Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
I am in Washington state on a pilgrimage, of sorts. I am staying at the home of my very dear friend Madelyn, who lost her husband John to a stroke on October 28. We three have been close friends—like family-close—for many, many years. They have lived on this farm on the Olympic Peninsula since the mid-seventies when John designed and built the house I’m sitting in as I write. I mean John truly designed and built this house by himself. He’d never built a house but, as he told Madelyn, “There are books.” He built the structure slowly and she has spent her life filling it with beauty. It is like a magnificent, epic poem of love with walls, a roof and windows that provide views of some twenty-eight acres of trees, meadows and a meandering creek.
When I look up from my laptop I see birds vying for a spot at the suet feeder outside the windows. All kinds of birds come and go, stellar jays, chickadees, juncos and lots more whose names I don’t know and who I’ve not seen in California. Music plays softly and reverberates through this vaulted wooden structure the way notes emanate from the sound box of a well-made acoustic guitar. Outside, the sun transforms the powdered sugar snow to a field a brilliant diamonds, carelessly strewn about as though they were of little value—an abundance of riches here so immense that everything, and nothing, is precious at once.
Tears flow easily. Sadness mixed with such love and joy that it cannot be contained. The tapestry of love woven here fills me up and pours out unchecked.
The story of the three of us is intertwined like the grapevines that climb the deck outside. I have been here for so many pivotal events. We have made many stories together—many memories. A part of me lives here and walks the land even when I’m back home in California. And yet I’ve never lived here. What I experience must be powerfully magnified for John. Even though he is off somewhere on a new ethereal adventure, I am certain he walks the land and inhabits this house in very tangible ways. It is impossible not to feel him.
I have to wonder, is this how it feels when you brush against the wings of an angel?
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
“Treasure of the Golden Loo”
“But it wasn’t our idea,” we said later. It really hadn’t been our idea but we jumped on board with the rest of our friends when Billy Crump, a wild light dancing in his eyes, suggested it. My twin brother, Jem, and I were doubled over laughing, our backs to the black and white when it arrived.
“Why don’t you tell me the joke so we can all have a good laugh?”
We turned in unison. That’s when we discovered our so-called friends had evaporated.
Jem glanced at me, shrugged slightly, then turned and offered up his most charming smile, “Knock, knock.”
Turns out Officer Horntree didn’t have much of a sense of humor. But to be fair, maybe only kids think tipping port-o-potties is funny. Our folks, when they showed up later at the station where we were taken, seemed to share Horntree’s view of the situation. We listened as the officer described the scene of the crime before he laid out for our parents the options now available to us. We simultaneously noticed the muscle in Dad’s jaw moving rapidly in and out as a murderous glare appeared in his eyes. Mom’s face turned pale and her eyes became red and watery. A few months in Juvy were starting to sound like a trip to Disneyland compared to what we’d face if we had to return home today.
“Lucky for you this is your first offense,” Horntree said with a stern frown in our direction. Ha! Lucky indeed, we both thought. “Next time you won’t get off so easy.” Maybe this guy did have a sense of humor after all. “If you can get through the next year without my having to hear your names then I’ll agree to drop this incident from your records.” He gave Jem and then me his formidable cop stare but he didn’t look nearly as scary as our dad. “Otherwise it’s off to Juvenile Hall for the both of you. Understand?” We both nodded. “Your parents have agreed to pay one hundred dollars to cover the cost of clean up.” Jem and I exchanged glances. A hundred dollars? Crap! We couldn’t do the math in our heads fast enough to calculate how many allowances that would be at a dollar each a week.
“What do you say to Officer Horntree?” Mom asked.
Not what we were thinking, that’s for sure. “Thank you,” we both managed to mumble, more or less at the same time. Thanks for nothing. Thanks for the ticket to Hell, more like.
Back at school we milked our fifteen minutes of celebrity but before long we were old news. Home was another story. There we were front page for the next two months. Then Christmas came and our parents lightened up on us with the arrival of tinsel and holiday cheer. Not coincidently, that was the year our folks began volunteering us to help out at the old folks home in town. We pretended to hate it but actually we made some pretty cool friends over checkers and Go Fish.
Years later, long after both Jem and I had married and had kids of our own, the folks let it slip that they’d always referred to “The Incident” as the “Treasure of the Golden Loo”. Apparently a hundred bucks was a good trade for all the free work they got out of us. In retrospect, and with the buffer of time, Jem and I agreed it all worked out for the best but still, it wasn’t our idea.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The video was shot at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland. When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline (maker of the Pink gloves) will be making a huge contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community. Please check it out. It's an easy and great way to donate to a wonderful cause, and who hasn't been touched by breast cancer?
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Cynthia brought some pretty tasty cakes from Michelle Marie's Patisserie.
We took a long walk yesterday afternoon to the Elizabeth Gamble Gardens where I used my iPhone to photograph these porcelain berries. I've heard they become even more colorful with cold weather. Suburban legend?
Along the way I photographed this garden angel,
...and this lovely blue nautilus bench.
This morning we walked to the Farmer's Market and I couldn't resist photographing this beautiful vine colored building across the street from the market.
Now we are back at Susan's house, drinking more wine and surfing the Net. I've been playing around with Photoshop filters on my photos which is why they don't look quite normal—my little nod to being wild. We decided to pass on the movie because you can't talk at movies and let's face it, wild women are all about the talking.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
My husband and I recently made a visit to the wonderful Ferrari-Carano Winery along Dry Creek Road outside of Healdsburg, California. The location is spectacular and the wines quite tasty but I fell in love with the gardens. The gardens were created by Rhonda Carano. There is no charge to wander through them and apparently in the early spring 10,000 tulips are in bloom. We were told that each year they are planted in a different color scheme. You can bet I'll be headed back there then!
Beautiful spots in the gardens.
One interesting thing I learned about was the cork oak tree. If you click on the photo of the sign it should become large enough for you to read.
I rubbed the snout of the wild boar sculpture for luck—it is my firm belief that you can never have too much good luck!
Views from the veranda off of the tasting room.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The following is something I wrote for my weekly writing group. The writing seed was "gone".
My daughter asks, “Can we buy a balloon for Jessi?” I ask why. “Today would be her eighteenth birthday.” I fill in the blanks. Jessi, her best friend from elementary school, died two years ago in a car crash.
I check my emails hoping for an update on a good friend. Last Thursday he suffered a “substantial” stroke. His wife, one of my closest friends for forty years, sits at his side in an ICU. Unable to speak, he may, or may not, be able to respond to questions by squeezing his hand. We are told we should know something today. She waits for the doctor to arrive and announce the shape of their new life.
I sit and watch the orange, red and amber leaves drift away from the giant tree. The ground below it is already covered. Some leaves let go more gracefully than others.
I think back over last night’s phone call. A dear friend told me one of her daughter’s best friends was killed this month when thrown from her horse. Her last words as she galloped away were, “I love this mare!” She’d been invited to row with our Olympic crew team but chose instead to attend Harvard. Always active, that day she was riding with friends. Not a bad way to go, I think, feeling passion and joy at that last moment. Would I feel the same were she my child?
I peruse my “To Do’s”. Pay bills. Clean kitchen. Take out trash. What will I be doing at that moment my life ends? Why are the important things not on my list?
I look at my watch. In thirty minutes I will drive to an appointment.
Just as I cannot see the air that moves my lungs I cannot see the time that remains. How do we make our choices?
A crow scolds me loudly from branches overhead. “Who asked you?” I scold back.
I sit, overwhelmed by ideas of all I want to accomplish—lofty goals and small flourishes—yet I cannot live each moment amped up, adrenaline coursing through my veins, pushing me to move faster. I want to savor, not squander, what time is left but the weight of these thoughts makes me crazy, immobile. It is a delicate balance—choosing where next to place my feet.
I remember Sean. Slowly strangled in the grip of ALS, he stretched his dying out, but that was not his choice. At thirty-nine the note he left behind read, “…I wish you all a long life, a happy life, and a death you don’t see coming.” He had time to say goodbye but was that worse?
Before this day is gone let me do one true thing:
Experience beauty that steals my breath.
Revel in my body’s movement.
Give voice to my I-love-you’s.
Create anything that merits the space it occupies.
Laugh long and hard from the boundaries of my soul.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Now I know many of you fair-minded folks use Random Number Generator to choose winners for contests. That just feels a little too clinical for my taste. I decided to let my cats choose the winner of my giveaway. It was bound to be fair. I mean, they can't read so they can't cheat, right?
Emma said, "You want me to get off this comfy chair to do what?"
Mystic said, "I'd be honored."
I printed out all the comments that were left on my post, along with a couple that arrived as emails since the entrants don't have blogs and couldn't figure out how to work the comment button (always an option for commenting!) I cut the comments into little pieces of paper and wadded them up into tiny balls—just the size to entice my cats to pick one from the bowl to play with.
At first, they weren't very interested. I had to sprinkle catnip on top of the entries and mix them around. Even then, they had to think about it.
"What have we here?"
"You want me to touch one with my MOUTH???"
Finally, Emma decided it was time to choose.
She took a swipe at the bowl and four entries went flying out. Voila! We had our finalists.
We laid them out in a square on the ground (I was being helped by my daughter—it's helpful having a cat wrangler!)
At last Emma pounced on one entry and held it close to her heart. We had our winner.
Drum roll please...
The winner is Suzann at The Olive Cottage!! Congratulations and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. She has a great blog you should visit some time.
She wins this beautiful 16" square, giclee canvas wrapped print donated by my good friend Cynthia at Willow Rosa Studios. Cynthia has her own wonderful blog called A Shimmy in My Spirit. She has lots of gorgeous art over there so you should definitely check her out and her blog is guaranteed to lift your spirits.
So thank you all for playing along. Thanks for your comments on my 100th post and for your encouragement along the way. You make the journey loads of fun.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Black and white eggplants
Red and green peppers
If only opposites could get along so nicely everywhere else.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
My daughter dubbed this the "inappropriate scarecrow"
A pumpkin sculpture
2nd Biggest Pumpkin
My personal favorite—Pumpkin Bowling!!
Ya gotta love small towns!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
True to the chameleon that she is, she had us (and many others in the audience) in tears during her very moving monologue in the second half of the play. We were really proud of her. Unfortunately we weren't able to get any photos so you'll have to take my word for it. She had morphed into a thirty-eight year old and even managed to sound Jewish. Oy vey!
Friday, October 16, 2009
The first few days of the week we had wind and lots of rain. The cold snap in the air caused trees to turn color and it really started feeling like Fall. Pumpkins and Halloween decorations started appearing everywhere. I dug my socks out of the bottom of the drawer. I crawled under the bed to find my Ugg-knock offs. I even wore my red jacket with the hood. I am READY for crisp, cool Autumn!!! And now we have steam heat???
Sometimes life just hisses.
I just received the Dragon's Loyalty Award from Lisa Anne over at Smell the Coffee Lisa. Thanks Lisa Anne. I don't know who did the artwork for this award but I think it looks pretty cool. I am passing this award on to the following folks because they are awesome and repeatedly make me smile when they stop by and drop a comment.
Krissy at Thinking of Blue
Cynthia at A Shimmy In My Spirit
Divaeva at A Daily Dose of Diva
Bettejo at From Fat to Fifty
and JaPRA at Just a Plane Ride Away.
I limited myself to these five because it takes a frikkin long time to contact everyone and basically I don't have much free time. Besides, these guys deserve it! They make my day, OFTEN.
If you're one of the lucky five here are the rules, should you choose to accept this award:
Rules for this award!
1) If you have a blog, post it on your blog with a link back to the site who gave it to you;
2) Leave them a comment on their site, email, etc. to let them know;
3) If you don't have a blog but have a website, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or other type account, post there with a link back;
4) Pass this on to 3-10 loyal fans. YOU GOT IT!
Thanks again Lisa Anne and congrats to everyone else.