Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dog Day Afternoon.....

Ever wondered what over 250 pounds of dog looks like??????

Even if the weight is distributed across eight legs, it is still a massive amount of dog. To put it in perspective, they are lying on a sleeping bag, unzipped and open to its full extension. Not much room left on there my friend!

These two do not normally hang out........just not that much in common (except weight of course!). But there is something about a beautiful cloudless 70-degree day in late January sandwiched between the snowfall last week and the one forecasted for next that makes those differences among us seem less significant and sharing a big cushy sleeping bag in the sun seem like the most important thing in the world.

A truce can be an amazingly complex and tricky situation.........but sometimes the solution can be as simple as having only one blanket in the sun.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ode to Jeans

Favorite Jeans #2
For some strange reason, my last post got me to thinking about single most favorite item of clothing for the past 44 years!

The best pair of jeans I ever had was the pair I wore from around 1968 until almost 1980, when they literally fell apart! They were size 1 (believe it or not, until around 2000, I weighed 98 pounds!), hip huggers ("low rise" for anyone under 35), bell bottoms ("flaired" or "boot cut" for today's youngsters) and had an American flag enclosed within a circle with a white peace symbol embroidered on top of it on the left hip pocket. Recognize the symbolism there?

I painstakingly sewed that patch on myself at a time when I could neither sew or had ever paid over $20 for a pair of jeans. For years, girls, and a few guys, would ask me where I got the "cool" jeans, and I wore them to every rock concert I could save up the money to attend at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock. This was back in the days when you arrived about 6 hours early to take advantage of the "open seating" policy so you became friends with the 20 or so other people packed in around you. It was also back in the day when people got trampled to death trying to take advantage of that "opening seating". I think of those jeans and I also think of the Eagles, Three Dog Night, Bob Seger, The Little River Band, REO, Journey, The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynard Skynard......the list goes on and on. And those jeans were there for it all. There were jeans before, and jeans after, but those were the best jeans EVER!

My second favorite pair of jeans were bought in 90s in Mobile, Alabama. Levis that I got on sale for less than $25 .......and I still have them! They are a bigger size than #1 favorite jeans, so fortunately, I can still wear them. But because of the painful death of favorite jeans #1 (although loved much, they were also abused much too!), I have shown favorite jeans #2 more respect.

Favorite jeans #2 are an endearment to me for more grown-up reasons. I have many fun and happy memories associated with this pair of jeans, but more importantly, these are the jeans I wore most often when I spent the night with my mother in the hospital during her final eight months of life. I would return home in the mornings and immediately wash them so they would be available for my next shift. There was something very comforting about these familiar old jeans in the new unfamiliar, uncomfortable environment. It was this pair of jeans I wore as I walked the halls of the hospital in the wee hours of Christmas morning , 2007, unable to sleep because I knew with aching certainty that this would be my mother's last Christmas on earth.

As hard as I tried, I have not been able to keep favorite jeans #2 in tact. They are badly faded, and the fabric is so thin the knees are worn through in the identical same place on both legs. Oddly enough, I have seen many similarly styled jeans priced between $100-200 in stores. Apparently, it is very labor intensive to distress a new pair of jeans to the degree I did over the past 15 years!

I just checked my closet..........there are 27 pair of jeans in there; different styles, different sizes (my weight fluctuates), and different price ranges. I have dress-up jeans, jeans to wear with boots (love em), jeans to do work in, and jeans to wear around the house. I have expensive jeans and cheap jeans. Some jeans look pretty good on, and some make me look like a short, overweight 60 year old........which isn't a far stretch.

It occurred to me that perhaps our jeans might be a metaphor for our lives.

Looking for answers? Maybe you should check your closet.

The Ironies of Life.......

One of my very favorite things about life is the irony of it all.
I have a very devout friend who gets frustrated with me when I talk in such terms, because she insists there is no such thing as a "coincidence", only God's will. But because my life has been a continuous stream of ironic coincidences, I tend to believe that God has much more pressing issues to deal with than to waste time constantly putting people, places and things that intermingle in and out of my life.
It is for this reason that my husband thought I should read James Redfield's "The Celestine Prophecy" back in the late 90s. I HATED it and felt insulted by the obvious supposedly "insights". Same with W. Paul Young's bestseller "The Shack". I couldn't even finish it because I found it so corny.
However, I did love Alanis Morissett's "Isn't It Ironic". Yes indeed it is!
So, now that I have set the stage, I want to share a piece of irony from today.
I have a friend (actually a friend of a friend) who is the curator of a museum in eastern Arkansas. He is very good at what he does and enjoys sharing the treasures of the museum with everyone. This week, he participated in an event involving curators from museums throughout the state who brought special displays to Little Rock to show the State Legislators what their museum has to offer and where the grants and dollars were going. At the end of the event, my friend emailed pictures of his display to several of us.
Now........."fast-backwards" (same as "fast-forward" only going in the opposite direction) to my youth, growing up in a tiny little Arkansas town. Although I had empirical evidence I was not, I was so out of place in my family and this town, sometimes, I entertained the possibility that I was adopted. After all, I am the only member of my family who doesn't have blue eyes, and it was the only thing that made sense to my scrambled youthful mind.
When in this state of mind, I had only one My most valuable possession was a six-transistor radio I got for Christmas in 1962. From that day throughout high school, I would lie awake, deep into the night with the radio under my pillow, antenna aimed at the window, and an ear phone (only one) in my ear. That way, my parents couldn't see it if they peeked in on me during the night.
The very best music was at nighttime when WNOE in New Orleans and WLS in Chicago would switch from solar power to powerful transmitters. After 1966, I listened to the country's first alternative music program on Little Rock's KAAY, Clyde Clifford's "Beeker Street" and in the 70s, "The King Biscuit Flour Hour", broadcast from eastern Arkansas. The simple fact that this music existed, and I was fortunate enough to hear it, sometimes motivated me to look forward to the next new day.
So..........I think you will understand the irony when I opened the email tonight from my friend's museum exhibit.........and this is what I saw.
Thank you Bill Branch for reminding me of something I hadn't thought about in a very long time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowy Sunday Evening

I suppose if snow made a sound as it hit the ground, that would be the only thing heard outside on the mountain tonight. But since it doesn't, it is eerily quiet.
The rocks that line the path from the house up to the pump house are almost invisible. I suspect they will be covered by morning.
We are as prepared as we can be.........all outside dogs are in enclosed, covered areas, each with his own doghouse containing two sleeping bags and heat lamps. My inside doggies are snuggled into their own blankets, oblivious of the world changing just outside their door. We have put out bird seed for the many tiny visitors stopping by, looking for the meal they can't find buried beneath the snow and ice. It is interesting to watch the tiny finches eating along side the vibrant red cardinals and the bully blue jays.
We have food, water, heat, and just-in-case the power goes out, plenty of dry wood for the fireplace, oil lanterns and flashlights, and our cell phones and laptops are on their chargers. I have gone through this routine for the past seven winters.......just seems natural now.
I love these winter nights on the mountain when we have electricity. Everything outside is so beautiful and I seem to have a tendency to turn inward and think about how very fortunate I am.
So on this beautiful Sunday night when the whole country is still reeling from the actions of one deranged individual in Arizona, I feel a bit guilty for the tranquility my tiny little piece of the mountain offers.