Seasons of Love

I’ve had this song stuck in my head since a friend mentioned it on Facebook the other day. She was marking the occasion of her son’s first birthday, but as I relax in one of the most peaceful places on Route 66, awaiting the start of another year, I find myself captivated by the metaphysical implications of the lyrics, which ask, in part:

How do you measure a year?
In daylights? In sunsets?
In midnights? In cups of coffee?
In inches? In miles?
In laughter and strife?
In five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes?
How do you measure a year in the life? …

In the truths that she learned
Or the times that he cried?
In the bridges he burned
Or the way that she died? …

How about love?
How about love?

Facebook is buzzing tonight with chatter about New Year’s resolutions, most of them involving things like eating less or exercising more or breaking this or that habit. Longtime readers of this blog know I’m not generally a fan of New Year’s resolutions, because they tend to be unrealistic and stressful at best and shallow and self-serving at worst.

That being said, as I stand on the cusp of a new year, it strikes me that the best way to spend the coming 525,600 527,040 minutes (Leap Year, remember?) is to measure my life — consciously and consistently — in expressions of Love.

In the end, time spent on any other purpose is time wasted.

How about Love?


Christmas morning

Here are a few images from the Land of Cute, a.k.a. my mom’s living room on Christmas morning:

Hazel unwraps her new feather boa.
Ashley takes a picture as Hazel opens her presents.
As usual, an empty box proves more interesting than expensive toys.
She wore those shades all day. Note the sweet bee plate. I bought a set of those for the kids the same day I bought my purse.
Thoroughly enjoying Aunt Grace's birthday cake.
Ollie also enjoyed the cake -- with an M&Ms chaser.
Ollie does his best impression of Macaulay Culkin in the "Home Alone" movies.
Ollie and Jamie check out their new presents: Dinosaur puzzles and Fraggles.
Jamie, the man of a thousand faces, has mastered a new one: the Shatner eyebrow.
The boys decorated the Dreamcar for me before we left town.
Ollie s-t-r-e-e-e-e-e-t-c-h-e-s to reach a spot.

Hope you had a good Christmas, wherever you are.

I spent this morning enjoying one of my presents: Mom and Dad gave me some cash for Christmas, which I used to buy a new pair of running shoes. A refitting at Fleet Feet revealed what I’d begun to suspect several weeks ago: After eight years in motion-control shoes, I’ve finally quit overpronating, so it was time to switch to something a little more neutral. If the new shoes — New Balance WS870s — are as comfortable after 26.2 miles as they were after a mile and a half, I won’t have much excuse to blow off OKC this spring.

Maybe I can find time to test-drive them in New Mexico this weekend….


Mural update

I didn’t get a chance to post this before we left town, but here’s my latest handiwork from Brews and Bytes:

The old Victorian Theater -- current site of Brews and Bytes. Please disregard the abysmal perspective. Multiple buildings adorned with various cantilevers + wall too narrow to set up vanishing points + distorted source photo = wonky angles. This is why I don't charge for my work....
The only non-Route-66 reference in the whole project.

The text on the postcard reads:

Dear Lawrence —

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desrious of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars….


English majors should recognize the names, address, and quote. The rest of you … Google it.

Lucille Hamons' old Provine station in Hydro.
Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park on Highway 28A in Foyil -- not technically on 66, but long associated with it and very popular with Mother Road travelers.
General view of the corner.
I can't remember whether I posted this one already, but this is the Rock Creek Bridge on the Ozark Trail alignment of 66 just west of Sapulpa.

These next few shots are reruns — I’ve posted pictures of these paintings before — but I think the previous images were fuzzy cell-phone pictures, and I wanted something a little clearer.

Oil-drum kachina outside the Route 66 museum in Elk City.
Milk bottle building in OKC.
Mickey Mantle statue in Commerce.
Glancy Motel in Clinton.
Flying roller skate on new 66 in Sapulpa.

I’m about 80 percent done with the project at this point. I still need to do a large vertical painting on the space directly behind the toilet, find a mirror of appropriate size to go above the sink, install the Roman shade I made the other day, make a valance to go with it, and touch up the spots where I spackled over nail holes and whatnot. I’ve got about 40 hours in it so far, and I’m thinking another six to eight should see me clear, depending on what kind of mirror I can find and how much work it needs.



This is the sixth anniversary of Red Fork State of Mind.

It’s 10:48 p.m. CST, and Red Fork is dark and quiet. It’s cold and clear — the current temperature is 35 degrees — the dogs are snoring quietly in the other room, and I’m thinking about the two dozen tasks I need to complete before tomorrow afternoon.

The garden is mostly dormant, but the jar of duckweed I rescued from the pond a few weeks ago definitely isn’t.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but if you look closely, you can see a couple of little black snails on the bottom of the jar.

Snails have varied methods of reproduction, but I’m assuming these little guys hatched from eggs, because they definitely weren’t in that jar when I brought in the duckweed. They’re hard to count because the glass and the water distort them, and they like to hide up under the plants, but I think we’ve got about a half-dozen of them in there. I probably ought to get a little aquarium to put them in so the duckweed can spread and provide more food and cover for them. They’re awfully cute. I’m not sure what species they are, but I should probably research them to find out whether there’s anything special I should do to keep them happy and healthy until spring.

If I can work a hand free tomorrow, I’ll post pictures of my latest handiwork over at Brews and Bytes.


Saying goodbye

“Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.”
— Richard Bach

A few hours ago, I got word that a former student had been killed in a car accident.

My heart is breaking — for myself, for his family, and for my students, who are much too young to be dealing with so much sadness. I wish I could spread my arms wide enough to pull all of my kids into a giant mama-bear hug, hold them tight, and keep them safe forever and ever. But I can’t. All I can do is love them, listen to them, and support them with all my heart.

When I lose someone I love, I draw comfort from thinking about the spiritual qualities I saw in that person, then searching for those qualities in others. Tonight, I am thinking of Mitchell’s quick wit, mischievous smile, and deep sense of justice, and I am working to know that the intelligence, humor, and integrity he expressed can neither die nor disappear. Those qualities are eternal, and wherever we find them, we will find him.

I am blessed to have known Mitchell.

I am blessed to know all of my kids. I love you guys, and I always will.

— Ms. P.

A nerdtastic proposal

Ron posted something on his blog the other day about a British celebrity couple traveling Route 66 and hoping to avoid the paparazzi. One of them, Catherine Tate, played Donna Noble on Dr. Who.

Given the time-travel quality of the Mother Road, the TARDIS really wouldn’t seem out of place on Route 66 — which brings me to the most nerdtastic idea I’ve ever had: Life-sized replicas of famous sci-fi time machines placed along the Mother Road in strategic locations. They’d need to be positioned very carefully so geeks traveling 66 could use them for clever photo ops, with the time machines in the foreground and various historic landmarks in the background, but far enough from the landmarks themselves to avoid disrupting more historically accurate images.

For example: Why not stick a TARDIS across 66 and just west of Seaba Station so you could photograph it with that awesome old outhouse?

How hilarious would it be to find this in the middle of rural Oklahoma?
Imagine this in the background behind the TARDIS. You know you'd shoot that. Don't even try to tell me you wouldn't.

Or how about parking the Delorean from Back to the Future on that abandoned stretch of I-44 near Newburg, Mo.?

This would be great ...
... in front of John's Modern Cabins.

You’d have to put Bill and Ted’s phone booth out there someplace, of course:

Inconspicuous yet entertaining.
Perhaps Bill and Ted would enjoy stopping for a photo op with the Gemini Giant.

That steampunk-looking time sled from The Time Machine would look spectacular parked at, say, Little Tin Barn:

The only question ...
... is whether anybody would even notice the Time Sled sitting there with all this craziness in the background.

Or how about a Stargate out between Glenrio and San Jon?

How awesome would it be to find this ...
... on this lonely stretch of road?

Of course, the Enterprise has been known to boldly go through time as well as space when the occasion warranted. A life-sized replica would look about right in the Texas Panhandle, which is already sprinkled liberally with roadside oddities, courtesy of Stanley Marsh 3.

To boldly go ...
... to Conway, maybe? Can't be any weirder than the giant cross to the east in Groom or the Cadillac Ranch at the western edge of Amarillo.

Once I got started talking about sci-fi on 66, Ron offered up what might be the simplest and most potentially unnerving of all possible geeky roadside attractions. It’s not a time machine, but how creepy would it be to run across this …

… in the middle of the Mojave Desert?

It would freak me right the hell on out if I saw the sun setting over the monolith as I approached Cadiz Summit.

I could also see the TARDIS or a Stargate showing up along 66 somewhere between Hackberry and Kingman, perhaps in the general vicinity of Giganticus Headicus.



Here’s my latest coffeehouse artwork. Apologies for the poor photo quality; I forgot my camera and had to use my cell phone instead.




The first three are from a couple of weeks ago; I just forgot to post them at the time.



I painted the last two this evening. I have two more to paint on that wall, and then I can start the ginormous ones on the next wall. I’m really pleased with the way the project is turning out. I still need to make the Roman shade for the window, rustle up a pretty mirror that goes well in there, and paint the bricks, but it’s coming together nicely.

In other news, our academic (a.k.a. scholar bowl) team took fourth place in the all-city tournament today, and two kids brought home individual awards. We have an awesome team. The kids swept the district seeding tournament a few weeks ago, then followed up by taking first at regionals. If we make the top four at the area tournament in Miami next month, we’re going to state. I think I’m even more excited about this than I was when my own team went to state 20 years ago.

I still owe you pictures from my trip to Tucumcari last week. Stay tuned; I’ll try to post those this weekend.