weekly photo challenge: family

Saturday, January 18: The last time I saw my little sister Stephanie must have been at my mother’s funeral 12 years ago.  Stephanie has lived in Los Angeles for longer than that, and despite my best intentions, I’ve never made it to California until early this January.  It really is pathetic that we live on opposite coasts of the same country and never visit each other.

For this Weekly Photo Challenge of Family, I dedicate this post to my talented little sister.

To see full-sized images, click on any of the pictures in the gallery below.

Stephanie has always amazed me.  She’s insanely creative, energetic, and has a great sense of humor.  She can draw, paint, write, and do most anything that is inside or outside the box.  She used to work for Redbook, and later for Shape magazine, as Art Director.  Most recently she worked for Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health, magazines owned by American Media.  Now she’s taking some time to build her freelance business and pursue the non-corporate life of her dreams.  She really inspired me on this visit as we are both now trying to carve out lives for ourselves that are more fulfilling than the ones we’ve been living.

Steph and her abstract art
Steph and her abstract art

Stephanie writes of herself on her website KONSUMERISM.RUN.AMOK: the most random of desires: I’m a Creative Director, illustrator and obsessive collector.  I’m usually on the trail of something I have a sudden passion for, whether it be vintage books, tin toys, Danish modern furniture, cool plants, certain enticing vegetables, crazy looking bunnies, classic film DVDs, old jazz records, bicycles… the list goes on (and on). Everything is design. And I have an extra special kinship for old things. Mid-century makes my heart quicken. This is a place to share my latest finds and passions. Relax, put on a scratchy bop LP and meander with me through the artifacts of the last couple of centuries. I have tons more on my Pinterest than I’ll ever have time to post here, so be sure and visit.

Steph's house
Steph’s house

Stephanie is an avid collector, with an array of mid-century modern furniture, vintage bicycles, toys, books and movie posters filling her house.  Black & white family photographs adorn her walls and toy wind-up birds sit on shelves waiting to cock-a-doodle-doo. The whole ambiance of her house evokes our childhood, and the era of our parents and grandparents. On her living room wall hangs a photo of our brother Rob, Steph and me (with an especially bad haircut) in a New York diner, from her days in the city.  In her backyard, she has an aviary full of birds, especially finches, and a chicken coop where three chickens, rounded up by Horatio the rooster, lay eggs for her breakfast.  She has orange trees and a pond, and rusty vintage lawn chairs like the ones my grandmother used to have.  She has two friendly dogs, Babe and Buster, several cats who curl up by the heater and like to mark their territory on the guest bed, and rabbits who enjoy gnawing on electric cords.

We spend our time together on this visit reminiscing about our childhood, laughing, eating sushi accompanied by Sapporo and warm saké, watching The Invisible Woman at Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood, exploring the boardwalk & walk-streets of Venice, and watching Downton Abbey and the Golden Globes. We eat shrimp dumplings and calamari at P.F. Chang’s.  We talk of art and our goals and we encourage each other in our dreams. I loved spending time with my long-lost sibling.

Or, maybe it’s me who’s been long-lost.

In case you missed the homage to my visit that Stephanie drew in her journal, here it is, one more time.

~ journal entry by Stephanie Birdsong, in homage to my visit :-)
~ journal entry by Stephanie Birdsong, in homage to my visit 🙂

32 thoughts on “weekly photo challenge: family

  1. Love this – I’m always a sucker for posts about sisters since I have several and we all live far away from each other at the moment. Your sis has a great house! Looks cozy and the kind of place you could spend a while exploring. 😊

    1. You’re so right; I have another sister who lives closer by and we see each other more often. Steph’s house is very cozy and interesting; you could spend hours inspecting every little thing she has; none of it is tacky but it’s all quite nostalgic. 🙂

  2. Interesting, isn’t it, how easy it is to fall into not making the effort to visit with family when they don’t live in the same town? The same thing happened with me and my brother – hadn’t seen each other for many years before we reconnected a few years ago. And now its been over 4 years again – but at least we’re in contact on a pretty regular basis. Your sister sounds fascinating – between the two of you you’ve had many great experiences to talk about.

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Yes, Carol, it is weird how the days go by. You keep saying you’ll go visit someone and you just never get around to it. It’s hard for me to realize that it’s been 12 years, but I guess it has, which is shocking in itself that so much time has passed so quickly. It seems like just a couple of years ago that my mom died and we were all there for her funeral. I haven’t seen my brother in a long time either; he’s in New Jersey and I think a visit is overdue. Steph hates to fly, so it’s either I go visit her, or I don’t see her!

  3. She certainly sounds a fun person to know, Cathy. All the energy that runs in your family is awesome! I can see the likeness 🙂 Love those Abstracts, and I’m not usually a fan. I imagine you guys were good for each other.

    1. She really is fun; I love how she always just says what is on her mind! Is there a likeness? Some people say so and others not. She has a strong likeness to our mother. She’s having fun with her art now and I think she’s happy to be out from under the corporate yoke of magazine production. 🙂

  4. Lovely! but it’s not pathetic that you don’t see each other. it’s called life. I wouldn’t see my sister as often as I do if it wasn’t for our elderly mother in Florida. We decided a couple years ago that we should visit her twice a year since she’s now almost 91 and who knows how much longer we have with her? It’s the only time I get to see them both as there is this thing called life that gets in the way. The last time I was in VA was for my sister’s 50th birthday over 5 years ago and it’s not looking like I’ll get to visit her there any time soon either. but, who knows? maybe you and your sister will strike it rich and will be able to visit more often 😉 Hey! It could happen! you are very creative yourself, just in different ways. Your blogs, your travel, your writing., your photos….all very creative ventures. I loved this entry for the challenge this week. so timely! (does she live in Reseda? I grew up not too far from there.)

    1. Yes, Toby, my sister lives in Reseda. I loved that area. I was surprised that I ended up liking LA more than I thought I would. I think I just breezed through it 30+ years ago on our way from San Francisco down the coast and to San Diego.

      I wish my sister and I would strike it rich and could be closer to each other. Sadly she hates to fly, so I’m afraid all visiting will have to be on my side. Unless I move there of course! 🙂

  5. Sounds like you had a great time Cathy – I love your sister’s house and all the animals – sort of what I crave for! I agree with Jo about the likeness, you can see it best in that photo of her holding the artwork. Maybe California offers you the lifestyle you crave too? More laidback? Warmer climate? Lots of creative people?
    Jude xx

    1. Thanks, Rosie! I hope all is going well for you with your goals for the year! I sure miss you!

      Stephanie’s house would certainly be good for several hours’ exploration. 🙂 I love her chickens too. She gets fresh eggs every day!

  6. Your sister is certainly very talented, and you look great together. I’m so looking forward to seeing mine again in March. So glad you reconnected with yours after such a long time apart. 🙂

  7. What a beautiful post Cathy! And what a remarkable lady! Just hopped over to take a look at her website and loved it. Here’s wishing you get to spend more time together in the year ahead 🙂

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