Monday, October 30, 2006

A Day of Art and Relaxation

Yesterday I had the loveliest getaway. The whole day was just one lovely surprise after another. In fact, think of it as a fractal of fun, unfurling, one pattern after another after another after another....

I didn't know I was going to go anywhere until I woke up yesterday morning and remembered a postcard sitting on my desk about an art show in Reno that was the weekend before Halloween. I climbed out of bed, dug through the mountain of papers next to the computer and voila - the postcard. Yes, the show's last day was Sunday.

I'd like to say I jumped in the car right then and there but alas, first I had to copy edit William's English paper for him. I had a lot to do - help William with his school work, laundry, etc. I almost didn't go at all. But common sense, fortunately, did not prevail and an hour and a half later I was off.

The first wonderful thing is that the 90 mile drive flew by as I was caught up in listening to my music (no teenager to argue over CD selections with), the breathtaking autumn colors, and the mental space to work out plot details for my Nanowrimo story. (Less then 36 hours before the writing begins!)

The show was by an art guild called Wild Women Artists. See the circle of hands on the first page of their website? This was so much more amazing in person. So much more amazing!

My favorite artist was, hands down (hah - a hand joke) Kathleen Durham. She introduced herself and explained that she didn't sell her art. Originally she felt as if she had to sell it, to justify her work, and then every time a piece sold, she was miserable. So she decided she was supposed to do storytelling instead. She had a prime location in the exhibit hall, next to an inside tropical garden complete with a koi pond, perfect for displaying her figurines amongst the rocks and trees. She walked around introducing me to assorted members of "the Underwood" and told little tales about everyone. It was delightful. I'm going to see if I can get our local art guild or library or elementary school to invite her up to do storytelling for kids (young and old) in our community.

I really liked Barbara Glynn Prodaniuk's work as well. It had a wild peacefulness about it. I purchased a handle-less ceramic mug from her. It is shaped like the base of a tree. I think it will be the perfect vessel for herbal teas, tinctures, anything earthy I want to honor.

Browse through the other artist's pages as well. There was a felt maker, a textile artist, several wonderful painters, an amazing jewelry maker..... oh, just go look.

One more artist I'll mention by name was a guest of the guild, Gretchen Ericson. She did lovely unique basketry, but the thing I loved most on her table was this little figure.

Do you know who this is? Well, it's Little Dead Riding Hood of course!

I finally left the art show, coming out of the building blinking in the bright autumn sunshine. The show was at Rancho San Rafael Park, a wonderful community treasure. I put my new mug and my purse back in the car and, grabbing only my camera, went wandering through the park's extensive botanical gardens. There was a photo op every ten feet. The shadows, the late afternoon light, the blue skies, the leaves of every shape and hue. I put a couple of photos from my walk up over on my studio blog.

The end of my walk brought me to the Labyrinth Gardens. I walked the labyrinth. Labyrinths are such amazing places. I've never walked one without receiving the gift of a timely message, but when I first step into the serpentine maze, it feels silly. Walking back and forth, round and round, my mind races with a million things it suddenly can't stop thinking about. Yet eventually, with no effort on my part, my thoughts all skitter away, like dried leaves across the pavement, and all that's left is an infusion of peacefulness and some new understanding of myself.

Even returning to the parking lot I stumbled upon an artistic moment - crabapples. Aren't they pretty against the blue?

Or like a little apple Stonehenge scattered across the pavement?

Or used to create a picture?

Finally it was time to move on to the more practical half of the day. I was headed to Trader Joe's but I detoured into the Spirit Halloween store (bought some cute ghost lights on sale) and JoAnns (bought a teensy bit of fabric, some sculpty clay (inspired by Durham's Underwood characters), and some miniature autumn leaves to scatter in my Halloween village). Then Trader Joe's, to stock up on soy milk. And since by this time I was starving, a number of impulse purchases, including these wonderful looking fruit muffins. Had one this morning for breakfast - YUM. Last but not least, I stopped to get a box of Krispie Kreme doughnuts for William.

By now I was starving. I was craving Thai food but the only Thai restaurant I knew of was way clear the other side of Sparks, plus I thought it might close early on a Sunday. I decided to settle for one of our regular stops. Olive Garden, Claim Jumper, something like that. But the parking lots around each of the restaurants were packed. I could see people overflowing the restaurant doors, waiting. I decided to drive in a big square up one main street, across on another, down the next main street... there are a lot of small strip malls in the area. Maybe one would have a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that wouldn't be as crowded. I only made it to the first corner when what did I spy, tucked between a loan company and a take out pizza place, but a Thai restaurant!

I pulled into the parking lot. The completely empty parking lot. Glanced at the building again. Yes, the lights were on. The neon sign flashed "Open". Well, worst case scenario was that the food was horrible.

I walked into a.... well, it looked like a palace! In fact, I think the name of the restaurant was The Thai Palace. Bright red walls, gold and silver everywhere. Bling, Bling, Bling! I was the only person in the place. A man greeted me as if I was an old friend and seated me at a very fancy table. I picked up the menu he had placed before me wondering if the reason I was the only one in the joint was because the food would be priced for a king. Opened the menu as if I'd find a bomb inside....Whew! The prices were a dollar or two more then I had expected, but nothing that made me need to leave.

Eventually another server appeared in the room, as did several people waiting for take-out, and a young couple with an adorable baby. My food arrived - Tofu Pad Thai, white rice, and Pumkin Red Curry with shrimp and chicken. Oh! Oh my stars! Oh the food of gods! The bliss of taste buds! In other words, the food was fantastic. Guess where I'm taking Jeff next time we go to Reno!?

Last but not least, Barnes & Noble, where I treated myself to the next books in several of my favorite urban fantasy and mystery series. I also found a couple of books on those fun bargain displays. A book about the mythology of different witch stories - a really different perspective on a topic that often gets the same old comments dished up about it. And another book called, I believe, This Haunted Isle - photos and stories about haunted sites in Great Britain. Well, can't pass that one up, can I! The only negative, their cafe espresso machine was broken - ack! So I had to make one more stop at a nearby Starbucks for a raspberry white mocha latte for the road.

The drive home was just as pleasant as the drive earlier had been. The waxing half moon hung low over the mountains, which made the ridgetops a black silhouette against the moonlit sky. I spent half the time driving home on a cell phone conference with William helping him with the last adjustments on his short story that was due today. "How do you spell "realized"? "Does the question mark go inside or outside of the quotation marks?" I made it all the way home without a single deer trying to jump out in front of me, only to almost hit three big buck standing directly in front of my fence where I park my car. I guess they know the only safe place to be during hunting season is inside the city limits, eh?

It's so hard to allow myself a day without justifying it somehow as practical. I was tempted to justify my trip to Reno by filling it up with all sorts of errands that eventually need to be done. (Yeah, I did buy soy milk, and that's pretty practical, but I love to go to Trader Joe's and I almost always run out of time before I get a chance on most trips.) But hubby was the one who allowed me such a wonderful, rejuvenating getaway. Still half asleep when I shook his shoulder gently to suggest I might take the day to myself, he mumbled from beneath the covers "Go! Enjoy yourself! You'll have fun honey!" Ahhhh. He does have his moments of wisdom.


Blogger Jan said...

I wish I could have accompanied you to the Wild Women show! I looked on their web site just the other day. My favorite is Jimmie Benedict, the wearable arts person. Her work is very inspiring to me. What a wonderful day you had! No one to accomodate but yourself, that is fun. And now you have shared it with us. Thanks!

7:17 PM  

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