Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Have You Found Yourself? (creatively?)

i do know some artists who could answer this question in the affirmative.  they have found their unique creative passion and are moving forward on it every day (or so it seems!)  but for many of us, it can be more of a struggle.  

 i know so many creative folks who feel like they have not quite found their “niche”.  or maybe their style.  they love creating, but they are seeking a form of expression that is distinctively THEIRS.  they are patiently (or not) waiting for that day when they will know exactly what that is.  

 i am one who would fall into that category for sure.  i am trying new things and combinations of things, all the while thinking that something is going to “click” one day very soon and it will all be crystal clear.  my future rolled out before me in a smooth, arrow-straight path steeped in creative bliss, beckoning me to hop on and take the first step.

but maybe that’s not ever going to happen….  i’m starting to get that.  here’s the thing.  i do not want to be living my life in a “waiting” mode.  i want my focus to be right now.  this day.  this moment.  it’s ok to feel as if i am not “there” because that’s just the way life is.  

it keeps unfolding and evolving and sometimes you make false starts and end up going 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.  but i want to be in the flow of it…. soak up each experience and learn to embrace the questions and the uncertainty.  still working on it…

bye-bye november (!?!)

 (all photos taken as part of one of my latest creative endeavors, the iphone!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Voice

(no, not the tv show!)…. in our family, one person was gifted with a voice.  not only a singing voice good enough to be the lead in a band that was wildly popular back in the day and even cut a few records that made the charts (the chevrons - oh, I wish I had some pics!), but a speaking voice that was distinctive enough to make a career choice so plain that no thought whatever had to go into it.

Not the Chevrons.... but another singing gig in the 60's

you see, my brother bob has always been a radio guy.  he was up on the latest pop music while I was still a toddler, driving my parents just a little bit crazy with his constant “drum-beating” on the back of the car seat, even when the radio wasn’t on!

 when i was in elementary school, he started his first radio station.   it was housed in our basement and broadcast all the way to the next door neighbors’ house.  pretty amazing.  so it was no surprise when he landed his first radio dj job on the campus station while he was still a college student.

one thing led to another and eventually his radio name became a household word in grand rapids, michigan.  he decided he wanted to raise his family there, so resisted offers to go to bigger markets, but  he had plenty of work - not only on the radio, but doing voice jobs, mc-ing special events and even tv spots. 

Always amazes me that he knows how to work all this stuff!

it was a thrill for me to have a “famous” brother – his distinctive voice could be heard all over town! (yet you couldn't find a humbler, more likable guy!!)

From the Grand Rapids Press, 2004
 well, the last few years have been tough ones for local radio stations.  live radio is becoming a rarity.   in spite of station changes, take-overs, down-sizing and cut hours, bob always managed to keep something going.  until last week.  sadly, experience does not seem to count as much as youth these days and he was let go.  no fanfare.  no warning.  no good-bye or thank you party. 

so i thought it was only right that i pay a little tribute here  in my corner to a long and successful career - ended too soon.  love you, bob, and so sad to see this happen but glad i still get to hear your voice…. (on the telephone!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


“take a chance and openly give thanks, 
even if you’re not sure what for, 
and feel the plentitude of all that is living 
brush up against your heart”
(mark nepo, from the book of awakening)
(what a book!)

thinking and writing about what i’m grateful for is not something i save for thanksgiving.  i mean, sure, it’s nice to have a special day for it and all, but if gratefulness is not something that is incorporated into your life on a daily basis, well… then you are seriously missing the boat!  because (in my opinion) it’s what makes the difference between just existing day to day and truly living a meaningful life, no matter what your circumstances.  (i don’t mean to imply that it’s easy…..) 

 i do however want to highlight something in particular today that i am grateful for and that is diversity.  because you see, spending days on end in the kitchen, all in honor of one meal, is not my idea of fun.  sure, i can cook when i need to and i do enjoy baking now and again, but i have accepted that this is not my creative passion....  

happily, i have other passions, but i am particularly grateful today to those who actually enjoy putting a feast together and sharing it with others.  i mean, it’s especially enjoyable  to visit someone’s home for a meal when you know that they get joy out of preparing it.  what a gift - definitely a win-win!

and why stop there?  i’m always soooo grateful whenever i visit a doctor’s office to know that there are those who, unlike me, do not become weak and light-headed at the slightest sight of blood.  and that they actually enjoy (or don’t mind!) tending to my medical needs.  another gift.

by the same token, when i was teaching special needs students, i regularly had people say to me, “i don’t know how you do it.  it takes a special person….. etc. etc.” and i would always mentally poo-poo that idea, but the fact is, they were probably right – if by “special person” you mean “one that happens to have my unique gifts and talents”.  it just happened to be something i enjoyed doing and was good at.  but it's not for everyone.

so, think today about all the people in your life and what they contribute to it.  and wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same??  there is such a wealth of diversity out there and i am definitely GRATEFUL!!

(all photos taken last thanksgiving.... 
because i have a wonderful friend who likes to cook, 
i can go out and take pictures.... 
i'm so grateful for you, mary!!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beach Volleyball

i know, a little out of character… no one is going to mistake me for a huge sports fan.  and though i will readily admit that sports are not really my thing, it may surprise you to learn that i married a jock.  football in high school, basketball in college, running (before the knees went south), tennis every friday (still).  but the biggest lifetime passion of all?  beach volleyball.  in fact, the sole reason stu moved to san diego from northen ca in his 20’s was to play the game.

 much more than just a game, it was a life-style.  all other facets of life were put on hold so that the game could be played.  every day.  all day.  this was going on when we first met and, needless to say, it did not go over very well with my parents!  there were times when he was living in his car.  why?  so that he could spend every waking moment on the courts.  eventually compromises had to be made…. but the game persisted.

 along with the life-style was a culture and a “tribe” of guys.  they were competitive, but they were also a tight unit.  and that tightness has stood the test of time.  in fact in recent years there have been more and more “reunion” events, with every detail of some of the particularly impressive games and tournaments endlessly rehashed over cold beers and snacks or dinner.

 friday night we attended an amazing event.  the cbva beach volleyball hall of fame induction ceremony and party.  most of the greatest “legends” of the game were there, many of them now in their 60’s and 70’s.  their passion for the game was still obvious as they spoke about the “old days” and poured congratulatory kudos on each other’s prowess.

many of these guys turned their love of the game into careers.  in stu’s case, he discovered relatively late in life that he has a passion for teaching  beach volleyball to young people and has set up his own coaching program.  so while sports are not necessarily my thing…. i do get it – passion is passion – i respect and support it and i’m actually a little envious of this life-time connection.  it’s a powerful thing!

A little press never hurts!

Friday, November 18, 2011


how dull life would be without you!
i’m so happy when
 i’m aware enough
to know that i am in your presence
i know at that moment
that i am awake
and not just letting time
slip through my fingers
like excess rain
dripping from the leaves

you are truly the gift that keeps on giving
you touch me on sight
then burrow in
and settle deep down
residing in a place
where i can revisit
wake you up
and call you back to life
when i need a small sip
of your loveliness

 (photos taken 8/11 at big lagoon, northern ca)