The guy who cuts my grass broke a window on May 17th. Two weeks later, I still don’t have a firm schedule for its repair – although I did finally get a price quoted. In my retirement transition, I’ve been focused on this hole and angry. It’s a symbol of everything that is broken and that I’ve been waiting to get fixed. Now that I am retired, that which used to be a nuisance, sometimes becomes an obsession. I retired from a career in power where I worried about the scope of outages, when the next hurricane might come, and a myriad of daily decisions and administrative matters. Now, my decisions are like this: Continue reading
Getting my kicks
After celebrating the New Year in Southern California, Mark and I decided to take the long way home, venturing off the main highway to see as much of Route 66 as we could. Actually, it wasn’t that spontaneous. Mark had plotted the trip and made numerous reservations weeks in advance. The weather in some locations could be unpredictable, but we were lucky to have very mild conditions. We were able to execute our plan flawlessly. Continue reading
Tia relaxed (and slept) with her tongue out.
I set up my new lap top on the dining room table so I could look out the picture window when I write. The sun is shining just right, and I can still see her nosey smudge marks on the glass.
You’ve probably noticed a pattern; I experience a life crisis – get a boxer. By 2014, both Buster and Tyson were gone, my Father had passed away and my Mother was seriously ill. Shaylea and I became best buds and I don’t think she missed those other boxers at all. That summer, my niece Tawny moved in with me, my long-term boyfriend moved to France, and Shaylea passed away suddenly from a bleeding tumor. Too much life change at once. I was a basket case. Tawny hinted at getting a cat, but told me what I really needed was another boxer. Continue reading
Palette knife portrait by Judy Mackey
Not all these tales are perfectly happy. For starters, Tyson had no tail. A docking job gone poorly. Good thing they left his soft floppy ears alone. Tyson was a stray, turned in to the boxer rescue still dragging a heavy chain around his neck. He’d probably been used as a guard dog. He had busted loose, looking for freedom and a better life at the age of 4-ish.
Meanwhile, my life was headed towards another rough patch. After enjoying my nice promotion for a few years, our company was going through a reorganization affecting me and my staff. What better way to take your mind off problems than to create new ones? Since I had no control over this situation, I decided to go save another boxer. It was a disastrous decision, but with a few heart warming and humorous moments. Continue reading
Photo portrain of Shaylea by Mark Winslet
Within two years of divorce, I saved enough money to move myself and the dogs out of our little bungalow into a new home with a fenced in back yard and pool. I got a promotion and a fresh start. I graduated from eating beanie weenies with boxed wine, or no wine, to fresh fish and a decent bottle every now and then. I still washed and reused baggies, though. Being broke will make an environmentalist out of you. Life was good. Continue reading
Water Color of Buster, by Jacqueline Stubbs
(Having recently lost my 4th boxer, Tia, from cancer, I thought a blog would be good therapy and a way to honor her. Even better, I’ve decided to start from the beginning. This is Part 1 of “Boxer Tales”, in memory of my beloved Boxer dogs and to showcase the work of artists who captured their spirit.)
Thanksgiving weekend, 1999. My soon to be ex-husband (“X”) was pulling into the driveway in his consistently late fashion. Peeking outside, I noticed he had one of his “running buddies” with him. A dark, handsome stranger sat in the passenger seat of the sedan. I stepped away from the window, bracing myself for his latest excuse, when the front door opened and in bounded an excited 9 month old male boxer. No running buddies in sight. The dog had been riding in the front seat like he belonged there.
I recently read more letters from my Dad to my Mom during the Vietnam War. They encompassed significant dates such as Valentines Day, their anniversary, and the birthday of my younger brother. Dad was notoriously frugal, yet generous. This Valentine’s Day card is a perfect example. In the enclosed letter he describes, with pride, how he procured a “good as new” wool pea coat for Mom from the ship’s store. The sailor to which it had been assigned, never picked it up and it was on sale for $3.00! However, it will cost $15 to have it lined, so figured my Mom could “do that herself.” Frugal. He also described how he was going to buy her a beaded “shell” for $25 (a lot of money then), and “I assume you are still a 38 and I dream about them.” Generous and in love. Continue reading
My holiday road trip on and off Route 66 took me to Santa Fe for a couple of days. It was a week into the new year and crowds were thin. We were able to wander the town square and other areas taking pictures without waiting on people and cars to exit the frame. We stayed just off the square at La Posada de Santa Fe, also known as the art hotel of Santa Fe. Filled with original works of art for sale, it was perfect. Also perfect, was the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. Here are some “tree-full” memories from the Santa Fe art scene and landscape.
Triptych in the lobby of the hotel by Kim Barrick.
I recently spent a week driving from Southern California to Houston Texas with a photographer friend. We drove from Indio, CA, through Sedona, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon South Rim, Santa Fe, Amarillo, and finally home over the period of a week. Along the way we travelled through the Navajo Indian Reservation and intermittently on Route 66. Our primary mission was to photograph rock formations and Route 66 memorabilia, but then there were also trees. Not as many trees as we were used to (living in The Woodlands, TX) but still beautiful trees. These are my favorites from Arizona.
A lone tree near The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.
One of my readers challenged me to do a travel blog. When I travel, I prefer to enjoy the experiences and not be considering how I will write about it. Integrating a travel blog with my love of art and trees was the solution. Continue reading