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Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

cul·ture

noun

1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.

2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.

3. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.

4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.

5. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.

That is the definition of culture according to Dictionary.com. I am inclined to believe it is accurate.

Knowing this, I have to admit I am not a thoroughly cultured person. I’m pretty open-minded, I’m intelligent enough, I watched a lot of Britcoms growing up and I like to read, but I’m certainly not cultured.

This is not for a complete lack of trying though. I have traveled to the glorious city of Monterrey Mexico on three separate occasions, all for around a week long. Monterrey is gorgeous and by far one of the most awe-inspiring places I’ve seen in person–I’ll have to remember to share some of my photos with you all. Just trust me, going from small town in the east to a GIANT, mountainous city faaaaar south? Quite the “culture shock”.

But this brings me to the photo I chose for this photo challenge. Shame on me, but I don’t recall the lady’s name, probably because I don’t speak Spanish very well or, you know, at all. She was, however, one of the most memorable people I met in Monterrey, and in a city with a population of 4,080,329 in just 2010, that’s saying something. There’s a lot to take in.

I met her on my third (and so far last) trip there. She was waiting outside the hospital; her son had been in a construction accident and had been in the hospital for months. She still sat outside and waited though, abandoning the rest of her life to be nearest to what mattered. Like many others who were unsure of their loved ones fates, that’s all she could do.

We spoke, we ate, she prayed for her son and all the other people in the hospital with me, and I was able to snap this picture of her as she laughed at a joke my translator made. She may have been pretty solemn when we first met, full of concern for her son, but seeing her smile like this let me know that hers is a face that’s used to smiling.

I am not very cultured. I went to Monterrey to learn more about God, mostly I learned things about myself, but I did take away with me some of Monterrey’s spirit and culture.

I remember the bustling city, overripe with life. I remember learning how to tell someone’s wealth by what kind of objects they fortified the walls around their land with. I remember the quieter places that I got to live, hidden away between the mountains. I remember getting lime popsicles from the OXXO down the street. I remember tasting Joya for the first time. I remember eating the best oranges in my life, straight off the tree. I remember visiting all the must-see locations and bumping elbows with all sorts of tourists. I remember the giant Mexican flag flying proudly, and myself taking refuge in the shade it provided. I remember the cooling waterfall at the end of the most depressing carriage ride in existence. I remember exploring caves carved into the side of the mountains. I remember the mass graves. I remember going to the outskirts, squatting grounds and trash heaps made into makeshift homes. I remember building those people homes. I remember feeding them, playing with their children, getting to know their families, telling them stories and feeling honored to be able to speak to a group of strong, passionate women like the lady I took a picture of above.

I remember being overwhelmed and crying myself to sleep on my allotted bunk bed as I stared out into the city outside my window.

But that is not what I truly took away from my experiences in Monterrey or the experiences with the people of Monterrey. No, the overall impression I got from them and their way of life was that they were unapologetically joyful.

Despite everything, every hardship and mountain in their path, they were always capable of such intense happiness. The people of Monterrey live life, and I mean really LIVE. Whether it’s for their family, friends, lovers, their country, their dreams, or the dreams of those that they care for, the people of Mexico took all the bad thrown at them and lived each day for the good. I saw that every moment I was with them.

The joy, that’s what I think of when I think of their culture. Everyone was so open, so willing to talk and share what little they had and rejoice in what little that would be given to them, and in the face of uncertainty, they still knew how to laugh.

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Dulles

Dulles

This is part of Dulles airport–one of the more interesting parts.

I really love airports, which is sort of an insane thing to say since most time in airports is spent being felt up by strangers and having your things thrown away. That aside, I think airports are a little magical. They’re their own little kingdoms packed full of all different people from all different places–just a giant crossroads plus a Cinnabon and a place to buy sunglasses.

I haven’t spent too much time in Dulles since I’ve never done any flying from there, only went to see my big brother off. Most of my time has been spent at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport and the mall across from it. I’ve literally spent days worth of time in there just eating I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt and riding the tram around. Good times.

My point in posting this is that I’ve been feeling a little trapped lately (more so than usual, at least) and just wanted to look out those big windows again and take off. But I’m always stuck behind the glass watching the airplanes fly without me. Hopefully that will change soon enough.

Faking It

Watercolor Dress

You’re sewing sequins in your skin,

Washing in water colors.

You’re chiseling away characters you’ve been;

The bane of conservative mothers.

You’re painting on pleasant expressions,

Masking maddened eyes.

You’re ripping away the shame

That began between your thighs.

Never demanded the devil for attention,

But danced onto his path.

Never teased to taste his tongue

That felt of silk and ash.

Never meant to fall into his fervor;

A sickening, sordid doom.

Never expected the pain

That welled within your womb.

So in time try to heal the torn bits

But the bruises only build.

So purge the poisonous pleasures

That every curving crevice fill.

Trim yourself with tinsel

To hide these hideous flaws.

So maybe you can cope

With losing what’s most precious of all.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

Blue and orange contrast is by far my favorite contrast.

I went around my personal stomping grounds and spied all of my favorite blue and orange items and kind of cataloged them. For the longest time I’ve loved the color blue in all its shades and hues, it just calls to me. Orange always did the opposite–I just don’t like it, it’s obnoxious and used for warning signs for a reason. Together though I think they make something far lovelier than the two could achieve on their own.

Partnership has been on my mind a lot lately–not in a romantic way, just how we can all compliment each others personalities and work really well as a team, even when some of us have obnoxious orange personalities.

Lady of Lost Causes

 


Eyes capture sullen moons, light reflecting empty,

Longing spirits and riveting black.

Stripes along your back worn proudly;

Boasting of victories long since passed—

Stirring up the loves you lost along the path.

Inner chords plucked, a playful vibration. Quivering

Pleasure crashing through riotous core.

Beliefs briefly put on hold; Cautiously

Approaching slow coursing ecstasy. Soaking

Thoughts in heat, setting hearts on a bed of coal.

No one to tremble under and lay silently praising,

All love has passed, leaving shallow lust;

Filling yet viciously empty

Tugging the tender parts, wanton crows

Pluck apart what’s left of a beautiful soul.

—-

Fun Fact: This started as a poem about my cat, Bast. Then it became a little about me then a little about my at-the-time boyfriend. It’s an amalgam of sad, really.

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day In My Life

Everyday starts out pretty similar–feed Tip-Tup the turtle (A.K.A Scourge of the Gods) and take Amarillo the cactus out to get some sunshine. From there, things usually stay on a simple course that may change depending on the day.

Usually my cats demand I attend to their needs–petting, feeding, watering, letting them roam around murdering everything in sight–that sort of thing. I also put up with a lot of shit from those outdoor cats that like to hang around my back porch like this is some kind of club. Slash gave me a real “wtf?” look as I stumbled out into the afternoon light, all haggard and sleepy, taking pictures of my cactus. She’s named after Slash from Chrono Trigger by the way, meaning that she’s pretty much a push over, but still likes to be a punk.

Dang cats.

Luckily someone made coffee fairly recently so I didn’t have to zombie-struggle through making a pot for myself. It was a bit of an odd thing though, since there was in fact coffee left and no one in my house. I live in a four bedroom trailer with five other people–I kind of notice when I’m alone.

It was nice.

Then I did all my lady business in the bathroom. Never you mind what that entails.

Saw myself in the mirror, looking a mess, but my plans for this Saturday didn’t pan out so I don’t care! Too high off the sweet, sweet nectar of the gods to be upset about that hair.

Not Pictured: Me geeking out over the Saturday morning cartoons I recorded.

Got my lappy out in order to reconnect with the world a little–I just can’t feel like my day has started until I’ve poked, tagged, tweeted or liked something.

Then it’s time for the walk, I like to walk. I tend to take short walks so all of our dogs and cats and such don’t get too tired when they follow (and they will) but depending on the weather I sometimes like to take a longer route through the woods and back, just for the heck of it. The good news is that it is finally LOOKING like Spring around these parts in VA. It seriously snowed just last week so this is a pleasant change.

Found a feather on my walk. We have a ton of birdies around here–the big flesh eating kind–so I find a lot of feathers. They are, in fact, not rainbow hued. It is sad.

Mr. Pants was on the porch when I got back home–looking all rough and angry like he always does. That cat is not alright. Ever. He is perpetually grumpy and unfriendly.

I love him.

Finally people were home by the time I got back. Neither of them noticed I actually got a photo of them. They would not be happy about it. I give no care. Have to have proof that the other people I talk about living with actually exist. These two in particular (my mom and grandmother), cooked dinner tonight as they usually do and it was pretty legit. I meant to take a pic of the entire thing once it was all done but uh, I sort of forgot in the moment and just ate. Asparagus was good though!

My mom also hooked me up with a lemon ginger ale which is slowly becoming my drink of choice. I’m kind of craving one right now. . . Anyway, drank that fizzy, fruity deliciousness as I pretended to be interested in the college news while I ignored uninvited guests. Uninvited? Uninterested. Being rude is a two way street.

Enjoyed the hell out of the newest Coheed and Cambria records. One song even has horns in it all Ska-style. It makes my heart sing.

Of course as I went out onto the back porch to get some fresh air (and maybe sing a little) I got shot the evil eye by Flea, the prettiest little porch kitty. He/she is named after Flea from Chrono Trigger mostly because it shows up with Slash a lot and that’s how it goes in the game (There’s an Ozzy and Magus, too!) and Flea’s gender is debatable in-game and I really haven’t got up close and personal with this cat yet so I don’t really know what’s going on back there!

The rest of my day was hours of HGTV, the new season of Doctor Who and picking out what to wear for Easter. A small portion was dedicated to getting some actual work done. Fun work though! Projects for friends and some writing, small things just to keep everything in motion.

It’s really not a bad day, overall.

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He Sees You

He Sees You

Found this handsome guy sunning himself on my back porch.

I think he saw me.

Which is fine since he’s my baby anyway. This is Loki–he’s a bit of a male model. He has the attitude of one at the very least. He kind of loves to be photographed.

Most of my cats are brown tabbies like Loki here and they all appear grey and black in most light but when they go out and get some direct sunlight you can see all the brown hues in their fur. I think it’s a kind of magical detail, really.

I named him Loki after the Norse god whose known to be a trickster and also known as “The Golden Knight“. Loki was also the right hand man to Odin, which is the name of Loki’s (the cat) brother. They do look out for each other.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

I can’t think of anything more physically symbolic of a promised future than a bridge.

It’s an assurance that you will get from one place to another–across rivers, ravines, chasms and any other trouble we humans come across. We get together, put our minds and creativity to work and make bridges. We work so hard to create this solution, this promise, so that others don’t have to.

We are amazing.