Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Keeping Posted

Just trying to keep everyone up to date.

I've given up on the 90x90 blog because it felt too forced, too hard, too overwhelming.

I've gone back to my original friend, Project 60 x 60 which has now become Project 60 x 60 ... and Beyond.
(Thanks, Buzz Lightyear!)

If you want to follow along, here are the last two posts:



I THINK I CAN:PART TWO     (but maybe I can't)

Monday, April 18, 2016



Back up. Stop.

Not going to be posting here after all.

I'm sticking with Project Sixty by Sixty instead.

Sorry for the confusion.

Check me out here! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016



I've been absent again. And I've been thinking about why I can't seem to get into this Project Ninety x Ninety.
I think I've figured it out. A couple of things.
One: I'm busy. Not necessarily doing fun stuff but just taking care of business.
Two: and this is the main one: It's too broad a concept. Thirty years. I  can't think that far ahead. I don't want to think that far ahead. (Denial may run in my family. Just sayin'.)

So...what to do?

Think I'm going to steal a line from Buzz Lightyear.  I'm going back to Sixty x Sixty and just change it to "Project Sixty x Sixty... and Beyond."

Today's inspiration.

I'll still have me a list of challenges. I'll still post but maybe not regularly. Or maybe it will be. It will be looser until I figure out exactly what I'm doing with myself.

Apologies for the confusion. It's my state of mind recently.


I have been having fun which is another part of the picture.

In the past month I have been to a musical with the former President George H.W. Bush and his lovely wife, Barbara.  I have slept with Frank Lloyd Wright.  I have partied with Florida Georgia Line.

Let me clarify.

A sweet friend took me to see the Sound of Music. A Sunday afternoon performance. The former Prez and his wife live in Houston and are great supporters of the arts. They were also in attendance and were acknowledged by the theater. It's funny, but I have been to three performances over the years where the Bushes have also been in attendance.  This time was particularly interesting as we happened to walk out right as they were also leaving.  Traffic was stopped- both pedestrian and vehicular. Mr. Bush was wheeled out in his wheelchair.  Secret Service men swarmed. The Bushes were loaded up and some very innocuous looking cars suddenly started flashing lights. Off they drove.    I was probably 40 feet from them at the time.

Apparently this is the obligatory "I was here" photo. 

( On another note, I have seen three presidents in my life time. President Kennedy when he was in San Antonio, two nights before he was shot.  President George W. Bush when he was still Governor of Texas and he led the Ft. Bend County Parade one year. And the Senior Bushes at the theater.)

Sleeping with Frank Lloyd Wright? Well, of course not literally.  He's been dead since I was four- that would be gross.  But I did visit a friend whose house has art.  And over my futon was a piece of wallpaper- original and hand printed-from his home furnishings collection, Taliesin.  Tacked to the wall with push pins. I was petrified a stretch during the night would result in a wallpaper tear. 

And Florida Georgia Line? They were at the  Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where I went with my friend Martha. 

Me and Martha. 
Contemplating new careers 
as Rodeo Clowns.

They were much twangier in person than I expected. But a great show and a wonderful evening. 

Florida Georgia Line in concert at the HLSR.

Anyway, to infinity and beyond!! 

(And getting a great giggle at the fact that I've managed to include a toy action figure, a country music band, a former President and an acclaimed architect in one post.)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Random Thoughts on Creating

Random Musings from a Muddled Mind on Being a Creative Mind

I've been AWOL.

I was discussing with a friend about having a studio and how wonderful it would be to have a "SPACE".
MY space.
One that was only for creating.  It is becoming more and more my goal.
I think "I would paint if I had a space to create."  Now my paints are upstairs and downstairs and there is no place for me to spread out and make a mess. By the time I gathered everything up, set down drop cloths, spread out...goodness. I'd be too exhausted to think.

I think "I would blog more if I had a safe spot to blog."  Coming into my office to tap away on the computer is daunting because there are also bills in there. Income tax half done. The dreaded FAFSA to finish up.  Car insurance to be followed up on. The car still hasn't been repaired from that November -2015- deer incident.  HOA nasty grams to reply to. LIFE intrudes in my office.

This is the cleaned up version of the desk.
It still gives me hives looking at it.

Nothing kills a creative spirit more than reality.   Maybe that's not true but it seems that way to me these days.

I create in my head constantly. So many blog posts run through my brain. Probably a third actually  make it into the computer.  Blogging on the iPad is so tedious I have to be desperate. I don't have a laptop, only a desk computer. In that office. You know, the one with LIFE in it also.

A letter from Sarah Jewett to Willa Cather sums it up quite nicely:

And to write and work on this level, we must live on it — we must at least recognize it and defer to it at every step. We must be ourselves, but we must be our best selves.*

If I want to really write, really paint, really connect with my creativity I cannot let LIFE intrude. 
I need to clear my mind and create. 

Because when I do....I lose myself.  Once I start typing, it might be an hour later when I realize I'm done. Where did that hour go? It was spent in a world absent of time. A wonderful world where it is me and the computer and words and fonts.   The same thing can happen with paints or colored pencils. 

Let's be real here. I write for me. The fact that people actually read what I write is just icing on the cake.   I write because I have to get the words out of my head. 


Maybe I'm just making excuses? 
If I really had to create, wouldn't I? No matter what or where? 
Probably I just need DISCIPLINE. 

Look at that fabulous drawing table.
It sits mostly unused in the corner of the game room.
Because it is the KID'S space. 
Not mine. 
(And the scary self portrait I did in college. 
Gave the kids nightmares when they were little.)

What do you think?  Can you lose yourself in creativity when the world is tugging at your hem? 
Is inspiration enough to make you ignore everything else clamoring for your attention?  I will say sometimes yes, sometimes no to that one. 

This weekend I am spending with my beautiful middle child in West Palm Beach, followed by a few days with one of my most creative friends. Do you have certain people that inspire you? That encourage your mind to go where it only dreamed of? I've been trying to find those people and bring them back into my life. 

So until next week. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Different Kind of Reconnection

A Different Kind of Old Friend

Last week I got to visit a different kind of old friend: the house that I lived in from 1989 to 1999.

Hi House!
Those pines are gone. 
The shutters are now maroon. 

Three children were born while I lived in that house.

Four cats died there.

It was the first house I lived in that had my name on the mortgage.  I loved the floor plan and loved the house but when that third kid came along, Yikes! It got very small.

I still play Bunko in that neighborhood with the same basic group of women that have been playing together for almost 25 years.  One of my former neighbors is friends with the new(ish) owners and they kindly suggested to her that if I wanted to see the house, I was welcome to stop by.
And my answer?
I'm in.

So before Bunko (where I was a big winner for a big change!) Lucy, Diane and I stopped by.

Diane and Lucy: 
Sisters, Bunko Babes, Partners in Crime for the Night

It's not often that you get to go back and see a house that you once owned after selling it.

The house seemed smaller but o! I still love the floor plan.

We had added a screened in porch on the back which was always my favorite spot. The new owners had updated it with fancier tile and better screens, but otherwise it was the same.  Even their porch furniture was almost identical to ours.
It made my heart happy to hear the owners say it was also their favorite part of the house.

Look at that little chunk.
Screened in patio in progress.
We started with a low brick wall....

A built in TV cabinet had been replaced with a more custom piece of furniture. While our piece did the job, it was not well designed so I wasn't sorry to see it gone.The secret compartment in the cabinet is gone too, though. I wonder if they even knew about it?

Excuse the boring pic.
We were quite proud of this when we had it made it but 
the design...well, not so great. 

The kitchen had been updated, also. We had navy blue tile in the kitchen which the realtors all gasped at... "it will never sell!" ...but these people said they loved it. They changed the counters and backsplash and refaced the cabinets but the tile was still there. You just never know!

Darling little urchins on the shiny navy blue tile.
Very pretty, impossible to keep clean. 

Fresh paint, different furniture but inside the house was pretty much the same.

There had been another owner in between us for a few years and apparently they had ignored the backyard. Vines had smothered two trees and two others had rotted. Some large pines had been removed because their dogs kept bringing pine needles in. So, sadly,  the backyard had been redesigned. Some changes I liked. Others I wondered about.

Gone were the gorgeous azaleas under the towering pines. The giant gardenias outside the backdoor were also gone. When those babies were in bloom, you could get drunk on the scent.

Gardenias, gardenias, gardenias. 

Our pear trees had been cut down.   An odd stand of sago palms had been installed. (I was horrified the owners thought I had put those sagos in. No! I would never do a straight row of palms, much less TWO straight rows. It looked like a palm nursery.) But a nice stone patio had been added which I'm sure worked better for them. I just think that these owners would have really appreciated the yard as we had left it, not as they got it.

There were always flowers out in the yard. 
I can't grow much in the way of flowers now. 
Carlos has a tendency to trample them.

O well.
As they say "not my circus, not my monkeys".
But it was my house.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Three Friends...Forty Two Years Apart

Three Friends Over Time.

Forty two years ago these three girls spent Spring Break in San Miguel de Allende. It was our senior year of high school. I spearheaded the trip because I had been going to San Miguel for six years already and wanted to share this magical place with my friends. 

Me and Mary 

Mary and Emily                                                 

We went by TRAIN! Overnight in a sleeping car  from Nuevo Laredo to a field NEAR San Miguel. Someone picked us up I guess. I don't really remember. I do know another friend's uncle drove us back to the train stop and we sat in the back of his truck, drinking beer and nibbling on crackers in the middle of this field, until the train came. Frequently I look back and wonder how I knew how to do this stuff.    

Waiting for the train. 
In a field. 
With cocktails. 
Of course. 

The train trip was memorable mostly for the flasher who was outside of our window in Monterrey. We were stopped for over an hour and this lovely gentleman in his official flasher raincoat stood outside our window putting on a show. One of us- no names will be named- stayed glued to the window screaming "O my God! Look what he's doing now. O no. Don't look."  And if we tried to peek, she pushed us away so we didn't interfere with her view.  

While there, we shopped. 

We ate street food.

Mary takes her chances with some churros.

We went to the bars and met handsome Mexican boys. 

Me and Eduardo. 
I believe we also talked those boys into buying us drinks.
And dancing. 
Even in 1974 there were photo bombers.

Fingers and toes were painted. 

 Apparently that red shirt got passed around. 

The day after I got home from Mexico 
I fell off a horse and broke that leg...

And then we came home, graduated and grew apart. We went to different schools in different states or - in my case- a different country.     
I have seen these ladies at high school reunions and a funeral over the last 40ish years. Possibly five times total. (More really, but not much.)

Last Monday we had lunch. 

A three and a half hour lunch. 

So much has changed yet so little.  

Mary, Emily, Me. 
No handsome Mexican men to buy us cocktails this time. 
And we've improved with age, no? 

It is now irrelevant which "groups" we are in and surprisingly we all expressed the fact that we felt marginal/invisible/unimportant in high school even though that wasn't true.  Perceptions. 

They are extremely talented and hard working women. While I have loved my life and think going to school in Mexico certainly formed me, I do occasionally regret not getting a degree. I just couldn't settle on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I'm still wrestling with that. 

And this lunch was at a new restaurant for me so there's another notch on No. 44's belt. 

We ate at Seasons 52 in Houston City Centre.  Fabulous crab cakes and salads.  We were a boring group and basically all had the same meal. Only the salads varied. No worries. Our meals were fresh and delicious. 

The best part of the day? A phrase which came up and I have co-opted as my rallying cry for the year, the decade, the rest of my life.  
"I'm in." 

Works, doesn't it? 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It's a Theme....

Reconnecting. It's a theme.

Somewhere around the time I finalized my Padre plans, scheduled a lunch with some high school ladies and booked myself to Florida to see a college friend, I had an epiphany.     There's a theme going on here. Reconnecting is not just something I'm doing with a few local neighbors now that I'm back in my home town. Somehow it has grown larger.  I think it has become my theme for the year.

And maybe that is how I will handle my Ninety by Ninety. Each year with a theme for the next ten years. Put some challenges in with that. Add in some birthdays.  I said I was looking for a way to make this manageable and this may just be it.

In Project Sixty by Sixty I set myself the goal of making a new friend. Wasn't sure if that was something that could be done, but I definitely did it. Made a few in fact.
You never know what will happen when you wander up someone's 
drive and introduce yourself. 
Make a friend?! Maybe.
I did.

Now I want to get to know the people that have been in my life better.   Take those Facebook friends off the internet and actually into my life.

I've taken some steps in that direction and you know what?  I know some really smart women. Some super talented people. Creative people. Designers. Painters. Thinkers.

And I'm having fun.  

 If that isn't a win/win then I don't know what is.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

No. 46: Travel to a New State and more Reconnecting

No. 46: Travel to a New State (Trying to see how many I can visit)
and More Reconnecting!

Somehow along the way January (and now February) became the poster child for meeting up with friends new and old. This makes me very happy.  I have seen high school friends, bunko friends, neighborhood friends.

This past weekend I managed to travel someplace new AND meet up with some neighbors who moved away from Texas 15 years ago. Winning!

The reason for the out of state visit?  Bunny wanted to see the University of Mississippi, one of the schools that was on her short list for college next year.

So last Thursday Bunny, my bunko and neighbor friend Nancy and her son Cade all headed off on a road trip to Mississippi. It's a long drive. Longer if you stop at the roadside attractions like the chain saw carver in Carthage.

Rick Kuper/ Chainsaw carver

But we made it!

 Thursday night arrival!

Friday morning dawned in Oxford, Mississippi and we were at the University for a tour by 10am.

we were charmed.

What a perfect little college and perfect little college town. Brick buildings. The epitome of Southern style. The quad. The Grove.  The town square. O my.

Gorgeous architecture.
Look at those columns!

Friday night Bunny spent the night in a dorm with a friend and attended a frat party. "Mom, they're just like in the movies! Crammed with people, everyone drinking, it was fun!"

The school tour was so good, we had to go find t-shirts.

While I realize Oxford is not all of Mississippi, that's ok. Looks like I am going to have plenty of opportunity to see the rest of the state in the next few years.

A college decision has been made. Ole Miss it is!

Bunny at the entrance to The Grove.
In her new t-shirt.

Now, to the reconnecting part of the weekend.

From Mississippi we headed to Little Rock, Arkansas- another place I had never been.

And there we met with our old neighbors, Carrie and Bobby.  They used to live two doors down from me and around the corner from Nancy before they moved off to Little Rock.

Our children (their firsts and my last) were born October, November and January, all in a row. So we got the kids back together ....

Bunny, Cade and Grace
(January, October and November)

And enjoyed a wonderful meal with lots of laughing and reminiscing.

Carrie, Nancy, Bobby and Me.

All in all a pretty perfect weekend,
And I visited a state for No. 46.

(Arkansas didn't count as new.  I once spent a weekend in Eureka Springs when my aunt was married in Thorncrown Chapel.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

No. 56: Write in my book

No. 56: Write in this book....

This book:

I totally bought it on a lark at Anthropologie after Christmas.  Having a December birthday always gets me a good discount at Anthropologie for the one month that I seldom buy myself anything. But this year I planned. Made a point of going after Christmas and seeing what was on sale and using my coupon. And what did I buy? This book and a new coffee mug because I inadvertently left my favorite ones in Colorado. (Also from Anthropolgie...)

I bought the book because...why not?    Writing prompts are good. Makes me think.

And then I sat down to write. Some of the pages are divided in half, some in quarters. The ones that are in quarters I think "Well, I only have to write a tiny bit. This morning I'm busy but I can squeak out a few minutes to write."
But you know what? It's never a "few minutes". I get into it, lost and then surface an hour later. I think this is true whenever you create, whenever you are totally into what you are doing.

So I am writing in it a couple of times a week, trying to get myself into a routine. I think I might be better off heading to Starbucks or somewhere that is not my house. I need to go to my studio that I don't have.  But so far I have just been at my kitchen table or in my bed, scribbling.

And what have I written? Here's a sample.

The prompt:  Set something on fire.
(Well, you just never know what will pop into your head.  Honestly, I totally understand what Michelangelo meant when he said "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."  The stories are in there, they just need to be put on paper. And maybe I have a tiny evil streak....)

The match sparkled, sizzled and then settled into a slight flame. She hesitated.
"Will I need more?" passed through her mind before dropping her one lit emissary.
Hitting its target, there was a brief flash before the lone match died out.
Or did it?
Smoke wafted.
Her nose crinkled as the combined odors of accelerant and hair filled the air.
He'll be gone for good. Or so she  thought.....

It's gonna be a fun book.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Restaurant #1 of 12/ No. 44

No. 44. Try at least 12 new restaurants in 2016. 
Restaurant #1

My original thought was try a new restaurant a month but that might be too limiting.  I don't want to have to run out on the last day of the month just to fulfill a challenge. So twelve restaurants in a year, sounds doable and just enough fun to keep it interesting.

It also goes along with my desire to reconnect with people that I haven't seen in a while or people I "talk to" on Facebook but don't actually see in real life.This gives me an excuse to get out of my comfort zone and go....(Like I need an excuse!)


A couple of weeks ago a sweet friend from High School  asked me when I was going back to Colorado and if we could have lunch first.    Confessing that I wasn't going back anytime soon did not get me knocked off the lunch invite AND she even planned where we were going.  That was a huge relief as I have been getting lost in my little tiny space that I drive everyday. It's funny how things can look unfamiliar so quickly. 

We met at State of Grace which was so perfect and trendy and oo-la-la that it almost hurt. 

Snapped a quick pic before I left... even the entry is perfect.

A lovely private-ish dining area, excellent food and eh...a little spotty service. Hey! You can't have everything, I guess. 

There was a queso fundido to start, although it did not come with serving ware or plates. Details. The second time we requested plates and spoons, someone actually came and assembled tortillas full of yummy cheese for us. 
We both had a Shrimp Cobb salad with Green Goddess dressing which I am pretty sure is a throwback to the sixties, but Man! it was good. 

The cute lady at the table next to us snapped our picture. She had a delightful English(?)/ Caribbean(?) accent. She did a good job, no?!

My fabulous luncheon partner, Ann. 

So... 2016 is underway and I've got my first new-to-me restaurant under my belt.  Wonder what's on the menu for February??


And look who my new writing buddy is- at least for the time being. 
No more wild animals out my window but instead I have sweet Ruby sitting next to me. 
Moving all the furniture and animals around, chinchilla included. (Stinky the turtle also got a new location but not near me. Not yet.)

Ruby Roo. Never dreamed chinchillas had such personalities.

Carlos and Ruby love to play chase. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Re Re Re ...

Re-Re-Re....for Real

Re-entry. Re-connecting. Re-starting.

So I'm back in Texas for almost a month now. Re-entry has not been that easy. The Texas guys were pretty used to not having us here. Bunny and I were pretty used to doing our own thing. We didn't feel like they were expecting us, I'm sure they feel like we have invaded. Bunny and I both have discussed that we are giving ourselves the month of January to re-acclimate. 

In the meantime I have been reconnecting. I have missed having girl friends. In Colorado I didn't have a lot of girl friends to play with so this aspect is really, really wonderful.   I've been to Bunko for the first time in a year. Yay! I've played with that group for over 25 years.  So grateful they saved me a spot.

Great friends, great fun and great food.
What's not to love? 

I've had lunch with friends, coffee with friends, phone calls with friends. Maybe lots of time spent chatting could be considered time frittered away but no. I'm bouncing ideas. Plotting what to do next. Coming up with ideas for my list. Sounding boards are good. Talking about possible jobs. I need to rejoin the work force. Looking for ways to do that.

Lunch with Ann from high school.
One of the new restaurants to be reported on....

The restarting? Well, where do I go from here? Bunny has graduated from high school. She turns 18 next week. My baby! 18! Wow! So I feel the mama-ing aspect is wrapping up. At the end of the month we go look at a college she's interested in. But she's found herself a job, she is launched. Or almost there. I feel good about her. 

Soooo. What's next? I don't know.   I have some ideas. My list. My friends. It's all good.
Re...re...re...really good.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I'M TRYING......

I'm Trying

I'm trying, really I am.

I have moved from here....

 An old game camera picture, but I love the deer.

 to here....

You might question why I chose to leave the trash can in the pic.
Very simple. 
One thing that delights me about being back in "civilization" is 
curbside trash and recycling. 

From the "vacation" home (supposedly) to the "real" home.

I am trying to write but my office looks like this:

The general mess where everything was just dumped...

Actually most of the house looks this disorganized/dirty/dated. Never leave a house for 2.5 years and expect everything to be A-OK when you return. I knew it would be bad but did not realize just how chaotic. 

So while my office looks like this:

Everyone said it would look worse before it would look better.
Everyone was right. 

I am unable to do this:

"Once upon a time, there was a girl with some grand ideas....."

I have many plans and adventures for Project 90x90 while I also realize the pitfalls of even considering 90 things to do by the time I turn ninety, THIRTY YEARS IN THE FUTURE. 

And maybe that is part of my hesitation to start. How do you manage something that is so unwieldy? I'm working in my head as to how to break it down.

While I work in my house trying to put things back together.

To be continued......