suffering for my art


While working in my garden the other night, I noticed being bathed in a velvety pink light. The sunset/cloud combination was a stunner and as a budding photojournalist, I ran for the trusty Nikon.

I’ve been working on perspective….trying to see things and take pictures from unexpected angles.  I’m looking for the unconventional, interesting ‘arty’ shot.

I was trying to capture the gorgeousness of the sky while having the lovely blooming yuccas in the foreground.  To accomplish this, I kept lowering the camera and lowering my perspective until my side laid on the bare ground.

That’s when I sensed the rapidly-spreading, searing pain.  I looked for a fire ant bed.  I looked for cactus thorns.  All I knew was my arm, hip and lower leg felt flaming and I was an uncomfortable distance (being injured and all)  from my house.

Jogging back to the house with the precious camera swinging around my neck, I hoped my throat wouldn’t close up in a bout of anaphylactic shock.  Would the Texan come looking for me?  Did he know I was out here in mortal allergic danger?  Would I collapse in a heap ‘o hives onto the surrounding cholla?
  

Sorry for the disgustingly graphic image.  I’m a blogger and I over-share.
Blessedly, I made it inside and dove for the shower and the Benadryl. I recounted to the Texan of my brush with death and he ASSURED me he did not know where I was, nor would he have looked for me until much later. He did seem impressed with the rash, though.

This was the type of shot I was going for. Yucca in foreground, breath-taking clouds in background. Me on ground in inappropriate clothing for rugged country breaking out in welts.  Glorious pinkness all around.

It’s the classic artist tale. The more we suffer, the crazier we are…
…the more creative and highly lauded our art. Think Van Gogh, Mozart and Sylvia Plath. Think of the tortured blogger who parodied Thornton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town with prairie dog photos!

Can you think of other talented, crazy artists? Tell me…I’m all ears. For now, anyway.

I lied to Pioneer Woman

Step 1. Admitted I was powerless over my lying to Pioneer Woman. Yes, that Pioneer Woman….the cute lady with Olympic-pool sized dimples.  The red-headed photojournalist extraordinaire.  The best-sellin’, cookbook writin’,  4 punk huggin’, skinny-jean wearin’, butter and sour cream cookin’ blogosphere goddess. That P-Dub!
I started gettin’ sassy. This sight bitch-slapped me to reality.

Noticed these shoes under my desk after leaving an excoriating comment on PW’s blog. She’s had lots of soul-searching posts lately exploring her fondness for wedges. That’s SHOES people…not the butt-ical playground variety. I know, I was having a hard time, too!  Oh wait….that’s wedgies.  Senior moment.  Sorry.

Most of the comments about the sky-high, girlie wedges were, ‘Oh, how cyyuuuuute! I want those!’ or ‘Ree, you would look so adorable in those cyyuuuuuuuutttee shoes. Buy them!’ Not being one to mindlessly hop aboard the style bandwagon (even PW’s), my comments were something along the lines of, ‘Are you crazy?? Those look mega-painful!’ or channeling my angry, inner feminist I opined, ‘Don’t you realize these ridiculous, bunion-inducing shoes are designed and manufactured my MEN? Men don’t have the health of a woman’s arch foremost on their minds!’  I could only visualize my podiatrist administering injections between my metatarsals with 12-inch needles.  Thought of broken ankles, too.  So….you be the judge.  Would you classify these as wedges?  Do they meet the wedgie standard?

I’m a vile hypocrite (slapping my wrists).  Never heard of ‘judge not, lest…..’.  Can you ever forgive my snotty ranting, P-Dub? Mostly, I’m a practical flats kinda gal.
Cute color…but is plastic fashionable? You tell me. I like flat sandals too.

Part of my skull-lovin’ phase. Very fun and very flat. These next shoes highlight the uber-practical, style-be-DAMNED side of my personality.

These are made with recycled PVC. They are comfy, comfy, comfortable. And water-repellent. And butt-ugly.  Don’t these scream, ‘The person wearing this shoe is soooo cool and confident, she doesn’t give a prairie dog’s paw how ugly they are!  Isn’t she fashionable?’  You say just hideous....not fashionable??

I’ll let you know if confession is good for the soul or what I must do to make amends. Promise to go easier on P-dub and not be a haughty, self-righteous shoe judge. Maybe lay off clever commenting for a bit. Spend a little more time with the wiener.

She’ll set me straight with her impeccable fashion sense.  She  don’t take no guff.  Sometimes we argue over the ‘sexy quotient’ of stilettos.   She detests kitten heels…..her favorite shoes are mules.  Dolce and Gabbana-they have styles in wide.
Have a stylish, honest weekend my friends.

information and epantsipation

Our president made a commencement speech recently highlighting two important topics.  The two timely topics are:   information and epantsipation.  Here is the short video of his wise comments.

His first topic. INFORMATION.   You’ve heard it said, ‘Information is power’...you’ve heard it said, ‘Learn ALL you can’…..you’ve heard it said, ‘Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental principles of our democracy’. Our president proclaims…...FUGGGITABOUDIT! Don’t you know information is now a distraction? It’s a nasty form of entertainment. There’s too much!! All information is not true (and we don’t have the time or the sense to sort it out) and we must be careful not to ceaselessly pursue it. I’m an enthusiastic devotee of this new idea. Reading, studying, analyzing…it’s distracting. It’s time-consuming. It’s lotsa trouble. I’m canceling my Twitter feeds….unfollowing everyone except @whitehouse. That way I won’t have to wade through too much useless info and I’ll be assured of absolute accuracy. Thanks, Mr. President….you’ve made my life immensely easier. Heil!  Hallelujah!

The next topic: Epantsipation. Some might say the President misspoke, but not me.  No way he mangled the English language like our former President!   Don’t you know he was the editor of the Harvard Law review and taught at Harvard? No, this new term ‘epantsipation’ is provocatively brilliant. I suspect he read my blog (I’m so honored to be on the cutting edge of blogdom!!)….you know, the post about my ’80’s striped pants? Need reminding?
crazy outfit

In writing about getting rid of these crazy slacks, I was really referring to epantsipation. Freeing myself from disgusting pants! This is a forward-looking sartorial concept….I’m going to practice more epantsipation in my closet right now! You go do it to….we’ll both feel better! I’ll wait……
The president has coined a new term and I want to follow his futuristic, linguistic lead. Here are some new words we are guaranteed to see in the future:
1. Elancipation: the ripping off or tearing of ‘Live Strong’ yellow plastic wristbands.
2. Edancipation: the refraining from or avoidance of all things ‘fox trot’.
3. Efrancipation: freeing oneself from sexy, exploitative tabloid photos of  power-couple Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni.
4. Eglancipation: the freedom to look intently or stare upon people embellished with an over-abundance of outlandish tattoos.  Also includes staring upon those with lip, nipple, eyebrow and tongue piercings.
5. Estancipation: breaking the chains of reading meaning into body language.

6. Eprancipation: freedom from monetary payments to view the equine species known as ‘Lipizzaner’.

Barack Obama is really talking about freedom:  freedom from too much information, freedom from disgusting pants, freedom from distractions and uncooperative media outlets, and freedom from wasting my precious time.
Count me all in….won’t you join me in hopping on the epantsipation train?!

don’t even THINK it

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You KNEW it was coming, didn’t you?…..the obligatory, boring garden post. My own personal Field of Dreams..if you plant it, the tomatoes will come……

We’ve had rain.  It’s green in this high plains desert.  We are thankfully basking in the green-ness.  The grass is happy. The wheat is happy.  The cattle are happy.

It’s been one of the best Spring’s ever (OK….we’ve had some breezes!) and we are grateful.  Here is what green wheat looks like in the Spring….if we’ve had rain.

Here it is in June….being harvested.  Notice the gathering storm?  It’s always the Amazing Race to get the wheat harvested before the June storms wreak their havoc.

Here’s the Texan in a grain truck during harvest.  He’s a happy camper.  Grain in the grain truck before the storms. All is right in the world.  Amen and amen.

In gorgeous, wet years like this, it’s natural to do some worrying.  When the crops are this beautiful and things seem so right…….I sometimes think about…..I can’t bear to say it because I don’t want to tempt fate.….it’s wrong, I know…..lean in close to the computer and I will whisper it to you………hail.  Henceforth, I will refer to it as the h-word.  Don’t mention it and it doesn’t exist-you with me?

I only have my little Field of Dreams to fret over.  But I think about the Texan overseeing acres and acres of gorgeous wheat.  He takes it in stride, cause he’s been at it a while.

His grandfather started all this….then his Dad….then the Texan and his family.  He’s been in wheat fields since he was knee-high to a grasshopper….or a jack rabbit….or a coyote.  He’s pretty much seen it all.

Some years there is heartbreak.  When this stuff….the h-word falls from the sky.

The h-word NEVER falls in a bad year.  It only falls when there is the best crop EV-AH glowing in the field, waiting expectantly for harvest.  It only falls when the farmer has faithfully worked….blood, sweat and tears….toiling in the field.  When he feels he has supremely succeeded and grown something worthwhile and GORGEOUS.  The heavens, planets, and stars have aligned perfectly to produce something spec-tac-u-lar. That’s when it falls; violently, painfully, and forever unwelcome.


Heartbreak.  Despite the best efforts.  Despite doing everything right!  Made me ponder how the h-word falls in our lives and brings destruction and grief.  One minute, our crop is growing, green and hopeful.  We’ve made our plans.  We’ve dotted every ‘i’ and methodically crossed every ‘t’..  We’ve fertilized, watered, sprayed for weeds and pests….the sun has shone and we  stand expectantly on the shore overlooking something extraordinary.  Then swiftly, the storm rages and we are left slack-jawed among the ruins.  It happens.  I can’t tell you what it means.  I can’t fathom why.  I won’t offer an easy answer….you draw your own conclusions.

For me, recovering involves a measure of acceptance.  And some time for sadness and grieving and railing against the heavens.  Then, it is important I take the next step and plant the next seed.  The seed for the future.  It doesn’t matter how small the seed (or the step), I just need to do my part and plant it.

I don’t know how the Texan has done it all these years. I’m beyond grateful for his example. My seeds and garden are vastly smaller. I look at my humble garden…my expanding tomato vines…..and pray for the best.  For today, I will revel, wallow and indulge in the blessed green. 
Hope your week is beautiful.

our (prairie dog) town

 Look at that moon.  Potato weather for sure.

That’s what it was like to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those about you.  To spend and waste time as though you had a million years.  To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another.  Now you know-that’s the happy existence you wanted to go back to.  Ignorance and blindness.

Oh, Mama, that’s not what I mean.  What I mean is:  am I pretty?

 We all know that something is eternal.  And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars….everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.  All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it.  There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.

Oh earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.

Do human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?

No.  Saints and poets, maybe……they do some.

People are meant to go through life two by two.  ‘Tain’t natural to be lonesome.

The morning star always gets wonderful bright  the minute before it has to go, doesn’t it?

So-people a thousand years from now-this is the way we were:  in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.

the end

80’s ugliness

The middle sprout took umbrage at the family photo used in my Mother’s Day post last week. Seems the sprout has issues with the fashion sensibilities of the 1980’s. Roll your mouse over the pixel face to see crimper carnage. Be warned: this photo may cause migraines, loss of consciousness, and anal leakage.

OK, I’ll take responsibility for the hair…but the smile? That’s all on her. What psychotropic drug was I enjoying in the 1980’s that deluded me into thinking brittle, over-permed hair was beautiful? Worse still, I inflicted the sizzling-hot, belgian-waffle iron crimper on my middle sprout’s dark, luxurious, virgin mane…why, it seems criminal in hindsight! Being a fastidious mother (with an extra pinch of crr-ayy-zee), I probably drizzled warm maple syrup and melted butter on her head, as well. Sorry middle sprout, I mistakenly thought we were on the razor’s edge of 80’s coolness.

Clothes were butt-ugly in the 80’s.

My deepest and heartfelt apologies, Landrey’s Seafood and MC Hammer. Nobody WINS in an ensemble (pronounced ‘awhn-sahm-bleh‘) like this. I could claim I was attending a female referee convention or a juggling conference, but that would be a LIE. I was an over-zealous convert to the ‘vertical stripes are SLIMMING’ theology. I must have despised my lower body.

Oh, and more hair tragedy.

Over-permed, close-cropped and KFC extra-crispy. You could bowl a 300 with that head of hair! Aren’t you inclined to run your fingers through it?  It’s OK….I’ve got the band-aids handy. The sprouts grew up quizzically looking at family photos and inquiring, ‘Who is the young man always with us on our vacations??’ ‘Put a sock in it, sprouts. Errr….don’t you recognize your lovely and stylish mother!?’ In those days, I was Jack’s sidekick…the beanstalk….but alas, no longer. Just another of the myriad ways I scarred the sprouts.

I’ll end with this one.

Yup, it’s the same crimped-hair sprout. It proves I did at one time know how to dress her age-appropriately.  And her hair is blessedly normal…see?  Photo-journalistic proof of the middle sprout’s adorableness quotient.  As I recall, that quotient was off the charts……crimper or not…..

a fowl tale

Observing the local geese family….Mom, Dad, and feisty, curious goslings.

The buttery-fluffed balls energetically explore their world from 2 inches up.

The youngest brother regales his bored siblings with tales of his brave, goosey exploits.

The oldest gosling keeps his mouth shut, but thinks his brother is full of goose-crap.

The middle sister, not wanting to hurt her brother’s feelings, excitedly exclaims, Look over there….the pond!

The repetitive chorus begins, Mom..Mom….m-m-mom….MOM! Can we go swimmin’? Swimin’, swimmin’…swimmin’ please?please!?

The older brother checks the pond for safety. No diving, and stay close!

The sister-gosling is a good swimmer. Stroke, stroke, stroke…this is how you do it!

The youngest punk dives right in. La..la…LAAAHHH! I’m swimmin’ and I’m the fastest! Toldja I already knew how to do it!!

OK, sassy swimmers…time’s up….everyone out!

Swimming is exciting, but tiring for the goslings. The siblings settle in the warm sun for a little shut-eye.  Big brother keeps an eye out.

Enjoyed photographing the budding family of fowl. Made me think of my own grown goslings. Usually, I’m a fairly forward-looking gal. Ask me what was the best time of my life and I will pluckily reply...Was? Today is the best time of my life. To-day! Conversation ended. No looking back.
But…when I come across an image like this and I observe the goslings (the middle gosling looks crazy, no?) there’s only one word to say. Gazing at the Texan and the quirky gosling faces; seeing the youngest in my arms, I can only think……..OVERS. I’m calling for OVERS!

Hope everyone has a fine Mother’s Day. Let’s help create another moment.   One that when we look back upon it, we’re compelled to shout…..OVERS!! You with me?