Category Archives: pets

Back to work!

Window in to the past, Gila cliff dwellings

Window in to the past, Gila cliff dwellings

Summer break is officially over now. Aaron went back to work yesterday. We had company visiting, so I’m starting back today. I haven’t painted on canvas since June, but I did paint the house! We spent Aaron’s Summer break working on the house and exploring our new home. We hiked many miles and found some really beautiful areas. Mountain streams, lava flows, old dead trees, and an abundance of birds and wildlife. I probably took a couple hundred photos! We are settled in now and enjoying our new home to it’s fullest. I’m grateful to be living the dream!

Dusty hiking

Dusty hiking in Spring Canyon

I keep going back and forth about keeping my studio here at home or finding a place in town (Silver City) to rent. After searching town and making a few calls, it seems there isn’t much available and what is available is a bit overpriced. For now, I’ve decided to keep my studio at home.

On the scaffolding, painting the back side of the house

On the scaffolding, painting the back side of the house

With all the hiking trails in the area, I’ve decided to start blogging about our hikes on a regular basis. My goal is to blog 2 times per week. One will be about hiking the Gila and the other will be my art update for the week. Fingers crossed I can accomplish this goal! Our internet connection is spotty out here, so it will depend on how reliable it is on the days I blog.

View from atop the Black Range Crest Trail

View from atop the Black Range Crest Trail, this trail goes through a forest fire area from the Silver fire in 2013

Hiking is a walking meditation for me. There is nothing more calming or inspiring. My footsteps and breathing create a rhythm that takes me to another plane of perception. The trick is keeping that perception after the hike is over. Most of the time, it leaves as soon as I hop back in the car after a hike. My wish is to get to a point where I can keep that feeling while sitting here in my studio.

On the trail

On the trail

During our hikes I have been thinking a lot about writing. Words flow to me during my hiking meditations and I would love to get this flow down into words. That is what I’m working on. As a visual artist, words can be difficult. Putting what I see into words is not an easy task.

Another view from the Black Range Crest Trail

Another view from the Black Range Crest Trail

That said, the urge to write is becoming stronger than my aversion to writing.
I don’t know that what I have to write/say is important to the world in general, but it’s important to me and perhaps someone else will get something from it too.

View from the CDT trail

View from the CDT trail

Happy New Year!

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Holidays. I really did enjoy all the time spent with my family in 2016. We also had a really fun and successful mini-tour to Arizona with our music. Sunlight performed in Phoenix, Tucson and Ajo, AZ and we were very grateful for the turnout and CD sales!

Margaritas in Mexico!

Margaritas in Mexico!

While in southern Arizona, we visited the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It was awesome to see all the huge cacti! Saguaros and Organ Pipe Cactus were everywhere. We took a short hike, but it was quite cold while we were there. Of course, it warmed up into the 70s on the day we left.

Serenaded by Mariachis

Serenaded by Mariachis

We made a very quick trip down to Mexico for dinner one of the days we were visiting in Ajo. It was supposed to be a full day trip, but my sweetie woke up sick that day and ended up sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Once he got up, we decided to go for it and drove down to Puerto Penasco for a wonderful dinner by the sea! The food was great, even if the weather was COLD and windy. Our waiter was awesome and brought us our own personal heater. We practiced our Espanol with him and he practiced his English with us. Other than the trucks of soldiers riding around with automatic weapons, nothing was out of the ordinary. I guess the soldiers were there to protect the tourists. Like I said, nothing out of the ordinary!

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

I saw my first live Javelina while we were in Ajo! Apparently, they are regular visitors to the dumpster there. I only got one photo of one of them, but at night we were surrounded in our car by a herd/pack? of them! It was quite interesting, like watching a nature show in person! haha!

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP :(

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP 😦

We arrived home in Albuquerque just in time for Christmas and spent several great days hanging out with our kids, siblings and parents. Only one day was a sad day, as we had to have one of our fur babies put down at the end of the year. She was old and sick, but Raven will be greatly missed! She was a great dog. ❤

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

The last week of the year I was asked to create a coloring page for a new local quarterly paper. The Chronicle is New Mexico’s Cannabis Magazine. I created a Cannabis Mandala coloring page for the first issue of 2017. It was quick and fun, check out their website for more information.

Lessons Learned

photo of the stage at Fiddler's Dream coffee house

The stage at Fiddler’s Dream Coffee House

Last night we made it home from our second trip out in the RV. We went back to Arizona again. This time starting off in Phoenix where we had a Sunlight show at Fiddler’s Dream coffee house. Then heading to Tucson the next day where we had a gig at Delectables restaurant.

Aaron and I, Sunlight, before our show

Aaron and I (Sunlight), before hopping on stage for our show

Fiddler’s Dream is just that, a dream venue! The audience is actually listening and not just there to eat and visit with each other. We had a really wonderful response there, it was lovely. We will definitely go back on our next trip to Phoenix! Before we left Phoenix, we spent the late morning/early afternoon at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens. They had an exhibit of Chihuly glass sculptures all throughout the gardens.

Chihuly glass sculpture

Chihuly glass sculpture at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens

Though it was a bit chilly, it was a lovely sunny day to be there. We met a friend there and also had a nice lunch in the patio cafe where the quail were so tame they came right up to us and practically ate out of our hands. I have never seen so many quail in one place and NEVER so tame!

Chihuly glass sculpture in the gardens

Chihuly glass sculpture in the gardens

tame quail in the patio cafe at the botanical gardens

tame quail in the patio cafe at the botanical gardens

quail at the botanical gardens

quail at the botanical gardens

There was also a lone squirrel in the mix that did, in fact, come up to me and take a piece of bread from my hand. He even posed for several photos!

squirrel that ate out of my hands!

squirrel that ate out of my hands!

Delectables was another lovely venue. It was a restaurant/bar and though the audience wasn’t there just for the music (we played for an art opening), they were friendly and welcoming. The owner, Donna, was sweet and invited us to come back anytime we were in Tucson.

more Chihuly glass

more Chihuly glass

The third day, we were supposed to be on our way to Bisbee to play a show at the Grand Hotel Saloon, but our RV had other plans. It started the night before on our way back to the RV park from our gig at Delectables. The night had gone really well, the crowd enjoyed our music and we enjoyed the crowd. That is, until we pulled onto the freeway and the RV started shaking and rocking back and forth. Aaron immediately pulled over because we thought we had blown out a tire. He got out, walked around to look at all the tires and got back in saying they were all still fine. So, we fired the engine back up and got back on the road and everything seemed fine.

Huge Chihuly glass sculpture

Huge Chihuly glass sculpture

The next morning we headed back out on the road with the intention of making a couple of stops for a new air filter and dish soap before we hit the road towards Bisbee for our show at 4pm that afternoon. This time we were exiting the interstate when the shaking and rocking started. This was enough for us to stop in the parking lot in front of the auto parts store and check the tires and underside of the RV once again, this time in the light of day. There was evidence of something being off with the suspension, so we ended up calling the roadside assistance number for a tow truck. Incidentally, we had JUST purchased the roadside assistance before leaving on this trip. Thank goodness!

RV hooked up to the tow truck

Hooked up to the tow truck, finally, after a 3-4 hour wait!

Long story short, after a 3-4 hour wait (it was a Sunday after all), we got towed to the mechanic’s yard and ended up spending the night there while waiting for our new tires to be ordered and delivered Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, we were back on the road thinking we had taken care of all the RV issues. We had already planned on going home that day anyway. To our dismay, we found ourselves stopped on the side of the road again, this time because we were losing power and backfiring. After some consultation with friends and family on facebook we bought some fuel cleaner and that seemed to help enough to get us to Las Cruces (halfway point) for the night.

Aaron and I at the botanical gardens

Aaron and I at the botanical gardens

Needless to say, we have learned a thing or two on our first couple of RV trips! Due to monetary concerns, we have been forced to come home until at least the end of February. Here’s a short list of our lessons learned;

1. Roadside assistance membership is a MUST!

2. Three dogs is way too much for a small motor home! Any motor home really, they need a yard to run in and I HATE cleaning up dog poop in those little plastic bags! Gross!

3. Towing a car behind your motor home may be a pain, but having a car when you get to your destination is priceless. Bikes are fine, but when you get a flat tire in a small town, you’re stuck with a flat tire until you get to a place that has a bike shop. Also, driving a motor home to a gig can be difficult when it comes time to find a parking space!

4. Though it is nice to travel around in a motor home and have your home always with you, it’s also nice to have a home to go back to when the trip is over. Since we rented out all the rooms in our house with plans to live full time in our RV, we had to sleep on our mattress on the floor of our living room when we got home last night because it was WAY too cold to sleep out in the RV!

Be Careful!

Our shadows cast on the desert trail, walking the dogs out in the desert is a favorite for us, the dogs can run free and we can walk in peace away from traffic.

Our shadows cast on the desert trail, walking the dogs out in the desert is a favorite for us, the dogs can run free and we can walk in peace away from traffic.

The one phrase we’ve heard most often since taking off on our trip is “Be careful!” I understand the people telling us this have nothing but good intentions. I really do appreciate everyone’s concern. Last night when I heard it again for the hundredth time, it just struck me as such a funny thing to say.

The dogs are ready to get their run in!

The dogs are ready to get their run in!

First of all, of course we are going to be careful! What hit me more profoundly though was the fact that to do what we are doing, traveling around in an RV, is a risk. The type of risk that most people would never take. Maybe that’s why people tell us to be careful, because they cannot see themselves doing what we are doing. They see it as too much of a risk. Way too far out of their comfort zone.

fall colors on a tree in Las Cruces

Fall starts a bit later down south, but the trees are starting to change.

I guess it’s all in your perception. We see it as an adventure! No doubt, we are stepping out of our own comfort zone. We have lived the last 13 years in the same town, in the same house even. We have established ourselves in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have a business, we have friends, family, in short, we have comfort in Albuquerque.

photo of Leon family in Las Cruces

We have enjoyed visiting with great friends, Saturday evening was spent with the Leon family, too much fun!

We spent two days with our lifelong friend Rob, here with his dog, Paco.

We spent two days with our lifelong friend Rob, here with his dog, Paco.

Visiting our hometown for the past week has reminded me of my adventurous spirit. I first left Las Cruces, New Mexico as a 17 year old. Newlywed, young mother, my husband was in the military, our first duty station just happened to be Hawaii. We were there for a short 8 months, but at the time it seemed like forever! It was so hard being so far from home, back in the days when long distance calls were expensive. But it was fun! I guess I’ve always been good at stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s just a part of who I am.

One of my record paintings hanging on the wall at the Leon family home! :)

One of my record paintings hanging on the wall at the Leon family home! 🙂

For years, when my kids were growing up, I wanted nothing more than to have a safe, secure life. Buy a house, get a steady job, stay in one place so the boys would have friends and feel like they belonged somewhere. It took a long time to get to that place. From that first adventure in Hawaii, to finally settling down in Albuquerque spanned a period of 15 years and at least 20 moves in 6 different states!

photo of Organ mountains

My favorite landmark in Las Cruces, the Organ mountains to the east of town. This view is from the front porch of our good friend Rob’s house.

Now that the boys are men, adults taking care of themselves (for the most part!), all I want to do is explore and move, enjoying the time spent traveling from one town to another. Unlike when the boys were small. All the moving back then was a nightmare. Now it’s just Aaron and me, we don’t have to worry about anything but what we want to do.

dogs running at park with Organ mountains in the background

And a view of the Organs from Young Park with the dogs running in the foreground

Way back when, at the young age of 16, when I had my first son, I promised myself that I would reward myself for the sacrifices of having kids at an early age by enjoying my 40s. I am now here and spending my 40s doing the things most people do in their 20s.

Ran into our friend and fellow musician at an open mic night. Big thanks to Tom Foster Morris for the cd he gave me for my birthday!

Ran into our friend and fellow musician at an open mic night. Big thanks to Tom Foster Morris for the cd he gave me for my birthday!

My promise to you all? We will be careful! 🙂

Week One

Would it be obvious to say it’s been an eventful week? We pulled out of Albuquerque last Thursday in the late afternoon. It didn’t take long for our first incident…

photo of our dogs in the RV

The dogs were ready to hit the road!

Just after we passed the first Belen exit, which is about 20 miles south of ABQ, the RV started sputtering and then stalled. We pulled over to the side of the road and I struggled not to have a complete meltdown! I fought back the tears, how could this be happening? All this time we had waited to leave town and we hadn’t even made it out of the area yet. As usual, Aaron stayed cool and calm, as he took the engine cover off and started looking at the engine. I suggested Aaron text Chris, the mechanic we had bought the RV from, since he had told us to call him if we had any issues. He responded very quickly and proceeded to ask Aaron questions and then told him that it sounded like the choke was sticking or a float within the carburetor was sticking. He suggested trying to start it with the gas held to the floor and sure enough, it started right back up! Back on the road after a few minutes, we didn’t have any issues after that. The RV runs quite well as a matter of fact. Our conclusion was the carburetor was clogged after sitting in our driveway for over a month.

New Mexico sunset photo

Sunset shot on the way south from Albuquerque

In Las Cruces Thursday evening, we parked the RV in my brother’s driveway. He has one of those great big driveways, especially made for RV parking. How convenient!

Go burger sign

Biggest, best burritos in Las Cruces!

Friday was my birthday! I always take the day off on my birthday, so Friday morning we got up and decided to take a walk to one of our favorite burrito joints in Cruces, Go Burger. That’s one of the nice things about visiting Las Cruces, you don’t really NEED a car. As long as it isn’t the middle of the Summer! This time of year however, the weather was a perfect 78 degrees. We initially thought the walk would take us an hour, but we arrived within 25 minutes and had our yummy chile relleno burritos in another 10 minutes. If you are ever in Las Cruces, I highly recommend eating at Go Burger, they have lots of great Mexican food, but the burritos, with their 12″(at least!) homemade tortillas, are the BOMB! Funny, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a burger there!

chile relleno burrito

Go Burger chile relleno burrito, YUM!

Our trips to Las Cruces usually revolve around food and eating out. The Mexican food is quite different even from southern to northern New Mexico. Having grown up in the south, we like it best! On regular trips to LC we eat as much Mexican as we can, but this trip even more so! Since we are getting ready to leave the state, we are getting our fill of our favorite food from home. Now, I know, I know, you can get Mexican food all over the country these days, but nothing is quite like Southern New Mexico style. The chile is grown locally and is famous for being the best in the world!

That evening my brother and his wife took us out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. We drove out to Old Mesilla, just outside of LC, and ate at La Posta. This restaurant has been around for a LONG time, it opened in 1939, it’s the place you take tourists when they visit. It’s an old historic building built in the 1840s. The food is good, but the atmosphere of the old adobe walls, lots of small rooms connected in a maze, with live parrots in a huge cage in the entrance is what makes La Posta such a magical place to visit. Of course, I didn’t take any photos this time! 😦 I promise to be better about that, still getting used to the idea that I promised to share our adventures!)

outlet and plug halloween costume photo

Aaron and I in our costumes, I was an electrical outlet and Aaron was the plug. I was actually surprised by how many times we had to explain our costume!

Saturday we spent time visiting friends in the afternoon, before my brother took us with him to a Halloween party. His band, Flat Blak, played and Aaron and I even played a few songs with my brother on drums and another friend, Larry, on keyboards. We spent the day driving around town searching for a costume for Aaron and ended up finding a couple costume that was so perfect and funny! I was an electrical outlet and Aaron was the plug! My brother and his wife had matching costumes too, my brother was the dude from Duck Hunter and his wife was an army girl. As usual when partying with my brother, we were up until 4:30 Sunday morning! Needless to say, we didn’t do much other than watch football on Sunday.

Duck Hunter and Army girl halloween costumes

My brother, Travis, and his wife, Charlene

There is still more to share but I don’t want to make this post too long. I will finish up on Thursday. Subscribe to my blog if you want to receive notice of my next post. I had planned to post a new blog every Tuesday, but a week is a long time and a lot to share, so I’m thinking of changing that to Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending of course on how much we have to share or how busy we are. My next post will take you through Monday to Wednesday of this week. Hopefully, next week’s post will include photos of some new paintings or at least progress on a new painting. It is quite an adjustment to work while traveling, though it is nice to have our “home office” with us while we are on the road. We are currently planning to leave Las Cruces on Friday/Saturday and head to Silver City, NM and the Gila National Forest and Wilderness Area. Stay tuned…..

The Experiment is Over

photo of a New Mexico mountain meadow

New Mexico mountain meadow, who says NM isn’t green?!

We spent 13 months without a car. It was a great experiment! I really enjoyed riding our city buses and walking everywhere. There were only two things we knew we would miss about not having a car, 1. day trips to the mountains to go hiking and, 2. having a way to haul things. Number 2 was taken care of by the generosity of our parents letting us borrow their cars once or twice a month. I believe we were able to get a hike in only 2 or 3 times during the year, and that was what made us finally break down and buy our truck. We still plan to use the public transit and walk as much as possible, but it sure is nice to be able to hop in our truck and take a trip to the mountains.

Sun shining through the Aspens

Sun through the Aspens

We bought our “new” truck last week and spent the next few days fixing up a few things on it so we could go out on Tuesday to HIKE! I’m so happy that we did! We bought a 1987 Ford Bronco II, 4×4. On Tuesday, we took off north of Albuquerque to the San Pedro wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest. We hiked a portion of the Continental Divide Trail, something we have been fantasizing about for months as we saved to buy our truck. The truck gets the same gas mileage as our old van, but the bonus is, we can go much further into the wilderness with 4 wheel drive!

photo of large aspen grove

We hiked at least a mile through a large Aspen grove, some of the trees were at least 80 years old, judging by the carvings on them from 1934!

On the way up the mountain, I was looking out at the forest and enjoying the scenery, trying not to pay much attention to the CRAZY 4 wheel drive road we were on, high up in the mountains with no guardrails! Luckily, my husband has lots of experience driving those types of roads. Still, it was better if I didn’t look ahead of us! Anyway, while I was watching the forest roll by, I could SWEAR I saw what could have possibly been a BIGFOOT! I so wish I would have had my camera out! What I saw, clear as day, was an upright, tall creature, yellowish brown colored, run through the trees to our right. By the time I asked my husband if he saw what I saw, it was gone. We were DEEP in the forest, on a 4 wheel drive road that had obviously not been traveled in a LONG time. We didn’t run into any people on our hike or anywhere on the 3 separate forest roads we drove on that day. If you have never been to the northern New Mexico wilderness, this is REMOTE country. FREAKED me out! To say the least!

photo of our pooped puppies

Juju and Raven at the end of the hike, Raven was pooped, but Osa was nowhere to be seen, she was having way too much fun chasing squirrels!

By the time we got to the trail head though, I had forgotten all about it. We were going HIKING! The dogs were THRILLED! We ended up going on a 4 hour hike through some of the most beautiful forests I have seen yet. There was at least a mile long Aspen grove with trees that had been carved by people (I hate it when people do that!) as far back as 1934! I love imagining the first people who walked through the forest, perhaps they marked the trees so they could find their way back the way they came.

photo of aaron and his truck

Aaron and his new “baby”, he even got to splash through some mud!

My husband was in heaven, driving his new 4×4 that switched very smoothly into 4 wheel drive and then back out again once we got off the mountain. What a wonderful day! Just the first of many to come!

photo of me with Juju at the end of the hike

Me with Juju at the end of the hike! I was standing on a tree stump, but Aaron cut off my feet in the photo!

Commissioned Portraits

Painting portraits is my specialty. I have been painting commissioned portraits for almost 25 years! Nothing I paint is more challenging and rewarding. Below you can see some examples of portraits I’ve been commissioned to paint over the past few years.

I can work from life or photo, preferably photo for kids and pets. You may provide the photo or I can take photos for you for an extra $25.

My prices are moderate for my experience and are based on size, medium, and number of people/pets. Starting at $150 for a pencil 8 x10″ with one person/pet and going up to $1,400 for an oil 20 x 24″ with four people/pets. Email me for an exact quote for your commission.

Prices include basic professional framing. A 50% deposit is required to begin and the balance is due on approval of the portrait. You may also order prints or notecards to share your portrait with family and friends.