About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Something That Charmed Me

OK, so I am very easily charmed. I am charmed by things that may not charm many others, or even anyone else. But I am struck each and every day by things that are beautiful (they're beautiful to me) or awe-inspiring (to me), sweet (not necessarily babies or "country cute") or just damned odd (again, to me). I might be described as very sensuous, in that I use all five of my senses to take in the things around me. I am lucky to share my home and life with many of the things that charm me, and here are a few. Yes, it is also true that I'm easily entertained, picking up animal bones on walks, decorating with little bits of ephemera . . . . .

I am a sucker for a horned lizard (horned toad). In all of my life, I'd never touched a reptile until I was in my 50s and hiking with the Badger. He spotted a little specimen, who immediately shot into the shrubbery. Badgers are not known to tolerate nonsense, and we meant the little animal no harm, so the Badger plunged into the thick brush after him. Pulling his hand and arm out of the undergrowth, the Badger proffered the little guy to me. I was new to this camping and hiking stuff and I wasn't about to come across looking like a girl, so I put my hand out . . . and fell in love. It soon came to pass that no camping trip was considered a success by me unless there were numerous horned lizard sightings and fondling. I love to stroke the little spikes on the back of their heads, and - folks, I swear it's true - they like it, too! The Badger dubbed me the Queen of the Reptiles one spring day when I was 52 and handled 52 of them! For those conservationists who might read this, we are conservationists, too. We do not terrorize any animal and we do not take shoe boxes full of horned toads out of the desert. Instead we go to their back yard and enjoy playing with them like the elementary school kids we are. I am the happy owner of a horned lizard hand puppet, a pewter model that lives on my desk, and Sunday I received as a gift (from the Harvest Festival) a really lifelike one who now resides on my refrigerator. Love me some horned toad!

On the weekend we visited Prescott, we enjoyed a really fun artists' co-op where we perused paintings, photographs, jewelry, weaving, handmade clothing, decorative grouds, tin art, and just about every kind of creative item one could dream up. One particular artist had some pieces on display that played a couple of tunes in my hit parade. She painted a variety of scenes featuring primitive calavera (skull) art, often recognized as celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead - the Badger and I both love this art and have collected many examples of it. But she also had some of the dead flowers thing going on that the Badger has photographed all summer. I stood in front of her display and dropped my jaw. "Badger, get over here! What do you think?" "Ha! Hey, do you think she follows my blog?" "That could be the case, Badger."

There is an abandoned mine in the Mojave near a place we have camped often. We love to poke around this deserted excavation because across acres are abandoned vehicles and machinery, water tanks, furniture, semi-trucks and every manner of tool, equipment and appliance imaginable. It appears that the whistle blew in the mine one day and everyone dropped what was in his hand and they all floated off to another planet, leaving everything where it lay, never to return. Some of the piles of debris look as if a giant scooped up his industrial strength toys and then flung them petulantly to the ground. The metal items are covered with varying states of rust and decay and one must move around carefully as there are sharp objects, exposed metal cable, and other hazards. The material being mined was volcanic lava, so the ground and the hills are sharp, black or reddish and porous. It is a stark, silent, jumbled environment. "After the holocaust", one might think. However, in the spring, one can bend over and see an amazing array of tiny Mary Engelbreit flowers poking up through the lava. In the fall one is treated to the sight of coyote gourds spread across wide vistas in all stages of development: fresh, green and striped; mid-phase golden; dry and brittle. These gourds charm me. I can't not pick them. Many of them have been eaten almost completely by small rodents in the desert. The seeds spread, guaranteeing another crop in another year. Mother Badger creates decorative crafts from gourds, but found the coyote gourds too thin and brittle to use. But Limes didn't stop picking. I have been seen hiking in the desert with so many gourds stuffed into my clothes I appear to have ponderous tumors all over my body. Upon returning home from one outing, the Badger was filling the car with gas and I opened a side door . A gourd avalanche began. Badgers are not known to tolerate nonsense and he wasn't thrilled to see 20 or more of them rolling around with Limes in hot pursuit. A really nice woman helped me gather them up. "What are these things?" "Coyote gourds." "What do you do with them?" "Not much." However, as mentioned at the start of this post, I like to decorate with little bits of this and that. So in both my home and my office, I have made natural still life arrangements from the gourds, taking care not to puncture them, letting the seeds dry. And something that really, really charms me is my 50 or so coyote gourd "maracas". Sometimes I shake them at home dudes and they grin from ear to ear.

Some photo credits: J. D. Morehouse

In my ears right now: Something Carmen Miranda-like, with lots of maracas.

Something that charmed me: I already gave three examples in this post. I'm all charmed out for the moment.


  1. Thank you, sir. I wear the crown with great pride and pleasure.

  2. I feel the same way about toadlets that I catch out at the lake....

  3. A secret, OB: sweaty, slightly smelly (or at least smelling salty), hat hair, sunburn, bad clothes and a horned toad in hand . . . I feel beautiful and special. Honored.