Monday, November 26, 2007

A Marriage of Christmas Décor...

Christmas décor is an extremely personal thing. The traditions of holiday décor are often passed down from family to family. People get really opinionated about everything from what type of trees to get to the method of decorating the trees. Some decorate large full trees in a specific monochromatic color scheme with flocking and others delicately fill sparse pine branches with years of elementary school holiday art projects as a sentimental tribute to the children of the home.

I try to just flow with it but I would have to confess that I am sort of a Ballard catalog girl when it comes to holiday décor. I like it elegant but not over the top. The banister is decked with greenery, pine cones and lights. The poinsettias are nestled in their urns gracing the front entry and the mantle is set with soft pine boughs, red berries and elegant golden NOEL letters that hold rich velvet stockings waiting to be filled.

So you might imagine my surprise at finding the “Four Color Fiber Optic Christmas Village” conspicuously perched in my shopping cart one Sunday afternoon while shopping Target with Matt. Now, at the risk of sounding snobbish, this Village is not to be confused with anything remotely like a Department 56 Christmas Village item. It is a little more home spun than that. This is clearly not in my holiday décor road map. It is by all means a detour of taste. However, what makes the FCFOCV so fascinating is that my husband desperately wanted it and the look on his face as he said “I’m getting this”, as though he were some character straight out of Napoleon Dynamite, was so sweet – no one could have resisted.

My husband is extremely careful with his spending habits and he could probably open his very own diamond mine with a bag of charcoal briquettes – if you know what I mean. So the fact that he was helplessly taken by the FCFOCV is quite simply what I adore about him. Matt can preach to you about mutual funds, the advantages of maximizing your 401k, joys of equity, and the intricacies of compound interest, but it only took one captivating look at the Four Color Fiber Optic Christmas Village to soften his heart, proving that there is a Christmas spirit in every one of us.

This weekend I proudly made a space in the family room to display his coveted little find. I found some pinecone studded trees to display behind the little Village and plugged it in. Now every night it glows changing colors from red, green, gold and purple. My husband is happy and I love him to pieces!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I can't believe it is almost Thanksgiving!

As a retailer I am not supposed to say these things. As a matter of fact I should be playing Christmas jingles, shipping orders and sprinkling snowy glitter on everything I touch. Really now…

I don’t know about you but this Holiday thing has really crept up on me. But you know I am always in the mood for Thanksgiving! No, no not the food part. I actually could skip the whole eating part of Thanksgiving and never feel slighted. I like the thanking part of Thanksgiving. I love the idea that there is an entire holiday for being thankful. Just think of how sacred that is! If we don’t get all caught up in the dressing of the turkey and how we are going to please Aunt Vicky with our Martha Stewart spread on the table, but instead take the opportunity to be thankful then it truly is a remarkably spiritual holiday.

Sometimes it can be a tough year and I have struggled to find the thankfulness, I have had years where I was really pulling at straws –“I am thankful that I have not killed my DH.” Or “I am thankful that I can breathe.” Other times the thankfulness just pours over me like an ocean wave and it washes me clean and I am left just laughing and thinking that life is much easier than I make it out to be.

But what is really important for me to do is to learn to be thankful for all of the gifts in my life from the simplest to the most complex because they are all so valuable. I try to be thankful even before I receive life’s gifts, just knowing that good things and experiences abound for me. No matter what I am experiencing – there is someone else who does not have that experience, and so in this way I am blessed and grateful.

I am holding the thought - knowing that good things and good experiences abound for you as well. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Here are some pictures of Nina's Sweet Sixteen Haloween party. They had a good time I guess
because they staid until 12:30 am!

Nina's little graveyard in the backyard complete with ghost!

The witches den...

Mummy head on a platter!

Have a safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California On Fire!

First off I need to say that I am grateful and thankful for all that I have and for the fact that we are not directly in harms way and that we have not lost our home. Not everyone here can say that. With more than a half million people evacuated, over 300,000 acres burning out of control and over 700 homes burned as of this morning, we are lucky to be in one of the safer areas of San Diego. We are also fortunate to have such a wonderful fire crew that works so tirelessly. We have had the help of so many volunteer crews and crews from other cities as well.

From my home, which sits a top a hill I have the vantage point to see quite vividly the ridgelines of the Fallbrook “Rice” fire and the newest Camp Pendleton Fires burn. We did not go into work Tuesday as the Mayor asked everyone to try to stay home and to stay off their cell phones. The sky here is burnt orange and very thick with smoke. We kept the windows closed yesterday so we would not breathe in as much smoke. Visibility was very murky. It is very surreal and strange here right now. Taking the train in this morning I noticed so many RV’s parked at the beach, their horses tied to the rigs.

Monday night was Bijan’s birthday and we went to the Carlsbad High which had been set up as an evacuation center and dropped off blankets, pillows and playing cards for those who needed to stay there. I have heard this said so many times but it really is true, “San Diego is the largest small town you will ever find”. When we pulled up to the school there were people from all over just stopping by to drop off things and help out. We pulled up to ask what was needed and when we came back with our donations there were even more people coming up asking what they could do. Yesterday I called a friend of mine who was collecting donations from the hotels in town to drop off. I hope I don’t sound corny but San Diego really takes care of its own and those who can respond, respond generously.

Please say prayers, keep positive thoughts and do a rain dance or two for California.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Red Badge of Courage Part 3

It may seem as though I have forgotten all about the journey that I set out on – I have not. I have spent some time exploring, gaining lots of ground and sometimes coming back upon familiar territory.

In conversations with my sister I have referred to personal issues as something like a passenger in the back seat of the car. There was a Twilight Zone episode in which a woman picks up a hitchhiker and she keeps seeing him in the backseat of the car even though she let him off miles before. Of course he turns out to be the angel of death or some spooky thing like that. Life’s issues are like the hitchhiker. You may think they got out a while back but they still show up in the rear view mirror and when you look over your shoulder, sure enough they are sitting there staring you right in the face.

Courage is the high road that must be chosen when dealing with these types of clingy passengers. It is amazing how long I can just drive and drive and not look in the rear view mirror. I know that I ought to check all the mirrors in my vehicle from time to time, but I don’t. Often that simple minded barreling down the highway is intentional. Sometimes I just drive like a bat out of hell! It takes courage to look in the rear view mirror; it takes courage to choose to actually see. In that gaze I see not only who is in the back seat (making themselves comfy) but I see all the terrain I have left behind.

I have been in the process of trying to get to know these pesky little hitchhikers, who are they and what do they want? (Sometimes I’ve got to stare fear in the face and just look at what I don’t like about myself or my life.) If I am to have traveling buddies I want to get to know them a little better. I can not say they are interested in me the same way, on the contrary, I find they expect the same old fearful reactions from me. These stowaways expect me to be startled and runaway from the pressure of uncovering what I want from this journey. To consistently move past limitations and define my life on my own terms is not the trip my passengers thought we were taking.

I have had to take a few u-turns and detours on this route, but I am still in the driver’s seat. I am determined to reach my destination and the road is getting straighter and the pathway clearer everyday.

I love the creativity of these questions – Where do you want to go today? What do you want to create? How do you want to live? Who do you want to touch? What do you want to give?

Happy trails to you…

Friday, September 21, 2007

Yes, but can he sing?

Hmmm... this looks interesting. Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd. But can the man sing? If you know Sweeney, you need that strong, menacing, out of your brain sort of tone for Sweeney. I am having some trouble hearing it in my head from Johnny, but I am willing to be open minded. It might be good even if he can't sing - we could turn the sound down and just watch Johhny Depp prance around in that waist coat and those tight pants. Although that doesn't work in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - no, not at all. But alas he was extremely fine in Chocolat the film set in the little French Village with Juliette Binoche. What wasn't fine in that film? I like Tim Burton and I think he is artistic, let's hope this works out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Great Beer and Exquisite Cheese in Amsterdam

Well, I knew I’d find that. I took every opportunity to splurge on beer and cheese. What I did not know about Amsterdam was the popularity of bicycles. Everyone rides a bike. There were some cars but most people, even the pregnant mommies with only a week or so left to term, were on their bikes. New born babies were strapped to their parents’ chests and their little heads were sprinkled with rain drops. Toddlers were loaded into little wooden carts affixed to the front of the bikes and off they rode.

Our hotel was on this Canal and in a nice, not - so - touristy area. We had lovely accommodations. I did not see the red light district that everyone talks about but I was only there for a few days. When you go to the Dam Square shopping area it is really touristy and there were some sex toy type of shops with risqué toys in the windows right across from the McDonalds. I thought the Pot shops were funny. Bijan went into one to get some T-shirts for his buddies and they handed him a menu for pot. Since he was shopping with Matt it was unlikely that he would buy anything more than t-shirts. I knew from my research that they had public urinals right there in the street. The men can just walk behind a small metal screen and go. That was interesting.

I finally got to see the Girl with Pearl Earring; she creeps upon you in a room in the Mauritshuis Museum. Unpretentiously, this famous work of art just sort of waits for you to turn around and discover her, and it was all that I thought it would be – beautiful! I was really surprised to find the View of Delft, also by Vermeer, to be another favorite. It was much more impressive in person.

Amsterdam was bustling with small cars, bikes, canal boats and sidewalk cafes everywhere, but I got the feeling that there was less tension between the people that lived there. I got the feeling that it was ok to be however you wanted to be. The Dutch seem to be much more relaxed about human nature and the reality that people are all very individualistic. Conformity might not be so good for everyone and every personal preference is not left open to so much scrutiny. There is a pervasive feeling that it makes no sense to be so up tight in this life. I took the lesson of that attitude as a souvenir.

Oh, we also loved the syrup waffle cookies – really good with hot chocolate!

I’ve been to Mr. Darcy’s house!

If you have seen Pride and Prejudice with Kira Nightly and Mathew McFadden you will remember Mr. Darcy’s house. If you have not seen that particular Pride and Prejudice then what are you waiting for!!

Mr. Darcy’s house is Chatsworth house, or I guess I should say they filmed those sequences there at Chatsworth. But really, lets just stay in the dream of it all - magnificent Mr. Darcy, so noble, so good looking, (not at all “dragged through a hedge backwards” as Donna says.) and he lives there in that incredibly over – the - top house!

If you’ve seen the movie you may remember the sculpture room that Kira wanders into. Yes, it is there and yes, I went and was thrilled to see my favorite in the room the Veiled Vestal Virgin by Monti. It is incredible to think that soft filmy veil is actually marble and not a flimsy whisper of silk. But I fell in love with all of the sculptures especially the Canovas. And at the end of the room they retain the bust of Mathew McFadden as Darcy.

Funny, after we got home I was unable to sleep – over exhausted with jet lag and turned on the TV and guess what was on. I loved recognizing every step in the great house.

Sorry to be away so long...

Amsterdam was wonderful. In fact our entire trip was wonderful. I would have updated each day here on the blog except that my digital was not compatible with the computer at my sister’s house and we were really on the road as we covered four countries in two weeks. I think we only had one day that was down time.

Scotland has got to be the most beautiful countryside in the world. It really is as green as the photos and there is so much sprawling and lush land dotted with “white things” (sheep) and “brown things” (cows) – I mean everywhere! On our last day we visited Inverary, a little Loch side village in the north. The Castle in the photo is one we did not go into as we had been into so many and after Chatsworth house in England (more on that later) – well, it’s all down hill from there. Instead we shopped in the little village for goodies for our friends and had lunch at the George Hotel. Matt had to order Haggis which is like an oatmeal meatloaf served with mashed potatoes and mashed turnips. Surprisingly, it was pretty good.

In Scotland we also were fortunate enough to drive out to Drumlanrig Castle. This was a gold mine of artwork and extraordinary furnishings on beautiful grounds. I guess the previous year someone stole a Da Vinci from there. I wonder how that happens, but with so much glorious artwork filling the walls it may not be that hard after all.

Being a California born and raised girl, I am always in awe of houses and castles that are so completely old. It fascinates me because California has so very little historical buildings left. Besides the Missions, there just is not anything that is really historic – we certainly are a new country. So I am most impressed with the National Trust in the UK and how they work to keep everything preserved and open for the public to visit.

It was great to travel with my sister. She gave up her flat to us, shuffled us all over and helped get the most out of our trip. Considering we had one child visit the ER with an asthma attack, and one sleep in the hotel all afternoon in Amsterdam with the flue she was also flexible and understanding.

I must also mention that young Scottish men look really good in their kilts with tight tee shirts, Doc Martins and lots of chains!

Monday, July 30, 2007

My Chemical Romance

Megan is tired of my Fourth of July post and frankly - so am I. I have just been so busy and now I have been getting ready for my fabulous vacation. But before I head out I thought I would set the stage for my return.

I have come to the realization that I really need to get off the fake food! Don't get me wrong here, I love Jenny Craig but Im gettin a little itchy on these frozen dinners and packaged things. I mean it has been more than a year now.

I began to develop a concern about my fake food addiction not so much with the Jenny Craig food that I was eating – for I needed that to get my diet under control. (I had to start somewhere.) I became concerned with the onset of a particularly strange love affair I nurtured for Cool Whip. I mean to say that I put Cool Whip on everything, Have you ever read the ingredients for Cool Whip? There simply is no food in it. I can not pronounce any of the ingredients and I don’t know of a food group that any of those ingredients could be from. I was compelled to purchase mass quantities of Cool Whip each week at the grocery store. It was when I switched to the large Tub o’ Whip that I really became aware of what I was doing. What is this chemical? What is it doing to me? What are the long term effects of heavy doses of Cool Whip?

I began to pay uncomfortable attention to the other chemicals that I have grown fond of particularly my Coffee Mate Sugar Free French Vanilla Powder. What the hell is that? I am really not sure but every morning I jump out of bed because I am going to get some of that powder in my coffee and it will start my day right! Matt calls the Coffee Mate “cool creamer”. He drinks the regular liquid form of “cool creamer” basically he likes a little coffee with his French Vanilla creamer. A good day is when you have creamer and a bad day is when you are out.

I don’t know about the rest of you but this conspicuous consumption of powders and liquids that are concocted of un-pronounceable ingredients that represent nothing like real food is making me nervous. Coke, Pepsi, Sprite? At least wine has grape juice in it – I can deal with that. Splenda – it has been a little splendid but it is also a little spooky. I think that margarine product called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is hilarious. Of course we can’t believe its not butter – we have no freaking idea what it is, but as a society we seem to be ok with that.

Now if you are really looking for interesting reading about mystery things to put into your body look no further than the new weight loss aid Alli’s product description and side affects. Sorry, I wont go into that on this blog you will have to check that one out for yourself – absolutely too gross!

I am no health food nut. I like chocolate and wine and bread and all sorts of goodies that we need to eat in moderation only. But I just started wondering about the fake things I have been consuming. I wonder where they come from. I wonder how they are made. I wonder what those things will do to my body over the long term.

So I am going on vacation and I plan to eat real chocolate. I plan to eat incredible cheese. I especially plan to indulge in some magnificent wine and superb bread. When I come back I am embarking on a new diet journey. I need to end this chemical romance. I want to see if I can eat only food that I understand. Just food that makes sense, things I can pronounce and things that don’t appear to be altered too much. I realize this will be tough because even our toothpaste comes from China and has strange and harmful ingredients but I will just start out with my basic food and work my way up from there.

Sometimes I wake up and while drinking my powder infused chemically vanilla flavored coffee I wonder how we got so far from the simple things in life.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July...

Happy 4th of July to all…

I have been serving on Jury Duty this week and last week. Obviously I can not and would not discuss the case, but I have to say that after trying ever so hard to get out of serving, I am actually glad to be serving. I have come to realize that I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in government on any level.

One of the Judges at the courthouse said that he is always asked what one should say or do to get out of serving jury duty and his reply was that they should move to a country where there is no jury system. Uh…no thanks.

I would hope that if I need to have a jury that there would be some normal folks who could spare a little time to listen to my situation and help settle it in a fair way.

So I am feeling pretty patriotic and I am very grateful and feel fortunate to have been born here.

About 3 years ago I was in London with the kids and we had been traveling around for a week or two and we were in the National Portrait Gallery checking out the collection of wonderful paintings and images of so many historical characters.

After about a half hour we sort of met up in one room and were staring at one painting. At the same moment we all bent forward to read: “The Signing of the Declaration of Independence.” Again at the same time we all leaned back and realized that it was in fact July 4th and we quietly said happy 4th of July to each other. I think that was my favorite 4th of July celebration. No fireworks, no barbeque or sparklers, far from home, in a place where it was just an ordinary day for the people of that country, I realized that I had someplace special that I belonged. I realized that I was part of something great and meaningful.

Please have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We have decided on Amsterdam

When we go on vacation this summer we will take a side trip to Amsterdam and I am super excited about that!

I just finished reading "I Was Vermeer" by Frank Wynne. It is the true story of the twentieth century's greatest art forger (Han Van Meegren). It was very interesting and I was fascinated by his method of producing works that could withstand forgery tests by the addition of a plasticizing solution. Hopefully when we go there we can see some fine Vermeer works and a Van Gogh or two. That will be magnificent! Girl With Pearl Earring has to be one of my favorite painting so I have to check and see if it is in the new Vermeer center in Delft.

I am getting ready for our June Tag Sale and we just got new wonderful goodies from Cavallini & Co. My favorites are the stamp sets - especially the birds!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bad Mommy...

Every Mother finds herself doing what she needs to do to get the day rolling and keep it rolling. I would suppose that one of my down falls as a mother was my habit of fibbing or making up little white lies to get the kids to do what I wanted them to do. If I had to serve them something yucky looking for dinner – say – refried beans, then these became “chocolaty beans”. When it was time to give up the binkies I said that Tinker Bell had taken them. I found that getting the kids to believe what I wanted them to believe was a satisfactory way of getting them to conform – so to speak. Fortunately I primarily used this lame tactic to combat temper tantrums or food dislikes and I could only get away with this ridiculous type of reasoning when they were very young.

My Nina was known all through out the land as having the worst temper. There were friends that simply would not baby sit for her. They would ask, “Are you sure you called everyone else before me?” She was small but mighty – and smart! To get Nina to mind and behave was when I came up with these little white lies.

One day while driving in the car Nina was having a particularly wild melt down, the type of melt down that can make you crazy and seriously cause an accident. In order to get her to hush I told her that I would have to press the EJECTOR SEAT BUTTON if she did not stop her fit this minute. The ejector seat button was in fact the hazard light button. I thought what a great idea, it is the shape of a triangle – facing up and away and it certainly looked foreboding and as though it could do the job, if put to the test. It worked!!!!!! She stopped her crying and hollering instantly. I felt that I had come up with a perfect solution and I used that tactic from then on – probably about 4 times in the following two years. So from three years old to about five years old Nina must have held a fearful respect for the ejector seat button. Nina’s brother Bijan was fully aware that I was fibbing to Nina but being the peaceful soul that he was he seemed content to not make waves – all is fair in love and war and the taming of Nina’s temper.

About the time that Nina was five and Bijan was eight we were driving around town busily running errands and all seemed fine until we got a flat tire. I was grateful that I managed to keep control of the car and pull over to the side of the road. Everyone safe – now to deal with the changing of the tire, my first step was to reach for the hazard light button as I wanted to notify other drivers that I was certainly having a hazardous day. Bijan yelled, “No Mother – you can’t press that – STOP!” I looked at Bijan and he was eyeing me to turn around and look at Nina. When I turned to the back seat I saw Nina braced in her booster seat – her eyes were clenched shut tight and her face was scrunched small. Her body was stiff and she was waiting to be ejected right through the top of the family mini van, off high into the sky and perhaps coming down in some distant field of little white and yellow daisies.
Oh my god, my little white lies had caught up with me in the most horrific way imaginable. How could this child ever trust a single word I would say to her again? The flat tire was the least of my problems. I stopped telling white lies of any kind after that but Nina’s temper seemed to get the best of us for another five years. I am happy to report that she is now the sweetest young woman that you will ever meet and we have to search our memories for times like this to even imagine how she was.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Major Vacation Plans!

We finally did it. We booked our flights to Scotland this weekend! This is a big accomplishment for Matt and me. We are not as spontaneous as I would like us to be. We have been thinking about this trip back and forth. Should we go or should we go next year? There have been lots of things up for us this year and it did not seem like the time to go. However, when I got the news that my sister was thinking of moving home from Scotland, I thought it is now or never. So – off we go. Well, off we go in August.

Scotland is wonderful. I love Edinburgh, which I will certainly visit again. We plan to take some day trips out from Glasgow but we are hoping to go to another spot for a few days – perhaps Amsterdam or London. I was hoping to do Paris but for the amount of time that we are there it is a little tricky with the flight times I have been finding and my hotel points program.

This will be so much fun – the kids are a blast to travel with and we did not go with Matt to Scotland last time so we are very happy that he is going with us this time. Matt and I have not traveled that much – we are work-aholics I think. So I will keep you posted on where we end up deciding to go.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone has a joyful Easter. Nina and I shall color eggs tonight as we always do. This year I even found sugar free peeps! Now you have to admit that sugar free peeps are a silly idea becuase peeps are all sugar. Oh well, enjoy...

Friday, March 30, 2007

I Was Shocked Yesterday, Sad Today...

Just imagine my shock after calling a friend – this is someone I have worked with off and on for some six years now, only to be told that she had passed away! Not only that – but that she had passed away six months ago!!

I first met Evelyn over the phone when I took a position as an administrative assistant to a VIP. (This job was very much like Devil Wears Prada – but with a man instead of Meryl Streep and he was nicer). He had a massive travel schedule, literally all over the world every week. I had never coordinated such a schedule before – I was in way over my head. I found her name in the rolodex on the desk under Travel so I gave her a call. What I found on the other end of the line was the most caring woman who threw her whole heart into helping me please this boss of mine who was expected to be every where all the time. There was not a day that we did not talk for 3 ½ years straight. We developed a really warm friendship over the phone – not so unusual in our high tech world.

When I left that job I worked for two other companies and continued to call on Evelyn consistently throughout the months into years for all of my travel needs even though making arrangements on the internet is very simple. She was just so much personality and service that if you got stuck somewhere you just knew you were never alone. I think that was her special talent – making you feel as though you had someone who had your back all the time.

When I left the corporate world to open my shop – she called sometimes to check up on me and we would always get to talking about one thing or another. I think we both missed those old hey days of frantic itineraries, last minute flights to the other side of the world and forgetting where we sent my boss or when he was due back! Every time we talked it was like we had talked yesterday and we always felt we would talk again tomorrow.

I called her office yesterday to make some travel plans and I knew something was up when I asked if she was in and I was put on hold for a while. Her associate picked up the phone and told me. I was crushed and doubly so when I learned it happened in September. Of course no one would know to call me. It was not unusual for us to go six months with out talking. After all these years I was no longer one of her main clients. The last time we talked was about eight months ago. I guess it is strange – when someone dies there are all sorts of people that do not know. You can not inform everyone. I really loved this little gal. She was a great person and she helped me more than most people would know. She made me look like a success at dealing with the most stressful part of my job in those days. I feel so sad and I keep thinking I wish I had known. I will miss her.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Has Anyone Seen A Really Fat Toddler?

Because that seems to be what I lost. I mean I have lost 50 lbs and about 31 inches to date. If you think about it, that is about the size of a short round little kid. I prefer to think that it is some loud child screaming in Wal-Mart. Or perhaps some whinny little one that is crabby all the time. However I imagine it – it is gone. It didn’t go easily but it could return easily if I am not vigilant. I have not reached my goal yet but I am so close. I would like to lose about another 10 to 15 pounds but heck that might take another year and I promised a before and after shot. I was going to put one up sooner but I could not get the last bit of weight off. I have been on a plateau for a few months now and I stay within the same 3 lbs no mater what I eat or do so I will just hang in there and keep building muscle.

This is my before picture – that is me in the white blouse. This was taken almost exactly one year ago. I had a lot of fun with my pal Sylvia that day. We do like our margaritas! But I was uncomfortable and I remember that I was worried about my health.

This is me after a year of working out and eating Jenny Craig food. I have to say that I do have the best counselor at JC that anyone could ever wish for. Judy has nurtured me along in such a supportive way. She is very helpful, professional and just a down right wonderful person. She is an important friend to me. And although some think it is an expensive program – it is cheaper than a heart attack and the aftermath of all of that so I am grateful.

I am happy to be healthy and I am surprised that I actually like working out – I even crave it sometimes. I feel very exposed and self-conscious about posting these pictures but I felt it was important for the little journey that I have been on this year. I embarked on a pathway of self discovery and renewal and this task is part of that.

Next post will feature some of the fun new goodies that we got in at Soul of the Rose – or maybe I’ll just write something silly instead.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Well you know I love birds

It is true - I will buy almost anything with birds on it. My pal Megan gets fit to be tied as she is much more hip than I and she does not share my affinity for birds and can not understand my fascination with them. Really, I can not understand it either because I am afraid of them - you know when they fly around I get a little nervous! However, bird images - oooh I love that. Birds outside the window - love em. Iron birds - I got about 10 placed in various nooks and niches around the home. I have a Frank Capra style black crow forever perched on a large dried Manzinita tree in my dinning room. I even have a bird on my Anthropology apron I got for Christmas from Miss Nina.

So I had to have these Anna Corba Bird Image Photo Books just as soon as I saw them. I like her work - Lauren Mumford mentioned her on her blog once (I miss Lauren's blog) and that is where I saw them. Anna is very nice and I am excited about being fortunate enough to offer some of her designs. I was extremely please when the items came in as they look even more beautiful in person than in the photos. I know you will love these new goodies!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Call To Worship...

Sometimes on my way home I take the coast. It is just a small step in trying to break out of the grind. I love pulling off the freeway and refusing to deal with San Diego traffic. It makes the drive longer but the view is worth the length of time it takes. I have to admit that I am blessed to live in such a wonderful place. While most of the country is freezing I am blissfully cruising along the seaside.

There is this wonderful little phenomenon that I witness as I head home on this route. The people that gather each evening to watch the sunset – it’s like a passion. I have an hour long drive going home so I pass through La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff by the Sea, Luecadia and Encinitas until I hit Carlsbad.

Never fail are the people that gather every night, every town and at every stretch to watch the sun go down in all it’s glory. They gather in their cars just as I pass through La Jolla, some sit inside and talk on the phone or read the paper until the magic moments. In Del Mar they gather up along a cliff like edge near the railroad tracks and stare west. All along the coast there are joggers that keep pace along with the sunset. There are different glimpses of the sea and each town has a different manner in which people gather. Some are couples or familes, some with their dogs, but I really like the single people who just stand there and stare. I like the fact that this is an important place for them to be. I like that no matter what has happened that day it seems there is always a collection of people willing to bid farewell to this day and it’s daylight hours. It rained this week and they gathered with umbrellas and coats braving the stormy and threatening waves. They are always there.

They remind me to value the ending of a day and the beginning of a new one. They demonstrate for me the ritual of closing and moving from one activity to another. Sometimes I get so busy and caught up with the stress of everyday that there literally is no let up. One day melds into the next and one deadline into the next. But like the motion of striking a match and lighting the candle, watching the sun melt into the ocean is a sort of call to worship.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

It is absolutely shameful...

the way I have behaved! I have been missing from the blogosphere for so long, flying way below the radar if you will. It seems like the merchandise arrived for Christmas, the relatives soon after that and then the parties, the food, the wine, the orders and also the big project I have been working on and well….. I have all but tossed my blog aside. How rude and I hope I can be forgiven.

I check in with Amy at least every other day and the guilt over reading her blog and not updating my own has been tremendous!! And I see my blog sliding down the list of her favorite blogs (you know they are ranked in order by updates) and I am damn near the bottom! I guess it brings out some competitive spirit lurking within.

It is not as though I have not been thinking about each and every one of my friends out there. Why, just last week I was at the LA Market looking for fun, new and wonderful goodies for spring and trying to imagine just what it is that you would all like to have. That is by far the most fun part of this blissful endeavor – the buying! We had a very successful December tag sale so we will be bringing in some beautiful new indulgent gifts very soon.

I contemplated writing about New Year’s Resolutions – but really… why? Most people have tossed those by now and they are usually designed to chastise us or make us feel guilty for what we did not seem to get around to doing last year anyway. Lose weight, exercise more etc. How incredibly boring is that? So I have decided no more guilt-ridden resolutions ever again. This year I resolve to love myself more. I resolve to try to listen more and speak less. I resolve to try to help just one person at a time if I think I can truly be the one to bring the “light”. I resolve to try something new every week it can be anything as long it is new. (This could be really fun). Oh, and I resolve to have a lot more FUN! That’s all.

2006 was an interesting year I learned so much, evolved and changed so much. I am thrilled to see it GO! Lets face it learning, evolving and changing can be very uncomfortable – hell it hurts!! But it is what growing up is about and I am sure one of these days I will be all grown up but until then I know there will be a lot more learning, evolving and changing. So onward with the journey I say. I will continue the red badge of courage journey – but I really need better shoes for this year’s path that is for sure!