Monday, December 27, 2010

Inertia in the Time of Rain

It’s been raining all this past week. The only sun I’ve seen in the past five days is spelled with an “o” instead of a “u”. It feels like 6PM, it’s so dark outside. You’ve gathered by now that I harbor no desires to move to Seattle or Portland.

So what have I accomplished these past 5 days? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Yesterday, I crawled back into bed at 11:30AM and read sci-fi fantasy fiction until 4PM. Today promises to be much the same.

This weather drains me. I don’t have this reaction when on vacation to Seattle, London or Hawaii. Then, I know it’s temporary. It’s a vacation. I KNOW it will be rainy in Hawaii when I go. I KNOW the weather in London sucks in March and November. I KNOW it’s wet & drizzly in Gualala in September. I chose to go there knowing what the weather will be like.

One of the many things I love about Palm Springs is that it’s sunny & warm 95% of the time. It’s that pesky 5% I have to contend with. I totally understand how the Mistrals of Arles drove Van Gogh crazy. With Van Gogh, it was the wind. Me? It’s the damp cloudless skies.

This morning, I woke to a blood red sunrise. “Red skies in morning, sailors take warning…” It quickly morphed into fluffy pink and blue clouds. Hopefully, that means change is on the way rather than more rain.

The day was bright and sunny. I had a wonderful afternoon working in the garden soaking up the sun, recharging my batteries. More cloudy skies and rain are expected by the week’s end. This too, shall pass.

Economy aside, it’s been a good year. I’ve grown as an artist and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed living in Palm Springs this past year. I look forward to the coming year with optimism. Come rain or shine, it’s going to be a good year. All I really need is a good umbrella.

Thanks for listening,

Jerry L. Hanson

Monday, December 20, 2010

You Just Never Know...

You wake up in the morning & look outside to see what the day looks like. I tend to judge my day by the quality of sunlight or lack there of. Sunny days make me look forward to the coming day with joy. Overcast days tend to nudge me back under the warm duvet.

Wednesday, I woke to a bright sunny morning. It was early. The sun was just rising over the Coachella Valley: a beautiful day. My husband was already up, reading the morning paper with his cup of tea. I made another pot of tea and checked my e-mail & Twitter as Doc headed off to shower and get ready for his daily clinic.

I looked at the clock. Doc, if anything, is routine bound and controlled by that damned clock. Doc should have been in to say goodbye already. Something was amiss. The phone hadn’t rung so I knew he wasn’t tied up with hospital issues.

The car was still in the carport. He’d not left. I headed to the bedroom where I found him flat on his back passed out. I had a difficult time rousing him and knew I needed to get him to the ER. While getting him dressed, I realized I could not drive him there. I could not possibly get him into my vehicle.

I’ve worked in hospitals since 1975 and I’m married to a physician. We dealt with emergencies every day. I had no clue what to do! I knew I was in panic mode. I called my neighbor, @TheDeeView and asked her, “Can I call 911 for a medical emergency or is it only for police or fire related issues?” “@TheDeeView yelled, “Hang up this phone and call 911. NOW!!!” In retrospect, that was a really dumb question. I called 911.

By the time I finished giving 911 the information, @TheDeeView was running through my front gate barking orders. “Open the car gate.” “Collect Doc's medications for the EMT Techs.” “Get the medical insurance information.” “Breathe, dammit!”

“Breathe, dammit!” was her best order. I called the clinic to say he wasn’t to be in today and please reschedule his patients. No other explanation. I hung up and called our Neurologist friend to see what I should do. Sy is the epitome of calm & cool in an emergency. Most physicians are, actually. I followed his advice. “Breathe, dammit!"

EMT Techs arrived, examined Doc, packed him up on that transformer stretcher and off he went to ER. @The DeeView gave me a big hug, told me she loved me and sent me off to the ER. Two hours later we were tremendously relieved to learn that Doc was OK, no damage, no harm done. No diagnosis, either, but that can be worked on via testing now that Doc’s stable.

What I learned from this harrowing experience is that I have a wealth of friends: friends who dropped everything to assist Doc & me in our emergency. Without my knowing it, @Taxes007 has contacted many of our dearest friends to let them know what had happened. While Doc was in the ER, I was kept company by our friends. I felt truly supported. I didn’t’ even KNOW I needed their love & support until they were there. How does one thank them???

Oh! And I learned that we need lists of our medications readily available... just in case. We need our health insurance information readily available. Just in case. And breathe!

All’s well now. Doc is back home after one night in hospital and is now back in the clinic. He’s scheduled for further testing to figure out what happened but he’s back to his “normal self.”

All that day the sun shone brightly on a warm lovely day. You just never know.

Thanks for listening,

Jerry L. Hanson

Monday, December 13, 2010

Accessible Art

This is my 46th blog for this year. I believe my first posting was in February or March. It was 46 weeks ago, at any rate.

Each posting has one of my photographs except for two of them (Memorial Day and the AIDS walk post). I seem to get quite a lot of positive feedback on the photos.

Perhaps my photos are far more interesting than what I write about? Many of those photos are of my current artwork. Many are not. I seem to get comments on both types of photos. I wondered what to do about that.

I am seriously thinking of developing a series of greeting cards or note cards using my photography. I’m always looking for interesting note cards to use for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. I seem to have a surplus of birthday cards when I need an anniversary card.

Lately, I search out those cards that are not specific to any event; cards that can be used for multiple occasions or for no occasion at all! Generic cards that are non-specific. That’s the route I’m thinking of exploring.

I spent the past three weeks looking thorough my digital images, looking for images that are interesting and non-personal. You really don’t think you’d want note cards with pictures of me, my family or our friends. We are far too boring. My cats & tortoise are not boring. They’re cute (if a reptile can be cute)

I then concentrated on images of my artwork. My art, after all, is what this whole venture is about. I realize that in this economy purchasing artwork is a luxury few of us can afford. Perhaps this is an affordable venue for getting my artwork out there in the world. I looked for interesting images that are not too similar. I sorted for diversity in the images. I think I’ve achieved that.

The images here are those being used in the note cards. I’m seriously interested your feedback on this venture and these images.

If you are interested in purchasing a mixed set of 5 cards, you can contact me via this site (please leave your contact information), or e-mail me at You can also contact me on my mobile phone: 760-992-3157.

Please take time to visit my website at Take a look at my artwork. Contact me if you want to buy one of my works or if you have any questions about a specific piece. My contact information is on my website or you can leave a comment on this blog site for me to contact you (include your contact info!). You can e-mail me at or you can telephone me on my studio phone 760-992-3157. You can call me. I won’t mind.

Thank you for listening

Jerry L. Hanson

Hiking With Botanists

Wild grape leaves in the sun

I have friends I’ve known for nearly 20 years. They are PhD Botanists who work at Kew Garden in London. I’m not quite sure what each does but they are top experts in their respective fields. We manage to visit at least once a year on one side of the pond or the other.

We all like to hike. When visiting us in California, they enjoy getting out into the landscape to see the plants. I’m always happy to accompany them on these hikes. Hiking with Mark, Michael & Maarten (I’ll just call them M3) is always an educational experience. I generally retain only one bit of information from the hundreds of bits they tell me during our hikes. Generally, Latin is involved. I don’t retain Latin for too long; it just falls out of my head. I’m linguistically impaired.

This trip, I learned that there are orchids indigenous to Palm Springs. M3 pointed them out exclaiming about how much better these specimens are doing than their specimens at Kew. Orchids? I saw weeds growing along the stream. Hmmm…. Those are orchids! Wow!

The other day, we hiked in Andreas Canyon: a one-mile loop trail easily walked in 30 minutes or so. These were Botanists. We hiked that mile in three hours. They left no plant unexamined. No seedpod ignored. M3 was ecstatic to find Resurrection Ferns growing in the crack of some boulders. Imagine what the Maiden Hair Fern did for him!

Maarten examining Maiden Hair Ferns

We’d walk 10 feet and stop to examine a plant. Discussions would begin about the plant. The 3 M’s would examine that tiny weed until they’d all agreed on its genus, species and Latin name. Twenty minutes later we’d continue on. After another 10 feet M3 would stop to examine another plant growing along the path. Discussions began and twenty minutes later, we’re on to the next plant 10 feet away.

Thankfully, I enjoy listening to their discussion. Their combined knowledge of botany is a constant amazement to me. I had no clue what they were talking about but it was impressive. While 3M focused on the individual parts of Andreas Canyon, I enjoyed the overall scenery; I enjoyed the quality of the morning light through the vegetation (I dare NOT call them weeds!).

I took nearly 100 photograph of Andreas Canyon. M3 took just as many. At day’s end, I uploaded his photos into my Mac and he transferred my photos into his laptop. Between the two photo sets, we have close ups and landscape photos: a complete set.

Hiking with Mark, Michael and Maarten teaches me patience. I learn to slow down and actually examine the “stuff” at my feet. I learn to slow down and examine the landscape through which I’m walking. I stopped to actually watch the changing light on the fall leaves and through the palm trees. I see the world with new perspective. I cannot tell you the Latin name of any of the plants we examined.

I did learn that Mistletoe is such a successful parasite, it needs no leaves. There’s something to think about this Christmas season.

Please take time to visit my website at Take a look at my artwork. Contact me if you want to buy one of my works or if you have any questions about a specific piece. My contact information is on my website or you can leave a comment on this blog site for me to contact you (include your contact info!). You can e-mail me at or you can telephone me on my studio phone 760-992-3157. You can call me. I won’t mind.

Thank you for listening

Jerry L. Hanson

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Salton Sea, an Olfactory Experience

This past Monday, I took out-of-town visitors to the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is a large sea that has come and gone over the millennium. The ongoing evaporation leaves mineral and salt deposits, which now makes the Salton Sea 30% saltier than the oceans.

From a distance the Salton Sea is a hauntingly beautiful place. The sea is a major migratory stop over for birds, which makes the area a major bird watching site. There were thousands of birds on and around the water when we were there yesterday. It felt strange to see White Pelicans flying over the waters hundreds of miles from the ocean.

There is an abundance of Tilapia fish, which breed profusely and are an important food source for birds. Several times a year, sediments from the Sea bottom are stirred up causing chemical reactions, which cause the tilapia to suffocate and die of by the millions. Or the excessive fertilizers in the sea from surrounding farmlands cause an algae bloom again suffocating the fish. A very small portion of the Tilapia population dies off; the vast majority survives.

Up close, the Sea is difficult. You smell the salt in the Sea and taste the salt in the air. Sun dried dead fish litter the shore adding to the olfactory assault. In the summer, when temperature can reach 120F, the stench is unbearable.

The Salton Sea is not for the faint of heart. Judging by the number of camp grounds, RV parking area, picnic areas, large parking lots and marinas, many tourists obviously enjoy the Sea. Athough I didn’t see one boat on the lake which added to it’s haunting beauty.

I took pictures. I always take pictures. When I uploaded them into my Mac, I was shocked at the results. Many of them are hauntingly beautiful! Even photos of the dried fish have their own beauty. I realized that without the stench of rotting fish, bird dung and salt, the place is quite lovely.

I left the Salton Sea with mixed feelings. I was disgusted and amazed both at the same time. I will have to make other visits to the Sea to explore more of its vast shore. But NOT in the summer heat!

The Sea is a study in monochromatic landscape. The salt and sun bleaches color from most everything; it is a landscape in hues of white. Without smell, its quite another experience altogether!

Please take time to visit my website at Take a look at my artwork. Contact me if you want to buy one of my works or if you have any questions about a specific piece. My contact information is on my website or you can leave a comment on this blog site for me to contact you (include your contact info!). You can e-mail me at or you can telephone me on my studio phone 760-992-3157. You can call me. I won’t mind.

Thank you for listening

Jerry L. Hanson