I know... I've been gone for eons and you're all mad at me for the lack of posting.  Thanks for the phone calls and emails.  But here's what's up:  I've been ridiculously busy focusing on my health and getting my professional life as well as my creative life more in order.  That being said, I've moved.  I'll no longer be blogging here.  I've condensed my professional site and my blog into one. singular. website.  It's so amazing I can barely breathe.  I have a lot more work to do getting the site finished.  But you can now follow me (and I promise I'm gonna start blogging regularly again) over at

Thanks for all the years of love here on LJ and I hope to see you around my new digs.

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Quick Update:

Yeah... I know.  I have this blog thing that I've been neglecting.  It's not so much that I don't have anything to write about because, BOY HOWDY do I have all kinds of material.  My life is anything but boring.  I've simply had no motivation to be here.  Where I am going about my regular, crazy-hectic life per usual, I'm really having to push myself through it.  My health has been taking a nose dive as of the last couple of months and I've been putting everything I have into fixing it.  I'm seeing new doctors, not the least of whom is a Psychiatrist.  My first time ever dabbling in the mental health maintenance. 

Without getting too involved:  I'm a straight-up bad-ass when it comes to battling what it's like to live with a chronic illness.  It's in my nature to be so determined to have a life around it.  But the last few months or so, the instinct to do so has lessened and I'm now having to make a daily conscious decision to push my body through each day.  It's mentally and emotionally exhausting.  Hence, throwing in the white towel and visiting with a Psychiatrist.  I really don't have anything to say about him yet as we've only met once so far.  And long story short, the medication we're trying isn't helping so much as it's making me more sick.  Really sick.  So yeah... that's where I'm at right now:  Somewhat frustrated and generally feeling like I've been run over by a dump truck.  

On the positive though, we are working toward a solution (or multiple solutions for that matter).  It's just a long battle with few to no immediate results.  It's not leaving me with much time to update here.  But I am here.  I'm still kicking.  Illness(es) aside, life is most excellent.

Sappy, but a Goodie:

This last Saturday I had the honor of photographing one of the coolest chicks on the planet.  For six hours.  In a parking garage, city parks and downtown lots.  At a famous, Houston restaurant and the surrounding property of the Menil Collection.  We climbed trees, scaled walls and waterfalls, and even climbed into an abandoned shopping cart.  Through rain and sunshine and a ridiculous cold front brought by crazy wind gusts that almost killed me.  And it was by far one of the funnest days of my life.  Not a single second of it felt like work.  Seriously, just look at the joy that spews out of this girl.

If you ever need to learn a thing or two about how to take only the greatest things out of life, how to insert joy and positivity into everything you do, how to love and nurture the best (and even the worst) parts of yourself before being able to love and nurture the best and worst parts of others, talk to Deanna.

She's fearless, totally hardcore, and one of the strongest and most loving human beings I know.  Which is saying a lot coming from me.  Deanna isn't just one heck of an awesome model, but she's a great friend.  And I'm gonna miss the bajeebus out of her when she runs off to culinary school in New York.

I'd wish her luck, but she doesn't need it.  Deanna takes whatever the world throws at her and uses it to her benefit.  If I'm going to hope for anything for her, it's that she never loses sight of that.  A practice most adults I know still struggle to master.  Deanna's a rare breed for sure, and I'm incredibly lucky to know her.

This from the girl who has ingested some form of coffee every day since she was ten years old.

Exactly one week ago yesterday, I was sitting across from my latest doctor as he dropped the bomb on me that I was to give up drinking coffee.  For at least a few weeks.  And when he, along with a handful of disaster relief workers were finally able to talk me off the ledge from which I was precariously dangling, I managed to oblige the asshole sweet doctor.  I recall responding to him firmly, and with confidence saying, "If you tell me that I need to give up coffee for this treatment to be effective, I'll do it."  When internally I was actually experiencing something comparable to the movies Armageddon and Titanic meeting up for drinks, which in turn ended with Armageddon following Titanic up to her hotel room and nine months later Titanic pops out a baby comprised of nothing but absolute terror and panic and death, with the voice of Celine Dion.  That baby is what I went through in my sweet doctor's office that day.  Minus Liv Tyler's lips and Kate Winslet's boobs.  IT WAS THAT AWFUL.

Cut to the next day, my first without coffee, and DEAR GOD did I want to die.  There are no words to accurately express what my body went through.  Not to mention, what my brain went through.  For example, I give you one of my many effed up text messages from that day:

"I think I'm dying.  Unless the bright light I'm seeing is an alien unicorn ship attempting to make contact with me.  In which case, please disregard this message.  But seriously, I'm pretty sure it's the first one.  Caffeine withdrawals are a bitch."

They just kept getting worse.  And poor Rhonda.  Poor, poor, wonderful Rhonda.  I should buy her a Disney Princess or something equally as magical for putting up with me that day.

But, hey!  It's been a whole week without coffee and I'm surviving!  Turns out, one caffeine pill each morning and copious amounts of hot tea will do the trick.  And dare I say it: I feel better.  I HATE (am seriously and with all of the conviction in my body, using the word HATE) to admit things like, I'm sleeping better.  And I have more energy.  And I feel a little less exhausted.  And my tummy is happier.  That asshole sweet, SWEET doctor of mine was right, which means I now have to buy him a Disney Princess, too (this process is getting rather expensive).  And now that I've seen what the grass is like on both sides of the fence, I'm tempted to stay off the coffee for good. 

I KNOW.  Pack for the apocalypse people, it's coming.

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.

I'd Drink that Punch:

My boss/dad is in Mexico.  Specifically some private beach condo thing that has an infinity pool with hot tub and post card views.  No exaggeration.  In fact, here are two cell phone photos my boss's/dad's best friend posted to his Facebook yesterday afternoon:

*Yeah, I kind-of hate them, too...

Now I'm not begrudging the boss any time off because the man works like a mule and deserves it.   But when he is gone, my work load in the office gets to levels of "not fun" that make me want to take up sniffing glue.  Because I'm having to pick up slack where needed, I had to be in my office this morning at 7:00.  Which means I had to get up at an hour that I thought only existed in myth.  Which also means that I walked Sugar before sunrise.  In the 18-ish degree weather.  A task I was intending to accomplish in about two-and-a-half minutes.

Cool thing about this freezing weather in parts of Texas that aren't prepared for it: generators are exhausted from all of the extra power usage and as a result, the state of Texas is going through regularly scheduled rolling blackouts.  To conserve power.  So that we don't have actual, long term blackouts.  Causing things like space heater stores and Starbucks to close.  Which in turn would cause rioting at a rate of devastating proportions.  We first world-ers can't handle normal functioning without our coffee chains and immediate comforts. 

Where was I? 
Right!  Rolling blackouts!

So here I am outside the electricity powered gate of our property in the freezing cold when one of these blackouts hits (which at the time I knew nothing about... thanks for the head's up, power companies).  And the gate?  She has no manual override.  And since this is not Star Wars and I have no Tauntaun to cut open and crawl into for warmth, I might have experienced a brief moment of internal panic.  Because let's face it, I'm a giant pussy and I need my space heaters and Starbucks.  One of my (and Sugar's) favorite neighbors walked up at the same moment, arriving home from his daily morning stroll (fucking masochist).  And right then he, along with the current employee stationed at our property's front gate decided that the only way to open the gate was to detach it from the mechanical arm.  Which required tools.  That were inside the property.  Behind the gate.  That won't open. 

Dear God, why are there never any Tauntauns around when you need them?

I looked at the gate.  I looked at my neighbor.  I looked at the gate again and said, "I think I can squeeze under it and get some tools out of our house."  The neighbor just blinked at me.  "No, really," I said.  "I can fit through that."  So I handed him Sugar's leash, pancaked my backside down on the ground, reached up to grab the bottom of the gate and pulled myself through.  After much celebration and confetti, I ran home to get the necessary tools to remove the gate's arm.  When I walked in through the back door, Rhonda was standing in the kitchen holding a candle.  Naked.  It was almost cult-like and yet so beautifully awesome that were she actually performing some sort of strange ritual in our kitchen, I'd have ingested all the punch she could serve.  Unfortunately I had no time for naked chanting or whatever it is naked cult people do in their kitchens.  And poor Rhonda was given no time to comprehend my verbal spewing, "Wrench set!"  "Flashlight!"  "WhatTheHell,You'reNaked!"  "Dammit, I have to run!"

By the time I got back, a good handful of neighbors had arrived on scene and together we managed to get both gates detached and open.  At which point they dubbed me the hero of the day.  And then we ate Robin's minstrels, and there was much rejoicing.  

Dead Serious:

In the name of mild insanity with a sprinkling of deeply rooted passion for philanthropy (in this case, a local organization that I love), I'm turning to you, Internet.  See, I'm a big fan of the AssistHers here in Houston.  They do amazing work.  And I'm hoping they'll be around for many, many, many years to come because in my later stages of life I may very well need to turn to this organization.  Then again, I may not.  But you never know, right?  Regardless, they're incredibly compassionate people doing incredibly compassionate work and I support that.  So much so that I'mma throw down right now:

The AssistHers have teamed up with Tattooed For Good and are putting on a weekend long fund-raising extravaganza THIS WEEKEND: 

I only JUST found out about this.  And I intend to go.  But I had this mildly brilliant idea to spice up my attendance a little bit (do you see where this is going?  right now my Mother is reading this and thinking, "oh lord, not another one...").  Here's where you come in, Internet.  I have created a donation button via PayPal and I would very much like for you to click on it and drop a donation for the AssistHers organization.  It can be $1, it can be $500.  You name the price.  If I can raise up to or (hopefully) more than $500 before Saturday (day after tomorrow), I will get a tattoo on Saturday.  Not only will I get a tattoo, but I will make a movie of my tattoo experience and share it with all of you wonderful donors on the Internet.  SERIOUSLY.  And if for whatever reason, the donations I receive do not match my goal of $500, I'll get a piercing instead.  And either way, whatever money we collect here I will absolutely donate.  All of it.  I'm not here to make a profit.  I just want to help out the organization and perhaps score some new body art in the process.  Sound like a deal?!  C'mon Internet, don't let me down.  Step up to the plate and give a little.  And maybe, just maybe you guys can come up with enough money to make me go get another tattoo.  The gauntlet has been thrown.

*Click the button below to donate!



**Added Note: Rhonda just informed me that if we can raise double my goal of $500 (that's $1,000 y'all!) she will also get a tattoo. SERIOUSLY. So get to donating, people! It's for charity! And let's be honest, you'd totally love to see both of us get inked... make it happen.

"The climb is never the hard part, actually."

Erasing tiny fragments of
breath like escaping pain:
A forced reentry.
Clawing like a sky-starved prisoner.
Fingernail to stone, I draw you nearer.

You are the fog and I am the steps.
Or maybe I'm the fog
and you're the headlights of the oncoming traffic.
Slicing the air the way fingers slice thighs,
leaving behind stories in these gestures
like fingerprints on glass.

We count the inhalations
and check off each exhale
as if we're adding up our earnings.
As if we'd accomplished something worth while.
Like building character
the way a scratch on a lens adds vein for a pulse.

I am the scratch
and you are the pulse.
Or rather, we are the pulse
and those stairs aren't going to climb themselves.

And I Did it Without a Single Stick of Butter, Yaaawwwl!

For the last oh, five-ish(?) months Rhonda and I have been really adamant about cooking at home.  A stark contrast to our old lifestyle of, "What are we ordering in for dinner tonight, Honey?"  Beyond that we've been extremely aware of what we're putting in our bodies (for health reasons), which is forcing us to be less lazy about where we get our food.  We've fallen in love with farmer's market produce and grains.  It's amazing how different spinach straight from the farm tastes compared to spinach in a bag from the grocery store.  Not to mention, I feel so much better about handing my money to my hard working rural neighbors instead of a grocery chain.  I do try to buy local as much as I can and this is one very easy (and much healthier) way to do that.

Not only does this new lifestyle require that we get up off our butts on the weekends to hit the farmer's markets, but it also requires that we do something with all of those amazing farmer's market goods.  I've put in a lot of hours looking up recipes and nutrition info.  As an unexpected side effect I'm discovering that I genuinely enjoy preparing our meals most nights.  I'm having a lot of fun doing the research, coming up with ideas and experiments, executing them and finding out that these concoctions are really quite tasty.  And when all is said and done, I FEEL BETTER.  My body feels better for excluding everything processed from my diet, and my spirit feels better for the knowledge I'm gaining as well as the validation for rockin' out some seriously amazing dishes.  There's nothing better than putting in some effort, to receive floods of positive feedback.  And last night's concoction was no exception.  I sifted through about 20 different turkey loaf recipes to get an idea of what ingredients were staples and what ingredients were interchangeable.  Then I sat down and wrote out a recipe full of tastes that Rhonda and I love, being sure to include specific nutrients our bodies needed (I was in desperate need of a protein + iron kick last night).  And thus, the Turkey Spinach Roll/Loaf Thing was created.  

*Click the recipe for a larger, reader & printer friendly view.

OMG, you guys... it's SO GOOD.  I went nuts over every bite last night, and I just devoured it for my lunch today.



"Aaaaaawwww Yeeeeaaaahhh!"