Sunday, October 31, 2010


Today began with mass at O.L.P.H. ( Our Lady of Perpetual Help ) Where Fr. Manny told the same dumb tequilla jokes during his sermon and the two bellowing babies in the back made his homily all the more very difficult to hear. During the prayers of the faithful I submitted that we pray for the Giants to win the pennant, which got a good laugh. I'm glad it cheered everyone up. After mass, I went back home and spent the day painting more "Spirit Rocks" like the ones you see above. This is my latest creative/ crafty pursuit.Yes, they are painted with metallic and glow-in-the-dark paint.They dry real easily and are fun to make. I let some of the neighborhood kids pick one out to take along with a handful of Snickers bars when they came by my apartment trick or treating. They are such great kids around here.I heard that their was a parade downtown where the whole community gets to take pictures and gawk at all the interesting costumes, but I opted to just hang out at home.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Focusing on Art

The rains are on the way and still the Giants are in the World Series to play their second game in San Francisco. They won the first one and hopefully this one won't get rained out. Go GIants ! Tomorrow they go to play in Texas.

I drove to Napa this morning thinking that it was Friday and got to the dentist's office only to realize that my appointment isn't until tomorrow. It was not a futile trip though, because I went to see my friend Arnie, who is currently at the Queen of the Valley Hospital getting treatment for pneumonia in his lungs ( yikes ! ) He has to stay there until they get the infection in his lungs under control. I hope he will be out soon.

Trader Joes is my favorite place to shop because they have the best products and value for my money. I made a stop there to buy vegetables, nuts, crackers, avocados, ginger chews, cranberries and some tahini sauce. So now you know what I like to nosh on. Yesterday I went for a hike up to Coyote peak at Bothe State Park. I did some artwork in the morning, and hiked in the afternoon. Today it is a little too overcast and it may rain tonight,so I'm going to take a pass this afternoon. Besides, my feet hurt after only a four mile hike... sheesh !

A friend of mine suggested that I paint some not so common fruits and vegetables that are used in the kitchen. This is how I spent the day. The other thing I've been painting are "Spirit Rocks" that I will be giving out on Halloween. No really... these are pretty cool. I got some rocks from the beach out at Jenner and found the smoothest and roundest ones around. Then I got some nice acrylic metallic paints to cover them. Then I paint small designs with glow in the dark paint on top. More to come...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cozy Cocoa

It is raining today , and it is looking like winter already. These are the days where I usually stay inside and draw or fiddle around on my computer or make something in the kitchen. I had a big breakfast after mass, with turkey bacon, a cheese omelette with jalapeƱo peppers and avocados. Then I prepared two slices of whole grain rye toast and topped it with yogurt butter and fig jam.I also made myself a cup of cocoa with cinnamon just for giggles. I am now making another cup because the first one was so good.
Nothing like a hot cup of cocoa on a cold, wet day. As a youngster we used to make it with warm milk and plop a marshmallow on the top. I can honestly say that I don't think I can remember the last time I had a marshmallow, can you? They were a highlight of my youth, especially on camping trips. Roasting a few on a stick was great fun, except when you burnt the roof of your mouth from eating the damn thing while it was still roasting.

In less than two months I will be 60 years old. This fact freaks me out a bit because I still feel like my life is just getting started and I am already past middle age! I know for certain that I am a late bloomer when it comes to maturity. I have to make all the mistakes there are to make in life before I get something right.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Compiling Artwork

It has been a while since I have thoroughly reviewed my portfolio and all the other art work I've kept over the years. Yesterday I went through my collection and framed a few pieces and went on to archive some others. My game plan is to submit some smaller work I've done to the Napa Valley Museum this weekend for a small format show coming up.I've also upgraded my photo gallery to include a lot of my more recent works. Above is one i did a long time ago but added a few embellishments just to make it interesting. I call it the "Shaman".

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Crush

It is sunny and beautiful outside again today. Yesterday was 10-10-2010 and the Giants pulled a little bit closer to making it into the playoffs. Saturday I went to help my friends Dick and Carol Uschyck, harvest and crush grapes. This has been and event that takes place every year about this time since 2001, and this was the first time I participated. A few years back I designed a label for their Merlot which they have used to make gifts which they give out during the holidays. What makes this amusing is that the grapes they harvest are from their "vineyard" which is basically a rather small yard in front of their house which we jokingly call the "lower-forty". What is so surprising, is that they usually get about two tons every year! The juice is very sweet and nutritious but don't worry. I won't be sampling the juice after it ferments. That would be road I won't be traveling down again. Dick invited me to stay and have dinner with the family which was great. They made tacos and we sat around exchanging stories about life in the Napa Valley as I drank my water. Carol gave me two jars of her fig jam to take home with me. They are nice people and good neighbors.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Staying busy

My creative juices have been flowing. I have been spending the time beefing up my portfolio and reorganizing all my art work. Today I came across a Mandala I created at SRJC about ten years ago. I added some color and filigree to make it into a more complete piece. It looks to me like an Alaskan tribal motif by the Eskimos there. I will have to look up the name for that style. Anyway, I've been enjoying these cool Fall days in Calistoga.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Staying Connected

It's Tuesday and the clouds were out this morning, but gave way to some beautiful sunshine this afternoon. I was not able to post to this blog earlier today because my internet connection was out. I called Comcast and they determined that it was the modem that was faulty and I ended up driving to Napa to get a new one at the Comcast store. Luckily, I had some shopping to do at Trader Joe's so it worked out well for me. When I got back I plugged in the modem and called Comcast to activate it. Unfortunately, they couldn't do that yet assured me that they would stay on it and scheduled a technician to come out at 2 PM. When the technician arrived he checked the new modem and determined that it was not the modem but the cable going to the box on the outside of my apartment. Yikes !! That box has been padlocked for a year, so that no one could access the cables and the former landlady was the only one with the combination. The Comcast guy told me that he would stick around until I found a way to open it. I ended up calling the Calistoga Housing people to see if the combination could still be found. No luck. Then I drove to ACE Hardware to purchase a hacksaw to cut the lock. That worked. I didn't think my day was going to proceed this way, but thankfully I am back on the internet and won't have to go through any withdraw from this crazy dependence.

Friday, October 01, 2010

October is here

Fall is upon us, and the days are getting shorter. The harvest for a lot of the Zinfandel grapes will begin either this week or early next week. It should be crazy busy for the grape pickers. The late harvest is to allow for more "hang time" which will increase the "brix" which in essence is the sugar content of the grapes. They are around 25 brix presently and may go higher. This also means that the alcohol content could be higher too ( not that this matters to me ). If you live in the Napa Valley, it is always fun to watch as the leaves turn from green to yellow to red. You can also smell the must of the grapes just by sticking your head out the window of the car at certain points up and down the valley.