Friday, January 30, 2009

cycle through

this post is kind of half 12 secrets of highly creative women and half where-I'm-at-right-now.

first the book: you may know that I'm reading and posting about the book in conjunction with a group of amazing creative bloggers. this week's chapter is called surrendering to creative cycles and is about the peaks and valleys of creativity. in life, I've learned my lesson about seasons and growth spurts and resting and changing. for me it's always a matter of inspiration versus inertia. I've never been totally devoid of creativity at all levels as described in the book. I think it's because I define creativity pretty broadly. it isn't always about producing. thinking and mulling and listening and piddling are creative. if these are indeed the "voids", then I handle and accept the voids pretty well. I am always seeking more and different inspiration and when inertia hits, I use the time to explore another venue for creativity. for example, when I'm bored with my camera, I naturally gravitate toward creativity at work or in my relationships.

next, the where-I'm-at-right-now: this week I declare that I am sick, sick, sick of the southern tendency (well, it's everywhere, but clearly more accepted and widespread in the south) to value niceness above the truth. I am an outsider here in this little southern town and am constantly amazed at the adeptness of some to spew lies through a smile as sugary as sweet tea. it's been difficult this week to speak the truth. and there will be consequences for doing so.

s. (my cohort and fellow high-falootin' california truthteller) and I feel abandoned and rejected and betrayed. it's been a hard week. we have supported each other and vow to continue to do what we can to remain honest and direct. tomorrow, we are going to see milk, to get some inspiration from another outsider who faced challenges so much larger than ours.

this line happened to be in the chapter I was reading last night in another book:

"artists have a responsibility to show others how to live truthfully."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

all our kids

I'm teaching a class in which we look at the issue of child abuse across several different countries. this global perspective has pulled me out of my comfort zone of dealing with child abuse and neglect in the united states (my day job). this afternoon we watched the documentary born into brothels. if you haven't seen this film, you must. if you are at all interested in children and the transformative power of art (in this case, photography), please see it. you will fall in love with these kids and their spirit and their talent. watching their little lives unfold and knowing the likelihood of their futures, you gain a little perspective on our "woes" about the recession. for me professionally, I am grateful that I work in a system, as fractured and confusing as it can be at times, that can and does respond to the needs of children and families.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


domino. thank you for the pages and pages of inspiration and beauty.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I want happy

I did not take this photo.

I wish I took this photo. it's stunning.

I wish I could have been wherever this was shot. I want to sit on each color of the vintage lambretta rainbow.

speaking of want...the nablopomo theme for february is just that: "want". I think I might go for it again...a post a day each day in february. anyone care to join me?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

brainy girl

when I was a little girl, I heard over and over again that beauty fades but a smart girl will always have her wits. I listened and believed. not that I eschewed all things girly and pretty and (later) sexy and glamorous, but I had an arrogance and confidence that I would have some serious edge and staying power due to intelligence and a voracious love of learning.

you know what? they lied. the mind is a slippery thing. and it gets more slippery, less dependable, less elastic as the years go by. it starts with words that are plucked unexpectedly from your lifelong vocabulary at the most inopportune moments (teaching a class, testifying in court, trying to convince a boss). once you catch on, you compensate: always have notes with you, speak less, listen more with that look that says, "I'm seriously considering this" while you are really just frantically searching for the dictionary in your brain that some mind minion has run off with, engaging you in a vicious game of hide-and-seek through the catacombs in your head.

then come the incidents of misplacing, forgetting, dumbness. for me, it started with a panic-stricken four minutes of not remembering which switch (knob?! button?! incantation?!) turned off the headlights in the car I have driven for six years. and after, sitting there in stillness and fear, tears falling with the realization that this was serious and freakin' scary.

my paternal grandmother, whom I am most like, lived well into her eighties with skin that could rival most 30-year-olds (thanks gram!) and pretty good physical health. she left this world accompanied by the cruelty that is alzheimer's disease. my memories of her prior to her mental decline include her quirkiness, anxiety, a smile that was almost always uncertain. she knew.

do I know now what lies ahead for me? and what do I do about it? how can I stop it? since the headlight incident, I have paid more attention to mental fitness: doing daily puzzles, increasing vitamin intake for my body and rescue remedy for the anxiety, playing memory (above), a game intended for a 3-year-old.

but there is still the panic. and the grief for the impending loss of my most cherished attribute. it is deep and profound. I feel suddenly betrayed when all my life I was certain I picked the best pony to ride in this life.

and all of this I can hide behind luminous, wrinkle-free skin and a dazzling smile. oh, the irony.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

fascination street

this week's chapter in the 12 secrets of highly creative women is about following your fascinations and taking courageous risks.

in a divine moment of sparkly kismet, I was reading the pages and reflecting on decisions and actions I have recently made that put me outside my comfort zone when I received a brilliant piece of goodness in the mail. several months ago, on a complete and total whim (or what the author calls an 'impulsive risk'--my specialty), I submitted work to the lovely quarterly artful blogging. I was utterly surprised (and scared!) when my blog was selected for the spring issue. then for months, I doubted that it was real. well, it's real. proof is here right in front of me with the advance issue the publisher sent me (the issue is available in february).

and here I am, totally over the moon. and feeling vulnerable at the same time. because it's not just pretty pictures. there are words. lots of them. about me. yikes. and so the second-guessing begins: do I deserve to be in such good and brilliant company? what was I thinking? what the @#$% is wrong with you, curious girl?

our host jamie challenges us this week to take a brave step toward our dreams. my brave step is to silence the doubts and love what is.

and take one more brave step on fascination street.


lucky number 14 dorkys from dry as toast is our winner!

dorkys, email me (from my profile) with your mailing address and choice of print from my etsy.

to everyone: thank you for your sweet words and support. they meant so much, especially this week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

curious girl is one

hello curious friends and thank you for coming to my birthday party. my heart is swollen with gratitude for all the gifts you have given me over the past year: inspiration, support, laughs, beauty, words that make me think, images that make me swoon, friendships that transcend proximity. you have joined me in this space that demands I be who I am and encourages me to grow, risk, play and celebrate the good. a year ago, I really didn't know if anyone would show up. I didn't even know what to write. now I can't seem to stop. thank you for that.

it's time for a giveaway! I wish I could give a gift to each and every one of you. I knew I wanted to have a giveaway on my blog birthday, but I wasn't sure what to give. then I remembered to just be me and give what I would give a close friend, something that brings some comfort and a little luxury. this little (well, actually it's kind of big) box has a few things I discovered through this last lovely year that have become favorites of mine. I am certain you will like them too.

here's the goods (just for you):
  • the true & the questions, by the beautiful sabrina ward harrison and

  • adele's "19", to listen to you while you ponder and write and

  • a big tin of paris tea sachets, the taste and scent is dreamy (just enough to get you hooked) and

  • the perfect mug handmade by this artist; the size and shape fit your hand perfectly and

  • capri fig frangipani candle by voluspa (the mack-daddy 3-wick) to softly scent your world and

  • butterfly and little bird matchboxes to light said candle or a cozy fire and

  • a pot of smith's minted rose lip balm, just 'cause a girl (or boy!) needs soft lips and

  • your choice from my etsy shop: one 8x10 print matted to 11x14.

leave a comment before friday, january 23, 2009 10:00pm est to be eligible for the giveaway. a drawing will be conducted old-school (one number from a hat) and the gift recipient will be announced on saturday.

curious girl is curiously happy and it's all because of you.

Monday, January 19, 2009


read this short little article written 12 years ago about a young couple from chicago.

it's no wonder I love them. they are like us. (and not in the "I got drunk in college just like you" way.) they have the same american spirit that I have; the same ideas and hopes about family and love. this is the first time in my life I have felt any kind of connection to my president. it's monumental to me.

I found this article via karen aka momma zen. as usual, she helps us think a little deeper about the concepts of relationship that appear in the article.
I hope you all enjoy the holiday today (in the u.s.) and take some time to reflect on the words and hopes of dr. king (and how very relevant they are today).

tomorrow is curious girl's 1st birthday. as a huge thank you, I'm planning a little giveaway. see you then.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

the things that we should be

the founding fathers would be proud.

it's a good week.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Icicles, originally uploaded by kassyjo86.

it's three degrees outside. three!

I believe it's time for some hibernation.

Friday, January 16, 2009

honoring my inspirations

flickr, you inspire me.

chapter two of the 12 secrets of highly creative women is all about inspiration and creating space (internal, external and temporal) conducive to the reception of inspiration. the segment ends with a series of questions to define that space for each reader. here are the questions and my answers:

1. when did your creative awakening or reawakening occur? the last year has been a beautiful journey back to color, openness, impulsiveness and much smiling.

2. what talents do you have naturally? I have an eye for the quirky and unusual. I trust my intuition and don't spend a lot of time thinking about the shot, the composition, the light. I shoot what I like. I am also an enthusiastic and persuasive teacher (but only of something I believe it).

3. which elements (fire, water, wood, air) draw you toward them? I don't really like being restricted to these four choices because there are so many other factors that hold a stronger draw for me (color and form for example). if I have to choose, I choose air; especially clouds and rainbows. no, wood. wait, fire.

4. where and when do you create? where and when do you wish to create? my high regard for impulsivity allows me to create anywhere, anytime. even if it's just in my head.

5. what activates your creative energy? what drains it? anything can activate it; assignments work well, browsing the amazingness that is flickr, and oddly enough, a crisis. my creative energy is usually drained by imbalance (a bit too much creating, not enough rest) or feeling not-good-enough.

6. do you use creative rituals? which ones? if not, invent some. I wouldn't say I use a ritual per se, but I do like some order and quiet. I guess you could consider browsing flickr for hours upon hours a ritual.

7. does nature influence your creativity? how? quite honestly, nature as a concept makes me want to take a big old nap. however, nature as a backdrop/juxtaposition in an image makes me giddy (especially blue skies, the ground, quirky flowers, oh and sun flares...I love a good sun flare!).

8. what has been your greatest creative hurdle so far? just picking up the camera and shooting. I was afraid for so long.

9. what time of the day are you most receptive to inspiration? I have the most energy and focus in the morning, but really I welcome inspiration anytime.

our host jamie prompts the discussion with the question, what have you always loved?

bold colors, catchy words, nostalgia, humor, energy, individuality, my enthusiastic appreciation for art that is magically created by others.

how about you?


thank you, beautiful leya, for having color week! it's been so very fun and especially because you let us pick stripes or plaid of any color combination for friday. I can't wait to take a chunk of time this weekend and really marvel at all the participants' colorful weeks.

so today I was hoping to wear my rainbow striped socks, but they are thin and it is frigid cold outside. I love rainbow stripes. as an adolescent, the very first time I had a substantial bit of my own spending money from babysitting, I bought the wamsutta rainbow comforter and shams (anyone remember these? the rainbow went up each side of the bed and the top curve was on the pillows?) I loved that bed.

I'm feeling like I should have purchased these thick rainbow arm warmers from the outdoor market. I could use them today.

my office at work is very colorful. including multiple objects with rainbow stripes.

I am seriously addicted.

and I am at peace with my addiction.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

pink thursday

big girls like pink too. especially pink moroccan bowls.

and fake pink sugar in coffee.

meggan made an origami pink elephant.

while wearing hot pink shoes.

sweet jane has helped abused and neglected children for 30 years. she is about to "retire" to enjoy the rest of her life traveling the world and helping others. she looks stunning in her pink scarf. we will miss her.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

yellow wednesday

happy yellow day! I looked around and realized that yellow is far more abundant in summer months. but here are a few sunshine-colored things that caught my eye. above is my little bank that sits on my desk at work. the sweet little girl is a fire-starter.

I always come back to alice. she is a culinary genius.

I cheated here, this one is from last summer. it was my monitor background for the longest time because it was telling me, "go. no really, I mean it: go."

speaking of monitors, these little yellow flowers peek over mine at work.

hi. I pour cream. she tried to get a shot of me in action, but it looked like I was vomiting. so I just smiled instead.

see other happy yellowness here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

purple tuesday

here are a few purple treats I spotted yesterday. this old door looks a little lilac here. I ♥ the ♥-shaped hardware.

the purple blaze coming from the bottom of my favorite vase is what makes it. (it's three feet tall!)

these plum sparklies are actually a close-up of a giant pinky-purple poodle sculpture. I kid you not.

I am on the hunt for more purple today and will post more tonight. (although I am spending some time in court today, not really known for the liberal use of purple decor.) I can't wait to see the rest of the purply goodness color week has in store.

happy tuesday. wear purple.

Monday, January 12, 2009

blue monday

lovely leya at curious bird has declared this color week. and what a perfect week to focus our eyes on the color around us, when everything seems muted and grey. I did color week last spring and I love how focusing on capturing one color a day allows us to realize how much color is around us and the beauty and use of one particular color. play along! leya asked to respond to her by last friday to be "official", but we can be the unofficial color week ambassadors. I don't think she'll mind.

I pulled the shot above from my archives and it reminds me of a perfect summer day. it's also found its way into my shop. here is more blue:

proud to be a native california girl.

this brave soul went for really bright turquoise paint. bravo!

I don't know what this is but I like it and the sky is super-blue. it looks like a giant coatrack.

and finally, after all that mulling through fabric choices for the chairs, I'm going with these modern organic dots (this is the swatch over the chair). all of the paisleys I liked were way out of my price range (as my friend krista asked, "can you ever be $2000.00 in love with fabric?"). I'm very happy with the choice and can't wait to see the finished product. and thank you all for your help narrowing the search.

here is the color week schedule:

monday: blue

tuesday: purple

wednesday: yellow

thursday: pink

friday: stripes or plaid (any colors)

dust off your cameras and be happy to photograph anything not related to christmas!

happy color week everyone.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

light at the end of the week

the first full week of 2009 was pretty decent. amidst bad-but-not-as-bad-as-we-thought-it-was-going-to-be budget news at work, the infamous passport fiasco, and cold stormy weather, things were relatively calm and filled with graceful moments of joy.

the travel gods are good and smiling on me: I was able to obtain the "appropriate" birth certificate within a very short time, bypassing the anticipated 14 week processing time. the passport has been requested (complete with weird serious photo of non-smiling me) and the very friendly clerk informed me they are arriving in less than three weeks. wow. I can now resume my giddy internet search for fun and quirky things to do in london and dublin.

last week I committed to creating a vision board, inspired by this beauty. I found it strange that I kept putting it off during the week, even with ample down time. I am a huge fan and supporter of cutting and pasting and collaging; just ask my poor staff, who have been made to sit around a table with me surrounded by old magazines, scissors and glitter glue to create a vision board of who we want to be at work (which are awesome!). I finally made myself do it friday evening, then realized that ken had made a recent trip to the recycling center and I had a total of four magazines available to look through (which were new and I had to read first). I ripped out pages that instinctively appealed to me. it felt kind of dull as I cut and pasted the images and words. then the vision emerged:

a strong theme of home, learning, creating, boldness, uniqueness. completely and honestly reflecting the vision in my heart and mind.

this week I instinctively and impulsively became involved with a book group (hey! it's on the list!) which I am increasingly excited about.

and I am so thrilled (literally, I am a bit buzzy about it) that I am lucky enough to attend the squam art workshop this fall. I hope to meet some of you there. can you just see it? laughter and story-sharing around the campfire on golden pond (I think squam lake is the real golden pond), paint-stained fingers, voices hoarse from so much talking and laughing, our spirits joining in a different kind of friendship (the old-school in-person kind).


this week:

once the book arrives, catch up on chapter one and post assignment proper if needed.

get creative at work, getting it done with less and keeping what we've got ('cause there's no replacing!).

even though christy doesn't go to my gym, her guerrilla art mojo is motivating me to come on and do it already. thanks christy.

Friday, January 9, 2009

um...chapter one

I have had WAY too much caffeine today. I was here and then bounced over here. I was all "wow! that's awesome!" and quickly added my name to the blogroll before really knowing what I was doing.

but that's me: enthusiastic and impulsive.

I backed up a bit and realized that this was actually a blog study group for the book, 12 secrets of highly creative women. oops. I don't have that book. so anyway, I read the post and listened to the interview with this lovely one. the first chapter is "acknowledging your creative self". I'm supposed to post about that.

well, there you go, I just demonstrated it. lola in all her glory. I see something bright and shiny. I don't wait for the rules. I want to be a part of it and experience it. hold it, play with it, share it. I jump right in.

it used to be that my understanding of an "artist" or a creative type was one of pure white gauzy skirts, a totally relaxed zen demeanor, and a careful, deliberate contemplation of the creative process and exploration of the possible manifestations. this is so not me.

this is me (these words, these impulses, these colors) and I accept that my creative self is different than how I perceived it should be most of my life.

I am quite certain that my post is not following the rules. I will hunt for the book tomorrow and revisit this post if I need to add on. from looking at the other posts, I think it has something to do with making a list of how I am going to acknowledge my creative self. I like to make and read lists. this will be fun.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


it doesn't happen very often, this quiet, solitude-loving vibe I'm grooving this week. the voices at work are especially loud and contrary and nothing is better than the decompression that occurs when I walk through the door at home.

sometimes I think the whole myers-briggs thing got me all wrong and I'm really an introvert at heart (have tested my whole life as ENTJ). come to think of it, I have always done the test in a school or work environment. I wonder what the results would be if I took it on a sunday afternoon? do you know your myers-briggs type?

anyway, words escape me and my camera sits still. but I missed you guys, so wanted to pop in.

by the way: apparently if you have some money, you can bypass the entire 14-week processing time for a certified birth certificate. mine came from california to virginia within 24 hours. I'd like to say that I know some peeps, but really it was just good old jumping-the-line-with-some-green. the social worker in me is having some cognitive dissonance about this. but the explorer, she is one happy girl.

p.s. my pretty pink ring is from cookoorikoo.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


happy birthday.

thanks for showing me how to be brave.

Monday, January 5, 2009

mosaic monday

feeling a bit flowery today.
  1. springlike wintry scarf.
  2. a giant bloom for the sofa.
  3. hula's flea market flowers.
  4. the bag, it is mine. can be yours too.
  5. pricey, but really the best candle ever.
  6. whimsy to offset all those heavy winter stews.
  7. claus porto soaps. mmm.
  8. a wrist corsage!
  9. a ring a month six-month subscription. so much better than cheese.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

light at the end of the week

my thoughts and goals are liberally sprinkled with this concept of things just magically happening. I am wondering why I resort to its use instead of thinking about and articulating the concrete meaning behind it. well, it's a shortcut for sure and loads more poetic.

instead of wishing to be happier and healthier and hoping that the process will come naturally and take almost no discipline, I really need to focus on the actions (big and small) that I take every moment. that's where the magic happens.

if I redefine the magical thinking that I engage in on a regular basis as its accurate meaning -- imagination -- will I pay more attention to creative ideas nestled in there? if I see it for what it is, will something spark me to artistic action?

either way, the magic is up to me.


last week: focus and moderate commitment.
this week: making a vision board, inspired by this lovely one. care to join in? I'll show you mine if you show me yours. next sunday, perhaps?

Saturday, January 3, 2009


it's me. I am so glad you're here. it's a new day and a new opportunity to get a handle on my sour mood. visiting your lovely spaces does wonders for me. thank you for creating them and welcoming me to poke around in your beautiful lives, lurk, stay quiet or join in the discussion.

earlier this week, I was tagged by the lovely cheryl at cottage farm villa to post six random things about me. random, indeed:
  1. I am totally addicted to iron chef america and the amazing race; two of the most anxiety-inducing shows on television. way to relax, curious girl.
  2. I once seriously considered (and trained for) a career in fashion design.
  3. I can be pretty ruthless when I need to be. I give people a lot of room for mistakes and am understanding of limitations and setbacks, but when that line is crossed, it’s over. ruthlessly over.
  4. I have very weird, lucid and recurring dreams. here are a few regulars (and I am fascinated with dream analysis, so have a go):
    *there is a typewriter at the bottom of the “screen” typing out the “script” like closed-captioned television.
    *the little man (1” tall) is sometimes in my mouth getting noshed around while I talk away; sometimes he quietly rides on my shoulder throughout the dream; other times he is a featured player in a story, often someone who I am assigned to protect.
    *I drive a luge/soapbox derby-type vehicle on the los angeles freeway. it is basically a wood plank with wheels and steering is clumsily accomplished by a rope. there are no brakes. sometimes I am naked. sometimes the little man rides with me. (I look forward to the incorporation of the poncho made of stars here; I think it would look fabulous on me while I drive my scary luge.) *I live in the deserted montgomery wards department store of my childhood. there is no electricity and I often sit on the quiet escalators and ponder life.
  5. I am so annoyed by the telephone. the ring hurts my ears and I don’t like the way voices sound on it. the feel of it in my hand is awkward and it’s gross how it gets all germy. even if I don’t answer, it bothers me that anyone can enter my space at any time. I am confused by the whole 24/7 cellphone-text connection; especially when I see two friends spending time together and one of them is on the phone with someone else. really, do we need to be this connected (or disconnected?) all the time?
  6. I learned a complete hula to mele kalikimaka in the sixth grade for an international christmas program and can perform it on demand to this day.

I am the worst tagger ever. I can't seem to follow the rules and want to tag everyone. so, there it is, you are tagged. I want to know six random things about you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

the trouble with flowers

today was a bad day: I took the day off to get all my documents together and wait in line at the post office to get my passport. once I finally made it up to the window, newly fluffed and glossed for my passport photo, I was told that my birth certificate will not do for the state department.

let me tell you how proud I am of my birth certificate: it's the original; worn, faded, hand-typed and signed and stamped by the registrar of the county of kern in the sixties. I have kept it safe and close by for over 4o years, through college, break-ups, marriages and cross-country moves. I am so freakin' proud of that thing. well, it is useless. I am required to obtain a new copy with the watermark from the place of my birth before I can apply for my passport. here's the thing: I live in virginia and have to get my birth certificate from california. processing time: 14 weeks. then I can apply for my passport. processing time: 10 weeks. that puts me over our departure date of may 1.

it's funny that I can use my current birth certificate to acquire the new birth certificate that is required to process the passport. does that make any sense, national security-wise?

so anyway, nothing to be done about it but go ahead and give it a go and see if the travel gods are smiling on me and some miracle occurs and bureaucracy actually turns something out faster than they say. I know. I'm resigned that there will be no james mcavoy play for me.

I left the post office defluffed and deglossed and quite pissy. I bought a little bouquet of roses to cheer myself up. I thought this the wiser choice than a chick-fil-a strawberry milkshake and was pretty proud of myself for making this healthier choice. the sweet little things worked for about 20 minutes, then I became sore again. I needed more flowers. you can never get enough flowers when you are feeling blue. so I bought this:

still blue. and now poor. but isn't it fabulous?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

standing here

wishing for moments of
  • holding hands
  • friends who listen
  • carousel rides
  • good grace
  • music that moves you
  • love that makes your heart ache
  • kisses every midnight
  • happy surprises
  • quiet starry nights
  • mornings of anticipation
  • slow country drives
  • wanderlust
  • bright colorful shoes
  • fantastical dreams
  • stories that make you say "tell it again!"
  • uncontrollable laughter
  • words that inspire
  • smiling babies
  • forgiveness
  • dancing like you used to
  • art that amazes
  • swooning
  • a wee bit of naughty
  • many things sparkly
  • the scent of jasmine on a hot summer night

a thousand moments that make a year well lived.

c'mon, let's do it.