Seasons: Autumn 2011

Despite having seen Christmas decorations out even BEFORE Halloween, I am determined to give the season of Fall its due.  Lots happening, lots to remember.

This autumn brought…

…a new creation, new art to carry forever…

…fun times with Grandparents in exotic locales…

…another great Nevada Day/Birthday Weekend…

…a little Wild Thing who will eat you up, he loves you so…

…good food, loving family — lots to give thanks for…

…and lots of time to reflect and relax away from the craziness of it all.

Yay for Fall!

 

Wide Open Spaces

It’s easy to forget you live in the West (capital W) in Las Vegas.  The landscape is all strip malls — havens of nails places, Subways, 99 cent stores, and lots of empty store fronts waiting for retailers.  They dominate the view so exclusively, the mountains are only a foggy background behind a cheap consumer’s dream.

These strip malls are everywhere — that’s a given.  But the roads in our little corner of town are still under construction, and the shoulders are just dust and scrub.  There are houses that are NOT part of a development here, houses that were built by Westerners who said to themselves, “I’d like to just see the city TRY to get out THIS far!”

Whoops.

Hindsight is 20/20, so hopefully these folks have a good sense of humor, and still appreciate their little 2-3 acres.  In a city where .5 acres is considered an “estate lot,” they are practically kings. What I like best about living close to these old Vegas types — the ones who were here first — is that they remind me that I live not in America’s cultural wasteland, but in the West.

Tonight as Patrick and I were driving home from the marching band show, we were storming down the road, twirling through roundabouts, admiring the sunset and the dusty light of evening on our way to dinner.  As I wound around the second roundabout, I did a double-take to my right.  A man was riding a white dappled horse, his six-year-old grandson in front of him, and two scruffy dogs flouncing nearby.  They were trotting along, enjoying the light too, but at a slower pace and I enviably watched them live in the West.  It did help me remember that I can “live in the West” too, but that becomes farther and farther away as the responsibilities of the school year and the ennui of a working life settle in.  The time for a change is coming.  The West calls…

Someone else’s art…on me

I have been wanting a tattoo for years. Years! And I’ve had the idea of what I wanted all along, but have been waiting for an artist whose work looked interesting, unique, and in keeping with my idea. This summer, Jason Schroder of Incognito Tattoo was brought to my attention by Drew, and once I saw his work, I knew I’d found the right person.

So here it is!

He made the sketch specifically for me, and I couldn’t be happier with it or the whole experience. It’s a statue of the Greek goddess, Athena (who, among other things, is the goddess of crafts! Knitters unite!) and a hummingbird. I really love all the colors on the hummingbird — it’s quite vibrant in person — and the coloring of Athena as a statue is beautifully done. I wasn’t expecting it, but I also like how much of my skin shows through in the statue part.

I don’t want to drone on and on about what the imagery here represents, but I’ll give you a few thoughts to ponder, and then we’ll say nothing more about it.

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, the art of war, and crafts. The “art of war” certainly doesn’t apply to me, but as a teacher, I like to think I am heavily invested in the ideals of wisdom, and as a knitter, I am a crafty lady myself. So the statue of Athena represents me as an individual, separate from the influence of others.

The hummingbird comes from when I was pregnant, and represents my new family, and family members who have passed on…even though I see the irony, that those family members would not have approved of a tattoo. But to each their own, right?!? I hope so. Hummingbirds have always reminded me of my grandmother, who was so like a hummingbird herself in later life, small and seemingly frail, but with great strength of heart. Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about her, remembering all of the good times I had with her, and realizing how much of her life was and is a mystery to me.

But there was a specific hummingbird that became very precious to me during my pregnancy. I called it my hummingbird friend, and during the last month, when I was huge and uncomfortable, it reminded me of my Grandma and helped me think of happier things, rather than just wallow in self-pity. Which is pretty easy to do when you’ve gained almost 50 pounds — blerg!

I actually started writing a bit about my hummingbird friend last year while my Creative Writing class was having journal time. It’s been unedited, but I’ll share some of it here:

_____________________

All month of May, I waited with swollen feet. My poor feet. They looked as though little marshmallows had been toothpicked onto a Dubuque ham, a hedonistic Midwestern potluck delicacy. My belly stuck out with a vengeance. My skin was pulled and stretched over baby-man, marked with angry purple cougar scratches.

I sat everyday, sinking deeper and deeper into the couch, watching blase daytime television or playing Lego games on the X-box. The cats were beside themselves with glee that I was home all day. They showed their excitement mostly through sleeping, although they could also be convinced to stare at me, when the spirit moved them.

At some point everyday, when I knew I needed to move my massive self or risk permanence on the couch, I would waddle down the stairs to the computer. From the computer desk, I could look out at our teeny backyard. Outside walks were out of the question at this point — I could barely make it down to the car without panting and huffing. So these were my windows into life outside: the computer and my miniscule yard.

Admittedly, I spent the time dinking around on Facebook, trying to see the world through profile pictures and status updates. If anything, it made me feel more removed, as thought everyone else had actual events to comment about, real news to report. I was living in my little pregnancy cave, eating and doing awkward prenatal yoga poses, no more aware of the actual world than my baby in his dark, tight, encroaching home. We were both stuck waiting, looking at the shadows in Plato’s cave, not knowing when we’d get to see reality. One of my few pregnancy books said that by this point, you may believe yourself to be the only permanently pregnant woman ever. I was sure of this fact by now.

In my computer funk, I would space out, farther and farther removed. Then, a flick of movement outside. My eyes were coaxed away from the screen.

Another flick. There, by our olive tree, buzzed a hummingbird, left, right, then left again. Looking at me through the window.

________________________

That’s all I have so far. I’m sure I’ll come back to it someday when the ending presents itself. And now that I have this reminder for all time, I’ll remain aware of how much that little hummingbird meant to me, and how fantastic things really can come in incredibly small packages.

P.S. If you are looking for a tattoo artist, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Jason Schroder. He was gentle, just as advertised. He very patiently explained the whole process to me, including the maintenance. And, perhaps most importantly, he is very talented artistically. I am so, so pleased with his design, I can’t say it enough. However many stars there are to give on your ratings scale, I give them all to him!

Seasons: Summer 2011

Whenever August rolls around, I wish it was still July.  Although it’s fun to celebrate our anniversary, I know that after the festivities are finished, school will start in a week or so.  So it’s also a good time to look at what an awesome summer this was, and see how we spent our time…that helps it seem longer, too!

This summer was…

...waiting and waiting and MORE waiting...

...new lengths (or really, lack of length!)...

...a new place, a new pad...

...full of family frolics...

...old haunts with a new twist...

...a new childhood beginning, with some of the same players...

...friendships continuing, joy expanding...

...walking, walking slowly, walking quickly, walking thoughtfully, walking hard...

...all about feeling loved...

...streaming SciFi and having drinks after Patrick's bedtime...

...trips to new horizons...

...traveling family style...

One last trip before the summer ends!  Pack the car quick — let’s go!

We’ll miss you, summer!

This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo moment- no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Walking at the Santa Ana Zoo

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