“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

10.31.2009

Stepping away from October: November beckons

Saturday morning.
The rain stopped yesterday afternoon.

Cold air has moved in.
Well, at least cold to us Texans;
it ain't minus anything degrees.
But still, gloves are required, as I discovered last night,
and rediscovered this morning.

This month of October comes to an end
with revelry
and a clock turned back to gain an hour.
When tonight is done,
I will at last feel I can breathe.
Can take a moment.
It's been busy for me;
I can go months
without attending any parties
or get-togethers
and be perfectly content.
These last few weeks
each weekend has brought a new celebration
of some kind.
Photography, art, Halloween.

Last Sunday the discovery of an afternoon yoga class,
1-1/2 hours in a room lined with fairy lights
and quiet.

But I have a project I must finish
within the next 2 weeks -
you'll hear more later, not much to tell now -
and I need the time to step back,
to be quiet,
to hold a camera in my hand with purpose.

So tonight,
this end of October,
this marvelous night for a moondance,
marks more than a spot on the calendar for me.
It is the beginning of some time alone.
As in the image above,
I am standing atop some stairs,
about to start this journey.

And then the holidays will be here.
I will have caught my 2nd breath by then.
and i will move forward

10.30.2009

10.28.2009

for halloween i'll be a child

A chance to be a fairy.
Or princess.
Or a pink witch with miles of pink tulle
streaming from your pointed hat.

I will be none of those things
and all of them,
that pink petticoat turning me into a girl again,
with all that that implies.

The party is Friday night,
at that place in the woods I talk about so often,
motor homes forming a fairy circle,
a gypsy camp.
There will be hayrides into the deeper parts,
into the creek bottom
which may actually be a creek bottom this year,
and fires to huddle near
and food and drink
and adults only at this party.
A chance to play.

And twirl about in that petticoat.

10.27.2009

Embracing the tiger


I have had the beginning of this story for 3 or 4 years,
and have printed parts of it,
but the ending remained elusive until recently
Suddenly I knew.
The power of my own gifts is the answer.

There once was a woman who lived with 2 cats in a magic forest at the edge of an enchanted jungle. The magic of this forest was not that it did special things for her, but that it gave
her the strength & the belief that she could do these things for herself. The forest was filled with wolves & white owls, foxes & raccoons, but in the jungle lived strange & wonderful creatures with truly magical gifts & powers. When the elephants came near she could hear the sound of cellos playing.

The woman wasn’t lonely, for she knew a man she loved very much, but his life was too exhausting for her to spend too much time in, so she would return to the cats & the house in the forest and listen for the cello music & the sound of the nearby stream, and look for the white owl to fly overhead in the full moonlight, and she would inhale deeply, and the strength & the magic of the forest would once again return to her body & her soul.

But in the jungle there also lived a tiger the woman had never seen - she knew he was there and could imagine the terrible-ness of him. She knew he was big & bright and could change her life with just one whisper or one thought or even one small breath. Once, a long time ago, someone she loved had gone away - for the forest was magic, but not perfect, and could not protect her from the sadness of life - and the woman blamed this on the tiger and pictured him in her mind as even bigger. His stripes grew darker & his claws sharper, but, most frightening of all, his step became even more quiet, so she could never be quite sure if he was really there. No music played to hint of his presence, but sometimes she thought she heard drums & believed that these were the sound of the tiger, although truly she knew the drums were just the sound of her frightened heart. Sometimes it seemed that the tiger carried an hourglass around his neck, and would empty the minutes and hours she should have. She could sense his presence as she hurried to get things done, and the less time she had, the closer the tiger seemed. She thought that perhaps it was the tiger's breath that took in these missing minutes, and as he held his breath, she found it harder to catch hers, and seemed always to be running from him.

The forest tried to help. When she was lost, the leaves became arrows, pointing her towards home. Blue flowers would spring up in forgotten places, and the wolves would howl in the night to remind her she was not alone, but the sense of the tiger stayed strong, and the fear of unknown places where he might hide grew larger, and the woman began to venture less and less into the enchanted jungle and the world of the man she loved. For she knew the tiger remained, watching and waiting, and she would feel his power in the quiet of the evenings, and cry herself to sleep each night, feeling trapped in her own little home.

But one night a dream came to her, a dream in which she drew a heart around her house - just a simple heart, drawn into the earth with a stick, and she found courage in that dream, in that drawing, and in the saying of words as she drew, and when she awoke, the magic of the dream stayed with her, and her heart calmed and the quietness scared her less, and vines began to grow along the trails leading into the jungle, their heart shaped blossoms leading her on, giggling with each step she took. And the woman, holding her drawing stick close, began to walk the forgotten places of the jungle, leaving her mark on trees as she passed, so that she might know she had been there before and not fear those places anymore. She listened less for the tiger, and when one day she happened upon his paw prints, she stopped, surprised, for they were not as big as she’d imagined, and, knowing he was near, she leaned forward and carefully drew a heart around each print, then continued on her way.
i must draw; i must write

10.26.2009

Because you just can't get enough rain



It's amazing how many images I have labeled rain.

Rainy skies,
Mexican restaurant rain - I have tons of those;
puddles,
raindrops on roses & whiskers on kittens.
Just amazing.
Almost as amazing as the persistence of this rain.
The ever-wonderful Michael says he is done with winter already,
ready for summer now.
rainboots please

10.25.2009

Walking into the day

I am off for a walk today, to slide my feet through fallen leaves, to stand in tall flowers, to journey inside the landscape, to wander into fall, to let loose my soul, to stop the too-much thinking. I will not look for anything, I will just see what I see, what is there, and open my arms to embrace whatever it may be. I will make friends with the leaves gone yellow, the flowers still red, the trees changing seasons, the wind, the gray sky, the messiness of autumn, and I will play. I will be dangerous with my camera, I will take those pictures I believe I cannot, I will throw away my preconceived ideas of beauty. I will wallow in the day with pure abandonment, and sneeze when a breeze blows something my way. I will walk into the moment.
come with me

10.24.2009

Saturday morning

Softness and stars to start my Saturday.


It is one of those days where I read other blogs and become insecure in all that I do, and I am not begging for assurances that I am okay, I know I am, but these differences that I love are sometimes pinpricks in my soul, and I think I am too wordy, too this, too that, my photos not soft enough, my outlook too serious, and I wonder why I just don't go out there right now and take pictures of the leaves laying in the grass, why I am incapable of making that beautiful, and I think I should make that a project, but that sounds too much like school, and there is a should in that phrase, and shoulds always get me into trouble. It is a sunshiny cool Saturday morning out there and there is the vet to be visited, poor Maggie asleep beside me will growl when she realizes, and there is the gallery reception this afternoon with nibblies to nibble, and there is a door to be repaired, a lovely green door, and I have hopefully hired someone to prepare my canvases for me, which is easy but time consuming and keeps me from painting because I never paint directly on the canvas, I have all this stuff I do to it before painting. My fingers are crossed for this person to say yes.

yes

10.23.2009

Scents, memories, safety, home

My neighbor's house in the early evening.

The chilly weather has moved in and it takes me back to the first of this year, this morning's white skies reminding me of Mary, of that waiting, waiting, waiting, for the end to come, for her last breath, for it to be over at last. There are still leaves on the trees right now, and there weren't then, although the tulip trees had welcomed an early spring, but the feeling is here. Is it the smell of cooler air, I wonder, or is it the darkness when I awake that reminds me so clearly? Another art exhibit she will miss, is that it? More good news I cannot share with her, gossip I know she would dearly love? Is it that Maggie has suddenly decided she cannot be away from me? All those months of staying outside have disappeared and she is inside most of the time, and for the first time in her life, she wants to be in my lap, against my side as I type - she cannot be close enough. I have waited 17 years for this, and now it scares me. She seems healthy enough, all things considered, but this new behavior is a new worry. When I put down this computer, she will crawl into my lap.

An almost-here Halloween party found the lovely, lovely Katie and I trying on masks and cat's ears and fairy wings last weekend, joking that no doubt every one in town had tried on the same masks, that no doubt it was quite unhealthy, although that didn't stop us, and the plastic smell of the masks took me back to childhood - the remembrance of the ease we had back then, no parents with us, a neighborhood teeming with kids, the streets full, the safety of it all. The scents of fall are full of childhood memories - leaves on the ground smell like the path to school through the woods - again, how safe we were! We walked that path twice a day for years, knew the ups & downs, the curves, the trees; I am suddenly reminded of Scout & Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird - a movie to rent this weekend. At home, I pass a box of scented candles - Frasier fir - and again, I am a child, Christmas tree lots everywhere, every home with a real tree, the fragrance hanging in the air. The smell of tea - nothing fancy, just Lipton, and I remember the suppers of my childhood. Every night, iced tea. I remember pouring the tea, hot off the stove, into a pitcher already holding just the right amount of sugar, the steam rising against my face. I remember in the fall, the sky would be blue outside, the neighbors' windows orange against the growing darkness, everyone home for a bit, perhaps us kids out later. Or perhaps homework - the smell of notebook paper, pencils, crayons, schoolbooks filled with math questions that seemed so important. The smell of the dictionary, the feel of those thin, thin pages.

It was safe or so it seemed. Maybe just the lack of 24 hour news - the same stories told over & over & over again - made it seem so. Perhaps 2 parents in each home made it seem so - a missing dad was rare in my neck of the woods and I can still tell you the two families dealing with that situation. I grew up in the era of duck and cover - school drills to teach us what to do in case of nuclear attack; I remember the Cuban missile crisis, my mother storing bottles of water against that nuclear possibility. We had our crises, our scares, although I don't recall any fear among my friends or I. There were also smaller dangers - I remember walking down my street one day, being approached by a young man in a car, being enticed to get in, but I'd learned to say no, and I was off to home and safety, to my mother calling the police. Home was safety, my parents were protection.

They were like those lights against the night.
Comforting, sure. Home.

10.22.2009

Shades of East Texas: oct 24 - nov 30

You're invited.

3 of my paintings have been selected for this show:

The show runs until November 30
and the gallery reception is this Saturday, 2-4.
If you're in the area, I'd love to meet you.
:)

10.21.2009

a mushroom unfolds, a story is told

I thought it was a flower.

It caught my eye last night,
nestled snug against the house,
next to the hole dug by an armadillo the night before.
Just a tiny thing.
Daylight was fading,
a quick goodbye and it would be gone,
the sunset behind storm clouds moving in.

A second glance
and a pair of glasses
revealed the magic of a mushroom,
opening to the evening and the coming rain.
I had to turn the camera away from me,
hold it firm against the wall,
unable to see through the viewfinder.
1/8 second exposure
needing all the help it could get.
Mosquitoes found me,
standing still,
leaning into the camera.

Only one shot remotely in focus,
but one was all I needed.

Lunchtime yesterday the sun was shining,
casting lacy shadows onto the hackberry tree,
and I'd been out then also,
taking pictures,
picking up pecans
before the squirrels & raccoons get them all.

At the reception for his museum exhibition,
Robert spoke the other night about the unseen changes of a place,
unseen unless you walk inside that place and stand still,
that that's the way it is here in East Texas;
the landscape not out there in front of you,
but right here - you must step inside.
Despite my hurting feet,
standing in new heels,
I felt those words strike my heart,
knowing exactly what he meant.
A friend from my college days was there
and we spoke later,
and he, too, had felt the truth of those words,
knew the feeling of no horizon.

It's a beautiful show if you're in town.
Tyler Museum of Art.
Light Footprints: Robert Langham.
Through February 21.

Step inside.
stand inside my town

10.20.2009

I am humbled



Interpreting the sadness.
WWII Ukraine.
i am deeply humbled

The Lost art of editing


Warning. This is a long one.

A few evenings back I attended a reception for a friend of mine celebrating his new photography exhibit at our local art museum. A photographer from the local newspaper was there (possibly two - I couldn't tell for sure who was who and who was with what publication) snapping away - photos of my friend, candids of people enjoying the night, etc. etc. The usual thing. The next day the images were posted on the newspaper's website. All of them. I mean all of them. I mean all of them. Images I would be ashamed to acknowledge as mine, one terribly overexposed, many just poorly exposed - one shot of a couple in attendance was really a picture of the empty wall between them as they (apparently) passed by the photographer. It was laughable. Out loud laughable and shameful. Did no one look at this stuff before posting it?, I wondered. Because surely, surely that person would have deleted the bad stuff. That overexposed image I mentioned was 1 of 3 images of the same pose of the same 2 people - it wasn't needed, there were 2 perfectly fine shots. Why post it? Because that would mean someone would have to look at the stuff? Make that decision to delete? Actually push a button to do the dirty deed? Too much trouble? My assumption is that the photographer just handed over his/her camera card to someone, or perhaps downloaded it himself/herself and hey, lickety split, just like that, we got us some pictures on the internet. My assumption is that it was laziness.

Back in the day when we (here at our business) printed from film, back in the day when we printed for professional photographers - weddings, portraits, etc. - back when those photographers would drop off their film for proofing and then use those proofs as you know, proofs, to show to their customers, to sell those customers enlargements or packages, we were always amused when those photographers would then show back up to order those enlargements or packages they'd managed to sell and complain that the customer had picked the one that needed the wrinkle on the dress retouched, or the one that was poorly exposed, or the one that just looked bad, and could we fix that? They would complain and we would laugh - why did you show it? we would ask. Why didn't you toss it? There was always an acknowledgment that yes, it should never have been shown, but it never stopped them from doing it again. And I guarantee you, I promise you - and I have been in this business a long time - the customer will always choose the image you don't want them to choose if you show it to them. Always. Always. I will call it Michael's Law, for the ever-wonderful Michael, who got such a kick out of it, understood that it was laziness, that the photographers were just showing every image they'd taken. Or that it was fear, insecurity - it depended on the particular photographer. The more money they charged for their services, the more likely they were to actually edit their work; the less they charged, the less secure they were, and, well, they just didn't edit at all. And the more insecure they were, the more images they shot. Again, it was out loud laughable.

So many things seem to play into this evolution, and evolution I think it is. I have a feeling that back when people were shooting plates, or 8x10 film, or 5x7 film, or 4x5 film, back when they weren't wasting shots, it happened less because they weren't that many bad shots to begin with. I think even with 120 or 220 film, it happened less, especially if the photographer was using a camera that showed everything backwards - photographers had to really pay attention to what they were doing. I think what happened was 35mm.

I became a camera salesperson right before the big 35mm boom - right before everyone could afford one - I watched the shift in attitudes, the change in picture-taking behaviour. It was around that time also that video cameras began to replace movie cameras - where people once shot 3 minute films (because that's how long the roll of film they purchased would last), suddenly they had 3 hours of videotape in their hands, and oh my, it was just too irresistible, and they shot everything. Everything. Every boring, miserable, loooong detail. And that 35mm? Oh Lordy, the 36 exposure roll, please, and could I have a motor drive with that? What about long roll capability? Good for me, good for all us commission salespeople, but bad for picture taking quality. But still, back then the cameras were all manual - you had to focus, you had to understand ASA/ISO, depth of field, aperture, shutter speed, all that photography stuff. You had to do it yourself even if you were unnecessarily firing off 36 rounds of your daughter approaching her high school stage to receive her diploma, only to find yourself changing the roll of film when she was actually on the stage, missing that shot. Then came more automatic cameras - more people bought cameras as it became easier to get a halfway decent shot, and then those people decided they were photographers. (You don't have to take a test or obtain a license, you just hang your shingle over your door, and obtain a tax #. Another post for another day.) I was there - I saw it happen - I dealt with those people. They shot a few weddings, and the money was okay, it added a bit of income on the weekends, but their shots weren't as good as the real professionals who used bigger cameras, and eventually they would decide to move on up - to purchase a Hasselblad or a Mamiya, something that shot 120 film. They'd get 10-15 shots depending on the camera they purchased. A big shock. A 220 back would be purchased and then they'd get 20-30 shots. Dang. That's all? But they got used to it, complained about the film cost, called themselves photographers, and some got better, and some went back to 35mm. But regardless of what equipment they now used, they still had that 36 shot motor drive mind set - the more I take, the better I am. And they were afraid to not prove to their customers that they'd taken tons.

And then came digital. Eventually good digital - at first, it didn't even compare with film. Now it's wonderful and as someone in a working photo lab, I thank God for it every day. I would never go back to film, and don't understand the nostalgia for it, but I've been there, done that. And with the even easier process of obtaining final images that look okay, people have become even lazier. You should hear the excuses I hear for bad photos - you would laugh, yes, right out loud. It doesn't even matter if you own only one camera card or memory stick or thumb drive or whatever you use - you can download all those jillion pictures into your computer, delete them from your card or stick or whatever, and start all over again. You end up with thousands of pictures, which is just fine - I myself have tons and tons; hopefully you will not show all of them. You keep them, but learn to edit. We all do it every day when we post just one picture or 2 or 4 on our blogs. You knew I wasn't talking about you, right?

But why keep them at all? Well, okay, throw out the obviously bad shots, but think about this. When digital had first become the rage among photojournalists, I watched a show on PBS about photography, and remember an interview with a photographer who was still shooting film. President Clinton had been caught wagging his finger at all of America and lying to us while looking straight into the camera. Busted. I don't think yet impeached, but he would soon lie to a grand jury and then it was just a matter of time. The photographer being interviewed said when he first saw Monica Lewinsky on television, he thought to himself, I've seen that girl. I've photographed that girl. So he hired someone to go through his images - he kept them all, whether he showed them or not, because you just never know, and he was, after all, a professional journalist - and eventually Miss Lewinsky showed up. It was that famous picture we all remember - the one in the black beret, her hugging the President as he stood in a receiving line, she beaming up at him. You know the one. The photographer made a ton of money because 1. he kept the image, 2. he had a good memory, and 3. he was organized. He pointed out in the interview that he was sure many other photographers got that same image, said he was surrounded by cameras firing off those proverbial 36 rounds +, but those other cameras, he said, were digital. He was sure that when the other photographers got back to their computers, they flipped through the images - actually looking at them - deciding what could be deleted, not wanting to use storage space on their hard drives for unnecessary stuff, and deleted that little Lewinsky gold mine, deeming it unimportant. Of course, this was before zip drives and cds and dvds and external hard drives and more storage space built into the internal hard drives. Now we have all that. Now we can keep everything. And dear Lord, we do. We do. We just don't have to show it all.

We do, however, need to look,
need to learn to make decisions,
need to be serious about what we want our names on.
If I show you an out of focus image,
you can be sure it's on purpose.

I hope my local newspaper is listening.
I doubt it.
They even had the story wrong.
of course

10.18.2009

Let's talk about red, baby

Last night I dreamed of kisses and cake.

There are few red things in my life - boots, high heels, lipsticks, fingernail polish, Coca-Cola cans, Netflix envelopes, the edges of labels on vitamin bottles. I am not a red girl except in punctuations - red flipflops with jeans and a white t-shirt, a red line in a painting. I'm not a fan of red cars, although I think red cars are to men what red high heels are to women, and I should be more forgiving of those men, but being human and quite imperfect, I'm not.

Red is about attention - the power button (of course, the power button) on my remote control is red. Red is too much stimulation and I, who am easily stimulated, overly sensitive to the color noise around me, like it in small doses. I have a red velvet bra I wear at Christmas, but my Christmas tree is never red. I love your tree which is, but mine? Always whites & blues & softer colors.

That said, there have been red-hot kisses that turn my cheeks a bit rosy in the remembering, there are strawberries in the summer that stain my lips for free, there is a red beaded purse in a blue box in my closet which I have never used, but love dearly - bought on the spur of the moment because I just had to have it, there are the red beads on a milagro studded bracelet my friend Lulu made for me, there are cardinals in the front yard, the red Turkish caps across the street in Mary's side yard. There are red roses, which, while not my favorite, are still quite wonderful. There are Dorothy's ruby slippers. There are red umbrellas which reflect the loveliest light back onto your face in the midst of a dreary gray day. There is the red moment called autumn, the trees quite gaudy for just a bit, just long enough here in Texas, the leaves gone before wearing out their welcome. I admit to the fantasy of a long red coat swirling about me in the wind. There are pomegranates and tomatoes and raspberries and red bell peppers and red hot peppers. There are store bought chocolates in red heart shaped boxes on Valentine's Day. There are red gloves.

But still. A little red goes a long way for me.

How about you? Tell me the reds that make your soul happy, your heart full. Is a little red enough or do you want red everythings? Are there moments you remember as red, and were those moments good or scary?

Is your Christmas tree dressed in red?

10.16.2009

It is the wizard of Oz and Dorothy has opened the door to color

The rain has stopped and there is sunshine outside.

I saw these flowers in a neighbor's yard this morning,
and glancing up,
I saw heart-shaped leaves
waving at me from another neighbor's tree.
The street was full of star-shaped leaves
and
there were yellow crescent moons
nestled against the grass in my yard.
There were pink flowers
weathered by the storms
and
pecans underfoot.
Deep purple berries in the creek,
bright yellow forsythia at the creek's edge,
a few lavender blossoms
on the butterfly bush in the back yard.

It was not gray this morning.
:)

10.13.2009

mexican food y rain, y llueve

Mexican restaurant.
Storm in the sky.
Too much cilantro in the salsa.
Too much rain pouring down.
Too much.
The heavens opened up.
We just began to laugh.



10.12.2009

Rain rain rain rain on my parade

It was the best umbrella at the parade.

When God gives you rain, cover yourself with roses.

I am fighting (with very little success, I might add) my annoyance with this continuing rain. I like my rain to stop every once in a while. I considered making a list of all the good things about this rain: 1. The lovely, lovely Katie thinks it may possibly (she's not sure) bring redder leaves to autumn, 2. the quite enchanting fog that settled in for a bit this evening, 3. . . . 3. . . . and here I become stumped, and since really, 2 things can't make a list, can they?, I have no list. I would so love to say that I feel all cozy in my house with the rain coming down outside, but I don't - not after this many days (or is it weeks?). Perhaps if I had more windows and more light could peek in, gray though it might be, perhaps that would help. Perhaps. Perhaps if I didn't have to brush against almost knee-high wet monkey grass every morning to climb in the Jeep, which has begun to be quite icky and aggravating, perhaps I would feel better about it all. Perhaps if the rain would stop just long enough for me to take out the trash without getting wet, perhaps if my key would just stop sticking in the front door lock while I stand with purse & tote & camera over my shoulder, umbrella held over my head, loudly cursing while trying to finesse the key back out and avoid the biggest fattest raindrops of all that fall in that exact spot, drops that fall from the roof at that exact moment, working their way under the umbrella which I cannot keep quite straight as I fight with the lock, demanding it give back my key. Eventually it does and I throw my stuff in the Jeep from the passenger side before heading for my side and that waiting, wet, evil monkey grass. I am in a bad mood before I leave the yard. Perhaps if all that were not a daily occurrence, it would help. Perhaps.

But right now, the leaves on the ground are not red - they are green and yellow and mostly brown-going-to-mold and they are wet and they stick to the bottoms of shoes and I find them all over my house. Inside my front door there are 4 or 5 pairs of flipflops and a pair of boots and I change from one pair to the other as I go in and out, but the cat doesn't wear shoes, and even if she did it wouldn't matter - the leaves stick to her tail and her back, and they cling to the doorjamb and find their way in no matter what I do. I can't sweep them - they are wet and hold on tightly to the broom, so I must pick them up one by one, or wait until they are dry and then sweep.

I am not too proud to admit there are days I do just that.
sunshine please

10.11.2009

How many matches does it take to . . .

How many matches it took to entice my old but fabulous
has-real-flames
gas heater to light.

The rain has returned.

10.09.2009

The fault of the rain

The rain was back this morning.

A storm blew through early and Maggie and I watched it through the windows, comfortable in our little house, safe from the wind and the tornado warning miles away. It is wrong, I think, to wish this rain would stop, wrong to be so judgmental, wrong to call it too much, wrong to think of it as anything as just being rain, but nonetheless I am ready for it to stop. Colder air followed the storm in, and it is also perhaps wrong to give thanks that this may put an end to the mosquitoes, but nonetheless I am ready for them to be gone.

Yesterday, during a brief respite from the rain, I stood below a swarm of green dragonflies - at least I think they were green. They weren't red & they may have been blue, but they were everywhere & as I stood staring at the sky, they flew around & above me, into the creek, back out, fast, fast, fast, just like the red ones, and in fact, right in the very same spot the red ones inhabit when they are here. Squatter dragonflies perhaps. I also surprised several cardinals hiding in the pear tree - they swooped out, 4 or 5 of them, startling me as I tramped about in the wet grass. I have also been inundated with ladybugs; this is a first for me in this house and is it the fault of the rain, I wonder. Are they, too, tired of all the wet and just looking for a comfy dry spot to lay their weary heads? I've seen them here & there through the years, but this year they are in the bathtub, on the blinds in the kitchen, and for three days in a row, there was a ladybug on the front door at exact eye-level each morning. It would be gone in the evening, but back the next morning.

In the evenings there are raccoons - last night just one outside the door, scrounging for pecan bits in the grass, drinking Maggie's outside supply of water. In the evenings there are also phones off the hook, and for a couple of nights, no computer. Just me, Maggie, a book. On & off, the sound of rain. She's back to spending time inside with me - I thank the rain for that, though it is only partially responsible. Since she was hurt, in a fight - whatever happened - she's been a bit shy about staying out in the evenings. She's no fool. She stands at the door for several minutes before making the decision to step through - sometimes it takes her several tries to convince herself that all is well, but she always eventually does and heads out, but she is back in a bit, wanting in, wanting her basket, wanting me, wanting home.

Today was the day for her weekly vet visit and as we drove back, she sitting on my left leg, paws against the windowpane, watching the rain & traffic, it felt like fall was really here. It's how we spent last fall, she & I, trips to the vet, watching the trees change on our route, and I felt again the peacefulness of she & I together in the jeep, rain outside, quiet inside, or Diana Krall on the stereo. Today was quiet. And once again I am thankful she is still with me, this cat who was not supposed to still be here, knock on wood.

I hear nothing outside now. The rain has stopped. Truly stopped. Tomorrow is the Rose Parade and the forecast is chilly but clear. My niece is in her school's band, so I will be there for the first time in 20 years. And for the first time in paid seats, my mother unable to stand by the side of the road. I have complained all day about tomorrow's sitting in the cold, but truly, I am thankful for the gift - my mother, my niece, my sister-in-law & her mother. 4 women I love.

I will throw my niece in there and call her a woman.
She will like that & it will make her laugh.
she is now well, the flu gone in a few days

10.08.2009

Blue lights & berries

This morning I was up way too early.

In my house, all the clocks have that as a real time,
and I checked
and
all of their hands were pointed that way.
One of them was even pointing a tad towards way way too early.

But I was up and out
and wandering under Katie's blue lights
where I spied red berries
and I oh, so badly wanted to take pictures
with the night as the backdrop,
but alas, alas,
the night said no.

Soon, however,
the rays of the sun began to scooch over the rooftops
and through the trees
and I was back out.




10.07.2009

Rain, storms, art, wild horses

In which I try to embrace this never ending rain.

I like the way these leaves are so much more blue under a wet sky and I like sitting here at my desk next to a big white envelope with the words wild horses scrawled across it with a black ballpoint pen, which is interesting because Michael & I discussed wild horses at lunch, apropos of nothing, and here is this envelope with those very words on it, and yes, it's been here all morning, even before lunch, but Michael brought up the subject, not I. And I like envisioning wild horses racing with each other out in their wild wilderness, and what is it about wild horses that seems so much more enchanting than wild other things?

I have had 3 paintings accepted for an art show that begins later this month - Shades of East Texas, it's called, and only after I received the acceptance letter did I realize that the 3 paintings I'd submitted were all about storms. The description of artwork to be considered had said whatever East Texas means to you, and I thought I didn't have much that was really about East Texas except maybe my tornado painting - and in hindsight I think perhaps I should also have submitted my tornado drawing, which y'all have never seen, but it's behind glass and I didn't have a photograph, and the deadline was pretty much right then, so I didn't - but like I said, when I got that acceptance letter & read the titles of the paintings listed one right after the other, I realized how much where you are affects your work. Bridgette talked about that after she moved to Chicago, and it had become obvious that her color palette was changing, but I just thought about it re: Bridgette. Never thought about it re: me. And I don't know what to say about it other than what a surprise it is to realize this something new about myself, but I like it, and I think the stuff that speaks about me here, whether I knew it or not at the time, is some of my best stuff. And most of it is recent stuff, which makes me happy because can you say growth?, and if I think about it, it is always the stuff that comes easiest. Hmmm. How revealing.

I've been keeping paintings in my head for a few months now, but am feeling the urge to pick up a brush, and I don't know why this always hits me when we're absolutely at our busiest at work - I will have to think about that, because it just now occurs to me that perhaps painting is a way to relax, even though I've always said it isn't relaxing, and it's not, it's exhausting, so maybe it's not relaxing, maybe it's releasing, and oh, I don't know.

Maybe I'm the storm.
michael would so say yes to that

10.05.2009

Catching leaves as they fall

There is a spot in my yard where the tulip tree grows
and
it has bloomed again;
twice this year,
a special gift,
an extra goodbye to summer,
a hello to fall.
The blooms are catching leaves as they fall.

How lucky to be a leaf.

I wish I were drifting down in the autumn air,
finding my way into the waiting arms
of a white and pink flower,
raindrops for dinner,
a bed for the winter.

What dreams I would have.

When at last my flower fell,
we would fall as one,
together.
Softly.
softly

back in the real world

When I put on this left boot this morning,
it tore off my big toenail.
Almost.
It's duct taped onto my toe right now.

I cannot get the stripey part of these leggings straight.
See?

When I stopped to take this picture
back at the back of the hall
I knew it was too dark
and blurry,
but that's the way this morning is starting out.
I leaned against that dolly
for support for a long shutter speed,
but the dolly,
as it turns out,
cannot support an entire woman,
and in so doing,
I knocked over a bunch of studio lights.
Wham/thud onto the floor.

See that black trunk back there?
That's it/them
and I am afraid to look inside.
See Lily?
She knows I have messed up.

There are no cokes here.
I thought there were.
I will have to put these boots back on
and walk over to Goodwill to get one.

Needing to run the paperwork for credit card purchases
I headed for the studio,
where the credit card machine is kept
on a photographer's desk,
only to discover that the lock to the door has locked itself.
No key will fit it, the doorknob is broken.
I tried everything,
and finally succeeded
by wiggling a paperclip in the keyhole
while pushing hard with my behind.
Of which I have plenty.

10.04.2009

Color for a rainy day. At last! Wedding pictures!

No words necessary.

First smooch as Mr. & Mrs.

Love, love, love the wind and the veil.

Katie & Molly

Listening to advice

Quite a bit of champagne had been partaken of. Cake time.

Back to the mainland.


(Images courtesy the groom & friends -
photoshopping yours truly)
a good time was had by all

Awake, Awake - OH!

I am up - cannot sleep.
Looking for a picture under which to type, I found this.
Another Maggie in a basket photo.

Right now she is nestled on the bench at the foot of my bed.

And I am awake, wide awake,
up from dreaming that the white ruffles on my sheet
were huge white flowers,
caressing my cheek like the hand of a lover.
Up from laying in the silence in my room,
now kept company by the sound of a thunderstorm on CD,
ironic since the sound of real rain lulled me to sleep earlier.
Up from all the thoughts that I cannot shake:

laundry needs folded, a wedding down the street, lock on my front door is broken, need to buy ice and coke and bread and cat food, field of dreams, remember to sign new car insurance papers, remember to look for new car insurance papers - where did i put them? - can i drive them over monday?, why hasn't the letter about the art show shown up?, it's too hot, it's too chilly, my ear is hurting - does that mean i am getting sick?, is it the flu?, of course rio over chicago, new dog next door, rain again, out of season tulip tree blossoms, paper whites breaking ground, need to photograph green high heels, what has happened to rachel lucas?, i wish i'd talked those little girls into peeping over the fence for a photograph, the american revolution, baseball season is almost over, do the cowboys play tomorrow?, should i take something to help me sleep?, katie's wedding pictures, what is the student edition of photoshop and why is it so much cheaper than regular photoshop?, film for julie, that funny picture in the photoshop disasters blog, emma is better, my mother, i drank too many cokes today, i hope it's not still raining tomorrow, maybe i should turn on the fan, i hope i don't catch katie's cold - she said robert was now coming down with it so it's contagious, maybe that's why my ear is hurting, who's walking around upstairs? - he or she can't sleep either, why does it seem so light out - is it the moon or did heidi leave her back porch light on?, i hate that light, why did my mother switch her phone service to suddenlink? - the caller id is still wrong, i don't want to deal with them, maybe i should just go to the lab and work on photos, hardly strictly bluegrass, the big lebowski - i need to watch it and return to netflix; i've had it a month, i need to call lulu, i need to make get well cards for emma and sharon, i should start making christmas cards, i need to clean the house, the bathroom cabinets need re-painted, i am still itching from whatever i am allergic to out in the yard, should i cut my hair?, i am clenching my jaw - no wonder my ear hurts, maybe i should play tripeaks - that always makes me sleepy, i want some ice water, maggie to the vet, is michael coming over?, that stupid key stuck in the door, restless legs syndrome, mark steyn on hollywood & roman polanski, blueberry eggos, is that lasagna in the fridge still good?, if i had milk i could eat some cheerios, maybe i'll watch craig ferguson on youtube, maybe i should just read, why did i let my camera battery get so low?, i need to pay that dr. bill - where did i put it, it's way overdue, maybe that's what all the unknown phone calls are about, i'll bet they are, it's really way overdue, where is it?, i need to figure the utilities for rbl - they're way overdue too, hydrangea trees, that 5 year old kid shot that alligator; too funny, i should have gone to blue moon, that dog molly is really cute in her lifejacket, i need to get a halloween costume.

Still awake.
Reading the news is too frustrating.
Craig Ferguson wins.

10.03.2009

october weekend / 1

There is a butterfly who lives at an intersection near our business.

I know it is probably not the same butterfly,
that it is no doubt a family
taking turns to swoop in front of me each day,
but I like to think it is the same one saying hello,
sprinkling sparkling butterfly energy over me as I pass by.
I swear I can feel the silver bits land on me.

It is October.
Anything is possible.
It is time to dance under the moon.

Of all the months of Autumn,
October seems the friendliest.
It is the time of play,
of standing beneath windstorms of falling leaves.
It is the calm before the storm of November;
Thanksgiving to be prepared,
Christmas shopping to begin.
It is the time to let go
and I am unfurling today,
gone with October breezes.

I look at the wings of a butterfly
and think
there should be a poem there somewhere.
But nothing comes
and I wonder if the wings are the poem
or the looking?

Our first October weekend.
Fly into it
with leaves swirling about you.
i am off