Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Colorado is smokin' hot

Yet another fire began today. We had some lightning, and with the heat and aridity of this summer already...a tinderbox. I took this photo from a cafe near downtown where I tutored a student today. I think that makes 4 or 5 wildfires that are burning in CO right now.

(And I have no idea why the text suddenly got all weird and centered.)

You can really smell the smoke from my place tonight. It's hard on the eyes.

Yesterday it was 102 degrees F, we're setting all kinds of heat records, and today we got a little gift: a day mostly around 90 and even below 90. Aaaaahhh.


For fun, I thought I'd show you my shins...they're all covered with cuts and bruises from the move, and from constantly banging into all the boxes and paintings that are stacked all over the condo.


 How do you stay cool? Apparently sleeping on glass is something to try:

The skinny, fanged Rumi monster.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Still melting

This heat, with full sun too, is so brutal. I'm not able to do much beyond a little unpacking (the kitchen is done now, and I put together two floor lamps today), sorting slowly through the chaos of boxes and papers, taking Mojito to the lake to fetch (I now live closer to the lake, which is good for him) when the sun starts going down, and languishing in front of my swamp cooler. Unfortunately, my place has no a/c (in fact, I've never had it in Boulder, though summers have gotten hotter and hotter in my 20+ years here). I could really use it now. 

It cools down decently at night (the benefit of being at high altitude) but the window screens are still broken and I can only open the windows about two inches, so that the cats can't get out (yes, the cats are with me now, which is great).

Gadjo was the most freaked out about everything, sticking to me like velcro for the first two days. He literally couldn't stand to be not touching me--even when I was trying to cook or unpack. Having cats around makes packing or unpacking more difficult, but also more entertaining. On the car ride here, he hid his little face in the corner of the carrier the whole time. It was so sad and pathetic, and kind of funny because he is very much alpha kitty in whatever home he lives in, but turns into the biggest chicken when he experiences any change.

Putting up the first piece of art on the wall made the place feel suddenly so much more personal, more like a home than a place to squat. The transformation was very cool.

The worst part about this place so far, besides no yard for Mojito, is that the buildings in this complex are kept strangely brightly lit on their exteriors all night long. Like, very brightly lit. And both bedrooms' (one bedroom being the future art studio) windows are placed in such a way as to be unable to avoid the lights. Even with the shade down and my eyemask on, it's much too bright to sleep well. I'm starting to plot a possible sabotage of our building's exterior lamps, though they'd probably replace them immediately. How does anyone in this complex sleep? Every building, every bedroom window, has the same problem. I had expensive blackout shades in our former house. Maybe I'll have to shell out for one for my bedroom here. And there's only one window in the bedroom, so at night I put the cats out of my room, open the window wide to try to get some cool air, but then I need to put down the shade, and I don't get much air. It is an uncomfortable situation.

Yesterday I brought the lovely black Cleo Bean to what I hope will be her new permanent home. It was heart-wrenching, especially her pitiful terrified meowing during the half-hour drive, though I couldn't ask for better people to try her out. I really, really hope it will work out. It depends on her, whether she'll be able to adjust and learn to trust strangers. I hope it will work out--if it does, she will love the outdoors there--but I will always miss her.

In other news, the High Park Fire is now designated Colorado's most destructive wildfire ever. You can see the smoke on the horizon from where I am. I cannot even imagine the stamina of the 1800 firefighters out there, dealing with the heat from the fire combined with these insanely hot temperatures that show no sign of stopping.

So last night I thought I'd google the fire to see what the latest news was. Look what came up on the search: "Find Fire Near You. See Actual Customer Reviews!" Nice. I'm sure the people whose houses burned down would have some strong reviews on the fire. Dear CNN: People are not always shopping when they're on the internet.


Monday, June 18, 2012


It was actually supposedly "only" 99 degrees out today, but when I first got in the car it said 117. Then it dropped to 107 after a while and that's when I finally thought to get a picture.

Melting here. And of course the weather decided to do this just for my move. I'm now all moved in, surrounded by millions of unpacked boxes, with narrow rabbit-warren-like trails through the boxes leading to the bathroom and kitchen, doing that thing where you decide you want some cereal and you have to dig through ten boxes to find a spoon and a bowl. It took me half an hour last night to find some clothes to wear to work today.

But it's too hot to do anything about it.

Speaking of hot, last night after my final car load of art to my new place, I just couldn't face another unload session. So I left a bunch of stuff in the car last night. (I don't intend to unload it until the sun goes down tonight and it cools off.) 

Much to my surprise and ick-factor, I discovered today that the oil-based-clay sculptures in the car that I'd worked so hard on in art school....melted.

I had to laugh, after the shock wore off.

This one used to be the full body of a woman. All those lumps of clay at the bottom used to be the rest of her body:

 And this one's even creepier. This used to be a head sculpture I was really proud of, with musculature on one side and bone on the other, and this is the front of the head. The face completely fell off:

They both totally look like something out of The X-Files, don't they?


Another funny Fennec napping position.

I'm missing my kitties a lot right now. I had to leave them at the old house with The Ex-Husband for now, because in the condo I'm renting, I discovered upon moving in that all the window screens are broken and it's not safe for indoor kitties. Am communicating with condo owner (in CA) about what to do.

Am trying to work out a routine with Mojito, in terms of the fact that he doesn't have a yard anymore. Fortunately, the dog park is just across the street from my building, so I take him several times a day. But when we return to our rental condo, he keeps wanting to just lie on the grass in front of the building and hang out like he used to at home, which he's not allowed to do, and it makes me feel bad for him.

I have my internet set up now at home but not wireless yet. To be online, I'm wrapped up in so many cables and wires that it looks like I'm on life support in the ICU.

More art on my website: jalapfaff.com

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Untitled 42 (oil and cold wax)

Oil and cold wax on museum panel, 16" x 16".

Art purchase inquiries: please email me: jala [at] jalapfaff [dot com].

Well, this is probably the last post before the move. I'm still packing, signing final divorce papers, going crazy, and very tired. The main move will be Friday, and then Saturday and Sunday I'll be moving a lot of art and animolecules. Whew. Can't wait 'till it's over.

More art on my website: jalapfaff.com

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Untitled 41 (oil and cold wax)

Oil and cold wax on museum panel, 24" x 24".

Art purchase inquiries: please email me: jala [at] jalapfaff [dot com].

Taking a break from packing to post one of the only two pieces I've done in these last difficult couple of months. So, showing you this one and I will try to post the second one too, before I move this weekend. I have felt guilty having no art on my blog for a while now.

These oil and cold wax pieces are a little hard to photograph; because of the wax layers, the paintings actually look slightly different at different angles.

I'm at that point in packing where you just stand and stare in a daze, shaking your head at the impossibility, at everything that still has to be done. 

...Especially when it comes to the 400 sq.-ft. art studio. I haven't even made a small dent in there as yet. I honestly still don't know how I'll even begin packing all that up. I do know that I will have to move all the actual art myself. I hired two movers to do stuff like the sofa and bed, but I can't afford to pay the prices that "art movers" would require, so I'll be making lots of trips over the weekend in my car to move canvases, panels, and framed and unframed paintings.

Today I bought a tarp which will be the first thing into the new apartment on Friday, to cover the floor of the bedroom of what will become my (small!) art studio. 

Things are still feeling hard but I'm just trying to stay afloat, kissing kitties, and trolling for more boxes every day.

More art on my website: jalapfaff.com

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The long, dark night of the migraine

I think the greatest horror of the migraine is not just the pain, which is like an ice pick or a power drill through the eye socket into the brain, or the awful unrelenting nausea, but the fact that there's nothing you can do to distract yourself from it. You can't read, because that would involve light, which would be even more pain. You can't watch a movie--same thing. You can't listen to music or a podcast, because of course the slightest sound brings more pain. You can't do anything except lie in the fetal position in the dark in agony, desperately trying not to move. Even rolling over onto your other side brings new ice picks through the eye sockets and new waves of nausea. When you cry from the pain, the movements of your face, and the noise you make, cause more pain. And of course when you finally do have to throw up from the pain, that movement brings on...more pain.

If my migraine is bad enough, and I need to be somewhere that I can't cancel, I take a med of the sort known as triptans, which are a mixed curse. They usually knock out the migraine in a couple of hours, but give it back to you a couple of days later (known as the "rebound effect"). The rebound effect is usually worse the more you take them. Vicious cycle. I try not to take more than two triptans a month, supposedly well below the rebound threshold, but I usually do get a rebound no matter what. Sometimes the rebound is equal to the original migraine, very occasionally doesn't happen at all, is usually a little less painful, occasionally even more painful. Triptans: the new Russian roulette.

Two nights ago, I got the rebound migraine so badly I couldn't believe it. I actually thought maybe I was having a stroke, my eye socket and head hurt so badly. But I couldn't do anything about it.

There's always been a dilemma (even if you have health insurance) about extreme migraines--once I called the E.R. (the next day) to ask what to do. They apparently can give you something (probably a strong opioid, but that's just a guess) if you go there. But you can't get there without involving light, noise, and movement. So it's literally impossible to get there, whether by car, foot, bus, or ambulance. I asked if they can't send someone to administer some kind of treatment in the home, and they said no. Apparently, if you're lucky enough to live in France, they would do so. 

The other night was one of the worst migraines I've ever had, and it was the loneliest, longest, dark night of the soul, because I realized that even if I could bear the movement and noise (which I couldn't) to call someone, there was no one to call, no one to comfort me, to acknowledge my pain, to hold back my hair while I vomited, to sit quietly next to me while the painful hours passed, to witness my suffering, even if they couldn't do anything about the actual migraine.

Can someone in France please adopt me?

This guy's smiling and happy as ever:

Monday, June 4, 2012


I'm so exhausted and keep having migraines, and there's so much I have to do, it is completely overwhelming. :(

I'd give anything to trade places with these guys.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fennec asks, "Where's my head?"

Fennec seems to have lost his head.

I know how he feels--mine is spinning like crazy, trying to keep track of everything that's going on and everything that somehow has to get done.

Thank you to those of you still reading and especially to those of you who have written--here or by email. I haven't answered much, but I am absorbing the warmth of every encouraging sentence.