remembering in Santa Fe

Santa Fe Skies

Raine & I are loving Santa Fe for different reasons. She is spending all her awake time with her best friend/boyfriend Dillon, & I’m running around taking photos with my Instagram app on my iPhone. Here are some of the cool places I visited.

cool clouds

Returning to a town I once lived in can be an emotional experience a little like returning to a scene of a crime. It’s a bit hard to digest at first. Every street, corner & intersection has a memory attached to it. I moved to Santa Fe in 2007 just after getting back from Iraq & I dove head on into the community. I became a thread in the tapestry & felt very comfortable here – as comfortable as one can feel in Santa Fe. It’s not a city that allows one to rest for very long. The natives say there is a plate of obsidian buried deeply below & because so, one is forced to look at themselves all the time. This can become an arduous & rigorous task after a while. I wanted to be healed, to feel better, to not feel the effects of PTSD anymore so again I did healing the Marine Corps way & dove head first into processes that were painful, tearful & taxing. I learned so much & just when I felt like things were flowing I would be flung back into more tangled thinking to unravel.

It was hard work but I progressed in my thinking, loving & feeling. I learned about boundaries, about opening & softening & I learned how to live in closer alignment & harmony with Mother Earth thanks to all those lovely beings who graciously took me in as a fellow wanderer.

I left Santa Fe with the love of my life, Larry, the child we created together, Finnegan & Raine, the child we are raising together. I feel so blessed to have had this experience & the time to dive deeply into my Shadowlands, walk through it & emerge on the other side for a breather.

Since being here on this visit, I have realized that there is one event that occurred here in Santa Fe just before we moved to Houston that I have not made peace with. That was the birth story of our Love Child, Finnegan.

Our desire was to have a water birth at home. We had both prepared in every way possible both physically, emotionally, spiritually & mentally. I visualized, I floated, I walked, I chanted, meditated, did yoga, talked to Finnegan, took the Birthing from Within class, took herbs, prenatal acupuncture, & somatic therapy. We prepared for the actual day by setting up the room with a tub, a hammock to hang from, a ball to labor on, music, candles, Larry had a Blessing Way party where we asked our community for their blessings & prayers, & on & on & on & on.

It started out sweetly, but when the sun came up & then descended again, I asked our midwife to break my water to see if we could get on with this but he still wouldn’t come out. He sat with his head trying to move by my pelvic bone for 7 hours while I’m pushing in the 4th stage. Then there were the hours in which I pushed while my midwife had her fingers inside me trying to help him pass through.

There are two things that I was disappointed in, the first was not listening to my body because at about 2 am I knew I wasn’t going to physically be able to do this but did not say anything. I didn’t listen, I abandoned her & I waited for someone else to throw in the towel (this was what the Marine Corps taught me). 6 hours later when the sun rose again our midwife told us we had to transport to the hospital. I was so relieved.  Everything went beautifully at the hospital. I was able to birth him vaginally with the help of an epidermal & everyone. Finnegan is a gorgeous boy who is a rock star swimmer this summer. Luckily through this process he was never in danger, his heartbeat was always strong, he was just too big to squeeze out.

Which brings me to the second disappointment, my body, I believe somewhere deep, down I failed somehow by not being able to birth him at home. I feel as if I am just am not made for birthing babies. The recovery time took forever & I still don’t feel as strong as I was prior to the birth. It’s not just the weight that won’t come off, it’s my physical strength. That brings tears to my eyes & I’m not sure why but there must be shame involved. I just stuffed all these feelings because really. . . how could I complain with all the beauty & joy surrounding me. I did what every good Marine does, I sucked it up & drove on without even realizing I was doing this. I rejected my body as weak, useless, & disappointing. I had no compassion, nor did I look at all the greatness of my body. She has been so healthy & strong & has taken me to so many incredible places in my life. I’m beginning just this summer to see how much I rejected her & am beginning to see her beauty just as she is today. (why am I referring to my body in the third person?).

Wow, I didn’t expect that story to come out, but there you have it. I know that shame cannot survive in the open, so thank you for reading, listening with your heart & hearing my human-ness. Perhaps I can move forward from here with a sense of lightness around that event & joy for the healthy, lusciously beautiful, strong, body I have.

Enjoy the photos – they are some of my favorite spots in Santa Fe.

The Plaza

Our Old Neighbor Gary

This way to ice cream

Our Lady of Guadalupe

kids painted on caboose

Railyard Water Tower @ the Farmer's Market


Sweet Onions

a gallery on wheels

Santa Fe Brewing Company

@ Downtown Subscription Coffee House

all girl road trip. . .

Woooo hoooo!!! Raine & I drove from Houston, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico over two days. We were in a hurry to get here as fast as we could so we couldn’t stop much but on the way back we have plans. . . I can’t wait. Santa Fe is beautiful as usual & I’m having fun photographing the coolness of it in my odd way. I will show you later. I miss my men though – they’re swimming & making mini pizzas with ingredients from the garden – basil & tomatoes while listening to Italian Opera (go figure).


All these photos were taken while also driving (Raine was sleeping, I think). Kids don’t try this at home, it requires the engagement of the right brain, while the left side starts shutting down & the left brain is really needed to be able to drive properly.

Luckily, the road was straight (as seen on the GPS photo) & there was not a lot of traffic. Such a beautiful drive. I’m mesmerized by the clouds & the way they sit in the sky here in New Mexico. I’m trying, always trying, to figure out why it is so different here.


clines corner



love these thunder thighs

loved til the end

I painted this from a photo of me & then exaggerated the thighs a bit, not much, but enough. I love her audacious movement. I call it, “Loved Until the End.” she seems to be like someone with the confidence, strength & beauty to be loved until the end of time. I think she is definitely a member of the Clan of the Thunder Thighs but check it out for yourself. ( ) I’m not quite finished with her just yet, but I wanted to share anyways. I’ll keep you all posted on how she turns out.

The piece to the right is an assemblage I call, “Riper for Revolution.” It’s a swan tied to a silver spoon with wire & other doodads. I love doing assemblage & with this one started playing around with embossing metal. I made all sorts of designs, swirls, flowers, etc. It is fun.


ripe for revolution


I started this mixed media piece in 2004 & just picked it up again to work on it. The top squares are all photographs I took. I should take a few closer photographs so you can get a better looksy.


That’s it for now. I just got into Santa Fe, NM, so I want to get out & see the enchanted city.

my latest favorite photos of Finnegan

Finnegan in his sister's room

Finn loves his 14-year-old sister Raine. She loves him but isn’t crazy about him in her room touching all her stuff! So here he is in the middle of her bed wearing her glasses. She is too busy texting her bf in the background there to care about what he’s up too. I think he knows just how cute he is.

Then when the electrician’s who were installing our outdoor lights left this rim to a light fixture on the patio table, Finn decided it would make a great hat & wore it around for a few days.

Finn wearing the rim of a light fixture

wurlitzer on the 4th of July

This 4th of July we dropped by the Milroy Mansion for some barbeque  that had been cooking all night by the famous Doc Hawkins. He started the night before & stayed up all night tending to the fire. Doc is one of those characters that takes his barbeque seriously – he has one of those barbeques you pull around on a trailer. He enters contests & has been on the Food Network channel. Doc is also Larry’s chiropractor, that’s how they met – Doc looks a bit like Sam Elliot from Lonesome Dove & is the only chiropractor I know that smokes. He says he picked up the habit in the Navy & has never stopped, then he handed me a handful of peanut m&ms.

We swung by last night to check out how he puts together the brisket & to hang out. It turns out we got more than we expected & were pleasantly surprised to meet an odd clutch of characters & get a ride in the 59 Cadillac convertable. The only way I can paint the scene of the people & the space is to have you imagine a David Lynch movie with his odd-ness that usually leaves me scratching my head, saying, “huh?” or “hmmm.”

There was Allen who owns the Milroy Mansion & many mechanical musically machines too many to count. His historical mansion is filled to the brim with them. Incidentally he decided he was going to live in this house when he was three years old & he actually bought it when he was 30. I find that interesting, something about focus & having a visions.

He & I had a lot to talk about because when I was in high school I worked at Pizza & Pipes in Bellevue, WA where a Wurlitzer organ was played while people ate pizza. He was familiar with the place & knew the musicians that played the organ. He was also the owner of the 59 Cadillac that was once owned by Jaja Gabor, apparently bought for one of her lovers. Good story, I love objects with a good story.

The Romanian woman who listed every detail of her day with her 3 years & 8 months old daughter. Her child is learning three languages & three sports, all with private, focused lessons. And she asked with a drippingly sexy, Romanian accent, “what else besides swimming is your son in?” “Nothing,” I replied, “we are practicing the fine art of under achievement.” No, I didn’t, but I wish I had. I mean, what would she have said.

Then there is the Doc, looking a bit like a man who should have lived in Texas when it was still being tamed, much like “the Cowboy” in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

It was an interesting party, both days, unfortunately no one but Allen would let me take a photo of them so instead I took photos of the Cadillac & the Musical Machines. I loved these machines with all their carvings & colors. They do give me a feeling of a carnival or an arcade, which is interesting & has a mysterious side. You know, behind the scenes something else is playing out, but up front it is all music lights & games. Kinda reminds me of the party & the space where it was held. There was a lot of mystery, but there was also this front of playfulness & fun. I have so many questions to ask.

wurlitzer player piano

music & pipes

Allen at the recording piano in Milroy Mansion

Imagine that! There is a piano that records your playing with holes in a role of paper and then plays back your music,

 100 years ago or so. That’s so cool.






the finn swims . . .

After four swim lessons Finn still cries when he goes & whimpers during the 15 minute class but when we go to the YMCA on our own just for fun he is so excited & mimics everything his teacher has been drilling him on. The survival swim course he is taking is all about repetition, creating a muscle memory that he is already exhibiting when we swim with him. It’s amazing to see his confidence & growing skills in the water, but most of all his pure joy.

These images are hard to capture in a pool with my iPhone (yikes!). Perhaps not the smartest choice but it’s just so precious.

let me go!


he's fearless


i see dead bugs

around here it feels safer

nicaraguan drift wood

My current state of being, unfolding, discovering keeps me close to home. I move from the front porch/garden to the kitchen, the great room, my studio & soon out back in our pool (they are working on it this week). I feel most comfortable here. Perhaps it’s the avoidance that they say those with PTSD do best, but I find it feels safer & creates less anxiety – it’s just easier. Plus there is so much right here to explore, tend to, care for & create. I am officially addicted to my iPhone camera Instagram app! (as if you couldn’t tell).





the she that is me that everyone else sees

I’m taking up my own experiment of seeing my face in a new way, from different angles, to see what is there, not what I need to hide or camouflage ~ just what is purely me, the she that is me that everyone else sees but I have not wanted to see because she didn’t meet my approval. I’m easing into loving myself. My new iPhone was the inspiration because it has a camera on both sides – amazing. I’m fighting the nudge that perhaps this is all a bit narcissistic – perhaps it is but the intention of falling in love with one’s self can only be magical & productive.

Vivianne McMaster teaches an online course called “You are Your Own Muse” which I so want to take when it begins again. She is an extraordinary woman & artist living in British Columbia. The course is an adventure in self-portraiture & letting yourself shine.

What I’m noticing is how broad my check bones are. A lot like my Sami heritage. I used to see my brother & my dad in my nose & mouth region which would repulse me. I felt it was too masculine & manlike ~ not delicate & feminine. But my face is strong, I have strong features. Because the sides of my face are vastly different I once called my mom to ask what happened at my birth. Did they use forceps on my head? is what I really asked her. One side droops a little, my eye is smaller & my ear sticks out. I call it my elf ear – it runs in the family. We are half elfin.

This photo shows the scar from Oly our old english sheep dog that bit into my face & dragged me across the room when I was nine.

my favorite angle

I just think this is funny & it drove Raine crazy when I took it at Starbucks. I keep telling her that part of my job as her mom now is to embarrass her.


iPhone street shooting . . .

I couldn’t stay in with my new iPhone camera while it was raining, so I went for a ride through the hood, grabbed some coffee & photographed what caught my eye. This is so fun!!! I’m trying to do something creative everyday & didn’t feel like going up to the studio today – turns out I didn’t have to.


oh beautiful rain

It’s raining this morning & my soul is dancing. I LOVE the rain & people of the rain. I even named my daughter Raine.

I grew up in lush green-ness of Bellevue, Washington. That part of the country has a special tonality or perhaps it’s a saturated-ness to the greens. I think it comes from a grey sky but it is luscious & soothing to me. After 17 years in that area I’ve spent a lot of my time in the deserts of California, New Mexico, Saudi Arabia & Iraq. You can’t find that kind of green-ness in those places.

But this morning it is raining in Houston after a long drought & I am dancing with my new IPhone (just got my upgrade) playing with Instagram, Shake-it, Super 8 & other fun photo apps. I love it & it’s so convenient to have a phone in my camera!! :o)