Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ailments and Joys

Ah, it's nice to feel well. Nicer yet when you've been sick for awhile.

I always appreciate good health, but never more than when I have experienced a bout of illness for an extended length of time. I don't still feel tip-top, as with many extended periods of sickness I am left with a feeling of continual tiredness. A kind of noodle-limb-listlessness that doesn't seem in any hurry to vacate my body.


Well, I'm not complaining, because at least the nausea has taken leave. I can live, for the moment at least, with tiredness.

Part of my icky feelings, I am sure, come from the predominance of pollen in the New Mexico air. Take a little drive north of the Albuquerque and you will view flowers blooming in abundance as far as the eye can see. Yellows, purples, reds, oranges, blues.... the mesas and meadows are exploding in color, and it is simply gorgeous. Not good for my sinuses, but worth the pain, if you ask me.

We drove up to Wagon Mound yesterday to finish the float for the parade, (Which is on Monday) and the drive was breath taking. I took the back route, through Stanley, Galisteo, and Eldorado. From there it is a simple drive up I-25 past Pecos and Las Vegas. I only needed an hour to work on the float, and then we had lunch with Betty, Clint, and Fritz before doing a little local exploring. (We saw the owls again... four of them... stunning. I tried to get photos but I wasn't willing to encroach too closely and there wasn't enough light from afar.) By the time we were ready to go it was only 2pm and we still made it to the house before 5:00.

I bought a steak and some mushrooms, a little bottle of wine and kicked back for the rest of the night to watch a couple of old movies with my house windows thrown open wide. The air in the evenings is a cool 45 degrees, and makes for a relaxing atmosphere.

It was a good day. A good night as well. Hopefully I'll make it out to the plains area in the next few days for some more photos, but here are a few until then, from yesterday . :)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Guilt Trips and other Useless Vacations

My friend and I were having a discussion on relationships the other day, and he asked me for advice.

I'm not huge on giving out my personal opinions to the lovelorn. I don't have a great track record, having had two divorces and a slew of seriously messed up shorts. But I seemed to have figured a few things out on this one, (smooches to you Brian!) and the querry my friend posed I couldn't help but respond to.

I can't tell you how we got there, but the subject at question was guilt, and the effectiveness of it in motivating a loved one to do what we want them to do for us.

I'll tell you right up front, here and now, I am not a fan of guilt. It has it's place, I'll grant you that. I've tendered more than a few apologies, and moved myself to great lengths to right wrongs I have done because of the niggling feelings I couldn't ignore.

But the truth is that guilt is most effective when I wield it against myself. When someone else brandishes it against me, I find that the overwhelming sense I have isn't remorse, but distaste and resentment.

Consider the programs on television which ask you to donate "pennies a day" to help unfortunate children. And the articles and newsclips that show suffering starving people in other parts of the world. If guilt was an effective tool, there would be an overwhelming response and poverty would be at an end, or at least visably assuaged. But what I notice is that the worse the image, the deeper emotional response, the quicker people seem to be to turn the channel.

I've noticed the same thing in relationships. Guilt doesn't always encourage the "guilty" party to change thier ways. They usually just change the channel. Enough guilt, or any other bad feeling, can be grounds for terminating a relationship.

It's an understandable response.

First, the reaction to a great deal of guilt seems to be:"If I make you so unhappy... if I can do nothing but wrong everytime I turn around, then perhaps you'd be better off with someone else."

If you think about the last great relationship you experienced (in love or friendship, the premise applies to both) I suspect you'll find that the other person made you feel good about yourself. You smiled, laughed, and in general enjoyed your time with this other person a great deal. We are most often in relationships with others, whether we know it or not, because of the way they make us feel. We're often drawn to those who can create for us a sense that we are worthwhile, fun, intelligent, sexy .... whatever. (We all have something in particular we are looking for, the bottom line is that it makes us feel good.)

So where does that take me with the guilt issue? Well, obviously, guilt doesn't make someone feel good. Rather the opposite. So it seems to me that the best way to get somone to do what you want them to do isn't to guilt them into it.

Make them feel good instead.

Make them feel so good they want to make you feel good.

It's a never ending reciprocation that has nothing but positive outcomes. If that's manipulation, then manipulate me.

It's beats the hell out of guilt any day.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Whining Loudly

Okay. If you read my blog, (and you probably don't, I don't think anyone does... but's that's okay) you know all about my studio. Either way, there's been an "issue" with my beloved space, and I hafta share.

For those of you who don't read the blog, about two months ago I was excited because my assistant and I decided to go out on a limb and get a studio. My mother owns some apartments and she let me one for a very reasonable rate. That gives me two large rooms for studios, a dressing room, storage space, a full bath, a kitchen, and on top of it all it is in an area of town considered to be "prime commercial" so I have easy access to customers. First thing I did was to insure my equipment, my studio, and my belongings there.

Next I went all out and bought lights, and assorted other items I needed for my studio. I haven't finished it altogether, but it's been a working studio and I have appointments and more. I have been so thrilled.

Yesterday the city had contractors work on a sewer line near the house, the the sewer backed up and flooded the entire studio with disgusting waste. Anything touching the floor or near it was soaked, and is a total loss. The city recommends a hazardous waste team come in and do a clean and destroy mission. :(

I did not carry a flood damage policy, nor did my mother. We live in the desert, and you simply don't expect floods here. The city isn't liable, and we have to prove the contractors to be at fault, which could prove tricky. I am soooo bummed.

My camera and laptop were safe, thank God. But I still feel a need to mope.

So, here I am ... whining with the best of them.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Unexpected Discoveries

Have you ever found a website by accident?

I used to more than I do these days. When I first started browsing the web I would start out looking for something specific, and end up getting distracted by all the cool sidelines. Before I knew it I had found all sorts of wonderful pages, and totally forgotten where I had wanted to go in the first place. (I'm sure my ADD was a huge help in each explorative adventure.)

I've grown a little more disciplined since then. I can generally ignore those tiny offshoots and keep my eye on the prize. But every once in awhile I stumble on something that catches my attention and "poof" I'm off again. It's not a bad thing, I enjoy my finds. It goes with my whole spontaneous thing.

Today I went to check my mail at Gmail. (Which, btw, I could write a whole entry on, I love this product. I couldn't live without it.) In my hurried self-assured way of typing I had made a mistake and typed in 'gamil" instead. (Is there such thing as "Typing Dyslexic"?) I found this very cool site: Gamil

I almost ignored the site, the primal urge to know who might have sent me an email is overpowering sometimes. But there is a small disclaimer at the bottom of the page that somehow caught my eye: "You may have arrived here by misspelling Gmail. We understand. Typing fast is not our strongest skill. We have met a lot of new friends online though and our web traffic is through the roof from visitors from all over the world. So we're putting ads here to help us pay for all the bandwidth. "

I like humor. Dry humor, sarcastic and acidic suits my tastes just fine. So I obliged them and checked out their ads. But while I was there I had a look at the site, and the company, itself.

These are cool peeps. I was there five minutes and I decided I had to own their tea infuser called the TeaStick. I love innovative people. And Gamil has impressed me on three levels.

First, they took what could be potentially devastating traffic and made humor out of it. They took the problem of too much traffic and asked visitors to click on ads to generate money to help with the extra bandwidth, and didn't whine. (Oh I hate whiners.)

Second, they have a nice, clean website that is easy to navigate, and they clearly have talent. And that talent extends to a few very cool inventions, among them the TeaStick.

Third, they used used the gmail/gamil problem to give them an opportunity to market said products. This, it seems to me is an example of the difference between getting by and becoming successful. Opportunity knocks, but not everyone hears the knocking. These guys not only opened the door, they gave opportunity the grand tour of their house.

A lot of things come to us by accident. Being prepared to take advantage of the accident is a matter of vision. I only typed badly, and I found an item I will most certainly purchase. Gamil had more than earned the business.

Makes ya rethink think marketing a little, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Making Magic

I love to smile.... enthusiasm powers me. While I have a fairly ordered life, spontanaity is still a part of me left over from my youth which I treasure beyond words. Nothing like an impromtu picnic, a drive to some surprise destination at the last moment with a friend or family member, or giving into an urge to do something unexpected for a dear one.

So imagine how happy I am when the love of my life, Brian, brings me little tidbits of affection from wherever he may be working for the week. I never know when to expect these things, and there is no guessing what he might present me with. he knows me well, and his gifts are as much designed to please me as to make me laugh.

He's brought me crawfish for my fish tank, seedlings for my garden, and unusual pottery because he knows the patterns will set off my imagination. A box of empty thread spools because I might like them for crafts, sweets and chocolates and a t-shirt. For Valentines day he gave me a 9mm automatic because he knows that while I don't like hnting, I love to go to a shooting range. (Let me tell you the grief he got from his friends over that one!) He brought me little snakes and scorpions, (I'm a tomboy... he knows me well) a quilt, a camera bag and a tripod he found at a garage sale. For the most part, it's not the money he's spent... the items are usually found somewhere and he just knows me well enough to know what will make me smile.

That's real magic. Real love. Better than money or any superficial show of affection. It's caring enough to get to know someone, and taking the time to think of them when it isn't always convenient.

I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Breath of Enchantment ©2006, Dawn Allynn

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Studio Work

My new studio is coming along. I still have some equipment to buy and a piece of furniture or two I am yearning for. But over all it works nicely. Two studio rooms, a bathroom, a changing room, a costume closet, a kitchen, and a ton of storage and in the Nob Hill District. Not bad at all. ;)

When I have it the way I want it I will run an ad and rent it to other photographers by the day or hour. Help cover some overhead costs.

I have tried to do as many shoots as possible, but I need to step it up. I have some goals I want to meet and I need to work in a variety of shoots before fall.

Right now I have been focusing on models and fashion photography. It doesn't pay much, (yet) but it's fun and I learn a great deal as I go.

I hope to do some infant and maternity shots this month, and I have to work on my stock galleries.

Anyway, it's the end of the day and I thought I'd post a few photos I really like from this past week. Then it's home for me and some blessed sleep.

Stacy © 2006

Megan © 2006

Amy © 2006

Amy © 2006

Floating Away

I have a reputation among my family and friends for being able to solve problems and come up with creative ideas. Frequently someone will call me for advice or help with something that has stumped them. Sometimes I deserve this show of confidence, but often as not I am stumped as to why they would call me. Regardless of the reason, I find myself complimented by the show of confidence, and I all too often over-commit myself out of some sense of responsibilty.

The most recent example of this happened last month when my Unlce Fritz gave me a call.

Fritz has lived in Albuquerque since I was a small child, but he grew up in a small village called Wagon Mound.

Named Wagon Mound because the top of the butte
resembles the very top of a covered wagon as seen here:

Every year on Labor Day Wagon Mound residents celebrate Bean Day, when many of those who grew up in this diminishing village and moved away come home to enjoy comraderie, a free fare of beans and barbeque, and a small parade which is delightful in the way it is reminicent of times which otherwise seem long gone. Last year Fritz invited me to attend Bean Day with him, and I was caught up in the smiles, home town friendliness, buildings which reminded me of western towns from some old movie, and - of course - the parade. That was the best part.

So, when Uncle Fritz called me up and asked if I could help him build a float for Bean Day, more specifically, a float in the shape of the Wagon Mound itself, how could I say no?

My friend Crystal and I packed our bags Friday morning of last week and drove up to Wagon Mound the back way from my house (through the beautiful area which runs through Gallisteo) we pulled into Wagon Mound and arrived at the beautiful home of Clinton Ballard and his wife Betty Medina. Betty is a gracious hostess and was so sweet to open her home to us. We made ourselves at home in the rooms she provided, changed our clothes and had a bite to eat, and proceeded to the garage where the frame I had designed for the float waited for us.
The garage belongs to Felipe Garcia, and he opened it up for us.

Clinton had built the frame before we arrived, and had plenty of stucco wire available. Fritz had purchased the paint, the plaster, and there was a ton of paper in piles nearby. In the following five hours or so we wrapped the frame in wire, stuffed it with crumpled paper and pushed and manipulated it it into it's basic shape, and then began the process of covering it with a plaster papier mâchè. We covered it about one sixth of the way before retiring for the evening.

Back at Betty and Clinton's home we enjoyed a traditional New Mexican meal of pasole, beans, papitas and tortillas before ending our evening exhausted.

The next morning Crystal and I popped up at 6 am and went out on a photography spree (more of that later .. those pics deserve an entry of thier own) and returned by 8:45 in time for a quick breakfast and then it was back to work.

This time the group from the day before was joined by Adonilia Menzor, Edna Mae and Amadeo Gallegos, and Raquel Encinias. The extra hands upped the pace and the float began to take on the shape and form of the Wagon Mound. By 3:30 we were worn out, but had pretty much finished the papier mâchè part and were applying the last coat of plaster. Betty and some of the others agreed to work on the final plastering and perhaps some of the basic paint coating before I return in about two weeks to do the actual detail paintwork which will finish the float.

It was a long two days, but rewarding. :)

Crystal and I went home by way of a long drive up into Mora and down through Las Vegas (the NM version) and back home the way we had come. It took me two days to get over the aches and pains of the weekend, but the satisfaction is palpable.

So, one more trip to finish the float, and then it's back for Bean Day to see our creation waddle down the streets of Wagon Mound. :)

Floating Away :)