Saturday, February 25, 2006

Slowing Down

A quiet place on the edge of town....a memory of slower times.

Cough, cough, cough. The bronchitis woes that have decimated our work staff finally got the best of me. I'm home in my jammies and simmering chicken soup on the stove. All week an inner voice had been saying "slow down, will ya!" Most of the week I ignored the voice. A few times I did tell myself not to be so frantic, my keys WERE in my purse, I WILL find the missing cell phone and missing two pairs of birkies. So, I would slow even in the little things and take my time to put my keys away, and to wash my face carefully, and to sit a few moments in the morning and pray rather than RUN and pray. But not enough. Was the ache in my shoulder from holding the shoulders so tightly that the unseen whip that drives me would not hurt so much? But in the long run it hurts worse. Sometimes there are two Japanese (no offense) demons that drive me, "Mr. Ishoulda" and "Mr. Ioughta." Can never do enough fast enough. But the unholy part is I am robbed of my serenity. New Mantra - Easy does it and SLOW DOWN!

Enough of that. The church website, I think, is looking good and the worst (or best) of it is done. It debues tomorrow in church if I'm not coughing too hard to make it. I will indulge in a little pride. The refurbished replacement phone which my Verizon insurance pays for minus a deductible of $50.00 (is this an oxymoron? Ya, kinda like homeowners insurance in the South) should be here Monday. Now, if the berkies will just show up!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jes' thought all my southern friends should know what sagebrush looks like. It's a color that I have attempted to duplicate on the walls in my home in Florida, with a pale, silver carpet. God is sure the ultimate artist - His palettes are perfect. The smell of sagebrush could never be duplicated, especially the smell of sagebrush in the rain. Heavenly!

Well, did you ever wake up with cramps - cramps in the thighs, or the feet, or the calves that make you scream, and wonder if you could even get to the emergency room? Last night I woke up, and my feet were twisted around like backward golf clubs. I threw myself over the side of the bed, and finally got them to flatten out enough to stand up. Then I went to the kitchen and ate 3 of those carmel things full of calcium. An hour later, I got up and, bent over like an old cotton picker, hobbled to the kitchen in search of potassium. Spied a banana and made a smoothie. Back to bed. An hour later, up again, this time in search of drugs, any drugs. Finding a muscle relaxer, I gulped it down and returned to bed. After all I had one more hour to sleep before getting ready for work. Woke up to my alarm going off and fog filled my head, but no cramps. I went to work looking like I had seen better days (or nights).

Spent the evening working on the church website until I am once again in a fog. I think once that site and the County's is done, I'm laying off web design for a couple of months and getting out the oil paints or doing something that isn't technical.

Lost my cell phone (which is also my land phone) and I feel isolated and cut off from what little contact I have with my family. Alone on another planet.

Brrrrr, going to climb under the down comforter and sleep, hopefully.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

La Casa

I hate renting! My landlord bops in and out without asking--when I am here and when I am not here. Next purchase: a security bar! At least that will stop him when I'm home. My underwear budget is sky high as I replace missing panties. Now who in their right mind would want size nine old lady panties? That's REALLY SCARY. I have peeping tom or toms. No, that's not my cat - she's a girl. The bedrooms are freezing cold, and the walls and ceiling are way too thin for privacy. The parking lot is never shoveled, and my rent was raised $100.00 a month after only 6 months in the apartment. (As public employees, our salaries are printed in the newspaper periodically. Was it a coincidence the rent increase happened after our $100 a month raises were published? I don't think so.) The location sucks. However it is roomy and because of the housing crisis in this energy impacted area, I am lucky not to be living in a motel. Yes, I know, only a few days ago I said I would stop whining.

It's late and I just returned home from an out of town County Commissioners meeting. It's still freezing outside, no sign of spring at all. I grabbed my hidden stash of Ice Melt and at 11:15 p.m. I sprinkled the forbidden stuff on a 6 inch thick layer of ice in the parking lot by my car. This parking lot is gross, really gross. It went from gravel to asphalt in one day when I was at work. It's uuuuuuuuuugly! In the summer it magnifies the heat. In the winter, it is a fantastic bottom layer for an ice rink...and I have been warned - no sand, it hurts the asphalt. So - I am using Ice Melt. And feeling very sneaky and wicked, but safer.

The carpet is orange with rust puzzle pieces in it. It is also 30 years old. I know because I have friends who used to live here 30 years ago. It smells of old musty feet sometimes, gag! Praise God for scented candles. The cupboards are standard apartment issue and the countertops are as old as the carpet. All summer I lived with gas fumes. I called the gas company 3 times and the fire truck once. They all said they could smell gas but could not find it, except for once when a pipe outside my kitchen window was leaking. I began to live life as a dizzy salt & pepper woman, and Ms. Meowi and I were barfing in the mornings, her on the orange rug and me in the appropriate place, as if we were both pregnant. Finally I could not get hot water any more, and after several days of going to work smelling like a homeless person, the water heater was replaced along with the piping. Hallelujia, you guessed it, it was the water heater leaking gas. So at least I am barf free since several days after the replacement. Ms. Meowi still has her spells, but only after eating leaves of one of my pointed leaf tropical plants.

The town in which La Casa is located:

There is a prison on the edge of town. Also, an abandoned one in town that is now a tourist attraction. Butch Cassidy once resided there. Hollywood came to town to make a scary movie on site at the Old Pen. (That was as monumental as when McDonalds came to town, or years ago, the carnival bringing "Hurdy Gurdy" girls with it.) I always wanted to go in and watch the sequined and feather-laden ladies dance, but Grandma said if she wanted to see "a nekid woman," she would go home and look in the mirror. Ah, Grandma's practicality. Grandma used to get off the bus after dark at the Old Pen and walk three blocks to the house carrying her old brown suitcase. I remember being afraid something would happen to her as she walked by the spooky old piece of architecture. To this day you can see trap doors leading where I really don't want to know, a painting on the wall of the cafeteria that has eyes that never leave you, no matter where you place yourself, rusting toilets next to steel cots, and peeling damp walls.

Here at La Casa I feel as if I am doing time too.

Ms. Meowi helping with Christmas presents and the old Frontier Prison.

Time for hot soup, then bed.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Heart's Mission for 2007

I'm sitting here, the sun is actually shining, and the light is almost prophetic. Playing on my computer speakers are the incredible voices of South African AIDS orphans. They sing like angels, their lilting voices singing in Zulu and in English. Their voices are incredible. Tears are running down my cheeks as they were three weeks ago when Rev. Rebeka announced that she knew where we were to go in 2007. Our church has determined to obey the words of Jesus and go " the ends of the earth." I must go or my heart will break and my consciencc will forever haunt me in the faces of the children in the orphanage.

Click on either of my two new links. One is a CD project to benefit these orphans. The other is a photographer's website whose photos trace the spirit of these youngsters.

Rev. Ron Nelson from Denver spoke at our church this morning. Rev. Nelson leads groups to the orphanage twice a year. His small church has done big things in South Africa. I am humbled and also ashamed of my griping about the weather and the "small things" in the face of what I learned today about the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in Africa. I am humbled that I may be able to walk the streets where Nelson Mandela walked. I am humbled that I might be able to visit a place where arpetheid was turned upside down after bloody battles. I am humbled that I might be able to touch the children in any small way.

If you want your heart to sing - check out the CD!

Be blessed and full of love and hope today.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

For Sagebear and Pawpaw

Here are the pictures of snow and ice. Pray for Grandma to be able to come home for a visit real soon! Wish you were here and I would pull you on a sled for a little while. Miss you very much and love you bigger than the whole world.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ghostriderless in the Sky

Tonight, I don't know if I'm dreaming or if some far away ancestral spirit somehow has found me as it gallops endlessly across the prairies and hoof beats resound yet I wake up dreaming to find it is my heart beating

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ghost Spirits on the Prairie

This image was captured while rock hunting in the prairie - he haunts my dreams to this day.

Digital Art

One of the funnest things I've done is digital art. I like to take photos and manipulate them (sometimes) in Photoshop. The big fella is "Snow Buffalo."

Bet you're wondering how I could get so close to a buffalo. (This is an actual photo taken by me when my daughter, grandson, and I were in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Someday I'll let you in on my buffalo stalking secret. )

More photos tomorrow.

Three day weekend coming up for me! Yay!

Maybe I will hook up my scanner and then you can see part of my "dark doll" collection.

For now, here is a photo of a hot spring pool in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Yes, we have thin earth crust out here, who knows when it will all blow - I hope I get to see Yellowstone and take photos there first!

The fence is to keep people from falling in the boiling water.

Jamie and Belle could cook up something wonderful and exotic in here all right!

(By the way, for a real visual treat and a walk through culinary delights, visit their blog!)

Thank you Hattiegrace for turning me on to their blog!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It's a Blue, Blue, Blue Snowstorm

(To the tune of Elvis' "Blue Christmas.")

Sitting here with a bag of heated barley on my feet I can at least say I am warm in my study/bedroom because the wind is blowing the snow from the east. The living room is too cold to sit in now, but the study/bedroom is at least warm. The toasty barley on my feet lessens the pain caused by spasms of the blood vessels in my feet that make my toes turn blue on a regular basis now.

It is easy to relate to a missionary who wrote from Russia about her tears when the first dandelions of spring peaked through the snow.

My sweet daughter called me this morning and was worried about me being all alone in a snow storm that is predicted to last about 10 more days. Bless her - homesickness swept over me as missing her mamma swept over her and we both cried a bit. I (cruel I know) raised my children out here in Wyoming and an aching for them sweeps over me, especially today. I wish I could, just for a night, go back in time to the kitchen where I am preparing supper for all of them, and they are talking, and I look at them, and they are beautiful, and the house is warm and beautiful. Just for a night. I would tell them all how much I love them and what a precious gift it is to be their mom.

The temperature is about 8 degrees and tomorrow is expected to be -1. Streets are mostly left unplowed - 4 wheel drive vehicles really originated out here - just kidding, but maybe? - and visibility is about that of a medium thick fog. The ice clings tightly to the windshield of my car. Making my way out of the apartment to the car, I use a broom handle to find the stairs and step-off into the parking lot. Shoveling of walks, stairs, and parking lot is not a luxury that comes with the apartment. The broom then comes in handy to sweep the car free from snow. Coming home tonight, I sprinkled the forbidden snow melt as I walked so it would not ice underneath the night's coming layers of snow. I am still paying bills from neurosurgery to repair ruptured dics in my neck resulting from a fall in the parking lot a year ago this month. It really hurt, so I have perfected the old-lady shuffle designed for safety on ice.

As I plug in my camera to download the photo of my view across the street from the apartment, wind blows across my hand. Briefly I wonder if cold, icy wind coming in through the outlet could cause one to be electocuted - I can see the headlines now - "....died while attempting to blow dry hair Thursday morning."

Enough of writing - hopefully whoever is reading this blog is not now cold and "blue." I am going to go cook some comfort food before working on a website, then curl up on the couch with a down blanket for the evening.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine Day, Fauve Boy

Happy Valentine Day

from the

Zebra Lady

Monday, February 13, 2006

Touchdown at Quepos Airport

Touchdown at Quepos Metro Airport! Just kidding - but did ya ever see a cooler airport?

My first glimpse in Manuel Antonio of the Pacific Ocean

Love at first sight!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Costa Rica, here I come!

Hola! A tour of my Costa Rica pictures to dispel the miseries of snow, ice, and wind has renewed a longing to return to this lush, warm, hospitable, exquisitely beautiful country. For a practical person who rarely spends money on vacations, how did I find myself there? I had a vacation during which I fully intended to be productive – I went to visit my daughter who, with her children, were to fly out the next day to Paradise. I offered to stay at her home and clean with a few breaks on the deck of her pool. “Mom, come to Costa Rica with us!” At first I thought of every reason I “couldn’t” go (I’m a terribly practical person) and then thought “why not?” Her fiancĂ© made hasty internet reservations, I returned home to pack with intentions of flying out in a couple of days. I packed my bags and the day arrived! In order to catch the plane in New Orleans I left Florida the night before and stayed in between home and the airport for a nap. Upon awakening with little time left to get to the airport, I realized I had forgotten my suitcase in Florida. No time to go back! A hasty trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a swimsuit, a wrap, and two knit outfits and toiletries and I was on the road for the first leg of the journey!

I flew into San Jose, it was all a blur! I was tired! My daughter had made arrangements for a San Jose taxi driver she knew (don’t ask – that will be other blogs) to pick me up. He would have a sign. Much looking, much anxiety with Tico taxi drivers following me about offering bargain trips in Spanish. No driver. In exasperation, I picked an English speaking driver who drove me to the San Jose Airport where I found out they had no reservations and no room on the small plane to the jungle where my daughter and grandchildren awaited me. I called home, and the message was – go to the __________ hotel, there reservations await you and the flight confusion will be straight by the a.m. Well, I had left Florida with $200.00 in my purse and when this hotel also did not have reservations and wanted over $100.00 for a night, my “Word” for the year from the Lord (TRUST) was being sorely tested. My driver instantly sensed my pain and offered to find a place for me for only $30.00 a night. We whizzed out of there to the barrios. I could only tell myself that Ernest Hemmingway would have LOVED this place and put on a brave smile and checked in.

Me (above) - in the courtyard of the hotel, and (below) also a view of San Jose from the hotel……… and the desk clerk at the hotel............... ironically named in English "The Hotel of the Angels."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Discovering Surprises

Sometimes I'm just going through life and a surprise appears that lifts my heart and puts a smile on my face. These little fellows were spotted on a warm, spring day mountain drive.

Around the corner from the kissing prairie dogs we found a beautiful lake with a cabin nesting at the shore.