I've been a wee bit jealous of all of you folks out there who are lucky enough to be able to take winter wonderland shots of snow and ice, but...we've got the palm trees and the sunsets, oh yeah. This was a storm coming in over the mountains at our house in the desert. For a dozen or more pictures of desert creatures and some classic Palm Springs neon advertising signs you'll have to click the link at the end of this entry.
We all have headaches here today, and there is still so much to do before Christmas. Beau and Esther have had headaches since yesterday and I've been so dizzy that it's really hard to do much of anything. Just writing this is super slow going. It's much worse today than yesterday. It's such a weird thing because it comes and goes. I'll have a series of good days where I forget about this altogether and start to be able to live normally, then wham it comes back full force and then it's hard to walk, and I have to be careful not to move my head too fast.
According to my ear nose and throat specialist and the neurologist I have something called Benign Paroxismal Vertigo, which could improve over time, or may never go away. I haven't been able to share much about how I've been doing since my big bad car accident last July because there are still a bunch of lawsuits flying back and forth. I'm praying that the really unfair, super-oportunistic, multimillion dollar lawsuit has indeed been settled as my attorney says it is about to be. Mr. I-Started-The-Whole-Thing wanted 2.5 million dollars but has agreed to settle for one hundred thousand, mostly because he knows he bears a good deal of the responsibility and wouldn't want to risk a court case and all of the accident reconstruction that would bring. Lovely aint it? I've already said more than I should and I can't even link back to pictures of my smashed car because I've had to take make anything I've written about the accident private until it all settles down.
We have some new additions to our cat family but I have been a tad wary about sharing photos or talking about them. I just feel very protective of my animal family. Next to my tiny human family they are the joy of my life and I feel the need to protect them more now than I did in the past. The web world is so much bigger than it once was. I used to be able to write away here thinking that what I said was being shared with a small audience of like-minded people, but it just isn't that way any more. I've been hurt here; a minority of folks who would rather judge and condemn, than attempt to embrace and understand someone who is a tad unique, have taken swipes at my tender sides and left scars. It is because of this, more than the fact that I am often busy, that I don't write as often or openly as I once did, because of this that it takes longer to feel safe enough to open up and share things.
One of our newest rescue babies is a tiny albino Siamese kitten named Pinky for obvious reasons. All of his brothers and sisters were twice his size, and even though the pet store that had him was trying to use words like Teacup and Adorable to entice someone to buy him, no one wanted my eencie little friend, and because of this he spent four months locked in a cage. I couldn't stand it any longer. I thought he would die there covered in fleas so I broke down and rescued him with a big wad of credit card debt. I'm affirming that he will grow big and strong and that his kidneys will be healthy, but I've been down this road a few times before.
Sometimes the runts of a litter -- the little guys whose Mama cats can be cruel enough to pluck hungry from their nipples and dump far away from their nesting beds and boxes -- have genetic problems that their Mother's sussed out long before my vets and I ever do. Small can sometimes mean something more than cute, sometimes small means trouble, and so I worry, but I also pray.
We lost our wonderful and valiant little Tea Tea this way. His tiny organs just couldn't hold out, but I don't regret the countless hours of round the clock feedings, the worrying, the medicating, the work, and the love we gave him, because short as it was, his little life was a gift, and so it may be with Pinky, but life is always worth the fight.
This reminds me that Barbara Walters is re-airing her special about Heaven tonight. I loved watching this last year and think you might enjoy it if you can set your DVRs and Tivos to record it. I think it's on from nine to eleven.
This is going to seem so backwards but I have been wanting to share a whole bunch of pictures with you for so long now; some of them are awful but I took them to illustrate a story, and some of them are beautiful shots of nature in the desert. So starting with my shots of my latest Blythe dolly taken just after Halloween I'm going to share and describe pictures from post Halloween through Thanksgiving at our house in the desert.
The next batch will be all of the pictures I've been having fun taking of the Christmas lights in our neighborhood. I was feeling really lonely and oh so sorry for myself one night when after having experienced some real genuine sexual intimacy and closeness with Scott he decided to do his usual duck and hide act at his house and Beau was out with friends at a party, so I drove around my neighborhood trying to muster up some holiday spirit by looking at other people's decorations. Art always cheers me up and fills that cavernous hole that no one but God or Goodness or compassion for others can fill so I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures of all of the lights; corny or not they really thrill me. I'd take a still shot and then try to get weird, wiggly and streaky light effects by keeping the shutter open and moving the camera around. I loved the shots I managed to get and have been dying to share them with you, but as usual, there is always so much left undone that still needs doing, and I've already got this whole batch of pictures to share with you. So that's what's up next.
My poor hard drive is the biggest one I could afford to get in a laptop, but with all of the digital photography, my writing, and the vintage pictures I snag right and left to make collages with, it's almost full. I don't know how I'm going to manage to transfer all of these latest pictures onto this drive without creating some kind of image implosion. Oh well. Regarding image thievery, I'm a collage artist and unfortunately this art form has always borrowed from others. I have this whole Robin Hood thing about imagery on the Internets (I'm sorry but this joke is just never gonna get old, at least not while Bush is still sending our men and women to die in Iraq), which is why I always feel it's only fair of me to share my pictures with you. Have at them. I only wish I could share them super large so you could use them as your background or make cool prints and things, but I don't know who would host super large images, or even what the HTML would look like to put up an image with a link to a larger version of it. I know it's simple, I just never have to time to figure it out. I've been trying to get myself to sit down and learn how to do mouse overs for years now.
Just to be clear on the image borrowing thang; I absolutely respect other people's right to protect their own art as far as my using it to make a profit of any kind. I would be hurt if someone took one of my images, slapped it on a tee-shirt, or used it in an ad of some kind and sold it. I just don't feel the same level of respect for the images that get posted of postcards and vintage photos on eBay. Most of these prints and things are long out of copyright anyway. It's a very sensitive subject, I know, and super touchy for people so please don't think I don't care. I just don't see the harm in sharing something on my journal that I think is beautiful. I always try to ask for permission and credit the artists, but sometimes I find things on my computer that I've saved and I've lost the photographer's name. Bla bla bla, too much to do to go any further into this one...
Anyway here are all of the pictures, with their descriptions, put behind the cut because even though I clearly state that I don't want to use the cut on my journal, I end up getting complaints anyway and it hurts my feelings. Yep, I'm that easily offended.
This is a shot of my son Beau just before we mailed two unusual presents to my friend Mary who has had such a hard time of things for the last couple of years. I think you may remember that she has a house in New Orleans that was damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Compared to so many other people she and her husband were relatively lucky, but still. Then her cancer came back, for the third time a year ago September, and she has been on and off chemo for over a year. Then, as if all of that wasn't hard enough, her Dad died, and even though she is the pluckiest and most upbeat person I know, I really feel for her. Anyway, this is Beau holding a frog that was used as a prop in the movie Magnolia. God, I loved that movie. Mary had been making jokes about her plague ridden year, a year of tragedy on a Biblical scale, frogs falling from the sky and all that, so I thought our plague frog would be perfect for her. Plus, she's a writer and has tons of friends who work in film and television so props are good for her, even if they are gooey and weird. The crown and scepter were very expensive and bought from a super high end vintage jewelry seller who has been featured in Vogue and every other major magazine. (OMG she has the most amazing stuff, rhinestones to die for.) I have always had this affinity with New Orleans and Mardi Gras so when I saw this, (long before Katrina hit), I just had to have it. But as I would walk by it and see it sitting in one of my glass display cases downstairs I thought it just wasn't fair of me to keep it when it might mean more to her so I sent it off. I'd love to know which Krewe used it. The woman who sold it to me said it belonged to "the King" but there are lots of kings at Mardi Gras so who knows.
Here is my beautiful Blythe dolly made by richardw773 on eBay. Sadly, I don't have any more information about the artist who made her than that; his or her name on eBay. Maybe someone here could help me out?
I had fun posing her in our front yard and took tons of pictures of her, but this is probably more than enough for a pre-Holiday entry that is already overly long, and there are so many more pictures left to share.
This is a shot of one of the holes on the golf course that surrounds our house in the desert. It's a funny place, quaint and unusual in a fifties sort of way, with all of the streets named after places in Morocco. All of the houses are pink and you can't change anything outside your home without getting an okay from some board that determines what is or is not acceptable in terms of design, sigh. The reason I took this picture is to show you this cross on the hill that brings me so much cheer. I don't know who erected it but it acts as a kind of touchstone for me and helps me find my way home at night. I feel a sense of fondness for this symbol and even though my own spirituality is a derivative hodge podge of several religions I still have this tender place in my heart for the Catholicism of my childhood.
My Mother is... well, my Mother is... I don't know what to say about my Mother. I love her but she is a very strong willed person and can sometimes make decisions that aren't in our best interest. Penny wise and pound foolish is the phrase that most often comes to mind. I however and penny and pound foolish and am always working to improve myself in this area. I am overly generous and it gets me into trouble. But here is a case where Mom, in trying to save some money, ended up offending a good man, and costing us a good deal of money in the process. These pictures really don't do this story justice because I only got a couple of shots of the entryway. I wish I'd taken pictures of the atrium and the front of our house. But basically this is what happens when you get into an argument with your gardener about his small monthly fee and he decides to show you what life would be like without him.
The first two shots are of our front door and patio at our vacation house in the desert. I had finally persuaded my Mom to cut down these huge spider filled bushes that had been on either side of the door and we had put in a climbing vine that our gardener was going to train up a trellice on the wall there when Mom hurt his feelings and he threw in the towel. In the months that go by between visits to our home away from home, this vine had snaked it's way across the entrance to the house, and climbed up the walls on both sides of the entry. It has managed to snake it's way into the screen door to my bedroom and I ended up having to cut the whole thing back.
This is a shot of our citrus trees that are normally overly manicured for my taste, but not this time. If only I had a picture of the bougainvillea for you. It got so heavy after five months of growth that it fell off the wall in the atrium and kind of tripled over on itself. It was like a pink and purple jungle of flowers in there.
Beau and I were doing a little day after Thanksgiving shopping at one of the super malls out there when I drove by this tree filled with these cute little black birds who were singing so loudly that I had to pull over to try to get a couple of shots of them. They were soooo cute.
One of my favorite things to do out there is go to The Living Desert which is the coolest place. Beau didn't feel like going and Mom wasn't up to it so I went by myself and ended up taking pictures of some ordinary little desert dwellers who just happened to be there and who weren't part of any of the exhibits. There are some amazing animals there, but for some reason I thought it was more fun to look for birds and animals who were free.
Hummingbirds are so hard to capture, and so adorable. I WISH they would land on my finger but no luck there. This guy buzzed me though. I guess she was unused to being photographed and was curious. She flew right up to the lens and hovered but I couldn't get my camera to focus, darn it.
Here's another one I tried to take but the light was all wrong. I love these little birds so much. I think of my Father whenever I see one because I think he sends them to me, long story written one too many times.
I think this is a gopher. It took me forever to find him/her. I heard this cute little chirping sound that didn't sound anything like what I had imagined a gopher would sound like. I looked and looked and there he/she was, along with the rest of her family who ducked for cover as soon as they saw me. There was also a family of quail but they were too fast for me.
I had to be fast to catch these guys, as soon as they saw me they were gone.
This is our famous pink elephant car wash sign. It's hard to stop in traffic and get a shot of it. I got honked at pretty long and loudly for this shot. I just had to stop briefly and stick my camera out of the sun roof.
Here it is later that night on my way back from the antique mall. Everything is so mid-century modern out there now. All of the consignment stores and antique malls are filled with fifties kitsch and Danish modern. It's fun to look though.
I love the wiggly look of this one.
This shot reminds me so much of the way it used to be in the desert when I was a kid. It reminds me of my Grandparents and my Parents when they were young. I miss those days.
This was the first Christmas decoration I saw in one of the stores near my house. Oh wait, that's not true, the employees at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf had to stay late on Halloween in order to get their Holiday decorations up in time for morning coffee. I was so mad because I went in to get my tea and felt like they were rushing me past Halloween before I'd really had a chance to enjoy it. I remember when everyone waited until the day after Thanksgiving to put out their decorations. Not now. As soon as the last trick or treater has passed out from their sugar high, bam, up go the holiday lights.
I thought I'd end with my friendly neighborhood flock of crows. Oh right, it isn't flock is it, it's murder or something? Anyway, I love these little fellows, and even though it's fuzzy I still wanted to share it with you.
Okay, so that's it for an almost Christmas night here at the ol' cat plantation. I just helped Beau make a fun crafty project as a gift for my ex brother-in-law's girlfriend. Beau is going over to my ex in-laws, (sob, sob), house tomorrow night for an early Christmas get together and part of their sweet Secret Santa exchange is to give something hand made to the person you drew, in addition to the store bought present.
Beau hadn't told me anything about this until ten this evening so it wasn't like there was going to be enough time to make something super complicated. Luckily I have plenty of really sweet vintage Christmas cards on hand, so I picked out a really cute one from the forties of two children climbing the stairs in their red PJs with holly, poinsettias, and ornaments on it. I cut it out in a nice shape, glued this to some stiffer backing, left a little pocket so you can slide the kids in and out, added glitter decorations, and the letter L for Lori to one of the children's jammies, then punched a hole in it, threaded some red ribbon through that, and presto, a sweet vintage ornament for Matt's girlfriend.
Und now ve dance...
Love you guys,