23 December 2011


the nursery is ready! invisible zippers have been conquered. butterflies have been painted. mary blair illustrations have been hung. cushions covered. and a musical pink puppy has played lullabies while the night light glowed—just for practice. now for our little one to arrive!
crib skirt and sheet sewn by my mom!

rocking chair i covered with leftover crib skirt fabric.

pages from ruth krauss' i can fly, illustrated by mary blair.

boppy pillow cover, my first time sewing with amy butler fabric! and doing an invisible zipper on my own.

nursing cover, fabric also amy butler.

and new pillows for our living room couch! also with invisible zippers, woohoo. dobe decided the brown ruffled ones i made last year were too tasty.

10 September 2011


courtesy of Steven R. Shook Collection

southwest summer
came and went
as i sold
or tried to sell
lying art
to oil rich texans
who only came to look

17 April 2011

the hanging of the palms.

last year, i saved the fronds from palm sunday. hung them in our crucifix in our old home. which you can see here. it was sort of a continuation of a tradition i remember my parents doing. except theirs was a frond woven into a cross. and my mom or my dad tucked it behind the crucifix leading into our home. and there it hung. and dried. for as long as i can remember.

last year we were still living in iowa. but last palm sunday we happened to be visiting here. new mexico. and after the service, we were handed fronds. i tucked them carefully into our suitcase. saving them. we didn't know if we would move. but i knew i wanted fronds. neither of our churches in iowa handed them out. and i think it's a lovely image. helps you to remember.

so this sunday, here we are. in new mexico. at that same church. who knew. once again, we were handed fronds. once again, i carefully saved them. once again, i tucked them into our crucifix. i took down the old, and hung the new. to remind me of he who is making all things new.

hosanna. 'save now.'

10 April 2011

'i am become death, the destroyer of worlds.'

j. robert oppenheimer c. 1946 by Ed Westcott
i was nervous to visit trinity site. where the world's first atomic bomb was tested. not for the radiation. surprisingly, it would be minimal. less than a round-trip flight cross the us. less than i get living year-round in our adobe. surely less than my microwave pumps out when i nuke my tea.

maybe i shouldn't say nuke.

i was nervous because i didn't know how i'd react. i was compelled. am compelled. to visit sites of destruction. to remember. to reflect. it's why i went to oswiecim/auschwitz. it's why i went to minidoka. it's why i planned my sister's trip to nm solely around one of only two days trinity site is open every year.

my sister wanted to go because it was a vast achievement in science. i wanted to go because i thought i might cry.

i don't know much about wwii (or the great war, or the cold war, or vietnam, or anything really). i don't think many my age do. all my history classes seemed to stop just after the industrial revolution. you think i'm joking. one class covered them all. one. and with my memory that basically means i never heard it before.

then again. i never read anything on my own.

so i attempted 'the' history about the atomic bomb before we went to trinity. i failed. instead, i watched a bbc film on oppenheimer. my dad recommended it. my dad who worked at hanford. yes that hanford. no not then. it's a fine film. though seemed most of the actors were stage-trained. or the screenwriters were. i can't decide. and then there was sam waterston, who played oppie. aka that one guy from law & order. he was amazing.

and then there was that scene. that scene. july 16 1945. oppenheimer stands in the predawn, a distance from the test. as 'the gadget's' chain reaction produces light and heat equal to the sun, he recites from the bhagavad gita—


'now, i am become death, the destroyer of worlds.'

cinematographic finesse. i fell over five times.

and it all became a lot to think about. it's always been a lot to think about.

in the bbc film, it seems the manhattan project started out exciting. the scientists were creating what was once theory. forging new science. new science. fall over. then, as the war continued, it seems to hit them. this is what they're doing. wait. this is what they're doing. wait. this is what they've done.

the bomb was needed to end the war, this is what i hear. the second bomb was not needed to end the war, this is also what i hear.

trinity site obelisk national historic landmark by Samat Jain

scores of people were at trinity. just. scores. college students filming videos. babies in strollers. couples walking dogs. everyone searching for trinitite. everyone smiling for photos in front of the obelisk at ground zero. everyone buying shirts and bottles printed with that mushroom cloud. everyone eating lunch. everyone having a good time. everyone walking around like this wasn't something super super fall over important and shouldn't they be meditating anyway.

it was eery. it reminded me of when i was at auschwitz and schoolchildren were running around outside laughing. just steps from the work-will-make-you-free gate. i wanted to shake them all into solemnity.

and then i bought a patch. and then i posed in jumbo. and then i searched for trinitite. and then i smiled. and then i ate fruit leather. and then i was happy about something. probably about being in the desert in the sunshine.

what was wrong with me? why didn't someone shake me?

maybe i wanted some kind of ceremony. some kind of liturgy. some kind of wailing. some kind of promise. but it didn't happen.

but it. the creation of destruction.

but it did happen.

on bus to nearby schmidt/mcdonald ranch house, where the core was assembled

26 March 2011

happiness . . . is *another* warm puppy.

i work next door to a starbucks. no, *literally* next door to a starbucks. read: pocketbook danger. but going to the coffee siren one morning before work brought something even better than a tall pike's place with half-n-half . . . dobe ("dough-bee") our second pup. a woman who works at the caffeine giant brought the last of her half-pit-half-lab's litter to show her coworkers outside her work. and i can never pass the opportunity to pet a puppy. especially a chocolate lab. (technically she's 3/4 lab and 1/4 pit, her poppa was a purebred.) so when i found out the little chocolate angel was a she, was available for sale AND had mild mannered parents, i nearly flipped. like, flipped OUT. i called ben 10 minutes later. "go for it," the best-husband-in-the-world-ever-ever-ever said. yesssssssss! i may have jumped up and down and squealed. what?

and so, we are now a two-dog household. (as opposed to a three dog night.) i am happy. so happy. *sigh.* i love having two dogs. never thought i would have twins. (hey, the little prophet never predicted a second puppy.) but i love it. LOVE IT.

coco now has a playmate. and a sister in crime. AWE-SOME. now we just have to explain, yes, the caramel colored dog is named coco, and yes, the chocolate colored dog is named dobe. funny.

also, i now have a dog that sleeps on my feet. not at my feet, ON them. though coco is fall over beautiful and will always be special because of how god gave her to me (yes god gave her to me), she never slept on my feet. OH, HOW I LOVE THIS.

alright, so i've become the crazy dog lady. deal with it.

but seriously, we're stopping at two. seriously.

yes, she sleeps with hello kitty. 'course!
chiaroscuro puppy! she posed herself in the light. i looked down and BAM it was carravaggio's 'calling of st matthew.'
sewing a soon-to-be-revealed project.

19 January 2011

make art make.

our fall-over-sleep-under-a-joshua-tree campsite at joshua tree nat'l park. yes, it was legal.
during our grand tour of four california national parks this summer, one of our stops was joshua tree. now, i previously gushed about how i love everything desert. but ben had a different take.

he loved how the trees got their name. legend has it mormon immigrants thought the yucca's limbs resembled joshua's arms raised toward heaven. while we are NOT mormon (we are christian—they are NOT the same thing), ben appreciated how the immigrants' minds were so god-focused, they gave the plant a biblical name.

later, he went on to name sequoias something from revelation.

for our anniversary, ben and i go all out on presents. since it's so close to xmas, we usually forgo gifts for dec 25 and save up for jan 7. i knew he really wanted this book, so that was easy. then i decided to finally print our wedding pictures to fill a collage frame (let's all shake our heads together that it took so long). but what else? for fun, i googled the traditional and modern anniversary gifts. (sidenote: the traditional present for the first anniversary is paper—so my mom, creative genius that she is, sent us origami paper that year. SO COOL!) well, for the fifth, the modern present was silverware. BORING. "here, honey, eat with these." plus, we already have a beautiful set from my grandparents. but the traditional gift for the fifth? WOOD. perfect.

i knew just what to make. i spotted this last fall, and filed it as to-do-someday (along with 7.2 billion other projects).

for my take, i inverted the colors—ivory to warm black. also, i used some found weather-beaten pallets instead of wood flooring. 

my dad would be happy—i even got to buy a new tool. my very own x-acto knife. (actually it's a stanley, but whatevs. it's like kleenex. everything's kleenex even if you use puffs with lotion. like i do. because my nose is delicate. stop laughing.)

i was incredibly happy with the outcome. ben was, too. gotta love a man who likes his art rustic.

soon, we'll bring it in from outside (joke) and hang in our freshly painted medium taupe brown living room. very excited.

and what did ben get me? peach roses, a cinnabon breakfast in bed, the killers live from albert hall dvd&cd and the entire border trilogy by cormac mccarthy, neatly bound in one swanky volume. with its own attached ribbon bookmark. (it's own attached ribbon bookmark!)

i'm in love.

15 January 2011

we are now in the golden land.

 image by TheVoiceThatSaid
ben and i celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary on jan 7. how fun to reach a landmark number! how did i know it was a landmark number? well, because card makers sell special "fifth anniversary" cards, that's why. but in all seriousness, it's been a good five years. it started out pretty rough (starting life together on a reservation far from home and friends can do that to ya) but we've gone through much and are currently in our honeymoon phase. yes, it took four years to get there. but i'd trade a rough four-year start for (god willing) 60 more years of fun with your best friend.

the lead image sums it up pretty well. i never knew marriage could be this nice. or maybe i did—on jan 6 2006. but real life hits and sometimes it hits hard. i remember when ben and i were dating in college. my dad was talking to me, and made a comment about how "didn't we feel like we could change the world?" i remember thinking, "wait—that goes away?" and it does, for a time. but it returns, in a subtler, richer way.

ben and i have a friend who's in college right now. and he's questioning everything. i love people who question everything. and i loved my own season of questioning in college. what made it all the more interesting (and i say interesting in a slow voice) was that my own season collided with the toughest years of my marriage. yes. very interesting.

i was married for 2-1/2 of my college years. it was tough. i got lots of flack from students for being "so young." blah blah blah. i felt some were standoffish because i was "that married woman." i remember being angry when my friends and acquaintances saw me, the question was never "how is your art?" or "how is your faith?" it was always, always "how is married life?" i was pegged. and i hate pegs. like how here animal shelters and free puppy givers are prejudiced against us because we live on the reservation. surely a puppy can't be safe on reservation. (have you met my happy, healthy dog?) frankly, i care less if people think i'm crazy because i live on a reservation. i really. don't. care. but i am offended when people assume it makes me a bad puppy parent. just like how i was offended when i was treated as the "other" in college. just for choosing my mate "early."

but i have zero regrets. none. while ben and i had some really dark years, we are now in the light. i say that in the full spiritual and emotional sense. we have come to the other side, and it is very, very beautiful.

i love you, my best friend.

taken 3 aug 2010 at the jefferson nat'l expansion memorial (aka st louis arch)