wedged between birth & death . . .

sweet baby aria

When Larry and I were getting ready for our Big Bohemian Wedding in Austin last May, our neighbors on one side were preparing for the arrival of their sweet baby girl, Aria. The big brown UPS truck with squeaky brakes would pull up outside our house and drop two to three large boxes on their front porch nearly everyday. They were playfully battling over what name was appropriate for their little Texan on her way. She is a Francophil and wanted the name Amalie; he wasn’t having anything to do with that. Aria is a great compromise.

All the while, our neighbors on the other side were struggling with news of a lymphoma diagnosis. Her parents arrived to take care of their 2-year-old while she succumbed to a brutal bout of chemotherapy treatments that latest months. We only saw her occasionally after arriving home from the treatments and being carefully escorted from the car to the house a tiny shell of the woman she used to be, scarf over her head, and sallow face. I prayed for her recovery and painted her a painting that came through me intuitively. There was a bleak, exhaustion emanating from that side of our house and my heart held them quietly, unobtrusively in love.

We are not close to either of our neighbors although they are only six feet away on both sides. They will not be reading my blog (I chose not to use their names). However we are friendly with both of them and truly like them but I think they are not so sure about us when we dug up our front rose bushes and planted an urban garden that quickly took over the entire yard. Or when we moved the air conditioners up to the second floor balcony and put a pool in the tiny space that is our backyard. Or maybe it was painting our house in colorful colors that definitely stand out. Who knows?

Despite this I couldn’t help but feel the strange juxtaposition of our life events sitting side by side. I felt wedged between beginnings vs endings, birth vs death, growth vs depletion and abundance vs scarcity. All the while we were planning for our big luscious matrimony with the intention of deepening our roots in ourselves, each other, our family and our community of friends. Reading our houses from right to left (like the Chinese) it’s the cycle of life; birth, the richness of life and then death (death to the cancer, not to her).

our house in the middle

Today we sit between the proud parents of sweet baby Aria and a family with a cancer free mom on her road back to full recovery and Larry and I are deeply rooted in ourselves, each other and our ever-expanding community.

Life just happens doesn’t it? And then we make a stew, take our kids to school and walk the dog; someone dies and then a baby is born.

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ode to Finnegan (part I). . .

I wanted to devote an entire post to my sweet little man, Finnegan Nash because he is such a unexpected gift of joy & presence. He continuously is demanding that I BE in this moment with him & to BE in joy in this moment with him. To experience an airplane or a train or even a tractor for him is like me seeing Johnny Depp on the side of the road. The excitement is uncontainable. How cool that level of exhilaration & surprise is around every corner (unlike Johnny Depp).

Every morning pretty much starts the same way – with a smile or a giggle or both. Then the day begins.

My Finnegan is oodles of fun, contemplative, observant, a little mysterious & absolutely built for joy. I am grateful everyday that he showed up in my belly a few winters ago (still trying to figure out how that happened, :o) ). But seriously, Finnegans are super fun.

 

waking up with a smile

a boys boy?

the joy of packing peanuts

 

 

& now a word from our sponsor, the color orange . . .

the market

I’ve been wanting to write for days now, but time seems to be flying by too fast for me to even catch up. Halloween whizzed by & now that it is November company is on their way for Thanksgiving, wait. . . . but first I am flying out to California for a quick visit, & Larry is off to a shareholders meeting in New Jersey. That feels like a lot.

I’m not even someone who has to be caught up in the energy of this season & here I am being pulled into its vortex. What I mean is I don’t have deadlines, a job or anything pressuring me to hurry up but still . . . I feel the sense of urgency in the air.

On Saturday night, we had a fabulously successful pumpkin carving party.  It was just a sweet night of sharing stories, listening to music, drinking great wine, dark beers & incredible food created by everyone, mostly Larry. He is amazing in the kitchen. So much Savor!!! The kids carved pumpkins & then swam their hearts out in the pool.

These pictures are just my way of catching up with all of you, sharing what’s going on in our hood. I’m taking an online e-course by Madelyn Mulvaney & she is sort-of, kind-of, really blowing my mind. I have only stuck one foot into the course holding onto the curb with my little toes afraid of what I might discover about myself. I’m two weeks behind on my photo taking that I am supposed to post on flickr.

One of the ideas that is swirling about in the recesses of my mind (thanks to Madelyn) is “where do I feel most myself?” I still can’t figure it out. It seems it is not so much a physical location as it is the convergence of many elements that inspire my senses & shoot right to my soul. Listening to a certain song, being in nature, being with Larry & my kids, dancing or travelling to exotic locations, tasting the perfect savory flavor or smelling roasting coffee are some of the elements that together can create this explosion in my soul & I am myself, home in my boots, with my soul dancing just under my skin. This is what I came up with so far, but still the question wanders & rattles around inside. After I figure that out I need to photograph it. Yikes!!

Enjoy the different shades of orange, until next time.

Katariina

habibi & the pumpkins

our house in october

the captain steering this ship!

 

 

I made this one! Can you tell?

from rawfully organic co-op

these tomatoes are so good I had to post another pic

roasted sweet potatoes

finn's new old truck

we made this dress together!

 

Finn Swims on Super8

This is Finnegan swimming with so much grace in our backyard pool. If I could only have this much joy in everything I do. I captured this video with my Super 8 app on my iPhone. How fun is this?

This didn’t work the way I wanted it to but I’m still working out the technical bugs. In the meantime just click on the link!!! Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/embed/fWqPObZMXMY

some things I just love today . . .

my beautiful man

Today I am so madly in love with my handsome, soul-filled man, Larry. He takes great care of us, he is a wonderful provider & protector. He is tender & sweet as well as strong & intelligent. I love his entrepreneurial spirit & his creativity that drives him to keep creating new experiences with business. We have an incredible connection & appreciation for each other. Here there is deep respect & love like I have never known before. Out of this love was born my next love.

finnegan & daddy

finnegan

Now my sweet daughter Raine who starts her sophomore year of high school in two days is not last because of any ranking. It’s just that she hides in her room until 2 pm then emerges with her sunny face & quick wit to make us all laugh. Doesn’t she look like a domestic queen?

Raine making cupcakes

now for the inanimate objects that I love today –

old accordian

Larry bought this old accordion on ebay just because it has so much history & story just eeking out of it. We put it on our mantle & it looks great.  It fits in well in our house.

our mantle

Outside in our backyard where we recently put in our pool & this week will be building the epi wood porch, we finally finished our outside shower. I designed the cement floor with rocks & Larry put together the shower out of copper pipes & a vintage shower head. It’s so absolutely amazing to take a cold shower during the day when the 102 degree weather is getting to ya & the pool is 90 something degrees. Lar & I both now only take showers outside & can’t remember the last time we took one upstairs in our inside shower.

our outside shower

We planted some zoysia grass in old baskets & boxes I bought at the thrift store. The grass is thriving & we love the look.

our outdoor shower

our old bricks

I love these bricks. These are reclaimed vintage bricks I both found & bought for our pool deck. I found about 70 of the bricks around town over the past year & collected them into our garage. Then we bought Thurbers, Croesbecks, Standards, Coffeyvilles, Houstons, and on & on.  We wanted to give our backyard the feel that the bricks have been there forever. So we didn’t use any grout or mortar but instead put sandy dirt between the bricks. In some of the bigger spaces where the bricks didn’t quite fit together we planted zoysia grass. Well I just share that with you if anyone is interested.

the cairn i built

This is the cairn I built to honor all the gratitude & patience I have for our slowly coming together vision of a magical backyard sanctuary in the big city.

Thanks for witnessing all that I love today. Well it’s definately not all that I love but those things that crossed my path & grabbed my attention.

 

 

 

 

sunday with finnegan

running free in yoga room

While Larry took Raine to Splashtown, Finnegan & I had the day to ourselves, so we went to swim in the big pool at the YMCA! We arrived before the pool opened so we played in the yoga room filled with big yoga balls. After swimming Finnegan wanted to play basketball with the big boys in the gym so he ran around in a diaper & bare feet trying to make baskets.

 

Finnegan shooting hoops

 

 

playing with the big boys

 

taking a shot

 

 

 

i birthed a beautiful being . . .

I birthed a beautiful being

This is my newest painting – well it’s a charcoal with paint around it. I call it, “I Birthed a Beautiful Being.”

I’m not quite done with her but I put her on my wall anyway, to sit with for awhile.  I love her body but her face is causing me a lot of grief, but oh well, I’ll keep on it.  This is the evolution of her.

1st sketch

Phase 2

I birthed a beautiful being

Words on Painting

The words are, “I birthed a beautiful being. I fed that beautiful being with my breasts. My baby is a miracle. My body is a miracle. I will honor me for the miracle that is me.”

I have to say it is so freeing to create without thinking about selling it or if someone will want to buy it or not. It changes everything. Since I embarked on my path of devoting the next 5 years to the study & practice of creativity in every form that ignites me, much has changed. I can see my skills getting better & I have a better grasp of how to approach a project with more confidence & not just guessing. I have a loooong way to go. It’s only been about 8 months, so while it is fun being in the process & seeing my progress, I can’t wait to look back & see where my journey has taken me! Okay, okay, I know . . . for now I will stay in the moment & enjoy la dolce vita!!!

For now, I’m going to work on lightning up her face!