28 February 2013

February Chronicle

***photo deleted by author***

  • Spent the first weekend home alone while cc traveled to Kansas City. 
  • I took Annie to a local park and she fell in the pond.  At first she was shocked and then she realized that she loves to swim! 
  • I made my own cold cream to combat dry, winter skin.
  • Watched the superbowl in the comfort of my home, and I made fajitas.
  • We joined LA Fitness as an incentive to get back into a good routine of working out.  December knocked me out of routine and I'm still working on getting it back. 
  • Very exciting...oil change in my car.  But they did update my software which saved me from trying to do it on my own!
  • Every Thursday morning I continued the bookbinding class at the Craft Guild of Dallas.
  • I went to an Anthropologie stylist event that was hosted by a Dallas blog team, but was disappointed in the results.  
  • In trying to keep with my resolutions I avoided purchasing anything for Valentine's day and instead I opted to make cc a very lovely hand made book.

  • I picked up the Wallace family Bible from grams' brother who lives in the area.  Mom and I will need it for our genealogy project this summer.  
  • A family friend found out he has prostate cancer.
  • cc found a tick on Annie!  I thought since it has been so cold we wouldn't have any issues yet, but I was wrong.  I should have gone into the medical field.  I love that stuff. 
  • Annie had a sleepover at our friend's house.  They have a teacup chihuahua and she wore Annie out! 
  • We saw Reba in concert at the Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma and spent the night.  The concert was awesome and we didn't lose any money because the casino was so busy we couldn't even get on a machine. 

  • My cousin is having her second baby and I found the cutest onesie at a local store to send to her.  
  • Continued with massage therapy and I have to say I am starting to feel the effects. 
  • I had coffee again with the same new friend as last month. 
  • Annie went to the groomers which she needed after swimming in the pond and all the rain we have had.  She can't seem to avoid a puddle. 
  • We took newlywed friends for dinner.
  • We attended a five-course bourbon and whiskey dinner at Urban Crust.  They basically served five shots of whisky.  If I would have finished them I would have been under the table.  Even with food! 
  • Mom's bill went to committee and it appears it is going to get passed! 
  • I worked in the garden a couple times this month to prep for spring planting.  I am downsizing and planting only what we really eat this year.  I trimmed trees, grasses, and berry bushes so they are ready for new growth.  
  • I planted potatoes.
  • I have been busy raising funds this month for Collin County Adventure Camp.  There is still time to donate if you have a few dollars to spare.  Click here. 
  • I saw Parental Guidance in the theater and cc and I watched the Netflix season of House of Cards with Kevin Spacey.  I highly recommend it.
  • As I hope to do every month, I've kept up with my gratitude buddy, Shannon.  She helps me remain positive every day. 
  • I received another letter from my new pen pal, Joette in Minnesota.  
  • Grams traveled to Hawaii this month and rode the zip line.  Unfortunately, as I write this she finds herself in the hospital because of a case of bronchitis that has taken a turn for the worse.  I'm hoping the oxygen and antibiotics will do the trick. 
  • I had the pleasure of interviewing Eileen from {eye} wonder workshops this month.  Her workshops are for the novice photographer that wants to better capture daily life through her lens.  She is giving away a spot in her next class.  You have until tomorrow to enter so jump over and add your name.  

26 February 2013

Gritty Grandma


He was lying under a tree, licking up the shade.

Hello again, Fox, I said.

And hello to you too, said Fox, looking up and not bounding away.

You're not running away? I said.

Well, I've heard of your conversation about us.  News
travels even among foxes, as you might know or not know.  

What conversation do you mean?

Some lady said to you, "the hunt is good for the fox." 
And you said, "Which fox?"

Yes, I remember.  She as huffed.

So you're okay in my book.

Your book! That was in my book, that's the difference
between us.

Yes, I agree.  You fuss over life with your clever
words, mulling and chewing on its meaning, while
we just live it.


Could anyone figure it out, to a finality?  So
why spend so much time trying.  You fuss, we live.

And he stood, slowly, for he was old now, and
ambled away.

~Mary Oliver~


Grams arrived home from Hawaii yesterday.  As my mom pointed out, who goes to Alaska and Hawaii in a year? Well, she does. When I called to say hello she was very ill.  It appears she caught a nasty case of bronchitis three days into the trip.  It was no surprise as she suffers from respiratory issues on a regular basis.  She went to the doctor when she returned home, fearing it was pneumonia and had to have a breathing treatment to increase her oxygen levels.  She was prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics and sent to home for bed rest.

I worry about her health.  Hearing her tell me she walked through the airports carrying her luggage because there wasn't a wheelchair available, and saying she just had to "suck it up" because she needed to make it home made me frustrated.  She has always had this attitude.  I wonder to myself if she pushed herself to far and I worry. Perhaps she should have stayed home.

And then she scolded me.  I wouldn't let her ride the zip line in Alaska and since I wasn't babysitting her in Hawaii she went for it...and had the time of her life.  She was a fox.  She signed no to every medical condition on the waiver and shimmied her way to the platform.  She was the guinea pig for the 60 year olds that weren't sure they could do it.  She laughed herself into a coughing fit just telling me about it.

And then I scolded myself.  How foolish am I?  She is 81 years old, relatively healthy, lives alone, and volunteers on a weekly basis.  Would I not rather she go to Hawaii and ride the zip line with the risk of getting pneumonia than see her sitting at home alone?  There is a life lesson here.

Maybe she is a coyote and not a fox, but either way, I can only hope for half as much gumption as she has when I see 81.  Risk = Reward


Just a reminder, the giveaway for the fantastic {eye} wonder workshop is still open until Friday.

22 February 2013

Flora Friday + Reminder

Happy Friday!  Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to check out the amazing interview and giveaway with Eileen from {eye} wonder workshops!

20 February 2013

Orange Coyotes

Do you believe in signs? Animals, colors, words and phrases?  I usually overlook signs, meaning I recognize them, but I don't put a lot of thought into them. I seem to have made an exception recently.  The color of rust, like the leaf above, and coyotes keep jumping out at me.  In a way that almost startles me, like someone throwing an object at my face.

First I noticed the color.  A leaf here or there, the side of a building.  Every time the color would be more saturated.  This leaf for example, was spotted on a very brown road right in my path.  It was almost glowing. I searched for the birth tree in the tree line to my left and I could not spot it.  I have no idea the origin of this leaf.

Then I started seeing coyotes.  Relatively speaking, I live in the city, but I do have access to the country so it would not be uncommon for me to spot coyotes.  But what about one that is less than ten feet from me in a creek bed I was walking in?  Others running across fields in the  middle of the day.  In the city or in the country, it doesn't matter, I keep seeing them.

Urged by my friend Shannon, I decided to look up the color orange and coyotes to determine if they mean something or see if perhaps I am just going crazy.  My jaw dropped to the floor.  Between what is going on in my personal life and the goals I have set for myself this year, I do believe that an orange coyote should be my mascot this year.

new beginning = transformation
mindful of actions
learn from mistakes
playful and youthful

related to the second chakra
warm and inviting
stimulates activity, appetite, & socialization
gut reaction
emotional strength in difficult times
aids is assimilation of new ideas and free spirit
inspires physical confidence

Please put my mind at ease and tell me your signs.  Have they ever been this present for you?  

18 February 2013

Artist Spotlight: {Eye} Wonder Workshops + Giveaway

Eileen Nishi by Thea Coughlin
I had the pleasure of meeting Eileen Nishi, creator of {eye} wonder workshops, last fall at Squam.  She is incredibly talented and full of inspiration.  I participated in her class last fall and learned so much about my self and my creative journey.  I am pleased to introduce you to her and her workshops.  Please welcome Eileen from {eye} wonder workshops.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a global "waker", enlivening and inspiring others as an insightful photographer, e-course instructor, loyal friend, mixed-media artist, blogger, mom of two hilarious boys, and believer in the universe.
How did you get started in photography?
I took a photography class when I was about 10 at my alternative elementary school in Eugene, Oregon.  I remember learning about how to load film into our cameras (35mm), and how to process our black & white prints in the darkroom.  Looking back I can’t believe we were using all those chemicals!  As an adult I picked up a camera again about 6 years ago when I was navigating a rough time in my life.  I had decided to start a blog, and told myself that a good blog had to have good photos.  And to take good photos I needed a good camera.  I’ve been taking pictures ever since!
How did you come up with the name {eye} wonder workshops?
I have two boys (11 & 14), and along my journey as a curious Mom I’ve found myself on countless occasions saying “I Wonder . . .?”  When I was brainstorming for class names that popped into my head and it was just right!
What is your favorite photo that you have taken?
Urban Laundry by Eileen Nishi
This was one of the first photos I took with my new camera years ago, and I love it because it is an image that begs to tell a story.  Whose pants are those?  And how did they get there?  Additionally, I think I had to climb on a trash-can to get this shot – and when I look at it I’m reminded that it’s OK to do things a little outside my comfort zone to get pictures I love!
Why is the intuitive process important when documenting daily life?
Life doesn’t come with an owner’s manual, so my belief is that if you can learn to use your intuition when approaching photography, it will in turn help you navigate your life journey as well.
How or where do you gather inspiration?

1.  Spend time with kids.   I know not everyone has kids, and not everyone even likes kids – but if you have the opportunity to spend a little time with some nieces & nephews, or maybe your friends’ kids, or even volunteer in a classroom from time to time?  I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away having learned something new or feeling inspired to get in touch with your inner child!
2.  Move – Sometimes I find the easiest way to get inspired (& get un-stuck!) is just to MOVE.  A quick walk around the neighborhood or several laps around the track down the street, some simple yoga stretches or just shaking my arms & legs around can get my creative juices flowing.

3.  Expose Yourself to Art –  Go to museums, galleries, libraries, and keep your eyes peeled for public art.  Inspiration can hit when you least expect it.
What do you wish the participants will gain from taking your workshop?
I want my students to learn how to slow down and really see the world around them, which will help them capture photographs they are really excited about.  The class includes some personal growth prompts and projects as well – which are a big part of the process.   If they walk away with a new way of seeing the world and seeing how they are being in it?  I will be thrilled! 
by Eileen Nishi
You work full time, you are a mother to two boys, and you run workshops.  What advice do you have for other women when they are on the fence about taking your class?
My approach to e-courses is to carve out a little time in the evenings or weekends when there is a break in the chaos to watch the class videos or devote some time to the assignments.  My kids are at an age where they are pretty self-sufficient, so of course that helps.  I don’t give a lot of homework in my class – and I think the projects I do assign are one’s that can easily be done at any time if my students want to take notes & practice on their own later.  The idea is that they’ll be gaining lifelong skills – so if someone doesn’t get a chance to do the assignment or post their photos . . . they can still get something out of it.
Do participants have to come to your class with special knowledge or equipment?
No!  In fact, my belief is that good photos are a product of the person behind the camera (rather than the equipment), so no fancy cameras are necessary.  You can even use your phone!
What is your next big project?  Anything bubbling?
The winter months are when I do my best brainstorming, and at the moment I’ve got a few ideas that are rising to the top.  I’d love to teach at an art retreat in person, and also add another class (or two!) to the series of {eye} wonder workshops.  I’ll keep you posted!  


The next session of {eye} wonder :: intuitive photography for everyday people will start on April 1st, and go through May 10th. As a bonus, there will be an extra week of class added to the curriculum (it used to be 5 weeks, now it’s 6)!

In addition, Eileen is offering a FREE SPOT in her class to one lucky reader. 

To enter, leave us a comment below and tell us why you think you deserve a spot in {eye} wonder workshops. You have until March 1st to enter. The winner will be announced March 4th.

Website  ||  Blog


13 February 2013

Will You Help?

Where does our food come from?  How does the water in the lake get there?  What does an opossum look like?  Will a deer attack and eat us? These are all questions I have been asked by students that traded the concrete jungle for a week in nature.  All valid questions, right?  If you grew up never leaving the city you might not know that deer would rather eat an acorn and stay far from humans. 
The thing is, these are the kids that are one day going to run our country.  Cliché, I know, but more truth than we realize, and I don’t think I need to tell you why understanding the answers to these questions is vital.  I was fortunate to grow up in rural America where all of the answers were second nature.  But kids like me are dwindling.  Rural areas are shrinking which means more and more kids are growing up in urban areas.  Answers to these questions will only be answered through education.
This is where you come in.  I am a volunteer for YMCA Collin County Adventure Camp in Anna, Texas.  CCAC is a facility, built by the county and managed by the YMCA, whose primary function is an outdoor education center.  On a weekly basis, students from all around the area are bused to camp to learn the answers to these questions, and more, through practical, hands on learning.  Because the YMCA is for all we scholarship students that cannot afford to go.  Every child needs and deserves this education. 
Last February I challenged you to give a gift to this scholarship fund, and I am asking you again this year.  You have many choices when it comes to where you put your dollars, but I can tell you, from direct experience, every dollar you give goes directly towards a scholarship.
Will you give $5, $10, $20? 

It is very easy to do.  Just follow the link and see the instructions below.  And with all sincerity, THANK YOU! 

02 February 2013

January 2013 Chronicle

Happy New Year.  Now that January is over I suppose it is no longer a new year.  I think I would best describe this month as pensive.  Nevertheless, good things happened.

  • We went to dinner and movie with our good friends BR+HH.  We watched Promised Land.
  • I put up all the Christmas at the beginning of the month.  Since they were up since the beginning of December I was happy to see them go. 
  • The weather this month hasn't been that bad so I have spent a lot of time outdoors with Annie.
  • I participated in Thea Coughlin's Intuitive Lens class through the Squam website. 
  • I ordered an 85mm lens for my camera.  It is an investment that I think I'll be very pleased with.
  • I entered the Rock the Shot challenge.
  • In December I participated in the love notes post card project.  The recipient of my letters reached out to me and asked me to be her gratitude buddy for the year.  It is based on Andrea's idea.  We send each other emails almost daily and I really look forward to them. 

  • Annie and I went to the dog park several times this month.  She is starting to make friends.  I enjoy watching all the puppies tromp around and try to play with the big dogs. 
  • My nephews celebrated Christmas with my parents late this year.  My mom skyped me on her laptop as they opened their gifts.  I am incredibly thankful that I can be a part of their lives even from so far away. 
  • We had a strange incident at the house.  It was the middle of the week around 8:30 P.M.  A faint knock was heard at our front door.  We don't have a peep hole so we asked loudly who was there.  It was an unknown man that asked to use the phone?  It freaked us out enough to call the police.  Why wouldn't he ring the doorbell and who doesn't have a cell phone these days?  
  • My mama celebrated a birthday this month.  She is so beautiful. 
  • I treated myself to a pedicure.  After going to yoga and being exposed to the winter heat my feet were looking a little beat up.  Since I have to stare at my feet in yoga I decided to make them pretty. 
  • We took Annie to the farm this month and while we were there we saw two coyotes in the middle of the day.  

  • I made Annie home made dog biscuits.
  • I met a new friend for coffee.  We ended up talking for three hours! 
  • As part of my resolution to take care of myself this month I have started getting a massage every other week.  I've had two this month and I'm thankful I can treat myself to this. 
  • I had a dentist appointment and all is well.  I'm thankful for a great set of teeth! 
  • I ordered seeds for my garden.  
  • I cleaned out several cupboards and took a load of things to Goodwill.  
  • We installed two new light fixtures we have been meaning to do for quite some time.  I like the change. 
  • Began working on research that was sparked from Aunt Jenny's quilt.
  • We purchased a new piece of artwork.  It's quirky and fun. 
  • I started a book binding class at the Craft Guild of Dallas.  I am looking forward to this the most in February.