Monthly Archives: September 2012

Plugging the Club

Two posts in two days. Amazing! Anyway, I forgot to mention the one othe thing I did over the weekend. I read a book! An entire book, cover to cover. Yes I did.

See, I found out a couple of weeks ago that one of my fave places in town, Murder By the Book, has book clubs. And they’re FREE! Each month they have a different theme, so I dove in. This month it’s LA detective fiction. I got both books for my Kindle, where they promptly sat for a couple of weeks. Until last weekend, when I picked one up and started reading.

Couldn’t. Put. It. Down. Well, I did here and there, but before I knew it I had finished the first book:

Surprisingly, it was pretty good. Not earth-shattering great literature, but a quick and entertaining read. Former Buddhist monk-turned-PI investigating a cult, insurance scams and mysterious deaths. Fun stuff.

I’ve started the second book, and it’s already much grittier and bloodier than the first. Former mob gangster-turned-good-guy gets murdered, and it’s up to an old friend to investigate. I’m hooked. And I’ve got less than a week to finish it before the club meeting, so I’d better get cracking. Looks like I’ve finally got a hobby!

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Filed under Book Clubs, Hobbies, Murder By the Book Houston, Mysteries, Reading

A Lovely Day

There was a rare happening at Casa Bell over the weekend.

A Day to Myself.

Yes, really. An entire day, all to myself. All of the boys were off to visit family a couple of hours away and I was pretty much told that I needed rest and relaxation. So I stayed home. Well, not really at home…

See, I have this problem. When I get time to myself (rarely) I can’t decide what to do with it. There are too many options. I have a whole list of things that I enjoy doing around town that aren’t always entirely family-friendly. So on the rare occasion that I get time, it’s hard to pick just one or two things to do. And that usually results in me getting frustrated, staying home and putting in a DVD.

Not this time. It was Museum District Day. Aha! A plan! I think I spent most of last week planning my day. Started off by getting a haircut. For those of you who know me, it’s totally not about the actual haircut. It’s about the shampoo. I will gladly pay someone else to wash my hair, massage my head – wash, rinse, repeat – any time, any day. For me, it’s better than a massage. Seriously. And this lady didn’t disappoint.

Next stop – Rothko Chapel. One of those places I’ve always wanted to go but just haven’t. Life always seems to get in the way of places like this. Outside I found a tiny bit of serenity in the midst of inner-loop Houston:

What else could I do? I spent some time meditating, relaxing and enjoying the gorgeous fall weather – and the surprising quiet of Montrose… But I couldn’t linger – I had a purpose. Inside the chapel a percussion recital waited, so I headed in for some music therapy. I have to be honest – I really tried. I did. I’m ashamed to admit this as a musician, but the piece was just not to my taste. Twenty-five minutes of aleatoric chime patterns had me fidgeting and trying to slow my brain down. It didn’t work. But I immersed myself in a new experience and gave it a go.

Next stop was the Lawndale Art Center. The awesome mural I discovered in February has been replaced by some kind of pop art collage. Interesting – it reminds me of 50’s B-films in a way…

Spent some time among the art, enjoying the space and watching some kids create with sidewalk chalk on the pavement outside. Made a quick stop at the Contemporary Craft Center’s garden for some more reflection and then headed home.

I actually took a nap! An uninterrupted nap in a quiet house! Bliss! That gave me some much-needed energy to finish up some mundane errands, including a trip to Randall’s to pick up a few ingredients for dinner. Being alone, that meant trying a new recipe involving many things green. I found this recipe courtesy of Anthology magazine. Since it basically contains five of my favorite things – potatoes, garlic, green beans, cilantro, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I dove in. Less than thirty minutes later, this was the result:



Heaven in a bowl. Honest. And to top off my lovely day, a movie that I’ve been dying to see since I first heard about it last year just happened to be playing on TV.

Really interesting, and surprisingly ‘normal’ for a Cronenberg film. Guess he couldn’t go too crazy since it basically tells a true story. And Michael Fassbender just might give James Bond a run for his money in my book…

A perfect day. And the best part was that by the end of it, I was missing my guys and ready for them to come home!


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Filed under Cooking, Film, Meditation, Music, Self-care


I have a problem with labels. Not the paper kind. The mental kind, which can be much stickier and more troublesome. See, I am definitely a Type A personality. I like control. I like order. Add to that the problem fact that, according to the Brain Colors test, I am also extremely Gold. Not golden – that would be a bit egocentric. But Gold. That means I like rules, regulations, checklists and routine in the extreme.
How does this relate to labels? Quite simply, I function best when I can put a label to any situation, relationship or person that I may come across. For most of my life, I’ve labeled myself in some form or fashion, just to simplify things in general (or so I thought.) Friend. Musician. Teacher. Wife. Introvert. The list goes on and on. And, in the process of creating these labels, I managed to box myself into them. I would think/act/make decisions based on whatever label I chose to identify most with at any given moment in time. You can see the problem here. I boxed myself in.
Relationships have been the same way. Upon meeting someone new my brain immediately tries to put a label on the relationship. Friend? Acquaintance? Co-worker? Instead of just living in the moment and enjoying getting to know people I jump into the compulsive attempt at labeling, and therefore, placing boundaries and expectations on, any new relationship. It makes mountains out of molehills and complications where none should exist. It poisons relationships. And it’s not fair to those people either.
Goal-setting is worse. Live in the moment? Ha! It’s been nearly impossible for most of my life. My brain is so goal-oriented that I spend so much time looking forward to the next step. I’ve really struggled with enjoying the now. That’s been my new challenge – and something that the last few months have taught me. Living in the moment. Blooming where I’m planted. Finding happiness where I am instead of where I will be.
I’m a work in progress…

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Filed under Identity, Introspection, Labeling, Personality, Relationships, Self esteem