Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Y'all

I had to share our Texas style Christmas tree from Uvalde, Texas (about 40 minutes from Mexico). This tree can truly persevere the Texas heat. Yes, that is prickly pear cactus growing out of green painted coffee cans. Who says we don't recycle?

During this rushed and financially tight holiday season, try to enjoy the things you may take for granted. Spend the time to fix your hair, complete with silk flower poinsettas.

Break out the Legos and build what ever cool thing your heart desires.

Enjoy a family meal cooked all from scratch by your grandmother.

Eat so much that you feel like you could not possibly hold another ounce, and retire to the couch.

Be sure to give everyone a hug and say "I Love You".

You may even have to put up with a little BS. Just remember, they love you enough to pick on you. Have a safe holiday season from my family to yours.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Howdy from Texas, Jenna!

After 2 hours of Houston evening traffic, I pull into the driveway, stagger out of my car, pull myself up the front porch steps, and to my pleasant surprise, find a small kraft box from leaning against my front door.

Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Merry Christmas to me, and I could not be more pleased. It is a pretty book, complete with a gold foil honey bee on the front.
I am a book nerd. I become giddy with excitement when I find first editions printed in the 1800's with the engraved plate tissue still intact, protecting the illustration. OR, when I stumble across a 1928 "The Arkansaw Bear Complete" in rough condition. It came home with me, and I treasure it.
Jenna's book is special. It is a memoir based on her young adult years (I think she is 26) in her woman's self discovery, and responsible, sustainable living. Just when I was becoming totally disheartened from seeing what our wars are doing to our young people and their families, God throws me a life-line.
Lighten up Kerrie, read this. There is some good out there. As a novelty, I photograph her book sitting on the back bumper of my old farm truck showing the Texas farm truck plates. Kind of like photographing the gnome as he travels the world. I shared this photo with her and it made her smile. I am happy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Horse Therapy

This was something I hope I never forget. It was unexpected and beautiful. I saw Sebastian kiss Rudy.

Sebastian may be one of the most beautiful children I have ever seen, although I am partial to dark curls, and he has a lot of them curling out from under his rider's helmet. I think he is between 3–4 years old and my favorite child at the horse therapy program I volunteer at. He wears little cowboy boots and every now and then I can hear a "yee-haw" as I lead his pony. We had a one-day Special Olympics type program on Saturday and I was blessed to have my Rudy and Sebastian team.

Rudy is about 13.5 hands tall and has the softest horse hair I have ever ran my hands across. It could rival the rich softness of an Alpaca. I kneed his hair like a cat and he tolerates me. He also has the tiniest hooves on a horse his size. Like a pony, some nights he tries to drag me in the arena, other nights he is a perfect gentleman. I've been told he nips and to watch out. The closest thing I have felt is a warm tongue sneaking a tiny lick on my arm. It is discrete and quick.

We have some stable snobs and they enjoy making fun of this great guy. He is too slow. His eyes are closed. He is lazy. They shut up instantly when Rudy was chosen as Horse-of-the-Year. This was as close as I would ever come to an award pageant, holding his lead as he stood patiently in the line-up. When his name was announced as the chosen winner, I jumped once with joy and gave him a big hug. I had the urge to do a beauty queen gasp and cry but I acquiesced, and Rudy's neck was draped with a beautiful wreath of flowers. I imagined him as Secretariat winning the Triple Crown.

And for Sebastian, that is what Rudy means to him. Empowerment, freedom, release, pleasure, love. And God chose me to witness that moment between special child and special horse, tiny hands reaching out and grasping that velvet nose, and planting a kiss right on the end of it. It was then I cried.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Felting is part of my therapy. I find it relaxing because I can be doing something creative while sitting in hours of stop-and-go traffic, or during my lunch break I can sit outside and knit. I am stuck on making large tote bags of my own design. It is not hard, a bottom with sides. Each one is a little different because I experiment with size each time.

My grown son happened to be visiting one night when I finished knitting the first bag. It was about 18" wide and 3’ tall, with a gauge that made it look like a fishing net. The knitted handles stretched about a foot with the weight of the bag as I held it in front of him. He had a puzzled look and stated “I hope you don’t expect me to wear that”. What!? He thought he was looking at a fishnet tank top that I had just knitt
ed especially for him. In his defense, growing up with an artistic mother, he has been subjected to my oddball creativity and humor.

Leaving him to wonder, I went to my studio/washroom to felt the cast net. I placed the bag on the table with a bc card to give you a scale of it. Here it is pre-washed:

I grabbed his jeans and added them to the wash. My girlfriend Kim said it helps with the agitation (felting process). Bag then comes out like this:

This is only my second felt job. I am concerned. So I proceed to block it. Son is relieved that this is no longer a wearable item. We end up with this:

This bag is a mangle of left over wool skiens, so the colors are impromptu. I thought it might be a bit much, but I have received several complements on it. I sewed my personal dress label (from back when I made custom children's clothing) inside it, it looks like it was meant to be.

I like this stress relief program much better than stuff like Prozac. I dry my son's jeans and he discovers large wads of felted wool in the pockets. I think it keeps him on his toes around me. Those damn artists!