Button Sunday

I don’t know why this button makes me laugh so hard, but so be it.

Early afternoon one day, Jim and I were sitting in the office drinking coffee and talking when I spotted a female cardinal under one of our trees. Jim turned around to watch for her and was rewarded by the sight of her mate in his gorgeous redness. He’d never seen a cardinal “in person,” so hey, Houndstooth Hall is like a nature preserve. (We won’t talk about the sighting of the palmetto bug about the size of the cardinal…)

The day we went to Body Mind & Soul, I was studying the shelves of Tarot and other cards to see if anything caught my eye–and the animal spirit guide deck did. There was an open box for interested shoppers, and when I turned the deck over, the card on top was the Cardinal. Jim and I locked surprised eyes; Debby spotted an unopened deck; and Jim made a gift of it to me. Now I need to learn how to read and lay out this deck in my leisure time. (ha ha, leisure time, so funny)


Welcome to the new age

One of the days that Jim was here, he, Debby, and I went out to lunch at another new-to-me place, House of Fries, who makes up in burger tastiness what it lacks in ambiance, proving once again that my parents were right when they stopped at unprepossessing eateries on trips because “that’s where the best food is.” While we were there, Debby said it sounded like the restaurant had hacked into my phone’s playlist, which currently leans heavily toward One Republic and Imagine Dragons (from whom I borrowed the title of this post). I told them that while Tom and I were on our trip, I realized that something I’d done to the phone had muted the sound on the car stereo, and Tom said, “It’s okay. We just missed a lot of Coldplay.” Shortly after that story, the restaurant played “Viva la Vida,” so maybe Debby was right. Thieves!

Among other things we did that afternoon was visit our favorite Body Mind & Soul. It’s a seductive store for me because of its serene atmosphere and the beauty of everything there and how invitingly it’s displayed. I want to BUY BUY BUY. As long as I can find one item that entices me and focus on it, I’m usually safe. This time it was a lovely selenite wand in a pencil shape. First, I love pencils, and second, I love the look and feel of this delicate form of gypsum. And I love that when I bought it, the woman checking me out took out her chime (a somewhat larger version of my own) and cleared the crystal. No merchant has ever done that for me before. Nice touch, BM&S!

There are lots of places to read more about the metaphysical properties of selenite on the Internet–GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. For me, it’s already started being a self-soothing tool for excessive tension in my neck and shoulders and a thankfully brief headache.

I guess this post is sort of a thank you note to Selene, Greek goddess of the full moon, for lending her name and energy to selenite. I do love the moon. And I love the memory of shopping with Debby and Jim.


Pet Prose: Spyro

Author photo.

“Some days it felt like she had to work hard not to be cynical. It could be that she was tired to the bone. It could be that she never felt surprised by people any more. She’d had many years to see the best and worst of them, but it was their predictability, finally, that had worn her down.

Still, every night around dusk, she took the tools of her profession to the same spot outside the fenced park where the vendors gathered to wait for the tourists. She set up her table and covered it with the beautiful cloth a friend had brought from her travels in India decades before. The colors had dimmed, but in the light cast by the period street lamps and her candles, that didn’t matter. The fabric was just exotic enough to lend authenticity to the service she offered.

She placed her crystals and wands strategically on the table and took her cards from their scrap of silk. A stick of nag champa and a cleansing ritual, and she was ready for business. Until the first clients came, she could observe at leisure. She noticed the skateboarder, whose name she didn’t know, and his dog Milly. Some of the others didn’t like the skateboarders, but she’d long ago stopped being quite so precious about the marketplace. Skateboarders, musicians, beggars, shamans, or charlatans–there was room for all of them. Besides, Milly was a beautifully behaved dog and her young man was always polite. His eyes were intelligent and had a bit of mischief. As far as she was concerned, the world needed a little less meanness and a little more mischief.

Behind her, on the other side of the little park, she heard the cellist and the violinist begin. She closed her eyes for just a moment, breathing in whatever good energy there was, and then heard a sound she’d never thought to hear again, certainly not in the middle of the city. She tried to process the clamor of people’s reactions to what they’d heard, then opened her eyes just as the skateboarder and Milly hurried by. He tossed her a pouch and said, ‘Hold on to that until I find you again.’

She felt a moment of confusion and then, magnificently, wonder. The night was suddenly full of surprise.”

From Spyro’s novelĀ Scorpio’s Deck.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.


The pie and coffee’s on you

One evening in Southern California Jim was watching the news when they did a feature on Houston’s Flying Saucer Pie Company. He asked if I’d ever been. When I said no, he told me to put it on the agenda. (I’m supposed to make notes between Jim’s visits of stuff he and I think we’d like to do when we’re together again.) I added it to the list.

Coincidentally, Lynne had bought a couple of pies from there to take to a meeting and what wasn’t eaten she brought here to share with us. We learned that Flying Saucer makes all their pies from scratch without weird additives or preservatives, so they need to be eaten within a couple of days, and some won’t do well refrigerated. After sampling Lynne’s pies, we decided we should taste test a few more–you know, in the interest of science and research.

So this was another venture to a new-to-us place. I think the mural on the wall looks a little like Alien Gandhi, but maybe that’s just me.

Peach pie, apple pie, key lime pie–all thumbs up.

Even though I don’t have Showtime and can’t watch the continuation of Twin Peaks, I can at least enjoy three minutes of damn fine cups of coffee and miracle pie. And so can you.


And the Oscar goes to…

Someone is being very dramatic about having to wear a muzzle because he wants to bite Jim. Now he just bonks him with the muzzle and Jim ignores him, exactly as the trainer told us should be done.

So there’s nothing left for Jack to do but hurl himself on the couch and contemplate the injustice of life. Or when he might get his next meal.


Button Sunday

Today Tom, Tim, Jim, and I tried a new-to-me restaurant in the Heights called Lola. (That’s right, L O L A Lola.) The food is all locally sourced so of course that appealed to my hippie-ish vibe, and even better was how the decor was very Keith Haring and Tim just happened to be wearing a Keith Haring T-shirt. Here are a couple of shots I took inside.

Our table was next to the window. At one point I glanced out and a bird, probably a grackle, was sitting on a half-wall outside the restaurant keeping his eye on us. I pointed him out, saying I was having a kind of Hitchcock moment, and Tim reminded me to fight him off with my purse. (That sentence is making me think of two things: a poem Mark Doty wrote about Houston grackles and Mattel’s Tippi Hedren doll. I feel like a Gemini going off in all directions mentally.)

ANYWAY, later we went to the Menil Museum and I swear, every single damn work of art seemed to have a bird or an allusion to a bird or a bird shape somewhere in it. Birds became the theme of the day, and at one point I did say, “Bird is the word.” Thus today’s button.

Later, I snapped a photo of Timothy and Jim under James’s favorite Tree of Trees. How I love my tribe and making new memories to join the old ones.


Pet Prose: Mr. Cookie

Author photo.

“It was October of my senior year in high school when my grandpa died. I already wasn’t having a good year and taking a road trip with my parents and my kid sister to rural South Dakota–isn’t all of South Dakota rural?–was not my preferred method of ditching a week of school. Plus I’d loved my grandpa. We didn’t get to see him a lot, but he had a knack for making a kid feel like what he said and thought mattered.

The rest of the family lived closer than us, so they’d made it to his old farmhouse a day or two before we did. It was easy to see that most everybody had reached a point where they’d eaten and drunk too much and gotten all their nostalgia out of the way. They were ready to rehash old battles, argue over who should get what stuff, and generally be jerks. Nobody was talking about Grandpa.

After a couple of hours of listening to them and eating yet another scoop of another casserole brought by basically the entire population of South Dakota, I slipped into Grandpa’s room, sat on his bed–way too soft–and stared at the floor for a while. I was considering taking a nap when I noticed his old work boots tucked under his dresser. They couldn’t possibly be the same ones he’d worn when I was a kid, but they looked the same. They reminded me of times when he and I walked around the property before he’d gotten too old to farm and sold most of it off. Or when we’d slosh through the muddy ground that led to the pond where he taught me to fish. I thought of rides on the tractor, feeding the cows, and trying to make the mules let me ride them–they never did. I thought of the year he bought goats and the goats decided they wanted to live in the house. His goat stories had made my sister and me laugh so hard she’d peed her pants, but Grandpa just did some laundry and kept her secret.

I slid out of my Chucks and stuffed them into the oversized pockets of my army surplus field jacket that my mother hated. Then I slipped into Grandpa’s boots, laced them up, and stood. They were a perfect fit. I was pretty sure nobody was going to notice the battered old boots as long as I didn’t call attention to them, but I still tried to make myself invisible as I walked through the scattered groups of quarrelsome family members and outside to our car, where I hid my sneakers under the driver’s seat.

I turned to go back inside and almost stumbled when my feet suddenly decided to take a sharp left. I shook my head and again tried to turn toward the house, but my feet were not cooperating.

Or maybe it wasn’t my feet. The hair on the back of my neck stood up as I considered that Grandpa’s boots just might have their own plan for where I was going next.”

From Mr. Cookie’s work in progressĀ These Boots.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.


Photo Friday, No. 558

Current Photo Friday theme: Orderly

For a while, we’ve been including CD holders among our holiday and birthday gifts to Tim so he could get his music collection in order. He has filled up a couple of the holders, but it’s one of those projects that requires more leisure time than his job and RPM board membership give him. So Tom has been alphabetizing Tim’s massive CD collection and putting them into the CD holders. I can’t wait to see how many holders are filled when this job is over. And then I can’t wait to start ripping some of this music because OMG TIM HAS EVERYTHING.