Ironclad Alibis

photoYou may think I am obsessed with rusty stuff, and you may well be right about that. I like all sorts of things that look like they have stories behind them, and it doesn’t matter entirely whether they are animate or inanimate. Odd creatures are surely just as likely to have their tales (or tails) worthy of the attention, but all the more probably going to get my imagination geared up if they are in the context of marvelously creaky and rustic and grubby, grimy, weather-beaten, broken-down, scabrous places and things that in themselves invite all manner of assumptions and guesses and fancies.

photoIf I haven’t mentioned or shown you pictures of such wonderfully decrepit and strange objects and oddments in a while, you can be assured that it’s not for lack of interest or for my not having a multitude of such images, visual and verbal, on file and in process. I do try to vary my posts at least a smidgen [Hi, Smidge!] so as to not put myself into a blog-induced coma, let alone every one of you out there who stumbles into my cave of wonders. Then again, the urge rises and I must let some of my pet images out to play.

photo montageDo I get repetitive and predictable anyway? Why yes, of course I do. I can’t help but ramble down favorite paths just as much as anyone, and even when I do have a modicum of willpower in that regard, you can be certain that I’ll give in to my sensationally short attention span and return my focus to its standard grooves soon enough. Most of us do operate that way. I’m not even particularly apologetic about such crass and lazy behavior, as long as no one’s paying me to share what I put up in my little window here in the ether.

photo montageSo if you think it borders on the criminal, the way I manipulate you into thinking I’m veering off into sincerely new and exotic territory at times or the fact that I have such small and narrow interests and opinions and loves, I wonder at your fortitude (or stupidity) for not just trotting off toward greener pastures, at least less rusted ones. And I’ve admitted to this and many other of my faults, so I don’t really think I owe you any further apology or explanation. What you see here is unshakably the real me. Except when it’s straight-up fiction, because I do have a propensity to lie,

What We Can Learn from Dogs

So it’s Monday. All. Day. Long. One of those times when you can easily believe in the purported accursedness of the day; one unlucky, frustrating, impossible thing after another and not a coffee break in sight. We’ve all had ’em. Rotten, rotten Mondays, no matter what day of the week in reality, are the bane of humankind.

Dogs, however, rarely let a Monday take their essential doggy happiness away. It takes, in fact, quite a lot of horribleness to take the equanimity and enthusiastic canine capering down to a level recognizable as sad, and once cheered up again, dogs are remarkably good at forgiving and forgetting. Barring ill-treatment or illness, every day is the greatest day ever to your average dog.


Why lie around counting the time until your human will take you walking farther, when you can back-scratch your way headfirst right down the hill?

It’s not that dogs are stupid. Far from it; some dogs I’ve known would beat some people I’ve known at any IQ test, and the average dog is a pretty clever problem solver and able to perform all sorts of magnificent deeds, accomplish numerous astounding feats. It’s more that dogs, simply, seem to have a highly developed power for living in the moment, finding the good in the small and ordinary and letting unpleasantness drift past them as quickly as the turning of the world will allow. They’re not much on sulking, self-pity, or wallowing and very rarely hold grudges–and these, as far as I’ve seen, only when pressed to it by persons or events truly deserving of their scorn.

What dogs seem to hold among their many fine and useful instincts is the one that tells one to be thrilled when a maple seed helicopters out of a tree in his path, to slurp lustily at a handy puddle of water when thirsty, and to leap into the air rather than toddling through the weeds when crossing the parking strip to get to the park for a romp. The wisdom to nuzzle the hand that pets him, to lie like a shaggy, comforting blanket on the cold feet of a human companion when he’s sad and to shoot across the house like water from a fire hose when the other human gets home from her long day at the office. All of this is noble work, and keeping as busy at it as any good dog does makes him far too busy to mope and snarl and bemoan his bad fortune. Even on a typical Monday.


It’s a good day to be a dog!

Clouding My Thoughts

As a cloud-gazing aficionado, I know I’m in good company. It’s hard not to be intrigued by the astounding amount of information, meteorological and otherwise, that one can read and guess and even predict from close observation of clouds; it’s easy to become rather obsessed with watching them and seeing what’s found in them beyond the mere factual.

And you know I am drawn to all things that invite invention.photoOur summer peregrinations offered vast quantities of opportunity in this lovely form. As passenger on 99% of our 6000 mile road trip (just as I am in our everyday life) I was free to stare into the sky whenever I wasn’t on intensive watch duty for a specific exit or landmark, and the sky when seen from the vast American plains is a grand theatre indeed. While ‘Big Sky Country‘ is one state’s nickname, and Montana is indeed a region of wide open views of the sky, even from the rugged-not-flat high plains, the US has millions of acres of land that lies relatively flat under the heavens and allows views across the miles that rival the telescopic.

I would be hard pressed to agree with those who find extensive mid-country travels boring from a viewing standpoint. The landscape may, in places, be no more varied than one kind of wild grass giving way gradually to another over wide sweeps of seldom changing topography, one tumble-down farm very much like the next, but besides that even these have their subtle differences, they are all capped by this apparently limitless height of sky. Mostly, I find this mesmerizing, even meditative. When the weather is cloudless, the intensity of the hot blue depths above, looking as though they never did and never could have anything in them change, have a kind of cobalt stolidity to them that can be oppressive but, when broken by the least irruption–a crop dusting plane coughing out its own skinny clouds, a crow chasing a hawk straight up out of a stand of mowed weeds–suddenly becomes backdrop for high drama. Indeed, as one who grew up before the special effects masters of film took to using the more popularly familiar green screen to allow the insertion of infinite inventions in CGI, I was accustomed to chroma key blue screens, so now the sky has become mine.

Still, as much as I love the clear beauty of a bold blue sky and the endless space for spectacle that it represents, when clouds come into the picture the possibilities are multiplied exponentially.

Not only do they serve as messengers of what sort of travel conditions lie ahead when I’m on the road–especially when observed from so many miles away as is possible in an open landscape–they tell stories and evoke romances tirelessly, keeping my mind a-spin with the permutations and portents I read therein. Much as I find driving in the most intense storms, day or night, a stressful challenge to my technique, never mention my eyes, the colors and textures and patterns in the clouds rarely cease to amaze and delight me, even in the center of the maelstrom. And when things settle down and the clouds begin to part and thin and allow through them those fugitive rays that remind me more truly of both the size of the clouds that it takes to fill such a hyperbolic height of sky and of the power that mere collations of mist can have when they converge for battle? Then I see again the beauty of clouds altogether, and I am on cloud

The Hooey Decimal System

photoWhen I sort and edit photos, it helps if I can create categories and subcategories that will help me to find and use them after the fact. If an event or occasion is short and simple in the relative sense of such things, the name of the event or occasion itself may suffice as filing ID, but what of things like our summer road trip that encompass 5 weeks, 6000 miles, a dozen states, 2 countries, 3 music conferences, a dozen members of the immediate family, a half-dozen motels and hotels, and ever so much more?

What I tend to do is create an all-encompassing title that all photos will bear, identifying them as part of the larger expedition, and then putting them into files and sub-files that clarify the who-what-when-where-why-&-how of them. This helps me have at least a slight hope of locating any single shot or group of shots from among the multitude that remains even after I’ve culled a multitude more. It also reminds me of what things became, either because of my continuing interest in them or by natural default of recurrence on the way, thematic in the event.

Not surprising, then, that this extended road trip would have obvious and substantial files of many very familiar subjects. To be sure, there are a quantity of such old favorites of mine that any moderately frequent or attentive visitor to this blog could easily guess. Given my blog header, I can start with my fondness for rusty, rustic old things (like me, naturally), mechanical bits and industrial loveliness. There are hints in that image, as well, of my magpie adoration of all things shiny-metal, glass, water, jewels, plastic and any other thing that glints to catch my avid eye.photoMy many obsessions also appear in nature: flora, fauna, sea, sky and stone. If there’s a noticeable cloud formation or special kind of light I am lured to admiration of it. Insects draw me like, well, the proverbial flame-drawn moth. I’m an ignorant admirer of all sorts of vehicles that strike me as different or novel when it comes to my everyday experience, so there are always photos in my stash of cars and trucks, boats and trains, heavy equipment and the slightest, lightest personal transport other than feet. Feet, for that matter, can make perfectly entertaining objects of my camera’s affections, since people in general are also on my list, and character-full feet or quirkily clad ones or ones that by position tell a story ought to make marvelous image sources any time.photoIn the case of human subjects, I do have something of a restrictive love, however. When I know the subjects of my documentation, I’d usually rather be interacting with them, so often, the camera sits idle and forgotten unless I have some sort of mandate to shoot. If I don’t know the people, I am bound by respect for their privacy almost as much as by my shyness not to photograph them at all. So aside from crowd shots and unidentifiably altered distant views, I’m not likely to include too many people in my panoply of for-art photographs.photoWhere people congregate or what people have left behind, that’s all fodder for my imagination, though. I love buildings–the older or odder, the better–and their endless details, and whether they are homes or hospitals, offices or auditoriums, farm sheds or factories, they all have stories to tell. Ultimately, I suppose, that’s the overarching guide to my photographic peregrinations just as much as to my poetry and essays and drawing and every other expressive form of art I attempt: I am trying to discern, guess, or invent the stories behind those things I’ve seen.

There are, you know, endless stories just waiting to be

From Heavy as Lead to Light as a Feather

graphite drawingThere are places I go, whether on foot or by car–whether passing through or staying a while–that are like instant decompression chambers for me. Whatever has been weighing on my heart and mind seems to fade away into the distance with every step taken, every thousand feet traveled by car, bus, ferry or train. Flying used to be in that category too, but post-9-11 security hassles and the resultant grumpiness of the industry and travelers alike has meant that I need some of that other kind of travel just to recover from the flying days anymore. But that other kind, oh, it’s amazing how much it can do to change me.

I’ve had the sort of trip that was more like a descent into the maelstrom as well. The true recognition of my need for therapy and medication for my clinical depression didn’t happen for a long time over the years of sliding downward but rather in the few hours of being driven home from a long weekend getaway in a favorite decompression place to the place where my depression was gathering up a thunderhead over me at work, when I simply started crying and couldn’t stop. It was a dark, grim day for me (not to mention for my poor husband the driver), but it was at least purposeful in bringing out into the open what had been lying hidden in me for ages, and in leading directly to my finally seeking and getting the help I needed. What’s more, thereafter when I or we took off on any of those favorite walks or rides of renewal and anticipation and refreshment, it actually worked again, and the good wasn’t undone by the return lap of the journey.

It’s been a good long time since that ugly, interminable day of rain and tears. My life is inexpressibly happier; even though I had been able to find much happiness to paint over that swinish inner angst and agony, it was still only a pig in lipstick until I could remake myself rather than trying to remake the rest of the world to distract me from my own brokenness. That, in itself, was a journey of letting go of unwanted burdens and lightening my attitude and perspective. And it made me so much the better able to appreciate and regain that wonderful sense of freedom, the shedding of cares and escape from ordinary and tiresome things that comes when I take off on one of these expeditions. Short or long, real or imagined, they let me let go of what small troubles I might have, take a deep, strong breath or ten, hold still in awe and enjoy what is right around me, and then come back to the rest of life with a renewed ability to find beauty in them, too.

Don’t Waste Too Much Time on Reality

digital illustrationRestorative Dreaming

A pensive morning in quiet shade

Of this is inner contentment made

A sip of silence, a moment’s rest

In the garden corner I love the best

With butterflies skimming the border’s blooms

Voile curtains billowing out of rooms

A book of poems upon my lap

Read in short bursts between nap and nap

And the sound of a bicycle coming near

To bring the post of love-letters here

I’d rather recline in this reverent haze

Than waste on reality any daysdigital illustration

Be a Good Sport

digital artworkIt only just occurred to me that the admonishment to ‘be a good sport’ has little to do with showing athletic prowess and a whole lot to do with someone cajoling someone else to do a thing that the other person has no desire to do. What a to-do!

Perhaps this little guilt trip was meant, if the person saying it to me had any thought about it at all, to encourage me to discover that I actually enjoyed those activities (sports or other) under consideration once I willingly participated. Maybe those who said it even thought I had a hope of becoming skillful, adept, if I just faked a bit of enthusiasm until I got more properly involved. Cynic that I am, I harbor some doubt as to the former and, let’s face it, find the latter somewhat laughable. I can’t think of anything anyone would trouble me to do by telling me to Be a Good Sport that would be necessary to my survival or the rest of the world’s well-being, so it seems pretty plain that I was being chided to do that thing in order to please the person who was scolding me.

If, by not wishing to participate in the present extravaganza (whatever it may be), I am not a Good Sport, then it seems to me a bit like when those demonstrators and activists and yes, politicians, who cheer on their personal causes by insulting and tearing down and attacking their opponents rather than by simply extolling the virtues of the cause and letting it win converts and participants by its own evident excellence, and said promoters are then utterly mystified and stunned that others don’t flock to the cause willingly. You may well surmise from this that I never did buy into the value of group-think much, and in turn, haven’t ever warmly embraced the ‘popular’ activities. You can call me a meanie, a wimp, a curmudgeon, whatever you like, but please don’t label me a Poor Sport for having different wishes and tastes than yours. It’s just not sporting!

Signs of a Good Trip Ahead

That wonderful invention the GPS is generally a generous gift to a diva of disorientation like me. With my myriad forms of dyslexia all interlocking magically to make it virtually impossible for me to find my way practically anywhere past my own mailbox, it’s nice to have a personal assistant, albeit a computerized one, telling me how to get from Point A to Point B and beyond. And I do love a good road trip, when the opportunity arises.


You are Here, but There’s No Here Here

But even our GPS (sometimes fondly called Peggy Sue after the lady who first helped us find our way around our new home, town and state) in all her digital wisdom can’t find everything. Sometimes, as on the above-pictured occasion, she has no more clue where her driver and passengers are than they do. And you know, it’s kind of amusing to me. Not only does it amuse me to look at the GPS screen and see it telling me that I am a little red arrow flying through the air in the vastness of uncharted space, but it’s weirdly reassuring to me that my lack of omniscience is far from unique in this world. All the same, I do appreciate Peggy Sue’s selfless assistance when it’s needed and available.photoOn the other hand, there’s plenty to be said for going forward without knowing what comes next. In life, it’s just plain inevitable–prescience of any sort is in mighty short supply. On holiday, going with the flow is often the perfect way to have a rich and full adventure, and even the occasional mishaps stand a chance of being fodder for both present delight and reminiscent hilarity. On the pictured ‘flight’ across uncharted Texas territory, my spouse and I were so happily absorbed in relishing the sights along the unknown way that we both failed to notice one of our other digital auto-assistants signaling us that the supply of petrol was diminishing, until it was seriously questionable whether we’d make it to a gas station before the tank ran dry. We knew we were in the vicinity of Seguin (a place we’d been through a few weeks ago) and crossed our fingers that following the intermittent signs to town would get us to a refilled tank in time. Not only did we make it in time, we had a trip in a time machine on the strength of that refueling. The little bit we’ve seen of Seguin has a remarkably somnolent sense of being stuck in time, and not even strictly one single point in time but rather as though everyone in the whole town has dragged his or her weathered boots every step of the way through its history, and everyone in turn has stopped off at a different spot in the past before picking up speed and rejoining the flow of time. Past and present meander in and out of each other and the buildings and land around Seguin and beckon us, in our turn, to slow down and enjoy the oddity of being off the map and off the tow rope of time simultaneously.

photoWe didn’t stop quite long enough to buy wrestling tickets, mind you, but the lure of the unique and the mystery of moving ahead without any inkling of what might lie ahead kept us rolling along all the happier when we were securely back on a full tank (once we found one of those vintage petrol pumps that was fully functional and deciphered the toothless ramblings of the guy sitting in his lawn chair ‘instructing’ us through our transaction from across the lot). If we hadn’t been to Seguin, we’d never have experienced its time-capsule marvels, potted around wondering how on earth a town that size could survive with so few gas stations, or gotten to see the World’s Largest Pecan, a sculpture on the lawn of City Hall that is probably really about the second or third largest representation of said nut in the US and possibly about the second or third least decorative sculpture (sorry, Seguin!) upon which any town proudly bases a promotional motto. Strange? A tad. Stuff I could easily have lived a long and healthy life without seeing or experiencing? Perhaps. But I’ve no regrets that our particular turns in the road took us there and led us to all of that fun, plenty entertaining even without wrestling tickets.

A Park, a Pond, at Peace

photoNow that the temperatures are gradually sliding into what I consider survivable territory, it’s a lovely opportunity to go outdoors and simply take a leisurely stroll again. I was reminded of this on our little jaunt out to the west coast over Thanksgiving, when even though it was clammy and overcast and somewhat rainy it was a welcome thing to be able to step out the door and not be pushed back in by the blast furnace of the perpetual sun. I love sunshine, really I do, and I’m not sorry to live where I do just now, but it’s a delight to be able to get out and stretch my legs in the neighborhood without any necessity to dash for cover lest I turn instantly into cracklins.

This week, a walk through the surrounding neighborhood, exploring a few streets and walkways and pockets of this town that we’ve not seen before, was the perfect soother on a Saturday afternoon, and a rare treat at that. And it makes me plot further to spend some quality time over the brief winter cooling period just getting out to soak up the happy and calming atmosphere of our more tree-dense areas, our parks and lakes and ponds and the wonderful wild grasses and prairie native plants that make this such a good place to be. To simply step out on the patio from time to time and absorb the rustling leaf sounds of the backyard greenbelt and the obbligato of the birds whistling therein. To hike over to the university campus instead of having to take the shuttle just to survive the three and a half or so miles, and then once there not to need to tear indoors instantly.

I’m only too glad to have the opportunity to recall what is actually so great about the great outdoors and to relish the enchantments of a lightly ruffled pond or the distant competitive singing of a yard full of hounds or even, should I be outdoors and doing the right thing in the right spot at the perfectly right moment, to feel that exceedingly sharp joy found only when one is not enclosed by walls and roof. What a fine joy that can be

Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments, I Mean Ten Questions. And More.

photoI am “It”. No, really, that’s not just my Godzilla-sized ego talking: I’ve been tagged, and I didn’t even know there was a game going on. So very like me to be caught unawares. Least I was wearing more than just my “underwears”!

Among the activities in which the denizens of Bloggervania indulge are those through which we unmask various bits and bobs of our selves for mutual edification or at least amusement. This can be dangerous or great fun, depending upon whom you ask what, but then that’s the way it always goes, isn’t it. The promise of a nice sunny afternoon swapping gossip over a cuppa suddenly turns into a sword-fighting bloodbath. Oh, no, that was the murder mystery I was reading last night. Never mind!photo

Here’s what I got asked, followed by my to-the-best-of-my-knowledge-true answers.

1.  Describe yourself in seven words.

I can do it in 1: Rich. Okay, here are six others, but they’re all extrapolations of the first: loved, happy, curious, privileged, encouraged, playful.

2.  What keeps you up at night?

Brain-spin. I’m a very good sleeper generally speaking, but if I don’t quiet my mind by bedtime and shut down the wacky-factory, there’s no telling how long it’ll keep me too busy to sleep.

3.  Whom would you like to be?

The best version of me I can manage. Too much work to figure out how to be anyone else!

4.  What are you wearing now?

Jeans and a comfy shirt suitable for doing chores between bouts of typing.

5.  What scares you?

Other people’s drama.

6.  What are the best and worst things about blogging?

In my circle, we all seem to experience the same basic risks and rewards: the risk of losing ourselves completely in the effort and time of dedicated blogging, and the reward of working amid and coming to respect and love such stellar folk as populate the blogging community. Come to think of it, that pretty much encapsulates what I think is good or bad about any activity for which one has a passion.

7.  What was the last website you looked at?

Retire Early Lifestyle, a travel, food, culture and off-the-beaten-path-living journal produced by the only friends I’ve acquired through online conversation before I began blogging, and a site that is simply a joy to visit.

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Let go of fear.

9.  Slankets, yes or no?

I have three perfectly excellent reasons to Just Say No to Slankets: 1-The skill a perpetually freezing person develops for dressing in layers more numerous and impressive than those boasted by the best millefoglie, 2-A really cuddly husband, and 3-What, I need to make a bonfire out of my money because I don’t know how to wrap up in a plain blanket to get warm?

10. Tell us something about the person who tagged you.

John comes from good stock. By that I mean that he has great familial roots, and that they are such natural foodies that he learned early to appreciate and make excellent soups, among many other classic Italian dream-foods. He documents all of this, and much more, on the wonderfully warm, witty, artful and delicious pages of From the Bartolini Kitchens, all while being himself ever the debonair gentleman-about-town and as sweet as fragole.

Whom are you going to tag to join the quiz?

I hope I’ve not “double-tagged” anyone. I’ll just go alphabetically here, for fun:

  1. Antoinette at cooking-spree
  2. Bella at winsomebella
  3. Cyndi at cfbookchick
  4. Dennis at thebardonthehill
  5. Eden at litrato-ngayon

photoMy blogging friend Antoinette, she of the wonderful aforementioned site where you can learn from her expertise how to put “Love on the Table” but more importantly, the myriad ways she expands that love into a multitude of life’s little nooks and crannies, all with a measure of mindfulness and gentle good humor–this lady asked me yesterday the perfectly innocent question “how . . . do you do this?” Since the bellissima Bella (also tagged above) soon thereafter made a comment that begged the same question, and I have fielded a few inquiries in a similar vein over the last six months of blogging, I am going to take the self-indulgent opportunity to spout off a bit on the topic today.

Many folk simply wonder how it’s possible for me to post a new and (mostly) different essay, poem, story or combination of them, illustrated with my own art and photography, every single day. They politely edge up to the corollary question of whether I don’t have a big closet full of old stuff that I’m just pinning up in public as I go. If it’s any consolation, yes, I have been producing things like this for a rather long time. Yesterday’s post ( is a perfect example: the cow sketch is from some doodling in a notebook nearly 30 years ago (and digitally doctored yesterday); the rooster and hens scratched their way into my sketchbook last year; the birds were among many sketched multi-panel proposals for a set of organ pipeshade carvings around 7 or 8 years ago; and the pastel of the Cheviot ewe and the Highland cow is from about two years ago.

Some of the illustrations I use (photographic or drawn/painted) are completely, hot-off-the-pencil new, a few are practically archeological finds from my vast trove, and some are oldies that have been digitally “remastered” (dolled up or changed) to fit the occasion. Almost every visual image requires some tweaking or re-formatting for the blog medium or to better reflect and expand upon the text in some way. Regular readers will have noticed that I am not averse to using the images’ captions to try to intensify the relationship and relevance, ‘specially if the connection was a little tenuous or artificially-imposed at the start.

In addition, I do have a (digital) reserve of hundreds and hundreds of picture + text images like the ones I used on Tuesday (, set up like book pages, where I guess without knowing it I was practicing a variant of the sort of combined word and image that I’m now putting in this blog. I try not to dip into that storage much, if nothing else to prevent my getting lazy or stale or not producing anything strictly new. There is a remote possibility that they will someday in fact be used to produce actual books, but realistically, publishers are inundated with stuff they find much more relevant and exciting, and like most artist-types I hate the drudgery of trying to sort out the whole business end of book production. Hence my standing on this soapbox handing out free samples daily. And I thank you all for coming by Speakers’ Corner (though since I live in Texas I suppose I should pretend it’s in Rawhide Park) here for visits so I don’t die of neglect and boredom.

digital compositionThe prose of my posts is never older than a few days (and that, only if I happen to have gotten a day or two ahead in writing), but nearly always written on the same day the posts go online. The poems are a mix of old and new. I started wading in poetic and essayist waters as a mere stripling, and as long as twenty years ago spent a twelvemonth writing five poems a day for discipline. Yes, mostly short forms! A couple of years ago, I did a one-drawing-a-day year, and I’m gearing up to get back to somewhat more regular drawing and art-making, so hopefully I’ll be posting more ‘fresh produce’ soon, but having unused images in storage takes an nth of the pressure off of the blog production. As it is, the process takes me several hours of the day to get through both creating the post itself and the related correspondence.

graphite drawing + textAnd it does take time. I wouldn’t be able to do this other than extremely sporadically if I had a “real” job, that’s for sure. Working from home, I can keep up with laundry and cooking and housekeeping and that sort of thing without losing the flexible hours it takes to do this. That’s the big issue for me: I have a husband who values my art and writing enough to have supported my leaving my previous employment and kept us in financial safety with his own work, and that is a rare and fabulous gift indeed. Or a cruelty to you, if you happen to think I should have kept it to myself. But then, I like to think you’re all smart enough to not show up here if I weary you with my nattering.

Having noted that, I suppose it’s time to address the Why of it all. But that’s embedded in the whole Who-What-When-Where-How of it all, isn’t it. I do this because it gives me joy to play with words and pictures, and because I’m not necessarily cut out to do something else, and most especially because by sharing stories I find new marvelous and inspiring friendships and loves, and renew the best of those I already have, all of which serve to infinitely reinforce my knowledge that I am Rich.

mixed media collage

Gold, Mine (detail from a mixed media collage)