Friday, November 27, 2009

Full hearts and stomachs

I spent Thanksgiving at Rob and Gary's and spent the night there. In the photo from the left is Gary, their friend Jack, Rob, and Janet. Rob, Janet and I have known each other since junior high school. That would be something like close to 50 years, although there was a 25 year period that we weren't in touch. But still. That's a long time. It's wonderful hanging around with them, for a lot of reasons, and Rob and Gary's house is over-the-top wonderful. Rob is an architect and designer and loves to shop and travel, so he renovated the house, which is in Nob Hill in Albuquerque, a lovely area atop a hill (duh) near UNM. The house is a deco design, wouldn't be out of place in Miami Beach, and is filled with beautiful objects and art. Gary has worked on the terraced garden and patios outside, and it is gorgeous, plus it faces a view of the mountains. A huge kitchen with tasteful gray cabinets and variegated light green 1" tile backsplash arranged in interesting geometric patterns. So much stuff, everything you can imagine you'd want to cook and to entertain.

There's a beautiful guest room with its own bathroom, and I was snuggled under about 4 down comforters, because it was cold last night. I didn't want to get up but of course I had to, and I decided I wanted to empty the dishwasher before Rob and Gary got up. Faced with the array of cabinets, I puzzled over where things went. Would the little frying pan go in the third drawer down in the fourth bank of drawers, where there were other pots, or would it go under the oven? How about the spatula, and the turkey baster? Utensils drawer # 3 or 4, or in the container on the counter with the wooden spoons and whisks? I did the best I could.

We went for a long walk around the neighborhood, discussing house styles, etc. Then ate a very rich breakfast of leftover stuffing and eggs. Then Rob and I went to his office to hang my work. I had three pieces framed to put up in his office during a gala party he's having Friday night, and because he had used one of my pieces on his holiday card, printed in gold and black duotone. They looked pretty great and I hope they get noticed or even bought. That would be nice.

The next thing I did was go to the Apple store. There is no Apple store in Santa Fe, oddly enough. My bluetooth speakerphone for the car has never worked with my iphone. What a nice experience actually making an appointment with a genius for the same day, getting there and being helped immediately. The store was crowded of course, this being Black Friday and after Apple had sent numerous emails announcing a one day sale event. I lusted over a new 24" iMac. But anyway, the genius fixed the problem fairly quickly (some different way the Jabra thing has to be configured for the iPhone) and was on my way to my next errand, which was 30 miles south.

I make my drawings with a pen type of thing that is attached to a burner apparatus. A woman in Belen, NM is the source of all this stuff and I had spoken to her on the phone several times but I thought, well, I'm within shouting distance, why not go over there and discuss the different points and so forth. As an important aside here, I really need to create an interesting story for how I do the drawings. I've always been honest when people ask: wood burning tool. Oh, they say, slightly let down. I know an artist who claims he makes millions of little burned dots with a stick of incense. Maybe true, who knows. But I need a better story, so I'm asking for suggestions that sound interesting and mysterious but plausible- no journeys to the rain forest to find the proper burning stick, for instance. If I tell people, it's a secret, they get in a huff. You can't win sometimes.

So this woman and her husband live in a development in the middle of nowhere, except it's really not the middle of nowhere, it's in Belen, which she told me is a "blue-collar railroad town," and it developed long ago because the railroads have a switching area there. It's so odd to see these scrunched together residential developments surrounded by vast landscapes, strung along the interstate. They had beautiful views of mountains and their neighbors' back yards. They were lovely people and she and I talked for an hour about dogs (she had two) burning, growing gourds (she uses the tools to burn designs on gourds, grows many of them herself in pots outdoors, but due to the vagaries of growing real flora, the shapes she intends don't always show up) and the lack of town planning. I bought another burning pen with a different point on it and something to clean the shmutz off the points that develops as they burn stuff. They seem to have a nice life there. Ten miles away, in Las Lunas, there's a super-Walmart, a Lowes AND a Home Depot, along with a bunch of other stuff- you know, one of those mega-outdoor-shopping centers. I didn't see a movie theater there, though. That's always my measure of civilization.

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