snow).

The Ten-inch View (that of the dachshund on the morning walk) is more compatible with the return to warmer temps and dry ground. The view across fresh snow tended to be off-putting, leading to a concentration of output close to the house. This morning, at 39 degrees, nothing needed to be taken care of before we were past the mailbox, with diligent attention to all pee-mail messages all the way back.

Almost 10 p.m. on God's time, which is way past my bedtime on Phony Time, so g'night! tv

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Moon-ing You!

The full moon has been in it's glory and the photographer in me has just been having fun! The zoom on my little camera surprises me some times and what can be captured. Thought I would share. SF