Feb 15

Scent of Season

Just for a change, I thought I’d do an art post tonight. Quelle surprise!

Many moons ago, you may remember that I did a little ice painting. I showed you the start of a piece I called “Elk.”

Now it’s title is “Scent of Season” and it might need a couple more tweaks, but it’s essentially finished.

Step 1 – Mask white areas

Step 2 – Pour paint and let “dry” in the ice

Step 3 – Use color to fill in elk

Step 4 – Remove resist (reveal white)

Step 5 – Add more darks, scrub antlers for correct look

Step 6 – Add more darks, take to critique group

Feb 13

The navigator got distracted

As always, I am behind on so many things it hardly seems time efficient to list them all. So, I’m going to gloss over them all in the hopes the waving something shiny in front of what’s left of my loyal blog readers will cause you all to forget my appalling lack of new blog posts.

2017 is off to a rocky start in more ways than just my blog, and this weekend I went down to see my mom to take care of her after a knee surgery. Now, for her, this knee surgery was much anticipated, but this is just the kind of thing I hate.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I’m not a perfect daughter, but as she was mostly sleeping, I asked her if I could sneak out and attend the February 11 Audubon Society of Lincoln City Birder’s Walk.

The weather has lightened up (so many places are flooded right now… but that’s another story) and I think all of us were dazzled by a big warm thing up in the sky that allowed me to do my birding in jeans and a T-shirt.

Herring gull

We started at the Mo’s dock (seen above) and then moved to the new Siletz Bay pull out (not even open to the public yet!) It’s a small little area, just off Highway 101, with about 10 parking spots. Plans for a kayak put-in were obvious, but we walked a well-graveled and flat trail around some alders to another kayak spot. The entire trail was about 1 mile. With so many birders, most birds did stay away, but we saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk, both kinds of kinglets, and ravens.

I look forward to making this trek again with a quieter, smaller group!

From there we went to the Salishan Nature Trail (this is actually a frequent stop for me when I’m visiting Mom.) But it disappoint. We say many Bufflehead, but also a Hermit Thrush, Horned Grebe, and a lovely displaying male hummingbird.

It was almost low tide and a seal put in a bit of a show before pausing to say hello.

The bay was like glass (a rare site) and I enjoyed a towering display of cloud. Future painting? I can only hope…

Total birds seen this year: 66!

 

Feb 02

My action plan

As the headline in USA Today read: 10 days, 20 orders. Of course, today is day 12 (yes, I’m behind the times) but so far I’ve already been to a protest, written two letters to the editor and 20 to my representatives, and broken down at work in tears.

Obviously, this can’t go on.

In my circle there has been a lot of talk about an action plan. I’m going to share mine. I’m not going to publicize this post, but this will be a support document for me.

Ignore the Trump Personna

Mr. Trump and his team have lead a world-class, Machiavelli-worthy press scheme that keeps the media focused on the trivial. I’m not going to engage anymore.

Here are a few examples (from about days 3-4).

  1. Apparently Mr. Trump plans to put gold curtains in the oval office.
    Now, my first thought is more of a groan. I mean, the man is tasteless.
    But here’s the thing. This really isn’t worth my attention. I’m gonna spend my time focusing on something else. After all, Presidents have a right to change their residence.
    Unfortunately.
  2. The White House Press Secretary has been told to announce weird “facts” about the inauguration.
    Again, my first thought is, really?: I mean REALLY? Of all the things you have to worry about, this is it?
    But here’s the thing. This really isn’t worth my attention. I’m gonna spend my time focusing on something else.
  3. There are various videos of the inauguration floating around that appear to show various relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Trump vs. Mr. and Mrs. Obama.
    My first thought is, well what did you expect? Mr. Trump had done nothing except show the world he’s… well, I can’t think of a G-rated term.
    But here’s the thing. This really isn’t worth my attention. I’m gonna spend my time focusing on something else.
    P.S. In the last couple of days I have been seeing some information about “proving” that Mrs. Trump is being abused and I’ve also seen a lot of comments about how it’s her fault for staying. This may be something I will confront. I don’t care about Mrs. Trump, but I do care about shaming.

Take it down to its roots

When something posts with an abuse, don’t engage it as a problem with Mr. Trump. Look at the reason it can happen and engage with that.

Here’s a few examples from the first few days.

  1. Apparently Mr. Trump and his press minions often cut media sources off from press conferences. They appear to want to cherry pick media sources favorable to their positions and are using the threat of blackballing to get their way.
    This is a problem. And I could rail about how awful it is that Mr. Trump can do it.
    But here’s the thing. WHY can Mr. Trump do it? If it bothers me (and it does) I need to do some research about the rules, policies, and laws surrounding the White House Press Corps. Does something need to be fixed? What? I need to identify it and write to my respresentatives.
  2. The Facebook memes are reporting that Mr. Trump is signing legislative to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline.
    This is a problem. And I could rail about how awful it is that Mr. Trump can do it.
    But here’s the thing. WHY can Mr. Trump do it? If it bothers me (and it does) I need to do some research about the rules, policies, and laws surrounding the White House Press Corps. Does something need to be fixed? What? I need to identify it and write to my respresentatives.

A Marathon (Not a Sprint)

Baring incident, we will have four years of this. 1448 days and counting. In addition, we can look forward to whatever the national election has in store for us starting (probably) in just a couple of years (if not sooner.)

Monday I had a break down (tears and three hours ranting (in my head) “YOU LITTLE F***ER”) that precipitated this letter to the editor and various representatives.

Today a colleague came up to me and told me that he had received a list-server email that the portion of the Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that holds information about where unfair housing practices happen would not be updated or supported because there would be no more funding for it.

Housing–affordable, safe housing–is precious and increasingly scarce. To start taking apart a system that monitors where housing abuses are happening seems like the start of something much more sinister.

Why has this not been announced to the public? Why have we not been given information about how cutting this support will save “X” dollars that will go toward “Y”.

The Federal Government is NOT a privately held company. It’s a SYSTEM held by approximately 318.9 million people.

I want to KNOW, I want to be TOLD, what is being cut and why. The cost benefit ratio on this decision may be justifiable. but I’d like to fact check it and make my own decisions.

The sentiment is spot on, but I simply cannot allow myself to get this worked up each time something awful happens.

Processing

While I hate the term “process” (used in just about any context, but here used as in “give yourself time to process”) I do think I need to find a way to allow myself to process, voice, and ponder the current situation. I’m not sure what that looks like, but I’m going to put it on my agenda.

And I think NPR, except for Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me may be out for the duration. I just can’t handle it.

Volunteer

This action item needs a lot of work. But I think it’s important and needs to be a priority.

The funnier side

Among the more important things, I believe, will be to find the funnier side of this situation.

About day seven there was an Executive Order blocking various agencies, including the Park Service, from posting various facts about climate change. In response, a rogue group formed: “Alt National Park Service,” which has a Twitter and Facebook page, There posts have basically been about the parks, but they  have also put up a lot of humorous and spot on items, such as…

This is a community I can get behind!

Then tonight I saw that John Stewart went on The Daily Show with this skit (video below with final fake order below.)

 

    I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting. It has been 11 days, Stephen. 11 [expletive] days. Eleven. The presidency is supposed to age the president, not the public.

The reason that I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting is that every instinct and fiber of my pathological self-regard calls me to abuse of power. I want — no, deserve — not just your respect but your adoration. Parades with the tanks and the synchronized dancing, and why can’t they train 10,000 doves to spell out “Trump” in the clouds? How hard can it be? They’re already flying.

I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting because it is going to take relentless stamina, vigilance and every institutional check and balance this great country can muster to keep me, Donald J. Trump, from going full Palpatine, with the lightning coming out of the fingertips and “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate.”

We have never faced this before. Purposeful, vindictive chaos. But perhaps therein lies the saving grace of my, Donald J. Trump’s, presidency.

No one action will be adequate. All actions will be necessary. And if we do not allow Donald Trump to exhaust our fight and somehow come through this presidency calamity-less and constitutionally partially intact, then I, Donald J. Trump, will have demonstrated the greatness of America. Just not the way I thought I was gonna.

A thought to keep in mind for the remaining 1448 days. And counting. Really counting.

Jan 22

First time with feeling

Aside from the seriousness of the issues surround the Women’s March on Washington, this week has been quite entertaining as my Facebook feed has been flooded with clever signs and knitting.

Today was the actual day of the march, and as I’m still not feeling 100% (stupid pneumonia) I decided to attend the Salem march. I have heard estimates between 5,000 to 30,000. My guess would be closer to the 5K mark. The Portland event generated over 100,000 marchers. They are saying with over 2 million marches around the globe (on all 7 continents!) that this may be the largest activist event ever.

This photo was taken about 10:45 when I got there; by the time of the march, the crowd had more than doubled.

As I said this was my first protest/march and I was really struck by the people watching opportunities. There were old and young, women and men, LGBTQ and straight, canines and humans.

This service dog was showing his feminist side.

My favorite protesters, however, were three little girls and their sign. They danced and twirled with it and really didn’t seem to have a care in the world, they just enjoyed the moment.

The adults were not too far behind. The mood seemed upbeat and peaceful. The police officers were on bikes, not in riot gear.

I even saw another woman there holding a sign about the The National Popular Vote bill! We exchanged numbers.

The weirdest moment of the day, however, was looking up at the capital’s Pioneer Man at a women’s march.

I guess that’s patriarchy.

Jan 17

Anxiety over a hat

I am not much of a protester. It isn’t that I don’t have a list of things I am protesting, but I tend to be a sort of middle-of-the-road person.

For the past several weeks I have been attempting to muster my courage and attend one of the many local “Women’s March on Washington” events on January 21. (I am trying to decide between Salem (local) or Portland (where I have more friends who are going.))

On this Martin Luther King Day, a meme came across my Facebook feed that really pushed me into making a decision.

Yes, I’m going to march. I’m not willing to be a “moderate” with the incoming administration.

Just to be clear, I’m not protesting because Ms. Clinton lost or Mr. Trump won; I’m protesting because I simply cannot accept that the future President of our country regularly uses the kind of language and messages he does. One of the main things I want in a President is a calm, well-spoken leader who demonstrates rational, reasonable behavior.

I believe Mr. Trump has already failed in his responsibilities and I’m not willing to accept that.

Planners of the (country-wide) march explain the protest like this:

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

One of the things the protest/marchers are supposed to do is wear a “Pussyhat“. I have so many objections to everything about that name that my stomach crawls into knots as I write it (I think that’s the point.)

In spite of the name, I decided that if I was going to do this thing, I’d really do it and I cast on a Pussyhat with some pink yarn left over from another project. The difficulty, which I should have accounted for, is that I didn’t have enough pink yarn. So now I’m having to improvise.

This hat uses a total of four yarns. I sort of like the statement it makes.

So now, with my proper hat in place, I guess it’s time to make a decision about where my Saturday will be. I think I’ve decided not to do a sign; my friend says they get heavy. I think for my first protest, I’ll be conservative and see how things go. Maybe next time I’ll add a sign.

Fingers crossed I don’t have to use any of the information about tear gas safety or documenting violations that have also been posted!

Jan 16

Beginning the 2017 birding year

Because of the pneumonia, I missed the Salem Audubon Society‘s New Year’s birding trip around Minto Brown. Today was their regularly scheduled monthly outing to Ankeny. While I am still not feeling 100%, I know this trip usually involved more driving than anything else, so I resolved to get up and go see what I could.

At 8:00 we gathered at the hilltop to see the sun peaking over the Cascades and illuminating the Coast range.

Because of the recent cold weather, open water was in short supply. All the birds were gathered around, but the sleeping Tundra swans really took my breath away (pneumonia joke…)

With the birds in such close proximity, we saw a great variety of waterfowl. Red-winged blackbirds industriously supplied the background soundtrack. Spotted towhee were also particularly outgoing in the cold.

I marked 44 species off my list, including a Wilson’s Snipe, American Pipit, and Bald Eagle. I caught a very long distance shot of what I think may be a Shrike, but at this distance I can’t confirm.

As always, we ended the outing at Pintail Marsh, which yielded the greatest variety of waterfowl, including “Duskies”.

Returning home, I noticed a Yellow-Rumped Warbler hanging out by my new suet feeder.

Jan 14

An inauspicious start

Well, my 2017 is certainly off to a lurching, rather upsetting start.

Pneumonia

On December 31 I took the dogs for a walk and noticed my lungs felt tight and rather “burning.” By Sunday (Jan 1) I knew I was sick with either a cold or the flu. On Tuesday (Jan 3) I made an emergency call to the doctor and the next day went in to be diagnosed with a case of pneumonia.

For the next two days I coughed and shivered and generally wished for death. Finally, the evening of the 5th my fever broke. I crawled back to work on Monday the 9th, but only made it a half day. For the rest of the week I worked 5-8 hours a day before finally giving in today (Friday) and taking the day off to sit in my chair and breathe.

After two weeks of being sick I am miserably sore from coughing, out of breath at the slightest exertion, and still fighting to stay on the right side of hydration.

Grump.

Tires

Last week my tires kept going flat. I took my car into Les Schwab and ended up getting two new front tires.

Grump.

Weather

Winter is my favorite time of year. However, in Oregon, winter is usually wet and a little cold. This year Oregon is doing a good imitation of Montana… cold and snowy. Now, I’m not complaining about this. But Salem is getting shorted on the snow front. Up in Portland they have 6-8 inches on the ground; Salem has about 1/2 inch.

I feel short changed.

Above and beyond that, however, the weather is weird and Oregonians are just not equipped for this kind of weather. It’s sort of making us all grumpy.

Grump.

Electricity

Last week I was without electricity for about 24. It was a very localized issue, according to the power company it only affected about 16 homes. Mine was one of them.

Grump.

 

Jan 03

2017 Goal List

Painting

  • Keep painting
  • Write more exclusively about art in my blog
  • Attend critique group
    • Investigate Salem group
  • Enter both WSO shows
    • April (actually already done! But unsuccessfully…)
    • October
  • Participate in local art group Arts in Action
    • Join (done)
    • Attend meetings
  • Enter the Equine Art Show (Emerald Downs)
    • July
  • Submit to the AAEA Show
    • Spring (March deadline)
    • Fall (June deadline)

Continue to work on my lifestyle improvement project

  • Go to Weight Watchers regularly
    • Eat more vegetables
    • Eat less sugar
    • Eat more fiber
    • Drink water
  • Participate in walking challenges (particularly with the dog)
  • Find a source for yoga and/or meditation and go to it

Reading

  • Goodreads 2017 Book Challenge: 104 books
    • 2016 goal = 100 of 100
    • 2015 Goal = 100 of 100
    • 2014 Goal = 80 of 90
    • 2013 Goal = 118 of 125
    • 2012 Goal = 111 of 200
    • 2011 = 56 of 50

Pets

  • Come home at lunch to walk to dog, do a walk afterwork, hike on the weekends
  • Take another training class with Key
  • No more cats if Bob dies

Environmental

  • Continue 2013 goal of not taking plastic bags at the store
  • Continue 2014 goal of using coffee cups at coffee place
  • Continue 2015 goal of picking up after the dogs every time
  • Continue 2016 goal of not consuming palm oil
  • Scale back on car use
    • Bike to work at least 3 of 5 days
    • Use the bus more often

Knitting

  • Spin my 2013 fleece
  • Process (clean, card, & spin) my 2015 fleece
  • Finish four projects
  • Investigate a knitting group
  • Go on a Traveling Ewe adventure

Money

  • Let’s just put it out there that I can improve…
  • Donate to charity

Home

  • Put in a rain garden

Random

  • Remain employed
  • Go camping at least once
  • Do at least three “bird loops”
  • Explore the local art museum (Ford)
  • Visit the Salem carousel
  • Find somewhere to volunteer and do that once a week
  • See 125 species of birds (downgrade from last year, expecting to do few bird festivals)

Jan 01

2016 Goal List – Review

On this last day of 2016, I spent the day on a bit of a birding quest, trying to find the last five birds to complete my goal of 150 species in 2016. In the end, I remained at 145. Still, I am feeling good about this goal.

Looking at this list, there is NOTHING about the following:

  1. Putting on the WSO show
  2. Adjusting to new house
  3. Getting new dog

I think that’s a pretty good summary of the year: Coming very close to goals I established and succeeding at unexpected challenges.

Summary

(Accomplishments in red) (sort-ofs in purple)

Painting

  • Keep painting
  • Write more exclusively about art in my blog
  • Enter both WSO shows
  • Enter OSA Shows (end up not relevant)
  • Do an Artbiz course
  • Enter the Equine Art Show (Emerald Downs)
  • Submit to the AAEA Show

Continue to work on my lifestyle improvement project

  • Go to Weight Watchers regularly
  • Participate in walking challenges (particularly with the dog)
  • Continue going to yoga twice a week
  • Note: Overall this was a spectacular failure

Reading

Pets

  • Walk the dog as much as possible
  • When I loose enough weight, start taking riding lessons

Environmental

  • Continue 2013 goal of not taking plastic bags at the store
  • Continue 2014 goal of using coffee cups at coffee place
  • Do not consume palm oil

Random

  • Remain employed
  • See 150 species of birds (I made it to 145)

 

Dec 31

How’s the blogging going – 2016 version

The end of 2016 marks the end of my third year blogging. A year ago, I posted about my second year of blog progress compared to my first. So, in the spirit of true numbers geeks everywhere, I am adding this post to continue the tradition!

Posts and Other Numbers

2014 2015 2016
Posts 158 124 71
Sessions 2899 7081 2700
Users 1262 5108 1691
Page Views 9790 13586 7009

I posted about half as often as in previous years; readership responded accordingly.

Data Trends

As you can see, I lost some progress this year. In the summer months of 2015 I had peak readership that has not repeated itself in this year.

It appears as though the number of users is remaining pretty constant and maybe even growing slightly.

Google Analytics

2014

2015

2016

Most popular posts (by month)

Still, readers did appreciate the things I posted. Here’s the favorites by month.

Jan 18 – Raptor Sketching

Feb 27 – Corgi Found

March 6 – No name but beach trip was fun

April 17 – Goodbye, Bella

May 8 – I finished a painting (miracles do happen)

June 15 – Ruth Ellen Hoag, Day 3

July 22 – North Fork Sanitam and Opal Creek

Aug 28 – Student Issues

Sept 17 – It turns out no one walk on… water

Oct 25 – Red

Nov 20 – Another year, another 6×6 painting

Dec 17 – How to have fun in the cold

Conclusion

My next post will be about how I did on my 2016 goals. After that, it’ll be 2017 with a list of new goals. I’ll be taking the information about into account.

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