Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An Ending and A New Beginning

This time traveling I'm doing gets exhausting. Attempting to keep memories in order, and true. Like, "I did do that, didn't I?"... We were laughing, happy and unknowingly keeping memories to heart, right? Jumbled, foggy thoughts are friends of mine lately. But, here? now? I can mostly keep track of time by the photos that I savor.

Back a few journal entries, I shared a family party that was held for my sister-in-law, nearly in lieu of Christmas - as the entire family was present that evening - and we were going separate ways for December 25th.

I went the email route for sending good tidings and embracing the coming New Year... memories of the abundant life I share with my Hubby ~










Traditional Christmas it WASN'T this year (similar to Thanksgiving). A portrait with Santa was about as traditional as we got - albeit this Santa was my brother-in-law.





Always and forever Christmas Eve is with Hubby's family.  Gift giving and opening takes on an entirely different  joy when there are children in the room. It makes me happy to have our nephew and his family grow to include two young ones. Our great nephew is like a bouncy ball that hops from plaything to not-so-plaything while smiling, laughing, and singing his ABC's. We don't share photos of these beautiful beings... unfortunately....



my kitchen in December




Brother #1 celebrated endured Christmas in Southern California, as his mother-in-law passed away. Brother #2 was content at home with his family for Christmas and had to work.
Brother #3was dutiful and kind sharing Christmas day with other family.
And, my parents were home, at their place in the woods. They made plans with friends for holiday dinner, yet my Mom was still not feeling well. That flu bug was hanging onto her.

Yes, quite separated we were and equally as nontraditional.

Off to the beach on a whim, because of the niceties from my Goat Hill boss...  Hubby & I would dig toes in the sand and watch sunsets for Christmas.








even the bird came along
























Sunshine filled perfection!!


2013 coming to an end - we headed back home. A small celebratory evening with friends to welcome all that the beginning of a new year can mean... resolutions - maybe, dreams - surely, hope for a year of abundant joy and magnificent memory making ALWAYS! Isn't that the truth for each of us? That we have eternal hope each and every time the calendar reads January 1st? Life is all about the beauty of sunshine perfection, isn't it? Otherwise it would be hard to rise each morning. Who of us would sit and ponder dreadfulness? Not on my watch, anyway! Eternal optimist (mostly), that is me.


Let us celebrate a HAPPY New Year ~







art on our fridge for incoming 2014





Try as I might,  I cannot come up with a clear picture in my head of the first week in January. A lot of vague recollections. Checking my calendar, there are entries about the 3rd, 4th, 5th being spent in Los Angeles, and San Francisco at funerals. Deaths that needed to be acknowledged, loved ones that needed support.


Very soon after, acknowledgement, love and support would be needed to heal my heart. The art I chalked on the refrigerator said IMAGINE.... but, imagine what exactly? Thinking sunshine, I got rain...


Friday, March 21, 2014

Back in Time...

Time travel with me.  There was a brief little mention of Christmas once on December 23rd.... then when last I wrote, we were in more current time. Happy thoughts I intentionally put to paper, as I recall I mentioned. Instead of heading straight to some sad times. I'll head back to winter, now that I feel I can relive the harsh realities of life. It will take a couple of storylines to get to where I stand today, but progress is being made...


Quirky Thanksgiving plans, beach, crab and dinner (not made at home) was shared with my parents in their mountain home.






crab to bring to my parents for Thanksgiving







just the 4 of us - Hubby, me & my parents




 December jumped on the coat tail of fall, and the Christmas celebrating extravaganza was begun.  Joy is counted in pleasurable moments. A favorite tradition of mine is a Christmas party with girlfriends of some 35 years. That amazingly beautiful group of women from San Francisco whom I speak of now and again.Time with these gals is intentionally carved out and anticipated. It is a great jump-start to holiday events for reminiscing and ending another year.


For the second time, we chose the glorious, stately, historic Fairmont Hotel to stay for the night and stage an ornament exchange party. {25 years of ornaments makes quite a collection}...




















Of all times to be ill!  While it doesn't seem so in the photo above ^ . I was coughing half my lung at this point. I even took the precaution of seeing my doctor prior to heading to San Francisco. Alas, ill I was, and even though prescription drugs were packed inside my satchel, the flu bug-du jour of the season, had struck. I had a great time though! Just on the return to regular life did I have a problem.

This winter, many folks seemed to have a harder than normal time with coughs, cold and the flu. I won't go all Center of Disease Control on you, but statistics were high! I ended up in the Emergency Room in order to breathe. Never before had I needed an asthma inhaler. An asthma patient to whom I'm closely related was to have an exceptionally hard time during December.... my Mom.

If I may, the time-travel-train is going to stop here. I've broached the subject that is coming...
With more days spread between me and the winter, spring is fluttering it's beauty in my face, and I look forward to the cathartic release of taking thoughts, spreading them on these pages, and releasing them to the breeze. More tales, trips, trial and tribulations soon....




Monday, March 10, 2014

Random Happy Thought

Plenty of need for a random, happy thought... on any day! I've been watching local movie listings just waiting for the day when this will pop-up in the theater ~




Have you seen a trailer? Do you find the quirky films of Wes Anderson special and charming? Then this is a don't miss!

OPEN, OPEN, OPEN!!!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Gathered

How could we know? There is no crystal ball to give us future insight. We love, and live, and do as we do routinely... all the time hoping for continuance.... all the while taking advantage of the years that pass.

As a family, our gatherings take place pretty frequently. There is always some special event to celebrate, and some greatly loved person to place in a spotlight. How could we know this fete would later hold a particular reminiscence? Nary a hint from the party-prop tarot cards.



















Christmas, was in fact, going to take a back seat to the celebration of our Colette, my sister-in-law. Themes and planning, decorations and menus had been written in emails, laughed about in phone calls and shopped for with enthusiasm. A casbah rather than a Christmas tree this year.















We gathered, my family and our friends, as we would have soon for the holidays, instead for a fiftieth birthday. The house bedecked in a riot of color. A tent raised in our best effort to emulate a Moroccan hookah lounge. Tunes rang out. Noise bounced from indoors to a fire on the cold wintry patio. There was dancing - first in heels, and then in later hours with barefeet. A friend attempted to lift my Mom from the sofa and carry her to dance... oh, the laughs that got! Mom nearly peed her pants. Hilarity a constant with the particular dear friend that sought Mom's dance turn. Her love for him and his partner forever a part of our family's lore.



Faces of so many that we hadn't seen for a time. Smiles to engage. Kisses to be exchanged with a cousin whom we swear to see more often, yet never quite bridge our calendars. History to be rehashed and remembered with the honorary "fourth son" and his family. Much fawning of the young and beautiful in their club-style attire. Celebration of life in all forms on this night!









Gathered together and our joys shared  - then, come morning - each of us went back to our homes and routines, until the next time we bask in an other's special gloriousness. Fully confident that this next gathering will come.....  as it always has ~
 
 
 
 
 



Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Chance Meeting





Coffee, with cream swirling, sits beside me on a petite, curvy legged French table. Words longing to be typed, and yet still hard to find are frothing forward onto this page. So very much has changed in the world, in my little corner of it, yet where does one begin? To skip forward to this day, and hope that by passing over the wintry months will mean that those days of difficulty are through - well, that isn't how it works. Is it?  One day soon, when the mood strikes, and my heart can take the dark wintry-ness, I will tell the tales ... of why I've not sat in this spot and poured my feelings all over these keys. For now, I'll go back in my mind and make this first journaling effort of months be conscientiously sweet and kind.

 I seek quiet, beauty and open space when it is time to be outdoors getting physical activity. I've mentioned here many times that I go to the hills near my home to walk. I may creep along trails beside a  stream, or parade uphill through posh neighborhood dwellings. When I get to town, it is beyond my control, there is a first stop of business and I peek inside the doors of a little re-sale shop.





Just past Christmas-time a visit was made to this shop, and a chance meeting was had - a sweet, life-altering (if only for a few minutes) moment between strangers. Quickly I eyed goods along the perimeter of the shop, while out in the center was a beautiful, young woman dressed all in black, with many garments in her arms. Speaking to the shop stewards, this lady was hoping to find opinions compatible to hers on which items she should, or should not buy. Giving a brief and personal history of what she was looking for - "I need something brightly colored and happy",  "I need a different out look", and I chimed in with... "maybe you're hoping to think out-of-the-box", Yes, indeed that was exactly what this beautiful stranger wanted. There were four women here on the floor of the store, each of us contributing our opinion. There, on the end of a garment rack was a skirt and jacket - THE ONE that our stranger wanted more than all of the insignificant, neutral colored items she was carrying. It had been spied, and while she was slightly shy about admitting it, mention was made that the item was a designer piece and thus had too high a price tag.



{not the actual jacket}


 
The three of us pleaded with her to go in the fitting room and try on the pieces, and each of us agreed that she would be spending her money wisely if she left the common neutral sweaters and instead got exactly what she was looking for. A fashion show was held, there in the little shop... the beautiful stranger smiled. The jacket fit her like a glove, and the vivid colors made her glow. Still, she stuck to her guns and said that at this time she could not let go of the cash this purchase would cost her.


Then, a more personal story slowly slipped from her lips, barely holding back tears, she removed the adorable knit cap from her head and shared her shining, and perfect, bald head. She was a cancer patient.  Still in the midst of treatment, yet she'd been told that very day that she was cancer free for now. She was surviving! Her reason for needing a good dose of color and something quite different from her norm.


With swiftness, as the jacket and skirt were removed in the fitting room, I spoke softly to the shop clerk and asked if her manager couldn't please reduced the price. "What a great idea", she sparkled! As I asked about the reduction, I also mentioned that if it were to be, then I would chip-in $25.00 towards the cost. Upon hearing me say this, then the clerk said she too would contribute. The third lady amongst us came forward and countered that she would like to do the same. But this woman was having hard times and said that she had a family member with cancer that she was trying to help. With sadness she opted out of helping here.


 
 
 


 
 
 
 
With all on-board, and our secret quietly kept, the store clerk presented our stranger with the news of the offer. If she was wanting of the suit and able to come up with the remaining amount, it would be hers, with our help.  At first, she said no, that she could not take such a gift. I replied that it was my   Christmas money, and I could do with it as I wished. A way of paying it forward. Each of us was      
teary and smiling, and joyful - each of those emotions all at once.  All of these raw, personal feelings
while standing in a resale shop with strangers, who had become instant friends.
 
 
Strange indeed! Perfect too!!        
 
 
Her name was Marie.  I envision her wearing her colorful gift and doing more than surviving... I see her living life very fully, and most definitely standing out -
                                                       OUT OF THE BOX!                                                                
 
 
{just as she had wished}
 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Note and Gift to Self....

How is it that I seem to purchase myself gifts at Christmas time?? Happens... every year... each time I set-out to shop for others. I'll give myself a little break this time...hhhaa - I've seen the writing on the wall, knowing that this old (by Silicon Valley standards - ANCIENT) computer of mine that I tap away on for this blog was set to collapse any moment. It needed to be done - computer shopping - the "pulling of teeth" of the technology world. I detest this sort of shopping.. yet, here I am doing my first post on a beauty of a new laptop... NOTE TO SELF: computer shopping has some benefits!!


This is one gift that won't make it under the Christmas tree.... gifts to self are best used immediately!








I have plenty to learn on this new gadget. Time to play. Well, actually time to get ready for the next round of Christmas parties. So, I hope to get back here soon.....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Using the Word Thankful.. STILL....

Turkey leftovers and forgotten mash no longer sit upon the shelves of the fridge. Thanksgiving has come and gone. Christmas seems to be "hot topic" now! Maybe I'm slow on the take... but, I'm still pausing to reflect and give thanks for all that I've been gifted with.










Non-traditional observances aside - Hubby & I enjoyed a beautifully warm, seaside to mountain top week of Thanksgiving observance. What began as a "time to unwind" post-Goat Hill getaway to the ocean, ended up being the start to our holiday.











Just past the hills, and sitting in the low-lying farming area of the California central coast is a cluster of tiny towns that are quite the slow paced, verdant, oceanic paradises of my dreams. We visit Half Moon Bay when our bodies say "rest".  Hubby & I frequent this place, and my parents traveled over these hills to bring their four children to sandy playgrounds when I was young. Their fist home was nearly purchased here.






 














Hunkered down in the San Benito House, an inn that hasn't seen much updating in years, we plopped ourselves on wooden benches and watched the world go 'round us. Taxidermy heads-'n-horns line the walls of the pool hall. A happenin' pub serves up a mean Bloody Mary. My brother joined in for an ale at the outdoor fire pit, and a lobster roll down the Highway.




 









Ocean smooth as glass ... the oddest of sights! I don't know that I've ever witnessed nearly nonexistent wave action at this portion of the coast. We took in some local fare.. as in - artichoke soup from Duarte's (I've posted on this before), and we backroad-ed to see country stores, shops and... here's another strange curiosity - fence posts trimmed in dried fish heads!!  what?? yep....





















































Two days of beachy bliss! Thankful for every minute of it...





 




Travel with me to the next Thanksgiving stop....

I hope to continue regular posts.. at a much more regular pace! Until next time...