Finding Hope in the Paint Department of Home Depot

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2017 by Queenie

There hasn’t seemed to be much in the way of redemption these days. Or hope. Or belief that somehow, in the end, we’ll make our way out of this morass we’ve found ourselves in. Margaret and Helen have all but fallen silent, and Molly Ivins is somewhere beyond our reach of whatever pearls she has to offer. The news is grim, and humans, as a species, seem bent on destroying themselves and the planet as we pillage and plunder our way though our allotted time…at least the ones who make the news. Murder and mayhem is the order of the day, reinforcing every harrowing thought we have about what we’ve become. Or them. It’s a sad planet out there, and everyone seems very angry about it. I know I’ve been.

But yesterday I saw Hope. I felt it. I was engulfed in it.

I struck out late in the afternoon to be responsible and run my errands, even in 5:00 traffic, so that I would have an unencumbered day to putter amongst my many projects today. It’s hot this year, and tempers and attitudes are shortened and sharpened, and I almost dreaded any encounters. There must be an opportunistic window for hitting the grocery store, even at peak traffic hours. The aisles were clear and no lines at check out. I engaged the cashier, a youngish fellow with schoolboy looks, in fairly meaningful banter about life and our choices in it, (really a not so innocent rant about an art customer who let her mother talk her out of the photograph that had spoken to her, and so her mother chose the image that she liked, even though it would not even hang in her house – sigh), and how we needed to be our own selves. Then “have a good weekend” wishes were offered all around, and off I went to Home Depot. Time for more paint samples in my never ending quest to fix this place up.

Home Despot, as the Queen Mum and I generally refer to it, was equally emptyish, and after I gathered up my reference pamphlets, I sauntered over to the empty Get Your Paint island, deserted and devoid of employees. I waited patiently. And waited. And waited. Nobody in sight, nobody noticing me. (Volumes have already been written on the invisibility of women of a certain age.) After a good and long time it was time to hunt for help, and down the aisles I went. Way back almost to plumbing I spied a fellow up on a ladder, hoisting heavy gallons of somesuch, restocking from a fully loaded pallet of the same. I couldn’t see his face, but inquired pleasantly if he could help me with a paint sample. Of course he could, but let him get these last two containers up on that shelf. They looked really heavy. I went back to the counter.

In due time he was there, an older man, smallish in build, one of the many seniors I so often see working at HD. I told him what I needed, and he commenced to plugging in the various formulas into the masterful mystery of the computerized paint color generator. Solid stain, Atlantic, Premium Grade, sample size. First time was a failure. Second time took us nowhere. I wasn’t in a hurry, so all the time we talked our way though it, knowing one of these times it would work. Third time we found gold, and it all went through like it was supposed to. It was all about not giving up, keeping up the trying, like that. I offhandedly said how stubborn I was, so seldom giving up, and yes, that was why I stuck with that bad boyfriend for so many years – meant to be a self-deprecating joke. It was then than everything changed. While the colors were dispensing, he turned to me and pulled out his wallet, and from right on top of a pocket he pulled out two laminated photographs, one obviously old. “Been married 51 years,” he said. “This is a picture of us on our honeymoon, and here’s one of us a few years ago. She’s turning 75 soon, and in just a few months I’ll be 80.” I told him, “And I bet you still call her your bride.” And he said he did. I allowed as to how this validated my dreams that sometimes it really is out there – it’s real – I do believe in something. And he said, “It’s all because of her.” He told me how they’d moved here after 38 years in Florida, how they’d followed their kids here. And how even now the kids would come over for dinner, and how much that meant. And how his kids, they were everything. Everything.

His accent was certainly not of Florida or Texas, and I easily detected the New Yorker. We traded accent stories, and dollahs and fahmahs markets, and how Brooklyn and Austin had changed over the years. And how much so many things have changed, and how did anyone even afford to take the family to a ballgame anymore. Then followed the stories of living close to Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and going to the World Series when tickets were, are you ready, six dollars.

More stories about how good life was. How if you went to the Italian restaurant next to the movie theater on Tuesday you can get an extra pizza for free, one to take home to the freezer. And Mondays at the League you can get a good hamburger and they give you the second one – free! Always the good.

I could see a bit of palsy in one hand as he put the paint can in the shaker, and still our conversation went on. More stories about how he just can’t sit down in front of the television – there is so much to do. And how every morning he goes out to walk, over there in Lakeway, and how he puts on his music and his headphones, but he doesn’t walk, he DANCES though the neighborhood. He told me a lady came in and said he looked so familiar, and finally they put it together that she’d seen him in the hood. Oh yes! He was the DANCING MAN! We said the words together. More laughter and smiles.

He told me how he came upon a big piece of something in the road down there by the highway, and it was there for days and days. He’d finally stopped to pick it up, and it was ceramic, and heavy, and he’d have to ask them at HD how they could help dispose of it – trash – which no one else was going to do anything about. How life was all about living by the Golden Rule. “You gotta just help somebody when you can. Do something good.” Oh how much I loved this man.

Paint was mixed. It was time to go, but neither of us was ready for it to be over. He introduced himself – Richie – but I could see his name on his store apron. Then he asked my name, and I told him. He startled, and then said, “Stay there, I have to come around.” All around the counter he came, and out to hug me. “What did I do?” I said. “Alexa. That’s my granddaughter’s name! And she’s going to have a baby! A little girl!” He was choking up, a little embarrassed. I was, too. I told him I was so happy about that, because I’d never gotten to do that. By then there was someone waiting, being a bit patient himself while these two humans being were having a moment. We had to let it go then, and he had to help the other man who was looking for Padre Brown. But I told him I’d be back – I was always getting paint. “Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, 9 to 6,” he said.

Monday’s coming. That paint sample worked out just fine. I’ll be out and about and I need to get that stain to get the deck done, finally. I’m looking forward to seeing Richie again. I have a new friend. He gave me such a gift. And Hope. He gave me Hope. I think I gave him something, too.

They are out there. I should know that. I have such exceptional friends, blessed beyond any expectations.

Somebody else having a bad day could’ve gone down that aisle and given him what for because no one was at the ready and they had to wait. Somebody else didn’t. It was me. And we were both rewarded. It’s made me feel that much better since then. Today, the rant will have to wait. Today is about Gratitude. Thank you Richie. You are stellar. See you on Monday.

 

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Regarding a Trip to West Texas

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2016 by Queenie

Several friends requested a report of sorts about my recent trip to one of my beloved places, West Texas, on the occasion of going out and participating in one of my favorite art shows. I decided to respond via Queenie, seeing as I can’t help but be political about this, and some might rather avoid this slant on things when they see it on Facebook. Perhaps my Republican friends can be advised to “Move along now; nothing to see here,” or just read at your own risk.

This is no time to avoid our various voices. Even the opposing ones. I found out this week that it’s good to know where your friends stand, for many reasons. There were a couple of jaw dropping moments, more than a few tears, and a coming together of  souls that sustains us all. These are interesting, and terrifying times.

It’s always hard to leave the Queen Mum and the critters. The QM is shaky at best, and but a fall away from some sort of catastrophe. I rely on her judgment about what she can do and the kindness of my wonderful neighbors who keep an eye out and will be available if something befalls her, or she befalls herself. All went well on that front, except that she twisted her knee right before my return. At least it was reasonable timing, but she’s hurting and way incapacitated, and not happy about the whole thing. We stumble on.

As for the art show, we began Artwalk with high hopes, with what positive feelings we could bring up in the face of change and tragedy. Alpine, Texas is a small town dealing with big problems. There was a trifecta of sorts affecting all manner of things. Probably freshest in the minds of my like minded friends was of course the election. To those in the same camp, you understand the pall that covers all our landscapes. We have experienced what feels like a death of immense proportions, and the funeral seems never ending. We are, simply, in grief. To those who are in the same state of mind, I needn’t explain. To those who are made of different stuff, you do not comprehend. The gulf between us is unfathomable, and it has been written about and explored by far greater minds than my own. The ongoing funeral does have a function — it brings us together. We cling to each other. We cry. We wail. We cannot believe what has happened. We have to talk about it, even though we are weary of just that. But the common shot to the heart that unites us is ever present. Is it like living with a terminal illness? It’s just there, and we have to live around it, with it, despite it. If a laugh escapes we feel guilty. It’s still raw, and we’re still learning to cope. But I’m not sure that can happen, really.

And so we tried to have a weekend filled with beauty and art. The beauty was there, but so was the black crepe. We tried. The dark “other” was an unwelcome participant in the festivities. We talked, we clung, we tried not to talk about it, but we couldn’t not talk about it. We needed each other. I left the hotel exhibit the last night late, and then began a conversation with a young couple outside the room as I locked up. We stood in the lobby for an hour, relating our beliefs and experiences, and where to go from here. We talked conspiracy theories, loss of innocence, assassinations, and various causes for what just didn’t feel right in town. And now we discuss another source of the heaviness: the pipeline.

Past the western edge of town and then running south is another assault on the psyche. They are running a gas pipeline through the fragile ecosystem  of the high desert. There was no choice. They began before permits were granted; they grabbed the land of protesting and opposing landowners through misuse of eminent domain, and now it just is. In sublime support, Native Americans have come to stand with the people – many of the same who are fighting the same battle in North Dakota. The arrests will come. This pipeline is owned by the same man who owns the desecration in North Dakota, and he sits on the board of Texas Parks and Wildlife. A little conflict of interest, wouldn’t you say, but now we see that playing out on a national level. It’s yet another of our new normals, inflicted upon us now with water cannons and rubber bullets and dogs trained to attack. America as we knew it is gone now. Evidence is amounting for another stolen election. We have no one left to fight for us. But us. And here we are. Strangers have come to town, to live, for a while, and they are not of the city. They are not community, and they are bringing petty crime, and an unwelcome uneasiness. They are doing damage, and then they will leave. It is another pervading sadness.

And then there is Zuzu. In October a young student disappeared. Alpine is a college town, and it is a positive addition for art, the land, animals, and conservation. Zuzu was a part of that scene, an active participant in many things, with plans to work for the betterment of the land. She’s gone. Neighbors heard an argument, loud thumps in the dark hours of the night, and then she was vanished. The one time boyfriend is implicated, but….there is no body. Searches have been ongoing, for hundreds of miles around. My friends have helped look for her. The parents come and go in town, their lives forever changed. The air is leadened with more grief. When you enter town from either direction, you see a sign offering a huge reward for information about the return of Zuzu. It’s personal in a small town. They are not letting it go, but she is gone. General consensus is that she was taken out in the desert where, with Nature being what it is, not a trace will remain, not even the bones. It’s a big desert. Vast, and uncompromising. Zuzu was a bubbly sprite, named after that little girl in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She was special. She’s gone. And the town hurts for her, and her grieving family. There are signs everywhere. There are no answers, only sadness.

Artwalk was just not the same this year. Many regulars didn’t come. Not so many bought. Contradictions abounded. I met incredible “new” friends in the flesh with whom I had been connected on Facebook for years. They are wondrous souls. That was so good. I spent quality time with others I don’t see nearly enough, and got to know them better. And in the next moment I talked with customers I knew to some degree, only to find out they were in the camp that believes that Sandy Hook never happened, and it was all staged with paid actors. I could hardly form words. I felt a little mad, (like crazy mad), all weekend. I made some money, not as much as usual, but a few subsequent sales afterwards brought the total up to reasonable levels. Perhaps I felt unfocused and unbalanced all weekend, going through the motions. There was so little Joy.

That’s it. That’s what was missing. Joy. I found Gratitude in so many moments, but so little Joy. They are not the same thing.

I related earlier today the story of meeting a woman in the place I come to for solace and friendship after the show. A new family has moved to town. Eventually they will settle down in the Terlingua area, but for now they are the only black family in town. She was remarkable…inspirational. She had the darkest skin I’d seen in a long time, and it glowed beautifully. She is a new mother, and being away from her son was a new thing for her, and she is madly in love with her child. She is intelligent, well spoken, and talked freely and definitively about her blackness and her experiences in these days. She, frankly, is tired of the bullshit. Don’t lie to me, she says. Speak your truth to me. She was a shining light in a season of darkness. I envy her her strength and resilience. She doesn’t have room for fear. Yet today I see the report of the new Neo Nazis now activated across the country, talking about the “children of the sun.” What the actual f**k? They ended their meeting with Sieg Heils. What have we allowed to fester in this my country? Where do we go from here?

I don’t intend to give my little home away from home a bad rap. I still love Alpine and the people who live there. I still give thought to making that area my final last moving adventure. It’s not so much about the place as spirit wounded. You talk to folks in town and they have no intention of leaving. They just want the hurt to stop. I wondered as I packed up what the show would be like next year. What will we all be like a year from now? In what state will we find our government? What freedoms will have been hacked away? How much more hurt inflicted? Will people still want art? Will they still have the money for it? Will we be still be huddling together, holding each other, seeking comfort?

I wish my little favorite town some great healing. The hurt isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s hard to heal when the wound is still open and bleeding. It’s hard to hug a town. But Alpine, I love you. I wish all of us some better times, no matter which community we inhabit. The love starts in our hearts, then we have to let it out. We have to help. We have to care. Let us all care. Let us all love each other. Kumbaya starts here.

Even Queenie Has a Trump(ish) Story

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2016 by Queenie

Some several decades ago I followed a dream and relocated myself to a small, at the time, mountain town in Arizona. Back then it had as many people in the entireity of the town as attended the enormously populated university I floundered around in here in my home state. I was late to find I was really a small town girl, especially since I had mostly grown up in Dallas. Imagine that. I had no formal training in anything accomplished, and trying to find gainful employment in a small university/tourist town was challenging. I almost wangled a job with the government having to do with the land, and geological stuff, (I had, for a while, majored in Geology but the left brain functions necessary for such scientific endeavors was at that time beyond me), but hiring issues and the like left me scrambling for whatever I could muster in the medical fields in which I had worked for a while. I got a job in a medical lab, and then landed a front desk job with a dentist. That worked for a while, and I relished my Friday afternoons off, but like so many folks in the Southwestern communities, the guy was a Mormon. I have never before been fired from a job. Ever. But lordy mercy I drank coffee and alcoholic beverages and I was a single woman/girl with long hair and a free spirit and I dated. It was not a good fit. When I had the gall to ask if I might use some vacation time before it was actually due and take a river trip to go along with the geology class I was taking at the museum there, I found out just how much I didn’t fit, and not because of my job performance mind you, but “other” things, I was summarily ushered out of that situation. Well.

I looked all over town for other jobs. I tried insurance offices. Other medical offices. Anything that showed a lick of promise. Nada.

I was living in a small out of town village down the interstate from the main town – a collection of small cabins and vacation homes and some larger homes, all mostly of the mountain cabin variety, and there were lots of full timers. I had a very small cabin toward the front of the community that was owned by the development company that also operated the utility company that supplied water for the village. I’d made a good friend who was married to the son of one of the bigwigs of the company and they lived right across from me in the two rows of cabins, six altogether. We were a fairly tight bunch, and hung together often. Her husband was a pretty thing, maybe male model material, and he thought he was hot stuff indeed. (He did, however, have a nasally voice that immediately destroyed the facade, and it whined a lot.) They found themselves in this little burg because said son of bigwig managed to get himself in trouble with the law on a bunch of drug charges, and daddy bought him out of it and placed him, and therefore her, in this little podunk town and saddled him with running the water company. It was either that, or go to jail. Welcome to the mountains, sonny.

I was running out of options, and was considering having to move back to Texas. Maybe at the urging of my girlfriend, they asked me to be the secretary/manager/billing person/whatever for the utility company. Along with that, part of my salary would be having my rent payment to the development company eliminated and paid for as part of my salary. What a deal. I could walk to work just down the road, and even bring my devoted dog. I got to come home for lunch, didn’t have to dress up, and all of it was easy to handle. Not much of a future, but when you’re young, such things are far away and the joy of the moment is worth it all. (Funny how I’m getting back to that, except I don’t have much of a future, even now.) And I was promised a raise after six months.

Things went along fairly swimmingly, except for the golden boy’s assholey traits, and his being a thief in general. He regularly stole out of petty cash, and pocketed all the money when our cabin group went in together to buy a chainsaw for wood gathering. He entered my cabin when I came back to Texas for a visit, and stole my engineering tools and broke my blender chopping up weed. The drawing tools I didn’t find out till much later, but I’m sure he pawned them. He was a real gem, that one.

Forward to several months later when one of the very large kahunas from the mother company was coming to town one time for a look see. Not the bad boy’s daddy, but another of the principals. Big money. Big ego. Fill in the blanks. I was a fairly fetching young thing at the time, entirely single and all that, and he asked me to go out to dinner. I did. I remember no bells and whistles, and likely he was married, (I don’t much remember all the details), but I do remember that the evening came to a close, and wonder of wonders, I was not the least interested in rewarding his interest or his ego, and I did NOT care to sleep with him. Bam. He left miffed, and he didn’t let go of it.

Coincidentally, this was about the time I was due, past due, for my promised raise. I was a good employee. I did good work. I showed up with coffee in the middle of the night when the boys were out digging up broken water lines in the frozen ground. Pipes that happened to have “rejected” stamped upon them, when the developers made money by using inferior materials in the original construction, pocketing the difference I would assume. That’s how you make money in business, right? So after boss guy left to go back to the big city, I had the nerve to ask about my raise. And guess what? Yep, no raise for me. No way, no how. Orders from above. He got me alright. He surely did. I suppose I violated the Play to Pay rule, reversed of course.

I was furious. I was hurt. I was fairly stunned. Back then I was young and pure enough to follow through with acts of Righteous Indignation. I quit. I walked out, gathering my coffee cup and radio and what personal objects surrounded my desk, and on my exit promptly slipped on the frozen snow outside and fell ass over teacups on the ground, scattering stuff everywhere. It was impressive. I went to get my truck so I could get the rest of my personals in better style, and tried to take off the drivers’ side door on a tree as I backed up with the door open, looking out to see since my windows were frozen over. It was not a good plan. Lessons learned about having fits of pique in snow and ice and in anger.

I’m sure my girlfriend made Pretty Boy’s life a living hell after that. I was going back to Texas, and I was her best friend. (It was a horribly dysfunctional relationship, and he later fired a gun at her and ended up in jail, but that’s another story). And yet he could do nothing for me. The night before I was to leave, moving truck packed and truck attached to it, he came over and as much as begged me to stay, staying we’d “work something out.” Too little, too late. That bridge was burned.

The upshot of all this is that here is a tale of a somewhat vulnerable, “dependent” woman/girl getting burned by the rich SOB who controlled my physical and financial well being, since I was his employee. I was summarily punished because I would not go to bed with this creep. I could’ve sucked it up and stayed and figured something out later, but I knew how hard it was to find other employment, and by then my mom was really needing my help back in Texas, though she would never be the one to ask for it. I essentially said “F**k this s**t!” and left the next morning. Of course not without my pipes in the bathroom blowing out and giving me a Niagara Falls send off. Nothing without drama for me.

So these now emerging stories of women and their demeaning and devaluing by rich men in power just hit me in the gut. Mine was a story of minor consequence in the great scheme of things, but this crap happens every day. Our Mr. Trump is the poster boy of the entitled male, getting away with everything because he’s never known any other way. He whacks his way around with the silver spoon he was born with, and has never known challenge or his own consequence, and he avoided the line that provided conscience. He’s done just fine without it. He has no frigging idea. None. His is the way of dirty little, or big deals, and sniggering in the locker rooms now moved to board rooms and the back of busses with an equally adolescent bad boy who laughs with him at his snide comments and successes with those hot women. He can “do anything,” because he’s a star. And the sad thing is, it’s pretty much true.

I’d like to hand Mr. Trump his balls on a dirty plate on November 8th, if anyone can find them. I assume they are bronzed. One of his surrogates, (I’ve come to really despise that word), said today that all this is just a tempest in a teapot, no big deal. That his ex wives are just fine with him. Sure they are. They’ve been paid off big time, and he is secure in their signed No Disclosure straitjackets.

It’s not just rich men that devalue women. It’s the hard core macho types that slap their women into submission, and the boyfriends that rape or beat or kill their girlfriends babies. It’s the system that pays women less than men for the same job, and the one in Congress that supports that. Really? We are told again and again that it’s just Boys Being Boys, and Get Over It, will you? Move along, nothing to see here. This is HOW IT IS. And it’s WRONG.

I’m ready for a matriarchy. I’m ready for a goddess revolution. I’m ready for this madman to be put out to pasture and made to grow some callouses to pull his weight. And I’m ready for these WOMEN who defend him to have the chip removed from their brains. I’m done. I wish they were.

How many of us women have stories? How many are blessed with husbands or partners or brothers or fathers who are not members of the Bad Boys Club, who RESPECT women instead of denigrating them. How many women, and men, are raising sons who will not carry on the locker room mentality, which we’re all supposed to accept because, after all, you know BOYS WILL BE BOYS. How about we start raising some MEN? My neighbor across the street is doing it. It’s possible. I see it every day.

Queenie hasn’t been on the soapbox for a while. The view is pretty sad up here these days. But I can see across the street. There is Hope. Maybe.

Raise the bar, America. Lest it come down on your throat. We’re not playing limbo. This shit is real.

September 18, 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2016 by Queenie

It’s lingering on summer here at The Slope, not even Indian Summer. We had a few teasers of fall, and a spate of rains. Enough rains to purchase us a third spring, (feeling hot as summer), with the third round of Lantanas, those yellow mini-sunflower looking things, even a few Milkweed blooms, and yet another BIG round of Stapelias and Night Blooming Cereus. There will be more blooms in the morning. The wonders are not ceasing in that category. But it is going on hot and the mosquito brigade was likewise empowered by the rain and heat, so lolling about outside is still unpleasant and not without penalty.

The lake is still so full, but I have disconsolately been staying away from it. And why? It’s one of my most prominent sources of balm and healing. I mourned its absence for those long years during the drought, and now it returns, blissfully, and I ignore it. What a fickle lover am I.

I must’ve appeared much the same when the long ago boyfriend of olde came for a visit, and I was equally unencouraging of anything that resembled a friendly more than hello. It just didn’t fit, or feel right, or I didn’t feel right, and he had nothing to say, and I have little commonality with those who don’t talk. Or write. Or just do something. That wasn’t a chick movie event.

Perhaps that’s a part of why I’m at odds with my own self right now, feeling not quite at ease in my own skin, feeling unhealthyish and then especially more perturbed with my hip deciding to make its bad self known and I have been hobbling and grunting more than is usual. I have a new, improved hip somewhere in my future, but I’m busy right now, or should be, and rallying is the only course that aligns with my projected life for the rest of the year. It happens that these last couple of days have been better and I am convincing myself that indeed, this trend will hold, at least for a while.

Ah yes, show season is upon me. It’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s gets me going, and gets me out there, only there are the many times that being out particularly there is not exactly where I think I wish to be. I’m not even sure where I do wish to be. My puffy little gut took a punch today when I read that my photographer friend who has made it into the rather largish time is coming off one photo assignment, boarding a plane, and is now headed for Alaska to shoot. We stuck our toes into the fringes of the big name photo stuff at the same time some years ago, and now she’s in Alaska and I’m at the Slippery Slope. Hmmm. I wonder what’s right and wrong with any of that pertaining to me.

Am I becalmed? Am I where I’m supposed to be, at this particular juncture of time? That’s what all the oomagooma sorts say, until now – years down the road of oomagooma-ing – that sounds as much a platitude to me as the rest of them that come from the Bible folk or whatever belief system with which one can align. What do I believe in these days?

A good friend took her own life a few weeks ago. Our circle did not find out the way of it until the day of the service. We just barely found out she had left the planet. We were stupefied and cut off at the knees. I say a good friend, and I consider her such though I didn’t see her often, but she was a quality one and our little bunch goes back to the mid-80’s. That’s a long stretch of time, and when you hang on to people for that long, they mean something. She did it with a gun. Now that is seriousness and determination and a firm decision you don’t leave yourself any room to be talked out of, or likely recover from. A moment, a lingering nothing, and she was gone. I’m still mulling it a lot. I’ve let her go, but she’s logging hours in my psyche. I hope she’s flying, and happier than evidently she wasn’t. 2016 has been brutal in the death department.

The Queen Mum persists. I don’t know how. Thank the whatevers that be, or good genes that she managed to get, or sheer stubbornness, that she still does. When she leaves, I shall have to grow up. Really fast. It will be interesting.

I have new art I’m piddling with and it’s fun. Maybe Fun is just what I need right now, or all I can handle. The work is not terribly challenging, but it’s FUN, and one can only hope profitable. I think it will be. I feel good about it. Perhaps I ought to be jumping for that joystuff that I am entertained and energized to throw myself into something in the category of FUN that might actually help me generate some cash flow. Isn’t that the point of it all? I’m not off on a junket to Alaska, but then again, I’m not in the headspace to do that, so hey, this is fairly peachy. Thank you Obama.

Oh that, too. I must say that politics and the general State of Things have not helped my ennui. In fact they have propelled my ennui into dark places that are not conducive to good health. My hip must be connected to my ennui. Of added weight is the continuing news of the onslaught of pipelines and concurrent oil and gas spills; they want to build a tourist trap in a sacred place at the Grand Canyon, and Nature and I are reeling. We as humans, as stewards of the earth, just don’t get it. Well we will. But it’s liable to be way too late. Perhaps, as some say, the Earth is sliding into its next transition or whatever they call it, and guess who is delivering it with all the power we can muster. It’s hard to find a victory, and mankind continues to devolve. We’re really good at being bad at our best interests, both on our physical plane and spiritually. Our poor planet. And poor pitiful us.

In self defense or sheer survival mode I have decided to pick up the sword of Writing again. Here I am. As soon as I get my behind sitting and floating in the healing waters – which are blessedly with the heat still warm – another upward spiral will be achieved. Perhaps the guitar and my voice will follow in short order. Anything could happen. Maybe even Prince Charming will show up. He will likely be on a walker, when my brain has visions of river runners, but maybe all the old river runners end up with walkers anyway. I just hope he has good stories. I ache for good stories. Dear lord I do love to be entertained. And then maybe be part of the act. The particulars of it all are way far out in the ethers. Funny how on the one hand, the oomagooma credo speaks about letting your dreams out of the cage to fly, having no expectations about how the details of your desire are to be delivered…. and be OK with that. On the other hand we are told to be specific in manifesting what we want. How horrible to have our Objects des Desire delivered unto us, only to find ourselves saying Oh I wish I’d thought to say I DIDN’T want THAT with it. Must remember the fine print. Lately I’ve put that Desirable Object thing far back on a shelf that doesn’t get dusted very often. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, at least you oomagooma types. I’m a sorry hand when it comes to dusting.

But I do love to play with picures. And write. And so it goes. Onward and Upward. Deep breath. Tomorrow is another day, and sunrise is coming. And more chick movies are promised by the Hallmark Channel. Life is swell.

Saying Goodbye

Posted in Uncategorized on May 3, 2016 by Queenie

My friend in New Mexico died on March 11th of this year. It was a long death. It took her eight months to go from the crippling horse wreck to the place where she finally had to let go. She was in and out of being who she was, away for a time in a neverland of unresponsiveness and from the time of the accident, never able to walk again. She went through setback after setback, but somehow rallied enough to survive, although never quite to live again. In the last months she regained most of her mental faculties, even calling me from her last reassigned “home” in Texas to speak to me in a familiar voice and a seemingly restored mind. I was floored. She imagined a future for herself,  inviting me, even commanding me to come see her when she got out of there and got her new home built. I suppose we all allowed her these dreams, knowing there was no way it could ever come to be. After that the latest round of setbacks took her, and she finally slipped away in her sleep, a blessing to all of us, but I don’t know if she’d ever say that for herself. She was broken in a hundred pieces, and she couldn’t be put back together again.

It is truly the end of an era, and the ripples that have ensued from her accident became tsunamis for those closest to her. The ranch is already sold and in new hands. The horses are gone, the dogs have new homes. No more summer visits. No more sitting with coffee on the big front porch watching the sun rise over the mountains. No more gifts of pinon coffee for Christmas. No more horse pictures. Some lives have been much more disrupted than mine, and soon there will be none of the characters left at the Diamond L. Her friends living on the property have lost their home along with their friend, and must renegotiate their lives and move away. It is a sad story, as most are when it comes to things like this.

Today is the memorial service for my friend. As it would happen, I am unable to be there because I am in complete art show mode, leaving soon for another adventure in making a living. Just no way to throw in a trip to New Mexico and be two places at once. Her ashes will be spread Up Top overlooking the ranch, facing the east. I spent untold hours up there, thinking one of these days I’d be building and living there, too. Never happened, and now it’s for the best. Things change. People die. And the rest of us move on.

I sent these words to be read at the memorial today, along with a few pictures of her that meant a lot. Some of you who read this knew my friend, and have spent time with me and her in New Mexico. Some have only heard the stories and the dreams. I offer it here because I can’t be there, and it is my way of saying goodbye.

 

Linda Parade

My Friend Linda

May 3, 2016

 

A harder head was never hatched. It’s because of that hard head that we are all here today, in whatever form that takes, gathered because we cared about this lady, who was decidedly different.

I am always drawn to different people. The “Normals” bore me, and Linda fit the criteria for not being at all normal. I suppose in horse talk she gave something like a Strong Rein, if there is such a term. There was not much telling Linda that something was different than the way she thought it was, and I bet all of us have our own versions of that story.

This little ranch happened to all of us because it is what LInda wanted, and by golly she got it. A bunch of years ago we were caught climbing around Up Top over the house on the day that Linda signed the papers, I think. She was accompanied by two other ladies and a handful of dogs. Ranch ladies and their ranch dogs. Yes indeed. For a while I thought I’d be living up there, but that never quite happened.

Many characters came and went in Linda’s life out here. There were times when it was almost like going to the movies to come visit. There have been cowboy-like ruffians that gave Linda some hell, but she was always taking on strays and hoping for a good outcome. Mostly they all took advantage of her. Linda was a bunch of things, but I have to say she was always fair. And likely gave too much.

Because of Linda I’ve had a place to stay for so many summers while I chased the art circus. She has been a wonderful patron, and I was so happy to have my work in her home. That’s how we met. Back in the late 90’s I came out to do the Ruidoso show and she bought two pieces from me, and ordered more. She pulled out a credit card that had collies on it, and there we went. I asked if I could come and see her collies – she lived in town then – and we went. There’s a picture of me from a subsequent visit with a beautiful tri-color that I would take home with me some six years later. Collin was a beautiful spirit, and I was so happy to have him.

Because of Linda I had more time to trek through the area and become a part of some of the local color from time to time. We sold art in Lincoln and watched Linda and the crew do the Billy the Kid parade, and tear it up at the reenactment show and shootout.

Because of Linda I got to ride a big red mule through the Nogal Peak wilderness, and lived to tell about it.

Because of Linda I got to see the Flying J singers and have so many fun evenings with all bunches of folk.

Because of Linda I had a place to stay while doing the Cowboy Symposium and got to hang out with cookout people. That was interesting.

Because of Linda I was able to bring friends to share in the companionship and madness. I brought artists and alcoholics, and we had even more interesting evenings. I brought boyfriends and road buddies. I still have the road buddies. Everyone was made so welcome, for Linda loved having company. And holding court. Nothing was much better than Steak Night, or Linda’s chili, with everything cut in small pieces, or salad with Mayfair dressing, and why don’t I have the recipe?

Linda’s home was always open. As was her heart. She came on as one tough cookie, but you could melt her once in a while. She cried when we gave her the Prince Shannon lamp. That was a nice moment. I wish there were more.

I am the lucky one because I get to Say Goodbye without the tears and having to Go To and Leave the ranch one last time. I’ve already done that. When I pulled out last July, it was for the final time. Linda was already gone, and the ranch was already losing its spirit. I wish I could be there with you, with Linda’s friends, so we could all say Goodbye together. As we all have found out, it takes but a fractured moment for everything to change and sometimes you don’t even get to say goodbye.

I’m so mad at Linda for taking that ride. But I looked at a picture of her today that showed her sitting comfy and in her element driving the rig, and Buck and Ben, in one of the Smokey Bear parades. Yep, she did it her way. And deciding to drive that rig on July 14th was her way of trying to have it her way, wanting it to be like it was. Wanting her life back on her terms. And that was then and this is now, and here we all are. Dang it Linda. You were a force. And never one to give up. Tough old broad. But this one got you.

You have to admit, this is quite a cast of characters among us. I wish I could be there to see every one of them, and the ones I never met. Linda told me I needed to meet Dave. I never did. Thank you, Dave, for being there for her. You were her hero. Thank you Lynn. For EVERYTHING you did. You were her true friend.

And Becky. For everything else. And Mary Lou, and Marilyn. And any and everyone else I don’t know to say.

There’s a little piece of purple fabric under a rock by a special tree Up Top there. It was always my place holder. I have to hold the place in my heart now. There are rocks up there that I arranged. And there are rocks here that I carried home. And wood. And cholla. And memories. How I wish I could be there so we could tell stories. You know there will be stories…..about Linda. What a character. I am grateful to have been her friend, and wish I could have given her more. She was something.

Wagons Ho, Linda. Ride on.

 

 

Queenie Ponders 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2016 by Queenie

I’m basically against, or at least neutral about, New Year’s resolutions. A hidden trap is laid beneath the web of good intentions that would provide an improved walkway for us over our own pit of foibles. Too often we view our pathway with at first a new luster fueled by Hope, only to see it fade and the holes appear after a few short weeks, or perhaps even days. They don’t call them pitfalls for nothing. Then we find ourselves flapping around in familiar mud, and damning the whole business. January starts bright and dirties itself up in quick order, and then we start listening to the news again. Fie.

All that said, here is my Quick List for 2016.

•Write more. Write more often.

•Take more pictures. Play with them. Hone a new style, a new direction. (I have ideas here.)

•Clean my house better. Makes the thought of company less horrific, and I’d really enjoy more company. Mostly.

•Love everybody more. (Until the point that you’re hurting yourself, and that’s a whole ‘nother topic.)

•Never give up. (See directly above.)

•Live in the Now, with proper respect for the lessons and gifts of the Past, (sometimes the same thing), and likewise preparation for the Future, even though it’s never guaranteed. Ask that guy whose bed fell into the sinkhole with him still in it. Talk about a pitfall.

•Take better care of my body. Use it. Exercise it. Respect it. Bless it. New parts aren’t readily available like that fuel pump in Arty that found me stranded a couple of times last year, and that was expensive enough.

•Continue to Think Big. (Never a hard one, except sometimes for the doing of it.)

•Continue to believe in Love, and Miracles, especially the ones we can facilitate.

•Piss on Fear. But have proper respect for Caution when it is needed.

•Never forget Gratitude. Express it. Say it. Live it.

•Take some chances.

•Get back to singing and playing guitar, and write some new songs for Cripes sake.

•Create. Create create create.

•And….BELIEVE.

 

Surely that’s enough for a start, though likely more will appear in short time. Every post doesn’t have to be a star epistle. Sometimes a few words can say as much as a diatribe. And I do have to say that I, WE, must continue (or START) to protect the planet. The best intentions in the world won’t mean much if we don’t have a world. Breathe much today?

And now, Onward! I have commodes to scrub.

Peace out, Y’all. Happy New Year.

Changes…again.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2015 by Queenie

A lot has happened. I believe they call it a sea change. Though Queenie is still at it and kicking, the focus is going back to the Slippery Slope Ranch. See the link over there on the right of the page. Rants are still possible, but I wish to take a different tack. Watch for movement in other areas. It’s happening. Thanks for being here.