i told you...

my sister is the artist. and she was soooo nervous! it was cute, we had to do a "warm-up"...which is pretty cool, too.then she just went crazy....

happy halloween!!!!


my friend jamie...

(not to be confused with my sister, who i reference often on this blog) and yes, it WAS weird to move to houston and have a friend named jamie. but what makes it totally normal and special and perfect is the fact that my dear sister and my new friend are two of the sweetest women i know. so today i am spotlighting one of the only people i know who gets as excited about a trip to hobby lobby as i do. check out her edgar allen poe-inspired halloween decorations above...

and let me just show you what she did tonight when david and i came over for movie night (in their THEATRE ROOM, mind you)...
and i'm kinda in love with her studio...
thank goodness this photo was taken when they first moved in, and her space looks a bit more lived-in now, but isn't it perfect? and she's opening an etsy shop this weekend...stay tuned for details!


lonely art

well, i went ahead and worked on a few things even though geg didn't show up...
and a peek at my big canvas...still in progress...

creative writing exercise #1

so, 1/2 of my "creative day" fell through, but the other half was awesome! we're supposed to get crazy-rain tonight, they're predicting flooding...so my sis bailed on our date night. (but we're rainchecking on saturday...so there WILL be art to post!) but my first class of the creative writing workshop was tonight, and i am so glad i decided to sign up. we did an exercise at the end of class where we came up with 10 words as a group and then had 10 minutes to write a story using at least 8 of them. here is what i wrote:

hospital, hats, hope, walk, couch, ring, elevator, pencil, music, smoking

i walked into the hospital not knowing what to expect and fearing the worst. the people outside, smoking furiously, echoed my sense of nervousness. the piano music in the lobby was a sharp contrast to the panic that was building inside. increasing as i reached the elevator and pressed the floor of the ICU. families were gathered on the couches, the floor, exhausted and defeated--hoping for a doctor with good news. i spun my wedding ring on my finger as i do when i'm anxious, and approached the secretary to ask the dreaded question: "where is my husband?" she slowly moved her pencil down the list of names, it seemed like hours, waiting for her to locate the information, create a name tag, and move me toward the door. at the threshold i paused, ever so slightly, to take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other.

breathe. breathe.

and there he was. tangled in a mass of tubes and wires, but he was there. i laid my hand on his, and felt instant calm.
i actually volunteered to read it aloud as well! i really like the format of the workshop...we read a piece (rotating between fiction and non) and then discuss the author's style, use of imagery, etc. we also each do a 5-10 page story to submit for critique from the group. i have a few weeks until mine is due, but i'm already nervous about what i should write about. and she gives us exercises, homework, etc. each week as well.

i'm a little disappointed i'll be out of town next week, especially since there are only 7 classes, but i'll still get the peer stories to review and we received all of the readings today. i'm so excited...i feel like i'm taking my first leap into becoming a better writer--and being more disciplined in my efforts.


creative day!

i can't wait for tomorrow!!!! it is the first class of my creative writing workshop AND my sister is coming over for our first chagall and chardonnay party!!! they have this local event called "pinot and picasso"...which looks cool (but is way too expensive and you have to copy their choice of picasso painting, so we're going to do it OUR WAY!) i got her canvas all prepped tonight and laid out all of my "new" supplies, it's going to be so much fun to do art together.

casey is actually the artistic one...she took art classes in high school and college, and did some awesome photojournalism stuff too. so, i'm curious to see what she comes up with. i have my milos trilogy which has been sitting 1/2 finished for a couple weeks, so i'll try to get those done as well as my BIG PAINTING! i'm going to try for a night skyline...the background is all grey-black, but i'm still scared to go all the way. tonight driving home from work i was looking at the buildings, trying to get some inspiration. (and the wine will probably help my anxiety too!)

so, i should have some new artwork up soon...it's been way too long. i'm also planning to spend some time in my studio on saturday, hopefully experimenting with the wax i bought a few weeks ago. i'm finally getting over my organizing phase, and back into creative mode. i'll be sure to post artwork asap!


discovery #14

i have been PLANNING more than i've been DOING lately.

i'm in this crazy brainstorming, list-making, organizing, note-taking, in-my-head, idea-forming haze lately. i know it's my creative juices flowing, i get like this when i'm inspired to dream bigger than i had been previously. i've been thinking a lot about dream-chasing, which i've realized is really close to "creating the life i want," yet so different. dreamers seem to get a bad rap, labeled as irresponsible, disorganized, flighty.

but someone who CREATES the life she wants, now that's a go-getter, pro-active, goal-driven kinda gal. my favorite quote is: "life isn't about finding yourself. life is about creating yourself." (unknown) in our 20's i think most of us were dream-chasers; seeking what we thought we wanted/needed...a great (paying) job, prestige, tons of friends, power, and a house full of STUFF.

by the time we reached 30, most of us realized that half of that crap was worthless and the only thing of value was our relationships with others. now is when the fun begins...we get to throw out all of those antiquated ideas of who we were and what was important, and begin constructing the life we were meant to lead. but to be honest, i think i'm a bit of both: flighty dreamer and go-getter. the creator part turns me off mostly because i'm more of a kismet, serendipitous, what's-meant-to-be type. i hate the old: "what's your five year plan? set goals, action steps, blah.blah.blah." but lately i've totally been doing this...and it feels like i'm being too RESPONSIBLE. planning, schmanning...

but i love that i'm dreaming so big these days. i love that david is actively nourishing my creative spirit. i love that not only am i creating the life i want for myself, but together we are figuring out how to make our individual dreams come true together. wow, that sounds even cheesier on screen than in my head, but i don't care. that's what the exploration phase is for, putting all the ideas out on the table, even the crazy ones. and i do love to explore...



my canvas, compared to my usual album cover size

okay, i have been staring at this HUGE piece of wood for over a week. i haven't really painted or worked on mixed media during this time either. i have been dreaming of doing a big piece for a while, but ended up with a large "canvas" by total accident.

quick backstory: if you've seen any of the entries about my art you know that i use either photo album covers or old tiles as my surfaces. the albums are about 12x12 and the tiles 9x9...i love squares and i am enjoying this small size. but i'm about out of both items and was curious about doing some work with wax and needed a sturdier base.

so, this is how i ended up at lowe's in the lumber yard with a 2'x2', asking for them to cut it down into (4) you guessed it: 12x12's. but, that particular day the saw was broken and they couldn't do it. so i decided to just GO FOR IT and bought the whole thing. i came straight home and prepped it with gesso. then it sat and sat and sat...just taunting me there on the floor of my studio.

tonight i am going to put something on it. i usually don't plan any of my mixed media pieces, it's more of a free-flow kinda thing, but i'm obviously terrified of "messing up" my nice big canvas. i know by typing these words i am making a commitment to take a chance. who cares if i don't like it...is it any different than the album covers i haven't liked? NO. can i paint over it and start again? YES.

this is the end of my pep talk: cowboy-up girlfriend...it's only paint. what are you afraid of? make a mess...at least you know you're good at that part.


there are so many ways to create.
this might be why i always considered myself
creative, never artistic.
i was never great at one thing, but kinda good at a bunch...
and inspired by everything.
i love color. and i love to play. make a mess.
build something from nothing.
to be creative is a gift of yourself...
to bring beauty into the world.
be brave. color outside the lines. take risks.
and never stop being you.


hump day activity

for some reason i had the idea to do a "fun things" list at lunch...a nice way to move through old hump-day, i think. in no particular order:

jodie's favorite things to do
  • ride bikes in memorial park
  • go to texas art supply
  • eat outside
  • explore vintage shops
  • watch the sunrise driving to work
  • watch the sunset in galveston
  • hang-out with my sister, on her balcony drinking wine
  • dance in the living room
  • go to half price books
  • running at rice in the morning
  • cook (or grill!) a delicious meal with david
  • read on the train
  • plan a vacation
  • paint in my studio
  • happy hour with grad school friends
  • road trip to austin/wimberley/etc.
  • go to the menil collection (or any museum!)
  • yoga class at the Y
  • games at the happy tea house

what are your favorite things to do??


discovery #13

ARToberFEST...and a whole other side of galveston...

a while back i was researching art festivals in the area and came across ARToberFEST just down the road in galveston!! the festival runs down post office in downtown, and apparently we had never ventured over to this art-gallery-hip part of town. it was such a gorgeous fall day, tons of vendors, street musicians, and an eclectic coffee shop made for a perfect afternoon. a few artists we particularly liked were: carol moseley's rock art and oil-painted B&W photos by robin renee hix.

david and i were excited to see what texas artisans were up to, and i discovered a whole new world of possibilities. with formal training as an artist, david was never keen on selling his work, and definitely not into an art fest type setting. but as we talked more about creating some collaborative pieces and saving money for our dream-RV...it became a point for discussion.

as we walked around looking at the various artists and mediums, we saw a place for ourselves at the table. now, for me this was crazy-talk...as i (just a few months ago) stated that i had no intention of trying to sell my "stuff." but the more david has encouraged me about my mixed media pieces, and the feedback i have received online, i may have to reconsider.

but until that time comes, i'll be happy with my play-time in the studio...and definitely hanging out in that area of galveston more often! we also found some great buys at an antique store right there, and i'm sure i'll be posting about that later!!

a perfect weekend

we were at the beach house in galveston this weekend...and i have to say it was pretty close to my idea of perfection. got there friday night and joined my family on the balcony, cold beers and good conversation, with the sound of the ocean as our background music. ended the night with an all-girls dance party...HILARIOUS!!!
saturday we woke up to a gorgeous sunny morning, with a perfect chill to the air. (autumn was actually here for a couple days!!) i went out onto the balcony with my delicious coffee and read SARK while looking out at the waves. then we all got ready and headed out for the art festival downtown (see my discovery post for more), with a perfect blue-sky-no-clouds afternoon filled with art, music, antique shopping, and time with the fam. then back to the house for an incredible sunset, and everyone pitching in to create a delicious meal. and of course, top it off with games...i was in heaven.
and today was just as great...perfect weather again (well, from inside!) david and i walked down to the beach to the gym--me with my hands over my ears to protect from the wind!! after our work-out we spent some time relaxing, reading, watching a movie and then time to hit the road. and even the drive home was fun...taking pictures and picking up fajitas from our favorite, taqueria del sol!
ahhh, i don't want it to end. but i know throughout the week when things get crazy, i can look back on these photos and the memories of a perfect weekend.


warning: this is about healthcare

if you are sick of hearing about this subject, please close your browser now. i am pissed off. and in need of some serious venting. i am a social worker. my job is to listen to people who are often pissed off. and i am good at it. but there are also times i need to be MAD AS HELL.

i will attempt to make a long story (of which i do not know all of the details anyway) short. my co-worker/friend came to me yesterday for help b/c her sister has been so weak she can't walk, falling on the floor and cannot get herself up, in severe pain, cannot urinate, etc.etc. background: she was a victim of a shooting (multiple gunshots to her body) approx. 10 years ago; the surgeons were not able to remove all of the bullet fragments fearing they would severely injure her spinal cord. fast forward to last week, she was working full-time, raising 2 young children, and relatively healthy. oh, and did i mention: she cannot afford health insurance.

then she went to the emergency room at ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL IN SUGAR LAND, TX for treatment of the above symptoms. they did an examination, stated that she might have a pinched nerve, gave her some steroids, and stated "well, it might be the bullet fragments shifting, but we can't do any further testing because you don't have insurance."

so she went home. and for the next 6 days continued to decline and the pain became increasingly worse. which is when my friend asked me for help. i told her my recommendation was to go to BEN TAUB HOSPITAL IN THE MEDICAL CENTER, which happens to be a county hospital, and also happens to be where she was initially treated for her GSW.

she was admitted last night and will undergo neurosurgery tonight or tomorrow. aaarrrggghhhh!!!!! what.the.hell.is.wrong.with.our.medical.system????? i don't have any intelligent comments at this time...and i haven't done any research to develop my arguments further today. so, i will go to bed feeling a bit less pissed off because i told this story. and sometime soon i will develop this into a much more compelling and well thought-out piece for your reading pleasure. stay tuned...


discovery #12

my values

i feel a little stupid admitting this, but i think i just figured out what "values" are. sure, i know that politicians throw around phrases like family values and in the medical field we talk about the value of human life. but to be perfectly honest, when my husband and i were falling in love he would say things like "we have very similar values" and i really didn't know what the hell he was talking about.

okay, i had SOME idea...i hadn't been living under a rock for 30 years...and as a social worker i agree to uphold certain values (service, social justice, dignity/worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence) as part of my professional license. but i hadn't spent a whole lot of time putting WORDS to those things i had been slowly learning about myself over the years. so today i totally had one of those oprah-esque-aha-moments as i was perusing the rise of the innerpreneur website. it's creator discusses the concept of a Cultural Creative, which i'm not so sure about, but the list of 18 values associated with this title hit me over the head like a gopher at the arcade.

i was so intrigued that i printed out the list for my husband and we actually checked off our values during the drive home. 15 out of 18 for both of us. (apparently we're not as environmentally-conscious as we probably should be...1 thru 3 were not selected.) but for some reason, this list seemed like the perfect answer to that nagging question, what do we value as a couple? david and i struggled in the beginning of our relationship because so many people thought we were "complete opposites." it was difficult to explain to people (especially our families) that we held many of the same views about life, when i couldn't articulate them for myself. so, needless to say i was extremely psyched to see them all neatly typed on my computer screen, just waiting for me to find.

i guess for me the true epiphany came during my pilates class, when i was reflecting on all of this new information. i realized how much this simple list has affected my personal relationships and interactions over the years. it finally became clear that as i was forming-understanding-crystallizing these values, those people around me were doing a similar thing...only i wasn't aware of it at the time.

ultimately, what i discovered today was that we MUST surround ourselves with people whose values parallel our own, or risk the conflict and misunderstanding that often arises when they are not aligned. i am not saying that healthy debate and differing perspectives aren't important to a well-rounded person, but i do feel that the more support we feel for those passions which drive us, the more success we can achieve toward social change.

at the time i was solidifying all of these values i was in graduate school, and not surprising in a social work program, found myself with an automatic community of like-minded students who espoused many of those 18 values. i had daily interactions with people who: (from the list)

5. place a lot of value on helping other people
6. volunteer for one or more good causes
9. want more equality for women at work
10. are concerned about violence and abuse of women/children around the world

...you can see the pattern. i took it for granted at the time...probably because i was surrounded by social workers 90% of the time, but the fact that david and i are united on so many issues is pretty damn incredible. now, if we could just maintain a community that places an emphasis on the same ideals, we could really do some damage.



apparently i like before and after shots today...here's a piece i did over the weekend, i showed the "basis" for it in an old entry.

my balance experiment

well, it worked...i am FINALLY feeling normal again. i don't even know what that means when i type it, but i certainly feel that the balance has been restored. it seems that the simple act of awareness allowed me to monitor my inner scale and make modifications as needed. it reminded me a lot of my weight watchers days: making a goal for the week, planning for slip-ups, forgiving myself for them, and celebrating my accomplishments. ww was perfect for me, the program realizes that we are human, accounts for error, and understands that i still need mint chocolate chip ice cream on a regular basis. (and i lost about 30 pounds...which never returned in the 3 years since!!)

so, i'm done with the experiment...but it also taught me that i can blog every day if i put my mind to it. now i just have to apply that concept to writing more formally. i have begun taking steps toward the dream and hope to spend some time at the beach house next weekend getting my ideas-notes-scribbles-thoughts-dreams organized. no one ever said dream chasing was easy...baby steps, my friends.


and speaking of organization...look at this transformation!?!? (thank goodness for rainy sunday's and a cancelled mountain bike expedition)....



i just love looking through my photographs...we have decided to re-do the "theme" in our bedroom (it was all my china photos and an amazing painted canvas strung over our bed), but we are changing everything out for MILOS! hopefully i can get some before/after pics...
and david and i are going to do a collaborative painting for above the bed.

who needs the gym when you only sit down for 30 minutes all day. i actually sat at my desk to scarf down a smart ones veggie lasagna and some yogurt...the rest of the day was INSANE.
we made delicious fish tacos for dinner...oh, and does kissing count as exercise???

hmmmm, does tgif mean anything? i am also thankful for sexy candlelit dinners with my
hubby and knowing that i don't have to set the alarm tonight. (but i will b/c i'm getting
up for yoga class at 8am)

i had a very stressful day at work, but the minute i got in the car i made a promise to use my "balloon imagery." put all of that stress and patient-drama in the helium balloon, tie it up tight and LET IT GO. (deep breath in. and exhale. repeat if necessary.)



i'm not sure if i ever highlighted this one...but it has ended up being one of my favorites. i love this style...with the textured paper underneath a basic paint color. i layered on the white to give it more depth and the tree is done with pencil (free hand, but with this as a guide)...i told you i was CREATIVE, not artistic!
well, i skipped the gym as planned for tonight, but was very productive at home. i seem to fall into this pattern (especially at the end of the week)...where i have a rough day at work and all i want to do is come HOME. but i made a delicious dinner of turkey loin and grilled asparagus with some leftover rice. mmmm

today i am thankful for beautiful skies...i wish i had my camera! also for delicious coffee and some time tonight to make art.

i did a load of laundry, which is a big accomplishment...i always leave it to the weekend, then get mad that i spend my whole saturday chained to the garage!



you probably can't see the best part of this one unless you blow it up, but i used gesso-paint to make the textured parts and went over it with the gray paint...LOVE IT!!! i am a big texture person for paintings, and i really want to get better at using it in my artwork. (the photo was taken from the top of the ferris wheel on santa monica pier)

walked 3 miles this morning...WAY too hot/humid to run, what's up with the 80' temps in October!??!

i am thankful for the skills i have gained as a social worker. quick story: on two separate occasions today someone was trusting enough to allow themselves to break-down in tears with me. i am grateful that i can share that space with another person and help the hurt--if just a little bit. and i am so grateful for blog-breaks...my brain was about to explode at 2pm today and i refreshed myself with the view of kelly rae roberts' beautiful paintings.

walking outside. any chance i get to be outdoors, i'll take it...i get so frustrated when i'm at work all day and feel TRAPPED!



i love this picture of myself (apparently david and i played in a lot of parks in greece...see last week's discovery photo!)

took the stairs every 5 minutes at work, making moroccan chicken w/ couscous for dinner

i'm thankful for the ability to read (my bitch magazine on the train after work), free lunch, and that party (two years ago today) where i met david

i listened to great music and envisioned my gratitude entry the entire time i was stuck in traffic...with the windows rolled down, it was actually enjoyable!!



i did this piece over the weekend, the image was actually on the carry-out bag from the yummiest gyro shop in athens!

yoga tonight and homemade spinach-feta rice

i'm thankful for inspirational women like 90 year old miss m, making up after a stupid fight, and a good hair day

during lunch i was feeling the need to write, so i scribbled down all of my feelings/anxieties related to my career path


discovery #11

that i don't know how to successfully address "the funk"

they say that grief never actually ends, it just gets easier to handle. this has been absolutely accurate for me. in the five years since jamie's death, i've done the typical rollercoaster of phases, often repeating each over and over again. and i have noticed that in the last couple years since i've moved on to the next level of grief, that i enter into what i have lovingly termed "the funk" periodically. there is usually no rhyme or reason to the timing and it can last for a couple days or weeks, depending how i address my feelings. but the frustrating part is: the solution does not remain the same.

and what i've discovered this week is that the funk may not actually be related to jamie anymore. in the past i would watch old home movies of us together, replay her wedding video, look through the scrapbook i made...along with a good cry, i usually felt much better after taking some time to truly experience my emotions.

but last week was different...it didn't feel like a grief reaction, but i was miserable nonetheless. the funny thing is that i didn't even try the old "solutions," it didn't cross my mind to watch videos or call my sister to talk about her. but i remember consciously trying to figure out what might make me happy again. this is way too close to the "band-aid fixes" that i hate so much...trying to repair the hurt after it's already a big bloody mess. what i need is to start some preventative measures.

in grad school, when i was single, this was MUCH EASIER. first, because i didn't work full-time and second, because i didn't want to hang-out with my husband every night instead of cleaning the house. now i need to work much harder to maintain the balance in my life and avoid the road to Overwhelming Town.

so, here is my plan for this week...first, so i can be more aware of the balance (or imbalance) of my days and second, so i can attempt to self-correct if i veer off course.

1. blog every day with the following subjects:
  • creative: new photo or art piece
  • health/fitness: exercise or yummy meals
  • gratitude entry: 3 things i'm thankful for
  • 1 thing i did to make an effort toward balance

2. exercise at least 3 times and make 3 healthy dinners

3. paint or read or write or dance every day

4. attempt to tidy the house and do domestic tasks during the week

5. make an appointment with the EAP counselor if i'm still feeling yucky about work

right now i'm feeling well-balanced and energized for the coming week. i ran in the race for the cure yesterday and made some new art. and i'm doing a mini j-day today and i've cleaned my entire house! oh, and i revised our budget, paid all the bills, and dropped off the rent check.

you'll notice my see-saw at the top (david and i used it at the park in greece). i especially enjoyed lara blair's piece at wishstudio last week where she said of her own struggle: "It’s a delicate balance and I take it hard when either side of the see-saw hits the dirt…sometimes with a deafening thud." and i need to give a shout out to brandi reynolds whose entry on friday really struck a chord and gave me the oomph to put my thoughts on-screen.