The Day the Earth Stood Still

It’s Tuesday morning around 11am. A beautiful day, cold and crisp without being bitter, and one I should be out enjoying except that I’m sharing troubling thoughts with the vast emptiness of the Internet. Hopefully someone will read, listen, and take heed…otherwise I believe we richly deserve what’s coming to us. Yesterday while on a day trip to Kingman for Whataburger and Cracker Barrel (our first time), during our food-burning break between lunch and dinner, we found a tiny movie theatre and watched The Day the Earth Stood Still. Keanu Reeves makes an excellent semi-humanoid alien, by the way. At the end of it I felt an overwhelming sadness and something akin to righteous defeat. For those of you who don’t leave the house or didn’t catch the original, I’ll give you a quick rundown: Aliens come to Earth to save it from us because Earth is one of a small handful of life-supporting planets in the solar system. The many “alien” races cannot afford to let a planet such as this die to due to one inhabitant species (that would be us) and plan to cleanse the planet of us, hence giving Earth a chance to recover and survive. If you think about it, we as humans are the one species on Earth not tied to any ecosystem. For example: Alaskan fishermen over fish herring, which in turn starves sea lions, lowering their numbers, which in turn affects the food supply for killer whales and sharks. Think about it - if we’re not here, nothing dies because of it. In fact, more things would flourish. Bluntly, we are unnecessary.

Aside from this realization, which is only partially responsible for my sadness, there was a line in the movie that stated: “Only when we’re on the brink of destruction will we change”. That may not be a direct quote, but you get the hint. If you ever ask yourself questions about why we, as the United States or the world, don’t do certain things that would actually help the planet and ultimately save us – there’s your answer. All of it, as far as I can tell, is driven by the Almighty Dollar. There’s no money in going green. God forbid some oilman doesn’t make X hundreds of millions in profits every year.

I think we have it coming. I think if aliens have visited here, they’ve left feeling dirty and disgusted, and if they’re visiting in the future they’ll all agree we should be exterminated for being destructive and having no purpose. I’m currently ashamed to be human. We’re a sorry lot hell-bent on greed and one-upping each other. We think because we can reason and talk that we’re better than any other living creature and should therefore have the right to dominate and kill everything. We’re despicable.

The alien was right – it’s not our planet.

T'is the Season

The Painful Path
Sadness that never really goes away
Space nothing can ever fill
Just cavernous empty you stuff with every
Good thing you can find
But never enough
Cling to the happy when the sad attacks
Put on a brave face, be as normal as you can
Sympathy lasts only so long
Understanding seldom prevails
Hurt and rage - your unhappy roommates
Face it every chance you get
Embrace sorrow so that it may pass
Be not tormented forever
When at last it finally drains away
It will be sunlight on your face
And everyday will be spring

Very few people know, but I used to be an avid poetry writer. Six of my poems were published by the International Library of Poetry, which I thought was a huge accomplishment at one time, until I read some of the drivel they accept. As far as I can tell they publish everything that comes to them in order to sell books, which I used to buy religiously if my work was in them. Honey suggested I write some for my blog. Sometimes poems are the best cohesion of jumbled emotions that have nowhere to go, as is the case with the one above. I wrote The Painful Path a year after my parents stopped speaking to me basically because I married Felix. One year to the day they broke contact, they sent me a video montage of taking care of them when they’re old because they took care of me when I was young, Things a happy family would be happy to receive because it strengthens their bond. Bare in mind, this is a day after I totaled another car and was supposed to leave for a bed-and-breakfast weekend in Zion for my wedding anniversary. I was home alone, completely confused and just fell apart. Honey penned an email asking them to get out of my life if they insisted on continually hurting me. The response said simply that I’d have to ask for that, and if I did they’d “gladly comply”, but he was not acknowledged as my husband or anyone of consequence. After 6 or 7 years of being torn to pieces trying to follow my heart and appease my parents demanding wishes, I was just exhausted and over it – in the sense that I just didn’t care anymore, didn’t have the energy to argue about it anymore, and wanted nothing more than to be at peace. I’m still not over it, per say. I had to pen an email to my folks telling them I loved them, but didn’t wish to have any more contact with them or from them. I blocked their email address. I cried for a long time. This time of year is the hardest for me, Thanksgiving and Christmas and the space in between, when they usually come to Vegas for NFR and to visit their friends. I graduated in 2006 and that year they didn’t bother to visit me while they were here. Those holidays messed with me the worst, I didn’t understand what was happening or why. Then the guilt-trip email following a battered body, totaled car, and nearly spoiled anniversary plans. Thanksgiving is better since last year; we made our own traditions and cooked dinner with family. Christmas is still a bitch though. I haven’t found a way around it, past it or even over or under. I enjoy the festivities with a sort of reserved sadness that I try not to inflict on others. We decorate with the lights outside and the tree, presents, and dinner…it’s just not the same. As it used to be my favorite holiday, I carry a certain amount of resentment for having that ruined for me. I’m working on it. Poetry helps. It’s the physical and mental outpouring of my inner turmoil boiling onto a page; the page traps it and some, if not all, of the destructive emotions drain away. Therapy comes in many forms – I prefer the ones that are free.

I didn’t write all this angst to inflict it on you good people; I just hope that the sharing of it will make it less of a burden on me. I’m so tired this time of year and there’s no escaping my own head. Ironically, I saw a clip from the Christmas Carol where Scrooge was saying that Christmas was a holiday for the buying of things for which there was neither need nor money, and found myself agreeing and even giggling. Financial straights do weird things like that to me. Here, we’ll be as merry as we can. I wish the same to all of you.
Merry Christmas.

I always say I love the rain...

Well boys and girls, the days of the happy flowers may be wilting a little soon. I think I have to go back to work, as much as I don’t want to. I did the math the other day – we collectively lost 72% of our income once we were both out of work – and the other 28% just isn’t enough. I applied for 8-10 jobs today online, mostly secretarial stuff, nothing too stressful or challenging. Found out how much my new car insurance was going to cost and that cinched it. Sure, it’s less than before (one of my accidents fell off my record, finally) but without that DMV will suspend my license within days…I just can’t risk it.

In other interesting news, I’m learning to knit (for-real knit for those of you who have seen me whip out beanies from a loom). I’m doing a scarf and it’s very calming and very fast. I think so far today I’ve knitted nearly 3 feet of scarf and the day’s not over yet. I’ve been wide awake at midnight and beyond lately – why is adapting to nocturnal so much easier than getting up early?

Anybody who got snow today – whoopee for you, we got rain. We slept in today until 10am or so. I am extraordinarily thankful for my down comforter right now, since this old house has single pane, drafty ass windows and Mom’s boyfriend doesn’t like to turn on the heat to save energy. We watched all or part of My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Shanghai Noon, The Pianist (that might have been yesterday) all while knitting (for me) and random stints of him doing computer things. Weather like this tends to make me hibernate whenever possible.

Hope all of you readers, assuming I have more than one, are fairing well and keeping afloat. Times are tough, shame it’s not a cliché anymore.
Also, I 'graduated' from my introductory make-up class. These two lovelies were my models and submitted to my (albeit clumsy) ministrations. Hope you enjoy.

This Circus we call Life

Ok, I probably have somewhere around 15 minutes for this post and the insanity I describe in a moment will explain why. It’s been utter madness.

First, following a late night meeting at Xpozed magazine, we return to our humble abode to discover our cherished fishing boat has been unceremoniously stolen from our driveway. Neighbors, and even my own mother-in-law were home, but no one noticed or saw or heard anything. Honey saw our spare boat battery in the street at the corner of our property accompanied by a wide water trail; it fell off the back where it had been unrestrained after we used it to jump Sazzy’s car after Thanksgiving dinner. Honey says “Go back, go back! Follow the water!” I’m on the phone with the cops, telling them after two operator changes and two holds, that someone has stolen my boat, I’m following a water trail and I’ll give them an address when I get there. We lost the trail once and did one U-turn, but we found it in an alley/parking lot behind some run down apartments where no boat would ever live. With all the rain and the boat being parked nose-down (the drain plug is at the back and we leave it out when it’s parked) there was enough water to leave a definitive trail all the way to where it was dropped. I asked the cops if I could just take it or should wait for them. They said they’d be right along. We figure that we missed catching the people in the act by about 15 or 20 minutes. The water was still wet on the road and still draining out of the boat where it was parked. Three cop cars and much paper work later, we hitched her up and drove her home. For those of you who don’t know me and haven’t been to the house, we have a 14ft camo green, aluminum fishing boat. Nothing fancy. It’s currently loaded with all my camping gear, about three coolers, and a couple bags of clothes I planned to donate to Good Will. We got it all back, with the exception of one bag of clothes (sorry Good Will) and the trolling motor. No one was around when the cops and we showed up, so no arrests or pressing charges, but we got our stuff back. They wanted the engine we’re sure, but we’re also pretty sure they didn’t realize because it has a steering wheel the engine is connected with a bunch of hose lines and weighs probably 250 pounds or more. One bolt was removed. The following day we chained the trailer axle to the driveway, removed the spare and left side tire (letting the hub all the way to the ground), and drove by the place we found it to make our presence known, you know “we know were you live too”. We’re thinking of contacting America’s Dumbest Criminals.

The following day (Tuesday) was my first make-up class. Via our friend Rex from Xpozed, we’ve hooked up with Ethan Taylor Academy of Hair Design doing all sorts of projects in a ‘trade for labor’ type arrangement that gets me a $3500 accelerated make-up course for free. Isn’t Honey the shiz-nit? So as part of that, I shaved off half my eyebrows this morning. You’re welcome to laugh if you see me, but honestly to me, I don’t look that much different. The way they grow is not how they should be for my face and it makes it very challenging to correct them without following the hairline. Anyway, I had drawn on eyebrows yesterday for the first time and they looked awesome. With it being an accelerated course, classes are 6 hours at a time, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, for two weeks in a row, from 3-9pm. That in itself is a little nuts.

Yesterday was Day 2 of make-up class, where we put it on ourselves to make sure we can do it at all before taking tools to someone else’s face, followed by another late-night meeting at Xpozed (they’re throwing a sick New Year’s party, so if anyone reading this is interested, drop me a line for details) which lasted till about midnight, followed by an impromptu meeting with some local performers who get off work ridiculously late and want to explore some wild photo ideas. I didn’t have this crazy a life in high school or college (either time). It’s wonderful madness to be self-employed. I would never have functioned that many hours for a company, but doing it for me is ok. So our workday yesterday ended at 3:30am this morning and I was wide awake at 7:30am. Don’t ask me why, I’m still trying to work that one out. I need to get to Home Depot today because my closet rod collapsed (T, we’re right there with you), find a few must-haves for make-up class, eat something at some point, get dressed (this is bathrobe writing, baby) preferably in a color that works for me (I learned all about it in class and have to replace half my wardrobe because it’s not my color)…there’s something else, but I’ve lost it. Anyway, the madness continues!

Our Thanksgiving Rocked!!

Thanksgiving was everything I hoped for and more. Being unemployed was definitely a necessity - there is no way I could have collected myself to cook the masterpiece I did if I’d been working 12-hour days beforehand. Blessings to my friends that had to. We ended up with 9 people total, 5 of them strays. It’s a thing we do, for me going back as far as living at home with my folks, taking in people who have no one or can’t go to them for the holiday. It makes for interesting festivities, lemme tell you. All told, there were Mom and Flavio, Sazzy and her hubby, Bob, Terrell and Jeff, Darryll (albeit briefly) and Honey and me. I’d sent and received several “Happy Thanksgiving” text messages that morning, one of them resulting in a phone call from my former wall covering guy, Rick. He sounded the happiest I’ve ever heard him, was ecstatic to hear from me (he felt I needed to make the first move in making contact), can’t wait to meet Honey and agreed to a barbeque I want to throw for Encore survivors in January, finances willing. He also said he loves me – I know that sounds weird, probably more so if you knew him because he generally dislikes all people (the entire human race) with the exception of his children, but we made a connection over many conversations while working (philosophical ones on a construction site, if you can believe), I get him, and he …well, loves me. It was an awesome phone call to have on a holiday based on being thankful.

It all started out well, and as I said it ended up amazing, but there were a couple hitches in the middle. I created a schedule for the items I was responsible for (read everything except turkey) so it all got done at the same time, hot and ready for the table. That was all well and good until we tried to find seating for 9 people when our table only seats 6. We wanted to rent a party table; a round that could seat 10, but nobody thought to call the table guy until Wednesday night, and the call went to voicemail. So then we tried the patio furniture, which had to be Houdini’d into the room, didn’t fit, and would have left people with their backs to each other. I was pretty unset, enough to where Honey decided the only solution was to build a table, which he did in the middle of the kitchen in about 30 minutes flat. The table turned out fabulous, but it impeded my cooking skills (both with stress and limited travel paths) to where I splattered butter everywhere, boiled the cream over, and nearly cut my finger off preparing potatoes. At about this time Sazzy arrived with her hubby, who is by far the shyest and quietest person I’ve ever met, and ironically named Bob. I say ironically because Honey and I name everything Bob, so far the tortoise and a piece of furniture we’re not quite sure what it actually is. I stepped out of the kitchen until construction was finished – I expected a small table to extend the existing table…what I got was an 8-seat, ‘last supper’ type table made of studs and a full sheet of ½” drywall, adorned with a king-sized bed sheet. Like I’m fond of telling people who may not fully comprehend: this is the ghetto, we can jimmy-rig anything. At this point, I was behind on my schedule including the extra time I’d factored in case I was slow. Sazzy was wonderful, volunteering first to do dishes and then chop a mountain of veggies for our mutually coveted dish, the stuffin’ muffins. I made a wonderful mess with softened butter and strained sauce – don’t get me started on the sauce. It could be used in food porn and culinary bedroom play. It’s that good. So it all came together in a random, messy, fabulous way, which seems to characterize my life. Terrell said grace for us with distinction, many thanks, T. After that it was food ecstasy. I wanted to take a group photo, but once the eating started I completely forgot. I still haven’t decided which was my favorite dish, and continue the debate going around the plate while eating way too many leftovers. For once, dessert was not the highlight of the eating extravaganza. I consider that a triumph in itself.

We all gravitated to the fire pit outside to let our food settle before contemplating dessert. Originally the plan had been to eat outside like last year, but the rain had other ideas. The rain did not, however, interrupt the fire, wet wood or no. I found myself with this absent smile on my face quite a bit, content with life. That smile got a whole lot bigger when a couple people got orgasmic expressions with the first bite of pumpkin crisp, my cream cheese-smothered, blondie-like dessert. You can see now, if you couldn’t before, that this day was definitely worth quitting some job. We’re considering having it in our pajamas next year…

Happy Flowers

So it’s been 10 days since I quit being a slave to ‘The Man’, aka the soon-to-be twin of the 5-star hotel I worked for. I haven’t woken up once thinking there is somewhere I am supposed to be, and I haven’t yet looked for a job. While browsing, Honey located a few admin jobs that pay as much or more than I was making, but I decided to take a full week’s vacation before worrying about it. Guess I lost count, what with all the fun and relaxation I’m having. I’ve spent my days blissfully sleeping until the sun in my window wakes me, playing dominoes after dinner with family (and trouncing them!) catching up on all my favorite TV shows, and finally decorating my room so it looks like I live here – that was no small feat, I’ve dismantled and assembled twice now. Unfortunately the laundry beast is still winning, but is at least trapped in the closet out of sight. Aside from all the bliss, I’ve been trying to manage Honey’s paperwork obligations for his photography. It’s more than I expected and more difficult to get things done too. There are warm sunny days outside and … you know how it goes.

I watched Mr. Magoirum’s Wonder Emporium the other day, a movie I would recommend for anyone needing to reach his or her own missing inner child. I was particularly taken with ‘the congreave cube’ – I have no idea how you spell it, but it’ a block of wood and also a magical object if you believe in it. It flips, walks, and also flies. I read way too much sci-fi when I was a kid not to believe in things I can’t see (it goes far past Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, just so you know). In a nutshell, it has been the good times promised by Honey, when he convinced me it was more important to be me than pay bills.
All the photos for this post will likely be happy flowers or abstract pretty things. It’s the zone I’m in now. I still battle periodically with mini tidal waves of stress; my first round of royally F’ing up my credit didn’t involve phone calls or nasty-grams – I was, to their knowledge, without phone number or address. This round is a little different. They find me, and if they can’t, they find Honey, which I think is just rude. Anyway, happy flowers.

Moving towards Happiness

“It’s better to ask forgiveness than to live a lifetime on your knees.” Emiliano Zapata

I quit my job last Thursday. Very few people knew and of those that did, from them I got one of two reactions: 1 - Why would you do that?!? Or 2-What happened? I also got one question of "Aren't you scared?"

I'll try to answer those in order and then you can roll it all together in your mind to come up with the whole picture. The' why' is the most straight forward: mandatory seven day weeks, 10-hr days plus, not to mention working Thanksgiving, the following Friday, and possibly Christmas. In addition there's been a freeze put on wages and promotions-no one is getting squat until the economy looks up, whenever that may be, not even cost of living increases. I felt I had a promotion coming; I'd been doing the workload of the next ranking designer for some time. Had there not been a freeze, I think I could've asked and gotten it. Oh yeah, and I was a salaried employee (read 70 hrs for the same money as 40) and they wouldn't convert me to hourly like they did for some of the others. I was stuck. And yeah, apparently they can demand all that without compensation of any kind.

As to 'what happened?' Nothing really, not one big thing anywyay. It was more of a slow deterioration of everything else in my life. I was a zombie when I got home, my relationship with Honey was suffering as was our sex life, and all I could think about, talk about, and dream about was work. Honey and I made a pact when I started this gig: if it starts coming between us, quit. That goes for any gig, dream job and career-makers included. When I say 'family comes first' I mean it. As part of that, Thanksgiving was a big issue. Since I left home for college in the fall of '99, my folks have ruined the holidays with irritating consistency. Last year for the first time, we took possession of a holiday (Turkey Day), made our own traditions, chose our own recipes, and cooked everything ourselves. I managed to get over a huge hurdle, without therapy, and had no intentions of giving it up, especially not for 'we have to open this hotel no matter what'.

And the last part...about being scared - yes and no. Originally, I was almost phobicly scared. OMG, what about the bills, credit cards...this is insane in our current economy, what if I can't get another job? Maybe I should just suck it up...and then the fog lifted with a simple question, posed of course by my black-and-white thinking Honey: what's the worst that could happen? Well, I said, in 6 months or so they'll come to pick up the car and boat, the credit cards will collect interest until they're turned over to a collection agency, where they'll sit until they find me or I acknowledge them, my credit score will fall, I'll collect unemployment until I find another job...and his answer - so what. So we ride the bus - the bus system is very good now - or ride a bike. It'll shrink our carbon footprint and be just like college (the first time) before we owned a car and walked everywhere. So we pay cash for everything; people forget the value of simple cash. It will be fine. Credit scores can always recover; debts will wait until you can pay them. It will be just fine. Ultimately, happiness won out. I felt myself becoming someone I'm not, someone who never smiled and grumbled constantly, who felt trapped and was beginning to hate. It wasn't worth it. It isn't worth it, in any circumstance. Two days before I quit, I decided I would. The next two days I floated through work, smiling and joking. People noticed. The pressure lifted, skies looked bluer, and the sun was warm on my face. It had been those things anyway, but I noticed again. More than I needed to be a hot-shot designer with a 5-star hotel on my resume, I needed to remember who I am and what's true to my heart. The hippie lives!

So if you see me hoofing it down the street, laughing and grinning like an idiot, don't feel sorry for me. Remember I'm free of stress and possibly of car and insurance payments. Feel sorry for you...that fear has stopped you from so many things. Consider two questions: what's the worst that could happen? And what could I achieve if I was not afraid? Think about it.

In the spirit of moving towards happiness like I had as a child, I went through an old family photo CD...don't hate, I know I'm adorable - even when my Mom attacked me with curlers!

Pesky Boxes

There’s a line from a techno song stuck in my head … “stuck inside a box, you gotta get out…” – a verse that reflects so many of our truths and paradoxes. Everything we’re ‘supposed’ to do is technically a box – the job, house, car, credit – all interlinked and part of the bigger system. I feel like Jim Carey in the movie “23”, only instead of numbers I see boxes everywhere. My job is a box: it’s suffocating my creativity, draining my energy to the point of stupidity, and paying very little in exchange for what I’m giving up. Yet to get out this box, I have to contend with another one. The economy is crap, everyone is getting laid off, and I need a new job – not exactly an ideal mix. If I stay I go crazy, become someone I’d never want to be, and resent and hate everybody – all in conflict with my happy hippie nature. If I go, assuming there’s somewhere to go, there’s the challenge of juggling the bills during transition (I can juggle in real life but not very well) and dealing with the box of credit debt. It’s only a number just like money is only green paper; it’s also your identity (and mine) and a judgment whether it’s fair or not. So it’s all a big f*#king box. We care or don’t care, fight it or go along, give in, give up, or cope. I haven’t decided which path to take yet. I’m against coping for the simple fact that it means being unhappy and living with it. “To thine own self be true.” For a guy whose been dead for nearly 400 years (392 at present), Shakespeare had it right.

For me, as of now, all these boxes have rolled into one challenge – to find a new happy place (of work) until Honey’s photography takes off, at which point I can retire to a privileged life of shining light and rubbing oil on beautiful models. I can already feel the envy.

Unwanted Guests

Note: I apologize for the lack of cool pics - Honey is up to his eyes in other (apparently more important) photo stuff and I haven't learned how to resize my own stuff yet (hello, not a photographer), so bear with me on that...

Since we haven't been on the road in awhile, I'll expound on a subject that's currently eating me: house guests. The problem with unwanted they're unwanted, and usually blatantly unaware of that fact or more blatantly exploiting it. They stay when you'd rather they leave; they're awake when you need to sleep. The sanctity of your bathroom or kitchen (or both) is invaded and very little regard, if any, is given for your boundaries on sharing. The dilemma of the situation: how to get them to leave expeditiously without being out-and-out rude or encouraging them to come back (you know you do it in the name of being a gracious host, but secretly you never want them to darken your doorway again!). If you don't mind being out-and-out rude, this post isn't for you so just carry on and be nasty until they leave. If not, please continue reading.
So, we've devised a few not-so-subtle methods of house guest warfare that we are currently applying (oh yes, we have the epitome of the horrible squatter) or will be applying shortly to make said guest's stay as uncomfortable as possible. First, if like us, you have the main living room TV that is never available for your viewing pleasure after a long day of work because your guest is letting her monster-brat children watch cartoons - hide the remote. When you are ready and your guest is out of sight, feel free to fire up the tele and take over your favorite couch. Second, if like me, you awaken each morning looking forward to and expecting to have a bowl of your favorite cereal only to discover it has been completely devoured by your locust-like guests - also hide it, if possible out of reach without the use of a step ladder after you've smuggled it into the house from the grocery store. Third, and this requires a door knob equipped with a lock on it, you can stash/safeguard any personal effects such as purse and keys, cell phone (personal story on this in a moment) expensive facial products, make-up, medications, loufas, etc in your bedroom each night. I personally have issue with sharing my loufa - for me its like sharing a toothbrush: disgusting and unsanitary unless you've been married to that person for three years or more.
The cell phone story: we've had the unfortunate experience of this guest sneaking into a sleeping person's room to "borrow" their cellphone (we have no house phone) to call all their buddies during the night, effectively burning through someone else's valuable minutes. Our particular guest, when asked about her possible possession of the phone, claimed the owner had "lost" it. Don't fall victim to this - lock your door at night, and if possible, during the day. You can also do laundry while your guest showers to steal all the hot water, cook with food items they despise, watch movies or shows you know they hate (if you're sharing the TV at all), and generally be oblivious to any of their special needs. Be pleasant while being unpleasant. Once you get started you'll be surprised by the joy it brings. I support the hippie credo- you all know that, but peace, love, and happiness do not apply in this situation. Try watching the movie "Monster-in-law" to draw inspiration. Depending on how desperate things get and how long the forecasted stay, you can always resort to paying them to leave – I know, that’s insane but sanity is relative: paying someone to leave or living with them in your house which makes you crazy. Your choice.

Office Musings

October 17-
It’s 8:20am. I’m sitting at my office desk, which I haven’t seen in several weeks, reading the biography of Marvin Gaye and feeling decidedly like I’m not suited for a desk job. It’s ironic really, because 6 years ago while painting apartments for a living and scraping by on less than $300 a week, I wished for something more stable just like this desk job. As adaptive as I am however, anyone can tell I’m not a good fit for an office environment filled with pettiness and not-so-subtle comparisons of who has the best new Beamer. All this and I have only been here an hour and a half. I haven’t even had my PB&J for breakfast yet and I’m annoyed by the vibe in this office – and worse still, people are just starting to arrive.

In other news, we attended the first of five guitar performances at the Las Vegas Acadamy last night. I’m sorry to say it was neither what I expected nor particularly moving. In my mind, ‘guitar performance’ meant a solo or several solos of rocking out, not an orchestra of guitar players all picking the same notes. Sitting in the front row, I remembered how bad ass the marching band had been during my high school years, when Mr. Mack was in charge and they played Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” for a home game, sounding so much more polished and having way more fun. From a photographic standpoint, it wasn’t the low lighting we were originally told either. When we arrived, the organizer informed us there was a paid photog for the school present and we would have to work around him for position. (Said photog was later reported to be drooling over everyone else’s equipment). My first question was “then why did you invite, no insist, on having four other photographers pay to attend this event?” Anyway, each photog is only allowed to attend one performance as a participating photographer, so I guess it all works out.

Yesterday also turned out to be a day off for me. The powers that be decided to clear the job site mid-morning so I was instructed to return to the office. In retrospect, I should have just gone home. No one here knew I was coming or what to do with me once I arrived - I’m in the field because there’s nothing for me to do here. Anyway, it was cleared through the highest of channels for me to have the day off since I’ve been working so much overtime and to come back tomorrow (that being today) for a regular 8-hr shift. So here I sit without the promised list of tasks to perform, reading a book on a severely paranoid and insecure individual, waiting for someone to notice that I’m not doing a bloody thing and give me hell about it. So far so good, but it makes for a very long day. I’ve taken to amusing myself with random dreams of our backpacking adventure (set to take off sometime next year) or the book I’m planning on writing, filled with mischief and magic.

Renfair and other devious activities

October 13-
Not all days are meant to be work-yourself-to-death days. Today…is a day to play hooky, enjoy the glorious sunrise, and do something for myself – even if it means cleaning out my closet so I have room to reach my bed, which at present, I can’t do without acrobatic skills. You try being acrobatic at 4am in the dark, and you’ll understand my predicament. So the field thinks I’m at the office; the office thinks I’m at the field. And if you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m neither. I’m home, writing to you good people, about my redirection of work ethic and how I don’t feel the least bit guilty, since my employer is trying to kill me and pay me as little as possible while doing so.

The weekend was far too short but very entertaining nonetheless. We went to the Renaissance Festival on Saturday, the coldest day of the season so far. There was a huge line to get in with half the people bundled in jackets and hoodies, the other half blissfully unaware of the cold (or pretending not to notice) while wearing very little for the sake of period garb accuracy. Security didn’t check our backpack hardly at all – we probably could have smuggled anything we wanted under the bottled water. Recognized a fair number of regulars: the Village Blacksmith, War Horse Productions, the Parrot Pirate show, even a couple vendors: the ear cuff guy (who wears his own stuff and is a little strange), the portly jewelry maker who has very nice Celtic stuff but doesn’t hand out business cards on the premise that if you don’t buy it now, you won’t buy it later, and of course, Sir Rodney’s Legs, who still has excellent turkey legs but is getting more expensive each year. There was a new place, which, I am now addicted to called Drizzler. They sell cheesecake or strawberries with marshmallows on a stick all drizzled with white and dark chocolate right before your eyes. And it’s cheap, so you know it appeals to me on all levels. Also there was the man who offers to flog your friend for a dollar; he’s quite a character. Honey said he didn’t have a dollar; I said Honey wasn’t my friend at which point he offered to flog my enemy for a dollar. The barbarian horde was out in full force this year. We got some good pics of a gentleman wearing a loincloth and a buffalo skin and not much else (he had very nice legs, too), as well as two of the biggest barbarians I’ve ever seen. I told them to show me their “Arr!” faces for one of the photos. We also caught the fire show put on by the Hand of Fatima belly dancers. This year they were working in conjunction with the Romans, who had a miniature coliseum erected, the ringmaster of which proclaimed himself Obnoxious Maximus. It was a good time but by the end we were frozen solid. Honey dropped his camera with numb fingers but caught it before it hit anything, thank God.

Sunday was planned to be a chill-out day, but it didn’t really happen. I imagine chilling as lounging in my pajamas, not combing my hair, watching movies, ordering in, and sleeping should the urge possess me. Instead, we did a Wal-Mart run, got gas, and took our friend, Terrell to the movies with us. We watched Miracle at St. Anna, which I liked very much. It’s based on a true story - I think the true stuff is always stranger than what our minds come up with. I smuggled a ridiculous amount of candy in my purse after hitting the Halloween sale and we picked up pizza afterwards. It was a good day. I think we all needed to forget our troubles for a little while.

As a last note, I’d like to mention that I’m back on my beanie-making kick, so if anyone wants to send me $15 bucks and color choices, I’ll make you a hand-knit beanie. I’m working on setting it up thru the blog, so any generous hearts can donate money to help support our fishing-, photography-, and beanie-making habits. That’s coming soon. Remember what I said about tithing!!

Downtown - Uptown

October 6-
It’s Monday and one of the hardest Mondays I’ve had in quite awhile. It involved problems at work with ‘mold’, only we’re not allowed to call it mold because apparently we’re not qualified to do so; hiking a lot of stairs: down 38 flights, up 45, and then down 63 (ouch!), and no one taking responsibility for anything or getting anything done. Since Monday sucked so bad, I’m going to talk about last Friday instead, which was significantly better just by virtue of being Friday.

We also went to First Friday that night and boy has it changed. Not only do they charge a $2 dollar entry fee, but they’ve got lots of booths selling hand-made wares, two real music stages with multiple bands, and an art gallery I don’t remember being there. There’s also the usual galleries inside the Arts Factory, which seems to change artists every five minutes, and even included a budding architect this round. It was a good time this month due to the cooler temps, and the entry fee seemed to keep out or at least suppress the misfits misbehaving.

October 9-
Tonight was the monthly meeting of the LVPS (Las Vegas Photographic Society) downtown at Hennessey’s. I went straight from work to the dentist to home (long enough to change my shoes) and then with the right side of my face numb, to the meeting. Eating a pastrami burger has never been so hard, although it was a mute point – I was very sick at 3am and it left me. After the meeting, we walked downtown for a little while observing (for me) and photographing (for him) the local wildlife. I always giggle at the Chippendale booth – don’t get me wrong; they’re nice to look at. There’s a lot of gym hours and devotion to hair products there, but when asked what they do for a living all they can say is “I’m beefcake”.

There was nearly a fight – I believe over dance styles – a band that could actually sing (see the guitarist at left), a saxophone player named Carl “Safe Sax” Ferris who made my chest ache when he played, and several interesting people including this guy in the hairy blue coat. To sum it up in a single phrase: Downtown is where the interesting people are.

Just a side note (done in the middle of this long post): this weekend is bursting with activities for anyone looking for interesting stuff to shoot and a challenge. The Pure Aloha Festival at the Cannery (West) is tonight, Saturday, and Sunday. Anyone working on low lighting will get plenty of opportunities to practice. Also the Renaissance Festival (officially known as The Age of Chivalry) is at Sunset Park all three days. Lots of action shots, interesting/strange people in period garb. We highly recommend Sir Rodney’s Legs if you like turkey and eating with your hands (who doesn’t?).

October 10-
I’m sitting in the big window of a two-story suite at a soon-to-be 5-star hotel on the Strip, listening to James Blunt sing “You’re Beautiful”, and thinking of…nearly nothing. What I’m working on, aside from wording this post, is a mind-numbing exercise of relative futility. I’m completely alone in this suite, and since no one else needs my skills at the moment, I’m absorbing the momentary peace and hoping no one official looking shows up. It’s Friday – probably won’t be by the time I get this posted but it might – and the last day of a very rough week. They’re all sort of blending together, these weeks. Usually I’ve anticipated Renfair for more than a month; I think I realized it’s this weekend sometime yesterday.

I’ve been feeling this a lot lately…we’ve been in town since Labor Day; I don’t know how many weekends at home that is, but it’s far too many. Fishing, combined with a complete disconnect from everything, has been my saving grace. Only we haven't been able to go. I need it like other people (fill in whichever people you like or dislike) need Starbucks. Because without it, I’ve very similar to a space monkey who’s been in the capsule too long without bananas: not a pretty sight or friendly encounter unless you have said bananas. So tonight I’ll be placating with the only remedies I have available: a foot soak, hot shower, this blog post, and sleep, not necessarily in that order, all after I drop Honey at the Pure Aloha Festival for tonight’s concert. I went last year, read a book from a lawn chair, and marveled at the volume of music and clouds of pot smoke. Tonight I’m not missing much. You might be if you're into that sort of thing.

The Passion of Flamenco

September 29-
It's after 9PM and I should be going to bed, but we just got home from another amazing free event at the Flamingo Library and I need to much so that I'm writing to you from my mother-in-law's POS computer that's usually reserved for games of solitaire and stashed in the spare room. Tonight's event was the history of Flamenco and the host was an amazing woman by the name of Margo Torea, a dance instructor at UNLV and a life long performer and devotee to the art of Spanish dance. Her energy moved me; her passion inspired me. She played the castenettes and I felt an overwhelming urge to travel and explore and to chase every dream I've ever had, no matter how crazy or farfetched. I felt in that moment if I didn't pursue living and art that my life would be wasted.
For those of you having trouble with the hippie sentiment, bare with me. Something's come over me lately, slowly at first and then with gathering speed, and my whole outlook on life has dramatically changed. I want to do and see and live, really live, and the rest of the mess be damned. I no longer want a career, or even a job for that matter, that will interfere with my pursuit of my personal happiness, which doesn't include any of the things that make most people happy. I want memories, loads of them, of every exotic place, every amazing food, and due to my passionate support of my husband's dream, every picture I can possibly get. This woman we saw tonight reminds me of all those things. The way she speaks, with passion and joy, that sucks you in, sucked me in, and had me feeling things that a simple discussion on dance didn't seem capable of. So now, when I shouldn't be, I'm wide awake, daydreaming of the possibilities rather than the limitations or logistics.

Peace and Solitude

Sept 28-

I'm sitting in Valley of Fire, back off the trail to Mouse's Tank, watching the LV Art Models Group does a workshop while typing this post on my Blackberry. I've been so sick all day I'm not up to being lead photog all day like last time - we had to do it anonymously but some of my stuff is posted on Honey's website from that shoot - but I didn't want Honey to miss out, plus he's assistant organizer and semi-required to be here. The models' name is Lorelei and the preview on Terrell's blog mentioned earlier implies that she's about 5'9" in height...when she's actually a tiny 5'1". There are three new guys here today who, quite honestly, look a lot nerdy and a little creepy. I often wonder how T's group hasn't attracted more perverts who just want to see a naked girl up close. Charlie, one of the regulars, thinks they'll dissipate soon. Word spreads thru Photographic Society meetings, word-of-mouth, and the underground, horny guy network till people are coming out of the wood works, but few stay for more than a few shoots. Some of the places we go are a lot more work than sitting at a pc surfing the internet, if you follow me. It's not as fun to sit on the sidelines, especially since Lorelei seems to be making an effort to be friendly with me - maybe it's because I'm the only other woman here - but it still sucks to just watch. I'm not a photog by any means, but I can handle a camera and get good stuff sometimes and its fun, which is the most important.

I thought I'd mention something I touched on briefly in an earlier post: the quincenera. For those of you who don't know, its a coming out party for Mexican girls turning 15 and going into womanhood. Its a huge deal and would be a wedding if a groom were present. Honey's cousin, Janet (pic at left), had hers on Friday and to me its still culture shock. There's choreographed dancing, catered food, more people who are all related in some way than I've ever seen before, family from out of town who came down just for this - its organized madness that requires you get all dressed up in heels and full make-up. My sweet sixteen was nothing like it. Honey filled all his memory cards plus one of Terrell's, so I have no idea when I'll get close enough to the computer to post this but I'll do my best. I think my next day at home is Wednesday or Thursday. There are gray clouds gathering; hopefully Terrell won't get rained on or flooded out while camping. These canyons are deceptive; sometimes a little rain equals a lot of water rushing your way from somewhere else. We also happen to back off the beaten trail and I'm in no condition to run or climb for my life. The guys are back over a hill somewhere and the silence is deafening, sounds like a very loud low humming in my ears. John Leslie Wolf and I were discussing earlier how one day out here can save you: from the multiple crisis in the media, your work or home stress, and even the daily grind. There's peace and solitude that you have no choice but to align to. A $6 dollar entry fee into here is better than therapy with a psychiatrist. It’s not about figuring it out; it’s about letting it go.

Apoligies for Slacking

September 28-
I know I haven’t been able to keep up with my postings and apologize for it. Our good friend, Terrell, who combined with my husband, Felix encouraged me to start this blog, tells me that once a week is a good ratio to keep the material fresh and the interest of you good people. Excuses are meaningless, but if you need a few I would offer 10-hr days 5 days a week and limited to non-existent computer time due to Honey’s photographic appetite. I get to check my email at home about once a month – good thing it goes to my phone as well! – and I generally pen my posts during down time at work, which is no longer possible since I’m now exclusively in the field and haven’t seen my desk in about 3 weeks. I pledge to do better, even if it means staying up too late and failing to spell check.

We may be suffering a little, like everyone else in this shaky economy, but we are pursuing photo ops nonetheless. Today is another nude art workshop, presented by Terrell Neasley and the Las Vegas Art Models Group. A preview of our model for this afternoon is available at Terrell’s blog; be sure to check back in a day or two for a full review. T is camping out at Valley of Fire after the shoot for a little solitary time – if I wasn’t working on Monday, we’d be there too.

Monday night we’re attending a free showcase at the Flamingo Library on the History of Flamenco. If you haven’t discovered this venue for free performances, I highly recommend it. I've linked to the list of upcoming events if anyone is interested. Entry is free as is the ample parking and photography is generally allowed. The seats are a little narrow, but if your hips aren’t as wide as mine, you’ll be ok.

Art out Loud

September 23-
As you may have read in my previous posts, my honey is out of work. When they say it’s rough out there, they’re not lying; however, there is a silver lining to the whole thing: he’s got lots of time for photography and believe me, he’s using as much of it as I can manage. We’ve been to the Strip for night shoots, to the Valley of Fire for scouting and a model shoot (read details on Terrell’s blog here), scouting out at Lake Las Vegas - which has a nice place to pull over in front of a water fall, emerald grass, and palm trees - new baby pictures, the photos for a quincinera sign (printed in 20x30) plus the event itself on Friday for probably ten hours. My personal favorite though was the event we went to last night (Sept 22) called 10MinMax. It was kind of a round-about last minute thing he learned about through a new member of the Las Vegas Art Models Group, who knew the guy putting the whole thing together, who didn’t mind letting us in to shoot even though he already had two photogs on the payroll for the evening. For those of you who scream, “Never work for free” like I usually do, in this case free publicity is priceless, for them and us. The event is basically by performers for performers, which equals they all know each other all over Vegas. And considering the number of business cards Honey handed out last night, a fair share of them will be coming to his website to look for pics of themselves or their friends during their performances, which last no longer than 10 minutes, hence the name. Anyway, Marco, the guy who conceived this wonderful madness, puts a show together every six months in a different venue – last nights’ being the Celebrity Theatre downtown on LV Blvd and 3rd (which I didn’t know existed and has very nice bathrooms) to showcase talent is Las Vegas, focused on staying out of the repetition rut which can kill creativity – at least that’s something like what it said on the bio I was handed walking through the door. We went really early so we could sit in the first row in front of a small round stage. To be honest, I felt like I was apart of something special, sitting there watching the true artistic community come together and mingle before the show. How do I say this? Going to First Friday for example just means you were there, you participated – going with a photographer makes you involved, makes you contribute and care about the success of it all because now it’s your success too. I was moved before anything actually happened – that’s how awesome it was.

The show itself started about 15 minutes late but made up for it almost immediately. The passion displayed by every single performer belied the small-scale venue and empty seats, and the crowd in attendance made up for the poor suckers who missed it. There was music and dancing, an acrobat working a ring suspended from the ceiling (expertly, I might add), belly dancers (one group we recognized from the Renaissance Festival), a rock band (my only disappointment of the night: they had a great look, but I couldn’t understand a word the singer said), a magician named McBride, a step crew (think Stomp the Yard, the movie) with a white guy (!) a drumming band using wash tubs and hollow plastic tubes as instruments, plus a fashion show featuring two designers, one of whom is Marlo, the new member from whom we learned of the event. Told you there was a roundabout circle thing happening! The show was from 9 – 11pm, though it lasted till 12:30am, after which a DJ took over and we bailed. After a 10-hour day and looking at another one, I needed sleep. Yeah, I know – party pooper.
In closing, I would say it was the best $15 bucks I’ve spent recently, only I didn’t have to spend it cuz my hubby is a photog and gets me into stuff for free. But for those of you who missed out, you really missed out. We’ll try to alert everyone in 6 months when it comes around again. Not only is it a great venue supporting artists in Vegas, it’s a great photo op and a fantastic evening out with booze and varied entertainment. And Honey’s name is on the program! How you do you like that!
Also, I know there aren't a lot of pics with this post, but there are loads on Honey's website under the DreamCity tab. Check them out - you won't be disappointed!!

The Road North

September 2 –

So Friday I sneaked out of work early – it’s easy on a construction site and I worked 10 hours straight the day before so I felt entitled. Honey had the boat all packed, the coolers ready, and had even done a load of laundry (after step-by-step instructions via phone from me), however, the duffle bag full of necessities was somewhat lacking. He didn’t have any pants or a hoodie, I forgot the flat sheet for the air bed, and I didn’t have enough clean shirts – ultimately neither did he since one got used a mop – more on that in a moment…
It was an easy drive of about 4 hours. I got a cup of coffee just to be safe – some of you may know that I don’t drink coffee: I like it in iced and frothy form, but it doesn’t like me generally. It was pitch black by the time we got there; I dodged a deer right after the ‘Watch for Animals’ sign and checked out two campgrounds before finding a spot. I’ll admit with some shame that we ultimately unhitched the boat and pushed it in to the space we chose. Neither of us could see if we were on the edge of a cliff, up against a tree, or clear for miles to back in. The campground was set up in a loop with all one-way traffic and spaces angled to ensure it. Since the boat and Rover together took up all of the gravel space, we set up the tent a little ways off back in the trees – there were some draw-backs to this: more on that in a moment…
Saturday morning we hiked down the path to the bathrooms – nice bathrooms too, in-door plumbing, real toilet and sink with toilet paper, no flies; they even had a shower! Anyway, a couple of spots down from us we met an old cat named Jimmy who thoroughly inspired us. He’s a world history teacher and country boy from Louisiana, been on the road on his motorcycle, Sun Stallion, for 40 days touring the US and all her wonders. Said at 55 he was in the best shape he was likely to be in from here on out, so now was the time. He’s also writing a book about his travels, got a journal about an inch and a half thick filled up already; now we’re in it. Showed us some pictures, including his ‘lucky’ picture of his two best friends, Betty and Bones (her husband), and mentioned something about working on a fire to heat his coffee. We floated back to our camp with wonder in our hearts and smiles on our faces. Here was the embodiment of our dream (one of them) – someone living without all the “requirements” of life and traveling for the sheer joy of it and to see it all before it’s gone. I went back down the hill with our single burner propane stove under my arm and a fresh bottle of propane to find Jimmy chatting with his neighbors across the road. When I said I had something for him he stared at me for a minute, then he asked me what I wanted for it. I told him I wanted him to have hot coffee on cold mornings and nothing else. He was touched and accepted, called me ‘ma’am’ the whole time, and even said he could buy his own propane. I waved him off, saying we had extra and that he should use it in good health and keep in touch when he could. Tithing does wonders for the soul; if you haven’t tried it, you should.
After breakfast we headed for the first of two lakes. It was a beautiful day, fish jumping everywhere, lots of anglers on the shores...we still didn’t catch anything. We came back to shore briefly to tighten a screw on our trolling motor and the ranger asked us to notify a couple kids on a float tube that they should come back to shore immediately. Apparently they “borrowed” the float tube thinking it was available for their use since it had been on shore for two days. They didn’t mean any harm, but we thought it was pretty funny. By then it was time for lunch and bait fishing is pretty boring though we’d resorted to it just to get a couple bites, so we headed for the dock to load up. Jimmy came down to see us, all suited up for the road. He said he’d left a gift for us on our camp table; it meant a lot to him, hopefully it would mean a lot to us. Upon returning to camp there was a letter, a photo, and a real estate brochure under a rock. The photo was his lucky one of Betty and Bones; the letter explained he wanted to gift us something in return but there was mostly junk in his saddle bags, so he gave us what meant the most to him and hoped it would bring us luck as well. The real estate brochure had cabins for sale in Idaho, one of which was circled and noted that he was thinking of buying it and we’d be invited up if he did. Currently the entire package is folded neatly in my glove box for luck and memories. We made lunch out of pineapple sausages (try them, they’re awesome!) on our two-burner camp stove. It normally lives at the bottom of our camping necessities tote – had to take everything else out to get to it.
About then our friendly ranger from that morning came by and told us all hell would break loose in about 2 hours. The clouds looked a little gray but I thought it was bit overkill. We tightened down all the tent stakes, closed everything up into something watertight and covered the firewood…and waited. The remainder of two hours past lazily with us sitting under a tree in the shade. There was some fun in the tent in there too, but mostly lazy sitting. When it did start it started slow – enough that we moved our chairs into the tent and took to reading, but not enough to be considered ‘hell breaking loose’ in any way. Not to worry – that came shortly after, at which point the tent was bending in gale force winds, the thunder was shaking the ground beneath us and the rain seemed more like a water fall than individual drops. It lasted four hours by my estimation, bucketing on us the entire time. It was during this time we discovered beyond a doubt that our 7-man, Hilton of a tent leaks, profusely. We kept scraping our stuff towards the center, at one point deflating the airbed to save it from getting wet, and setting all our pots – consisting of a coffee pot, soup pot, and one coffee cup – around us to catch drips. We also discovered that the ground we’d pitched on that looked so lovely and flat turned to mud with a cup of water, and since we had several, several cups of water, if you stepped into either end of the tent mud displaced beneath your foot. Honey went out a couple times to try to fix the rain cover, but to no avail, not to mention returning with about 5 pounds of mud stuck to his flip flops. It stopped just before bedtime, which was really good since I’d had to pee for the last two hours.
Morning dawned windy but clear. Everything was still there, including the Mexicans at a near by site who’d sung the same Vicente Fernandez song for 2 hours of the storm. Honey made the best breakfast bagel I’ve had in ages…and then came another ranger/weather man saying rain was imminent in hours. We debated strongly at this point whether we should stick it out, pack it up and do something else, or just go home. The ultimate decision, and the right one, was to unhitch the boat and go exploring. We took a 33-mile loop through some beautiful country with secluded campsites you need reservations to stay at and found a tree standing like a lone soldier in a field flat for miles. I also saw the best deer sign ever.
We ended up in this great little town, but the story on that will have to wait until another blog post for photographic project secrecy reasons. You fellow photogs should understand.
So after that we wound up in another great little town and spent some time in their train yard. I’m pretty sure we got into some places we shouldn’t have been, and at one point I was waiting for the junk yard dog to come barreling out from under something, but luckily none did. By then it was getting late. We’d been watching the clouds over what should have been our campsite all day – they’d been ominous and very gray. When we got back and checked the tent, all our bedding was wet. I made the decision right then and there that I was not sleeping in wet bedding. It started raining again while we were packing up, reminding me of Panguitch Memorial Day weekend. By the time we were loaded, we were both wet, shoes caked in mud, cold and hungry. We stopped to get food and hot liquid before driving less than an hour to a place we knew would have a room and rent it to us that late at night. As it turned out, we got the worst beds we’d ever had at our little hotel – we tried both beds with little comfort. We woke early to a colder morning than expected and drove home, arriving earlier than we normally do, but very tired and extremely satisfied…with great plans for our next adventure.

A new arrival...

August 18 – ‘Earth’, as I’m told locals call the blue planet, has turned out to be a rather good place for a crash landing. There’s an abundance of food, various levels of shelter, many mechanics in the vicinity who understand ‘Cadillac’ (unfortunately none whom understands Space Cadillac, which is causing some issues) and at least one very large outdoor market where one can buy practically anything – except Space Cadillac parts. This grand bizarre has the rapt attention of all of us, especially the first mate who has a well known addiction to snow cones of any flavor. Six is a reasonable limit before things get out of hand – so far an intervention has not been necessary. An elderly, blackened gentleman at the entrance gate says it’s called a ‘swap meet’, which still doesn’t make much sense. If two persons are meeting to swap stuff, should there be money involved? Regardless, it is not my place to interfere with a colony’s economics, especially when they’re all doing so well they need only work 3 days a week. As a captain in Her Majesty’s Royal Monkey Battalion, I can say I’ve never had it that good.

The Canon 40D has arrived at our house and I haven’t seen my husband since. To the astonishment of most, he’s been doing admirably well with a 300D, which I’m told is 6 years old and is responsible for everything on his website to date. He’s been carrying the new one everywhere and I’m starting to fear that he’s sneaking it into bed with us after I’m asleep – those two cannot be separated. Friday night he went out to the south end of the Strip to ‘put her through her paces’ with his friend and fellow shutterbug, Guy DeMeo. Guy brought his work camera, a Canon Mark III, because ‘the batteries on his camera [a Canon 5D] were low’. I got a giggle out of that – no photographer I know could have resisted either. I dropped Honey off in favor of a hot bath, Ibuprofen, and some time with my current book, The Bourne Supremacy, written by Robert Ludlum. They walked from Mandalay Bay to the Paris and back, shooting whatever caught their eye and getting home around 1 am. This, in my opinion, is the essence of the ‘Shits and Giggles’ shoot. As I’m told, his new 40D is bad ass.
As some of you may know, my partner in crime was laid off from a 5-year relationship with one of our local casinos a few weeks ago. I mention this not to embarrass him – hopefully his pride won’t be bruised - but to spotlight the beginning of an amazing journey, a turning point where he realized that his one love (after me, of course) is photography and that he wants nothing more than to spend his life pursuing it. A noble endeavor indeed and not a wasted life, if you ask me. Having come to the conclusion that a career (or lack thereof) doesn’t make a successful life, I’ve adopted the thinking that all decisions should be made based on the answer to one simple question: will this make me happy? Photography undoubtedly makes my honey happy and I see no reason not to chase one’s dream until you live it everyday. – This is that hippie vibe I warned you about. If you just relax your mind and accept that my illogical logic makes perfect sense, it will all be less stressful for you. - See, this all works just as hippie-happy as I’ve said because we don’t have kids or a mortgage or any real desire to be corporate 9 to 5. We do what we must to have what we want – currently that means I’m holding down the fort and my man is dashing into the wild unknown to become a full-time, successful photographer. It’s scary and it’s exhilarating.
I have a challenge for all of you. It’s simple and to the point and quite frankly should be the only point that concerns you: what is your big dream and what steps are you taking to get there? Think about it. What if you wake up on day and realize you’ve never done anything you wished for as a child?

Greetings! Welcome to the Monkey Chronicles

August 11 – mechanical problems with our space Cadillac have forced a premature landing in unknown territory. I use the term ‘landing’ quite lightly. Planet seems hospitable, atmosphere stable – though a little hot for my taste – inhabitants oblivious to our presence, despite the crash landing accompanied by fireworks and a sonic boom. The peoples of the blue planet appear to be a distant hairless cousin to us, though their behavior is raising eyebrows among the crew. Twice now, I, Captain MonkeyOne, have been chased down only to be handed flyers for drawings of unknown prizes and show tickets at places I’ve never heard of. During a third chase I enacting a ploy, claiming to be “local” (which is preposterous) and to my great surprise the flyer-handing chasers’ excitement suddenly disappeared, it uttered something sounding like “oh” and walked away. You can imagine my confusion – firstly that claiming to be a ‘local’ actually worked and second, that he was so easily dissuaded from what appeared a very important mission. My crew experiencing equal confusion, decided amongst themselves (without my permission of course) to see if silly behavior evoked the same response. To my great chagrin, the first mate began ludely dancing to some racket that passed for music; to further my chagrin, a female, presumably intoxicated, joined him and began grinding on his leg. This was welcomed by cheers, the flashing of bright little lights, and general approval. At this point, I’ve accepted that I shall remain confused during our stay. Considering the condition of our space Cadillac – once a stately vehicle with bucket seats, a mini bar, and individual, headrest movie screens, now reduced to a flat tire and bent hood ornament – we’ll be staying here for quite some time.
Now on a more serious note…well, not really serious since I try to avoid that state of mind as often as possible – there are plenty of other people handling the seriousness for us laid back souls. I am the humble scribe who will be penning this blog hence forth, hopefully to all of your amusement, if not rapt attention. I’m a beginner, a virgin if you will (ha ha!), but hopefully it won’t show too badly. J This blog was started at the urging of my dear husband, Felix, who feels I need a creative outlet (he’s right, but don’t tell him), to capture the essence of our lifestyle (which can be summed up smartly by Bobby Mcferrin: Don’t worry, be happy!), and to share the wonderful and often spontaneous adventures we embark on in the name of photography and fishing. As proof (if you needed any) that this sort of care-free life is addictive and good for you, I offer pictures of Kolob Reservoir and our friend, Terrell and my mother-in-law, Soledad, the epitome of a city girl, at ease with the world on her first-ever camping trip. You can read all about this trip on Terrell's blog by clicking here.
It may be important to note at this juncture that Terrell will more often than not be accompanying us on our trips, and as he has his own blog (please see ‘Friends of the Monkey’ on the right side of your screen) he will be blogging about his experiences. I encourage everyone to read both his and mine, if the subject interests you, to get both perspectives and join us in spirit as much as possible without physically being there. Also, the hippie vibe will be rampant in my scribbling, so if it bothers you have a drink or two and read it again. Isn’t that better?
Sung by Bobby Mcferrin
Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy now
Don't worry, be happy Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy Don't worry, be happy
Ain't got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don't worry, be happy
The landlord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy, Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy, Don't worry, be happy