Sunday, September 24, 2017

Melissa McDonald - Seamstress Extraordinaire!

When I joined The Press in the mid-eighties my uniform was a plaid flannel shirt and jeans. My supervisor (One El), a striking redhead, thin as her dancer background, wore her hair in a cockscomb. She soon clued me that, as a Marketing Analyst, I needed to show a tad more originality in my attire.

Over the next four years, in addition to teaching me damn near everything I know about marketing, she taught me the enjoyment of self-expression through clothes. Although those days are long behind me, I've never lost that sense of fun.

Now, in my current lifestyle, it's rare when there's an occasion to "dress." But after being away from the city for several months I've lost enough weight to drop two pants sizes. This was enough to prompt buying new. However, the White boots I bought have larger-than-life soles and now, with the smaller pants sizes, I can't get them, the pants, on or off over them. This precipitated an unusual opportunity.

!!! ****  TMI WARNING **** !!!

I was intrigued when I met Paul Winer in Quartsite.  Revered as an icon of the nudist movement, he claims no such inclinations saying merely, "My skin is sensitive and I can't stand the feel of clothes." I found it fascinating (see video) that he'd capitalized on this by performing --  he was a night-club pianist -- mostly in Canada and Europe, nude. I'd never met anyone who felt as I and when I hike I usually, once beyond range of personal encounter, disrobe. And although I have all the time in the world, I still prefer to pull my pants off over my boots. Likewise when returning to "civilization."

The inconvenience was annoying enough to prompt a search for a seamstress. Being Lucky Herrmann, I found, in Nephi, Utah, Melissa McDonald, seamstress extraordinaire.

I explained what I needed adding that having grown up in Japan and Germany my aesthetic required something outside the usual khaki shorts and black t-shirt that's the uniform of the day.

This evoked a delightful and encouraging smile as she attested to her own belief that men should dress with more "flavor."

Fujifilm XP - Camera no good!

Not just a happy home-maker humming along, she is a professionally-trained patternmaker. God knows how she developed her aesthetic, but her husband teaches art at the three local schools. I commend her highly to those who might need alterations or even bespoke services. She can be reached at 435-868-7484.

Gussets - To enable removal without taking off boots

And for those who may be familiar with the childrens' story Fenwick's Suit, watch for the upcoming video of me "striking poses."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Parowan Gap - Utah

From the West Side

Closer Up

East Side 
Not sure what's going on with this image below
but it's interesting (to me).

Funky Video. 

This past Spring (2017), on my way somewhere in Utah, it got dark and I pulled off into the bushes next to the two-lane highway. In the morning, as I stepped out to pull on my pants, I was taken aback when a guy out for his morning run came right through camp!

On his way back he joined me for coffee and told how the plan to move in with a woman a couple of days earlier had fallen through when she'd suddenly disappeared. In anticipation of the move, he'd given up his apartment and having nowhere else to go had moved into his Honda Element. After filing a missing persons report, he'd taken to camping and was, apparently, just around the corner  from me. (At least he was QUIET!)

A runner, he'd trained in his youth with olympic athletes. Now, at 74, he runs 2 - 8 miles a day and regularly competes in marathons...always training for the next one. Having settled in Parowan, he rides his bike to the yoga center each morning, then, three times a week, goes across the street to the gym to lift weights for two hours. He then goes for his run...enjoying the mountain trails surrounding the town.

Somehow, in that first brief encounter, he caught the jist of my enthusiasms and told of several beautiful places to camp which, over the next few days, I took advantage of. Several weeks later I was surprised when he called to see where I was. I mean, who cares?

We chatted briefly during which I expressed my gratitude for the information about camping spots; about the weather and an upcoming race he was competing in...and hung up.

But a few weeks later, I, for some reason feeling a need for reciprocal politeness, called him. It was the same, he was training for the Senior Olympics, concerned about the current politics (too conservative) and had seen some football on TV; I figured I'd done my duty. I'm into women, not guys. Three weeks later he called AGAIN!!

So after a quick run out to Santa Barbara to make sure the ocean was still there (Waves CRASHING on the beach!!! Turquoise Bikini!!), I stopped by on my way back. We visited while I did laundry and he showed me the plum trees (excellent!! And organic!!) behind the laundromat. As I was about to leave he asked if I'd been to Parowan Gap. I said I'd never heard of it and he proceeded to give me directions. It's a cleft through a mountain range, a gorgeous spot complete with petroglyphs. I found a 4wd road to the top of the hill where I made camp and enjoyed a blissful night of stars and quiet.

It's called: friend.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wit & the deep end - Springville Museum of Art

More Beautiful 
by Gregory Abbott

The pain in the area of my kidney-liver (chicken-liver?) sent me in search of medical assistance. The need for a regular art fix sent me to the Payson-Provo-Springville (Springville Museum of Art!!) area. Wit & Whimsey at The Museum looked like "just the ticket."

The show includes work by twelve artists all of which are listed on the title card at the very bottom. Although I enjoyed the quilt show (see prev post), it's exhibits such as this that keeps Springville near the top of my "Return To" list.


What's the Point
by Marcee Blackerby (Facebook)

My fav....obviously.

The Tree of Knowledge

Toni & Dana - Los Arboles

Antoinette, a desert tortoise, appeared one day in my mom's backyard soon after my  mom died.

Dana, of Dana & Fox, came to live with us on Los Arboles after Michelle's mom died.

Antoinette and the other tortoises usually fend for themselves, but occassionally they'll stop by and ask for a bite of cat food.

Dana always has to see if it's anything she should expect.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Springville Museum of Art - Quilt Show

I picked up "something" from some water (carelessly) imbibed from a spring in The Granites southeast of Jackpot, NV. After several weeks the pain and diarrhea convinced me to seek help. Checking the exhibits at the Springville Museum of Art (through Sept 23), I decided Payson, Utah was the place I oughta be.

This would be the second time I stumbled into their annual quilt show. Although I do sew on my suspender buttons, I otherwise don't find sewing an interesting activity. But the "cloth paintings" in last year's show stirred a quiver of anticipation as I realized I'd arrived, once again, at the right time.

The show is billed as a collaborative endeavor, women CAN (I didn't see a single entry by a male), apparently, unlike men, cooperate. But having direct experience, I know that often what gets shown at a museum is an expression of the curator's aesthetic. With that in mind, when you visit I encourage you to extend your appreciation to Ms. Emily Larsen Boothe, Assistant Curator/Collections Manager.

This is a LARGE exhibit with, I'm guessing, nearly 100 pieces. Although a number are of traditional motifs, I was again pleasantly surprised by the number of "paintings in cloth."

Of course, photos don't capture the vibrancy of color, textures and sheens -- exquisite dimensions of sensuality!

Admission FREE; donation box near the door.

As you enter the museum, just beyond the donations box to the left is Ralph the Rhino. A FINE way to start!

So many photos follow I'm gonna mention my fav here.  Hole in the Wall, included in the Utah Quilt Guild's traveling exhibit Ruby Jubilee, was the only, other than the exhibit itself, collaborative work. Hanging in a narrow hall, I couldn't get far enough back to photograph its entirety.

But as you can see, each piece is very different. The fact that the "ground" worked with them all says something for the group.

Fuzziness!! (Always an attraction!)

Figuration; another affinity of mine.

There's something about dots.

(The garden court to the left)


After alerting Ms. Larsen, in case she had edits or suggestions....
9/5/17 4:30 p.m. MDT

Hi Michael –

I am so happy you liked the show! We are thrilled that you could visit. I’d love to meet you next time you are in town!

Your blog post is fabulous, though you give me way too much credit! The quilt show has been going on for 44 years now, and I was just lucky enough to inherit the opportunity to work on it. It is a true team effort of the entire staff and quilters from around the state.

Thank you so much for your kind words and appreciation for what we do. Notes and posts like this one make all of the hard work worth it!



Emily Larsen Boothe
Assistant Curator & Collections Manager
Springville Museum of Art