Category Archives: Travel

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas….

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Our Christmas Wreath

Our Christmas Wreath

When all through the house,

Only Kramer was stirring, in hopes of a mouse!

The socks were placed in the dryer to dry, desiring warm feet, as we waited by it’s side.

Daisy was nestled all snug on our bed, while visions of frolicking dancing in her head.

Les in his boxers, and I in my Tee, had just settled in for some really good TV.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, we sprang up to see just what was the matter.

The moon on the ground shown the drenching of rain, it’d been pouring for days with much to be gained.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, a miniature sleigh, and two mechanical deer.

It all worked in sequence, with lights blinking fast, a Santa with presents, set up on the grass!

The names of the reindeer we couldn’t make out, as hard as we tried to figure it out,

One had to be Rudolph with his nose shinning bright, the other was Comet sitting just out of sight!

Off to the kitchen to make us some tea, we’ll eat a few cookies, while we watching TV.

The Emery's Tree

The Emery’s Tree

Counting the days ’till we open the gifts,

In our heads we knew it was the right thing to wish,

Nolan's Tree

Nolan’s Tree

Everyone, “A Merry Christmas,” and a warm cozy night!

With Christmas right around the corner, shopping finished, and only a few presents left to be wrapped, it’s finally time to kick back and take a deep breath! Every year I think I’m going to cut my shopping in half, and then I see things someone wants, or needs, and I just can’t help myself!

This year, as almost every year I was really a bad girl, and all my shopping, with little exception of  came from the internet!  I’m not proud (maybe I am just  little), I thought I was incredibly clever to be able to pull this off – shopping without leaving the office, sometimes even in my PJ’s! The only thing better than ordering from Amazon, is if Santa himself dropped them down our chimney all wrapped and ready to go. Wait a minute, we don’t have a chimney! Scratch that… I would leave a key under the mat if Santa would do that for me!

Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas. May the time spent with friends and family be magical.  I wish everyone good health, warm nights, safe travel,  and a happy New Year!

Good Night my friends, until next year…….

Our First Excursion!

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Shortly after we returned home from the hospital, my mother decided to pack me up into the large black English Carriage, and walk into Detroit. Now I haven’t any idea how far that might have been, but it couldn’t have been far for mother to have taken on that day trip on foot. This proud new mother was headed to J.L.Hudsons, a very large and prominent department store of its time, and she was headed there specifically to find her new baby daughter (me), a teddy bear. It’s hard to believe I didn’t already have a teddy Bear, but I guess it just wasn’t the bear she thought I should have as a best friend! Turned out Mother was right!

As the story goes….

Can you even imagine pushing this large black English perambulator into a department store? Can you just see things go flying left, and right as the carriage bumped into racks, and displays? Mother would never admit to any of this, and maybe it never happened, but it’s difficult to believe anyone would be able to negotiate any department store with a carriage this large without incident!

Anyway, that day I was an angel of course, and we went straight up to the toy department. Mother searched for the teddy bear section, scrutinizing each and every bear with very careful eyes. She showed me dozens of bears without any redaction from me at all. So on to the next…..Pink, brown, gray, multicolored bears were shown to me. Mother waited for a reaction, and when I didn’t respond it would very gently go back into its own little pile, and we’d be on to the next bear. Finally, we were about to run out of bears when mother picked up the most gorgeous of bears.

Teddy as I later named him, was the best teddy bear any little girl could have. He was about 18″ tall, his arms, and legs were sewn so he moved freely. His ears were floppy, and they moved freely also. Maybe he wasn’t as floppy as he is now…kind of the opposite of me. I started out floppy, and now I’m stiffening up! But we’re still great friends, he’s been with me my entire life through all those moves, marriages, kids, and surgeries. Oh, I don’t take him to the hospital, but he’s with me anyway. Teddy is all wrapped up, and put away, but he still is dressed in diapers, and a one-sy just like he was when I was little.

You can’t have a friend more dedicated than that, can you? Daisy our dog is pretty dedicated to me, but Teddy is my very, very, very best friend!

There is still more, so stay tuned…..

In The Beginning…

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Huntington Woods

Huntington Woods

Mount Carmel Hospital, Detroit Michigan…May 23, 1943..

Wow a bouncing baby girl! Of course, I really wasn’t bouncing at the time, that came later, but a baby girl, I definitely was! Mother told me that we were in the hospital for two weeks.

Can you believe that, two weeks! Today, if you get to stay over night, you’re lucky. Being a nurse myself, I’ve seen new mothers kicked out of the hospital when they were too young to even have a child, didn’t know how to care for it, and needed some extra time with the nurses to help them get comfortable with the care and feeding of an infant.

But not us, we got an entire two weeks. Little did Mother know that would be the last time she ever had a spa day!  Especially since as the years went by, I was lucky enough to have three more siblings to share Mother, and Dad’s time with!

My parents built a home in Royal Oaks, in Huntington Woods, the suburbs of Detroit. I recall my Mother telling me it was just off of Woodward Rd, or maybe it was Two Mile Road. Either way I’m sure it doesn’t look, feel, or smell the same today. That was more than a half century ago, as I recall (and I’m told), things have changed in the little neighborhood in the suburbs of Detroit, and probably not for the better either!

We had a sweet little home, I remember it well. Ok, I remember the outside really well because I still have a picture. Lately I’ve been going through all the old pictures with nothing on the back to tell me who, what, or where they were taken. I wish my Mother would have written all those facts down, it would have been so much easier,   on me! I have all these pictures of ancient relatives who don’t have any names on the back of their photos, and wouldn’t it have been nice to know who they were?

For a while I actually belonged to a Genealogy Club, trying to learn how to research, and find my (dead relatives) heritage. That’s a lot more difficult than one might think. My heritage is English, Irish, and Scotch, two-thirds of them came to Canada on a boat.  It could have even been a rowboat, or a blow up boat for all I know. The records are difficult to find, even with help! Eventually, it took up so much time researching dead relatives, that I had to decide if I wanted to sit in front of a computer getting a bubble-butt, or did I want to paint. I decided to paint instead, and leave the research to a time when I couldn’t paint, or see to paint. The irony is, if I can’t see to paint, I can’t see to research!   And, I think I still have a bubble-butt….. from blogging! I’ll tell you though, it certainly is fun when you can find a lost, and forgotten relative that you knew was there, but had never been able to locate before!

That happened when I found my great-uncles in Nova-Scocia. I knew they had been there on the family farm, I knew they were siblings of my grandmother. I had visited the farm with my parents when I was a baby, and I had also visited with my Dad in the summer when we were in Michigan with family. Upon finding my uncles, you would have thought Readers Digest had knocked on my front door with a check (hopefully for me) for $10,000,000. Can you imagine?

Ok, Ok enough of the genealogy stuff!  And dreaming!

Later I’ll tell you a little more. Stick with me, the best is yet to come…..

IN PRAISE OF THE INNER CRONE!

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(Somebody asked me the other day if I would re-post this message I wrote last year on Facebook, so here it is….)

Dear Ones –

OK, we all know about the “inner child”, right? The innocent being who still lives inside of us, who needs and deserves love and care, and whom we sometimes have to channel in order to learn self-compassion?

I’m a big fan of the notion of the inner child. It can be a really healing construct. Once, when I was going through a particularly dark season of self-loathing, I taped a sweet photo of myself (age 2) on my mirror, and taught myself that any harm I did to me, I also did to HER. It made me kinder and more tender to myself. Imagining other people’s inner children makes me kinder and more tender to them.

So the Inner Child is a good thing.

These days, though, I find myself spending less time thinking about my Inner Child, and more time focused on my INNER CRONE — the old lady who lives inside me, whom I hope to someday be.

Because she’s a serious bad-ass.

The really old ladies always are bad-asses. I’m talking about the real survivors. The women who have been through everything already, so nothing scares them anymore. The ones who have already watched the world fight itself nearly to death a dozen times over. The ones who have buried their dreams and their loved ones and lived through it. The ones who have suffered pain and lived through it, and who have had their innocence challenged by ten thousand appalling assaults…and who lived through all of it.

The world is a frightening place. But you simply cannot frighten The True Crone.

Some might consider the word “crone” to be derogatory, but I don’t in the least. I honor it. The crone is a classic character from myth and folklore, and she often the bearer of great wisdom and supernatural power. She is sometimes a guardian to the underworld. She has tremendous vision, even if she is blind. She has no fear of death, which means: NO FEAR.

I keep a wall of photos of some of my favorite crones, for inspiration. The photo below is of a Ukrainian babushka named Hanna Zavorotnya who lives in (get this) Chernobyl. There are a group of about 250 such women — all tough elderly peasants — who have all recently moved back to the radioactive area around Chernobyl.

You know why they live there? Because they like it.

They like Chernobyl because that’s where they came from. They are natural-born farmers, who got kicked off their farms when disaster struck. They hated being refugees.They resented being shunted off their land after the catastrophe. They hated living in the shabby and crime-infiltrated and stress-inducing government housing in the city, and much prefer the independence of living off the land.

So they moved back home — illegally — to the most contaminated nuclear site on earth. They have formed a stupendously resilient retirement community there, in what some would call the world’s most terrifying landscape.

Is it safe? Of course not. Or, whatever. After 90 years of hard living, what does “safe” even mean? (If you survived World War II and Stalin and famine and communism’s ravages, how worried can you be about “safe”?) They drink the water. These women plant vegetables in that radioactive soil and eat them. They butcher the wild pigs that scavenge around the old nuclear power plant, and eat them, too. Their point is: “We are old. What do have to fear from radioactivity? At this age? Who cares?”

All they want is their freedom. So they take care of themselves and each other. They cut and haul their own wood. They make their own vodka. They get together and drink and laugh about the hardships of their lives. They laugh about everything, then they go outside and butcher another radioactive boar and make sausage out of him.

They are living longer and healthier lives than their peers who stayed behind in refugee housing in the cities.

I would put these women in a Bad-Ass Contest against any cocky young alleged Bad Ass you’ve got going, and I guarantee you — the Chernobyl crones would win, hands down. Put the lady in this picture in a survival contest against any Navy SEAL; she will endure longer.

We live in a society that romanticizes youth. We live in a culture where youth is considered a real accomplishment. But when you look at a seriously powerful classic crone like the woman in this photo, you see how foolish we are to obsess over youth — to imagine that the young offer much for us to aspire to, or learn from.

No wisdom like the wisdom of survival. No equanimity like the equanimity of somebody who plants a garden right on top of a nuclear disaster and gets on with it.

So these days, when my Inner Child gets all fluttery with the panic of living, I just ask myself: ” WWMICD?”

“What Would My Inner Crone Do?”

Ask yourself that same question. See what she tells you.

One thing I can promise you she will never say? She will never say: “WORRY.

She will more likely tell you this: “ENDURE.”

So listen to her, and get on with it — get on with the powerful act of LIVING.

Hang in there, all you future awesome crones!

ONWARD!
LG

ps — and if you want to read more about Hanna and her fellow bad-ass Chernobyl crones, and see more photos, here is a really wonderful article: http://bit.ly/1wa9hT7

As I read thru this on Facebook, I couldn’t help being inspired, & wanting to repost it on today’s blog.  It’s written by Elizabeth Gilbert, & who has written a new book, The Signature of All Things.

Elizabeth is one of my favorite writers, & her new book didn’t disappoint me on bit.  If you get a chance read it.

I know this was a little long, but interesting enough to take the time to read……I hope you enjoy your day, see you next time.

Time Out for Art!

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During our trip to Sante Fe in September, we took time to visit Taos.  As we drifted in and out of the galleries, a few things made me stop, and reflect on how they were made or painted, how much I liked them, and how they  filled me with inspiration.

These dolls were expecially interesting, and creative to me.  I couldn’t help myself, so I pulled out me trusty phone & snapped a picture!

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Ok, I snapped several pictures…..     This abstract caught my attention because of it’s simplicity.  It occured to me that as artists…..some of us who shall not be named…..try too hard!

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I am a big fan of abstract, and this painting caught my eye immediately.  I love using opposites in my artwork……..Shamefully I snapped pictures in this gallery, but wasn’t thoughtful enough to write down the name of the artist.  I do appologise for this, and will make an effort to never make this mistake again!

Thank you for enjoying the artwork, and thank you artist whoever you are.  I’m not copying your work, just admiring it with the world.

Time  Out For Art is inspired by Zebra Designs and Destinations, please check the blog out, it originates in Equador and has  very inspiring posts.

A Week in Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Colorful planters in Santa Fe

Colorful planters in Santa Fe

Wow,  I can hardly believe that I was once again in this magical place! Sure I was here for an art workshop, and I got to show my husband Les all the wonderful things I had previously  found. I also got to explore with him new things, and places.
Since my day included 8 hours of art, I really didn’t have much energy, or time left to explore the galleries. I was exhausted by the end of the day, and Les wanted to explore. So we explored restaurants, music, a few galleries, and even a few retail shops!  Isn’t it funny how you have to check out places like Costco, Wal-Mart, or even TJMax when going to a new place…..just to see if the stuff is the same?  Well, we did check out TJMax, and Ross.  Actually I didn’t think they were as good as here, but you know how you have to hit them at the right time, I guess we didn’t!

The first painting.

The first painting.

The workshop was given by Cathy Carey, and was the best workshop I think I’ve ever taken. I say this because Cathy is a master of color, and this was the beginning of her classes. Now, I  know  color, I love color, but not like Cathy, and my feeling is it never hurts to hear color theory, or any other theory even one more time. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and met some incredible women in the workshop.

Since I haven’t painted in a very long time, my first painting was stiff, and unsatisfying.  By the time the second painting rolled around, it started out stiff, and soon I was able to loosen up and have fun with color.

Magic Trees

Magic Trees

After finishing my second painting of trees, it was time to try something really new, so impasto here I come! Inspired by a clay rabbit sitting on the hearth in the living room, I created this very interesting “Magic Rabbit.”  I have to make some adjustments since I thought his nose looked more like a rat than a rabbit, but here is the abstract, rather colorful, impastoed rabbit.

Strange and Unusual

Strange and Unusual

While the impasto on the rabbit dried enough to work on it, I decided to try something really different….

I was inspired by an artist by the name of Egon Schiele, who impressed me with his strange and quirky style, so I shamelessly made an attempt at copying one of his paintings.

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By Friday when the workshop was over, I was on overload.  There is so much to think about, maybe that’s my problem, I over think so much!  I loved the workshop, the magical place I was fortunate enough to be able to paint in, and the music and wonderful restaurants.

What could be better?

Until next time, have a great week!