feeling full . . .

I just returned from a weekend in Temecula with my ever-so-lovely BFF, Ginger & all that orbit in her world. She hosted a Sophia Conference that was magically life-changing for me in so many ways, that I can’t begin to articulate (blog post to come). We had such a deeply, powerful, sweet, connecting time together, laughing, talking & making art.

Once I got home, Larry had to take off for the East coast & our dear Nanny Anna had to fly to Mexico to see her brother before he passed away at only 36 years old. This left me with the Finnegan for the past two days solid, no nap, no relief, no break. I know I can hardly complain with what is going on with Anna’s family, but I’m not used to it, & on top of that I’ve been a bit under the weather for a week or so – okay more than a little bit (I hear Ginger saying) so it’s taken it’s toll, however minor toll. I’m just feeling too full for much else.

There are mountains of creative projects I want to start, blog posts to write, so much swirling in the full-ness of my life, right now, so rather than share something really cool & wow, I just felt compelled (like jump out of my seat, hand in the air – must share kind of compelled) to just share some recent photos & say I’m feeling pretty full – happy & full!

One thing is for sure, this will pass & I will start rocking again.

One thing I’m noticing about all these photos I’m sharing today is their lack of intense color. Sara who is my beige, bone, burlap, eggshell girl must be rubbing off on me. The subtlety is nice. See Sara, I didn’t know this side of me, until I knew you. Ubuntu.

where I feel most myself . . .

I figured it out. After a week of pondering the question of where do I feel most myself, while taking walks in the city, amongst the trees, hanging out in cafe’s, & so on. I finally realized where it is I feel most myself. It is somewhere close to me.

The archetypical urge to nest came to me later in life. I was 44 before I truly felt the desire to occupy a house, to make it my own, to make it a reflection of my creative expression. Even after having children I still didn’t feel the need. I heard about women who suddenly have the urge to create a home, redecorate, paint the walls while pregnant all in preparation for the baby’s arrival. That never happened to me.

But then after having my second child & moving to a new city into the first house that I bought with no furniture, just long dark wood floors I felt for the first time I had this need to live in this house & make it my home. I was no longer interested in travelling around the world or looking for the next adventure. My adventure became discovering a new way to cover my windows that was unique to me & my style. As I slowly created little altars throughout my house & picked out the perfect eclectic pieces of furniture I was able to witness my creative expression unfolding on a new, larger canvas, my house. What emerged over time were numerous installation pieces throughout my house. The installations keep changing, shifting with the seasons, but having a home as a canvas is a bit like living inside of myself.

we designed this - all of it!


I was told by a psychic a few years ago while living in Santa Fe, NM, that in my early 40s I would be overcome by an unexplainable desire to make roots in a home. At the time I was living in my RV (with wheels under it) and my daughter and I moved around to different campgrounds for a few weeks at a time, or sometimes we would house sit for others in some body else’s real house. We moved frequently. It seems whenever that clever North Wind picked up I would feel in my bones it was time to look for another adventure.

Antidote Coffee Shop

There are those places and things that inspire me; like trees, coffee houses, pubs, the ocean, but they don’t always make me feel myself, often I’m in their presence as an anthropologist, a visitor & stranger. It is not where I feel myself. I love being in their presence, I love watching the people, hearing the espresso machines do their thing, smelling pine needles, listening to crashing waves, smelling coffee, watching & soaking it all in but not to be myself. I can find peace & inspiration but I don’t always feel my true self in these places.

It is only in my home with my family that I can be mostly myself with unconditional acceptance.

my boys swirling in love

Well in my home & in boots. I realized this today when I awoke to a sudden, unexpected cold front & had the first opportunity of the season to wear my boots. It was heaven, like coming home, that must be why I loved being in the Marine Corps all those years. I got to wear boots everyday.

big love,

i love my bed

& 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.


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!


shards of broken glass . . .

shards of broken glass

Turning the corner onto Harvard from 18th I was greeted with the brilliant translucent greenish blue of shattered windshield glass spread across the street. I had to stop & photograph it. As I played with every angle & dimension possible a man drove up, rolled down his window & asked what happened. What happened? I was confused & suddenly felt a bit silly. I had been more interested in beauty of shards of glass on asphalt than I had been curious about the poor car that had been broken into. I told him I wasn’t sure that I was just photographing the beauty of the glass. Perhaps I looked a bit like a CSI agent with my iPhone collecting evidence such as glass trajectory to be able to solve this horrible crime.

The song, Till the End of the World sung by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds kept running through my head. I love how he enunciates “shards of broken glass.” Youtube it to get the full effect.

It was a miracle i even got out of Longwood alive,
This town full of men with big mouths and no guts;
I mean if you can just picture it,
The whole third floor of the hotel gutted by the blast
And the street below showered in shards of broken glass,


The more I lingered photographing the glass, instead of contemplating the reason behind its presence, I started becoming more curious about the usage of the phrase, “broken into.” I know, a bit weird, but the word broken is one of those words that has so many connotations. It can mean; interrupt, mental collapse, soften, begin, destroy, divide, fracture, crush, intrude (broken into), interfere, & become unusable. The one I liked the most was “to separate from the whole” or perhaps “separate from wholeness.”

I feel broken a lot of time, but not the kind of broken that is destroyed completely, more the kind that is separate from the whole, or interfered. I like to think of it as a starting point to finding my whole, audaciously authentic self. Perhaps I have been broken since about six years old or earlier, it’s just that I didn’t have any reference to whole-ness to know of my broken-ness. Thanks to God & the Veteran’s Administration I am now very certain of my broken-ness but in a compassionate, loving, nurturing way. It’s been a bit like introducing my six-year-old self that has been running a lot of the show to my 45-year-old self. She doesn’t have to grow up but she definitely doesn’t have to be in charge anymore.

Notice all the beauty in the broken-ness of these shards of shattered glass.


among the leaves

my happy place

my quiet place

Well after 5 months of work & I don’t even want to say how many thousands of dollars more than we budgeted (I hope Dave Ramsey doesn’t see this) we finally are almost, just about finished with our sanctuary backyard. We love to be outside. It doesn’t matter if it is 109 degrees or 40 degrees we are outside soaking in the fresh air, stretching, laughing, reading, meditating, cultivating our garden or what have you.

Our little cocktail pool works wonders in the hot months, but it will be our hot tub in the cold months. We love the water too. Being from the clan of original Selkes, I need to soak my flesh in water everyday or I feel all dried up inside, so this little dunking pool is the perfect medicine. The water should be preferrably cold water – Barton-Springs-cold, but Larry & Finnegan need it warmer.

I love how we were able to make the antique bricks look like they have been there forever. Here are some before & after photos of the transformation. It’s amazing how much bigger the backyard feels with the new look.

Before the remodel

backyard before ipe deck

backyard before ipe deck

before back patio

extended patio

before air conditioners went up

after the a/c went up to 2nd floor

Finnegan with Mr. Penguin

crow . . .

crow stamped on wood

I signed up for a Mono-type class for this semester. It’s starts in a few weeks. I’m so excited. In fact so giddy about it that I had to make my own crow stamp now, before the class starts. I just got this stamping rubber stuff at the Texas Art Supply & drew a picture & started cutting away. It’s so fun that I can’t stop stamping everything!!!

testing, testing,

above studio sink!

on beginning of painting

I’ve had this idea for making an american flag to hang outside on our patio fence. I wanted it to look old & add my style to it. As I started working on it further I decided that it would be a painting about the Marine Corps & war, but a light one. Really maybe it is more about how I joined the wrong Corps. I should have been in the Peace Corps instead. but I don’t know, I was probably right where I needed to be and odd duck. No regrets, some sorrow, sadness, anger, but no regrets.

Everyday as I gain more insight into who I am, really am, without influence from others, I move further away from those things that hurt me more than bring me joy. I seek out those things, people, experiences that are in alignment with who I am. This lessons the dissonance & increases the resonance. I don’t resonate with dissonance.

I visited a gastro doctor last week who told me that my colon was like a jazz band all the parts doing their own thing, not playing the same tune together. I guess Jazz has its place just not in my gut & not in my relationships or work environments.

make art not war

My stars are flowers. USMC is going off the canvas. 83 was the year I joined the Marine Corps. I wrote, “make art not war,” “all we need is love.” “love is all we need,” oh &
“war is never the answer.” Then of course, there is my crow.

Crow is the protector of the castle, the castle being your psyche. He also is a trickster & a shape shifter. Two aspects I love expressing. Tricksters make us think about things that are so firmly embedded in our beliefs that we don’t even think to question. I was a trickster in the Marine Corps.

This painting is about the healing & coming home to me, the me that was me before the Marine Corps.


Sunday Creating . . .

The beginning

Today, finally, after weeks of not painting I finally went up to my studio & worked on a this painting that had been sitting on my easel forever. It felt so good to be painting & creating again, without any expectation of what I would end up with. I just flowed in & out of colors, designs, scribbles & so on! I am not done with it just yet, but the most of it is done.

The words say, “Girl you’re amazing, just the way you are!”

The first step is to cover a your canvas (in this case it is a piece of cut up tempered hard board from Home Depot) with paper & paint in any pattern really, just to create some dimension to the piece. This was done weeks ago so the glue was dry.

Next is to wash over the papers on the canvas to create a backdrop for the image that will be painted. This can be so hard for me to do, but I’m learning that it is important.

wash it all away

Next I pick out the main image I want to focus on & either transfer, paint or collage it on. For this painting, I had planned to transfer this image on but I used too heavy of paper & then it didn’t work properly (these sort of flubs happen frequently) so I rolled with the punches & collaged the failed transfer image onto the canvas & then painted over it. Then I just added embellishments, a bird, some words, & other designs as they flowed out. I wish I had a better plan, but I usually don’t plan much, so the color & layout just evolve as I progress with the painting.

Anyways, it’s fun & highly therapeutic. The teacher from last week’s workshop saw some of my photographs & was so impressed by them that she asked me why I bothered with painting. It sort of hurt or rather cut at me because here I was working on improving my painting skills but it was a compliment as well. It just felt like an insult to my desire to paint better – or more betterererer.  But I thought about it & realized that I paint because it’s therapeutic. It just feels good to be in a creative flow with paint splashing everywhere & layering & layering. I love the process, it really doesn’t matter to me if I ever go anywhere with it. I’m enjoying creating now & watching my deeper creative emerge ever so slowly the more I am able to quiet the outside voices. I think if you have the inner urge to create, then we are obligated to create, even if it just to find some inner peace.

almost finished

who does she think she is?

Caroline Graham teaching

This past weekend I took a workshop at Houston Art League with 11 other women. The workshop was called, “Painting People from Photographs.” As with all workshops I learned a lot from Caroline Graham, our instructor, but what was most profound was being in the presence of these women who were at all different stages of their painting skills but yet they chose to come & spend their weekend working on their craft, in the presence of other women. They left their families, children, husbands, chores, & homes to paint on canvases. Who do they think they are?  – following their passion.

etherial & Klimt like

Then this week I found the Netflix DVD, Who Does She Think She Is? in my mailbox & just loved it. I highly recommend it, it’s not only interesting but eye-candy for the artists soul.

The movie is a documentary filled with interviews of women artists & what it is like juggling family, home, & studio time. It shows how spouses often get jealous & feel as if they are less important than the art. I loved how Maye Torres from Taos said, that her ex-husband didn’t come second to her art, but that her art was who she is, without her expressing herself on paper & in sculpture she wouldn’t be fully herself. It’s not that her art was separate from her or just something she did. It is who she is. I really resonated with that idea.

Click here for a great video trailer of the movie & the website. http://www.whodoesshethinksheis.net/


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


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