night swimming

Back in the early 90’s I was listening to REM’s album, Automatic for the People. I loved just about every song especially, Night Swimming. It reminds me of sneaking into the pool near my college, Principia & skinny dipping alone.

More than a decade later I thought of the song while night swimming at Saddam’s Palace Pool in Iraq. I  had to fly over to Baghdad from Fallujah for a few days to talk with the State Department which was stationed inside one of the Palaces. They had an amazing pool out back that sat under a giant Banyan Tree. Helo flights were always at night because it was safer, so I arrived after midnight, I humped over to the Embassy in my stinky cammies, with protective gear & weapons. They gave me a room out back near the pool. Once in my room I put on  a swim suit under some workout clothes & walked over to the pool. By now it was nearly 2:00 am, most people were sound asleep & the pool had been closed for hour. First I sat & meditated a bit on the giant tree in front of me, then I made myself invisible & slid out of my workout clothes & into the pool. I was so quiet as I glided across the surface, floating, looking at the walls of this palace feeling a sort of in awe of this place, the history, etc. And here I was night swimming, a Captain in the United States Marine Corps practically naked in Iraq, swimming after hours. It was magical & I felt transported, baptized perhaps of all the trauma imparted  around me.

Fast forwarding a few years to our backyard garden pool here in Houston where we swim every night. Last night Finnegan had to have the light on, which is much to powerful for the small pool it lights up, so it was on & I took a bunch of pictures of him swimming. We call him Ponyo because he such a fish, so natural in the water. Perhaps it is all the floating I did when I was pregnant with him.

Enjoy the photos & here is the video of REM singing Night Swimming. Great memories.




therapy & a yellow umbrella

After my therapy session at the VA yesterday, I wanted to journal a bit about what we talked about & ponder some ideas – perhaps dive a little deeper into them. (I love my therapist BTW, she is perfect for her job & truly brilliant). We talked about a lot of things that have been difficult lately; how it’s hard to break through my depression some of the times, how it’s hard to switch from my right-brain-creative-space to my left-brain-time-to-prepare-dinner-&-take-care-of-the-family-space. Also, I just feel stuck in a place of not doing what I know I should be doing to have the experience I want to have – things like health, spiritual wellbeing, joy, etc.

yellow umbrella

Dr. Beckner listened & asked a lot of questions, but the question that sat with me in the end was, what has worked for me in the past? So I went to Antidote, a coffee shop near my house, pondering what has worked to shake me from a funk & i couldn’t stop looking at this large yellow umbrella outside the window. Next i noticed the couch i was sitting on was yellow & i couldn’t help but start photographing everything i noticed that was yellow. It’s now been about 24 hours & i’m still photographing yellow.

Oh & i thought of some things that have worked in the past that don’t involve moving to another country or state, or giving away everything i own & going to war.

Listening to Abraham regularly & applying what they teach has worked remarkably. Getting a clear vision of the life i want to live & seeing clearly the life i am living – the full, richness of it, the love & the depth of love & play in our house has pulled me out of the deepest funks in the past. Basically it boils down to focusing on what i want & not on what is not going well, or how blah & funky i feel. It’s focusing on what we have, what we have created, how juicy it feels & just relishing in that, has always worked well.

I had crazy scary dreams last night, actually more disturbing than scary & i woke with a distant feeling, as if a part of me was still in that world, not wanting to leave just yet. So i sipped my coffee in a spaced out state waiting for the nanny to arrive, then i went for a walk in the rain (as you know, i LoVE the rain).  I photographed yellow, got wet, savored the 85 plus degree air, all while listening to Abraham on my iPhone. I feel much better, i feel the shift.

Here’s my compilation of yellow (why yellow? I’m not sure except that I love green so much & can we know the fullness of green without yellow? Can we know green at all without yellow?):


yellow umbrella


yellow umbrella

the couch


another angle of yellow



yellow veneer


just a touch

hanging marigolds


near beer mosaic


birthday balloon


yellowing vine

sprayed yellow


yellow poles

yellow sea star


my rain boots






saturday after thunder moon

i would rather talk about what happened today because yesterday was disastrous to put it nicely. Yesterday, during the Thunder moon, I went to bed around 6pm because everything was unravelling so rapidly I couldn’t keep it all together & needed to reset. Tears were bubbling up for no apparent reason. I didn’t plan to sleep for 13 hours but that is what happened. Luckily I have the most amazingly understanding family, that moved on allowing me to rest. I love them so.

But like I said, I would rather talk about today. My days are better when I can be in & appreciate each moment. It’s not like anything spectacular happened, it was more about noticing the moments & smiling in the fullness of their simplicity.

today I . . .

~ woke up to our baby, Finnegan, walking into our room holding his blanket.

~ drank a cup of coffee brewed with a real dried red pepper from Santa Fe sitting on top of the grounds.

~ made a yummy green smoothie with hemp nuts & cacao nibs.

~ swam with Finnegan in our pool. Love how the water can instantly cool my skin.

~ added some life to the pool area with planted grasses in baskets.

~ ate some whole foods gluten-free nutty bread with ghee. (so incredibly yummy)

~ sat on our porch in the blanket of humid heat with Larry & worked on my newest necklace.

~let Larry take out the tomato plants & we planned our living wall.

~ swam some more with Finnegan, he loves to dive for rocks.

~ went to Wabash Feed Store to see the chickens & other cool things they had.

~ ate yummy veggie nachos that Larry made.

~ swam some more with Larry & Finnegan. He is so busy in the water, gathering, throwing, collecting, swimming, diving & on & on.

~ went for a walk listened to the cicadas & felt the humid warmth wrap around me like a soft blanket. Contemplated juicing for a week or so.

~ watched the thriller, Twisted, with Ashley Judd, Andy Garcia (yum) & Samuel L. Jackson with Larry (double Yum).

Much better day, I’m feeling full & whole, time for bed.

note to self – need more creativity in EVERY day!!!



Wabash Feed Store


buckled in













3 wooden crosses & a star of david


On our way out of Santa Fe, we had to stop by & pay our respects to Rose’s memorial beside Old Las Vegas Highway.  Rose was one of Alaska’s (my stepdaughter) friends. The night before she was killed she had spent the night at our house on Asequia Madre.  The accident happened in June of 2009 just after midnight, five teenagers were travelling in a car when a truck travelling in the opposite direction hit them killing four of the teens & severely injuring Avree the driver. The entire city mourned their loss for weeks & beyond.

The driver was drunk but a few months ago they finally finished his trial and found him NOT guilty because they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had swerved into their lane. This sounds like legal mumbo jumbo & I know he will suffer beyond anything I can imagine, knowing that he was responsible for the death of four young teens.

What is still blazoned in my memory is the call we got from Alaska sobbing and saying, “Rose is dead.” We jumped out of bed & drove out to the fire station where all the parents & teens were gathering. Alaska was travelling in another car & came upon the accident road block. We waited with her for information & news about the teens & their condition. Julian’s mother was in a room by herself curled up on the floor sobbing uncontrollably, occasionally crying out with an unfathomable pain. Then Rose’s father, John, came through the doors looking panicked and searching the faces for Rose. He was calling out for her with a soft, fearful, boyish face asking everyone, “Where is she? Where is Rose?” One of the teens stood up & hugged him close & then turned away so as not to meet his eyes. No one could say anything until they had identified the bodies, which apparently was difficult to do.

Meanwhile, Larry & I sat in chairs, holding each other. Holding Alaska when she came over for support. We were so grateful & deeply sad simultaneously. Alaska was going to be in that car but at the last-minute she decided to go in another car. Everyone was in different states of shock.

It is a scene I hope to never participate in again. More parents arrived, more tears, screams, desperate pleadings, & more tears.

Rose’s memorial service was filled with heart, comfort & celebration of her grace-filled 15 years.  It was held outside at the Mountain Center in Tesuque, hundreds attended. Storm clouds were coming in, thunder clapping, crow was standing watch, eagle soared overhead as the brook babbled. I stood in the water to cool my pregnant swollen feet & felt & witnessed & smiled & cried.

So to Rose, Julian, Kate & Alyssa you are remembered & live on in the hearts of those who never had the honour of meeting you.

Teens killed in auto accident 2009

We drove on & enjoyed the show put on for us the entire way home through Texas & into Houston. Mother-Nature is simply amazing it was so hard not to just click a photo every mile as the sky changed from one spectacular scene of contrast to another. Raine & I sang every song on the radio & did our car dancing until she crashed into a deep sleep. We stopped in Henrietta, Texas at a Best Western with bats fluttering out front to greet us & cows outside our window moooing us to sleep. How cool is that?

I love road trips & I’m thrilled to be home back in Larry’s arms, holding my baby boy where I will stay . . . until the next adventure.

Hmmm Contrast

Texas Double Rainbow

Cadillac Ranch in a dust storm

College Station

My Bumper Sticker

last days in Santa Fe

We are leaving Santa Fe today. Raine & Dillon are outside having an ice fight as a way to say goodbye without tears. It’s been an emotional journey for both of us, for different reasons. She is leaving feeling re-connected again with her bf/bf. I’m leaving feeling full & healed a bit. I worked through & unravelled somethings, re-connected with Santa Fe by photographing the cracks & crevices.

Last night I spent a wonderful evening at the Waves with my beautiful friend, Anna.  Anna is one of those friends that makes me & my life make sense. I feel at home with her. We had a year or so to catch up on. I’m spinning today with more thoughts that I want to share with her & I can’t wait to learn more about root teas & the community of women.

I love you Anna. Thank you for taking the time to soak, share & laugh with me.  I miss you already.

It’s hard to leave, the clouds are coming up over the mountains & I want to stay & photograph the show. But its goodbye for now – I got to get home to see my babies, Larry & Finnegan.

Rainy Day in Santa Fe

Kakawa Window

McDonalds Drive In Window Graffiti

St. Francis Cathedral

Chalk Board in the Loo at Downtown Sub

bird feeder with cracked kakawa mugs

Another Kakawa Window

at the waves

sunday in Santa Fe

I spent Sunday meandering & wandering through town soaking in all the contrasting colors & textures. Most of these images were taken on Canyon Road with my iPhone Instagram, long after all the galleries were closed for the evening. I took photos until my battery ran out . . . & then it rained.
Kakawa is one of my favorite spots in Santa Fe. They serve the most amazing drinking chocolates – like the hot chocolate we used to drink before we added milk & sugar. I sipped my little cup of Rose Chocolate & savoured every sip – heavenly.


red chiles

Old Santa Fe Trail

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