Letter

Letter: #photoadayjuly

When I was of the tooth losing age, I somehow got it in my head that:

a.) There was not a singular tooth fairy.  There was a whole magical land full of tooth fairies.  Because let’s be honest here, ONE tooth fairy collecting all those teeth EVERY SINGLE NIGHT?  No way could even a mythical, magical, glittery character accomplish so much on her own.
b.) Because there were many tooth fairies, they each had a name (of course) and a number.  In Tooth Fairy Land it’s easier to keep up with all those fairies if they each had a number, obviously.  Surely many of them had the same name.  So the number system was far more efficient.
c.) It was in my best interest to create written contracts for the tooth fairy.  Very plainly: you sign for my tooth, you can have it.  Also, please leave me some money.

Kids… where the heck they get this stuff…

This is one of my tooth fairy letters/contracts that I would leave under my pillow with my tooth carefully folded inside.  Those signatures and numbers were done by my aunt because my mom knew I’d recognize her handwriting.  Every time I see one of these contracts it cracks me up, because what kid does this?!  Also, I cringe because clearly my spelling and grammar needed a lot of work.  But what I lacked in proper conveyance of the English language, I made up for in dotting my exclamation points with little molars.  It’s all in the details, people.

Best Part of Your Day

For ChanuChristmaKah last year I was given a gift certificate to Kiva.

In short, Kiva is “a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.”  I’ve been a huge fan of Kiva for years and I’ve always wanted to be a part of it.  It’s one of those things on my “list” that I keep forgetting about.  I’m not entirely too sure why, except that I had not yet made Kiva a part of my life routine and you know how taking that initial step goes…

Also, I have the attention span of a goldfish.

So last year when my aunt asked me what I wanted for the holidays I basically squealed, “a Kiva gift certificate!”  It was the only thing I could think of that I truly wanted.  Because not only was she gifting me the money to turn around and invest in someone who genuinely needs and deserves it, but she was giving me the platform to start my own Kiva portfolio.  She gave me a gift that will continue to give as long as I continue to reinvest the funds.  And she gave me the absolute joy of not only being able to help someone in need, but to be a part of the process as well.  After seven months, I’ve finally been able to make a decision about where to invest the money and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Sifting through all of the applicants, knowing you can pick only one (or two) in whom to invest is one seriously tough-ass decision to make.  But I finally found a woman that I’m a little bit in love with and hope to some day visit her in Peru (after all, Peru IS on Rhonda’s and my bucket travel list).  Meet Lesly:

Best Part of Your Day: #photoadayjuly  –  *Click image to enlarge for better reading*

Today’s “Photo a Day July” (yeah, I’m attempting that again… let’s see if I can make it through an entire month this time!) is “Best Part of Your Day.”  My day started off pretty crappy actually, and this** is exactly what I needed to not only turn it around, but pretty much make this the best week/month/year ever.  Seriously.  I’m more excited about this than I can adequately say.

A-hundred-million-lifetime “thank yous,” Robyn.  One of the best gifts ever.

**I know it’s not officially a photo that I shot today.  But it’s a screen capture that I cropped and made to look kind-of, maybe a little bit like a photo.  Back off, I’m participating… that’s all that matters.  Like I said, “attention span of a goldfish.”  It’s a miracle I’ve made it THIS far.

Update: In the time it took me to type up this post, Lesly reached her goal and is fully funded!  Color me happy. :)

Something Happy

Many weeks ago Rhonda and I met up with some family in Bellville to play in the country for a day. It was awesome. I have a whole post about it in my head. This photo is going to sit here until I can get to that post. Because it cracks me up. And makes me all warm and fuzzy. Plus this is generally such a silly place… not a stressed out one.

My mom and that goat look like they’re ready to run away together.  I think they could be very happy.  At least until the bag of carrots runs out…

Alright, Darling

*Phone Rings.*

Caller ID image.

Me: “Hiiiiiiiyyyeee!”
Grams: “Oh, shit!  I accidentally called you!  I didn’t mean to do that.  I was trying to delete you.”
Me: “You were deleting me?!”
Grams: “It was an old message.  I didn’t mean to call back.  I wanted to delete the call.”
Me: “I can’t believe you’re deleting me.  I’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight.”
Grams: “Alright, Darling.”
Me: “…….”
Grams: “OkayIloveyoubye.”

 

Keeper

It’s funny (the way awkward moments are funny) that I am now suddenly (or rather, haltingly) incapable of throwing away a simple birthday greeting.  When I was younger I never disposed of a single greeting card.  I felt that they were a palpable, tangible link binding me to that split moment when one makes a conscious decision to do something nice for you.  They were tokens of kindness.  And I thought that one day when I was old and bored, I’d revisit them one by one, remembering that St. Patrick’s Day in 1993 when my mother would make green pancakes for us kids before school, and there would be a card full of glitter and a two dollar bill from my grandparents.  I held on to the card.  I parted with the two dollar bill.

When my parents split and there was a lot of moving from house to dorm, from dorm to house, from house to house, from house to apartment, from apartment to house, from house to house again, and so forth; I threw away my coveted box of greeting cards.  Something about moving so frequently makes a person evaluate and re-evaluate what’s worth all of the nomadic hauling.  As my responsibilities grew my priorities changed.  And before I really knew what was happening, I’d given up on a future designated nostalgic hobby for the sake of practicality.  Now to this day I will spend an appropriate amount of time appreciating greetings of all sorts before eventually tossing them out.  Still there are a select few that I keep for keep’s sake.  And they live in new boxes with new purposes and a better sense of commitment, for I’ve promised myself that these.  These I keep.

My birthday was only a handful of days ago and with it came many greeting cards.  One particularly on time each year and without fail, personalized just enough to be genuinely heart warming and smile inducing without being contrived.  I recognize the arpeggios quality to the lettering long before having to read the signature.  It’s not only the thought that counts in this case, but the consistency.  Each year it never fails to surprise me that I’m so well remembered.  And it makes me wonder how many other people in my family had taken notes from her over the years.  Mental jots to be more like her.  To be a more sincere, kind, accepting, encouraging, and loving version of ourselves.  My mother wrote me a beautiful letter on my sixteenth birthday, and I always wondered if it was inspired in part by the letters our Aunt Glenna wrote to my mother when my mother was younger.  My Great Aunt Glenna had a way of making the simplest of happenstance into a brilliantly poignant moment (assuming you were paying attention enough to catch it).  And I’m so happy to see that some of those parts of her rubbed off on parts of us.  It’s the smaller things with the greater impact that truly stick.

Yesterday morning when my mom called me to tell me that Aunt Glenna had passed away suddenly, all I could muster up through the “whats?!” and the tears was, “But she JUST sent me a birthday card.  I haven’t even had a chance to send a “thank you” note yet.” The rest of the day was a complete blur of emotional unrest and sorrow for the loss of such a warming light.  And when I got home, I couldn’t help but sift through my stack of recently acquired cards to find the one from her and my Uncle Louis with its simple humor and simple warmth on a simple, glossy card stock.  I arranged the card to the top of the stack and just stared at it as I felt rather expeditiously that this card.  This card I keep.

Since I’m Celebrating My Last Year in My Twenties

Imma live photo bomb this page with my birthday as it unfolds.  ALL WEEKEND LONG.  I know, the Internet hasn’t been this exciting since the invention of Youtube.  You?  Are welcome.

My first birthday card given to me a day early by my Pookie Bear, Kramer. He knows me, he really knows me (this card made me laugh so hard I might have peed a couple drops).
In my car when I left for work this morning. Addressed to “My Gorgeous Wife.” Awwwwweeeeee… I know. I just puked rainbows, too.
I got to work and I was all, “Dammit it’s my birthday! I’m havin’ Donut Gems! And Coffee! And no one can stop me!” Consequently, I’m rockin’ a wicked sugar high and I’m pretty sure I’m hallucinating just a teensy bit. Whatevs. WORTH IT.
I booted up my computer this morning to find that my Facebook had exploded. I’m rather touched. Particularly by my friends who said things like “Happy birthday! I miss you touching my naughty parts!” Which will be fun for my Grandma to read. I have the greatest peeps ever.
And then my phone started blowing up and it’s been going off all day. It’s making me all warm and gooey inside. I imagine this is what cookie dough feels like when it’s just about to come out of the oven.
Birthday lunch! It may not look like much, but this is one of my favorite salads from a local, family owned deli.  Plus, it was bought for me.  FREE birthday lunch!  Even better!
These were my lunch dates: Dad, Hoops & Yo-Yo.
And then Rhonda eludes to dirty stuff, not deterring our friends but only egging them on… Again I say, “I love my peeps.”
And then a knock at my office door for the delivery of a bouquet of my favorite flower! Thanks, Mom & Steve!
At the BRC (Big Red Cock) Having a couple of beers at the bar before dinner. Yes, it’s a Hipstamatic photo but I couldn’t get a decent shot in such low light. Even with a 1.4 lens on 1600ISO. So lay off the ironic hipster jokes. Also, Austin Amber Ale is pretty darn good. In case you were wondering.
Dinner and Dessert: Pork chops and macaroni. And SNICKERS BEIGNETS. Yeah, I’ll wait a moment while you let that sink in. They were “HOLY CRAP” good.
This is me and my Grams at dinner. Not shown here: Rhonda, my Dad, and bestie, Ileya. It was a good time had by all.  Also, don’t ask me why I’m doing the Paris Hilton stink eye.  That one beer must’ve really done me in or something…

Friday night I got to continue celebrating with our Compound Crew (seven years and running!), which meant Cake!  And Starbucks!  And duck jokes!

Some of the best cupcakes ever made. And an extra special birthday soy latte. So totally perfect.
Tim had to console Sugar because we wouldn’t let her have any cupcakes. Poor, mistreated puppy…
I really love that my friends give me sentimental stuff like nice coasters with photos in them and framed pictures… and a “not a pet duck” pet duck phone. They butter me up and then poke me with a stick. And they wouldn’t be my friends otherwise. :)
I had to immediately call someone to tell them that I was talking to them from a duck. So naturally I called my mother.

         

The next day was Rhonda’s designated “Pamper Lindsey Day” (I know, I totally have the best wife EVER).  We got Thai Massages and then mani-pedis in massage chairs and then we went out to a lovely dinner at one of my absolute favorite restaurants, t’afia.  Seriously, my wife is kinda, totally, awesomely awesome.

Best place for an authentic Thai Massage in Houston. We would know. We went to Thailand. Plus, the place is so cozy and the staff so wonderful and kind and happy. Hitting up West Gray Thai Massage is a bit like Disney World for me.

I wish I had shot more images on “Pamper Lindsey Day,” but I was a bit too noodly to handle a camera.  Next weekend when my mom totally spoils me for my birthday, I’ll be sure to rock out the images.

To be continued…

The Florida Post (Fi-nal-ly)

So, long story short: I’ve been dying of the plague (again) and I’ve neglected my blog and you all (again).  And if I could afford ponies made of chocolate sprinkles for all of you, I’d totally hook you up because I truly am sorry for my absence.  I hate when I’m not posting regularly.  Anyway…

Check out our trip to Florida!

We took a fan boat tour through The Everglades, and it was one of the coolest fucking things I’ve ever done. I want to go back to the 10,000 Islands with my own fan boat for a couple of months and just explore. And then maybe I’d finally see a giant python eat a gator. Anyway, this is the view from one of the 10,000 Islands. It’s a bit perfect.
This is me and Rhonda having the time of our lives on the fan boat. And that’s Captain Robert. And no, we did not lose a bet, we wore those hats proudly.  *Photo by my Dad*
This brown pelican kicked it on our boat with us for a while. Nice guy.
Lin and Dad kicked it on the boat with us too. Uhhhhh… check out that view! Zooming through those channels was ah-may-zing.
Mangrove Tunnel. *Photo by Rhonda*
This is me with a baby gator. And this was the only pose I could think of in the moment. I’m surprised that thing didn’t whip around and bite off my nose for being such a smart-ass. *Photo by Rhonda*
Instead of feeding a baby gator my nose, I fed a giraffe some lettuce. In this exact moment I was having an in depth conversation with the giraffe about Gene Simmons. *Photo by my Dad*

Also at the Naples Zoo we saw:

Monkeys.
White Ibis.
Pretty Flowers.
And among so many other animals, some macaws.

When we weren’t out playing and eating.  We were relaxing with adult beverages and books on our condo’s wrap-around terrace.

I know… go ahead and hate us.  *Photo by Rhonda*

Sneak Peek

Besides coming down with the flu and quarantining myself for a week, having an incredible anniversary celebration weekend, and then playing nurse for four days to Rhonda who contracted a completely different plague than the one I was harboring, I’ve been a creating machine.  I have a ton of projects in my lap (not the least of which is keeping up with the Work of Art group as well as Betty and the Bear), but these are the ones taking up the majority of my time right now:

This is a mixed media piece I’m working on to be auctioned off at a Gala for the Stehlin Foundation. It needs to be done by the end of the weekend.  Obviously I have a lot to finish.

 

I’m not exactly in a place to talk about it yet, but my mom and I have a garage full of old furniture that we’re giving new life. This piece is in the process of getting a “Parisian antique chic” makeover. As things develop, I’ll be talking more aobut this whole furniture endeavor…

 

Getting a head start on a project due on Monday. Graphite, pen & ink on watercolor paper. Can’t wait to add the color.

So you know… if you’re wondering where I’ve been, this is it.  With exception of wanting to die the week I had Ebola, I’m loving all of this creative work I’m cranking out.  It’s a happy busy.

*All photos shot with my iPhone.  The final products will look way better photographically.

Well Played, Ikea, Well Played

Last October my Grandmother (Grams) turned a whopping 80 years young, and one month later she finally retired.  With retirement came the cleaning out of her massive office.  It was like a second apartment where she kept and displayed many family photos, collectibles, plants, things people often brought her from their travels, and so. much. more.  I’m not going to go as far as to call my grandmother a hoarder because she’s far from it.  But simply put, she likes to keep things.  She hates messes but she’s perfectly fine with organized clutter.  You know, neat piles.  Which has worked for her for many years, but since she recently moved everything from her office of fifteen years to her already quite lived in apartment… well… it was overwhelming to say the least.

A couple of weeks ago I received a panicked phone call from Grams that bordered on the side of death-con five and could I please for the love of all that is holy, help her find a way to coexist with the mountains of stuff.  I reassured her that she had come to the right place, explaining that I harbored a very intimate relationship with my label maker, and I could be there in a couple of days.  Long story short, we’ve had two big cleaning sessions so far.  Mere drops in a soon-to-be incredibly neat and tidy ocean (whatever that means), and we’ve a long way to go yet.

But!  Point being, all of the reorganizing and cleansing new beginnings and so forth have inspired me to apply some of those methods at home.  Last week I tore into our bedroom closets.  Filling trash bags with clothes and shoes to donate and completely restyling our closet space.  By the time I’m finished, every closet in our house will be 100% functional to our needs and no longer used as “dump or hide-away” space.  In order to get to that goal line however, it requires things like containers and separators and other neatly organizy gadgets.  Which loosely translates to three trips to Ikea in one week.  I KNOW.  But as insane as Ikea can be (oh GOD, we were there on Saturday.  SATURDAY. IN. IKEA.), those Swedes sure know how to structuralize their shit.  Also?  They apparently have a sense of humor.


Now ask me how many of those bins we bought.