Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,

Loving Nature in Our Desert Vacation Home, ATCs, Beau and Online Gaming, The West Wing, Clutter and

Hi Everyone,

We're still away at our vacation home in the desert. We should have come home last night, but for anyone who's known me for a while this should come as no surprise -- we always lag behind when we come out here. Of course this means that Beau is missing another day of school and my stomach is in knots about it. He brought his computer so he's busy working away on his portfolio. This is his last week of school before he just has to present his portfolio next week. He has half days all this week and then only has to come for a couple of hours next Wednesday and then Friday to get his yearbook and say good-bye to everyone.

I love the clean air, the mountains, the open spaces that are quickly filling in : ( the lack of traffic, the ease of finding a parking space, the mellow pace of things, the big swimming pool, and the fact that I actually feel like moving around and exercising a bit when we're here, being with my tiny family, (if only Scott would come), and most importantly, the quick glimpses of nature that we catch now and then. When we first pulled in to our street we saw one of our local road runners slowly crossing the street and then later the same day she was foraging for buggy snacks on our porch. They are just soooo cute.

We have great, big, floor to ceiling sliding glass doors all across the side of the house that faces the golf course, and through them we not only see the golfers, (and hear the smack of their balls against the walls and roof of our house,) the beautiful rolling lawns, the purple jacaranda trees that are loaded with flowers, the citrus trees overburdened with their heavy fruit, and the swaying palms, but all of the creatures who scurry on by or light on the branches of the trees for a moment or two.

Sunday I saw a HUGE red and orange dragonfly perched on a tree limb and a lovely yellow butterfly. The crows are fighting with smaller birds in the palm trees who are protecting their nests. There are tons of crickets chirping away at night and frogs and little desert dwelling creatures scurrying around. There are stars at night that we never see in Los Angeles and the air is perfumed with blossoms. It's nice here despite the miserable heat that forces us to stay indoors during the day.

I was so happy yesterday because there was a West Wing marathon on Bravo. I'm a super late comer to this show, (I only started watching it this year), so the only way I get to catch up on all of the many missed episodes is via the DVDs or repeats. It was a marathon that touched off my respect for this well written show in the first place.

I think this is the best way to watch television, everything back to back without commercials. I hate having to wait a week or longer for a two part episode or to see the conclusion of some story line, just hate it. I caught both seasons of The Office this way, on DVDs I rented from Netflix.

I was looking forward to seeing the end of The Sopranos on Sunday but instead I wound up watching the beginning of a movie about vivisection, lovely, as soon as I saw the dog laid out on the table I flipped channels. I love Alan Rickman, I so wish he hadn't picked this project.

Beau has been busy playing his Star Wars Galaxies RPG game and when he isn't doing that he's playing Sims Online or watching Cartoon Network so he's pretty happy. The only drag about these online games is that they cost money, not just money to buy the games, but money to keep his accounts up and money to buy fake money or credits to use in the games, sigh. Why can't I be someone who figures out a way to make money instead of someone who is forever spending it? Spending real money to buy cyber money just feels...wrong.

We also go swimming of course and rent videos at Blockbuster. So far, on this brief trip, I've seen Girl With a Pearl Earring, (which I was sorry to have missed last year as I try to catch everything with any kind of Oscar nomination before the show), Veronica Guerin, Second Hand Lions and 28 Days Later. I wanted Colin Firth and Scarlet Johansen to consummate, oh let's just be honest here and say, I wanted to see them get it on. I loved the movie, the slow pace, her pale luminous skin, the period it was set in. I love period costume dramas. I love Cate Blanchet so naturally I enjoyed Veronica Guerin. Second Hand Lions was sweet and I'd seen 28 Days Later when it was out but Beau wanted to see it and I wanted to see the alternate ending which I hated, I much preferred the one that we saw in the theatre originally.

When the weather's better one of our favorite things to do is go to The Living Desert where I invariably put my hand into the sand cat's cage and get scratched -- some people never learn.

I finished making my ATC, (altered trading cards), for the Collage Cats group that I belong to. It's our second anniversary. I hated the first card I made -- it looked too easy, typical, and commercial and like a lot of the other cards that everyone is making now, present company excluded. Then I made a second, a third and a fourth and hated each one less than the one before it. Beau even made one, it's so sweet, I'd put it up for you if we had the tools here in the desert to do it. We've had to promise not to scan and share the other cards until the trade is over.

There's a sameness to a lot of the ATC collage work and altered book work that people are doing. Mellissamh was complaining about the same thing recently. I don't like when I make something that looks like the same thing everyone else is doing but it's kind of hard now to be different. I was putting wings behind people and animals over ten years ago, but now I kind of feel guilty when I do it because everyone else is doing it too, and I'm just neurotic enough to worry that people will think I'm copying them or following the trend. I was gluing Scrabble letter pieces to work that I did long before I saw anyone else doing it, seriously, long, long ago. I thought it was my idea, but then suddenly certain magazines took off and everyone was doing it, and now they're even making stickers that look like little Scrabble pieces, which didn't stop me from using them in this recent trade cause they look sweet.

I wish I was organized enough and had the time and drive to make these all the time. Some of my ATC friends are so prolific it just blows my mind. I don't know how these amazing beings manage to take care of their partners, children, pets, friends, homes, jobs, and health and still find the time to create as much as they do. I admire them so much. I want to be like them but it seems as if there's never enough time in a day and there is always something pulling at me.

One thing I could do, that I know would help me, is to get the damned garage/art studio in order, then I'd have a nice, clean, dedicated space to work in. The problem is that we have so much stuff, we're such packrats, that there just isn't any space anywhere and all of our rooms have to be multipurpose, even the garage when we finish with it. We've built a second level with a little pull down staircase for storage but it won't hold everything we need to store. Our storage unit is costing us close to four hundred dollars a month and I'm too broke to keep paying for it, so we're going to have to move out and store everything at my mother's house, something I'm not too comfortable doing, considering Rosa can just help herself to anything we leave there, and the place reeks of damp.

There was a Clean Sweep marathon on all day yesterday and this was the first time I had ever seen this show. For those of you who haven't seen it, it's a little like those home decorating shows, Trading Spaces, and While You Were Out. They select a family of hopeless clutterers, show up with a crew of hosts, organizers and decorators, clean out a couple of bedrooms, and give the poor, befuddled people forty-five minutes to sort through a lifetimes worth of clutter that has been hauled out to the yard and set down on tarps. More than the Sharon Osbourne show, or anything else, except maybe Oprah, I belong on this show.

On a funny note -- and this is for Tara -- when I signed on to AOL today, (yes, I know, much to my own chagrin and the diminishing voices of my friend's taunts, I still use them), there was a little ad for the celebrity sign on sounds that we can download and use. You know those sounds that AOL is famous for, the "Welcome," "You've Got Mail," and "Good-bye"? Well, I was tiring of Mick Jagger, David Letterman, and Lisa Kudrow so I thought I'd switch them to someone new. I browsed through the usual music and TV/film categories looking for something funny, I picked Trump saying, "You're Fired," for my sign off, even though it's kind of old now, but then I clicked the "other" category and got the biggest laugh when I saw that they've actually put up a cicada. I so wish I could share the sounds with you somehow but I don't know how to grab them. They actually recorded and created three different cicada chirping files for us -- too funny. I know they're really "bugging," lol, all of you but I so wish I were there on the East Coast to see them. There are very few things in nature that don't inspire me and give me joy.

I'm catching up on my Lili Taylor videos. Right now I'm playing Bright Angel and next up is Household Saints. I'm reading Ann Leary's, (Dennis Leary's wife,) book, An Innocent, A Broad, and Swimming With the Dead by Kathy Brandt. The first book is about the preterm birth of the Leary's baby in the very early days of his career when they were both poor and had gone to London for a booking. Their baby was born weeks early and unlike my Beau, who was also born early, their little guy needed to stay in the hospital for a couple of months which meant that Ann had to stay as well. It's a good book for anyone who likes sweetly comedic bios about young moms, stories about young couples starting out, preterm babies, London, or Dennis Leary. The second book is a fun light read and was written by a certified, scuba diving author, which is of course right up my underwater alley, and is about a Colorado scuba diving cop who winds up getting sent to the BVI's to investigate a murder.

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