“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

9.30.2009

A Wedding Tale

It began with the something borrowed.
A ring, blue gemstones surrounding a pearl.

Or maybe it began with the bridal bouquet, ordered by a friend of the groom, both men believing it a detail left undone, not knowing there were white roses on order, waiting for the couple's arrival in Maine, neither man understanding the importance of those flowers to the bride. She called me during a bit of last minute shopping, finally exhausted, done. A white cake is a white cake is a white cake, she said, but my bouquet! The 2nd bouquet (spring flowers for a fall wedding) was cancelled, and the white roses were there in her arms on her wedding day.

But first she had to get there. With something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. It sounds so easy. But within 5 minutes of waving goodbye at the airport, I received a message that the pearl was missing from that borrowed ring. Gone. An empty space where it once had reigned. I pulled into a parking lot and messaged her back: I will find it.

And the next afternoon I did.

But that morning? That morning's message had been that apparently they would have to return to Texas, the groom having neglected to bring his divorce papers, no place willing to issue a license. As the couple drove from county to county across the state of Maine, on their way to a friend's house (he of the spring flowers bouquet), searching for someone to say yes, here's your license, no problem, I searched the groom's studio, rifling through his personal papers, searching for the missing divorce decree. 3 copies of his will, his voting card, his original birth certificate with baby footprints - all there, but nothing to indicate he'd been married before, much less divorced. Sure it must be there in front of me, I looked several times before calling him back - it was now him I was speaking to; all I could do was say I'm so sorry and give him the phone number of the county clerk's office here at home. The county clerk being no help, another friend's help was enlisted here in town to search internet records, to track down some in-person help if needed. She was successful, but the news was so bad, so perfect for the day, that we had to laugh. All the records from the Year of the Divorce had been accidentally destroyed, nothing to be faxed, nothing to be emailed. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

By then, they no longer cared.
Back to Texas they would come,
but first,
a few days in Maine.

They continued the drive - what else could they do? - it just bees that way sometimes. But the giving up proved to be the secret password, the key to unlocking the door of red tape - arriving at last they found a surprise and a friendly welcome waiting at the friend's house. A place willing to issue the license, a person willing to perform the ceremony, but not until Monday. Good enough and thank you and God bless! I left the bride a message: Have a nice weekend.

And they did.
They had a fabulous weekend.
They had a windy wedding.
And they had a story to tell when they grow old.

When they returned home,
the bride messaged me from Dallas.
We are boarding the plane, she said,
we will be there at 9.
I arrived at the local airport a few minutes before 9,
where I received another message:
We are still on the runway.
Of course.

When things get crazy,
I told her,
it means a good marriage.

Theirs should be great.
the bride is upstairs nursing a cold

9.28.2009

Autumn sneaks in & my house of dreams

I am watching Under the Tuscan Sun, kept company by 2 raccoons peering in at me through my front glass doors, scrabbling for bits & pieces of green pecans thrown down from the trees by the naughty squirrels who live in our yard; Maggie is asleep in her basket right here on the other side of that door, in dreamland, oblivious to the scamperings just a few inches away.

Tonight it feels like fall - I had a long massage and it was dark when I left; the first time since winter. I drove home in silence - no radio, no music, just the peace of relaxed muscles and soul - and wanted nothing but candlelight when I arrived. A shower by candlelight; I lit a few around the house and stood under the hot water, feeling my muscles let go even more, thinking not of where I was, but of the house of my dreams.

It is a real house - it stands on the shore of a small lake about 40 minutes away and I call it Herman's house. It once belonged to a friend of ours & I still call it by his name, though he has died and left it behind. It is small, and I haven't been inside for years and years and probably remember it all wrong, but nevertheless, it is the house I want, and I have absolute faith that the day will come when I will have enough money and it will be for sale again. There is a fireplace in the bedroom and it's designed awkwardly - a teeny tiny living room with a staircase that I remember as crooked and fairy-tale like, and you walk through the kitchen to get to the indoor "porch" that overlooks the deck and they both overlook the lake, and even though I have never even been up the stairs, I think about this house in my dreams. When I saw it for the first time I remember thinking if this were mine I would take that little wall down and I would do this and I would do that - not unusual thoughts for me; I redecorate houses in my head all the time - but this one has stayed with me. I still fantasize it is mine.

So I stood in the shower surrounded by hot water and candlelight and thought of my dreams and thought of how brave I would become if I had that house - thought of who I would invite over, and how we would watch the sun set on the lake, how we would watch 4th of July fireworks from the water, because of course I would have a boat, and I thought of all the possibilities that house would open up, which is a lot of pressure to lay on a poor little house, but I think it would be up to helping me. I think it is waiting for the chance.

And now the movie is ending and she is wearing that gorgeous orange dress at the wedding and the old man is putting red/orange flowers in the niche in her wall, and he finally, finally touches his hat to acknowledge her, and I realize this house in Tuscany which was the house of her dreams brought her bravery and happiness, so anything is possible.

Even courage.
Perhaps the key to courage is shaped like Herman's house.
i believe

Where be joy?

Thinking about joy today.
Which for me has a lot to do with peacefulness.

"The mere sense of living is joy enough." ~ Emily Dickinson

The last few days, reading blogs, reading books, I was struck by how joy-starved we seem to be, how hard we search for it, how we gravitate to places & people that seem to sing of joy. Last Thursday I found this at Liz's place, which led me here the next day. On Sunday, I couldn't get to Maddie's place fast enough, she who is always full of joy. Each place seemed to lead me further and further into how & where I might find joy - for Maddie, as nearby as a thrift store. For me, this past couple of weekends, it was painting not art, but walls & furniture, just giving in to the doing of it, watching color transform something old into something still old but now beautifuller, as my niece used to say. As I painted yesterday, I had the tv on, Mad Men reruns in the background, and I half listened to its characters search for joy, for happiness, for a purpose in just being, and I began to wonder about my mother, she being of the age & time of those characters, did she search so? I would say no, I haven't discussed this with her - so stop. Let me call her.

She laughed. She said of course not, she didn't search for joy, she had joy. She was doing what she wanted, she said. Remember the dresses I would make you?, she asked. I loved that, I loved putting in details, I just lived my life. I didn't look elsewhere. I had all the joy I needed. I have a feeling she would understand Maddie quite well. I, too, get that - I am not easily bored, I find joy in simple things, small things, but I struggle with the peacefulness, not realizing, perhaps, that that is the peacefulness, that joy in small moments, in unimportant things. That magic in the everyday. Do we, today, not do what we want, but what we must, what we think we should - like those characters on Mad Men? Do we have too many choices? Is that a curse, not a blessing, as some have suggested? Are we just too serious? And how do we stop that and just begin to play?

So I looked around today.
And joy being all tied up with peacefulness for me,
I found it . . .

. . . in the shimmy of candlelight on newly painted walls ~
. . . in the tree left on my neighbor's curb,
white fairy lights nestled through the leaves,
free for the taking ~
. . . in the face of the woman who took it,
trying to find a way to fit it into her too small car ~
. . . in my mother's voice
as she talked about being a young mother ~
. . . in watching Lily happy happy to see me this morning,
flopping on her back to have her belly rubbed,
two days without me just so looong ~
. . . in the sight of my niece's green fingernails,
the wallpaper on my telephone ~
. . . in the silence of no radio on yet here at work ~

Where is it for you today?
What is it?

Also,
I really like the sound my watch makes
as it clangles on my arm.
you?

9.26.2009

Holding on to summer

This is me once again holding on to every last moment of summer.

The image is last spring's, part of my old banner.

Today was, at last, a day without rain, a day with sunshine. I began the day with an email to a friend as the sun was beginning to touch the trunks of trees across the street, and as I type this sentence the sun is touching them again on the opposite side, and there, just now, gone. It has been a fabulous day, a gorgeous day, in the mid to high 80s, windows open, doors open, Maggie in & out, sleeping in her basket most of the day.

I painted the kitchen.

It is quite dangerous to keep a can of wall paint near me - it used to be one of my favorite things, just painting away, and I thought it had gone, never more to visit me again, but painting that chair last weekend stirred some long forgotten memory in my soul, and this morning, waiting on my breakfast of garlic toast to be done, I picked up that can of Celtic gray paint and thought hmmmm, I bees so tired of this kitchen, I wonder if . . . and lickety split, just like that, I'd painted a few inches and then it was too late - I had to continue. I never ate the garlic toast. I painted the 2 walls that are separate from the rest of the house, originally horrible panelled things that have been through several colors since I moved in. They at last settled into the gray taupe of the rest of my house (almost the color of this blog) and the one wall across the back that is also part of another room had to stay that color, but those two walls I mentioned? Time for a change. I painted them - I swear this is true - with a 1" brush I use for painting paintings. It took all day, with time out for Maggie's visit to the vet, a short visit with the lovely, lovely now Mrs. Katie, and a drive to Jack-in-the Box to pick up something for lunch. It is done, but now everything else in there needs cleaned, but tomorrow is another day, so I shall wait.

My arms ache, they shake a teeny bit as I type these words, and there are paint spatters on my hands, but it feels good. The immediate gratification of a coat of paint is highly underrated. Plus I needed some color, needed the change. I hope I don't grow tired of it too quickly and regret today's impulse, but as I look back over my shoulder to where I can just see the corner of one wall, I like it. It will match absolutely nothing for fall - I will have to be creative to welcome this one season into the room. White pumpkins, white & cream this & thats will be just fine, I'm thinking.

So a bit of summer still, still some blues.

The evening darkens outside and silence falls.
The song of a mockingbird in the backyard,
a dog barking in the distance.
Crickets.

9.23.2009

Today: Rain/Art

Some of you have seen this image before,
back on my old inspiration blog.
I am still quite crazy about it,
that nail in the corner,
the dark line slashing it in two,
similar to so many of my paintings.

More painting images are coming to me as I sleep. I wake, sketch them, or jot a few notes, then back to sleep I go. Last night I didn't - I hoped I would remember when I awoke and I did, so the idea was saved, and it will be the first painting when I begin again.

The rain is back,
it circles & circles & stays,
the day is gray,
the fallen leaves are brown and wet and stick to shoe bottoms.
I find them all over the house.
I should just start putting them in white bowls
and cozying them next my bowls of words.
The tv news says more rain is coming.

But I have a new book here beside me, in which I have seen the words marmalade, lavender, scarlet silk. I have a healing cat asleep in her basket by the front glass doors, nestled atop white flannel sheets sprinkled with blue flowers, her ears no longer showing above the basket rim, sleep pulling her down into its nest. I have the sound of a fan lulling me into sleepiness, a coke in front of me trying to keep me awake for the Craig Ferguson show, tonight's pjs baby blue with white polka dots. I have a white blanket to tuck around my toes, and the peace of my house, the clutter tonight not disturbing me.

goodnight you moonlight ladies

9.22.2009

Panic. Noun or Verb?

Someone left some paint out in the rain.

The raccoons left this reminder.
It seems a perfect segue from the Omo people;
these footprints simple, plain,
the raccoons anything but.
Three of them stood at my front door last week,
under the porchlight,
the black night behind them,
staring into the house.
Had the door been open
they would have made themselves at home.

It is fall,
and this afternoon a cool front blew in
to remind me who's boss.
The wind was up tonight as I drove the streets,
leaves splashing against the windshield,
the dark arriving noticeably earlier;
there is not much daylight still out there
when I leave work.
Sometimes there is none.
Just the darkness greets me.

A melancholy day,
this day after a panic attack.

Let's talk about anxiety tonight, art tomorrow.
My anxiety disorder has lived with me since childhood,
keeping me "safe",
keeping me away from all those things
I really want,
all those things I want to do.
That scared little girl I brought into existence
to protect me,
who has outgrown her welcome,
but has no place else to go,
that scared girl with her shaking hands
on my soul.
I am exhausted with fighting her.
Sometimes she wins.

Last night she won a big round;
she thinks she's keeping me out of danger,
but she's keeping me out of life,
and I cannot convince her otherwise.
Remember?, she will whisper,
that time in the car?
You were 8 or 9?
You were trapped?
Yes, I reply, I remember.
And I feel it all again,
I feel it more now than then.
I must escape,
never mind from what,
it doesn't matter,
I just need out,
I just need out,
I just need out.
But I don't want out,
I want to stay in,
I want a life
that is not controlled by a memory,
just a memory, just a thought,
but I don't know how to win.
I spend hours fighting her,
giving in to her - do your worst, I say,
hours cajoling her,
sweet talking, crying,
begging,
knowing she will eventually go,
but terrified that maybe this time she won't.
She always does,
she has my best interest at heart,
or so she thinks.
I thank her for caring,
I tell her it's okay, I don't need her now,
but she doesn't believe me
and she stays.
I feel her footprints on my heart
and across my belly.
Waiting until the next time I want something.
please i don't need you anymore

9.21.2009

In which I am left breathless



A visit to Bridgette's.
There was an Autumn Glow.
Breathless.
There was a link to Graceann Warn.
Breathless.
There was the video above, shared by both women.
Breathless.

I am in mind of that prayer.
Thou art everywhere, but I worship thee here.

I am seldom this moved.
I can count on one hand
the times I have truly been left
physically breathless
by a piece of art.
Many, many have come close,
very close.
Until today,
only one.
A Polaroid by Ansel Adams.
A Polaroid!
Michael & I saw it on display
years ago at the museum here in town,
a show of Adams' work.
I stood and stared,
reminding myself to breathe.
We looked at each other
and Michael laughed,
thinking about Ansel taking that photo.
"Got it",
he would've said.
Enough.
And then he would have walked away.
exhale

9.20.2009

Sunshine, A chair, a can of paint

There was sunshine today and I painted a chair.

A real chair, not a painting, one that was a beautiful brown, and one that the lovely, lovely Katie thought should stay brown to balance all the white in the room, but I knew when I agreed she was probably right that I would probably paint it anyway. And when the day showed up with sunshine I couldn't resist and it is no longer brown, it is "Celtic Gray" which is really a pale greenish gray that looks an ooonch blue and the house just seems full of that sunshine, so much lighter and happier, and my soul also, painting a meditation for me, just like sweeping. Yesterday I painted a bench that sits at the foot of my bed and the night before I repainted a child's chair I found at a flea market; I needed the soothing of painting something, something that wasn't art. I have always loved painting walls and painting furniture but it's been a long time - I haven't been up to it lately and we even paid someone to paint the back room at work because I just didn't want to do it, but this weekend, this long weekend to myself, something clicked softly back into place, a number on the lock guarding the safe to my soul sliding into place; I almost physically felt it. One number down, how many more to go until I am open again? A question I can't answer, and really I don't care - the beginning has begun.

I painted while listening to tv movies, something with Harrison Ford, something with someone else, and I painted with mindlessness and total attention and care. I could tell you the plots to the movies, and the paint dripped only once. It is a small thing - this time alone, the phone not ringing, but an important thing, a healing for me. Yesterday a hose to the new washer broke and in the midst of painting I had to stop, I had to move the washer, I had to clean up, and when I was finished, I began to paint again, spilling paint on the floor, on me, jittery, tense, my moment gone. There was a concert to attend last night, new people to meet, and after emailing assurances I would be there, I fell asleep, waking too late to make it, but knowing I needed the break. Perhaps the best thing all around, the staying alone, the resting. I watched Lifetime TV's tale of Georgia O'Keeffe, finding it too much Steiglitz & not enough O'Keeffe, but also finding myself understanding O'Keeffe's need for solitude, and finding myself missing the desert Southwest, wanting a house with a black door.

When I find the right house, I will buy a can of black paint.
i see a red door & i want to paint it black

9.18.2009

Rain. Puddle. White.

White puddle.

I am falling quite in love with the camera on my phone, the softness of the images, the ease of point and shoot, that no-thinking beyond the image you see. Very painterly. Very much the way my mind moves with a paintbrush in my hand, just doing it, just moving with no thought, no thought. Those little moments I say yes to without knowing I am saying yes because there is no thought, just the movement, the connection between hand and mind silent but knowing. The image from this camera moves to Photoshop and the moment continues, there seems to be no break, no distance between the moment of seeing, of shooting, of continuing that art process, that painter's process. The image above is a rain puddle next to the parking area here at work - the white was only in this puddle. Paint? Milk? No way to know, but I saw it as soon as I parked and stood on the broken down street edge to take pictures.

sunshine please please for tomorrow

9.17.2009

Rain. Still.

Rain. Still.
Still rain.

Rain.
Rain.
Rain.
Rain.

Did I mention it's still raining?

Still.
Raining.

R
A
I
N

Still.
rain rain go away, come again another day

9.16.2009

A wedding, white roses, grasshoppers & rain

Today also. I change my mind.

I had in mind to write about tomorrow morning's 5 a.m. drive to the airport, soon-to-be bride & groom in tow, soon-to-be wife & husband, soon-to-be-worn wedding dress, satin shoes, veil, happily-ever-after white roses awaiting her, an island in the Atlantic to which they will row and say we love right out loud in front of each other & everybody & the world (actually they won't row but saying that just sounded so romantic). I had in mind to talk about the silence waiting for me when I returned home, just blessed silence and a cat full of healing, sunshine at last in the forecast, and it was that hopeful thought of sunshine that changed my mind, the running through the rain, the phone call from the soon-to-be bride, still last minute shopping, that made me stop for a moment, everyone else scurrying about, the ever-wonderful Michael also leaving tomorrow for a different expanse of water, a weekend of deep sea fishing awaiting him, hurrying to finish that-which-must-be-finished before he can be off. It was all that, all everything, swirling about me like an ocean colored tornado, that changed my mind. I could see myself from above, standing still and quiet in the peace of my house, in the eye of all that motion, the people I love twirling around & around & okay with that twirling, okay with that hurrying; I had to laugh at myself. I am so not okay with hurrying, with last minute this & thats, with the pressure of travel, so not okay with even the thought of the pressure of travel.

Instead, I will talk about the grasshopper that flew straight from the hackberry tree through my open front door early yesterday evening at the exact same moment that my mother was on the phone, telling me about the grasshopper in her house. I will talk about the phone call from my sister-in-law's mother, asking me where to buy ginger preserves, which sound quite exotic though I had no idea where she might find some. I will talk about blueberry Eggos, which I have recently found I cannot live without, I will talk about how much better I like my office now - the table moved out, my desk back in, but now facing away from the 2 doors leading into this little room, my back facing those doors. I will talk about knowing that it is probably not the correct feng-shui position, but I will also talk about how good it feels like this, how I can now get to everything easily, how all the busy-ness & noise is behind me, not facing me, how much calmer I feel, how Debi feng-shui says this is the right position. How sitting in this room I can see myself from above, the activity swirling all around, not ocean colored here at work, but all colors, images of schoolchildren flying by, and I can see how okay everyone else here is with the deadlines and the hurrying, and how I so am not.

:) See that? I had no idea that's where this was going; I was just playing with a bit of intuitive word-painting, flinging sentences and images out there to see where they landed, and they land in the same place, all together. And I can see that also, those words swirling about me as I sit here in this bit of peace, surrounded by aqua & lavender walls, a feather I found when walking back from the post office last week, a cat asleep on the chair next to me, bottles of water, stacks of Somerset Studio. I see myself from above, see my messy hair, teal colored notepads, cowboy boots on the floor behind me, an umbrella. It is suddenly quiet - the rain has stopped, the phone isn't ringing, the only noise my typing.

So tomorrow morning. 5 a.m. The airport. I will wave goodbye to 2 friends who will return as man & wife.

I can just see the bride
with her arms full of white roses
next to the ocean.

9.15.2009

A Butterfly Changes My Mind

Fear and loathing at the vet's office.

I was going to talk about the trip to the vet's this morning,
but then a red butterfly flew in front of my car
while returning from lunch
and
I changed my mind.

I remembered the real reason I took this image,
and it had nothing to do with fear or loathing,
although poor Maggie definitely felt both;
I really took it
because when I leaned down to comfort her
I was enchanted
by the light peeping through the sides of her carrier
and I was reminded of a cathedral.
Isn't that funny & wonderful & magical?
And do you think the designers knew that?
That one day in the distant future
there would be a scared cat
and a not-quite-as-scared woman
waiting in the office of a kind veterinarian,
and that the view from inside the cat carrier
would comfort the woman,
though not the cat?

UPDATE via Liz: Take 2.
. . . would comfort the woman,
and therefore the cat?

Yes. Better.
i hope so

9.13.2009

The House of Impractical Dreams

Where I hang my hat.

I am up this morning feeling insecure, blah, boring, yada, yada, yada,  reading other blogs, admiring the soft photographs, the soft colors, the perfectly well-written words, the self assurance emanating from all these wonderful women and wanting to remove my post of late last night, which reads so much of just trying so hard when I really had nothing to say.  A description of my pjs?  What was I thinking?

I had a phone call from a friend yesterday - overly educated, titled, well paid, sure she needs a change in her life.  As do we all, I told her, especially this summer.  Something is in the air, I said, possibly the planets have aligned in a certain position, but we are all feeling it, we are all moving towards ourselves.  We are opening up, and though I felt she didn't want to hear that it wasn't just her, I said it anyway, it being true.  There is something going on, I know you  feel it too, feel the ground rumbling a bit from all this movement taking place, just beginning.  Some of us seem to know exactly what we want, some of us have ideas, many - like my friend - just want something different.

I have an idea - I've had an idea for years,  but lately I feel possibilities open up as I feel myself unfurl - but it is not something for right now, it is something I am working toward, but in that conversation with my friend, she mentioned that her options at age 51 were different than her options were in her 30s, that her dreams must  be different because of her age.  I would agree if her dream was to become pregnant, but I was stopped for a moment by her insistence that we must have sensible  dreams now that we have grown older;  I will be 56 in November and my  dreams feel less  sensible, more caution thrown to the wind, more risky, more fun, more what-I-really-want, more the feeling if not now, when?  I read other blogs, many of them referenced way up in that first paragraph, and it is sometimes hard to hold onto what I want, what I feel, what I like; it is easy to feel that everyone else's style is the best, their  words, their  images the way I  should write, the way I  should photograph.  It is hard to hold onto me.  And during that phone conversation, even though I knew my friend to be wrong, even though I know her to be overly cautious, I felt twinges of self doubt, felt that perhaps she was right, that it was too late.  This morning I don't feel that so much - my sister-in-law's sister was hospitalized last night, a serious condition, she younger than I, and that has made me know once again that it doesn't matter, you just have now, however old you are at now.

And so I found this picture - taken with my phone a bit ago, at work, The Emma Tree dressed for summer, wearing nothing but lights, that crazy blue wall I had to have, that hat I actually never wear, but bought for the color, to hang as decoration, and it made me smile, so full of silliness, of impractical dreams.  My house is much the same.  This morning, Sunday, September 13, I hereby christen  it "The House of Impractical Dreams", make it official, and I will paint a painting, silly and crazy, the corners not meeting correctly, and windows left open for the birds to fly in, silver paintings propped against the walls, words tacked to the walls, tied to pieces of furniture with ribbon, stacks of pillows, blue and aqua and white, stripes everywhere, messes and stacks of books and it is me,  it is no one else.  Suddenly I feel okay with last night's post - why not  describe my pjs? - and I am feeling better about my style, whatever that may be.

How arrogant, you are no doubt thinking, although I really think you probably aren't,  I really think you oh-so-much  get it, that you understand totally. I think you would embrace my impractical dreams with me. I think you might smile at them, maybe laugh, nod, tell me to just go for them.

I will.

9.12.2009

rain, loose ends, maggie & me

It is the night of a rainy day.

My 2nd try at a post on this Saturday, the first one up this morning and then down after a few hours, though thank you Sheila for the kind comment. Perhaps this one will stick.

I have spent the day on this computer or on the phone, on this white couch, lolling in pj bottoms and a tshirt - this morning's pjs a pale spring green sprinkled with baby white flowers, this cooler evening's an aqua/sage/pale brown plaid, the waist tied with green satin ribbons backed with tiny green polka dots scattered across a pale brown background; like tiny green seedlings poking their heads through garden soil, glad at last to see the sun. I myself have not seen the sun - it has rained all day, and as I mentioned, I have spent the day here inside, finishing an online defensive driving course my only goal, a goal not yet achieved. 7-1/2 hours into a supposedly 6 hour course, with the last section not yet started; I stopped taking notes hours ago in a vain attempt to hurry the thing along. My advice to any of you driving through Brownsboro, Texas is to never assume that you have re-entered the 60 mph speed limit area when you exit the town, sure you have also exited the 45 mph zone - you have not, and there is a policeman waiting to tell you so. Slow down. Enjoy the scenery.

It was also a day for keeping an eye and a bit of my heart on Maggie the cat, who was injured Thursday night, and I apologize to any of you who read this on that earlier doomed post (and by that I mean you, Sheila, though I think you will forgive me for mentioning it again). She wasn't waiting for me outside the front door yesterday morning when I awoke, and she is always waiting for me, sleeping while sitting up, meowing at Katie as she passes on her way to coffee and Pilates, and my heart did a little flutterdance. I called and called her with no answer, and trying to stay calm, checked the yard, checked the street. checked her hidey holes, all with no luck, staying calm, staying calm, thinking okay, this is what you wanted, you wanted her end to be easy, you prayed it would be easy, that she would just lay down and go to sleep, but feeling afraid because she had seemed quite fine & frisky Thursday evening when I let her out, no evidence that she was feeling worse, when I found her at last, under the cherry laurel tree next to Katie's staircase, up against the house, hiding under some huge-leaved plants whose names I do not know. She was alive but not well, not interested in moving or eating and when I touched her she hurt. Gently, gently I was into the leaves after her, calling the vet - we are on our way. Feeling okay, perhaps just another infection, perhaps that is all, she will be fine, she will be all right. As it turned out, she'd been in an apparent fight - no infection at all, a puncture wound on her chest, scrapes, shredded claws. I could hear her crying as they gave her fluids, antibiotics, etc., etc., etc., but she was okay to bring home, where she spent the day laying lifeless in the sun, moving to another favorite spot, under the dogwood tree that will have pink blossoms in the spring. No appetite, no anything, until late yesterday afternoon when I enticed her with a few bites of expensive tuna and turkey flavored cat treats. Later, more tuna, and she fell asleep between the couch and a chair; I slept on the couch near her for most of the night, waking early early this morning to move to the bed. Waking later I found her sitting, waiting for me, wanting breakfast, barely able to walk, but walking nonetheless. She spent the day outside, back under the cherry laurel and those no name plants, cozy against the side of house, protected from the rain by the big leaves. She can still barely walk, she hurts, there is swelling, but she has just had her 4th meal of the day and is asleep on a pallet near me where she can see into the night. My gratitude for this has no words. It just is, and it is big.

I mentioned earlier - again, in that long gone post of this morning - that this weekend felt like the weekend that separates summer from fall, that it felt like the weekend I should be scrubbing out summer's corners, making way for autumn plants and plans, but I was wrong. That will be next weekend. This weekend is for tying up loose ends and saying very sincere thank yous.

Yes. I think I like this post better.

9.09.2009

Oh well

A wall in my office.

I know it's crooked & crazy, but oh well.
It just bees that way.
Should that be be's  that way?

9.08.2009

a blank canvas & an idea

Blank canvases.

I have spent this summer, indeed so much of this year, looking backward in order to look forward, paying less attention to looking here right now. It has been one of those times - change is in the air; I read it on every blog I visit, all of us antsy for something new, something more, something different, but not quite sure how to get there from here, sometimes not sure why. I have spent months gazing at my own lovely navel, contemplating myself, paying attention to me, me, me, exploring how-did-I-get-here-and-now-what, and I don't apologize for that - there is more to come, but it will be less introspective, surely more fun, more entertaining - but this journey was needed, was necessary, continues to be necessary. But today, this first day after 8 weeks of Unravelling, I feel a bit free to look around at the now surrounding me, feeling a little lost also, a bit like graduating from high school, excited but scared, knowing I have some time to play, but also knowing Life is waiting for me out there, hoping to keep play a part of that life.

But again, today. It feels restful to not think about me right now, to just notice those orange flowers that grow outside the building at work and not feel the need to take their picture. It feels just fine to sit here in this messy, messy living room with Maggie, the summer heat back again today, the front door open enough to let it mix with the air conditioning inside, the tv on with no sound - as usual. It felt okay last night to sit here and work through another hour of my online defensive driving course (yes, yes, a speeding ticket earlier this summer); it felt perfectly fine and calm. Tomorrow I must fill out forms to enter 3 paintings in an art show - we will see how that goes; I have my doubts about my luck. The show is about East Texas, and though my work is definitely about East Texas in that it is about how I feel here, what I think here, there are no roses or bluebonnets, and . . . well, like I said, we will see. There are storms, and I will enter paintings of storms, and it will be what it be.

I awoke the other night with the vision of a painting in my head, turned on the bedside lamp, sketched it in the notebook I keep there, and went back to sleep. That hasn't happened in a while, and it feels good to know my muse is still with me. I may not paint it soon, but I know how it begins.

With a blank canvas.
With an idea.
With faith.
with trust in possibilities

9.06.2009

Verano, adios

Yesterday.
In just a few more minutes, the lake would match,
growing orange to meet the falling sun,
then black to greet the moon.

There were 5 of us in the boat,
saying goodbye to the day,
hello to the evening,
saying goodbye to summer,
hello to fall.
6 if you count the dog,
and we do, so 6 of us.

Verano, adios.

Where did you go?

You were filled with the busy-ness/business of art, with self discovery, with the still-saying-goodbye to an old friend. You were filled with long, but still too short days, with heat, with politics filling the television, radio, internet, with baseball and homegrown tomatoes and the happiness of a cat still here, despite all the odds. You, like that cat, are still here, still not yet gone, but setting like that sun above the lake, days left until it is official; tonight a party in your honor will see toasts offered to the gifts you brought us.

Today is filled with joy, a bit of melancholy and anticipation hiding under our smiles and laughter. Lily the cat smells like gingerbread when I nuzzle her neck, Maggie the cat smells like the last of summer sunshine. The days of strawberries and fresh okra are leaving us - already high school football games are here; driving in the earlier dark of a Friday evening, I switched the car radio from station to station, smiling at the sheer number of games broadcast. It is Texas, after all, and football is our religion. It grounds me, takes me back to my childhood - we lived only a couple of blocks from the football stadium here in town, and we kids watched the pregame show seated on a rock wall at the end of our street. Cars filled with cheerleaders would pass us by, giggling girls, blonde hair sprayed out to here; majorettes in white boots with tassels, batons in hand, would stride by, tall and untouchable; band members would pile out of buses - traffic was everywhere, people searching for the best parking space. When the game began, we didn't need a radio, the play by play announced on the stadium's p.a. system filled the air over our heads. We would play in the darkened street, under the streetlights - the boys mimicking the players we couldn't see, we girls cheering them on, wishing for white boots with tassels that would swing oh-so-sassy when we strode by.

But that was then and that was autumn - today is still summer, the beginning of the official goodbye, but still summer. In Texas, we have plenty of warm days ahead. But it is the last long weekend for a while, the last big gathering until Halloween, and so we say goodbye now, ushering out this summer in style, next to the water, BBQ, boats, and bikinis.

We lift a glass to you, summer.
Adios.
come again soon, soon

9.04.2009

10 cose di me

10 things about me that I think you don't already know.
?

It seems that I have told you everything, does it not?
But I've been tagged by the wonderful Liz of The Fragrant Muse,
and she doesn't usually do this tagging thing,
and it's been a long time since I myself have done this tagging thing,
and I might not even pick anyone to pass it along to,
but here goes.

10 cose di me:

1. I can pop just about any joint in my body.
Fingers, toes, neck, ankles, you name it.
And it feels gooood!

2. I do not believe global warming is man-made.
Not for one second.
Not for one nano-second.
I am not in denial.
I should just be buying GE stock.

3. If I didn't have to look at other people
I would be perfectly happy being a nudist.
But there are just too many people I don't want to see naked.

4. I am very snobby about what I perceive as hypocrisy.
When someone who owns an Iphone
and a camera or 2 or 3
and enough income to fly about the world
complains that the government
doesn't do enough to help the have-nots,
it sounds like fingernails
scraping across a chalkboard inside my head.
Stay home, I want to say,
trade in your phone for something more basic,
sell a camera;
send that money to a charity.
Do your own helping out.
I am pretty righteous & annoying about it.
I am a pain in the ass about it, truth be told.
If you're donating already, well, good, but still,
you could be donating more instead of buying more stuff.
If you are wearing diamonds
when you complain to me.
I will hear nothing you say.
On the other hand, if you own all that stuff
and don't complain about the government/taxpayers
not helping those poorer than you,
and perhaps even donate money & time of your own
(the hardest thing of all to donate)
to charities & fundraisers,
well allrightee then.
Even if you don't donate to charities.
Buy another lens.
Keep someone employed.
Enjoy!

5. I once, as a child, won a chicken for Easter.
Dyed green. I won it at school.
He disappeared,
no doubt eaten by a neighborhood dog or cat,
and it broke my heart.
I sat in our backyard and cried,
made up songs to entice him home.

6. I am a decisive parker.
No diddling around in the parking lot of a store
looking for a close spot.
I just park.
Life is too short.

7. I don't wear necklaces.
They drive me crazy - I am aware of them all the time,
their touch on my chest is impossible to ignore.
If I receive one as a gift,
I hang it from a doorknob,
or drawer pull,
or drape it around a candle.
Jewelry for the house.

8. My favorite tv show right now is Burn Notice.
Love it.
I like a man who can do things.
A woman too.

9. My favorite meditation is sweeping.
I think nothing while sweeping. I just sweep.

10. My all-time favorite burrito is
bean/bacon/avocado.
Oh man!

So there you have it.
I have no doubt angered a few Iphone users
and vegetarians
and naked people,
who are, at this very minute,
seated on red fake-leather dining chairs
having a bite to eat.
See what I mean?
Can you picture that in your head?
Ewwwww!

I have people I'd like to name to continue this,
but some are too new,
too shy,
and they know who they are,
so I will just leave it in the air.
When they are ready,
they will play.

9.02.2009

The table is not a desk

If I were only a drinking woman.

I have been cleaning my office all day, and even part of yesterday - yes, it is that filthy. I bought an old table a couple of weeks ago that will eventually be used at my house as a worktable, but there is no room for it right now; I was going to loan it to the lovely, lovely Katie as a computer table if I couldn't find a spot for it, but it occurred to me that I could use it as a replacement for my desk here at work - I've never liked that desk, so why not?

I'll tell you why not. Because I cannot type on it. Being an old table, the only place for the keyboard is right there on the table, not on one of those pull-out, lower-than-the-desk keyboard thingies. Like I am used to. Like I am familiar with. Plus my keyboard is one of those ergonomic ones, not flat, making it even higher. I have 2 cushions in the chair, and I am seriously thinking about a third - wait a second. Okay, third cushion in place helps a bit, but I am sitting up straight and tall, perched like a cat on a cat tree, and this is so not working. So not working. Dear God. Now I will have to put everything back like it was, which was so not working also, but at least I could easily type. I have pulled the keyboard over onto my lap & that is helping tremendously, but seriously people, I cannot work like this.

The good part is I got to sweep, sweep, sweep the hoohah out of the carpet behind my old desk, but the bad part (besides all the obvious disconnecting & reconnecting the jillion things connected to my computer & dragging everything back in, and all that) is that I will have to ask the ever-wonderful Michael to help, and he will do so, but I can just hear what he will be thinking.

So. Here I sit, like the Princess from The Princess and the Pea, miles high on my cushions, typing "mile shigh onm y chions". Perhaps we will figure something out - Michael is extra, extra good at that, that figuring stuff out thing. And I am pretty good at arranging & rearranging - it's the thinking about all these wires that has me not-so-happy right now. It will be like this for a few days (or as I originally typed "Itw ill be elike thi sfor . . . "); we are off to the horse races tomorrow ("tomroow") and new flooring is going in the break room Friday, plus we have to, you know, actually work on some photography stuff. So hang in there with me - please forgive any typos spellcheck doesn't catch. And don't laugh too loud.

Lordy.
I still like this table in here.
:)
oh well

9.01.2009

Anatomy of a photo shoot/Anatomy of my life

See these bare feet propped against that old blue/green chair? This is where I am right now, relaxing into who I am. It is the last shot of a photo shoot yesterday morning - the morning sun has settled into its late summer position, moving around in the sky to throw shadows of a plant onto my bedroom floor, always a subject for picture-taking, but this year I wanted to be in it.

I began casually, just a toe barely touching the shadow, much as I do in my real life, always a bit shy about things at first, cautious, not really fearful, but not really trusting either. What seems like a big step to me always proving to be just a baby step. But a step nonetheless, my toe just barely there - one toe in the water as they say. Not quite courageous enough to just jump on in. Thinking way too much.

But that thinking pushed me a bit further in, the shadows of the leaves covering my feet, me a part of the picture. I liked it, I really did, I still do, but this photo shoot continued to mimic my life, maybe this isn't right, I told myself, maybe I need not my feet but something else instead. Aha! Exactly like real life. So I backed out of the picture, removed myself, totally hiding away. Thinking.


I kept firing away, looking elsewhere, never at me, bringing in this antique child's chair, looking away, distracting myself, ignoring what I really want, look, I tell myself, isn't this wonderful? And yes it is, or yes, it may be, and I am out of the picture, where I momentarily wanted to be, but then I remembered hey, what I am doing? Wasn't this supposed to be about me? So much like real life, where I find myself looking in from outside, wondering how I got there, knowing I have only myself to blame. So.

Okay. I'll let myself back in. Just like real life. A baby step again, but working with what I brung to the dance. Toes just into the picture, but there, closing in on the feeling I wanted. I just kept firing away, moving the chair, moving around the chair, getting closer. Just like real life.

And then one whole foot in. How brave of me! :) Truly I wasn't thinking any of this, but later as I looked at the images on my computer, and the progression of the images, I saw my life's modus operandi played out before my eyes. Yes. So brave, that one foot totally in, she says sarcastically. I didn't like it, it felt wrong, but I was almost there, quite in love with that leaf pattern on that one lonely foot.

And then, finally, the obvious. Standing in the chair, the shadows laying like henna patterns on my feet, getting terrific photos, moving, adjusting, done. Or so I thought. Even though I seemed to be through, I fired off another shot or two. Totally relaxed. And that is the first image up there at the top of this page. That is where I have learned to stand. On my own two feet. Relaxing into the idea that I am enough just as I am. I am just fine.

and getting better all the time