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Video greetings for Scott

Hey all!

Scott is turning the big 5-0 on the 17th. If you'd like to send him a video greeting, upload it to Youtube via this log in info:

Username: Christmasgoddess@gmail.com

Password: Ornament


Feel free to pass on the info.

A place of my own

Hey all

I'm moving my blog over here: http://putonlipstick.blogspot.com/

Specifically so I can do the ad space thing. But come on over. :)

a little spiritual thought today......

"Truly those who believe, and the Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans - whoever believes in God and the Last Day and performs virtuous deeds - surely their reward is with their Sustainer, and no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve. " [Quran 2:62]

Road trip!

The kids and I are now overnighting in Georgia on the way to visit grandparents in North Carolina.

We saw some interesting things on the way.

In Texas, we saw a kid in his early teens sitting on a truck tailgate with a handgun. In that same town, we saw a gallows, complete with mannequins, one with the noose around his neck.

In Louisiana, we saw a man talking so intently to his three year old his face had turned red. At this same travel center in Louisiana I got a Coca-cola in a glass bottle and poured in some peanuts. Turns out this is really yummy.

At a truck stop in Mississippi, we saw a very large man in overalls with a table completely covered with plates. He was eating a bowl of grits and telling the person sitting near him how you can't get grits on the west coast. At this same truck stop, one of the waitresses walked up to me and ran her hand down my new tattoo of Rosie the Riveter and said "Oh, beautiful". (By the way, I've counted six comments on my new artwork. All positive in nature. :) )

There were two guys at the hotel where we spent the night in Mississippi who hung out outside their room smoking cigarettes and talking to everyone who walked by. Will took a liking to them and wanted to run out of our room to tell them things throughout the evening.

At this same hotel, I discover that I did fill my toiletries bag but didn't get it into the car. This left me without any toothbrushes. Or a hairbrush. Or my skin cleanser. Or my make up. Or deodorant.

In the Waffle House across the parking lot, Will and Zoe saw a man with a four footed cane. They pointed out that the man in the movie UP has the same cane but his has tennis balls on the feet.

In Alabama, Will poked the man in front of us at Subway in the butt to get his attention. After we had our Subway lunch I had my first Red Bull. Whoo!

When we entered the state of Georgia, there was a traffic jam. Cars were reversing up the shoulder to the onramp, where they continued to reverse to get off the highway. Other drivers decided to just turn around and drive the wrong way on the shoulder to drive the wrong way up the onramp to get off the highway.

Tonight, we had dinner at the Waffle House across the street. (the kids love Waffle House. They beg to go there.) The woman who waited on us told me that she's been in and out of homeless shelters but she's got a job and a place to live. Her daughter will be coming to join her in two weeks. I said it must be so hard to be separated from her. And then this nice lady started to cry. Will and I put Crazy by Patsy Cline on the juke box and it seemed like everyone sang along.

We are now watching Shrek 2 on TBS with the lights off. I'm going to turn the movie off in about 15 minutes and we're going to go to sleep.

I'll miss you Martin

This is a photo of my wedding bouquet. The excellent friend of my mother's who put it together and designed all the other flowers for my wedding died today at his home in Maui. His partner of almost 40 years found that he'd died in his sleep. He asked to be cremated and be spread at Haleaukala so he can be close to the stars. Martin, was his name. Crazy Martin who'd buy me booze and cigarettes. Was good looking and when you went to dance with him he'd do girl arms too. Martin who could copy any painting or piece of furniture he wanted to. Although I hadn't spoken to him in years, I'm crying and I'm going to miss him very much.

That was an adventure

I participate in the behind_the_lens, well, I lurk mostly. Every month braddumm coordinates a photo challenge. This month's challenge theme is transportation.

I really wanted to go downtown to get a photo of the Segway tour, the horse and carriage or a pedicab.
I got a hall pass from Scott and headed down on Saturday morning. I parked at the capitol building and as I got out of the car, I saw the Segway tour leaving the area. Okay, no worries, I'll walk down Congress Avenue and wait for the next one to come by.

Over the course of a couple hours, I walked from the capitol building to the south side of the Congress bridge without seeing one horse and carriage, Segway or pedicab. None. I did, however, see lots of bicycles and taxis.

I swapped my zoom lens for my general use lens and thought I'd shift my focus to taxis and bikes. As soon as I'd swapped my lens, all the taxis and bikes disappeared.

I adjusted my settings and thought I'd try for some traffic movement shots. I made the shutter speed slower and waited for a brightly colored car to drive by. I'd focus on the bright color and track the car as it went by. In theory, this would blur the background but keep the car in focus. Suddenly, all the cars were tan and grey.

No problem, I'll take pictures of scooters. Lots in Austin, many have gone by in the last several minutes, shouldn't be a problem. Nope, they'd all left. Ditto motorcycles.

When I got to the Congress Avenue bridge, it was closed to auto traffic. This was great as I got to stand in the middle of the street to take pictures of the buildings along Lady Bird Lake. I was also able to take some shots of a family canoeing. We waved at each other and I started back up Congress.

I figured I'd get some good photos on 6th. There wasn't much of anything going on on 6th street. Usually, there was a horse and carriage in front of the Driskell Hotel. Nope, not today. Just people standing around talking about where to have lunch. A couple gave me the stink eye. (Well, I'm sorry you are offended by my lack of creased khakis. :P) I did pause to take pictures of the very old Ford out front. People were pulling up the side entrance of the Driskell in Range Rovers and Cadillac Escalades to have a bellman unload their luggage onto brass carts.

As I'm making this frustrating, hot, sweaty, unfruitful trek all these men are saying hi to me. All of them are what I call 'semi-homeless'. They're obviously not homeless, because they're clean as are their clothes. But they just hang out and walk around like they have nowhere to be. And say hi to me. Non-locals walking near us look alarmed when I say hello back. I don't know why, I don't give them my number or anything.

I kept heading up Congress to the Capitol. When I got there I was hot and sweaty so I bought a mango frozen fruit bar from a guy with an ice cream cart. Then it melted down my arm.

But I got to see some very neat things. A couple, one dressed as a bird, one dressed as a bee waiting for a bus. I waved at the Duck Tour at least twice. A toothless black man asked me to take his picture. I used my zoom lens to take pictures of a wedding party getting their picture taken at the Capitol Building. Then they saw me taking their picture and I ran away.

But fitting into the 'transportation' category? Uh, not so much.

I now have 300 photos to wade through and see if I have one for the challenge. I dunno, I'm not optimistic.

Whoo hoo, creepy!

I visited Bagdad cemetery today. Not noteworthy that I visited a cemetery, it's what I do. Bagdad was a town about 25 miles north of Austin. It did well for a while, but then slowly died out when the railroad passed it by.

This cemetery dates back to the 1870's. It's also the cemetery where "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was filmed.

In the older area, this place is creepy. I don't get creeped out in cemeteries. I LIKE cemeteries. I find them to be very peaceful. Not so in Bagdad. I got really creeped out while I was walking around. I can't explain it, it was just creepy.

I also swear I heard a person whistling. Now, I know the difference between birds, road noise and a person whistling. And I swear I heard whistling.

If you asked me to go out there at night, I'd probably go but I'd probably scream, run, trip on a stone, hit my head and break my camera.

Yes, old. Yes, very neat. Yes, the newer areas are unique. But I'm not sure I'm going to go back there.

Amanda waxes......

I really like to visit cemeteries. History, shade, quiet and creepiness all in once place.

I'm always amazed at the older headstones, done by a person with a hammer and chisel. There's an entire symbolism to the figures also. Weeping willows, angels, lambs, certain types of flowers all have their own meaning in the Christian religion. Christians are buried with their feet pointing east, so that when judgement day comes they will be facing the correct direction. Persons who were suicides, criminals or crazy were buried facing a different direction.

I tend to have really deep thoughts about the generations of women who came before me. Specifically those who helped settle a region. The other day I took a walking tour of Oakwood Cemetery here in Austin.

There are women buried there who came to Austin prior to the Civil War. I really ponder what they went through to bring us to the present day.

Women who traveled to the west in wagons that made twenty miles a day. Women with rags between their legs or babies in their wombs. Giving birth in wagons, in tents, in the open. Helping build the houses they would live in. One room with a fireplace and an outhouse. No insulation, glass windows or climate control. Coming to Texas in the heat and humidity wearing long skirts. They cooked over fires, did laundry by hand, preserved their foods as best they could.

I'm quite certain I can not even begin to understand the amount of hard work and heartache these women went through for the reward of taming twelve acres. The reward of feeding themselves. The reward of keeping everyone alive.

Just the health risks cause me to shudder. Dipthiria, scarlet fever, smallpox, flu, infections, bee sting allergies, accidents all took their husbands and their children and themselves. Loved ones who were buried out on the prairies with no markers to indicate they even lived. Complications from childbirth or pregnancy must have overcome so many of them.

Women we'll never know the names of, but who paved the way for us just the same. The women who started churches and schools and carved out communities in order to bring civility to such a wild place. A place that wasn't even a state.

I wander around and look at the carved rocks telling me they lived, that they were here. Every one of them had a life. They were someone's mother, someone's wife, someone's daughter. They loved and cried and laughed. Entire lives buried under these slabs of granite, secrets I'll never know about how they endured, even enjoyed the life they made for themselves here in the wild Texas hill country.

Every one of them worthy of a biography. Every one of them worthy of my inadequate 'thank you'.

I should have posted this on May Day

My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender
grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
-Song of Solomon 2:10-13