March 31, 2009

Laughter is the best medicine

When was the last time you laughed this hard?
I found this postcard and knew I had to have it. It has brought me many smiles over the years, even to this day. It is dated 1958 (my birth year coincidentally).
One can hear the genuine laughter. I love it!

March 30, 2009

An Oldie but a Goodie!

I begin with the Title: Shooting the Boh
A Woman's Voyage Down the Wildest River in Borneo by Tracy Johnston (copyright 1992). At the time she was a Traveller and a Journalist, living in Oakland, CA.

The basis of this book is that the Author signed up for a rafting expedition down Borneo's Boh River. She went with a group of eccentric fellow adventurers from all over the globe. Perhaps the biggest discovery she made was what she learned about herself: about what it means to be an adventurer - a woman adventurer "on the wrong side of forty."

The karma that brought me to this book was many years ago, I attended a lovely outdoor wedding in Capitola, CA. The bride, Nancy is a childhood friend. She was being a dutiful bride, (meaning she was busy), and I didn't know anyone else there but her parents, so I found myself with the need to mingle. Seriously, how long could I stand at the edge of the cliff (literally a cliff) admiring the beautiful view? I knew I had to meet people, who by the way, all knew each other.

Well, I gravitated to a group of women who seemed to be enjoying lively conversations. They told me about a book they had all finished reading, and unanimously loved it! I memorized the name and author.

I left Capitola the next day, and travelled to San Rafael to stay with another longtime friend of mine (think kindegarten). Sandy took me to a local bookstore, and lo and behold the book was there to be mine.

I could have devoured this book on the five hour flight back East, however, I knew I wanted to digest each page slowly. Years later I re-read the book, and at times thought about those interesting and fun women I met in Capitola. It is interesting how some of lifes' situations can and often do connect you to people, books, and other journeys. It can be an inspiring ride.

March 26, 2009

My Mom and Dad

The year was 1943.
He would wave to her, and she would smile. He then asked her if he could walk her to the city bus stop; she said "yes". He would give her Father a gallon of homemade wine should he see the elder gentleman sweeping the sidewalk outside the house. She liked the way he made her laugh, and he thought she was pretty. They both wore hats,for those were the days when men wore fedoras, and women had an abundance of choices. Women always wore skirts and dresses, and everyone in general looked dapper.

Thus, began a courtship between Anne and Ross for approximately one year. He then proposed, and they were married on June 24, 1945. One Saturday night they won a dance contest, and the prize was a standing art deco lamp that now resides in our living room. Everytime I look at that lamp, I wish I could have seen them dance their socks off. That would have been priceless.

They bought a house, moved to the suburbs, and produced four children. My Mother became a homemaker, because for the majority of women, that is what you did. She loved it, and took pride in it. They both taught us table manners, and manners in general. All holidays were celebrated: Valentine's Day through New Year's Day. They showed us how to live an honest life by example. That seemed to be a very high priority for them.

My Mother wasn't a famous movie star, my Father didn't invent the telephone. They were two average Italian Americans, who fell in love and wanted to be together for the rest of their lives. I use to hear the pride in my Fathers' voice when someone would ask him questions about their children. And my Mother, well, if she could have sung out her joy from the top of a mountain, she would have. Instead, she made her happiness apparent everyday, and still does.

It is important for me to know these facts about my parents. They were not always my parents. They were young, single and went to jitterbug dances. Their concerts consisted of the big band era. However, when the stories get told from generation to generation, a legacy begins. It can be told verbally, through letters, other relatives or close friends. The medium isn't as important as the message that is conveyed.

So, this is the legacy of my parents, and it all started out with a smile and a wave.

March 21, 2009

A stroll down Garden Lane

I wanted to look back to a few pictures of last years' garden to jog my memory. After a winters' worth of time being away from the garden, I tend to forget what perennial is here or there. And are there room for some annuals? Every year the garden looks alittle different, which is good. I like it. Life evolves, why shouldn't a garden evolve into whatever it is going to be, right?

These are Asiatic lillies, and they are as bright orange as you can imagine. You can almost start to think "Halloween" when looking at their color, but the warm air quickly diminishes that thought.

This is one corner of our garden. We have been very fortunate that our townhouse neighbors on either side do not have an interest in gardening. Therefore, I have been able to get my garden gloves in that soil and garden away. This also gives them the benefit of looking out their kitchen window to see a tall bunch of happy Shasta daisies or purple cleome. The additional property expands our choices of all that is in the garden center. I become a kid in a candy shop without getting the cavities.
I like adding architectural objects in the garden. Other than the two trellis' shown, there are actually several other types of art designs that we enjoy. The photo didn't capture them because they were on the other side.
For now we have various types of tulips and daffodils beginning to come up. I will post them once they sprout. Happy Gardening!

March 14, 2009

The Crocuses Have Arrived!!

Once they push their cute flower petals up through the earth, you can believe Spring is not too far away. Although I have not seen nor heard a Robin Redbreast, my belief rests with seeing the crocuses that we planted last year. I like when I see them poking up through the snow, but it didn't happen that way this time. The snow had melted, and the next thing I knew, pop, there they were, showing off their spring colors of bright yellow, purple and white flowers.

We even have crocuses where we did not plant them. However, I can thank Henry our resident squirrel who takes it upon himself to move bulbs around. We've experienced this quite often. I don't know why I bother to sketch a diagram, labeling what bulbs are where. Because after Henry gets done with our yard, tulips are where daffodils bulbs were planted and so on. I've given up; Henry is going to do what he pleases. I'm just glad he doesn't leave the property with them!

I will update the garden further as the flowers so gently unfold to show us their magical beauty.

March 3, 2009

Put a smile on your face and have some fun!

I cannot help but smile when I watch this. I hope you enjoy it too!

March 1, 2009

A little music

When I was a kid, I wanted to play the piano. My parents thought it was a passing phase, and I would give it up after a month. A large duster collector it would become. We would go to a friends' house, and my eyes would light up when I saw this majestic instrument just waiting to be played. I always asked the owner if I could play it, and would forgo being outside with the other kids, just to have abit of time with my friend, the piano. I didn't know how to read music at the time, so I would gently touch the elegant white keys. The black keys were special and so elite to my eyes. I would never bang on the piano the way some kids would. At a young age, I knew the delights of this beautiful instrument.

When I was a late teen, I decided to take piano lessons from a very sweet ole' lady in my neighborhood. Mrs. Bruin taught all the kids whose homes had pianos. One day, I rang her doorbell, introduced myself and asked her for piano lessons. That began a wonderful friendship between her and I. She taught me how to read music, and would bring cookies and ice tea into the living room. I would take photos of her inside and outside of her house. She lived in one of those historic homes that was built during the Revolutionary times. I loved her crooked staircase! I would visit her quite often, because I still didn't have a piano, and needed to practice somewhere. She loved the company. This went on for a couple of years, and I loved hearing myself use the keys to play music. Was I a budding Chopin? No, but that didn't matter. I played piano (and knew what I was doing) all because Mrs. Bruin was a wonderfully generous Teacher. I can still see her big smile and hear her laughter.

Mrs. Bruin took ill, and it wasn't long before she moved out of her house to live with her daughter, and then a nursing home. I visited her at both places, and then one day she died. Before she became sick, as if she knew what was coming her way, she one day gave me some music books. She said she wanted me to have them. I accepted them graciously, knowing they would always remind me of her. She said to me "it doesn't matter when in your life, or where you are, but you must not give up your desire to play piano. It's in you."

I've lived in several different places in my adult life, whereby a piano would never fit through the door, but that hasn't diminished my dream of owning one. Currently, in our townhouse, with a few modifications, we can place one in the living room. However, with todays' economy, Hubby and I have become more savers than spenders. We will again regain our hope for brighter times, and when we do, oh boy, look out! It won't be a Steinway, my beginning lessons would sound ridiculous on it. Steinways needs a room of their own to show off their sexy curvy lines, with track lighting above. My piano will be pretty and just for me. And everytime I play I will thank Mrs. Bruin for teaching me how to read music, for our laughter and friendship, and for providing me with a place (her home) to play her piano.