[This is my dad holding me and feeding my baby brother, now that’s multitasking!]

The Cuckoo's Nest


Here’s my dad multitasking. I recovered this image from an old box of negatives my mom gave me after my dad passed away. One of the negatives was severely overexposed but I scanned it and took the image into Photoshop and MAGIC! This image appeared. It is very unlikely my parents ever saw this photo.

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Snow Garden

My photoblog is here if you haven’t seen it yet.

The Cuckoo's Nest

snow in june

I went to an outdoor wedding today at the Umlauf Gardens in Austin and as soon as we walked into the garden I was mesmerized by the cottonwood blossoms. It looked exactly like falling snow. It was also as difficult to photograph as snow. On the ground, it collected in crevices and along the edges of the paths but looked less like snow and more like the aftermath of a pillow fight.
It was one of the most fascinating and beautiful things I have ever seen.

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I have 633 posts here but i’m not sure if WordPress is counting drafts. Although I haven’t written much here in the last year or two I still think about doing it almost every single day. Then I get all busy or lazy and go to Facebook to look for some quick way to say what might have been a blog post. And it’s been great, I love the interactions I have there and it’s so easy to post a quick photo and and and.

Not much writing gets done. Not here (my word gym), not anywhere.

A lot has happened in the last year. Our youngest, Spanky has finished high school and moved away to go to college. Fortunately she chose a school in Austin, a place we’ve always wanted to move to when the kids are all grown up. So we found a place in Austin in October and have slowly been moving things over there, waiting for the spring market to put the house near Dallas up for sale.

Actually it is a little more complicated than that, we have another college-aged daughter living at home who just finished her first two years at community college. She’s going to move to Austin as well and try to get into one of the universities near there.

Right now I’ve got to get the house ready for market. It seems like an impossible task. With each previous move we got a larger house and these new places were just a block from each other. This time we’re downsizing. And that is where the pain comes in. We’re not pack rats, but hell, it just seems like I never had to get rid of anything to fit a new thing in these places.

It’s not a big deal with things like furniture, we’ve been selling that stuff on Craigslist pretty easily. It’s going through boxes of drawings and notes my kids did when they were growing up. Letters from my parents and friends from far away, things my mom and dad made for me, things I made for my kids (I used to sew a lot). I can’t keep everything, I don’t have the room, so I’ve got to thin them out.

Some of these things have been in a box for over ten years. I have long forgotten memories that go with these things, they flood my brain and emotions and I fear if I threw the item away the memory will go with it.

And I miss my children being children. I wish I had a stronger version of myself to go through these things. I know once these things are gone I’ll have an overall feeling of lightness because all of these things are heavy.

Editing is good. I just need to get through it.

…the best way out is always through

“…the best way out is always through.” Robert Frost, A Servant to Servants.

Long time ago we used to have a dwarf rabbit named Bugs, the first pet our family had that wasn’t a fish. When Bugs died, Spanky cried and asked me, “Will I ever get over this?”

She would get over this, I knew she would. She was only about eight years-old at the time, would she remember she’d had a pet rabbit at all? I didn’t tell her she might completely forget Bugs. Or forget this entire conversation when she learned about mortality.

Mortality, I’ll tell you when you worry most about that.

When a child is born, parents start a countdown. I’d like to think most of us, at the very least, want to live to see our child reach adulthood.

So on Spanky’s eighteenth birthday, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. She grew up with both parents, was never orphaned. I’m pointing out Spanky because she is the youngest. I felt the same about the other two but I still had the finish line on the entire parenting thing to think about.

What crept up on me the entire time I was raising my children was the flip-side of this countdown. They’re going to leave. Go to college. Get married. They have to. This is life.

And this is where things are right now and it has my mind in a complete state of fuckery and it hurts and this was a long time coming and I know I’m being selfish…


Will I ever get over this?

Discovered this Frost quote on a bathroom wall in a bookstore near the campus where Spank is going to college when I took her to orientation this summer

This too, same stall. Walls do talk.

Eat or Be Eaten?

I was flicking through the channels one night during the holidays and landed on a show on Animal Planet, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” It’s been around since at least 2007, but I’d never seen an episode. I’d seen it in the guide, but the description made it seem like a medical show, one where people come in with a hatchet stuck in the middle of their skull. Or shot with a nail gun between the eyes. I’m a little burnt out on those.

No. This show is recreations of true life stories where people get trapped or stranded out in the Amazon or the freezing mountains of Transylvania. With a broken leg. Or a thigh muscle ripped out of their leg by a bear. No cell phone. Have to crawl eight miles through three foot snows to get help. Wolves, cayotes, or buzzards lurking to eat up the person trying to survive. No food. No water.

That kind of show. And I’m hooked. (the stress of this show could be what caused the blood vessel in my eye to blow, I tell you, it makes my heart race.)

I went looking around the internet to find out more about this show and ran across a funny comment a fan wrote. I can’t find it right now but will paraphrase:
“This is the best show ever on TV. It teaches you all about how to survive being stuck in the freezing mountains, how to fight off wild animals… Eat or be eaten.”

Okay. I’m not that sort of fan. Eat or be eaten? But that really made me laugh.

On Wednesday january 5th, 2011 Animal Planet is having a “I shouldn’t Be Alive” marathon of back to back shows beginning at 2PM eastern time. I got my DVR set to record.


While brushing my teeth yesterday morning I looked up at myself in the mirror and saw this:

Actually it wasn’t that bad yesterday because it wasn’t noticeable unless I looked up. Today it is worse, it has spread to the iris (colored part) and it is getting worse by the hour.

I’m not really worried, this is not something to see a doctor about, it just looks scary. And it takes a long time to go away, about two weeks.

My family is freaking out. They have to look at it, I don’t. They also have to deal with my freaky medical self-treatment ideas such as, “I wonder if I could stick a needle in my eye and pop that blood blister?” (seriously, I want to do that)

Good thing this didn’t happen in my brain, that is called a stroke.

2010 in review

This post is from an email I got from WordPress and I thought I’d share it.

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 33 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 546 posts. There were 66 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 15mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 28th with 445 views. The most popular post that day was Simple Halloween Costumes.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for halloween yards, simple halloween costumes, punks, grillz, and jared leto.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Simple Halloween Costumes October 2008


Tricked Out Halloween Yards October 2006


Crazy Pranks And Other Things Kids Do While Parents Are Away August 2007


“Teenagers (Scare the Living Shit out of Me)” November 2006


When is food too old to eat? January 2009

Are those flowers coming or going?

Isn’t this a beautiful painting? My cousin did it for an assignment in college, it’s a copy of Matisse’s The Goldfish Bowl.

I’ve had for over ten years and although I have done nothing to physically alter it, I have ruined it. About a year ago I hung it in front of my treadmill so there could be something pleasant to look at while doing the monotonous walking and running. A couple of days ago I looked at those fish, those leaves, the meniscus on that bowl and knew that I couldn’t stand to see that painting another time.

While out shopping yesterday I found another great piece of art to ruin.

I am sure that smile will taunt me, maybe that is not a good choice? Perhaps I should have gone with something like “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch.

Click to zoom

Then I might be able to figure out whether the flowers are coming or going.

What do you think?

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Better Than Fruitcake

One of my favorite stores to waste some time is Big Lots, a place that sells some discontinued and overstock items. Bunch of junk really, but I like going there.

Last spring I found a case of Illy cappuccino drinks (cans, for the fridge) for about 75 cents each. Amazing drinks, way better than the Starbucks brand. After we ran out, I looked at every grocery store for them, even looked on the internet to see where I could buy more.

No luck.

A couple of months later we were in Italy and they were everywhere for about $3 a can. Totally got hooked on those damn things.

Since then I peek in every one of those glass fridges by the checkout of every store I shop looking for Illy.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Illy (I buy their whole beans), they are selling these drinks on their website now. The price is excellent, 12 cans for $20, so I stocked up. The shipping isn’t as bad as you’d think.

They make great gifts, I think, especially for those out of town people on our list. I hope they like coffee. Ho ho hooooooooooooo.

Overpowering the Sun

At around twelve noon this time of year the sunlight passes through a window in the foyer, crosses the loft upstairs and lands on a ceiling fan in a room at the back of the house. It goes on and makes a shadow of the fan against the back wall.

This fan is two stories high, so the light is strong to make it through and through my house that way.

During this half hour of revealing sunshine, I realize just how dirty that fan is. No artificial light I have in here ever shows the fan that way. I remember this from last year, and since then nothing has changed.

Again, I brainstorm ways of getting up there to clean it.

We don’t have any ladders that go that high. No telescoping two story brooms or dusters. It is possible I could stack two tables on top of each other and then put the eight foot ladder on top. Then use a long handled broom. So I imagine myself on this contraption and as soon as I begin to swipe at the fan, the blades slip away from me as there is no way to lock the fan in place.

And the dust bunnies giggle at me.

Then. The sun goes on its way and the spotlight is gone. The fan looks clean again and I think to myself how great it is that I’m the only one aware of this or gives a damn about it.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Lens help needed

One of the stupidest things I’ve ever written is that I use my point and shoot Panasonic around the house for snapshots of the family. I realized as soon as I’d posted this (I can’t remember which blog post it was) that things should be the other way around as pictures of my family are way more important than any of the others I take.

So I’m glad I wrote that stupid thing because it made me realize that I should only use the point and shoot when I have to (places where dslr cameras aren’t allowed, such as concerts) or on a trip where I don’t want to be weighted down with a heavy camera.

To be fair to myself, the point and shoot does take wider angle photos which is great for shooting inside a house especially if there are a lot of people to fit into the frame.

So. Wide angle lens needed!

With this newish camera I have, I only own a couple of lenses, so this Christmas would be a good time to add a wide angle lens. I haven’t done much research yet, but I know I don’t want a fish eye lens.

Anyone have recommendations? This is mostly for carrying with me on trips, so I think I’ll go with a fixed length good quality glass.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Removing Distractions

I’ve had this photo rat holed for a few years. I took it into Photoshop and cloned out the cars, then desaturated all the colors except for red since this is one of the most famous red things in the world. Then I took it into Lightroom and added some sepia to warm up the black and white tones.

Here is the before:

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Surely, this must be a joke

Don’t you just hate it when everybody else but you gets something?

Over the last year I’d been seeing more and more references to contemporary American artist Mark Rothko. Maybe one of his paintings recently sold for a record amount, I don’t know why his name kept coming up, but I tell you, I saw a segment on his contribution to the art world and I completely didn’t get it. In fact, that was the big joke in the house over the summer, me running around spouting out at random, “I don’t get it, I don’t GET Rothko! Help.”

At times I thought it was some snobby art joke on people who pretend to “get” things they don’t. Especially rich people who put up millions of dollars to buy these huge color rectangles of paint on canvas as proof they get it.

I almost blogged about it but that would have taken way more research than I was willing to do at the time. Once I start clicking on links about art, I go down a rabbit hole that i might not come out of for weeks or months. I was already entrenched in Ren art. Adding modern art to the mix might have broken my brain.

And it was part of this thirst for consuming Ren art that I found myself in the Dallas Museum of Art this fall, less than 50 feet from the front door and was punched in the face with a Rothko.

It was a canvas so huge it completely filled my visual field. Orange and red, not colors I even care for too much. Just before that, I’d seen about 15 paintings by various artists and my brain was probably a bit overstimulated with all the visual information. Shapes, colors, important moments…

I’ve read that people get the sensation of levitating while viewing Rothko’s abstracts. It was a little like that for me but I can tell you exactly how it felt, maybe this has happened to you.

You know that feeling you have when you are immersed in thought and your brain is racing a million miles an hour and you’re moving around rushing through a well lit room doing whatever it is you are doing and suddenly the lights go out and BAM you stop dead in your tracks and it is so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face? For a moment everything in your mind is cleared and you don’t know what hit you and you have no plan yet to get back on whatever track you were on?

That moment. That meeting yourself in the dark moment.

It made me laugh. It made me feel human and wise and like I was everywhere at once.

It is no joke.

This is the painting that zapped my brain.

Orange, Red and Red

If you want to hunt down some of his work and decide for yourself whether or not this is a pile of crap, click this link to find a Rothko near you.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

crank crank sputter

Let’s see if I can get this thing started up again, Holidailies starts tomorrow and I’m going to do it again. This is my fifth year.

That means 30 days of blogging. Things I hope to blog about: concert we went to last night, travels over the summer, writer’s block, Greek yogurt, friends and family, concerts we will go to, funny things my dogs do, photography, things that are strange to me, the holidays and how I can’t wait until they are over.

God help you all.

Now go sign up and do this with me. Or ELSE!

What have they done to Count???

This is the time of year for fall photos, apple cider, trick-or-treat, and Monster cereal.

While I’m more of a Grape Nuts kinda girl, I do love Count Chocula and Frankenberry this time of year, so I picked up a couple of boxes at the grocery store.

Remember Count Chocula?

Have you ever wondered what the hell those two pointy things are on the top of his head? Is that supposed to be his hair or is that a very strange monster cap?

Doesn’t matter, I guess. Look what they’ve done to him.

He looks much younger with his groomed brows. Still, he’s not a sexy vampire if that’s what they were going for.

Remember Frankenberry?

They got him too.

I can’t believe that removed that smoke stack from his head, that was my favorite part.


I went to take photos of a Zombie Crawl in Dallas’ Deep Ellum district yesterday. It was a fundraiser for North Dallas Food Bank and the organizers were hoping to set a world record for most zombies. I don’t know if they made the numbers or not.

There were plenty of zombies all over the place.

Cowgirl Zombie

My favorite zombie

Ruh Roh, where’s Scooby?

Zombie Dogs, best actors of the day. No, those eyes are not Photoshopped, click on photo to enlarge.

Getting Married Zombies?

Oooo they were everywhere. Even in the restaurants:

But the scariest thing I saw all day was this one. He was so creepy, I almost didn’t post this photo.

Gives me chills every time I look at this.

Make sure to check under your bed before you go to sleep tonight.

Four Rough Minutes to Fitness

You know why those 20 minutes a day! exercise equipment infomercials are so successful? It’s not really the product they are pushing that creates those before and after results, it is the exercise routine.

You don’t need to buy any of that stuff or join any clubs to get in shape. Here is one of the most successful exercise routines on earth and it only takes 20 minutes two times a week. You can run down the street, get on a bike, or jump up and down… Anything that gets you sweating and raises your heart rate considerably.

But first a standard disqualifier: Ask your doctor if doing this exercise is likely to kill you. If he says yes or maybe, don’t do it.

So you have talked to a doctor and you are greenlighted to get fit and healthy. Your doctor has likely told you this exercise will decrease insulin resistance (making you less likely to develop type II diabetes), increase metabolism (bye bye pesky fat cells), and give you a stronger muscoskeletal system. Don’t be bitter about the check you had to cut for that doctor visit, in the long run, you’ll be seeing less of that guy because you’ll be healthier. Damn good investment.

Choose an activity such as power walking, running, jumping jacks, cycling, or if you can, riding a unicycle. Anything but sitting on the sofa, sorry. I’ve run across this exercise recipe in nursing books on diabetes and on fitness web sites.


Let’s pretend we’re walking/running in place. You don’t even need a street to do that, no excuses that you don’t have what you need to do this. All you need is determination.

Stretch out for 3 minutes. (this is the most important step, it prevents injuries)

Exercise as hard as you can for 30 seconds. (run! run! run!)

Slow down for 90 seconds. (walk in place)

Repeat the high intensity exercise and recovery 7 more times.

You’re done.

Notice the “hard as you can” part adds up to a measley four minutes? Don’t worry about how many calories you’ve burned or what the scale says. You’re exercising. You will feel and look better and you did not spend a penny on any equipment.