Monday, August 29, 2011

Recently, in photographs

I visited Yellowstone with my friend Seth, who took a break from bicycling to join me.

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

We stayed on the third floor of a park ranger's house. These buildings were originally built for a military fort and have been appropriated for the park's use. It is a beautiful historical building, complete with a pull-chain toilet (yes of course I used it!) and four floors. This particular building is split in half between two families. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to stay there (and not only because the campsites were all full) we all know how much I love history and old things. More info here on the area.

Seth at more hot springs, Norris Geyser Basin.

Of course these pictures are in reverse chronological order, so this is Elise and Eleonore overlooking Livingston at night sometime in the end of July.

Livingston sunset

My favorite truck at the farm, Ford F-600 manual transmission. Quite fun to drive.

Elise and my boy Zach at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulfur Springs, MT. First off, if you're looking for work pants and you're a lady (of any shape and size), the Red Ants Pants company is AWESOME. It was started by a woman in Montana, who makes pants specifically shaped for women. They put on a music festival in some huge ranchers ranch, we parked in the recently-baled hay fields and made our way to the stage, in the middle of nothingness. The festival headliner was Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, and let's just say that I seriously enjoyed the night and they put on a great show (especially Francine Reed).

I apparently cannot upload any more pictures in one post, we'll see how I feel another day. I am currently in Vaughn, WA, working on a lovely family farm. I'm learning how to butcher all kinds of animals, as well as refining my tractor driving skills, my weed-wacking skills (awful, by the way), and getting on their 19 hand Shire horse (for those of you unfamiliar with horse measurements, a Shire is a bit bigger than a Budweiser Clydesdale), also went to the rodeo here and walked on water in a giant plastic bubble-ball best experience I've had in a while. Glad that Irene didn't wipe out the entire east coast! Keep safe and be well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of Ju-ly

I suppose I'm much overdue for an update. I've been dreading writing, because I have had so much to write about and no idea how to organize it. Plus, general overviews are boring, the detailed stories are the fun ones to tell. I'll try to mix it all together.
My new address is:
c/o The Rehders
315 S 8th St
Livingston, MT 59047

I got to Livingston, Montana on around June 11th. Leaving Chimayo was hard, but I said my goodbyes 30 times and got plenty of farewell hugs. My mom came to visit and we drove from New Mexico to Colorado, stopping along the way wherever we fancied. I showed her the farm, and we checked out Santa Fe, Ojo Caliente Mineral Spa-aaah, Taos, (oh gosh I knew I should've written this down, I'll never keep all of this straight), The Great Sand Dunes and Salida CO, Vail, the Continental Divide (tons of snow!), and spent our last day in Denver watching the Hangover 2 and watching homeless people fight. I shouldn't have let that end on a bad note because it was an excellent trip, for more reasons than I can write here. I'm so glad that she came, and I think she enjoyed her first trip to the southwest.

After dropping my mom off, I stopped by Boulder for the morning (which turned into afternoon) visited BMoCA and saw the most recent exhibition in installation, met some friends, got lost in the ever-expanding Whole Foods, and left for Wyoming. I drove through half of Wyoming, almost got stuck with an empty tank of gas and no place to sleep (don't ever assume there will be human civilization within 100 miles of a non-interstate rd), and made it to Livingston the next day. The farm (and town) is about 30 miles east of Bozeman, and it used to be the official entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Here I work for the Rehder family, Mark, Caroline, and their 5 year old Zach, and there are two other wwoofers. No animals, a ton of vegetables, and they even use a similar flood irrigation technique that I learned about in NM.
The town is awesome, it's tiny and adorable and has everything you could need (no chain stores!!). We sell vegetables at a couple farmer's markets (well, not yet, but when we're more ready for harvesting), the Bozeman co-op, the local Livingston hospital, a few restaurants in town, and they trade some for other things (like meat, eggs, and other goods).

One thing to know about Montana is they take their fireworks seriously. They're legal here, and for at least a week and a half leading up to the 4th of July, there were fireworks constantly going off (middle of the day and middle of the night). There was a three day rodeo in town that brings cowfolk from all over the country (Georgia, Florida, Texas, Oregon, etc), and a fireworks show after every evening, which we could see from the second floor of the barn. I was hoping to make a guest appearance on one of their bronc's but entries apparently were all full. I went to the last night of the rodeo with the other wwoofers, and after discovering firsthand that they take identity theft VERY seriously, we had a nice evening watching from the bleachers and praying that the lightning going off wouldn't strike us. We celebrated during the day by cooling off in the acequia (water ditch, it's a tributary of the Yellowstone River) and drinking PBR's on the roof of an old bus-converted-into-bedroom.

Bought my first fireworks the day after that (we were hoping they'd be on sale. they weren't). We blew up a kiwifruit, unsuccessfully tried a marshmallow (just toasted the inside), and shot a bottle rocket which curved and bee-lined it for a patch of trees and the neighbor's house. No lost eyes, no serious burns.

Other than that, there's been a ton going on, but I've been too busy reading, knitting, making a journal, and watching previous seasons of Bones on netflix to write things here. Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Life Is A Zoo

Fred with Fangs

I’m not sure how exactly to start this post, so I suppose posing a question might be the easiest way:

Have you ever been about to step in the shower (naked, as one tends to be who is about to get in the shower), when a goat walked into your bathroom?

This situation occurred tonight in my very own bathroom, about an hour ago. I live in a cabin with one roommate, Renee, and our yard houses Francisco the adorable (yet irritatingly poorly behaved at moments) puppy, and Frederick the broken-legged-teenage-goat. They aren’t usually allowed in the house, but Fred has a serious affinity for dog food and will bully Francisco for his food, so we bring Fred inside when we feed Francisco (alliteration!). Tonight I went to take a shower and Renee tried to distract Fred with grapes (he prefers them bitten in half) and by singing “All around the mulberry bush” while circling a table meant to keep him out of our bedroom. I typically shower with the door open because I don’t want another mold problem (when I first moved in I found what looked like pasta shells spilled behind the toilet and yelled to Anne and Josh (the other wwoofers here), “HEY, DID YOU GUYS SPILL PASTA WHILE ON THE TOILET?” Turns out they were fungus). So there I am, standing outside my shower, when Fred runs in, somehow escaping the game of “Mulberry Bush”, to say hello.

I will go on. We just acquired a hummingbird feeder, and immediately there were four regular visitors. They feed while we sit on the porch, while we watch from the kitchen table, while we stand directly beneath the feeder, while we're chasing the dog that's chasing the goat, they’re just constantly buzzing about, all over the area. It’s pretty magical, though I’m becoming a bit desensitized because every time I look out, there is at least one flying about. We keep getting nearly dive-bombed because they’re so aggressive towards one another and territorial about the feeder. This afternoon l looked out and there were three sitting on the feeder together. I don’t know if they were in some sort of poly-amorous relationship or just too tired to chase one another, but it was pretty cool. A little later I was heating up a tortilla and I look out the window to see Francisco tearing up and eating Renee’s bag of tobacco (excellent for dog-digestion. Just kidding, he didn't eat the tobacco, just the bag) I ran outside, grabbed all of the pieces, and by the time I got back inside with everything, my tortilla was burning and the house was filled with smoke.

Yesterday it snowed all day. We went on a hike, made soup (okay Renee made soup), tromped around in the mud doing chores. There’s a cholo wandering around trying to break into everyone’s houses (successfully a few times, apparently: Someone Stole Tom Holland's Shotgun- said in cowboy speak and you've got yourself a movie title), so Renee and I hide our computers in paper bags in a cabinet under the oven. There are paper cranes, paper boats, and paper throwing stars all over because Elias the nine-year-old little brother wanted to have boat races and Renee makes cranes. On Easter weekend, we had boat races in the pond and mine was winning (I know about currents, even in a still pond) until Elias started throwing mud clots at it, and then we declared blitzkrieg on everyone’s boats, sunk them, and recovered them the next day, dazed and washed ashore.

I just realized that I never wrote about the pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayo on Good Friday, along with the estimated 30,000 other people. That might need to be another time, this post is long and my shoulder hurts from being in a weird position to reach my computer, because I only pick up internet from one awkwardly angled corner of the kitchen table, smack up against the window. And only if Fred jumps up on the windowsill (which he did this morning).

Renee feeding Fred some grapes in the backyard

One of my hummingbirds in the snow

Boat Race: Renee, Adan winding up with mud, Elias returning from another attempt to sink me

Sunday, April 17, 2011

visual updates

A view of some of the buildings on the property, from the Chile Field

My new band-picture with Froadrick. Fist bump.

Fred (with broken leg) and Francisco the cutest puppy ever.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life in Chimayo!

Hello! An update for the curious!
On Tuesday morning, March 29, I departed Boulder, my home of over 4 months, after a filling short stack (okay short is an exaggeration, they were huge) of pancakes from the Village Coffee Shop courtesy of my p-diddy Seth (who also sent me on my way with a magnificent bag of Whole Foods goodies that I will be stretching through as long as possible). Chimayo is in Northern central New Mexico, between Taos and Santa Fe (about 35 miles north of Santa Fe). I took 25 down south to the High Road to Taos, on south to Chimayo.

I am working at El Rincon Farm with the Trujillo family. This farm has been in their family for hundreds of years, but only recently have they reacquired and begun organic farming some of what they own (about 3 of 20-some acres). Their most special product is the Chimayo Chile, a green chile that's one of the best ever. Literally. I'm not much of a spicy person (low tolerance), but these peppers are grand. They use heirloom seeds that go back to when the Spanish conquistadors came up from Mexico, that haven't been cross-breeded, and produce a medium, to medium-hot chile. Such good flavor, I eat it on everything. So they harvest them, roast them, and freeze them in 1lb bags to sell at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market (we went today-which is why I know the spiel). And yes, they ship them.

So anyway, the Trujillos are wonderful, and then there's Mario and his wife and kids and brother-in-law Ramon who are wonderful and are from Mexico so I've been practicing my Spanish (it's a shame I cheated so much in high school--why didn't they tell me that someday I'd be working on a farm with two Mexicans with little knowledge of English??) Kids, eat your green chiles and practice your foreign languages, it's practical, really.

A little about Chimayo, it's a really interesting area. There are a good amount of neighbors, and we're on a dirt road off one of the main roads in the valley. The roads are all one-way, dirt roads, named in Spanish. There are tons of Chihuahuas (don't ask me why, but one was tragically run-over yesterday), Magpies, random dogs without collars (including our own, Whiskey) and old broken down cars in peoples yards. My phone's always dead or out of service (or broken because I dropped it on the floor), only adding to the feeling of being completely lost in Mexico. Two days ago I went out phoneless-dead as usual-to look for an alleged grocery store, only to get lost, find some sort of expanded liquor store where everyone was speaking Spanish and I looked like some weird, sort-of-sunburned white girl that's completely out of place with her own bag trying to buy produce instead of cigarettes. Everyone's really nice, though, and I haven't really gotten weird looks, and everyone waves back when I do that "hey" nod-and-wave. I don't know, I learned it in West Virginia (certainly not in New Jersey). But sometimes I find myself wandering around, wondering how I ended up in another country without my passport. New Mexico is certainly a new experience for me, and I'm loving every minute. Especially riding the two-year-old paint mare they've got, albeit in a western saddle. Always something new. Helmets and appropriate gear are for the birds.

So while it was sad to say goodbye to everyone in Boulder (roommates-thank you SO MUCH Marina, Remah, and Seth, BMoCA-mates, and friends picked up along the way-it's been splendid, and let me repay you in seafood and snuggles), I'm happy to say I'm happy, and really looking forward to my time here. The landscape is so excellent, I'll be excited to start shooting and drawing and brainstorming artistic ways to incorporate it.

My address:
c/o Marisela Trujillo
PO Box 1026
Chimayo NM 87522


Friday, March 11, 2011


Sometimes art is too much for me to stand. Last night I was able to go to a preview and opening at the Denver Art Museum last night with a few people from BMoCA. First off, the new exhibition is awesome, it's all electronic and time-based media which excited me because my friend Liz organized a time-based media art show in Charleston, SC, which is currently happening called Receiver Fest. So you should check both of those things out.

I found myself wandering alone through DAM, long after my colleagues had left, walking up to the third and fourth floors where the permanent collections are (alone, mind you) which just happened to include works from so many artists that I'm familiar with (Louise Bourgeois! Arshile Gorky! Barbara Kruger! William Kentridge!) as well as other amazing pieces that I wasn't familiar with.

I'm a big fan of evening events at museums because:

1. Drinks! And free ones if you have a VIP bracelet like I did last night (no, I'm not an important person, just a pretend one)

2. Art! In quiet places where people haven't thought to gather! A museum is so much more quiet and peaceful when it's at night with a huge crowd of people on the main floor. Maybe it just seems more quiet because you have loud noise to compare it to, but I'm convinced something magical happens in galleries in the night. I've experienced it in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, BMoCA, and now the DAM as well.

3. People! There are tons of people to talk to or not to talk to! The possibilities are endless.

Anyway, it might have been the wine, but I had a really good time and didn't even stress out about my lack-of-transportation home. I wandered around Denver, asked people, found the bus station and exchanged my ten dollar bill for ten one-dollar coins.

Monday, February 21, 2011


For all ya'll itchin' to see my photographs thus far in Boulder (I admit, I've been pretty bad at getting them uploaded), check out my flickr page, I just added a bunch (no, not brunch!).

hope you enjoy, and hope I add more at some point.

have a wonderful day

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Balancing between Perfection and Peeta Binnochi

I've been working pretty regularly at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, every weekday (and some weekend days as well) organizing, researching ad rates, updating online calendars, typing up documents, making labels, getting signatures for a petition, aaall kinds of stuff. The museum is currently closed, in between exhibitions. The next show is two different installation sculptors that I'm REALLY excited about. Jessica Moon Bernstein is a local artist, really a nice woman who makes sculptures with recycled bicycle tires/tubes. Henrique Oliveira is an AMAZING Brazilian artist who makes these fascinating undulating wood installation sculptures.

So the preparations that go into the next show are both office related and physical-space related. For the past two days, I've been focused on the "physical-space" aspect, i.e. painting white walls white. In the gallery/museum world, walls are never white enough. You must coat and re-coat until your eyeballs fall out from staring at nothing but white walls (is that a shadow or a line is that a shadow or a line is that...) and your brain explodes from the fumes. I jest. The idea is to fill in holes, sand them, paint over places that got scuffed up or otherwise drawn on. Also, in our case, to paint the walls again because they were painted black for the last exhibition, and the first few coats of white peeled and cracked immediately. I had a lot of moments where I had to pause and consider the Peeta Binnochi effect.

For those of you scratching your head at this reference (and also title of this post--specifically Peeta Binnochi, although the word "perfect" in anything related to me is questionable as well) I'm going to have to take you on a trip to the College of Charleston Studio Art Department. Barbara is the printmaking professor, an incredible woman, short with a huge personality. She hails from Brooklyn, so she's got a bit of an accent, loves to do the NY Times crossword during class while we're scraping and sketching (yes, we're allowed to give answers). She's very honest about your art and has a standing rule that if you're late to class, you bring snacks the next class. She also tends to go off on tangents and tell stories in the middle of demonstrations. One day, while showing us woodcuts and giving us tips about the delicate nature of woodcutting, she came out with one of my favorite stories.
Apparently, back in Brooklyn as a child, Barbara was in her bedroom after school and looked out her window and to see her neighbor, Peter Binnochi, painting his garage door. One of the pitfalls of living near creative-minded children is that a single inane day in your life could live on in infamy. So anyway, good ol' Peeta (remember, when she pronounces "Peter", it's with an accent) was painting his garage door in square panels with a couple different colors. He must have gone out of the lines, though, and was attempting to correct this minor, nearly imperceptible mistake. He proceeded to make a huge mess, way worse than the original mistake, and ended up painting the whole garage door a single color after hours of struggling.

Barbara was quite fond of using Peter as an adage, in life and in art, and it's something that's stuck with me. I catch myself saying, "No, no, don't Peeta Binnochi this" and receiving really strange looks (may be also because I talk out loud to myself, but I digress). This doesn't happen to me too often, not because I'm perfect and never make mistakes, but because I'm not a perfectionist and usually "quit while I'm ahead" rather than nitpick (okay, I'm lazy). Anyway, I invite you, my readers, to use this adage for yourselves. If you find yourself painting white walls white and wondering whether you should climb up there and grab that little spot, remember Peeta Binnochi. Just leave it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a few of my favorite things

I was about to title this post "Museum, Library, Food" and I realized that they are, indeed, a few of my favorite things, so I wrote that instead and now the song is stuck in my head. The dog (from Denver) above doesn't really have anything to do with anything, I just remembered I hadn't put it online anywhere yet.

So I kept pestering the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA-sounds like a cool drink) until they called back and told me to come in. I've been going in weekdays from 10-5ish (give or take an hour, depending on what I'm doing) and helping to organize things, hand out cards for their exhibitions, host at-risk-of-dropping-out high school students, and make phone calls to other venues to see how our private party rental fees measure up. The last project is the most challenging, because I hate talking on the telephone to begin with, and in this case I had to pretend to be a mature adult and ask all the right questions (to get specific prices on EVERYTHING you can think of in terms of a 100-150 person private party with catering, sound, dancing, etc). I had to make a "presentation" for the boss with all of the information compiled, so he can see how BMoCA's rental prices look in comparison to the other Boulder venues.

Since I'm not actually planning a party, I have to redirect questions like, "Well, what type of party is this?" and since I sound so sketchy and nonspecific, one woman said to me:
-You know, we're okay with all types of parties. I know a lot of people don't want to mention if it's a sorority party. We're okay with everything; same-sex weddings, birthday parties, greek life. We don't have any neighbors to complain about noise.
-Um, that's great. Yeah, it's just, you know, a party.

So anyway, I finished that today and it felt gooood. The women I work with are all really nice and sweet and welcoming. It's pretty cool to see how much work goes into a small museum, and it's kind of fun to pretend to have a job and learn to talk on the phone.

I have spent a lot of time at the Boulder public library, which makes me want to write about how amazing libraries are. FREE BOOKS! For real! It's crazy, nothing's ever free anymore, and libraries have such an incredible collection of books from all over (times, places, thought spaces). I have read so many great books, mostly from the library, but also from the used bookstore here (oh my, don't even get me started on that place!). I've read Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore, Sputnik Sweetheart), Margaret Atwood (Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, currently The Year of the Flood), Virginia Woolf (currently To The Lighthouse). I can't remember what else I've read since I've been here, but I've been reading like a crazy person and I love it!

Go to your library!

The last section of this post and most important. 1. I LOVE FOOD. 2. This could get a little gross, so a warning to small children and people that don't want to hear about my body (although that's an inevitable risk in reading any of my posts). Seth and I started a cleanse this past week. It's called "The Master Cleanse" and you have to say it in a big evil-man voice every time you talk about it. This cleanse consists of, basically, fasting for 10 days. The only things you "eat" (for lack of a better word) are drinks made of freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 tbsp), grade B maple syrup (2 tbsp), and some cayenne pepper, mixed with 8oz of water. You pretty much drink as many as you want throughout the day, plus plenty of water. At night I drink an herbal laxative tea (eeeww poo) and get this, it's called "Smooth Moves" hahahah oh boy. In the morning I do an "internal salt water bath", which means that I drink a quart of salt water and that reaaaally clears things out. I told you to stop reading, so don't get all bent out of shape because I'm talking about poop (again.. I'm pretty sure this is at least the 3rd post to mention it). Anyway, I am finishing up the 5th day! Yes folks, I haven't eaten food in 5 whole days. It's a miracle, especially considering my irrational obsession with food. I wouldn't be able to do it alone, it's really nice to have someone with whom to commiserate. Especially when, like today, I had to walk around to all of the restaurants downtown to get signatures for a petition. Torture, absolute torture.

The things I've learned recently about myself, specifically from this "job" and my cleanse are that I need to be challenged by someone else in order to do my best work. I tend to let things slide by, do things halfway, and don't really stay on top of completing projects unless I have someone to whom I must answer (i.e. lazy). This is definitely not a new development, because all throughout school, I've been able to get by without reaaally trying (with the exception of some art classes and film classes in college that really made me stop and think). If I'm doing something just for me, I tend to be satisfied with a mediocre job, but if I'm doing something with or for someone else (i.e. a boss or a friend who is holding me accountable) I tend to be more aggressive with completion. For whatever that's worth.
This was long.

Monday, January 17, 2011

blogging from unemployment-dom

It's been quite a while since my last entry, and I hope everyone had a great holiday season (all of 'em). I went home, enjoyed the life of leisure and a break from my, well, break. And now I'm back in Boulder, where it's currently 55 and sunny and I'm bored.

This past Thursday I had a job interview at a consignment store. I thought it went well, although it was my first, yes first, interview ever. For anything. My body had an interesting reaction where my right eye started twitching slightly and my brain went blank for moments at a time. I thought I kept it cool and the managers seemed to like me and they said they'd get back to me this weekend. As in, the one that just passed. So while waiting for their callback, I promptly went out, had a few beers and left my phone under the table of a really stinky, divey bar for good measure. I let it get all stomped upon for a few hours and returned the next morning to pick it up (luckily it hadn't gone home with anyone, apparently Envy's aren't as hot as I thought).

It's not broken and I haven't gotten a call. I've drowned my disappointment with two matinees at the nearby movie theater- yesterday I saw The King's Speech (excellent) and today I watched The Fighter. I'm a big fan of half priced movies, and so today I bought a soda in celebration (of filling out an application to the movie theater) and it was $4.50 for the smallest size. Four and a half dollars. I almost pooped myself. The movie was only $6.25, and if I hadn't already poured the soda I would've saved it and watched another.

The good news is that I filled out a volunteer application for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, basically pleading with them to let me do anything, at any time, for any amount of time, for free. It's been a week, I'll let you know.

Anyway, I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to read this thrilling update, but I had to get back into writing at some time.

In other news, this seems like the worst idea ever.