"I am playing with myself,
I am playing with the world's soul,
I am the dialogue between myself and el espiritu del mundo.
I change myself, I change the world."

Gloria AnzaldĂșa

27 April, 2009

More End of the Semester Fun

I was feeling blue after meeting with a student this morning. "Sally* dear, when there are no words in the essay written by you, it is called plagiarism."

But then this got sent around.

I want to take this class. I would especially enjoy week one, "Reading is Stoopid," because reading essays is stoopid.

But it beats digging ditches for a living (as my friend Pat likes to say).

21 April, 2009

Walk in the Park

Tanith, Susan, and I went for a walk today. I took seventy-one pictures, but I'm only going to share a few--for now.

The smell of cedar was overpowering. Not only were there many cedar trees in the park, but the park workers were spreading fresh cedar mulch over all of the paths.

The moth on these flowers would not open her wings--no matter how much I begged.


More sweet little flowers.

And here's a little guy who is fertilizing all those sweet little flowers.

17 April, 2009

The Cutest Puppy in the World


Bess has been having the time of her life lately. Tanith and Wren have been visiting, and, while she loves them both, Tanith is Bess' BFF.

Indeed, I am going to have to double check to make sure Bess is in the yard when Tanith drives off for Big Bend and points beyond. I wouldn't put it past either one of them to pull a fast one on me.

09 April, 2009

Talking to the Dead


My mother died in February of 2004. I got a full time job at my alma mater shortly after that, and I know how much she would have enjoyed being a part of that transition.

One day, I was walking on campus and I came across a beautiful sight at one of the streams. I thought, "Oh, Mom would love this. I have to come back with my camera and take a picture so she can see it."

I knew right away how crazy that sounded. Indeed, I refrained from going back with a camera (something I'll always regret). But that was the beginning of a thought pattern that has become familiar to me. And shortly after that, I began to take pictures for Mamma.




This is actually a picture I took for her while she was alive. She loved West Texas and Big Bend national park in particular, and I knew this scene would thrill her. I guess I've been doing this all of my life--taking pictures of things that make me think of her--documenting my journeys for her.

Mamma always wanted to travel in the Southwest--go to Arizona and New Mexico--see the places Georgia O'Keeffe painted. So I thought of her quite a bit when I was driving through New Mexico and Arizona a couple of Thanksgivings ago.


And recently, I was driving down Austin Highway in San Antonio, and I noticed that the McNay had a new statue on its grounds. Immediately I thought of how much Mamma would have loved that statue. It took me two weeks to get myself to the grounds to take the picture, but I'm sure she appreciates it.

I don't know why the magic of saving an image in pixels or on film--and now the magic of being able to manipulate that image on my computer--seems to me very like the magic of communicating with the dead. It is something about holding an image as it was in the past--about freezing time--that works for me. At any rate, I do still take pictures for Mamma. And I know that much of my desire to learn about photography is connected with her. Just keepin' in touch.

How do you talk to the dead?

07 April, 2009

This Just In Too

I heart Vermont. And this time it WASN'T "activist judges;" it was the legislature! Yea Vermont!

Sometimes a picture tells a thousand lies

Okay. I love the photo I have for my new header--it's a statue on the grounds of the McNay Art Institute. Unfortunately, it's a lie.

I am not feeling at all spiritual and centered these days.

Let's just think of it as a positive affirmation, shall we? I am calm. I am centered. I am in touch with my divine nature.

Please send chocolate.

05 April, 2009

Sunday is Artday

Today was Family Day at my favorite museum!


Believe me, there was a great deal of beautiful art. We didn't see it all, but we left with our minds and our hearts full. But I'm not going to post any art because. . .

In addition to the art, there was fun!

And there was the making of art!


And then, of course, there was the obligatory posing.

And then we were off to Susan's reception. But I'll have to post about that another time; it's late, and I have to be at work early. Night, night!

04 April, 2009

simple saturday


I took this photo last Saturday at Enchanted Rock, but it fits my mood today.

This Christmas I bought a nice camera for myself--I decided I really wanted to explore the artistic side of my nature, and I thought a camera was a good place to start. I've really enjoyed playing with it.

02 April, 2009

In Dogs I Trust

Years ago, when I worked at a long term care facility for the mentally ill, I had a patient who had severe bipolar disorder. Lorraine was sometimes severely depressed--sitting in a dark room peeling the paint off the wall--sometimes violently paranoid--restrained in a chair or a bed with locked leather restraints--and sometimes thoroughly delightful. I loved Lorraine. There was a time in Lorraine's cycle when she was just entering mania, when she was funny and sweet and sharp. I would get off the elevator at 11pm, and Lorraine would be sitting in the nurses station with her nightgown hitched up like a short skirt, her long legs crossed at the knee, and a cigarette dangling from her fingers like a wild, liquored up Lauren Bacall. "There she is!" She'd shout, "My little girl! My little darling!" And then an aside in a lower voice, "She's queer for dogs, you know."

I am, you know.

I know it seems silly to non-dog lovers, but dogs fill a primal need in my life. They are unconditional acceptance, consistent love, instant forgiveness, constant companions, and a presence of pure joy. What is not to love?

I know I'm not alone in this. When I studied Proto Indo-European linguistics, we talked about how the earliest Indo-European graves contain dogs and people buried together--companions in the afterlife. The history of humanity is the history of the dog.

And when my story is told, it will be the story of many dogs. Right now my story is the story of three dogs.

Yesterday was Dinah the yellow dog's 11th birthday. Since the doggies function as the court jesters in Casa de Jensen, I celebrate April first as the Day of the Dogs.

Dinah 11

As you can see by the eyes, Dinah is a sweet, sweet girl. She was a goofy puppy for the first six years of her life-- a slightly better behaved Marly. Once, when I was ill and she was bored, she ate my juice glass. Yes. She. ate. glass. We took her to the vet to be observed, and she became a legend at the clinic. Now an older and wiser doggie, she is still playful but much calmer.


Alice 13(ish)

Alice is the bipolar pup. She is quiet and sweet and loving. As long as you're not a cat. She has an advanced hunting instinct, and a compulsive need to chase cats. She has caught a few and even killed one, so I try to keep kitties far away from her.

Bess 7 mo.

And Bessie is just pure joy. While her puppy exuberance is sometimes a bit destructive, It is like taking a shot of happiness to watch her play.



01 April, 2009

enchantment

The topic for the month is growth. I think it's an appropriate one for me, so I think I'm going to try NaBloPoMo this month.


My friends Tanith and Wren are visiting. It has been lots of fun--we've been eating a great deal and doing all of the fun tourist activities. Our visit to the missions and the riverwalk are in the slide viewer on your left (should you want to see our lovely missions).

Sunday, Tanith and I went to Enchanted Rock state natural area.

If you enlarge this photo you will see some dots on the top of the rock. That's people.

Anyway, Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. Tanith went on ahead because my knees were sore and I didn't feel up to climbing the rock. So I stayed on the lower trails and took lots of photos. It was really good for me to be outside and in the fresh air. I am most whole when I am walking in the woods or by a river or on a big rock.

The only thing that would have made the day better is my binoculars. I find that the camera does not enlarge enough for satisfactory bird watching.

Nevertheless, Idid see some neat birds.


I got to see some other animals as well.


Tanith and I have scads of photos of this lovely deer who posed for ten minutes for us, moving her head ever so slightly every few moments so we could take another shot.

There was, of course some flora.

It is quite a spiritual experience for me to think of how these plants, even trees for goodness' sake, manage to thrive in such a terrain. There is very little soil in this area, and the creek that passes through is often dry. And you can just imagine how hot that rock gets in the summer. . .

Speaking of spiritual experiences--I had a neat one while I was walking along slowly looking for good shots. Years ago I did a vision quest where I learned that my spirit animal was a bear. It is interesting in that my nickname was once Bear, and I had a lovely black lab named Ursula. Bears are just part of my life, I guess. Anyway, I looked to my right and saw this rock hiding behind another.

Is that not amazing? I spent some time in that area taking pictures of the rock and what surrounded it. Mostly, I just wanted to be with the bear.

I started Saturday feeling bereft and alone. But it was being alone on that great rock that made me feel connected again.

Nice, no?