Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas in July

                 Christmas in July

Christmas is coming.
I’m just not ready.
Do you think maybe we could postpone it this year?
Combine it with July the 4th?
I don’t think Jesus would care.
His real birthday’s debatable anyway.
It’s too close to Thanksgiving.
Those left-overs aren’t going to keep.
On the 25thI’ll have to do it all over again.

The merchants will all be happy.
They could put out Christmas trees right after Easter.
The kids will be out of school
Families could combine summer vacations
with the holiday trip to Grandma’s.
Think of the gas that would save

We will decorate the house in red, white and blue
with blow-up Santas and Thom Jeffersons on the lawn.
Well, maybe not old Thom…not in Texas anyway,
the Board of Education might object.
Let’s have life-size Mary and Josephs waving flags
over Baby Jesus in the cradle,
an inflated John Adams as a Wise Man
bringing his Enlightenment.
That would shake up government and religion.
We could use him now.
Wise Man #2, Ben Franklin, leaning on a cane
holds a kite for the baby.
Hope he’s careful with that…
There’s an angel on the roof with a copper halo.
We’ll depend on Wise Man John Hancock
to import a Yankee Candle of frankincense
or maybe a bottle of Fabreze.
Those armadillos can leave a mess.

The kids will stay up late the night before
with their iPhones tracking Paul Revere and Santa.
Several beers past dinner,
at midnight, jingle bells and trumpets blasting,
Dad in red pajamas, a 3-cornered hat
will stagger down the stairs shouting
“Merry Christmas. The British are coming.”

We will put 50 stars upon the tree,
one for every state.
Kids will be asked to name them
before they get a gift.
We will pass around the presents
throw wrappings to the floor
laugh and cry,
wear reindeer horns, 3-cornered hats,
sing Silent Night, the Star-Spangled Banner
salute the flag once more.

Santa will ride in the front of the parade
throw candy from a fire engine.
High school bands will march,
mix Jingle Bells with John Phillips Souza.
The mayor dressed like George W,
Washington, that is, will smile
send holiday greetings along the way
as he waves the Stars and Stripes.
With little kids on bikes, bringing up the rear
is Sarah Palin on a reindeer,
tea-cup on her head,
rifle in her hand,
touting family values,
singing “I’m getting pay-aid to this,
ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching“.

After the parade, Grandma sinking in her chair
with a pitcher of Margaritas,
will watch the kids play in the sprinkler,
throw water everywhere.
Grandpa will grill some hot dogs, fry the turkey
gripe about the mess.
There’ll be cornbread dressing, corn right off the cob,
green bean casserole, fried onions on the top,
Key Lime pie instead of pumpkin
Homemade Vanilla ice cream, Blue Bell‘s best.
We will drink more wine as the sun goes down
pile out onto the dock,
help tipsy Grandma find her glasses,
watch the fire works on the lake,
call it good, this Christmas in July.

God Bless America and Happy Holidays everyone.

                                                                            Kay L. Cox, Dec., 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010



An idea came to me
for a little poem? a poem?
That's good-I say-stay, let us talk.
You have to tell me more about yourself.
To which it whispers a few words in my ear.
Oh, that-I say-that is interesting.
These matters have long been at my heart.
But to write a poem about them? No, certainly not.
To which it whispers a few words in my ear.
It only seems to you-I reply-
you overestimate my strength and my gifts.
I wouldn't even know where to start.
To which it whispers a few words in my ear.
You are mistaken-I say-a short, concise poem
is much harder to write than one that is long.
Don't torment me, don't insist, for it won't work.
To which it whispers a few words in my ear.
Well, okay, I will try, since you're so stubborn.
But I must warn you what the outcome will be.
I will write, rip it up and throw it out.
To which it whispers a few words in my ear.
You are right-I say-there are still other poets.
Some of them will do this better than me.
I can give you the names, the addresses.
To which it whispers a few words in my ear.
Yes, certainly, I will be jealous of them.
We're jealous of each other's poems, even when they're weak.
And this one probably should . . . perhaps it must have. . .
To which it whispers a few words in my ear.
That's right, it must have the features that you named.
And so let's change the subject.
Would you like some coffee?

To which it only sighed.

And started to disappear.

And disappeared.

              Wislawa Szymborska

Monday, November 08, 2010

Green grows the cuke

This summer I was and continued to be super disappointed in the tomatoes I was buying in the grocery stores.  Memories of those sweet beautiful red rubies smelling of incapsulated sunshine drove me to thinking of trying once again to grow some on my own.
While in Wal-Mart buying bird seed in September, I saw some packaged rubber flower bed containers. Hmm...maybe I could try growing stuff in a couple of these so I bought two circles.  Then bringing them home I had to decide where to put them.  My original thought was behind the garage but wasn't sure about the amount of sun the beds would get as the days grew shorter.  So I opted for another section where I was sure they would get afternoon sunshine.  I put the circles together on top of the grass a little cattywonkus figuring the plants wouldn't care and laid newspapers all over the bottoms covering the St. Augustine grass.  Next step was Miracle Gro Garden Soil and of course it took way more of these than I figured...never been very good at figuring stuff like that out...but after 3 trips back to Wal-Mart, the bed were looking pretty good.  And our cats found them so much nicer than the litter box...oh well, fertilizer, right?
It seemed like forever before fall plants came into our local nurseries, none at Wally World or Home Depot and finally I went to our wonderful local guy's place, Maas Nursery, in Seabrook.  It is an experience in its self...amazing plants, helpful staff, monkeys and peacocks and imported garden decor. I might have to pay a little more but the plants are always healthy. They had all kinds of tomatoes and some great looking cucumber plants which I couldn't resist figuring I could trellis them up an old piece of fence stuck in the bed.  I bought the large size tomato wire ring supports and went home a happy camper.  All the plants fit in the two circle beds along with their supports. 
Weeks went by and the plants grew and grew.  The tomatoes grew to the top of the support; the cucumbers began to amble all over the place trying to grab onto anything and everything but the fence.  But no blooms!  Nada!  Nothing!
Finally the first little cool front came through and it was like a signal to my little garden to get busy.  Blooms formed all over the cukes and a couple appeared on the tomatoes.  And just before I left for my two weeks in Birmingham, little cucumbers were forming.
When I got home, on the kitchen counter were 8 big cucumbers my daughter had picked along with our wonderful yard man who took some home and the cukes have been coming ever since.  But the really great news is that there are little pale green tomatoes forming all over the plants which are now so big that I had to recruit daughter's boyfriend to put some 6' stakes beside them to hold them up. He took a bunch of cukes home to make pickles.
 I am now a believer!  I may have some home-grown tomatoes! 
Waaaa laaaa...I'm farming.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The day of spooks and goblins

I look around at stores full of all kinds of stuff to decorate for Halloween, my favorite holiday, and all the costumes available in all kinds of sizes.  I am amazed at the huge Halloween specific stores that crop up around town beginning in September but I do love prowling in them.  Even Walgreen's gets into the act.  All this is so different from my own experience growing up or even that of my children.

When I was growing up, costumes came from closets or cedar chests.  I remember being so proud to wear a red skirt and gold blouse that my mother had worn to a costume party on her first date with my dad.  She went as a gypsy and so did I borrowing her earrings.  Perhaps that was the initiation or the first awakening of my gypsy soul.  I don't remember a parent going trick or treating with us except maybe when I was only 5 or 6.  After that I went with a group and as we got older the boundaries expanded covering about 5 or 6 blocks.  And the treats were homemade...popcorn balls, cookies, fudge all wrapped in wax paper...maybe some Fleer's Double Bubble after the war was over.  The loot was gathered in a paper grocery bag and hauled home where it went into a big bowl and shared with the whole family.  Sometimes an apple might be given but fruit was pretty scarce during the war years.  At 10 or 11 we got very brave and if someone refused to answer their door and we were sure they were at home because we could see them or lights on, we would take white chalk and mark up their window screens or throw flour on their porch and run away really fast.  Our mothers never knew about this activity. 

When my children were small, I couldn't wait for Halloween to decorate the house with carved pumpkins and make-believe spider webs.  It was such fun and such a challenge to create the costumes my kids would dream up.  When my son was 11 or 12, he wanted to go as Geraldine aka Flip Wilson from Saturday night live.  He could do a hilarious imitation of Geraldine and we blew up balloons for boobs under his T-shirt and he wore one of his sister's skirts.  It was the fashion to add hair pieces so I loaned him my "fall" of long frosted hair.  He was so funny!  Now that would never happen as he would have been teased as being "gay" but back then his friends just enjoyed the joke knowing that he was definitely a "straight" guy. 
My daughter always came up with some interesting ideas.  Once she wanted to be a cloud so she wore white tights and T-shirt and somehow I located some white angel hair which I glued on a white sandwich board shaped like a cloud.  We rigged up something white for her head and off she went, a happy camper.  The next year she wanted to be a lemon...go how many kids want to be a lemon?  I am still not sure what that was all about but again we worked it out using green tights and a yellow long sleeve shirt and a yellow poster board sandwich with yellow ribbon ties at the shoulder and sides.
They would come home with quite a haul that after my going over all of it went in a big bowl on top of the refrigerator where I would snitch the good chocolate occasionally and the remaining unliked stuff would be thrown out just before Christmas.  I will never forget that terrible crime in Pasadena, Texas where the dad poisoned his own son's Hallween candy years ago when my son was just a baby.  Then someone put razor blades in apples in the world could a mind get so warped!  So sad but now everyone checks their children's candy bags and accompany them trick or treating.  So sad that the world has become unsafe for children in so many ways.
I will get to accompany my son's children for the first time this year on the first day in their new house.  No Halloween cookies made this year.  Maybe next.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Vamp Disquised as an Old Lady

What I think of a favorite album, there are several that come to mind but a couple stand out as ones that I can depend on to get my energy moving and my spirits uplifted.  And these two happen to be soundtracks from movies. Maybe I'm attracted to sound tracks because of the visual images that accompany the music.  I know, the music is designed to accompany the images but for me it's the reverse even though I'm a visual artist.

 First of which is Mama Mia.  Images of Meryl Streep and the whole crew dancing in Greece come to mind and I am there yelling "Mama mia, Mama mia," and waving my arms in the air.  I'm smelling salt air under blue skies, watching waves rolling in and looking forward to a plate of moussaka served under the branches of a twisted olive tree growing above the stones of a well washed patio.  Now who wouldn't want to join in?  Add in the memory of seeing and enjoying the movie with my granddaughter who was young enough at the time to still enjoy going to the movies with her grandmother and I'm on a high.

The other album I adore is older and sexier.  I loved the movie "The Full Monty" and laughed til I cried and loved the sound track.  Somewhere in this old woman's aging body is a vamp that gratefully has not totally gone to sleep or wrinkled and dried up into nothing.  I love "The Stripper" by David Rose.  Put that music on and suddenly I am wrapped in black fish net stockings hung from a red garter belt under a bright red teddy and ready to gyrate in red high heels lost in my fantasy.  Of course, a feather boa is draped around my neck and I bump and grind around the room accompanied of course, by imaginary applause and "The Stripper" going full blast.  This is guaranteed to give me a boost of energy.  I think every woman has a vamp inside that begs for a venue however imagined and maybe that is what made this movie so popular with women.  Maybe we weren't just attracted by the possibility of some fine looking bodies stripping down but realized something in ourselves being sparked to recognition.  Love this film and the whole album.  Maybe I will just have to buy a red teddy, rent the movie and watch it all over again while I fantasize my stage and audience.  I might need the teddy to pose for a calendar that my 65+ girl friends and I threaten to make...will keep you posted on that one.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 16 Coldest night

Somewhere in the mid 80s I began reading a lot about Native American spirituality.  I read Medicine Woman by Lynn Andrews and all the rest of her work.  Somewhere in there I recognized something in myself.  I was working at TRIMS and had an apartment in Rice Villiage to save me the miserable commute in from Clearl Lake and from some of the craziness that was going on at home.  I think I felt the need for a spiritual connection that I wasn't getting from religion as I had known it.

I was so taken with the connection with nature and its rythym that the Native American culture had and with their concern to maintain respect for all living things, the care and respect of the land and all its inhabitants.  There were few people I could talk with about all this spiritual stuff that was going on with me but my friend, Ann, a fellow artist and art therapist in training, was interested in the same stuff.  She was a single mom and in the process of discovering who she was to be in the world.

In January out of the blue I received a letter from Dick Prosapio, a therapist in New Mexico, inviting me to come to a Long Dance in Chaco Canyon in March.  To this day I have no idea why I got the letter or from whose mailing list it came but there it was.  The Long Dance was a Native American ritual to celebrate the Spring Equinox and invite one's cleansing of old stuff and honor of new beginnings.  The dance began at sunset and ended at sunrise with a sweat lodge.  I was fascinated but didn't want to go by myself so I recruited Ann to go with me.  We each arranged for a week off from work and got busy with the preparation.  We were to bring camping equipment, food, and water for a week and to prepare a banner to be hung from a pole and something to wear while dancing all night.  We designed these full dresses out of muslin with symbols painted on them and fringed at the bottom.  They were large enough to wear over layers of clothing if it was cold.

The day finally arrived and we packed my little Toyota sedan to the hilt and took off.   Arriving in Albuquerque the day before the arrival day, we stopped at a Motel 6 to get a good nights sleep and shop at KMart.  I had brought the makings of my banner with me but was clueless as to what I was going to put on it.  That night I woke up in the middle of the night with a clear image.  I bought spray paint at the KMart and while Ann shopped for food and ice, I laid the banner out in the parking lot and painted it added a moon and stars and a hummingbird with acrylics.  And we were off to northern New Mexico.

The directions sent us through Cuba and then onto a dirt road out in the boonies.  There were no houses, no cars but we were to look for a red, yellow, white and black streamer on a gate.  Finally we saw it and turned and headed down a smaller dirt road wondering what the hell we were doing.  I was afraid we were going to drive up into a circle of Winnebagos with their air conditioning and music going but not so.  As we drove up, a tall nice looking guy with a mustache walked out of a circle of tents and small campers to greet us...Prosapio otherwise known as Coyote Man.

Ann and I unloaded the car and got busy setting up camp.  I had brought a little tiny pup tent and finally got it upright, Ann set up her tent and after laying in sleeping bags and blankets, we made a makeshift table.  Others had been there much earlier and were getting busy working on a sweat lodge and digging a latrine out somewhere in the brush.  The sun was shining brightly and the sky was a brilliant blue and we started a stew on our little stove. 

I think we were the last to arrive and soon Dick called a meeting to tell us the agenda and what we would be doing for the next couple of days. He warned us about snakes and things going bump in the night, to wear plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water. It sounded so exciting.  First order of agenda was to build the sweat lodge.  He had brought the materials for it...long poles, blankets and black plastic, string and a shovel and large volcanic rocks.  After dinner in the dark near a big fire in the middle of the camp ground, it was time to hit the sack.  There was to be an early rising to greet the sun as it came up. 

It was already getting pretty cold out and Ann and I were really tired. Dick had warned us all to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and I was glad that we had loaded up.  The dry air left us parched most of the time.  I said goodnight to Ann and crawled  into my itty bitty tent and wriggled out of my heavy jacket and crawled into my sleeping bag with all my clothes on including my socks. A breeze came up and my tent didn't want to stay up but I finally managed to anchor it and crawled back in.  It was getting colder and colder.  I zipped my sleeping bag up to my chin and fell asleep for a little while but then needed to go to the bathroom.  So I grabbed my flashlight, found my boots and crawled out of my tent and made my way through the brush in the direction of what I thought was the latrine.  Damn but I was freezing.  My hands were so cold I could hardly unzip my jeans to squat over the hole.  I am a miserable squater and was terrified that I would get my pants wet or that something would crawl up them.  I worked as fast as I could and hurried back to my little tent and crawled back inside only to have my tent cave again.  I was freezing, god, I've never been so cold in my whole life.  I finally gave up, made it out of my collapsed tent and went to Ann's tent and woke her up.  Help, I said, can I join you?  I am freezing my ass off and my goddamned tent has collapsed.  Besides you will be warmer, too, if there are two of us in there."  She was good with that and I threw my sleeping bag in beside hers and crawled in.  It took me a long time to get warm but I finally got a little sleep before we were called out to begin a new day. 

When we crawled out of our tent that morning, we found our 5 gallon water bottle had frozen during the night.  It took a full day of sun for it to all melt.  It must have been at least in the 20s that night.  Brrrrrrr.    The next night was the dance and though it was cold, we were moving all the time, either dancing or drumming.  But I will never forget how cold I was that first night and miserable. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 11 About something "broken"

The first thing that comes to mind on this day, Sept. 11, are things that are broken about America, the society I live in, "the land of the free".  All this furor about Muslims building a mosque 2 blocks from Ground Zero.  I don't get it...they own the land and they want to build a community center.  What if it had been some deranged Christians that had done it?  Would we be burning the nearby churches?  America was founded on religious freedom, to worship as we please.  How sad to label all Muslims because of a few deranged radicals.  And this crazy preacher in Florida who has set the Muslim Middle East on fire!  That is all we need to increase the threats on our troops and create more crazy radicals.  Radicals produce radicals.  Has he even read the Koran?  I doubt it.   It certainly doesn't promote violence.  Idiot.

And I think our government has some broken parts.  The bureaucracy has become so large that positive change becomes impossible.  Congress is so busy trying to get elected and stay in office it sells out to the highest lobbyist and polarization becomes more evident.  I think the Constitution is in need of revision.  We have become too large and urbanized for the electoral college to be a working model.  We need to go to one vote, one person count....everyone gets an equal vote that counts equally regardless of where they live.

I think I could probably go on and on about this but enough for now...have to get ready to go to my Memoir class.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

From 50/50 Ten things I Know about Beauty

Beauty is in the joy in the face of a 13 yr old granddaughter trying on her first grown-up party dress.
Beauty is in the face of the Dalai Lama.
Beauty is in the billowing white clouds over the water of Galveston Bay
Beauty is in the soft glow of my morning peach
Beauty is in the huge dragon fly the cat brought in
Beauty is in the hand that has held mine as we sit in church for 53 years
Beauty is in the art of Alice Neel
Beauty is in the poetry of Mary Oliver
Beauty is in the suspense stories of Lee Childs
Beauty is in the voice of a son who has moved far away
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
"Beauty is as beauty does," said my grandmother as I went out the door.
Beauty is in a sunset in New Mexico, Assisi or over Galveston Bay
Beauty is in a dinner party with great conversations
Beauty is in a temple on a Balinese mountain
Beauty is in a jazz concert at College of the Mainland
Beauty is in a granddaughter's practic on her flute
Beauty is in prayer
Beauty is in forgiveness
Beauty is in sitting on a quiet beach watching the waves roll in
Beauty is in a thunderstorm's boom
Beauty is in the quiet time to reflect on what is beauty

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Day 8 50/50 Lead line

The prompt is "He didn't think she was going to answer him."

He didn’t think she was going to answer him. She could tell as he just changed the subject and began telling her what a wonderful job he was doing with the children. She held the phone to her ear not believing what he had just said. Her jacket was suddenly too warm and she was grateful that the little café was nearly empty. She shed her jacket and laid it on a nearby chair.  The pay phone was mounted on a pole in the middle of the privacy for sure.  An old guy with a graying beard leaned over his coffee with his hands wrapped around the mug savoring its warmth.  She was anxious to get her own mug but she needed to take care of this phone call first.
       It had been a long night in the campground outside of Taos. Motorcyclists had driven in around 2 in the morning to a campsite nearby and made a lot of racket. Mary Gray had been sleeping outside but had to come in so she and Betty had to make room for her in the van. At daybreak  they broke camp and drove into Taos to find some breakfast. A small café off the square was open and she was in hopes of finding a phone. Her husband had taken the kids to L.A. on a business trip and because she had been camping, she hadn’t had a chance to check in with him and see how it was all going.

Her trip had been planned for months. She and two girlfriendswere going to NECCA in Ft. Collins, Colorado. They were going to drive her van and while staying in a dorm at the campus, they planned to camp on their way home. About 2 weeks before they were to leave, her husband announced he was leaving on a business trip to L.A. She said, “What are you going to do with the children? I’m leaving and you had agreed to keep them for the two weeks I’ll be gone.” She was so upset as she had been counting the weeks until departure and her friends were counting on going in her van and sharing the expense. She wasn’t going to back down and he got the message. He decided rather than cancel his trip, he would take the kids with him and she left it to him to work it out agreeing only to help the kids get packed.

Because of the time difference she knew she needed to call him early and luckily she had the number of his hotel. Now it was her turn to be stunned as he rattled into the phone about how he had worked it out to leave the kids with his sister-in-law during the day and picked the kids up after work to spend the night with him at the hotel. All this after he announced, “I had a visit with my sister. She is having a hard time and I’m bringing her home with me.” My mind went into overtime and finally I said, “Whoa, wait a minute. You what?”

“I’m bringing my sister home with me.”

“Over my dead body. There is no way that is going to happen. I looked after your mother in a nursing home for 5 years before she died and I’m not looking after your crazy sister. It ain’t gonna happen!”

“Well, what am I supposed to do?”

“I don’t know, tell her whatever you want…that you’re married to a bitch, I don’t care but you are not bringing her home with you. Listen I gotta go, someone is waiting to use this phone and the café is filling up. Give the kids a hug and save one for yourself. I love you but you are not bringing your sister home. Bye, honey. Have a safe trip back. I’ll be home in about 3 days.”

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

From 50 days/50 pages...the longest week

Oh gee but it is really hard for me to think of a week in the past that I thought would never end.  My usual problem is that weeks seem to fly by...that there are never enough days in each week.  I'm always so surprised to see Sunday roll around again when it seems like it was just yesterday that I was at church.  How did that happen and what have I done to count for those days is my usual dilemma.  So what would make a long week for me?  Probably waiting for a special happening like leaving for a trip that I was excited about or waiting for my son and his family to arrive.  But even then I never seem to be able to get everything done I'd like to in preparation.
I can remember in college when I might have been sweating a grade that the week waiting for grades to be posted seemed long or waiting to see if I got into a class that I really wanted. 
When my children were little and my husband was traveling for NASA all the time, sometimes for a week or two at a time, the week got really long and I was so glad when he came home and was able to give me a break.
The last week of the month, the week before payday seems pretty long sometimes.
When both kids got sick at once with the same virus, the week was really, really long.  Oh boy did the cabin walls get high!  Parenting teaches you a lot about patience and flexibility!

Monday, September 06, 2010

From 50/50 A letter to a place

Dear Santa Fe,

I’m in great need of a Santa Fe fix. I need to see mountains, desert covered with cedar breaks, antelope running along side Hwy 14 to Madras, smell pinon smoke in crisp cool air. I miss you and the friends you attracted years ago.

Remember when we first met? It was Christmas time 1975 and my mom had died the year before and we were all looking for a change of venue for the holidays. My pottery studio was up and running and I was anxious to visit some pueblos where the black burnished ware was made. My dad, Murph, drove up pulling his Airstream behind his Suburban and we followed with the van. Somehow we found a trailer park off Cerillos road close to downtown with a vacancy. It was getting chilly as we settled into camp. The Airstream had room for us all and I shopped for groceries to feed us for the next few days. Ken and the children were looking forward to some possible ski time so the first order of business after a good night’s sleep was to drive up to the ski basin and check it out….not much snow there but that was predicted to change.

Next we drove to the San Ildefonso pueblo, home of Maria Martinez, master potter, and her disciples. As we drove into the pueblo circling the outskirts, I smelled smoke and saw some rising from behind an adobe home and yelled for my dad to stop the truck. I hopped out and ran around to the back of the house and sure enough, a woman was tending the smoking of her son’s pottery…beautiful stuff with a turquoise stone set in the side. I was so excited and the woman must have thought I was nuts…I know my family did. But I just knew there was a potter back there somewhere. The woman talked to me briefly and I went into the pueblo center and bought a little burnished pot by Maria’s granddaughter. I was thrilled. Later that day we traveled to another pueblo and watched the Indians perform the Corn Dance. No one is allowed to take photos without permission (aka a fee paid) of the pueblo but we all had a great time.

The next day was Christmas Eve and it was getting really cold. Big white flakes began to fall at the trailer park. There was a family camping in a tent near us and I worried about them. I made a big batch of cookies in the trailer’s little oven and took a plate over to the tent when I saw the family return. How does one knock on the door of a tent? I called out “Merry Christmas” and someone peeked out. I handed over the cookies to a shocked mom and wished them all a great Christmas Eve. I think they were Jewish…oh well, they appreciated the thought.

Christmas Day arrived and Santa came bringing some fun toys for the kids and gifts were exchanged. Outside the snow was piling up and Ken and our 10 yr old son made plans to go up to the ski basin. I was terrified as we had no snow tires on the van. My daughter and I elected to stay home with my dad and do some more exploring in town. I worried the whole time they were gone but they were fine. Ken drove as far as he could toward the basin and when the snow got too deep, he pulled over, parked the van and he and Chris hitchhiked the rest of the way. They skied all day, caught a ride back to the van and drove in just in time for a hot dinner, tired and happy. I was quite relieved.

Thus began my love affair with you and New Mexico and I would return to you in the years to come but it was so special to share the first experience with those I loved the most.

Thank you for being you, maintaining the old square and offering a warm welcome to this Texan in need of some clean air and a mountain fix.

Fondly, Kay

From 50/50 "Souvenir"

Down Under Time

On the wall in my office
to the left of my desk is a clock
in the shape of Australia,
covered with kangas, koalas, and eucalyptus,
a departing gift from my next door neighbor,
souvenir of my life down under, friends I made.
What a thoughtful gift of time from one who had little left,
cancer ticking away at his clock.
I think of him, his gentle ways, his music
and I know his time has passed.

From 50/50 prompt "left behind"

                 Evidence of Grandchildren

A sofa cushion covered in apologies
wears a bright pink stain.
Magic Markers gone astray?
Batman and Spiderman sit forlornly
in the bottom of the tub
waiting for another battle with Bubbles.
In a bedroom, a bottom shutter has lost a tooth,
no explanation, suspect claimed innocence.
Under the bed a small sock
snuggles with Polly Pocket and dust bunnies
while hiding from its mate.
Where the children’s table sat,
a mysterious blue drawing
decorates the wall and refuses Ajax cleanser.
Finally Green Eggs and Ham are laid to rest.
“I do not like them, Sam I Am.”
After goodbye hugs and kisses
I am left behind full of love,
a tired but happy grandmother
with a sticky hand wondering
where I got it.
Hope they come again soon.
                                                                         Kay L. Cox

Saturday, September 04, 2010

From 50 days/50 pages...identity object

Let's see what object in my surroundings define me...oh God, it would have to be the clutter, the collection of objects that are laying around representing all my interests and what is going on in my life.  On the table is my coffee cup that I painted.  It is red on the inside with red and black dots on a white background on the outside with GYPSYCRONE label.  Of course, there are a few books on the table: a novel,
a book on spiritual practice (required reading for a class at church) and a book of word search puzzles.  I'm no good at crossword but do love word search. 
To my right stacked on the floor are bins of fabric, remnants of my sewing and quilting efforts.  The bins are looking for a new home in the house.  They have moved from a bedroom closet in preparation for a daughter and granddaughter's move in next month....aiiiyayaiiii.  Perhaps the attic but only as a last resort.  There is alsoo a tub of photographs, another refugee from the potential move in.  But also out in my search for some photos relating to a memoir I'm writing for my memoir group. Project today is to find somewhere other than the living room for these.  I'm not ready to give them up but that might be the solution but houseguests are arriving in a week and the bins were sitting on the other side of the room when they were here last.  At least they moved across the room.
While I'm writing this, a cat whining at the door has just come in from the outside.  Both cats are new to the outside, another preparation for dealing with the cat that is accompanying the move-in.  They have been only inside cats actively observing the birds and squirrels from the windows while wishing to participate in the adventure.  So now we are introducing them gradually to the outside world.  Slick, the black and white, could care less and is always eager to come back into the air conditioning and his food bowl.  Peanut, however, is curious, eager to explore and just as eager to come inside BUT quickly decides he would rather be outside.  He sits wailing at the door until someone comes.
Of course on my studio table is a drying canvas waiting for the collage pieces to be glued down.  All this in prep for the upcoming Galveston Art League show.  Just two more pieces to go and then I'll clean up the mess. 
I did move the pile of cut-up jeans that are to go in a quilt for my oldest grandson to sit next to the bag of other cut-up old jeans.  I told him I would make him a qult of old jeans to take to college.  It's been a year since he graduated from high school but he decided to work for a while and save some money...a good thing on on fronts as I sure as heck don't have a quilt going.  Wonder if my youngest grandson would like a blue jean quilt for college.  I never finished embroidering his baby blanket but forgave myself as when he was born, he got the quilt my grandmother made for his daddy.  No babies coming soon, thank God, though I miss having any little ones around.
Is it any wonder I can't get interested in cooking?  Well, maybe a little interested.  I have a great recipe for hot crab dip that is made in a crock pot.   
By now I think you get the drift...a picture of me.  But right now a friend called and I'm meeting her for coffee.  Wanna come?  I'm always ready for a party.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A new poem about my Grandmother Bonnie

Grandmother Was a Lady

Always a lady when going out,
a black hat sat firmly
on her silver hair gathered in a bun
at the nape of her slender neck.
Eyes as blue as a Blue Jay’s feather
twinkled through lids
crinkled with laughter and hard times
while the white gloved hand holding mine
was certain to remind me
“Act like a lady.”

With elegance, her tall figure
marched me through Woolworth’s
in search of witch hazel for her face,
Evening in Paris cologne and powder,
necessities in her life.
Before bed, silver bun, brown braids unwound,
cascading down our backs,
she led our nightly ritual,
one hundred strokes with the brush,
Jergen’s lotion on the elbows.

Leaving for school in the morning
she would remind me,
“Remember whose granddaughter you are.”
How could I forget?

Kay Cox

Saturday, August 14, 2010

She isn't mad, just meowing which she did a lot of at first but now she has gained a little weight and the scrape on her chin is well, she just purrs a lot. Susan and Bob came to pick her up this morning and she took right to them. I'm so happy to have found a wonderful home for her. She is a precious kitty and a lucky one at that.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Look what we have here...

Last weekend while working on my computer I heard a definite little meowing at my window. I looked through the shutters and there was this cute little thing staring back at me saying, "Please, please, I'm hungry, tired and thirsty. Won't you please help me?" Well, who in the world could pass this up? So I went out and picked her up as she purred and meowed some more. I brought her some water and cat food not intending that she should come inside as I wasn't sure how Slick and Peanut, resident male cats would take to her. That worked pretty well until my 13yr old granddaughter who adores anything with four legs or fins came over. Then the cat came inside to a little bedroom while we discussed what to do with her. Taylor suggested taking her to the Bay Area Exotic Pets in La Porte where she hangs out a lot. So into the pet carrier tiny Allie (Taylor had to name her) went. Before leaving we set the carrier on the floor for a minute and Peanut proceeded to hiss and growl, not a happy camper at sharing even briefly. At the pet store the owner said she would take her if we cleared up a little scrape on her chin. She was obviously not a feral cat as she sought out humans and demanded attention. And she took to the litter box immediately. So we brought her back home to doctor her wound with anti-biotic cream and to see if we could fatten her up. She was really hungry and has eaten a lot. She took to a little cat tent we had right away and fell sound asleep after eating. Taylor took a nap with her later with Allie tucked up against her neck. So then the project became finding a home for her. And wonderfully after posting a note on Facebook, a wonderful friend became interested. She came by today to take a look and it was mutual love at first sight. Allie will go to her new home on Saturday and we are all so pleased and grateful that she will go to a wonderful, caring couple who will give her lots of love and attention. Happy ending to this story....waaaahoooo!
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Thursday, August 05, 2010

At last I am back in the studio and working on some stuff. I gathered up a few Ampersand panels on sale really cheap at the University Co-op last fall when we were in Austin for the football game. I hadn't used these before and find I really like the firm surface for collage. So here goes and we will see what else develops. The muse is calling, now let's see if I can deliver. I'll take a break, go to the gym and then come back to it and see if it needs more work.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Limited apparel

There was a thing on TV and then on the Internet about a woman's book about limting one's wardrobe to 6 interchangeable pieces of clothing. Thank god she included a pair of blue jeans as I would never be able to imagine life without them. When I went to Australia to teach for six months, I took one suitcase of clothing and a footlocker of teaching materials and books. I lived out of that suitcase for six months. Only had to buy a heavier jacket and warmer socks (cold there in July) and a couple of T-shirts when it got warmer. But I will have to say I was pretty tired of the clothes when I got home and it was winter all over again.
The Australian faculty dressed a little nicer than we did in the States and I had one cab driver tell me he thought I was a student because I dressed like one. Oh well, I was a great lecturer and fortunately in the art department no one particularly cares what you wear. But I can say that after 6 months in the same clothes I was really tired of them and then having to continue wearing them because I came home to winter again was the pits.
Yes, I learned I can do with a lot less but Not for months...6 weeks easily but not months. And I do tend to hang on to favorites for a very long time. I am wearing a Blue Fish top that is 20 years old and have other Blue Fish pieces in my closet that old or older. I still love them and wear them. And they certainly mix and match...expensive to buy but when you spread the cost over 20 years, it isn't much per wearing. And I do have a basic jersey travel wardrobe that never wrinkles and will roll up in a ball to pack. Great stuff. It is the dress up stuff that I should eliminate from my closet...I never go anywhere that requires dressy stuff.
I've tried taking my beautiful Mother of the groom dress to the resale shop and they said it was out of style. But how does a simple straight blue dress with a beaded neckline ever go out of style? Oh well, it's been donated and now some lucky tall lady is going to have a beautiful blue dress to wear to a wedding.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What to Remember When Waking


In that first
hardly noticed
to which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
and frighteningly
where everything
there is a small
into the new day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.
What you can live
will make plans
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.
You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
than the one
from which
you have just emerged.

Now, looking through
the slanting light
of the morning
window toward
the mountain
of everything
that can be,
what urgency
calls you to your
one love? What shape
waits in the seed
of you to grow
and spread
its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting
in the fertile sea?
In the trees
beyond the house?
In the life
you can imagine
for yourself?
In the open
and lovely
white page
on the waiting desk?

~ David Whyte ~

(The House of Belonging)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This on the BP Oil Spill

This from the Daily OM and it carries me through the helpless feelings:

On the very bright side, never in peace time history has there been such a gallant effort, by so many people, spending so many billions of dollars with no end in sight, to rapidly clean up your environment.

Never before have numerous heads of state and representatives of a corporation as large as many smaller nations, pledged to work together, sharing expertise and resources to get a job done.

Never before have so many prayer and meditation groups suddenly formed, amongst and in between every religion and those belonging to none, to foster healing of your precious planet.

Never before have finger pointers, conspiracy theorists, and blame mongers been so idle and unnecessary in the face of such a tragedy.

Never before have industry titans across every sea chosen to reexamine their own safety procedures, revisit their own environmental safeguards, and expend their own fortunes to voluntarily reflect upon and demand that they do an even better job from this day forward.

And to top it all off, your planet has a loving, brilliant consciousness all her own, and of her countless balancing acts, healing herself is one in which she truly shines.

Of this, and so much more, you can be very, very proud.


The Universe

Monday, July 12, 2010


For years now I have had an ongoing relationship (I no longer call it a battle) with the squirrels that call our yard and those surrounding their home. I have tried several "squirrel proof" bird feeders, this being the latest. At least one of the six or seven that regularly visit attempt to grab what they can from the feeders, not satified with the spread of critter food that I put out on the table for them. This little guy made it into the feeder and was having quite a feast until he spied me. To reach this feeder he had to jump from an electric wire onto the roof of the garage, hang off the gutter and hopefully land on the top of the feeder. Don't tell me these guys are dumb and their acrobatics keep our cats very entertained as they stand on guard at our French doors to the patio.
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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Here is more of Maggie Black...she really is a beautiful paint and Kate is such a happy camper having her own horse. It has boosted her confidence as a rider. This is our last day in Charlotte...tomorrow we leave for Birmingham...our son left this morning. Maybe we will take the kids to the movies today. Right now they are absorbed in books and Yugios.
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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Meeting Maggie Black

This is Maggie Black whom my granddaughter introduced me to.  She is 14 years old and an awesome mare and Kate is just thrilled to have her very own horse.  I am so happy for her.  She is living out the dream I had when I was her age.  What is it about little girls and horses?  Maggie trots, cantors and jumps which to Kate's delight and accomplished horsemanship.  So many afternoons are spent at the barn now that school is out.  How they plan to move Maggie to Birmingham I'm not sure but they have already found a nice barn for her.  Kate's cousin, Olivia, is visiting and she is a wonderful teacher for Kate and they share their love of horses.   The weather here has been the 50's at night.  Tonight we will go out on the boat to watch fireworks over the water.  Truly an American celebration complete with family, burgers, hot dogs and beer.

Friday, July 02, 2010

On the road with the old guy

We're old but not so old to tackle a long road trip.  I do the driving as DH doesn't see or hear very well and he can't remember shit. He's in the early stages of Alzheimer's and sometimes he seems altogether and right on but then there are times when he gets a little off the wall.  The plan was to go first to Birmingham, spend a night or two with our son and get up early and head to Charlotte.  And so far that part has worked, sorta. And I sometimes forget that he doesn't remember anything short term.  No remarks about that, okay?
So when I tell him something and expect him to follow through and nothing happens, I get frustrated.  When I get frustrated, he gets frustrated so picture hours in the car together.

I was super busy the weekend before our departure...two days of workshop, a critique group, church, arranging to be gone stuff, etc.  Saturday was filled with workshop and the movers at our friends, the Pannetts.  Ken volunteered to take Bob out of the house and off to lunch while the movers were going through the house.  Bob has Parkinson's and just isn't very mobile at this point. 
I made sure we were both got up on medications and clean clothes.  DH's clothes were selected...shirts hanging in the closet, pants, socks, underwear shoes piled on the floor next to his suitcase, his usual habit preparing for a trip.  My suitcase was filling up.  We were leaving about 7 in the morning and facing a 10 hour drive.  Ken announced the night before he was ready and loaded his suitcase in the car.  I waited until the next morning.  We loaded up suitcases, computers, and some iced down drinks.  Daughter had agreed to feed the cats and off we went.

The drive was totally uneventful.  I 10 to 59 and headed north. Clouds were rolling in the sky as we rolled along the countryside through lush green forest.  But about 30 miles south of Birmingham it started raining...I mean, pouring.  That is when I came to realize that my passenger was not going to function well as a navigator.  Duh!  So white-knuckled I made it and managed to call my son whom we managed to find in the traffic and followed him to his apartment.  I was exhausted.  Before dark Chris took us on a tour to some of the houses they had been looking at...gorgeous neighborhoods in Birmingham and then to dinner at The Fish Market...fried green tomatoes...yummm. We hadn't stopped for lunch and two glasses of wine later I was getting a bit tipsy.  But the clencher of the evening was when DH said he couldn't find his clothes.  A search of his suitcase and the car revealed no pants, no shirts.  What in the hell did he do with them between the time they were on the floor to go in his suitcase and when we got in the car?  Another big realization for me that the Alz is progressing.  Yikes!  But he shrugged it off saying, "I needed some new jeans anyway."  So after dinner I bought him some jeans and a shirt.

But wait, the story gets funnier.  While searching for his clothes in the car, DH found a bag of prescription drugs under the front passenger seat.  Not his, not mine but Bob Pannett's.  Oh geez, his wife must be frantic trying to figure out what happened to them in the move.  I called her as we drove out of Birm toward Charlotte  and agreed to ship them overnight at the first opportunity.

The first opportunity was some little town in Alabama where they had a Cracker Barrel.  We stopped for breakfast and asked the waitress if there was a postoffice nearby.  "Well, sure, honey, there's one just down the road on the left."  Yay!  So next stop the little bitty Post Office.  We walked in and started looking at boxes and a voice from behind called "I can do that for you, mam."  I could have kissed him...actually he was tall, very good looking with multiple interesting tatoos and an earring.  He was soooo nice....took the bag of drugs, created a box, taped it up and handed me a form to fill in.  About $30 bucks later, mission completed and we traveled on feeling good that we had taken care of that.  Small town America is still just so fine!

We stopped in Spartanburg for lunch with dear friend, DeAnne.  God but it was so good to see her again and catch up if even for an hour.  We went to high school together and lived next door to each other while starting UT.  She is doing well and still trying to sell her Colorado Springs house.  Dang, wish we could buy it for a summer is darling and in a great location close to downtown.

As we approached Charlotte on 85 the radio said there had been a terrible wreck on the Catawba River bridge between a tour bus and an 18 wheeler...all four lanes were shut down.  Holy shit again.  DH took out what maps we had to search for an alternative.  Clueless.  I'm white knuckled and stressed.  Traffic was at a stand still for miles and the radio said it would be hours before it would be cleared...multiple injuries, Life Flight, etc.  We inched and inched and finally made it to exit 22 where I saw the 18 wheelers headed.  I thought...FOLLOW THE TRUCKS! and I did and found an alternate route.  After several wrong turns we finally managed to find another route across the river and get back onto 85.  It had taken us 4 hours to go about 30 miles.  We missed the kids swim meet but found a beer, unloaded the car and collapsed.  What a trip so far!  Today we are just chilling!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sandy's leaving, boo hoo!

I co-hosted a going away party for my friend, Sandy Pannett, and her husband, Bob. This is a picture of 3 of the Fearsome Foursome who suffered through grad school together. Jane Haley is seated, I'm in the middle (duh!) and Sandy is on the right. Sandy is also my neighbor 5 doors down until Saturday when she and her husband move to Tyler, Texas. I am SO going to miss her...she has been my rock on many occasions and vice-versa. I wish them well on this new adventure but am really sad to see them go. We've been good friends since 1981 and still will be but she won't be a short walk away for sure.
In grad school Sandy was a widow, single mom with 3 teen boys so after class we would go to her house nearby and giggle and scream and talk about all the crazy stuff that was going on. With Sue Verso who now lives in Baltimore, we managed to support each other all the way to MAs and after as we launched into our careers. The Fearsome Foursome still keep in touch and always will hold each other in our hearts.
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Here is the other prize winner...assemblage about 12" high called "Heart in Hand". The chest cavity has a heart inside palm up with a heart in it. The base is a jar lid, the halo stir sticks with washers.
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This is a drawing of Henry, the frequent model for the Life Drawing class at COM. I sewed some pants on Henry after the piece was rejected in another show. I think he looks much better with pants on, believe me. The background is tea stained muslin.
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The whole she-bang plus ribbon and some old lady standing beside it.
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A photo of part of the winning wall hanging.
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

So much for the waistline

I seldom bake but I've got a thing for rhubarb ever since I had some rhubarb cobbler one summer in Crested Butte, Colorado while training with Virginia Satir.  Virginia had a thing for rhubarb and had discovered a wild patch one summer outside a crumbling house near an abandoned mine high up in the Rockies.  She loved picking wild rhubarb each summer and now I'm hooked.  BUT the problem is ever finding fresh rhubarb in any of the local stores so I have to be content with frozen which is a poor substitute but what's a girl gonna do?  So today I made strawberry/rhubarb crisp with fresh strawberries, frozen rhubarb and an oatmeal good hot with vanilla ice cream.  No calories here, huh!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


It's been a while since I ventured back into the art world and lo and behold, I've won a first prize in the 2 Dimension mixed media category and 2nd prize in the 3 D category in the annual Summer Juried Show of the Galveston Art League.  I'll try to get pictures to post.  The gallery has come back from Ike with a great rennovation and it looks great!  And Art Walk is bringing over a thousand through it's door.  Awesome!!!
It is always a boost to the muse to have a competant juror say she/he likes your work.  Now back to the studio.
I helped with the registration for the show and we had 177 entries...more than ever which is great and we are attracting artists from a greater distance which means we get more diversity and better quality. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Binging on Books

Oh my...I wonder how one can add "ing" to binge without it becoming a word that could rhymes with "singing". Oh well, it's May and I have already begun my hibernation with books. I think it is a holdover from childhood when I spent my summers reading everything I could get my hands on....the advantage of growing up with no TV. Imagination ran amuck through story after story building images in my mind of what characters looked like, where they lived, what they ate and what they were doing with themselves between the pages. And I'm still doing it.

I'm into great mysteries now and just finished Lee Childs latest, 61 Hours, and of course, I have fallen once again in love tall, rugged, handsome and carefree (no luggage) Jack Reacher. And OMG, do I have to wait for the next novel to find out what happened to him? I'll try to be patient!

I am working my way through Atherton's Aunt Dimity series to hold off diving into Larsson's posthumous The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I guess my fascination with what was behind closed doors was a result of all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. I loved Nancy and her convertible and was sure I would grow up to be a detective in spite of my dad's prodding toward law. That didn't last long but the imagination has been a partner ever since. I fooled them all and became a potter, painter and writer. Who woulda thunk!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tea party in the house of magic

And then we had tea and cupcakes. Susan hosted a tea party for me as a birthday present. It was lovely and always fun to be in Susan's magical house surrounded by her fabulous art work. And Sarah Palin wasn't even invited, thank God. Flowers and hats were the order of the day along with giggles and laughter.
And the fun continued as Barbara, Ann and I went on to Archway Gallery for its monthly reading. Barbara read two of her wonderful poems and I read from a previous blog about trying to be the Super Wife and host office parties. I hadn't planned to read it but was glad I had it with me as a young woman read a very dark poem about mid 20th century housewives that described them very differently from my experience or of those I knew. Shit, I was one of those wives and don't remember seducing anyone from a convertible...what did I miss?
But I do remember being in on the beginning of the feminist movement and discussing Betty Friedan and The Feminine Mystique over the bridge table with the Rice University Graduate Wives Club. Yeah, I even played bridge, sort of. And was it Phyliss Schaffley who fought it all so valiantly? Who was it that told us to meet our husbands at the door wrapped only in Saran wrap? I do admit to being sold the idea of Super Wife/Mom by the Ladies Home Journal and wanting polished floors and scrubbed children but at some point it grew tiresome, really tiresome and boring and I began to step out of the box. And guess what...nobody died, the children grew up and I'm still married to the same guy. And my life has been and still is far from boring.
So now it is fun to play dress up, wear a hat, eat cupcakes and drink tea like the ladies our mothers probably hoped we would be if only for an afternoon.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

And life goes on...

Tomorrow I go to a book signing for a wonderful friend whom I met on her blog several years ago.  She is a wonderful writer and a young mother who moved to my neck of the woods a couple of years ago.  She writes with astonishing honesty and integrity about the joys and frustrations of being a mother of two beautiful little girls, moving across the country, and adapting to a new culture.  So her new book, Dirty Laundry and Leaps of Faith, a collection of her wonderful blogs, is out in print and I get to join in the celebration.
    And hopefully get inspired to get my writing together into a chap book.  Tonight I read again in Houston at Archway Gallery which is always a good read.  And I invite the muse to come sit on my shoulder and help me decide what to read and maybe become a little more committed to blogging once again.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

National Poetry Month

Good grief but this has been a fun but busy week.  I'm tellin' ya...these poets meet and speak all the time and now I'm doing it, too.  Monday night, Coffee Oasis.  Wednesday 4 great guys featured at the Friendswood Library, Thursday night I read at Archway Gallery.  This morning was the monthly meeting of Gulf Coast Poets and featured Sandy Stromberg, a friend who has taught me much and taught me more this morning.  And tomorrow afternoon is critique group which I hope doesn't go on too long.  Whew! 
And I'm writing along and sending stuff to my two dear friends who are willing to read my shit and critique it. 
  And my birthday celebration just keeps going on as more gifts arrive.  I live a charmed life.  Here's a poem I'm working on:

I’ve never been this old before

but I do plan to be a little older tomorrow,

even older, maybe wiser next week.

In this morning’s shower

sliding rolling hills met my soapy rag

where parts once were perky.

Can’t say I miss them,

just not sure where they went.

A wrinkled old lady wrapped in crepey skin

leans out of the recliner

arm wings flapping

as she waves the remote

after Dancing With the Stars.

She sounds and looks familiar,

could that be me?

She looks as though

she could use some cake or chocolate

with a cup of tea.

Let the party begin.

Eat cake and celebrate

another rockin’ rollin’ year.

Kay Cox

April, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Wow and double wow!

My heart is full and my soul refreshed. I spent the day at the MFA of Houston soaking up the work of Alice Neel, my favorite portrait painter. It is a huge collection and I definitely will be going back. She was a remarkable woman for her time and never really well-known for many years. I so admire her and that even though her work was not well accepted until her late years, she just kept on painting. I watched the film of her placing her pregnant model and she tried several placements and poses until it was just right. I was glad she placed the model near a mirror which gave off a reflection included in the painting. Her treatment of background I find fascinating as she frequently leaves much of it perhaps drawn but not painted which gives great prominance to the figure. Her figures are so full of emotion which she manages to capture mostly through their eyes and the eyes are always confronting the viewer...very interesting. Only her sad figure of Andy Warhol has his eyes closed.
John Singer Sargent is also exhibiting and along with his seascapes (many done between the ages of 18 and 24...geezus) is a large exhibit of Sargents owned by the Museum or Houston impressive collection. I particularly like his more Impressionistic work.
I feel so fortunate to live in a city with outstanding museums...yay Houston!
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is the wonderful strawberry cake my friend, Barbara, made for my birthday celebration with my Alvin writing group. Believe me, it tasted as good as it looks. Barbara is the queen of cakes and loves to bake. She is also a gifted writer and wrote an amazing poem about me which she framed and gave me as a birthday present. What a treasured friend she is and we have known each other since 1965 I think. She's also a former police officer and has some pretty hilarious tales to tell about her experiences. I look forward to many more years of keeping each other laughing and crying together. Here, have a piece of cake.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Here is another one. I have put pockets on the back so that a note can be inserted. Crazy fun!
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Sewing fun

I've been having a good time making these funky animal dolls. Lots of fun with color and scraps of fabric. I decided I should be doing somthing with all this stuff that has been collected over the years. I think I should give this one a name but it will probably be a gift to someone and they can name it.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Being lazy

I have been totally out of the loop and nowhere for a week it seems.  It started with allergies, progressed to big time sinus and according to the doc yesterday was a virus on top of it all.  I've felt so bummed...didn't want to do anything but cough, sneeze, wheeze and drink liquids.  Spent a week it seems in front of the TV with a book and some soup and no ambition to do anything else and still don't have much.  Missed poetry events, class, everything this week...feels like a time warp.
Finally feel some better.  No sleep as the doc put me on a steroid yesterday that kept me awake until 4 am but hopefully today will be better and my nose is only dripping a little bit. 
My energy is slowly returning, thank good ness, as it is spring.  My azaleas are blooming and my daffodils and I should be charging forth getting lots of stuff in order.
In the meantime between books and TV I'm watching the cats watching the squirrels...better than most TV shows.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More spring

I love this slow, drippy rain and the fact that it sorta lays down the tree pollen for a while.  Maybe my nose will quit running.  I can feel the earth going slurp, slurp as this gentle wet settles in.  I do feel for my friends in the northern USA who are fighting major floods as all the snow begins to melt.
It is cool today with the rain which calls for soup...specifically chicken corn chowder and hot corn bread.  And it was sooooo good.  Enough left for the cold days coming this weekend.
I'm back sewing again and making funky little stuffed and an opportunity to use up scrap fabric.  And I brought out a canvas and played with a drawing on it...a sure sign that my Aries nature is coming soon.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring has come to Seabrook at last. Every year I look forward to this tulip tree or pink magnolia as some call it bursting forth with it's incredible blooms. And bless her heart even after some really cold temps this year, she is coming forth with her best garment yet. Gotta love this gal!
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

For all my writing friends

Esoterica: One of my all-time favorite lists is Hungarian/Canadian/British author Stephen Vizinczey's "The Writer's Ten Commandments." He's given permission to change the word "write" to "paint,"--or to other words for that matter.

1. Thou shalt not drink, smoke or take drugs.

2. Thou shalt not have expensive habits.

3. Thou shalt dream and write and dream and rewrite.

4. Thou shalt not be vain.

5. Thou shalt not be modest.

6. Thou shalt think continually of those who are truly great.

7. Thou shalt not let a day pass without reading something great.

8. Thou shalt not worship London/New York/Paris.

9. Thou shalt write to please thyself.

10. Thou shalt be hard to please.

Monday, March 08, 2010


What a relief!  Hubby has come to his senses and is declining the invite to China.  It is a good thing.  We have lots of reasons not to trust the guy who issued the invite and when he said he wasn't going to be able to accompany hubby all the way, it became a no go.  Thank God I didn't have to say "ARe you out of your mind?  You can't even get through airport security by yourself."  He is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and though he can talk your arm off intelligently about the space program, he get easily confused in crowded situations.  I was so concerned but didn't want to rain on his parade.   He will help the inviter to write the paper, etc., just not go and he seems very okay with his decision.  Whew!  Life does present its challenges but they seem to come harder and faster as I get older.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

New projects

The sewing machine is smiling at me saying "Come here, honey,  Let's get started on a new quilt."  And the stack of old blue jeans that I have dismantled lay near by ready to be torn into strips.  My idea is to make a quilt of old blue jeans for my grandson.  I think I will have to get someone else to quilt is just too hard on my back and my small machine.  The other calling project is to start slapping some paint around on canvas.  I've done a little collaging this week but so little real art in way too long.  It is time...I'm going to have to cut down on my social life and meetings that I attend to plunge head long into all this and still get meals on the table and laundry done.  As I get older, everything seems to take longer than it used to or maybe I'm just taking more time to smell the roses along the way.  But before I get started on any of this, I have to get our taxes done...oh, lovely, right? 
      Spring is around the corner.  The pink magnolia in the front yard has swollen buds that are on the verge of popping open with its gorgeous pink blossoms.  The azaleas are lagging behind due to our cold winter.  I will ply them with some food now that we are past frost in hopes that they will burst with their usual fuschia display.  The tropical plants all took a beating but dear Victor has come and cleaned all the dead stuff away and hopefully there is enough green left that we will enjoy some recovery.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

What? You are going to China?

Well, this should be husband who seems to have Alzheimer's in regard to anything that isn't related to adventures in space.  A true space cadet, he has been invited to give a paper somewhere in China.  He claims a Chinese friend is going with him and I certainly hope so as he can't even get through security at the airport by himself.  His way is paid for by I know not whom and he is so excited.  I think it is great that he have this one last adventure.  He will be 79 next month so I think this is a great birthday trip.  And I emphasize, this should be interesting.  He has lost his cell phone twice in the last few months only to find them both after he had purchased new ones.  Anyone need a phone?  He has been officially diagnosed with Alz and is on Aricept which seems to be helping.  I just hope this guy knows to keep tabs on him 24/7.  When talking about the space program, what should and shouldn't be done with it and the future in space, he can be right on but that is about his limit....sweet, nice, brilliant man who can't remember shit and is hard of hearing.  I told him to tell his friend that if anything happened to him, to cremate him there and just send the ashes that awful of me...probably.  I just hope he can get it together to go by the first week in April.
They will spend two days touring after the conference and his friend will take him shopping but for what?  Seems like everything made in China that I might want is at Walmart.  I am through collecting junk to sit around the house...I want to get rid of what I have now, not add more.  Ahhh...maybe jade earrings?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life goes on

I'm back in business...happily ensconced in front of CBS Sunday morning with my new Toshiba lap top and still trying to learn my way around Windows 7.  So far I can't say I'm in love with it as it has some quirky stuff going on but perhaps I will get used to it.  And slowly I'm coming to grips with what I lost when my old one crashed.  But what the hey, it's only stuff and I can create again.
Has anyone tried hooping?  My friend Rowan teaches it and has a full page article this morning in the Houston Chronicle.  Dancing with a heavier hoop swirling around one's middle.  Rowan is teaching it and has lost 50 lbs. and looks great.  I think I'm ready to try it as my workouts at the gym don't seem to be doing something about my middle, darn it.
Friday was a total was the day for my colonoscopy check-up.  If you haven't had this lovely procedure, the prep the day before is the worst, really the worst.  Imagine the worst stomach virus only this time you are experiencing it on out your whole system before the procedure that takes about 20 minutes.  DH took me over at 6:30 am and the waiting room was crowded....geezus, all these folk volunteering for this?  So I was taken to Bay 3, told to strip to my socks and put on the paper gown.  Soon a pleasant nurse named Jackie took my vitals and put in a catheter for an IV.  There must have been 12 bays in this little hospital and they were all full of beds moving in and out.  Soon it was my turn and it was grand Central Station with a traffic jam of gurneys rolling in and out, some with patients knocked out.  I was rolled into the op room and greeted my doctor for the first time and looked around at various screens as I lay under the bright lights.  A nurse came with two vials of the magic stuff and put them into the catheter.  I was out like a light and here comes the problem.  I'm very sensitive to any kind of anesthetic and don't remember anything for quite a while after that.  The procedure went fine, I'm fine and don't have to do it again for 5 years but the problem was afterwards.  My husband said I started falling when I tried to get into the car, the nurse caught me and helped me in.  I have no memory of getting dressed, getting into a wheel chair, being rolled out to the car and barely anything until I woke up in my own bed around noon.  My husband was so worried that I would fall getting out of the car at home that he drove around for a while so I would come to.  He stopped at Starbuck's and got me a giant coffee which seemed to help and got me home and into bed.  So weird to have no memory of all of that.  This drug is designed to allow one to respond but not remember what goes on while you are on it...guess it is kin to the "date-rape" drug.  It is scary to think what could have happened if I had fallen at home.  I think the docs in there are going "ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching" every time they roll another one in.  Not a comforting feeling!  What else would motivate a guy to spend his working hours sending cameras up people's asses? 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekly Entertainment from Entertainment Weekly

Sorry I have no illustrations for this....but in a recent article in a popular magazine a performer's vocals were described as a "singing orgasm."  Now there's a thought.  I do recall orgasms that left me singing but I can't recall any singing orgasms by me or any of my partners.  However I'm not ruling out that possibility.  Are there voice coaches for that?  Or would it be a specialty of a sex therapist?  What exactly should I ask when inquiring about this training and how long does one have to train to become skilled in singing orgasms?  Would such a coach take on a more mature student?  Mature, not old, just mature.  And does Medicare cover this service?  I'm trying to imagine just where one's focus might be in all of this.  It sounds trying to pat one's head, chew gum, and rub one's tummy counter-clock wise at the same time but then I'm not a singer.
      I wonder what my husband would say if I suddenly broke out in an aria from Aida or Madam Butterfly but then he is a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan.  Maybe he would be happier with something from the H.M.S. Pinafore...probably better rhythm in that.  Also I wonder if a costume or wig is necessary for this magical experience.  Perhaps we should consider a duet.  We could do ads for Viagra...big or little ones depending on its success.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How did I get to this point?

Still no is a matter finances really.  I would love an Apple but will probably be limited to a PC.  But what I have come to grips with is how dependent I have become in just a decade on this little machine.  The rest of the world seems to run on one and so do I.  Are we just communication sluts?  Addicted to knowing?  I am amazed at the chunk of time I now have without it.  I even rediscovered my handwriting yesterday preparing for my memoir class.  But let me tell you, folks, I don't write as well by hand...I really don't.  thoughts get lost while tediously moving the pen across the page.  Other writers tell me they have a different experience and write first by hand and then edit it onto the computer. 
I was so hoping to have a new lap top for the workshops I'm going to with Max Regan this weekend but alas, I doubt occurs to me I could have a big step toward the new computer if I didn't go to the workshops but I really want to go and will be happy to be there writing by hand while everyone else is clicking away.
Another sign of aging...I rediscovered some memoirs I wrote about 5 years ago and they are better written than what I wrote yesterday.  Darn!...What is going on here?  Is it my memory or just my thinking process cluttered with other stuff?  A bifarcation point?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh no...Murphy's Law

My computer crashed!  I've heard of others having the problem but yep, it has been verified!  There is no recovery of all those files that I didn't put on a CD.  All those pictures gone, all the documents vaporized.  The doctor said it was a fatal virus that there is no medication for, that there was no vacine for it in all the vacines that were current.    I'm borrowing my husband's computer now and trying to figure out what to get as a replacement and how to pay for it.  But I'm also noticing the amount of time that has been freed up.  No Facebook checking, no diddling around with other sites. 
     As for me there is no DSM IV diagnosis for computer loss.  It feels like an invasive attact, a violation.  How dare some varmint come and infect me!  Hmmm....and yet I feel like I have lost a close friend.  Maybe I should have a little ceremony in the back yard and bury the old one.  Two hundred years from now some land developer can dig it up and make some judgement about what it might be for.  Probably not...two hundred years from now this will probably be all under water if our society doesn't do somthing quick about global warming.  So how should I mark the grave?  Maybe a colorful flash drive glued to a stick.
       So now the question is:  Mac or PC?  Lots of folk tell me Mac and I am going this afternoon to a friend's house to play on her new one.  Any comments on the subject would be appreciated. is what happens when we are making other plans!  Off I go...hubby wants his toy back.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ho hum...

Okay, this is getting old...all this gray and gloomy weather but it has put me indoors and getting stuff done.  I finished the jean jacket for granddaughter's birthday next week.  $19.95 at Target and I've spent $25 on trims and sequins.  It has a picture of Justin Bieber on the back; he's the latest teeny-bopper heart throb.  We are giving her tickets to his concert at the Houston Rodeo next month.  Last year I made her one with Taylor Swift on the back but she has lost status this year.  I love revamping these jackets with lace and buttons and stuff.  I can't sell them with the pictures on the backs as I feel sure the pictures are copy-righted even if I get them off the Internet. 
My studio is even cleaned up...holy moly.  About time, huh!  My writing class is going so well.  The teacher doesn't teach us anything which is rather odd but we learn by listening to each other's stories and oh what stories they are.  By now we are all so hooked into each other's dramas that we keep taking the class to keep up.  It would be nice however if every now and then the teacher added a little something but after 4 semesters I've given up.  When I run across an article that is about writing memoir, I send it on to class mates.  The teacher in me just can't help it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rolling down memory lane

Who says one can't go home again.  I do with my annual reunion in my home town of Austin.  It is hard to believe but this trio have been friends for more than sixty years; two of them for more than 66 years.  And we still have such a good time together.  I married following my junior year at UT and the other two married after graduation and we are still married to the same great guys who seem to have a great time together at our annual get togethers.  We bring pictures from high school slumber parties, junior high year books and laugh and giggle and gossip all over again.  Next meeting we have agreed to bring our wedding albums.  We feel so fortunate to still be healthy enough to get together and share our many blessings as we toddle into our elder years. 
We grew up in a post war age...after WWII and before Korea, a time of magic and dreams at the budding stage of women's liberation when the Ladies Home Journal was telling us to wrap ourselves in cellophane to greet our husbands at the door while our college degrees told us that we were fully capable of doing anything we wanted.  We three have rasied families, had careers, have volunteered in our communities, cared for aging or ill parents and have traveled widely on the planet.  We still find each other interesting and wise.  We have traded sodas and cookies for wine and cheese but never have lost our desire for good chocolate (that is a given, right?). 
There was no organ recital of our aches and pains though I know we have them but some honest discussion of our plans and concerns about the last stages of our lives, where we will live, who will care for us and what we would like when we make our transitions to our next life.  How many people do you know that you can have these honest discussions with?  I consider it a mark of friendships with deep roots.  We do go way back...we loved not only our own parents but each others.  I knew their siblings and envied them for having some.  One still has her precious mother alive, now 97.  We tease her about her good genes.
I am so grateful that I grew up in basically the same neighborhood all my life...3 different houses but the same neighborhood and my friends had the same experience.  We had to grow up and move on to experience how the rest of the world lived and worked but we were secure in our sense of self and place no matter where we ended up.  What a gift!