Archive for August, 2010

Introducing….Ta Dah….Queenie’s Quote of the Month

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19, 2010 by Queenie

Queenie’s Quote of the Day, Week, Month……

I’m starting something here.  Always a dangerous thing – or at least sometimes.  I am, however, going to cut myself some slack and stick merely a toe in, as opposed to the wholesale flinging that I usually do, often hurting myself in the process.  Something gets done, all right, but not exactly what I had in mind.

And so I introduce Queenie’s Quote of the Month. This one, I suppose, will do for August.  If I truly get going, I’ll ramp it up to Quote of the Week, and if things get really smasheroo, I will have attained the dizzying heights of Quote of the Day, just like some of the big boys.

So I’m going to find a new widget and create a new little box somewhere, and insert said pearl of wisdom.  I come by these pearls fairly easily most times, for the exact fact that I’m usually just pontificating to my own self.  I figure if it’s good enough for me, someone else may benefit from what I tell my highly esteemed self.  In fact, most of what I tell myself is to keep myself in the highly esteem-able  category, by that self, and others.  After all, we’re the ones who have to live with us, and if we’re not comfortable and happy with our own company, how would we expect anyone else to be able to stand us?

Stay tuned.  We’ll see how this goes.  That little box will appear over there on the right of the webpage – I think not visible to the subscribers unless you go to the whole beautiful thing.  You’ll have to click a couple of buttons once in a while, just to check.  So this month’s offering is entitled Do What Needs Doing. Simple, of course.  Unless you haven’t been Doing It!  (Queenie did say something about that in her book –  something along the line of things so often being simple, but not always so easy.)

Regular installments of the usual variety will continue as life goes on, and we ponder on what happens next.  One wonders what it could be.


More on the Locals

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 by Queenie

It’s a time of plenty around here, mostly, these days.  There’s water, (which we just didn’t have last year), and still enough little rainings coming through now and then to keep it fairly green. The herd of deer that frequent the property is a pretty good size this time of year.  The big boys are still in their velvet, but not for long, and not yet thinking about that rutting thing.  Females with fawns are still hanging with the babies for the most part, but the fawns are just about at their last of being fawns, seeming to be too big for their spots.  All this fraternization will come to an end before too very long, the fawns getting big enough to make it on their own, and their mothers becoming suddenly a hot item for the bucks to consider.  Everything will go to hell when hunting season starts in the fall, and except for the smart bucks that choose to hang around here all year, we won’t be seeing the beautiful boys again for months.  I got caught in the Back 40 a couple of years ago – walking with Cur Mudgeon on one of our late afternoon into twilight sojourns – not knowing that bow season had already started.  I have permission to walk back there, but not during deer season, and it always sneaks up on me.  The hunter’s disembodied voice hollered at me from somewhere in the blind in the big tree, calling me by name, informing me it was indeed bow season.  Time for me to go, denied my Back 40 connection for months.  I have such a hard time with hunting, (especially since we know these creatures so well, and the Queen Mum makes it her mission to feed everything that walks, crawls, or flies – exceptions being slithering and swimming), that I couldn’t suppress the out of line comment that tumbled out of my mouth – something like he’d do a lot better hunting if he’d simply go over to our driveway.  Not a joke, and I don’t think he thought it was funny either.

There are the other things that are in plenty right now – the mosquitos, (comes along with the water, so it has to be a fair tradeoff, but still…), and the high ranges of the temperatures.  Plenty HOT for sure.  We’re bucking the hundreds lately, coupled with the not so welcome companion of high humidity – the couple you sometimes really do wish would get a divorce.  I heard the heat index was somewhere around 111 degrees yesterday – yikes.  But that, too, comes with the water and the rains, so there you are.  There also seem to be numerous reports of snakes and snakebites this year, (along with all of them I’ve been seeing on the road – like that huge rattlesnake on the back road behind the Capitans in New Mexico), so I’ve about got snake fever when walking around the place, especially at night.  Of course we’re told not to have high weeds and lots of wood lying around.  High weeds and piles of wood lying around are about kin to bread and water around here.  I suppose I could make a stab at the weeds, (grasses, actually), and I will, but right now my mending arms give me excuse enough to let that pass for just a while, and maybe the heat will let go a bit, too.  Meanwhile, I’m just going to have to look where I walk and keep snake fever at bay.

Last week a miraculous thing happened.  I had noticed these strange pebbly things on the glass of my door leading out to the deck, knew they were eggs of some sort, and unfortunately flicked one off to its doom when checking them out.  Very tiny.  I’ve been watching them for a while, but these events, sort of like exotic cactus blooms, can come and go in a matter of hours and you miss the whole thing.  Luck and magic were with me last week though.

I went out for a casual Do-Nothing on the deck, (something I am wont to engage in probably far too much, but I like it out there, until it gets so hot you can’t breathe), and took a glance over at the eggs.  Whoa!  Something was happening.  There was something red and almost furry going on.  What WAS this?  I was actually able to put my hands on my magnifying glass in the house, (will wonders never cease), and drug up a seat to watch what was happening.  One of the eggs had an almost plant-like shoot coming out of its center, straight up, all red, with even a little bloom at the top.  All around it was a little gathering of fuzzy red things, down close to the glass – critters already hatched, and bright red.  Very interesting.  I watched all this for a while, then went on to do something that must’ve needed doing, and came back a bit later.  Almost all of them were now totally black!  Except for the one late-comer who was the last one I had seen “blooming.”  Right about then was when it hit me….. Duh, gong to head:  Oh yes – Camera.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to fire myself or issue citations for poor professionalism.  Sometimes when I witness wonders, I don’t even have my camera.  Fired again.

So I got myself prepared, and here they are.  I call this:  There’s One In Every Crowd….

I’ve not found out what they are yet – some kind of beetle thing, maybe.  Maybe those stink buggy sorts of things with the little flaggy looking back legs.  Perhaps my naturalist girlfriend will know.  But after a while they were all black, except for the remnants, I assume, of their egg sacks, (and really, I’m just thinking this is so – don’t quote me), which they must carry around with them for a while, (and don’t they look like the  big end pieces of candy corn?), till they figure out how to prey upon and eat whatever is beneath them in the food chain – can’t be much.  I figure there are hoards of things that would wipe them out en masse.  Spider webs would have to be prime terrors.  And the geckos that I love that come out on the door in the dark of night.  And who knows what else.  I could’ve obliterated them all with the small tip of my littlest finger.  In time they all gathered up their little individual courages and headed off for the great unknown.  I checked on them several times later in the day, still being able to see one or two that had made it all the way to the edge of the door and contemplating the big leap onto the walls, but eventually they were all gone, never to be seen again.  There were only twelve of them, and now, who knows.  But it was a great Bug Day.  I got to see a small miracle, and was grateful that I took the time to look.

Many, many years ago I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and was an immediate fan.  I wanted to be like her, just as now so many want to follow in the physical and spiritual footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert.  None of us can be anyone else, or have the same experience, even if now they are offering (supposedly) wonderful travel packages that will have you eating in the same restaurants and dogging the same ashrams as Liz, while you seek your very own (similar) enlightenment.  No thanks.  I appreciate the inspiration, but I think I’ll create my own journey.  I’ve sat and watched the bug miracle at my own little ranch, (in my mind), much as Annie Dillard studied the escapades of muskrats on her Tinker Creek.  Were I her, I’d be telling you the genus and species of what I’d observed, rather than calling them little buggy things of unknown origin.  (If I do find out, I promise I’ll let you know.)

But I follow in the spirit of what she did, and Liz Gilbert, and Georgia O’Keeffe.  My special places are piled high with bones and artistic twistings of wood, and bags of feathers and a few bird skulls.  (Not so easy to find, I must say!)  And one of my most prized possessions that stumps most who are asked to identify it:  a somehow preserved cow tongue.  It has to be a cow tongue, for it was found in the dried out bones and pieces of cow that were head and neck, and what else could it be?  Maybe I prefer a little mystery to fact, for I’ve never looked it up for sure, but I’d wager fairly high on this one.

So I know, I’m perhaps a strange sort of girl in many camps, and that’s fine by me.  If I ever aspired to be anything, it was Different.  I think I made it.  There are many of us who would rather dance to the beat of the different drum, and we are of the same tribe.  We love Mother Earth, and Father Sky.  We’d rather hike than watch reality television, or most any television at all.  We sit under the stars at night, and appreciate vistas instead of city architecture.  And we’re enthralled with the little scenes of nature that play out before us, even if we have to watch them through a magnifying glass.  And then there’s that rafting through the Grand Canyon thing.

Life is indeed fairly swell, and I am a lucky girl.  So if you’ve got a few moments to be inspired, take a walk out into your yard and see what’s really going on.  You might find dancing critters that look like they’ve escaped some Fellini-esque Disney movie.  You just never know, and if you don’t really, then you get to embrace the mystery.

The So You Think You Can Dancers:

And just a little bit of mystery, from deep in the heart……

The Kids Are All Right…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2010 by Queenie

Or something like that.  I know there’s a new chick movie out that I haven’t seen yet with a title very similar to that.  Not to mention Eat, Pray, Love which opened today.  I might have a hard time with that one.  EPL was a seminal book for me, one which when I read it for the first time, inspired me to do great and wondrous things.  I did do great and wondrous things, and then I got my head turned (remembering to take Responsibility, however), and took another wild ride that ended up in the same place it always did.  Yes, I still do great and wondrous things and have had more rides since, but this time I don’t know where I’m going to end up, and that’s exactly fine with me.  Never say that I don’t enjoy a good adventure, and that’s what it has to be from now on.  I suppose that’s what it’s always been, but sometimes those enticing back roads leave you a bit muddied, but always a bit wiser.  (Or should!)

So I’ll deal with EPL the Movie in a week or so, and meantime I’m having fun with the kids – my kids.  I didn’t have human children, and  have had a parade of furry ones that have come through my life.  Below you will find the current installments.  My kids are all right.

Custody Dog – Leaping for Life

Custody Dog – you know enough of her story.  She came when everything else went, and I got the best of the bargain.  What a fun companion, and she loves life.  She’s fearless, (except for the rather insane cat who also shares the premises here – another story – and she’s well wary of him), and I really enjoy spending time and spaces with her.  We’re spending what’s left of the summer in the wet, and she loves it as much as I do.

Cur Mudgeon – the strange one found in the desert.  He’s a weird sort, his own thing, and I hardly know what it is.  But he likes the water, too, only at a much slower pace than CD.  He moves like a big barge.  She’s the speedboat version.

And having snared the stick thrown for incentive, (though she needs none at all), prize captured, CD heads to shore.

We had a good trial run today, all of us swimming to the near shoreline across the close part of the cove.  Next week it’ll be the far side, totally across the cove.  They can check out what’s on the other side, and I can build some cairns.  A good exercise for all of us – a long swim for me with my healing arms, and their first time to the foreign lands.  Well, CM has been there before, but not for a long time.

Life is moving along.  Interesting things keep happening, and like everything else, I don’t know how it’s all to turn out.  We’ll see how the “new thinking” thing turns out.  That would be in BELIEVING in the positive, even when you feel like you’ve just been smacked in the face with something that smelled very similar to what you’d perceive as negative.  I’ll let you know how all that evolves.  Names might be named.

Happy Summer, everyone.  And if things weren’t already on the upswing, Raul Malo is in the area…….  Uh huh.  A fix.  Next week.  It’ll be hot, but it’ll be like getting the best music in the world at a free sauna.

Life is peachy, surely is.

To Do or To Be, That is the Question

Posted in Uncategorized on August 7, 2010 by Queenie

At last, I am beginning to find the edges of Peacefulness and Contentment, and am genuinely happy to be right here, right now.  Perhaps I needed the wounding to get myself to slow down a bit, and to consider the things ahead of me that I really do need to tackle.  I’ve had excuse after excuse to avoid many necessaries here on the home front, and now seems to be the perfect time.  My wobbly arms are not yet ready for yardwork and major furniture rearrangement, nor the final coats of paint in the kitchen, but they are quite able enough for housecleaning.  Ye gods, has it come to that?  Do I have to break both elbows in order to make actual time for cleaning of the domicile?  I certainly have to carry myself to extremes for the opportunity to “get it.”  It took me 10 years to get it that I was ruining myself with TG.  I evidently was born under the stop sign of Stubborn.  (Those of you who know the Queen Mum will agree that the nut didn’t fall far from the Mother Tree.)

And so I declare:  Sisyphus will no longer be my default muse.  I have many muses, actually, but I have no more time for SissyFuss, as I shall now call him, who spends all his precious time trying to push that stone uphill.  Well, I’ve carried a lot of rocks a long way to get them to where they needed to be, and while it might not have seemed the logical thing to do at the time, I do have a lot of fabulous rocks to show for it.  I once carried a rather large rock a long way in Colorado.  It was big, (for me), it was heavy, it was a celebration when I got it back to the car.  I had carried it for a goodly while, and it was a commitment, (and a damned nice rock.)  I was bringing it back to TG, as a gift from the beautiful mountains and rivers of Colorado.  He was such an ass that he didn’t get it.  Nor did he get the wonderful carved bear that I had purchased for him.  Not coincidentally, they both sit on my fireplace hearth.

So I think my SissyFuss tries to push water uphill – water being a thing to which I so relate anyway.

And speaking of water…. I took Cur Mudgeon and Custody Dog down to the lake yesterday.  It’s glorious to have the lake this year, after the horrendous drought we slogged through last year.  The water temperature is outrageously perfect, and even with the wimpy wings, I can float and paddle around in the wetness.  Cur Mudgeon, who was a foundling in the desert lands around Page, Arizona, has taken to the water well, but his payoff is in rolling in the sand after his dip.  He makes a fool out of himself rah-rahing around, woofling to no one and everyone, feet dancing in the air while he rubs his back in the sand.  Custody Dog, on the other hand, is all about the water.  She was somehow born to it, (that and running), and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this dog happier.  I know this to be at least her third home, (and the pound was another stop in there somewhere), and I think she has made it to Nirvana.  She did that thing “professional” dogs do – to run out on the dock and make a flying leap out into the water – quite the athlete.  She did it over and over again, along with generally checking out all aspects of the bank and other parts of the lake, engaging people and other dogs in the course of things, and for the most part very well behaved.  She only growled at those who had earned it, and she caused no trouble.  A stellar performance.  We all had a great time.

And so with all this in mind, I want to comment on this anniversary.  Today is the one year day when Queenie stood out on the south acre, toe to toe with TG, (who had been misbehaving on several levels), and said I wasn’t going on the road trip to Colorado, (now that is a really big deal, to turn down a Road Trip – to Colorado!), and to say none of this worked for me anymore.  No big drama.  No scenes.  No screaming.  Just the facts, ma’am.  It was just done, and I came in from the incredible event and began really writing my book.  That was the day I wrote about Hope, the longest and perhaps most personal of the missives, and the one that is likely to make people cry if they have a tendency toward that sort of thing.  The whole thing was a milestone.  (I won’t go for the obvious reference of the Millstone – that would be untoward and uncalled for.  Uh-huh.)

That day, a year ago, seems sort of like this day.  It’s warm, very warm in the mornings, and ramps up quickly to hot.  But in the mornings, out here in the swing on my deck, the sun’s not gotten around to bake yet, and it’s entirely tolerable, even pleasant, for a good many hours.  The south breeze is coming across, and feeling good – still cool instead of hot.  Some manner of insect has set up a constant, fairly high-pitched drone in the cedar trees, and several birds are calling across the property.  A huge RED dragonfly has just taken perch atop the now spent blooms of the yucca in the overgrown cactus garden below, and I know that is some sort of special blessing.  The red ones are rare, and the dragonfly means ILLUSION.  As quoted in my Medicine Card book:  Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, a harbinger of wisdom and enlightenment….  About damned time, I’d day.  It is also the symbol for the elemental world – Nature.  And for me, that says it all.  Nature is my home.  And my Saving Grace.  And my healer, and I aim to be right here for as long as I need to be.

I feel calm and content, even though I’ve got two gimpy arms, and not as much money in the bank as I’d hoped, but it’ll be alright.  Something will happen to get me through.  I’ve got two more months of swimming, and that will be enough.  I don’t have another big road trip till November, and that is just fine with me.  I’m ready to be home and healing for a while.  I don’t think I’ve taken time to heal for, say, about a year?  I believe I finally get why I broke parts of my body.  It’s time to stop for a while.  (Except writing, of course.)

I’m just fit enough to do the cleaning and sorting of the smaller variety of piles that need be done, and don’t need to be distracted by those big, enticing, PROJECTS.  The yard’s already out of control – it can’t get much worse, anyway.  It’ll be a while before I can manage loppers and saws and weed-eaters.  So be it.  Everything that awaits doing will keep till my arms are up to it, and by then this little everyday nattering stuff will be done.  Win win.

All right then.  The skeeters are wanting to feast on me, and I suppose I need to move on to those “chores” awaiting me.  There’s another bit of supporting news – today is Raul Malo’s birthday.  I honor my favorite songman and I aim to put on some righteous RM music and have a ball, and maybe a bawl if necessary, but I think not, while I flit around doing my spring cleaning.  Just a little late maybe, or a lot – but it seems that it’s on my time schedule just where it is.  Just like me.  And they say there are no coincidences.

Finally, I am seeing the distinct difference between doing, and being.  That Doing thing can be a little tricky.  It’s for some doers that someone coined the phrase “going through the motions.” You might look like you’re actually contributing something, doing the thing of the moment.  Unless you, (or should I say I), are involved in the being of it, in it for real, then it’s just an act, merely an imitation of the perceived action.  Or the doing of a zillion other things to avoid the consideration of What Must Be Done. Just Do It might be a worthy phrase, but I think I’m going to put a little more stock into Just BE it.  Somewhere in that, I decree, is the Truth. And the way out of Fear.

You Can’t Make This S**t Up

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 by Queenie

A few days ago, I had other titles ready for this contribution.  Something like:  This Just In …. And the Winner Is…..  something along that line.  But Oh No, I had to do another something to alter the track of things.  However, before I reveal the story, let me do go ahead and honk my horn.  I think that would be putting the good before the ridiculous.

And so, before I digress, may I announce that, Ta Dah, I managed to win Best In Category for my photographic efforts at the art show to which I traveled to present my efforts for the past few months.  And may I also say that this was for the second year in a row!  I must be doing something right.  Interestingly, I had prepared for the show to do just that – to go into this with the intention of winning – again.  Not that winning is everything, but it’s an important validation for my work, and maybe even my psyche.  It was a pretty show, and some of the most beautiful art in one place that you can see.  And I love going there every summer.  I thought the gal who had the monochrome infrared images did an incredible job, but somehow they chose me. So good for me.  The thought of a Three-Peat sounds selfish and downright unattainable for next year, but we’ll see.  And there you are.  And here I am.

Now, the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say.  My wounded wing has been coming along quite well.  Still gimpy, but improving rapidly.  And then Sunday night, at the very end of the show, while getting ready to change clothes and break it all down…….. I went back behind the walls in a narrow space, got my shoes stuck in the carpet, then tangled in the bubble wrap, and …. here it comes, wait for it…. I fell again.  Unbelievable.  Not my whacked left arm, but No, my dependable right arm!  Almost the same injury, just a different angle.  I suppose that trickster coyote had the last laugh.  No trip to the ER this time.  Ha, I had the compression wrap and the sling already in hand, so I just switched arms, and it hurt like crap.  No way to lift with what was my good arm, now the worse arm, and there I was.  And here’s where you learn to ask for help.  (Could this be my lesson?)  There were, fortunately, strong teenage sons around who belonged to one of the women who run the show.  They signed on, and I had help.  Wonderful help.  They helped my roadie take down the walls and the lights, pack the art, and finally load it in the van.  A little extra cash out the window, but gratefully given.  I survived, and now I am home, healing again.  Ouch.  Still hurts, but I suppose it’ll be better in about three weeks, like my left arm is now.  Maybe I can skip the xray on this one.

All this madness begs explanation, as in:  What in hell is it that I’m supposed to be learning from all this?  What is going on?  I am home and in repose, having brought upstairs all my clothing and what I could manage, and I seem surrounded by chaos.  It seems it’s time for baby steps, in many aspects of my life.  Maybe I’m doing some major Starting Over here.  I obviously have lots to think about, and surprise, I have copious amounts of time to consider oh so many things.

One thing that immediately rises to the fore is Friendship.  A new friend checked in on me after I returned, and on hearing about my inventory and booth walls sitting out and baking in the heat, (since I couldn’t unload it), sent her son and his wife over to unload the van for me.  A very large deal in my book.  Perhaps, besides the obvious Gratitude, I am to be getting to know Patience a whole lot better.  Admittedly, Patience and I have always had a dubious relationship, and I’ve failed to embrace it with welcoming arms, or even consider a casual acquaintance.  Now it’s moved in, invited or not, and I’m going to have to deal with it whether by choice or by chance.  There’s just no way to proceed with my end of summer projects, and other than considering ingenious ways to learn how to print money, I’m going to have to devise other distractions to get though the next few or several weeks while immersed in limited mobility.  Hell and damn.

I’ve been delving into the deeper ramifications of what this is all about, and some other concepts have been rolling around in my head.  I’ve made a lot of noise about “doing the work,” and I think I am now presented with the perfect opportunity.  (That Opportunity thing again – oh joy.)  Despite what I’ve brought into my life with success and progress, there appears to be a lot of unfinished business having to do with Resentment and Anger, two characters you likely don’t want to invite to your dinner party.  I have to admit I hardly ever walk by the structures in the South Acre, (erected and then abandoned by one now absent character in my life play), without emitting some derisive comment about hate or disappointment or an entirely negative reaction.  And I know, it isn’t healthy.  I’m hanging on to loss and just being mad about it all – still!  The one year anniversary of the big ka-bang is days away, and I’m still feeding the negatives.  Now my negatives have set up residence in two bungled arms, leaving me unproductive in so many ways.  Need I spell out L-E-S-S-O-N?  So much to do, so much progress to make and plenty of time now to do it in, but oh no, I’m unable to lift even a paint brush.  Those who are plenty old might remember a catch phrase comment made by William Bendix as the main character Chester A. Riley in an old (old!) sitcom called The Life of Riley.  He would get himself into a fix, and then proclaim:  What a revoltin’ development THIS is. Well, just call me Chester.  Twice, even.  Sheesh.

So instead of spending the rest of the summer swimming in the cove and pushing way forward on the house restoration, and then developing some new art, I have found myself with the new “opportunity” to finally get to the work I’ve been putting off, for say a year or ten, to get to the bottom of what I keep chewing on in my gut.  And not digesting, it would appear.  Time to get rid of that old piece of cud that’s been taking up space in my inner being, preventing good function and promoting bad behavior.  Enough already.

I have a set of Vision Cards given to me by a good friend a few years ago.  They’ve been remarkably accurate when I go to them to ask questions and receive answers or counsel from the Great Mystery, or whoever/whatever it is that’s in charge of such things.  Last night, when I got the cards out to ask what the hell is going on here, instead of the usual positive and strengthening directions I get, I pulled HURT.  Besides the ridiculously obvious physical reference, it went on to say that I was hurting myself with what I was holding on to – the resentment and anger and its negative kin.  I can’t do much else these days, therefore managing to arrange time to do what I’ve seemingly given only lip service to in the months and years past.  Funny how you don’t really get away with anything, do you, despite what fancy duds you put on to present yourself to the world.  Evidently the Queen(ie) isn’t wearing any clothes, either.  So with willing heart and renewed intention, and two gimped up arms that can’t do much of anything, I forge ahead to actually do the work, the real work, of healing and moving on.  And then there’s that Forgiveness thing.

So here I go, on to the journey into what makes me tick, and what stops the clock.  I suppose I’ve come to the Big Gate, and I need to find, or make, the key to get past the roadblocks – the ones I’ve been tripping over lately.  Seems I’ve been pretty good at pontificating, and now I’ve fallen off my podium.  Luckily I can still turn the pages in all the right books, which are right here.

Off on another journey – so close, and yet so far.  Wish me luck.  And oh yes, I can still write, and type!  So stay tuned for the next enlightening adventure, right here and beginning right now.  No road trip, this.  I’m right where I need to be.  (Dang it.)