"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pearl Zooming

Mr. Wonderful is out of town and I always try to take pictures of the girls to send him because he gets homesick.  I also set him up with Skype on our extra laptop so he can see them while he is away - how pathetic is that? 

I took my 50 mm lens out in the back yard, this morning, to take shots of the girls.  It was a little overcast and I didn't expect good shots, especially since Pearl did a lot of running and the girls were wrestling.  Still, I was happy with quite a few of them.  

First thing, before I even had a cuppa Joe, Pearl spotted a bunny on the other side of the fence among the Cedar trees (the opening to a rabbit hole is under there).  We ought to be having baby bunnies in about a month so I've been keeping her away from that area since it appears to be a nursery.  The lack of caffeine and Pearl being so hysterical contributed to my decision to open the gate and let them both out to chase rabbits.  Sure enough, Pearl ran under the Cedars, out of sight.  A moment later, I saw the bunny running parallel to her in the yard.  Pearl hadn't seen that the rabbit had abandoned the trees (the bunny was probably trying to keep from drawing Pearl straight to her warren) and she kept racing up and down under the Cedars trying to find her.

Evelyn, on the other hand, doesn't care about bunnies.  It was our big trash pick-up day and she's spotted a garbage truck on the road and was intent on making sure it didn't get too close to "her" fence.  The bunny came barreling through the yard to escape Pearl and ran right into Evelyn (I've seen this before).  Evelyn was knocked back about a foot, gave the bunny an irritated look as if to complain that the rabbit was unbearably rude, then went back to looking at her own prey - the garbage truck.  Shortly thereafter, the bunny came running back by with Pearl on her heels and Evelyn jumped out of the way, then trotted back to me in the back yard.  She wants no part of that stupid bunny.

Even though the bunny got away, Pearl was in high spirits and zoomed around the backyard.  It was at this point that I brought out the camera.   She is pretty much a couch potato but sometimes the puppy comes out in her and she just has to run.  
We call it zooming when she races in circles, belly down, around the yard.  She'll do it from time to time but we've never had a dog zoom the way our Jezebel did.  I swear, we used to wonder if Jezebel was going to set the grass on fire.  All dogs have their unique ways of moving and Jezebel was a smaller Samoyed than Evelyn or Pearl.  She had, as my husband called them, bowling pin shaped legs.  She'd run like a freight train and we used to think she was really fast until we noticed that long legged Evelyn effortlessly glided along next to her like a feather on the wind.  After that, we decided "zooming" was more about attitude than speed.  And Jezebel had attitude in buckets.

Pretty Evelyn, as I said, glides.  In a full-out run, she still looks like she is dancing - she lifts her feet pretty and keeps her ears perked forward.  Even though she is four years older than Pearl, she is actually the more active of the two.  Since moving back to Oklahoma, she has shown herself to be much more of an outdoor dog than we realized.  The temperature doesn't bother her that much and, if outside, she tends to run from place to place rather than walk.  She is so much more active that we've noticed that her hindquarters have really muscled up in the past year.  That will serve her well as she gets older.  She is only six, but I can already see signs of middle age in her coat, teeth and eyes. 

I hate that.  I see it in the mirror, too.

Two year old Pearl has her own running style and I just love it - head up, ears down with a smile on her face - shoulders down and her hindquarters nearly overtake her forequarters.  Her feet look like they ought to get tangled up but they never do.
I'm just learning to use my new camera and am considering getting a smaller zoom.  The 18-200 mm is nice but it is really big to carry around and I am not all that wild about the quality of the shots when it is at full zoom, anyway - unless conditions are just right, of course.  

But this morning, Pearl was so spunky you couldn't help but get some fun shots:
  She was full of sass:

 She runs with her tail up, most of the time:

After about five long laps around the yard (she'd leap up and try to kiss the camera lens on the way by - all those shots are out of focus) she took a short break:

She's got such pretty eyes:
After catching her breath, she looked around for sister:

 Evelyn is a good sport:

But even Evelyn gets tired of the little twit after a bit:
Still, as bratty as she can be - what a face!
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food Chain

 I went out early this morning to take photos on our undeveloped property out west of us
It was a gorgeous, still dawn.  I wanted to catch the sunrise before it got too far up in the sky so I pulled over onto a gravel road.  While I was taking the above photos, two men with a trailer pulled up to round up some cattle that had gotten out.  I didn't take any pictures of their efforts because I figured they were aggravated enough, already. 

By the time I got to the property, the sky was bluing up but you could still see the moon:
The leaves are just starting to bud but it is still pretty bare:

I just tramped around taking pictures.  At one point, I found a shed antler that I picked up to take home for the girls.  I also saw a small skull that looked like a skunk or a possum.

I always like to snap photos of this old farm thing.  Here it is, first thing in the morning:
I didn't realize, at first, that something was on it, watching me.  Look where the yellow arrow is pointing, below:
Yup.  A Great Horned Owl that I didn't notice until it reared up and glared at me.  It took off and I immediately started snapping shots.  They are out of focus but you can still see that it is carrying something huge:
 I'm pretty sure it is a rabbit:
I climbed up on the machinery to see if there was some guts or something (yeah, I'm gross) and lo and behold, a nest!
Well, it is where it is putting its eggs, anyway.  No robin would claim this shack.  Those eggs are just laying out there. 

The eggs were roughly the size of very large chicken eggs - rounder, though.  And heavy.  I moved one but put it right back and left them alone. 
As soon as I took the pictures, I immediately tried to spot where the owl flew by running around to the side of the machine.  It was gone, however, and I have no idea how it could have disappeared that fast so it may have been hiding in the tall grass. 

Here was another casualty of nature:
Something a bit prettier, but still losing its seeds:
After a couple of hours I loaded up to head home.   Here is a section line road about a mile south:
There was a grass fire not far from there that was sending smoke over and darkening the sky. 

The girls loved the antler I brought home:

Evelyn took it, first, but after a bit, she shared it with Pearl and they gnawed different points.  When Evelyn got tired of it, Pearl kept on chewing:
Nature is cruel:

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Twisted Path of the Anti-Sociopath

CAUTION: Tedious navel gazing to follow.  Skip if you don't want to read about my pitiful, internal, angst-ridden, self inflicted, shallow, dysfunctional, emotional wallowings.  One of the main reasons I have not been blogging is to spare everyone that horror. 

You have been warned.

Guilt can be, among other things, a vigorous motivator, an unhealthy and dysfunctional joythief, an out of date roadmap for life and relationships, helpful curbs on the road less traveled, a distraction from important matters calling for attention, or an honest reflection of the need for introspection and correction.

 I am well acquainted with guilt. 
Over the course of my life, I've become aware that I too often ignore guilt's quiet words of caution but snap to when it snarls and whines.  Like many, I then find myself flailing about like a brash young husband desperate to sooth his beloved bride who has finally erupted when his cluelessness presses her beyond all patience.  That is to say, when faced with some types of guilt, I generally do things that won't help and, in fact, only make things worse.  
Quilting and blogging, in moderation, are healthy endeavors but I've done neither for weeks.  And why is that?  Well, in part, it is because I feel too guilty to indulge myself since I have been busy doing other things that are time consuming and expensive.  It isn't as if I couldn't also quilt and blog, mind you.  It is as if I am restricted to a small sack of pleasures and only a set amount is allowed at a time.  And when I engage in things that I enjoy, I find myself seeking a counter balance of misery so that things don't get out of whack. 
Now, I don't necessarily think that is an unhealthy objective, in the abstract, because balance is healthy.  All play and no work is just as lopsided as all work and no play.  But a healthy person understands time management and adjusts her day to prioritize and include those priorities in a healthy manner.   I haven't been doing that.  And let's face it, going out of your way to insert misery in your life is not the same thing as balancing playtime with making the bed or mowing the grass when it needs it.
When I am working, I tend to overdo the work part, admittedly, but I still find ways to cram in creative outlets in the small amount of time leftover.  I think most busy people are that way.  Afterall, they say if you want something done, ask a busy person. 
On the flip side, with time on my hands, I've managed to transform myself into Scarlet O'Hara (sans tiny waist and green curtain dress) and put off until tomorrow those things I don't want to face, today.  And after a few days of avoidance of what needs to be done, I then feel so guilty that I don't indulge myself in creative outlets, either.  Because that would be wrong and self indulgent.  At that point, it goes beyond feeling guilty for doing something creative and fun instead of chores.  You start feeling guilty that you aren't doing either of those things.  You're just sitting there growing a butt. 
No, I am not bi-polar.  I can't swear I am not otherwise mentally ill, however.  Clearly. 
So while in guilt inspired freeze mode, I end up missing deadlines; having a cluttered sewing room (which is so vexing I avoid going in there); letting my chores pile up; neglecting my relationships (because why should I enjoy them when I am such a useless person?); skipping opportunities to have fun; and wasting my time and life instead of simply rolling up my sleeves and getting back in charge.
Okay, so what have I been up to that has caused me to neglect my quilting and blogging?  Well, they aren't really unhealthy reasons (so why do I feel guilty and dysfunctional?).  

To begin with, I decided I wanted a new camera.  And since I am not working, I felt incredibly guilty to think about spending money on it.  That meant that I spent an inordinate time looking for good prices and trying to educate myself so that I didn't spend money I didn't have for something I didn't need.  This, of course, was guaranteed to create an ethical quandry since I didn't NEED a new camera to begin with.
I felt guilty to even think about buying a new camera.  And feeling like I was robbing the family of time and money was so excruciating that I began doing an active job search to bring things back in balance.  Which is not a bad thing but it takes a lot more time than people may realize to find suitable openings; educate yourself on what is needed for a particular job; apply; go to interviews; seek professional contacts, etc.  Plus, there is an emotional toll - the stress of applying and interviewing coupled with concerns of how your life will change if you are hired - or not hired.  I've also been considering other employment options a bit outside my comfort zone that might be a better fit.  All of this has been stressful, time consuming and difficult.  And guilt inspiring.
I also started watching the first season of The Tudors on Wednesday nights.  That would have to be classified as a guilty pleasure, I guess.  I don't watch much television and don't actually feel guilty about watching the show other than that I know it has been changed to better fit a British costume drama at the expense of historical accuracy.  Which is wrong but I can live with that so long as I look up what ACTUALLY happened on the internet.  So that HAS taken up some time that I could have been using to blog or quilt.  Okay, so it is just an hour or so week.  See how crazy this is making me? 

I don't handle guilt very well.  I start emotionally flailing about and over/under reacting.  Truly, I become a pain to live with. 

But back to the camera.  I looked and looked and looked, and thought and thought and thought but didn't buy it.  Just couldn't bring myself to pull that trigger.  I wanted a new camera but was consumed with guilt over being so self centered and lazy.   Emotionally and actually spinning my wheels.

Yes, I realise that there was just a horrible earthquake/tsunami/radiation leak in Japan and people in the middle east are getting slaughtered.  I also realise that I am healthy and just got a wonderful new grandson.  I have a lovely home, a loving husband, fantastic children, dogs that are housetrained and money in the bank - and all of that makes my angst all the more ridiculous and dysfunctional. 

It is probably to the point of being sinful.  What is wrong with me?

Then Husband announced that he'd gotten a good performance review with a nice bonus and he was buying me a camera with it.  Too much joy - which meant I had to dig up more misery to balance it.  Started really stressing on finding a job to pay him back (self imposed - this wasn't coming from him).  No quilting because I really should be in on the computer looking for a job.  No blogging because I haven't done anything to blog about unless it was to categorize my sins.
Once the camera arrived, I had to justify spending the money on it by spending an inordinate amount of time learning to use it. 

This eventually aggravated my husband and the dogs began avoiding me (I finally turned off the sound on the camera and that has helped - I think the beeps were as annoying to them as when the battery goes low in the smoke detector).


Two days ago, Husband put his foot down.  Per Mr. Wonderful, I am NOT to take a job I don't want just because I feel guilty.  In fact, he suggested I consider getting a job at Hobby Lobby.  For minimum wage if that is what I want.  Or not.   Then he lied to me and said it doesn't look like I have gained any weight.  He also said he is glad I am watching The Tudors because he is happy to see me have a favorite television show.  I don't even understand that last but am making an accurate report.
The man's opinion means far too much to me, clearly. 

Yesterday, I washed windows and felt so good about it that I made time to blog, today.  And when I finish, I am going to go clean my sewing room.
I better get to it.  I have spent the morning blogging and it is ridiculous to be that self indulgent writing about feeling guilty about being self indulgent.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl