Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cowboy True

Wow!  What an amazing experience that was! Cowboy True is now many memories. I often wonder why I put myself into situations where I know I'm going to be totally out of my comfort zone. The best reason I can figure is because stepping out of my own space is when I meet new, interesting people who have a passion for something I know nothing about.

Last night, I met Ann Ayres. She does bronze pieces depicting the lives of famous cowgirls like Bonnie McCarroll. Bonnie started trick riding as a girl. She married McCarroll when she was 14.  A horse threw her, dragged her and killed her when she was 31. The # 1 sculpture of Bonnie McCarroll is in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.  Ann didn't start sculpting until she was 51. She explained the bronzing process from start to finish, from which I mainly gained an understanding of why bronze pieces are always so expensive. She spoke with admiration for the artists who inspired her and with pride for the accolades that have come in regard to her work. She is an incredible artist. She and her work have been featured in Cowboys and Indians and in Ketchpen magazines.  You can see her work at www.annayresbronzes.com.  I couldn't afford any of Ann's bronzes but I did buy some silver horse shoes that she makes. They'll make nice napkin rings -- or Christmas ornaments.

I met Mejo Okon, a woman from San Angelo.  She paints cattle and horses and cowboys. Most of her paintings were large and close. For me, if the eyes of an animal are not done well, it ruins the whole picture. Mejo gets a high five for her paintings and another for the eyes.  I bought one of her paintings of two
parade horses. She gave me the right to name them.  Since they are big boys, I've decided to name them Revis and Luke.  They are featured on her website at www.mejookon.com

I met Jack and Karen Milchanowski from Bowie. He had a great story about a picture of three wolves that he went out into the wilds of somewhere and lured them in with frozen deer meat. He said the wolves came so close at times they brushed against him. When they ran out of meat, he said the wolves went away, no confrontation, no threat from either side.  I thought that was neat. I bought one of Jack's new western prints. It is a cowboy and his horse. I was originally attracted to it because the horse is so beautiful. Jack told me he had intended to have a series of pictures of this cowboy and his horse, but the day of their shoot, one of the horse's legs was bothering him and the man wouldn't ride him. Jack said, "that man really loves his horse." I loved that tidbit of information about the man so I bought it.  Jack talked about taking three exposures of one scene and putting them together on the computer which completely changes a photograph.  Then they are printed on metallic paper.

You can see Jack's wildlife photography on his website at www.jemfoto.com  Jack and Karen bought a copy of each book Saturday Morning about 10am.  By the time I left at 9pm, Jack was nearly finished with Come Hell or High Water.  I believe he set a new record.  He emailed me Monday and said he read The Hell About Stallions after they got home from Wichita Falls on Sunday. Another record! It's always an extra special treat when a man enjoys my books.

Su McMahen makes beautiful bling stuff. From her booth I bought a serving tray with cowgirl sayings all over the inside and bling all around the edge. She came and bought Come Hell or High Water and gave me a pair of Texas star earrings. She is a beauty with blonde spiky hair, lots of huge jewelry, and a ready
smile. She teaches grade school in Vernon. Something about her assured me that I'd be glad for her to be my grandson's teacher.

I ate dinner Friday night with Martha and Jimmy Stewart, (their real names believe it or not) and Dr. and Mrs. Tom Sherriff.  The steaks and baked potatoes were cooked to perfection and the conversation around the table was fun and interesting.  Saturday night we were served -- chuck wagon style -- by the Chuck Wagon Gang at the Texoma Cowboy Church.  Enchiladas with beans and rice.  Again, it was excellent.

I met Nancy Scott and Carol Sales of the Kemp Center for the Arts, www.kempcenter.org wonderful ladies who helped and encouraged me to come to Cowboy True, then checked in every so often to make sure I had everything I needed.

That brings me to Dotti Laseur. Dotti is one of those special people who as soon as I met her, I knew we'd be friends. She's funny and energetic. She loves animals and flowers and ART. She has tea parties in her apartment at the Holt Hotel and in her doll house at Lake Kickapoo. She never meets a stranger.  She voluntarily and tirelessly promotes the Wichita Falls Literature and Art Review magazine because it is a wonderful publication, and one that speaks well for Wichita Falls.

Being allowed to participate in Cowboy True as an artist was an honor that before hand had me chewing my nails down into the quick, but thanks to all the above mentioned folks and many others, all the memories I made this past weekend are good ones.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Raining!

As I begin this beautiful new rainy day, my dominant intent is to feel good.  Nothing is more important or more essential to  my wellbeing than that I look for things to appreciate and praise.

Yesterday evening, in anticipation of some heavy rains, I cleaned out the gutter in the street.  Hopefully the downpours will clean the pavement.  The City dug a big hole last summer to fix a water leak next to my driveway.  Then Atmos Energy dug another in the island between the sidewalk and the street.  Both made a big mess but the best cleanser is a hard rain to wash the street. When it dries out, I'll clean it up again and then it will be easier to keep it clean. 

The house next door has been vacant for nearly two years.  With no one to tend to it, the weeds had grown five feet tall and had two to three inch diameter stems.  Saturday, some people came to clean it up. I'm not sure what they used to cut the weeds:  I heard a lawnmower, a weedeater, a more powerful weedeater and some kind of motor I didn't recognize.  They worked on it all day Sunday, too.  Thank goodness, they did do some cleaning up.  (The last guys that mowed it left the mess.)  When they finished, it looked horrible, brown and ugly but with this rain, in a few days, even if it is all weeds, it'll look pretty and green.

I've been digging up the weeds in my yard.  I sprayed a few with Roundup, but it takes so long to kill the plant and for some reason, nearly impossible to get them out of the ground. I'm seeing a lot of the St. Augustine coming out and theres quite a bit of Bermuda on the island, so maybe I will have grass this year afterall.

I put out four five gallon buckets to catch some of the run off to water plants that are too far under the over hang of the house to get a good soaking.

I recieved a call this morning from Mr. Teter.  He and his helper will be here Thursday to lay the floors.  He says they'll be done in a day and a half -- so by the weekend, I should be able to spread out -- put things back where they belong.

Yesterday, I painted the upper cabinets in the kitchen, I bought new handles, black ones that right now look sort of out of place, but when the black and white floor is back, they will fit right in.

I'm happy about so many things.  It's ridiculous to let a "pothole" spoil that. 

Have a great day, Friends!  I intend to do exactly that!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pot Holes of Life


As I begin this brand new day -- and my four day weekend, my dominant intent is to look for that which pleases me, to spend more time looking AT the things that cause me to feel joyful -- such as the thickening of the iris stems that are the first outward sign of blooms forming, the buds on Lady Banks rose in the back and the Wisteria that climbs all the way up the utility pole guy wire.

Instead of looking at the hard work ahead of me I want to remember the blessings of being mobile, healthy and able.   I want to feel that pleasure that comes with making forward progress.

I want to focus on getting ready for COWBOY TRUE, learning to dance, and the beauty of "my  little corner of the world."  I want to think about and talk about things that help me get back my sense of peace and well being.

We learn something from everything that "happens to us".  What I'm learning from the turmoil with the work being done on my house is that I have a lot to learn about myself.  I thought I had a pretty good grip on being positive and forward thinking, but when things began to go awry, I sank into criticism, self pity and anger as easy as 1,2,3.  I knew better, but once it began, I participated in it as fully as if I didn't know better.  I can see that with the mood I was in when I decided to get the floors fixed, it's no wonder things went foul. I had convinced myself though, that the floor had to be done right now, and there was no talking myself out of it.

Once we get involved in troublesome contrast, the best thing we can do is step back and let it run it's course. All things work out one way or another and the sooner we stop inputting, the sooner the resolution will come.

I let this situation turn from bad to worse but hopefully it's over.  New people are coming next week to lay both floors. I'll re-paint and do what I can to fix the mistakes. And in the mean time, I will work on forgiving myself for first setting this in motion, and reminding myself that basically the world is good. There will always be "potholes", but they are few and far between.

I'm out on the back patio, listening to Yanni, but I have him turned low enough that I can still hear the chorus of birds around me and the wind chimes. It is very peaceful sitting here, watching Shelbie walk around, waving her tail gently. The chickens and pigeons are coming out into the fly pen to get a drink of water.

Chester is screaming inside because he wants his breakfast and he doesn't like for me to ignore him. Another "pothole", but I'd PROBABLY miss him if  he were to pass away, or if I were to wring his parrot neck and make stew out of him  -- but then I'd have some more forgiving myself to do and sometimes that's damn hard work!

This is going to be a wonderful productive day -- but first I have to feed Chester.