Monday, June 30, 2008

Cactus Monday

I was in a fog this morning trying to figure out what to write about-and I realized it was Cactus Monday. So I lost myself in the fog and made a couple of collages. I feel much better now. Sometimes the fog is a good thing.

Happy Cactus Monday.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

News From Around the Net

This comes from a rants and raves forum I belong to. It was too good not to share.

This was taken by a guy in Manilla, both animals are pets, one is pretty new. Believe it or not, I was reading a book just yesterday on how to paint animals on rocks and there was a whole chapter about hatching eggs.

There was not, however, a chapter on painting bats with erections.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Planning for the End

Uncle John is moving closer to "active" dying. I am taking Mom tomorrow to see him, she's having trouble and this may be her last visit. So this morning, I explained to her briefly that when he entered the active phase, I would take the dogs to the kennel and go keep a vigil so that he wouldn't be alone when he died.

"It doesn't work that way" she protested, "they just call you and tell you they are dead...YOu can't PLAN and, and I don't want to know....."

So I gathered my thoughts an said "Ok, then I won't tell you. But I have animals to attend to and I want them with me up until I need to go, so I have to plan. When the truck is gone and the dogs are too, you'll know that's where I'm at, but at that point I will not be worrying about you and Daddy worrying about ME, so I want you to know what's going to happen"

Americans, as a culture, really really suck at death. We are getting better, but it's still the boogy man taboo thing to do. You are not supposed to piss, shit, fart, belch or die. EVER. And you certainly don't talk about it.

Maybe that's why we release our sphincters at the end, we are just tired of holding it all in.

The truth is, that side of the family really does tend to just die in their sleep without much ado. And if John wants to do that that's fine with me, my feelings will not be hurt. If he chooses a more visible progression, I will be there, as promised. It's what I signed up for, and I will keep my word.

Mom and I trip over ourselves a lot trying to take care of each other. It's funny and sad at the same time. She mowed the front yard today and the crop circles are no longer stark, but are fading away. Unfortunately, now I know how it's done....heh heh heh....but I will contain myself to my own backyard. Every girl needs a hobby.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Snake Alert

Last ones for awhile-but Glo is sooooo little and has to be photographed with a macro lens, one handed if he's sitting on my other his pictures are a bit of a triumph when they come out.

I was on my back holding him in the air (he's tiny so that really isn't a problem) in front of a window to get the shadows and light without a flash.

Green Tree Pythons are favorite photography subjects because they sleep in a very artistic pose and you can just snap away. But getting a clean shot of a squirmy, tiny, inquistive little baby one is a whole 'nother ball game.


I've lost track of how many times Uncle John has fallen this week. It's like his brain knows it's fast losing the ability to move-so he leaps up constantly, then falls, like a sparrow beating itself against a pane of glass. Finally hospice decided he must be in pain and ordered a pain killer. Of course, the resulting inactivity will likely do him in.

That's what sucks about caregiving-trying to figure out if it's best for my loved one to bash his brains out on a sink or slip slowly away in sleep. What are the benefits of each to him? What is the aftermath to those who are left behind, some along the same path as he? What nightmares will remain to haunt THEIR final days?

And then there is this. In the beginning, when he was still in California, he asked for assistance to die because he feared becoming what he is now. I explained to him then that while I agreed with the concept, I could not endanger my own future or the people who depend on me, to help him with that. So, every blow he takes I feel I have allowed to happen, and in some sense, I have.

I guess the moral of the story is if you are going to want to do yourself in, do it while you can, don't ask me to do it for you. Ok, that makes me smile, and it feels good to smile, so I'm going to leave it at that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


The massive boulder Glo is resting on is the palm of my hand. I'm told I have tiny hands, but to Glo they are quite large and warm.

Ethel has just shed and I posed her with a Lily. Each is stunning, but I favor Ethel of the two-do you?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HAW-Oliver tells a story

Where Do Dragons come from you ask?

They come from Dragon Eggs.

The eggs are hidding behind leaves where you might not (probably won't) find them.

Any Questions?

There will be a test later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Never Do This

Deciding to learn to drive a lawn mower in your elderly parent's front lawn is probably one of the less well thought out things I've done lately. My thought process(yes there was one) was that Mom wouldn't spend the morning worrying if I was going to make it to her lawn, and there were fewer obstacles in the yard.

Neither of them grasps the idea of practice, and they both hollered at me to lower the blade and well, there is a huge bare swath in the front yard now because I REALLY lowered the blade. I knocked down two sections of brick wall before I got the concept down that the rear wheels stick out further in the back. I had to jump off once to avoid tipping over.

After I turned the mower off and flooded it, Mom figured out that I couldn't hear her over the lawn mower and went in the house. I finished, then went down to my lawn and mowed it three times, each on a progressively lower setting so I could practice my moves.

The grass will grow and I'll practice some more. I enjoyed the task, once I got over feeling defensive. Honestly, expecting someone to hop onto a riding lawnmower after 25 years and several technological innovations and just KNOW what to do is a bit much. I didn't expect it, but my parents are kind of picky about their front lawn. Oh well.

Everyone's a critic too. I mastered,or so I thought, the new gas powered easy start weed wacker-but Mr. Clean had to run out a few minutes ago and clean up my lines. Ah well. That will grow back too and I can practice some more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Cactus Monday

I'm not sure which is harder, lots of colors or only one color. Happy Cactus Monday Cactuteers

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Odd Reaction

I honestly thought Uncle John was dead when we walked in-he had no expression (Parkinson's) and his eyes were fixed and unfocused. My first thought was "how am I going to explain this to Mom without upsetting her?" and then he blinked.

I told Mom later and she laughed and said "did you think I wouldn't notice if my brother were dead?" but I think she understood the impulse to protect.

Another bizarre event occurred while we were there. Mom was lecturing John on eating, and she began poking him in his ribs..."look, look at those ribs" but it was like she was talking to a baby...."they stick out further than my boobies"...."MOM" I wailed, to snap her out of it....and she said "oh, what, John knows about boobies" and I just said "I can't sit here and talk about your boobies with my Uncle". Unspoken, was the thought that someone who spent 20 years alone might not want his ribs poked, or maybe he did.

Now it's all kind of funny now, but at the time my brain just overloaded for a moment. It's kind of like shock therapy though, because I've felt better since, of course, it may have something to do with the bowl of ice cream I ate.

Yes, lap band and all, I still eat ice cream. But honestly, I don't justify it when I do-it's a treat, it's comfort food, I'm very intentional about it.

I had the ice cream after I got the call that Uncle John had fallen again. I worked out with the nurse a plan to at least make a wheelchair available even if he won't use it. Then I went down, told Mom about the fall and my odd reaction and we had a lovely discussion of dead bodies in the dining room in the olden days and a good natured row about my not wanting to be viewed when I'm gone.

We joke about it, sometimes crudely, but we all agree that now is the time to hold hands and poke ribs, not later.


I'm slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow
barely able to feel guilt for my lack of productivity
but able
there is

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Farting Around at Night in a Thunderstorm

Catching Lightning at Night

Same shot, lightning exposure varies according to how much was in he sky at the moment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

No Words, Just Music

Oliver the parrot has been seduced by sounds. He'd rather fart and howl and hum than say words. He reminds me of a human child, exploring sound with great vigor.

He's very considerate, he keeps the volume down until I get up for the day. I think former owners were probably not as nice as I am about it, but I love my wake up calls. Lately it's been a very soft wolf howl, repeated quietly until I respond back in kind.

His CD player is set to go off at 7, so he tunes himself up, preens and eats before the concert begins.

All my animals are ruthlessly present for me, and with so much of the future uncertain-John hovering somewhere between this world and the next, Daddy going in for tests in a couple of weeks, Mom trying not to panic-I really need the animals to bring me out of my own urge to panic.

Oliver howls softly in the morning-"wake up, wake up-how can life be too awful when you have the sun outside and the howling parewolf to great you? See, all better, give me a peanut and run along, I need my "space" in the morning"....Yes, it's true, my parrot likes his alone time. He needs me up and out so he can be loud for a bit, then I am welcome to come back, especially if I come with a bit of fruit.

I haven't gotten up this consistently early in my entire life-even when I worked I slept late every weekend, and all dogs are trained to not wake me unless there is a dire need. Who would have thought it was a parrot who would put me on a regular schedule of sleep and awakening?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Me and My Little Snapper.......

Today felt like THE day-so I went out in search of......a riding lawn mower. The shopping gods smiled upon me and I found a lightly used, exactly what I wanted, Snapper 28" deck. Red. With a cupholder.

Dad is no longer able to mow, Mom refuses to allow us to hire a lawn person (for her lawn, she can't dictate MY lawn), and I can't mow both lawns due to my ankle. AND, I can't hire a lawn person while my 73 year old mother mows her lawn-I just CAN'T. Monday morning Mom was out mowing in a thunderstorm (no rain, JUST thunder and lightening).

Now, I love to ride things and have never minded mowing when my leg doesn't hurt. I've actually had (and loved) a little green riding snapper a long time ago. So, honestly, I'm excited and hope this is a good solution for all of us.

It may be the start of a bright new career.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Animal Wednesday

HAW ya'll. It's a mishmash from my photo stash.

Here is a monkey in my front flower bed. He's a wise old ape.

This little goosey had a mishap, but was doing fine.

Guinea fowl are at first glance, plain. But look at the texture on those feathers-not everyone has to be flashy.

This little kitty is feeling catty-believing that SHE should be on the catwalk.

Little Rusty is such a cutie.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Remember the shoes bought last week because I bled on them? I was skeptical, but my feet (both) and ankle have been giving me so much trouble I was willing to try anything. So, I tried some MBT's , and I have to say, there is something to it. I'm walking more, I have more energy and less pain. Of course, it may have something to do with the Celebrex I started the same day.

Anyway-yay for less pain.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cactus Monday-a Fairy Tale

Once upon a time Slim Cadiddlesnake was out for a slither. He sloooooowly looked up and he saw

a very tall cactus. He thought the cactus looked regal, but plain, and wished that it could be a little less long and a little less lonely.

That night, a friendly goddess paid the cactus a little visit and the next morning when Slim was out for his stroll he saw....
Happy Cactus Monday Cactuteers. I hope your wishes are granted this week.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

We had our dinner on Friday (Jake's ribs) and Mom bought a waffle maker for us to have breakfast today. Daddy really enjoyed the waffle maker in Louisiana, and I was touched (and so was he I think) that Mom went right out and bought one.

But, it didn't go well-new things don't work well for Mom and I got a better understanding of why she's so adamanet about the "way she's always done it" because it really is the only way she can. But what would have been a completely miserable time last year, was an OK time this year. She let me help and we all muscled through and we had our waffles.

Next up is a visit to see Uncle John, and honestly, after the waffle fiasco this morning, I'm dreading it and hoping he'll be asleep. The Mom/John combo is heart wrenching, just as the Mom/Dad combo can be. I can see now why I only had one child-I just can't cope with two, and that's really odd because I am the multitasking diva.

Unlike children, as people age, they get clingier and more time consuming. Is that an awful thing to say? Well it's true. Now I struggle with wanting to delete the last lines, because what if this is my last father's day? But, I also want to share the truth of what happens when parent's age so that maybe someone who has the same feelings will read it and know they are not alone.

One flash of insight as I was helping Mom was how agitated I felt wanting HER not to be agitatted. I realized this is where some of their agitation comes from as well-when I go off and do things that they can't help with (which is most things I do now). If I had realized that earlier, I probably would have had a nicer summer last summer-but even this old dog can learn a new trick or two.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


A couple of graphics I made for a t-shirt design contest (mountain bike camp) I entered.

Honda Shadow Spirit

That's what my new motorcycle is-750 CC-a small(ish) cruiser. Small enough for me to manage, but big enough to manage highway if I so choose.

I knew, from looking at scooters, that if I got a scooter I'd also want to go on the road-so this time I didn't even pretend-I just got what would do both jobs-in town and out.

Lots of 40 sumthins and 50 sumthins and 60 sumthins are cruising now-but honestly, I've never liked riding behind someone-for one thing, not being able to see what is in front of you is maddening to me. And the people I've rode behind were idiots, let's face facts.

My balance used to be pretty good though-I could ride behind with a full bag of grocieries in each hand and one between my legs. The highway was no challenge at all, even the speed made it smoother. Dirt roads were a little dicey but I never fell off or broke an egg.

Stopping on the way home from Jakes (I saw a pink motorcycle and had to look) with my folks-the strangest thing happened. They didn't complain about stopping, they didn't complain about my looking.

Even stranger, after I reported what I saw and thought, we all dropped it-I didn't keep fishing for approval. I did bring up a memory-my first Honda 50 CC and I mentioned that I didn't know now how Daddy rode that thing-it was sooooo short. I said I didn't think I could do it as an adult.

We fell silent and something hit me that I never really got before. Daddy couldn't afford to pay for a pasture bill, no one had time to take me out to feed, but he did buy me mini bike and I was the only kid that I knew that had one.

In other words, they compromised and bought something that fit into our lives that I enjoyed and could ride-but as a child I didn't see that-only the horse I didn't have.

I got taller and the 50 turned into a trail 70-but it was street legal. I started getting boobs and my brother got a learner's permit and HE started going out on the road-so the bike was sold. And I grieved and moaned. But not too loud, cause truth be told, I had gone out on the road too-and not just any road. The HIGHWAY. Just to see how fast the bike could go.....70 I think.

A few years ago I wanted a Harley-shared that with a friend who jumped all over my case-saying "That's such a damn dykey thing-NO man would want a woman who rides a motorcycle and you always go off on these tangents..." I didn't care about the man or the dyke, but the tangent thing really hurt and I really didn't have the money anyway.

I mean, HONESTLY-man or woman who cared about whether or not I rode a motorcycle is not the person for me. They'd never make it past the snakes for one thing. They'd probably fuss about the mountain bike too, and that baby aint going no where.

I've been looking at horses again, but for me, paying someone to take care of MY horse just won't work. It's the caring for my animals that I enjoy the most. I like cleaning cages and clipping nails and stuff. Why I like that and despise doing the dishes, I cannot say and don't really care.

I've been thinking about the trailer too-gas prices pretty much wrecked that notion, as well as illnesses that keep me nearby. But you know what, it's paid for, lot rent paid up till next spring-it isn't hurting a thing. But, it gives me a strange sense of comfort that it's there, waiting; a little piece of me that isn't bound to a town or responsibilities.

Now, the red flames thing I could have done without, but it was a showroom new 07, red is ok and I'm going to have roses or something painted in the flames to girl things up a bit. The hardest part has been locating a helmet that will look cool with a red bike......coordination is key.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Pare-Wolf

Oliver heard the documentary "A man among wolves" and fell in love with the sounds of the wolf howl. So now I have the sounds of wolves and cubs most of the day. Honestly, he never howled or made puppy noises (only barked) before the show.

I know he had dogs in his life before, so I wonder if there weren't puppies involved, because he really really loves the wolf sounds.

He has not forsaken the farts however,only now he laughs, then howls, THEN farts. Variety is the spice of life.

I'm going to try and record some of his funnier moments-because I wish you all had a playback of it that you could play whenever you get stressed or grumpy. It's truly better than drugs.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And the heat goes on.....

Omigosh, the heat and wind. The snakes are saying that it will rain and possibly more by in the morning though-nature's little weather forecasters.

I took Daddy for a hotdog yesterday while Mom was out shopping. Uncle John and I used to go for hotdogs when we lived in Dallas, but John won't be going for any more field trips. And, I used to feel guilty taking John for hotdogs and not my dad. So, naturally, I feel bad now taking Daddy for hotdogs and not John.

But, guilt aside-we did have a nice time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Animal Wednesday

HAW!!!!! Oliver is growing up-but the ears are kind of messing with the Elvis gaze.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Yesterday I dropped a full, brand new bottle of sugar free almond roca syrup on my foot. Not one of those little bottles you put in gift baskets, a 5th of Vodka size bottle. Yep, it hurt.

Worse, it shattered and all my lovely syrup flowed right down the driveway. As I pulled the glass out of my foot I sliced my thumb to the bone.

The only taste of the syrup I got was a lick off my finger-but it was darn good syrup.

Today I was trying to decide between one pair of shoes vs. another and ended up buying the ones I bled all over when the cut reopened. I need to invest in some bandaids.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cactus Monday

Another page from my cactus book
Kind of boring.....
The camera accidently went off and I had a photo of my tank top. I decided to draw a cactus on it, but it looks like a watermelon would hae worked better.
Happy Cactus Monday Cactuteers!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Gotta Say It

I heard the funniest expression today....

"It's hotter than Satan's Balls......." Maybe Forever Young can turn that into a giggle....LOL.


I took Mom to see Uncle John today. He didn't want to go to church (thank God) and we sat in the main room. John isn't really able to visit, and Mom is uncomfortable with silence. Mom spent the last 50 years in Oklahoma City as a housewife, John was an engineer in Silicone Valley. Sometimes one obviously thinks the other is making no sense, when actually, if you know what they are talking about, they really are.

I've pretty much given up trying to translate and their new mode of conversation is to talk to me. At this point, I think Mom is just glad I'm there (forgetting that JOHN is there at my doing) and we've all surrendered to the process.

John wanted to go back to his room and we all sat on the bed and visited until he was ready for a nap. Mom and I helped him lie down and we left.

It was truly a bitter sweet thing-because although it is terribly sad, we've never been closer.

Laughing at myself

I wanna lose control
Never had it anyway
Just get up and go
Move my cares away
Dance among the stars
Circle round the moon
Bathe in the milkyway, have a roll in the hay, sing a happy tune

Oh good lord, I think I just wrote a country and western song. What a world what a world what a world......I'm melting............meeelllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllttttting............

Friday, June 6, 2008

What's cookin?

The work world was the first place I experienced the strange dichotomy that is my personality. My ideal self is a benevolent earth mother, but the tarot cards and my horoscope invariably cast me as the queen of swords. In fact, in most of the world the female of any species is the most agressive in defense of her young. So, maybe, just maybe, the whole benevolent earth mother is a misrepresentation of women.

My own mother chastises me for being too sensitive and caring too much about what other people think (other than what SHE thinks of course). In the work world I've had people say with me in the room "don't be fooled by her kindly hippie demeanor, she'll cut you off at the knees if you cross her."

Maybe I am sociopath, because I don't really see a problem with the two sides, as long as neither side is hidden. Are we captives of our own characters-or how others would percieve our characters? Unexpected anger, etc. from someone doesn't bother me nearly as much as unexpected kindness-but I too like people to behave as I expect them to behave.

But the truth is, in many situations and settings, such as my own kitchen, I'm not quite sure how to behave. Really. Teflon (fumes) stainless (sticks)? So, I've been working on my kitchen with the intent to understand what it's saying about me, what I think it means. I have this notion that if I can conquer the kitchen, I might be able to deal with the rest of the house and maybe life.

It's been crazy-I've examined everything from a complete remodel-which would leave me broke and completely remove the 50's details that I adore. I finally settled for a new dishwasher and a stove and I'm going to add gadgets to make the cabinets more functional. The fridge is up in the air at this point.

Now, all this could have been conveyed, perhaps, by saying, I'm getting a new dishwasher and stove today. But, honestly, it means a lot more.

The early days of this blog had me espousing and grousing about all the STUFF we have-and I still believe we have too much stuff. But I am no longer sure the stuff is the enemy, maybe it's the need for the stuff to make us into something we are not. What if I flipped that over a bit and used stuff that would help make me into who I want to be?

The ideal of strolling nekkid through garden just isn't practical in today's society.

Like a true woman of my generation, I escaped from the kitchen, now I'm going back to the scene of the crime to see what it was I was running from. Not the oppression of a male dominated society-leaving the kitchen didn't resolve that one at all. I think it's more the repression of a female image that doesn't fit me.

So, I am making the kitchen over in MY image. Precious counter space is devoted to....a coffee/tea area. I'm putting the fairly new toaster in the garage sale (I can't eat bread, I don't even have any in my house).

I first titled this entry "is life contextual'? and I think my point is ultimately that there are big gaps in the context of my home life. And why should filling them in be more difficult or painful than an educational/knowledge gap or any of the other countless gaps I've filled over my life? It's just one more puzzle.

I don't know

I don't even know what I want to say
What I would tell you if I could
I reach out, but am unsure what I'm reaching for
Or what I would do with it if I had it.

Challenge status quo
Go with the flow
None of the above
Or all?

Off to the comfort of coffee
Warm, sweet, a little bitter
Just like life.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where do we go from here?

Don't feel much like staying in this spot
Don't feel much like moving either
What will happen next?

If we knew, we'd be nothing more than characters in a play
Life demands uncertainty.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Animal Wednesday

I'm still looking at horses and stables. Is it a dream, destiny, or obsession that should be set aside? Happy Animal Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I am, I am not, I don't know

I'm not like you
But we are more alike than not
The same
Why do our differences
Does the chasm fill
With as much despair as
Do you dwell on the mystery

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cactus Monday

This is a close up of Frank's head, unless his head is in the sand in which case Frank has a bad case of piles.

Apparently I took this photo before gluing the cactus in the center of the mandella, so imagine if you will a cactus in the middle of the mandella (a tiny one) and I'll take a photo of the completed one later.

When this posts I'll likely be enroute from Louisiana back to Oklahoma, but wishing all the cactuteers a Happy Cactus Monday.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Random Snapshots

A favorite shot of Bette-RIP my friend.

A shot of Buddy-who weighs about 150 pounds. He's old, and sweet and retired to Florida...Ha.

My innermost....foot. Damn, no wonder my foot hurts sometimes.

A thundercloud from March.