Sunday, August 21, 2011

So i ran nearly 10-1/2 miles today.

I was worried, because even though I was given an inhaler, I haven't been exactly thrilled with the results.  

After some runs, I was over the moon with the results! Other times, I couldn't get any wind in my lungs.  

So I started to feel defeated.

I wasn't sure anymore.

Maybe I wasn't using the inhaler correctly. Maybe I needed to get more tests done.

Then this morning, I took the puffs from my inhaler and off I went with my running buddies. 

Worried but hopeful. Always the optimistic, I felt that maybe this was going to my day. But I still wasn't completely sure. I was feeling unsettled.

To be honest, I haven't been enjoying running lately.

I missed the joy. Worried that I could give up. I felt I was that close.

We started our run in Point Reyes National Seashore and it was truly a spectacular run... breezing past the Douglas fir forest and along the rushing Bear Valley Creek.  The Bear Valley Trail ended here at the end of the California coastline called Arch Rock.

 It felt mostly effortless. I chatted with others. I wasn't sucking up breaths. I sprinted uphill to the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean and felt powerful.  

On our decent back, I decided to jockey into position to out-pace other runners during the single track trail and somewhere running in the uneven terrain, I felt a muscle snap.. and saw a lightening bolt in front of my eyes. I stopped in mid stream...  and when my running buddies turned their heads around and stopped 50 yards ahead of me, noticing I wasn't with them ... I waved them on keep running.

I leaned down and sucked in the pain. I tried to stretch it out. I was now all alone at the pacific ocean and they were looking more like ants as they were running back to the car. What was I to do?

Well.. I walked for a bit. Caught up to another running buddy, Dennis, who was walking because he felt upper back pain. We walked together for maybe 45 seconds and then I felt this urge to run through the pain. So I did. I ran and  I ran and I ran. Passing each different running group and by the end of the nine-and-a-half mile run, I was back with my running buddies.

I sprinted at the very end and passed five of them.

I got my game on! I feel the reward. I feel as though I have my life back. I am deeply thankful that it begins today.

If you are feeling like you can't quite get your breath. That your legs can't quite carry you quick enough (like they once did)... you might want to check with your allergist. You just might be suffering with exercise-induced asthma.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My backyard

I have been on a cleaning binge. And patching and repairing on my house.

I LOVE my home. But it didn't start out that way.

I LIKED it, but I've done a lot of work on it over the years. Let's say I saw the potential in it.  Now, I really enjoy hanging out in my backyard.

This is a corner of my yard that shows the most impact.

Before it looked this this, the yard was void of any flowers or trees except one lowly rose bush.

The grass needed care. The screened in porch needed to get pulled down. So I pulled it down. And I planted trees. And I planted flowers. I also painted my house. And fertilized my lawn.  I did a lot of this with my own bare hands. I also had a coupla friends over the years to help me which I will always be grateful for. 

It is now really lovely to sit out in my backyard alone or with friends and family over dinner on a warm summer evening.

But it wasn't always that way.  Because when I first moved in, my yard looked like this.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another 10K Race

It looks like I'm running in a relay.

But, instead, I am carrying a rather old ipod shuffle that ran out of batteries after my fifth mile. I had it hooked on my shorts, but it apparently started to bug me, so I just grabbed it and carried it in my sweaty hands. 

I sprinted to the finish but it still turned out to be one of my slowest races. Falling behind nearly three minutes from the previous year. It was much warmer this year. But I am blaming it more on my breathing.

I've been having such a difficult time breathing while running. It has really been frustrating for me trying to keep up with the other runners I used to pass.  It wasn't always this way, but now it is getting in the way of my running.

My lungs feel heavy and strained. So do my legs. Like boards. I can't get them moving as fast or with the same ease as I once did. My chest aches. I don't breathe in deep enough and I run like a panting dog.

I'm still out there running twice a week (not nearly as much as I should be running)... but I'm out there running with my running buddies... six or seven miles up in the hills, jumping over rocks, (and an occasional snake), and through meadows and along streams. 

It's just different now.

I can barely catch my breath. My lungs feel so tight and ache when I take a breath in.

So i decided to seek medical attention.
First, I had a stress test done to check my heart. Walking progressively faster and faster as the incline increased every few minutes while they stuck me with sticky electrodes and attached to my chest, shoulders and hips.   I aced it! (well, that's the word my doctor used... "you aced it, Shawn!")

I have gone to an allergist.   No real allergies were determined. I had a reaction to a walnut tree... but other than that, I came clean with allergies. 

I had lung function tests and the doctor listened to my heart and lungs and it, too, turned out strong and clear.

Next option: An inhaler. The doctor suggested that perhaps I have exercise induced asthma. He gave me a sample inhaler and suggests I take two puffs of it 15 minutes before I run.

I look forward to it working it's magic.  I want to enjoy running again. Because at the moment, I am not. 

Mostly, I'm scared, because I don't know why it has become so labor-intensive to run even short distances.

And I only know too well what will happen, if I continue to feel defeated. I will stop running. At at the present moment, I don't want that to be option.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

what would you do if you couldn't fail?

i'm back in my body where I hear the small yelp for something new and refreshing to quench my creative soul.

It's like a mirage.

Seemingly right there in front of me.  If I reach out, I feel as though I can touch it; taste it. I stare out into the abyss and similar to the magic eye pictures...  i squint my eyes a tad, so i can peer into a picture previously unseen to the eye.

What is it that i'm supposed to see?

What's my destiny?
What is my heart telling me?

Another birthday is approaching and so it's no wonder I am looking back over my life and wondering what the hell I'm supposed to be doing. I mean, rrrreally be doing.

It has nothing to do with my day job. I love my daylight hours designing fabric, ads, movies--- anything that lands on my platter... I enjoy doing...  and hope to work here until my 100th birthday. But still... there is a huge longing to do something that is purely a "shawn" thing to do. A doodlegirl dream that has nothing to do with my daytime doodling.

It has everything to do with what I do with my free time in the evenings. I want to do whatever that IS that makes my heart sing.

What IS my greatest talent. What is that thing I am best at?

So many thoughts and ideas bouncing inside me like drunk people dancing at a wedding.

So I sit here outside under my new patio on a warm July evening and let my imagination soar.  I am so grateful for my home. And my backyard that was once a pile of weeds but now green and luscious with beautiful purple agapanthus that look like fireworks in the night sky.

I am writing down notes. Remembering my earlier accomplishments and my pile of creative projects I started but never completed. Dreams I planted ... and can still grow if I cultivate it.

It's okay that I don't know the answer now. The map is still in my spirit and it's up to me to keep making steps in my creative journey in the same direction as I follow my heart.

Thinking about this makes me deliriously happy. And it takes my breath away.

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In line at the Jack in the Box

So, i don't normally eat fast food but today I couldn't resist. I pulled into the long line at the Jack in the Box and contemplated my order.  The car ahead of me had two tiny old ladies in it and the driver could barely see above her steering wheel. 

She crawled her way slowly toward the menu sign...  and then pressed too hard on the brakes, lurching the car forward as it dipped to a stop. Both women bounced around in their seats. 

The shocks in the car were shot. It was as if they were sitting on a trampoline. 
Once the car settled down, she backed up so she could get a better view of the outdoor menu.

They took a long time deciding what they wanted to eat and when the voice in the speaker finally thanked her for her order and to move forward... I noticed her car was still in reverse! She started to inch her way toward me and I was just about to honk at her, when she noticed her mistake, breaking hard again. 

Even more bouncing. Little round fuzzy white hair-dos rolling all over the front seat.

Eventually, she made her way to the first window and paid for their order. And as she drove up to the second window to receive their food, she simply waved, "thank you, darlin'!" and continued to drive out of the parking lot and turned right and drove down the street, forgetting to pick up their lunch!

I pulled up to the front window... still giggling to what I had just witnessed.

The Jack in the Box employee rolled her eyes and blew out a breath so hard, her bangs blew upward. "Old people!!!!  Look what we have to look forward to!"

Reminds me of this joke:

Three sisters, ages 92, 94, and 96 live in a house together. One Night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts one foot in and pauses. She Yells down the stairs, "Was I getting in or out of the bath?"
The 94 year old yells back, "I don't know. I'll come up and see." She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then, she yells, "Was I going up The stairs or down?"
The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea, listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, "I sure hope I never get That forgetful."
She knocks on wood for good measure.
She then yells, "I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I got rid of a lotta paint today

I just got rid of a lot of paint.

I'm amazed at how many half empty or unloved cans I was storing--- and I still kept probably at least another dozen more cans!

Why on earth did I squirrel them away?  We've all got so much stuff.

It bursts out of closets and drawers.

Attics and garages groan with magazines, tools, ornaments, tangled lights, beach chairs, old clothes, books, cassette tapes and videotapes and piles and piles of things that no one uses or needs that we can't bear to throw away.

But I've got my second wind. Going back in and tossing out.

And I'm also repairing. And rebuilding. And turning my home more and more into the home I have always hoped for and believed I could have.

I am insanely happy working on my house. If someone asked me... "what do you like to do in your spare time?" I would most likely say, "Work on my house!"

Oh, don't get me wrong. I love spending the day at the beach or picnic in the park or a drive through the country and hanging out with friends.  I get that. 

But there is nothing like climbing into bed at night after a long, hard day of work having crossed off so many things off of my list of "to do's".

I've had a check list for years now. 
but after a month of weekends, I have crossed a lot of (little and large) chores off.

It is amazing what we can repair ourselves once we know how to do it and not be intimidated by the task.  The biggest lesson I have learned is that to get all the things you need to get fixed.... (like drilling holes into concrete) all you really need are the proper tools.  When you have the proper tools, you can do annyyyythiiiing.

I'm grateful that Jesus was a carpenter.... because I'm not sure if we would have all these marvelous tools if not for the son of God needing them back in the day. 

And I'm grateful to all the other men in the construction field who invented the tools and named them after themselves. Like Phillip Screwdriver. And Brad nails. And Allen Wrenches. And Stanley measuring tape.

One more weekend and I'm done working on the house for the summer. It's been exciting, no doubt. And so rewarding.

Photos to follow...

Friday, June 17, 2011

LAUNCH.... as in Blast Off!

Illustration Friday gives us a word each week and we draw an illustration with that word in mind.  Today's word is LAUNCH.  Which is ironically what I'm doing these days. Launching forward. Having the courage to step into the unknown and trying new things. I'm taking more chances. I'm saying Yes more and and saying No less. And enjoying my life so much more.

Life goes by like a flash of light that you're not even sure you saw in the first place. You turn and it is already gone. Long gone. Where did it go? And what's around the next corner? 

Who knows? But I'm running toward it with gumption and not willing to sit on the curb and watch it pass me by.

It's blast off time. Time to launch. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City

In under two weeks before Quilt Market, I managed to pull off creating ten 4x8 foot panels made of my superheroes and eight other large cut-out superheros for our booth. Not to mention logo designs, bag labels, water bottle labels and other various designs at the last minute.

I loved it!  I was in my element. And, isn't that the whole point? Work should feel delicious and rewarding and make your insides full of giddy.

The tables were covered in both my Lolly Dot print and Superhero City Nights. People dressed as my superheroes and for a moment there, seeing all my work showcased, I, too, felt for a few days ... super happy. Super satisfied. Superheroe'd out. I am thankful. I'm lucky, so blessed, with good health, somewhat decent genes and doing work that I love.

I flew into Salt Lake City for a few days and videotaped the events using a Flip Videocamera. I returned back to our Studio and edited hours down to just a few minutes. 

You can watch it here. (remember to turn on your sound). We really do have that much fun at our shows.  Thanks for watching.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Behind the scenes of Michael Miller Fabrics

I have been busy.

It's all that hurry, hurry, rush, rush, hustle and bustle of getting things ready for Quilt Market. And now the time is finally here! Quilt Market in Salt Lake City is nearly lapping at our toes!

I often attend the International Quilt Market in Houston each year, but I rarely ever go to the Spring Quilt Market which hits different cities across the country every year. The last Spring Market I attended was in Portland, Oregon where I got to meet our first, brand spankin' new licensed designer Sandi Henderson and upcoming, still warm in the oven, Patty Young and Paula Prass.

I put this one-minute "trailer" video together and hope you take the time to watch it. It's behind-the-scenes of where I work! (All filmed on a Flip)

Here's another sneak peek at what I've been working on....

I designed ten 4' x 8' panel walls for our booth at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City to showcase the fabric I designed..... It's going to be a superhero theme!

This was inspired by the superhero fabrics I designed. (It's really blurry and it's not your eyes this time. I took it with my phone and and didn't look at it to see if it was clear or not). I am sleepy but feel happy and content. All the artwork I designed is out of my hands now and I just have to wait and see how the printers did and if they sent all the artwork in time to our hotel in Salt Lake City.

In case you didn't know ... I am praying for a miracle.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Memory Strategies

She said... "Help me remember channel 220."

I said, "That's easy! Think of that old TV show Room 222. Then think of Dolly Parton singin' "Two doors down, they're laughing and drinking and having a party.." What room is two doors down? 220!"

I smiled to myself at my quick logic to help her remember the channel.

She looked at me in disbelief. "Okay!"

I once lived at 2001 Range Avenue in Apt 222.

It was so easy to remember my address:
Movie: 2001 Leagues under the Sea...
Song: Home on the Range.
TV Show: Room 222!!

(That '60s show again starring Karen Valentine comes in handy a lot!)

But sometimes you just have to pretend numbers are inanimate objects. Like that time when I had to pick a friend up at a diner in the City at 983 6th Street. The ONLY way I could remember the address was think....  "If nine ate three... it leaves six."

I try to convince others how easy it is to remember things if they just create a story in their head.

They stare at my blankly. "Isn't it easier to just remember the number than to recall the story?"

I suppose it is for most things. But I've never remembered it any other way. I've always created a story.
It's something I've been doing all my life.

Like how else would I have remembered when a friend fell in love for the first time back in May 1980? It was because she said she felt fireworks when he kissed her.  M80s are large illegal firecrackers... that can cause harm, which come to think of it... the guy eventually DID break her heart .. so for now on, whenever I think of Lisa and her first boyfriend, i think of M80s: May 80.

In the late 90s, I taught my very young niece my telephone number: (Fourteen-Fifteen) Four-Five-Six- One Six-Two Six, pick up sticks.)  The pick up sticks was just a fun rhyme, but the actual number was 1 (415) 456-1626.

See what I mean? I don't know why I think like that. But I do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

IF: Bicycle

This week's Illustration Friday's topic is Bicycle. 

This was a fun project for me. I had the job to create fabric out of some bicycle illustrations that were given to me.  I added more of my own and placed them into a repeat and this is the result!

When I was a kid, I had a teal sting-ray bike with a banana seat, white wall tires and the requisite basket with flower appliques. (which i later replaced with a steering wheel I ordered from a Montgomery Ward's catalog).

I can vividly remember riding over tree-root-cracked sidewalks over to my best friend's house. A doll with clumps of human hair taped over the bald doll's head and belted around my waist behind me as if she was holding on to my waist; a playing card tucked between the spokes to sound like an engine.

I will never ever forget that one hot summer evening when I was probably 7.  My sister and I and best friend Terry donned on baseball caps over our short pixie haircuts and pretended to be boys.  We pulled off our shirts and raced our bikes around the block feeling dizzy with excitement wearing only our shorts and keds... 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another tough half marathon under my belt

They called this race a gnarly trail run over tough uneven steep terrain. It was strongly recommended that we carry at least 20 ounces of water/fluids with us even though there were 5 aid stations spread throughout the course.

I knew it was going to be a difficult run.
 (They slated it as tougher than last year's course).

I knew going in there was going to be a lot of miles of single track trails through meadows and up forested hills reaching to 1480 feet in elevation for most of the course. But what I couldn't dream up was that I would be able to run the race with very little pain in the quicker pace I had hoped for.

But I did. I really did it!

I finished feeling really happy with the results.
After taking an 11-day stretch off from running in the latter part of March for a much needed vacation and then...after four days of being home, i underwent surgery that would affect another 13 days off of running... (or any form of exercise), so you can imagine panic and fear setting in once I realized I didn't have many days in the last month to fully prepare for this race. 

I became increasingly worried. "How will this affect me!?"  Well. I figured. "NOT GOOD!"


Around the 3 mile mark... we were running on single lane trails. No way anyone could pass on them. You just settle in and run the course. Attempting to pass on the left could result in a serious fall... and it was impossible to pass on the right. So there we were ... running as though in traffic... keeping a five foot cushion between us as we ran, hoping no one stumbles and falls.. because that could leave for a dreadful result.

Once we got to a more clearer terrain, we fell into our comfortable running speed and spaced ourselves more appropriately.

I caught up to Wendy who is a nurse and my sister's friend and now a friend of mine. 
I started singing behind her...

"Who's peeking out
from under a stairway  .....
Calling a name that's lighter than air .....
Who's bending down to give me a rainbow .....
Everyone knows it's Windy .....

I don't think she heard me sing but glanced at me as I tapped her on her shoulder as I passed.. just as the steep climb turned downward... the gravity suddenly turned our run into a downhill race ...  and ... as she raced downward,  her foot stumbled over a rock and she flew. I mean ... FLLLLEEWWW ... through the air and skidded on the grass.

I stopped to ask if she was alright.

"I'm fine! Keep running!"
she said.

And so I did.

Little did we both realize the next words to the song went on to say...

"Who's tripping down the streets of the city
Smiling at everybody she sees
Who's reaching out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it's Windy..."

And she did. She sorely tripped.. but she also got back up and continued to run and finished the race not all that much further than I did...  smiling at everybody she sees ....  She is TRULY that song!
  Notice Wendy's bloody knees from her downhill fall

I felt in a zone.

I kept looking up thinking, "where am I?" I didn't recognize most of the course. It was gorgeous.. running down Buick Meadow was bonus reward for me.

I found my pace and kept passing slower runners on their left. It was a rocky, treacherous fire road that took it's toll this winter with the heavy rains. Deep crests. Large boulders towering up. It was tiresome.... lifting my legs to jump the rugged rocks... that were already tired doing their time earlier on the steeper grades.

The weather was mild, yet felt extra humid to me. I drank most of my water bottle the first 3 miles. I kept stopping at the AID stations that weren't out of water to grab a cup full. I was surprised I went through my water so quickly.

I kept looking back for a glimpse of Angie or Heidi. They were behind me and out of my sight.  It didn't make any sense to me. Maybe it was the break I had and I gave my legs a chance to rest. I thought for sure I would be running behind them...

At one point, a runner asked me, "where do we think we are?"
"I shouted between breaths.. "At the 8th or 9th mile..."
She was surprised and said she felt it was more like 10 miles. 

I hoped she was right.  And thinking back... I believe she was.

Running just before the finish line, a team of 10-15 runners from the Jeff Galloway Group screamed my name, "GO SHAWWWN!" as i started to pace toward the finish. I looked up, waving my hands at them when I saw my brother, my nephew and niece and my cousin from Long Island visiting and Heidi's husband and kids standing next to them.  Clapping and cheering me on. 

I LOVED IT and it pushed me to sprint forward!!!

I ran it in 2:41:58 or was it 2:42:02....

No matter what.. i beat my time last year. And this felt different. This year, I finished without any aches and pains. And that alone felt great!!!!

(Of course tomorrow holds the secrets to how I will really feel...) 

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On the other hand....

No, this is not a trail running injury, but a surgical procedure I had planned on.

However, what I didn't plan on ... is the difficulty i have using my left hand on everything while being right-handed.  It is all backwards.  I called my hot oatmeal breakfast this morning ...  porridge.


I instantly blamed it on my left-handedness and how it is rewiring my brain.

When I was little, I used to practice writing left-handed.  And sometimes when one of the kids in my class happened to glance my way while we were sitting at our desks, I would exchange my pencil with my left hand and continue writing, hoping they would think I was a lefty.

It paid off. 

I have written a few checks with my left hand during these last few days and had to sign my name on hospital forms and I'm quite pleased with the results!

But. I haven't mastered washing my hair yet.

I miss running. I can not run until four days before my half-marathon race and I try not to worry about that.  I do, though. The race is April 17th.

It keeps surfacing to my thoughts. How well will I run? Can I keep the pace? It's a mental game. One that I don't want to play because it's a game where I always lose. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

We tackled the Big Mountain

Coach Marc warned us that it was going to be a grueling run. We were about to embark on a muddy running trek to reach 2,729 feet to the top of the mountain with awesome views.  On a clear day we could see the Golden Gate Bridge from the top.

Of course this morning we knew better.

This morning it was all about rain, rain, rain.

Fog and low-lying clouds was the verdict of the day. It was difficult to see 50 yards ahead of us. No way would we have a view of anywhere, but we kept on running.

Bald Mountain is relentless.

It can chew up sweet lil Annadell (from across the way) and spit her out.

Coach Marc warned us it was going to be grueling run.

It was more than that.

It was brutal.

And yet each step was a gift. Running under the redwoods, alongside giant ferns and waterfalls.

There were cliffs so steep with gravel so loose, that it was as if I was running a jacobs ladder.  I'd run three feet up and slip a foot down.

I'd crane my neck up to see where my path was leading and I would look see a runner run and disappear into the cloud..... and when I got to that spot.. I'd look up and there it would be another runner up ahead on another higher elevated place. One ridge and then another ridge. And then another. It seemed endless.

I really believe the fact we couldn't see below us.. it kept us moving forward. We had no sense how many miles we had ran. And looking down the cliffs, it was purely gray, so we had no idea how high we had climbed. But it was truly magical. And beautiful. And amazing. And serene.

Can't wait to tackle it again. Just hope it isn't anytime soon.

Here was our route:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My rollers, my friends

Thanks to these delicious rollers and balls, they are helping to relieve me from all my pains in various areas: Achilles tendon, calf muscles, ham strings, IT bands, etc.

I've been doing excessive hill running... so my achilles tendon is stretching more than normal on every stride.  On recent runs, it feels a though I have a metal rod in it's place.

So I dropped by my local running store and picked up a few rollers and balls to help me self-massage my sore areas. It's been a few weeks now since I started using the rollers and balls and I'm really feeling the rewarding results from using them!

The idea here is that you roll your body weight along the roller where you are experiencing tightness in your muscles to break up the knots.  Believe me, it's no picnic. The sensation will make you wither in pain, but in a good wither! (ha!ha!)

Last Sunday was a 9-1/2-mile icy run up in Annadel.  It was C0OoLD and it was muddy from the rains the day before. The first 4-1/2 miles was all uphill. Breathing deeply in frigid air was difficult on the lungs, but after awhile, I began to feel myself warming up. Once reached the top... we were treated to miles of fun fast downhill. 

That's me in the picture below running through the muddy water. I read recently that it's better to run through the deepest part of the muddy terrain than to skip and prance around them. It's much more slippier on the outskirts, and besides that, it gives your shoes a nice bathing. 

(Oh, who am i kidding.... running through mud puddles is an enormous rush for those of us who don't like to get dirty... and besides that, it makes me feel bodacious!).

 Heidi and I running on South Burma

Early tomorrow morning I'm running a grueling 9 mile run 2,729 ft to the top of Bald Mountain. Forecast calls out rain all day so I imagine it will feel like a even longer run.

 Coach Marc says, "the worse the conditions, the more memorable".

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wanna be a fabric designer?

Have you ever considered being a Fabric Designer?
If you are nodding your head, then his could be a dream come true for you!
Spoonflower and Michael Miller Fabrics have gotten together to open up a contest to find Michael Miller Fabric's next licensed designer.

Pretty cool, huh?

Anyone can try their hand at designing. Get in touch with your inner artist. You only have one month from today to submit a Baby Boy Print to Spoonflower.

The one with the most votes win.

So get a move on. Hurry! Drop by Project Selvage right now because your dream starts there!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Running in a Winter Storm

What a night!

Four of us running the hills tonight. One of our first (and hardest) winter storms of the season. Forceful rain. Strong wind. At times, wind gusts hit us at 40 mph. The rain hit us sideways. We were drenched to the bone... running 5-1/2 miles up and down hills in the darkest of night.

I am now warm and dry after taking a hot shower. It seems as if this happened at least a week ago, but it was really just a couple of hours ago.
Funny.  What happens when you experience a storm. 

You either focus on the storm or you don't. 

I guess the storm just wasn't my focus. 

I remember the run. And it was kinda fun. Yet hard. And I feel happy I didn't allow the storm to deter me.  I'm happy there were three others who joined me who thought the same thing. Who laughed their way through the rain and the wind and enjoyed it as much as I did.

I just think I might be a runner now. Ya know? Those types of athletes who push themselves forward regardless of the weather.  I did that tonight and it was pretty fun.

I'm so happy I pushed myself past the feelings of "I really don't feel like running the hills in the storm tonight"... to... "I just ran an incredible experience".

It is changing me... everyday.. in small positive steps each part of the way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Prom fabric

Here is the Prom fabric I designed. 

I was so thrilled when I happened to stumble upon modernjax this afternoon and discovered what Beth made from my Prom fabric. She made this really fun bag from Amy Butler's new book.  Isn't it great!?!?!?! She is loaded with talent. 
And I think I've become one of her biggest fans!!!

She also used more of my fabric designs on other bags she created.
These designs are from the Dick and Jane collection I designed in 2006! Could it really have been that many years ago? Time sure flies by when you're having fun! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1st Wk: Annadel Half Mrthn Race training

Coach Marc giving us a pep talk before we head for the hills

I am loving running.

Who knew I would ever admit this?

Don't get me wrong. The first couple of miles sometimes hurt.

Sometimes ALL the miles hurt.

My hamstrings ache. My calves feel heavy. My achilles tendon pops and jumps. There are other hurts here and there.

Believe me... running .... is much harder than it looks.

But once I run. And I am done.. it feels GOOOD!

I am in the middle of WEEK ONE for another half-marathon training group up at Annadel Heights again.

I believe the race date is April 17th... Palm Sunday.

I can't fathom what this new training has in it's pockets. I am just going out there and giving it my best.

The first practice run wiped me out.

The pace was much quicker than I'm used to running. We ran 5 miles. But I was in the midst of all kinds of runners. Infact.. 125 runners. Mostly fast runners, so I huffed and puffed trying to keep up the pace, lagging behind in a deafening way.

And when I got home and showered.. I felt hungry all day. And cold though temperatures hit in the low 70s.

I am ready for anything. I just want to be positive and healthy and pain-free and optimistic and hardworking and kind.

Wow. That's a long list.

I just want to be able to stand and feel painfree when it's all done. When the race is over, I want to feel good and strong and brave and powerful.

Anything is within my grasp. Right!!?


Funny I am adding kindness to the list, but the more I run and converse with other running buddies.. the more I want that in my life.

I am taken back sometimes at runners who are particular who they run with. "I will not run with that person and I will run with th
is person".

Too much to keep up. I don't want drama. I just want fun. And friendships. And adventures.

And I'm on that path.

Here goes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The morning after Christmas run

What a great morning to run.

It was raining hard during the night and so I felt relieved that the rains had subsided when the alarm woke me this morning. I jumped out of bed and felt pretty confident that it was going to be a great morning.

What I didn't know then was that it was going to be a terrific morning!

I wore my brand new Christmas present.. a bright blue long sleeve running shirt and my Swansboro, North Carolina cap. I felt toasty amidst the cool dampness in the air and the cold waters we waded through.

It's rewarding running with a group of friends. I would not have ran this morning if I was out there plugging alone. No way would I have done that.

There is strength among numbers.

Dennis fell.

I didn't see him as I was too busy looking down, dancing over rocks under my own feet... but I heard he made a spectacular flight into mid-air in slow-motion before landing in mud and sliding his way down the trail. He feels great, though. No sore muscles or skinned knees. They're the best kind of falls.

Because once you fall, you're never the same.

You run with more caution. But it's lovely when that first fall takes place, it is relatively painless... because moving forward you run with caution, but you don't necessarily run with fear.

The recent rains have changed our runs. We had to push ourselves through lots of chilly streams. But it was all worth it.

Last year, we worried about getting our feet wet. Now Heidi jumps in with fearless abandonment.

Running is fun. And this is my playground. Wishing you to find your playground today. Wherever, whatever it is.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The sound of silence

It's the silence that is so deafening.

Funny how the mind twists and turns truths like an old tired rope. All frayed at the edges.

It's the silence (or lack of response) that keeps you up at night worrying and re-living and keeping you from truly resting your spirit.
When someone stops talking to you, many things happen.

For starters, the mind starts filling in the blanks that now so obviously exists between two people.
The mind is inventive and cruel and cunning. It can tell you things so seemingly impossible, and make you believe them more than any thread of truth.

Silence can cause enormous paranoia.

You make up fears. You invent scenarios that never actually happened. You make up the problem in your head, and not the one that actually took place last week or last year or even many years ago.

What happened?
Well, usually both people are right and wrong.

I always say there are three sides to every story.

First there is the truth which actually happened.

Then what follows is that each person sees it from a different perspective which creates the other two stories.

It's the perspective

It's funny what people remember. Ask them to tell you their experience of the same event you just experienced with them and you'll know what I mean.

Where they stood and what they heard and saw and felt cannot be what you saw or heard or felt.

It cannot be.
Because its two people experiencing it from different places.

A point of view changes everything. It's not all right. It's not all wrong. It's just different.

We are all guilty of this in smaller, subtle moments: The call we forgot to return. An email that we haven't replied to. Not responding to a facebook comment on our wall. We were busy. We forgot. We're still planning on calling, writing, commenting... we just haven't yet. And maybe we never will. But it's not intentional.

I am wishing you a view to remember that it's not always personal ... the courage to rise above the silence ... and the perspective to keep you focused on your journey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Canada Eh?

I had fun designing this one.

It's a picture map of Canada on flannel!

Travelin' through and lost your way? Just grab hold of one of these pajamas and you'll be back on your way in no time!

This was a fun project I designed for PJ'ZZZZ, located in Canada, of course!

These pajamas along with a few others I have designed are sold here. (Wish they came in adult sizes as well).

All photos are from Pjzzzz's website.

Sold only as pajamas

CX3742_Snow Monkeys

Sold only as pajamas

Sold only as pajamas


Friday, November 12, 2010

Why I love Houston

I recently returned from Houston. I was at Quilt Market and had an incredible time! I used my Flip to videotape setting up our booth and also during the show and if you're interested, go here and here. You can see the fun we all have together!

Here is another reason why I love Houston: Kooky and Creative Homes.

"Some people say this is sculpture
but I didn't go to no expensive school to get these crazy notions."

That's what John Milkovisch said about his his house. It's the Beer Can House in Houston. It was in 1968 when he started covering his house with flattened beer cans and he worked on it over the next 18 years.

When he was asked why he covered his home with beer cans, he said, "I guess I just thought it was a good idea. And it's easier than painting."

An estimated 50,000 cans adorn this house. His favorite beer was "whatever's on special." His wife, Mary and neighbors gladly pitched in to help him drink them.

Mary in front of their home in 1992 (photo of Martin Williams Agency)

Here is how the house looks now.

A Beer Can House in the middle of a neighborhood. I someday hope to return during a weekend day so I can tour the inside of the house.

I don't know how he died. I certainly hope he didn't die of cirrhosis of the liver.

And across town we came across another creative and kooky home called The Orange Show. It's located in Houston's East End.

It was built by Jeff McKissack, a retired mailman who loved oranges. He built his folk art by using found objects from 1956 until his death in 1980.

Photo by Marilyn Oshman

I was hesitant to walk around, as this neighborhood appeared more dicey than the previous neighborhood. No one seemed to be around and I didn't want to trespass. Then we spotted a volunteer painter doing a bit of sprucing up and invited us in. He said that he never really stops painting. Once he's finished touching paint up at one end of the yard, he starts back at the beginning.

It's pretty fascinating.

He collected old mannequins, tiles, tractor seats, and metal on his mail route and he was a big dreamer while stuffing envelopes in mailboxes.

All his life, he dreamed big.

At various times in his life, he tried his fortune at worm farms, a plant nursery and even a beauty salon. Sadly, they were all failures.

But he continued to dream, each morning, waking up and building sculptures with his found objects.

And then one morning. after 25 years, he finally completed it.

He was so excited!

He opened up the doors and waited for the rush of people to come. But only a curious few had heard of his 25-year project in the making and most of them walked around scratching their heads... not knowing what to make of it.

Very few found it to be a great work by one man who lived and breathed creativity.

Seven months after the opening of his life-long dream, McKissack suffered a stroke and died.

Neighbors sought to destroy it, deeming their neighborhood had gone down in value by the site of this amusement park.

Fortunately a group of people who appreciated the work of this man started a foundation that would save the property from ruin and now have it listed on the National Register for Historic Place.

You can watch a video of the Orange Show and The Beer Can house here.