Wednesday, September 8, 2010

For the Love of Whimsy

I love Ted.com, a site where you can watch videos of talks about technology, art, views of world events and much more. Frequently I find inspiration or thought provoking ideas from the speakers and it can set my day up in an open frame of mind. If you enjoy art and whimsy and fun, take a few minutes and watch artist Vik Muniz speak and show some of his work!





Monday, July 12, 2010

Favorite Things

One of my favorite places in the world to be is by a moving body of water surrounded by trees and wildlife, listening to nature's music. This photo was taken in Angeles National Forest in southern California, on a hike to Spritzer Falls. Not far from Los Angeles in distance, it is light years away in peace and quiet. The trees there are not really purple, and the rocks are not really blue, but it is a magical place, all the same, and my digital enhancement to the photograph demonstrates the other-worldliness that I experience when I am lucky enough to visit.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reasons to Celebrate

There are so many things to celebrate in life, and I've just come off several weeks of celebratory occasions. The end of the school year---as many of you no doubt experience yourselves---is as event-filled as the winter holidays. Sometimes I think that it would be nice to have an annual soundtrack for the season, (just as we do in the winter), playing in the background as we shop for and celebrate with our graduates, brides, concert and recital performers, etc, to make it more festive!

This spring-into-summer was especially full of reasons to celebrate. My eldest daughter's 8th grade class, the first of the school's K-8 graduates, enjoyed an amazing class trip to Catalina Island for 5 days, where they learned about marine life, astronomy, each other and themselves!



After spending 9 years in classes together, the students left the island feeling like family.
Soon after, we watched our children perform in their dance recitals and both brought smiles to our faces as our hearts swelled with pride.



While most of the schools in the area were finishing their year weeks earlier than ours, we continued waking up at 6am and making sure homework was completed by bed time, but the desire for the school year to end increased. However, the last week of school was going to be chock full of activity, so there was a smidgeon of anxiety to accompany us.

Finally it arrived and we somehow survived a chorus recital,




an 8th grade graduation ceremony,



a graduation dinner/dance,



a drive to San Francisco to join my family in celebrating my parents' 50th wedding anniversary



(for which I'd spent countless hours creating a DVD of our old 8mm home movies),

video

the drive home the following day, and my daughter's 14th birthday the next day, on which she also began her drama intensive. The weekend brought her birthday party, which we did at the beach.



One more day of celebrating remained: the 4th of July!



followed by a well-deserved long night of sleep for all of us!


I can honestly say that this has been the most celebration-filled month in my life and I'm ready to slow down and enjoy a little bit of peace and tranquility. (But am not REALLY sure that will be imminent!) I am, however, truly grateful for all I have to celebrate in my life and feel so fortunate that I can share my good fortune with so many!

Wishing you all wonderful reasons to celebrate!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Experimenting Again...

I have not been very busy creating new work lately, but I recently was fooling around with a combination of software programs and thought I'd share to see what kind of feedback I get. I had fun doing it and am pleased with the results, but not sure it creates enough visual interest to sustain more than a few images, as the color palette is relatively limited using the process I have used. Below each of my "experiments" you can see the original photograph.
















I'd love to hear your feedback!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers are Angels

Everyone has a mother. Mothers are not rare. Yet we all believe that our own mother is somehow supernatural or elevated beyond the realm of mere humans. And we are right. The umbrella provided by a mother's love protects us from much of life's unpleasant surprises when we are young and provides us with the knowledge that we are not alone when we are adults trying to provide the same umbrella for our own children. Mothers tend to our hurts, offer guidance, and are never happier than when they see their children are happy. Mothers put the needs and wants of their children before their own desires and expect nothing in return except for the smiles brought to their faces by the fulfillment of their children's dreams. They do their utmost to see that birthday and holiday wishes come true and provide enriching experiences while teaching their children to be grateful and not to feel entitled to anything they haven't earned. Mothers encourage their children to pursue their passions but to keep one foot on the ground while their heads are in the clouds. They multitask, are in several places at one time, and always seem to be there to catch us when we fall, all the while juggling a myriad of jobs.

My own mother has been my teacher, my mentor, and my biggest fan, my voice of reason, my medical advisor, my loan officer, my conscience, my source of inspiration, and the most perfect example of maternal love that I could have asked for. Even now, with a family of my own, I am comforted by her unconditional love, rely on her realistic (yet supportive) advice and assistance, and bask in the warmth of pride reflected in her voice and face when something I've said or done has pleased her.

I have a tendency to think of most holidays as retailer's opportunities and not be very enthusiastic about planning special days just because the calendar says we should. I am a bit Scrooge-ish in this way. However, what I frequently end up realizing is that when a day is set aside to celebrate those we love and to allow ourselves to be celebrated, our thoughtfulness is heightened, our affection is demonstrated more freely, and we appreciate more deeply the things that sometimes are taken for granted.

Mom, I am so grateful for the sacrifices you have made, and continue to make, for your family and for the love you have so unselfishly bestowed upon us. Thank you for putting us first in your life and for making us feel like there is nothing you enjoy more than being surrounded by your family.

And a special thank you, too, to my mother-in-law for raising a man I love and respect more than I ever thought I could love and respect any partner. He is a living legacy of your love and your mothering. In addition, your acceptance of me as your daughter has meant so much to me, and I only regret that our infrequent visits and the distance between our homes makes it difficult for me to show you just how much.


Thank you to all of you hard working, caring, deeply loving mothers out there. You are all angels on earth.

Happy Mothers Day!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rejuvenation

After an amazing weekend spent with my family in Sequoia National Park,which is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, I've returned inspired once again by our world's vast display of flora and fauna.

Within hours of leaving our home, we saw cacti, an amazing variety of wildflowers, plains, lakes, rivers, mountains, citrus trees, oak trees, redwoods, Giant Sequoias, a bear, numerous deer, snow, and sunshine.

One breathtaking view after another, wonderful smells, and the sounds of nature (accompanied much of the time by a range of music sampling the last 50 years and crossing several genres)...



It was such a feast for the senses that we barely thought about eating, but when we got hungry, we enjoyed our meals all the more for their addition to the completion of the total experience.

I could live for a long time on the road, I think, traveling and exploring our country's national parks. What a gift they are and how thankful I am to all of those responsible for ensuring that our parks are protected, cared for, and available for all to experience. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Keeping an Open Mind

A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook and I thought it was the perfect thing to share with you today! I love when you see one thing at first look and then realize there is so much more to see. Enjoy!



Visit Made by SwirlyGirl!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sometimes We Need to Stop and Breathe


I don't know about you, but there are days I wake up and start thinking about all of the things I should do, need to do, want to do, and have to do and get so anxious and overwhelmed that NOTHING gets done.



Trying to balance being a mother, wife, friend, business owner, ballet teacher, pet owner, housekeeper, school volunteer, chauffeur...well---it's impossible. Something is always being neglected.


Anxiety about schedules and money and deadlines and important dates and having enough food in the house and clean clothes in the drawers often prevents me from experiencing the moment.



I try to meditate, exercise (although that is one of the first things that gets neglected when things get busy), find things to do that I enjoy to keep myself from getting down, and daily I count my blessings for all I am so fortunate to have in my life!



When I am successful in slowing down for a few moments, I find that I'm able to find wonder and beauty in the most common occurrences: the chirping of the birds, the chattering of the squirrels, the grasshopper that crosses my path and camouflages itself amongst the tree branches, the flower buds ready to burst open,



the little butterfly that is in no hurry to get anywhere, the man walking his cat on a leash in the park (okay, that is not as common!), the mother pulling her toddler around in a wagon, the man taking a lunchtime nap in the cool grass and warm sun, the dog in the adjoining yard that keeps jumping up to say hello a fellow canine over the wall...



There are books galore written for people who want to simplify their lives---I've got a few of them myself. And many have valuable insights and suggestions.



But in this era of information and technology, I spend so much time on the computer doing everything from connecting with friends and networking with business acquaintances, to learning how to improve my business,



to researching where our next family outing might be, to blogging and updating my shops, to checking out the blogs of others, reading this, reading that...ENOUGH already with the DOING!!! I need to BE sometimes!



Just BE. We only have NOW. That's the only thing we have for sure at any given moment.



The photos accompanying this post were taken this past weekend when my family took a day to BE in Carrizo Plains National Monument. It was exactly what I/we needed to remember that we already have the most important things in life: each other, our health, and an abundance of beauty in our own backyard.



So, my hope for all of us is that we make the time when things get crazy to look around at the world around us and enjoy the simplicity of the moment, soak it up, breathe deeply, smile, and realize that much of what is making us feel like a hamster on a wheel is not really that important in the big picture.



Our relationships, our health, our well-being...well, they ARE.