Friday, December 5, 2008

The Red Balloon

Recently, while sitting in a dark theater, waiting for The Secret Life of Bees to start, I watched the movie trailer of Pixar's movie UP . Watching the balloons raise the old man's house and carry him away, reminded me instantly of The Red Balloon. Did you ever watch it as a kid?

I did.

I loved movie day at school. My heart would jump out of my skin with excitement whenever the teacher rolled in the movie projector. I would quietly and slowly inch my desk to the right or the left so I wouldn't see a single silhouette of a head sitting in front of the screen to block my view.

I think I watched The Red Balloon in the second grade and then maybe again in the third grade and perhaps again in the fourth grade. It was an old film... made in the 1950s but it felt it was much older than even that.

If you haven't seen it, the movie is about a
cherry-red helium balloon who loves a young school boy. It follows him to school and waits for him until school is out and follows him home again. They are best of friends.

And what third grader can't relate to friending a balloon or a stick-horse or even a security blanket for that matter.

The red balloon is so adorable, it's like your favorite puppy. And then one day, a bunch of bullies ganged up on it, pelting rocks at it ... and .... eventually popping it.

yeah. Popping it.

I have to admit that for me, the slow, sweaty deflating death of the read balloon was absolutely gut-wrenching. My eyes swimming with tears would spill out and down my cheeks and it would embarrass me sitting there at my desk in school. I instantly wanted to run home and hug my mom. And my dogs and cats. And my dolls. And my bike.

I'm quite sure that is the reason even today, I feel sad when a light bulb burns out. Or when the Christmas Tree who once stood so tall and green, adorned with such beautiful decorations is now laying naked on the curb waiting to be carried off to its final resting place.

I blame it all on the red balloon.

That young boy who played the leading role and who is now a much older adult was being interviewed on NPR radio last year and he said he genuinely believed during filming that the red balloon was alive. He said, "The Red Balloon was my friend." The guy interviewing him asked him, "When you were filming it, did you really feel that way?" And he responded, "Yes, yes, he was a real character with a spirit all his own."

You might find this funny, but I believe him.
I believe in the red balloon.

I just might create a bumper sticker with that on it.

Oh. By the way.

At the end of the movie, (
as best as I remember it) all the balloons in Paris escape children's little hands and balloon stores to scoop up that young grieving boy and carry him somewhere.

Somewhere I never knew.

I think that was the happy ending. But if you're sensitive like me, I wanted them to pick up his grandmother so he wouldn't be alone. I worried that living a life with helium balloons may not be the best place for him in the long run.

Ya know?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tuna Casserole Recipe

While having lunch with Kathy the other day, she told me about her childhood cookbook she actually used to cook with and described the illustrations of the eggs diving into the bowls and I was so inspired by these images, I couldn't get it out of my mind.

When we returned back to the studio, she pulled it out from the shelf and showed it to me. It was everything I imagined it to be. Adorable illustrations with truly simple instructions.

When I was a kid, I always loved eating tuna casserole for dinner. Even now, as an adult, I will occasionally pack a Stouffers tuna casserole entree to take for my lunch at work. So you can imagine my excitement when I came across a Tuna Casserole recipe I could easily make for myself.

Ok. So I admit it.

I'm obviously not the greatest cook. Nor am I the most intuitive cook. I have no clue what ingredients taste good with what.

I photocopied these two pages and I headed off to the grocery store to pick up a few items.

Ingredients: Tuna Fish, Condensed Mushroom Soup, Piminto, Small bag of chips and an onion.

I skipped the pimento because I figured they were those green olives with the red circles inside, and I didn't see any reason to include them.

I did buy the small bag of potato chips and the cream of mushroom soup. I already had a can of tuna and an onion.

Returned home to my newly updated kitchen, turned on music ... and I went to work.

As I was stirring the tuna fish and the cream of mushroom soup together, I started to vaguely think this might be a bad idea. Having already scrapped the idea of adding the pimento olives, I simply stirred in the small chopped onions and crumpled a small bag of potato chips on top as the recipe explained and then placed it in the oven.

It didn't look right.

It didn't feel right.

Short of a gray mushy matter, it looked like something I should be pouring down the garbage disposal instead of into my pyrex dish for my dinner.

But I placed it in the oven anyway and cooked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

When the buzzer sounded, I scooped up that lovely gray matter onto a plate and I ate my dinner.

Maybe it's just my own personal observation, but I found it rather bland and boring.

If I were writing the recipe, I would have added extra ingredients such as celery and peas and noodles! NO0O0DLES for heaven's sake. Is that so wrong?

No, of course not. And why didn't I add those things myself? Because I didn't believe in my own cooking talent skills.

Hey, you know what? I learned something about myself tonight. I carry around the same beliefs about my house-keeping skills and keeping house plants alive.

Tonight I'm believing in second thoughts . . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A day in my life

I love this time of year. It is so beautiful and breath-taking.

This is how I spent my weekend. The Autumn in all it's wonder and splender gets me feeling so rejuvinated. I feel its hug.

Autumn reminds me of putting on my running shoes to go for a run, or saying yes to the hair designer who wants to cut my hair in layers... or biting into an after dinner mint and tasting the white gooey center.

In those moments I am so happy with delight I can't remember what follows....

And then it hits me.....

I realize that I don't like running. I forget that as soon as I say yes to layers, I can not wait for them to grow out. And the dinner mint. Oh! The dinner mint! It looks so dark and delicious but as soon as I bite into that soft, seemingly melted mint... my tongue pushes it forward and I need to dispose of it instantly into my napkin.

Autumn is just like that to me.

As soon as the scissors start to clip. Or I start to run. Or I bite into that gooey center... i remember what follows and my joy is over with.

It is called Winter.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A bird brain isn't what we think it is

I heard on the news the other day that a bird. Yes, a bird. Saved a child's life. You can read about it here.

A one-year-old Quaker parrot saved a two-year-old's life by shouting "Mama baby! Mama baby!" when that sweet little bird noticed the little girl was choking. The babysitter came out of the bathroom and noticed the little girl was blue in the face and she performed the Heimlich maneuver which stopped her choking.

I instantly thought of Alex the bird.

Have you heard of him? He was an African Grey parrot who passed away last year.

I once saw him on an evening news show and he was talking to his trainer and it appeared evident to me that he wasn't simply mimicking words.

In the report, he asked for a nut and the trainer said she would give him a nut afterwards. Alex then said, "I wanna go back." (to his cage). She wanted him to perform in front of the camera and the bird wasn't in the mood. The trainer said to Alex, "C'mon!" but Alex just wasn't in the mood to perform and he said, "I'm sorry."

His last words to his trainer as she put in his cage on the last night of his life, Alex looked up at her and said, "You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you."

He died of natural causes. He was much too young. He was just 31.

Experts say he had the brain of a 5-year-old and the emotions of a 2-year-old.

You can view a video of him here. I hope you do. It will make your heart swell.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

If you were my friend then

I'd let you ride my sting-ray bike with the steering wheel while I rode your boring bike with the flower basket in front. You could color with all the new crayons that aren't flat or broken and I would give you the last red otter pop in the box. We would build a fort together and I would let you be president while I was vice-president. When playing monopoly, you can use the car to be your piece while I pick something like the dog or shoe or thimble.

If you were my friend then, we would count to three before hanging up the phone. But I would stay on the line until I heard you actually hang up.



Are you still there?
Let's hang up on the count of three.


One... Two... Three.



Hey! You were supposed to hang up!
I was waiting for YOU to hang up.
I was waiting FOR YOU to hang up.

Let's do it again.

One. Two. Two and a half. Three.


If you were my friend then, I would watch Star Trek with you even though I liked Lost in Space better. When we pretend to be The Monkees, I would play the part of Micky or Michael or Peter because you would want to be Davy Jones. In the movie theater, you'd get the seat closest to the center. We would speak in a fake language whenever we were in front of strangers. We would tell ghost stories shining the flash light under our chins and then fall asleep in our flannel sleeping bags with our transistor radios playing under our pillows.

If you were my friend then, we'd sware we would always be friends. And we would be. We would prick our fingers with a thumb tack and then rub our blood together donning us Blood Sisters.

And we were.

And we are.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thelma's in Houston

So, I'm walking along the long aisles at Quilt Market trying to digest all the new fabric that is coming out this season when my cell phone rings.

"Shawn! We're on our way to Thelma's to have lunch, ya wanna join us? It's just a few blocks from where you are!"

"Sure!" I said, "I'll meet you outside of Door C!"

And within minutes, we were pulling up to the curb across the street from Thelma's Bar-B-Que.... a few short blocks south of the George R. Brown Convention center at 1020 Live Oak.

"This is a restaurant?" I asked. "Are ya sure?"

I didn't see any signs indicating it was nor did I see any signs of people. It looked as though it was deserted.

"Sure it is! I've eaten here lots of times before!"

I slowly opened up the screen door and the three of us walked inside. The bright autumn daylight blinded my eyes for a moment before adjusting to the darkened diner. It was anything but deserted.
Families with small children. Couples and friends and people eating alone. All laughing and talking and eating... looking up on occasion to watch the TV that hung in the corner. I followed my eyes to the outline of the interior paint which the painter had painted the walls around the TV.

This is what I love about the South. Finding wonderful little neighborhood dives and then opening the door, walking inside and wrapping your heart around the magic of it all.

If you happen upon downtown Houston, do yourself a favor and drop into this lovely place... where the food is not only delicious, but you walk away feeling the love.

Truly a magical place.

Pictured above: Velma and Thelma.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Turn it down!

This morning, I was in a hotel lobby carrying a large transistor radio and it kept blaring the voice of Sheri Lynch from the syndicated radio morning show Bob & Sheri . And people all around me kept telling me to turn it down as Bob and Sheri were actually there in a conference room broadcasting their radio morning show LIVE and I was interrupting their signal.

I was beside myself.

First of all, I didn't know how to turn it off ... there didn't seem to be a volume or power control anywhere on it ... and secondly, I didn't know why I was carrying such a large radio around with me in this day and age of ipods.

"Can you turn down that blasted radio!?!" The man shouted at me!

I quickly sat down on one of those large chairs in the lobby trying to muffle the noise with my sweater. A young girl runs over to help me find the volume switch. She can't find it either. Everyone is staring at me. "Shut off that radio!!!"

I opened my eyes and saw the ceiling of my bedroom. I rolled over and stared at my clock radio with Sheri Lynch still talking away and saw it was 8:10 am and Lisa was picking me up at 8:25 for another long day at work.

Nothing like waking up in a panic realizing I had overslept nearly an hour.

All my days are melting into one as we work around the clock for the upcoming International Quilt Market this weekend in Houston. As soon as I come up for air I have some stories to tell.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Wee Hours

It is Garbage Day.

And it is early in the morning. I like to call them the wee hours.

It is quiet and peaceful this morning in my neighborhood except for the trucks.

BEEPbeepBEEP .... their sound is difficult to miss. I open up the blinds and peer out. I see a lady in her robe walk out to the walk, bend over and pick up the morning paper.

She would be so surprised to know that I am awake.

I know without a doubt I have surprised Mollie, my adorable cat. She thought I got up to use the bathroom, so she waited on my bed for me to return.

"Surprise!" I told her as I hurried down the hall toward the kitchen.

I woke up 2-1/5 hours earlier than usual because instead of working overtime after work, I will work overtime before work. I have a friend visiting me. And we have dinner plans tonight. I worked overtime a couple of nights ago and we missed our evening plans on account of it. I feel happy for my quick-thinking solution for this evening.

I feel giddy and alert. My mind thinks I'm going on vacation. My eyes keep looking for my suitcase. Surely I am going somewhere really fun because why else would I be awake when the moon is still up?

"Surprise!" I tell myself. "You're going to work!"

It seems the earlier one wakes up, the less there is be distracted by. So I got ready in record-speed. I watered my potted plants. I watered the boxwoods. I threw out the garbage. I chatted with my nextdoor neighbor taking her dog out for a walk.

"Shawn! What are you doing awake so early?!"
"I'm going to work extra early and putting in my overtime in reverse!"

She nods. I don't think she understood.

It is peaceful. I love the mornings. Just like I love tidy, uncluttered homes. But I know only too well it's just like keeping a clean, uncluttered home. I will never be natural at it.

I love this cute animation. It's called The Ok Book. I wish I had written and animated this.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My To Do List

Remember a few weeks back or maybe it was a couple of months ago, when I was so thrilled by my newly organized clean house? Everything was neatly put away and the house was so clean, I didn't panic when someone dropped by unexpectedly or asked to use my bathroom.

I loved this feeling of calm that went through me and I was determined to make this my new reality!

It was then, when my next door neighbor and her friend dropped in to see my newly updated kitchen. She was so taken back by my clean, uncluttered home (it was her first time she ever walked into my house, so she thought this was normal for me), and was so inspired, she took two days off to clean her house and emptied two carloads of junk to the Good Will! The friend she was with told me later that she went home and kicked her house!

I LOVED it and yet, I have to admit, I did feel a wee bit highfalutin. It did look a bit staged... as if there was a For Sale sign up and an Open House was about to begin.


As you can see by my list (and so far the list is up to 23 things to do by tomorrow afternoon), I have somewhat fallen back into my old ways.

First it was the small things.

Leaving the newspaper and a few bills on the kitchen table. (I'll put it away later....)

Not putting away the three magazines I took outside with me in the backyard to read-- er, thumb through -- and then left them on the kitchen counter.

The clothes I folded from the dryer sat on the living room coffee table because I was in the middle of watching Big Brother and forgot to hang them in my closet during a commercial.

The cat food that dropped from Mollie's dish eventually adhered to the floor, so I left it.

The quick impromptu cleanings just before someone dropped in, was quickly tossed into the garage and now I need to clean that up.

It is now nearly back to where it once was, although the closets are still in good organized order.

I admit it: The task of putting everything away where they belong does not come naturally to me. (and probably the reason why the closets stay so clean). Neither does the determination in keeping my sink sparkling clean. And my aim is still slightly off when I throw my worn clothes across the room hoping to land in the hamper. How hard is it really, to walk over and place the clothes in the actual clothes hamper than leaving them all laying on the floor around it.

By the way, I never use the word "highfalutin". It came to me in a sudden moment and I think it's a pretty cute word so I used it a few paragraphs above. But it's not really me. In an honest moment of confessing to you that I was feeling pretentious with my neighbor and her friend while showing them my neat and tidy house, I felt pretentious again using that fun, cute word.

I'm not apologizing, but just wanted to let you know.

Off to clean the house. . . .

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Can you hear me?

I have been so quiet lately. I don't know what it is or why that is.

It's like my heart and my head has gotten disconnected. I go through the motions throughout my day, and I get things accomplished, but I don't feel truly there.

I'm present but I'm not focused. It's as though my thoughts are someplace else, but the truth is, I'm not thinking much of anything. I imagine inside my brain, it's just a lot of interstate highway without much traffic.

I think deep down inside, in my core - spirit - soul, where my brain operates without words, I am asking myself what I was born to be. What I can do to leave my mark in this world long after I am gone. I know I will never have kids.

So. What will my kids be?

is a great child. The fabric I have designed can live on years after my life is over. It's the same with the children interactive rugs I've created. There is a lot of creative stuff inside me that still wants to come out. I still want to write a book. Or two. And I daydream of starting back my comic strip.


I need to feel more empowered to do these things. I need to have a healthier, stronger core and ego surrounding my talents. I've always felt that I was the kid who stands halfway down the court in a one-point-behind basketball game and just as the last bell rings at the finish of the game, I loft the ball high up in the air and it's on track to reach the basket.... and the entire crowd is moved to silence holding their breath as they stand to see if we win or lose the game. The ball hits the rim and it spins around and around and around ... I look out and and everyone appears to have stopped into slow-motion.. and if this were a movie.. the ball would fall in ... but it's real life... and the ball circles the rim another time or two.. and then .... spills out and bounces a few times down on the court, losing the game.

I'm good enough to picked for the team. But not always good enough.

Someday I will be.

That sure is a tricky word, isn't it? Even toxic. When you're a kid, the word someday is the worst word in the English language. Even when you get older... the word someday isn't a good word because you know that someday is probably never going to happen.

"Can we go to Disneyland?"

"Not now, but someday..."

Everyone's got a someday.

Like buying a home up in the hills overlooking Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg.

That's my someday.

Or adding a bathtub and shower in the master bathroom.

These somedays are like a placeholder name to put something off.

When I was a young girl I fell in love with Tony Defranco of the musical group The Defranco Family. I saw this photo on the inside cover of Tigerbeat while waiting for my mom to buy our groceries at Luckys and was instantly smitten.
I wrote Tony a fan letter and he wrote me back hoping I can see them perform that summer at Magic Mountain.

"Can we go!? Can we go!!?"
"Maybe. If not this time around, we will take you someday."

I eventually had that
someday about 10 years ago.

The Defrancos sang at the first Retrofest in Santa Monica. I believe it was the first time they performed since the 70s. I flew down there, stayed at the LAX Hilton and went to see them in concert the following day. It was a little disappointing. I was no longer the little girl who had the crush on Tony. The music sounded amateur. I felt a tinge bit embarrassed sitting there in the small audience. But I always wanted to see them in concert. And was thrilled I accomplished one of my somedays.

I want to enjoy this journey in my life. I don't want to sit on the side lines waiting for that someday to potentially never happen.

I just need to reconnect my brain and my heart back together again. To focus back in. To rediscover what new project I can work on that will bring me my joy.

I guess for now.. i'm experiencing the quiet before the storm. The rest before the race. I got my shoes tied and I'm ready to embark on whatever it is that draws me.
Or what I draw out. I truly am. So bring it on.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

banana pops

"Pick a hand! Pick a hand!" she said as soon as I opened up my front door.

She was giddy with excitement with two hands hidden behind her back.

"The left one," I said before changing my mind. "No, the right. The right! No... no. The left! Make it the left!"

I watched her for a moment, while her shoulders bounced up and down shuffling between hands before pulling out a frozen chocolate covered banana for me. She wasn't wearing her usual makeup and her hair looked almost like schlack to her head.
As I extended my hand to accept it from her, my eyes rivoted to her dark cave-like smile.

She caught my eye contact and quickly slapped her hand up to her mouth. "I've been violently ill with the flu and threw up my teeth this morning. I had one hand grabbin' onto my hair jus' like this to hold my hair up and I had this other hand flushin' the toilet and I jus' wasn't quick enough to grab my uppers before they swirled down the drain!"

She then smiled an upsidedown smile to show me her unhappiness. When I saw a few lower teeth just barely sinking up above her gums, I suddenly felt like I was about to get ill myself.

"Pick a hand!"
She shouted again. "Pick a hand. Nuthin' but a hand!"
From her other hand, she pulled out the yellow box. "After you eat my delicious treat, you're gonna wanna make yer own, so here's a gift!"

She was a neighbor I hardly knew.

I barely said the words: "thank you" before she got a worried look to her face, cupped her hands to her mouth and ran toward her home.

I watched her run down the sidewalk as I closed the door. I took a deep breath and felt ashamed for what I was about to do.

I took one look at the
chocolate covered banana and another at the box and I knew only too well, not to hold on to something I knew I would never eat. I tossed them both away.

Gift-giving. It's really in the timing. Had she felt well, I wouldn't have thought anything about eating the banana she had handed to me. But now, I wasn't able to get past the thought of even keeping the box. Except to snap this picture of it that looks like perhaps the shelf date has expired years ago.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Pavement Picasso

I am sure you have all seen the brilliant chalk artwork that Julian Beever has created on pavement since the mid 1990s.  His drawings create the illusion of three demensions. I am in awe each time I see his work and I think you will be, too. This beautiful wonderful creation drawn only in chalk on a street that will be washed away in time and if not caught on film, it would be gone forever. 

You can view a video on youtube of him at work here

(Sorry. I don't know who to give the photo credits to, as I received this in an email).

Monday, September 1, 2008

Such a beautiful labor day weekend

Labor Day.
I really live in a beautiful place.
From playing beach volleyball for two hours on the beach to a late lunch under the giant redwood trees, it was an awesome day.

And yesterday I invited friends from our old work place Mattel™ for an all-day barbecue party.

I feel good. Sleepy, yes, but I feel good. I am enjoying my summer. 

I feel I'm heading in the right direction. Inviting friends into my life. Even new ones. My house is now in order and so is my yard. I'm now ready for some fun. And some conversation. And play.  And it's happening.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Running for president?

Why not. Do I have your vote


Monday, August 25, 2008

Feeling the calm....

The weeds in my yard are now gone and the fertilizer has done its job and now my grass is back to being green. A clean orderly yard is so calming to me.

In the past few months, something has been shifting inside me. I don't know why I am feeling this urgency and desire to take care of my home and yard, but I feel it. And I'm obeying this inner tug.

Ever since I got my kitchen updated, I've had this yearning to declutter my home. I'm Zen-ifying it so to speak. It seems to be taking a long time as I'm only doing one closet at a time... and then one room at a time. Each day I am being more and more mindful of what I keep and what I throw away. By throwing out the clutter, I've noticed the clutter in my head is also being cleaned away.

Usually this sort of tossing things out overwhelms me. But now I'm learning to discover it's reward: Peace of mind. Clarity. A place of calm. I am really experiencing that simplicity is where my heart feels most calm. I have also noticed that since i became aware of my need to have my own personal time, I have attracted that more into my life.

I am no longer coming home from work to a looming deadline.

I had such a lovely weekend. I worked on my house and yard quite a bit but I also enjoyed the pleasure of spending time with friends and family. I didn't do any freelance work this weekend and that is the magic word.

No free lance.

Without it, I concentrated on what I already have. My home. My yard. My family. My friends. My true treasure.

I woke up feeling really happy today. It was like an excited happy, like the last day of school kind of happy. Like wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree happy or like being in love happy.

I feel extraordinary happy and believe I'm exactly where I am supposed to be in my life right at this moment. I am on the right path. And I feel that something wonderfully unexpected is about to happen to me. That probably really sounds crazy. And maybe it is crazy. But I'm crazy happy and keeping my eyes open for the magic.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The home I grew up in

I grew up here.
This is the home where old famous people used to pay their visits. Henry Ford. Thomas Edison. Jack London. Luther Burbank.

It was built in 1850 by John Hendley who became a doctor in early Santa Rosa.

When I was nine years old and moved into this house, I automatically believed that the reason I lived in such an old estate was because I was going to be famous as well and people from all over the world would come to my childhood home and tour it.

It didn't hurt that my childhood home was decorated in antiques.
I ate my french toast here every morning. And I enjoyed hamburger helper casseroles for dinner nearly every night. And later, in the early 1990s, I learned to hang wallpaper in this room.

I think it was a year after we moved in, when an old lady and her son who was also very old, drove up our driveway one morning. They walked up to our door and in her thin, frail voice told us that she grew up in this house from 1898 - 1908 and before she died, her wish was to come back and visit her childhood home. And she did. She came from the state of Washington. She gave us a photo of the front of the home from 1906.

I remember her eyes danced as she walked through the different rooms remembering. In the library, she paused for a moment and said that she had signed her name from a diamond on one of the window panes as she stood out on the cellar door. She leaned and walked closer to the window and there it was. Her signature still remains there with the date 1908. Her eyes welled up in tears as she pressed her fingers against her childhood signature.

A few years later, another woman drove up the driveway and knocked on our door. She lived in our house in the 1930s. She told stories of her horse named Red who she kept down in the stables where our horses were then. The sign RED was still hanging up in the stable and we gave it to her.

We had horses, rabbits, ducks, geese, sheep, a goat and a pig and numerous dogs and cat at this house. We rode our honda 50 and honda 70 mini bikes around this property and it really was a wonderful home to grow up in.

I moved away when I was 19 but I actually returned and lived here five years ago for a couple of months in between selling my town house and moving into the home I live in now. I slept in the same twin bed I slept in as a child, though now in a different bedroom; the mattress so old that it was old when I slept in it as a child. My lower back hurt each morning from awakening. But, I am grateful for those few months living back with my mother and returning back to my roots.

Its an enchanted home.

My mother still lives here and we come here for dinners there at least every 10 days.

And one day, (regretfully) and hopefully, it will be a long, long time into the future, before the house will become empty and the lights will turn off for the last time, and I can tell you when that happens, I won't be able to bear to ever drive near this home again. My heart couldn't bare it. It is my home. My family. My life. Who I am and what I am is because of this house and what happened in these walls as a child. And someday when it becomes empty... my heart will break into a million pieces.

Welcome to my childhood home. If you come to visit me, I'll take you here. You'll love my mother and I promise you an experience you won't forget easily.

I just wish I had another 50 years to enjoy it. And maybe I will.

PS: My bedroom windows growing up was the two windows to the right of the house and the one window on the side of the house upstairs.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's just another doodle thought

Are you ever sitting in a plane and you look out your window and wonder where everyone is?

I love it when we're flying low and about to land and I can peer down at all the swimming pools in people's backyards.

But where are all the people? Why don't I see a guy mowing his yard or a woman walking her kids to the park or the mailman delivering mail. Where are all the kids swimming in their pools or riding their bikes?

I see cars and buildings and homes and parks but I never really see actual people. From a certain distance, entire populations seem to just get swallowed up in thin air. Their cars remain, but they don't.

Is it an earth repellent safety mechanism to keep out curious peeping UFOs wondering if there are living beings on earth?

Ohhh the things I think about while laying in bed when I should be sleeping....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm poolside in Houston. . .

It's 9:00 tonight.

And we're lounging around on pool floaties and enjoying this gorgeous night. The home overlooks Memorial Park in Houston. A tropical storm is about to hit here in a few days. Dolly is her name. It's all over the news. But now it is calm. I have a few mosquitoes bitting at my ankles.

I am on vacation.

My camera battery is dead so I'm taking this picture off a wonderful mac pro laptop with the built-in camera.

I really love vacations. I feel so creative. I am working on a line of fabric... and I've been somewhat stumped during my regular business hours. But now that I'm on vacation, I feel nothing but creativity. I keep drawing them out with my brand new felt pen and sketchbook. I have unlimited ideas!!

I have my feet making waves in the pool and I'm watching my shadow from the sun behind me and my mind is free. I dreamed I was in the singing group The BeeGees this morning just before I woke up. And Barry's mic was off but he didn't know. I looked around the audience worried but the audience seemed to be enjoying him regardless... and I woke up relieved and smiling.

I was the female singer of the group.

That's why I love vacations. I can dream. And I dream of anything and everything.

When you're on vacation, you have all the time in the world... to dream. And I do.

I fly out of Houston tomorrow night and will stay in Dallas until early Saturday morning. I probably won't be back until I return.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Friends on facebook

I don't recall how I ever came to sign up on facebook.

I've been finding myself going on there more and more lately and typing in names of old friends and acquaintances to see if they're on facebook.

It's become a bit addicting.

"Whatever happened to Gary?" I'd wonder. "Is Scott on facebook? Cindy? Nathan? Jennifer?" I would type in their names. Some friends I haven't seen in years. We were such close friends at one point in time, and then came moves across country or marriages and we lost touch. I look there to reconnect.

Most of the time, I don't find anyone on there, but on occasion when I do find them, I select Add Friends next to their name and wait for them to confirm and accept me as their friend. Sometimes they don't show their face in the facebook photo so I can only guess if it's them or not by their name and location only.

It's like I'm 9 years old! I sit there wiggling in my seat in anticipation for them to say, "yes, I confirm we are friends!"

I feel bashfully vulnerable.

Nearly everyone confirms yes, but then there are a few I haven't heard back from. And when after a fews days have slipped by without receiving confirmation from them, a bit of an uncomfortable anquish starts to stir in me.

It's silly to feel that way. I know that. Confirming or not confirming friends on facebook does not constitute real life. So I allow those silly feelings to quickly dispurse from me.

Maybe they're not online and haven't seen my invite yet. Or that wasn't them after all .. just someone who shares the same name.

I am reminded back in time when we moved across town into another house and into a different school. I was 9 years old.

I knew no one.

So one saturday morning, feeling bored and lonely without my old friends around, I walked down past our barn and through the apple orchard and carefully climbed through the barb wire fence at the end of our property and entered the new residential neighborhood. I was determined to meet and make new friends that day.


"Do you have any kids my age?" I would ask parents door to door.

Ya wanna play? I would ask whenever a kid answered the door.
Ya wanna be friends? I'd ask another.
And they always said, yes and that was that.

When I was 9, I hadn't learned that deep, all-encompassing inner space of feeling self-conscious that I feel even now.

There was never any second guessing. I simply asked and we were instant friends..

On facebook... in some sort of small way, reconnecting with friends is sorta like being 9 all over again. You can't be friends without first extending the invitation and without the other party confirming they want that, too.

By the way, this is not an advertisement. It's just me chatting nervously and squirming around while waiting back to hear from some old friends from long ago. If you'll excuse me ... I'm gonna get back online and see if they connected.

And who knows, maybe I'll see you in there, too! I hope so.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The sun sets on a 3-day weekend

Here I am pushing Kate on her cart this afternoon. I say, "put yer feet up!" And she would! And off we'd go! (Tyler was with his mom at the pool! Yeah. We were all envious in this hot weather!)

It was such a nice weekend.

I filled it up as full as I could fill it. From watching the fireworks to outdoor parties to barbecues and sitting outdoors long after the sun went down, talking about all kinds of fun and interesting topics over candlelight.

This is my beautiful mom who put on little Kate's summer hat just in time for me to snap my camera.

I got inspired by my brother and Angie's yard. So I went home and started digging up old yellow grass in my backyard to re-landscape it. I have a plan but it's just not in clear focus at the moment. But it's there. It will look beautiful once I'm done.

Can you see us in this picture? It's me and my mom and Kate. It's sorta like looking for a lost easter egg, isn't it?

What a weekend. I scrubbed and polished my bathroom so if necessary I could eat off it incase of an emergency. I painted my outdoor furniture and hanging pots. (and my grass because I used spray paint). I washed my car. I mopped my floors. I mowed and I pulled up weeds and I swept my patio. I bought groceries. I did a ton of laundry and caught up on last season's LOST. And each night between 2 and 4:30am, I'd toss and turn looking for the coolest corner of my pillowcase ... flipping it over and over and over again... laying sideways on my bed just across the sheets and remembering as a kid sleeping upstairs in hot, muggy Swansboro, (the friendly city by the sea) North Carolina in August visiting Granddaddy without air conditioning.

I love the Fourth of July. It is my favorite holiday. I usually spend it somewhere else. Within the past five years, I have spent two in Maui and one in San Antonio and two here in Santa Rosa.

A zillion years ago we spent the summer (and July 4th) of 1976 traveling across country with my mom and our next door neighbor's mom and seven of us kids and a nanny. We saw the Badlands. And Yellowstone. And Mt. Rushmore. And the nickel factory in Sudbury, Canada and we visited Toronto (including stopping in (after a long drive) at the Defranco Family's house in Welland) where Tony's father was so kind and invited us into their home and gave us the tour of their home back then and my sister still teases me to this day. Yes. It's true. I had my mom take a picture of me sitting on their toilet so I could catch their coodies.

I'm still that way!!! Cooties are good and bad. I love catching GOOD cooties. Isn't that silly? If I have a favorite friend sit in my backseat of my car.. as I step out of the drivers seat and when no one is looking, I'll scoot in and sit in that seat as my friend for just a moment to collect the coodies.

Just shoot me now.

It was a fabulous trip. We were in Williamsburg, VA that year. And Boston. And Philadelphia. And all through the Amish country. We visited relatives in Long Island and throughout Virginia and we learned to play horseshoes like riding a bike. And then then there was Swansboro. A place all of it's own. And it was the perfect year.. as we celebrated the 200th year birthday of our country.

I really want to re-experience those drives back across country again. If you never have. Please do. We really do live in a wonderful world.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another Dick and Jane Lunch box

I loved my lunch box. Each year I would pick out a new one. I would thoughtfully pick them out as carefully as I would pick out a puppy from the pound.

When I was in the third grade, this wonderful lunch box carried more than its share of bologna sandwiches, cookies and bananas. I collected pretty rocks in this box as I zig-zagged my way home from school. It also housed school papers and artwork and was a shield from the Boriolo brothers that warm afternoon when they decided to bombard Terry and I with cherries from their aunt's front yard tree.

And who can forget the stink that would rise up from the blackened banana peel left inside the box over the weekend. Nor the sour smell from the thermos. My mom would fill it up with soap and hot water and let it sit overnight on top of our kitchen counter before filling it with Kool-Aid's Tropical Punch.

So you can imagine my pleasure when I was asked to design the second Dick and Jane lunch box for Michael Miller Fabrics. You might recall the first one I did looked like this:

It's a double-honor since I also designed all the Dick and Jane fabric. Inside this lunch box, there's enough fabric to make a lovely soft book.

This newest Dick and Jane lunch box contains a pattern and enough fabric to make a really cute Easy Breey Backsack by Lizzy B Creative and should be available in various quilt shops near you.