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How to Be Friends with a Lizard

Some of y’all already know I’m obsessed with the little lizard that sleeps on the same leaf of my lemon tree every night. I can’t even describe how excited I am to see him there. And yes, I do check. After dark, I open the door and look outside. There he is, always on the same leaf, though his head faces different directions on different nights, and his tail is sometimes curled, sometimes not. I used to take a lot of pictures. It’s hard taking pictures of a tiny lizard sleeping on a tiny leaf, especially in the dark. One night I got too close and scared him. Luckily he came back, and I learned that the best way to be friends with a lizard is to leave him alone.

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The Bayou Outside My Door

Today it rained. At first it wasn’t bad here, and the news pulling me back into the sadness of Harvey was from Beaumont. Beaumont and the surrounding area flooded really bad. My former neighbor sent me a picture of my former house, the yard full of water, and I was thankful it’s no longer mine to worry about. I was, in fact, letting go of the last remnants of hold that previous life had on me, when I realized it was raining hard here too out of a sudden, and the bayou was pretty much at my front door. A step and a stoop stood between my gallery and the flooded sidewalk. Each car that passed caused an ocean-like wave to clash against the step. I told myself the stoop was high enough to protect me. I stood there for a long time, mesmerized. It was surreal to see the rain, my very urban street turned into swamp wilderness, the tree barks dark and majestic rising out the water, the cars still struggling through against all common sense. I had no choice but to cheer them on on their nonsensical errand and pray they’d all get to safety.

The water drained. It rose again. I was hoping against hope the roads would be safe enough in the evening to get to MoNique’s Monarch Society. I was going to wear the Chanel skirt and vest my friend gave me. The Monarch Society evening got cancelled. I almost cried over it, and felt really sad for MoNique as that is such a special moment for an Escapist.

My friend took refuge at my place on her way home from work, waiting for the highway to be safe to drive. My street had drained by then. I’m pleased with its drainage system. I remember it from Harvey. I’m safe here. I was still sad the special evening got rained out. I still felt claustrophobic, though I got to walk the dog extensively after the water drained. I was still heartbroken for people who suffered flood damage once again – some of the same people who lost their homes to Harvey. Harvey memories haunted me all day, yet this storm was different and I am different too. The things I worry about have changed. So have the people I call to check up on, the ones who check on me – with some exceptions, though few have stayed in my life and in my inner circle through this transition.

Also, I did buy the painting I wanted. It’s called Vibrational Static and it’s so very fabulous! Tomorrow is MoNique’s solo show, and by then we will all definitely be ready to party! And I’ll get to see my precious new painting in the gallery! It sparkles and does all sorts of magical things!

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Gifts from Betty

Today I was feeling rather tense. I decided to take a short swim, and it turned out that it was just what I needed. The day was still hot, which I love, but it held a newfound kind of freshness, an ever so subtle hint of seasons changing. The water was warm and there were a few fallen leaves floating in it. It was a glorious time to swim. The water glimmered just so, it danced in darker hues cut through by undulations of light. I’ve always liked the patterns of pool water, the aqua blue spots, the bright silver lines cutting through. It’s a beautiful thing to look at, and it’s a beautiful thing to paint. But I’d never seen the rainbows before. There are tiny rainbows hidden in the corners of the ripples of light, right where they intersect. Betty would have surely seen that, because Betty has a talent for noticing things. I felt like the rainbows, or rather the ability to see them, were a gift from her.

Later, much later, I walked Holly through our neighborhood and we saw the night heron who lives in one of the trees. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and now he was standing in the middle of the side walk. Such a beautiful, magical creature! I felt that this encounter, too, was a gift from Betty.

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There are no colorful leaves in fall in Texas, and I can’t say I’m sad. I personally prefer summer to go on a little longer. Anyway, today I felt compelled to paint these leaves, because they go well with the name of the new project I’m launching, a new type of commissions opportunity called Framed Seasons. I’ve updated my website to include it, and I’ll officially announce it tomorrow, but I figured people who actually read the blog should get a sneak peek before everyone else finds out about it! I’m so excited to get this going!

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Today I drew giraffes because I love these animals, and because I came across an older picture of a baby giraffe at the Houston zoo. Not much else happened. I wrote in the morning, worked out in the afternoon, and scheduled an appointment with BARC for tomorrow so I can bring them the check for the money I raised for them! I’m listening to an audiobook by Terry McMillan that I really liked. I’d forgotten how good she is! And it’s read in her own voice – something I’d never consider doing as an author, but which I find to be such a treat when other authors do it. I also started hanging my new paintings and I’m liking them a lot.

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White Pelican

Today I painted a white pelican. I also applied Alexander Ross, the carousel horsie onto a wooden panel with a background painted the color of John’s walls. I edited some more of the Galveston ghost story, made turkey meatballs, did laundry, listened to an audiobook. It was a rather uneventful day, and I allowed myself to take it easy. Tomorrow I’ll make sure to go to the gym!

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The Sea Isn’t Always Blue

Today I finished the fifth draft of my Galveston ghost story. I’m starting to be really thrilled with the depth it’s gaining, though it’s a slow process. Things come to me gradually, and they work their way into the book. I will try to stay patient with this one – not always an easy thing for me to do.

I also painted a seascape inspired by a picture taken by one of my friends in Galveston, a place where the sea isn’t always blue, but it’s always lovely! And I had the closing reception for my Dog Days of summer project, which was quite a good time! For the first time I had a child visit the gallery, a nine-year-old boy who made fast friends with Holly, and who, while the adults were all busy talking looked at the art carefully and identified a small painting he wanted to buy. He negotiated a discount like a pro, and paid for it with his own money! I was so impressed!

Also, I raised $300 for BARC Houston and I can’t wait to give it to them next week!

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Predator Bird

Today’s painting is another one that changes in different kinds of light. I was really attracted to the grace of the predator bird, and the way its white feathers shone in the darkness.

It rained pretty hard today, then it got cool. The dog and I enjoyed a long walk at sunset, then another longer walk after dark. It was a quiet kind of day – one that stretched endlessly in a way my days hardly do anymore because I’m so busy with things I like doing. I realize it’s probably the first time in my life that more people seek me out than I can actually spend time with. It’s a bit disconcerting but overall a good feeling.