Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Closing Down

Song - October Road by James Taylor

The intense heat that we endured in California this summer has faded and we are now officially into Autumn. The days are comfortable and the nights are crisp.

Everything seems to have received the earth's message that it's time to close down for another year. I listen to the acorns "thud" on the roof of our house or on our little lane.  Cars drive by and you can hear the tires crunch the acorns into dust.

 The leaves on our maple trees are beginning to change color.  

The last of the Dahlia's and roses are blooming.
Unfortunately they were not happy campers this year as they were trying to survive the blazing heat spells, lower water consumption and not having Moi take care of them. 
It was just too dang hot to go out there!  

My friend, the Flicker sings to me every morning and in the late afternoon.

The days are decidedly shorter and our shadows are much longer.

I am harvesting apples in hopes of future cobblers, applesauce or my mama's famous apple pie!

The birds are filling up on nuts and seed for the approaching cold weather.

 As I plant my spring bulbs......the squirrels are planting and hiding their acorns.

 All day long I am replanting my flowers that the squirrels have dug up to make room for acorns.

YES.....I am talking about you Mister!

Meanwhile, there are so many wildfires in Northern California right now.

It's difficult to complain about the smoky air around here when so many have lost everything.

I am reminded of my Great-Aunt Theresa who at the age of 82 lost her home 
and belongs in the 1991 Oakland firestorm - she told me that everyone was so generous 
buying her new mixing bowls and beautiful fluffy towels.  

But it was her old chipped dishes and comfortably worn bedspread that made her feel at home.

"Mostly it is loss which teaches
 us about the worth of things." 

--Arthur Schopenhauer

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Song - Learning to Fly by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

My prayers go out to those affected by the recent tragedy in Las Vegas and the early passing of Tom Petty on Monday, as well as all of those who are trying to move forward after the devastating hurricanes - Harvey, Irma & Maria.

In view of the tension and tragedies, 
I would like to offer some suggestions to bring some harmony back into your life.

A quiet morning.
A walk outdoors.
Reading one of those books sitting on your shelves.
A cup of tea, drunk slowly.
A good long hug.
Lighting a candle.
Berries, savored.
Working in your gardening
A song that gets you feeling
This current moment.
A connection with nature
The light of the dying day.
Fallen leaves.
A bouquet of flowers
Learning something new.
Cleaning out a drawer
Kindness towards a stranger
Time spent with a friend.
Reflecting on life, in a journal.
Imagining future possibilities.
Listening to water, river currents, waves
Writing a love note to someone you miss.
Knowing what you love
Morning sunrise
Time to practice sketching.
Sunshine on my face
A dozen sharpened pencils
Puppy breath
Creating something. 

"Each one of us has lived through some devastation, 
some loneliness, some weather superstorm 
or spiritual superstorm, 
when we look at each other we must say, I understand.  
I understand how you feel because I have been there myself.  
We must support each other 
and empathize with each other 
because each of us is more alike than we are unalike."  
--Maya Angelou

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mad as a Hatter

Song - French Cafe Accordion Music

Last Friday Mr. B and I headed to the city to visit the Legion of Honor and to see the Degas, Impressionism and the Millinery Trade exhibit.

Degas - The Millinery Shop 1879-86

Unfortunately I brought the wrong lens for my camera so I couldn't get shots of the entire painting and I couldn't back up because it was very crowded as it was the final weekend of the exhibit.

I loved that they matched a number of old hats from the time period with the paintings.  However they were protected in large plastic showcases so the photos do not do them justice.

Berthe Morisot - Eugene Manet on the Isle of Wight 1875

They had an area dedicated to men's hats and above you can see the straw boating hat.

They discussed the use of arsenic and mercury in preserving the feathers and felting the hat. That is where the term "mad hatter" comes from as it is linked these toxic substances that gave the workers shakes, speech problems, hallucinations and emotional instability.

Georges Jeanniot - At the Milliner's 1900

James Tissot - The Shop Girl 1883-85

The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad?" 

Alice: "I'm afraid so.  You're entirely bonkers. 
But I'll tell you a secret.  All the best people are." 
--Lewis Carroll

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Face in the Crowd

Song - An American Girl by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Wednesday night was a lovely night in Berkeley. The weather was clear, the moon was watching over us, it was pleasantly comfortable and we were ready to rock & roll. Guess who took center stage at The Greek Theater?

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers!

There was excitement in the air and my friend, Kathy and I were thrilled to join in!

Kathy had texted me late in the afternoon on Tuesday saying she had an extra ticket and could I possibly join her.  After about a nano second I texted back "of course".  Later that night she told me that we also had backstage passes.....oh you remember the last time this happened?

Click HERE to read about it.

So I was wracking my brain to come up with something brilliant to say in case we got the opportunity to actually meet Mr. Petty. I texted my three boys and their responses were using titles of his songs....Is it really Good To Be King? - hey I'm just An American Girl! - Yer So Bad - you really don't have to look Like a Refugee - and Mr. B's 2 cents...I Got A Room at the Top of the World Tonight.  Mmmm.....just not going to cut it.

The above photo is of  "the club house"  which is their practice studio and was behind the bands equipment onstage while we were waiting for them to perform.  Just look at all of those guitars!

We had absolutely incredible seats and occasionally they would display a view from behind the stage shooting out into the audience.  I'm the one in a black top, center stage, about 12 - 15 rows back!

 Thanks for the amazing concert!!  All of the band members are talented musicians but I especially liked the drummer, Steve Ferrone who had a big smile on his face the entire concert. They call him the "new kid" because he has only been with the band for 22 years!

After the concert we did get to go backstage and have some fine wine and talk with some very interesting people.  However, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were already heading to their next venue. So I guess I will have to save my great "what do you say to a famous musician" for another time!
Thanks EB!!!

Today it's back to reality....

"A gentle giant with a quick smile and a soulful style...."  
Drummer Magazine's quote about Steve Ferrone

Monday, August 21, 2017


Song - Moon Shadow by Cat Stevens

So on Monday morning, I awoke early and got my solar eclipse supplies ready.....two pinhole cards, a cheese grater (because I read somewhere that multiple holes look really cool) and my ever ready camera.

But it was overcast and not expected to clear until noon - the eclipse was happening between 9:30-11am.  So I headed over to my mother's house and we sat on her back deck and waited.

And then we saw it between breaks in the clouds.....

We had fun waiting for the sun-moon to peek out from the clouds and it sure did.

Mr. B stopped by for awhile and tried to be my mom's eclipse glasses when it got bright. He is a conscientious son-in-law and loves mom.

Now my brother on the other hand headed up to Oregon and got to experience the total eclipse with his family.  He said it got very cool and the street lights came on. There was also the look of a 360 degree sunrise around them. Now they are stuck in traffic.....

"Yeah, we all shine on.  
Like the moon, and the stars, and the sun."
--John Lennon

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