November 30, 2009

365 Project: Day 39

After a little over a month of working on this 365 project, I am realizing a little more every day how much it has already changed my life. I have to do a lot of reflecting on myself and the world around me to create these posts every day. I have to consciously live my life in the present and then take a step back and look at it all from a distance. I evaluate what is going on and how I feel about it and then I decide how I'm going to share that with a world full of people I don't know...and who don't know me.

The response I have gotten from people I've never met has been overwhelming. I receive comments and emails about this project almost every single day. I had no idea that I would be able to connect with so many people by just writing about my life and what is on my mind. If it has taught me anything, its that no one is ever truly alone.

I have been through a lot in the last 39 days. I have opened myself and my life up to the world. In one way that has been very therapeutic for me. In another way it has been scary and very invasive. I haven't decided how I feel about that yet. But, I'm not going to stop the project. I can't imagine where I will be 326 days from now. I hope you will all stick with me through this.

This is my aunt's pool. I spent many summer days swimming in here when I was a kid. I learned to swim in this pool. My dad threw me in and basically stood at the side and watched me struggle. He encouraged me to kick my legs and I was terrified. But I knew he wouldn't let me drown. Thats sort of how it is with my dad. He'll throw you in the deep end, then stand there and watch you try to keep above water until you find your own way. But he's always there to rescue you if you really need it. Because of him I learned to swim and I will always be able to keep myself afloat.

I also had reoccurring nightmares about drowning, but take from it what you will. Haha.

My Grandfather: Edwin Norris

My grandfather is the hero of our family. Its that simple. We are all so proud of him and so proud to be a part of his family. His passing on November 19th left a huge hole in our lives. We all looked up to him as the head of our family.

Grandaddy saluting at a Veteran's Day celebration.

Growing up, I always remember him being a quiet man. I wasn't aware of his military background or his role in the church, or that so many people looked up to him. He was just my Granddaddy. The perfect combination of warmth and sternness that made him someone I respected greatly. When Grandaddy spoke, we all stopped to listen. Every once in a while I would see how charming and witty he was. He would crack a joke with a sideways smile and a chuckle and we would all laugh. Grandaddy was sarcastic.

Grandaddy joined the army in March 1941. He was only 15 years old. Three of his brothers had joined the service and he didn't want to be left behind. He was big for his age and at 6'1" and 170 lbs, the recruiter never questioned that he was 18 and he was signed up.

We found most of this when going through his things after he passed.

(I want to make sure I get the facts straight so I'm going to quote his obituary:)
"He took basic training at Doddfield and joined K-Company, 9th Regiment (Manchu) 2nd Division, at Fort Sam Houston. His infantry and commando training was at Camp Bowie, Louisiana. Then on to winter training at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where T/SGT Norris served as recruit instructor under Colonel Jack K. Norris of the 38th Infantry.

Combat duty, for T/SGT Norris, began in Northern Ireland, Wales and England. He fought in the Normandy Invasion and was wounded by mortar shell in the Normandy breakout. He served in Normandy, Southern and Northern France and Ardennes-Alsace Campaigns.

T/SGT Norris was carried unconscious from the front lines sometime after the "Heartbreak Crossroads" battle, the north shoulder of the "Bulge", at Rocherath -Krinkkelt, to Wahlers- cheid. (Diagnosis-hypothermia) He was revived at a regimental-aid-station. Then he crossed country without boots to a division evacuation point.

From there, he was transported to Paris, France, then England, from which he was then shipped back to the states. T/SGT Norris received a medical discharge at Dewitt General Hospital, Auburn, California, August, 1945.

Technical Sergeant Norris was awarded the following medals: Combat Infantry Badge, 2 Bronze Stars w/First Oak Leaf Cluster, 2 Purple Hearts, E.A.M.E Campaign w/4 Bronze Stars w/arrowhead, Distinguished Presidential Unit Citation, Distinguished 1st Army Commander Citation Lausdell Crossroad, American Defense Medal and Good Conduct Medal."

I don't think I ever once talked to him about his experiences in WWII. But I know that he carried that with him for his entire life. I can't imagine what he went through at 15 years old. It makes his experiences even more amazing to me. Most men I know now, at 26 and older, aren't half the man he was at 15 years old.

Grandaddy met my grandmother on a blind date 2 days after leaving the service. Its so funny to hear her tell the story. She knew right away that he was the one for her. My great aunt knew of two soldiers who needed dates that night. She asked my grandmother and another girl if they would like to go out with them. My grandmother said sure and as soon as she saw him she turned to her friend and said "That one is mine."

I don't blame her. He was so handsome. This is my favorite picture of them together. They look so young and happy and in love. They were married for 63 years. She was a devoted wife and took care of him every second of their marriage, up until his very last breath.

This is my favorite picture of them.

When I think about his life, I know he lived it the way he thought was right. He was dedicated to God and was a strong Christian and a leader in the church. He worked hard and provided for his family. Grandaddy always tried his best to set an example for us. He was so incredibly hardworking, generous, thoughtful, strong, disciplined and humble. He was every good thing you could say about a person.

I was surprised at how many people said that he touched their lives through the years. So many came to pay their respects to him at the visitation and the funeral. After his funeral I heard someone say that he made her want to be a better person and live a better life. Hearing that was so powerful to me.

The preacher who officiated the funeral had only known my grandfather a year or so. In that time they had really hit it off and become very close. The preacher told a story at the grave site that really stuck with me. He said after church services one day he stopped my grandfather as he was leaving and asked if he could talk with him for a minute. My grandfather, always concerned and wanting to help, said "Of course, whatever you need." They stepped aside and the preacher told my grandfather how much he looked up to him as a person and said that he wished that he could be just like him.

My grandfather was a role model and someone to be admired. The way he lived inspired people. My whole life I don't think I understood the magnitude of him as a person and the affect he had on the world. I didn't realize any of this until I saw it in those people's faces. To me, he was always my just my Grandaddy. He was and is my hero.

365 Project: Day 38

Today was my grandfather's funeral. My family asked me to get the the funeral home early to photograph the whole setup of flowers and pictures that they had displayed around his coffin. I did. I paid careful attention not to photograph his body.

The plan was always to bury him in his military uniform. But he made a last minute change before he passed. He decided to be buried in a black suit, clean white shirt, and a tie with a pearl pin. The family didn't know this, but when the mortician received his suit, there was a note from my grandfather in the pocket. He wanted to wear a pair of white cloth gloves. He had made sure that he took care of everything, even after he passed.

My grandfather had a military funeral. He served in WWII when he was only 15 years old. His time in the military was a big part of his life and who he was. My grandfather's family has a family cemetery in Mt. Sylvan, TX where he grew up. The actual burial was a 3 hour drive from the funeral and the men from the VFW couldn't travel that far to perform the gun salute graveside. So we improvised.

When the preacher was finished speaking, three elderly men in military uniform stood up from the pews. They walked to the front and stood next to my grandfather's coffin. One man with snow white hair and a mustache that curled on the ends, spoke about my grandfather and his service to our country. That's when I lost it. I was sobbing and shaking and trying to stay composed. After he spoke, the three men put a folded American flag into a glass case. They turned to my family, saluted us, and each whispered a few words to my grandmother as they presented her with the flag.

I can't imagine how she must have felt. After 63 years of marriage, she was left with a flag.

That's when they opened the doors of the building to reveal men in uniform standing outside at attention. Each of the three men who presented the flag approached my grandfather's casket, faced him, and one by one, they each saluted him. Taps began to play and tears were streaming down my face. Its hard to explain what I was feeling because it wasn't all sadness. I was proud. I am so unbelievably proud of him and the life he lived. It is truly an honor to be his granddaughter.

Then the guns were fired in honor of him.

The building I am standing in front of in this picture is not the funeral home. This is the Mt. Sylvan Community Center. It is across the street from the cemetery and is a huge part of the Norris family history. Up until just recently, we have had our family reunion in this building on the 4th of July for I don't even know how many years. Long before my grandparents even met. The past few years they moved it to a larger location because we can't all fit in this little building anymore. I spent every 4th of July here as a child. But that is not the only reason it is significant to me. The Norris family reunion was something that my grandfather looked forward to every single year. He was so proud of our family and loved us all so much. And we all felt the same about him. He is our hero.

365 Project: Day 37

We set off on our 14 hour journey at 4am-ish. My dad packed the car, we stopped for donuts, and off we went...again. I was distracted all day and almost forgot to even take my picture.

I try not to sleep too much on these trips. I read, listen to my iPod, write notes to myself about all the stuff that is not getting done while I'm away so I make sure to get to it when I return, and I like to look out the window at the passing scenery. I don't want to miss anything. I have seen more goats grazing on the roadside in these past two trips to Texas than I have ever seen in my entire life. But this time I saw two Llamas playing and running through an open field. I've never seen that before. I didn't even really think that Llamas ran at all. They always look so calm and composed. These are the things that amuse me after 14 hours in a car with my family.

I didn't know what to expect when we got to my grandmother's house. Almost the entire family was there waiting. Its was sort of a whirlwind of greetings and hugging and talking and it almost made me forget what I most dreaded about walking into that house. My grandfather's chair was empty.

365 Project: Day 36

** I'm back in town and I'm updating the last week of my 365 project as quickly as I can. I have a lot of work to catch up on. **

I feel like I haven't been home for more than a few days all month. Which, if I were traveling somewhere far away, exotic and new, that wouldn't be a problem. But I'm not. I'm going to Texas...again. Don't get me wrong, I love it there. But this time I'm going to bury my grandfather.

He passed away at home with his family on November 19th. I went to see him a couple of weeks before then and was able to say goodbye. He wasn't well, and even though he was doing much better by the time we left, I knew it was the last time I would see him.

What do you say to someone when you know its your last chance to say anything? You say only what is most important. I leaned down and hugged him while he was laying in bed and I told him I was so glad that I got to see him and how much I love him. He held onto my hand tightly for a long time. He looked at me very closely and I think we both knew we weren't saying goodbye for just a little while. We both knew it was the last time we'd see each other and we were both saying goodbye forever.

Now I'm leaving for his funeral. I can't imagine walking into their house and him not being there to greet me. I miss him terribly already.

November 29, 2009

Cyber Monday Sale!

Sara Norris Photography is having a HUGE sale!
(November 30th - December 6th)

Since I was out of town last week, I missed out on having a Black Friday sale in my Etsy shop. So I'm making it up everyone by having my Cyber Monday Sale all week!

-- Buy any two 8x8 or 8x12 prints and get one free! That's a $25 savings! Just put the title of the third print in the "Notes to Seller" section during checkout. --

-- Get 30% off all print sets! Mini Sets are now $21 and Big Sets are $31.50! --
**prices have been adjusted to reflect the sale price.**

November 19, 2009

365 project: Day 35

*This will be my last 365 update for a little while. I'm still going to be taking a picture every day, but due to a family emergency I will be out of town for at least a week and will be unable to post them until I get back.*

Boundaries. I don't like them. I don't like to hear that I can't do something with my own life. At least not without a really good reason. My immediate thought is "Well, why not?" or "Says who?" I don't like being bound by someone else's limitations, opinions, ideas of right and wrong or what is or isn't "appropriate". I have this ornery side to my personality where I just can't help but question those boundaries. I think that's a big part of what makes me who I am. This is why it is so frustrating to me when there is something standing in my way. Money, time, life...things that I don't have much control over. But don't you worry, I will find a way.

However, I find the limitations that are the hardest to overcome are the ones I impose on myself. I don't know if it is insecurity or fear, but sometimes I hold myself back. What if I fail? What will I do then? Do I even have a Plan B? Not really. What am i supposed to do when I am the one holding me back?

I find myself living in a world of self-doubt. Its hard to be your own cheerleader when even YOU feel like you can't accomplish what you've set out to do. Those are the times when I feel like I am settling for a life that is less than what I dream of. But when I allow myself to overcome my doubts and fears, I have accomplished things that surprise even me.

I have decided that I can't live in fear of my own dreams and ambition. You only live once and there is no reason why I can't have everything I want out of my life.

November 17, 2009

New Print!

There is a new print in my Etsy shop. This was taken recently at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Seeing all the hot air balloons floating around was so amazing!

365 project: Day 34

I am not a morning person by any means. I generally roll out of bed about 9:30-ish. But this morning I sprang from my sheets at such a speed it surprised even me.

I was escaping a nightmare.

This is very unusual for me. I don't remember my dreams very often, but when I do they are almost always pleasant. Not this morning. My eyes popped open like I was forcing myself awake. I was afraid and confused. It took me a second to even figure out where I was. As soon as I oriented myself and calmed down a little I couldn't get myself out of bed fast enough.

Since I work from home, I'm careful to treat my daily routine like a "real" job. I make a point to get up and get dressed and not stay in my pjs all day. Even though I probably could and no one would care except me. But today, I can't seem to get out of my robe in a timely manner. I feel jarred and disturbed by this whole experience.

I know why I had this nightmare. I know exactly what it was about and that makes is all the more scary to me. It was too real. It was all too possible in reality. Dreams and nightmares are supposed to be symbolic and unrealistic. They are supposed to speak to you from your subconscious. This one was yelling in my face.

November 16, 2009

365 Project: Day 33

Walking outside into the newly crisp air today it all of a sudden hit me: its fall. Sometimes it seems like a person's whole world consists of the three foot radius surrounding their body. We keep our heads down as we go about our days and forget to glance up to see what is happening just beyond our bubble. I took a moment to step outside myself and open my field of vision. I noticed the trees near my house are almost bare. The fallen leaves were tumbling down the street on a breeze. When did this happen? Where have I been?

As I was driving I started to think what it must be like to live the life of a tree. During the process of your growth you have tethered yourself firmly to the ground. That is your place in the world. In your lifetime you'd witness an amazing amount of things from one spot.

Your life would be a constant a cycle. Once a year your leaves would change to the most brilliant shades of gold and burgundy. Then, the Winter would strip you bare and coat you in a cloak of white only to have the warmth of the sun awaken you in the Spring. You would be reborn. A fresh start every year.

There was a point to this thought process. I don't usually go around thinking of the lives of trees. I was thinking of this because of the band Dead Sea Choir. There is a link on their website to a Google search for "I want to start my life all over again". Its very interesting what you come across when you search for this. When I clicked on some of the search results, I found cries for help from sad, desperate people who felt trapped in their unhappy lives. For one personal reason or another, they've each come to a point where they feel the path they've followed in life isn't right anymore and they are ready for a do-over. It made me sad to think people live their lives feeling this way.

Someone once told me it is never too late to start over. She said no matter your age, or circumstance, or the choices you've made in life, you can always start again. It is never too late for a do-over. People never tell you this about life. I felt like she was letting me in on a secret. These words of wisdom have stuck with me for years. And I live by them.

Change, especially life change, is hard and its scary. This is why we resist it. This is why we think it is impossible and we cling to the predictable even though it can make us miserable. Throughout my life I have discovered that I am not this way. One day I can just decide that I'm done. I'm over it. I might resist the idea at first, but once I make up my mind that I am finished with a part of my life, I do a complete 180 and change everything. I have done this a couple of times in my short life already.

I think I am like a tree, and I find that empowering. Just when I feel like my branches are being pulled down by the weight of Winter, I eventually find the sun and start again. I wish that other people felt like they had the power to change their lives. I hope I have let them in on this secret like she did for me.

November 15, 2009

365 Project: Day 32

This is the back corner of my parents' house. Our family built this house when I was 15. I remember every step of the process: from buying the land, to designing the layout and moving into our home when it was finished. I love that this house was a collaborative project. My sister and I were consulted on many of the details even though we were only 15 and 13 at the time.

My favorite part about this house is that it is secluded. It is far outside of town, we only have a handful of neighbors and they are all separated by several acres of land. You can walk outside this house and hear nothing but birds singing and crickets chirping. Our land is full of quail, bunnies, foxes and the occasional coyote.

I don't know if you can see the cloud of dust behind me, but while I was taking this picture our neighbor came galloping by on a horse. As a teenager in this house I spent a lot of time sitting outside on the porches and taking walks down the dirt road. Its always a place where I can find solitude and clear my head in the silence that surrounds it.

365 Project: Day 31

My sister and I drove to my parents' house this weekend to surprise my dad on his 50th birthday. We spent most of Saturday driving around town running errands and hanging out with the family. We had just arrived back at our house when I realized I hadn't taken my 365 picture yet! Panic had begun to set in when I looked out the back door and saw this gorgeous sunset.

My parents live outside of town on several acres of land. This is always my favorite part of being at their house. I have lived all over this country and there is nothing more amazing than a New Mexico sunset. The unobstructed view of the sky from my parent's land is just amazing. Its never the same sky twice. Every single evening I am in awe of the beauty that is possible in this world if you just open your eyes and look.

November 13, 2009

365 Project: Day 30

My dad turns 50 today. Yes, that's right, the BIG five-o. According to him, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to him in his life. He said he is officially "old" now. I think differently. 50 is not old by any means. But there is no convincing him of this. My sister and I chipped in together to get him a gift that I we think he is really going to love.

There are no words to describe how much I adore and look up to my dad. So, instead of going into detail about how much he means to me, I'll just say this:

Dad, you're awesome. I love you. Happy Birthday "old" man.

November 12, 2009

365 Project: Day 29

I feel so scattered some days. Especially when I have a lot on my mind other than the tasks at hand. My thoughts wander away from me and I find myself staring into space or pacing around the house. Its hard to focus. I try my best, by making lists and taking things one step at a time. It seems to be the only way to cope with this confusion.

Today I'm even having trouble forming the sentences to write about this storm of chaos going on in my head. I'm going in so many directions at once that I feel like I can't devote my whole self to any one thing today. Even as I write this I'm thinking of all the things that I want to get accomplished today, its chilly in here, plans for the future, I have another headache, ideas for images, I have bills to pay and I'm hungry. I need to pull myself together.

November 11, 2009

365 Project: Day 28

The pest control company that my landlord hired came by this morning shortly after I got out of bed and sprayed outside our house. Within just a few minutes, the entire house was filled with the terrible smell of menthol. Like Vapor Rub. Before long my eyes were watering, my voice was hoarse, my nose all stuffed up and I had a terrible headache. I had to leave the house it was so strong. So I opened up the windows, turned on the swamp cooler and went to the park for a little while to read, people watch and listen to my iPod.

I love to read. I always have, even as a kid. When I get a hold of a book I am interested in, I devour every word of it. Biographies are my favorite. I love to read about how other people have lived their lives. There are so many different paths a person can take and I love hearing about the experiences people have once they choose their path.

Right now I'm reading a biography about Sylvia Plath and I can hardly put it down. She fascinates me. Plath was such a beautiful writer. She was very insightful and understood herself in a way that no one else could even though she was full of self-doubt. I find her observations about herself and the world around her to be really interesting.

In case you can't read the quote on the picture:

"I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited." --Sylvia Plath

November 10, 2009

365 Project: Day 27

I have a headache. Sometimes I need to take a break from staring at the computer and close my eyes for a little while. Otherwise I just get frustrated and everything starts to feel the way it looks in this picture.

365 Project: Day 26

Lamesa, TX. Home of the Tornados, and the biggest cheerleader I have ever seen!
We saw this standing in front of a tire store when we were on our way to Port Arthur and on the way back to New Mexico I had to stop and take a picture.

And, yes, I had to take a peek. By the way, she is wearing yellow bloomers. The person who created this monstrosity thought of everything!

365 Project: Day 25

This is the front porch of my grandparents' house. I told you their house was mostly pink.

I couldn't properly document my memories of this house without including the front porch. This bench has been there, and been pink, for as long as I can remember. We have taken countless family photos sitting on it.

There used to be Azalea bushes in the flower beds. I would pick the bright pink flowers and wear them in my hair. They pulled those bushes out several years ago though when they became too much trouble. Now there is only the Monkey Grass. Wind chimes have always been a part of the decor of this house. There are several in the apple tree in the back yard. My Granddaddy put them out to scare the birds away from eating the apples. To this day, and probably for the rest of my life, the sound of wind chimes on a breeze reminds me of standing in this yard.

365 Project: Day 24

This is my grandparents' house in Texas. Yes, it is pink, and so are most of the things inside of it, including the entire middle bathroom. My grandmother, Mee Maw, loves pink apparently. I have so many fond memories of visiting this house when I was a kid. It has changed over the years, but fundamentally it still feels and smells the same as it always has.

I spent a lot of time here visiting with my grandfather, Granddaddy, while on this trip to Texas. I thought I'd share a few of my childhood memories of this house with ya'll (I was just in Texas, I can say ya'll). I spent a lot of time out in this yard running around barefoot. Their yard was always full of nature. Plants, trees, flowers, little green lizards, thick grass, and a garden that my Granddaddy tended. I loved to sit on that wooden swing behind me in this picture.
There are pictures of me and my cousins in this tree when I was little. I tried so hard to climb its branches. Now that I'm a little taller, I can climb right up with hardly any trouble at all (and I did several times for this picture). My dad had a dog named Snoopy growing up who used to climb this tree. There was a similar tree in the front yard that was always full of snails. I tried equally as hard to climb that tree, but the trunk was much taller than this one. It was cut down not too long ago. It was old and they were afraid its huge branches would fall on the house during one of the recent hurricanes.

I was surprised to see this rose bush was still alive and blooming on the side of the house. My Mee Maw would cut these little pink roses for me. She would remove the thorns and wrap the stems in a wet paper towel for me to take home. Somewhere there is a picture of me on Easter Sunday, all dressed up in a little pink and white dress, sitting on a green velvet chair, posing with one of these roses.
These ferns are thick and abundant all over their yard. Those little green lizards hide in here and climb up the side of the house. The house behind me in this picture (across the street) belongs to Betty. The same woman who lived there when my dad was growing up in this house. She is the sweetest woman and I've known her my whole life. She still walks across the street to sit in lawn chairs on the driveway with my grandparents and discuss the neighborhood. We tease her and my Mee Maw that the two of them are the "Neighborhood Watch".

There is something so comforting to me about this house. Its full of memories. It still smells like coffee, the screen door still sounds the same when it closes, my Granddaddy's WWII metals still hang proudly in a display case on the living room wall, and there is always candy in the crystal dish on the kitchen counter (candy corns this time). My family grew up coming to this house for holidays and visits. I grew up here, my dad grew up here, and my grandparents insist on never moving even though the neighborhood has become dangerous and full of crime. I worry about them living in this house, but it is their home.

365 Project: Day 23

This trip to Texas just so happened to fall on the 2-year anniversary of my grandfather's death. My sister, aunt and I made a stop this morning to visit his grave and tell him how much we miss him. His death was a long, traumatic experience for all of us. But rather than write about that, I'm going to write about his life as I remember him.

This was taken when he worked at the Toddle House.

He was known to everyone, even those who weren't his grandchildren, as "Paw Paw Eddie". Its who he was, we even had it engraved on his headstone that way. Paw Paw was a dark complected, petite, thin, wiry man, full of life. He was a character for sure. I like to think of him as "spirited" and we all adored him. With jet black hair that he cut himself, he wore it parted on the side or slicked back for most of his life. He didn't really turn gray until he got sick. I don't remember him wearing anything but dark denim jeans with a belt. He always had a white cotton t-shirt under his button up shirt which was often plaid and had pearl snaps. Covered in faded sailor-themed tattoos, most of which were in honor of Lucy, his first love. Lucy is not my grandmother, by the way. He had two sparrows on his chest, a topless pin up style woman that was the length his calf and he always lectured me to NEVER get a tattoo. His shoes were often shiny and black with thin laces. Being a short man, I remember his jeans often being rolled up with a cuff at the bottom. This is the way I will always picture him. That was my Paw Paw.

This is how I remember him always looking. Slick hair, button up shirt, jeans, belt, black shoes.

My grandmother, Jennie, and Paw Paw.

Always the life of the party. Full of energy, he taught me to dance when I was little. He loved to dance and man, he had moves. He could spin you around the dance floor like no one else. I remember him walking on his hands in my living room when I was a kid. He had to have been in his 60s at this point. The BEST story teller I've ever met. He could make you laugh until you cried with his jokes and antidotes. He always had an answer for everything, and he would tell you what he thought. Always with a cigarette in one hand gesturing to make a point. He smoked like a chimney and with every exhale of smoke warned me to never start this bad habit. I couldn't tell you how many awesome cars he owned through the years. In the end, he drove a gold mini van. The irony of his life. Gambling and horse races where his other two loves. Who knows how much money he won and lost over the years. But enjoyed every second of it.

Left to right: My grandmother's twin brother, George, unknown woman, Jennie (my grandmother), and Paw Paw.

Paw Paw was one of a kind in every way. I still think of him daily. I miss him terribly every second and always will.

Who knows where he got this horse. But doesn't he look proud?

365 Project: Day 22

I drug myself out of bed at 4am to begin the drive across Texas with my dad and sister. Its a long drive, 13+ hours depending on the route we choose and traffic. I have made this journey with my family countless times since we moved away from Texas 15 years ago. I'm used to the long drive now and I've even learned to love it. I think this is where my fondness for road trips began. You get to see parts of the country though car windows that you would never experience on a plane. Although I love flying equally as much, but for completely different reasons.

While it was still dark out we packed up the car, made a stop for coffee and donuts and headed east into the blindingly beautiful sunrise. My favorite part of these trips are the gas stations and roadside stops along the way. Each one has its own personality. They each provide their own selection of sunglasses, snacks, and locally themed merchandise: thimbles, license plates, postcards, etc. The people you see here are all on their way to or from somewhere. Whether it be local or long distance, they are living their lives and making their way to a destination.

This time we decided to go a different way than usual. Mix it up a little. We ate at different restaurants, stopped in different towns, and navigated our way through two-lane back roads instead of sticking to the interstate. We single handedly murdered hundreds of beautiful butterflies with the grill of our truck as we drove through miles and miles of farmland and cotton fields.

We pulled into our destination at about 8:30pm and even though we took a different route to get there, our arrival was the same as always. Night air, thick with humidity and the smell of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico. Refinery lights glowing orange on the horizon. Familiar road signs marking the turn off for the beach and the bayous we were driving past. Until we came to a stop in the driveway of a little pink house.

I'm back! 365 Project: Day 21

After a several days away for a family emergency and driving back and forth across Texas, I still managed to keep up with my 365 Project. I can't believe it.

Day 21:
This is how I felt. Like I had been hit by a truck.

I was so stressed the day before with the news of a family emergency and trying to cram a week's worth of work into one day, I was completely exhausted. I was only planning on being away a week but I didn't really know when I would be able to return home. So, I spent the day emailing customers, packaging orders, retouching images, cleaning the house, packing for the trip and running errands. I was even attacked and chased down the street by a deranged Chihuahua on my walk home from dropping off orders at the Post Office. It gave me a much needed laugh, but it was disturbing none the less.

I woke up in the morning and finished up a few last minute tasks and then set out on the 3 hour drive through the desert to my parents' house. By the time I got there I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I don't take bad news well. It stresses me out to the point where I find myself running around doing unnecessary things just to busy my mind so I don't have to think about the reality of the situation. Like cleaning my kitchen will make everything better. If you ever catch me doing dishes in the middle of the night, you can bet something is wrong. But, sitting in a car for 3 hours with nothing to do and staring at the same scenery I've seen thousands of times on this drive, my mind had time to dwell on the fact that my grandfather is dying. And not only is he dying, he is suffering. So, stressed out, exhausted, worried, and devastated, I felt like I had been hit by a truck.

November 2, 2009

365 Project: Day 20

I figured since I'm usually up most of the night anyway, I might as well get an early start on Day 20.

This is my porch. I sit out here all the time. During the day I'll sit and watch people walk by, get some air, and clear my head when I get tired of being cooped up inside working. At night, when everyone else is sleeping, I go out here to think and look at the sky. This wall has a dip in it that is the perfect angle to lean against.

There is a lot going on in my life right now so I went outside to sort it out with the stars for a while. There is something so calming about the night. Everything is so still and quiet while everyone is recharging for the day to come. And here I sit. Not sleeping. Restless. Not part of that cycle. Waiting for the world to come alive again.

November 1, 2009

365 Project: Day 19

Its the day after Halloween. We had a huge party last night, like we have the last few years. I just rolled out of bed at 2pm and this is all I have the energy for today. I hope everyone had a great Halloween! I know I did.

365 Project: Day 18