technical crap

you know what REALLY bugs me? when i do very simple things on my entries and it won't reflect when i publish. what's up with the paragraphs not displaying my spacing?? i've been trying to fix it for 2 days!?!? sooooo annoyed...just had to vent.


discovery #10

i am not alone.

saturday night i was confronted by my family about my and david's decision not to have children. let me start out by saying that we have decided not to have children NOW. i am not saying that i never want kids, but i truly don't know what will happen in the future. i have also made my wish to adopt (which david is also in favor of) known to friends/family, which seems to be another source of concern.

you should also know that the general vibe i have received from my family since my youth has gone something like this: "you can do anything boys can do," "you can have a career, whatever you want to be." and with regard to family planning, my mother's famous quote "just remember to elope" (with a definition of the term when i was 11). so you can see my confusion, when after my wedding at 31, my dad is suddenly concerned about my indecisiveness regarding the subject of children--and specifically, biological children. not to mention my sister/brother-in-law chiming in with the fact that neither of them know ANYBODY who feels the way i do about having children.

now, you must know that this is not the first time i have been the black sheep of the family. and this is not the first time my father has challenged me on one of my unconventional decisions, but i was still shocked that they couldn't understand my hesitation. nor my apparent frustration with their expectation that i uphold traditional family/gender roles.

so, last night i googled "women choosing not to have children" and found a whole new world--a thriving community of childless by choice couples, and even a national organization, NON: The National Organization for Non-Parents! and the ever so authoritative wikipedia even has a whole childfree entry. i must say that it was refreshing to read an article which spoke directly to me regarding my hesitance toward parenthood and supported our position as a new couple. someone to normalize the fact that i don't feel that maternal instinct, nor do i have a desire to bring new life into the world right now.

my discovery this week is that there ARE others out there who, for whatever personal reasons, are deciding to opt out of the parental domain. and i shouldn't need this "back up" to legitimize our decision...i shouldn't care about other people's beliefs regarding a 32 year old married woman who doesn't want a baby. but when it's your own family, it still hurts.

when we got married i knew the age-old joke would befall us: "so, when are you going to start having kids?" (and it did.) but i have thwarted many further probes by stating simply "ask me again in 5 years." and so far it has been successful. most people can appreciate the fact that i spent two years working hard in grad school and studying to pass the licensing exam. and anyone who's read my previous discoveries knows that i love my job.

what is wrong with enjoying my career (and trying to pay off school loans!) and spending quality time (and lots of travel!) with my husband in our first years of marriage? i'm not buying into that selfishness argument...i'll flip that and say that having kids when you are not emotionally or financially prepared for the responsibility is selfish. and if my decision not to have children is selfish, so be it. i've been called worse things. but i'm focusing on my marriage right now. i'm focusing on creating a life that is exciting and fulfilling and happy. and if, in 4 years, i happen to change my mind...that seems like a pretty fabulous place for a kid to join us.

p.s. the cutie in the above photo is my god-son.
p.p.s. i LOVE kids...and anyone who has seen me interact with my nieces/nephews/godkids KNOWS IT.
p.p.p.s. if you take any offense to the above opinion, please accept my apology in advance.



i want to submit an article to a magazine. there, i put it out into the universe. i am one of those people who needs to tell people i'm doing something, so i (and they) hold myself accountable to my dreams. so far this has been successful for getting a job on a cruise ship, completing the 1/2 marathon, grad school, and now hopefully for a triathlon.

this month (well, october) i will research mags for submissions--i have done this before, but not followed through--and actually begin putting together something to send off. i would love to submit something to somerset studio, then i could combine my new artsy stuff with writing. but an article on its own would be fine too. okay, enough talking...time for ACTION!


day trippin'

to celebrate our anniversary, david and i did what we LOVE to do: road trip! even if it's just the few hours to austin, we love having time to talk, sing loud to the radio (and dance like idiots!), and get a break from our routine at home. i didn't remember how pretty that drive is, with all the trees and ranches and cute little towns (we need to hit up the antique stores next time) along the way. we had planned to go to barton springs pool, which is fed from natural underground springs, a part of zilker park. but i knew the water was always a cool 68 degrees (such a nerdy pre-trip researcher), and figured we'd better do something to get hot before heading over.
since my bike STILL has a flat tire we decided to forgo our usual trails in the park and do the botanical gardens instead. (much more romantic than mountain bikes, don't you think?) i had been to the gardens when i first moved to texas and remembered the japanese garden being really beautiful. and it still was this time, but overall the experience wasn't as impressive. we accidentally wandered into an undeveloped area, and instead of feeling like a secret trail...we could see cars on the highway and hear the traffic! but i did get a bunch of great pics, so overall it was a success. (and we danced like school kids in a gazebo on the grounds)


discovery #9

i'm late on this one...i contemplated several ideas before choosing this one. (at some point i'll post a list of all the discoveries that didn't make the cut!) here it goes:

i hate advertising.

this is especially hilarious because my undergrad major was (you guessed it!): advertising. i worked for one year out of college at an ad agency in downtown chicago...lots of parties, a few business trips, lunch meetings with radio/tv stations, tons of swag, but no heart. i just wasn't feelin' it...but at the time i thought i hated the 9-5. (so i quit and went to work on a cruise ship in the caribbean.)

but today i'm reflecting on the realization that all advertising plays off of our insecurities and vulnerabilities as humans (and particularly as women). i discovered this fact while reading my real simple magazine the other day. let me mention that i only get two magazines--wait, 3, i just started the third--real simple, bitch, and now somerset studio. bitch only has ads for really awesome stuff like DivaCup (a tampon alternative), powell's books and funky art. somerset is pretty much filled with stampington's self-promotion of its other publications and tons of art supplies.

BUT REAL SIMPLE IS LIKE A FREAKIN' BEAUTY MAG!! i guess i didn't realize this when i sent off for my "free 3-month subscription"...but every other ad is telling me how bad my skin, retirement plan, natural hair color...is. and it's too bad b/c they have some good stuff in there.

i have pretty much stopped watching tv...and when i lived with my sister, we had dvr so there was no reason to watch commercials. i flip the channel on the radio (or listen to my iPod). i try very hard to ignore banner ads and block all pop-ups online. besides the fact that i sometimes enjoy billboard ads on a long road trip...i RARELY expose myself to advertising anymore.

okay, enough of my rant...but it goes along with the whole capitalistic-consumer-profit hungry-unrealistic beauty ideal-anti-social work thing i'm sure to address at a later date.

my hood

david and i took a day trip to austin for our anniversary and took along our film cameras (pics to come!)...but when we got home he still had 1/2 a roll. so, when i was itching to get them developed i decided i was going to finish off the 12 pics with HIS camera. but it was about 7pm and i didn't know what i wanted to shoot.

enter my quick-thinking hubby who suggested a neighborhood scavenger hunt of places i love to hang-out. GENIUS!! here is a drive through my hood, complete with a photo of my perception of a real live dollhouse....enjoy!!

p.s. we LOVE doyle's...their veggie pizza got us through many post-hurricane dinners!



one year. 365 days. wow. david and i said our vows almost exactly 8,760 hours ago. time really does fly when you're having fun. if i knew being married would be such a blast i'd have done it years ago. okay, that's a total lie. but seriously, david and i have had one helluva year! and as a nod to that commitment i live every day, i thought i'd share what only a handful of our family and friends got to hear on that (very hot 7 day post hurricane ike) night (in our living room with no electricity and a window unit on a very loud generator):

We commit...

To live passionately
To pursue peace
To fulfill our heart’s desires
To stand side-by-side through difficult times
To challenge conventional norms
To cherish those dearest to our hearts
To make every moment unforgettable
To open our hearts to those in pain and extend our hands to the needy
To bring joy to each other’s lives
To explore the world around us
To journey with those who struggle
To build our home as a refuge and sanctuary
To seek happiness along the road

…forever and ever, Amen.

oh, and i still have the napkin from the signature room drinking mojitos and watching the sun set over chicago while we wrote them...


phase 2

this was a photo i took of an iron gate at one of the historic homes in galveston...i love the pattern. i think this one still needs a little work, but i like how the texture of the paper works with the distress ink.
ahhh, my ode to chi-town. how i miss you this time of year! this is actually a photo david took when we went to celebrate our engagement. blues music, street musicians, "take me out to the ballgame"...i miss those sounds.

these are more quilt squares i found at an antique shop in galveston. i mixed black and silver paint and i love how it kinda made a chalkboard effect...allowing me to use my pencils and chalks to create patterns. i'm thinking the butterflies need a little more detail, but the simple colors are growing on me.


random reflections

i was home sick yesterday. and as i was forcing myself to lie in bed and "rest"--as everyone kept screaming--i started thinking about this whole blog thing. here are some of the thoughts i scribbled down in my feverish state...in no particular order or relevance:

* if i stated in one of my first posts "even if my sister is the only person who ever reads it...i'm doing this for me..." THEN WHY do i check for comments all the time???

* i've noticed that many bloggers add the old disclaimer "stealing is mean," have a watermark on their artwork/photos, etc. is this something to be worried about...especially if my sister is the only one reading it?

* the whole comment vs. e-mail thing...i am very interested in making connections with other creative women, but on the other hand, i barely have time for my real-life friends. how do i balance this...and fit it into my schedule?

* i am really focused on the authenticity movement created by brene brown, and hope that i can be truly myself through my posts. and i am not always happy-inspiring-smiley-sweetness. sometimes i am annoyed-frustrated-pissed off-bitch. but what i hope comes across is an honest description of life in my authentic voice.

* i am also concerned about the whole time-spent-online-conundrum. first you should know that i hate tv (clarification: this does not include HGTV) and absolutely refuse to be one of those people who comes home from work and basks in its glow while my husband watches something else in the other room. enter the artwork and blogging obsession...at least i have something to SHOW for those after-work hours not spent outside. but how much is too much...now i'm starting to feel the "blog guilt" that i notice many women discussing on their blogs. (leading to many a hiatus, sabbatical, whatever...to actually LIVE and not just write about it.)

* finally, i was thinking about the overall layout/updates/gadgets/changes/color themes that i really enjoy, but become sort of addicting. again, if i'm just doing this for the content, who cares what it looks like? but the perfectionist in me wants everything just so. and even though i know better than to compare my blog to those who have been doing this forever...it is inevitable.

in a nutshell, i still like my idea to do the discoveries once a week, and although i haven't been doing a specific art piece for each entry, i'm doing a lot of creating, which is really all that matters. i'm most pleased that i've actually stuck to it--i have posted a discovery entry on schedule and often more throughout the week with random thoughts. i'm also glad it's gotten me taking more pictures and using photoshop...i love seeing my life in photos.

so, we'll see what the next 3 months brings...maybe i'll get the flu again and ruminate about my place in the blogosphere at that point...


phase 1

i've realized that i'm all about the "assembly line" when it comes to art production. i don't know if i've ever done one painting start to finish by itself. tonight i started 5 different pieces!?!? and worked on the gesso-cardboard-thing from yesterday. i am reminded of a video post i saw a while ago, where the women were discussing this concept...make a whole bunch of art, and you're bound to have a few gems. let's hope!


discovery #8

that i'm not sure what happens when we die.

i finished the book today and most of the last 50 pages deals with death and the afterlife. david is confronting a lot of these subjects in the hospital chaplain training, so we talked about the whole heaven-hell-atone-for-your-sins-thing today. i realized that despite the fact that i have strong beliefs on what i believe happened to my sister after she was killed, i've never really thought that deeply about whether i would label those ideas as "heaven."

in an attempt to begin putting words to my inner-most thoughts, as i hope someday to add to the literature on death/dying, here goes nothin. i believe that when jamie and andy died their souls went (somewhere) that was perfectly made for them--lots of puppies (they always wanted a dog!), babies (they were bound to be incredible parents), swimming pools (j), golf courses (a), and no pain or fear or regret. although i've never used the word heaven, i suppose i do adopt one common attribute: i look up. i throw kisses to the sky. thank them for a beautiful sunrise or sunset. and generally assume they look down to check-in from time to time, just to make sure we're all still smiling.

david jokes that although i don't identify as religious, i espouse more of the values than half the church-goers he's met. i describe myself as questioning--and this was true even before jamie's death. i'm not sure what i believe...and luckily, i married a man who's cool with that. i like the flexibility of my spirituality, it's allows me to adopt parts from various perspectives and create what feels right for me. so, do i know what happens when we die? no. nobody does.

but i like what kubler-ross says: "when we have passed the tests we were sent to Earth to learn, we are allowed to graduate. we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul the way a cocoon encloses the future butterfly, and when the time is right we can let go of it." and i like the idea of "the five people you meet in heaven" and the impact that we have on those who we meet in our lives. and i like the thought that my sister can take a break from the loveliness i hope she is enjoying and feel the love i'm sending out into the universe.



i've been trying to do some abstract stuff, but i'm finding it really difficult....
my husband said of this one: "it's not your best." i like the colors, but i think it's too busy or something...?
and i was going for another abstract, but needed some words to balance. this was done on an old disney album cover (can you see tink?)
started with gesso for texture...we'll see what i come up with. (and this was started on a piece of cardboard from a picture frame i found lying on my floor!)
for some reason i'm really loving this "blob"...it's what remained after my brayer from the second one above. i notice that i'm always drawn to the leftovers...

studio saturday

i love rainy days when i'm busy working on art inside!!! and i've been using all my finds from last weekend's trip to the antique shops in galveston. our favorite, antique warehouse, is an old brothel and all of the rooms (with some of the crazy beds!) are still intact...it is so awesome. i went back to get some more tiles, since i love the way my mixed media pieces look on them. Note: last time i paid $3 each and only bought 2, so this time i took 10 and offered him $1 a piece. but when i told the guy that i have being doing my art pieces on them, he gave 'em to me for 50 cents each...a fellow artist!! sooo happy. and my mom and i found these old quilt squares

(she is actually using some for her project linus quilts) which i worked on today. i'm still working on the depth, it's kinda flat-looking...we'll see what i come up with. i'll probably do another post today with some of the "work in progress" stuff i'm loving right now.

oh, and what i'm not loving...my new header. it looks weird...but i'm too lazy to do another one today.


discovery #7

elisabeth kübler-ross – the person.

yeah, so everyone knows about her five stages of dying, and maybe a few have even read “on death and dying,” but i was blown away by her grit and determination while reading her autobiography. let me preface this discussion with the fact that i picked up the book for a buck on the clearance rack at half price books (which is a great place for discoveries, I might add). i’ve been slowly collecting books on grief/bereavement in preparation for some future writing project or work with patients, and thought it might be useful.

so, when i took it along to my haircut saturday (where i do all my best reading), i couldn’t put it down. kübler-ross is so engaging on paper, and her life story plays like a dramatic film. i still have about 50 pages to go, but i’m definitely intrigued. i visited the website for her foundation today, but was a bit disappointed that it has been poorly maintained over the past few years. and it looks like they are creating a new site, but it is “temporarily unavailable.”

i suppose i’ll have to find another way to continue discovering her work, particularly some of her later writing (she wrote the memoir after surviving multiple strokes and went on to publish 5 books after that!) the book she did with her son, “Real Taste of Life: A photographic journal” will probably be next on my list.

who have you been reading lately…and what are they inspiring you to do?


the yucks

this week has been not fun. work kicked my ass, david was annoyed with me for being annoyed with work, i could barely get my entry posted for last week, and there are A LOT of dirty clothes in my hamper (oh, and in the suitcase from the weekend!)

i also get the yucks when i don't do something creative. i didn't make a painting in over a week. yuck. i only exercised twice. yuck. i ate a huge burger with shrooms and onions and a big blue moon for dinner. yum. (at least the week ended well) what it is about a 3-day weekend that makes the previous 5 days bearable? i am REALLY looking forward to the next few days....

i have already donned my "paintin frock" and am ready to get messy. i have had an extra corona for good measure. and the painting i am making has special meaning. oh, and david and i are planning to go vintage shopping on sunday and spend some time just walking on the beach and enjoying.the.view.

deep breath. good vibes. loud music. creative energy. sand between my toes. peace. love. mmmm, the weekend.


discovery #6

i need to work harder to maintain my "community"

last weekend i was reminded how much i need this community i have found in houston. when i left chicago (and the urban tribe i had relied so much upon) i never thought i would find a group of like-minded souls to encourage, nourish, and support me. graduate school would not have been the same without the trip to china, which is where most of these friendships blossomed.

but now that classes have ended and we've all moved on to jobs and families and other responsibilities, it takes a lot more effort. i want to make the commitment to planning more "getaway weekends" and truly embrace this group of wonderfully diverse friends who have entered my life.

i have discovered as i've gotten older that it becomes more and more difficult to "make friends." in kindergarten it's easy: share a pb&j and you're in! high school might have been a bit more challenging, but with after-school groups and sports teams, there were always people around. and once we left for college or got that first job, there were always people there to study with, bitch to, or ask to cover our shift when we had a hot date.

but at 32 i find fewer and fewer opportunities to meet people and sustain meaningful friendships. and as i see my friends from chicago less and less often, i rely more on the bonds i have created in my new town. this is a topic i'm sure to cover more in the future, as there has been a broadening of my definition of community since my induction into the blogosphere.

so, as i commit to more face-time with my group locally, i also commit to commenting more frequently on blogs i follow. and hopefully, a chance to connect with other women searching for inspiration, sharing their stories, and creating a forum to showcase their talents.