Thursday, December 17, 2015

No More Silly Pictures

So you know what I hate?
And I know... hate is a strong word.  I try to save it for stuff I feel passionately against.

And here it is.

You know how when you're in a group photo of some sort, and you take one normal picture... but then~ BUT THEN, someone yells out, "Okay, now let's all do a silly face!"  And then everyone does some dumb face, or pose, or puts up bunny ears, or sticks their fingers up their nose, or whatever. Gross.
thank God i don't know any of these people

It's not fun for me at all.  And it's never funny when I see the pictures later.  It's just stupid.  And I hate it.

What I totally enjoy though, is when someone is caught off guard and has a stupid look on their face.  That is magic for me.  Unless it's me. Which most often, it is. But at least it's real.

But I think most people look awkward and not funny at all during the purposeful silly picture.

It's that time of year when people take lots of pictures with groups of people.  Can we please rethink this stupid spin on it?

I've just decided- just in this moment- that next time I'm asked to be "silly" in a photo, I'm totally not going to participate.  I refuse.  I will never regret that I didn't join in on the stupidness.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Today is Mom's birthday.  She would be 80 if she were still around today.

I wonder so many things related to her~

Like really... is there a heaven?  Is that where she went? Or did she come back as someone else here on Earth?  And if so, will I ever find that person? I guess it's now proven to me that there is no such thing as ghosts... Because certainly, if it were possible, she would have visited me by now.  Or maybe those dreams I've had of her are real, and she has visited me- just not in a ghostly form.  She probably knew I'd get scared if she appeared as a ghost. There's only been one dream she came to me in that she did NOT have cancer anymore.  In all the others, she still had it, but had some time left.  And in the moment, even that was enough. Just a little more time with her.  What I wouldn't give for that...

I also wonder how losing her in my mid-30s changed me and the course of my life.  And how losing her changed the dynamic of our small family.  How exactly would things be different if she were still here?

I also wonder, what would she be like, as an 80 year old woman.  That sounds old, but Mom could have probably made it seem very youthful, if she'd had the chance. 

All I know for sure is that I love Mom. Wherever she is, wherever she went. 

Cheers, Mom- I know 80 would have looked great on you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Saddest Song.

Today in in our yoga class, my teacher used the best music playlist ever. 

I've noticed the new trend over the past few years, at least at the yoga studio I go to, to play a lot of pop music.  Sometimes, when it's too upbeat, it drives me crazy.  It just seems wrong to have to listen to One Direction while in pidgeon pose.

Today tho, it wasn't that typical playlist.  It was all sort of sad and beautiful instrumental pieces. 

There was this one song in particular- I almost had to just stop the series of poses we were doing, and just breathe so as not to cry.  I'm not kidding. The music was so beautifully sad somehow, that I just wanted to get in a fetal position and cry. 

For the remainder of the class, I stayed aware of how many songs played after it, so I could ask my teacher what the "5th song from the end, while we were in tree pose" was.  It actually sort of ruined the rest of the class for me, but I thought, in the end, it would totally be worth it.  I was thinking if I couldn't ever hear that song again, it would be that same idea of when you meet someone just once that you like so much, but then as you're parting you know you'll never see them again.  Have you ever had that feeling?  I have.  And I felt that way about that song today!  I wanted to be able to listen to it when I could do a full blown, ugly face cry in the privacy of my own home. This could not be the end of the road for me and that song!!!

As soon as class ended, I went straight to my teacher and asked her about the song.  She told me she had no idea what song it was. WHAT?!?!?!?! NOOOOOO.  She told me she had just downloaded a playlist off of Spotify right before class and put it on shuffle.  She let me try to quickly listen to her playlist for a few minutes, and try to figure out my song crush... But I felt the pressure of time, knowing she was just standing there, waiting to take her phone and get on with her day.  I finally gave up and decided maybe I could find it on Spotify by getting a similar playlist.

So as it turns out, it WAS very much like meeting that person, someone I felt such a strong and soulful connection to, but realizing, the timing just wasn't right.  It was a chance meeting in the first place, and more than likely, I would never see them again.  Ever.  Unless fate steps in someday...


Monday, December 7, 2015

Little Set Backs in the Creative Process

I belong to a songwriting group and the rules are pretty simple.  Each week, usually on Tuesday, the "boss" of the group sends out a word via email. By Sunday at midnight, we are suppose to have written, recorded and submitted our new song, with that word somehow weaved into it.

It's fun.  And it's easier than it might sound.  It's weird how the brain works. Given a suggestion, a deadline, and very little pressure, nice surprises can happen.

I'm always happy after I've written a song.  Even if it's not a great one.  Even if it's sort of a shitty one.  Because I've created a brand new thing, that wasn't here before.  There is something very powerful in that, for me.

my biggest fans, and the only ones I'm NOT shy around
I got up a couple of hours ago because I was just sort of tossing and turning in my bed.  (Around 4am) I felt so unsettled because although I have written my song for the week, I haven't been able to record it.  My husband has not been traveling as of late, and has been working from home.  His home office shares a wall with my studio.  I'm super timid about the creative process if anyone- other than Lucy and Ricky, are around.  Believe me, I KNOW that Fermin isn't listening, and is far too busy with his own work to care what I'm doing in here. But I just feel stifled. And I know-- It's not him- It's me!

So as the tossing and turning stuff was going on, I thought, "Hey, I could get out of bed and record my song now- I will have barely missed the deadline.  By the time the rest of the people in my songwriting group wake up and turn on their computers, my song will be waiting for them in their inbox.

But it didn't turn out that way.  I played and whispered my song while I added and changed some of the lyrics.  So I was productive.  And it wasn't time wasted.  But our bedroom is just across the hall from my studio and I just couldn't sing above a whisper knowing someone might overhear me. So I still haven't made my recording.

I know this makes very little sense.  I'm recording it in the first place, with the intention that other people will hear it. So what is the big deal if Fermin (or anyone for that matter) hears me when I'm recording it?

But it is what it is.  And I am what I am. So my song won't be waiting for the song group first thing this morning.  But eventually, and hopefully sometime today, I'll find a little window of opportunity...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why I'm Thankful to Have Type 1 Diabetes

This is actually my current post over at "My Type 1 Diabetes" blog.  You can read it below, or you can head straight over (here) to my other blog to read it, as well as check out other post I've written about my life with Type 1.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Why I'm Thankful to Have Type 1 Diabetes

Since it's Thanksgiving Day, and it's the time of year I generally like to count my blessings more than usual, I wanted to make this post all about my gratitude for Type 1 Diabetes and the impact it's had on my life.

That may sound a little strange, because having any ongoing health "situation" isn't necessarily awesome.  But I'm one for looking for the silver lining.  So here goes.

I secretly like having a disease that most people don't understand or even know about. I feel special and I feel smart.  I know a lot more about how food, stress, exercise, hormones, etc effect my body than most people do.  I'm doing calculations throughout the day,everyday. And all that calculating keeps me sharp.

I make healthy choices all the time, just because I know how it all effects my blood sugars.  I rarely over indulge (food or drink-wise) and I'm active a good amount of each day.  Somedays, I don't necessarily feel like running or going on a long walk, but because of my diabetes, I just make myself.  And then, I'm alway glad I did.  I've often thought I'm probably healthier because I have diabetes, all things considered.

I'm so grateful for insulin. Although I had a big fear of needles as a kid, I got over that pretty quickly when I realized my alternative if I didn't take multiple daily shots for the rest of my life.  These days, the shots don't bother me one single bit. Shots seem to be a more-than-fair trade off for staying alive. I know there are plenty of people with far worse diseases out there that wish they had it so good.

In the past couple of years, my interest in my blood sugar control has become more extreme- bordering on obsession- thanks to Dexcom.  Seeing what my blood sugars do throughout the day and night leave me with no reason to ever let things stay in a bad range for too long.  I told my husband the other day that it's sort of fun- like some strange and challenging game.  Just when I think I have it all figured out, something goes wrong and I have to try again.  And weirdly, I like that.  I guess I just like a good challenge and diabetes provides that.

I also love that I have a disease that I'm pretty much in charge of.  I don't have to wait for my doctor to advise me on what to do, ever.  I switch things up all the time and honestly I feel like I know more than most endocrinologists do.  I can't necessarily explain how it all works as well as a good medical doctor can, but intrinsically, I know how my body reacts to things, and I know how to make adjustments when things get "off".

So seriously- Like I said, I'm thankful.  I knew nothing about Type 1 Diabetes prior to my diagnosis over 20 years ago.  But now, I'm an expert. And even better, I still continue to learn knew things about it all the time.  And I'm still interested and challenged by it after all these years.  Sounds like a pretty good marriage to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, to my beloved Type 1.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Music Monday- Max Gomez and Liz Longley

Happy Music Monday!

I got to see both Max Gomez AND Liz Longley here in Dallas at the Kessler Theatre last night.  First of all, the Kessler is my very favorite venue for live music these days.  It's just the right size, they book musicians I happen to love, and it's in an old, but swankily updated theatre in Oak Cliff.

I really love both of these artists, and I got so lucky to pay for just one ticket and see both of them.  They co-headlined this concert.  Max played first for about an hour and a half, and then Liz did the same.  Then at the end, they sang one song (one I didn't know- ) together, brilliantly.

The videos posted below were my favorite songs of the night by each artist, but I didn't take the video- That would've sort of blown the live music listening experience for me.  Fortunately, there are loads of other's that apparently don't feel the same so there are live videos a-plenty to hear these and others!

Here's Max Gomez' "Rule The World"....

And my current female singer crush- Her voice is clear as a bell and she can do pretty much anything she wants with it. And on top of all of THAT, she's a brilliant lyricist that can create a catchy hook. Here's Liz Longley, singing "Bad Habit"...

Monday, November 2, 2015

Music Monday- Damien Rice "The Blower's Daughter"

I watched the movie "closer" over the weekend. Ahhh. Heartbreak.

And it's clear from the beginning of the movie, as it opens with Damien Rice's brilliant song "The Blower's Daughter", that it's going to bring you to your knees. Damien is the master of a sad love song, and this is my all time favorite.  As many times as I have listened to it, it never loses it's power over me.

It's from 2002, so it's nothing new, but it's still the most beautiful song I've ever heard.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

NaNoWriMo My Way

Not only is tonight Halloween, it's also the eve of NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.  AND we get an extra hour tonight with the ending of daylights savings. So since I'm home, and the cute trick or treaters have all gone to bed (the non-cute, non-costumed and way-to-old ones continue to ring my doorbell, and I continue to ignore them...), I thought I'd get a jump start on pre-writing for this month's Great American Novel!

The truth is, I have no intention of writing a novel.  But I do have an intention of writing a book.  At this point though, I feel like the expectant parent who doesn't want to tell others what I'm planning to name the baby. I don't want anyone's inputs or opinions.  I'm just doing it My Way.

I'm also not necessarily writing the whole book in a month!  But, I'm thinking of the month of November like an ass-kicking boot camp.  I'm devoting hard core time, every day, to writing my book.

NaNoWriMo, my way...

Friday, October 30, 2015

BEWARE!!! TOMCAT Rat Poison!

Sometime last week, I saw a mouse run across my garage.  In the past, we've seen mice, and have used mousetraps because we aren't fans of toxins of any sort.  But since Fermin was about to go out of town, he bought some rat poison so I wouldn't have to deal with finding mouse bodies in the traps.  He told me to be careful and not let Lucy and Ricky sniff around in the garage.

The other night, I noticed they were chewing on something in the backyard.  But they do that all the time.  It's usually pecan shells during this time of the year... And they've got the stained teeth to prove it.

The next morning, I saw them in that same area again, chewing again on something.

I called them inside, and didn't really think twice about it.  They never stay outside long, and didn't that previous night or that morning.

I happened to go out to the yard a little later in the day and found this...
My dogs don't really chew things up usually, so I wondered, what was this and why the interest?!  I looked around a little more and then found THIS...
I could see the word "TOMCAT" on it... and that unfortunately, sounded familiar.

It was the container that the rat poison was in.  How it got from the garage to the yard, I'm not sure.  And where the poison went, and who ate it, I'm also not sure about.

After calling Fermin at his Las Vegas work conference, and working myself into a pure panic state, I put Lucy and and Ricky in the front seat of my car. Both dogs were looking a little weird to me, and I wasn't sure if was them just mimicking my emotional state, or if any poison was taking effect. Somehow, the 3 of us made it from the house to the vet's office.

A couple thousand dollars later, I have a public service announcement to make about this TomCat rat poison.
First of all, although it says otherwise on the box, IT IS NOT DOG RESISTANT. It apparently tastes and smells like peanut butter which could easily entice more than just rats. As you can see from my photos above, my dogs had no problem chewing through the casing.

Also, it's a kind of poison that causes neurological damage- The idea is that the rat or mouse will have so many seizures that they eventually (and probably pretty quickly) die.  So, if a cat or dog ingests it by mistake, same deal.  This isn't the kind of poison that makes an animal "bleed out" and organs shut down.  Although that sounds absolutely horrible, at least the vets have a antidote for that if you get to them in time.  For this particular poison I'm talking about, there is no antidote.  There is also no test to know for sure whether they've ingested it or not.

All that can be done is what we've done so far. The vet induced vomiting, gave them charcoal that maybe helps pull out toxins (but the downside is that it also pulls out nutrients in their systems...), they've had blood panels done to make sure the charcoal isn't having to many adverse effects, they've been given iv fluids, and they're being watched for any odd behavior that might be signs of neurological problems.

The scariest thing for us right now, is although they are absolutely fine, and show no signs of anything, it can take up to a week or more for symptoms to show.  The vet told me once they get to a point of seizures, there's really not much they can do anyway.

A walk outside sure feels good after the last 24 hours!!
So I'm cautiously optimistic. They're at home, and I'm watching them and coddling kissing on them far more than what would be socially acceptable. They're eating normal, pooping normal (although black!- ewww), and as rambunctious as ever.
Ricky Ricardo- happily on the road again!

Please stay away from that rat poison. (And all poisons in general!) And please ask that all your friends and neighbors do the same.  If a cat were to eat a mouse full of the poison,the outcome could be fatal.  My vet told me they have clients bring in pets that have somehow gotten into this poison on a very regular basis, and there's very little that can be done.

So it's back to traps for us.  Although honestly, if the mice decide they like it around here and don't destroy too much, they're free to stay.  Live and let live.  Let there be peace on earth...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


This may be a heavy topic for my blog.  But lately, I far too often think, "Oh, I sorta want to write about this- oh, but no!  It's weird to write that on my blog- Therefore, I haven't really written much recently.  But it is my blog.  And writing here sorta helps me think through things, and it's also is a recorded history for me.  So here goes.

At the beginning of the month, there was a little segment on Good Morning America that I happened to see about not just Breast Cancer Awareness month, but also something about Angelina Jolie and her experience with the BRCA I and BRCA II genetic test.  I had heard about all of it before.  Since my mom died of ovarian cancer, and her mom (a.k.a. my maternal grandmother) had breast cancer, my doctor and I had already spoken years ago about the possibility of me getting the BRCA I and II screening done.  At the time, I wasn't ready.  I figured that if I had positive results of some mutation, I would need to act upon the results, and it just seemed too stressful- and scary- at the time.

But for whatever reason, that morning, at the start of the month, while watching GMA, it seemed too stressful NOT to get the testing done.

So I went in to my gynecologist and she ordered the BRCA testing for me and took the blood sample.

Then today, I got a call from the doctor's nurse saying my insurance company requires that I do genetic counseling prior to getting my results.  Genetic counseling?!  I'm not even sure what that means.  Is it just to make sure the patient is prepared for whatever results the tests spit out? Regardless of what it is, I have to do it if I want my insurance to cover my costs.

The nurse told me I could either schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor in person, or I could do it online and on a phone call.  Of course I opted for the online and phone call route.

I just filled out the online portion of my family history.  And how odd that was!

I, of course, know all about when Mom got ovarian cancer, the treatment she had, the age she got it and the age she was when she died. It wasn't that long ago, and I was there for all of it.  It got a little trickier when I answered the questions regarding my grandmother.  I was a kid, so she seemed "old"- But I don't really know what her age was at the time, so I just took a guess. Also, I know she had a mastectomy but I have no idea if she had radiation or any other treatment.  I just remember going bra shopping with her and mom so she could get a special bra with a little bean bag-like thing to put in one side of her bra. I also remember swimming at her pool- Swimming a side stroke was part of her recovery after her surgery.  I was around 8 years old, so that's about as deep as it goes for me regarding my grandmother's breast cancer.

The online questionnaire went on to ask about all the obvious branches in a family tree.  Because my tree is not only small, but also disjointed, I realized I had very little information, and there's really no one I can ask at this point.
But I probably know the most important things- I know everything about Mom, and at least little about my grandmother.  It did make me wonder though, is it weird that I know so little history about my family tree?


Thursday, October 22, 2015


This quote popped into my Facebook feed the other night-- right after I returned home from my little Improv class I've been taking for a few weeks now.  Thanks, Lucy-for the inspiration.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Here We Go, Improv!

After attending a songwriting workshop last month in Nashville, I made a little pact with myself to step outside of my box on a more regular basis.  I know how good it is for me to do that, but being the little creature of comfort that I am, I sometimes shy away from taking those steps. 

One of those steps outside of my comfort zone starts tonight--
I've signed up for a 8 week Improv class that meets weekly.

My friend, Guy, who takes acting and improv classes had planted the seed in my head many months ago.  He would often talk about his classes to me, and they all sounded so fun and also kind of intimidating.

So after coming back from Nashville I was trying to come up with some new thing I could try- and taking an Improv class, for whatever reason, was the first thing that came to mind.

I am excited, but surprisingly, I'm not nervous.  I have absolutely NO expectation.  I am an absolute beginner and I am going to be totally okay with it all even if I'm the worst student in the class and the last one to catch on.  This is so outside of my box, that the fear factor of it isn't even there. At least not yet.  Perhaps I'll vomit the whole drive to the studio tonight, but as of now, I'm feeling fine. 

I'm looking forward to giving my brain a new workout, and meeting new people I otherwise would probably never have come across. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Daily Affirmations

Last week I wrote a post about the morning rituals I've recently implemented into my days, after reading the book The Miracle Morning.  I mentioned that I still feel a little weird saying affirmations.  But I've heard they can be powerful.  So I keep trying.  So far, I've just been writing them down in my journal.  I don't yet speak them, out loud, in front of the mirror.  Perhaps, I should...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I Can't Feel My Face-- Now I Get It!

I've been annoyed at the song "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd since I first heard it.  It says mostly the same lines over and over, and I don't have any idea what the hell it means.  And even though it annoys me, I know all those repeated lines and I end up singing along.  I can't help myself.  Ug.

But today, I made a huge discovery.

It's not just some stupid love song about loving someone so much it feels like your face is frozen and you can't feel it (what?). It's actually a drug reference song!  It's all about cocaine!  Once you think of the song in that context, it actually makes sense. 

I learned this on a really cool podcast I've recently started listening to called "Switched on Pop".  It's hosted by 2 guys, one's a musicologist, the other's a songwriter, and they discuss the making and meaning of popular music.

This week's episode on "Switched on Pop" is episode 20, and it's called "The Weekend: Dance Of Deception".  It's a fascinating 23 minute podcast.  So put on those sneaks, put in those earbuds, go for a brisk walk and have a listen.  You'll never think of that song the same way again!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Miracle Mornings

For many years, I've said, "I'm not a morning person."  But in the same breath of that, I will confess I'm not really a night owl either.  I stay up late watching tv, but I'm not productive or worthwhile in any way.  So instead, it's more accurate to say I've been a lazy night owl for many years. 

It's not that I'm grouchy when I wake up, or that I'm especially challenged to "get going" once I'm up, but I just love my bed.  Occasionally, I blame my dogs, Lucy and Ricky for being too cuddly. It's their fault I often get up too late to feel like I've got a chance for much of a productive morning.
See the problem?!

As soon as I do get up, I take each dog on a long walk.  Then I go to yoga most days. Then I take a shower-- Well, okay- If I'm being honest, often it's a bath.  If it's not a day I need to wash my hair, it's a bath.  And once I'm in the tub, suds-ing up, I feel like I deserve a little R&R so I end up laying in my tub and reading for about a half hour.  And then guess what?  It's time for lunch.

And the day is half gone.

This, I realize, is a little ridiculous.  And it bothers me.

Several months ago, I stumbled upon The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He talks about the importance of positive morning rituals to start your day.  He's combined 6 good (and common) practices, just 10 minutes of each, and named it, "The Miracle Morning".  Basically it's this (and in no particular order):
10 minutes of meditation
10 minutes of writing in a journal
10 minutes of affirmations
10 minutes of positive affirmations
10 minutes of reading something inspiring/self-helpy
10 minutes of exercise like push ups, sit ups, and yoga stretches

And all of that, adds up to a miracle of sorts.  In just an hour!

He also gives some advice on how to get yourself up and at 'em at an early hour.  First of all, he suggests, don't ever hit snooze on the alarm clock.  Hitting snooze is telling the day, "I'm not excited about you." So get right up, he says.  Wash your face, put on your clothes, brush your teeth and drink a glass of water.  By the time you've done that, you're UP. And before you know it, you're AT 'EM.

Also, don't go to bed at night thinking, "Oh crap- I only have 6 hours to sleep before my alarm is going to sound.  I'm going to be so tired."  Instead, as you drift off, affirm, "I am getting the exact amount of sleep I need to feel energetic in the morning and throughout tomorrow."

Well, I've been doing "The Morning Miracle" stuff for months now- But, like Hal Elrod says is allowed, I've customized my Miracle Morning to suit me better so it looks like this(and this is the order I do it in):
6 minutes meditation (that's quite enough for me for now, thank you)
15 minutes of reading (because 10 isn't enough!)
10/sometimes 15 minutes of writing in my journal
3 minutes of combining affirmations and visualization (I need help on these- they feel a little off still)
10 minutes of sketching/doodling/zentangling (I make myself stop at 10 minutes, but like the reading, this could turn into at least an hour if I didn't time myself)
10 minutes exercise

That all adds up to just a little under an hour.  I keep telling myself I'll add in something music related- either songwriting time, or sight reading practice, or something.  And I will. 

I've experimented with different times I've set my alarm to wake me.  7am felt early at first, but by the time I was done performing all of my miracles, it was already 8.  I decided I wanted to get up before it was light outside.  So I was getting up at 6am.  But lately, 6:30am has been feeling much better.  I've decided I need to start going to bed earlier if I want to happily pull off a 6am wake up time, and not be begging for an afternoon nap.

As soon as my hour is up, I go on the long dog walks. Then, I'm showered (or bathed) and ready for the day by 9/9:30am- A couple days a week, I catch a yoga class, which tacks on about another hour.  But either way, I'm doing much better than before.

I feel like I've already been pretty productive with my version of a spiritual practice, and it sets a good tone for the whole day.  I wouldn't necessarily claim it to be a miracle morning, but it's a better than it was before I was doing this, for sure.

I take a day off, every now and then.  Usually, that would be a weekend morning- just because it's fun to lounge around on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning.

I've found that maybe I am a morning person after all.  These rituals all help get me in a great mood to approach the day.  That is ultimately what it's all about, I think. I'm set up pretty well for the day once I've completed my little set of fun rituals.  I'll admit, the affirming and visualizing is bogging me down a little.  But for now, I'm sticking with those- I can handle 3 minutes of just about anything!

So, you might try it.  You don't have to get up super early.  You can customize it however you feel it best suits you (once you roll through it the suggested way first a few times). If you want, you could even just spend a 5 minutes on each ritual, and get it all done in 30 minutes if you don't feel like you can get up an extra hour earlier. If you do try it, or if you're already in fact doing some version of it, please tell about it in the comment section below.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

in training

Ever since returning from the songwriting workshop I attended in Nashville a few weeks ago, I've shied away from writing about it.

Maybe it feels too precious, and I don't want to mess it up with words.

But words are kind of my thing.  Stringing them together on a blog post, or in a song especially, is my favorite thing to do.

A blank canvas, so to speak, can feel a little intimidating when you really want to capture something that feels so important.  But once you make a few marks, and start digging in, you start to feel less afraid.  That first step tho...  Ug.

The workshop.

With Jonatha Brooke!  And Mike Reid! And Emily Saliers! Getting to hear Keb Mo! And Christopher Cross! It was almost too much for only 3 days.  There wasn't one single minute I was bored.  And I tend to have a very short attention span, so that's saying a lot.

Inspiring- for sure.
Not just being around the above mentioned artists.
But getting to talk about songwriting for 3 days straight, after having put it on the back burner in my life for the last several years.
And opportunities to step outside my box!-my little box that has gotten smaller and smaller lately.
Being in a new place, around new people...
All that. And more.

The day after I got back, my sister happened to be in town, and we met up so I could to tell her all about it.  She was the perfect person to tell.  Just talking about it made me cry, and I wasn't even sure why.  But she told me, and I think she was right, it was just emotions bubbling up.  Right up to the surface.  As I was talking to her, all that emotion was really getting in the way.  When I cry, my voice locks up.  And although I wanted to express myself, I couldn't.  And like most people do when they are crying, I kept apologizing.

I wasn't crying because I was sad.  Or even because I was happy. I was just full of emotion in the retelling of the meaningfulness of that weekend in Nashville that I SO needed.

I'll be writing more (and more) here.  My writing muscles (blog and songwriting) have gotten a little out of shape due to lack of use.  But I'm currently in training... Please, please stay tuned.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Music Monday: BOY Seven Little Numbers

I am obsessed-- OBSESSED with this CD that was released in 2013- Boy's "Mutual Friends".  I have worn the whole thing out, but yet I never tire of it.  The more I listen, the more I love it.

The songs are hooky, I love the singer's voice, and the production is just how I like it.  There's a couple of bonus tracks, which are actually acoustic versions of two of the tracks- They are my absolute favorites!

Over the weekend, I was Googling around, trying to figure out when BOY is going to release more music, and praying that it's soon...

Well the exciting news is, yes! They have a second batch of songs available thru both iTunes and Amazon.  The bad news is that it's only available if you're in Switzerland, Austria, or Germany.  I didn't even realize there's different stores for US and Europe.  Big stupid bummer.

Maybe in a few months, it will be available here.

But fortunately, in the meantime, I just learned they have a whole acoustic CD full of the songs from "Mutual Friends", plus a few others I'm not yet (yet!) familiar with.  I just downloaded it, and bought a hard copy as well.  Amazon offers it all for one price of only $7.99.

Here's one of my favorites- The acoustic version of "7 Little Numbers"- you might be familiar with their studio version of this song- It got a little airplay on a few stations.  Happy Music Monday.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Music Monday- I Can't Make You Love Me by Mike Reid

I just returned from a songwriting workshop in Nashville, taught by Jonatha Brooke.  It was so great- So great, in fact, that it's my first day back, and I'm in a bit of a funk as I'm sliding back into the minutiae of everyday life.

The workshop wasn't just taught by Jonatha though.  She had a little help from some very impressive people.  And my very favorite was Mike Reid.  I'm sort of embarrassed to say I didn't even know who he was until a few days ago.  He wrote "I Can't Make You Love Me", which was made famous by Bonnie Raitt.  He's also written loads of other great songs, made famous by others. He was so funny, open and honest, and he made each attendee there feel important and worthy.  Not only a superb songwriter and musician, but just the nicest guy.

Of course I'm choosing his version of "I Can't Make You Love Me" for this Music Monday.  The mood of the song is perfect for today... I'm feeling weepy~a little sad the workshop has come to an end.  So enjoy this---  I'll write about the workshop in upcoming posts.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Songwriting Workshop With JONATHA BROOKE


When I saw the announcement for this little songwriting workshop in Nashville taught by my absolute favorite singer-songwriter, it was about 4 months out, so it wasn't all that nerve wracking.  I knew I had lots of time to wrap my head around it.

But I haven't quite done it.

Although it's possible you haven't heard the name Jonatha Brooke (and it's so sad if you haven't), to me, she's John Lennon.  Or she's Joni Mitchell.  Or whoever you hold up to the highest standards in songwriting.  For me, it's her.

As I've said before on this blog in a previous post, I stumbled upon her music years ago, and serendipitously, that same week, she just happened to be performing at the Dallas Border's bookstore.  It was right around the time I started gigging.  I was so inspired by her. When I was nervous, which I pretty much always was (and still am) when performing, I would just pretend I was her, and then I could at least pretend I felt confident.  Anyway, I could go on and on gushing, but just check out her music.  Visit her website.  Watch an excerpt of her Broadway musical "My Mother Has Four Noses".  She's madly talented.

And I am attending a small workshop at the end of the week taught by her.

I'm nervous for sure.  I'm stepping way outside of my current comfort zone.  I worry that I'm an imposter, that I won't really belong there. But...

I'm going.  No matter what, I know the experience is going to be good for me.

My only goal is to learn and to be inspired.  If I just focus on that, there's absolutely nothing to be nervous about.

I'm sure I'll be writing my next blog post all about it.  I can't wait to see what I say! :)

Since it's Music Monday, here's one of my favorite songs written and performed by Jonatha. (Look! I'm already feeling like I'm on a first name basis with her!)
Because I Told You So

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pain Takes a Backseat to Embarrassment

It all happened so fast, I really didn't even know what caused it.  Uneven sidewalk I guess.

I was aware of cars driving by as I was falling and my first thought wasn't about hitting the sidewalk- It was all about how ridiculous this all must look. Oh, Vanity. Thanks for keeping me preoccupied.

I hit the pavement pretty hard, and of course, it hurt! But I sprang up immediately as if it didn't, for fear that someone might stop to check on me.  When I hopped back up and resumed my run, I didn't know how much my knees were bleeding (I didn't want to look) and I was hoping the blood wasn't going to drip all the way down my leg and give away my scuffle with the sidewalk.

After a few steps, my hands were burning.  I looked down and noticed that they were all scraped up too. And my thigh. How did my thigh get so scraped up? And my forearm? It must have been a face-plant, just without the face planting.  The rest of my body was, for a second, planted on the pavement. But I got up and kept on running. And not because I'm a baddass.

Falling is just so humiliating.  I remember once seeing Ellen Degeneres doing a little bit about tripping on the sidewalk on a HBO comedy special.  (I'll post a clip of it at the bottom of this post-- It's so funny because it's so relatable!)It's true what she says, "Pain takes a backseat to embarrassment."  Once I was in the privacy of my own home, and no longer embarrassed about my bloody knees and what I must have looked like, I made a huge deal out of my pain.  Fermin, Lucy and Ricky got to hear all about it.

I took my shower and cleaned up my wounds so Fermin and I could go out for a "I Survived My Fall" celebration lunch.
There's nothing Hello Kitty can't make better.
When we were looking for our parking spot, he turned to me and asked, "Oh, did you need me to park in the handicap parking?"

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kissing My Shure Mic

I have said before, that sometimes I think the reason we get sick is just as a little reminder to appreciate our good health.

That same philosophy applies to why I think we sometimes lose, or misplace our prized possessions, and then find them again.

Over the weekend, as I was packing up my car to go to my gig, my pink bag that holds some of my gear was not in it's intended spot.  I, of course, panicked.  I called Fermin and accused him of moving it, or even throwing it out, during his recent clean out of our garage.  He assured me that he hadn't. But you gotta blame somebody, right?

I didn't have time to look anywhere other than in the obvious places, because I was already running late to my gig.  I don't keep that many things in that bag (thank god)- just my microphone, some cables/cords, a tip jar, a music stand, and some back up things like batteries and spare set of guitar strings. Fortunately for me, I was able to borrow a mic and cords for both the microphone and my guitar. Those were the only things I HAD to have for the gig that night.  I could do without my tip jar (but boo, not as many people give tips when there's no where to put the money!) and my music stand (but bummer, I had some brand new songs I wanted to try out but felt too nervous to do them without the music in front of me).

After I returned home that night and looked again in not only the obvious places, but also the not-so-obvious or logical places. But nope.  Not there. I decided the pink bag had been stolen.  A thief had come into my garage, and although they left behind golf clubs, bikes, lawn equipment, etc, they must have come strictly for the pink bag.

I was so mad.  But I knew I had less than a week before my next gig so I got online and started pricing microphones.  It was right then that I realized that back when I got my Shure microphone years ago, Fermin helped me make a really good decision.  It's not super expensive, but it sure is a nice one. I hadn't thought much about that microphone and how much I like it in many years.  I just sing into it, but I don't really think about it.  But now... DAMN!

As a musician, I don't make much money... So to lose my equipment, or "have it stolen", hurts.

So, I made one more final sweep of my house, and my garage, to make sure it wasn't in some funky spot.  And there!  In the clothes hamper!~which seemed especially full~ I saw a little sliver of bright pink, peeking out from underneath!!!
can you see it?!
 I screamed when I saw it! A scream of delight!
There she is!
Don't ask me how it got there.  I'm not blaming anyone.  Not even myself.  I'm just so elated to have it back.

I love that Shure microphone more than ever. I got it out to look at it and noticed that over the years, I guess my mouth has accidentally rubbed up against it a time or two and it has a pink hue on it from my lipstick.  It's got my mark on it!  It's mine!  And I'm so happy it was not stolen from my garage!
See the pink hue at the top of the mic-- That's my branding!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Music Monday: You and Me by Sara Watkins

I recently added a cover of this song to my set list, so I've listened to it over and over, and I've dissected it so that I can more easily memorize it.

I loved it when I started, and I grew to love it even more.

"You and Me" by Sara Watkins.  Enjoy...
And have a happy Music Monday!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My New Type One Diabetes Blog

I've been writing this blog for around 10 years. 

I've been living with Type 1 Diabetes for about 20 years.

But I've barely ever written about my diabetes on my blog.  I've avoided it, because I realize it would be pretty boring to read for a non-diabetic.

Lately tho, I need to write about it.  It's become more challenging than ever, and like any chronic disease, it just doesn't stop.

I have found a few blogs written by other Type 1s, and I find them so interesting and helpful.  I relate so much to their challenges and struggles and triumphs! So, I recently started a blog called My T1 Diabetes.  If you happen to know someone with this disease, perhaps you could pass along the link. Thanks! 

Please click here to visit My T1 Diabetes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bachelorette Finale Tonight!

Tonight, as you may know, is the Bachelorette finale.  It's been going for so many years now, I don't even know what season we're on.
Yay! Bachelorette Kaitlyn is having a party tonight!
This season has been most notable because the bachelorette, Kaitlyn, had sex with one of the bachelors a little earlier than the girls usually do. Typically, they wait and have sex with several of the men (so I've heard) during the final couple of weeks when they get the card for the fantasy suites.  No one ever makes a big deal about it.  But because Kaitlyn got some of it out of the way earlier in the season, the word on the street is that a lot of viewers got really angry.  I mean really angry.  Death-threat-angry.  Which reveals a little about the type of people who watch this show.  Oh but wait-- I watch this show. Honestly, I appreciate that she kept things from getting too predictably boring. A few episodes after "the intimacy" with Nick, Kaitlyn decided she needed to confess it to Sean.  It seemed ridiculous, but made for great tv.
"Hey Sean, I'm totally having fun with you, but I need to tell you about someone else I had fun with..."
Tonight, Kaitlyn is down to just having Nick and Sean to choose from.  Nick was the guy that lost out on the final night with Andi on the previous season of The Bachelorette. He is also the guy Kaitlyn had sex with early on in this season. Somehow, he met Kaitlyn before filming started. Although he didn't make it onto Kaitlyn's season at the beginning, he did show up a few weeks into it, and was a clear front runner.  She got so excited when she heard he going to show up.  She asked the other men if they were okay with him jumping onboard, and although they clearly didn't like the idea, she had him on anyway.
I think this was the first day Nick showed up on set. Kaitlyn seemed to kind of like him.
I wasn't a fan of Nick previously.  But just due to the fact that Sean seems like such a cocky/bully/possessive boyfriend, I can't help but root from Nick.

Possible Spoiler....if it's correct information:Apparently, Kaitlyn snapchat-ed a video of her and Sean in bed together since filming has ended, therefore giving away who she's currently involved with.

Since I have already heard about that little rumour, I'm assuming Sean will get the final rose and Nick will once again, be the runner up.  I'm not on pins and needles to how it all turns out. Maybe I'm wrong, but either way- who cares?

The show called "After the Final Rose" airs right after the finale.  That's the show I'm most looking forward to tonight. It will be fun to see how Sean handles seeing all of Kaitlyn's escapades with the other men that he didn't previously know about. And since there was such a dislike between the two final men, it will be funny to see if they even pretend to be happy for the other and Kaitlyn in the end.

I don't watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette because I believe any of it.  I feel pretty sure that there's no way that either one of these relationships are real and will last much beyond the filming of the show.  Mainly, it's a great excuse for me and my friend Kathy to get tacos every Monday night and watch 20-somethings get drunk, say stupid things, cry, kiss in hot tubs, etc.  Good times!  And nothing serious. 
Who's going to propose tonight?!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Vintage Jewelry Repurposing- Before and After

I haven't posted any vintage jewelry repurposing "before and after" projects lately. Now is just as good a time as any, right?!

I was so lucky to be sifting through a jar of vintage jewelry to find these! I'm not sure if they were parts of earrings that had broken off, or charms, or what?! But I thought they would be a perfect component for dangle drop earrings.  They are a gold leaf metal backing, with a pink rose clay enamel.  Very sweet and dainty.
"before" repurposing- not sure exactly what these even were!
I have some beautiful handpainted vintage beads that I just love that I knew would look great with these. I put them between two pale pink faceted beads so their color would really pop. Then they were attacthed to gold tone ear wires. 
"after" repurposing- pink rose drop earrings
Now they are functional and oh-so-pretty in pink.  You can click over to my ResparkableVintage shop at Etsy to find out more about them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On Songwriting- Good Enough

1950s repurposed earrings
For the past year or so, I've been very distracted by shiny things.  Shiny, vintage jewelry things in particular.  I spend loads of time running all over town, finding vintage jewelry in need of repair and redesign.  I spend lots of hours making the jewelry.  And then I spend at least that much time photographing the jewelry and listing it in my Resparkable Vintage store on the Etsy website.
repurposed... and shiny!
Partly due to that, my songwriting muscles have gotten a little out of shape.  Next month, I'll be attending a songwriting workshop in Nashville, so I figured I better get back into the groove of songwriting so I'll have something to take.  In the past week or so, I've spent a little time just sitting down with my guitar and noodling around.  The sparkly things around me in my studio are still a bit of a distraction, but I am trying to divide my time a little differently, at least for the next few months.

Fortunately for me, I'm not a perfectionist.  I never have been.  I am not setting out to write 10 amazing, blow-everybody's-socks-off songs.  I just need a few new songs to bring to the workshop.  Songs that are decent enough to share, but not so good that I'm married to them, and can't take constructive feedback on them productively.

In other words, all I need is good enough

So, I'm working on making a regular practice of songwriting again.  And I intend to make a lot of big, bad, ugly messes.  Forced rhymes, cheesy sentiments, tired cliches, lines that don't quite work, etc. Because I know from past experience, that's how you get to the good.  Or at least, the good enough. Practice has never made me perfect.  But on a good day, it's made me good enough.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Getting Over You

I finished reading You 5 days ago.
YOU by Caroline Kepnes
I'm not going to write a review of this book, but I'll just say, the book was very creepy in the best way.  The narrator was a sociopath--- so that gave it an edge over other suspense thrillers I could compare it to.  It was just so crazy, and sick and enjoyable!  The perfect summer read, if you don't mind having a few nightmares along the way.

However, since finishing that book, I've picked up and tried to start reading at least half a dozen other books.  I'm not sure if I'm just having a hard time focusing because I'm distracted by life (and I am), or if I'm picking up boring books.  OR, is it that You has temporarily ruined me when it comes to reading?

Today I picked two more books from the library, hopeful that they might be the antidote to You. Reading the book jackets, and being familiar with the authors, they seemed like reasonable choices.  But then I made the mistake of reading Amazon ratings and reviews, and neither sounded worth the read.  Going to Amazon reviews first is never really a great move.  You can read good and bad reviews on any book out there.  It would be better for me to just form my own opinion once I'm about 50 pages in. 

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
So that's what I'm going to do with this book, Funny Girl by Nick Hornby. It deserves a chance! I've liked a few of his other books, (About a Boy comes to mind immediately), and is his first book in about 5 years.  On the jacket of the book, it says that it's about a young woman whose heroine is Lucille Ball.  I realized I happen to be wearing one of  my I Love Lucy t-shirts today.  Oh, and my dog's names are Lucy and Ricky.  I  obviously have at least something in common with the girl in this book! It takes place in 1960s London, and the main character, "Sophie Straw"  gets cast in a BBC sitcom and becomes a comedy starlet- A British Lucy!  Sounds cute enough to give it a go. Screw those Amazon reviews.  I'll read them after I finish the book- or at the very least, the first 50 pages.

I don't think this book is going to be You, or anything like You- but maybe it can be a decent rebound book.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Nothing Says "America" Quite Like Home Made Ice Cream

Happy July 4th- What a great holiday! It's one of the few holidays in America that isn't centered around consumerism.  For a great celebration, all we really need is fireworks (any kind you want!) and home made ice cream.

At least that's how it is for me.

Dad used to make his home made ice cream on this day each summer while we were growing up.  He made 4 flavors: 
Vanilla with Pecans
Vanilla with Pineapple
Vanilla with Pineapple and Pecans

I might have been the culprit for why he had to make these subtle varieties.  I was a very picky eater as a kid.  And still am.  Although now, I'm past my "no crunchy things in soft things" texture demand.  I'm nuts about nuts.  Just like my dad.

He would spend hours on the makings of that ice cream of his!  I remember that it involved salt rocks, and that his hands got scratched up.  He did it out in the garage and it seemed very messy with newspapers all around, insulating the ice cream maker.  I could be wrong and may have mixed up these memories... but what I remember for sure is it was THE. BEST. ICE. CREAM. I. HAVE. EVER. TASTED.

So today, in celebration of America- and my Dad- and my idyllic childhood- I'm making my version of Dad's famous "Vanilla Ice Cream with Pineapple and Pecans".  Delicious!
Not as good as Dad's, but it'll do!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Music Monday- Kacey Musgraves "Late to the Party"

Last week was my birthday. And the whole week felt like a the greatest little party. 

I loved Kacey Musgraves' debut CD that was floating around for the last year or two.  She had the same guitar teacher that I had when I was a kid!  I love the sound of her music, her voice, but more than anything--- her clever lyrics.

Her second CD came out last week, just in time for my birthday!  I bought it through my Amazon Prime account so I got both an immediate download of the CD, and then a couple of days later the hard copy arrived in my mailbox.

I'm posting up one of my initial favorites of her new batch of songs- "Late to the Party".  I totally relate to the lyrics... Not really caring about being late to parties.  I'm not much of a group party person, even for my birthday.  "I'm never late to the party if I'm late to the party with you"- I'm so lucky and so grateful that I feel that way about the person I've spent pretty much all of my adult life with. Ahhh-- Fermin Arista.  Who needs confetti?! It's all one big fun party with you!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Vintage Earring Repurposing Project- Before and After

One of my neighbor friends was nice enough stop at an estate sale on my behalf while Fermin and I were out of town last weekend.  It was one I had been eagerly awaiting in our neighborhood, but as I was leaving town, I saw that it was going to happen while I was away. Yay for good neighborfriends!

She totally scored and got me a couple of small baggies full of vintage jewelry.  My favorite pair of earrings were these, pictured on the right.
vintage button earrings

As soon as I saw them, I put them on. I forgot to take out my pierced studs I was already wearing. My earring and the clip of these vintage earrings got tangled up and stuck together.  PANIC. I was so afraid that I was going to rip my earring right through my ear while Fermin was assisting my struggle to separate the two earrings.

Finally, I was free.  But my ear was sore and I was just freaked out.  When I tried to put the clip earrings back on, it sort of hurt.  I'm not sure if it was just due to my "incident" with the earring entanglement, or if the clips were just painful (as they so often are), but I decided to repurpose these earrings so that I (or anyone else) never had to deal with those stupid clips again.

First,I snapped off the clips and filed them down.  Then I noticed, either I had knocked the pearls loose, or they were already coming lose on their own. I decided to get out the handy E6000 I so often use for vintage jewelry repair to secure them down.
jewelry repurposing and repair
Then I wire wrapped a vintage pearl bead from my stash and used it as a connector between the button shaped earrings and the pierced ear wires.

adding a pretty little pearl...
 I'm so happy with the final result.  They look so much cuter on the ears now that they are dangle earrings.  As clips, they not only caused me pain, but got lost in my hair and didn't really show up.  Now they still have the charm of vintage, but with an updated look and a more comfortable feel!
repurposing complete!
I just put them up for sale over in the Resparkable Vintage shop- Go check out this link to see them and find out more.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Letters to Camp Longhorn

Who would have thought 30 years ago when I was mailing off letters to my best friend at camp, that one day, I'd be sending off letters to her daughter, at that same camp! Well, that's what's happening here today.  How cool is that?!

Friday, June 19, 2015

These People

Years ago- 10 in fact- I got some random email by someone forming a group to read and talk through Julia Cameron's, The Artist Way, together. I have no idea how or why I was on that email list, because I didn't know the person who sent it, and the meeting spot was a church which I don't attend.
But I had the book on my bookshelf-- had had the book on my shelf for several years- but had never gotten past Chapter 1 on my own.

So I thought, "Why not?" and I showed up to the very first meeting.

And so did all these people.

Our Artist Way group- 10 years later!
Because of the nature of the book, we were all pretty vulnerable in exposing our true selves to each other as we worked through each chapter of that book. We had conversations that were much deeper and we got to know each other on a whole different level and speed than what was typical for me. Anyway, we made it through the whole book, chapter by chapter and week by week. I don't think I ever would have done it on my own.  But with these people, I wanted to stick with it.

I had recently lost my Mom.  March 29 of 2005. I have often thought 2005 was the worst and hardest year for me.

But it seems there were angels all around me.  Lots of good came from that year, too.  The best being simply that I just made it through that year.

And this group of people, all these people I didn't know, and wouldn't have met otherwise, become so important to me and I looked forward to those Monday night meetings. 

The book, The Artist's Way, and the exercises in it, help you get back in touch with the little artist in you that might have gotten shoved aside over the years.  I was really focused on my songwriting performance during this time period and I'm sure that being in this group nurtured that in me. And without Mom, believe me, I needed all the nurturing I could get!

Honestly, the book was okay. It got me on to some good practices for sure.  But it was these people that created the magic.  Some weeks I'd be a little "meh" about the chapter we had read, but once we discussed it, whether or not the book resonated with me, these people did, and I always left feeling I had learned something invaluable.

Although we've kept in touch over the years, the time between getting together has grown longer and longer.  But it still feels like a tight and important group and we sure love each other, and have no problem picking right back up where we left off the last time.

 Ahhh... these people!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Taylor Swift in Philly

This past weekend I went to visit my best friend in Pennsylvania.  She bought tickets for us to take her daughter and a friend to the Taylor Swift concert.  It was a great excuse to go. I'm a huge fan of Taylor Swift.  I'm way above her typical fan's age, but the tween in me can still totally relate to her music. 

Before the concert, my friend's daughter and her friend made t-shirts... Well, actually, since they involved iron-ons, my friend made them, and her daughter designed them.  They turned out pretty cute. Maybe even cuter than the t-shirts they were selling at the concert. (Which we all bought, by the way.)
The home-made T.S. t-shirts- Aren't they cute? 

Taylor is from Reading, PA so this was sort of a "home town" show for her.  She played two consecutive nights in a row, and we caught her on the final night.

Our seats were super high up in the stadium but the screens were big, we could feel a breeze (thank god!), and we got to see a great view of the light show provided by our bracelets (our "gift from Taylor" given to us as we walked in the gates of the concert).

About 10 minutes before Taylor took the stage
I said to my friend during the concert that Taylor seems to be the Oprah Winfrey of young girl music.  She made these empowering speeches during her concert which could have come of cheesy if not so genuinely and eloquently delivered.  Nothing came off cheesy at all tho.In a stadium full of thousands, Taylor was able to make lots of young girls feel like they were getting a one-on-one pep-talk with her about being true to yourself. It's really something to see, the way she can so intimately connect with such a huge audience.

We left the concert just a few songs before the end (we had looked up the set list online, so we knew what we had to miss...) to avoid the traffic jam that was sure to follow. We did have to miss her final song, which was "Shake it Off".  But like I said, we knew what we were missing, so it didn't feel so bad. 

Anyway, what a great weekend I had in Pennsylvania.  The concert- obviously, and also spending time with my friend who's been my bestie since we were 11 years old!  We would have been big fans of Taylor for sure, as we are now, even tho we are decades beyond age 11.

And no trip is complete without a little flea-marketing/antiquing. We went to the same area we had gone during one of my fun visits a couple of years ago.  I bought a big jar of old costume jewelry- Lots of it was junk I threw straight into the trashcan, but look at all this stuff that is awesome!! I plan to use for repurposing!!!  I had the best time digging through my little treasure chest when we got home.
1950s, 60s, and 70s costume jewelry-- YAY!
As great as the Taylor Swift concert was, I'd say for me the highlight of the trip was when Sara (my friend's 12-year-old daughter) found a huge bag of jewelry marked $40 and had her first ever experience in price negotiation.  She's so charming and sweet, she wound up taking that whole bag of jewelry home for just $10!  It was probably about 100 items of jewelry.  So no matter how junky some of it was, it was still a great deal!  I should have asked Sara to do my negotiating as well!  She's a pro.  I was so happy for her and loved seeing how giddy her big score made her.  She was so nervous to ask the seller to come down on her price, and nearly talked herself out of it.  But she got a great life lesson of seeing that sometimes, you just have to ask, and you shall receive!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

If You REALLY Want to See Barcelona...

When I first read Danny Gregory's book Creative License, I was struck by his explanation that if you really want to know and understand something, draw it.  When you draw something, you look at it in such a detailed way, that you notice things you wouldn't otherwise see.  Although I'm no artist, that rang so true to me.  And I knew I wanted to keep an art journal. 

I've been trying to draw something most days for the past few weeks.  I'm even taking an online class called Sketch Book Skool that is fun and motivating and not intimidating at all. Thanks to that class, and those wise words of Mr. Gregory, I took a little sketchpad on our recent trip to Barcelona. 

Fermin would sit with me on a bench most days, somewhere around the city, while I drew something that caught my eye, but seemed like something this "little a artist" could handle.  So many of those old buildings are so beautifully ornate, I would have felt overwhelmed had I attempted to draw them.  I stuck with the more simple architecture instead. 

Here are a few of my sketches from our trip...
Here I am drawing the building in the background- Can you tell which one I attempted to draw?
Everyone seems to have a balcony in Barcelona.  But they're just for looks. Not big enough to even stand on usually.

Balconies, Dome Shaped Building, and a Outdoor Food stand in Barcelona
These were certainly not the prettiest things I saw while we were in Spain, but I sure spent a lot of time looking at them.  It was such a nice part of the day- sitting down to sketch, in no hurry, and just soaking in my surroundings.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BARCELONA, Don't Pick My Pockets!

Ok... I wasn't really off fishing the last couple of weeks. Fermin and I were in Barcelona, Spain!  Actually, for about half of our vacation we were on a cruise that shipped out of Barcelona and took us to Ibiza, Mallorca, Sete (France), and back to port in Barcelona.  We then spent the remainder of our vacation in Barcelona.

It was the first time either one of us had a chance to go to Europe so it was something we both had looked forward to for years.  Once I started researching online and asking our friends what we should be sure to do while over there, we heard over and over again warnings about the pick pocketers- not just in Europe, but specifically in Barcelona.  Pick pocketing is a career over there.  If someone pick pockets, there's not much punishment for it, if any.  As long as it's not violent, it seems, anything goes.

I'm a bit of a nervous traveler no matter what,so all this talk of pick pocketing had me very paranoid.  And although I was still excited to go, I was worried about how I was going to keep peoples hands out of my pockets!

many zippers to get thru to get to anything!
A friend loaned me her cross body bag with many zippers so I could securely carry a few things around town without giving pick pockets any kind of easy access.
Fermin assured me he would carry his wallet in his front pocket.  And we agreed not to ever carry a big load of cash, our passports, or any valuables on us.  So honestly, if the pick pockets had targeted us, they would have been sorely disappointed.  They would have just wound up with diabetic supplies, lipstick, and gum. 

On the second day of our trip, a man that was on the cruise with us told us he had just had his wallet stolen out of his front pocket!  He had just gotten 500 euros from the bank, got on the metro and had his arm stretch up to hold on to the railing.  He guessed that because of that, the pick pocketer had access to his front pocket.  I guessed that 1.He isn't very observant and has very little physical awareness and 2. Someone saw him get the money from the bank and followed him onto the metro. Big bummer for that guy, and a big reminder to us that the threat of pick pocketers is for realz! 

As it turned out, whether of not the threat of being pick pocketed was as common as we had been told, we never had any problems.

Palma de Mallorca Cathedral
We just ate tapas (which I will probably write another post about soon), looked at really old and beautiful buildings and had an amazing trip!
Sagrada de Familia

a little more- Sagrada de Familia
The pink house Gaudi lived in for many years in Barcelona, Spain- Park Guell