Friday, June 30, 2006

sticking to it

Here's a fun new blog I found called Bum Glue--done by a writer here in town who puts on practice writing workshops. Also puts out a newsletter, which I get, called Write Now, which details writerly stuff going on in town. I always get a little nugget of encouragement out of her newsletters--if you're a writer, check it out!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

you say it's your birthday (bah nah nah nah nah nah)

my little blog experiment started a year ago tonight... not sure if that's noteworthy or not, but it gave me pause to reflect! if nothing else, i've had fun writing again!

posting may be scant this summer--after bedtime is my prime writing time, and now that the kids are out of school, all bets are off as to when bedtime will be each night! i intend to keep at it, however hit and miss it may be!

i've run out of my exclamation point allotment, and now i must go to bed!

Friday, June 23, 2006

the orange route, part one

“I’m not from these parts—I’m what you call a transplant,” she tells me in what I discover later is a manufactured southern drawl. “Moved here from Chicago seven years ago. Packed up three kids, two dogs, four cats, two iguanas and my houseplant—which has a story of it’s own, you understand, couldn’t leave it behind—and headed out here on a whim. My boyfriend followed three weeks later—the cord is short, I tell you. What else can I say? I’ve been here long enough, though. ‘Bout time I move on. Can’t stay in one place too long. We’ll see who follows me this time.”

I gauge her to be early sixties, with long, fading red hair that blows, unstyled and untamed, around her seasoned face. Her freckles pop out around her glasses, which she passively nudges back up to the bridge of her nose after each drag on her cigarette. The blue in her eyes matches that of her wide assortment of accessories, and as she leans forward, I discover she is braless under her flowing, similarly blue shirt—a fact that somehow doesn’t surprise me.

“What they call a lake here is a joke,” she informs me, and though I can’t get a word in edgewise, I am inclined to agree. Having, like her, been reared along the Great Lakes, I have some difficulty conceptualizing the small river that runs below my hotel window—which, I’m told, is dammed on both ends—as a “lake.” But, always one to participate in the spirit of things, I squint real hard and tilt my head to one side and try to visualize a lake where a river flows. “A friend took me to see a lake up north of here—I stood there and could see the other side. ‘Where’s the lake,’ I asked her. ‘That is the lake,’ she told me. ‘That ain’t no lake—I could ride my bike around that in an hour!’ I told her. ‘Show me a real lake.’”

She pulls her hair back from her face—a futile gesture—and attempts to light her third cigarette with an emptying lighter—yet another. As she talks, ash flutters down around her, covering her lap and neighboring white straw Stetson, smoke swirling mercifully in the opposite direction from where I stand. She blows more sideways out the corner of her mouth, motioning perpetually with both hands like a marionette with the mouth and the arm strings somehow connected on the same stick.

“I’m a decent at the Austin Museum of Art—I love bringing art to life for kids—and I consider anyone under thirty a kid, let me tell you.” She points at me with her cigarette, looking me in the eye to see if I flinch. I do not let on that I am no longer a child. She continues. “So many docents are just ‘blah, blah, blah.’ I like to liven things up a little.” As she goes on, I learn she docents as well at the Texas State History Museum as a Ranch Hand, and went through training to lead “Haunted History” tours for The Hide Away which includes a pub crawl through the adjoining basements of several historic 6th street bars. Once again, I am not surprised.

Her delight in story telling, immediately evident upon sitting down next to her at the bus stop, is no doubt an asset that has served her well in these pursuits. Indeed, I remember encountering her a few hours before as she explained to a seven-ish looking young man the advent of branding cattle. “Image that someone suddenly decides that any steer that doesn’t have your name on it is fair game to add to his herd! Now, wouldn’t that just get under your saddle?” She punctuated her question with a finger into his chest—he stared back at her blankly, uncertain how to respond to her animated inquiry. I seem to recall chuckling—men of all ages seem uncomfortably uncertain what to do with a lively woman.

(to be continued…)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

deep in the heart of texas

P6176346, originally uploaded by as we see it.

back from almost a week in austin with the hubby. here are five "faves" from the 188 pics we took! to see the rest, click on any of the images and then go to the "austin" set. (just to warn you, they aren't all rotated--so if the picture looks funny, tilt your head to the right and see if it gets any better!)

hope to post some of the stuff i wrote there in the next day or two!

south of congress

P6176374, originally uploaded by as we see it.

otherwise known as "soco." great galleries--had a blast shopping!

shopping in soco

P6176385, originally uploaded by as we see it.

quite a tail you got there...

P6186415, originally uploaded by as we see it.

the armadillo tail (yes, you read that correctly) on austin's city hall.

a capital experience

P6146218, originally uploaded by as we see it.

they aren't kidding when they say EVERYTHING is big in TX. the capital building is HUGE!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

just beyond dusk

The sky is green on the west horizon, tall maples and pines stark black against its hue like intricate scherenschnitte cut with large, divine hands using small, impossibly sharp scissors. It stretches from the treetops of High Street to the rooftops of Indianola Avenue, turning to deep blue as it spans across our home on its way to the other side of the neighborhood. The moon carves its bright crescent curve out of the darkness, followed by star, after star, after star…

All is quiet now—chirping children and babbling birds alike—save for the low roar of the interstate and the occasional rumble of northbound trains in the not-so-distant distance. This is when my ears begin to perk up, searching the silence for the herald of summer, beseeching him to make his sweet, gentle music and set my spirit at ease. He does not disappoint me, this harbinger of both good fortune and great joy, as he slowly tunes his instrument, picks up his bow, and begins to play. He is rewarded with a contented sigh.

Deep, blue darkness has pulled its thick blanket across from east to west and the paper-cut images of trees have disappeared into the darkness. We are tucked in for the night—the lullaby of summer playing softly outside the window, which is finally unbolted and opened wide. I will sleep, tonight, in the tender caress of the almost-summer breeze, and dream sweet dreams of lightening bugs twinkling over vast wheat fields filled with a symphony of crickets.

Friday, June 02, 2006

curtain call

I had a little trouble with my daughter starting first grade, but, in the end, we both passed with flying colors.

The pretty one, the funny one, the smart one, the fast one, the loud one, the friendly one, the polite one, and the rambunctious one-- they can all take a bow!

(If anyone has read the script for second grade, I'd love to know what part we'll both be playing!)