Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bianka's Big City Road Trip.

I thought I'd better sneak in one last post with words before my August Break officially starts tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed a real break...a break from work, a break from the house, a break from everything. Not a major vacation, just getaway for a couple of days. So you know what this means.....Road trip!!! And since this was sort of an impromptu decision, I had one major thing to take into consideration. What to do with the Little Dog?

I called my pal, Paula, whom I'd planned on visiting in St. Louis and explained the situation. She asked "How is she in the car?" She's great. The dog is born for road trips. Then Paula said "Why not bring her along? You've done it before." But that was when we visiting you and your parents in the country. "So..." But you have a cat. "We'll work something out so that their not in the same room together. Just come visit for the weekend." And that was that.

So here we are as we get ready to embark on our big road trip adventure. Bianka is ready.


Now, Bianka is used to making a 2-3 hour road trip up to may parents house on a regular basis. This drive was going to be twice that. So a little over half-way I started getting this look.


This doesn't look like the way to Grandma and Grandpa's?
Where are we going?
Are we there yet?

So I tried to help Bianka pass the time by pointing out some of the sites.


Like the place where school buses apparently go to die, and the large pink and white elephants in the corn field, and the giant ketchup bottle. Come on. This is good stuff!

She's either saying
You're kidding me right?
Why are you taking pictures when you are supposed to be driving?

This is one of my favorite points when I go to St. Louis. That first moment when you catch peek of the Gateway Arch.

Destination - St. Louis. Mission accomplished!


I had no real agenda for my time in St. Louis. I was content just to sit and hang out, catch up on reading a few blogs, write in my journal, maybe walk around and take some photos. These are all things I can't seem to find time for when I'm at home. Mainly because I feel guilty in indulging in these activities, when I can see the laundry is piling up, the dishes need washed, and the grass needs mowed. But, if I'm away, it's all okay.


So for a couple of days I did just that. I found a favorite coffee shop that happens to be pet friendly, and I sat. I drank coffee, and read and wrote. Bianka was content to just hang out with me. She quietly sat by my side and watch the comings and goings of the regular customers. All in all she was much more well-behaved that I expected. It was great.


But after a couple of days of just sitting and being, I could tell the Little Dog was getting a little stir crazy. I think she was missing her backyard and snake hunting time.
So I decided to take her around and show her some of the sites in the neighborhood.

First stop The Campbell House. This was as far as she got. Sorry Binx. "No Dogs Allowed."

Nice Place. I could live here.
I wonder if they have any snakes in that yard.

I told Bianka I'd take her down to see the Arch. We geared up for a nice little 15 block walk to the Riverfront.

After a little hydration, the Little Dog was ready to go. Bianka was quick to learn all the things you have to pay attention to when getting around the city.


Always use the crosswalks. Look both ways before crossing the street. Pay attention to the crossing signals. Don't walk if the sign is red.

Be mindful of the side walk grates. Avoid them if you can.

road trip 10

Eventually we reached our destination, but Bianka seemed uninterested. She was more concerned with getting her Gentle Lead off her head than looking at the Arch.


She seemed even less impressed when I tried to take her picture at the Arch.


My little legs walked 15 blocks for this?


What's the big deal? It's a big metal thingy.

I've seen lots of big metal thingies all over this town.


Well. When you put it that way. I see your point.


Not that much different from Little Dog's perspective.


So I found an Arch that was more Bianka's size. ☺

Now that place looks interesting.

I see you eying that River Boat Casino. Maybe next time, Little Dog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

August Break

What you are looking at is the very first piece of real artwork I ever purchased. I was in college and a friend of mine did this series of small straight jackets. They were simple, yet powerful and I decided then and there I wanted to purchase one.

Each straight jacket contained objects and things that seem harmless at first but ultimately restrict us from being who we are. As you can see my jacket is bound up by words. Right now words are my personal straight jacket.

If you look back over the course of this year you'll see that I've been averaging about 3 blog posts per month. Pathetic. The photography blog is even worse averaging 1.5. I have dozens of things I've wanted to post over the last few months and for a variety of reasons they never materialize. Most of the reasons have to do with my general dissatisfaction with the overall look of the blogs. They both are begging for a make over. Design is an issue, but in addition to that is the content. That's where the words come into play.

Contrary to what my family believes. Writing isn't easy for me. Actually it's a painfully slow process. Even a simple little blog post will take well over and hour and have several revisions before being published to the web. Then of course, after it's online, that's when I see the typos. I'm not even going to tell you how long its taken me to throw this little bit of drivel together but let's just say I probably could've and should've made better use of my time by cleaning my kitchen.

So I know you are asking yourself, what the heck does all of this have to do with a piece of art and an August Break? My point (and I do have one) is that I have spent the last 6-7 months avoiding words for the most part. The consequence of this is, no blog posts. No blog posts = one (or in my case two) boring blogs.

This is where Susannah Conway, writer photographer and Crystal's personal hero, came to the rescue. Last week she proposed this idea of an August Break. In a nutshell, its an opportunity for bloggers to take a break from blogging with words and just post a picture to their blogs every day for the entire month of August. That's it. One picture no more. What could be more simple? I signed up immediately. (I'm the third person on the list. Booo-Yahhhhh!)

Now I know you are sitting there scratching you head trying to figure out how posting everyday for an entire month (when you've only averaging 2 -3 posts a month) constitutes a break. Well, in reality it doesn't. It is more work in a sense, but it is a break from one of the very things that keeps me from contributing to the blogosphere and sharing my work. Words....I'm taking a break from words. Starting August 1st I'm going to post at least one photo everyday without words. I'm putting the images out there to be experienced without any imposed context or meaning. I know this sounds weird but the whole thing feels strangely liberating and I'll admit So much so that I'll be doing the same thing over on the photography blog, sometimes with the same photos but sometimes with different ones. So be sure to pop on over and check it out too.

If you'd like to read more about the rules of the August Break ( ps there are no rules) or want to join in yourself, check out Susannah's blog.

PS....maybe while I'm taking my "break" I'll also get around to redesigning these sites too. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Partying until the Cow Comes Home

Remember back in February when I posted my story "Mad Cow"?

Oh you don't? Well, the short version is my dad had the cow that got loose and ran halfway across the county. There really was much more to it than that. If you have the time, read the previous post. Many people thought the whole thing was made up. No. It really did happen. You can't make this stuff up.
Well, we've had a lot of fun sharing that story. Lots of jokes going around about mad cows and bovine "out on the lamb". I even found a wonderful birthday card for my dad saying "The cows aren't coming on." (The front of the card showed a woman holding a frozen steak.) Dad, who was not amused by the situation at first, has even gotten into the swing of things. Now he tells everyone that he's raising "free range" beef.

Anyway, last week I receive a email from a dear friend who was waxing poetic:


He gave us laughter

He gave us grief

But worst of all

He gave no beef!

No one has seen the missing cow since March or so....that is until tonight. A neighbor thinks they saw her in their back yard. Sounds like the cow is trying to come home. Party's over.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot Dog!

Even in 95℉ heat. Bianka dog can still dig up a snake. Even a teeny tiny one.

Bianka 6 Snakes 0 Chipmunks 0
(Please don't ask me about the chipmunks. It wasn't pretty)