Calendar 2010: Big Places, U.S.A.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
I wish Zazzle didn't price things quite so high but since it cost me nothing but time to put it up there, it's worth a shot. It's not just a calendar ... it's a place to rest your eyes and busy mind. And it's made with love.
Happy New Year.
P.S. What I Didn't Say
Thursday, October 1, 2009
If you're interested, I also contributed to this anthology, compiled by the same editor:
Ah heck, let's go for broke. I'm in this, too:
So start that holiday shopping early!
on visiting india
Monday, August 31, 2009
flyover america hits the road
Thursday, July 9, 2009
As many of you know, my old Flyover America gig with World Hum succumbed to the economy. But the good news is, Jenna Schnuer and I, with the addition of Matt Villano, have launched Flyover America independently.
Y'all know I haven't been a good little blogger here for a while. That's because I've been two-timing you. My energy has been going into Flyover America ... and that is likely to continue, though I will turn up here sometimes.
So please, drop in on Flyover America, bookmark it, join the conversation. K? And we'll meet here again down the road. Promise.
five tips for introverted travelers
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I have received a lot of emails about the column mentioned above but this one particularly touched me because it’s someone whose life could be affected by the pressures of the extroverted masses.
I told this young man that first of all, approaching cute members of the opposite sex is doctoral-level extroversion. I’m not even sure I trust guys who can easily chat up that cute girl in English class. No, that kind of confidence is suspect to me. Give me the awkward blurter any day.
But for him and any other introverts out there who are trying to decide if they should hit the road or just stay home where nobody will bother them, I thought I’d offer these five tips for traveling introverts.
Be open to conversation when it’s offered. I rarely initiate conversations but I will talk to almost anyone who talks to me first. People like talking to introverts because we tend to be good listeners, and listening is the point in travel conversations, anyway. That’s when we learn. Once the conversation is started, you can ask lots of questions and learn lots of stuff. In her book Introvert Power, Dr. Laurie Helgoe points out that introverts generally prefer deep conversation to superficial chitchat. I’m never afraid to turn conversations to worldview, personal goals, politics and other Deep Thoughts. Ask things you truly want to know. Grab conversation when it comes, make it work for you.
Don’t be shy about ending the encounter when you’re ready. A lot of times, random conversations lead to invitations to parties, to travel companions, to meet the gang. This sort of invitation can lead to raucous good times. I hate raucous good times. I rarely accept those “let’s take it to the next level” invitations. I may have missed out on a lot that way, but maybe not. The few times I have accepted have not convinced me otherwise. Drunks in bars are pretty much the same the world over. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to say “no” if you’re not feeling it. Then again, say “yes” sometimes, too. You never know.
Carry a book. There’s an interesting debate going in response to an article about travel books on World Hum—a couple of people contend that reading while you travel is a waste of experience, that you can read at home and you should be out LIVING and MEETING INTERESTING PEOPLE when you’re traveling. Yes, well, fine for those people. I always carry a book when I travel for when I need to create a quiet place for myself. Travel is wonderful and exhausting and over-stimulating. Sometimes I need to escape into the tranquility of reading.
Develop the art of sitting and watching. In her book, Dr. Helgoe talks about the French term “flauneur” (feminine, “flaneuse”) which means passionate observer. Yes, yes! I am a flaneuse. I love just sitting and watching people doing what they do when I travel. I do it in parks, I do it in museums, I’m finally able to do it in restaurants. That ability took a while to develop but I can now just sit alone in a restaurant and eat and watch people around me, rather than immediately burrowing into a book. Mind you, I always have a book nearby during my sitting and watching, just in case I need to escape the world for a bit or suffer a bout of self-consciousness, but it often remains unopened while I watch and eavesdrop.
Take a walking tour or, even better, hire a guide yourself. I have found this controlled interaction is a great way to get some conversation in with a local. A professional guide—you can find one through the local tourist board—is a wealth of both official and personal information about the place you’re visiting. Once again, make the interaction work for you. Ask things you want to know even if they’re not part of the official spiel.
doing the prairie chicken dance
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I left my comfort zone this weekend and spent it with a bunch of hard-core birders at the Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival in Woodward, Oklahoma. Because I’m a wee bit of an idiot, I didn’t realize until I’d committed exactly how hard-core the event would be. It was the kind of event where I met people for whom seeing the prairie chickens dance was the culmination of a lifelong dream. No, really. Sometimes, I sat in on conversations in which I had no idea what people were saying. Imagine sitting in on chitchat with a bunch of rocket scientists. That’s what it was like, except the topic was birds.
I had to rally all my powers of interpretation every time Bird Chick (a k a Sharon Stiteler), the keynote speaker, talked about birds in casual conversation. Once, I just turned to her and said, “I have no idea what you just said,” which made her laugh and she explained. It had to do with banding raptors.
Artist and speaker Debby Kaspari, whose topic was sketching nature, was more my speed in some regards—art talk I understand—but she, too, knows more about birds than I know about anything. When she talked art, I was with her. When she talked birds, I was lost.
Fortunately, these were very nice people who never laughed at stupid questions and took the time during bird watching excursions to actually point out birds to me as I flailed around with my low-rent binoculars. If I asked, they let me peek through their real binoculars, and Bird Chick set up her scope for all to look through. Wow. Our guide also brought a scope, so from time to time I actually got to see what everyone was talking about, as opposed to the blurry silhouettes my binoculars provided.
For the most part, I walked around all weekend feeling kind of bumbling and clueless.
Which is OK, actually. Sometimes it’s good to get in over your head. It’s kind of like lifting weights. When your muscles start failing, that’s when the muscle building occurs. I learned a lot about birds this weekend. (And bees, actually, since Bird Chick also is a beekeeper. Really fascinating stuff. Bees lead complicated lives.) Plus, I enjoyed immersion in a subculture.
And most important, I got to see the dance of the endangered lesser prairie chicken.
This was my kind of bird watching, even though it involved getting up before dawn and sitting in tiny blind for hours. But you couldn’t miss the birds—as I so often do.
They were right there, just a few feet in front of us, doing their dance, singing their song, making every attempt to propagate their species. (I didn't even try to capture on film. Click through to Debby's and Sharon's sites to see images far better from anything I could have produced.) I found the whole thing genuinely moving. Dance, little chickens, dance. Stomp your little chicken feet and keep on keeping on!
Among the pressures on the fascinating little fellas’ survival are barbed wire and windmills--this was a close encounter, for me, with the implications we have to consider before we hoist T. Boone Pickens on our shoulders as the savior of the environment. Not that wind power is bad, but it needs study before we plunge right in.
And after we spent the morning watching the chickens dance, we spent some time tromping around on the glorious Oklahoma prairie, marking barbed wire fences to help the chickens out, which just involves clipping little pieces of plastic onto the fences. Evidently, dead prairie chickens are rarely found on fences that have been marked, unlike unmarked fences. Good enough for me.
Dance for your lives, little prairie chickens. There are a bunch of people who care whether or not you survive. And, entirely by accident, I’m now among them.
gay goobers in sweaters: a souvenir
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The whole downtown pretty much shuts down on Tuesdays, which is why a thrift store was a highlight of our sightseeing. And I don't mean vintage (though T or C has lots of those, too.) I mean thrift store.
There, we found our favorite souvenirs of the trip, a collection of 1950s and '60s knitting pattern books.
Behold a sample, a little slide show I call Gay Goobers in Sweaters. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Sunday, April 5, 2009
return of flotsam friday
Friday, March 27, 2009
To start, some research that caught my attention:
I like this study from the University of Toronto that points out that many people find uncertainty much more stressful than clear negative feedback. Oh yes, oh yes. It’s true. I would much rather know the worst than wonder. Of course, I much prefer praise and strokes to negative anything, but if you don’t like something I did or said, fergawdsake just tell me. If you waffle or leave me to wonder, my overactive imagination is likely to put far harsher words in your mouth than you would ever manage, unless you’re a real SOB, which I know you’re not. No, don’t argue. I just know it.
Another study, this one from the University of Michigan, considers whether we’re better off ruminating or forgetting and moving on when we’re depressed or upset. Well, OK, they don’t use the word “ruminating.” They use “analyzing.” But really, I find that unless we have learned tools for analyzing our own feelings, we’re much more likely to ruminate (and by that, I mean just chew things over in an unproductive manner) than analyze.
Anyway, what these researchers find is that the best thing to do is try to step back, disconnect your emotions from the problem, and analyze if from a psychological distance. Which is easier said than done, I know, but it’s a worthwhile skill to develop. Or perhaps it comes naturally as we get older.
I try to use a technique like this when I receive a writing critique. No matter how kindly spoken or written, a negative critique of any kind initially is a knife through my heart. So the first thing I do is just acknowledge the ripping, bleeding pain of it, then I think, “OK, so I’m not perfect, nobody is,” and then I literally think about taking a step back, setting emotion aside, and just listening. It’s actually an exercise in visualization and it helps me.
Then, when the critique is over, I sob quietly into my pillow for a few days, and get back to work.
Here’s a nice item about a couple of New Yorker cartoonists who are a couple—as in, married. Watch the video. They’re just lovely. I’m always on the lookout for good depictions of long-time marriage and this is a great one.
Not married or coupled? Here’s a great article from New York magazine about living alone and how urban alienation is a myth. (I wrote a World Hum blog post about big city vs. small town life, see here)
Jennifer Senior writes,
“In American lore, the small town is the archetypal community, a state of grace from which city dwellers have fallen (thus capitulating to all sorts of political ills like, say, socialism). Even among die-hard New Yorkers, those who could hardly imagine a life anywhere else, you’ll find people who secretly harbor nostalgia for the small village they’ve never known.
Yet the picture of cities—and New York in particular—that has been emerging from the work of social scientists is that the people living in them are actually less lonely. Rather than driving people apart, large population centers pull them together, and as a rule tend to possess greater community virtues than smaller ones. This, even though cities are consistently, overwhelmingly, places where people are more likely to live on their own.”
And we’ll wrap up today’s flotsam with the cartoon du jour. It’s so me.
i'm totally milking the introversion thing
Monday, March 9, 2009
david foster wallace, cruising and me
Friday, February 27, 2009
I found the essay dazzling, annoying and frustrating.
It is dazzling in its humor, insight, broad sweep, attention to detail and just plain great writing. I don’t need to heap praise on it—praise has been heaped on it since it first appeared in Harper’s magazine in 1996. I battled all my taunting demons of envy as I read it. Wallace’s death last year, by his own hand, is certainly a loss to letters.
But I also found the essay annoying because as far as I’m concerned, mocking cruises is shooting fish in a barrel—and I use a cliché to describe a cliché. Anthologies could be filled with cruise-mocking essays (hm … not a bad idea). Cruises are for philistines, for white-shoed, shuffleboard-playing, sunburned geriatrics. Hahaha! They’re so OLD! Not old-old, Wallace wrote, “…but like fiftyish people for whom their own mortality is something more than an abstraction. Most of the exposed bodies to be seen all over the daytime Nadir were in various stages of disintegration.”
Yeah, sure, I take that personally but it’s more than that. I also feel a little queasy when writers insert themselves into situations they know they’ll scorn and then give themselves free rein.
The captain of the ship—fair game. (Most cruise ship captains I’ve met were mockable—dinner at the captain’s table is an honor I dread.) The cruise director—fair game and well played, Wallace. Same with the scary hotel manager.
But Wallace’s fellow passengers were people who had saved their money to do something they enjoy and who the hell is he (or any other writer) to stand on deck and take potshots? “There is something inescapably bovine about a herd of American tourists in motion, a certain greedy placidity,” Wallace wrote about observing his fellow passengers from an upper deck as they disembarked.
Well la-di-da. Funny, yes. But nasty.
Granted, I am a little torn. I don’t necessarily disagree with what Wallace wrote, but hipper/younger/smarter-than-thou scorn gives me hives. Wanna get my eyes rolling? Tell me you’re “a traveler, not a tourist.” Uh-huh. Why? Because you take public transportation? Because you don’t wear white shoes?
I note that when Wallace got to know some of his bovine shipmates—specifically the group he dined with each night—he liked them a lot. “…I want to get a description of supper out of the way fast and avoid saying much about them for fear of hurting their feelings by noting any character defects or eccentricities that might seem potentially mean,” he wrote.
As with any bigotry, Wallace could not maintain his negative preconceptions when he became friends with a member of the group he scorned. This was not a faceless bovine group, these were individual human beings. Why did they deserve cheap shots from an on-high observer who, if not being paid, would not choose to participate?
I laughed at his descriptions and then felt guilty.
My final personal issue with Wallace’s essay has nothing to do with the writing or the topic. It is simple and pure career envy. The essay ran 24 pages in Harper’s. Twenty four! It’s full of digressions and his famous long footnotes and navel-gazing and even some repetition of concepts. My god, I can’t imagine having that kind of space to indulge an essay. Every time I submit anything more than 1,000 words, it is either rejected outright or trimmed to its essence. State your case, give an example, and out. No indulgence for color or creativity or experimentation. Nobody has time for that.
I’m no David Foster Wallace, sure. I know that. But to develop writing chops for long-form essay, I would need an editor’s help and no editor I know has the time or inclination.
I feel like a bonsai tree. Every time I try to grow, I am trimmed back until the effort seems futile. And so my writing grows ever more precious. I enjoy writing short but am starting to fear I’m incapable of more.
All that, from an hour of reading...
one image of spring
Friday, February 20, 2009
The image has to be focused on the right side, with the left side relatively uncluttered. I am finding that most of my photographs are the opposite--I hang left in my shooting. Kind of frustrating. But this photo has always said "spring" to me. I can practically smell the moist earth.
save the fish
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Tom and I spent last night at the Hotel Palomar, here in Dallas, for a story. On the desk, along with a note pad, the hotel directory, and some snacks, was this poor fishy, trapped in a tiny vase--bored, restless, pleading for freedom with his little fish eyes. Sometimes he would look at the wall, sometimes he would look at the bed, sometimes he would float to the top of the water and with his little fish lips, silently beg for mercy.
We went to sleep, there he was. We woke up, there he was. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. We found it horribly depressing. We should have brought him home, bought him a decent-size tank and some friends.
Poor little fishy.
my other blog
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thank you and good-night
good news in sophieland
Thursday, January 8, 2009
My new blog, with my buddy Jenna Schnuer (of the Haiku Diaries) went live today on the excellent travel site, World Hum (part of the Travel Channel). Please visit soon and often!
texas travel (and beyond)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
All is Calm
Soothing getaways in Texas and neighboring states
For all the joys of the holidays, they’re stressful, too. So much running and buying and cooking and partying and chattering and singing and overeating and overdrinking and over-everything… What you need most for the holidays may be some peace and quiet.
Let us help with some suggestions for places to go where you can calm the clamor in your head and recalibrate.
Back to the womb
If you’re in charge of decking all halls and cooking all figgy puddings, relinquish control to Watsu Aquatic Massage therapist at The Crossings spa in Austin. Done in a private pool kept at body temperature, Watsu massage requires putting yourself completely into the hands of the therapist, who manipulates you through the water, gently encouraging you to make like seaweed and drift, folding and unfolding you and then keeping you perfectly still, suspended in the water, for a mind-altering interval of total peace. (50 minutes/$120; 877-944-3003)
Neither here nor there
You know those picnic areas you blast past on your way to grandmother’s house? Not just the rest areas—we all stop there when nature calls. But even those spots with nothing but picnic tables and views can help take the edge off your drive.
When the kids are whining and your hands are locking into claws around the steering wheel and the car is trashed as a frat house the morning after, try one. They’re intentionally built in pretty spots and offer a break from the road to let the kids blow off steam, stretch your legs, and appreciate the scenery without a dashboard between you and the view. Actual picnicking is optional.
Tub on the range
Slip into the outdoor hot tub at the Wildcatter Ranch Resort and try to decide which is more soothing—the hot water or the long view of rolling hills. This is among the premier hot tub sites in Texas. To enjoy it, book into the Wildcatter, a 1,500-acre property near Graham, Texas. The ranch recently added to its luxury suites, opening a hotel with 19 additional rooms. (940-549-3500 or 888-462-9277; rooms from $109)
Padre Island National Seashore is sea and shore and grass and sky and birds and little else. This is the largest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. Push south, past Malaquite Beach, and find a stretch of primitive shore to stroll while you let the wind (and there will be one) blow the clutter from your mind.
For nature less raw, splurge on a tank of gas and head for the Matagorda Bay RV Park, inside Matagorda Bay Nature Park. This pretty 70-site park is on the gulf, within walking distance of the beach, Colorado River, and fishing piers. ($25 a night; reservations through Texas State Parks at 512-389-8900; for information 979-863-7120)
Basic maintenance enhanced
Sure, you can get a quick mani-pedi at your favorite strip center nail salon. But better to take a much-needed pause with a mani-pedi at the San Saba Spa at Lakeway Resort in Austin. Here, the chairs all face a wall of window overlooking pool and lake. Order a cocktail if you like, and fix your gaze out past the pool, past the terrace restaurant, to the calming waters of Lake Travis. (512-261-6600 , manicures from $40, pedicures from $65)
Calm after the storm
The San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center on Seawall Boulevard survived Hurricane Ike relatively unscathed and did its part housing relief workers. Now it's ready to welcome you back. Splurge on a stylish ocean-view room on the newly renovated 10th floor, called Club Ten. After a hot toddy by the fire pit at H2O, the resort's snazzy new poolside bar, retreat to the hush of your spacious room and indulge in all the amenities today's luxury standards require, from king beds to continental breakfast. (409-744-1500; Club Ten doubles from $269)
Where the wind comes sweeping
It’s rush hour traffic at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska when the bison cross the road. This 39,000-acre preserve is the largest protected remnant of tallgrass prairie on Earth, Most of this Nature Conservancy site is drive-through, but a couple of hiking trails lead out to the middle of the gently rustling sea of grass. In winter, look for migrating raptors such as bald eagles, rough-legged owls and short-eared owls. (Open daily dawn to dusk, free)
Lay down your head for the night high over nearby Bartlesville, in Frank Lloyd Wright’s circa 1956 cantilevered skyscraper. The Inn at Price Tower occupies floors seven to 14 of Wright’s tree-inspired building. (877-424-2424; from $145 double)
If petting a house cat lowers stress, imagine what petting a Eurasian lynx can do. The Little River Zoo in Norman, 60 wooded acres, is a rescue operation (though they don’t like that word), adopting lab monkeys whose jobs are done, exotic pets whose owners couldn’t keep them and animals from other zoos, for sundry reasons. Pop in on Christmas Day to bless the beasts. They’ll be waiting for you.(405-366-7229; Open 10-5 every day, tours are 90 minutes, $7 adults, $4 children, $5 seniors, free for under age 3)
Sounds of silence
Rent a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis from a local outfitter such Alpine Sports, near the Santa Fe Plaza (121 Sandoval St., $15/day) and drive about 13 miles into the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the Aspen Vista Trail, a wide, groomed 12-mile trail through the hushed, snowy forest.
The recently renovated La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa is six intimate acres laced with paths among gardens and adobe casitas. Tuck yourself into a room or suite with a fireplace (some gas, some wood-burning) and you’ll feel a million miles from the bustle of Santa Fe Plaza, just a couple of blocks away. Put in a few hours of holiday shopping then retire to your room, open a bottle of wine, and gaze into the fire. (866-331-ROCK or 505-986-0000, fireplace doubles from $297)
Going to the chapel
Thorncrown Chapel is a glass chapel in the woods, tucked into the Ozark Mountains by Eureka Springs. The 48-foot tall wooden structure is all windows onto nature. Designed by E. Fay Jones, the building is fourth on the list of the American Institute of Architects’ top buildings of the 20th century. (479-253-7401; Sunday service at 11 a.m. in Nov. and Dec., call or check the Web site for visiting hours.)
Garvan Woodland Gardens, in Hot Springs, is a getaway in its own right and has a chapel of the same soaring design, built by Mr. Jones’ architectural firm. To avoid crowds, visit in daytime because the gardens have an enormous and popular holiday lights show. (800-366-4664 or 501-262-9300; adults, $8, seniors $7, children $4, age 5 and under free)
Tell it on the mountain
Nothing stands atop Arkansas’ tallest peak but the Lodge at Mount Magazine. Rooms in the lodge all have views, but we suggest renting a one-, two- or three-bedroom cabin for a hot tub on the wraparound porch. No need to leave the mountain unless you want to; cabins have kitchens or dine by the giant stone fireplace in the lodge restaurant. (1-877-665-6343; cabins from $199)
Into the woods
By design, you might not encounter anyone at all except the people you’re with at Little River Bluffs, a nature reserve and retreat of three cabins on the Little Tchefuncte River (great for swimming in summertime). All three cabins have fireplaces and the Meadow Cabin has central heating as well. Explore the woods of the 50-acre property in St. Tammany Parish (some consider it New Orleans north), then retire to your cabin and cuddle. (985-796-5257; rates from $195 for two weeknights.)
Dig the swamp
Laid back McGee’s Landing, in Henderson, La., has decks right on the Henderson swamp. When celebs such as Robert Plant and Paul Simon want Cajun cooking without fanfare, they come here. Pop in for some alligator or gar balls or hunker down for a few days in cabin floating on the Atchafalaya. (Is it a houseboat if it doesn’t go anywhere?) No phone, no TV, just a screened-in porch—and heat, fridge, microwave and coffee maker. (337-228-2384; cabins from $100/night with a two night minimum.)
Friday, November 14, 2008
I don’t live in a different universe, I live in a different state. Excuuuuuuuuuuuse me.
I was supposed to feel ashamed of my shortcomings but screw it.
I often can’t get a word in edgewise around New Yorkers, either. I’ve got that whole Southern thing going on of waiting my turn to speak and sometimes found myself waiting for turns that never came. I just smile like a nice Southern lady and let people talk.
I’m trying to decide if I feel bad about all this or not. In the big picture, being able to step into Broadway against the light when a van is hurtling towards me at 50 mph is not a terribly important skill. It’s not even a skill, it’s cojones. I got your cojones, only they’re put to different uses these days. I can drive on Texas highways, for example.
What other skills have I developed in my years in Texas? I can chitchat about the weather. I can recognize the difference between real and phony friendliness. I can eat spicy food at any time of the day or night and identify any number of different peppers. I can speak entire sentences—paragraphs, even—without saying “fuck.” I rarely choose to, but can if I must.
Oh, yeah, only marginally related, but this reminds me of an incident last week, when Jack and I had a mix-up with three loose dogs on our walk. One was a big, muscular, scary bull terrier that ran across a street at us with a little black-and-white doggie buddy and his owner, a Hispanic teen boy, in hot pursuit. The third dog was trotting up to us from a different direction and managed to back away from the fracas that ensued when the two other dogs approached, despite Jack’s growling and lunging.
Jack got hold of the little black-and-white dog and shook it up real good to show the bull terrier how badass he is. Seemed to work and good thing—if Jack and the bull terrier had gotten into it, there would have been nothing anyone could do. The bull terrier stayed back, though (I also used my ultrasound zapper on him and that helped), Jack let the little dog go and we were able to move along,. But it was one scary clusterfuck, with both me and the teenager tugging at Jack’s leash to try to get him to drop the pup. (I really didn’t need the boy’s help, he should have been dealing with his bull terrier.)
At any rate, I did have a great deal of fun of yelling, "GET THIS FUCKING DOG OUTTA HERE!" at the top of my lungs on a Dallas street. And I do believe Jack and I have clinched our reputation in this neighborhood. Don’t fuck with either of us. I may suck at jaywalking but I can still cuss like a Yankee.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Change of subject…
The contractions in the newspaper business continue. I got three emails yesterday alone from the editor of the syndicate I write for about travel editors moving on, travel sections being folded into other sections. One editor who is taking a buyout urged others to keep fighting the good fight but that’s easy for him to say. There is no real fight anymore, it’s just scrambling for dry ground while the ship sinks.
You’ll miss newspapers when they’re gone and TV news talking heads are forced to just make shit up.
Change of subject…
How many old CD racks do you have floating around your house? As technology becomes obsolete, so do the peripherals surrounding it. What shall we use those CD racks for? They look like toast racks but who eats that much toast? My brother had a big standing wire CD rack he was getting rid of but before he chucked it, we set it on the coffee table and considered the possibilities for a while. The only even marginal idea we came up with was for storing jewelry—you could clip earrings on it and with hooks, hang necklaces. In the end, though, he threw it away. Whoever comes up with a solution to this question could make a million dollars. And then move on to repurposing cassette tape racks.
Change of subject...
Looky, the goddam shoe wheel now comes in pink. Perhaps that would make a good gift?
Tom actually unpacked the giant box of food storage containers. Hold me, I'm frightened...
Change of subject...
Speaking of gifts, surely you know someone who would love this. Or maybe this.
OK, I think I've run out of random thoughts for the moment.
Friday, October 24, 2008
But if I were making the video, instead of lovely female models in various poses, I would have shown nothing but cactus. (I reject the word “cacti” and choose the alternate plural.)
I’m in love with the cactus here. So many types, so many personalities, all of them kind of prickly (rimshot) but nonetheless lovable. The chubby little cholla, the sturdy barrel, the prickly pear, which makes a nice cocktail, and the iconic giant saguaro.
Saguaro grow slowly and a really big one can be 200 years old. They are protected here, and they, too, each have personalities. They are stately, loopy, droopy, spare, crowded. I saw one so convoluted it looked like some kind of saguaro orgy.
I could spend a week here doing nothing but photographing cactus.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The campaigning has receded to a dull, annoying buzz in my ears. I care as much as I ever did, but thinking about it has worn a blister on my brain. When I’m flipping through TV channels, the very sight of McCain or Palin or even my guy causes a stab of pain, like when you slip into the same shoes that raised the blister in the first place. I just can’t look anymore. I can’t think about it anymore. And I don’t matter. I’ve made my choice, nobody needs to persuade me of anything. Besides, I still live in Texas where my vote is likely to be a formality.
I’m confused about the whole idea of undecided voters, though. How can you be undecided between these two candidates? I suspect the undecideds are Republicans who see the obvious problems with their ticket but are struggling with the idea of crossing the aisle.
Either that or they’re idiots.
I’m not reading a lot about the economic crisis either. Again, not that I don’t care but at the moment, it’s way too big to wrap my little mind around. I don’t know yet how it will affect me. Will I be waiting in a bread line? Selling apples on a street corner? (And might that be more lucrative than freelance writing?) Is someone going to take my house away? At the moment, nothing has changed for us except the contents of our IRAs, which is scary, but I’m not looking until all the wild swings stop. Right now, we’re as broke and as rich as we ever were.
I may learn something this weekend, at a conference for travel writers, since many of the editors attending work for publications about luxury travel. While I think the depression will have to reach breadline proportions before people give up travel altogether, I suspect the trend of the last decade towards increasingly over-the-top luxury in travel is about to screech to a halt. With that, magazines such as Travel & Leisure might have to rethink their mission. Perhaps it’s time to start a magazine aimed at rail-riding hobos…Bandana-on-a-Stick Traveler.
At any rate, all this stuff is about to be steamrolled by the oncoming train that is the holiday season. The Halloween season started weeks ago. Target’s shelves have been merry with Halloween trimmings since September. Do you have your Halloween wreath hanging? Is your Halloween tree up? Do you have your Halloween whoopee cushion? Yes, really. I found one at Target, bought it for MsKrit as an early Halloween present.
That’s the full extent of my participation in the holiday. I’m back in Halloween Grinch mode. As always, ours will be the house with the lights out and the door locked. Trick away, you can’t scare me. Until Nov. 4.
feet du jour
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Like my new shoes? Oh, those? That's Jackson, the blind kangaroo, at the Little River Zoo in Norman, Oklahoma. (Very cool place. See here.)
back into the archives
Friday, October 3, 2008
Hey look! My first feet photo was not a photo at all. My toenails are like Monet's water lilies--I never tire of their many moods. I made this sketch on my first and only visit (so far) to Washington D.C., in 1976.
My best friend Susan and I went to celebrate our HS graduation. (Our nation's Bicentennial. We have the Bicentennial yearbook to prove it and a tassel with a little Liberty Bell on it.) We stayed in the Howard Johnson's where Nixon's henchmen listened to bugged conversations from the DNC offices across the street, at the Watergate. Too bad I didn't sketch the view of the room beyond my own feet. But drawing feet is hard enough. I probably exhausted myself on that.
Here is Susan lolling in the room.
I've never been good at sketching landscapes but at least I tried.
I preferred sketching the people. These aren't great but at least I was in there swinging. Haven't done it in years and I'm afraid to try 'cause I know I've lost it.
And there you go, today's Lazy Gal post.
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