Archives for category: adventures

Goodness, life gets so busy. So much so that this blog has been sorely neglected. What have I been up to, you ask? A lot!

  • I took a my first “real” vacation in two years. I journeyed to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend of mine and fellow photographer, Mamta Popat. Check back soon for a multi-media project celebrating the trip.
  • I’ve attended several workshops and symposiums for my photography profession as well as my arts educator profession. One highlight was attending the opening of Art Intersection, a new space in Gilbert, Arizona dedicated to promoting and connecting people to art. I attended a lecture entitled “Publish Your Photography Book” hosted by Darius Himes of Radius Books and Mary Virginia Swanson. Very informative and inspiring event. Plan a trip to Gilbert to check it Art Intersection. They have a lecture in April on the power of laughter. Teehee!
  • I photographed the very beautiful and heartfelt wedding of two lovely people. I am thrilled with the way their wedding album turned out. I also booked a wedding for April. Yay for Love!
  • I attended the opening of the exhilarating and challenging contemporary art exhibit ‘Borderlandia’ at Tucson Museum of Art. Provocative commentary on border, culture, history, gender issues. Wow! And if you are familiar with Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ‘Garden of Earthly Delights‘ you will have an especially gleeful experience.
  • I was fortunate to attended a series of discussions and trainings hosted by the Arizona Commission on the Arts at a variety of  locations here in Tucson, including the Poetry Center. I learned a lot, and I also reaffirmed my motivation to work to create state and or national standards for media literacy. Big plans!

I am very proud to announce that I was accepted into the Creative Capital Internet Workshop for artists. The workshop, hosted by Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC), is a professional development program aimed at assisting artists with business development. A total of 24 local artists were accepted in to the three-day workshop to be held at the end of March. Very exciting opportunity! I know it will be helpful as I embark on the launch of my book, HeartFound, and all the projects I have floating around my creative brain. This year is going to be so fantastic!

At this moment I have about a zillion things I should be doing to make a deadline of some sort, but I needed a visual reprieve and I ended up here…editing and posting some images I took last weekend. I have been experimenting with multi-second hand-held exposures that play with movement and push digital constrictions. Very cool stuff.

Enjoy some new vibrant and energetic images captured during last weekend’s performance of Seashell Radio at Plush nightclub here in Tucson.


I turned my phone’s ringer off a few days ago and dedicated my holiday weekend to editing six years of photos – hundreds and hundreds of frames of heart shapes that I’ve found as I went about my life. I’ve been up and down memory lane so many times this weekend that my feet feel weary. 213 images made the final cut for possible publication within my very first solo photo book. A title change came along too, but I’m still playing around with that.

The image I choose for the cover was taken at the Phoenix Art Museum nearly a year before I moved to Arizona, while visiting my sister and her family. I like it. I have laid out the book and will self-publish a few copies and send them off potential publishers. This is a whole new process to me, and despite being a bit scared of the rejection letters showing up in my mailbox, I’m excited to be moving solidly forward on this project. Who knows what comes next, but seeing the edited body of work in one place is pretty freaking cool.

Here’s the book cover at it stands at this moment…


the weekend before last i attended my first 24-hour endurance mountain bike race, 24-Hours in the Old Pueblo, which was a fantastic experience….a wee bit freezin’-me-buttocks-off-cold, but fun. i’m starting now to cull a team of friends to race next year. super duper cool shit.


The road into 24-hour town (the skinny white line in the distance) led us to a village of tents, trucks and r.v.’s .


Mark Mason is triumphant! We made it to the event location without losing my bike or his bike, which was fortunate because Mark was on a team with his brother. Mark, who is one of the nicest gents that I know, signed up for the crappiest shift – the 3am – 5am shift – during what had to be mid-20º temperatures. I didn’t hear him complain once…not once!


If you happen to see these two fellas coming your way, be forewarned that they are nothing but fun! Matt Gindlesparger (the husband of my work spouse Katie) and Brendan Collier (right), the owner and designer of Siren Bicycles, were my new best mates at the race. When Matt isn’t the spokes-model for the Siren clothing line (hence the hip 1980’s collar upturn), he’s working on the U of A’s entry into the Solar Decathlon….he’s kind of a smarty pants. Mix these two gentleman, toss in an espresso maker sans tamper, add a great pot of chili made by Katie and finish with wee shot of bourbon as racers speed by…and you’ve got a fine time on your hands!


The ever-lovely Mel Mason volunteered to d-jay for a six hour shift, keeping race fans rolling, despite temperatures that fell fast, fast! Mel has an amazing talent for music…she even played a song just for me! Brendan,  Matt, Mark and myself were Mel’s support staff.


And I found a heart in the carpet inside the Siren Bicycle’s tent…a rugged heart.

I have a love affair with travel, flight to be precise. It must be connected to my nearly insatiable need to be in motion, in transit, leaving here, going there, moving forward – literally or figuratively. Blame it on my nomadic upbringing, but the curiosity of finding myself surrounded by unknowns is a challenge I seem to consistently be chasing.

I went home for the holidays this year. It had been two years since I was home last for Heidi and Jake’s wedding. It was a splendid and relaxing vacation. I played games invented on the spot by my older nephews, who also taught me how to play tennis on the aptly named Wii. I flirted with my younger two nephews who already have heart-breaker qualities and made it extremely easy for me to fall madly in love with them. My sisters and I had wonderful talks that I wish we could have more often, if only we lived closer to one another. I had great conversations with my mom that continue to play-back in my mind. How does a mother’s identity change after thirty years of active motherhood slowly moves a woman towards being the caretaker of one – herself?

When I do travel, I do my best to time my flights properly. It’s a science, really. I schedule outbound flights to correspond with the rising sun and I time the descent of returning flights with sunsets. I like the conceptual connection of the dawn of adventure as I depart from my hometown of the moment. I also embrace the abstract of my adventure coming to an end as the daylight descends into night.

On my flight home I found myself thinking about the “why” of my travels. What is it about leaving and returning that is so magical? Here are some pictures and some words I strung together during that return flight…landing at sunset, of course.



look with flight speed
way down and across
a curdled-milk contrail
diagonally cuts
the crossword quilt
sewn by her hands
to comfort the 4-year-old boy
crying in seat B, aisle 33
salt-watered tears
mimic erosion flows
imprecise, confused
into and over
their complicated neighbors

dense, red light
breaks snowed-starved mountains
into baby pink tips
sharpened, carved
by extreme extremes
paler, and paler pinks
as the aircraft falls
in tandem with the sun
I am anxious to reconnect
my feet with their walking path
because even from this distance
gated bedroom communities
have beauty.


p.s. When I fly into cities I know well, I also select which side of the aircraft I want to sit on (go ahead, call me neurotic, I don’t mind). When flying into Oakland, I sit on the right side of the plane so I can peer down into Yosemite National Park as we pass over (sadly, it was clouded over this trip). I sit on the left side when flying out so that I can peer down upon San Francisco, where I went to university. We also fly over Candlestick Park, where I cut my teeth as a young photographer covering 49er’s games back in the days of Steve Young, Jerry Rice and a young kid named Terrell Owens.


Another round of hearts “found” me on a recent hike with Gertie in Catalina State Park. It was her first time on the trail and she had an absolute blast and flirted with all the boys that we passed…or was that me? Hmmm….





I’ve been feeling solid and rooted in my life, which I think is represented in the “earthiness” of this latest round of “found hearts”. Enjoy!

I have joined an truly amazing group of local artists from nearly every creative discipline – writers, poets, dancers, designers, architects, arts advocates, educators, filmmakers, body workers – for a deeply collaborative project.

The Invisible City aims to explore the ways in which we – as people, as inhabitants – interact with the spaces that we live in. The project is focused on downtown Tucson’s growth, both stunted and rapid. The project is occurring completely in public spaces and we fully welcome participation from everyone and anyone.

Sessions are Fridays from 5-7 p.m. and on Sundays from 2-6 p.m., over the next four weekends and will take place at a wide variety of locations throughout downtown Tucson.

Click here to visit The Invisible City project blog.

Click here for locations and information on how to participate.

Click here to see images and to see video.

Click here to read the work of writers and poets.

At the end of the project, a performance will be held on Sunday, Nov. 16th at 5:30 pm, (Tickets: $10). Location is the top floor of Pennington Street Parking Garage.

I find myself sick, for the second weekend in a row. Apparently last weekend was just a warm-up exercise because this weekend I’ve gone down hard. I don’t even had the benefits of a sexy radio voice. At this moment I am enjoying a hot cup of triple-dose echinacea tea. The tag attached to tea bag is printed with this motivational statement:

Say it straight, simple and with a smile.”

Straight and simple wrapped in a smile. Maybe there is some truth to the old adage that bad news/uncomfortable situations are best delivered/endured with a smile. I have come to realize that I am an absolute pro at smiling my way through the litany of bizarre situations that life tosses my way…much too often, if you ask me. I provide the events of last Wednesday evening as an example. (I would have blogged about this that night, but my good friend Sean’s last words to me that night were “No drunk blogging!” which he cautioned is worse than drunk dialing and/or texting).

Last Wednesday evening I joined a handsome gentleman/local music aficionado and his fish-named-dog for dinner on 4th Ave. I’ve been curious about this particular gentleman since I met him many moons ago and dinner was a chance to actually talk before heading to a cd release party for the awesome local musical group Molehill Orkestrah. Dinner was good and the conversation swell and comfortable. Talk about connection points…it seems that this man and I share some crazy geographical connections – from small Ozark mountain towns to the east San Francisco Bay Area – our life paths have criss-crossed over the same small waypoints. It was fun to reminisce about the stomping grounds of my youth with someone who also stomped on the same lands.

We break after dinner – he to walk his dog home and me to run home to feed The Gertie before meeting him back at Plush for the show. On my way home, I dialed the number of my most recent romance (now defunct). I needed to stop by and pick up my things, having run out of saline solution that morning and having left a full bottle at his place. I didn’t think he’d be home, thought he’d still be working and I could slip in and out with the key that I still had on my key ring. “Yep, I’m home.”…”Is it okay if I stop by to pick up a few things?”….”Umm, sure.” he answers sounding distracted….”You’re positive?”…”Yeah. Sure…yeah.”…”Hey…are you alone?”…”Umm, no.”…”Who’s there?”…he answers with a girl’s name. Without really thinking, I say “Okay. Cool, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

Obviously, I didn’t listen to that little voice called “Intuition”. In hindsight, that was my clue to just go to Walgreen’s. Shoulda, woulda, coulda…yadda, yadda, yadda.

The next 10 minutes are surreal and uncomfortable. Nothing like being the lone sober person walking into an already-started-party-for-two. So…we do what any normal people do in a situation like this – we make small talk like this is a completely normal every day situation. How-are-you’s? are exchanged while I’m gathering my toiletries. “Hey, I found a shirt of yours while doing laundry.”….”Thanks. I was looking for that this morning.”…”How is work going?”…”Good. Busy.”…I pause and put my things down for a moment. I slip his key off my ring and hold it out for him to take. He stares at it for a moment but makes no move to take it. I place it on his nightstand. “You want your keys back too?”…”Yes, eventually. Your grill is still at my house…”

I remind you, dear reader, that all this is happening with an audience. Yes…”The-return-of-the-key” ceremony had an audience, which is a first for me. I don’t really remember what I said as I departed. I just know that I flew out of there as fast as my wobbly legs would allow. I do remember getting into my car and saying out loud, “What the f*@% was that?!?!” before taking a deep, deep breath to ground myself before heading to Plush for the show (which was lovely, despite the beautiful belly dancer who’s be-charmed waist jingled-jangled two feet away from me and did not necessarily compliment the band’s performance).

My long-time friends know that I often find myself in some rather bizarre situations. All of these friends have agreed that this event has vaulted to the #1 spot. My mom said, “Your life is soooooo interesting!”…which I think she meant in a positive way. My sister just followed my lead and laughed at the absurdity of it all.

Say it straight, simple and with a smile.

If you hang around me long enough, you’ll learn that nothing in my life is straight, nor simple, but I certainly do know how to smile my way through it.

sigh. life has been busy and very full. visits from family and friends, birthday parties, traveling all over the state of Arizona for a contract photo assignment, making lots and lots of presentations to local high schools to recruit this year’s staff of 110º youth apprentices…and the reappearance of Love in my life (more on that later!).

my sister Heidi, her husband Jake and their son Kaeden came to Tucson for a visit. It was so nice to have family come visit, and especially nice to have a little fella around to cuddle with. we went up to Phoenix for a great weekend with the eldest Niles Girl, Julie, and her family at a resort. days were spent in the pool with a few rounds of adult beverages. very relaxing and fun.

who wouldn’t want to just kiss, kiss, kiss this cutie-pie?

a few hours after Heidi, Jake and Kaeden departed for home, the lovely Becki arrived for her last Tucson visit before her departure for her Peace Corps assignment in Morocco. we headed down to Puerto Penasco, Mexico with fellow former Nebraskan Jill P. it was beyond great to be next to a large body of water – the Sea of Cortez – and with two great friends! i sat there…took turns sipping my beer and inhaling the scent and sounds of sea water.

Jill is a fabulous bargainer, so we walked away from the market with boogie-boards for a nice price, which meant we went straight into the water and floated in the undulating waves for hours. i did get knocked over by a strong wave – lost my sunglasses and hair clip. totally worth it.

the next beach Becki and i will find ourselves on will be off the north-African coast! Becki leaves for Morocco tomorrow and i am extremely excited for her new adventure with the Peace Corps. it has been a long (and grueling) process for her and i’m so glad that she is finally on her way. i’ll be visiting her next june and i’m already hatching plans for (mis)adventures!

beach art…

today, a tuesday, is remarkable. one year ago i pulled into Tucson, checked myself into a hotel and immediately began to fret about what i would wear the next morning as i began my new career as an educator in the non-profit world.  everything about my life was in transition at that moment. i had no idea where i would live…if i would like my co-workers or if they would like me…where i could find a good cup of coffee…what the local music scene was like…if i could make friends in a town where i knew only one person…if i would be able to work with youth. if i would even like Tucson…if it would ever feel like “home”.

as i write this post, i sit on my sofa with my feet upon my beautiful vintage Lane coffee table inside my quaint 1938 adobe home. my vintage dishes fill my kitchen cabinets. local blues musician Tom Walbank is on my iTunes and i have plans with friends every night this week. i survived my first year working with youth and i soon came to realize that teaching is deeply rewarding to me in ways that i could never have anticipated. i totally and completely adore my co-workers and i think they have come to appreciate my steel will and off-beat sarcasm. i had a good cup of Mexican organic coffee this morning from a local coffee shop and a youth i mentored this year stopped into the office to say hello.

anniversaries always make me stop for a moment…take a breath and give thanks for all that has come my way. they are a moment of reflection. i am thankful for the spectacular individuals in my new “home”-town that have added me into their lives, enriching mine in the process. i’ve written about them all here. i also give thanks for the support given to me from out-of-state, especially during my early months here.

i feel incredibly fortunate. i feel proud. i feel creative. i feel challenged. i feel strong and free. most of all i feel closer to my continual goals of stability and clarity.

i (heart) Tucson.

what do you do after a day of driving through intense wind storms? you share a fabulous dinner with a dear friend (mine = William), slowly sip a refreshing glass of white wine and savor every bite of a dinner you can’t really afford.

William and i had dinner in Tulsa, Oklahoma before getting back on the road toward my desert home in the southwest. there is a certain fun factor to choosing a restaurant in random fashion, not looking at the menu before being seated and ordering food that will make you swoon with pleasure. the restaurant we ate at, Oliver’s Twist, was on Peoria, just down the street from the restaurant my Dad asked my Mom to marry him. the meal was lovely, conversation splendid. it was William’s first trip to Tulsa. i drove him around Oral Roberts University, which he found scintillating.

William insisted that we take this photo for our mutual friend Becki.

apparently, if Becki (Roberts) ever enters the adult entertainment business, she has her name picked out already. hmm. even i’d pay cash money for that.

i insisted that William and i stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico for some serious carnage at my favorite BBQ place. yes…it’s a chain…but i’m cool with that. i was introduced to Rudy’s BBQ while living in San Antonio, Texas nearly a decade ago. it is a testament that i still think it is the best BBQ if i’m still talking about it.

super yummy. total carnage. vegetarians need not apply.

William stayed for a lovely, long visit with me in Tucson. i adore having him in town. he fixes things around the house for the single woman that i am. he makes us fabulous dinners every night – over which he listens to me yak incessantly about how much i love my job and the people i work with. we went for a series of small hikes at Saguaro National Park. it was already in the mid-90’s by 10am, so we took it easy.

William thinks the Saguaro cacti are fascinating. last time he was here for a visit he got into a bit of a tussle with one. he was smarter this time round, but i wasn’t. i backed right into one. yikes!