Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

Nolite te bastardes carburundorum!

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette

Saturday, February 28, 2009

All Good Things Come to an End

The gallery show ends today. We had a few folks pass through, but it was a slow month all around, even for the gallery. I don't know what, if anything, we sold, won't know until later next month when they'll send a check and (hopefully) a list of what we sold...or when we do an inventory, if we can be bothered. I know one person wanted to talk to K about designing a logo for him...hopefully that will come to fruition.


Meanwhile, I am spending today at the gallery with S, taking down the show and cleaning out the room for the next artist. If I can figure out how, I'll be putting the framed and matted pieces up on my Etsy site later this month. I know you're just holding your breath...


I am considering trying to mount a full showing later this year or sometime next year, filling the room in its entirety with my work (maybe a few really big pieces, if I can manage to get them printed), but it depends on our finances and whether I can manage to put together more framed art. Ah, well...one may dream...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Still (Horse) Crazy, After All These Years

When I was a kid, I was horse mad. It's the rare girl who isn't horse mad, actually - it seems we're hard wired to love the beasts on sight, even when they bite, kick, throw us, or step on our feet and lean. We love them despite the smell and the copious amounts of fecal matter we have to shovel up when they leave it lying around, and despite them blowing snot on us, farting shamelessly, and the insane amount of hay, grain, and water we have to give them to keep body and soul together...not to mention the apples, carrots, bread, sugar cubes, and corn husks and cobs they crave for snacks. Hmm...maybe it's nature's way of getting us ready for guys. I kid, I kid! Mostly...

Some girls never grow out of their horse crazy phase. I'm one of those. I love them with a madness that is immeasurable, and one of the things I miss most from my not-fat-not-always-broke days is riding. I learned English but switched to Western when I discovered the joys of the trail ride - I was always tall (topping out at five foot, ten inches), and riding for miles with my knees in my teeth wasn't much fun. I liked the free and easy feel of Western riding, the more substantial saddle, the feeling of security that I had when I could drop my heels down and feel myself rooted in that saddle. Jumping in a western saddle was right out, but my cousin C was the jumper, the better horsewoman all around, not me. I was terrified of real jumping, never going much higher than the cavaletties (sp??) that my instructor insisted I try on a regular basis. I just like riding along at an amble, communing with nature and the horse and generally achieving a sort of equine-enhanced Zen state.

The two worst almost-falls I ever had were on trail rides, and I came out of both incidents better off than the horse did. That was thanks to my English training, when it was really important to know how to come out of a saddle - those stirrups are short, one's balance is all off-kilter, and it's all so...insecure. I was glad enough for the training, though, because I could turn a bad fall into a controlled dismount even when the horse was suddenly subject to a gravity-well and untied shoelaces, or fairies, or whatever made them jump, stumble, and fall.

I miss all of that, even the shovelling of shit and the occasional buck, rear, shy, or fall. I miss the smell of horse, leather, saddle soap, barn, and sweat. I miss the creak of the leather, the sigh and snort of the animal, and the slow, gentle sough of my legs being rubbed raw because I wore absolutely the wrong pants for a trail ride. Oops.

I've been told I can ride, even now, because horses can carry a lot of weight...but honestly? I can just see the horses rolling their eyes and trying to fake a limp when they see me come walking into the stable. I can't make some poor critter haul my fifty-acre...umm...make that forty-eight acre...ass around a ring, let alone on a trail. I'll wait. It's one of the...ahem...carrots I am holding out to myself to continue losing weight.

What made me think of all this? Several things, actually, a kind of serendipity or synchronicity, if you will - I just finished reading a book about a woman who runs away from her husband to live on a horse farm, where she trains for Dressage (among other adventures), an article in National Geographic from a month or so ago, about Mustangs and the BLM's herd management techniques, and the horse trailer I followed for a few miles last night that had the bumper-sticker reading "My horse is smarter than you honor student" on the rear door.

I watched as little girls craned their necks to see the horses in the trailer, straining to catch a glimpse as they rode in the back seat of their parent's cars, following with their eyes for as long as they could before they had to turn back around or were out of sight. I actually slowed down so I wouldn't block one girl's view, a gesture of Universal Sisterhood in All Things Equine.

I just remembered one of life's great cruelties - I loved horses but was an adequate rider at best. Big Brother was indifferent to the animals, and he could have ridden for the Olympics, he was that good. Sigh. Life can be so unfair.

Horsin' Around - some horsey links to feed the madness:

Unwanted Horse Coalition - they do good work.

The Pinto Horse Association - because I learned to ride on the orneriest Pinto on the planet, and I loved her.

Horse Types of the World - an invaluable site if you can't tell a Paint from a Palomino. I have used this site extensively while researching for stories. If I ever make a million, I'll thank them with presidential portraits in green, but for now, a link on my blog will have to do.

An finally, a link to the online version of the National Geographic story about Mustangs. I admit, I got a bit weepy when I read the anecdote that began the article...sniff...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Anthropomorphizing Cats

Every morning, before I make my own breakfast, I feed the outdoor kitties. If I forget, or am running late, or have to get moving and go out, I feed them later, but they let me know about it - they linger in the driveway, under cars, on the steps, meowing at me. They've become quite vocal.

I watch them out the windows, when they walk about my part of the neighborhood. They make a little parade, sometimes the three young ones following Ginger Tom, sometimes following Little Mother, sometimes all of them together, promenading along. Their tails wave to and fro, they hold their heads up high - it's quite a sight.

I wonder, sometimes, how aware they are of their relationship to each other. Ginger Tom is definitely the papa of the young ones, and he may be the papa of the new batch Little Mother is carrying now. They way he lead them about when they were younger, it certainly looked like he knew they were his. The same with Little Mother - she led her little brood from place to place, and I know she was aware they were hers.

These days, Little Mother is as prone to growl and swat the young ones on the head if they try to eat before her. I think she's telling them "Hey, give me some respect!"

This morning, as soon as I stepped onto the front stoop, Little Bit and Ginger Tom ran up to greet me. Ginger Tom has humans who keep him, and he'll let me pet him. Little Bit is feral, and skittish, but she'll come quite close if I keep still. This morning, I held some bits of food in my hand, and she inched nearer, meowing and...purring! I know they purr when nervous as well as when happy, a sort of placatory sound.

She walked beneath my arm as I was petting Ginger Tom, a ghost of a touch brushing against me. I figured why not and reached out to her, and...she let me pet her! Only the slightest caress, the briefest contact - but I pet her! She ran a few steps away and looked confused, but she came back to me and tolerated another ephemeral touch before she decided she'd had enough, danced away, and sat meowing until I poured food into the bowl. She seems relieved when I came back indoors.

I'm hoping she'll let me pet her again, perhaps one day even sit with her for a while. Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hoping for Justice

My friend L is in Florida right now, waiting for a trial to end, hoping for justice for her daughter.

There's a lot of back story to this, more than I feel I can or should share, but in a nutshell: L's daughter P was in her father's custody. Her father abused her. She reported the abuse to the authorities and her mother two years ago, and they've been going through the legal system since. P is a minor, in her teens now. The man in question is facing a minimum of three counts of abuse, with the possibility of up to ninety years in prison if found guilty on all counts.

Two years ago, L wasn't sure if she believed her daughter. What if the girl was simply expressing teen rebellion, angry at her father and striking out? Today, she is utterly convinced the girl was and is telling the truth - the evidence is overwhelming. She has been there throughout the trial, listening to the testimony of strangers as they dissect her daughter's life, her abuse, and the short and long term trauma such abuse engenders. With one exception, she has heard what everyone had to say about the man with whom she left her daughter, believing the child safe, as a child should be with her father.

The one exception? P didn't want her mother in the room when she testified. Dear goddess, how terrible that must have been - to know you must speak of things you mother shouldn't hear, to be strong enough to say you won't let her hear them, and to be L waiting, waiting, waiting, knowing that your child is telling strangers things no one should ever have to tell.

Today, they are giving closing arguments. After this, P, L, and everyone who loves them, will be hoping for justice. None of us doubts that the man did what he's accused of, what the evidence proves. None of us has any illusions that justice is a sure thing. All we can do is wait and hope.

Hope springs eternal...

Monday, February 23, 2009

What the...?

OK, no more chocolate chip, walnut, cherry cookies before bed - aside from the fact that they go straight to my arse, apparently they cause odd dreams. No really...it had to be the cookie, and nothing to do with the fact that I am queen of the weird or something. Oh, please tell me it was the cookie...

I feel the need to preface this by saying that I may have a modicum of geekery in me - I love my titanuim spork and travel chopsticks (made, in part, of recycled Japanese baseball bats), and when I was younger I very much wanted to be the voice of the Computer on Star Trek. I didn't want any other part of me on the show, but I always wished I could be that voice. I watched Star Trek often, have a Tribble of my very own (it guards the couch from invaders), and adored TNG when it came on, even if I had strong opinions about how they developed the psychic abilities of Troi and was pissed they killed off Yar (because, damn!).

I dreamed that I was having a conversation with Wil Wheaton and another fellow who shall be labelled "Wil's Friend" or "WF" for short, sort of online and sort of in real person, but mostly online. C'mon, it was a dream, cut my wrinkly brain a break, OK?

So anyway, Mr. Wheaton and WF were talking about some kind of computer geekery that was way over my head, even my dream head (which is usually much smarter than my real head...at least in my dreams), and Mr. Wheaton was building little Lego streetlamps that actually lit up. He was building them for another friend who was not present, and I must say they were clever little things.

Anyway, they were talking about something computery and I asked them what the difference between one thing and another was, and they got very animated and did...something...and next thing I know Mr. Wheaton had seized root and was noodling with Bob.

Umm...OK that sounds a little dirty. Lemme explain. "Seize root", for them as what don't speak geek (and believe me, I don't usually) means "take control of, remotely". I'm sorry to disappoint the Google pervs. Bob, for the uninitiated, is my computer. Feel better, now?

Anyway, he started noodling with Bob, and suddenly my computer was doing things faster than you could say...umm...whatever you say when things go really, really fast. It was cool. I was inside an artery of information, letters and numbers making up the artery walls, glowing green, crimson, blue, some bright, some dim. The walls of the artery were pulsing, and Wil (I feel I should call him Wil, now he's gotten personal with Bob and all) was telling me about how the artery was clogged with information and it needed cleaning out.

Did I mention it was all glowy and pretty? It was. And then the program I'd been running on Bob shut down, the artery collapsed, and...well, I woke up, dang it. I was really keen to see Wil finish the little street lamps and find out how he cleaned out Bob's arteries and made them all glowy and bright again. Sigh.

Sorry, Mr. Wheaton...I didn't mean to include you in the madness. I blame the cookie.

It was an awfully good cookie, though...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thoughtfetti

Last night I was munching on some leftover conversation hearts - you know, those candies that range from chalk to granite in texture and flavor, with the occasional plastic fruit taste for fun? Anyway, I was eating a handful of those and I got a message that made me pause my consumption for a good laugh - because choking on a conversation heart? not how I envision my demise.

It said "E-Z 2 Plez", which, if my L33T speak isn't entirely off-base, translates into "Easy to please".

Hah! Hahahahahahahah!!!

I'm going to start my own line of snarky hearts that say things like "Pain in my Azz" and "Hi-Maintenance" and "Psycho" and "I Stalk U". Whadaya think?
~~~~~

It's chilly and windy out, a perfect day to have the in-laws over for pancakes and bacon. They're working safety over at the track this weekend, and I like to invite them for breakfast on Sunday - they have a two-hour break on Sunday morning when cars can't run, a local ordinance put into place many years ago because of the churches in the ares. I guess God and auto racing don't go together.
~~~~~

I love bacon and syrup. Yes, I do. This is why I have a (shrinking, slowly shrinking) fifty-acre ass. If I was in Seattle, I would go to Voo-Doo doughnuts and, after giving them a ration about the Voo-Doo thing, buy maple-bacon doughnuts and die happy.
~~~~~

Does anyone else get a kick out of watching the Barett-Jackson auction and thinking of what they'd do with the money besides buy used cars? OK, OK, so they're classic cars and they're beautiful and I'd love to own at least half of them...but I'd rather have land and my dream house first.
~~~~~
I have band practice at my house today and tomorrow. I cleaned my house yesterday so folks would have somewhere to sit and not have crunchy feet...but you wouldn't know that to look at it now. How does one small boy make that much mess?? Maybe they won't notice...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bird Talk

Hey, it's me, Bird. Sometimes Mommy calls me The Evil Genius, except she make the "t" little, which is wrong because it's part of a title or name or something, and shouldn't it be big? Sometimes Mommy is just silly like that - she doesn't always follow the rules. I like it when we don't follow the rules together.

Mommy isn't feeling well right now, and she didn't feel like writing a blog today, so I decided I would do it for her. I'm not supposed to be on the Internet by myself, but she's in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and making a frowny face, so I'm not really alone...not really. Usually when I am online, I play games, but she writes every day for the blog and I didn't want her to have an empty day.

Mommy's heart hurts...not in a doctor kind of way, in a sad kind of way, and it's making her feel bad. She always tells me when she's sad, it isn't my fault, and the place in her heart where I am is happy, but sometimes it's very quiet and the sad part is loud, and she just has to let it play like a big brass band until it runs out of steam. I didn't know bands played with steam. I'd like to see that. I wonder how they make it...maybe they have a big kettle under the stage, only wouldn't that be hot? And drums don't like steam or damp, because then they go dull and thumpy and sound bad. Sometimes I don't understand Mommy.

She says I should follow my dreams and I can be whatever I strive to be when I grow up. Sometimes, she says she wishes she had listened to her heart before it was too late and she got too old and tired.

She's tired all the time...she says it's because her spirit is worn down. I think it's because she had a birthday, and she doesn't like them - she says they just remind her she's getting older and that's all she's doing. How can you not like birthdays? Last year, I had mine at Chuck-E-Cheese, and it was so much fun! This year it was at home, but some of my friends came and we played with all my toys and ran around and had strawberries and cake, but Mommy didn't do any of that for her birthday. She did dishes and had a res reese resepshun reception at the gallery, and I got to play at the park next door and run down to the lake and make Daddy run back up three-million steps because when we got to the bottom I had to go potty, and the potty was up at the top. Daddy said his heart was exploding, but I didn't see any smoke.

I'm going to help mommy make cookies, because she always laughs when I help her because sometimes the flour goes all over and sometimes I get dough on me and we always lick the spoons together. Daddy like cookies when they come out of the oven, but Mommy won't let me eat them until they cool off because she says the chocolate chips are like little chocolate lava bombs and she doesn't want me to burn my tongue. Wouldn't it be funny of there was a chocolate volcano? But messy, too, and we'd always have to wash our faces and hands, so maybe it wouldn't be so much fun. Making cookies is fun, though.

Oh, I have to go now because I see the owl in the tree and I want to show Mommy because she likes him! Bye-bye.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's How I Roll, Yo

Every night now and then, we run out of traditional dinner fare at Casa de Crazy. On those regular rare occasions, I may have to improvise a meal.

Often, that means scrambled eggs and toast, or some kind of fritata-from-the-leftovers, or a quick dial-up to one of the two places that will deliver food to our door for a mortgage payment nominal fee.

On rarer occasions, I'll have some crescent-rolls-in-a-tube on hand, and I have some fun rolling random ingredients up in them.

A few nights ago, I found myself wondering what I could have for dinner that didn't involve dialing the phone. T was out if town, the Evil Genius supped on a sumptuous feast of leftover pizza (cold,natch) and milk, and I didn't feel like messing up a whole lot of pots and pans for dinner for one.

I remembered the crescent rolls. And the peperoni. And the chopped peppers, and the onion, and the chunk o' cheddar cheese. Woo-hoo, dinner was on! On half the crescents I layered pepperoni, cheese, peppers and onions, rolled 'em up, and pinched the edges closed to help fend off leakage. On the other half of the rolls I spread a bit of orange marmalade, sprinkled a few chocolate chips (Ghiradelli 60% cacao, no less) and some dried cherries. Rolled 'em up, pinched the edges, and baked the lot at 350 for 18 minutes.

I'll be walking them off for a month, but it was totally worth it!

So...how do you roll??

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mother of the Year I Ain't

Yesterday I took the Evil Genius to the dentist - he has a few stubborn baby teeth that are mucking up the distribution of his grown-up teeth, and last checkup they found a cavity which they wanted to fill (it's a baby tooth, but it's a molar and will be there for a while, so it needs filling).

A cavity.

In my six-year-old's tooth.

You know whose fault that is - not his, that's whose. It's the fault of the mother who didn't make sure his teeth were brushed every night, even when someone else said they'd take care of it.

So now he has a filling, but that wasn't enough. Nope. The dentist informed me that the cavity was massive - his word, too - and right at the nerve, so my SIX YEAR OLD CHILD needs a crown. A crown!! And a root canal!! At six!!!!!!!!!

I drove home feeling like a shitheel, even though my cheerful little guy didn't care a whit and wanted to know if he could have a biscuit for breakfast (no, he couldn't, since it was lunch time and anyway, he still had a numb mouth and couldn't have solid food until he could feel his face again. He got milk and some cheddar bunnies instead.)(Yes, cheddar bunnies are solid food, but you try telling a kid that cute and hungry he can't eat.)(Didn't think so)

Today we are off to the pediatric dentist, who will possibly drill, kill, and fill while I quietly sit in the corner and lambaste myself with recriminations and self-loathing...because my six-year-old will now have a dead tooth and a stainless steel crown.

I'm the anti-mother-of-the-year, is what I am.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crab Dip A Go-Go

OK, so maybe not a go-go...I'm not entirely sure I know what that means, although it sure is fun to say...but I did make it to go, so does that count? I made this dip for Sunday's reception at the gallery, because what says "Buy my art!!" like crab dip? Also, I noodled with the idea of feeding people this dip and then remarking that folks would get a free breath mint with every photo they bought. Classy, huh? I didn't do that, though. I forgot the mints.

The cast:

14 oz. crab meat
8 oz. package cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
3 cloves garlic, pressed
Cayenne pepper - a dash will do
Salt to taste

Aaaand...action!
Soften cream cheese .
Mmm...doesn't that look...well...just awful? Yeah, it doesn't get any prettier...but this isn't about pretty, it's about tasty!

Combine with mayonnaise and sour cream.
For heaven's sake, don't let it sit there looking like this - mix it, quick!

Add Tabasco, Worcestershire, cayenne, salt, garlic and Old Bay seasoning.
I chopped my garlic because I don't have a squeezer-crusher thingy...and anyway, I like chunks o' garlic...don't you?

Stir in crab meat. Taste and adjust seasoning. I ended up using about 16 ounces of crab, an extra clove of garlic (no fear of vampire fish, here), and a few extra shakes of cayenne and Tabasco, because I like the little bit of after burn they provide.

I know it doesn't look very impressive...but looks can be deceiving.

This is a very basic dip - for variation in texture and flavor, add chopped bell peppers or sliced green onions just before serving.

Make a few hours (or better yet, a day) ahead of time and chill thoroughly before serving.

Serve with crackers, Melba toast, or anything suitable for dipping.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Crow Heart

crows are history keepers
not historians,
keepers
different
they don't wonder
study
guess
crows know
they were there
and they know
one to another, they tell
one crow
to a murder
they relay battles
won and lost
crows never forget
if you know how to listen
they will tell you, too

I think my heart is a crow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Doing the Bump(er)

Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will pee on you while you sleep.

I'm looking forward to regretting this.

I'd love to trade caller ID for caller IQ.

I don't want buns of steel - I want buns of cinnamon.

I'd like to verb your noun.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Closer to Home

All photographs were taken with a Kodak Easy Share cx7525 camera and are unretouched. Except for cropping, the pictures have not been manipulated in any way.
We come to the end of the virtual show. Thanks for sticking with me through all of it! Today, I am officially one year older than I was yesterday. I'm at the gallery, helping host a reception for our show and for a second show the gallery is holding, and trying to ignore the fact that another year has flown past and I haven't published, still have a humongous arse, and am feeling rather lumpy and useless right now. Oh, well.
Meanwhile, here's the last of the virtual show - the real one will hang until the end of the month.
All photographs were taken with a Kodak Easy Share cx7525 camera and are unretouched. Except for cropping, the pictures have not been manipulated in any way.
~~~~~

Turtle

Turtle

Hello friend
How do you do?
It’s a curious sort of day
When there’s a turtle in the wheelbarrow
How did he get there?
He can’t have flown
Could he?


We have quite a bit of yard, more than people who are not gardeners need. We can’t keep up with it, really – one Summer, the grass grew so high we called the back yard our own Serengeti and looked for the giraffes that must surely come along at any moment. One of our neighbors felt sorry for us, took pity on our son (and his desire to play in the yard) and stealth-mowed it for us one afternoon when we were away. Finally, we hired a lawn service, an extravagance indeed. They were very thorough, and much to my delight, observant – they found this turtle in the grass near the woods and moved him before he became something entirely less engaging via a good mowing. My son was fascinated – little boys and turtles, peas and carrots. To keep him safe, the gentleman who found him placed him in our sad, rusty, entirely ill-used wheelbarrow. Once the lawn service was gone, we released our new friend. I suppose he’s still about, but he’s careful to avoid places where he may run into my son and my son’s curiosity.
~~~~~Dangerous Lady

Dangerous Lady

She is quiet
Just fed
Perhaps napping
I cannot tell
She is less a danger to me
Than her web can be
Stretched across the stairs
Found by my face in the night
A gossamer reminder
That I share my home with many

These spiders have long fascinated me. I don’t know their proper name, but am hardly bothered by my ignorance – I call them Writing Spiders and am content with that moniker. This one had spun her web in a bush at Ft. Yargo State park, and was as long as my thumb. I wonder what stories her weaving tells? Some universal mysteries are best left to themselves, I suppose.
~~~~~Harbinger

Harbinger

One
Little
Yellow
Flower
Became a burst
Of fireworks
But first
It was
One
Little
Yellow
Flower

Braselton, Ga - The forsythia is anxious to be the first to announce spring. It doesn’t seem to mind that sometimes it is too soon, that it will probably be dusted with snow or glazed with ice or suffer wind, rain, and chill – it has felt the hints of spring in its roots and it will shout for all to see, Spring! Spring! Spring!
~~~~~Ascension

Ascension

Upwardly mobile
In an achingly slow fashion
The snail was wise enough
To avoid the poison ivy
Where it was wise
I was merely lucky


In Oakwood, Georgia, just beside the highway, is Elachee Nature Center. They have miles of walking trails that are open to the public, the science center to members. We have a membership, but spend more time on the trails than inside. The trails offer trees, ferns, bushes, flowers, fungi, birds, animal tracks, frogs, lizards…and snails. We decided to take a hike one day that turned into a six mile jaunt through woods, over creeks, up and down hills, and quite possibly through time and fairy realms, too. Who knows? This snail may have been someone’s steed…
~~~~~Froggy Friend

Froggy friend

Oh, hello
It’s lovely and damp here
And I enjoy the trickle
From the hose that is cross-threaded
Will you be my friend?
I’ll sing for you…


Braselton, Ga - Imagine my surprise when I met this fellow one morning! It was before the watering ban, and I would get up early to water the Iris, Morning Glories, Rowan Trees, and the Hosta that I call the Muppet plant because it is large, shaggy, and friendly. The frog hung about for some days before finding less paparazzi-infested places to linger.
~~~~~Blue Glory

Blue Glory

In the morning
They burst
From coiled-tight
Spiral tubes
To brilliant blue trumpets
Sometimes wet with dew
Or collected rain


Braselton, Ga - Some years ago I planted these Morning Glories beside my front stoop, hoping they would climb the trellis I gave them and onto the railing one story above. They did not disappoint. There were two shades of blue, this one and a lighter one. This one has come back on its own, year after year – the lighter one is rare, a prize, and it’s a treasure hunt to find its seeds to save and pant next year. When their heart-shaped leaves begin to unfurl each spring, the waiting game begins – which one will it be? Purple? Medium blue? Light blue? Or some other one the birds have brought me as thanks for the seed...? Morning glories make me smile, they are such happy flowers.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lobstah

It's time for our annual lobstah dinner for displaced, relocated, and transplanted northerners here in Georgia - meaning me, Mum, our friend S, the Evil Genius (who is, after all, half Yankee) and T because he is honorary half-northern by marriage to me (and if that's not worth a damn lobster once a year or so, then nothing is).

Lobsters, corn, steamers when we can get them (none this year, alas), melted butter, salad, and some sort of desert if we can cram it down our gullets. Let the games begin!

Read about last year's fun here.

Out and About

All photographs were taken with a Kodak Easy Share cx7525 camera and are unretouched. Except for cropping, the pictures have not been manipulated in any way.
Back to the virtual show...on the homestretch, now...the last post in this series will drop on Sunday.
~~~~~


Yellow Roof

Yellow Roof

I fancied there was someone there
Hiding under the yellow roof
Of his mushroom house
Some Gnome or Fay creature
Biding his time until I looked away
And he was gone in a mote of light


Clarkesville, Ga, Dragon’s Rest wood - For someone who dislikes dining on mushrooms, I sure do photograph them a lot. White, red, green, grey, and yellow, when I spot them I’m like a child who has noticed half-buried treasure – I can’t wait to take their picture. It is possible I’m hoping that the photograph will show more than a fungus…that maybe this time, I will see a face peeking from behind the stem. This bright yellow surprise was half-hidden in my mother’s woods, waiting for me to notice and wonder if anyone was home.
~~~~~
The Road Taken


The Road Taken

So many people regret
The road not taken
Wondering “What if…?”
When the day is grey
And the path long
But I…I wonder
About the road taken
What is ahead,
Around the bend,
Beyond the clouds?


Clarkesville, Ga - My Mum and I were en route to the GHCA one Autumn morning when I snapped this picture. It had been raining, but the sun was working to shine through the clouds. It was a good day to be creative…or to sit by a fire with a cup of tea, some cookies, and a good book. I stared out the windows and was awestruck by the road, the trees, the clouds…happy to be there, in the moment.
~~~~~
Suwanee Fountain


Suwanee Fountain

Somehow the light knew
What I wanted
And it obliged


That day, that Summer day in Suwanee Ga, I was so angry. My mouth was pursed, my eyes squinched and mean, my temper short. It was a very bad day to be out in the world, let alone with four little boys of varying ages and dispositions, but my son needed to play with his friends, to be out of the house and moving about, and I needed to be with my friends, too. I squashed that anger down, down, deep down, and played with the boys, all the boys, wrestling them in the grass when they tired of the fountain’s play, and chasing them around the park, squeals of laughter and giddy giggles following after us, streamers of joy. The day changed, the light changed, and for one timeless moment everything was lit within, without, all about. The fountain flowed mercury-silver, time hung all uncertain between minutes, and I forgot that I was angry for a little while.
~~~~~
Smiling Sun


Smiling Sun

He may be faded
Weathered
A bit cracked and creaky
But this old man’s smile
Welcomes all comers
With equal warmth


This wooden sculpture hangs on my mother’s house, almost blending in with the wall. I made her a card of this photo, which she sent as a greeting to a friend in Afghanistan, a reminder of home and friends and the time he’s spent hunting in the woods nearby. Even in the desert, the sun – this sun – is a friend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Search Me

Let's take another break from all that artsy-fartsy stuff. I figure the one reader I have remaining at this point might appreciate a brief pause in the photo-onslaught. I checked out my search stats and found some fascinating terms that led people to my little patch of Blogopolis, and as usual, I feel the need to share the weirdness.
~~~~~

smell of spunk - Ah, yes, the latest perfume in the Martha Stewart line at K-Mart...

pictures of animals that sleep the longest - My cats could certainly be in the running for this one...

how to carrot in sweet water - Umm...is this some kind of euphemism?? Because I'm a little slow on the uptake with those...just sayin'...

clam hogs of new england with mike rowe - I have no idea what that is, but if it involves Mike Rowe, I'm game!

magnetic storm windows chicago - I didn't know they had an album by that name...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blow Me

Gusting winds, glowering sky, rain in fits and starts, and the possibility of tornadoes.

I don't care, I was here first.

And I'm still going to the gallery in the morning. But first - I'm for a walk in the wild weather. See you in Oz!

Playful Polymer

A few more of S's delightful pieces!




The next three are pins...


Bird of Fantasy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Little Compton, RI

All photographs were taken with a Kodak Easy Share cx7525 camera and are unretouched. Except for cropping, the pictures have not been manipulated in any way.
Tiger Heart

Tiger Heart

In the tall grass
Ignoring the poison ivy
Thrusting boldly
From the surrounding greenery
A blaze of orange
Proud
Wild
And a little fierce


These happy flowers were growing alongside Round Pond Road in Little Compton, RI – a few here, a few there, unmindful of the profusion of poison ivy and roadside grasses that seemed determined to keep the Tiger Lilies contained. I adore bold, sassy flowers, blooms that thrive in the unlikeliest of places and share their cheerful disposition with passers-by.
~~~~~Echinacea Harvester

Echinacea Harvester

Little cousin
Flying sister
What kept you so long upon
This blossom?
Surely it was some marvelous scent
Or flavor
That captivated you so thoroughly
That I could photograph you
With impunity

I think everyone who sets out to photograph nature, to capture her in bits and pieces, little vignettes, has one of these shots – I’ve seen so many of them, they could fill a book. A bee on an Echinacea flower is about as Summery as it gets. Bees are a blessing, and their recent decline has been worrying. I was glad to see this one, so intent upon her flower that she never paid me any mind at all.
~~~~~Seaside Rose and Lady


Seaside Rose and Lady

Warm and pink-scented
With a touch of the sea
The breeze made her hiding place
Bob and sway
But she didn’t mind the motion
It was more the tourists
Interlopers
Who gave her pause


I used to walk along Round Pond Road when I was younger, all the way down to the sea. Little Compton is a small town in a small state, and for a girl in her teens, confused about the world and why people behaved as they did, there was something wonderful about the rosehips, so beautiful, so ordinary, growing along the road. I walked with friends, with my father’s mother, and alone, and just seeing this image beings me right back to the road, to the pebbles and stones under my feet, the hushing of the little waves rolling along the not-too-distant shore, the smell of sun on stone, sun on sand, sun on my skin, sun on the plants and the seaweed and the sea. I wanted a picture of one of the flowers, almost all of them faded or turned into the tomato-like rosehips. Not until I was home, looking through the photos, did I spy the lady, demure in her flower-bower. To this day, she brings a smile to my lips.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oz Burning

Australia is aflame, and has been for days.



I hope my friends there are safe. I hope strangers there are safe. I know people are suffering, and I hope it stops soon.

Jekyll (no Hyde)

All photographs were taken with a Kodak Easy Share cx7525 camera and are unretouched. Except for cropping, the pictures have not been manipulated in any way.
Kaleri Resurrection Fern

Kaleri Resurrection Fern

Bump, bump, bumpy
Cicatrized
They cling to trees
Nestle in roots
Tiny brown clumps
Of life-to-be
Until rain comes
Wakes the green
Uncurling
Born anew

A few years after my son was born, I took a trip to Jekyll Island, Ga. I had been before and fallen in love with the trees there, with the beaches and wooden walkways, and the old bookstore that smelled of dust and time, as bookstores should. I went because I needed a break, a collection of moments that didn’t include nappies, snacks, temper-tantrums, cooking, dishes, laundry, the endless litany of house-keepery and mothering. I spent three days on Jekyll, walking and photographing anything that didn’t move away fast enough. Trees are remarkable un-movish. There were ferns in the trees, some brown and crumbly and some thriving. Someone told me they were resurrection ferns, seeming dead until warmth and rain woke them from their winter slumber. I called them Kaleri Ferns because the bumps (fern spores) reminded me of the scars on the Kaleri, an African tribe that decorates their bodies with scar patterns to look like crocodiles or other fierce creatures.
~~~~~
Beautiful Roof

But the View...

Out or In?

Step Into My Parlor

Beautiful Roof; But the View…; Out or In?; Step Into My Parlor

Old house
Once proud
Wealthy
Was a plantation
When such things were common
Built of tabby
(not the cat, the material)
Still weathering storms
Despite no roof,
No windows
No doors
No people to shelter any more


Jekyll Island, Ga - Oh, what to do when the skies are such a blue, and clear, clear, clear? Photograph the remains of the Horton House on Jekyll, of course! The house is built of tabby, a material comprised of shells, sand, lime, and water. Lately, the house has been restored, and so the walls have a two-tone look to them. I’ve never come across another tabby house. It is wonderful stuff, textured, groovy, colorful. I found the spider hole by accident, or perhaps cosmic design, and was delighted…what a beautiful home she has!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More of K

Again with the dark, blurry photos...I think my camera is possessed!


Gaia's Garden, Winter - acrylic on canvas


Gaia's Garden, Dusk - acrylic on canvas

K's favorite piece in the show - I am going back to the gallery to try and get a better picture because this is such a lovely piece...
Water color

Crone Tree - acrylic on canvas
A Celtic knotwork piece...watercolor

This one's in one of her coloring books, too, and I've had a lot of fun with it...watercolor

Moon Goddess - acrylic on canvas (that's silver, not white)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Galery Show, Grave Matters

All photographs were taken with a Kodak Easy Share cx7525 camera and are unretouched. Except for cropping, the pictures have not been manipulated in any way.

Is it wrong that I'm posting the cemetery pictures on T's Birthday? Nothing personal, hun.
~~~~~

Soldier's Rest

Soldier’s Rest

Oh, how weary I am become
How sore of foot, of heart
And longing for a place to rest my head
I seek peaceful ground
Hallowed not by the blood of my fellows
Not by loss, pain, sorrow, fear, glory
But rather blessed by the shade of grand trees
The hymn of the gentle wind
A bit of earth to call my own
For all eternity


In Clarkesville, Ga, behind the main drag and somewhat easy to miss, is a forlorn little graveyard. I imagine at one time it was quite fine, with headstones, footstones all erect and easily read. Family plots were walled in, fenced, tidy. Today, the stones are tumbled, toppled, gone entirely, sometimes nothing more than a declivity to mark where someone rests. The fences rust, bend, creak, break, and make way for the trees that began as lovingly planted saplings but now reach high and wide for the sun and sky. The few stones still standing are not easy to read. The place has been largely forgotten – but not entirely. If you go on certain days (determined by a judicious application of chaos to the calendar), you may meet an odd little man. He is affable, chatty, liable to follow you as you traipse around the graves, telling you tales of hauntings and how he was called to tidy the place up a bit, to haul away trash and neaten the jumbled stones and put a little spit and polish where it will do some good. If you listen, he will tell you how many bags of trash he’s hauled, how many hours, days he’s worked. He has pictures of his ghostly sightings and will tell you about the people beneath your feet. It was not he who put the flags and metal markers on the graves, but he will make sure they look sharp. There’s a wealth of history where the dead sleep…
~~~~~

Floating Window

Floating Window

Outside the sun
Blasted downward
A fury of rays
Within the coolth
Of the quiet crypt
Floated the light
Filtered through glass
A vision in the dark


Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Ga, is worth a visit whether you fancy being among the departed or no. The crypts, the mausoleums, are as fine as any house, sometimes nicer. I went in the Autumn, but the day was as hot as any in the Summer. I was grateful that long-ago people planted trees as memorials, planted gardens for plots, placed benches for longer visits – the shade was a benediction. The crypt doors were often open, the public kept out with iron grills but the interior still visible. Through one doorway, I saw this window, seeming to float in the darkness. I had to shoot it through the grillwork, an opening of perhaps an inch square, and didn’t know until I got home what I might have…the light was too harsh for me to see my view screen!
~~~~~
Bark Rose

Bark Rose

I know what you see
You’re not alone
Everyone tells me
What it looks like
A bark rose


I find cemeteries to be lovely places, especially the old ones. Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta is as much a garden as a place for the dead to rest their weary bones. This tree grows on a wall, back near the MARTA tracks beside a walkway. The first thing I thought when I saw it was “Oh, a bark rose…”, which is not at all what other folks have said when they've seen the picture. Still…I see a rose. I suppose it’s all in the eye of the beholder…

Friday, February 6, 2009

Owlish

I meant to post something about the owl, but got sidetracked. Laurie's comment reminded me I'd forgotten something - he's back!

Is it completely ridiculous that I grin whenever I see him? Today, he stared right at me while I fed the birds and outdoor kitties. At least he didn't hop back into the tree or fly away - so maybe we'll be friends after all. Some of the original posts are here, here, and here, if you're interested.

A windy day, an interested, interesting owl, and a few minutes playing the flute to the birds, including a short musical conversation with a mourning dove, and I felt a wee better this afternoon. Stupid depression. Stupid misfiring neurons. Sigh.

Here are a couple more craptastic, out of focus shots of the owl - hope springs eternal that one of these days I'll get a good one of him!



The Gallery Show, Green Animals Topiary Garden

All photographs were taken with a Kodak Easy Share cx7525 camera and are unretouched. Except for cropping, the pictures have not been manipulated in any way.
Gourd

Bumpy Beauty

Gourd; Bumpy Beauty

Small things
Hanging up high
I almost missed
Your happy presence


In Rhode Island there’s a colonial era house that’s been converted into a museum. It’s a fine old place, and the garden is beautifully and painstakingly kept as close to its old glory as possible. If it is called anything but Green Animals, I do not know. Green animals, because of the topiaries that abound in the garden. Twining up a trellis were some vines – close inspection revealed, inches from each other, a little green and yellow gourd no bigger than my palm, and a bumpy cream colored squash that I very much wanted to touch – but didn’t. You never know what’s under that broad, green leaf…
~~~~~
Lake at the Heart

Lake At the Heart

This flower
This one flower
Was not shy
This flower
This one flower
Demanded to be noticed
I obliged

Green Animals, RI – I have many photographs of this one flower. I couldn’t help myself. The colors you see? They are true to nature – I never retouch or alter color (if only because I just don’t know how, yet). The drops of water on the petals seemed an invitation to sip, were I a bee with a thirst. I was almost overwhelmed by a mad desire to lick the droplets from the petals, perhaps take in the brilliance of the bloom at the same time. I left it alone, though – some winged thing would better benefit from those tiny drops, and I knew the gift shop had bottled water for sale, be it not so vivid on the tongue.
~~~~~
Translucence

Translucence

That Summer day we turned a corner
Walking in the garden
And found the flower waiting
Tall as a man
Bloom larger than a plate
Backlit by the fearsome sun
Softening the light
To something more bearable


Again at Green Animals – this flower was so stunning; I’d never seen anything like it, with the sunlight seeming to stream through the bloom, colored softly pink. To print a photo true to size is not possible, at least not for me – it was a good eighteen inches across!
~~~~~
Golden Ratio

Golden Ratio

A mathematician could tell you
Where the next petal will curl
And the next
I am no mathematician
But I could tell you other secrets
About the flower
That no numbers can quantify


This was another of the blooms at Green Animals that caught my eye. Many of the plants that I photographed at the garden were quite far away, set back from the path, and I had to stretch my poor zoom to its limits to get my shots, as I didn’t want to step off the pathway and risk harming an unseen plant. It’s a happy flower, isn’t it? As large as my doubled fists, it bobbed in the occasional breeze, nodding a greeting. It stilled only for its close-up, which I happily took while my family sighed at yet another delay in our promenade.
~~~~~
Pink Porcelain Petals

Pink Porcelain Petals

The artist carefully dipped her brush
And with slow, unwavering strokes
Colored each petal


Nature certainly does like us to notice her, shouting as she does with her bold, bright colors. I thought the petals of this flower looked like painted porcelain, like something an artist would be especially proud of and put on display in the brightest corner of the studio.
~~~~~
Spiraling Into the Center

Spiraling Into the Center

Tiny, frilly, and merry
These little blooming friends
Shouted
Wanting us to admire them
In their fine skirts
Their cork-screwed tongues
Giving us a raspberry
As we passed by without comment

They were maybe a half-inch across, but their attitude was as big as all outdoors. They were loud, their party in the greenery raucous with color, and their little curly centers just stopped me in my tracks and evoked a laugh. I’m laughing still.