Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here comes the New Year!

The San Marcos River, below our house

Wow! I can't believe it's going to be 2011 in a couple of days. It seems like the other day I was shocked that the year of Prince's song 1999 came and went without much ado. This year has seen a few changes for us, a new city, new house (one in need of lots of TLC) and we adopted a dog, Tucker. Greg made a career change, he is opening a running specialty store (Core Running Company) on January 10th of 2011. I've been working on my portfolio for Texas Laid Photography.  I've been able to catch up with a few friends from the past, and made some new ones. The future is looking bright and I'm feeling excited, change has always been a familiar and welcome presence in my life. Here's to the New Year! Cheers!

Our Dog Tucker
Core Running Company
Austin, Bowie & Atticus Hula-Hooping

Austin on the old Iron Jungle Gym
Greg sporting the Core Logo Tee

Friday, December 17, 2010


I just spent two days with my father, I took this photo when we were hanging out. His birthday is February 13th, he will be Eighty years old. I have a hard time thinking about what that age really means. My parents will have been married for FIFTY years in March, their golden anniversary. This is a photo my parents, my dad was 31, my mom was 19.

Some of you know my father, and he is quite memorable. I cannot express how many times in my life I have cringed after he opened his mouth. I remember my first date, my father shaking (breaking) my dates hand, "My daughter is a virgin" like he was telling some Arab Sheik of my worth.  Friends walking through the front door to visit, my father, leaning against the stairwell, "Spell hemorrhoid". Really? Hemorrhoid? That's the test word?  How many hitchhikers did he bring home? Countless numbers, some I remember, others were fly by night, they came and went, strange faces, strange habits. My father hoped to make an impact on their lives, to change them for the better. Looking back it was very odd for my father to take in strangers, he was a very protective father. With a family of nine, seven boys and two girls, things were defiantly not fair, and fairness was never an issue with him, he was old school. My sister and I were girls, so we had no freedom, we fought for it though and little by little gained a bit.

My dad can always shock me with his humor, he is minister, and is constantly preaching the gospel, but he always picks the seediest jokes.  A man with a heart of gold and no sense when it comes to money, he taught me many things in life, how to live passionately, believe in those you love, give when you can and even when you can't. I learned a lot about what not to do in life as well, by watching his many mistakes. I've heard his regrets and they are not the ones you would think. My father was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago, he is doing fine, despite the disease, even has a sense of humor about it and is taking things in stride. I love you Dad, hope there are many more years of enjoying and dreading your company.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

up and coming

I started packing for an upcoming trip well over a month ago (is that wrong?) I have really been looking forward to it. We are headed to Jamaica come mid December (my husband and I).

Jamaica will always be a special place for me, we said our marriage vows there in July 1996. We were married in a Gazebo overlooking the ocean, the weather was clear all week, no rain, no storms, but, while we were exchanging our vows, a light rain fell. Our minister scared me, he was very intense and serious, after the ceremony he told me rain was good luck!  I was happy to hear that.

So, this trip is a sort of vacation/ early anniversary trip for us, It will be 15 years in July, July 9th to be exact! Here's to us Greg!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why I love John Irving

I think I discovered how much I loved John Irving writing's when I was about twenty-one years old. I have had my nose in books since I was five, I learned to read at the age of four (still haven't learned to spell, so forgive that) thanks to my half- brother Chris, who I had never met, until he came to live with us for the year of 1973, bored, I guess he decided that teaching me to read would be fun, or at least pass the time. I am grateful for the time he devoted to me that year. Thanks Chris, hope your prison cell is cozy this Christmas! I remember having seen The World According to Garp when I was a teenager, I felt a bit confused after it ended. Years later when I read the book, I understood that a movie could never do it justice, it lacked something that the book supplied, the soul of the writer.  I enjoyed the movie The Hotel New Hampshire much more, even though it had less acclaim and very few well known stars. I loved Nastassja Kinski as the "bear", she was very sexy and quite masculine, she really captured the character.
My favorite,  A Prayer for Owen Meany, was influenced by Gunter Grass' The Tin Drum which is very depressing.  I laughed out loud so many times when reading Owen Meany, that I  embarrassed myself, as I was often reading in public. It was hard to believe that it could have much to do with The Tin Drum, until the end of course. This was such a different reading experience for me, I had read all the classics and anything else I could get my hands on, Hemingway, Updike, Jane Austen, Alcott, Andersen, Shakespeare, Henry James, Milton, Browning, Bronte, you name them.  Irving's books have always struck a strange cord in me, I feel like he writes these bizarre often unbelievable stories, but to me they are very believable because my life experiences, especially growing up, were very strange and some quite unbelievable.  If you have never read any of Irving's books, or if you have... you might find this list interesting enough to make you pick up one or two of his works.

I've read almost everything that he has written, seen most of the movie adaptations and I think really the only movie that did his writing justice was The Cider House Rules and HE wrote the movie adaptation.  I liked The 158-pound marriage, although I read it right after getting married, scared me just a bit. Until I Find You was a fun read, but then you learn that the writer exposes things in the book that happened to him in real life, then you feel the serious weight of the novel.  While trying to untangle the mess in my head for a novel I've been trying to write/ figure out, I always go back not to the classic writers of our time, but to Irving and two others that I just have to mention, Stephen King and Amy Tan. God, who will ever read my book?

Monday, November 15, 2010

the beautiful people

I have always loved taking photos of people, I think there must be some rule that says you can't post photos of people without their permission (maybe that just means famous people). But....I am going to turn this love into a career. I am determined to be a success. I believe in diving in with my whole heart, learning as I go has always worked best for me.  I just need to find a few willing subjects and some time to shoot them.  My husband is really handsome and a great subject, but really doesn't like to be photographed, my kids can't sit still for too long and are tired of me asking, but there are plenty of fish in the sea, and I'm going fishing!!!!! These are some of my favorite shots.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

wind chimes

I have always loved the sound of wind chimes, but not all wind chimes are appealing, some can be quite annoying. I've never bought a set myself, but enjoyed hearing them when visiting someones home or at a store that is selling them.  A few years ago when we were once again moving, this time from Austin, our friends gave us a wind chime that was made in Hawaii, crafted from wood, it really has lovely music and I have carried with me on all of our moves since.  I had a very strange experience with wind chimes recently,  many years ago a dear friend of mine who was my younger sister's best friend, was killed in a car accident. We all had many of the same friends and she was very young and her death had a profound affect on all of us. I think we all thought that we were invincible up until that happened, at least that is how I felt. I was never able to make it to the funeral and it seemed to me I never had said a proper goodbye. Needless to say many years had passed and I came to a sort of acceptance with her being gone, though sometimes I will find myself thinking about how her children would look, would they have blue eyes like her, blond curly hair? Who would she have married? I hate thinking of an unfinished life, especially someone that I knew and loved. On a recent trip to Houston for my sister's baby shower, I asked her if we could go visit our friend's grave, as I had never been. My sister was not really ready to take me there, she has never really gotten over her death and being pregnant really makes emotions run high.  I insisted she go because I had never been and had no way of finding her resting place. We stopped for some lovely white roses and daisies, once we arrived at the graveyard we parked close to where my sister thought her epitaph was. It was a really sunny day, clear and beautiful. I let my sister go on ahead while I arranged the bouquet, when I had finished I saw that she had already walked into the next section over. I started over towards her, I could tell she was having a hard time finding our friend's grave. I walked about 10 minutes, very slowly, looking from stone to stone, reading names and dates, wondering about who had what type of life and such. I looked up and my sister was about a hundred yards away, she raised her arms in a shrug, when she made that gesture I heard the sound of wind chimes, I looked up and there were two sets of chimes ringing softly in the breeze, then I looked down and saw my friend's final resting place, under a tree with the sounds of chimes ringing any time the wind blew. It was a strange feeling to find it that way, a gentle push from the other side, we may have wondered for quite awhile longer if not for those ringing chimes. I have always felt a crazy sort of peace while in a graveyard, and I felt strangely at peace for our dear friend Lisa.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

time of our lives

I love thinking back to high school, not that I would ever want to go through any of that crap EVER again, but I can look back with a certain fondness for my innocence, although at the time I was pretty sure I knew everything, even if I hadn't experienced much.  I really started thinking about my friends who were gay and out in high school, they wore their sexuality like it was a feather boa and I admired that quality in them, most of them were boys. I didn't have any close gay girl friends, I think because many of them hadn't come out yet or I just didn't know. There were a few who I knew were gay and I remember a certain toughness about them (the girls I mean) a defiant air, Lisa Miller, she was like cool hand Luke or something, never saying too much, but a sure stride, and a sideways smile. I admired her, because she just seemed sure of everything, even if she wasn't. Another girl, who I thought was gay/ bisexual was Jackie Davie? I used to stare at her in science, her eyes were like liquid gold, and her teeth were toothpaste commercial quality.  These girls seemed so sure of where they were in that time of their lives, but you never know if you don't know someone personally. I watched a video of city councilman Joel Burns (posted by Lisa Miller) and it really touched me and got me thinking about growing up and coming into your sexuality. I was and am a ministers daughter, my parents preached damnation for just about everything, at first I was scared of everything, then I just dove in and said fuck the world, that was how I made it through those angst ridden years, with only other silly girls like me to turn too, god knows I couldn't tell my parents anything.  "Mom I'm thinking about having sex, how should I go about it?" I wish they had been the type of parents to at lest offer some other advice than, save yourself for marriage!!!!   Which is what brings me to this, what type of parent will I choose to become for my children, I haven't reached those years with my children that become so incredibly important to a young person, I'm hoping my mind will not snap into protective mode and I am blinded by my own experiences, I hope that I will be a beacon for my three boys, that they will open up and lean on me if need be. When Joel burns talked about these young.... 12, 13  and 14 year old boys committing suicide, my heart just broke over and over. The world can be a pretty shitty place when what surrounds you everyday of the week is the same four walls of the classroom, and the same shitty small minded people. I hope to teach my children acceptance, but not only acceptance... but also to stand up to the type of person who wants to hurt others, with words or violence.  No matter who they choose to love.

Photos by Joe Szabo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

dear departed friend

Dear friend of my youth, many a day goes by when I miss our jokes and laughter. I think the memories are quite fresh in my mind when I look for them. The years have passed so slowly and so very quickly, how many cities I have rested in, how many fast friends have come and gone in my forty years .... some faces are freshly alive, some barely memorable, but all have shaped me somehow into the person I am today, much more real than I was before, less of a watcher and now a willing participant.

The girl I once was, who could only dream of true love while everything else in life took a backseat, how many times we talked of this, more than with any girlfriend I had, how very different I am than her.  Now that love of many kinds have been given to me, I am so full in that area, so complete, that my mind is free to look towards other things, things that are gone forever, friendships that will never recover.
Sometimes a friend will change before your eyes and you feel the connection being broken, sometimes they drift away and the loss is not felt, so it is easy to move on, other times there is pain involved, a hurt, one is more committed to the other.  I myself am guilty of lazy friendship, but not so poor as to inflict hurt.
There is no getting back what was, I am too changed, not to hard to forgive, but different, too uncomfortable to resume what was. I have children that I am trying to shape in this world, teaching them the value of a person is a top priority, empathy, compassion..... even as my compassion has dwindled.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

all about love

Who doesn't love to Love?

I am thinking about one of my three younger brothers. He has been in jail now for about five months, my mother says he is becoming a different person, harder, the light in his eyes is changing, fading. I really don't know much about prison, only what I've seen in movies or on HBO, I have a half brother who has been in and out of prison, but he seems to enjoy it and tries to get back in by committing petty theft on the few occasions when he is free. He is way past the three strikes rule? How does that work, maybe overcrowding?  But my younger brother is truly a free spirit and being in lock-up is the worst punishment one could give him. Why he is there, I'm not going to get into that. Let's just say that an appeal is in the works. I'm going to talk a little about his wife and children, his wife has been running his business and they have three children, all under six years.  The state has been paying for childcare for all of them. His wife, my sister in law is riding on waves of alternating depression and ?freedom? I don't know what else to call it, I think that even after five months she is questioning her loyalty to a man in prison. How can she live this way, no one to hold her at night, no one to laugh with, or hold the baby while she makes dinner. Hundreds of things single mothers deal with on a regular basis. I have heard that prison life is bad, while knowing this was the case, I find it hard to take hearing that of the two meals they are served each day the first is at 3 a.m., the second at 11 a.m., and if the prisoner does not have money coming to him from somewhere, one meal a day. Also there is no air conditioning, so they are in the Texas heat all day and night.

When one takes the marriage vows, how seriously are they taken? I know I was terrified when I said them.  For me, I knew I was truly committing to someone for life, was his commitment as great as mine? It was and always will be a leap of faith.  But seeing good friends marry and divorce, I know that for most people marriage is not that big of a commitment, "He doesn't have a job anymore and watches food network all day.", "She has been talking to someone on a dating site.", "I wanted to live in New York, she wants to live in California.", "I am sick of looking at her feet.", seriously, these are reasons I've been given for friends divorcing.  It really is none of my business, but lets look at LOVE and all the types of love:
LOVE at first sight
LOVE of a persons soul
LOVE for lust
puppy LOVE
growing LOVE
dying LOVE
passionate LOVE
unrequited LOVE
jealous LOVE
LOVE for your children
brotherly LOVE
obsessive LOVE
true LOVE
passing LOVE
so many ways to love, some good, others not so great....I am just happy to have all the love I have in my life, my husband, children, my family. Be sure to hug the ones you love, life is short and you never know what the next day can bring.

the photos above were taken while in Las Vegas, wonderful sculpture, his work is amazing, check him out here!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Paint everywhere!!!

Master bedroom is finished! Finally all the pink/blue butterfly wallpaper & matching drapes are GONE!!!! I feel much more peaceful at bedtime. After many days of scraping, pulling, tearing, holding a 10 pound steamer to the wall, washing, vacuuming, plastering, sanding, priming and painting, the master bedroom is transformed into a warm and comfy room, somehow the popcorn ceiling is much less bothersome (to be addressed at a later date). My hands, fingers and wrists felt like concrete, stiff and achy, but now rest and just maybe my love of a good book will return.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Children, School, House...Time

Sometimes, I just blog in my head at night, too tired to actually type. The start of school is a bit of an adjustment, mornings now start at 6:15 am, the loss of the extra hour is really tough.  Atticus and I have been spending alot of time together, he really misses his brothers and it is showing in all points of his personality. Coffee no longer kicks me into the autopilot mode.  I am waiting for the flip to happen, adjusting to a new climate, new time zone and new school for the boys. Totally different feeling than their previous school, not quite as social. On another note, Greg is opening a running store in historic downtown San Marcos, and I am working on setting up Texas Laid Photography! Yeah...more to come on both as things progress.

Monday, August 23, 2010

sometimes something just makes you plain happy!

I just received a text from my sister, very plainly stated "It's a girl",  my heart jumped with excitement, first off.. we are family of predominately boys. I have seven bothers and one sister.  My oldest brother Paul has 4 boys and 1 girl, Danny has 6 boys and 2 girls, Bill has 5 boys and 2 girls, John has 3 boys and 3 girls, I have 3 boys, my sister has 4 boys (now one girl on the way!) Joey has 4 girls and 2 boys (he deserved it), stephen also has 2 girls and 2 boys, and my youngest brother David has 1 girl and 2 boys. That is 46 grandchildren  and counting, for my parents. All those boys and only 13 girls in the mix. My mother always swore you would get one after 4 boys, I really was not up for playing this lottery game, but I am happy that it worked out for my sister, who has only been pregnant three times (one set of twins).  Yeah, now I can buy all the baby girl stuff I want and totally spoil my soon to be niece! Congratulations Tanjah!!

First day of school

First day of school for the boys, and my first day of brainstorming and getting back to the basics of what I love, ART, drawing, photography. Ahhh, can't wait to see what the day will bring.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

removing wallpaper

We moved in to our new home at the end of June. I have been removing wallpaper for almost a month now, not all at once because it only comes off in about one inch sections, one in. by one in. sections which makes for a very tedious task.  In between the removal process, we have been to Houston three times, the beach for a week, the lake twice, tubing on the river a few times, trampoline shopping, painted a couple of rooms, and my husband and I have managed to go out on a couple of dates. Whew.  I'm a bit tired, but I think that just may be my body trying to adjust to the Texas heat. The Texas heat and living closer to my family.  It's really hard to try and wrap my mind around the fact that I am back in Texas after 17 years away, only visiting for weddings (thankfully no funerals) and the occasional birth of one of my many nieces /nephews.  I have always been a peripheral family member, hearing only the select things that my family chooses to share with me, it's weird how you hear about really catastrophic happenings several months after they happen, "Oh, you didn't know that so and so was in intensive care three months ago after driving up an exit ramp? They are fine, but how did you not hear that?" Things like that happen on a regular basis in my family, out of sight, is really out of mind! Anyhow, now that I am close by, I am in the thick of it, I have seven sister in laws and seven brothers and one sister and her husband.  The amount of nieces and nephews is almost unbelievable in this day and age, I lost count at 43 (my youngest is the 43rd grand baby).  I am now witnessing firsthand my fathers Parkinson's disease. There is so much I am seeing and am a bit overwhelmed to write about it all at one time, so in the next few weeks, i will try to begin a slow explanation of certain "happenings" within my life and family.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Driving is a nessasary evil

Driving is a big responsibility, let's face it..

I remember being sixteen and taking driver's ed (a class I opted for and was offered instead of algebra, or literature, or something). I remember my teacher telling me to run at a brick wall at full speed with my arms out and see if I could stop myself (hmmm...good advice?) this would show me how powerful a force a crash could be. This did not in any way prepare me for my first real accident. I was driving with another 16 year old permitted driver and someone ran the red light and broadsided us, we in turn hit a telephone pole head on. I guess we were lucky, I came away with cuts from glass, incredibly sore and a bruise that ran from my neck down across my body to my lower hip...also a HUGE fear of ever getting into another accident.

As an adult passenger, I can never relax fully, I trust my husband completely, but he drives too fast for my liking, anyone else I am skeptical of.. always.
So, I pretty much have had a clean driving record, one ticket for turning at the wrong time of day, but I have to say- the sign was new and I had taken that same route to work daily and just didn't notice the change. In fact, the policeman who ticketed me was sitting at the same corner and watched me turn! That was my only ticket to date. That was about 14 years ago.

So what I'm really writing about; recently I have paid two separate tickets, one costing a total of $480 (driving into a carpool lane across the solid line) can we say misdemeanor? In my defense, my little sister was in town and she told me to do it, I argued and she said the coast was clear! (don't listen to other people when driving, it advises this in your defensive driving course) The second ticket was for turning right on a street where a pedestrian was still in the crosswalk, am I the only one who didn't know this was a crime? If I was a police officer in NY, or the beach areas, I would sit all day passing out this type of ticket, because this happens every two seconds in those places. At the same time I was given this ticket, I was also made aware that my license had expired!!! Double the fine!

So here I am, at forty, two tickets in a couple of months. I promptly signed up for, and took a defensive driving course (not too expensive, but time consuming and taking this course in the middle of an out of state move is NOT recommended) I have to say, over the years, I have become a bit less defensive with my driving. Nothing like taking this course to revive an old fear.

I just took my Texas driving test today (very easy) and you only need to pass with 70 percent!! This should scare any driver, as well as the fact that 3/4 of the people getting their licenses were 16/17 years old.

Good luck on the roads and try to be safe!
Holland Tunnel, NY