Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tech, Death & Other Beauty

Well, it's been quite the morning. As on every other morning, I walked into the office to download the latest email only to find the PC hung. And suddenly rebooting itself. I was patient, thinking it would load up and I could move on but no.

Right now, it's telling me how it can't find NTLDR. I researched the error. I put the files on a CD and loaded it but still No Joy. I suspect the HDD is a coaster, now, but I truly hope not. It's just out of my control and level of experience.

I have been consoling myself here with looking at the lovely bits and pieces. Just look at the draperies in Versailles. Can you imagine the women in rows completeing the intricate needlework? I like detail. I can get lost in it. It is also why so many of my photos are of the small and close-up. Either that or of incredible light. Like this early autumn morning light over Boulder.

I cannot tell you how much I love it there. When the car moves close enough to town that the Flat Irons come into view I have a sense of peace that is really profound. Move me further up that road into the Rockies and that peace is magnified. I wish I knew why. I know the only photos where I look even halfway decent are all from there. I can remember going there alone for the first time for my stepdaughter's college graduation and being so...well, it was frightening, I'll admit. I have a hard time being on my own. But it was also really nice to just get up early to watch the sun hit the spires from the park. And to walk through a very icy path to go higher into those spires. And the drums that rolled on the air from somewhere just far enough to prevent my seeing their source. Morning drums beating out a greeting to the sun and the voices carried only barely.

It was the next day, I think, that we went to Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park and snowshoed our way to a high lake, frozen over. We stopped at this view and it moved me deeply. There was something about that distant beauty that I could not fully understand - majesty, the insanely beautiful color and shape of the clouds overhead, perhaps the lessening oxygen was giving me a buzz. But I wanted to stand there forever in that cool air. I think it'd be fantastic to have my ashes left there someday. Yeah, yeah - it's a long time from now. But I cannot think of a better place.

If life allows you some time away this winter, give this place some thought. The beauty of it is beyond words.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On The Cheap

After living the semi-high life during all wedding doing's, we've been careful to recover by being judicious with the groceries. No more eating out for a time - no, it's time to empty that freezer of all good things and actually cook as I used to.

Yesterday, it was a lovely steak and potato dinner - I'd had other plans for that steak but it would not have been near as tasty. Tonight it's pasta with homemade sauce and fresh made French bread with which to slather in garlic butter and broil so that the golden gleaming goodness just screams out "EAT ME NOW!".

It reminds me of my early bachelorette days. Goodness, how in the hell did I manage on almost half of my current salary? I had a tidy apartment, food enough, and bills paid. I even had cable. At any rate, ignore Trooper's commentary about there only being some bread, mustard and ancient ketchup in there. He's a big ol' liar. At any rate, I cooked like crazy all things from scratch because it was cheap. Chili? Check. Pasta Sauce? Check check. Soup? Bet your ass. I still do those things now and again but the recipes have changed into quickies - the reliable 30 minutes to table kind that allow you to get on with life. But I think I'll be looking at that - maybe I need to do more slow cooking again.

Is there anything as good as homemade vegetable soup with the scant meat from a ham hock giving it just the right amount of fat and marrow goodness? Or pinto beans with corn bread? Basic stuff that we lived on as children because feeding a family of five was not easy. I remember mom calling it "stone soup" as the meat bones rattled in the pot. Still, none of us went hungry. And to this day I can whip up nigh unto anything if the need arises.

Arises...damn, the bread. Alright - time to punch down, shape and rise again. Sometimes life is so damned good you don't even know it. Sitting there aching from a lawn mowing, thinking about how it hurts in those shoulders...hell, yeah. It hurts. Now, dunk that golden deliciousness into the sauce and tell me what hurts.

Life is good. We are blessed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Just Can't

Er - maybe that should read Just Won't. I have a problem with using "can't" in place of "won't" in order to avoid responsibility for my actions - or lack thereof.

I've a house to clear of clutter (I liked Cherry's take on it wherein she states, "...home is in a state of readiness and expectation " and hope to emulate her) but I've no will for it. I have a workout to get done today and, surprise, no will for it, either. More laundry waits as does a shower but I've things to get done that I simply won't get to.

I spent some of the morning surfing the net, looking for some good images for the home gym - athleticism and such for inspiration - and hit some erotica that reminded me of an old friend and his images. They were awfully...derivative of my friend's work...so I surfed his site for a time, recalling that era of my life. I used to do a lot of black and white photography, playing with the developing of the prints to get the view I liked in the shading I wanted. It's very interesting how a plain photo can be transformed with a bit of time and chemical. Of course, now people do it with software but I like the haphazard nature of the old way.

At any rate, it was a few hours of rehashing things in my mind and considering picking up the old camera again and getting back in the groove. I really don't care for digital as much and I cannot truly say why - now the cameras are quite competitive in terms of quality of lenses and resolution. But I like the utter sharpness and fine grain and color of slide film. Maybe I'll start anew, pulling out the old stuff and making a few prints from them. I used to be rather alright - not great, but 1 out of 30 would be pretty interesting, I think. Not a bad ratio.

I managed to get in a bit of cleaning and then stalled over a cup of coffee, reheated from the early morning pot. Trooper hit the road after an impromptu breakfast at the beloved Waffle House with an academy mate from El Paso and his wife. They're fun people with a similar sense of humor. It is always pleasant for me when my sometimes dry and misunderstood wit is appreciated. Honestly, I often say nothing out of fear that what is funny in my mind will come out completely wrong.

Oh - and I thought I'd toss in a snippet of wedding frou-frou until the photos come back. Just the flower girl basket I made (it's a bit worse for wear, now, but it was, I thought, pretty) and the ring pillow my pal made for me. I adore the lace and the cream and blue color scheme. Even the white and blue was nice. Sort of...heavenly.
Now, it's really time to go workout. Then to the grocery for a few things after a nice shower and relaxing time with my magazine - I fully intend to finish this issue of Romantic Homes, damn it. I love the magazine. LOVE. Alright, then. Let the torment begin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Love and Loss

What a baffling world this is sometimes...just as we were picking up tuxes and flowers, a man was on the side of a road watching his life, his love, fade.

As people who see these things from a remote point, filling out the paperwork and measuring the marks delineating death, it gives a vantage that many do not have. You can be professional and efficient but later that night, you hug your family tighter because it's so clear that - as the gentleman notes so eloquently - "Cherish every smallest kiss, because you don’t ever, ever know which one will be the last."

Bless him - he has lost the most precious thing in his life.

Addendum: Billy has a lovely post on the topic but this really stood out.
"Every single day, when I saddled up, I would sit there and tell myself right out loud: 'Look around you. This could be it: right here and now; your very last hour on the planet.' "


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's Done


Can I just say right here that I am utterly exhausted? It was a grand weekend but it took a toll on my sanity. I've no photos yet to offer but I can say this - he was the most handsome man I've ever seen in his new hat , tux and carefully pressed black jeans.

I was a mental wreck the morning of the wedding, having spent all day Friday running around trying to get everything done AND host an impromptu cookout for the family who had come to town. I cannot believe it all happened in the short time given. But it was grand to see all the family once again!

My bouquet skills were severely lacking - particularly since we got the flowers at the end of the day Friday and my mind utterly forgot the color scheme of pale blue and white. LOLOL Oh, my...I'd wanted/had in mind hydrangeas and maybe some stock and and such. That was not what I acquired. Hilarity ensued the next morning as I tried to separate things out and bind them after 4 hours sleep. I let them sleep a bit longer as I prep'd things.

Of course, Trooper took the scenic route to the site of the wedding so we arrived with less than 45 minutes to prepare. Thank goodness my family stepped up in a huge way and organized everything whilst I tried to hurry and dress, makeup and then abandon all attempts at hair dressing. They say I looked lovely. I say I was a humongous mess but I was smiling and polite.

The photographer was a DARLING and I cannot wait to see what develops, so to speak. LOL Oh, she was a sweetheart...I cannot even find words.

And then...everyone was "awfully assembled" and it was time. I met my wee flower girl and ring bearer and Dad was there, too, and I could see my handsome man on the hill, his hat tipped to greet me. And then it was time. We all managed to traverse the boggy ground and my dress was only slightly mired. LOLOL

We stood there, looking at each other and smiling. The judge was grinning and the whole thing was in motion like a locomotive so that I had no time for any of it but only to look at him and feel so much love. Of course, his voice was strong right up to the "...till death do us part..." portion and the cracking there put a tear in each and every eye, including my own. So, with tears rolling, I gave my own vows and it was done. He doffed his hat for the kiss and we laughed and laughed.

I hardly recall anything else because it was such a rush of faces and names and greetings. I was...just lost in it. I tossed the bouquet and too soon it was all over. Later, a few couples came to the house to sit and chat and it was so much fun that we all missed the rodeo and went for BBQ instead.

The brightest point is that my stepdaughter is in love with Austin-proper and wants to move here. Ah, youth...when one has no qualms about uprooting on a whim. LOL

So that's the short version. I am a Mrs., we've rings that we still turn to make comfortable on unfamiliar fingers, and the sense of dedication to each other is stronger than ever. Bless us, it's better than before...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

She's Here!

My sweetest, most darling and far-too-grown stepdaughter - AKA Pumpkinhead [which is a sweet nickname and NOT to be referencing in your mind a grotesque horror flick fiend]. She started her day at 8a-ish, flying here from ATL, and wasn't present with luggage in hand until nearly 5p. Weather, weather everywhere...

She's exhausted, of course, because all she does is work, bless her. I intend to spoil her rotten and have her snoozle all she wants. Which is what she's doing. Since she was young, she has loved to be in a chair with a blanket and sleeping. So many photos of her doing just that...

It's going to be an insane day tomorrow - flowers to get and fashion into proper bouquets (spirit of Martha inhabit my fingers, please!), his tux to fetch, a new cowboy hat just because, and maybe some new shoes for me.

And then on Saturday night? Yeah, buddy - it's the small town rodeo again wherein we tempt her to move to TX with fine male ass in tight Wranglers attached to gentlemen who still tip their hats to ladies. Oh yeah. Oh, hell yeah.

If I have time, I'll get a pic of all the girly wedding frou-frou for y'all before it's all demolished...LOL Hey - if you're out there - think good thoughts, `k? Gonna need about an extra 4 hours in the day tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

So Many Thoughts, So Little Brain Left

I seriously feel stupid. As in someone surely sucked out all my brains in the last 24 hours. I've nothing left. Instead of useful getting crap done, I am pondering thoughts like...
- isn't Texas a little like Ireland/the Celts in their love of all kinds of good music?
- why do runners/joggers always select the most fume-laden, traffic bound roads to run on/next to?
- how much will it cost to get my cat's ass shaved?
- where can I find my stepdaughter a nice guy to show her Austin Thursday night?
- what can I put the two dead black widow spiders in to keep them all pretty-like?

I've no answers today. Just questions.
FRACKING HELL. Forgot to stop at the grocery store. Damn it, Bob. See? Brain dead.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Okay, It's Official

The jitters have arrived.

I was doing SO WELL, too! Sigh...I guess it's to be expected. Heavens forfend it were a large event - I'd be a wreck. Of course, I'd probably be better prepared, too. Having a small event made me feel as though I could be more relaxed about the planning but such was not the case. I've most of it well in hand but I know that a few things will fall - I suppose the key is to make those the smallest of things and not worry.

I finished the flower girl's basket - not bad if I say so myself. Yes, I'll include a few photos post-ceremony. Don't want to jinx anything. My sister offered the helpful suggestion of some "Ganz" underpinnings. Meaning my fat ass needs to be girdled up in the dress. Sigh...what are sisters for? Sadly, the heat will absolutely prevent my doing so. My fleshy nature will prevail - I will be hot enough under the rig.

I think the bridemaids gifts very nice and relatively inexpensive. I made the HUGE mistake of picking up a bridal magazine for the makeup tips. Dear God - what these women are spending on their dresses alone could foot the bill easily for my whole event. And the rings...obviously, they are marrying for money. Alright, that's too catty. But I was simply astounded at the sheer numbers. And ever thankful I've enough sense to know I cannot go into debt for a few hours of ceremony.

I have all those crazy bride thoughts just now, too. I shall not go into them but suffice to say my nerves are nearly shattered. It's all going to be fine. I keep saying this like a mantra in my mind. And I am pretty sure it will be. I suppose the worst thing possible would be that no one showed up and I'd have a lot of cake to eat. Okay. I can live with that. LOL

Come on, Saturday...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Do It.

Well, now - this is usually all about me (because, really, what isn't?) but today's post which might have been boringly wedding related shall, instead, be dedicated to this (thanks, Rachel). I'll just quote directly from them.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization full of American patriots, many of them former servicemen and women, that is fighting to do something to help our wounded heroes. Their mission is “to raise the awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.” In short, they are a motivated and lean organization that truly cares about our armed forces and is doing everything in its power to see that each and every wounded hero has the opportunity and tools to excel in every facet of their lives post-injury.

Go - buy a shirt, send the Maxim email, and if you've enough, go ahead and make that extra donation to the cause here. Because I can only think of one thing worse than risking life and limb for morons who don't give a shit: actually losing your limbs in the process. Do what you can, won't you? Meanwhile, they're hot. My Gawd, but they're hot. And the couple is very sexy, too. Heh - yeah, I love me some gun pron.
Rock on.

P.S. While you're at Ranger Up you have GOT to read the story here. Oh yeah. True friends.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

How I Knew...

Oy...it's been quite a hectic 72 hours but things are moving right along. I opted for a dress and it arrived and it fits (aside from a massive hemming still pending) so there's that. We've decided kinda sorta to just do cheap-ass cake ourselves and save the way-too-much-money cost of the catered version. And we've Trooper's attire arranged. So all things wedding related are a Go. Except rings. RINGS! Dang it, I KNEW we forgot to get something. OK...breathe. Just have to pick them up. It's okay....

OK! So anyway, as I was saying, How I Knew - how I knew that Trooper and I were probably going to be fine forever and ever...

In Georgia, people enjoy backpacking because going north of Atlanta is a relief from all manner of oppressive BS. Of course, there is the light frisson of terror in the vein of Deliverance, but one gets away from the small towns eventually and there is a release. I happen to love backpacking - and by this I do not mean camping in which one drives up, drops the tailgate and proceeds to empty out 500 pounds of food, beer, chairs, grills and bedding.

No, I mean "carry it on your back or do without". I can carry my own, too. I once had to carry my own and another beotch's crap to the tune of about 125 lbs. This time, Trooper and I were spreading the load and it was a much more reasonable 45 lbs or so. Easy peasy. And, being the neurotic person I am, I had everything laid out and a checklist to hand so that we didn't forget a thing. And we didn't.

So we park the truck and hit a trail to camp by the Chatooga later. We passed by the closest spots - you could see the evidence of previous parties and by that I mean Partay's and continued along until we were at the river itself. The slight drizzle started just as we got to camp but the canopy kept much of it away. We set up the usual stuff - food in the bear bag hung well up the tree far removed from us, the wood gathered for the evening, the latrine scoped out and shovel made handy, the packs hung from the strung line - all of it.

And then, we took out the tent and poles.

Well, see - my ex had every kind of tent and pole and piece of gear known to man and I had taken what I thought was the matching kit - tent and poles. I had not. No, I didn't unpack the damned things and do a test run before leaving the house. I considered it and then remembered how much of a pain it is to repack and decided once on the trip would be enough. Well, someone's training came in handy that night. And just in time as the rain became considerably more determined to soak us. The canopy was dripping by now so there was no escape.

Within a few minutes our bed for the night was created, the bags laid out over the Thermarest's, and we bedded down as best we could. And here's the evidence.
As you can see, it was a...small camp. Yes...and as the night passed, we'd wake to the tap-tapping of the rain, look at each other and just laugh. Yes, we laughed. And THAT was when I knew that we could get through just about anything.

No blame games, no bitching, no "let's just go sleep in the truck". Just the rain, kisses, and crazy laughter.

In the morning, the rain became a mist and the dawn light showed us how primitive the camp really was - when we took this photo. We'd not been sure in the night just what we'd done, only that it was warm and dry. And then came the real moment of truth - starting the fire in all that damp.

Sorry Trooper...

See, he was all about his magnesium starter stick thing and it did make a glorious little spark. Very pretty. But not doing much against all that damp. So, I headed off to the tree line and took out what vertically hanging deadwood was there, took a bit of dryer lint from my ditty bag and scraped some candle wax all over it and whoosh! Fire! Oh, glorious fire. I fed it sticks and then more wood, split to open its dry interior and we had something worthy of the breakfast to come. He still claims the candle wax was cheating but it mattered not at all in the moment. And it was far from his mind when the bacon, eggs and taters hit his plate.

We left later that morning, laughing much of the way back, pausing to take off layer after layer of clothes as the heat rose with the sun. To this day we just shake our heads over that night in the woods. And even now I remember it as the time I knew - I knew he was the one for me. Romantic, no?

(As an aside - a lesson learned from a prior trip - that sanitizing hand gel? Really not intended for cleaning those tender girly parts...yowza! Live and learn, peeps.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In Remembrance

It was only a few years ago that Mom passed away during the night - somewhere betwixt the 3rd and 4th of July - with her man beside her. We'd spoken a few days prior about her condition and he said she wasn't doing well. Trooper and I had talked of making another trip down the next weekend. Instead, the phone rang that morning and the tearful news arrived.

Trooper was such a support to me. I made the few other calls to the family, asking each to call another, and then lay in the bed with him, weeping for my loss.

It was especially my loss because I was, in truth, the favorite and one of the few that made regular visits and calls. She was not an easy woman to love. Still, it was my duty and it was the right thing to do so I did it. And then, when it was forever lost to me, I could not imagine it all gone.

I still see a pretty nightgown and nice kitchen item and think that I should call her and tell her about it. I cannot explain it but for a fleeting moment things are as they once were and then the grief comes again. More dim, shorter lived, but there.

So for you, Mom, your favorite flowers. How I wish you could call me with thanks for a bouquet of them...

I miss you so....

Independence Day

Here in Texas, things are a bit more old fashioned when it comes to matters patriotic. I can remember seeing the following story while living in Georgia and thinking surely it was just a cobbled together bit of (well-meant) respect for those who serve. It wasn't long before we all learned that it was entirely true.

Thanks, Comfort, TX, for reminding us all of the way it is supposed to be.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

WTF, Over?

I sometimes imagine that is the thought going through peoples minds when they think of me.

See, it's like this. I am not a fan of people, in general. I find most to be utterly bereft of anything...meaningful. So when I find the rare few that offer something of interest, an intelligence that entices, or some other kind of beauty I tend to be...more open than usual. Oh, but not open enough to reveal all, no. LOL Damn but what that might bring...

Life is jewel-like for me, now. Days are more precious, laughter has a higher value than gold, and I hold with great care thoughts of those I care for, even if it is the most ephemeral of relationships - those 1's and 0's lining up to make clear thinking that amuses... Perhaps it is my age creeping up on me. Something is, I can tell you that much.

Once, not all that long ago, there was someone Other and She always waited, patient as death, in a corner of my mind. She had a cruel sense of humor and a taste for things that were...unkind. And unsafe. And when that twisted smile came to my lips you could know she was whispering things not meant to be...carried out.

But She has gone into hiding.

At least, She is quieted. Perhaps on a very long vacation. I try to not pry too much, not wanting to attract that attention. But at night, sometimes, I have to admit I miss the company.

The Show

It was such a fantastic 4-day for us. I was, as usual, spoiled rotten and got my way in nearly everything! Shooting, visiting the bro in Houston, even hauling ass back to Austin in time to head to Momo's because...

Del Castillo held a free show Sunday early eve for the fans. Unannounced except in a few areas online, it was attended only by those who loved the band. Including us. It was a packed house and the venue was new to us so we didn't know it would be a sweat fest. We managed to get a place house left which didn't let us see much of the brothers but did give us a good view of the rest of the band.

The show was just fantastic - very pleasant, relaxed and a strange vibe that I can only credit to the fact that everyone there was a sincere fan and friend. After, it was stop at our favorite Mexican restaurant and then finally home - it'd been a very long day.

If you ever have the chance to see these young men in person, I do hope you take advantage of the opportunity. Such an expressive show...I could kick myself for not bringing in the camera...