Friday, March 30, 2012

Day Dreams

First, (maybe, perhaps, if I remember) go buy a lottery ticket, pick some winning numbers, win, and then figure out how to spend the money. Joy and I discussed spending mega millions at length this morning. It's a bucket list of sorts. Here are some of the highlights.

1. go to Paris
2. go to a friend's wedding in The Netherlands
3. go to a friend's wedding in California
4. visit the erupting volcano on the Big Island in Hawaii
5. re-model the house which would include:
a. new kitchen
b. new plumbing
c. new bathroom
d. new windows
6. go to Aspen
7. visit all family members
8. walk the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
9. hire a maid and
10. personal chef
11. pay all educational expenses for our daughters
12. new car for Reese
13. see the migrating monarch butterflies in Mexico
14. host a big party at Saint Arnold Brewery
(OK, I might not hire a maid and personal chef, but it would be nice if someone else cleaned the bathroom every now and then.)

1. go to school
2. new bicycle
3. reliable car
4. buy lots of outdoor equipment such as
a. rock climbing gear
b. camping equipment
c. hiking gear
5. buy a lake house
6. go skydiving and
7. bungee jumping
8. buy a boat
9. and a jet ski
10. donate money
11. buy new clothes
12. give money to family members
13. decide where to live and buy a house there, probably in Austin

These are dreams. With hard work, dedication, and perseverance, most of these can actually come true. But if a bunch of extra money fell in our laps RIGHT NOW, these are some of the things we would do without having to sweat the small (big) stuff. How about you? How would you spend your mega millions?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I used to think that I had an unlimited supply of creativity. How silly of me. It's quite possible that once the creativity has been used there's nothing leftover for....anything. I can't think of what to paint, what to write, what to cook. Solving problems is useless. I'm at a complete impasse. Is it just me? Is it the weather? Does it have something to do with being 48? Any ideas? Because that's what I could use -- a good idea. Or a bad one -- whatever it takes to get out of this creative slump.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Wait a minute, I can't even remember what I did last week.

Friday, March 09, 2012

In Review

Several things I'm doing or have done, in no particular order.....

Besides being a Pulitzer Prize winning author, Eudora Welty was a friend and neighbor of my grandmother and her sister. In a small town like Jackson, Mississippi, familiarity of such sort could barely be helped. It's not often that I get back to Mississippi. When I do, the time is filled with eating and visiting, as all Mississippians are wont to do. This go around, though, I had an agenda. And on that agenda was a tour of Eudora Welty's home. (It just so happens that my parents live spittin' distance from her house.) The docents wouldn't let us take photos inside the house, which is almost perfectly restored, even down to the books scattered on sofas and tables all over the house, not unlike Choctaw Books! (Must be a Mississippi thing.) This is me, rocking on her side porch, getting lost in the dreams that seam to float through the air in Mississippi.

What is it about that state? Maybe creativity is fostered because the whole state revolves around relationships. Is that possible? Mississippians could care less what you know, it's all about who you know. Who is your mama? What's your mother's maiden name? And, oh, John is your cousin? How about that! My neighbor's son is your son's roommate at Ole Miss? You know Lou Ann? In Mississippi, it's always a small world.

Aw, it's so sad, the Byzantine Chapel at the Menil Collection closed its doors last weekend, to send the redeemed frescoes it so beautifully housed back to the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus.

Reese and I happened upon the final divine liturgy last weekend, and gloriously shared in communion celebrated by, and this is a big title, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. It was a particularly moving experience -- more than once it brought tears to my eyes. Because someone else said this much more eloquently than I....
"At the heart of the Menil Foundation's dedication to the Lysi frescoes is the idea of stewardship: the responsible management of something entrusted to one's care for a period of time."
Brilliantly said. So much to take from that. Reminds me of the little amount of time we had to guide our daughters before they left home. Also, can't help but think of personal stewardship toward gifts and talents to which God has entrusted me.

There was absolutely no reason to paint this side cabinet other than I was ready for a change.

Also, I've been working on a commission all week. No photos, yet, since it's to be a surprise for someone. It's coming along nicely, though. Better get back to it.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Check Out These Books

There's almost nothing better in the world than the smell, feel, and look of dusty old books. One of my first and fondest memories was visiting my dad's office in Centreville, Mississippi. Dad was a small town preacher and his office shelves were stacked with impressive looking books. Walking in, I would deeply inhale, figuring that the books and my dad were inextricably joined, and since I loved my dad so much, I had better love books, too. I have loved books ever since.

On the recommendation of an author friend of mine, I visited Choctaw Books on a recent trip to Jackson, Mississippi. (I was there visiting my parents and little sister.) Stepping inside was like being whisked into the world of Harry Potter -- it felt like the books were alive, magical, part of a story I hadn't finished reading. At first I was spellbound, then I laughed in delight.

Some books were stacked neatly on the shelves, like the religion section (in the top photo) and the great literature room, neatly alphabetized by author. But mostly, the shelves were a tumble of seeming disorder. Don't be fooled. The owner knows exactly where everything is....OK, maybe not exactly, but more or less generally knows where to find what.

To say that I was enchanted is an understatement. Even though there was an actual mystery section of the store, every corridor, every room was a mystery waiting to be discovered, a page waiting to be turned....and read.

If you ever are in the Jackson area and appreciate understated adventure, I highly recommend a trip to Choctaw Books. It's located at 926 North Street, between the Belhaven area and downtown. If you are familiar with the area at all, it's about a block or so from the old Jitney 14 (pronounced foe-teen).