Posted in about shae, badassery, photography, Uncategorized, Writing

One Word 365 “Roar!”

In the past, for the One Word 365 Challenge I’ve chosen words like, “Imagine,” “See,” “Adventure,” and “Hope.” One of my favorites that still resonates is, “Fearless.”

As I’m completing my fiftieth birthday year, it is now almost 2020. I set out to have certain goals met by now, some I’ve just squeezed in at the last minute. I am now living my most authentic life, still evolving and learning, but the most me I’ve ever been.

My word for this coming year is, “Roar!” Now that I feel the most me, the most authentic, it’s time the world heard my voice, my thoughts, my stories (visual, written, and verbal) and my truth.

Stay tuned. You are about to hear me roar!

Roar, by Katy Perry

I got the eye of the tiger
A fighter

Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

Posted in community, nature, pics, Uncategorized, weather


IMG_6213It’s been a week now since Harvey started steamrolling his way up the Texas coast, dumping 30 inches of rain in my neighborhood over a 5 day period.  I live in the Buffalo Bayou watershed, and that water is still lapping against the bottom floor of my four-story building.

Mercifully, that water has receded about a foot and a half in the last 24 hours.  It’s not unlike a clogged bathtub drain – since they keep releasing water from the reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou, they do not expect this water to fully drain (and that’s if there’s no additional rain) for another 10-15 days.  Most other places in town, the water is receding or has receded.

I’ve been working from home for over a week. Thankfully, I only lost power for 15 minutes on Saturday morning and it came back on and has stayed on.  Tuesday I did go out, in the pouring rain, because I was going a little stir-crazy.  I made it to the Thai place close by and got some takeout. While I waited, I chatted with a much older gentleman named Bill. It was nice to have some conversation that did not involve posting warnings to other coworkers (we are spread all over the Houston metro area) and checking in on people where the water was rising.

It’s not unusual to feel helpless during disasters like this.  My health is not allowing me to do much in the say of hands-on help for people, I have no cash to really help anyone, and though I live on the fourth floor, I sustained some water damage in my apartment due to the wind, prior undiscovered damage that this storm brought to light, and relentless, pounding rain.  I’m really worried about the mold that is already there and that will have a chance to grow until I get my turn on the fix list (there are many apartments on the first floor of other buildings that had rising water in them that are priorities, and I get that).

I know people who have lost everything (again) and people who have lost cars, and some people who are just stuck because we are living on a series of islands in this area of town and if you want to go north/south from here it is nearly impossible. It’s insane and difficult to describe what’s going on down here in Houston.

This is my fourth…fifth… major flood/storm in the last 9 years. I’ve really lost count how many times this creek that is often just a trickle of inches has gone over its banks (about five feet), but this is the first time the water has risen to within a foot of the balcony on the first floor.  It’s only gone down about 18 inches since the rain stopped Tuesday evening.

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I do the only thing I can do in times like this, document the situation as it happens, encourage others, and take photos.  Some of the photos you see on this post were taken with my iPhone or Canon over the past couple of days as the sun came out.

I noticed, while taking these photos, something was moving in the water. I know there are snakes down there, frogs, and who knows what, but a turtle surfaced in the water.  Of course, I named him Harvey.  How could I not?


The apartment management visited yesterday to survey the damage and get me on the list of getting things fixed.  We opened the door to survey the door frame damage, and I pointed down to the turtle.   They were all amazed.  Through all that yucky, brown water, swam this little guy.  And from up here, if he looks like that, he’s probably a pretty good size.  Harvey finally made some people smile!

Some people thought I was delirious because I was saying a turtle swam by my apartment, but here he is:


While I am ready to get back to work, I hope some of the routes north open up, otherwise it may take me over an hour (or more) to go 8 miles when it comes time to try go to the office. The Buffalo Bayou runs all the way to downtown and everywhere there’s a bridge over it, it’s under water and will be for a week or two.

Still, I’ve been able to find some beauty in the mess, and that’s saying something, because it’s a big mess!  All of Houston must reach deep inside to find the silver lining, and keep trudging forward, because Harvey left us with devastation that will take months to clean up.

The best part of this mess is seeing the best of humanity amid the worst of nature.  People helping people, no matter their color, creed or political slant.  Volunteers being turned away because there are too many.  Communities everywhere donating to those in need.  Trucks pulling boats from other states coming to rescue people from their homes. That’s still happening, by the way.  Amazing. People can be amazing when they need to be.

I hope this goodness continues to spread across the United States.  It’s too bad it took a natural disaster to draw it out, but I hope it’s a start.  Please be good to each other out there.


Posted in creativity, photographers, photography, Uncategorized



I truly, madly, deeply love photography. I love being a photographer. I feel alive in the creative process from beginning to end.

For the last couple of years – through my ups and downs with cancer and hypothyroidism – I lost my creative drive.  Most people do not realize how much energy creativity takes, especially for someone who has to measure out, sometimes selfishly, how she spends her time and energy.

I decided it was time to reclaim my creative drive and ramp it up.  I have been participating in the FMS Photo a Day, a photography challenge that has a daily word (a color, food, “right now,” etc) you must snap a photo and post.  I asked some friends to join me in October’s challenge and it’s been interesting to see “orange,” “stuff,” and “good vibes,” through their eyes.

Today, my friend Kim picked me up this morning and we headed out to parts unknown, to me at least.  We ended up in small towns like Shiner, Flatonia, Schulenburg, and LaGrange, Texas.  We’d occasionally stop, snap some photos, and continue on. It was a perfectly creative day with a good friend. I can’t ask for a more creative and satisfying Saturday.


I can feel the creativity boiling in me now. For example, as Kim and I were talking, I noticed this reflection in her wine glass, stopped, snapped the photo, and continued talking. It’s one of my favorite shots from the day.


Grateful for days like this! Getting my creative mojo back one day at a time.

Posted in Uncategorized


I’ve been back from Maui a couple of weeks now. The jet lag I had was the worst I’ve experienced. As I’m about to embark on a year of moderate travel, I hope the worst has passed.

Hawaii was worth every penny.  I arrived close to midnight my time, in the middle of torrential rain and heavy tradewinds. Every local I came across that night told me that the amount of rain was unusual, not only for this time of year, but it was the most they’d seen at the same time years.

I managed to get to the condo, which is north of Whaler’s Village, the resort area. I stayed up as long as I could, but at 4 AM I was wide awake and so was the BFF.  My first view of Maui:


Then, the magic started happening. The sun came up. The rain stopped. Maui revealed itself to us in a new way every day.  



The first thing I noticed about Maui, besides the scenery, was that, if you are a fast-paced, go-go-go person like me, everything on the island whispers, “slow down,” and then the island makes you slow down.  Not only are most speed limits between a maddening 35-45 mph, people walk slower, talk slower, serve slower, and respond slower than they do on the mainland.  This is how the Hawaiian culture is.  Either you accept that and let yourself relax, or you are in for a maddening, frustrating experience.

I let myself relax, almost too much.  We did get out and see something new every day. Most evenings, however, we were parked on the lanai (that’s balcony for you landlubbers) ready to take in the breathtaking sunsets.  Each sunset was different and spectacular in its own way.





Of course, there were a few rainbows to gawk at as well: 



One of our favorite hangout spots was called Aloha Mixed Plate, a family-owned restaurant (they also own the oldest luau on the island). The prices are reasonable all day, the staff is warm and friendly, and the view is beautiful.  We ate there at least once a day, usually for breakfast before we headed out to explore all day. 


We also drove the Road to Hana, a highlight of my trip for certain. With views of waterfalls, rainbow eucalyptus trees, bamboo, and other random visual delights, it’s worth the 52-mile road with 610 hairpin turns and 59 bridges, most of them one lane. When we arrived at the end, we found a little Thai restaurant called Nutcharree’s and I daresay it was the best pad Thai I ever had!








Best of all, I got to spend over a week with my BFF from college, also named Sharon, hence the “Ditto” photo.  We always have such a great time together. I cannot wait to see where we will go next time!





Posted in Uncategorized


RESOLUTION: a firm decision to do or not to do something. – random online dictionary

INSANITY: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

This year has been full of challenges, difficulties, and successes.  Two back-to-back surgeries and learning an entirely new job this year has left my well pretty dry right now, but I’m doing all right. The surgeries were worth it. 55 pounds lost, no helter-skelter roller coaster of emotions and the new duties at work have made today much better than this day last year.

I will go on record saying that, while this was a tough year, it was a good year. I do not do resolutions anymore, but I do have four goals for 2014. All hopefully achievable, all very necessary.

GOAL #1:  NO SURGERIES! This, I hope, is completely achievable. I enter 2014 in the best health I’ve been in for the last 20 years. While epidurals are great, morphine is awesome, and finding out who really has your back when you are medicated and laid out flat on it is educational, I’d rather not have any major medical problems to deal with in the coming year.

GOAL #2: TAKE CAMERA EVERYWHERE I do mean everywhere, except maybe the bathroom. People act a little funny when you walk into a bathroom with a DSLR around your neck. They do not, however, act weird when you walk into a bathroom with an iPhone. I will keep this in mind.

The goal here is to just take as many pictures as I can. Between the surgeries, getting healthy, work, and having my camera stolen, I didn’t take hardly any photos (in comparison to other years) in 2013. Any I did in the first half of last year are still locked away on my backup hard drive. I hope to launch my portfolio on 500x soon and I need to beef it up a bit. So if you see me walk into a bathroom with my camera tell me I need a break.

GOAL #3: HIT MY GOAL WEIGHT I had RNY gastric bypass surgery on March 25. In 9 months, I lost a whopping 55 pounds. After my first surgery this year, my weight went up to 251, the highest it’s ever been. On the day of my bypass surgery, I weighed 238 pounds. That’s the weight I measure by. My goal weight is 140-145. That’s what I weighed in high school. I will see what weight my body settles into. Meanwhile, I will exercise and eat right and do my part. The second half to the goal is always more difficult than the first. This is when I need resolve most.

GOAL #4: MORE “ME” TIME Because of all my surgeries, health issues, and work, I did not have a lot of “me” time.  In 2014, I am going on vacation and taking more short trips (with the camera, of course) and working on photography (which keeps me sane). I hope to be writing more, too. This all takes time with a recharged me. I’m an introvert, so don’t take it personally when I disappear to recharge. I will be a better me if I do.

That’s it. Anything I accomplish outside of these four goals is just gravy.  I find I accomplish more when I keep it simple and these goals seem pretty simple to me. 

Happy New Year! May your goals bring you the accomplishments you desire. 

Posted in Uncategorized



I have many things in my life that are “out of control.” Ten years ago, that fact would have terrified me and let me straight into a depressive spin. Now, I find that fact so liberating I almost want to bake a vegan cake to celebrate.

WEIGHT LOSS: I am down 54 pounds as of this morning.  I have absolutely no control over my weight’s descent right now. I can speed it up a bit with cardio, but in reality, right now, the weight comes off of its own free will, or the weight plateaus of its own free will. I can only do my part – exercise and eat right – and leave the rest up to the tool the surgery gave me.

I am still adjusting to the byproducts of weight loss. Buying new clothes (it’s so expensive!) and continually changing the way I eat. Now that I’m gluten and dairy intolerant, I have to cook a lot more than I used to, but I’m loving it. 

The best byproduct of the weight loss is, however, the confidence. I thought I was confident before, now I feel unstoppable. That notion is actually very humbling.  I am blessed beyond measure right now. 

OTHER HEALTH ISSUES: I am experiencing some very real, very troubling pain in my joints, especially my knees, hips and back. The current diagnosis is that the pain is due to a hormonal imbalance that, unfortunately, cannot be balanced right now. I am on an estrogen blocker (Tamoxifen) and I’ve lost a lot of fat cells (that store estrogen) so it’s all out of balance. I can’t take estrogen (my cancer was estrogen positive), so I’m stuck. My doctor said as long as movement alleviated the pain, it was hormonal and not rheumatoid arthritis and not to worry.  Just move. Easier said than done some days.

PHOTOGRAPHY: My plans to launch my own photography site, do shoots, and sell prints came to a screeching halt by cancer interruptus. The last two years I’ve had to pour so much time into getting healthy again that this project had to take a back burner and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I had to let go of my plans, but now I’m working on my site again and am hopeful about 2014.

I have many other out of control things I’m juggling right now – work, hobbies, life. I just need to remember I really don’t have control over any of it and I’ll be fine.

I remember when I was paralyzed by the illusion of control. One thing would go “out of control,” and the anxiety level would climb so high I’d be ill from it. Then one day, I realized control is an illusion. Nobody really is in control of random happenings, the only thing I control is how I react to all the random.

Yes, I still get stressed, but I am happy with where I am right now, even though so many things are up in the air. I can relax because even though nothing is under control, I’m still ok.  

Let go of the illusion of control. Relax. Nothing is under control… and that’s an amazing feeling.