Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Carol Hicks Boton - Oh How I Love Thee


Your tour guide today.





If you don't like taxidermy, best to not go in, 
because there is an abundance of it.





By far, our favorite stuffed scenario.



A lot of bedding...and one thing I love at her stores is the pillows she does for the foot of beds.




I told you there was a lot of this.





Fab light fixture.




If in Fredricksburg, go visit.  Plan on an easy hour or two.
I did this in 15 minutes, because I had Lucille and I'm not going
to drag my kid to a store like this for hours and expect her to have fun.  But in 15 minutes, we had a blast!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Letters for Miss Maya...and the list goes on.



My letter writing project has been going well.  If you missed why I am doing this, then look here.  Once I found a format to follow and started a system of sorts, it's now the same as the regular routine of brushing my teeth.

I think the most difficult part of the learning curve initially was not getting in the groove of writing the letters, it was sitting down to think of who to write 62 letters to.  Have you ever sat down and written 62 letters, maybe for graduation presents or your wedding?  When do do write a note of thanks in these situations:


  1. You know what you got.
  2. You know who to thank.
  3. You pretty much know what to say.

But when you sit down to purposefully write notes to people to acknowledge them and say all the things you have never said, guess what happens?  It creates an avalanche.

You start thinking of all kinds of things...stuff you might have never said to your partner (good and bad), things you wish you had told a previous employer, quippy responses you should have said to a customer.  I find this experience somewhat like a cleanse.  

One key to the success of this is not writing a letter everyday, but writing multiple letters when I am in the mood.  So, I have a list, I know what letter I should be on, some days I fall behind and some days I am ahead.  And that's cool because these are my rules.

Miss Maya...I know words are powerful.  You taught me that.  Thank you for that lesson.  This experience is changing me in ways I had not quite imagined, and I am enjoying doing it for you.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Summer in Mexico with a F-ing Hairless Dog





Many, many summers ago, I spent a summer in Mexico doing an intensive summer language program with UST (University of Saint Thomas).  We lived in what was once the Governor's Home in the Yucatan in a town called Merida.  Sounds palatial, I know.  It wasn't.

A bunch of partially supervised college kids in a tiny town with no drinking age.  With only one disco that had no phone and no way to call cabs.  Uh-huh.  We hitched rides from strangers to get home late at night after curfew from that disco.  Yup.  We did.

We bought hammocks in a store where they asked us to go back into the back room and I promise you now, we were lucky to have come out of the back room alive.

The owner of the house had a hairless dog and a hairless cat.  Do you know how weird these animals look in real life? I was in equal amounts awed by their looks and repulsed by them.  My friend, Craig, in an inebriated state after one of these trips to the above mentioned disco, went so far as to describe this hairless dog to our driver while trying to get home.  He kept repeating "We have to get home.  We have a f-ing hairless dog. I have a f-ing hairless dog!" 

During this summer, the historical event that was captivating me was the sale of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's private jewelry collection.  It was going to be 'the auction of the century.'  I think I read some Dominick Dunne story in Vanity Fair and it inspired me to write my thesis paper on this auction and their love story for my paper...and are you ready for this?  In Spanish.  I think the blood, sweat and agony that my friend Eli went through helping me get that paper finished is what bonded us for almost 30 years now.

Why am I recapping all of this?  I guess my daughter asked me tonight why I knew so much more Spanish than her.  I was able to recount how I did and think about why I did.  I had forgotten I knew this language once.  I loved this language once.  I experienced this culture and was forever changed by it.

I cannot wait until my daughter asks to study abroad.  "Yes, Yes, Yes" I will say...."Go, Go, Go" I will say.  Come back and have stories that you cannot tell me and friendships you will savor for a lifetime.  Experience going into a mud hut with dirt floors and no furniture, where meals are cooked in an oven outdoors, and people who cannot afford beds offer you a soda, because you are their guest.  Stay in a house with no air conditioning.  Eat food that gives you many types of intestinal problems.  Go be with people who have nothing and have no idea that they do.

Go, baby, so you can be the one sitting at the dinner table years from now recounting an amazing journey to your daughter with memories that make you look back and think "Wow, I did that?"


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why I'll Be Writing 62 Letters This Summer and Dedicating Each One to Maya Angelou



When Maya Angelou passed away, my very first thought
was sadness and then regret.  I regretted never taking even
10 minutes to sit down and write her a thank you note.

A note telling her how much courage she gave me through
reading about her life.  A note telling her how many of her sayings
grounded me, and still do.  A note telling her you have given me
strength and I didn't even know you.

Bless you.  Thank you.
I appreciate you.

I don't want to feel this type of regret again.  To honor her and what she has done, I am going to handwrite one letter a day to
all the people I owe thanks to (even though 62 letters would never cover all the thanks I owe to others), along with some apology letters that are long overdue.

I am going to photograph each letter, so I can reach my goal
by holding myself accountable.  My hope is that this simple
action might inspire others to break out the stationery
and pen one to someone - anyone who could benefit from
their acknowledgement.

Miss Angelou made me believe words are powerful.
They can take on a life of their own.
With honor to her, I intend to honor others.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A New Path, New Seat and A Step Forward


Going down a new path, I am taking the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken.

When I started trying to "follow the bliss" that Joseph Campbell speaks of,
I could not do it.  I started reading everything I could on finding your purpose,
manifesting your destiny, but nothing was becoming apparent.

Then I heard about Brene Brown, I read some of her things and well...I was
learning, but I could not put anything into action.

I started by taking really small steps of courage.  Things like writing an apology letter
to an old friend, signing up for a writing group, and quitting retail after 32 years.
With each step, I became more confident and willing to try the next one.

I NEVER thought I could do these things.

I hired a creative coach named Michelle Ward who I never met.
That's right...she lives in Brooklyn and I live in Houston and we
meet by phone once a week.
Isn't this crazy how the world works like this?

I cannot begin to tell you how much I have blossomed since 
I started working with her.




I feel I can take a seat and focus on myself and my dreams with

no judgement
a security net to catch me
and a voice to egg me on!

Why did I not do this sooner?  I keep asking myself.




I know I want to help others.
 I know I want to write for a living.

I have written a course to teach on 
How to Write a Wicked Good Online Dating Profile
and I hope to teach it at the end of this year.

I have had some awfully good success in this area...I met both my husbands this way
and I wrote profiles for 2 good girlfriends who ended up meeting their husbands this way.

Wouldn't it by so wonderful if I could help others by helping them learn how to write their profiles
or write their profiles for them?

I hope this post might inspire you to take a chance.
Listen to that one nagging thing in the back of your brain that keeps pestering you
and just take some time to let it breathe.


It's scary...no doubt about that.
And worrisome...what if it doesn't work, blah, blah, blah.

But, what if it does?
And even if it doesn't, I think I have learned by now
It will bring me to the next thing I am supposed to do.





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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Best event I attended in 2013: Our wedding

I should title this post...
"How to plan a wedding in 6 days."
If we could have done it quicker, I think we would have.
And here is why.



Although I am not proud to admit this, the truth for all to hear is that this is my third marriage.
Having failed at this twice before, I did not want to call attention to the fact that I was going
to try this thing again.  I was a little embarrassed at telling people...I am getting married
for every time I did, I heard in my head their non-verbal response of "Again?"

I had already had two weddings and this time...
all that was going to matter to me was that this brave man was willing to join me
in partnership and union and not one other thing mattered.

Not what people thought.
Not what I wore.
Not what we did or did not do.
Not what we served.
Not where we had it.
Not who came.


I wore something I already had.
Well, actually, I bought something new, but when I put it on an hour before the ceremony,
you could see right through it.  So, I grabbed something from my closet, and that was that.
Lucy was right there with me and I could not have her remember her mom freaking out
on her wedding day because of some outfit that unfortunately did not work.




We got married outside of the architecture building at Rice, where Bob graduated from years ago.
We walked across the street to the graduate student bar called Valhalla, with both our mothers in attendance, thank Goodness. and had a beer with whoever showed up from our Facebook invitation. I think a lot of people thought it was an invitation to an engagement party, which made it all the better.



In front of 14 people, we said "I do" with my best girl and my stepson at my side and Bob's two best men at his side.  Our dear friend Greg Marshall officiated.
We had about 80 people show up to raise a glass with us at Valhalla.
It wasn't glamorous.  It wasn't big.  It was quick.
But it was authentic.


We exchanged vows with rings we already had.  
I designed my last ring and Bob liked his old ring, so no point getting new ones.
We did burn sage over them 30 minutes before the ceremony...you know, just in case.


My flowers looked just like my sister Tara had designed them.
Her old wholesaler did them for me, and that was one of the nicest parts
of the entire day... looking down at them from time to time and remembering her.


Almost six months into this new union, I know one thing for sure...
I have never had a marriage like this one before.  And I am thankful I had the others preceding this one.
I don't regret any union I made, whether successful or not.
I am just blessed that I got the opportunity to do it with Bob.
And Marc. And Lucy.


Having a family is pretty wonderful.
Having someone who always has your back is even more wonderful.

Sorry if you did not get the Facebook invitation or could not attend.
You didn't miss the event of the season
just a sweet memory and celebration of two people who planned a wedding in six days.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas decorating with a definite twist



I helped with quite a bit of Christmas decorating this year.
By far, these pictures and this house were my favorites.
The disco gnome above is from CB2.
At $129.00, a freakin' steal.
Just about the greatest thing I came across this holiday season.

 This garland was filled with Victorian Santas, an artisan made
and hand dyed bunting, a garland made entirely of Kantha beads,
Mexican devils, skulls and babies, religious icons...
and it was delicious.



 This vignette had tinsel trees and ombre votive holders (which were scored from Target last year)
mixed with the owners extensive collection of 
Mexican art.  

Topping it all off are these reindeers from Antrho mixed
with these amazing votives from Eklectic.  That had a mica type 
backing inside, so when you lit a candle inside it, they
appeared to be electric.  Totally beautiful.

These were my favs...hope you got some ideas for next year.