To My Younger Self. Know your potential and opportunities.

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What I would tell my younger self…

This young girl starting out in a world of modeling. She has a lot of lessons she will learn…most not until a decade after she leaves that world behind for good.

The funny thing about me going into modeling is my joke I carried about how the world you live in as a child often tells you it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what’s on the inside. And then enter the world of modeling. When it’s all about the cover package. Not only there but in adulthood where you find that looks do matter. From jobs to dating to friendships. We are a shallow people. But even I admit the guilt.

What is even more funny is that as I carried such a joke, I had never once been told it as a child by my own mother.

If I could I would sit and have a long conversation with that girl about how the world will expect much less of you than you should of yourself. Much less than what your potential can reach. And not to let society and the world hold you back because they can’t think that high.

Today as we have an easier access to bullies around the world with social media, the young girls also have more access to Girl Power and being a strong girl/woman and that throwing like a girl is a good thing. Hell, now they ‘own’ the 2016 Summer Olympics. Little girls now ‘be like fuck that shit’ when told they should act like a lady or go be some ones house wife or aren’t strong enough. It took me until my thirtes to reach that ability. Though I DID do the amazing, I eventually did falter from it as well.

I would have told that girl to follow her instincts a lot more than she did. I would most of all have allowed her to know what opportunities existed. That as she cut and taped pictures of architecture to scrapbooks perhaps being an architect was a career path possibility. That as much as she was working and striving in her sport and nobody really supported her through it, the keeping on with future ideas would pay off. That those late nights spent typing away on her typewriter had a ring to it for her future. That her organizational skills and mind that immediately built solutions instead of problems would take her far, and could take her even farther in the world of business and now work for her in the world of writing.

It is just something that I think about a lot, how a very little knowledge of what one was good at could turn into a job. And what jobs were even out there besides “Nurse or teacher” as she would hear for women back then and “policeman or fireman or Astronaut” as she heard for her brother. Nobody ever recognized her skill with numbers or that trigonometry wasn’t a usual hobby for a young girl as it had been for her. I would hope that if I should have children I would not only teach them to take a test and teach them daily skills but also teach them of what opportunities even exist out in this great big world.

But, thankfully, life is not too short and I eventually learned much. Sure there are a lot of other things I may have – could have – and even now wish I had done (or not done)…but life also has it’s way of working out and I am truly happy with what I am doing and where I am going with it. There is no ‘time lost’ as what I did end up ever doing taught me a lot for every future thing to do and heck, I ended up in some pretty weird, neat, and definitely odd for me jobs along the way, also meeting many people along the way.

My potential? Eh, not so much reached maybe at all times, but interesting nonetheless. Building off what skills along the way that weirdly work well for me now. So who knows? And would I have ever listened anyway? That young girl? Well, I would have perhaps bought the pants off of my New York Agent and that amazing office building we had, too, and shown the fashion industry a thing or two because lord knows I walked in and saw the problems…and even then had many solutions for them.

But then I was much more quiet and meek so perhaps one of the biggest biggest BIGGEST things I would have told this girl right here….speak up. Voice what the hell is in your head! And just do it dammit because it will really turn into something big. You. ARE. That. Good.

But would she have listened?

Actually, to this, I think she would have.

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Houston. We explored you.

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It’s hard for me to even write the word Houston without hearing in my head …”We have a problem” being said…it is nearly as impossible as spelling Mississippi without singing.
Joe and I have been enjoying some Houston time this past Winter and Spring.
We realized that though we were soon to set off on travels all over the country, we hadn’t quite taken advantage of what was right here on our doorstep. He was not from the area and knew not much about it and I had grown up here but not too much yet experienced Houston as an adult. So in this time we took to the streets of the big city, the city that boomed beginning with the time that I was born. We have now been several trips and yet to have experienced even a quarter of what it has to offer. But in our travels and time and years we will be back for much more…until then, here is some of our fun.

At the end of each day we’ve yet to want to stay and are always pleased when we headed home, I-45 Southbound. It has been a pleasure to have Houston right at our feet when living in Galveston.
We have gone in search of crunchy taco’s, food trucks, Polish or Indian food and other what are we craving that the island doesn’t offer tastes for our tongues.
We have enjoyed museums and still not covered them all.
We went to the zoo and and many gardens…still not covering all of the large outdoor parks, gardens and all greenspaces that Houston has to offer, however we have recently enjoyed the greatly done Buffalo Bayou. Many many props to Houstons recently previous mayor and hopes that future ones continue the works.
We have discovered amazing cheeses, great shops and spent days digging through antique stores and browsing, reading and carting home half of some bookstores.
We have driven through and walked through many neighbourhoods, enjoying the architecture…even walking up to people in their yard or driveway (I am surprised we’ve not been shot) and asking them about some of them.
Though Joe has decidedly stated he obviously is not the “Coffee-shop kind of guy” (Back to a wall, too many people, knows all the exits, doesn’t get lost in computers, or know what he wants to order) he handles my need for visiting the many in stride.
He is, however, just as much foodie as I am and with a palate that will try anything (have yet met anyone that beats me though) and aside from finding not only neat things to eat…but real true discoveries, we also duck often into spice and oil shops, cheese and more. We have feasted our eye’s upon the works of Salvador Dali, sat in quiet of chapels, and drooled over the smooth curvy lines of models…we are talking of the art-deco car kind.
We have watched the bats fly at sunset and we have been lost and lost and not even cared but rather enjoyed wherever we where and the sites we found.
We have really covered so much ground and yet…Houston. It’s that big.

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Island Living. The Beach In Spring.

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I am on to some new travels away from the island but my heart will remain for sure. I will be back and I will always love Galveston Island. The place I made my first sand castle, first learned to swim, my first sting by a jellyfish, and the place I came back to as an adult. I have lived here for six years now and have planted my feet firmly in the sand since I was a tiny little sea urchin. I plan that I will spend many of my older days here and perhaps even settle to rest eventually.
Until then, I will share my island life and it’s many amazing moments.

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Car Free: Houston.

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Texas Monthly Magazine has this humorous article in shows exactly what living car-free in Houston can be like.

I did it when I first moved back here. I lived on the outer skirts of Houston (think Clear Lake/Webster, past this there really is no connection to Houston going East) and had job hunting to do, so I spent most of my time on a bus and in the Down Town areas. I successfully and quite easily found my way around. Houston is intimidating even when you just spent six years in Los Angeles!

I looked for jobs in access but really had no problems (My first job was in fashion.)
It wasn’t until I changed jobs later to Sugar Land that a car was definitely needed for me.

I do remember after having been freshly in Burbank and other really great pubic transport areas, that Houston had no comparison and paled, but I also had the time to look for the job I wanted, could get to, practice routs, and explored all over the city every day for weeks.

The bus system really goes through some of the richest areas as well, like River Oaks and The Museum District and Down Town (their train is a joke and their bus system isn’t the best at all but very doable…..though not frequent enough or ever on time) getting to exactly some of the places I wanted to go.

More recently Joe and I would drive up from Galveston, park in an area and walk everywhere. We visited parks, zoo’s, museums, restaurants and cafe’s and checked out area architecture. In a lot of The Heights areas it seemed that you could live in walking distance of a grocery store.

Do you live car free and where?
Other stories.

Can one live car free in Houston?

Car free in Houston

Car free in urban sprawl.

Ask the question and others wll answer.

Houston…and a ‘lil mid-century.

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It’s hard for me to even write the word Houston without hearing in my head …”We have a problem” being said…it is nearly as impossible as spelling Mississippi without singing.

One of our favorite things to do is anything antique shops. And my favorite is anything art-deco or mid-century. On one of our H-Town adventures we found Gen’s Antiques in The Heights that had GREAT priced and very good finds in supurb shape. One entire rooms worth of decor I fell in love with was only one-thousand dollars in perfect shape, fashion, and pieces. They even had some pieces being shipped to Galveston that day. The owner was incredibly friendly and the experience was really great. I can’t store up on big awesome finds right now since we are skimming down for the year or so of RV travel but this shop is in my To Go To list for sure.
Joe and I have been enjoying some Houston time this past Winter and Spring.
We realized that though we were soon to set off on travels all over the country, we hadn’t quite taken advantage of what was right here on our doorstep. He was not from the area and knew not much about it and I had grown up here but not too much yet experienced Houston as an adult. So in this time we took to the streets of the big city, the city that boomed beginning with the time that I was born. We have now been several trips and yet to have experienced even a quarter of what it has to offer. But in our travels and time and years we will be back for much more…until then, here is some of our fun.

At the end of each day we’ve yet to want to stay and are always pleased when we headed home, I-45 Southbound. It has been a pleasure to have Houston right at our feet when living in Galveston.
We have gone in search of crunchy taco’s, food trucks, Polish or Indian food and other what are we craving that the island doesn’t offer tastes for our tongues.
We have enjoyed museums and still not covered them all.
We went to the zoo and and many gardens…yet still have not seen all of the large outdoor parks, gardens and all greenspaces that Houston has to offer, however we have recently enjoyed the greatly done Buffalo Bayou. Many many props to Houstons recently previous mayor and hopes that future ones continue the works.
We have discovered amazing cheeses, great shops and spent days digging through antique stores and browsing, reading and carting home half of some bookstores.
We have driven through and walked through many neighbourhoods, enjoying the architecture…even walking up to people in their yard or driveway (I am surprised we’ve not been shot) and asking them about some of them.
Though Joe has decidedly stated he obviously is not the “Coffee-shop kind of guy” (Back to a wall, too many people, knows all the exits, doesn’t get lost in computers, or know what he wants to order) he handles my need for visiting the many in stride.
He is, however, just as much foodie as I am and with a palate that will try anything (have yet to meet anyone that beats me though) and aside from finding not only neat things to eat…but real true discoveries, we also duck often into spice and oil shops, cheese and more. We have feasted our eye’s upon the works of Salvador Dali, sat in quiet of chapels, and drooled over the smooth curvy lines of models…we are talking of the art-deco car kind.
We have watched the bats fly at sunset and we have been lost and lost and not even cared but rather enjoyed wherever we where and the sites we found.
We have really covered so much ground and yet…Houston. It’s that big.

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The Inspired Writer and the Tumbled Bricks.

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Red Brick behind chain link. One by one to build it up, one by one to tumble down.

Finding inspiration as a writer or for my writing is a question I have come across or been asked on several occasions. The “how do you find it?” question. Really, one way is that I love photography. I love it in art, in museums, in a frame, on large canvas in a gallery. However it is I am drawn to it a lot and enjoy the story that draws me in. I always feel that if the image draws me into a story then the photographer has done their job. I also enjoy finding the image and as a hobby I often take a camera out and walk all over the place, seeking out or just stumbling across those spots that say “capture me, I have a story to tell you.” And I lift my lens and snap.

The image doesn’t have to be one that has me rushing home and jotting down a matching or fitting story. Often it doesn’t at all. But the walk and the image have fed my mind in a different way that has me sitting down with a cleared mind, revved up for something new. Even if that is new words added to a story in progress.

This image of the red brick carriage house and pile of bricks behind the chain link fence doesn’t have me adding this to a story in the least, but maybe the feeling of it penetrates into my words. I might have walked by this location a million times when living on Galveston island and each time my chest would seize with an entirely different feeling, image, thought, idea, or story. But a feeling would always be there. This picture came after six years of walking by it and still a feeling was as strong as the first time. My inspiration can draw from that feeling, whatever it may be, and not from the ‘brick’ of the image itself. Inspiration is a funny thing…is it the site, the sound, the color, the feeling, the weather even at that moment that inspires? Or all of it? Or your own frame of mind at that very moment. Having walked by it a hundred times before, it was this moment in whatever my frame of mind was then that seemed to be captured in this shot.

I look at it now and what I see is that one by one it takes to build it up….and the pile on the ground is to me the image of one by one to tumble down. Life is fragile, on display, but still carries many secrets behind those windows. One meeting doesn’t give the whole story and each meeting is different upon mood….my own, or yours, and the day. It is as if to say that there is no judging the book. One might be visiting the island and see this image as disrepair, tumbling, crumbling, falling down, old and wasting away. Such a shame. And another who has lived here long see’s it, knows of it, as hard work put in over a long period of time, each brick retipped, the foundation strengthened, the weak bricks replaced, the roof rebuilt, the new windows installed. But not all of that is in a single day. This is not a lovely building being left to waste, but one being rebuilt and brought back to life, preserved. And It takes time. Little by little. Yet a different person on one day can see completely different images that to them each a different story.

Our works are like this image, too. As well as ourselves. It takes one brick and then another to create and build over time. A person stumbling upon the work half way through might see a falling image, and another could see the creation process of a building image. On any given day we ourselves can see it in each light, and we ourselves are who has laid each brick and knows, and yet sometimes get a little lost in the process. Forget which way is up. Lose site of the big picture. Lose track of the progress and become frustrated. With our work. With ourselves.

Such is life. Such is how we choose to see the image. Such is how we seek out our inspiration and such is how we choose to hear the story being told to us through word, image, song, time of day. Whenever I lose track of the big picture or the finish line of my work, or of myself, I can take a moment to look at this image and be reminded that I am looking at only the half finished product, mid-way in process, and not the finished version, and that the finished version will not be achieved without one brick at a time being placed.

Sunday Book Talk: A Words Worth.

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In the Writers world we submerge ourselves in reading to write. We read novels, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays…whatever it may be. Some only read some of the above and others, all. We read about how to write, often in trying to screw up the courage and motivation to sit down to actually write. Often partial ways within our writing we find ourselves at stopping points. We’ve become distracted, bored, our minds have wandered to the next story. We are blocked and spending more time staring at a wall then writing. The editing process….what to cut out, what to leave in. The dirty details of it all. The how to get published afterwards? The where to begin, what steps do you take? As easy at it seems, someone would have by now come through with a universal step by step, we all writers still ask this questions…again and again. And truly, for each writer and as times change, there isn’t exactly just one way to go about it. What worked for one, doesn’t seem to work for another in the exact same way.

I myself have been reading through every single thing that comes my way, though there are moments of passing on something occasionally, or closing the book finding a dead end, no capture. Or reading a few lines a day only just to get through for whatever tiny tidbit of wisdom I may find in it. To find what works for me, I must read it all to know what there is to be worked with. In the meantime I just write and I kind of figure all the rest out as I go, not cramping the creative part of things. But I am a believer in being a Living Student. Constantly learning, shaping, and having a toolbox handy for the work I do.

One of the items I am about to get through is a book I found in a neat Independent  Bookstore in Houston this past Spring.  The book is Words’ Worth , A handbook on writing & selling nonfiction.
Written by Terri Brooks and published by St. Martin’s Press, New York.

I’ve not even opened it yet so no telling you my thoughts or amazing secrets or AH HA moments yet found. If you’ve read the book, or any other by the author, please comment here about it.

Car Free on Galveston Island, Texas.

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Living Car Free on Galveston Island for six years has had its up’s and down’s.

The biggest down side for me has been that I am a Down Town gal and the grocery store’s are two-three miles ether way of me. Now sometimes a bike ride down the Seawall on a summer evening and seeing the sunset is a real treat. Even walks on the beach that take me there will have me there before I know it, lost in thought (the coming home not as great.)

And other thing is that everything on the island is about double to triple the price off island. And we don’t have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Food’s option, Krogers is the best I get.

On Sundays there is a small Farmers Market in walking distance real close as well as SunFlower Bakery to get my bread and Katie’s Seafood to get my fresh fish and Macio’s spice is a good place for pre-made sauce, spices and pasta’s as well as a few choices in cheese and good picnic and lunch items. They also have chickpea’s and the best coconut milk.

And Mod Coffeeshop for any coffee, including beans or ground coffee to take home. I can’t leave out the newer Hey Mikey’s Icecream to bring home fresh island made icecream that won’t be melted by the time I bike ride or walk all the way home.

This is how I often try and do my shopping, though it hasn’t always fit my time table and budget to allow for. So factoring in many things can really change how one shops much more than just car-free.

However, being car-free and living down town has also been a part of my way of life…in shopping local. The library is also in walking distance as is the Galveston bookshop, two stage theaters and any live music venue’s.

The island is also about 7 miles between point to point of where you might actually need to go (longer in some cases of where you live) and about 1-2 miles wide depending on the part you are on.

So Down Town is where I live and many shops, clothing, and restaurants plus entertainment (even free) right there. The beach is one mile away…if standing in the middle of the street you can see it (well, for us, you can see the ride of the Seawall where the beach is.) And the other way is a nice sunset walk area also with restaurants at the Galveston Harbor.

A good early morning entertainment is to watch the cruise shops come in and turn…seriously insane. And I can see them from my loft.

Needing to bring big bulk items home is the toughest but again I will often do two big stock up’s (toilet paper, any shampoos ad bathroom supples and cleaning products, caned goods and pantry items) a year and this allows my grocery trips to be about produce, milk, eggs, cheese for the most part. Weirdly…it’s not expensive and makes a huge savings to shop like this as well.

I have spent a year living outside of Down Town and farther off and all this caused was a slight bike ride into Down Town, not a problem at all. Two miles on bike is only a few minutes.

Sometimes getting around car-free on the island is easier than with a car…during events which we have like…a million a year, and many roads get blocked off as well as so many cars that the fire department has had to shut the island causeway down for capacity limits (Bike Rally) and really we have a lot of weird stop sign area’s that is hard to see at in a car to know if it’s safe to go.

And during things like Biker Rally or Mardi Gras it’s impossible to drive anyway. And tourists never get our one-ways.

I never have to pay or worry about what the pay options are for Down Town or Seawall parking and I never “Can’t find” a parking space on the Seawall, Down Town, or on a trip to The Spot.

We do have a bus, and though it’s not the greatest…it works for some cases when on a hot or bad weather day I might need to get farther and do’t wish to bike it. And if needed nothing is very far so TaxiCabs only cost so much. Which when you aren’t paying car payments, insurance, gas, can’t be beat. Off island trips to a mall and Houston are what I crave to be able to do car-free. Hopefully one day a train will  be available.

To My Younger Self. Don’t stop smiling, but don’t hide the bruises.

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The things I would the that woman there but still can’t help but  enjoy the big open smile and the very truth behind it. It was genuine right there. No matter what in life, I smile. But also that I truly am happy even when not everything is great.

Someone said to me that they were sorry I’ve had a bad life and though I have had hard times I do not at a consider my life bad. Do I consider that much should have been different? Especially in childhood? Absolutely. But I still had good and great moments and I sill drew from the bad the best that I could. As a writer I will draw on raw emotions and bad times and when I get to those moments I will speak about them.

I learned a long time ago that if you hide things people will find out anyway and use it against you…so I don’t. I smiled in pictures that ended up in five different magazines and newspapers and looked like the quote unquote “cutest couple” with my ex-husband and nobody knew I had bruises I was hiding from only the night before. My thighs were completely black, I almost lost an ear that I hid with my hair, earlier that morning the puffiness of my face was not one I could take in public and I learned well how to reduce swelling which I did up until the second I arrived. Its crazy what many might hide behind a smile. I did an injustice to women and for domestic abuse everywhere by staying silent. I hugged his next girlfriend as she cried after she had pressed charges against him when he hit her. But it took me three years before I ever even whispered it to anybody.

I talk openly now about myself and my life. Growing up the way I did – abuse in my marriage, mental illness because I grew up with it and have been close to it, even jail, because it does no good to stay silent. Not for myself, nor anybody else. There are a lot of people who have lived through much worse and everybody is trying to find out from others how they did it just as much as they are trying to find out how to bake a cake from pinterest. But I still have no answers.

But though there are smiles that hide a lot of pain there are truly smiles that are full of pure happiness. Things I will treasure always. Moments I was able to forget the bad for a moment and consume myself with the good. And moments when life really was just that awesome no matter how the hurricanes raged, I was able to enjoy the storms. That would be my super power if I was to name one. What would I tell that woman from over six years ago? Just can you believe only six years and yet so so long ago six years. You will make big decisions. They are right ones. You’ve got this. Smile in the face of the storm. You are ok. Of course I also would have told her to hit the mother fucker back. But she wouldn’t have listened. They never do listen to good advice. But as she found on her own eventually, when you do find your voice, use it.

Island Living.

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I am off to new travels after six years on Galveston Island. They say once you come you don’t leave and once you leave you come back. I have a feeling that I will very much be back, maybe set my roots underneath the oaks here. Southern Oak Tree’s on an island…

But for now I am reminiscing about my time on the island, and realizing that I have such a love for it that I want to share my view of the island. My time on the island. Some of my life.

When you visit there and when you live there, it is always different. I found this out for myself. Not only that but when you live there and pass by the same site every single day…one day something new about it pops out at you, as if it hadn’t been there before at all. And you’d swear it hadn’t been, even if it is a century old Victorian house.

This island always surprises you. It can hate you, love you, scream at you, Care for you, hurt you, Feed you, break your heart, heal you, and even throw a vase at your head, but it will never leave you.

Most of all, this island told me many of it’s stories. And through my words and sometimes my view, I now share them with you.

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