the year in review

last year i committed to doing 20+10 things in 2010...they were not resolutions (i don't believe in the stuff), but things i believed i could not fail to accomplish.  let's see how i did...

· kiss my husband (passionately) every day

· call my best friend molly more often than i did in 2009  although this was still pathetic and i vow to continue my efforts in 2011

· only sit outside at restaurants

· go to galveston once a month   (i made a good effort...and then we moved there part-time in october!)

· eat healthy foods. (this includes my promise to never again use spray butter!)--> and i didn't!

· read 5 books (in their entirety)  i read WAY more than 5!

· complete a triathlon

· go to at least 1 conference/workshop/retreat, preferably on the topic of writing/creating  (natalie goldberg workshop at kripalu yoga center)

· take one fabulous trip (or perhaps a fabulous staycation)   both.  see above for kripalu (and a week in galveston in january)

· do one thing that scares me (i.e. submitting a query to a big publication)...sadly i never heard back, but at least i tried

· celebrate the 2-yr anniversary of my last cigarette

· laugh out loud   i commit to contuing this well into the new year

· substantially reduce my debt  (uhhhh, let's just skip this one)

· continue the “year of discovery”  (i finished this with 40 posts in july...i'm very proud of my first year of blogging)

· volunteer with teens at bo’s place

· make connections with inspirational bloggers  i even brought 2 to do an art show at our studio in august!

· feel generally calm and peaceful  (uhhh, except for the panic attack, i guess you could say so)

· swim

· learn a poem  (i learned half of the road not taken, by robert frost)

· cook dinner more often

· paint with my sister

· participate in ARToberFEST

· take a mountain bike trip to Austin

· buy a “REAL” camera

· stop feeling guilty about being a bad housewife

· hire molly maids when necessary (to accomplish the above)

· make my own clothes – or modify, alter, funkify the ones i never wear

· limit new purchases

· play with children (or just ride the swings)  thank goodness for my niece!

· live an authentic life

not too shabby.


have yourself a merry little christmas...


holiday flashback

this friday is a special one...one where many of us spend time with family and try our darnedest not to kill each other.  i am no different...although i spend quite a bit of time with my family throughout the year. the trouble is: my father and i are polar opposites with identical personalities. most dinners turn into a conversational battle of the wills, weekends at the beach become destination political debates, a leisurely lunch at sweet tomatoes can evoke high blood pressure and anxiety.

but i'll turn back the clock to a time when i was known only as daddy's girl. i wasn't interested in the dresses mom laid out on the bed, the dolls my sister meticulously dressed in ball gowns and high heels. i played in the park and caught pop flies, preferred my pet hermit crab to the family kittens, and couldn't stand more than a 30 minute back-to-school shopping trip. dad and i did everything together...picking out baseball bats, long rides in his shiny white convertible, practicing putts at wee tee. it wasn't until my teens that this quality time began to dwindle.

so it was incredibly refreshing to spend an entire evening this week watching his dvr'd classics...just the two of us. no discussions about obama, or my career as a social worker, no jabs at my lack of permanent housing, or merlot-induced name calling ("bleeding heart liberal" or "*&%$#@* liberal" his favorites). just like old times...me and dad...and some blue bell ice cream bars, just to make it that much sweeter.



or september?  i still can't get used to the fact that the leaves change in winter...but i sure do enjoy it!


flashback friday

on wednesday i did cartwheels in the sand. it was one of those perfect texas days—70 degrees in december—and we went out for a bike ride. we were explorers that day, zooming in and out of golf cart paths, criss-crossing the highway that divides the complex, through tunnels and grassy patches. at one point, i veered off the path and headed straight for the long wooden walkway leading to the beach. we navigated the curves of the wheelchair ramp—up, up, until we passed the grasslands underneath and landed on the sandy ledge beyond. i was quick to jump off my bike and suggest a walk on the beach before turning back.

as we left the wooden boardwalk, i envisioned myself doing cartwheels on the dark sand. and as quickly as this thought entered, it floated away with the wind, replaced by thoughts of broken bottles hiding out of view, the weight of my grown-up body crumbling on my weakened wrists. but i resisted these negativities…a child doesn't worry about falling in the sand, a few scrapes and cuts…and focused instead on the impulse: i want to do a cartwheel.

and so i did. a few of them actually, trying to point my toes skyward, improve my form, win the 30-40 age bracket for best beach gymnastics. and guess what? there was no glass waiting to slice open my palms, my strong yoga arms easily held my body weight as i pinwheeled toward the crashing waves. this simple act reminded me that if i open my heart to the impulses, and let go of my grown-up worries…i am more than capable of following my dreams.

i will continue my effort to apply this lesson to other areas of my life, and refuse to let fear and anxiety dictate my actions. as adults we tend to be too responsible…identifying every possible {negative} outcome before taking action. sometimes we need to just go for it, consequences be damned. now, i'm not advocating for risky behaviors here, just a smidge less analyzing and a bit more adventure.

what did you do this week to exercise your childlike spirit?



i love this view...

my niece was so happy playing photographer...i had to revert to my phone to capture this one.




day 12

mom and i handmade this advent calendar together...it is one of my prized holiday possessions.


4G? Nope.

4 D. as in, the hubby and i went to see polar express 4D at moody gardens last week. for hanukkah david took me to the festival of lights event and fully encouraged my inner child...we rode around in a golf cart, shooting pictures of all the crazy animals and disney characters, and eating kettle corn from the little booth. but the best part was definitely when we splurged for the upgrade on the 16-minute interactive version of my favorite childhood holiday book.

on christmas day, my maternal grandparents would come over to our house to open gifts, but only after we completed our annual entertainment. first, my sisters and i would take turns on the piano, singing and trying to keep pace with the 6 other voices similarly off-key. after the horrifying talent show ended, we'd snuggle up on the couch or the floor near grandpa's feet, as he'd read from our personal copy of the polar express. the reason our book was so special was that attached like a bookmark was a lovely red ribbon with a life-sized sleigh bell, just like the one in the story.

grandpa's been gone ten years now, but i can still picture him poised on the flowered couch with the bright december sunlight glowing over his shoulder as he read. his slender legs crossed at the knee, slacks always pressed with a crease, cardigan to keep his ever-thinning body warm in the bitter midwestern winter. he became weaker and weaker in those last years, but always made an effort to maintain this family ritual. it was so wonderful that david could help renew that holiday tradition.

with grandpa gone, grandma in illinois, and my family boarding a cruise ship to cozumel, our traditions have changed. i'm glad to revisit this beautiful memory and send some love to grandpa olds this holiday season. and i'd love to know...what unique traditions do you and your family uphold?

i'm also joining in the fun for december views 2010. i had already started my own version last weekend and stumbled across the badge at another blog.  i've always loved checking in with hippy urban girl and excited to join in this project and showcase all my lovely winter images.  care to join me?

hound dogy

(as seen outside a pet supply store)



studio love

i'll try not to cry when i tell you that this is the last week i'll make a mess in our beautiful studio. what a glorious afternoon, playing like i did when i very first fell in love with mixed media. it's been a while since i've posted some of my works in progress. we'll see how they develop over the next few days...

one man's trash...


lollipop palace

this house is straight outta candy land....




any season that includes twinkly lights can last all year long as far as i'm concerned. 


let's go for a walk...

i've been shooting so much these days...but they never seem to leave my memory card.  this is your personal invitation for a photo walk with me this week.  the temperature is perfect...and there may even be apple cider at the end!



it feels like flying when you really get going. the running start to gain speed, making sure the nose of the cart is pointed directly at your destination. i used to look around to make sure no one was watching as i left the store. like my secret hit from the bong, something forbidden; like i could get caught. but now i do it with pride…my attempt at avoiding adultitis, my promise to live fully, my commitment to this blog and my childish spirit.

i did a super run yesterday—almost all the way to the car…and then i turned around and went back to where david was slowly trailing behind me. it was a perfect ride: the slant of the Target parking lot just gradual enough for me to keep up a good speed. the cart weighed down with holiday goodies to keep me from popping a wheelie during my descent. it feels a little like my old skateboard, the tug of uncertainty that it won't hold my weight as i glide along; that at any moment i might find my face kissing asphalt.

but you do it anyway…for the rush. the wind in my face, the simple pleasure of it. not because it will take years off my appearance, increase my chances at the corner office, or offer an instant coupon for 33% off. i love riding the cart because it is FUN. pure, unadulterated fun. and isn't that the point, really? to take a few minutes each day to do something that makes us smile? not for some reward or benefit, except that slight bounce in my step. to show that i'm still young at heart.
i've had a rough few months as of late, and my blog has suffered as a result. but i am reclaiming my playground. i am ready for skinned knees and my new box of dora the explorer band-aids. i bring you this flashback friday with a renewed sense of vitality and purpose. life is hard. adulthood is serious. i am here to remind you that life is also short.  we need to ride the swings whenever possible.

join the cause.