Monday, December 26, 2011

Word for 2012

It has been a lovely Christmas season!  I have spent the greater part of a day and a half in rest and contemplation.  I have missed writing and visited my journal in an effort to choose a word of the year.  For those unfamiliar with that concept, here is a great link:  basically you choose a word for the year rather than make a list of resolutions that never stick.  This is the fifth year of choosing one word to define my year and I find that it works for me.  After much contemplation and five journal pages I have chosen (or rather I believe the word chose me)  Exploration!  A theme that kept cropping up was fun, joy, openess, adventure and exploration.
I am always trying to improve myself with some I think it is time to explore new places, new paths to creativity, spirituality and yes JOY and FUN.  Often I have to talk myself into doing something...once on a certain path I am certainly happy I chose it...however it is a painstaking decision too frequently.

So I fondly (or not so much) say good-bye to 2011 and embrace the New Year with Exploration in my heart.  Several health issues and foot problems have delayed a few goals...I fully intend to explore wellness and step into my dream of climbing a portion of Mt. Ranier (for my brother) traveling to Italy and to whatever new opportunities beckon me!  

I wish each of you a fabulous 2012!  Happy New Year Darlings!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Excuses or Whatever it is that I have been Up to Lately!

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do."

Edward Everett Hale, American Author, Clergyman

My dearest blog,

I am so sorry to neglect you so...the truth is...I have been cheating on you with another website.  It's true, Pinterest sucked me right in, however it did inspire me to have a craft day/brunch at home.  Which was a LOT of fun and included my daughters and granddaughter. 

You are in good company as I have also neglected the many wonderful blogs that I love to read.  So forgive me for leaving your "pages" blank.  I do not wish to make any promises or excuses to you...hopefully things will return to normal (whatever that is) eventually.  I have the greatest ideas for posts and even compose them in the car...trouble is...I cannot remember a thing once I get to a computer.  My memory, while never stellar, fails me quite frequently.

You have my permission to hibernate or drink hot cocoa or whatever it is blogs do while their "writers" are engaged otherwise...I think of you often!

A few observations I have made lately...

Someone is clearing a huge section of timber from the road near my house...I love trees and this sorta hurt my feelings!  I love all the lush green and abundant foliage.  It is such a peaceful, tranquil drive. 

A gentlemen paid for dinner for 12 ladies because he had been very blessed in his life...I was one of those ladies and did not know until after he left the restaurant.  Carrabas - total bill $400.00

The Floozie girls (above mentioned twelve) adopted a single parent family for Christmas and had a spectacular luncheon to celebrate and wrap gifts!  Many in the group engage in numerous acts of kindness and altruism.  Those who are blessed should be willing to bless others and everyone is blessed in some form or fashion!

On the street where our business is located I pass by a strip of brick buildings, shops of various types and a church or ministry.  The ministry often has tables set up with  produce, bread and other items
that are free to the neighbors (many of which are living in poverty)  It always makes me feel good to know that at least on that day (s) people will have a meal.  A first for me, I was able to witness the prayer circle that preceded the food being placed on the tables.  It sent a jolt of indescribable peace and happiness through me.

So dear blog,

We often read or hear about the sad and bad that occurs...I know and I believe that Good People and Good Stories outweigh the bad!  As for me and my house, we will continue to lift the hurting World up in prayer, continue to express gratitude for our many blessings, do what we can when can to improve our corner of the world and we will continue to act in kindness and love.   With your help, my blog friend and those other "bloggers" out there we will spread a message of hope, goodwill and cheer!
Love ya bunches, Connie

"That best portion of a good man's life; his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."

William Wordsworth, English Poet

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."

Aesop,  Greek Fable Writer

AND one more...

"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."  Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poet and Novelist

P.S. Lisa, if you are reading...this post exists because you asked!  Thanks!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

My First BFF

Dear James,

I was just thinking this morning about how you were my first BFF (best friend forever)  I really, really miss your quirky sense of humor...that is something we all had in spades!  A little piece of me feels, at least get to be surrounded by those I loved best! 

As your older sister I felt responsible for you.  In many photos together I can be seen with my arm slung around you.  One memory that has come to my mind today was a kool aid episode!  We were standing in front of the fridge fighting over the kool aid pitcher and we both dropped it...I was trying to be the big were trying to assert some was probably my fault.  You know how ballistic Mom can be...fortunately she decided to wait for Dad to come home for punishment...although Dad's disappointment was often more horrible than Mom's outrageous screaming and smacks with the wooden spoon.  Dad talked to us very solemnly and asked who was responsible...neither one of us would "fess up"  After one of his very long I am disappointed talks...he put us both on restriction.  I felt so bad after all I was the taller, bigger and older sister.  I went to our Dad and spilled my guts!  That was the end of the punishment for both us although I do think I had to listen to one more I am disappointed in your behavior speech.  I always thought, geez, could you just spank me already?  I did my best to look after you...there are some things even a dedicated big sister couldn't fix. 

You were such an inspiration.  How many people can boast of your cross country accomplishments?  You never did boast though.  Actually, you still are an inspiration...we never did get to do that hiking together...Carl and I hike parts of the AT...we feel your spirit residing there and it is comforting.  After all, on the trail and in the woods was where you came alive and were happiest! 

Mom and I were talking on our way to visit Steve...he is still a pain in the rear baby brother (insert smile) and she simply stated...Gosh I miss that boy so much!  You took such great care with her...she didn't get on your nerves much or make you tired.  She makes me tired. 

It is that time of year when I wax nostalgic and get seems we never have enough time!  We do not know how much time we have on this Earth...memories should be created at every turn...after all it is what we are left with when all else is gone. 

I love you always and miss your presence in this world...til we meet again...the big sister

James aka as "PapaSquat" September 30, 1961 - November 17, 2003.  Somewhere on the northern part of the Appalachian Trail. 

P.S.  I STILL have not been to Mt. Ranier! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Almost Wordless on Wednesday

How many people actually enjoy having their picture taken?  Apart from the odd one or two and those who make their living in front of cameras!  This would be one of the reasons I stay behind the camera!  That said, I absolutely LOVE this image photographed by my five (5) year old granddaughter.  I think the camera was set on Aperture mode...I think my granddarling captured something relaxed and playful side.

"Smiling is my favorite"  Buddy, the Elf.  I use my smile often and most folks respond well to a smile.
Even if I feel like crying on the inside...I just fake it til I make it.  Usually I can talk myself out of a frowny mood.  I just smiled at you...Pass It On!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Further Proof that Men Just Think Differently!

 So you meet the right guy and all you want to do is breathe the same air...fifteen years later and some days you just want to smack him with a pillow!

Men just think differently, I think it has to do with that Y chromosome.  In my personal situation, my husband is not a multi-tasker...all attention is focused on what is right in front of him at that time.  He also suffers from selective hearing! 

Him:  Is this all the trash that needs to go out?

Me:  There are three bags in the garage by my car.

Him:  Three bags of trash by your car?

Me:  Yes, dear.

Him:  I am riding to xyz...

Me:  Okay

An hour later...

Him:  I threw out the two bags of trash in the garage and I dropped the third bag at Goodwill! (With a huge smile, because he had done something "extra")

Me:  Um, there were three bags of TRASH in the garage.

Him:  No, the other one was full of clothes, I opened it and thought someone could use those things!

Me:  It was trash!!!

Him:  No, it wasn't...there were shirts and stuff in there.

Me:  Actually, it was a bag of stained, torn shirts and old socks and underwear and probably some household trash as well!  I am sure Goodwill appreciates those.  I told you it was trash...why must you second guess me?

Him:  I saw the shirts...I thought I would be helpful.  Was I wrong to want to be helpful?

Me:  Big SIGH!!! 

another example:

Him:  Would you like for me to carry that box inside for you?

Me:  That would be great!  Thank you!

Him:  Sits on the garage steps and continues to watch me.

Me:  Are you taking that box inside or do I need to?

Him:  I didn't know you were ready for me to take it inside...

Me:  Big SIGH

so he gets the box inside and puts it on the counter...perfect for him he can look right into the box...for me, not so much I am a foot or so shorter...I would need a stool to see in the box and get things out of it!  He just grins sheepishly telling me that a woman architect/designer told him men hang things up too high...Yep, different perspective.

My dear husband and his cell phone are never far from each other.  It is his office away from the office.  It his connection to his band.  We all love our cell phones, connectivity and contact information.  On our recent visit to Las Vegas, the phone was in his constant possession much to my chagrin...UNTIL we left the hotel.  We have checked our luggage, we have gone through security...we are finally relaxing for a few minutes before we board the plane.

Him:  Do you have my cell phone?

Me:  I didn't know I was in charge of your cell phone!

Him:  Well, will you call the hotel and see if they found it?

Me:  ????  I didn't leave it there!

Him:  Well I can't call I don't have my cell phone (with pouty expression)

Me:  *(&^% 

There were a few more airport scenarios I won't even go into...suffice to dearly beloved is not going with me when I go to Italy! 

He is the dearest man whom I love, love, love...he just thinks differently and he means well, truly he where is that pillow?

                                                   Caesar's Palace with the Newlyweds! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy New Year in September!

I like the idea of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  It has been a season of introspection for me.  Determining what works in my life and what no longer serves and can be discarded.  I have been so exhausted and I have decided my tiredness stems from all the thoughts running through my brain!  I do not want to oversimplify or make light of a sacred holiday...there are numerous sites to go to for more information.  Rosh Hashanah begins on sundown of September 28th and ends on September 30th.  Certain foods are prepared and eaten such as apples dipped in honey...for a sweet new year.  Many Jews go to a body of flowing water and recite prayers to release sins or as it says on one of the websites: "We leave our old shortcomings behind us, thus starting the new year with a clean slate" I like the idea of releasing sins, bad thoughts and so forth near a body of flowing water.  For me, flowing water symbolizes purity and cleansing.
If you are the coast some time near the end of September you may very well see me there!

It is said when the student is ready the teacher will appear.  Teaching moments (and learning ones) can come from so many sources.  What other reason would the celebration of Rosh Hashanah be in the forefront of my mind...if not to teach me.

Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim, "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

May you always be open to the learning moments that cross your path even from the most unlikely sources!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You are Wrapped a Little Too Tightly!

So, someone once told me I was wrapped up too tightly.  Well yes I am, thank you.  Sometimes you wrap yourself into a tight coil to protect the tender, sore, secret spots.  A rattlesnake coils itself and rattles to warn trespassers.  Someone always feels the need to poke a stick in the sore, tender spots heedless of the warning rattle.  Why then, would they be shocked when bitten?  It is no secret that some people are every bit as toxic as the venom from a rattlesnake bite.  My cure for toxic people...avoid them when possible, if not possible be very nice to yourself! 

Sometimes it is very difficult to shake off the funk...this helps...

a friend came by the office for a surprise lunch date...I have a 90 minute (don't be a hater) massage favorite dance/meditation class at after we express pure joy through movement we have dinner together and experience laughter, tears and more joy!  I would say things are looking up and I can unwind that tight coil.

Monday, July 18, 2011

day trippin

'The time has come,' the walrus said, 'to talk of many things: of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings.'

Lewis Carroll

Anyone familiar with the book "The Phantom Tollbooth" will recall being stuck in the DOLDRUMS!  You get sucked in and it is by great force of will that you escape!  Yours truly has been experiencing a touch of ennui.  Thank goodness it is Summer whereby everything slows down a teensy bit. 
In an effort to break our routine and explore a new idea or visit a new place my husband and I embark on various day trips.  We put the top down on the convertible and we pursue avenues not normally taken.  We rarely use the fastest route preferring to travel the back roads.  Our discoveries are endless!  The latest adventure took us through rows and rows of cornfields, soy beans and cotton.  The sky was a gorgeous azure with cotton candy puffy clouds.  We explored Manning, Kingstree, and Georgetown then ate a late lunch on Pawley's Island.  Dear husband feasted on shrimp and grits.  I enjoyed lobster and crab.  We could smell the marshes and dreamed of living in one of the stately homes.  
We were sunkissed (i.e. I was sunburnt) windblown and tired by the time we arrived home.  It was a great little adventure!  Which is more important the journey or the destination?  I guess that depends on whether you have a specific destination or not.  It was all about the journey for us...we spent time talking and laughing...not being distracted by telephones, computers or television.  
p.s.  The "ship" is one of the unusual sights seen on the highways and bi-ways of South Carolina.  Have you seen it?  Do you know where it is,  what it is and why it is there?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Everyday miracles and magic

If I take the Wings of the Morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;  even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.  Psalm 139:9-10

We are never truly alone.  This sculpture comforts me in a way I cannot describe.  The longing for serenity, peace and calm, for me, is always to be found in nature and art.  When the two come together...magic happens!

I heard this yesterday...take a deep breath...that is a gift..that is a blessing.  As I thought about these words,
a quote from Albert Einstein lodged in my mind:  " There are only two ways to live your life, one is though nothing is a miracle, the other is though everything is a miracle."    I am choosing to focus on every day magic and miracles rather than just muddling through life.

a few simple magical moments...

watching my husband make repairs on the screened porch
while the dog tilts his head and follows him around, sniffing the paint.

a hug around the knees resulting in an almost tackle from granddarlings that are excited to see you.

friends that "get you"

angel food cake, sliced strawberries, blueberries and cool whip that a dear man prepares for you.

lots of hugs and kisses!

swinging to the call of birds, the humming and buzzing of insects, the tink, tink, tink of the chains on the swing.

what calls to you right now, what simple joys make you happy?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inscription for a Garden Gate

Pause, friend, and read before you enter here
This vine-clad wall encloses holy ground.
Herein a mellowed garden dreams
away the years,
Steeped in serene, sweet light
and muted sound.
Herein tranquility and peace abide,
For God walks here at cool of
Pause, friend, and strip from out your heart
All vanity, bitterness, all hate;
Quench, for this hour, the fever of your fears.
Then, treading softly, pass within this gate.
There, where the ancient trees wait
hushed and dim,
May you find God and walk awhile with Him.

Pearl Council Hiatt

Anna Hyatt Huntington selected this poem to be used at the gate of Brookgreen Gardens in 1959.  It was written specifically for Brookgreen in homage to its splendid avenue of live oak trees. 

I recently spent a beautiful morning admiring the oaks, the floral bounty, the wildlife, the many fountains and sculptures of Brookgreen Gardens.  I also took a meditative stroll through the labyrinth.  If you have plans to visit coastal South Carolina, I highly recommend this beautiful, serene garden.  Brookgreen also has an extensive aviary and butterfly house.  The entry fee allows you to come to the gardens all week.  A very good deal for $12.00

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Putting on the Super G Mom Cape

Ah...the glorious month of May...Mother's Day, dance recitals, school programs, hot and sunny days.
My sweet daughter and her husband took an early anniversary/birthday jaunt to Vegas early in the month.  The granddarlings stayed with us part of the time.  In the midst of the everyday stuff we took opportunities for crafting and playing.  We painted flower pots for Mother's Day.  I love, love, love to watch children create! 

I taught at a Montessori school for ten years.  The process was always more important than the finished product.  I try to remember that for myself as well.  My grandson decided to paint trees as well...his story and he is sticking to it..." I am painting this tree because it is my special tree then I can find it again" 

Skip forward a bit.  I took care of my daughter as she was recovering from surgery, then handed her off to her husband and collected the grandchildren.  When did getting children fed, dressed and off to school get so hard?  Oh yeah, I think it is because I am 30 years older.  I am part of the sandwich generation... the filling between generations...caring for aging parents and spending time with grandchildren. 

A bit of a respite was had between all the craziness of May.   Darling Husband and I escaped to the coast for a weekend.  He even pretended to enjoy the sculpture gardens.  This spot right is calling me back...I can hear my name crashing into the surf...Connie, come back...

Wishing you a beautiful Spring day!  I am planning a little porch renovation for the weekend...Do you have any special projects in the works?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Floozies take on Edgefield

We gather monthly to celebrate another turn around the sun.  Jeanne's birthday was celebrated at The Edgefield Grill.  A delightful afternoon of buzzed bees,er bees buzzing, lunch on the veranda and much laughter to the hum of thousands of cicadas emerging from the earth to mate.  Imagine the whump, whump, whump of the Mothership...the cicadas have that alien sound.  It is great sport to keep the cicadas out of your hair, mouth or food.

The town of Edgefield is the turkey capital of the state.  It is/was hometown to countless that a coincidence or what?  Handpainted concrete turkeys line the streets of this quaint town.  We attempted to shop however the town apparently closes at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.  No one told us!   Floozies are a persistant lot and we soon found ourselves being educated at Edgefield Pottery.

This gentleman told us the history of pottery in Edgefield. The shop houses quite an extensive collection of artifacts. 

I have found there is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than to laugh, talk, shop and eat!  We do that extremely well.   Friends enrich you and bring JOY to life!

Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache...Fried Green Tomato Salad with bacon crumbles and cucumber-wasabi dressing.
Ellen tried to keep us out of her delightful sorbet...too bad we are NOT germaphobes!

Happy Birthday Jeanne and act SURPRISED!  Jeanne expressed a lovely thought...each time she wore the Silpada bracelet...she would think of us. 


Yep, it is a two seater!

What mischief has come your way lately?  Laissez bon temps rouler!!! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Getting Trashed or a little bit of This and That

Columbia Design League's 2011 Runaway Runway...featuring fashion designed solely from trash and recycled new products allowed. 

A couple of friends joined me Friday evening for an avant garde fashion show and event.  All outfits were made from 100% post consumer trash.  Ranging from recycled cemetary flowers to coffee bags, pepsi cans, car name it!  I have been interested in participating for years.  The Lady Chablis (of the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) was in attendance and that is one funny character.  Musical numbers were performed by various artists including a group of drag queens.  The spectators were almost as colorful as the performers.   The youngest designer was nine years old and there was a grandma or two in the mix as well.  I apologize for the blurry photos...I needed a reminder that I would like to design something for next year!  I am looking at trash in a new way.

Dear Husband and I visited the "Who Shot Rock and Roll" photography exhibit at our local art museum.  DH was in attendance during some of the concerts depicted and he had a bit of a stroll down memory lane.
He was interested in the musicians portrayed...I was interested in the photography, win.  I saw a college of cut and pasted photos that inspired me to create something in that direction as well.  I continue to be amazed by what a slight change in perspective can do for your creative life.  Sometimes all it requires is a tilted head to see something from a different angle.

Here are my little creative genius granddarlings...leftover 3D glasses and booklamps...they clipped them on and proceded to play dentist.  Anna selected one of my knitting implements to examine my teeth...I am happy to report that I have no cavities and all teeth are still intact.

Anna was in a dance pageant recently...when asked if she was sad that she didn't win she said " I won a trophy, I had a lot of fun and I did something really hard"  My little precious is only five and one wise little girl!  She performed a solo dance to a Justin Bieber song in front of a pretty large crowd!

So what excitement have you been up to lately?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Little Audrey...anyone?

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain...

I pretty much cannot take a photo with a cell phone...Michelle and Heather at the Koger Center

My daughters and I went to see the musical "Grease" at the Koger Center for the Performing Arts.  Michelle loves to sing, dance and act.  She played Frenchy in a high school version of the play.  In the foyer we noted the upcoming season at the Koger Center.  Could it be?  Yes, Yes indeed...My Fair Lady (one of our all time favs) will be here in November!  I think perhaps the most celebrated would be the movie version starring Audrey Hepburn.  Audrey Hepburn exemplified inner and outer beauty.  I have noticed a maybe not so new trend but new to me...many younger ladies are emulating Audrey Hepburn and ladies of her era.  Is that refreshing or what?  I loved her sense of style, grace and all encompassing beauty.  Googling along the way, I found some favorites:

What's not to love...bring out your inner Audrey!

and one more quote from Audrey:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Laissez les bons temps rouler

One Big Pot...One Fabulous Neighborhood...50 pounds of live crawfish...Lots of Assorted Goodies...Beverages...Music...Children of All Ages...Toss with a huge dose of various cultures...A Good Time was had by All!

Trust me...she would rather play with the live crawfish, cooking and eating them held little appeal!

Sorry, my little pretty it is in the pot for initiation into the JOYS of cooking crawfish...did I mention they are live when tossed  in the boiling water? 

"Try at least one"...a valiant effort was attempted and later a hasty retreat to the nearest trashcan!

Bargaining for ice many???


Our top o the hill neighbors, she originally hailing from Louisiana and he of Tunisia host this annual event.  My ever so helpful neighbor D showed me how to twist the tail off the body, suck the head and proceed to pry a teeny tiny bit of meat from the tail.  To be a good sport I attempted sucking the juice one time after which I ate a few more...I am not really the squeamish type however the already prepared shrimp and grits and other goodies beckoned me! 

We have lived in our neighborhood since 1991.  Neighbors have come and one time we knew everyone on two, not so much.  It was a pleasure and delight to meet the newbies!  The parents of the children I see walking dogs, riding bikes or passing in cars.  Once predominately good ole Southern boys and a melting pot of diversity...I LOVE it!  Many continents and countries were afternoon, late into the night celebration of friendship...perhaps the world leaders could take note...break bread, come together in fellowship...celebrate our diversity!

I baked a cake and made the following salad which can be used as a side dish, topping or dip.

Black Bean and Corn Salad/Salsa
4 - 6 tomatoes chopped small
1/2 large red onion, diced
choice of sweet peppers, red, yellow etc., hotter varieties may be included as well, about 1 - 1 1/2 cups
1 package of white shoe peg corn thawed (small bag)
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 avocadoes, diced

 mix all diced, chopped ingredients and toss with lime cilantro dressing

Lime Cilantro Dressing:
juice from two limes, zest a little of the skin as well
1/8 teaspoon cumin (or more if you like lots)
handful of chopped, fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste, if too acidic)
salt and pepper to taste

Makes enough for a huge crowd and it is a crowd pleaser!  I prepared this for the crawfish boil on Saturday and again on Sunday for our family get together. 

"Let the Good Times Roll"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I think it's coming...Spring is coming!

Spring is in the air!  We saw our first daffodils down south on Saturday!  After a harrowing attempt to feed two cranky children, daughter # 2 and I took the lovelies to Swan Lake.  We walked on the boardwalks through the swamps, admired the cypress "knees" and all the abundant flora and fauna.  

The grandchildren were particularly fond of this old man and he was quite willing to hang out and beg for a morsel or two of something tasty. 

Swan Lake is one of our favorite parks and is home to eight species of swans. Other inhabitants of the park include the Canada Goose, myriad varieties of ducks, herons, turtles and fish.  The park hosts an annual Iris festival.  Camelias, Japanese tulip trees and a few other trees were blossoming.  I love the eerie feel and shadows that the Cypress trees and Spanish Moss cast upon the black waters. 

We are enjoying some lovely weather despite some terrific winds and a howling rainstorm or two.  The grandchildren and I have some plans to build a fairy house or two on do come back and take a look.  Happy March Everyone!

(daughter#2 took the photos with a Canon powershot)