Saturday, October 30, 2010


You've probably already seen these wonderful carved pumpkins in your email in the last couple of days but I just had to post them here on my blog too. They were sent to me from a friend and apparently, Ray Villafane, the artist who is responsible for making these incredible sculptures out of pumpkins has really become popular. He began carving on a lark for his art students in a small rural school district in Michigan. The hobby changed his life as he gained a viral following online. I think they are just wild and it makes me happy to have them here on my blog. Thanks Julie for sending them to me!

Friday, October 29, 2010


I guess that animals get in the spirit of Halloween too. This guy decided he wanted to dress up as an Oreo cookie! There is a commercial on TV about how the cows in California are just different than any others. I guess this is living proof. And this one really was different because he sparked something special in me.

Today is October 29, 2010 and it was also my last day of work. What could be better? The last day of work, a holiday weekend to celebrate, a party to attend with good food, friends and music and a wonderful lunch hour with treasured friends from work! Life doesn't get any better really. I am blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life who care about me, who express to me how much they will miss me while I am off, and others who have been long-time friends and are there to listen and support me when I need to talk. Life throws us obstacles occasionally but it is how we respond to them that shows our mettle.

A friend and I had lunch yesterday at a small cafe in town. While driving there to meet her I was noticing the trees that were turning all shades of yellow, orange and red along the roadside. The sky was especially wonderful too with a warm glow of sunshine, a bright blue sky, and some white clouds thrown in for good measure. It was the perfect formula. It made me think to myself how lucky the two of us are to have landed here where we did. We were able to leave the hustle of the city behind us and find the relaxed life of a foothill community. And, we also found each other again after a period of time. Life is funny that way. Just when you think that you have lost someone, they appear just at the right time in your life again.

The room at the cafe was filled with wonderful artwork on the walls. The gleaming cement floors were a warm chocolate brown to match the ceiling above. The tables glistened with the color of warm maple syrup. And the sun was shining outside, casting a warm and cozy glow through the wall of glass. And, not only was it a feast for the eyes but the moment you walked inside your noise was treated to the smells of garlic and other wonderful spices. Vegetarian foods are served on the menu as well as other healthy choices. Everything is on the table for your convenience: the utensils sitting right there in a neat little wooden partitioned box holding knives, forks, spoons, and brown paper napkins. Nothing looks sterile; everything looks cozy and familiar.

Just like the presence of a good friend. Life is good when you are loved and appreciated. Life is good even if you're not I suppose. But, it is so much more complete, so much more full of the very essence of life when you can take the time to really let the essence of it soak into your very being; become immersed with all that is around you. It's those small things that are important. It's the connections you make with those people that will sustain you when you are down, when you are depressed and need someone to cheer you up.

I noticed this Oreo cookie cow and by just seeing him that very moment he opened me up to something that was not there five minutes before. How many Oreo cookie cows can do that? This one came out of the blue cellophane wrapper, landed in the light brown field, and was just waiting there for me to dunk him in my glass of memories. And he was sweet is that!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


As some of you know, I like to look at ETSY and buy things that I find inspiring. I have purchased many pieces of art from many different artists out there, mostly by viewing their blogs. Aren't blogs wonderful? They inspire, they point out new information, they share things that are important and sometimes even just mundane but they share. That for me is the key word.

This bracelet is made by an artist in the mid west named Julie Pishney. I liked this bracelet the moment I read the words she had stamped in to the silver: LISTEN TO THE WHISPERS OF YOUR HEART. That is something that each and every one of us needs to do more often. How many times does our heart tell us something and we ignore it, push it aside, change it to suit us at the moment? This is something I am trying to be more in touch with these days: listening to my heart.

We had over 6 and one half inches of rain over the weekend and I worry about what this storm here in the western United States is planning on doing to the mid western and eastern United States in the next day or two. I hope that all the blogger friends that I follow will be safe. We were not able to use our Internet because we have satellite and when the storm cells are so heavy, there is absolutely no service available. The winds were huge with trees blowing from side to side. Luckily, nothing fell and no damage was done. But not so for others farther east, or so I have heard on the news today. I am sending you all good thoughts, listening to the whispers.

This week I have tests that apparently have to be a part of my yearly regime until I am cancer-free for 5 years. Talk about whispers in my heart! It's hard not to be concerned. It's hard not to wonder "what". But, I know that among my circle of friends, there are lots of people sending me healing, loving thoughts and I believe that our thoughts are prayers. I know that I will be fine. I know that the whispers of my heart are telling me to not worry, to trust in the healing power of thought and the universe and spirit, and to send thanks to all who are "with" me on Thursday. I know that I will be able to feel every one's presence.

Into each life a little rain must fall, right? Let's just hope that it's exactly that: "a little rain". Be safe everyone. My thoughts are with you all. Hear the whispers of my heart!

Monday, October 25, 2010


We start out alone needing only oxygen, food and water to sustain us.

I breathe the air, taste the food, sip the water.

We meet, fall in love, sit shoulder to shoulder with each other.

I touch touch me.
See me on the right with the smile on my face?

We have separate interests and go our separate ways occasionally
but we are always joined by the thread of love.

Follow it...see that it comes back to me.

Life gets crowded occasionally. We bump into many people; we over-lap, get pushed aside. This life can be a crowded place but we each learn from each other. We round our shoulders on each other, make apologies along the way when we hurt someones feelings. We tumble and turn and always end up on top.

We learn. And grow.
Sometimes our lives end up with less people around us. Some have left us and moved on. Some have passed over to a greater place. These are all part of the changes that life brings our way.

No matter. In the end:

We all end up totally alone, giving up our oxygen, our food, the water that sustained us while we journeyed here.

I know that the thread that I followed here will be on the other side, waiting for me.
The love that I found here will be waiting there too.

And then the story will unfold once again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


(The following excerpt comes from a book that was given to me by Melanie. It has become my bible, so to speak. It is filled with wisdom and true beauty. Thanks Melanie!)

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature." Anne Frank

From Wabi Sabi--The Art of Everyday Life by Diane Durston

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Recently I read a blog post at Maggie's Secret Garden by Karen that really intrigued me. A portion of it follows but you can read the entire post at her blog here

"In the early 1990's, while working at the United Nations Development Programme in New York, Atala Dorothy Toy went through a near-death experience that took her on a journey and showed her a new way of perceiving energy-one in which all objects in the universe (including machines, stones, and trees) are alive, conscious, and willing to cooperate with humans to fashion a healthier, more holistic world."

When we were walking through the Botanical Gardens I really felt a sense of wonder there; a healthy energy seemed to be making itself known to me. I always look at trees with wonder and have an entire folder on my jump drive of trees that I have seen that have faces. Now, to any other person they are probably just parts of the tree; a wound, a place where a branch has fallen off and a scar has formed. But to me they are truly faces. It's as if they are speaking to me in some other-worldly way. Just look at those pictures above! If ever a tree was "alive, conscious, and willing to cooperate with humans to fashion a healthier, more holistic world" this tree exemplifies this.

I believe that I am being made aware of something "more" out there. Things have escalated in a way that I am seeing more dimension in things that I photograph. I seem to be seeing more texture, more color, more depth than ever before. I feel as if I am being "allowed" a glimpse into something that has always been there but I was just not open enough to see it before. I know: this sounds crazy to some. But, I also know that there are many people out there, just like me, who know of what I am speaking. I'm just saying: it's something to consider.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Botanical Gardens have a wonderful area where they grow lots of begonias and fuchsias.

There is also an area that has succulents of many varieties and cactus. I love the variety that we saw here.

Another sculpture that was made to look like it was made out of re-bar but it was really ceramic.

More sculptures. Aren't these just wild? I love how "other-worldly" they are.

There was an area especially for children. The area was all fenced off with twigs and the children were allowed to make altars or fairy houses in this area. This is one that some child or children made prior to us arriving there.

Here's another one at the base of the tree. I think that Lynne Hoppe would really appreciate the work that these children have put into making their tree altars.

Here's our Natalie making hers. She was so proud of what she had done.

Down the road a bit there was a building sitting on the hillside overlooking the ocean. Inside there was a whale vertebrae that was on loan for everyone to see.

I have never seen a white-spotted seal, have you?

Monday, October 18, 2010


This place was a total surprise to me. My daughter spotted it and said that she would like to visit while we were there over the weekend. Am I glad we did! This place is huge and filled with sculptures and wonderful plantings.

Everywhere we walked there was another vista to look at and capture our interest. We walked and walked for hours.

The gardens go all the way out to the bluffs overlooking the ocean so there is much to see and do. They have chairs and benches everywhere to sit and enjoy your lunch if you choose to take it in with you. And dogs are welcome!

They have the most beautiful dahlia gardens there. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend this place.

To be continued...


Thursday, October 14, 2010


(Please excuse the large page...I was unable to figure out on my scanner how to crop the image. Next time!)

Every year at the Christmas holiday season Mary used to make this incredible fudge. It was always creamy and delicious. Turns out it was her mother's recipe because when her mother died, she passed out yellow sheets with this recipe written on it for everyone in attendance. It must have been a family favorite, hence the quotation marks around Aunt Marion. Or at least that's the way that I read it.

Isn't it funny, in this day of emails, text-messaging, Facebook, and computers that quotation marks have to be explained? I had a discussion regarding quotation marks with someone almost a year ago and when I used them, it was viewed negatively. Things have changed in the grammar world or so it seems to me. It seems people take offense at things that were not intended to offend, just based on some words that were set off in a different way. With shortened words (e.g.: U R L8) people have changed what was previously not accepted.

I pulled out my "Writer's Reference" book that I used in college when I used to be a reader in the FACS department and it only has these headings when it refers to quotation mark:

  • Use quotation marks to enclose direct quotation.
  • Set off long quotation of prose or poetry by indenting.
  • Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation with a quotation.
  • Use quotation marks around the titles of newspaper and magazine articles, poems, short stories, songs, episodes of television and radio programs, and chapters or subdivisions of books.
  • Quotation marks may be used to set off word used as words. An example of this is found in this sentence: The words "flaunt" and "flout" are frequently confused.
  • Use punctuation with quotation marks according to convention.
  • And finally: Avoid common misuses of quotation marks. 1. Do not use quotation marks to draw attention to familiar slang, to disown trite expressions, or to justify an attempt at humor. 2. Do not use quotation marks around indirect quotations. 3. Do not use quotation marks around the title of your own essay.
That's all it says about quotation marks. So, how do we figure out when the quotes around something are poking fun at or making a snide comment? I think that if they are used, as in this case, they were meant to make a statement (at least this is how I read it) that "Aunt Marion" wasn't every one's aunt, but she was loved and thought of in a loving way. This use of quotation marks is used fondly.

Perhaps we (and I am counting myself in this we) need to not be so critical in this day of rapidly moving information and technology. My friend Rene' and I often make comments to each other about things we have found unusual on Facebook that give us a giggle. It's hard not to notice some of the more obvious things, especially when words and grammar have been important to you growing up. Here are a few that we have recently seen that might give you a chuckle too.

"It's 43 degrees outside with a windshield factor or 30"

"I should of made potatoes instead of rice."

"Yesterday I visited my next store neighbor."

Words are great things, aren't they? I would imagine that if I were a foreign exchange student trying to learn our language, it would be a really difficult thing to accomplish. All those words such as to, too, two---their, they're, there---your, you're---blue, blew----how does one learn such differentiations between these words and how and when to use them? I think part of it is caring enough to learn the difference but the other part is reading and understanding the words. Looking the word up in a dictionary if you aren't sure about it. Not reading something into it that isn't there. And finally, just get a laugh out of it and move on. ------Or get an editor (and not Spell can't always count on Spell Check, that's for sure!) Bethany once wrote that Spell Check wanted to change "butch" to "bitch". I got the biggest kick out of that Bethany!

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