Friday, March 17, 2006

Astoria Crud, Snow, and other ramblings

Ah yes, I've been silent a long time, mainly due to a bad case of what the locals call the "Astoria Crud," which entails a cold that comes on literally within minutes. One minute you're fine and fancy-free, two mintues later you are explosively sneezing, your eyes are draining like broken fire hoses, your head has suddenly filled with cotton batting.

As disgusting as this ongoing episode has been (4 weeks and counting), I must say that during the first two weeks I made up for all the lost sleep from the last two years. I'd get up every morning, drip down the stairs (armed with nasal spray, chapstick, cough syrup, ibuprophen, and a large box of Kleenex), fall into my coma chair with a heavy blankie, put on the old movie channel, and sleep all day. At night, I would trudge up the stairs with all of my deal-with-it stuff, and fall into bed.

Unfortunately, the first few days of this seige I had already committed myself to do a Home Show at the Seaside Convention Center, in the hopes of selling some pre-season photos. Oh, please. I would rather have been shot than do it, but I had spent a month getting ready for it, and paid $225 for my exhibitor space. It was 35 outside in Seaside, with wind gusts of 40 mph blowing in off the icy Pacific. Every time I wanted a cigarette, I had to venture out to the car.

After going through this three-day exercise in vending torture, and not making enough to even cover the exhibitor's fee (nor did anyone else ... there was almost a vendor rebellion that I didn't have the strength to participate in), I retired to my bed and chair for two weeks.

Unfortunately, just as I was getting a tad better for the first time, I ventured out after a major fit of cabin fever, and just happened to venture out into a hail storm that turned into a wind/rain storm.

The second time I started to feel better, the weather came to me. I decided to have thermapane windows installed on the lower floor, and the day they came was, of course, rather chilly. So here I sat at my computer, with large gaping holes in the wall, while they fought to put in the new windows. The house has been so canted by the sinking addition pulling the house towards the river that one window frame was actually cockeyed. On the upside, the house is much warmer now.

On the downside, I have to get the house jacked up sooner rather than later. Which also means that I need to replace all of the windows on the bottom floor north wall of the house, and it's all windows. While they provide a fabluous view of the river and town, they are single-paned, and it is more or less like being outside. There's even a plus side to that, though, as you really don't need a refrigerator in the kitchen, it's cold enough to store food right on the counter.

One of the bright lights of this whole ordeal has been the Shanahan Gallery. Fortunately, I've been selling very well there, and I sure do love those commission checks. Unfortunately, between a very nasty kidney infection (which blasted my socks off just before being stricken with the Astoria Crud) and the Crud itself, I have not been up to replacing the inventory that they've been selling. Now that I'm feeling a tad perkier, that's the first thing on my agenda.

Regarding the Astoria Review ... if you will recall, they used my photo on the cover, and I did not get credit. It all sounded dealable-with when Daryl, owner of the Shanahan Gallery with his wife, Cindy, called me about it. When I actually saw the cover at my beloved Triangle Tavern, I almost blew about 4 head-gaskets. They had not only neglected to give me credit, they had given the credit to someone else! It was suddenly NOT dealable-with.

I emailed Mike Strom, the editor, and was a tad dramatic, but did manage to leave out all of the expletives I felt were suitable for the occasion. He emailed back right away, and was apologetic, and said I could have some free advertising and an interview to promote my work, etc.

The next Friday, I went down to the Shanahan Gallery, where he took photos of me with the photo in question (I look like a demented dwarf), and taped and interview with me. Inexplicably, the article came out with a photo of me, but the interview was with Daryl and Cindy Moore, owners of the Shanahan Gallery. Guess my interview must have bored him.

Here it is:

Astoria Review

However, the highlight of my last several months was that it snowed in Astoria last week, which is apparently totally unheard of in March. It started at around 5 AM, and was gone by 11 AM, but it was glorious. The snow never made it all the way down to the river, but the further up the hill I went, the more snow. Near the top of the town, kids were out making snowmen, and throwing snowballs. Up at the Astoria Column, there were 3" of snow. It was all so Currier & Ives and incredibly beautiful.

I ran around for two hours, between 6:30 AM and 9 AM (by 9 it was already 36 degrees outside), shooting photos and traipsing around in the slush and snow, having a grand old time. Before the snow plows came, I actually was dumb enough to try to get up Coxcomb Hill to the Column with my 2 wheel drive car without chains. Made it about halfway up, and then suddenly went totally sideways. It was only slightly humiliating to wave at the trucks going up the hill while I slowly backed down in the downhill lane. You can see my snow photos here:

Astoria in the Snow

All for now, think I'll go defrost some meat on the kitchen counter for lunch tomorrow.

Astoria Photografpix

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