Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Balance

Balance.  It’s a challenge.  From the day you finally stand on those wobbly legs and bravely let go of your mommy’s hands to the daring moment when you take your first steps.  Balance is the key.  Of course, balance takes on a much less literal meaning as we grow up and our struggle becomes more with the figurative implications.  You know, making time for friends and family without interfering with the rung-by-rung climb up the corporate ladder.  Or, making sure the work doesn’t eclipse the play (and the other way around).  I can’t speak personally to the balance of children and spouses and family time and intimacy, but I witness that struggle watching my friends.  It looks mind-blowingly difficult and absolutely exhausting.

There are times when I’m the balance queen.  When I’ve got more balls in the air than I think is possible to manage, but I seem to juggle them with ease.  So much ease at times that I feel a little guilty about it.  Like I’ve figured out the key to happily breezing through life and am not sharing the secret with everyone else.  I’m pretty sure that’s when the balls start dropping one by one, smacking me in the face and interrupting my mojo.

I woke up this morning lost and lonely.  I haven’t been here in a long time and it’s unnerving how quickly I arrived.  The interesting thing about my being lost is that I know change is on the horizon.   I feel it at the core of my being.  I once read that if you make a decision and it scares the hell out of you, then it’s most likely the right one.  And, my sister always tells me, “If it ain’t a hell yes then it’s a hell no!”  Those two nuggets of knowledge make me feel armed and ready for whatever is on the other side of the hill.

I think I’ll spend the day hoping.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Well, hello there.

Tomorrow I turn thirty-five.  I only have two silver hairs on my head and I think they're lovely.  My wrinkles - they're laugh lines and they make me smile.  My body?  It's mine and we love and understand each other.

Something big is about to happen.  I can feel it coursing through my veins.  It's electric.  I'm excited.  I'm moving.  Something.  Somewhere.  I'm starting a new chapter.  I'm healing old wounds and it's easy.  And, it's actually fucking enjoyable.  I feel light and free and open.  And ready.  I'm ready.

Tomorrow, the door opens, and I welcome in the joy, wealth, adventure and love that's waiting on the other side.

Well, hello there.  I've been expecting you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's been a while.

I've been busy since the last time we spoke.  Here are the highlights:

I went to London to see a boy.

I met up with some old friends for crawfish.

I celebrated St. Patty's Day at The Fader Fort during SXSW.

Mon made it out to the Do512 Big One.  Shanda was lame and stayed home.

I had to take some pictures at work for a guy in Russia.  He wanted to see the view from his bedroom window before he bought the condo.

I broke the stem off of my special wine glass.  It was my favorite.  Leslie gave it to me for my birthday last summer.  It reminds me of my last day with Sadie.

Little Meli, my mentee at Ann Richards School painted this picure in art class.  I think it's beautiful.  I hope she's having a fun summer.

I survived a road trip with a terrorizing two-year-old.  
She's one bad mamma jamma, but I love her guts!

Leslie and I went to the Railroad Revival Tour.  We paid a lot of money for last minute tickets because Mumford & Sons is my favski.  This will go down as one of my most fav-oh-rite shows of all time.

"Roll away your stone I'll roll away mine.  Together we can see what we will find." 

I watched a crazy storm from the balcony of my office.  My shirt flew over my head after this photo.  Amazeballs.  (The storm.  Not the shirt thing.)

We had an Andover Drive roomie reunion at Port A.  
Sheila and Clue competed in the Beach to Bay Relay Marathon.  I spectated.

Somehow I ended up with a medal anyway.  Go Jo!!!!

I watched some amazing clouds roll in from my patio one afternoon.

And, my nephew Quentin graduated from high school.  Magna Cum Laude.  
Smarty pants is going to UT in the fall.  Aunt JoJo is proud.  Hype it up in this biatch!!!

I went to Possum Kingdom with Crystal, Dionne, Zupe and Oliver.  I love it there.

 We ate some damn good chicken fried steak!


Oh, yeah.  I went back to London to see the boy.  That was the last time.  
The Universe works in mysterious ways.

I drank through it in Ireland.  Guinness at The Wander Inn makes everything better.

I went for a "hike" in Kilarney National Park in my cowboy boots.

Emma and Harry got married in a proper Irish Catholic wedding!  It was beautiful.

Shanda made a clip for my hair.  Yep, I requested a peacock feather.  Fancy, huh?
 It was supposed to match the tie that I bought for the boy, 
but neither the boy nor the tie made it to Ireland.

I explored Cork one day.  It felt nice to walk around in the rain with no umbrella.  I miss rain.

Leak, potato and onion soup with a Guinness.  Yum.  Me.


Stacy and Chad got married in Fburg.  It was the best wedding I've ever attended.  Hands down.  Well done, Stacy girl!

Me and the bestie.

Groucho Marx and Hitler.  No idea why I went there.  Sorry.

My fam just got together for our annual family reunion.  We went to Granbury where my Aunt Lyn lives.  There was a dance off.  My 81-year-old grandma participated.
Next year, I get to choose the location.  Guess what folks?  We're going somewhere that's not 1,000 degrees.  San Francisco?  Denver?  Portland?  We shall see.  Texas?  No fucking way.

Now you're up to speed!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm a pug pusher.

Although Leo and Sadie are no longer here, they are very much still with me...which is quite obvious if you visit my new condo.  A guy came over this afternoon to help me take care of some stuff at the new place and made the mistake of telling me he's on the fence about getting a pug.  I showed him a few pictures, recited a few stories and offered my pug walking services at no charge.  I could see he really wanted to do it.  I think.

I later felt compelled to send him this email and give him a little nudge in the right direction.  Besides, riding the fence sounds painful.  

(Side bar for a public service announcement: Never want to ride the fence again?  My sissy once told me, "If it's not a hell yes, it's a hell no!"  Ding!  There you have it, folks.  No more fence riding for you!)

Back to that email...

When you left I started looking at pics of my babies.  I love that you love pugs.  They're so fun...definitely get one!
Leo (fawn) and Sadie (black) were the two coolest dogs on the planet.  :)

My friend Lori was pug-sitting for me and I texted to see how things were going.  She responded with this picture.  ha!


He emailed me back:

Oh My GOD!!!!!
Those are some of the most adorable little creatures! Your {let's forgive the grammar mistake, people...and you know who you are.} only making it worse for me!  Now I really want one!



If he wasn't already a "Hell Yes!  I want a pug." was he really a "Hell No!  I don't want a pug."???? 

Did I just push pugs on this guy?

Friday, December 31, 2010

Signs of a Powerful Creator

It's new year's eve.  I'm sitting in my favorite chair, relaxing for the first time in what seems like weeks.  I'm sliding into 2011 with my dogs barking, my back aching, my mind swimming...and I'm giddy as a school girl. 

This year has taught me that I am a powerful creator and when I want something, it's okay to believe I deserve it and when I believe I can have it, I can...and I do.

I just looked out the window, but instead of seeing my favorite porch and ginormous backyard, I'm gazing out onto the ever-changing backdrop of downtown Austin.  I barely made it, by the skin of my teeth, I think they say...but I did.  I accomplished my 2010 new year's resolution - to balance and simplify my life.

I hung a cute, albeit cheap - er, inexpensive - metal sign up in my walk-in closet last January.  It had one word written on it - Simplify.  I repeated that word everyday, multiple times a day all year long.  I talked to my family about it.  I promised my friends I'd do it.  I'm sure people thought I was like the drunk girl that tells the same story over and over at the party.  "Yeah, yeah, Jo.  You said that already.  We've heard this story before."  Don't get me wrong, I've totally been that girl at the party before, so I'm not judging. (Well, maybe a littleIt's horrifying to watch, huh?)  I'm just trying to make a point.  This was different.  This was good (and sober).  It felt great to dream about, to plan for and to talk about.  It added a certain spice to my life and a hopeful point-of-view on the world that just made me an altogether happier person.  So, to all of my friends and family that listened to me all year long go on and on and on about simplifying my life...I am not sorry I talked your ear(s) off.  And, I thank you for listening, encouraging and inspiring me.

I enjoyed a wonderful year of traveling with some of my dearest friends and met charming people from all of the world along the way.  I had no idea when I started the year, that I'd have a place to lay my head in Poland, Australia, England, Ireland or Canada if the need ever arose.  I'm creating my very own global wolf pack and I plan to continue...

March of 2010 marks the first time in my life that I took a true two-week vacation and didn't look at email, check voicemail, or call-in to the office.  Those were two of the best weeks of my life...truly.  So much so that I took a second two-week vacation in October.  Taking time to stop and smell the roses in other parts of the world made me want to hunker down, hone my writing skills and take off to explore the world as a globetrotting short story writer. 

I vowed to live in downtown Austin by the first of the year, although at Thanksgiving there was still no sign that it would possibly happen.  Speaking of sign, that's what turned it all around.  A sign.  A simple sign that read FOR RENT.  I placed the sign in my yard the day before Thanksgiving.  I'd given up on the Craigslists and Facebooks of the world and vowed to make this happen some other way.  By Sunday, December 5, I'd met the family who would rent my home.  They were perfect, just like I knew they would be. 

The following day, I found my perfectly cozy, uniquely me, new digs in the heart of downtown Austin where I spend all of my days and most of my nights.  I'm roughly six blocks from work (0.5 miles), nestled up to Town Lake and stumbling distance away from my favorite bar scene in town.  Of course, cozy equates to small and small equates to minimal and minimal equates to simple and simple equates to my goal.  I had less than one month to reduce 2,000 sq ft of stuff to 741 sq ft of things that were truly meaningful to me and my life.

The idea of dealing with strangers on Craigslist and selling things I'd collected over the past 34 years seemed grueling and meaningless.  In order for me to do anything great, it needs to be fun, so I decided to give everything away.  My couch, rugs, coffee table, end tables, night stands, refrigerator, bed, desk, chairs, hammock, grill, smoker, paintings, cookware, decor, linens, lots and lots and lots of clothes....all of it.  I gave it away to friends, family and to underprivileged children.  I underestimated how good it would feel - the act of truly giving selflessly...without the want or expectation of anything in return - and I'm still savoring it.  It honestly was my favorite part of 2010 and something I'll never be able to do again or else I'll be living in a cardboard box under I35. 

As I was packing up the things most important and most comforting to me, I came to that sign in my closet.  Simplify.  I held the sign in my hand, thanked it for it's steadfastness and placed it in the goodwill box.  After all, keeping the sign would've gone against everything it stood for.  The dreamer in me pictures someone browsing the thrift store and stumbling upon the simple, little sign sitting amongst a bunch of useless nicknacks.  She picks it up (it'll most likely be a she), it speaks to her, and she takes it home and her thoughts become things...just like mine.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Class, Up in the Sky

As we sat on the runway at LAX waiting to depart for Melbourne, VIC, I looked around at my fellow passengers whom I'd be spending the next 16 hours with. I was in the middle seat, in the very back section of the lower level. I noticed the last row was 88 so naturally I felt compelled to do the math. I leaned up, looked across the row. Three seats on the left. Four in the middle, where I sat. Three seats on the right. 10 seats times 88 rows = 880. WTF? There were more people sitting on this plane with me than were in my hometown growing up! That didn't even count the business class and first class seats on the upper level. This plane was massive, but I felt claustrophobic.

Qantas A380

It was 11:30p so this night owl wasn't quite tired yet. I decided to watch a movie before I popped my sleeping pill, silenced the world with my hot pink earplugs, and strapped the eye pillow with silky stars and moons across my face. Yes, I look ridiculous when I fly.

I ended up watching 3 movies on the flight over, but the first was Sex and The City II. Shan, Mon and I were supposed to go watch that together when it came out...Life got in the way so I found myself watching it sandwiched between an overweight 40-something man and a sweet little 70-something woman. During the course of the 16-hour flight, I caught both of them watching the movie as well. I wanted so bad to watch the little old lady watching some of Samantha's racier scenes, but I fell asleep. Thank you Ambien CR for helping me avoid an awkward moment somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

I have to rave about Qantas. The food. Fantastic. The snacks. Never-ending. The service. Top notch. In-flight entertainment technology. The booze in coach. Free flowing.

Maybe it was the combination of red wine, Xanax and Ambien or maybe it was the fact that I was on my way to see a very delicious Aussie, but that 26-hour trip halfway across the world to another hemisphere was as doable as the Aussie.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You had me at "hello."

Crystal sends me my horoscope on occasion...mostly when I'm feeling less than my best, getting bogged down in the details or just anxious about something particular. I was having one of those days yesterday.

She sent me this:

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Focus on what's small and slippery, Leo. Turn your gaze away from what's big and obvious. Exult in the salamander on the rock and a friend who has a new trick and the guilty pleasure you just discovered; excuse yourself from obsessing about the state of the economy, the meaning of life, and the clash between science and religion. Your pleasurable duty is to love what's in the midst of changing, and not fixate on trying to make arrangements that will supposedly last forever. Don't just grudgingly attend to the mercurial details; dive in as if playing with them were your central purpose.

I dig it when the Universe crafts the perfect message for us and then delivers it in the most peculiar of ways. Sometimes it's in an email from your sister. Other times it's in a conversation you overhear in an elevator or an interaction you see across the street while sitting in traffic on your way home from work. Occasionally it's even in losing something (or someone) you love.

It feels a little trippy at first when the message sent is received. Of course, the more you think about and process how everything and everyone is connected it blows your fuckin' mind. Life is a fascinating voyage. How could you not LOVE that?!?

Oh, Universe! You complete me.