Tuesday, July 5, 2011



Taking a break. Be back in a week - hopefully. Be well.

Friday, July 1, 2011


"There are years that ask questions
and years that answer."
Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Within those years that ask questions, there are days when you think you just can't go on one minute more. Today is one of those days.



Erin Ashley


Thursday, June 30, 2011

the sweetest thing

My J is a complete water child. I realized it back when she was a baby and when nothing else would calm her, I would run the water faucet and she would melt in my arms. In water, on water, near water, playing with water - J is happy. Water still tops the list of things she loves. Music and dance are up there too.

Just about every afternoon during the summer, J and I go swimming at the community pool. She also takes daily swim lessons there. On Thursdays, we can only stay an hour or so, until it's time to get ready for her ballet class. It is the only time she will willingly leave before the pool closes.

Today while we were playing and bobbing around in the water. J said the following:
I LOVE swimming every day. I LOVE swimming lessons. I LOVE dance class.
And I LOVE you.

Aaaaaaaah. I am a very lucky woman.

J (and friend) at the pool, via iPhone

butterfly dance, via Nikon

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

how i see it

Miss J and I have had a rough ride the last couple of days - bad tummy, little sleep, tantrums, fights with her dad (that's just J's part!) She's with her dad as per the "schedule" tonight and tomorrow. I miss her. I always miss her. This time a little more than usual. Even though there has been "stuff" going on, when it is just her and I, life is really really good.

We're not "allowed" to hang anything on the walls. J doesn't like that. To circumvent the rules, she has begun taping her drawings and other paper treasures to the walls and doors. I don't stop her. Everywhere you look in the living room, the walls are covered! The picture below is of one very tiny section of wall right above my computer. It's what I look at while I'm working at the computer. I love it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


My life had such potential, she told me,
before I found out how much work was involved. 
Brian Andreas, Story People

Have you ever heard of Brian Andreas or Story People? I "discovered" his art many, many years ago in a small, quirky gallery that no longer exists in the still artisticly thriving town of Cambria along the central coast of California. At the time he created sculptures of wood with stories printed on them (Story People)and matted prints of his artwork with accompanying stories - his product line has expanded considerably since. I bought two matted prints that day - both cat related. I still treasure both.

Pig Cat                                                        Old Cat

A self-described "artist and storyteller," some of the stories are his, many are collected. He has amassed his collections of stories and drawings into a series of books - simple books, very tactile, no color, very affordable. I have all of them. If you get them, you will hold infinity in your hands - that's how I would describe it!

Through the story people website - a very fun place to visit, you can view and purchase all Brian's artwork and collections and most wonderfully of all - to me, at least - you can sign up to receive a Story of the Day through your email - a story, just a few lines, and incredible line drawings to accompany the words. With so much junk coming through my email on a daily basis, the stories are welcome jewels that shine like the sun. Check it out.

Story People website

Thought I'd share...Just hit on the story genie...discover your fate! let the magic Story Genie pick one just for you. This is the story the "genie" picked for me...

Second Thoughts

Fun...and a little close to home...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011



i love a piano...make that two

I love a piano, I love a piano.
I love to hear somebody play upon
a piano, a grand piano.
It simply carries me away.
I Love a Piano
Irving Berlin

Judy Garland (with Fred Astaire) singing I Love a Piano
from the movie Easter Parade

I'm not sure when my love affair with the piano began. Long before the first time I saw Easter Parade (great movie, btw) and heard Judy singing, I loved the piano. Maybe it began with my Aunt. Every Friday after school when I was in first and second grades I would walk over to visit my Aunt Mamie - one of the few relatives of my father's who was around. She was ancient - or seemed so to me - and everything in her house was a curiosity. Frugal to the core, she refused to buy one of those new-fangled color televisions. Instead she had taped across the screen tinted cellophane - yellow across the top, red in the middle, green at the bottom. Watching tv at her house was a surreal experience. She never threw anything away. My family never bought TV Guide - too expensive. We used the free guide. Aunt Mamie had every tv guide she had ever received - piles and piles of them. In her front parlor - yes, she had front and back parlors - was a gorgeous upright player piano. When I wasn't playing teacher to Aunt Mamie's student in the morning room, I was playing the player piano. Funny, I don't remember ever playing outside at her house. The indoors was such a treat.

Maybe it began even before Aunt Mamie's. In the back room of the house I grew up in (and in which my mother still lives), there is a very old, dearly loved upright piano. I believe my parents bought it used (they bought everything used) when my brother was a child - before I was born. He took piano lessons for about three years. Later, I took lessons and lasted about a year. Not because I didn't love it, but because practicing was so difficult. My family's house was built in the 1870s - the front three rooms, at least. In the twenties, the house was added on to. All the materials except the redwood studs were salvaged. The rooms have odd angles and the walls are plywood. No insulation at all. The house is an oven in Summer, and with only a standing gas heater in the front room, it is freezing in the winter. What we called the back room was added on a little later - maybe in the thirties. Unfinished, the only thing between you and the elements were studs and siding. The room is damp, dark, and a little scary. A small part of the front of the room was used by my mother to store canned goods and her sewing supplies. My father used the rest to store his inside "junk" - as we not so fondly called it. Boxes and "stuff" stacked to the ceiling with little aisle ways to walk through. One led to the piano against the back wall. In the winter, I practiced with sweaters and an overcoat on. I wore gloves with the fingers cut out so I could touch the keys. I'd come out at the end of my practice shivering and with a cold, runny nose. In the summer, I wore practically nothing and practiced with sweat running down by face and body. I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did. I've never been much for suffering through things!

I love that piano. I begged my father for it for years. He finally said it could be mine - my brother and sister didn't want it! By the time he gave it to me though, I had nowhere to store it. I was living in an apartment and the poor piano was in terrible shape. It has gotten worse. My father wouldn't repair the roofs when they started leaking. (My mother had them all repaired after he died.) And the back room flooded every winter for years. The piano is still there. I still consider it mine. At least half of the keys stick. Many of the ones that don't stick, don't even make a sound anymore. It needs a lot of tlc. Some day I plan to give all the love and care it needs to my precious piano friend.

All this verbage is leading to some super exciting news. J's dad's and grandmother's church is holding a yard sale. Somehow, this dear but usually very challenging man remembered that I have always wanted a piano. This morning he called me to say they were putting a FREE sign on an extra piano the church had somehow ended up with. Did I want to come check it out? I was there in a flash. It's mine!!! J and I are so excited. It's still in the church library until I can found some big men to bring it over. But we have a piano! It's old. It's an upright. It needs care. Where exactly I'm going to fit it into our very cozy (read tiny) house is a question. We'll make it work. I get to live with a piano!!! Can you tell I'm excited???

Here's a photo of the poor, mistreated, dearly loved piano still at my family home...


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

inspired by...

...Ana of Live & Enliven. Her post today was a series of absolutely beautiful horse photos. It reminded me of how much I love those animal beings and of the significant impact they have had on my life - both physical and spiritual. Get ready for a post HEAVY on photos - on my favorite photos.

btw...do yourself a favor and read Ana's blog. When I "discovered" it through another blog a couple of months ago, I spent the entire night reading every post - well, almost every one...I couldn't quite finish. I will someday though. Read it. The light of her soul shines through every post.

Now, to horses...

Witaka Eye

Cinnamon Eye

Grey's Eye

Through the Wire


Kaytee Eye

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

speaking of...

...Larritt-Evans. I mentioned her blog in my last post. She is an incredible stylist who mixes colors and styles. Check this out...

style by Claire Larritt-Evans for Fenton & Fenton
photo by Tony Mott


It seems like every time I see a photo that I fall head over toes, topsy turvy, crazy, heavy sighing for it is by the incomparable Tim Walker. Here we go again...

Vivienne Westwood
by Tim Walker for British Vogue

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Not sure what I love the most - the dog, the hair, the shoes, the peeling wallpaper...too much fun...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.

Markus Zusak
I Am the Messenger

Saturday, June 11, 2011

from russia with love

The braided buns were a success. The costumes were a success. The ballet recital was a huge success.

Miss J absolutely shined on stage - no nerves, no false steps, a huge smile the entire time. What a wonderful day for her...

Friday, June 10, 2011


last night's sunset
taken outside Starbucks via my iPhone

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Amelia by Jose Villa
see more here

Or should I write...the incredible, incomparable, insanely talented Jose Villa...

I love the expression of childhood joy pouring out of this photo. So so sooooooo beautiful.

sun water dance

Today (Wednesday):  J and I planted sunflowers, went swimming at the public pool (for hourrrrrrrs), and while dance class isn't until tomorrow, I tried (note I didn't write succeeded) to put J's - very, very thick and very fine - hair into two braided buns. J has her first ever ballet recital on Saturday. Her class is performing a Russian Troika. The braided buns are required...I don't see how it's going to happen...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

night chatter

Intermittently working on photos and browsing blogland. All the while, listening to White Fluffy Love talk in her sleep. I have had many cats in my life. Never have I had one who talks in her sleep...

white fluffy love - yawning

May 27th

Durham Children's Center Pre-Kindergarten Graduation

wish I could post photos showing their faces...too too cute!

Friday, June 3, 2011

fat cat sat rat bat hat mat

My J loves books. Even as a baby, we surrounded her with them. We read to her, looked at pictures, she played with them, she even chewed on them! We still read every day and she has become a good reader herself. She even has a library card and goes every week to pick out new books. I am so thrilled about that. One of my fondest childhood memories is going to the library with my mother. It was like a second home to me, we spent so much time there.

Last summer, I was browsing the children's section of our local mega-bookstore and decided to check out the early readers - hoping to find something that would be fun for me to read, fun for J to look at, and fairly easy for J to learn. J has such an incredible memory, we actually have a difficult time measuring her reading ability. She hears a story once or twice and she can read it back to you verbatim. So, many times, we don't know if she's reading or reciting! Neither here nor there...

At the bookstore, I spotted a cat book (surprise!). It is such a wonderful book. I love it more than J does. In fact, she "lets" me read it because she knows if it were up to me I would read it every night! She chose it tonight - and she read it to me! I love being J's mother. And, I love this book.

available here

Wilma the witch has a broom, a fat cat, a pet rat named Brat, and a magical mat - among other magical things. The rat hates the cat. The cat does not care. The story is about what happens while Wilma was gone and the cat sat on the rat's mat. Craziness ensues and lots of rhyming -at words.

It is soooooo fun to read out loud.

My favorite part:
The broom flew into the room. It zoomed over the mat, over the cat, over the hat and the bat and Wilma's pet rat. The fish flew off the dish. It landed on the hat, which landed on the bat, who landed on the rat, who landed on the cat, lying flat on the mat.
"Get off!" said the cat.
"No, we won't!" said the hat and the bat and the rat.
The fish said nothing.

J's favorite part is the last page:
"Thank goodness!" said the mat.

You'll have to read the book to find out what that means!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

candy that's good for you

If you have been anywhere in blogland this year, you have probably seen the Before I Die project. Designed and installed by Candy Chang on the side of an abandoned building in New Orleans, the project is essentially a giant chalkboard where people can anonymously share what is most important to them. The project has been hugely successful and there is talk of a book being made about it. Interesting - at least to me - is that when the wall is filled, it is washed down, providing a clean slate - so to speak.

read more about the Before I Die project here

I was reminded again of this art project while reading the blog - not your average ordinary - where Brandi, the author, was writing about another of Ms. Chang's projects - Sidewalk Psychiatry. I had never seen, or rather noted, before the artist's name. Inspired by the photos of the sidewalk art project I checked out Candy Chang's website...Her projects - and philosophy - are extraordinary and so worth reading about.

While browsing through the projects, I came across a cartoon she had made about "a carton of milk, a muffin, and the fear of mediocrity" !!!!! So, so great. Deceptively simple. Very, very wise. Too long to post, do yourself a favor and see the whole cartoon here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


pastel grannies
by Tim Walker for Juicy Couture

Saturday, May 28, 2011

of Meaning AND TRUTH

Call it street art, urban poetry - this is some of the work of artist Robert Montgomery. Based in London, he posts his artwork in traditional advertising spaces. On his website, it states he "works in a poetic and melancholic post-situationist tradition." Uh, huh...it is amazing. 

See more here 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

please, please, please

Necono digital cat camera - 3 mpx and magnetic feet!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

barbie world

Love this photo...

J is five-and-a-half. So far she's not much into Barbie. She has one that she dresses up every once in a while - usually if she happens upon it. She's never sought it out. By the time I was five, I was fully into Barbie. Of course, I had a sister who was nine years older than me. She played with Barbies so, of course, I played with Barbies. I use to create whole cities for them - along the dresser in my bedroom, in the closet, across the window sills - using things I found around the house. My mother had a white candy dish in that hob knob pattern - is that what it's called? That was the center of the Candy Dish Restaurant which was the social hub of my Barbie world. It was my own Barbie soap opera!

To be honest, I am still into Barbie. A couple of years ago, when I had a few extra dollars - oh, how I wish I had it now! - I went on a Barbie shopping spree. Not the play ones - the silkstones, repaints, and vintage clothes. Ebay and I were on close terms. It was fun. The idea was to photograph the dolls and create story lines. Didn't turn out the way I envisioned. Barbie's stiff body and facial expression kept getting in the way. I still intend to create a series of photographs of the clothes. And there is one repaint whose face I love to photograph. I've posted her photo before. Here is another...

Monday, May 16, 2011

if not me, who?

A few years ago when it was the "thing" to google yourself...I did...and found my alter ego - living the life I dreamed of, serving in ways I sought to.

Rosemarie Brown of Sedona AZ - holistic social worker - offering medical astrology, soul recovery through shamanic journeying, and life coaching.

Tonight, avoiding making a mix tape I promised to do for a swap (which needs to be mailed tomorrow!), I was wandering through blogland and came upon a new-to-me blog - For Me, For You. In a post by a guest blogger was a beautiful room. The room was styled by Rosie Brown!!! Yet another alter ego, living a life I dream of, with talent and purpose I long to have.

Rosie Brown of Pittenweem in Fife, Scotland - designer, stylist, and founder of Papa Stour whose purpose is to expose and sell works of Scottish artists and designers.



The other morning as I was preparing an art lesson in collage at my daughter's kindergarten, one of the "moms" dropped off her daughter a little late. As the mom was leaving, I noticed the soles of her shoes - Louboutin red. I asked her if those were "loe-Ba-tins" - I'm such a hick. I've never actually known anyone who had a pair or heard the name. I've only seen it in print - mostly on blogs. She looked at me quizzically and then said, "Oh, you mean my "Lou-bi-tons." Love those Louboutins." I laughed out loud at myself. Then mentioned that they cost as much as two months rent for me. She said, "Oh! Don't make me feel bad." As she got into her Maserati and headed for their estate...

To be fair, this "mom" has become a good friend and is one of the nicest people you would ever meet. She is also a stunningly beautiful blonde and I envy everything about her. But in a nice way! Funny thing. The day before I was helping the kindergarten teacher with a scrapbook project and she just happened to mention that she didn't think she had seen this "mom's" daughter in the same outfit twice throughout the school year! We're a rural, agricultural community. There are a few people with money - mostly the large agricultural interests, one of which this "mom" married into. No other family in J's kindergarten or the other two classes come close to their wealth. I think most of us are at least a little envious.

I checked on-line. The shoes she was wearing probably cost between $800 and $1000. I LOVE shoes, but I don't think I could ever spend that much on something that I'm going to walk in the dirt with. Not when I could get 10 or more fabulous pairs of shoes for the price of one pair of Louboutins! Ooooh! I am green with envy!!!

Given money no object, guilt no concern, extreme pain not an issue...this is a pretty pair of Louboutins I wouldn't mind having...

only $1595 at saks

If I had that kind of money to spend on shoes (oh, to dream!), I'd really rather have something like these...

Maybe in my next lifetime money won't be such an issue...