off to paradise...

hopefully my photos will be better...but here's a taste of the beauty of milos...


my desk!!!

i have the most amazing husband...look what he found (for $30!?!?) at a garage sale! when i got home from work it was all set up in my studio...and it's perfect.

perfect for starting the art piece to go with my 1st discovery...we'll see how much i can get done before we leave for greece tomorrow. the final act of my birthday celebration...a week on the island of milos! pictures and posts to come...


discovery #1

that i have (finally) learned how to identify my anxiety and ways to begin to reduce it.
TRUE STORY: i am living in chicago. on my friends' futon. i have just gotten laid off from my dream job. and am working as a temp. i am almost $10,000 in debt and using my credit card to get cash. around this time i start thinking that the "activity-induced" asthma i was diagnosed with as a highschool swimmer is coming back. i'm having trouble breathing all the time, can't get enough oxygen, it's terrible. i tell everyone i have "breathing problems" and move on.

fast forward 5 or so years and i finally realize that what i was beginning to worry was an undetected heart condition was actually anxiety. the financial and career struggles, which were the hallmark of my quarterlife crisis, were causing me to have panic attacks--heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, it was so obvious.

but...it took another few years to figure out how to identify it when it was happening and take steps to reduce it. last week i was driving home from work. i'd had a rough day, david was still out of town, and luckily my sister wanted to hang-out so we weren't both alone that night. i was so excited just to get out of work and get to her apt.

SCENE: hundreds of cars in the 100' Houston heat, moving nowhere fast, and it started...heart rate, deep breathing, bad thoughts about the jackass who must have been drunk and crashed and caused this horrific mess.

then...instead of feeding into it, i just stopped. stopped thinking terrible thoughts, stopped clenching my jaw, stopped looking at the clock. i relaxed my muscles. i put on a CD i knew would make me smile. and once i began to feel less anxious, i realized that the AC had actually started working, it hadn't actually been an hour, and traffic was actually moving.

oh, and there was a really beautiful blue summer sky just waiting for me to enjoy. so i'm still learning. i'm a social worker and i talk all day to people about
reducing stress.
easing anxiety.
but it doesn't mean i'm really good at it. i'm just glad i've finally gotten over that asthma.


birth week

well, the big "1st Discovery" post was supposed to be on my birthday, but david and i decided last minute to drive to galveston after work yesterday! it was so nice...cruisin' with the windows down, sitting out on the balcony watching the pelicans, eating junk food and watching movies. oh, and dancing like idiots to thriller. here are the highlights from birth week, which fits nicely into birth month...and will continue with the ultimate birthday gift on saturday...

david brought me a little peace from chi-town

i finally found the desk of my dreams!!! too bad it was $595....why!?! if anyone knows somewhere in texas to get a 6' long vintage farm table, PLEASE let me know. otherwise, the search continues...

we saw this on jamie's birthday...i told everyone i thought it was heaven, and made them come outside to take a peek.

i have a bunch of ideas floating around for my discovery post...i need to sleep on it and entry #1 will hopefully arrive tomorrow!


studio renewal

i'm so happy!!! i've been working in my studio so much that i haven't taken the time to actually CLEAN it. but today i finally got it together...it's not perfect, i'm really sad that i can't find a nice big antique table for my desk. we've been searching all the shops, but nothing that's exactly what i'm looking for. the search continues...

but here's what i DO have:
I used to make these chairs years ago...paint and some decoupage magazine flowers...perfect for the new space!

my version of inspiration wire (some fishing line and binder clips!)

and i LOVE my tackle box...holds all my paints!

but this was my favorite project: an old cake stand and vintage glasses glued on for all my goodies.

before: (old superman lunchbox)

let's see how long this organization lasts!!

what the #@$*

i'm extremely frustrated...my last 5 posts have been dated the 10th!?!? i know something is going very wrong with uploading and autosaving...is this normal for blogger? i'm new to this blog thing, but this will drive me away quickly!!!


alone vs. lonely

my husband left today and will spend the next 5 days in chicago. first, i am jealous. i want to be in chicago. about the only time i miss the windy city is this time of year...cubs games, cool breeze off the lake, beer gardens, rooftop decks, mmmm...all of it. i haven't been ALONE in a while...it's weird because before i was married i was alone A LOT. and i'm pretty independent, i loved my "jodie-time," even designated one weekend a month for "j-day"...spending it alone, doing whatever it was that nourished my soul.

but now, david nourishes my soul. he inspires me to be more creative. he makes me feel guilty for not practicing my spanish. he invites me to go bike riding and salsa dancing and road tripping. since i've been married i've had so much fun, i haven't noticed the need for alone time. it actually felt strange today, returning to the house after kissing him at the airport and wondering: what will i do today? below you will see what i have done today...as well as cleaned the entire house, went swimming at my sister's pool, got my car washed, and finished 2 loads of laundry. wow, being alone really leads to productivity.

but i started thinking...what is the difference between alone and lonely? today i have enjoyed being alone, but i'm guessing that once the novelty wears off (like, when i get into bed tonight), it might not be so exciting. guess we'll have to wait and see, but if i were a bettin' gal, i'd say mr. lonely might be creeping in pretty soon. until then, enjoy the fruits of my alone-ness....




birth month

did i mention that i LOVE birthdays!?!? mine, my family members', co-workers...i don't care, i think everyone should celebrate. this blog is actually a result of my upcoming birthday...and as i celebrate "birth month," i'll share how it all started.

32. how boring. nothing fun happens when you're 32. And coming off the last couple years, it seemed particularly uneventful. 31 included completion of graduate school, travel to Hawaii, passing the licensing exam, my wedding, and first job as a social worker. 30 was similarly exciting: dancing onstage at a club in Hong Kong on my 30th b-day, meeting my future husband and falling in love, and lots of travel, including my favorite ex-hometown: Chicago.

so i decided, after a big gift from my husband, that this year would be fabulous. i absolutely refuse the 9-5 mentality, not to mention i work 8-6 most days. in my effort to continue learning and never fall into a routine...i have embarked upon the year of discovery.

as a semi-workaholic, who loves her crazy job, i also refuse to lose the creative spirit i have rejuvenated over the past 5 years. and with an artist as a husband, there is no shortage of supplies close at hand. i look forward to this new form of media (i'm a pen-n-paper kind of gal), and the new community i am discovering every day.



dream big, little girl, the world is your oyster. big clouds, blue skies—look up and smile. deep breath, jump in, don’t think, just do. what does it take? to achieve, succeed. work hard, play hard. some say luck. good timing?

let it flow, dream bubble from your head. asleep, awake—thoughts flow. in a trance, let them dance, through your mind. one of a kind, individual—be yourself. only you can make them true. act now, don’t hesitate, feel the pull—destiny. faith, trust, do the right thing. clouds drift, float by. do they see us—way up high. look up and smile.

tomorrow. new day. try again. fresh, new true identity.

awake. remember. was it real?

just dream.


in memory...

To my angel,

Running through sprinklers, building forts, putting your hair in French braids…being a kid was so much fun! Sometimes I would forget we were sisters, we were the greatest playmates. Then came thirteen, you could never understand why my phone was more important than you. Boyfriends took the place of playmates and there wasn’t much room for a little sister.

Looking through the scrapbook now, you hardly notice the gap, the time where I took you for granted, assuming you’d be there waiting when I finally grew out of it. I remember the shift…me leaving for college, you switching high schools and terrified to start over. We were equals again, worried about what the future would hold.

For me it turned out to be an Advertising major and a job in Chicago. For you, an off-and-on boyfriend from our hometown. Hundreds of letters and e-mails later, you had a degree and a fiancĂ© – that funny redhead from high school. Planning the wedding, sending you off to Georgia, who would have thought: an Air Force wife! Visits to the base were always exciting, you were so happy there. A beautiful home, a wonderful husband, and plans to move-in with me in Chicago when his tour was done.

Originally, I set out to write a thank you letter, but this has turned into a trip down memory lane. It seems as though it happens all the time now, recounting the memories. I took for granted that you’d always be there – for my wedding, the babies, the future. I took for granted the family you kept together, and the new one you were just beginning.

When that monster took both of you away from us, I never thought I’d have a reason to be thankful. But as the years slowly pass, I realize how many things I need to thank you for…

Teaching me to live each day to the fullest, and never take anything for granted. We never know what tomorrow will bring, so I make sure that those people closest to me know how much I love them. Since we’re only on this earth for a limited time, it is so important to make each day count.

Giving me the courage to start a new life without you. Moving to Texas and starting graduate school was definitely not in the original plan! But without you in Chicago, it just wasn’t the same future I had always envisioned. I had to make a change, and in it I have created an amazing new life for myself.

Creating a family that has endured this horrible tragedy. Even when you’re gone, you’re still “the glue” that holds us together. Having the opportunity to spend time as a family has allowed us all to heal, and to keep your memory alive.

Showing me the importance of kindness. And that helping others is far more rewarding than a big paycheck! Social work is my calling, but until you died I never explored the option to change careers. I hope that in some small way I can make you proud and continue your legacy of helping others.

Allowing me to become my best self. Through traumatic events in our lives we often focus on the negative, but I found some of my greatest strengths as a result of my grief. We often underestimate our capabilities, and I have you to thank for uncovering some of mine.

When you were murdered, a part of me died with you. But in its place has grown a new strength and reason for living. Growing up, you looked up to me, the one with all the answers. But now I see that the tables have turned, and it’s me who looks up to you.

Your older spinster


4th of july

heading into the holiday weekend is bittersweet these days...as a july baby and pool rat, i always loved this summer holiday. but as we near the 5-year anniversary of jamie/andy's death, i'm getting that uneasy feeling that seems to creep in around this time. galveston is finally back to normal after hurricane ike, so i'm looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend with the fam! somehow the sound of the ocean always seems to calm us during the difficult times. i'm planning to do a "memorial" section of this blog and add a letter i submitted for a book a year or so ago...hopefully i can get it up on the 5th.

i can't believe they've been gone 5 years...it's amazing how much things can change. a quick overview of the changes i've undergone since 7.5.04:

2004: single, smoker, dead-end job, apartment in chicago, quarter-life crisis...need i go on?
2009: married, smoke-free 10 months, master's degree and awesome job, house in houston, full-circle-self-discovery-lovin-my-30's...i could go on and on...