Friday, July 27, 2012

CURIOSITY. I've decided that it is one of the most important qualities that makes my life worthwhile. I don't understand those who are not interested in the fabric of things around them. Years ago, I sat in an outdoor restaurant patio one day with a sandwich and lemonade. We were traveling through California and it was a place I'd never been before. Next to the patio grew a beautiful tree with lovely shaped leaves. I admired it so much that I asked the waiter what it was. "I don't know," he said. "Do you think anyone inside would know?" "I don't know," he said. After I paid my bill, I went in and sought out the manager. He didn't know either and obviously, didn't care. I left without being able to name this beautiful tree. If it happened today and I had a cell phone, I'd take a photo and go home to the computer and ID it. Amazing Google, right? But that day, as I left I thought, how sad that this beautiful thing lived next to someone's workplace and it wasn't noticed. I wrote an essay called "Lint & Light" that's in our book,"The Desert Eternal" and published later in "The Art of Living, A Practical Guide to Being Alive", a book edited in Spain, but with an English as well as Spanish version. Someday I'll blog about that. The premise of my essay came from an art professor, Rhinehold Marxhausen, of Concordia College in Seward, NE who talked about noticing the things around us, something as simple as the design of the cracks in the sidewalk. He took colored lint from the dryer and made abstract art work from it. I still have one of his works. I suppose he taught me about seeing. But curiosity goes deeper. It would explore all sorts of things about that tree. Recently I was told there's a Catalpa sapling outside our house, along the pond's edge. I don't know anything about Catalpas, so now I'm off to find out more, feeding my curiosity.

Monday, July 23, 2012

VIVE LE TOUR. Each summer I go on a vacation to France, well, not really. With devotion, I watch 3 weeks of the Tour de France and I 've done so for about ten years. I can't remember how it started, and I didn't know anything about cycling, but I loved the 2 British men who commented, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. They talked of the Tour with its crashes and complicated race within race, and explained the rules and gave background, but they also commented on scenes of the countryside as more than a hundred cyclists went whizzing by. Lavender fields, maize fields, sunflowers. White cattle that are born brown. Special white vultures. Red and grey roofed villages and towns and cities. War memorials. Cathedrals, chateaus. The beaches, the Alps and the Pyranees. And not only do the athletes cycle in France, their bicycles tip into Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany and any other country akin to France. One year they started in Great Britain. The race ends in Paris on a wild ride around the cobbled streets of the Champ de Elysee. Oh yes, Bradley Wiggins from Great Britain won the gold jersey, the first time in history Great Britain caught that great prize. Funny thing is, I don't even know how to ride a bicycle with gears. But I love it. When we lived in Arizona, I even set my alarm for 4:30 on mountain mornings. I liked watching it live. As I mentioned, I'm a devoted fan.

With the photo. I was going for a small postage stamp, to the side, but that skill will come later evidently. So hope all will imagine the cover under my face and in a polite size.
   In nature news, a Blue Heron stopped by our bank yesterday, or so I've heard. He's on our pond, visits next door in the afternoons, and has for 20 years so I'll be on the lookout. I've never spotted him.
   I'd intended this blog to be about recipes that haven't turned out, but was distracted when our neighbor phoned to tell me about the bird. I rushed outside, but he'd flown away. Back to food.
  Ever so often, I make an old favorite and it's a disaster. Yesterday, the family came over and I made an old favorite, cucumber sandwiches. The simplest recipe. Roll white bread slice thin, add thin covering of mayo to one side, cream cheese to the other, cucumbers on top, onion salt, that's it. How could that go wrong? The bread was very fresh and rolled down to a thin height. I made the sandwiches ahead and wrapped in sandwich bags. I used whipped cream cheese. The result: a soggy mess that everyone politely ate, but I was sad. A family tradition ruined. Will I try again? I suppose so after an embarrasing interlude goes by. Send any other hints.

Friday, July 20, 2012

SO I'VE QUIT LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW and must now get to work. Our book "Cowboys & Wild, Wild Things", my writing and my husband Bob's photography has just been released by Amazon, in paperback and also for Kindle. It's cowboy and western poetry/free verse. Although we've published and been published traditionally, this is our first foray into ebook land. We had no idea there would be so much to learn. We're happy to have advice or input from anyone, writer/reader/candlestick maker. The Kindle version already has some really good reviews, but the paperback has none. It's a whole new world and we're running to catch up.
   I said I would quit glancing out the window, but 3 Canada geese just wandered by and plopped down in the green grass shade by the pond. If geese could read, I'd race out and barage them with questions about western poetry, since that's my focus this morning. Luckily they're safe from interruption, and will add a peaceful point of view to a day destined to be in the 100's.          

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ONE ELF LIVES. For a long time, our calico cat, Marbles, sat staring out the lower level family room window. Another bed of hostas rests even with the window sill. Bob finally went over to see what vision had mesmerized the cat and saw one of the little bunny elves snuggled up in the shade. Now the cat waits expectantly every morning for his companion. It doesn't look like the bunny has grown much. Maybe he's existing on hosta leaves. We've seen no mature parent rabbit hopping about.
   I am captive to the Tour de France this July, as I've been for the last ten years. I call it my yearly vacation to the mountains, beaches and fields of sunflowers. The biggest reason, in additon to the fine scenery, is that the European announcers, Phil Ligett and Paul Sherman, give the history of castles, cathedrals and other points of interest along the way: French Mountain Ponies prancing beside the cyclists, the saltworks, cheese factories, wineries. They also comment on the race. It's a 3 week visit that I look forward to it each year, so I'm now immersed in the rolling wheels and crashes of the tour. .

Monday, July 2, 2012

IT'S A CRUEL WORLD. This morning. I raised the shades and saw five huge crows stomping around on the street, hopping about and pecking the roadway. One rabbit chased after them as best she could. Then I saw the flattened fur that had drawn the dark birds' attention. I knew it was her baby and my buinny elf. One of them, at least. Since then, no chrming little faces have peered out from the backyard hosta leaves. Life. Beauty. Death. That's all there is to say.