Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Postponed festivities.

March 31, Glenwood.

No circus birthday party for Nicolas turning three today so as not to risk anyone else getting Dylan's flu.
Simple family photo-op in the trailer for now.


March 31, Glenwood.

In the town of Daisy, population 118, the Daisy Motel had vacancies.

A trailer with a view.

March 31, Glenwood, Arkansas (58 miles, junction highway 70 and 70B West.)

Update on Dylan.

March 30, DeQueen.

Dylan is much better, and hasn't even had a fever (chocolate may have helped.) Still I don't want him near anyone quite yet.

Bloody scary.

March 30, DeQueen.

Somewhere near a church: "This bloods (sic) for you" with a ghastly rendition of Jesus of Nazareth.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


March 30, DeQueen.

Memories of our first year with Kelly Miller, in 2008, when DeQueen was the scene of a bad storm and tornado warning and flooding forced half the show's trailers to be moved as water rose to their door.
We are parked in the exact same spot, safe on high ground again.

A trailer with a view.

March 30, DeQueen, Arkansas (38 miles, fairgrounds.)

A bad day.

March 29, Ashdown.

We spent what felt like the whole day at a clinic twenty miles away in the nearest big town (there is a vet here but no pediatrician) to learn what I already knew: Dylan has come down with the flu.
I knew because he suddenly started coughing the same cough I had back in Florida, and then had abdominal pain. He even threw up with the force of the cough, just as I had.
He fell asleep on the way back and didn't awaken when we got home at last. All through this I could not stop thinking about our friend, and crying.
It has been a bad day all over.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Our friend.

March 29, Ashdown.

The devastating news of a friend's grave illness has me profoundly shaken and saddened.

A trailer with a view.

March 29, Ashdown, Arkansas (61 miles, school grounds.)

Views from backstage.

March 28, Idabel.

A trailer with a view.

March 28, Idabel, Oklahoma (42 miles, fairgrounds.)

Only I forgot the view.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Out-take (earlier this week.)

March 27, Hugo.

Back to base.

March 27, Hugo.

No radio and ninety miles to Hugo.
The exploding silence of the truck engine.
East Texas, straight roads, bumpy.
Half the circus goes in free, for circus people never pay to see another circus people's show.

A trailer with a view.

March 27, Hugo, Oklahoma (87 miles, old glove factory grounds.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

A trailer with a view.

March 26, Winnsboro, Texas (69 miles, City park.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The usual suspects.

March 25, Whitehouse.

Same scenario as on Monday, only slightly less time spent sitting around in the truck waiting for word, as it a little before one in the afternoon and we are already parked.
There was a big storm last night, the usual suspected issues with flooded lots. Turned out good, we are on the shore of a pleasure lake and on asphalt, in case it rains again.

A trailer with a view.

March 25, Whitehouse, Texas (48 miles, RV park.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Department of Texas town names.

March 24, Malakoff.

We drove through the town of Gun Barrel City without a scratch this morning.

A trailer with a view.

March 24, Malakoff, Texas (51 miles, Coal Miners Club.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Signed into law at last.

March 23, Crandall.

My Mom sent me an email asking me to congratulate Barack Obama for her, with lots of exclamation points.
I just love my Mom.

A trailer with a view.

March 23, Crandall, Texas (36 miles, highway 175 and FM 741.)

More challenges.

March 22, Royse City.

After the snow the Kelly Miller Circus was faced with the threat of another day of canceled shows, the lot is a wet sponge and we can't set up, there is a mix up too with Chris directing people to the wrong place, and then hours of waiting while management decide to try and set up on the other side of the road, and then give up after two trucks get stuck in deep trenches of mud, there is more waiting around, town people stop by asking where is the show and where can we get tickets, and finally, at nearly three o'clock in the afternoon, we park in a race track down the highway, on a nice asphalt lot, and it's sunny and in the seventies.
But there is still more than an hour before show time and a mad rush to raise out of trucks and trailers the magics of a circus.
And they did it.

A trailer with a view.

March 22, Royse City, Texas (79 miles, at exit 83 on I-30 outside of Royse City.)

Monday, March 22, 2010


March 21, Frisco.

I woke Dylan up and we made a snowman.


March 21, Frisco.

More snow.

March 21, Frisco.


March 21, Frisco.

And it snowed.
By morning three inches had accumulated. The tent could break and was taken down, the crew starting at three in the morning shoving snow off in an attempt to save the shows. They were canceled and we got the day off.
I had gotten up at seven to take pictures of what I thought would be moody shots of the solitary tent and ended up documenting the crew taking it down and struggling in the bitter wind, the material sticking to the mud underneath the snow, heavy with moisture. I got cold too, shooting with no gloves or warm boots.
Courtney arrived yesterday to officially buy the minivan from us (she's been using it since she left) so we went to lunch and then Ikea, where the kids had a great time.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Suddenly cold.

March 20, Frisco.

It's snowing.
How can it be so cold when it was balmy yesterday?
The wind is unbearably strong, it's simply miserable. It was going to be a fiesta, the last time we are in the same town for three whole days, Frisco the cool lot, and it's just miserable.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Little helpers.

March 19, Frisco.


March 19, Frisco.

We moved last night. The tire truck Fridman drives blew a tire and Lesley, the guy who drives the mechanics' truck, had gone way ahead of us, as he does every time, so we had to wait forever for him, until Fridman and Castro grew tired of waiting and looked in our truck and found what they needed to do the work and we could go on.
It was one thirty in the morning before we arrived, and we got parked in the dirt, not on the cement lot where everybody else is, "cast off" for doing our job, being the last ones to get to the lot.
As usual we're laughing it off.

A trailer with a view.

March 19, Frisco, Texas (66 miles, Frisco Square.)

A trailer with a view.

March 18, Bridgeport, Texas (46 miles, Hardwood park.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


March 16, White Settlement.

A big missing piece of our circus jumble joined us today as Dee Dee arrived to spend a week with Kelly Miller.
She had been absent since the beginning of the season but present in our hearts; I know Tavana was in constant touch with her, and many of us thought about her. She is staying behind, in Oklahoma City, to be with her infant son, Liam, who was born last year nine weeks premature and with a heart defect that threatened his survival. He was also born with Down Syndrome, although to such a low degree that doctors are now thinking about having him retested. I can imagine how hard it has been for Dee Dee, alone with two kids as Sam is with her too, away from the circus and her circle of family and friends and support, faced with the uncertainty of her baby son's uphill battle to live, the stress and anxiety, the fear, the loneliness and isolation, the long nights.
She is with us now, and we finally get to meet Liam, who is beautiful and tiny, although I'm sure he looks oh so big for her who held him at barely two pounds. And he's getting bigger fast, she says, as if making up for lost time.
I love his name, Liam.
It means strength in Irish, she said, and that's why they chose it, too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A trailer with a view.

March 15, White Settlement, Texas (306 miles, Central park.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010


March 13, Pleasanton.

It's eleven o clock at night; we arrived a little while ago, as usual at the end of the circus caravan of trucks and trailers.
Seventy-five miles this morning, two shows and a hundred and thirty miles more tonight.
On Monday we make a three hundred and plus mile jump.

A trailer with a view.

March 13, Pleasanton, Texas (130 miles, River park.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Radar and Dylan talking flowers.

March 13, Falfurias.

Or so says Dylan.

Wild flowers.

March 13, Falfurias.

There was nobody watching the show but there were lots of wild flowers and I picked some and made a bouquet and it always makes me think of the Little Sisters, how they revel in finding beauty in small things, and peace, and how they reminded me of that simple truth, without a word.

A trailer with a view.

March 13, Falfurias, Texas (76 miles, VFW grounds.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Out of here.

March 12, Elsa.

This is our last town in the Valley, and the last of the multiple stays for the year.
It was good while it lasted.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The most peaceful.

March 11, Elsa.

Bulk cuts.

March 11, Elsa.

Dylan got a haircut today, and so did we.
He's the best looking, though.

A trailer with a view.

March 11, Elsa, Texas (20 miles, highway 88 and 4th Avenue.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A trailer with a view.

March 10, Combs, Texas (23 miles, next to Seal construction.)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A trailer with a view.

March 9, Los Fresnos, Texas (26 miles, rodeo grounds.)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Outdoor activities.

March 8, La Feria.

Copie conforme.

March 8, La Feria.

We still call Nicolas "copie conforme," exact replica in French, for he still does everything Dylan does, or says, whether he has any idea what's going on or not.
In two weeks he'll be three.

Bad bones.

March 8, La Feria.

I'm breathing easier.
Turns out it was only a broken rib.
Of the pneumonia there is no trace left, the difficulty breathing is alleviated when I bend down, or compress my ribs in a specific way, as I found out by happy accident this morning waiting in the doctor's office - I finally went in for the pain in my left lung had not subsided after all this time. All the antibiotics did was make me sicker, and that coming from a nurse practitioner, a health care professional usually not inclined to poo-poo the drugs.
She was wonderful, she listened, she asked questions, and asked some more; I spent almost an hour in there and most of that was talking to her. We had looked at a clinic miles away in Harlingen then come back here as the clinic was booked, and too expensive, and then driving by we saw this unassuming clinic right here in La Feria. I went in out of desperation; the street front didn't look like much. I came out elated.
It hit me then; she was a nurse, not a doctor. It reminded me of why I wanted to have my kids in a birthing center, operated by nurse-midwives, and not a hospital with a doctor too busy to waste more than two minutes actually getting to know who I am. The cherry on top of the cake was the cost, forty dollars, probably the best-spent forty bucks of my life.
So Courtney was right, and so was my gut feeling: an extremely bad cough, such as the one I had since the beginning of January, can indeed break a bone.
Fridman laughed. I suspect he doesn't quite believe me.
But I can breathe easier; it will pass, it's just a broken bone.

A trailer with a view.

March 8, La Feria, Texas (37 miles, across from county building.)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Curtain call (2.)

March 6, Palmview.

Curtain call.

March 6, Palmview.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The poster (Reyna.)

March 6, Palmview.


March 6, Palmview.


March 6, Palmview.

The tigers.

March 6, Palmview.


March 6, Palmview.

The Silk Road camels.

March 6, Palmview.

The Poema family.

March 6, Palmview.

The 2010 Kelly Miller Circus program.

March 6, Palmview.

The 2010 edition of the Kelly Miller program is off to the presses as of five minutes ago (virtually that is, thanks to that internet wonder of YouSendIt software, no more CDs and waiting for the package to arrive through the mail, it's there instantly, no matter how big the file.)
This year there are also postcards and a big poster. Everything was finally proofread and double-checked, my working on it had effectively ended early this week.
Here are a few of the new pictures.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Congratulations, grandma.

March 4, Palmview.

Tavana is a grandma!, said the route slip this morning. Her first grandson was born yesterday.

A trailer with a view.

March 4, Palmview, Texas (63 miles, next to highway on Bentsen Drive.)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The old guy and the truck.

March 3, Lyford.

The old guy was working on his truck; I asked if I could take a picture of him and he said What do you want me to do? in Spanish.


March 3, Lyford.

Packages full of goodies today: the new Photoshop CS Extended, with Lightroom 2, and an 80-to-200 lens which had suffered water damage at the beginning of the first year with Kelly Miller, and which I had, unfathomably, not bothered to repair before, all arrived in the mail.
I was showing Fridman the difference between a wide and a long lens and he proceeded to take a picture; I loved the result.