Thursday, February 16, 2017

mundane beauty


So turns out that I love camping. (I'm just going to write, because it feels good at the moment and I have so little control over anything right now, but I can sit here and write whatever comes to my mind...) I really love camping. I bought this 1995 pop up camper back in June, having never used a pop up, and only been tent camping a handful of times. But I'd been thinking about buying my own camper for over a year. So I did it. And I love it. I love hooking the camper up to my car and towing it. I had to learn how to do that, since I'd never towed anything before. It's fun, by the way. I had to learn how to set up the camper and take it down. It's exhausting, in the best possible way. I had to learn how to turn on the water heater, hook up the electric, work the little potty, and hook up the butane. I had to learn everything about it. Then I bought my first ever Texas State Park Pass. Actually that was a Christmas gift from my  husband. (It was a GREAT gift!!) And now that I've taken my camper across state lines, into two national parks, and camped in many different state parks, I'm having to do some maintenance. See the photo above? My electrical cord got dragged somewhere between New Mexico and Texas.

I decided to fix it myself. I watched a few videos on soldering, borrowed a soldering iron, and did it. (Heat shrink is really fun to use, by the way...)
So now the cord is fixed. Sadly, my blinkers and brake lights aren't working, but at least it has lights again, and electric. I may still have to take it to the pros to get a new cord installed, but I'm proud of myself for learning a new skill and giving it my best shot.

What exactly do I love about camping? It's my time. I get to disconnect from all media and Internet. I get to hear natural noises and sleep late, or wake up with the sun. I don't wear any makeup or even brush my hair. I get to drink lots of coffee and take lots of naps. I read and listen to my music. I am reminded that the people at home and everything they do can and will go on without me...quite well in fact.

I feel like myself again.

I've asked several friends to go camping with me, and they all say "Yes! I'd love to!"....but so far, nobody has. And I'm not the least bit upset about it.


And this is our newest dog, Hank. He's got to be over 40 lbs by now, and he's six months old. He's the cutest dog I've ever seen. He loves to camp, too.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Road Trip II

Remember the days when your chatty neighbor would have you over to the house to show you his vacation slides?...and then he'd spend thirty minutes fighting with his slide projector...and it would blow hot air and put off that dusty plastic-y smell?....let's do that. 

These are some of the photos I took on a recent road trip from Ft. Richardson (Jacksboro, TX) to Alamogordo, NM and back. Y'all squeeze onto the plastic-covered plaid couch. Get comfy. 

The building pictured above is the old hospital at Fort Richardson (US Army installation from 1867-1878).

Our guide told us that women were shorter back then, as this stove hit me about mid-thigh.

The pharmacy room was fascinating. The guide told us that although they could identify most common diseases back then, they rarely ever cured them. The medicines they concocted were just as likely to make the patient worse.

This was me marveling at the quality of light in this old building. I doubt the beautiful light was consolation for the hardships they endured...  :p   

There were two main rooms for injured and sick soldiers with twelve beds per room. 

This was the perfect ending to our day.

see above? This wide-openness is something that is so mysterious to me. I am filled with a sense of awe and emptiness, familiarity and isolation all at once...

From Fort Richardson we went on to the High Plains for Christmas. I'll write more about family later...or maybe not. I gained a lot of clarity on this trip, and gratitude. I'm so thankful for my friends. I have a wonderful group of people who keep me grounded. 

The day after Christmas we headed to Cloudcroft, New Mexico...where my grandparents had a cabin for over thirty years. There was just enough snow on the ground for the kids to have a snowball fight.

We camped in my pop-up and it was toasty warm at night! We had great camping neighbors who made the trip so much more fun.

We took a day trip to White Sands  . I've been a dozen times, but this place is so special to me. It's definitely one of my favorite places to photograph, and I did shoot a roll of 120 in my 1920's Voigtlander folding camera. 

Sometimes I wish I had a place like this to visit more often...just to be still and quiet. 

White Sands is located outside of Alamogordo, NM.
Clark Griswold has nothing on Alamogordo....

Ok. The last day of the trip we went to Carlsbad Caverns...yet another amazing National Park. Again, I'd been several times as a kid, but this time was even better. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty and majesty of these caverns. 

 It felt so good to experience so much natural beauty. I hope to make several more trips like this in the coming year. What about you? Been anywhere interesting lately? Had any epic adventures?

Can you believe it's 2017??!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Andrei Tarkovsky

I'm amazed by Andrei Tarkovsky's Polaroids. 

This blog post is a nice introduction to Tarkovsky and how he felt about his art.

I haven't seen any of his films...have you? What do you think? Do his Polaroids resonate with you?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Remember my comment recently about how "some people show up well-dressed, five minutes early, and cheerful"?


I've envied her for years. I admit it.

A few weeks ago I was shopping when she bumped into me. 
She literally fell into my arms. 

She cried hard, telling me how out of control life desperate and hopeless she was. She said she'd lost herself 22 years ago. Twenty two years.

I just held on. And then I cried a few tears of conviction, for being judgmental and jealous, assuming that her life was perfect, when she was in such incredible pain. It really did look perfect from the outside. Seriously.

But as I walked away, I felt so...convicted. You know? When a life-lesson hits you right in the face? STOP ENVYING OTHERS.

It steals my gratitude and turns it into dissatisfaction. 
It creates intense, dangerous discontent.
And it's a LIE.

Everyone suffers.

some folks just work a lot harder at hiding it.
and that in itself is a form of suffering, I suppose.