Monday, December 31, 2007

Nothing takes a few minutes

I was in a hurry.

Should I take the time to run into Rite Aid? I only had a few minutes, but if I hurried, I could do it. I only needed to pick up a couple of things.

The line was short and I felt so happy and relieve
d I made the right decision to run in there. I made it through in lightening speed.

"Would you like cash back?"
"Sure," I reply. "Forty dollars, please."

A quick decision that would save me trip to the bank. Or. So I thought.

She handed me $40 with my small bag of purchases and my receipt. I rarely ever look down at my receipt. But, as I walked out the door, I happened to glance at it for a moment and noticed the sales woman overcharged me $360 dollars!

I turn around and return to her counter.

"There's been a mistake...." I begin to tell her.
"Please get at the end of the line and I will help you."

I look up and there is a long line of people circling around and down the aisle. I was in a huge hurry. I didn't have time to stand back in line and, I didn't think I should stand in line for a mistake the sales woman made.

"I'd like to see the manager", I said, feeling proud of myself for my quick thinking in the rush to get this resolved so I could leave the store.


A young manager still in braces walks up to me, looks at my receipt, puzzled. He didn't know what to make of it.

"Are you sure she didn't give you $400? Did you count your bills?"
"Yes, both of them. It is $40."

I show him the two $20 bills that were still clutched in my hand along with the receipt.

After the line cleared, the sales clerk said she was ready to help me. They decided the only thing they could do was to give me $360 in cash so I can drive to the bank to deposit it back into my account. Naturally, the bank was several miles away in the opposite direction I was going and there was a lot of traffic and the red light lasted longer than usual.

Lesson learned. Nothing takes a few minutes. Especially if you're in a hurry.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Looking forward to the New Year


I am really looking forward to the ending of this year.

Haven't liked it so much.

Sure, there were some really wonderful, beautiful moments in this year. (My niece was born!) But it has also been a year of great sadness and loss as well.

Way too much loss. Unwanted goodbyes. Deep losses. Way too much heartache. And a ridiculous amount of sobbing into my pillow. There has been too many times of feeling the rug being ripped out from under me.

I jumped the gun when I said that my mom was fine. She is not.

When I was a very young girl, like maybe only 2 or 3, we were visiting my cousins in Long Island and they took us to Coney Island. I still remember refusing to ride the ferris wheel with my mom and sister and cousins. It terrified me. I pleaded through tears for my mom not to go on that scary ride!

In her always-optimistic ways, she tackled that ride without fear.

But, on the ground down below, I held on to Nana so tightly with my tiny little fists clinched so deeply into her arms that she could not pry my little fingers off to hand me over to my aunt. I cried and cried in horror of seeing my mom circling around and each time she passed me, she waved like crazy, smiling down at me. I can still see her in my mind's memory. A tiny little speck in the sky with the constant wave and smile. I was terrified for her safety! She looked so vulnerable, so high up in the sky and there was nothing I could do to keep her safe, except to trust the amusement park safety people.


It is one of my earliest recollections.

Today, I feel as though I'm that same little 2 or 3 year-old little daughter screaming in fear. There is nothing I can do to guarantee her safety! Holding on, and holding my breath. Watching. Waiting.

I am going through the deepest fear of my life. (Read #25)

She has cancer. And it is has gone to her lymph nodes. And in a couple of days we will know if it has spread to her chest and brain.

If are reading this, then I believe you can take a moment to do what you do in prayer, or in warm thoughts, or in lighting a candle or in positive beliefs ..... in pushing my mother forward to wellness and in good health.

I know many cancer survivors.

My focus and prayers and thoughts and belief is that her cancer has not spread and they will get it all in her upcoming successful surgery. That she will have at least another 20 more healthy, fun, happy summers and winters ahead of her.

I so believe in the power of prayer. Thank you for your friendship and for the virtual hug. I am resending that hug over to my mom. And to the rest of my family. You carry us.

xo

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New York City Today

My single left black glove is now taking a free ride along busy streets of New York City on the floor inside a warm yellow cab alone. It's companion is with me. It's warm, too. Though, my hands are not.

It is cold outside. Snow and ice collecting itself around trees and curbs.

It is New York City after all.

I am back from a Company Scavenger Hunt. It was a part of our office party. We picked numbers and became a team. That was fun! Can you imagine?

Racing the streets for so many different supplies: toilet paper. pizza crust. chop sticks. matchbooks. The hardest part was actually hailing a cab to our destination: our christmas party at 10th and 18th.

Finally we found one. The time felt endless.

We were standing out in front of the Chelsea Hotel when we finally were able to chase down a cab.



Chelsea Hotel. Yeah, you've probably heard of it.

Sid Vicious (bass player of The Sex Pistols) and his girlfriend Nancy Spungeon once stayed there. She was found stabbed to death in the bathroom on October 11, 1978. Sid Vicious was under suspicion of murder when he overdosed shortly thereafter of a heroin overdose.

That's what I was told. While standing there, staring up into that historically famous hotel. My left hand shivering under my armpit.

Apparently a lot of other well-knowns have stayed or lived there: Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hindrix, Leonard Cohen, Jane Fonda, Sarah Bernhardt among others.

That's where until 1884, the Chelsea Hotel was the highest building in New York City. Now it is swallowed up by its own block of towering buildings.

You learn a lot about a hotel, when you're standing across the street from it for a long period of time, our arms extending out, wishing for a cab with it's light on.

We arrived at our Christmas Party waaay tooo loooong after anyone wanted to see if we collected everything. Even our memories.

We came in last place.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Getting close to the Big Apple

I just pulled out a frozen entree to microwave for a quick lunch.

I flip the carton over to read the instructions. It begins with:
1. Remove tray from box. Cut film cover to vent.

I pull the tray out and notice a thin sheet of ice on top. I remove the thin ice and look for the film cover to poke holes in when I realize there is no film cover. The plastic was never put on!

That just drives me crazy.

Now it's my turn to vent!

i never really know what to do in these situations. How do I not know if this box has been tampered with? Is it laced with poison!? Do I toss it out, assuming it's a frozen entree gone bad? Or, do I heat it up without concern assuming it's just a mistake.

Perhaps the production person, in his excitement of hearing his wife's water broke, was absent-minded and simply forgot to place that film on just before grabbing his coat and leaving for the hospital!

Or... maybe the production person was just about to place it on and his boss walks up behind him and says, "You're fired!" and in his shock and anger, yells, "then forget you!!!" and storms off leaving the conveyor belt and that one frozen entree snuck through without anyone noticing.


Well. The microwave just sounded it's beep and I am hungry so I am going to eat this mushy meal. I am concerned.. but figure it'll be okay. If not, at least it's documented here. Along with that rancid beef jerky I accidentally ate awhile back that I survived after losing six pounds over that sickness.

Early tomorrow morning, I board a plane to New York City. I'll be staying in a studio apartment in the Flatiron District Neighborhood on E 22nd between Park and Broadway. I will walk the couple blocks alone to work at our headquarters on W 22nd. It will be cold.

At home, I am still wearing pants to my mid-calves and going sock less. But for there, I'm packing pants down to my shoes. I'm not sure I'll be prepared for the cold. But I will try. On weather.com it says it's 33 degrees but FEELS LIKE 25.

Who's opinion is that? Would it feel 25 to me? Maybe it would feel more like 16 degrees.

I hope to ice skate in Central Park on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday evening, I will be going to see Avenue Q on Sunday night. Tuesday night is our office Christmas Party.

It will be a fun, busy time and I am ready to embrace this new adventure.

Well. After I stop by Longs and pick up a few items. And pack. And write a list to my pet sitter. And clean up my house. And empty my car. And fill it with gas. and. and. and...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A view from my window

So I'm putting up the dishes this morning when I can't shake this feeling of being stared at. But. By who? WhoOO0oo? I slowly lift my eyes upward and see two eyes staring at me on a rooftop next door.

Is that an owl?

I stop and stare through the window above the sink for a series of moments before my eyes are able to adjust to this owl-like figure. And then my heart melts.

She is my lovely cat, Mollie!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Feeling nostalgic in music

I think it was 1985 when I first really fell in love with music.

I was living in Tacoma, (Fife Heights) Washington that year and VH-1 was the huge music video channel. I was living in a home with six other girls. Two or three or four of us would come home for our lunch hour and sit on the couch in front of the tv and watch music videos while munching on sandwiches.

I loved Careless Whisper (Wham!), Say You, Say Me (Lionel Richie), Separate Lives (Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin, We Built This City (Starship), Everytime You Go Away (Paul Young), Don't You (Forget About Me) Simple Minds, Saving All My Love For You (Whitney Houston), Never Surrender (Corey Hart), Smooth Operator (Sade), Material Girl (Madonna), Summer of 69 (Bryan Adams), Born in the USA (Bruce Springsteen) and Private Dancer (Tina Turner) ... all huge hits of 1985. I still have vcr tapes of when I recorded my favorite music videos on tv....

When I notice people's bookshelves and see their books I think it tells a lot about someone. I think music does, too. Here's what's playing on my iTunes Shuffle. What's playing on yours?

1. Patty Griffin: Trapeze
2. Sarah Harmer: Open Window
3. Leona Naess: Home
4. Paolo Nutini: These Streets
5. Fugees: Killing Me Softly With His Song
6. John Legend: P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)
7. Kendall Payne: On My Bones
8. The Killers: Read My Mind
9. The Magic Numbers: Wheels on Fire
10. Brandi Carlile: Turpentine
11. Jann Arden: At Seventeen
12. Mary Gauthier: Long Way to Fall
13. The Innocense Mission: Follow Me
14. Hurts to Purr: Matinee
15. Alan Jackson: Remember When
16. KT Tunstall: Suddenly I See
17. Sarah Bareilles: Love Song
18. Emmylou Harris & Mark Knopfler: So Far Away
19. David Gray: The One I Love
20. Lucinda Williams: Righteously
21. Gillian Welch: Summer Evening

Friday, November 30, 2007

Long Lost Cousin

Are you ever sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic and then get behind a car that stops maybe 100 yards behind the car stopped ahead of him? I feel such anxiety when that happens to me. I want to shout, "It's called bumper-to-bumper traffic! Please drive up to the next bumper!" I am terrified that thirty cars will squeeze in between them causing me to be later than I already am.

I think I have a long-lost cousin that might be one of those drivers. I can't be sure but I'll tell you what happened when I told him to follow me to the freeway ramp.

"As soon as we get out of this neighborhood, we'll be turning left on to a busy boulevard. There will be four lanes with lots of hotels and shopping centers and restaurants along that street. "

He stands there listening to my every word, nodding and making hand gestures, convincing me he's got it memorized. "Once we get on that boulevard," I warn him, "we'll drive along for about a mile. Continue to follow me until we get to the first intersection, and at that light, I will wave to you, and turn right... but you just keep driving straight and that will take you directly to the highway."

He nods and repeats my directions back.


We pile into our cars. I wait for him to adjust his mirror. Put on his seatbelt. Turn on the heater and maybe adjust the radio dial waiting for his favorite song to come on. Finally he inches out away from the curb, braking a bit too hard at first, his head jerking toward the windshield... and eventually he begins to follow me.

We are only four houses away and we're clearly still in the neighborhood when I turn right heading for the busy boulevard when I notice in my rear view mirror that he thinks this must be his sign to keep driving straight. So he does!!!

Now I have to lasso him back in.

I do a quick turn around but it's not quick enough and I'm unsure where he went. I drive down the street and after about a minute, I think I might see him driving ahead of me. I don't want to speed through the neighborhood so I follow him until he gets to a stop sign and I catch up. I jump out and motion for him to turn around and follow me back into the neighborhood.

Startled to see me behind him, he finally understands what I am asking him to do and he swings into someone's driveway, backs up and he's following me once again.

Finally I get him onto the busy boulevard, but instead of going 35 mph, he is going more like 10 mph. He is about 100 yards behind me and even though I keep dropping my speed considerably, he is a long way off. More and more cars are passing him up and coming between us and I no longer can see him in my rear view mirror.

I drive through the green light but he doesn't make it, so I pull to the side of the busy boulevard and wait for him. (This is the intersection where I was supposed to turn right, but fearing it'll confuse him, I decide to stay on the boulevard and take him personally to the freeway ramp). About 3-5 minutes later, I can see his car crawling along the busy street, so I put my blinker on, believing he'll see me and let me in front of him so he can continue to follow my lead, but he doesn't recognize my green bug and doesn't let me in. He passes me by. Now I hafta wait for another few cars to pass before I can edge back in. Now I'm about six cars behind him and I need to figure out how to manuever my way around the traffic to get ahead of him again to show him the way to the freeway.

By the time I make it in front of him, I am just 50 yards from the freeway on-ramp. I put my blinker on to enter the ramp. Clearly, he can read the signs now and follow the directions but because he sees my blinker turning right to get on the ramp, he waves goodbye and honks To0OT! To0OoT! and continues on down the boulevard thinking I'm at the intersection I told him about earlier.

It is too late. I am now getting on the freeway toward his hometown and he is still slowly puttering along the boulevard happy and unaware of his mistake.

I hope this isn't the case, but I'm worried that he's still driving down that same boulevard. If you happen to see a blank expression on a man's face driving extra slow ... not reading any signs... perhaps sporting a beard now, please point him in the direction to the freeway. I think that might be my long lost cousin.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My mother's update

Thank you for letting me know about your warm thoughts, concerns, and prayers I received through personal email and on the comments!! The surgeon doesn't think there is any cancer. The second pathology report will be sent to Stanford for a second opinion though it looks clear. They took the two masses out. She still has her thyroid and her voice. And her life.

We are so grateful. A truly wonderful ending to the Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Illustration Friday: Zoo

I had a really fun experience creating artwork for the various sets on The Rockimals. These signs in particular were some of the zoo signs they asked me to draw. The last time I was at the san francisco zoo was about 15 years ago and I couldn't remember what zoo signs looked like.

Do they tell fun facts? They should if they don't! I got these facts off the internet.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco was as lovely as it can be.

Driving along Skyline Boulevard, the air was so warm and there was even barely a snippet of a breeze at Sunset Beach. People got out of the kitchen and wandered up and down the sparkling sandy beach watching the spray of the waves. Even the Golden Gate Bridge looked like the Macy's parade with so many people walking across it. Well. Without the Snoopy balloons and the enormous Shrek and Kermit the Frog and marching bands, of course.

I was so happy to be there. I have spent most of my Thanksgiving holidays here in this amazing City.

Only a few days ago, my mom got scheduled for major surgery for this upcoming Monday. It seems so quick. A bit unsettling. Feels so quick.

On Tuesday she got results from her biospy on her thyroid and missed my Uncle Don's service to meet with her doctor. They scheduled her for surgery a few days later. The next day, she had a physical exam, blood tests, etc done in pre-op. Then yesterday on Thanksgiving, we noticed her right leg was swollen. I measured it and it was a good solid extra inch thicker than her other leg. Was it a blood clot?

We didn't know. And there was no way, she could go through surgery with a blood clot, so when we arrived home last night, I took her to the emergency room.

We hung out and had fun together. Chatted about our day. We eavesdropped inbetween the closed curtains. So much commotion.

They kept saying it was a slow night.

My mom and I joked, "just wait til they finish their Thanksgiving Dinner... then they'll come in!" And d'ya know? They did!

They showed up in droves! The waiting room was full when we left there just before midnight!

As it turned out, she has arthritis in her knee. It's tough getting old, but we were all relieved it wasn't a blood clot.

Today she went in for her MRI.

Tonight I'm about to leave to eat taco salad at my sister's house. Chelsea is up from Irvine and she leaves to drive down i-5 in the morning.

It's been such a huge year of loss for me and my family.

I appreciate any of you who read this to send warm, positive, healing thoughts toward my mom during her last-minute scheduled surgery on Monday, 11:50 am, Pacific Time. I love her more than anything.

I'm taking the day off and will spending that day at the hospital with my sister and brother.

We've had too much loss this year. We are only focused on winning. Thank you for your warm thoughts and good well wishes.

You carry me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Serving Burgers


Okay. So, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I misunderstood the fascinating author John Elder Robison being interviewed on the radio this morning. I believed him to say he grew up with Ass Burgers. Can you imagine? I LOVED that! Who can resist, tuning in and hearing that remarkable life story!?

Did he grow up in a family of cannibals? Were his parents burger chefs that enjoyed butt meat more than anything?

He said he didn't have many friends. He felt socially awkward and didn't know how to act around his peers and became more shy and withdrawn. He was not comfortable looking at someone in the eye when he talked. Instead, he turned to look away or look down at the ground.

I continued to listen to his story and my heart broke hearing his shame from eating those ass burgers during a time I grew up eating and (very much enjoying) rump roast ... which is still my most favorite meal today.

"Don't feel ashamed!!" I wanted to shout to the radio. "That could have been some really good ass burgers!"

Now I feel ashamed. As it turns out, he didn't suffer from ass burgers, but Asperger's.

I went online and google-searched his name to read more about his burger story -- only to discover what he was really talking about.

It's a syndrome that makes him feel lonely and isolated and withdrawn lacking in empathy toward others. On the other hand, it also makes him very visual and it gives him the ability to focus on something for hours and hours at a time. He also has a remarkable memory.

He talked of being 2-years-old visiting his grandmother in Georgia , sitting under a rocking chair and in his memory, he can still feel the cold concrete underneath him and hearing his grandmother say, "Little John Elder! Keep yer fingers and them toes away from those rockers, ya hear?" And he still remembers the feel of the sharp pebbles and the sand on her driveway under his feet and the smell of the red clay as if it were yesterday.

Isn't that incredible!? Well, it can be. That vivid recall can be good or bad depending on your memories.

I have never heard of Asperger's until today.

But I found it fascinating and I think I know some people during my life who has lived with "ass burgers" too.

I want to read his book one of these days soon. (Once I finish reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Schulz And Peanuts. It could take me awhile. Didja know it took me more than a year to read Fried Green Tomatoes? ). Don't cringe!

I'm embarrassed to admit I'm much better at reading PEOPLE magazine than I am of a novel. But I am working toward a goal of reading one book a year. (I just don't want to over-commit).

I tend to enjoy more active and interactive situations than sitting under a well-lighted lamp reading a book in silence by myself.

I don't know if that means I have Attention Deficit Disorder or Dyslexia, but I do know I certainly don't have Asperger's Syndrome.

Just thinking about that, made me hungry. And, I thought of what I would give, to eat a Rump Roast Dinner tonight.

And guess what? I did! I think it was a better cut of roast than the actual rump, but Kelly and Matt invited me over for a roast dinner tonight that Matt actually cooked up!! It was delicious. And it didn't cost me a cent. THANKS KELLY AND MATT!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Show and Tell



There are so many talented people in this world. Miranda is one of them. She lives in Austin and made this adorable quilt out of the various fabrics I designed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Loss

My uncle Don died this morning. He was my dad's older brother.

I visited him last night. Before I could enter his private room in ER, I had to wash my hands, put on latex gloves and hospital gown tied in the back. He was sleeping in a medicated state. He looked more peaceful in his sleep than he did earlier this week when I visited him while in tremendous pain.

I stared into his sleeping face and could see my father in him. And his mother, too. When I wasn't looking at him, I would stare at the monitor that would sometimes remain flat-line for a moment or two before zig-zagging up and down and I wondered if he would die while we were there, holding his hands. I knew his life was nearing it's end.

I found it comforting that I could feel his warmth through the plastic in my gloves. His life still beating inside him.

I wondered if my dad was nearby in the spirit to welcome him in the afterlife. Surely, his wife Patt was there. She died ten years ago in the room next door in the very same emergency room. His son died earlier this year. Such a huge sorrowful loss in this family.


My mom and I and brother and sister and her boyfriend circled around his bed.

They talked to him. Stroked his forehead. They were so comfortable and natural with him. I just stood there feeling shy and clumsy and at a loss of words. I hoped he knew I was there. That perhaps my presence, though silent, could be felt more louder than any words I could utter.

It's been quite the year of loss.

He is the 14th person I know who has died this year already. Since the beginning of October, I know eight people who have died. Eight!

Another uncle of mine died on Halloween. I've lost two cousins in the Spring. My sister's boyfriend lost his father a few weeks ago. One of my mom's dear friends died the week before that. Too many lives lost. Death doesn't seem to care. It's just plucks people out at random.

Like the woman I knew who died unexpectantly this past summer. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion of giving birth to her first child, she had an unknown heart condition and died of a heart attack during labor. Her unborn son also died in the process. Leaving behind a grief-stricken husband and her family there in the birthing room. How does one deal with that weight of loss?

Her voice is still on my answering machine. I can't bare to listen to it, but I haven't been able to push delete yet, either.

It's just too final.

My heart goes out to the Wallace Family and I'm wishing Tracy an extra dose of love and grace.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rainy Days


What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.
(The Carpenters 1971)

I wonder why that is with me. Why weather holds such a strong hold in how I feel about my day. It's raining today. And whenever that happens I tend to feel all lopsided and out of sorts.

My heart swells up and the gray skies makes me feel lonely for those I love. I feel vulnerable. I want to run to those I let down and beg them to forgive me and plead them to be my friend again. "I'll be better!" I promise to them in my heart.

I just feel so needy when it rains. And vulnerable. And alone. It's like when the rain flows from the skies, it is tears to me; my own.

I remember being a kid and I didn't mind the rain so much. I loved my shiny yellow rain jacket and putting the hood on over my head and the bottom patch covered my mouth. And do you remember the rain boots? Some called them Galoshes. Remember how hard it was to pull them off your shoes? I would hafta sit down and pull them off with both hands, grunting and squealing and heaving.

I loved the rain as a kid because that meant we played recess indoors.

It also meant that my mom would be there parked at the curb in front of our school, windshield wipers moving quickly in our Ford station wagon, waiting to pick us up. I'd run to her... feeling warm and loved and cared for.

I walked to school every day but my mom in-grilled it in my head that if it was raining, to wait for her. She'd be there. And she always was.

Nothing felt more comforting than that. We'd pass other kids walking down the sidewalk all hunched over trying to cover up from the rain while I sat in a warm car feeling dry and loved, listening to the motion of the windshield wipers scraping back and forth.

I took this photo a block from my house. Three young girls making the most of this rain. It made me stop and laugh and remember how rain doesn't affect the young. They make the most of it.

I will make a mind to do the same. That is my mission this year.
It's all up to me.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's just a Paintin' Place

I have been busy.

I spent the past two weekends painting my house. From morning to dusk. And guess what? It always takes so much longer than we expect it will.

I can't tell you how many countless hours I have spent standing across the street and visualizing painting my house. I see it happening in my own mind's eye and from the beginning to the end, I can pretty much accomplish painting the exterior of my home in about three minutes. But. I forget the detail. The behind-the-scenes of the gutters. And the straight line precision of painting under the porch's ceiling. It always takes more time and always double the amount of time of what we think originally. (Double?!?! Maybe ... Quadruple!!)

I used a snake ladder for the most part. (unlike the photo of me where I stood on my $5 garage sale ladder). I would lean it against my home and test the ladder's stability twice before i made the venture upward.

I would dip my brush into the can and then climb my way upward to start painting. After about 15 seconds, my brush would dry up, and I would venture downward to dip my brush and try again. Climbing back up and then climbing down and then climbing up and then climbing down. Sometimes, I would hafta clip away plants away from my house so the ladder could stand there or so I could paint the trim. I was a gardener and a painter.

I feel good tonight. Sore. Yes.

But, after all this was done, I drove to my mom's house to feed her cat as she is away. Then I went to the grocery story to buy food for dinner. I mowed my front and back yard and washed dishes. And while cooking my dinner, I swept the floor. And then swiffer-mopped it. Added new sheets to my bed and donned a lovely bubble bath with candle light. I have been busy. But I also feel good.

It's a perfect Sunday night after all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween scares me


Halloween scares me.

I guess that's what it's supposed to do. I know many people who consider halloween their most favorite holiday.

But call me silly. I just have a huge problem with being in a large group of people all wearing masks and are unidentifiable. Watching a bloodied masked person carrying a gun or a machete around isn't my idea of fun or of feeling safe.

Even still, I wouldn't miss going over to my brother's house tonight for anything. It makes for such a fun holiday for even squeamish people like me! He lives in a historical neighborhood of stately homes. Thousands of people show up on that street every Halloween. Busses load up trick-or-treaters from out of town and take them to this street. Long lines form around the block waiting for a mini candy bar and sour tarts and tootsie rolls to fill their bags. The entire neighborhood seems to participate. Froom putting on horror theater shows in front lawns to transforming their homes into haunted house tours, it becomes a spectacular amusement park of sorts.

This is the same neighborhood I lived in as a child walking up and down the same steps of each porch with my brown paper bag every Halloween night. The large tree root still puckers up the sidewalk in front of the McDonald Mansion where I once tripped and fell; my bag of candy scattering in every direction into the dark. Now it is my friend's and brother's children that are walking up and down those same tree-lined streets.

I am wishing everyone a fun and safe Halloween. Drive carefully.

Picture of me and my best friend Terry at our home on Spring Street.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Raincoat For a Rainy Day


It was just a year and a half ago when I quietly made a wish to design fabric. And as the story goes . . . just two days later . . . I received that magical call from a fabric company asking me to design the line of Dick and Jane fabric.

From time to time I get to see fun pieces made with the fabric. This raincoat was made by Susan up in the Northwest.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sure Fire Perfect 5-Minute Egg


So Claudia sent me her recipe for the perfect 5-minute egg and I couldn't wait to try it out. Here they are sitting in a cool bowl of water before I ate them for breakfast.

Isn't it lovely?



Sure-Fire Perfect 5 Minute Egg

1) Take the egg out the refrigerator.

2) Put the egg under warm water so the egg is not so cold.

3) Start water to boil in pan

4) After water boils place the egg into the boiling water, gently.

5) Set timer for 5 minutes.

6) After 5 minutes remove the egg from the boiling water.

7) Run cold water over the egg for at least a minute.

8) Peel your perfect egg

Friday, October 12, 2007

The season of change


Last April, I planted a few trees in my yard.

They are looking so beautiful this time of year. I am a proud mama. They were just little kid trees when I planted them. And now look at them! Looking so dapper and mature in their brand new colors.

Fall is a season of change. So it isn't surprising that I am feeling the longing for change, too.

I want to live clutter-free.

I have this huge need to clean and purge out all those things I don't need or use or even want anymore. I want to be more of a minimalist. I want to walk into my home and feel as though I've walked into a vacation home. Free of distractions.

So tomorrow, while my car is off at the dealership getting spiffed up for it's 80,000 mile tune-up, I hope to tackle my garage. Perhaps I can hammer up shelves to place belongings up and off the cement floor. I want to assign a specific spot for the garden supplies and for tools and firewood and boxes filled with the things I'm not quite able to let go of. And who knows. Maybe this weekend, I can learn to let go of those things, too.

After all, the weather is changing. And I want that, too.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sunday: that's my fun day


Isn't this a pretty place?

I'm beginning to feel the weather change here in the Sonoma Valley so I wanted to get out and spend it outside with friends.

And I did. We spent the day yesterday at Cornerstone. It's in a park setting with quite a few unique garden displays. From outdoor dressing rooms to a peewee golf course to a tomato garden to a maze of sticks... these gardens were designed to
make one feel connected to earth and draw each person inward toward peace and tranquility.

I couldn't help but notice the gardens had been neglected for some time. They looked considerably different than the photos shown on their website. And no matter how hard I tried, I didn't feel they were lulling me into peace and tranquility.

And, infact, instead caused me to focus on the wear and tear and the neglect.

But! It was still fun. And it still brought a laugh or two (or a dozen) along the journey.

I am so enjoying my weekends spent with friends.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It was a bit of a cartoon week


I met another Illustration Friday artist. This time around it was Doodlestreet! What fun! She is an incredible cartoonist and is such an extremely warm and endearing person.

She and her wonderful friend, Annie were up in my neighborhood and dropped by my house for a visit.

I gave them a tour around my town including taking her to the home her mother lived in as a baby under a mile away! And how could I resist taking them by another cartoonist's studio?

Yup. A quick sneak peek of Charles Schulz's former studio where he drew his lovely comic strip Peanuts. After all, Doodlestreet is a cartoonist. The gate was open and pulling in to the entrance just outside the gate, I asked, "Ya wanna chance it?"

I reminded them of the last time I was there. A friend and I were locked inside the gate for hours in the dark and cold.

"Sure!" they said. Because, really. Who would have believed it would happen a second time around?

So we drove in, did a quick jaunt around the parking lot and driveway and as we turned to make our exit, I could not believe my eyes. The door had closed shut. Again! Locking us back inside! We were trapped! And hungry. And it was growing dark.

Fortunately, because of the many Snoopy statues that once adorned the streets of Santa Rosa were on view at the softball field by the Charles Schulz Museum, we managed to find our way down there to find a very kind security guard who left his post to rescue us.

Thank you Pam and Annie for our meet-up and for the fun time together. I am wishing you a safe trip home.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Snippets of Conversation

A conversation overheard in a restaurant bar by a table of older women:

Woman: "What is your name?"
Waitress: "Thindy."
Woman: "What an unusual name!"
Waitress: "My real name ith Thynthia."
Woman: "Oh. That's even more unusual."

(silence)

Woman: We would like to order a round of Lolitas please.
Watiress: Thank you. I'll be back with your order.

(she leaves and returns a few moments later)

Waitress: "I'm thorry. The bartender hathent heard of a Lolita. Can you tell me whath in it?"
Woman: "It's a popular mexican drink. It has tequila in it and salt around the rim. You can drink it blended or on the rocks."
Waitress: "Ohhhh, do you mean a Margarita?"
Woman: "Yes, that's it! I always get those two mexican names mixed up!"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My father and me


Growing up, I was always told I look just like my father.

And I did. And I do. As a baby, I certainly did.

And now, growing older, I recognize my eyes in him when I stare into the mirror. And my nose. Yesterday I was told I have his mouth.

Whenever he smiled and now when I smile, there is a pucker of skin around my upper left hand smile that we both share. Not surprising. After all, I am his daughter.

He died way too young. In another 12 or 13 years I will have outlived him.

I often wonder what he would think of his children now. My sister. My brother. And me.

Certainly proud of us all. Each of us are living out an element of one of his dreams. And. I believe even though he's no longer alive, he is aware of our accomplishments. I truly believe that.

I tried to pose myself in the same position of my father's photo. I think my ears are flatter. My mom prayed we'd have flat ears. I never heard of that. Mothers praying for their children to have flat ears. (Or maybe she prayed He would spare us from bony legs. In both cases, God granted her wish). I can't even carry a pencil behind it. I have tried. Once I crammed it behind there... and then gave it a few seconds and it automatically popped up and vaulted across the room like a rocket ship.

Well. Even though I may look like my father, I am not my father. I actually have the personality of my mother. But still, I am completely me. And today, I'm off to make the most of it. I will make choices that add enjoyment and goodness to my life the best way I know how.

Wishing you all a wonderful day, too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Paddle and Ball


Remember the Paddle and Ball toy? Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! For the first ten years of my life, I think I must have received this toy at least once a year.

"Be careful, so you don't put anyone's eye out!" my mom would warn me.

I almost forgot about this fabric I designed. I drew four or five variations of the paddle and ball toy and I sprinkled them around to make a repeat pattern ... then, I put 'em in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and presto! Fabric!

Well. It didn't happen quite that way, but it sorta feels that way.

I feel so fortunate to have the wonderful opportunity to design fabric from time to time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another growth spurt

I always get thrown off kilter when I come across rude people.

I realize their behavior is about them and I've become better at not taking their rudeness personally. But still. It can really throw me off course for a time.

Since early January I have been working on some very high profile illustration jobs for a client who works with all the large toy companies. She warned me at the beginning that there will be short, demanding deadlines and she was right. Often times, I would get a call late into the evening requesting a turn-around by 8 that morning. I met every deadline without complaint.

When she emailed me last weekend asking me to complete two large projects within nine days, I knew it wasn't possible with my heavy workload during my day job. Going to bed regularly at 2 am and waking up early was beginning to take it's toll. So I wrote her back asking her for an extension to the deadline.

Though I was disappointed, I was not surprised she fired back some really ugly words toward me and basically told me to take a hike. She was asking me for the impossible and I knew it. And she knew it, too. I was perfectly willing to work with her, but I needed extra time to meet my deadline.

She would not budge and in that moment, after she fired me, I discovered that its up to me to take charge of my own work habits. To take care of myself.

By putting everyone else's needs first, I neglect my own. Every time I say YES to some thing, I say NO to some thing else. It's important for me to really examine what will suffer for every commitment I make. And, if I don't respect my personal time, no one else is sure going to.

I am grateful for these growth spurts. Though painful for a time, it only stretches me to become better to myself and others.



"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look once in awhile, you could miss it". - Ferris Bueller

Monday, September 10, 2007

VW Parade



While driving to work this morning, I felt the palms of my hands begin to sweat tiny little beads of perspiration. My heart starting palpitating and my breathing increased so quickly I wondered if I was about to hyper-ventilate. Everything inside me screamed out, "Pull off the road!!!"

I drive a green volkswagon beetle. So you can imagine how embarrassed and self-conscious I felt when I was driving behind two other identical cars down the street. For awhile, we were the only ones on the road.

I thought, "How weird is that!" And then I thought "It would be weirder if we were all wearing clown suits or dressed like ladybugs while driving our bugs in a row." Like that would ever happen. Well, maybe if it was Halloween.

How would you feel if you were following two other cars that looked exactly like yours?

Lucky for me, I was able to whip out my camera and take the photo of my experience.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tyler Turns Three

My darling nephew turns three. This lovable, happy child who lights up the darkest room with his smile and laughter. I am so happy to be his aunt forever.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dressing Up


(I'm on the left and my sister is on the right. Fairfax, CA)


Remember when you were a kid and you had all the energy and imagination in the world? Even after bathing in Mr. Bubble (and who couldn't resist creating a beard of soap with that amazing stuff!) and getting into your favorite pajamas, you could still play endlessly while watching The Wonderful World of Disney on a black and white TV.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Three-Quarters past the Hour

Who says that anymore!?

I ask: "Can you tell me what time it is?"
"Sure! It is three quarters past the hour."

And I freeze.

Three quarters? Three quarters past the hour? Which hour? And what are three-quarters.

A quarter is 25 cents. Three of them past the hour is 75 cents. And, because an hour has 60 minutes, I subtract 60 from 75 and get my 15 cents-- errr, minutes. Three of those quarters past the hour, must be 15 minutes before the hour!!

EASY!

I know that's not how it really works.
I just want the time to be more simple. Like, for instance, when I ask someone: "Can you tell me what time it is?" I would love to be answered, "Sure. It is 5 minutes to 7:00".

Even 6:55 I understand. But speak to me in fractions and I'm completely lost.

And while I'm on this tangent, when it's Tuesday afternoon and you are inviting me for dinner next Thursday night, I think of it as a week from this coming Thursday. Not this Thursday, but next Thursday.

Can't you ask: "Can you come for dinner on Thursday?"

That all sounds easy. And I don't know why we complicate matters.
But then again. My dad used to call a quarter, two bits. So... I should be really grateful that no one is telling me that the time is six-bits past the hour, or I would really be lost....

Monday, August 20, 2007

thoughts aboard Flight 1415



(This post was written on a napkin last night while in flight. I snapped this picture without a flash over Nevada).

I am sitting here on American Airlines, flight 1415 flying home from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport into San Francisco. I have a window seat. For a while there, I used to sit on the aisle seats so I could get out faster. But now I like to look outside and enjoy the journey.

We're flying into the sunset 32,000 feet above the earth. The sky is a beautiful bright blue with gorgeous streaks of orange clouds that melts into a slate gray which is the earth.

It feels funny to say that you could cover every solid inch of this beautiful planet at this very moment and you wouldn't find me. I'm not on it.

I wonder how astronauts feel as they soar through our galaxy and our earth looks like the moon to them. Or Pluto. It must feel so lonely. I know I would feel afraid to experience that. But, I don't feel afraid up here. I feel connected.

My sister is flying today. Out of LAX. I wonder if we are flying at the exact same time. I forgot to ask her. We fly into separate airports tonight because she didn't know I was flying today as well. I know of at least four others who are also flying today. I wonder how many other people I know who are flying at this very moment.

I wonder who has sat in my seat. I wonder if I have ever been on this exact plane before. I know I have flown on this exact same flight. Maybe I should mark it somehow in a hidden secret place with my sharpie pen. And every time I fly on American Airlines, I will sit at 15F and look to see if it's the same plane I was on before. I wonder if I know anyone on the plane right now. Or if there is someone who knows someone I know.

I wonder if a lot of people pray just before take-off. One of those quick, "please God, keep us safe" sort of prayers.

I do.

Sometimes I look at people sitting in seats nearby and I always wonder when their eyes are closed if they are actually resting or praying.

I really enjoy flying and do not fear it. well. I do not fear flying. I fear crashing. I suppose we all do. I just overheard a guy behind me say that he jumps out of airplanes. And those few moments he's free falling before his paraschute releases he says it actually feels as though he is floating. floating! What a lovely feeling.
I feel I'm floating right now.

It is such a sweet, pleasant flight. I wish this flight for you the next time you fly. I wish this for everyone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

losing skin but still saving it



While cleaning up over the weekend, I came across my old scrapbook packed-full of drawings, stories, letters, photos, newspaper articles and whatnots.

If you click on the photo, you can see my old skin taped to masking tape. Torn off by the ashcan in the car.

I remember that day.

I was riding in the backseat of my mom's green Ford Galaxy 500 to San Francisco with my mom and Nana in the front seat and my sister and brother in the backseat . While the two smoked cheerfully in the front seat, us kids would roll down the window for fresh air and Nana would turn around and say, "Now kids, roll up that window. With all that wind blowing in your ear, you might get an ear-ache".

So we'd roll our eyes and the window back up and hold our breaths for as long as we could before fainting.

"MOM! Kelly's touching me!" Wally tattled.
"Am not."
"Are, too!"
"No, I'm not!"

"You kids get along! Do not make me stop this car on this busy freeway!"

"Shawn's looking at me funny." Kelly squealed.
"I am not."
"Yes you are!"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes, you are! You just did it again!"
"Mom? Kelly's lying!" I'd protest.
"Oh! never mind!," she'd giggle. "I forgot. She didn't mean to look at me funny. She's just funny looking!"

"That's enough!" my mom would shout from the driver's seat. " I don't want to hear another peep from any of you the rest of the drive!"

"peeeep!" someone would whisper.

And then there was silence except for the beating of our hearts. And sheer panic.

"Okay! That's it! I'm pulling over!!!"

I nervously played with the ashcan in the arm of the door when it caught my skin.

"Now who's crying!? Is that you Shawn? If you don't stop crying, I'll really give you something to cry about!"


"But ... mom!" I'd sobbed. "The ... (sob) ashtray .. . just ... took ... the skin ... (sob) ... off my finger!!" I'd cry through blinding tears.

It was just a short ride to the City but it always seemed much longer when you're sitting in the backseat with the windows rolled up with your brother and sister squeezed in there beside you.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

An old box.. like an old boxer



I spent the latter part of my afternoon in San Francisco today. I helped take down our tradeshow booth at Fort Mason at the Fabric Show. I kept staring at these old worn out, lopsided boxes we were loading valuable one-of-a-kind quilts and various curtains and fabrics and other elements into.

These boxes look as though they have traveled the world. And they probably have. Deb just kept taping it together with the packing tape to hold it all in. We'd tape a sheet of paper over an old address label and hand print our office address on it. Scratch out an old address (or two or three) with a permanent marker to make it easier for the UPS man to deliver it.

These tired, worn out boxes. Still carrying on. Not yet ready to retire. They seemed eager and willing to help. Almost proud.

I imagine them right now sitting in some dark UPS truck along interstate 80 heading for New York exchanging war stories.

"You shudda seen me back in my prime when I hauled 80 pounds of heavy hand held weights from Nashville to Biloxi in the heat of summer!"

"Oh yeahhh? Well, I once carried expensive china from Boston to Santa Barbara ... usin' muscles I didn't know I had ... to keep me from shaking so I wouldn't break the fragile glass!"


I haven't written anything in a long time. And then I ramble about worn-out boxes.

And. I'm worn out, too. So off to bed I go.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Western States 100 Documentary

It's late notice, but tomorrow, July 28th at 3 pm Eastern Time, (that's noon on the Pacific Coast) on NBC, they will telecast the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race my sister ran in last month. Jeep World of Adventure is covering it. On my TIVO the title says World of Adventure Sports.

I was there for her race and saw the camera crew all around us.

It says this about the episode: THE WESTERN STATES 100: Witness the jaw dropping, adrenalin pumping, sweat flying adventure of the Western States Endurance Run-one of the oldest ultra trail events in the world and certainly one of the most challenging: one day-100 miles Extreme mental and physical preparation are of utmost importance to each runner, for the mountains, although beautiful, are relentless in their challenge and unforgiving to the ill-prepared.

If you want to be inspired, please watch this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I QUIT!

Text-messaging that is.

An hour ago I received a text message from Margaret in Fort Worth.

With a handful of text messaging experience under my belt, I decide to get fancy and return her text message with a text message: "Let's get together in August!" I type.

Ten minutes later I receive a text message from Nina in Las Vegas who responds with a text-message: "Sounds great! See you then!"

Quickly realizing my error, though relieved it is Nina I just invited to spend time with, I return a text message back to Nina: "Thank you for the birthday card!" I write.

Only to receive a text message back from Stan in New Zealand telling me he didn't know it was my birthday and didn't send me a card.

If this is an indication of what lies ahead for me today, I think I should just go back to bed and cover up my head.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Feeling smart

The very talented Roz Fulcher awarded me the THINKING BLOGGER AWARD. (what? You don't believe me?) LO0oOK!

I am going to print this lovely award out and pin it to my shirt and wear it every single day for a month!

Thank you Ms Rozzieland!!!

As soon as I was notified I was a winner, I instantly remembered waaaay back when I was in my teens on a weekend retreat at Westminster Woods.

I was sitting in the second row of a very small church/meeting place, nervous as all-get-out because I am about to be called upon to accept an award. When my name was called to come up to the podium to accept my lovely certificate, I leaned down quickly to pick up my thank you notes and bonked my head on the wooden pew in front of me. The sound was enormous!

I could have died.

Nooo, not really died.

It actually didn't hurt me at all, but I was mortified. Could I get any more embarrassed? (well. yeah. I have, but that's for another time; another post).

Amidst the gasps in the audience, I walked up there as if nothing happened. Only to collapse into a horrible fit of laughter ... similar to what the spa experience could have been if I didn't have the life experience I do now, learning how to refrain.

But that was then and this is now. so without any further ado... I want to extend my gratitude for giving out awards for those five blogs I would like to honor in the thinking world.

The winners are:

CRUNCHYBITS Rayne is amazing. It's an appropriate name, really. Because she rains onto so many people with honor and kindness. She's an artist. A photographer. A writer. A crafty sewer. A mother and a wife. And she has a chronic illness that she talks openly about on her blog. OH! And she has other blogs, too... that honors other's writings.

PAULA BECKER You must go to her site at once. You will recognize her work I'm sure. Isn't she great? I can hang out over there for a long, long time and often times I do. I'm quite sure if she noticed I was there, she'd offer me something cool to drink and sit down with me for awhile and we'd chat about Texas....

VALGAL I had the honor of spending dinner with Val in Malibu this past spring. Sitting with her for an hour or two is just too short. Her artwork is amazing. So colorful and her client list is long and tall and filled with colorful people like herself. When she writes stories on her blog (which isn't enough)... you can sit there and feel enthralled. She is so talented and her work is going to be shown on an HGTV episode sometime in the future. Can you not wait for it?!?!

JIM PEARSON
He is a wonderful friend and an incredible artist. We used to work at a software company creating computer games. I was hired there as a temp and I was succumed to bashfullness and didn't leave my cube for about six weeks. One day I stepped out and he announced it to the entire art room. "Lo00Ook! Shawn is stepping out!!" I quickly moved my foot back in (once I saw my shadow) and we had rain all season long! Jim is a kind, thoughtful, sensitive, funny, entertaining guy who will keep you laughing til all hours of the night. He was the art director for nearly all of Toy Story 2. I don't see him nearly enough and I miss him terribly. We live less than an hour away but happy I can see him through his blog amidst our busy lives. (Jimpy? I lost your email address. can you send it to me again?)

KELLY RIDGWAY She's my sister. An ultra runner (running 100 miles in a single day.. not everyday!). She deserves this award because she's a huge inspiration. She has Lupus and she doesn't let it defeat her. While on her runs, she focuses on positive thoughts and uplifting those around her. She is a nurse that goes beyond her call-of-duty. I remember on many occasions at Christmas, Kelly would call her patients up and ask how they are feeling and wish them a Merry Christmas. Most important is that she is my sister. And I've known her all of my life ... so I should know, right?

Thank you Roz. you are wonderful. For those who aren't familiar with her, she is an illustrator for kid's books using felt, fabric etc. Please go look at her blog. She is incredible!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Spa Vacation

Wearing just a robe and my orange crocs, I quietly pushed open a heavy door with a sign that reads: Please refrain from talking.

The seriousness of the room. The importance of the silence. The reality that I was now living this moment caught me off guard.

My entire body convulsed.

Shaking and trembling as I held my breath, I desperately tried to keep it still. I buried myself toward the wall and then turned my face toward Brenda, pleading with my eyes to do something. To save me from this involuntary physical and emotional spasm I was experiencing.

She looked at me, horrified.

Saying nothing, her face screamed "Nooo, not now, Shaawwwn. Not now. Please don't do this."

I quickly turned around, facing away from her and the others in the relaxation room, hoping to melt into the wall.

"Please God. Please God. Please God." I whispered over and over and over again. "Don't let me---"

And then, in one sudden onslaught of emotions, my body erupted like Mount Vesuvius.

I let out an obnoxious loud, blusterous snorkle. I was surprised how much it sounded like I was crying! But. I was indeed, induced by the laughing bug. Hysterical laughing. Laughing so hard, tears spilled down my face.

And, then, (I like to call it a miracle)... I was able to quickly turn it off.

"Sorry!" I chirped into the room.

I leaned down into a relaxation chair but I sat down too quickly and realized my white robe had folded itself between my legs and was digging into me and was slowly stopping the circulation in my butt. I sat there for a few moments, pretending not to notice.

Then, slowly, and very quietly, I lifted myself back up to re-adjust the robe and in a pretend, fake move, I reached over to the cucumbers to place over my eye lids.

"relax. relax. relax" I keep saying to myself. Over and over and over again.

If you say it enough times, you will find the word relax morphs into other other words such as flaps and sacks.

And now as I am imagining the sacks under my eye lids ... I feel the cucumber sliding down off my eyes and I wonder if anyone is watching me.

I quickly lift my head and glance around the room at the others relaxing. The others don't notice me as they are so poised in their perfect hair styles piled up in such a sophisticated manner. I would have had to hire a hair stylist to even look half as sophisticated. My shadow that is reflected against the wall from the soft lights looks as though my hair is shellac'd against my neck.

Then I hear my name being called out.

"Shawn?"

I jump up quickly so I don't keep her waiting.

She introduces herself:

My name is Oddie.
"Oddie?" I repeat.
"No. Annie."

And as we wandered down the hall to the unknown, she asks me when I last foliated my face and when I tell her twice a year whether I need it or not and the last time I used a mask was last week but can you believe I still have the same ointment from 1997 ? she giggles and says, "you're kidding right?"

And I'm not. But because I was pretending to be sophisticated, I said, "Well, yes!" And we both laugh. And she believes me in my sophistication.

Until. She spends half the facial appointment removing blackheads around my nose. And when I lean my arm out so she can place it in a heated glove, I can see one of the cucumbers from my eyelids sticking near my left arm pit.

It was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience staying at the Watermark Hotel. An early birthday present from my best friend.

It was not just a facial. And a full body massage. But a full 3-day spa experience. Staying in their own Spa suite apartment. We were pampered with impeccable service.

Treated like royalty. Which isn't too far from how Brenda treats me anyway. They say everything is big in Texas.

And with my best friend, her heart and generosity toward me certainly is.
I will never forget it.

Thank you Brenda, from the bottom of my heart for a memory of a lifetime.
I will never forget this. Ever.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Turn Around, Don't Drown

The latest signs springing up all over Texas is Turn Around, Don't Drown.

And there was a lot of it. Our estimated drive down to San Antonio from Dallas was 5-1/2 hours. But I had this sinking feeling that it could take us forty-five hours if every time we saw water on the ground, we would turn around.

And there was a lot of it.

It was a good time to leave when we did. The rains had stopped temporarily though there was still a lot of water on the roads.

This photo was taken while driving through Irving.



Here is a photo of Waxahachie. It's a lot prettier when the sun is out. My dear friend, Julie Miller lived in Waxahachie as a young girl so I have a warm affection for this place. There is a wonderful downtown area, but it was raining too hard to stop, so we kept driving.




Another wonderful town to stop in is Hillsboro. They have some nice little antique/junk stores in the old side of town and an outlet mall in the other side. Sometimes I like to stop in the Fossil Store. But. It was raining so hard we decided to keep driving.




Now we're in Waco. What do you think of when you hear the word Waco? Yeah, me, too. David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. I kept looking out for people turning around on the freeway, but they kept moving forward which I'm glad they did. I think it would be more unsafe for us to turn around on the freeway into oncoming traffic during the torrential rains. (but then again, maybe that's just me).



We got off the highway to see the small adorable town of Salado. It has some cool looking restaurants and little country shops. I really want to stop and explore this town the next time I am there and when the sun is shining.



There were quite a few accidents. I snapped this photo out my side window while driving in Round Rock. When I look at it now, I feel worried that maybe we should have stopped. The door is wide open. No one is around. Could the driver still be inside? And, if they did leave the scene, don't you think someone would think, 'Oh, let me shut the door?"



We are entering Austin, one of my most favorite places to visit. The yellow lights on the left of the sign says TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN. But nobody was. Can you imagine, everyone slamming their breaks and turning around right there on the freeway? Maybe that's what the driver tried to do in the photo above. I think the sign should read WHEN FLOODS ABOUND, SLOW DOWN.



New Braunsfels is a lovely town. It has a great river flowing through it and it's always fun to ride the inner tub down it. Except for on days like these...



We finally arrived in San Antonio. We thiiiink! From what we can see out of our windows. And we were right. And it was an amazing trip. But I'll talk about it in my next post...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Texas-Bound

I just looked at the 10-day weather forecast for Dallas and San Antonio. Scattered Thunder Storms every single day I'm there. It rained 20 inches today in one of those towns. In one day.

I fly out of San Francisco tomorrow night and arrive in Dallas at midnight. We'll take a roadrip to San Antonio for a few days over July 4th to do the riverwalk. 'Course.. with all this rain, I think we can walk anywhere and it would be classified as a river walk.

One thing for certain. Other than the rain. I will be in for an adventure. I will try and post while I'm there and let you know what that adventure entails....

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sea Monkeys


Some of you might remember I submitted this for Illustration Friday.

It's been since changed ever so slightly and Wuh-LaaaawW! It's now in fabric! Well. Actually. It's a Strikeoff.

In the Textile Printing Industry a Strikeoff (abbreviated SKO) is defined as a small run of fabric printed with screens for the first time after the screens are made to check if there are any shifts in colors and a whole slew of other could-be problems.

I was just pinning up new Dick and Jane fabric I was designing on the fabric wall, glanced down when I dropped a thumb-tack that bounced into a box and there were my monkeys! How could I resist picking it up, staring at it and then taking a photo of it?

I hope I can do more monkeys.