Sunday, April 25, 2010

Everything Old is New Again

Yesterday, while getting lunch at Subway, there was a cute girl, about 20, in line in front of me. She wore a North Face jacket and blue jeans, and cowboy boots - with spurs attached. She reminded me of me.

I used to be her in the early 1980's, and though I never actually owned spurs, I wanted them. I wanted to go on a pack trip in the wilds of Wyoming. I took care of five horses - three of my own, and two which belonged to my sisters-in-law. I went to rodeos, spent all of my spare money on tack and horse feed, and listened to Country Music almost exclusively.

My favorite singing artist at the time was, of course, George Strait. There were songs of his (especially if they had a rather plaintive violin solo) that made my heart almost burst with a longing to Go West, to lasso some cowboy out there and saddle him with a bunch of kids.

Instead, I married a farmer, and together we sprouted three boys. When I found out I was pregnant the third time, I said a prayer: if this can't be a girl, at least let him be able to sing.

He was a boy. It wasn't until he was five or six years old that I recognized his singing ability, when he would do this impression of an opera singer. The vibrato and tone at such a young age was amazing. But I couldn't get him to really sing until much later. And now that he is 17, the only time I get to hear it is either when he is in the shower, or when he's riding with me in the truck. His artist of choice is George Strait, and when he sings along, I am silently enthralled. It takes me back to who I used to be. I drive slower just to soak up as much of it as I can. And honestly, it is almost like hearing George Strait in stereo. Perfect range, perfect pitch, perfect vibrato. The trouble is, I doubt he will ever do anything with it. He is talented in so many other ways that singing falls by the wayside. But it might be okay. If this was a gift intended just for me, I'll take it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wood Sprite

This is what I was doing on the evening of April 15th, when I should have been working on taxes:

And I spent most of the day today playing with these photos (and others) in Photoshop Elements. The best thing about today was that there were no deadlines to be met. You can find the model's blog HERE

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Five O'Clock Shadows

While looking at photos of Gerard Butler just now *ahem*, I ran across an article which said, "Researchers in Britain have found that women are more attracted to men with stubbly chins than those with clean-shaven faces or full beards – in fact, the fair sex prefers them for love, sex and marriage."

It's nice to have my own instincts confirmed. I've always been a fan of the five o'clock shadow, and the darker the shadow the better. I'm not, on the other hand, a lover of beards. Once the length of facial hair gets beyond a certain point, it stops being sexy for me.

This is about right:

Or this:

Beard stubble even makes what might otherwise be a baby face, acceptable:

And totally changes my acceptance of an actor, along with my perception of his skill:

(Oh, yes. Titanic, who?)

I will even accept it when a man's facial hair grows in a little white trashy:

(Especially if he is hot, to boot.)

But the award for the most perfect five o'clock shadow goes to this man, based on depth of color, panache, and all sorts of other adjectives:

I believe I've proved my point. You're welcome.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

It wasn't unpleasant.

My mom phoned me this week to let me know that a church member (who opened her home to our small congregation when we didn't have a place to meet, and who has been battling pancreatic cancer for about the last year) had been told by her doctor that the end was probably near. My mom went to visit her on Wednesday, and suggested that I send her a card.

On Thursday I forgot all about the card until evening and it was too late. So yesterday after work, I bought a card, wrote a note inside, addressed the envelope, and then was suddenly freaked out by the fear it wouldn't be delivered in time. So I called my mom and told her so. She said, simply, "Then take it to her." This freaked me out even more. Not surprisingly, I'm uncomfortable with dying. The image of the last days of my husband's uncle, who also had pancreatic cancer, are still vivid in my mind. I remember his eyes looking into mine in those last hours, and it was as if his soul had already been in transition. I don't know how else to describe it.

So I called my husband to ask his opinion. He said, "Deliver it yourself." So I called a co-worker who always gives good advice, and he gave me permission to not go. Oddly enough, his contrasting opinion is what gave me the courage to drive to her home and visit her.

I'm glad I did. She sat up in her bed while I visited. And though she was a shadow of her former self, she was in good spirits - whether for my benefit or her own, I'm not sure. She seemed to genuinely appreciate my being there. And her last words to me were, "I'll be fine. I'll see you someday. Either here, or somewhere else."

It's strange how I have very often had the intention of comforting someone else, and I was the one who ended up being comforted. Like everyone else, I suppose, I've always had a fear of dying. Facing it seems to take the sting out.

Afterward, since it was right on the way home, I went to visit my Aunt and Uncle, both of whom have recently dealt with huge medical issues. My Uncle loves to talk, and is always thrilled when new ears show up. He told me (not for the first time) about how he is allergic to wasp stings. He discovered it while they were building their house. He said he began going into anaphylactic shock, and thought to himself, "'Well, I'm dying.' And it wasn't unpleasant."

So maybe it's not. For those fortunate enough to not die painfully, maybe it's like being wrapped in a blanket of peace.

As I drove home afterward, I was suddenly aware of what felt like the weight of an arm across my shoulders. I've had this experience before, of feeling as if someone has put their arms around me. Then I felt a tingling on top of my head - almost like a ruffling of my hair - and it was so intense that I reached up and scratched my head. I know I'm a bit strange to think so, but it felt as if my dad was saying, "I'm proud of you."