Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 2008


Digital Collages:

Leaving 2008 behind

December 2008
Digital collage: Photoshop 5.5, my photos, manipulated found image

Good bye 2008! Hello 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Remembering 2008

December 2008
Digital Collage: Photoshop 5.5, my photos

In preparation for putting 2008 to bed, I'd like to document what an up and down year it's been for us here: One funeral, two babies, and a wedding.
  • January
    The year started off terribly. My brother Casey's son, J.D., just 18, was killed riding a bicycle. January 19th, my Grandson Carson was born. His middle name, Cecil, is after my dad. In January, and throughout the whole year, my best friend Donna and I make day trips around West Texas to take pictures.

  • February
    February 18th, I celebrated one year of Photo A Day. I started being aware that I was experiencing more than just "the blues." For the first time in my life, my brain succumbed to clinical depression.

  • March
    My mother came to take care of me. She got me to the doctor and on meds. She took very good care of me. Let me talk when I wanted to talk. Didn't force me to talk when I didn't want to, which was most of the time. She did, though, nudge me daily to get outside in the sun. We slowly pulled the weeds out of my old garden.

  • April
    My brother Casey was working on a car and the jack gave way, falling on him and trapping him underneath for an hour. He had three broken ribs and a crushed pelvis. After eight days in the hospital, I picked him up in New Mexico. He has lived with me since. They say everything happens for a reason.

  • May
    Uneventful, but important gentle healings going on here at my homestead. We discover Casey has quite the eye for photography too. We are now a day trippin', photo snappin' Trio.

  • June
    My meds are now working. Casey returns to work 'part time' -- working 10 hours the first day. He continues the year working too many hours, but I'm his banker and am socking away his money for his future. All around there are trantulas galore!

  • July
    July 10th my brother's first grandbaby is born to his daughter. Despite her young age, McKayla makes a great mom. (And Saige makes a great baby.) I discover in a dry creek bed nearby these fabulous things called hemotite concretitions which are these crazy round rocks that look like they are from the moon -- a new thing to look for on our day trips.

  • August
    Hot as blue blazes, still the Trio takes a weekend camping trip on the Colorado River. I'll never forget the sound a blue heron made as it was coming up the river and discovered us. August 30th my youngest daughter marries. All the family was here. It makes me cry now just thinking how beautiful the wedding was. Audrey was stunning.

  • September
    I felt like I was beginning to get my groove back. I don't remember ever enjoying so many wildflowers so deeply before. Donna starts coming to Odessa for whole weekends. We meet the famous naturalist Burr Williams in person when I deliver to him the petrified weasel I had found. (I half-heartedly considered mailing it to my cheating ex-boyfriend as a birthday gift -- a weasel for a weasel -- but Burr wanted it more.)

  • October
    More groovin'. Fall came so gently, giving Donna and me plenty of time to take photos. Donna is our "Susie homemaker" when she's here, cooking for us, doing Casey's work clothes laundry, and just generally being at home.

  • November
    More day trips, including finding the old Upland County Courthouse. Thanksgiving in Lubbock with Donna and her mom at Furr's Cafeteria. No week spent cooking. And even better, no dishes.

  • December
    I can't get into the Christmas spirit, but I did begin thinking sincerely about what I want to do for 2009. I put forth an idea that I'll tell you about later as the year progresses. I buy a storage shed, at long last! It's delivered and set in place by a crane. I'm spending the last week of the year boxing things neatly, labeling them, and storing them there, making room for a clean start. Not so different than what I'm doing with this post right now.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thinking about 2009

"Fear of Flying"
December 2008
Digital collage: Photoshop 5.5, my photos, mouse painting, manipulated found images

I've been thinking a lot about 2009. It's an important year for me in so many ways. More than anything, artistically I want to risk failure. This recent collage is my meditation on that sensation.

Why would I say I want to risk failure? Why wouldn't I avow to succeed instead? Because as long as I'm focused on succeeding, I'm holding back. If I'm concerned with outwardly succeeding, then I'm not focused enough on what it is I'm trying to do. It's not that I don't want to succeed, it's that I don't want to succeed if that means not risking doing something new, daring, or touching a nerve.

Mark Twain once asked, "Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is."

I'll be 50 years old this coming summer. It's not important unless I want it to be. And I want it to be. I'm hoping that "being in my fifties" will be time for fruit-picking. I want being fifty to mean that I'm no longer afraid of other's opinions. And to be smart enough to know who's to value. I want being fifty to mean taking advantage of the abundance of time I have now that my family is raised. And to know that time is limited. I want being fifty to mean that I'm okay with my imperfections, mistakes, and short-comings. And to look for personal peace and tranquility in myself anyway. I want being fifty to mean that my worst fear isn't to die, but to die without finding out what it seems like I was here all along to find out.

It's a tall order. And maybe being fifty doesn't mean that to you. But it's my turn to be officially old. And you know us old farts; you just never know what we'll do or say next.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

Starbright Village
Odessa, Texas

My brother Casey had to work today, ironically making delivery of a "christmas tree," a kind of valve that goes on an oil well after it's been drilled but before the pump jack goes on it. The site was out in the boondocks, a three hour drive away. I went along to keep him company. We were the only two humans out there, although we saw lots of deer. None were reindeer, I'm afraid.

It was dark when we traveled back. Every year, off Interstate 20 in one of the parks, the city has a display of amazing Christmas lights called "Starbright Village." We stopped and walked through it, like a couple of kids oohing and ahhing at all the displays. And of course taking pictures.

Starbright Village has a small road for vehicles too. Cars driving very slowly were filled to capacity with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, and lots of young ones that could be heard singing Christmas songs or shouting "Look!" From the highway, we heard Christmas travelers passing by, honking all the way.

Not a bad way to end Christmas 2008. Not bad at all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Brother's Favorite Thing

"Brother's Favorite Thing"
August 2008
Colorado River, Texas

If ever there was a portrait of my brother's happiness, this would be it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Virgin's Bower

"Virgin's Bower" (in seed)
August 2008
Pecos River, near Sheffield, Texas

I've taken a gazillion pictures of this plant. I can't get over how beautiful it is at this stage of its life. Perhaps the name "Virgin's Bower" suits it while in bloom, but when it's in seed I prefer to think of it as "Crone's crown."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Old Wood

"Old Wood"
The Carrasco Home, August 2008
McCamey, Texas

I said earlier this month that I would be posting photos that didn't make it to the blog the first time around.

(Thanks for the nudge, John.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Not Winter Just Yet

"Not Winter Just yet"
Lubbock, Texas

In spite of all the bad economic news, I have decided to think abundantly and to buy small pieces of art as I can afford it. Just this week I purchased my first piece. It is one of the petite paintings, aptly named "A Fearless Day," by fellow blogger (and positive thinker) Kris Cahill.

Here is something Kris recently wrote. I hope it inspires you as it did me,
"As this amazing year of Big Change has ticked on, I've seen many people finding their way back to the core of what is most important to them. Though many of us have been greatly challenged this year, the opportunity to find what makes each of us truly happy is always here. We are living in a wonderful time, where we all have a part to play in the ongoing story that is unfolding."
She is hosting an open studio this Sunday in Los Angeles, California. If you live in the area, I urge you to go, meet Kris, and to see her fabulous abstracts first hand.