Senoritas & Tiaras

Art Doodles

The lights are set, the curtains drawn, music is playing.

I receive one more loving pat to my hair and tug to my dress. Then a shove onto stage. For a brief moment, I look back at her before I’m blinded by the lights. We both smile. We’ve got this!

After conquering the 1st Annual USF Fashion Show, Spanish class, USF Bookstore, Miss Dance Marathon and college life, we already knew we were the ones with the crowns.

It seemed like throughout all of our college career together, we had been assisting and helping each other out. Effortless thoughts that combined into something special.

My Backstage Mom was the one to push me into participating in the Miss Dance Marathon Pageant. Am I graceful? No! Am I outwardly talented? No! Did I volunteer beyond my limits? Maybe, but I still slept 6 hours a night. What reasons did I have to enter the running?

Kat, aka LoneWolf, didn’t think any of those were reasons not to enter. She might be a little crazy but that is why we get along so well! And of course she would push me into the it when she herself is more qualified to be up on stage than myself!

I didn’t get the crown for Miss USF. Really can you see me parading around cupping my hand waving with a tiara on my head? Wait, you can? Its ok I still have high hopes for when I am Miss Senior Citizen of the year in my retirement home. Practice takes time, repetition and progress. I’ll get there eventually, hopefully not too soon.

My best friend, Backstage Mom, LoneWolf to my CandyCane, lover of books, fashionista, and confidant will always be there for me. And I for her!

Thanks Kat for making my college experience one to remember for always. We both were the ones who received the crowns wherever we went! I am blessed to call you friend.


Butter Bell of the Ball!

Art Doodles

I truly have an amazing family rich with heritage and love for each other!

My lovely Grandma Bee once again has made my day by giving me a little present in the mail. (One of the happy surprises that showed up in my mailbox last week.)

The best presents of all are the ones that are remembered requests. I am not a person for knick-knacks and other people’s vacation mementos. Instead I would rather pass up a birthday or holiday until there is a present that actually means something. (Now I say this, but my birthday is soon. So… here is my birthday wish list-click to enlarge. Here ya go mom!)

Now back to the present not the presents. (Insert fake chuckle now…bad joke.)

My Grandma Bee is so wonderful that she remembered my wishing for a Butter Bell years ago and found me one recently! My kind of gift. Useful, thoughtful and very chic!

If you don’t know what a butter bell is or the use for it, take a look here. Quite fascinating and very handy for morning toast.

Thanks Grandma Bee!

Life really is all about the fat in life. Butter being one of the most delicious of them all! I have one request. It must be said like this “Budd-daaahhh!” Let it drip off your tongue as you dream of flaky pie crusts, golden grilled cheese sandwiches, and large pats on top of creamy mashed potatoes. Hmm hmmm hmm! Its late and I have officially given myself the munchies!

One Squeeze

Art Doodles

I enjoy a genuine hug.

Where the person pulls you in tight and holds you not only in their arms but in their heart. For that brief moment that you are encircled in each other’s arms, all is right with the world.  The safety and emotional support that is felt in that time carries me through many a rough time.

Usually the person in my life that is able to give me a hug which will fill up the space inside my soul that is aching is my mom. She can understand me when I don’t want to talk (hard to believe I know) but just desires to be encircled. Everyday of high school I would come home to my mother’s arms. When I moved to Tampa for my senior year of high school to be met with prejudice, clicks and provincial snobs there was my mom to make it all better. Even when I went to college for my freshman year I remember the feeling of the beginning of her hug on the doorstep to my dorm and the release into adulthood. Her hugs tell the time in my life. Each step of the way she is there to hold me.

Now that I live across the country from her just hearing her voice helps me to remember the daily hugs I used to receive. But I will always need my mother’s hug.

This past 4th of July was a rough time for my sister-in-law and her family. Her eldest brother was in a severe motorcycle accident the night before that left him in a coma.  His accident affected me very hard. I had seen him hours before he crashed never thinking that it would be the last time.  The culmination of not being with my family on a holiday and the accident had me in a state of need. I really needed a hug from my mom on that day.

Mrs. S. has been a friend of the family for many years. My oldest brother has been friends with her son since high school. Through their friendship our parents have become friends as well.  I vaguely remember receiving hugs from her each time we met in the years past but this 4th of July was different. It was like she had channeled all of my mom into her two arms that gathered me up and held me for a brief moment after the fireworks had been lit. It was the natural feel of a mother’s arms lifting up a child that formed a ball in my throat that I couldn’t swallow. She looked me in the eyes after our hug and I felt it again. Even though she had let go I could still feel it.

Thank you Mrs. S. for being open to letting my mom give me a hug through you.

Inspiration Friday #4: How I Survive

Inspiration by Mail

Everyone needs something in their life that allows them to smile every single day. Life shouldn’t be lived in a state of a continual frown.

For me its usually the small things that cause me to twerk up the corners of mouth and chuckle. This week has been full of smirking smiles and outright laughter.


1) Receiving a mailbox full of letters and a present!

2) Discovering a surprise on my doorstep from the new family in my building. They gave me coral, a pink heart ring and a friendship bracelet! Oh, to have new friends!

3) A genuine hug from a friend. Hugs will get me every time.


1) Having one of the little boys I babysit say while taking a walk, “Isn’t it a goooorjus (gorgeous) day Miss Virginia?” Now I wonder where he learned that word with the pronunciation from? Hahhhaaaa. Next word to learn, stupendous.

2) My own private dance party this morning to get pumped up today.

While in college studying psychology, I read many scientific studies that proved smiling and laughing everyday increases life expectancy, decreases disease and improves quality of life. Take a look at this link to learn some more.

Improve your life today. Find something to be thankful for and smile about it!

“You’re on the right road if you’re happy when you’re lost.”

Mark M. Baldwin (b. 1941)


Caught in the Act

Art Doodles

Once in awhile there are people that just make you feel like your “home”. There isn’t any pretense, over explanation of thoughts and ideas or confusion on who they are as a person in relation to you. Marie was that person for me this summer.

Marie was the summer intern for the gallery where I work.  And we had a BLAST! Now this isn’t really about Marie but I had to give a little background for you.

The other real thank you goes out to Marie’s parents who I finally got to meet recently when they arrived to cart their daughter home. The mid-western hospitality and charm that they are so well known for followed them all the way to Seattle. They brought presents from Minnesota!

Minnesota is known for many things. SPAM, buffalo jerky, wild rice, and great soaps to name a few. Of course there are whole bunch of other things too. I was privileged to receive Thymes bath and hand soaps that are locally made near Marie’s family home. (I’m not a big fan of SPAM so that was a relief!) They smell delicious. The Kimono Rose Hand Soap has a very light subtle fragrance that doesn’t over power the senses. The Eucalyptus body smells like what clean earth should be. Can’t wait to lather up some suds and use them.

Thank you!

I think this is my favorite sketch-painting so far. This is a little illustration of me suds-ing up with the Thymes body wash. It reminds me of my favorite children’s books that were done in this style.

Cup of Sugar Kinda Place

Art Doodles

It all started with a plate of homemade banana oat muffins.

Who can resist warm muffins right of the oven?  After hearing that I had two new families move into my building, I knew right away that baked goods were in need. Nothing says welcome like homemade goodness!

Now that my building has lots of little kids in it; there is life everywhere! The cute squeals of delight over an unknown object, the notes written on lined school paper in search of new friends, and little gifts left on doorsteps.

I came home on Monday night, after a weekend away, to find two plates of goodies on my doorstep. One with homemade chocolate chip cookies! How did they know I was craving sugar and chocolate to no end? I gobbled those up while reading their beautiful postcard of the rice paddies.

The second plate was a note with pink marker handwriting and real seashells. Just the kind of shells that I would find on the beach when I was little in Rhode Island.  I’ve been craving salty air, long stretches of warm sand and rough waves. Their gift helped to ease my longing… a little.

I’m glad I can live in a place where the neighbors are friendly and the food is good! Come borrow a cup of sugar anytime!

Today is a Double Feature! Enjoy!

Me, munching on the cookies with a glass of milk while my roommate’s cat salivates over them. Nothing like gooey chocolate chip cookies after a long day.

Its a little hard to see in this picture but I’m listening to the sounds of the ocean through the little shell. I was born to be on the beach all day!

Crash Landing

Art Doodles

It is amazing to me how people can be so diverse in interests, talents and jobs. We are a talented group of people that can do almost anything! I’m still working on figuring out how to fly. Maybe only downfall to be being human. No wings.

Galen is one of those people that is immensely gifted in many things. From great photographer to computer programer to marathon sprinter! His discipline, eye for detail and patience make him who he is…AWESOME!!!!

My lovely (old) laptop crashed last year leaving me without a connection to the outside world! Oh no! To the rescue, Galen!

My work needed a photographer for a ballroom dancing event. Galen swoops in again!

A great friend to the family, whose uplifting conversation and pension for laughter makes for enjoyable company anytime, who else but Galen!

Thanks Galen for wearing many hats in the friendships that you have with the ones around you.

 Galen & I at the ballroom dancing event. I finally got him out from

behind the camera for a picture!

Galen is an avid marathon-er. His little gift corresponded to it and the card too.

Note: I am slightly cheating with this post since I wrote this “Thank You” card in February which was sent along with a little gift for Galen. Still counts, right?

Second Note: Sorry the picture is fuzzy. I’ll have to work on my technical skills to figure it out. Uhhhh Galen?!…… Kidding! 🙂

A Little Snip, Great Big Boost!

Art Doodles

In life, sometimes you need to get rid of the split ends. Whether thats actual hair, people, places or attitudes.

In my case, it was a big, fluffy, thick attitude that was giving me a downer mood.

I have extremely thick hair. Not only is it coarse and thick but has a little bit of its own mind to go with it. And people wonder where I get my spunk from! Its all the extra electric current running through my hair! Hahahaaa

Case in point: Here’s a snap shot.

Thank goodness the world of hair styling has come up with great techniques, products and ingenious ideas on how to deal with hair like mine.

Finding a new hair stylist is always a challenge for me. I need strong talented hands that can tame the mane. I found one in Seattle! Her lovely name is Carson at the Gene Juarez salon in downtown Seattle. She tackled my hair with a skillful eye and enthusiastic vigor. I came in feeling dowdy and left exuding sleek confidence with a new bob.

Gone was the downer mood and all the extra hair! I’m always amazed how much hair actually needs to be cut each time. Especially when I still have lots of hair left over on my head!

Thank you Carson for making me feel like woman again!

Mail for a Hobby

Inspiration by Mail

Everyone enjoys receiving stamped envelopes, packages or postcards in their mailbox. As long as they aren’t bills or notices. Why did the postal system have to deflate the joy of going to the mailbox with bills?

Laura Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie) never had to worry about collecting mail with bills in it. She always had letters from her relatives, newspapers and one time a box filled with clothes and butter. Hmmm!  A girls dream!

It is always a guessing game right before I turn the envelope to see who it might be from. Grandma Bee, Mom, Holly, Ralph? The list goes on. It is almost like Christmas morning with the anticipation of finding out what is in the red and green bowed tied packaged. I love Christmas! Glad I can take a little bit of it with me all year long.

I recently was told about a website called Postcard Exchange. If you truly look forward to finding little treats in your mailbox then this might be great for you! This is a website where you and thousands of other people around the world can send postcards to each other. I believe the reason it started was that many people enjoy collecting postcards. But when your bandwidth of friends only travels so far it leaves you with a deficit of interesting cards. Who wants 5 postcards of the Grand Canyon or the very very very large plastic hamburger?

Problem solved. Join this website and receive postcards from Switzerland, Geneva and Iceland! The profile you create on the website lets you determine the different type of postcards that you would like to be sent. Fishing and figure skating not your thing, don’t worry! None of those will show up in your anticipated mailbox.

Of course with each postcard sent you learn a little bit about #374 or #825. They enjoyed the food while visiting blank and almost broke their neck climbing blank. Meeting new people and hearing about experiences is always a joy and inspiration!

I will disclaim that I haven’t actually signed up for it…yet. 🙂

Two of my favorite all time postcards.

This is the Acton Trading Post (otherwise known as “The Foot”) in Mousam Lake, Maine. Its funny that the breeze I woke up to this morning reminded me exactly of the breezes drifting off the lake while sleeping the boat.

Aaaaah Maine, I miss you.

And then there is Claude Monet. The man in my life. He painted water lilies, let his wife paint the house pink and lived among the flowers. What a man! I bought this postcard in Giverny, France when I went to see his house and the water lily ponds. He his now proudly framed in my room.

Metro Love

Art Doodles

I don’t own a car.

Let’s start with that. I am dependent upon the good graces of the Seattle Metro Transit System.

While some of you are cringing at the thought of getting on public transit with the germ infested seats, sometimes weird people and the obvious commute time, all I can think of is dollar signs ca-chinging into my virtual pink piggy bank. How nice is to have the option to use public transit and not to pay for a car, insurance, gas and parking.

Plus I get to read! This is definitely one of my favorite things to do in life. Right up there with sleeping in my amazingly comfortable bed piled high with down blankets and pillows. Its a great thing when I get to read in bed after a long day. Nothing like combing my two favorite things.

I think it is quite ironic the number of people that complain about taking the bus. The buses are too late, too slow, too crowded, etc. But I think they have forgotten that all of the activities that they like to do (reading, playing/talking on their phones- illegal to do while driving in Washington, meeting new people, and saving money), they wouldn’t be able to do if the bus system wasn’t formed.

While I don’t appreciated when my bus is late or crowded or slow, I have come to thank God everyday that I live in place that allows me to commute in this form. It is very true that we all need to look for the blessings in our lives even when it seems like a downfall.

The Seattle Metro Transit System usually only hears the negative side of their operations so I decided to send a little cheer their way.