Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The extravagance of time...how will you use it?

I have an hour to 'kill' I thought to myself...or an hour to go exploring with my camera before I meet my friend.

The sun is out...so, I'm off to catch the rays and collect light...purposefully, using up some extra time...   

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A couple of things went up in smoke...

My lunch and my job.

I'll keep it simple.  Company dissolved...I got laid off.  Luckily, I will survive...but, appears like this cookie sheet won't. 

I've been thinking about some things...maybe because I've had some time on my hands.  For the record...getting lost in thought is not a waste of time.  You never know what magic you will dream up...or have go up in smoke...which suddenly seems to be relatable to me. 

You may want to write this down!  While you are day-dreaming...don't forget about what you put in the oven.  True story...today marks the second time in a month my fire alarm startled me...or saved my place from burning down. 

So, I put a little lunch in the oven (I don't own a microwave or toaster but perhaps these repetitive occurrences merit a shopping trip?) and I guess I completely forgot I was hungry.

Smoke...a piercing noise...OMG...I run to the oven and a small fire has engulfed the charred remains. 

I did find out...my fire alarm works...however, no neighbors come by to see if I'm okay or if in fact they should get out of the building.  No fire trucks come...no man in uniform knocks on my door to check things out...nothing...absolutely nothing happened.

Other than the obvious...I burnt my lunch...opened all the doors and windows and stood fanning my alarm for 20 minutes.  This is a workout by the way.  Try it.  My arms hurt and I wanted to stop waving the towel but if I did the alarm would start up again.  The first time I panicked a little thinking the apartment people would come running or I would hear engines so I knew this time...I could relax, take a couple of breaks and fan until it went quiet.  Then humbly proceed in cleaning up the mess.

I like to cook...I do...but it's obvious I'm no chef.  I would like to think my talents are in baked goods...desserts and small sweet things filled with goodness...this probably comes as no surprise with my high maintenance sugar tooth.   

I did decide to toss this pan.  For a number of reasons.  One, I'll always be explaining what happened to it if I am cooking with someone else...and it's kind of embarrassing. Two, it's gross.  Three, the elbow grease it would take to clean this isn't of interest to me, especially after the workout from the smoke alarm.  I figured a box of SOS pads is probably about $4.00.  My time to scrub the burnt crap off is worth...a lot more than that...even if I have the time.

Vee and I were chatting about things I want to do and she talked me into starting a little series I am going to call, Collecting Light.  I'll preface this as, I'm no photographer.  But, I'd like to be.  I like taking pictures and Vee encouraged me to get outside and snap away.  Use this time to do something I love to do and then post the week's images on Friday's...my simple collection of snapshots from the week. Kewl, I hope. 

As my world spins madly on I'll be collecting my thoughts...collecting my dreams...and somehow collecting myself...

Sometimes as you cruise along, life wants you to go in another direction...and so I will oblige. 

I will find my way...somehow...someday..I usually do.     

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Any weekend spent in Chicago is my kind of weekend.  Add a couple of girlfriends, shopping, salsa dancing, lots of laughing and a serendipitous run-in with an old college friend...well...to say I had a blast...is a complete understatement.

A major snow storm hit the midwest...bundled up and over four hours later we made it!

Eat. Drink. Dance.  We went to Nacional 27 for some latin inspired food and salsa dancing. 
Look how much fun I am having!!!  Clearly, I went more 'freestyle' than salsa...
Saturday turned less than typical.  A leisure start lead to some Michigan Avenue shopping where I literally ran into one of my best friends from college...Marta!  Although we had lost touch, we exchanged numbers and have already made plans to get together.  I can hardly wait!
The marquee says it all...Kathy Griffin!!  Man, did we laugh!  It was so much fun!
Allison joined us for Kathy Griffin and we started with dinner at The Gage. On the website, the restaurant is defined as Refined Rusticity...or upscale comfort food. I looooved everything about it and will definitely return. After the show, we ended the night at The Wit...a trendy boutique hotel located next to the theatre.  If you go, the homemade mac n cheese was delicous and hit the spot.

I can't thank my girlfriends enough for including me and sharing their weekend with me.  Let's do it again soon! 


Friday, January 20, 2012



  I was sitting here...listening to music...surrounded by my cats...perusing images I had saved for one reason or another.  I stopped on this one...took in the colors and then I thought about 'be free.' 

What a lovely thought...projection.  But, what's your perspective of being free?  Do you know how?  Do you know what that means? Perhaps a loaded question?  It's not really intended to be. 

Webster defines Free*dom as: The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. 

Bobby McGee says, "Freedom is just another word for 'nothin' left to lose.'

  I sit here vacillating between...absolute freedom or the reality of putting it in context.  Inner freedom versus outer freedom. Or simply just letting the world be my oyster...get up and get exploring. Be happy...be me...and be free...I got 'nothin' left to lose.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Outtakes from shoot with Eddie

I love a good game of pinball.

A tangled, three-dimensional spider web...
Kewl metal drums

All kinds of interesting things laying around.

He refinished these metal drawers

Kewl vintage-esque posters used as wall art

Light. Texture.

I loved the ceiling of the garage.
Eddie's new shoes!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Something old...made into something new

Just another day...or was it?  A Checagou afternoon filled with sunshine, laughter and an inspiring, creative friend.

I met Eddie Huber, founder of Newfound Studio furniture design, through my friend Stacia Garriott Kass - owner of Sojourn...you remember, that amazing junk shop in Sawyer, MI I've blogged about?

For me, he was one of those people you meet and it's as if you've known them forever.  Easy going, laid-back, funny and full of life.  The next thing you know you've sunk in beside him and made yourself comfortable.  Laughing...asking questions...realizing you've just met someone who is following their passions, loves life and takes creative to a new level.

He is a designer that scoures the city looking for unique pieces to refine, modify and make his own...focusing mostly on mid-century and vintage pieces. Eddie carefully takes furniture to its original state all the while, keeping in mind the integrity of each individual piece. 

Residing in Logan Square...a quaint, village-esque 'burb' of Chicago he is a fortunate guy...doing exactly what he loves. 

He mentioned to me that everyday seems like an adventure.  Roaming the big city hunting for great, classic pieces he literally turns into art. 

For example, a custom reception desk he and his friend Kate from Modified Originals, collaborated on for Stacia to house in her shop, Sojourn. 

It's beautiful!

This garage turned studio is where his furniture magic happens. 
A future lamp project using an old drum as the shade and some of his metal smithing as the base.  I love this!

More projects that turn into kewl pieces such as...

A custom designed welded steel console with reclaimed wood shelves.

Future projects...

Newfound Studios work is sold at Sojourn and can also be found on Facebook, http://newfoundstudio.blogspot.com/, or via email at newfound@gmail.com

Another day...definitely, very well spent.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Big chills...or not?

Oooh, I bet you're wondering how I knew...
About your plans to make me blue...

Another '80's favorite. Another one we've all seen a million times.  Another soundtrack that played endlessly...for years. 

I watched it again the night before last.  Then...I listened to the soundtrack all day yesterday and all day today...filled with Motown classics.  The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson to name a few.  Some amazing tunes peppered throughout...do I dare say...a boring movie.  Seriously, re-watch it...ugh, it dragged on.

I found myself dissecting it...another group (seven) of thirty-somethings who briefly reunite for a weekend after a life-long friend commits suicide.  Set at some palatial, quintessential southern home, where they all come together and end up spending the weekend wondering...again...what is the meaning of life?  What is our purpose?  Hmmm...flashing back to St. Elmo's Fire...the chase after meaning...the constant wonder of what we are supposed to be doing?  

Yes, a classic film with a soundtrack that in my opinion...saves face. I really don't remember finding them all so...whiny.  I did love the scene where they are all dancing around the kitchen singing...and they all get the old -school Nike's...but come on Kevin Kline...get some new running shorts - ewwww...they were totally grossing me out.

Over the course of the movie you discover the group of friends, are in fact, quite successful.  But, as they peel open the layers of themselves...after what seems like a long-drawn out.. wine...doobie-filled weekend, you discover they all  come to the conclusion their lives don't represent any real purpose.   Again, no conclusions about their own lives...or life in general.  There goes one of the songs in my head, "You Can't Always Get What You Want."  Or can you?

There we are...still thinking about the biggest burning question in life.  After some thought...perhaps that is the meaning of the movie...to leave us wondering.  Who are we?  Where have we been?  Where are we going?

Alex,  the one who was deemed the smartest...the brightest...the one who would 'do something' with his life...and ended up, he was the least accomplished and then committed suicide.  Why did he commit suicide...I am not sure the reasons ever really become clear?

Who is really to say what constitutes a meaningful life as long as you are living your own?  Isn't that really the beauty?  Again, ultimate reality is different for everyone. 

I heard it through the grapevine,
Not much longer would you be mine.
I heard it through the grapevine,
Oh I'm just about to lose my mind.
Honey, honey, yea.


Monday, January 9, 2012

and breathe...

Inhale for four counts, hold the inhale for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold the exhale for four counts...this is called pranayana.  If you are into yoga, you've done this and then tried to erase your mind of the chaos going on in it for an hour or more. 

While in Utah over the holidays, Vee scheduled a private yoga session with one of her favorite teachers, Edy (pronounced: EeeeeeD). She has been gushing about her for months...now I know why.

Let me begin with, I've taken yoga haphazardly over the past fifteen years.  I looked at it as a way to stretch.  That was it. Nothing else.  I wasn't really 'present' for class.  Sadly, the entire hour I'd move through the poses as I made lists of what I needed to get done once I got out of there.  I wasn't mindful or reaping the benefits yoga was providing. 

You've had those experiences before, right?  One day, something changes...something clicks.  Edy was that something...that click that changed things for me. 

She opened the door and smiled...this big genuine smile and gave Vee one of those good hugs...the kind someone watching thinks...how lucky...both of them completely all wrapped up like they meant it...my friend Karen used to give you those kind of hugs.  Anyway, she exuded a calm...this quiet...warm spirit I wanted to consume. Then...she hugged me too.  Oh my gosh, she exclaimed...you two look just alike. I can't help but love when people say this to me...mostly, because it means one thing...that I am with my butterfly. 

She lead us upstairs to her yoga studio.  I was looking around on our way there...Wilco posters, Phish posters...a poster of a blue-grass band(mental note to youtube them)...Buddhas...it looked comfortable...it looked like her and I barely knew her.  She was just as Vee had described...and her home a reflection.  I loved it...just the type of place I imagined she would live.  Simply showcasing her passions and living out loud.     

We got right to it.  Honestly, I was a little nervous.  I knew Vee had been taking yoga consistently for months and I hadn't.  I hope I didn't embarrass her. What if I couldn't keep up?  But, I tried my hardest and decided to just let it go.  Do the best I could and have fun.  Typically, when you do this...what happens?  You have the time of your life!  That is just what happened. 

We began in the pose above.  Edy had made a special mix of music for our session.  She told us to close our eyes...find your breath. It got quiet and then she told us a story.  It was something about the solstice and bringing to light what you wanted to cultivate as we move into this period of longer days and shorter nights.  Oh no I thought to myself...I suddenly tensed up...do I have to answer this right now?  It seemed like a difficult question...what do I want to cultivate?  What do I want to bring to light?  Just like that...as if she read my mind...she said just think about it throughout the practice...think about it this week.  Keep it in mind as you move along.  And breathe... 

As we flowed through the hour and a half, I thought about how lucky I was that Vee brought me here.  Introduced me to her friend and encouraged me to look at yoga differently and how it has changed her life. 

I didn't want it to end.  I wanted to know about Edy.  She has this spirit.  She has all of these goals.  She is encouraging and motivating. 

We sat down for tea.  Before we knew it, three hours had flown by.  I never once looked at my phone; I never even thought about it.  I just wanted to keep chatting.  I was having so much fun.

Edy met her husband at a yoga seminar.  They went to dinner and she shared a goal she had.  To travel to all 50 states before she turned 50.  She lived in Memphis; he in Park City.  Shortly after she left, he called her up...hey, you ever been to Kansas?  (I like his style)  She hadn't.  He found a band (remember the posters peppered about), a place to stay and they met at the airport...and as they say, that's all she wrote.  Love.  How kewl is that? 

We talked for a long time...I couldn't help but ask about her goal.  How many states left until you have been to all 50?  Four!  Wow!  What has been her favorite?  North Carolina.  She is a writer and basically a doer.  She sets goals and moves forward accomplishing them.  She was so easy to be around...like a friend I have known for years.  She had this gentleness...yet a passion for what she does and is all about that shines around her.  I wanted that.  This complete and utter twinkling that made her radiate.  

I made a new friend.  Spent time with my best friend.  Found passion for a new sport and it has facilitated a new learning that made me think about yoga differently.  Yoga is beautiful.  It isn't easy...it's not a girly sport and it isn't just stretching.   
Yoga is defined as a physical, mental and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India.  The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating.

Since I've been back, I joined a studio in South Bend and have been practicing different types of yoga.  I've been studying terms, poses and meditating. I love it.  It is changing me.  I've found this inner quiet.  This calm that is helping me focus on how to find what I want.  

It makes me smile as I think of my dad...keep learning...be passionate...find things that are challenging and continue to teach yourself...continue to make yourself a better person.  

Thank you Vee for sharing your yoga love and introducing me to your friend Edy. I'm forever grateful for your inspiration and help in bringing dad's spirit around and the challenge to continue learning that helps to shape me. 

Thank you Edy for opening your home and sharing your passion and enthusiasm for not only yoga but life.  I am grateful for your kindness...your inspiring that 'click' in me but mostly for our new friendship.
Edy working her way into a headstand.  I've got a long way to go to do this without wall support but, Vee got hers!!

This looks like an advanced version of Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana - but don't take my word for it...I'm learning, remember?

Seriously, right?  This pose is incredibly difficult and look...she is still smiling!  I believe it is called, Eka Pada Koundiyanasana. 

Vee and Edy creating a bridge via a standing back bend. 

Vee mastering Bakasana or Crane Pose.

I think this is called Cat tail.

I couldn't find the proper name for this two-person downward facing dawg-type of pose
Then Edy had us take it up a notch.  It was so fun to try some new things - partner style.

Camatkarasana or wild thing.  First of all, I love that it's called wild thing.  This was one of my favorites. One poetic translation of this pose means, "the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart." How apropos?

As I keep exploring yoga, I may morph into one of those mala-bead wearing, tea drinking, everything yogi's.  I'll develop the 'speak' and consume my workouts with all things yoga.  I like this.

Of course...I'll keep you posted.