discovery #35

that riding your bike at 6:30am on a sunday doesn't feel like EXERCISE

i was kinda dreading my workout on sunday, my first pre-work bike ride since i started the new 12-hour shifts. i got up at six and quickly realized that it was still dark outside and that i didn't really want to ride alone until the sunrise at 6:23am (yes, i did look it up online). in those 23 minutes i was strongly considering snuggling back up with my hubby. but once i hit the path along the bayou, it was perfect. quiet...the sun slowly rising over the city...me and my pal piedra on the open road bike path.  i knocked out 45 minutes at a good clip and arrived home energized and ready for my twelve-hour day at the hospital.

this story is just one of the many examples i have to show that a healthy lifestyle MUST be based on
a) things you like
b) things that are fun
c) things you have easy access to
d) things you can do at 6am on a sunday
....and preferably, all of the above. 

i have been approx the same weight (150 lbs, if you must know) for the last decade. once my body figured out the shape it wanted to be in my early 20's, i just tried to keep it there. i have found this fairly easy to accomplish because of two things: fun activities and a weight watchers mindset. let me break it down for you:
1.  sometime around 2000, i found yoga. then, when i was about 25 i decided to run my first half marathon. i swim (indoors and out), mountain bike, take salsa lessons, group exercise classes (zumba dance!) at the ymca...anything that sounds like FUN! if it sounds like 45 minutes on a treadmill looking at some old guy's worn out sweatpants...i'm out. if it includes "spinning" while some skinny bitch yells like a drill sergeant that i'm not going fast enough...i will RUN in the opposite direction to get my exercise. which brings us back to this discovery...i actually enjoy riding my bike...what a concept!

and 2. i gained A LOT of weight after my sister's death. we're talking twenty-five-pounds-a-lot. i found it very hard to care that i had gained this much weight and even harder to put in effect any type of consistent plan to change it. grief sucks. literally...it sucks the energy right out...and there's not much that can replenish it. when getting up and walking to the bathroom feels like an accomplishment, running three miles is completely unfathomable.

weight watchers (ww) gave me the structure--and the freedom--i needed to get my life back in order. well, that and a goal of training for the austin half marathon.  almost five years after i lost the 25 lbs on ww, i still use the principles. basically, because.they.work. and i can have wine and ice cream and pizza. (preferably not at the same time) i need something that allows for fun...and understands that i am human.

i will not be able to run for much longer...my knees just can't take it. but i am finding great joy in my bike rides (usually with d beside me) and my recent return to swimming. both remind me of my childhood--riding around the neighborhood and splashing in the pool...and they fit perfectly with my philosophy of living life like a kid. and that's something i'll get up at dawn for.


i've been talking about this a lot lately since my lifestyle makeover kicked into high gear, but balance is essential to my mental and physical health. i totally loved my new friend sara's post on the subject today. you can check it out here.  she completed her wheel...so i thought i'd have a go at it and compare to a similar exercise i did a few months ago when i was feeling the pressure of my UNbalanced lifestyle. 

it's a little hard to make out, but if you squint, you will probably see that a significant portion of my "wheel" was made up of WORK and SLEEP. i completed this one by hours per week spent, which is probably fairly close to what they are now (except i have cut down my commuting hours considerably).  the difference is: the way my days are structured makes me FEEL like i have more time for the remaining 30% of my daily hours.

back up to the wheel of life...i'm feeling pretty good about my scores (the idea is scoring each "piece" 1-10, with 10 being the best they can be). and they appear very much in line with my priorities...which rank closely to the following list:
david ("romance")
personal growth
physical environment

what would your wheel look like? are there things you can do to start upping the scores in your priority zones? i guess i should start with myself...physical environment is pretty low with a 7. but who has time to clean the apartment when you're: romancing your husband, training for a triathlon, learning spanish, having wine with friends, painting in your studio, starting a business, and NOT worrying about money????


from the studio...

i haven't posted any art in a while...here are a few of the things i've been working on in the shiny new studio!


a little pretty for you...

from my photo walk yesterday near the houston garden center


happy birthday baby

{thirty for thirty}
30 things i love about you

    • your artist's heart
    • road trip talks
    • your eyelashes
    • your fearless mountain biking skills
    • how you kiss my forehead
    • you always put the toilet paper the {right} way
    • you tell me i'm beautiful every chance you get
    • your sense of humor
    • morning nookie
    • you encourage me as an artist
    • your hands
    • your mastery of the DS
    • your affinity for vintage shops
    • your commitment to social justice
    • your ability to look good in a black undershirt
    • when you speak spanish in your sleep
    • your love of comic books
    • you are a master of the {super-date}
    • you always listen
    • you aren't afraid to tell the truth
    • dancing everywhere – even in the parking lot
    • your commitment to your dreams
    • when you translate love songs for me
    • you are honest about your desire for children
    • your love of carnival rides
    • you believe in kissing and making up
    • your willingness to always sit outside at restaurants
    • you know how to cheer me up
    • your love of books
    • the way your eyes light up when you haven't seen me in a while


discovery #34

that 6 weeks is really not long enough to get ready for a triathlon

my first day back in the pool was friday, 5/7. on sunday, 6/6 i will swim half a mile, followed by a 12-mile bike, and then run the final 3.1 miles. please know that i can easily manage all three of these things separately. (well, i've been taking some rest breaks in the pool, but don’t tell my sister) now i'm starting to think that it might be a little more difficult once i have to do all three AT.THE.SAME.TIME.

but this is it…this is my last shot. i am already three years over my goal of completing a tri on my 30th birthday. the MRI of my knees makes it pretty clear this may be the last time i run unless being chased by a madman. i am relying on the fact that adrenaline will push me through the lack of endurance and total disregard for the training schedule my sister created for me in february.

i can do this. i want to do this. i am not too proud to crawl across the finish line. (do you think they let you wear knee pads?) i will be like the little engine that could. the tortoise. hopefully not the little boy in this video....

who needs training and fancy equipment when you have determination and a 10-year-old speedo? see jane swim. see jane bike. see jane run.

but please…don't see jane fall down, skin her knees, and get picked up by the first aid truck.



i've been thinking a lot lately about my desire to connect more with the blog community...and my total lack of dedication to taking action toward this goal. i have a couple dozen blogs in my reader, probably less than ten that i hit regularly...how difficult is it to throw out a comment now and then to let them know i'm reading?  that i'm thinking the same things, that i love their photo/art piece/poem? how do i expect to connect if i don't put myself out there?

the funny thing about writing that last line is that i'm a super-outgoing person in {real life}. i've noticed that many bloggers talk about their more introverted nature, which for them makes blogging so liberating. i'm usually the one to put myself in the middle of the room and tell stories until a group gathers around me. (yes, it's safe to assume that i like to be the center of attention...just ask my family.) is that what this is about...wanting more attention?  more comments, more "followers," more page views?

what i've realized today is that i don't have any open invitations for people to do any of those things. there isn't an RSS feed, an e-mail address, even a little line that says "i want to hear from you!" like so many of my fellow bloggers. so tonight, as i sit alone with d out of town, on a {friday night}--i don't have to work again until sunday!--i am going to correct this problem. with my new work schedule, i now have the time to truly explore this community that has given me so much inspiration over the past year. i am now committing to building relationships with other creative women and putting in the effort to make the connections i have been craving.

here we go...



one of my favorites....in all her rusty glory.


i am an artist

today i will call myself an artist.  david and i had our gallery opening this weekend...preview party last night and open studio all day today.  i am exhausted and exhilarated.  why you ask?  i showed my artwork, people looked at it, and i


i actually sold my second piece too, but that was to my dad, so it doesn't really count. it was pouring rain all weekend, but we didn't care...and neither did our guests...it was so fun to finally be in our own space.

we've spent the better part of two weeks completing all the renovations...you can take a peek here. we're official...and we even got our DBA letter in the mail last week to prove it. our dream of mariposa studio is finally real.


opposites attract

i was trying to decide which of these two to pick for my bsm, and decided that i liked the idea of the two of them together.  cozy bungalow vs. fancy high rise.  which would you pick?


please prepare for take-off

i signed up for my very first e-course. kelly rae roberts is a big part of what got me hooked on mixed media and definitely into blogging. it seemed fitting that at the exact time she was offering up a course on how to get your creative business going, i was jumping into this new adventure with david. i'm still trying to figure out all the business aspects of running an art studio/gallery and starting to explore the idea of etsy or an online shop. but mostly i'm excited about expanding my online community, meeting other creative women, and seeing where this journey will lead.
BWS tips button

discovery #33

that david and i can install track lighting!

today was major reno day at the studio...we went through 15 gallons of joint compound trying to fill in the mess left from the old chalkboards. but the biggest discovery was how to put up track lights in a room with approx. 20-foot ceilings.  let's just say my macgyver-esque husband got creative when the 8 foot track couldn't be held steady by his 5'5 wife. cue the long handle attachment for the paint roller...perfect.

i have also discovered as of late how important lighting is.  it can often dictate my mood, as i get quite irritable if forced to stay in fluorescent lighting for too long. in my office i brought in a nice little lamp, in my house i have twinkly lights year round...and the studio would be no different.  see what they looked like when we moved in last month?
i had to get the lanterns up as quick as possible!

i can't wait to see how it all turns out for the opening next weekend. david will sand and paint the walls while i'm at work tomorrow and i'll do the floors later this week. i'm sure i'll post pictures of the opening (if not here, then at the studio blog) so you can see the finished product.


creative juices

flow baby, flow! i don't know if it's just this new sense of freedom or watching this or reading this...

but i'm definitely in a "peak" (if you watch madeline's video, you'll know what i mean). i'm bursting with ideas and going crazy trying to get everything else done. i love what madeline says about just going for it when you're in the creative zone...the laundry will get done eventually. i totally relate with so many of the things she talked about and it was nice to hear it articulated.

so, here are a few of the things i'm working on right now...

you may remember these little cards from my antiquing expedition a few weeks ago.  i nailed them onto an old cutting board (also found that day) and i'm loving the start to a new mixed media piece.

and this is the lovely mess i made tonight while d was taking a post-dinner snooze...it's the first time i've actually worked in the studio in our apartment (probably b/c the boxes finally disappeared sometime last week).  i went to my favorite art supply store  yesterday and they have these little packets of scrap papers that i always love to look through...and i got a primo pack...i loved almost everything inside!

it inspired me to start putting some backgrounds together for new mixed media pieces and apparently i got a little carried away. what you see above is only part of the 16 pieces i laid out. if you've read any posts about my art process you'll know that this is totally my style:  assembly line all the way.  but i've never laid out this many at once before.  now, if only my acrylic medium weren't at the REAL studio, i could actually get something done!

and speaking of the studio...tomorrow is the big renovation day.  you can see a few pics here from when i was there on wednesday. the guys pulled down the old chalkboards, so tomorrow will be focused on filling in the mess with joint compound and trying to create some actual walls to hang art on. and since the opening is in exactly one week, it's probably pretty important. and the fact that i sent an invitation to over 100 people yesterday is bumping up the anxiety factor even more.

so i will go back to my new mantra: trust the process. and trust that guy at home depot who promised me that huge 5-gallon tub of gunk would do the trick.


can i brag?

i did something i'm really proud of today. and i'd like to brag about it a little bit. and this seems like the perfect place to pull up a comfy chair and do so.  look what i did today....

it's the banner for our new website (okay, it's a blogspot blog)...but i tried to make it look all grown up like a real website. we're trying to decide if we want to go for the real deal and get a fancy website, but for right now the graphic designer/IT support/public relations guru is none other than yours truly.  and i don't think it's half bad, if i do say so myself.

i took this picture:

fiddled around in photoshop....
then remembered my sister's friend (an actual graphic designer) told me about this heavenly land of letters.  all the free fonts you could ever want!  i picked the gloriously whimsical broken ghost and voila! a spiffy new banner that even my hubby, and studio co-founder/artist/construction worker loved.

and for those of you who have been doing this for years, go ahead and smile your smug little smile, and enjoy a chuckle at the new girl learning her way in this crazy world.


my new life

i think i could really get used to this new schedule...woke up to a gorgeous 70-degree morning, with not a cloud in the sky...dropped off d at work and headed over to rice university to run at my favorite tree-lined loop. i knocked out 3 miles at a steady pace (note: the triathlon is in exactly one month!?!?) and drove home, arm out the window, cool breeze flowing around me. i used to envy those people i'd see running on a wednesday morning...how could they be out enjoying the sunshine when i was cooped up in an office all day?  and now i'm one of them...those people...the ones that get to read books in the park and have long lunches and avoid traffic jams.

here's a list of a few things i'm looking forward to doing (and not doing) with my new 3-day work week:
  • sitting at the apartment pool on a thursday afternoon
  • not taking PTO for dentist appointments
  • cooking delicious meals
  • long, uninterupted time to write
  • painting all day at the studio
  • avoiding the after-work rush at the grocery store
  • taking my first e-course
  • being able to read while not standing up on the train to work
  • having time to connect with my fellow creative bloggers and actually comment!
  • training for the triathlon...and swimming much more
  • learning to use my camera WITHOUT the automatic function
  • moving closer to my dream of a creative life


the long drive home

okay, so this was actually taken LAST monday...i cannot tell a lie.  and it was taken from the passenger-side, through the car to the driver's window, going about 76 mph.   gotta love it.


silent sunday

i made it through my first 12-hour shift.  wow.