Mar 15, 2010

Fishing for Beautiful Moments

He sort of has that younger Hemmingwayish look, doesn't he? That's Randy, my barber husband. I find myself hardly ever saying just, "husband." It is usually "barber husband." I don't know why. I guess because I think he has a cool profession because there are so few real barbers around these days. He wears the barber smock, clips the eye brows, nose hairs, ear hairs, uses the warm shaving cream, does the shave, uses the buzzing clippers...he's been cutting (and styling) hair for over 23 years. And yes, he cuts and colors my hair! 

I promise I will have a really pretty design post on custom bedding coming up soon, and I was working on the photos right before I got the call about my mother. I appreciate all the wonderful emails about her passing away and I thought I would get this post out while I am working on the really pretty post. I mean, let's face it. I love Randy, but look at him.... 
Rugged...yes...manly...yes....but pretty? Cough....uh...actually...
if you want to know the truth, you will have to see for yourself at the end of this post.  :-)

Pretty comes in all forms, that we all know, of course. But no matter how long we live, or how much we experience, I think most of us would agree that the greatest designer of all continues to blow us away with His amazing creations. Randy and I stumbled upon one of His beautiful creations on a very cold day about a month ago, here in St. Louis, in our favorite park, Forest Park. We had about six days of single digit weather and one Sunday we were out and about and decided to stop by the park and have a looksy on the way home. We live only about five minutes away and this being the park in which we first met, we never, ever tire of stopping by, no matter what the condition of the weather. 

This is what is called the "Basin" at Art Hill. Normally it is a small pond with giant flowing fountains at the hill of the Art Museum. In the summer you can rent small paddle boats for two and paddle around the pond and along the streams. There are benches and bridges everywhere and when it snows, the park rangers put up hay bales along the pond to prevent sledders from sliding down the hill and into the pond. A tradition that dates back over a 100 years. This is also the site of the 1910 Worlds Fair. It is always pristine and the fountains are lit up all night.

That is the art museum at the top of the hill and the tiny dots are people on sleds on the hill.
That will give you an idea of the size of the building and the hill - pretty big!

On this particular day, we were just looking around but when I saw the fountains, I just freaked! In all the years I have been here, I have never seen them frozen up (photos in a minute)  like they were and I sreamed with excitement to Randy, "We HAVE to go home so I can get my camera!!"So poor guy rushes me home and I get my camera (remember, this was suppose to be leisurely turning into a race to beat the sun going down) and we rush back to the park. Randy lets me loose like a kid on the playground while he just calmly watches me "play" as he pats my dad's pipe with tobacco and takes it all in stride. But what I hadn't noticed the first time we were at the park (all of 3 minutes) was how DEEP the snow was. So there I was stomping around in snow that was up to my calves in some areas...look at the bench below:

If you look at the far back leg of the bench, you can see that the snow is almost up to the seat of the bench. In order for me to get a lot of good shots that meant, yup, I stomping around like a kid in areas that other people had good sense to stay out of. But, I was so happy to take some photos. And freezing. But snapping away.

Okay, so here is part of the pond. I have never seen it frozen over before. No, that isn't me. But I see another photographer out there...sooo...and see the fountain? Isn't it cool??? That is frozen water all built up around it. Normally of course, the water just splashes down into the water again, but instead, it made a huge frozen pile of ice! I only have one lens, darn it, oh how I wished for a long lens! So, out I go onto the "frozen" pond....

Now, I am including this picture for a couple of reasons before I show you the cool ice photos. See where Randy is standing? On the cement? Which is actually the last step before the "water." See the footprints out onto the "hopefully" strong ice? Those are mine. Notice how calmly Randy is standing there, smoking his pipe, hand in his pocket?

He stands there and calls out to me: 
"Have fun, honey." 

He then just watches me as I venture out on to thin ice. 

I then tentatively call out to him: 
"You know, I can see the water through the ice...." 

He continues to smoke in silence.

I notice I am now the only one out on the "frozen" pond.
"I am not so sure about it out here..." I nervously call out to him.

I go a little further, not too sure this was a good idea.

"Kinda thinner out here..." I say weakly...

He just puffs and watches. Waiting. 

Waiting? Waiting for what? Why isn't he nervous?
Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this picture? 

Just as I inch my way out further, I hear a bullhorn from the top of the hill from the park ranger who yells out:


Damn! I haven't snapped a photo yet! I pretend I don't hear him. I inch out further as Randy just watches. I start to focus my lens, but I am so cold, I can't hold the camera still. Damn! Now my breath is fogging up my viewpiece and I have to hurry, which only makes me breath harder which only fogs up more..

Bullhorn guy again:


Luckily someone else had ventured out onto the ice by now at a different fountain so I pretend that bullhorn guy is talking to him (or her?). I mean, I was here first, so that  makes me special, I reason in my frozen head. I start to snap pictures, trying to kneel, but that was dumb and so I just snap...a few minutes pass and then...


Okay, that last one made me laugh because bullhorn guy was now sort of singing his demands in a funny voice. At least bullhorn guy had a sense of humor. As I and other photographers made their way off, bullhorn guy made little noise like "yeah! yippeee!" and when finally off...


So, without further adieu, here is what I could get in a way of photos. The ones on the ice did not turn out. But I did get some decent ones safely from the cement steps, next to my pipe smoking barber husband who appeared to wondered if the ice would crack or not and did admit that he really was "waiting to see what would happen" as I learned later! Now is that wrong, or what?

This is a small leaf on the ice of the pond. I just liked the frozen water and how it looked.

As we walked back to our car, I turned one last time to watch the sun go down and you can see the fountains in the distance, behind this tree. Right then an airplane flew across the sky making a faint streak and I could still hear some distant laughter from some children on the hill. Randy had gone on ahead to the car as I stood here and snapped a few photos of this tree. I don't have anything profound to add to this scene. What in the world could I add that would enhance our Creator's amazing beauty? I am just fortunate that I get to witness it and I hope you enjoyed at least little of the wonderful day we had taking in all of His beauty.

And speaking of beauty....ahem.....not all of God's creatures are natural beauties....well, they the eyes of those who love those creatures. And my wonderful barber "creature" is beautiful in many ways to me...he does things for me all the time; he puts my neatly folded pajamas on the toilet seat for me when I get home late at night (he's already in bed) so I can wear them while falling asleep on the sofa while watching TV (my winding down time). He makes me smoked chicken anytime I ask him. He puts gas in the car and scrapes off the ice of my windshield. He makes me laugh all the time in so many ways. He loves to make me laugh as he runs naked past my office door on his way to the bathroom for his nightly bath ( honey that's payback for calmly watching me go out on thin ice "just to see what happens"). But mostly, he is beautiful because he loves me.

He loves me so much he will even do the craziest things for me. Like late last fall, I asked him to "dress up" and let me take a photo of him and make it into a card so I could give it to a friend just to make her laugh. It was a private joke and I thought she could use a really good laugh. She was going through empty nesting and so on. I snuck over to her house and stuck it in her mailbox along with a gag gift and she said when she got home late at night and opened it, she just about peed in her pants from laughter. That card I will not show you - I am showing you mercy, my barber husband.  :-)

However, while shooting that card, I decided as long as he was doing "dress up" for me, let's do a Christmas Card! So, my wonderful barber husband played along and let me do a Christmas card and I thought I would share it as I came across it yesterday and it made me laugh so hard and with the last few weeks being not so much fun, it felt good to laugh. So, I thought why not share a good laugh with you all? See Below:

Here is the front of the Christmas Card:

And inside it says:

My family is fun.
At holiday gatherings we play a game called:
Guess who stopped taking their meds this year?

This year it was Uncle Eugene.

He wanted us to call him Chrissy.


Merry Chrissymas!
Happy New (and sane) Year!

We then signed it: Crazy in love, Elizabeth and Randy

What was so fun about giving this card in person to some of my friends was seeing their reaction. One friend of mine, Renee, took one look at it, and said, "Oh, I just love those old photographs..." She read the inside and laughed and laughed. She looked at the photo again and said, "Not a very pretty woman. She could be Randy's  great aunt." It took her a few moments to realize who she was looking at and when she realized who it was, we almost both peed in our pants with laughter. 

But for me the most fun I had was the "behind the scenes photos." I laughed so hard in our bathroom watching Randy getting ready for his "big" photo shoot. I was laughing so hard, I ran and got my little camera and snapped these few photos below:

I just couldn't stop lauging at the bald head and earrings. And don't even get me started on the outfit. He was such a good sport. Notice how he completely ignores my laughter.

This above photo is priceless. The big hairy arms...and the way he looks, you can tell he is doing his "barber" thing. Nothing feminine about this, which made me laugh all the harder. He just completely ignored my laughter.

I was laughing so hard when I snapped this photo of him admiring his "work." He turned to me and said, "Hey! It doesn't look that bad" And I couldn't stop laughing because he took it so seriously.  (Look at the earring on his ear and how it sticks out...hahahahaha)

Every time I see these photos I laugh. He was such a good sport. He did it only because I told him I had a friend that I wanted to make laugh and I didn't even have to ask him twice. Now there is a man who is very secure with his masculinity. He has a brown belt in Kempo, can load a bass boat into a lake better and faster than anyone I know,  speed his boat over big waves better than anyone else on the lake, fishes and cleans them, chops wood, ran the Chicago marathon, and makes the BEST bar-b-que ribs ever. He has nothing to prove to anyone and even in clip-on pearl earrings and a  feather boa, he is still my barber husband.

I will end with the below photo of him gutting and cleaning fish that he caught down at the Lake of the Ozarks. After all, I think when it is all said and done, I have no doubt, that if the ice had cracked, he would have been out in that icy water in a second to fish me out of it. I mean look at him you think a man that is so comfortable out in nature, gutting and cleaning fish he caught would let a little icy pond stand between him and the woman who dressed him up in a feather boa and clip-on pearl earrings? 

Is he beautiful or what?

From my crazy house to your house,


Debbie said...

Those photos are amazing and you were so lucky to have been there to take them. You are so blessed with your "barber husband", we should all be that lucky to have someone in our life and never take them for granted. What a sport, don't think mine would be that accomodating-ha! Love your stories!

*The Beautiful Life* said...

Now THIS post makes me want to cry for completely different reasons (than the last). :)

I am SO happy for you. Every time I've read anything you write about Randy, it just makes me stop and think -- "you know, every gal in the world wants to be cherished, adored and loved like he loves her."

You guys are a match made in heaven... enjoy. :)


sf said...

Randy is such a good sport!! I love that you did something so fun for your Christmas card. I am always saying I'm going to write one of those Christmas letters (you know the ones) only instead of writing how perfect my kids are and how fabulous my life is, sending a spiced up version. Maybe this year. Thanks for always being so inspiring!

Aili said...

The pictures were so lovely! and the post so positive!
Your appreciative spirit leaps off the screen and is infectious. Thanks!

rozetta said...

The photos are amazing. Living in SoCal, I've never seen frozen ice, like that.

The Christmas card is great!
My husband will do anything for a laugh. When he was teaching at the juvenile detention center, he would make the craziest end of the year video of the teachers doing the craziest things. It was the highlight of their year. He felt that he needed to do things to add levity to an otherwise difficult job.

It's very heartwarming to see how much you appreciate your husband.


Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello Aili and Rozetta,

Yes, Randy is a good sport, isn't he? I'm glad you liked the frozen ice photos - it was so much better in person though. And Rozetta, your husband sounds like fun too!

With some of the nutty things that goes on around here I always tell Randy that if there was a video camera in the house and people could see what was going on, we could never go out in public and he always says we wouldn't have to because everyone would want to come over because we have so much fun!

Elizabeth :-)

Debe said...

I am so sorry about your mom. Hard thing. Funny about your hair and you ending up with a Barber Husband. Ain't life funny! So nice that you have found your life partner. You are so Blessed, my dear! Loved the pics! Can't wait to see you photograph Curious Sofa for WWC!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you Debe for your comments.

But hey!

I can't believe that until you mentioned it, that I never put 2 and 2 together and thought about my mom's comments about my hair and my ending up marrying a BARBER!!!! !HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I am laughing so hard over here - that little irony just went right over my messed up hair-head!


Oh, how I wish mom was "with it enough" to have realized that I married a barber!!!!!

I just can't believe that no one had ever pointed that out to me before (those who were aware of her hair comments that is). I am still laughing and is funny how something so obvious can just skip on by - oh thank you for the laugh I am glad I am not at a cafe with my computer laughing - I would look nutty - instead, I am laughing out loud on the sofa in my plaid pj's and I just know I will be laughing about this for days as it pops in my head - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! - I just wish someone one was here to laugh with me - Randy just went to bed....I better hush up....he may be walking in on me any moment and HE won't be laughing - he has to get up early on Sat to cut hair....hahahahaha.... :-)

Elizabeth :-)))))

Gretchen said...

Ahhh, God does have a sense of humor after all. :) As soon as Debe commented about your hair and Mom, it struck me as well, and I thought now "Wow, isn't that a sense of humor to have Elizabeths husband a barber". Too funny! So great that it is something that you can laugh about now.
I read your blog post about your Mom a while back, but got interrupted, so didn't get to leave a comment. I'm sorry for your loss, but happy for your strengths that you have because of your Mom's weakness'. You truly know how to enjoy life.
Enjoy your week.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Gretchen!

Thank you - And once again - I didn't look at it like you did - God does have a sense of humor doesn't He? That is funny too! :-)))

I guess because I just grew up my whole life with the hair thing with mom that my marrying a barber it just never clinked with me. Sort of like growing up wearing glasses and then marrying an optometrist - you just don't really think about it.

Thanks again for the laugh - hope you are doing well.

Take care

itzasunnyday said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures of Forest Park. My mom and dad took their wedding day pictures in Forest Park back in 1931 so it has always been a special place to me. It really hasn't changed all that much through the years. I have been able to get there several times in my life, but never saw it in the winter like that. I also loved your card story!!! This was my first visit to your site, but I will definitely be adding your blog to the ones that I return to!

Brenda said...

I love Randy. The Christmas card was HILARIOUS. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thanks BB,

I love that you love Randy too - warms my heart when people love him and see what I see - even when he is wearing clip on pearls :-)

Take care

debi lynn mattingly said...

I laughed so loud that Greg wanted to know "honey, are you okay?" You know how Texan hubby is! ;) Tell "barber hubby" that I am very proud of him and it is so good to see a man "truly love" a woman! xo...deb

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

Oh, my. What a delightful way to begin my morn. JUST "found" you. Love you as a Sister in Christ, one that loves your man as I do. I am so sorry about your Mom; but dear've got it going on. Cannot wait to read more.

Debb McR said...

Randy is truly wonderful but I am a very partial friend. Randy thank you for dressing up for the "SW".

Elizabeth you are such a wonderful woman and Randy compliments you so well. You're a perfect couple.

You have been in my prayers over the loss of your mother.

Love -

hash1712 said...

You have the key to a happy marriage, you appreciate your man. And he is also lucky to have you in his life. Your joy beams out of your blog, you make me want to show my husband how much I appreciate him. I'm thinking I need to do that more.

Love the Forest Park pictures, my eldest son was born across the street at what was just Jewish Hospital. I had a view of the park, and it was so beautiful. I need to visit there more. Especially on Tuesdays if admission to the art museum is still free then.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Hash1712,

Thank you for writing... I do appreciate my man - but he makes it pretty easy to do that, I will admit. I think you are right...the key to a happy marriage is appreciating the efforts of your spouse...the results may not always be stellar, but the effort and the heart behind those efforts are the pure magic that others see when they say, "you two have something special..."

You should go visit Forest Park more often - I agree - it is magical! :-)

Take care

Joy Eggerichs said...


My dad told me about your blog and I must say the interaction with you on the ice and the man yelling/singing at you was quiet entertaining.

Pictures were incredible.

Tammy@InStitches said...

Love your Christmas card and you are right, Randy is a keeper !

Nutbird said...

I love the picture where Randy is smiling at himself in the mirror after he put on lipstick. He looks so happy and relaxed, much better than the wedding pictures. Love your blog. Ann

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thanks Ann,

I LOVE that photo! I was laughing and laughing and laughing so hard when I saw him look at himself. He was so serious about his "work of art." haahahha


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