Archive for December, 2010

Winter Light

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2010 by Queenie

I love the light of winter.  It’s very like, or at least somewhat like, (I can’t get so carried away as to beggar belief), New Mexico light, which I always say is what makes me like West Texas so much, too.  It’s the light, and the skies.  So here, in the winter months, when the sun is low in the sky and the shadows longer, (like in the Golden Hour of Light in photography), there almost seem to be more hours of magic light even in the shorter days.  Usually we are graced with some days of lower humidity and clear skies, and that’s a good winter in Texas.  Just about now, however, as we enter another drought, I’d settle for some mass humidity and some rain, before we dry up and blow away again, and my beloved lake disappears as it did just two short years ago.  In fact, we’re getting just that, as fog has rolled in, and it’s damp and chilly and almost serious about making raindrops.

I’ve missed the joys of the outdoors, until that wonderful day on Sunday, since I’ve been in full bore show mode for months now, and my most productive days are spent inside – at the computer or printer or over a hot mat cutter.  (That would be me, of course.)  I am not at all looking for any sort of sympathy, for there is joy in the creativity and bringing the images to life – not to mention those hard days at the office I spent rafting the Colorado while obtaining some new material and having me one fine adventure in the process.  Have I said enough how much I love my work?

Now come a different flavor of glory days, as I give myself permission to recover from weeks of intense preparation and the opposite of the wilderness or nature moments that I so love and which feed my soul – with the glaring, noisy, people-filled madness of show season, most especially the Dillo, at which I am “ON” for twelve nerve tingling hours of the day – wearing my big hat and Meetin’ the Folks.  Don’t get me wrong – there is love in and for that, too, for this is where I see the connections being made – seeing my art TOUCH people – and they reward me for my passion by actually buying my work.  Not only is my soul fed, but also my bank account.  Wonderful system, if it all goes right and the economy isn’t scaring people to death.  I think they got tired of being scared this year – they bought – God or Spirit or whatever love ‘em.  Haven’t I recently mentioned being GRATEFUL?  You have no idea.

I welcome these sweet and slower paced times.  I don’t have to be anywhere except mostly by choice.  I’m not desperate for money to pay bills.  Time is planned for fun with friends.  And I get to be home a lot, quiet time if I so choose, and do what I want and what needs to be done.  I’m already puttering, beginning to put things back where they belong.  Hopefully the things that have eluded me in the past weeks will surface, and order will once again be restored.  I can’t wait to be OUTSIDE, and to start trimming trees and getting to those weeds, and then thinking about the garden in the spring.  I’m eager to get my camera out and get those shots of the Cardinals in the trees that beg to be taken.  And the rest of the gang, too.  Projects abound, and the list is ridiculously long, but I aim to finish up those painting projects and likely start a few more.  Then there are floors and cabinets if I get totally inspired.

In a few months there will be photographic adventures to be had, as Cover Girl (my much more professional photographer friend – has her Bona Fides) and I are planning a springish splurge to tackle the badlands in New Mexico.  I can’t wait to see the moonscape rocks and spend more time with one of my favorite road trip buddies.  Now I’ve put it in print, so ALL may know that I am SERIOUS about this.  I expect nothing but wonder from this adventure, and some good times and lots of laughs.  Maybe a few challenges.  And then some righteous images.  One or both of us may have to start supplying some new juice to New Mexico Highways magazine.  She should let it be me – she’s already got Arizona!

Late spring/early summer will find me back in the Hill Country in Kerrville for an art show, ditto New Mexico in the middle of summer, where I plan NOT to break any more elbows.  Fall, who knows, but I’d sure like to do that houseboat thing on Lake Powell.  And then before I know it, it’ll be winter again and I’ll be back in Dillo madness.  It passes that quickly now, really.  Let me tell you how quickly it passes – I get Social Security next year!  I tell you, if I’m going to attain some absolutely unbelievably ridiculous age, they can dang well pay me for it.  In my heart, I know I am 37.  Or maybe even 17.  Mother always told me you feel the same inside, and lo and behold, it is true.  It is the body that is the liar, or maybe the traitor.

I picked up my guitar for the first time in long weeks, and it felt so good to hear the music and make the songs again.  There’s more intention – I’m going to get better at this.  I have more to say than can be offered in a photograph – sometimes you just need the words, and the melody can help you deliver them.  (And sometimes there are just bad country songs, but you have to take the bad with the good.)

So when I get those shots of the beautiful sunlit Cardinals exploding in red in the green trees, I’ll send them along.  They are an eyeful.  Who knows what else will show up.  I’m on a roll, and excited about what’s around the bend – not apprehensive and sick to death of bemoaning what happened to me in the past.  Bury it.  Remember the lessons, but the long gone body of the departed doesn’t wear well on the hearth or mantle.  Throw it in the fire, and be a supporter of cremation for your own sake.  (As usual, this is me talking to me, but it wouldn’t hurt to listen probably – especially if you share any of my very common human maladies.)

I am loving the silence, or sounds of Nature after the non-stop NOISE of the season, even if at times I liked that particular noise.  My ears are tired.  My senses need rest and restoration.  This is the time.  Ahh-h-h-h-h-h-h.  Peace.  Finally, some peace.  And Silence.  It feels good.

And though I haven’t captured those Cardinals yet, here are a couple of the regulars.  We are a haven for the creatures out here, and I intend it to be a haven for my own self, ready to settle down into winter.  Time to start thinking about that first fire of the season.

Keep warm, y’all.

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A Near ‘Bout Perfect Day

Posted in Uncategorized on December 26, 2010 by Queenie

I awake today with the Dillo behind me, except for that last part – the one more trip into town to load out the rest of the furniture and fixin’s that make it be a booth.  Still there’s time for a bit of a loll-around, I think, since we have most of the day to accomplish all this.  But when I arrive, I am told the loading area is FULL – I have to park ALL the way the length of the area, the last place to put myself, or anyone, and a long way to haul stuff.  I had no more than parked and gotten my dolly out of the van when the same fellow who had given me the bad news approached me, telling me there was a place up front now – well, whadya know.  I rebooted and drove up, and lo and behold, a place on the front row – couldn’t be much better.  I finished up, hoisted it all again, rolled several dolly-fulls of stuff out, loaded it up, (only pulled a muscle or two, I think), and in a mere hour and a half, I was out of the yard and on my way home having said the last goodbyes to new neighbors and old friends.  Not bad at all.

It’s a glorious day.  Bright sunshine and blue sky, despite the freezing temperatures we had last night.  When I got home I checked out the greenhouse which was toasty warm since I’d turned on the heater last night before going to bed.  Good.  All’s well there.  And now….

To the business of my precious mother’s birthday.  The Queen Mum is 87 years ageless today.  Still sharp as that tack, although her body continues to challenge her daily.  She’s been through two new hips, thyroid cancer, another “little” cancer, a few more episodes of this and that, and she just keeps ticking.  Thank all the Fates for that.  She’s a rare bird, and her kind is not common and not nearly enough appreciated.  I wonder if she could possibly know how much I love her.

So I’d decided on the way home I’d be treating her to dinner out – since neither of us is much in the mood for cooking, and she cooked her heart out yesterday for a Christmas dinner while I mostly slept and recovered from the lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g days of Dillo madness.  (I did get the van unloaded, however, AND take the dogs to the lake since they were feeling mighty deprived of late.)  I was so tired I didn’t even eat between that one piece of toast for breakfast and dinner – just unloaded the van and slept.  Wonderful.

I offered her up the restaurant of her choice, and she settled on Rosie’s, the dependable Mexican food place of long standing down the highway from us.  I say dependable because you always know what it’s going to taste like, so you’re never disappointed.  Mexican food falls into the Warm and Gooey food group – one of my favorites – and it sounded good to me, too, after days of soups and generic vendor foods at the show.  So off we went, and the goodness kept on coming.

Service was slow – the place was packed – evidently no one wants to cook the day after Christmas.  So we waited a little too long and then they mixed up my order just a bit, but no large deal at all.  I got my chili con queso and all was well with the world.  Our check had been placed on the table, but in short time the waitress came by and picked it up again, saying someone had taken care of our bill.  Really?  And for real and for true, someone, some kind and generous unknown person had seen fit to honor us and the season by paying for our meal.  I felt like crying.  We had mentioned to no one that it was Mama’s birthday, so it was icing on the cake that we didn’t have.  When we did mention it on the way out, the folks at the counter insisted she take a praline, and me, too, if I wanted one.  And we left feeling lots lighter, if not heavier for the meal, though.  It’s a wonderful world out there, at least today.

I owed the dogs another trip to the lake since they’ve not had their daily romps in so long, and they’d made a huge fuss before we left earlier, so we all got it together when we got back home and headed down.  Oh my, what a gorgeous scene.  Despite it being quite chilly, there was no wind and so much sun, and it was dazzlingly peaceful and quiet.  No eartheaters going at it over the hills, only the sound of laughter from one of the houses up the way.  I was so glad Mother had decided to come with us.  She’s so wobbly, and doesn’t get out much, so it’s good for her to escape the house and enjoy the scenery and the idiot dogs having such a good time.  And it was just so beautiful today.

The lack of wind made for nice reflections, and it was even all the way to warm in the sun.  I could’ve stayed down there a long while.  Cur Mudgeon is much more into running these days – why, he might even be getting a little more fit instead of stodgy.  Custody Dog couldn’t quit running, (she never does), and still she heads for the water, and Mr. Mudgeon actually went all the way and swam.  Lots of “Tag You’re It!” for them, and digging in the sand, and the final rolling in the sand to make sure of absolutely filthy dogs.  A good time was had by all.

Looking for Adventure

In the drink for a drink of course.

Shake it off!

Double Dog

Queen Mum in the Park, watching the dogs and life all around.

Circles

Dog Tag

The Finishing Touch

Life is Swell

Reflecting on Adventure

Wading for Home

Time to Go

The interesting part of all of this is that I began this day with thoughts of Gratitude.  I had already made my New Year’s New Life Resolution:  To live in Gratitude, and be thankful for all the good, or even all the lessons I have to learn.  I’ve been peaceful and smiling inside all day.  And the more Gratitude I honored, the more was poured upon me to be grateful for.  So this, then, is how it works.  Not bad, not bad at all.

I am indeed glad the Dillo has come and gone, and it was good.  I am blessed by my friends and my talent and my fortune.  I am lucky and blessed again to have the best mama in the world.  I am safe and warm, and well fed.  I feel full of Love, and Mexican food.  Perhaps it is time for the first fire of the season, but maybe I will wait till I have established a little less chaos in my room that has lost its grip on order in the past few weeks.  But I have some time now to accomplish that, and can just tackle that and other waiting projects in the coming days and weeks.  January is for renewal, and I intend to do just that.

Disaster can befall us at any time, but I choose to honor the goodness that surrounds me on every front, in every moment – this moment.  I am content.

Happy Birthday Mama.

View from a Booth

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 by Queenie

Days flow into one another at the art show.  Hours pile on hours, and while it has been much busier at our new wonderful location, there are still some empty spaces in the flow of the day that allow for thoughts and contemplation thereof.  Old friends drop by, new friends are made, memories are resurrected, (the body remains buried, thankfully, except maybe for a little bit of the odor of decomposition that accompanies such things, and it passes), and this crazy life goes on.

We have found out that yes, we will stay here, and we are most pleased.  The patrons are pleased – it is a HappyFest.  Still and all, the days are long, and in the midst of our 12 hours on the floor, while waiting for a booth sitter to relieve me for a few minutes while I, uh, tend to relieving myself, I am reminded of a childhood memory that bore into my psyche.  It’s not a pleasant story – it has an “Ew-w-w-w-w-w factor,” and I don’t know why I am compelled to relate it here.  But maybe it’s a continual reminder of how things can be, and leads me to my own gratitude that the life I observed in that moment wasn’t my own.  Or, maybe, in some way it is – in the way that WE ARE ALL ONE – or as it is stated in the Native American way that We are all relatedMitakuye Oyasin.

I grew up mostly in Dallas – (sorry, everybody has to be from somewhere, and I got away as soon as I knew enough), and part of Dallas happens to be the State Fair of Texas, and part of the Fair is The Midway.  The Midway is the thrills and chills part of the deal – the rides, of course, and the tons of bad-for-you food, (and back then no one had a clue what was yet to come in the “everything that can be fried WILL be fried” department – I think they even have fried beer now.)  There is the open-mouthed amazement and uncomfortableness of seeing the “freak” show, and I hate to even call it that, but so was the vernacular, and the mindset (unenlightened as it was) of the 50’s.  It was cruel, I thought, even then, but likely there were few venues for the multi-armed or legged human beings to make any sort of living in those days other than the heartless displaying of themselves to the ignorant and curious public.  I found the whole thing very disturbing on many levels.

And then there are the games of chance.  That is, indeed, the rest of the seedy part of the whole affair, but many get caught up in trying to win those teddy bears in attempts to throw the rings around the bottles or toss coins on to a plate – almost impossible of course.  The carnies, those who had to stay there hour after hour hawking their games and wares before the end of the run, were held captive by the venue.  They couldn’t leave, and food and comforts were stolen moments, if they could come by them at all.  So here is my childhood memory, one that I’ve never gotten rid of, and a strange and powerful one it is.  I was with my mother and father, off to the side of all the action, having for those few moments become observers instead of participants.  I noticed a woman standing alone, away from the booths, a little back and behind them.  She had an odd stance, arms folded in front of her, as if trying to look like she was just idly standing there, but somehow not exactly right – her legs were too far apart.  She looked so strange and curiously out of sync to me, and then I, with childlike surprise and some amount of almost horror, figured out the rest of the story.  It was then I saw the stream of urine running down her legs and to the ground.  I’m sure I must’ve said something to my mother, never having quite experienced such a dose of real life, not so pretty, where it was supposed to be all fun and games.  It was easy to figure out that she got as far away from the booth prison as she could, but she couldn’t get far enough away to find a restroom – just that stolen moment away from her post to get her business taken care of before the next potential customers came along.  Decidedly NOT the thing I wanted to aspire to when I grew up.  That image has remained with me all these years, and the sadness of it, the pure pitifulness of it, hits me somewhere deep.

So ironically, there are moments when it gets busy here, when I’m dancing in my booth needing to offload the coffee or tea, and I have to stay here and smile or hope that a booth sitter gets by soon, or else I just have to bite the bullet and leave my booth unwomaned and head for the loo.  Such is the life of the artiste, but it’s sure not the life of that woman at the Midway.  I wonder what her life was like, and know she’s likely very dead by now.  And maybe she was a little bit dead even then.

But now comes a little more of a story about judgment.  Yesterday a man was wheeled by in his wheelchair, obviously brain damaged and, to my opinion, not the better off for being still with the living.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve made my choice in a living will to not be kept alive in a form that seems to be less than what I would accept for the living of this life.  My neighbor across the way made a special effort to approach him and his family, and engage them in conversation, something I thought somehow remarkable.  I asked him about it later, wondering what his connection might be.  I’d overheard some slight conversation about an accident.  And of course, my mouth being what it is, I offered up my opinion about thinking that sometimes survival in that form is not the better option.  Oh my, what I was about to find out next.  Turns out that my neighbor has an equally damaged son, injured as a mere infant, relegated to a life of quadriplegia, non-verbal, unable to eat or feed himself, all tubes and complications and lots of pain – and yet they are glad to have him, still, some many years after the accident.  He’s learned many lessons, he says, and has found out that he just DOESN’T KNOW what he doesn’t know.  He still welcomes his son’s presence in their lives, with all the pain and compromises that are involved.  And I find him the gentlest of souls, and such a kind and caring person.  I know that many families are destroyed in such events, and couples often go their own ways in the midst of such grief and challenges.  Not these two.  I stand amazed, and humbled, and not to mention embarrassed.  We’ve had a few more conversations since, and maybe I, too, am learning that I don’t always know what I think I do know, and my heart has been opened and expanded.  Who am I to judge, indeed?

And so comes on Christmas, with big feet now.  I get more tired every day, and grateful for the shorter show this year, and even in future years as my body surrenders bits and chunks of its stamina as the decades pass.  I find I’m surrendering a few other pertinent things, too – maybe a little bit of judgment.  My neighbor was fine with letting me have my own opinion about things, and undeniably generous in not coming at me from a hard place, which he had every right to do.  I wonder that I could be as strong and accepting in his position.  My friend Kathy would call it a God thing.  I’m not sure what I call it, but it’s fairly amazing, and I’d say representative of all that Christmas and Spirit is supposed to be about.

It’s so true that we’ve no idea what others deal with as they, as strangers or even friends, pass through or in front of our lives and eyes.  Now I watch these people as they wander past my booth – some young and fresh and untouched, (seemingly, who knows, really), some stooped and bent with age and infirmity, some a bit better or the worse for the wine or beer they’ve imbibed, some obviously well off, some obviously struggling as they buy a $3 magnet for a gift.  The scale is endless, and perhaps isn’t so much a linear scale of life as it is a circle, and it encompasses us all.  Kindness knows no  bounds.  Nor does cruelty of Fate.  Truly, we all ARE one, but we are blind to it, perhaps in self defense, as we cower in terror that we might have to play that hand that they were dealt, and we wonder if we remotely could.  We could be in that box under the bridge, wondering if we’ll survive the cold tonight.  We could be in that wheelchair.  We could be protecting and loving that soul in the wheelchair.  If reincarnation is the real thing, be prepared for anything – we’ll likely get it one way or two others.  Who knows?

In the spirit of all this as it swirls around me, I wish you all well.  I wish you health and joy.  And patience and gratitude.  And watch out for that judgment thing – it surely can bite you in the butt – or the brain – or the heart.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Joyous Kwanzaa, whatever is your persuasion.  Mitakuye Oyasin, y’all.

Addendum:

In the interest of the truth that I purport to offer here, I have to add a bit to this story.  As it turns out, my wonderful show neighbor turns out not to be the father of the child that he loves and protects, but is the step-father.  He CHOSE to come into these lives, and take on those challenges that came with that territory.  I told him I thought he was all the more wonderful.  It was indeed true that the first relationship didn’t survive, but how the much more remarkable that a man of his caliber stepped up where the other faltered.  If this isn’t the stuff of real character and definitive heroes (not sports stars and movie characters), then I don’t know what is.  Makes me feel pretty good to know that this is real life, the stuff of superlatives and yet humility, and that they do, indeed walk among us – the good guys.  Sometimes I forget that, and what a beautiful gift I have received this Christmas.  Aho.

Building an Art Booth (scenes from real life… more or less)

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 by Queenie

About this time every year, my life takes a major change, and I find myself deep in the midst of an alternate reality.  Well, it’s not so different than many of my art shows, but then it is.  It’s the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, and it is a thing unto itself.  It’s not the usual two or even three day weekend show; it pretty much takes out my entire December – not that it’s a bad thing.  It’s just a tremendous undertaking.

Normally I take my Pro Panels, very transportable walls used by many flat art artist types to arrange in such a way as to be a gallery away from home.  They were a blessing to artists who had finagled all sort of different, and often heavy, assemblages of put together stuff to make walls.  I used to have heavy, and I mean heavy (and I was younger then) grid walls, backed by a fabric background, that were designed more for permanent displays in stores, not so much the gypsy-like “put it up take it down” world of the traveling artiste.  They were the rue of every boyfriend I ever had who cussed them every time they helped me with a show.  Finally I had enough, too, and managed enough money to invest in the Pro Panels, which as I understand were designed and now manufactured by folks who used to be artists, and now they probably make a much better living… sort of like promoters who always make their money on putting the show together and collecting all those incredibly high booth fees, and don’t have to worry about selling any art.

But the Dillo is different.  It’s long.  Way long.  Usually it’s about 14 to 16 days, but this year – due to a bunch of circumstances I won’t go into – it’s a walk in the park – sort of – only 10 days of actual show.  11 to 11 every day, live music, bar, truly a fun show, but I must admit it was more fun when I started doing it when I was a young thing, some 17 years ago.  Gee, where does the time go?  So when I build a booth at the Dillo, I’m telling you, I build a house.  If I’m going to live there for two weeks, and present myself in a way that defines me, I go for it.  I have wooden walls, eight feet high, and they are some heavy mamas.  Add to that all the extraneous accoutrements, and you have yourself a barn raising every year.  I have to hire people to help me, and then to haul it there and away to be stored all the rest of the year since I don’t have a place to put another “house” in my house.  It’s all a big deal, and sometimes I think I’m getting too old for all this.  But what else, get a real job?  Well, that may still be in the cards if the economy doesn’t resuscitate itself and people feel more willing to buy things that speak to their souls… things that don’t include keeping the lights on, filling your tank, allowing for a roof over your head, putting the kids through school, eating…. those little things.  Art sort of takes a back seat to such amenities when times get hard, ,even though inspiring or comforting things may be just what the doctor ordered.  Like other things doctor related, sometimes you just don’t have insurance to pay for  it.  Swell.

First let me thank FRIENDS, (thank you PATTI!!!), who come through and help me with this madness.  As it is usual with friends, you couldn’t get through it without them.  The Armadillo gang is a family for sure, and just like a family reunion we can’t believe that another year has gone by, (my first Dillo was in 1994!)  There’s always time for hugs and hellos, but sooner or later you’ve got to get down to business.

Having such an elaborate booth entitles me to the “privilege” of setting up a day earlier than most, since it’s hauled in by the “Booth Erection Boys,” and now a few girls, and it’s really nice to have space and relative quiet to deal with it all.  The next day will bring in almost everyone and their booths, and the madness will truly begin.

It all begins with an empty hall, and then things and people start to show up.  Since this show has live music and is known for its entertainment lineup as well as all the art, the prep for the music and stage is part of the puzzle.  We have to wait for the trusses that hold all the lights to raise off the floor before we can begin, and then the fun starts.

And so, (you ask), what does “setting up an art booth” entail?  I will tell you it’s very physical.  Maybe not for the faint of heart or weak of body.  (Ask me how I felt about breaking that second elbow at the end of that art show during breakdown this summer.)

Our venue is a cavernous hall, a big empty shell, but in three days time it is transformed into an Art City.  And here we go:

One disclaimer, however.  I know I’m supposed to be a “professional” photographer, but the following images are hardly worthy of that.  Please excuse the poor exposures, out of focus shots, composition, all the rest of it.  It wasn’t a “professional” shoot.  Alrighty then……

Day One of setup.

It all begins with a piece of carpet.

And then the waiting walls are ready for assembly.

Worker Bees haul the wall panels over to the site,

And then, a few hours later, Behold the Walls!

In case you’re curious, here’s the back side.

At the end of Day One, we have something like this.  We’ve already got the furniture in, and the rest of the set up materials.  Time to call it a night.

Day Two

Time for the lights.  Lights are tough.  Second story stuff on ladders and step stools.  Extension cords.  Track lights. (I know, poor me.  For this I left “office work.”)

Then if you think the lights were a pain, wait’ll you get to the garland and Christmas lights.  Christmas lights are always a nightmare.  I always SWEAR I’m going to get in that box and fix the lights BEFORE the show. Never happens – at least it hasn’t yet.

More of the evil garland, waiting to be tamed.  (And of course it sheds those nasty fakey needles all over the carpet – but then it hides all the light cords, and supports the Christmas theme, so we deal.  At least I have to do this only once a year, right?)

Finally we come to the end of making the booth ready for art.  Time to go home and get the 3rd or 4th wind, and load the van.  All that, of course, is happening until about midnight.  Oh my, art is so hard.  (Kidding, kidding…..)

Day Three

The art is unloaded and at the booth.  Another long day ahead.  (Can you tell I’m tired already and still?)

And the first piece of art to be hung, of course, is my Horse image.  Long story about that horse.  It has saved my life so many times at art shows that I can’t tell you.  People, (especially Horse people), LOVE this horse.  I do, too.  New this year:  Gallery wraps.  (In fact, this one is already sold, on opening day!)

More art…

And then a little, or at lot, more art… coming together now.

And more…..

Back front wall – the abstracts

The “Cheap Thrills” Department – magnets, greeting cards, and new this year, lamps.

And…… we’re done!  Outside front wall.

And from the left out front…

After all this this, we have Tech Check, in which all the booths are inspected for lighting and safety issues and whatnots and this and thats, and then we’re released at the end of a LONG day, to show up bright eyed and bushy tailed, (uh, glazed and bushwhacked), for Opening Day!

And here it is!  The hall has been transformed.  It’s Dillodaze, and the show is ON!

A note about the Spirit Horse drum you’ve been seeing.  That was the first (and only) of the painted drums I had planned to add this year.  Somehow, as it does, time got away from me, and there was only the one, but it seemed appropriate to hang her for good luck.  And it worked…. that Big Horse is GONE!  By golly, we’ll have lots of drums next year.

And seeing how this is the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, and this is Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World, (or so they say), I should also include a shot of the opening act, beautiful Sahara Smith, enjoying a fast paced success, after years of pursuing her dream.  She’s the daughter of one of the artists, and I’ve known her since she was a kid.  Look at her now.  She opened for Raul Malo on part of his last tour, and then I caught her on Letterman a few weeks ago.  And so, I tell all of you…. Dreams Can Come True.  It’s all about PASSION!

Jimmy LaFave is singing to us toward the end of the first night.  I’ve had a great day, and nine more to go.  I don’t think I’ll be writing you about breakdown though.  I’m not ready to think about it yet.

Come see me if you’re in or close to Austin.  Merry Christmas, y’all!

‘Tis the Season, or Whatever

Posted in Uncategorized on December 4, 2010 by Queenie

I just watched a news video, (although I keep thinking I’ve sworn off the news), and I’m glad I caught it.  It was one of those moments, only it was real life instead of some Hollywood adaptation.  England I think, or somewhere in Europe, but I’m not sure, and it doesn’t matter really.  In a train station, from a security camera, and the scene unfolds.  People standing in crowds on both sides of the tracks inside the station, tracks running from lower left to upper right.  And then it happens – a man on the left side of the tracks falls down off the platform and onto the set of tracks closest to him.  Down and out, no movement.  People on both sides start pointing and yelling, obviously trying to get the people “in control” to do something, for, of course, there was a train coming.  Moments and too many moments of the pointing and scrambling, nothing happening, and then it did.  From the right side of the tracks a figure appeared, moved across the first set of tracks on his side to get to the other tracks, put his hands on the fallen man and drug him off to the right, and then, of course, mere SECONDS (not many at all) later, the train comes barreling down the tracks, where it would’ve made hamburger out of him.  And it was obvious there was no way it could’ve stopped or been stopped in time.  End of story.  Except perhaps the fact that the hero guy was an off-duty policeman.

So here then, is the rest of the story, the analytical part, that comes to me, and for me it is very timely.  Lots of things are going on.  I’m busy to distraction, but just lately I’m pointing myself in a new direction.  Instead of lamenting the sorry way that things usually are, I’m going about my business and being as happy as it seems righteously possible, and hope to be better about bringing a smiling face to the table instead of the grump who has been inhabiting my shell for the past several months.  I’ve been downright pissed, and I’m not even sure exactly why.  Any situation that has occurred has been at the consequence of a decision I have made, so I suppose the maddest I have been is at myself.  Well, that works, doesn’t it?  Or hopefully, finally, maybe it does.  Maybe it’s a chance to point the fickle finger at where responsibility for my life really belongs.  The perhaps “sad” point about such a revelation is that I’ve been here before.  I know this.  But alas, sometimes even the knowing isn’t enough for your hapless psyche not to go right ahead and put your own self in a sorry snit, and there you are.  And to further the point, NOW I insert something I wrote some time ago.  Here I thought I was all better, then, but no.   So now, I quote my own self, written weeks ago but not published:  (And who knew the station reference would be so prescient?)

I have spent some several previous days in a snit.  I may have to go look up the exact definition of snit, because I want to make sure that was just what I was in.  It wasn’t pleasant, and I’m wondering if there’s anyone to “blame” but myself.  Thankfully I have pulled out of that particular station, (sitting on the porch in the rain helped a lot), and Oh Yes, BLAME will likely be another candidate for discussion in these parts before it’s all over.  Seems I have a lot to say about that, too.  (Quel surprise.)  OK, here it is:

snit |snit|

noun informal

a fit of irritation; a sulk : the ambassador and delegation had withdrawn in a snit.

ORIGIN 1930s: of unknown origin.

Well, crap, I don’t mind the fit and irritation, (quite a pithy and accurate description), but I hate to think I’ve lowered myself to sulking.  Could fit, though.  And I must say, I have not been having a very good time.  And yet, I say I “know” about such things, and attitude being of foremost importance in most all and everything –  yet there I went slipping down the Attitude rabbit hole, (alas, there are many of them on the landscape, very many many), and bad thought begets bad thought and before you know it you’re smack in the middle of a big bowl of Bad Attitude porridge.  Yuck.  I know I don’t like it, but I seem to keep cooking it – every now and then – and then I remember how much it is I don’t like it.  Why do I keep cooking it???????

I espouse that everything, (within certifiable reason), should be fun.  So why is it that I have gotten my knickers in so many knots the last few weeks? Some things occurred that just blew out the Bad Attitude ballast and I’ve been rumbling and grumbling around ever since.  Doesn’t take much detective work to see that it was a little refresher course – a little Continuing Education, you might say – in getting all verklempt over situations that I can’t do anything about, and don’t want to participate in, anyway.  Any further emotion thrown into it is just buying more Victim Spice to throw in the porridge, and it always makes it taste even worse.

Alrighty then, back to the present.  Although who could much tell the difference?  Thing is, I had one of those epiphany things a couple of days ago.  Yes indeedy, I did, and just in time.  They are often so very timely.  I found myself in a place where I was, (now that I think about it metaphorically), feeling about like I was down on that train track and the train was coming.  My buttons got pushed right and left, (well, maybe it was just one BIG button), and I saw and felt myself go back into a well worn pattern, and I seemingly crashed, and fell down on the tracks, and here comes the train.  Once I got myself back home and quieted down a bit, and set my mind to thinking about it instead of being so swept up in familiar (shall I say it, addictive) behavior, I realized the folly of my self-inflicted drama.  How much longer do I have to bleed?  I got back into my sweller self, and sat down and started putting words to a song that has waited THIS long to have the words come.  The melody I’ve had in some way or form since 1968 – rather a long labor, I’d say, for actually the first song I ever wrote.  I’m still writing it, haven’t had the time and occasion to finish it, but I’m not worried now, it’s birthing, and I like it.  It’s had several fits and starts, but it just wasn’t time, and my intent wasn’t clear.  (Could’ve been another Boo Hoo Crying in Your Beer song, but I’ve already done that – not that it wasn’t good AND funny, thank you very much.)  And I just opened myself to feeling good about what’s happening in my life, (my choices, actually), instead of imbuing the goings-on with dread or negativity.  Gee, what do you think I might get out of something that I go into exuding negative vibes?  Duh.

Then it got pointed out to me by a bona fide source that I’ve been, shall we say, not the pleasantest of persons to be around lately.  Well, that’s no surprise – I haven’t been very pleased with being around my own self, so I guess that was the flavor of the season, and the reviews weren’t good.  Point taken, only to have it delivered AFTER I’d just had my epiphany seemed rather like a Cosmic Gotcha Moment, but I refused to be sucked in by it.  I already felt good, so why buy into more bad?  No sale, and my friend and I are talking about it honestly.

To get back to the original start of this entry, I’d like to put my moral on the train station story.  Man on tracks, impending doom, what to DO?  Most everyone there got animated and all pointy and yelling, and trying to get SOMEONE to do SOMETHING.  Well, somebody did.  Without waiting for the proper authorities who were “in charge” and in the end could’ve done nothing in time, one brave and responsible soul did what had to be done.  He went down on the tracks and saved the guy.  It took only one man, but one was all that was needed.  One man made a difference.  Everyone else just made noise about it, saw what needed to be done, but only that one man went down and did the deed.  Hero.

So the point of all this is, not that I want to be some hero, only that I want to be one of the ones who does the doing, instead of telling everyone else what needs to be done and only shrieking about the situation.  Despite the fact that I am quite astute about realizing what EVERYONE ELSE needs to do, (wish I could make a living at it), the most important thing is that I need to DO what I need to do.  Simple as that.  And of course, quoting that Queenie person again:  “It’s very often so simple, but not always so easy.”  Well, yes, OK.  But then again, maybe it is.  Maybe it is easier if we’d just let it be.  That very fact was recently related by my heretofore mentioned friend in a passage similar to this, (but oh so very different), when he said maybe things just could be easy, if we’d just let it be so.  Thank you Ara.

‘Tis the Season of Miracles.  I say I need to live one.  And just BE one.

In the midst of all this Revelation, I think I’m beginning to take a look at Forgiveness.  Well, there’s a big step.  Just in time for New Year’s Revolutions.  Stay tuned.