Sunday, September 30, 2007


Holly and I are in Minnesota, and are about to go to the Mall of America with Kelli Traaseth and her daughters and another mom, Chrissy, and her daughters.

We forgot the computer we had packed up to bring with us and so having photos here will be less doable, but maybe when we get to Bemidji to the Traaseths' house we can transfer some photos over. We'll take photos in Duluth too and I'll either put some here or a link to where they are, in a few days.

It's raining and that's fine because the Mall of America is like a completely enclosed city.

The conference went well, and I had a good time! Minnesota is an exotic part of the planet for New Mexicans. More later.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Finding Beauty

"Easily amused," Holly has said of me. I told that, in a talk, at the HSC conference in Sacramento last month. Someone later said "You are easily amused."

In our culture, "easily amused" is an insult. We should be cynical, sophisticated, and demand only the finest amusement. But what happens when one consciously looks for the good in things? Finding patterns, colors, sounds, interesting textures, wordplay, the feel on your skin of a change in the weather, a new combination of clothes you've had for years...

The photo above was taken because I found something unexpected and wanted to share it. Look here if you want to consider the mystery of what it is: (Yeah, well you knew it was a tree, right? But there's more.) There's another mystery photo linked at the bottom there that will be new to some of you.

Here are some photos I took at the zoo the other night. The two in the blog post below, of the moon and the horizon, were also taken at the Rio Grande Zoo. It was the night of the Honeywell company picnic.

They'll probably end up as border backgrounds on webpages. Feel free to lift and use them too, or to link from my photobucket. You can click to get them full sized, or lift the thumbnails from here.

These patterns and textures not only "easily amused me," I was struck by the many beautiful things that go unnoticed when they are so near to more wondrous things—exotic birds, bronze sculptures, architecture, interesting people with babies and toddlers... but there in the most mundane of places were other bits of beauty.

The first time I went to England, in the late 1970's, I had similar thoughts, and I photographed the hardware on little doors that led to maintenance corridors or storage rooms in the backs of larger, beautiful buildings. Those things were just as old, or older, than the details of the famous fronts. Photos of the famous places could be bought, or seen in books. I photographed things that were never going to be in those books.

As this kind of seeing became a stronger habit with me, I saw little things my husband did, and later that my children did, that could be lost in the flow of such a big busy life, but I had learned to appreciate odd little things that might have gone undiscovered.

I learned to be easily amused.

On my second trip to England, Holly and I took the train and got off in a small, inland East Yorkshire village whose name I don't remember. We went to the pub for lunch, but they weren't open yet. In the lane across from their side door, these flowers were growing on the outside wall of a little garage or storage shed. Holly touched them. What in all of England could have been more beautiful than that, at that moment?

Click to enlarge it, if you want to see the flowers better.
An article written at the time is here:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Robotic secretaries and Minnesota (unrelated topics)

'What are your hours?"
"Where are you located?"

I expect these are only the first of many calls which cause confusion between me and a stranger, but the confusion will be less now. "Zangara Dodge" sounds to voice recognition phone robots like "Sandra Dodd," I guess, and so I have printed out the phone number to put near some of our phones, so we can help these poor people and so I won't be as frustrating to them as they are to me.

We don't look as similar as we sound, except for the sky and mountains to the east in each photo, but I was in Santa Fe...

I'm getting ready to go to Minnesota. Holly and I leave Friday morning and will be gone for eight days. There's a conference Saturday. I'm the keynote speaker, and am doing a workshop later in the day, too. We're going to the Minnesota Renaisance Festival on Sunday with the Traaseths, and then up to Bemidji sometime in the week to Duluth to be happy tourists. Keith took me and the kids there some years ago when they were little, but I don't think Holly remembers. Duluth felt a little like Santa Fe to me, in some kind of visceral or mood way. Cleaner, though. Quieter. *WAY* more water. I haven't been to Bemidji before, and I'm looking forward to seeing an exotic place so different from New Mexico.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My day, my week

Weird, dramatic, almost-all-happy week...

The moon, tonight:

The sky the other direction:

Holly, a little while before and after that (click to enlarge):

Sometimes in the past few days I was worried and sad and forgot to breathe, and other times I remembered with gratitude the good times and advantages and joys of various relationships and I breathed and was better. If I had magic, I would spread it around and keep those who have ever trusted or depended on me *even a little bit* safe and calm and at peace.

The best I can do sometimes is to try to gather my wits and my stuff and my family and my emotions and be still and be grateful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

They're Ba..ack

The original flight was delayed so they went back to Gail's and spent another night. Poor, wonderful Gail got up to make sure they got to their flight—got up at 3:00 a.m. or so. Marty drove himself and Holly to the airport and left the van for Broc, who was out of town on business. They called me from Houston to let me know when to pick them up.

I've heard dozens of stories, mostly inspiring and uplifting and exciting, but they're tired and Holly has an ear infection and a bruised toe and an exhausted self. I've seen photos and a map of the site and a big group photo (very cool) and Holly's finally trying to go to sleep now 9:45 our time, Wednesday night. Marty's off to a dollar movie with friends who came over for dinner with us.

Top photos: Marty at St. Augustine, Holly in a blacklight closet at the Lovejoys'
Bottom photos: At the Live and Learn Conference, Marty reading the Bible, and Holly being Holly-like

Thursday, September 06, 2007

internet warning

Apologies to those who read these by e-mail! I launched this while formatting, and there were no words.

So I was thinking...

My kids are all in other states this week, and I went to their MySpace pages to gaze upon them (and to see if they'd left any news, which they had not), and thought I'd share what they have up as their main photos today. My camera is in North Carolina, so I can't take any up-to-the-moment blog photos anyway.

Kirby has a photo of him and Holly. Marty has a photo of him and my dad's gravestone, at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

The warning isn't about my kids at all. My thought about a warning was that people sometimes post damning things about themselves and their families, or they badmouth other people (sometimes me) on blogs or on MySpace, and then they seem to think they're invisible, or it was in magical "time out," or didn't count, or wasn't real or something.

Everything counts.

In just the past month there have been a few incidents involving someone telling me my family's not all that, and theirs is just as happy or peaceful or together. First off, the statements of others don't change my children's contentment. And more importantly, if someone has chosen to post in public that they're not getting along, things aren't going well, that they question their whole set-up, or if surveys are filled out (repeatedly) saying the last time a person cried was today, or yesterday (child or parent, either or both), then that's a public indication that there could be more peace at home.

What is posted in public is posted in public. I've never heard of anyone having been court ordered to post anything on the internet. I think it's still, at this point, all entirely voluntary. I'm fascinated by people's twistings and turnings, but I'm not entirely sympathetic, and I don't appreciate being anyone's bad guy or target. The arrows don't reach that far; they fall right at your feet, in your own house, or on your own page. You're publically shown to have aimed, and yet I'm not hit.

Meanwhile, my kids are having a good life, and I'm still answering questions about how we managed to help them do that. Keith and I have spent most recent evenings working jigsaw puzzles and sitting in the hot tub (not at the same time), while the kids are gone. TUESDAY! I'll see Marty and Holly again on Tuesday.