Friday, November 30, 2007

Forsaken and Foundling

2 Things Challenge

Yay, I got my two things done and before the last day, too!

Forsaken, aka "Three Things a Bird Will Leave Behind" and Foundling, aka "Hiding Behind the Leaves"

P.S. Hope the forsaken one isn't too gross. I do know, though, it somewhat gross.

November 2007

Kitten's Baby Sister (or Brother)

"In Mama's Belly" acrylics, by Kitten age 3

This recent piece by my granddaughter is one of my favorites. It's interpretive, bold, and quirky. The things I like.

Look at that -- it's the last day of November and November's calendar days were all filled. Woo hoo! Now for the month of December I've got an idea. I'm going to try something new, something I'm calling "This or That." I'll explain everything tomorrow. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trip to Bountiful

Bounty of seeds, Odessa, Texas

I went again to the Master Gardener's garden to take pictures. While there, I picked up a few seed pods. As I was leaving, I laid them on the inside of my jacket and admired the nice composition they made. I'm not sure I would have thought of taking a picture if I hadn't been inspired by a recent post by Lisa Sarsfield.

The long pods are from a Yellow Bells plant (Tecoma stans var angustata), more commonly called Esperanza ("Hope" in Spanish) around here.

The big, single pod is from a Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa), native to Texas. Inside it had three beautiful black perfectly round hard seeds, just the right size to make beads for a necklace, as I'm sure was done in days of yore.

The other two, I don't know. They weren't marked, or the markers have disappeared.

The little black seeds came from the umbrella-shaped seed head, and the plant was small with thick grass-like leaves similar to a liriope.

My favorite, though, were the green bean pods. They are from a tree and hang in all these strange configurations. When I got home, I pulled back the flesh of one to dig out the black rectangular seed inside. The green outer stuff was like, well, like old sticky boogers. Jorge and I had a good laugh about it, especially since he has a wicked cold right now. For a couple of old farts, we can be so immature. I hope that story hasn't ruined the pretty picture for anyone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Dixie Belle, Odessa, Texas

Don't call my dog funny-looking. Come on! That face is pure love.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tin and Wood

Tin and wood, Seagraves, Texas

There's something lonely and forlorn about this shot to me. When I took it, I thought how it would make a nice abstract. And then, seeing it on screen, it surprised me.

Photography, it seems to me, is like that. Find a little space between two buildings, a hint of light, some contrasting textures, and then something -- something more than the sum of its remaining parts -- happens. A tin building and a little wood window become a human emotion.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Orange and Pink

Endless Horizons, Andrews Highway, Odessa, Texas

Orange and Pink was a coincidental theme for "Brash" at the 2 Things Challenge. Here's a belated second entry for "Brash." Hopefully this is the last of orange and pink for a while!

Endless Horizons used to be a record and "head" shop. It's been ages since I've been inside -- but in my college days it was where I shopped for records. And nothing else. I swear.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Brash and Luster

2 Things Challenge

"Brash" is an old tattoo shop here that's been around forever, even before tattoos were cool again. I would say guess that when getting a tattoo, one wouldn't want to be brash about it.

"Luster" is a little beetle caught in a sudden gust of wind while hanging on to some luster-y, bluster-y grass.

And here's something extra today. A mini-tutorial. Lisa from New Zealand asked how I do my "calendar" and it's not hard, really.
After posting your daily post, doing my calendar format means every day you have to edit the calendar. You replace that day's date box with a thumbnail and then link the thumbnail to that day's post.

In order for the calendar to show at the top, you have to change the date and time of the calendar so it's at least a minute later than your latest post. You go to "Edit Posts," select your calendar post, and at the bottom select "Post Options" where you can fiddle with the date and time for the calendar.

Ok, so what does the calendar look like? Well, it took some time playing, but the best fit for my blogger template was 80X80 (pixels) box for each day. I used Photoshop* to create 32 individual images (white boxes with a black border), entered the numbers 1 through 31 in them, and left one blank. You'll upload all those boxes, arrange them properly for that month's calendar, and using the blank boxes to fill in around the beginning and end of the month .

Here's one more pointer, probably a really helpful one -- I copied the calendar post before I used it, saving it as an unposted post. Each new month I open that unused calendar, copy it, and then paste it into a new post for the upcoming month, re-arranging the weeks as necessary.
And there you have it. It's not magic, just a bit of trickery really. And it's a willingness to do two things for each post: post your post and edit the calendar. Feel free to use my technique, or any modification of it, if you like.

*You'll need some software to create your numeric boxes and to make your daily thumbnails. If you don't have Photoshop, there are several free alternatives. For creating the boxes I found that allows you to start with a blank image, add text, etc. For editing photos and making thumbnails, I suggest Both are free (some of picnik's advanced features are pay-for), both work with Wins or Macs, and you don't have to sign up to use either of them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Odessa, Texas

More fall colors that I love and crave! A quick Google search reveals that Virginia Creeper will grow pretty much all over the world, including this shady little spot at the Master Gardeners plot at the local recycle center. Pretty plant, most especially in the fall.

Friday, November 23, 2007


My driveway, Thanksgiving Day 2007

Here's a crazy thing about this part of Texas. Contrast this picture above with the one just before it.

On Sunday, when I took that barn picture, it got up to the mid 80s F(29.5 C). Then suddenly a norther blew in, and when we woke up yesterday it was snowing and darn-tootin' cold -- only 28 F (-2 C)! You can see it even caught the trees, wearing their green leaves still, by surprise. It wasn't snow like Audrey gets in New York, mind you. But thankfully, here we usually have severe weather only a couple of times a winter. Otherwise, we spend the winter sunny and only mildly cold to just mild most days. Still, there is something about inclement weather that makes for a good winter holiday, all snug and cozy inside.

And by the way, my turkey was especially moist this year thanks to a tip I read online. Fill the cavity with ice cubes -- I guess I put in about 20 -- and as they melt, they create steam which helps keep it moist. Yummy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jorge # 2

Jorge, acrylics on vintage encyclopedia page, 5"X 8", 2007

This is the second portrait of three that I painted of Jorge one recent, relaxing evening. He has a face (to me) that is infinite in its variety of expression. I'm not daring to compare myself to great artists, but I do understand, say Andrew Wyeth's fascination with one face over a lifetime of painting.

The challenge to me in this particular portrait was working with negative space, so to speak, by working around the black in the interior. This portrait doesn't favor Jorge much, but it does capture something of him that is not necessarily about a precise likeness.

Jorge? you say. Yes, Jorge. Love prevails.

7:22 a.m. ADDENDUM
Have you heard David's new song -- well, I think it's new. I just discovered it by checking his myspace this morning. I'm crazy about it! And who is that singing back up? You, Audrey? It's got an extra special treat for me because I get chills when I hear men sing falsetto. David, I love your music more and more and more...and your lyrics are, ahem, stellar.
"I'm Still a Planet"
Don't you take the light away from me
My eyes cannot adjust like yours so goddamned quickly
It seems for once the constellations didn't align for me
Cool it with a side of redundancy
You're not the only person to have ever loved me
Someday all your hate will come to pull you under me
It's best if you forget me,
'cause I'm sorry's don't do anything for me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sittin' in tall cotton now

Ripe cotton field, outside Seminole, Texas

Texas isn't just oil. It is also cotton, lots of it, and it is cotton picking time on the plains of Texas. What a beautiful site to behold while driving through last weekend, all that fluffy white along the highway for as far as the eye can see. In more ways than one, it must be kind of like Christmas to the farmers around there.

Getting the cotton in before the rain, wind, or snow ruins its quality is vital. And that means working all night if need be, which is exactly what Donna and I saw as we drove home in the dark from the wildlife refuge -- lots and lots of cottonstrippers with their lights on, going up and down the rows of cotton looking like some sort of wild, industrious aliens from another planet.