Sunday, May 31, 2009

Out in the Country*

I was out in the country yesterday. That's why there is a double post for today. I went to visit my friend Lisa who lives in Augusta County in the George Washington National Forest. She and her husband, Mark, have a little place on 4 acres, slightly in the middle of nowhere. They do have neighbors close by and a country store, so it's not all that in the middle of nowhere. But it does take about 30 minutes or so to get into Staunton.

Out where Lisa is, there is no wireless cell service and they don't have an internet connection. They don't even have cable tv. Internet and cable are available but they just aren't priorities for Lisa and Mark. They get by just fine without either. I wish I could do that.

Without any internet I was disconnected and I liked it. It was nice to be disconnected and difficult to want to reconnect today. It seriously felt like a rest for my brain.

The photo is the path that runs past their barn back to their apple tree and little orchard that they are just getting going. It's quiet and peaceful there. Even though I was there just under 24 hours, I do feel little renewed and restored.

Saying Goodbye*




May 2009 sucked ass. My two closest girlfriends and I each lost a beloved friend. I've known these girls for over 20 years and we've seen each other through some bullshit but these events were nothing compared to the events of this month.

Lisa lost Cinder in a tragic accident. Poor little kitty was killed by a car. Lisa had no chance to say goodbye to little Cinder and her poor kitty died in such a tragic manner.

I lost Mr. Just woke up and he had passed. At least I got to say goodbye while I was petting him for the last time, even though he has already gone. But he was at home on his favorite rug when it happened.

Melissa lost Dexter. Dexter was an old boy and sadly his time to move on from this world had come. Melissa was able to assist Dexter onto the next leg of his journey at home. She was able to say goodbye and look into his eyes.

The three of us don't have any children. Our pets are our babies and friends. They gave us unconditional love and never said anything nasty to hurt us. Each of us experienced profound joy and presence with these little creatures. Cinder, Mr. and Dexter are all chillin' at the Rainbow Bridge now.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Peeks Around 12*

My friend Rene gave me this cool, beaded candle holder. It hangs out back in our oasis sanctuary.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Sweetness*

This is the sweetness I get to experience everyday. Thank you little Lucy Poo.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Peeks Around 11*

Peeks Around 11 is one of the walls of my work space. This wall is to my right when I'm at my computer. It's the picture wall with some positive energy notes and clippings thrown in. Kitties, wedding pics, Hawaii, me & Lisa, among others. All I have to do to forget the bullshit that often accompanies work is look to my right.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Fresh honeysuckle. Wish we had some in our yard. I feel like I can smell it from this photo.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our Little Creatures*

Tiki Baby has been out and about more lately. Before Mr. passed away, she seemed to always be laying in a bed somewhere. But in the last week or so, she's been hanging out. The other day I let her out on the deck with me. She can't get anywhere fast and really just enjoys chillin' outside. So now I'm cool with letting her hang out there while I'm cooking or doing something in the kitchen.

Today she was out there and Lucy noticed. You could tell Lucy wasn't quite sure what was going on. Somehow she knew that creature on the deck was familiar. When Tiki came in, the photo above was the scene. Arched back and all fluffy. Lucy had a toy in her mouth and pretty much poofed and froze. Amazingly, the camera was accessible.

Later I found Tiki napping by the Buddha altar. They are totally drawn to the Buddha altar and I've found Lucy and Tiki several times now chillin' with Buddha. Clearly some kick ass energy that our litte creatures are picking up on.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Meet Jack. Jack crossed our path this morning when Shawn found him strolling down our road with no people. I was still asleep at the time as were Lucy and Tiki.

Shawn came into the bedroom saying we had an intruder in the house. I was like, Huh? Wha? and kind of rolled over and sat up to find Jack in the bedroom. As Shawn was explaining what was going on Tiki spied Jack. Suffice to say she was not happy.

A few minutes later Lucy met Jack. She was not pleased to meet Jack. After a horrifying run through the house, Lucy hid in the window behind a shelf and a picture frame.

Not a happy cat. Ultimately we were able to contact Jack's people. They came and got him within a few minutes. Apparently Jack lives just a few blocks away. It was a fun hour or so this morning, not our typical Sunday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Present on a Saturday*

So my day today was one full of presence. I got up earlier than expected because Shawn was up at dawn to move plants around, to make sure they wouldn't get sun burned.

So after breakfast and before going to teach yoga I was present with the kitties.

Then I went to teach two yoga classes where we focused on how strengthening, balancing and stretching our bodies, leads to strong, balanced, flexible lives off the mat. I had a photo shoot this afternoon with a wonderful little family. Before I left I got a shot of the fabulous pink rosebush. Can you smell the pink?

The newest addition to the Smith family is just a few days shy of the one year birthday of his older sister. They are so awesome ... and I was totally present with them.

Here is the original muchkin that started it all. Exactly a year ago this weekend I went to take pictures of this little cutie when she was a mere three weeks old.

Here's daddy with the new munchkin.

Then the whole family. I love this second shot because I love funny faces in photos. It goes back to when I was kid and my brother Mike, made up "the face." Every photo for about 5 years with Mike and my brother Matt, and yes, sometimes me, had someone making "the face." When Shawn saw these photos, he loved them. He's an only child so he never had the sibling force to ruin photos. When we got married, Shawn posed with a photo with my brother Mike, and Shawn made the face, full and proud!

We don't walk around in life all posed. If you do, then seriously, you're a poser. We walk around in life as we are, present in our silliness with our kids or our pets, making faces and being silly, because it's fun.

After the photo shoot, I went to hell and back, aka, Wegmans on a Saturday. I don't know why I do this to myself. One day I will learn.

When I got home, I found what Shawn had been doing this afternoon. We now have some kick ass, colorful, terra cotta pots.

Finally, sometime before I started dinner, around 7pm, I spotted Poo chillin' by the Buddha altar. It's been a great day and I've been totally present for the whole thing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pink Roses Day 3*

Yes ... Day 3 of the Pink Roses. The thing is that they aren't around for long. They start out as tight little buds and very pink. As they open the pink becomes lighter until finally after they've been open for about 2 days, they are almost white. So you have to just bask in their glory and be present while they are here. It's a great lesson in non-attachment.

We've had fresh flowers in our home for a few months now. From the daffodils and tulips, to some azalea and now the roses and some, what we believe is mountain laurel. Fresh flowers in the house totally create a zen environment. You get to be present with their beauty in your sanctuary. Here are the roses I cut today inside with the plant they come from in the background. Bonus is we can look out the kitchen window and enjoy all the roses.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Pink Roses*

More of the pink roses. Yes, they are as soft as they look. If the color Pink had a smell, it would be the sweet, soft, light and airy scent of these roses.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Pink Roses*

The pink rosebush is in bloom. It's just starting and there are buds all over it. This rosebush was a present to me from Shawn and over the last 7 or so years has become specatular. More to come...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tiny Little Flowers*

These tiny flowers are growing between some stepping stones in the front yard. You would step on them if you weren't paying attention. But when you're present and aware, you notice tiny little things like these.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Sometimes beautiful things are hidden, right in front of us. All we have to do is really open our eyes and look around. This gorgeous lily is behind some other plants and you wouldn't really see it if you didn't look for it. But I found it by being present during my daily checking out of the garden.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Saturday Afternoon*

(Photo by the lovely Paige)

Today my friend Paige and I went to get tattoos. When we took our yoga teacher training together we both agreed we should celebrate and honor our completion of the training with tattoos. Today was the day. We both got variations of an Om symbol and a lotus. It was great and we're so glad we did it together.

(Photo by the lovely Paige)

I love mine. I feel very exotic and bohemian. I designed it and wasn't sure if it was good as is or if I wanted it to be more decorative and colorful. I decided to go with what I had and I can always add to it later.

I won't change a thing. It is perfect the way it is.

Paige got her tattoo on the inside of her ankle. Ouch! And we both did it without any shots!

Friday, May 15, 2009

In an Instant*

You never know what is waiting for you when you wake up in the morning. It's a new day, full of possibilities ... good, bad or otherwise. Yesterday I woke up to finding the Mr. had passed away. We're just crushed. In an instant everything changed, the entire dynamic of our household.

This teaches us to take the time, every single moment to be present and grateful for every little thing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sun and Moon*

These are the ceramic Sun and Moon pieces I made for Shawn for xmas 2001. They also hang on the lattice that Green Man hangs on. There's a fun little story behind them in that they almost ruined a divine plan.

Shawn had planned to propose to me on November 23 , 2001. He had been planning this for quite a while, proposing for over 5 months and the date for about 2 months. We had been talking about taking a little weekend getaway to visit a winery and hangout in the mountains of central VA. I didn't know about the proposal plan and started working on these ceramic pieces for his xmas gift in mid-November. Well, in working with clay, timing is everything. The clay can't be too moist and you definitely don't want it to start drying out before you're finished.

A few days before our planned getaway, again I know nothing about the proposal and Shawn knows nothing about the ceramic pieces, I mention maybe we should stay home for the weekend. I knew I needed to get these pieces finished up before they dried out too much and I also knew I would not be able to keep them moist enough if I was gone for 2 days.

Well, Shawn was like, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? WHY??? He usually was very laid back and flexible and normally would have been, sure, we can go away another time. But here he was freaking out a little and I didn't know what to think. I figured he really wanted to get away with me since at the time we weren't living together and really only saw each other on the weekends. So I was like ok, let's go, all the while trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do about these clay pieces that were sure to dry out and be ruined by the time I got back.

I soaked the clay pieces in water, wrapped them super tight in plastic and left their fate up to the universe. We went on our little getaway where our destiny and fate was fulfilled and Shawn's plan went off without a hitch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Peeks Around 10*

Peeks Around 10 is the Green Man that hangs on the lattice that separates our deck from the neighbors deck. In about 2 months Green Man will be surrounded by foliage from the moonflowers.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kitty Junk Food*

These are what I call the Kitty Doritos. It's Pounce 3 Cheese flavor and the cheese powder sticks to your fingers just like Doritos. I don't get this stuff for them, it actually comes from "grandma," Shawn's mom. And they don't get them all the time. I mostly give them a treat once in a while so I can shake the bag and they will associate that sound with the forthcoming treat. This comes in really handy when say, Mr. darts out the deck door and bee lines to the neighbors deck. It also comes in handy when they're not around and I want to know where they are. Rather than go look, just a few shakes of the bag and they typically come a runnin'.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


These old pliers certainly can't function anymore but they sure do look cool.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Have You Ever Seen Anything Like This?

This is The Mr. licking on a melon rind. One day, 8 years ago or so, I was cutting a canteloup and The Mr. noticed and started going crazy whining. He liked the smell so I gave him a little taste and he loved it. So when I cut melon I give him the leftover rind to lick. Here he is in melon ecstacy.


These are all the plants that came from inside the house and my office. There are even a few more not stuffed under the deck. Some of these plants are at "plant camp" for the summer. They belong to some co-workers who have seen our plants and were all like, can Shawn make my plant look like that? Well, indeed he can. Shawn will now spend the rest of spring and summer repotting and rearranging pretty much all of these. A lot of these plants have been pruned and those pieces are now being rooted to make new plants, which we will not be keeping. So, I will have some plants to give away. There will be diffenbachia, wandering jew and probably some calancho.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Peeks Around 9*

Peeks Around 8 is yet another shelf. We have lots of knick knack type stuff, cool knick knack stuff like these agate slices, glass beads, kuan yin and ganesha. So we need lots of shelf space to put it all these things on. This is another shelf Shawn made right by the front door complete with hooks to hang the keys on. It's painted blue to match other blue decor in this room which is the first room you enter after stepping through the front door.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Branding Yourself*

One of the hardest things to do as a designer/artist is brand yourself. At least it has been for me. Who the hell am I and how do I want to represent myself to the world??? I still haven't figured that our for my graphic design persona. But the artist brand is emerging.

It started when I was in yoga teacher training and the first weekend we did a collage for the cover of our binders. Then we did another collage the last weekend for the back cover.
Both of my collages were similar in that they had images of Buddha, lotus flowers, Oms, chakras, my kitties, my hubby and other symbols and art that are meaningful to me, mostly of eastern and pagan influence. Oh and the colors ... I love deeper, saturated colors, especially reds and oranges. They are the photos for today.

Since I started this blog, I have been contemplating the design of it. I wanted it to show who I am. I could have easily slapped a design up, after all, I am a graphic designer. And I did that, clean and simple, but the style of design that I do for work isn't really who I am inside.

Finally, a few weeks ago I thought of those collages from teacher training. That's who I am. And I could use my design skills to make my blog art. And today, finally after over 4 months of posting, here it is!!
I am though, constantly evolving. So this art and the blog are likely to evolve as well. But this is a start and it's a start I am really happy with.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Sun in Sight*

It's been raining here for days. But it seems like weeks. I know we need the rain, so beautiful little flowers like these can be nourished but ugh! So, this photo is from the last day when there was any sustained sun, last Friday, and even then it was pretty cloudy most of the day. Sun, please ... any day now will be fine!

Monday, May 4, 2009


This is a pretty cool piece of driftwood Shawn found. Can't wait to take some more pics of it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


This was this, just four months ago.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Peeks Around 8*

Peeks Around 7 is the shadowbox. This hangs on a wall between our living room and the kitchen. There is all kinds of stuff on this. Little pewter dragons, wizards, kitties, and trolls and dwarves with crazy weapons that I think go with the game Magic. Crystals and rocks, tiny little vases, dice and other little mini bottles and boxes to stash things away in.

I think the shadowbox may be an old typesetting set drawer. If it's not, it at least reminds me of one.