Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oscar 2006 © Kara McGee
Three weeks ago we put one of our cats to sleep. Our sweet Oscar Bear.  He had a mass in the middle of him near his heart and lungs. Once we discovered this unfortunate fact we did all we could to keep him comfortable because there really wasn't much that could be done.  It was simply time to enjoy him and help him enjoy his life for as long as we were given. Eventually, the tumor got the better of his body.  

This loss still hurts, and I know it is going to hurt for awhile. One of my personal goals is to make a photo book for my husband and I to celebrate and remember Oscar's life.  It helps raise our spirits to look at pictures and remember him.  I thought I might start this project just out here on my blog and put up a few posts about my cat. It will help me sort my photos and help me write some memories. 

I met Oscar when he was living at a foster kitty mom's home. He was there because he had been abandoned and found in the back of a pickup truck all alone. He was too young to be put up for adoption at the Animal Humane, so he was living at foster mom's house getting extra kitten care until he weighed enough to go out for adoption. 

I'd made my choice to adopt one kitty that was living there at foster mom's house. He reminded me of my childhood cats. The foster mom knew I wanted to adopt two kitties. She suggested Oscar. Actually, she pushed and nudged me.  As a tiny kitty Oscar had long fluffy fur.  I was worried he would be a long haired cat.  Foster mom assured me that would not be the case once he grew out of his safety kitten-y fur. She was right. She also said Oscar would grow up to be a lap cat. She was right.

As an extra push/nudge/sales pitch she said that all black cats stay playful for a much longer time. She was right about that too. Oscar played until the day before he died. Sadly, one way we knew it was his time and we needed to ease his pain was when he just didn't have the oomph to play.

The foster kitty mom was pushing me because, at least 11 and 1/2 years ago and maybe still today, it is very hard to get the all black cats adopted.  If they have some white on them no problem they are even in demand but an all black cat causes everyone to be superstitious.   Ridiculous!    Although I did play along by saying around Halloween that I had special immunity from goblins and spooks and bad luck because I had an all black cat. 

We still have our Fox cat.  He seems to be enjoying the extra attention.  If Oscar played abundantly, then Fox was kind of inhibited around Oscar.  Now we are getting to play with Fox in new ways.  I know he misses Oscar sometimes because he's done a few things that seems to be different for Fox but very connected to what Oscar would do if he was here.

We are not looking to adopt another cat again soon.......though the temptation is strong when I hear there is an overflow of cats needing adoption at the local animal humane.  I would say, if and when the time comes to adopt another kitty cat, if I'm ever chosen by another all black kitty I wouldn't hesitate for a moment.

p.s. if you click on the photo above you can see it bigger.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ah, the sweet relief of summer rains.....

Thankfully, we have been getting some summer monsoon rains.  I'm slow to update this fact.  So slow in fact that we just went through a week of hot and dry with no rain showers.   When we do get the storms they tend to pass by quickly.  Round these parts we call them gully washers.  Here is a photo of the canales on my home with the rain water pouring out of them.   Notice the blue sky and the sun is already out shining again.  This storm probably dropped about a 10th of an inch of rain in 10 minutes. 

Kara McGee ©2011 rain in canales

Rain later in the day means rainbows.  We have seen some wonderful bright rainbows this year.  One evening there was a rainbow that formed just at or after sunset.  The rainclouds were a dark steel blue.  The sunset gave everything this purple glow.   The rainbow appearing in the clouds looked like it was shrouded in a veil of purple midnight sheer silk.  I called it a night rainbow.  I didn't even try to get a picture because I knew there was no way I'd be able to record it.  I hope to never forget it because it was the most mysterious rainbow I've ever seen.  

The photo below isn't the brightest rainbow I've caught on digital this year.  Yet, I couldn't resist sharing the view of our hummingbird feeder with the rainbow in the background.  I cropped this photo and the hummingbird isn't sharply in focus but nevertheless I hope it offers you some summer delight.

hummingbird with rainbow summer 2011 ©KaraMcGee

Friday, August 5, 2011

summer project

letting go ©kara mcgee
Sometimes it feels so exquisitely good to let go of old words, old whines, old weight.  This is my summer project. 
I search for the patterns and make note of the history and then rip and shred.   Giddiness ensues!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lazy Summer Days

rock squirrel © Kara McGee

Summer time, summer time, sum sum summertime.........are you finding a cool spot to relax?

Read any good books?

Summer projects...........

Thursday, July 14, 2011

She has a name

Now that she has arrived at her new home I can share a few pictures I shot of this cutie before I sent her on her way.   She was given the name Plumcake.  Isn't that just adorable.  She looks blue in my photos but really she's purple and just sooo cute you want to eat her. 

What's at the top of the mountain?  I wanna see......

this grass is fun......why does the grass grow?

The cat is made using a pattern in Super Cute 25 Amigurumi Animals by Annie Obaachan.  The flower is from a pattern in Suzann Thompson's book Crochet Bouquet.

Have fun in your new home Plumcake.   Inspire the writing and don't chase after Karen's pen while she's trying to write. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Worries from my porch

Las Conchas fire as seen from my porch on July 6th. photo by Kara McGee
Since my last two posts were about drought, wild land fire worries, smoke, prayers for rain, I feel like I need to give an update.

New Mexico has had it's own large fire.  The largest forest fire in the state's history.   This morning, on July 10, it is 146,353 acres with 45% containment.   It started June 26.  You may have heard about it because it came close to Los Alamos and the  Los Alamos National Lab.  It's called the Las Conchas fire. 

We saw it from our back porch about an hour after it started.  I knew it was going to be a terrible monster fire.  There was too much wind that day and it looked like it started in a dense forest area with lots of fuel (trees) to burn.   That first day it grew to 43,000 acres.   Seeing the fire that night was one of the worst sights I've ever seen.  Heartbreaking is the only word that I can use to describe it.

I won't report all the details about this fire or the other fires because those are reported about elsewhere.  I feel very sad for all the communities who have suffered in this loss.  I worry for all the animals too.   I am not in the middle of it but it has deeply touched my daily life these past few weeks.  My heart feels heavy.

This has been a tough year so far.  The snow and rain just stopped in January.  We normally get wind in March and April but this year it did not stop.   I think the heavy wind red flag warning days finally stopped about a week ago.  New Mexico has suffered the worst drought in recorded history between January to June 2011.    Here at my home we would normally have recorded 5-6 inches of rain from Jan to June.  We recorded only .71 inches.  

I've become tense.  My creative dawdling has suffered.  I've begun to feel dried up, brittle.  I daydream about Portland.  I daydream about vacations away, but since I have a cat who needs a lot of special care it's hard to get away.   I've spent weeks under a fear of fire erupting closer to my home.  That is a post for another day about what would I take if I had the chance to evacuate.      

Today, the good news is the monsoon rain we usually get is on the way.  The Las Conchas fire did not receive rain yesterday, but we got .19 inches.   That is almost a third of what we got in the first 6 months of the year so it was great reason to do a happy dance! I did it in front of all my neighbors at an annual neighborhood party.  Everyone was happy but I was the only one who danced.  A creative dawdler will dance when we finally get significant measurable rain!   It truly feels like we will get some good rain soon in this state.  Enough to put out these fires.   I just pray the potential flooding won't be as devastating as the fires.

Every year I hang Tibetan prayer flags out in an enclosed outdoor area that we call the cat run.  Our cats get to go outside without the danger of becoming coyote or bobcat food.  This year I  had some delay in finding flags.  The ones I found are three times as long as I usually buy.  I hope the abundance will make for abundant prayers into the wind.    The Hubster helped me hang them on July 8.  I prayed for rain.  Since we get them every year I know that the first few summer rains usually wash a lot of the dye out of them.  This year I want to see them fade quickly.    I was happy for yesterdays rain and looking forward to more. 

Prayer flags awaiting fading.  May the prayers for rain and renewal travel far and wide.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rain needed in the heart of the desert.

I was looking through some photos from last September 2010.  I snapped all these photos after a late summer rain shower.  The misty clouds are still hovering.

I notice how much wild growth we had in our yard. That same kind of growth, grasses and brush, would have happened all over the state.  Now that growth is dry and acts like a fire tinder.  The smallest spark can set it off.  I heard that 603,000 acres have burned in New Mexico wildfires just since the beginning of 2011.

This land needs some rain.  Yesterday my coworkers and I were discussing the things everyone is doing to call the rain.   One gal mentioned washing her car.  I chimed in with how I washed my windows.  Someone else said the catholics took the saints out and paraded them around the village.   And there is a pow-wow planned soon over at the one of the nearby pueblos.

It is nice to look at these photos of cactus dripping with moisture.  Such a nicer thing to put into my mind then what I've been worrying about lately.  I'm also a heart shaped collector of images, rocks, and etc....what can I say but this photo just does it for me.

I thought it won't hurt to put up some images of rain reflections.  To remind myself rain does and will come here again.  
hello rainwater!

My happy laughing frog will once again hold rain drops.  Until then, I'm keeping the faith.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tonglen for the desert

When the smoke from the AZ wildfires came, this is what it looked like outside my door.  It smelled like the forest was on fire, and it was hard to even step outside to snap this photo.  That ridge is less than a mile away even though the perspective of this photo makes it look much farther away. 

Montezuma's Ridge June 6
We've had several days of clear skies again.  The wind pattern has taken the smoke to other areas.  I feel very sad and worried about the fires in Arizona.   It isn't just Arizona though.  I worry for all of the southwest.   My own state of New Mexico has had numerous fires this season.  I try not to be too anxious about where I live..........but I am anxious.  I feel dry and brittle.    I can feel the stress from all the plants.  I make sure to get water outside each morning into a low birdbath.  I saw a rabbit drinking from it yesterday evening.    That was joy for my heart to witness.   

I did not see the wildflowers much this year.  A few struggled to bloom.  The cactus is fairing better, but their blooms do not last long.  This little gem appeared one day.  I happened to catch it when I was outside giving other drought tolerant plants some supplemental water.  
Cactus bloom under pinon tree June 2011

My meditation has begun to include some tonglen. I breathe in dry brittle and breathe out moist soft.

I breathe in gratitude for exactly the way it is and I breathe out gratitude for exactly the way it will eventually change.  Each moment always changing.   What remains beyond that?

It is counter intuitive.  I don't like breathing in the dry brittle and I want to resist and bolt from my cushion.  Yet, I stay.  I return again to the practice of breathing in the dry brittle smokey fear and breathing out the moist soft clear gentleness.   This practice opens me to catch a glimpse of greater wisdom.  It calms my anxiety. 

It opens my ability to receive what is here now and beyond what it always changing.  It is like the sweetness of catching a glimpse of cactus in bloom or the happy relief of a rabbit quenching it's thirst.  It is like sending down my taproot to drink from THAT which is ever present and beyond. 

That glimpse doesn't last.   Nothing lasts.   Living is inherantly uncertain and groundless, and my anxiety comes again.  My mind rattles on to other worries.     So, I  return again to my meditation cushion each day- practicing tonglen for the desert.

Creative blessings to all who stop by.....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Link from the rabbit hole.

Not sure now who pointed me to this was likely in someone's friday links????  The memory gets fuzzy when I fall down the rabbit hole........ 

I think I want to make this beet cake.  I'm not a cake baker because I haven't figured out how to adjust for high altitude.  Oh, and the little detail that my hubster and I would weigh 500 lbs EACH.   Something tells me this might be a cake worth trying to make the adjustment for high altitude.    Or maybe that is just my craving for it at this moment.

I can say it is worth it to spend two minutes watching this painterly video of making this cake.  

Creative blessings and happy watching.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stand in solidarity for play

What is creative dawdling?  It's PLAY. 

It has the ability to shape shift into a multitude of activities that don't have a darn thing to do with any "artistic" or classically creative activites such as drawing or theatre. 

It is a worthy thing to do regardless of outcome. Creative dawdling is the permission to do something you want to do because it makes you feel at home with yourSELF.   Like fingerprints each person has a unique to them combo of creative dawdles.  No one can say there is one and only one way to dawdle.

Creative dawdling is spiritual.    You know it by how your spirit comes alive.  Sometimes it is mundane and  sometimes it is inspired, but your inner spirit resonates with it.   

You have permission to play.  Permission to do something you enjoy for no reason other than you enjoy it.  I say this more for myself, than for anyone reading this, but feel free to take it into your own heart.
You have permission to dawdle. 
Remember that it is up to your own heart to give you permission.  It doesn't come from anywhere else no matter how much you've been fooled into believing otherwise. 

You have permission to _______________________________________    Fill in the blank and try it on. See what comes up to the edge of your awareness.  Now give yourself more permission to relax into those edges.  

Each day is a new day to give yourself fresh permission.  It doesn't just happen once and then you are done.   Giving yourself permission is like brushing your teeth.   Wash, rinse, repeat.

Like brushing your teeth, permission to play doesn't have to be done only when you find the time to retreat for a week.  It can be done in little moments. 

This blog for me is NOT about how I make my living.  I'm not selling anything here.  I'm not earning extra pennies from affiliate links.  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that either.  At this moment, this blog is place for me to express myself without the pressure of making it into a business.  A way to share my dawdles, the things that light up my spirit.  To share my creative heart.  To scratch my writing itch.  

Also this blog isn't about gaining some kind fame or attention.  I do crave attention sometimes (what blog writer doesn't? comments - yes please I'll have some of those).   It's more accurate to say this blog is about connecting, and about leaving a record of what resonates with meaning in my life. 

I sometimes think about opening an etsy shop and going toward a blog that connects my creativity to earning money.   I fantasize about teaching.    I look at what other people are doing and think I should do that.  Should is a big red flag.  I forget sometimes and begin to think commerce is the only reason to blog.  That gets me into trouble every single time I go there in my thinking.  Then the motivation to write lapses.

This blog for me is a hobby.  And why is it when I say hobby it somehow demeans it's purpose?  Because we live in this culture that says if it does not earn money, then it has no meaning, no worthiness.    This makes me sad.  It is not true.  Unfortunately, it is a message that must be constantly managed and filtered into the do not believe file.

I feel the need to return to writing on my blog.  It means something for the quality of my life to share my play, my creative dawdles, my spiritual meanders.

I must stand in solidarity with my blog and it's purpose as a hobby.   To stand with it and say it is OK to PLAY.  It is alright to write on a blog for no other reason than it feels enjoyable.   To stand and say creative dawdling is important.    It is as valuable to do as brushing your teeth regularly and often.   

To stand and say - I am a creative dawdler. I do not need to explain or wait for someone else to give me permission   A minute, two, or five daily might be enough to get going.  

Remember permission comes from inside yourSELF.   

Creative blessings to all who come here from commentators to beloved lurkers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Give them a clubhouse

Hello.  It's been a long time since I've been here, huh.    But the committee is busy in the clubhouse so they haven't noticed that I'm slacking on my blog.......hee, hee.

My friend Karen reminded me that I never showed pictures of the clubhouse that I made for my committee.  The committee is what I call my inner critics.  They are the internal voices of doubt and fear.  No, I am not referring to a DSM-IV class of mental disorder.    I'm just referring to those parts of me that can get in the way when one is attempting creative dawdling.  I decided I really didn't have just one critic....I really had a committee of them.  Some are loud. Some are quiet.  All of them can get disruptive.   Last October when I was really negotiating with the committee I made them a clubhouse.  I got the idea from Magpie Girl.

 It is a bit hard to photograph the clubhouse......"you won't get a good picture of it so why are you trying"......ahem....(yes, that was the committee talking as I photographed their turf)

The clubhouse is a little 6 inch  by 6 inch by 4 inch place I gave the committee.  That way if they start to bother me I can tell them to go to the clubhouse.  Magpie girl gives her gremlins caramels which keeps them busy chewing instead of talking to her.  This inspired me to give my committee a whole variety of things to keep them busy.  They have a labyrinth to walk and maybe get lost following.  Actually I hope the labyrinth will calm them down and give their brains some balancing.  They have a swing which is very soothing to them.

I gave them a bit of measuring tape because you know how they love to measure me up.....this way they can do that in their clubhouse and practice for when I do ask for their advice.  This is the thing about the critic, it is actually quite helpful but it needs to be given limits.

There are some random buttons and bells and baubles that the committee can play with.  The five minute hourglass timer is a new thing I've given them.  This pleased them.

One of my favorite parts of the clubhouse is jungle print wallpaper.  I'd received some lovely birthday gifts in September and the wrapping paper, too pretty to throw away, floated around in my studio.......until the day I suddenly decided to make the clubhouse.  It is just so perfect for those wild beasts, monsters, and gremlins.......draws them right into it.  They love having an audience.

The clubhouse lives in a little corner shelf of my studio. I try to tell the committee to go for a walk while I work and remind them if they come back early to go hang out in their clubhouse.