Friday, May 25, 2012

Missing my blog

Loving the road trip... Will have lots to write about! But I miss all of you and keeping up!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seeing Green...

Early morning green in Tuscany.  From our room in San Gimignano.

See other contributions of GREEN on  Observing Beauty Photo Challenge.  Best wishes for a successful photo challenge, girls!

Laurel. Ready for our road trip!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where's Papa?

Magpie Tales

Mag #117

The Meal, 1891, by Paul Gauguin

Did you wash your hands?
Yes Mama.
Did you finish your chores?
Yes Mama.
Did you see your father leave?
Yes Mama.
Boys, you will have to feed the goats now.
Yes Mama.
And Katia, you will learn how to make the cook-up.
Yes Mama.
We will be fine. We will be just fine.
Yes Mama.

See other inspirations from this Paul Gauguin painting from my friends at Magpie Tales.

Laurel.  Happy Mother's Day everyone!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Weekend's End

Weekend Reflections #137

For almost 30 years we have spent a weekend in the Fall on a houseboat with old friends.  We party, we float, we sunburn, we eat and drink and we fish.  Come Sunday, we begrudgingly pack up and head for home.  The drive on the Interstate just seems longer, the rock music has been replaced with talk shows and news and Taco Bell becomes the dinner of choice. We smile, remembering our antics around the bonfire, our disagreements over who the real cribbage champs were and who caught the biggest fish. In the distance, a spacious king bed and a hot shower await our return...

Laurel. Enjoying the weekend.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ah Ha Moments

There are times in your life and travels that you come upon a person or place that is so captivating, soul wrenching or inexplicably joyous that you don't ever want to forget it.  You immediately try to encapsulate the experience, storing it away in some recess of your brain to be conjured up at your beck and call. If you are fortunate to have a camera, you try to seal the image by taking a photograph.  Usually our photos don't do the real thing justice, but we need something tangible to take with us. 

I've had many of these experiences in my travels and even in my own back yard.  You know the see something beautiful or moving and it stirs emotion somewhere deep within and you want to own it, savour it forever...transcend maybe. 

I had never been to Paris and from what all I had heard about it, I was expecting it be cliche, so to speak. I saw the Eiffel Tower from the airplane as we landed and I nodded my head in approval like an engineer admiring his work.  After settling in our quaint hotel, we strolled down a tiny street in the Rue Cler district to scout out the great French food we had heard so much about. 

We sat a tiny restaurant table, jammed with natives and tourists alike, all jabbering in French, English and all manner of language. Our table mates - I say that because the seats were so close together - were two women, who by coincidence had ordered the same dishes that we had on our plates.  Not being shy people, we struck up a conversation.  After brief pleasantries and lively critiques on the food, they learned that I had never been to Paris and that we planned to go directly to the Tower the next day. 

"Oh no," our table mates exclaimed, "you must go tonight!  It's lighted. And it's only a couple of blocks.  We will take you!"

Who ever said Parisians aren't friendly? We finished our respective dinners and headed off into the night. Chatting and laughing, we took in the moment - the smells, the stars, the people strolling arm in arm...everything.  It was magical and I felt my heart starting to pump a little faster. As we rounded a street corner lined with huge trees, we entered the plaza and there in all her magnificence was the Eiffel Tower.  sparkling like a heavenly Christmas tree.  Huge.  Towering.  Stunning.

My Eiffel Tower...manipulated to look like what my mind saw in Paris:)
I caught my breath and tried to speak, but not words came out. I just stood there, transfixed.  And then I broke.  The tears started to flow.  Dave grabbed my arm, encircling me, laughing softly (he loves it when I'm speechless).  I just couldn't get over the fact that I was actually standing front of one the most iconic images in the world.  Me. Country girl.

I feebly took my camera out of my purse and snapped some pictures.  We rode the elevator to the second level as the ride to the top was already closed for the night.  I bought a little Tower replica in the tourist shop and took in the beauty of the Paris skyline, trying to capture it in the recesses. It was a magical moment and I was thankful. Humbled.

I doubt we will see anything that majestic on our road trip, but there will be moments, experiencs and scenes to savor and file away.  I am sure of it.

Laurel. Take a moment to have a moment!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Some days blogging just doesn't work. I haven't posted in a few days and I really wanted to write something clever or inspirational or humorous. When you sit down at your keyboard and stare at the screen for over two minutes before an idea materializes, you may want to rethink putting up a post.

I pulled up my photos and panned through the folders looking for inspiration for a post.  Since I had been a little slack this week by just posting photos, I decided that I needed something with meat in it. I wanted to be clever...funny.  I stumbled upon a picture of my new dress form and was chuckling over the trauma of applying extra padding to her shape so that she mirrored my ample figure.

But here's the deal with writing: you can't fake it.  If the brain isn't working, then go do something else, like laundry or exfoliation. Watch television. Renew your prescriptions...anything mindless.  No matter how many times I started  my opening paragraph on Colette (I name everything, including my dress form), my sentences were boring and banal.  Trust me, stuffing Colette with extra padding was hilarious, but I could not seem to communicate even the slightest degree of the humor of that experience today.

Because I am a right/left brain person, I began to analyze my lack of writing skills on this day.  Okay, so I have been a little swamped getting things together for the road trip.  And yes, I had to make 10 bracelets this week for a friend who needed some thank you gifts.  And I did need to finish a little dress for my granddaughter to wear on her family's Cruise.  Then there is the ever present Colette just standing there in the corner, waiting to have fabric draped on her...patiently...calling my name.

Conclusion: Granted, I guess I'm a little pre-occupied this afternoon.  But it wasn't the busyness of my week that had left me brain dead. The kicker and the root of my lack of humor stems from the mental remnants of a meeting I attended this morning.  I am a lay counselor at our church and we counselors meet regularly to hone our listening skills and learn from experts about common issues and problems that everyday women face.  And today's topic was sexual abuse.  Ugly, ugly, ugly.  Horrific, even. Insidious. Try being clever after that meeting. I left feeling like I had just been slimed...and heart broken for the many women AND CHILDREN who have suffered at the hands of predators and abusers.


So I'll just post a picture of my Colette, and tell you her story some other day.


After several dozen wedding gowns, decades of buying Butterick and Vogue patterns and hundreds of yards of fabric, I finally got my dress form.  If you have sewn as long as I have then you can certainly understand my excitement at the prospect of designing clothes using draping and other techniques that having a life size twin affords.

I mentioned in a previous post that I did a lot of research before I chose the PGM Pro.  I read that the smart thing to do was to buy a smaller size than your actual dress size and measurments and then buy a fitting kit to  dressform.

Laurel. Brain Dead.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Boys will be boys...

So they tell me....

On the sidewalk in Rome...
My grandson bought a street bike this week....need I say anything else???

Linked up with Our World Tuesday and Photo Not ncluded, my photo blog link-up.

Laurel. Gas mileage isn't everything.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

River of Thought

Magpie Tales

Mag #116

image: River Irwell by R.A.D. Stainforth

My pole lingers near the shore where I last saw the telltale bubbles.  I wait patiently, my thoughts meandering to the quarrel over a silly bookcase.  She should have asked me. My reverie is interrupted by a rhythmical splashing far away.  The canoe passes swiftly by and my bobber wiggles joyfully in it's soft wake. He nods at me in passing and I return to my mulling.  In its own time, the river gives up a perch. Perhaps I should be more generous myself.

Please visit my friends at The Mag to peruse other great writings inspired by this peaceful photo of the River Irwell in England. Thanks Tess for a beautiful photo promt this week!

Laurel. Float peacefully today.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Reflections on the Delta

Our little fishing boat is on the Delta these days.  I miss having it it our back yard, ready to trailer up for impromtu evenings on the lake as we approach the summer.  But the stripers are running on the Delta, and that's where every little fishing boat should be this time of year.

Weekend Reflections on the Delta

See other "reflection" images on Weekend Reflections, a photo link-up blog for us wanna be photographers...and the professional ones too:)

Laurel. Reflect inner beauty today.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Run for the Roses...or the blackberries!

I have horses on the brain these days.  After all, it's May and the Kentucky Derby is this weekend.  And perhaps a little less known to the public at large, our road trip is just a few weeks away. There is a connection between these two events, in that one of our stops is at our friends' horse ranch in Oklahoma.

Unlike every young girl in the free world, I did not grow up liking horses. We lived in the country on a farm/ranch with every manner of animal and fowl, including those of the equine variety.  Red's (my Dad) idea of buying a horse was to go to the local auction and pick out a little filly...trailered in from right off the Nevada desert. Wild.  Green broke.  He would then hire a trainer (I use the term loosely) who would further "break" her, and supposedly after a few months, she would be ready to ride. Yea, right.

Bergie or Spider..can't remember which:)
According to Red, the only true purpose of a horse is to pack a deer out of the canyon.  The idea of a pleasure horse for the kids to ride was never a priority.  These wild eyed Nevada range horses never really calmed down. You could get a saddle on one, but even my Dad had trouble trying to herd his cows into the pasture. I had some experience with riding a horse prior to "Nevada Sal" (I've repressed her real name, I guess) but it was not exactly positive.  My uncle owned a gigantic Morgan named Spider.  And as the name indicates, he was very tall...perhaps 16 hands in horse lingo.  Spider knew that I was afraid the minute I got on his back, and off he'd head for the nearest tree with the low hanging branches. Yep, did not like that horse.

Nevada Sal also smelled my fear.  She had a propensity for finding every barbed wire fence with a blackberry patch on the other side.  She start that trotting thing that horses do, despite my efforts to rein her back...and of course, when one trots toward a fence, one must stop. Nope, didn't like that horse either. Not to mention that during one of her famous sideways trots, I think I lost my virginity on some protruding iron thing on the back of the saddle. Hated that horse. Nevada Sal gave way to milder gentler horses later on, but I never really got over the cold sweat of fear.  Even old Bergie knew I wasn't a horse person and had a mind of his own: he like to trot up to closed gates. Ugh.

Despite my childhood horse traumas, I don't believe there is a more beautiful animal.  Though I am not a rider (go figure!), I truly appreciate their majestic stature, powerful movements and stunning coats.  I love to watch the Derby each May - race horses are particularly beautiful to watch. Our friends breed and show quarter horses and theirs are among the world's finest.  At Strom Ranch there is an abundant supply of these magnificent creatures, but the little colts are my favorites - probably because they seem harmless:)

Charmed Spirit
A few years ago on one of our road trips, we went to Churchill Downs, just to see it. Someday, I would love to actually see the Derby in person...wear a giant hat with flowers and netting...sip a mint julip.  But for now I will have to get my horse fix at Strom Ranch: sitting on the other side of the white fences, taking in the the aroma of alfalfa, sipping a nice chardonnay.

Laurel.  "Save a horse...ride a cowboy"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Look...

Piercing blue, cutting deep
wordless stare
permeating my soul;

Curled lip, pursed tight
wordless disgust?
wrenching my gut;

Hollow arms, busy now
wordless work
leaving me desolate;

Bitter heart, arrows deep
wordless sorrow
forming forgiveness;

Aging eyes, piercing blue
wordless words
and still, the look.

Laurel. Thinking again.

Read other contributions by talented writers at Open Linkl Night on  D'verse Poets Pub 
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