Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

turtles, driveways, and super models

When I was coming back in from feeding the chickens the remains of last night's Italian bread and salad, I found this little guy in the driveway.

We have a pond that is not close to the house, but for some reason all the turtles come and lay their eggs in the kids dug-out which is right by the house and the driveway.

Seems like danger to me. Out of all the places in our yard that I would choose to give birth in, the driveway would be pretty low on the list.

But I'm not a snapping turtle.

See my hands? I'm not that old. Stay out of the sun, kids.

And get off my lawn.

I felt guilty carrying him around, taking his picture, while he looked up me with that judgmental, flat stare that animals and super models have.

That look gives me the willies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's not easy being green. Trust me.

Jealousy is a funny thing. I used to find myself consumed by it - especially when I worked across the hall from a beautiful, young, and extremely popular teacher (who, ironically enough, was one of my closest friends). I hated not being as thin or as pretty as ... well, any girl I saw. Hated it. Fussed and fretted and frazzled myself.

Then I truly realized that it was not only consuming me, this awful bitter feeling, but it was pruning me from the inside out. I was most absolutely wrinkling and shriveling up - someone was going to, in the not too distant future, roll me in salt and stick me in half a lemon.

So I quit.

I realized that no matter what, I was going to be jealous of my husband's ex-wife, that she got to have a son with him, got to have the white wedding, got to have his untarnished first love. I was going to be jealous of gorgeous women with loooong legs and un-frizzy, tangle-free hair, and perfect skin.

So I turned it into motivation instead. I won't have legs nine miles long, but I can have cut calves and firm thighs from hiking through my woods. I find myself looking lovingly, longingly, at the horse farms we drive by. I know that it's out of the question with my salary, but I have been working overtime to save up for a horse.

I refuse to turn into that horrible person we all know - the one who turns every single thing into a complaint, a slight, an issue. Ugh, that person is at every faculty function, at every family picnic, at every damn PTA meeting. Not this chick, no way.

Although I am jealous that my post is not as high up on the list as everyone else's at Sprite's Keeper. I'll bet they're all prettier than me, too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

pygmy jerboa

oh ... my ... I hope this thing is real because I seriously want at least 2,000 running around my yard.

They DO exist! Wikipedia says they do, so it must be true!

He kinda looks like my great uncle Claude.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday. I'm serious this time.

Yeah, I've got me some mad photography skills.

Spin Cycle: the race

The sun flung intermittent searing rays, dodging the thunderheads that moved with odd speed for the Sonoran weather. The short oval dirt track was tucked behind creosote bushes, probably to keep kids like us from finding it and breaking our necks, the danger of the Mesquite trees clogging the center.

My little painted pony danced next to his Thoroughbred monster, her 14 hands looking inadequate and pitiful – a pipe dream, but I was determined to win. His forearms, good lord, I could not stop looking at his forearms, all ropey with shifting muscles as his horse pulled at the reins, eager to go, ready to run.

The weird breeze, so disturbing when all the days are so hot and still, toyed with his dark hair, twisting it so the sun reflected blue then black then blue, his dark eyes squinting against the sun. The longing of this un-named emotion, this twist in my gut, catch in my throat, clutching in my chest that was so new and deliciously awful fueled my want to be close to him, prove myself to him, beat the snot out of him in this race.

Our friends’ horses’ caught the sent in the air, the competition mixed with the possibility of us, and shifted, tossing heads and swishing tails. “Let’s GO already,” shouted Heather, annoyed as she tossed her white blonde hair, used to being the gorgeous center of everyone's attention.

Lined up to the narrow heel-trench in the dirt, a faceless boy shouted “GO” and we bolted off, my knees and thighs and calves molding against the bare sides of my pony, her withers digging into my belly, her black and white mane whipping into my face, my eyes. I looked over, expecting a looming presence, but he wasn’t there. Over my shoulder proved him to be right on our outside haunch, with him pressing as far forward as the saddle would allow, forearms lost in the whip of the mane.

We rounded the turn, stretching for the line, and I saw the bobbing head of his horse come into my periphery, foaming at the bit and nostrils as wide as they would go. But then the line swept beneath us and IwonIwonIwon, sitting up as my pony slowed, her sweat starting to seep into the seat of my jeans, her heaving ribs pushing against me, and smiling so wide it hurt. I turned to see him, over by his friends, their horses shifting, him spitting in disgust into the dust as he squinted at me. I sighed a little as his tanned forearms flexed, his horse pulling at the reins, then turned to pass through the creosote, redolent with rain.

For more memories, go over to Sprite's Keeper.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This is really, really hard. I have a nearly irresistible urge to explain that I took this picture on a recent trip to D.C. with my ninth graders, that the detail, the life in this memorial took my breath away.

But, luckily, I have more than enough willpower to refrain from ruining the entire premise of "Wordless Wednesday." Whew.