Life Lessons

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Santa Cruzin'

Song - Under the Boadwalk by The Drifters

My parents bought a sweet little cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains about 35 years ago.

It is in an incredible Redwood forest with a covered bridge nearby that you walk through to get to Grandma's Beach.  It has survived earthquakes and floods.

Dad & his brother on the river next to the Boardwalk

It is a sentimental place for them as my father spent his summers camping near the beach as a young boy and my parents would go there while dating.

Friends and family (Mom & dad are on the far right)

My mom & Duchess the dog & Dad's family

When they bought the cabin it was in desperate need of some love and care.  It is a beautiful log cabin, with wood floors and large windows.

Dad & Mom at Aptos

My dad's parents - Violet & John (and Duchess) in Santa Cruz
My parents have faithfully worked on her over the last 35 years and not only restored her to her former beauty but added a lot of extra's! Sheet rock and skylights (which is much needed in a dark Redwood forest), a dormer for the kids to sleep in, they extended the deck, added a workshop for my dad and countless other wonderful features. Many, many years of hard work, but they have a lot of fun there as well.   A lot of new friendships were made and a lot of grandchildren rode in the "Grandma's Beach Express" wagon to the river's swimming hole.

Andy & Katie at Grandma's Beach

After 35 years in such a moist environment, the deck now needs replacing by the next generation.  We all have such fond memories of our time at the cabin that it is a joy to be able to "give back" a little to both the cabin and my parents.

TJ kicking out the deck railing

Andy b. helping to demolish

A rare photo op of Mr. B during the demolition

The foundation piers being set

So for Memorial Day weekend, our family will happily work together on restoring the deck that we have enjoyed for so many years.  Some will cook and some will hammer but it will be time well spent.....together!

Thanks to Mom & Dad for providing us this little spot of heaven!

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." – John Burroughs

Thursday, May 24, 2012


“So this is how you swim inward. 

So this is how you flow outwards. 

So this is how you pray.” 

– Mary Oliver

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The world is always changing, evolving....becoming.

Becoming Zen

Most people, especially me, are uncomfortable with the word "change".  

It feels abrupt and unknown as to what may occur. 

Becoming a fig

But "becoming" feels different, like a slow natural evolution.

Becoming an olive tree -  (a sweet gift from Andy & Ashley for Mother's Day!)

I just got my "good" camera back from the shop yesterday.  It was turning itself on, while in the "off" position.  Not too good for the battery or my sanity!

Becoming seed pods that stick to the dogs
Becoming trouble!

So this morning, I took a walk around the garden with my two Westie's, Mika & Max.

Becoming..... apple



....a lemon

Becoming.....a strawberry

Becoming.....a mother!  (this was not in my garden this morning but at Camp Richardson General Store)


Becoming.....sweet, red, delicious cherries


Becoming....herbs to cook with happy that you have to lick your nose!

"Remember for just one minute of the day, it would be best to try looking upon yourself more as God does, for She knows your true royal nature."  - Hafiz

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday's Challenge


Song - Sous le ciel de Paris 

Who would ever think of Peonies as being a challenge?

Not me....but on Sunday they were a big painting challenge.

Thursday in my Painting Class, I did a rough painting sketch from the two photo's below.  I am painting them on two canvas's so that they can be hung together or separately - a diptych.

I love Peonies and when I was in Paris last Spring, there were a lot of window displays with beautiful Peonies.

I ducked my head into one little floral shop where a woman was arranging this incredible Peony and Snowball flower display and in my very broken French, I asked politely "Bonjour Madame, Je voudrais un photo, s'il vous plait?".....and pointed at my camera, just in case my accent threw her off!

She was very sweet and responded in lovely English (phew)...."Yes you may take as many photo's as you would like."

Isn't this incredible?  Just gorgeous!

So I wandered around her shop snapping up lovely little vignettes of beautiful arrangements.  But mostly I wanted shots of her glorious front window.

As I began to paint them today, I got so thrown off because there are so many of them and I wanted each petal perfect!

But that's not really how I want to paint them...... 

I want lines in there for exciting energy and yet I want them to be "loose" but yet still look like Peonies.

So I decided to "grid" them with Photoshop Elements.

Mr. B gave me a funny look and said "flowers don't need to be gridded....they are flowers!"

I actually think I just needed to take a break from feeling frustrated.

Of course, I have never gridded anything in PE, just on paper with a pencil & ruler.  Thank goodness for "Google" and in no time I had my photo's all gridded and ready to go.

New skill learned!

Then I figured that I would blog about my adventurous Sunday revolving around Peonies. I am sure this is actually some kind of "P.A.T." (painting avoidance technique) because as soon as I post this, it's time to water the garden and pour myself a glass of wine!  Tomorrow is a new day.....

Peonies in my garden this morning.

I'll share a photo of the painting with you when it is finished.

"Self esteem comes from being faced with a challenge, whatever it might be, and meeting it."  ~ Linda Fields  (Art teacher)

And guess what I discovered when I went into the garden at 6:30?

......there was a funny color in the atmosphere.....oh my....the eclipse was Mr. B......poke a hole in a sheet of paper
Mr. B holding the paper with a pinhole and the partial eclipse shining on the deck railing.

.....grab the mom & dad know this is happening.....yep, they were right on top of !  Kind of a weird cool feeling.  Great long shadows too!


Wonder how it makes the birds and animals of the earth feel.

A double pin hole eclipse on a bird statue

 “You can turn off the sun, but I'm still gonna shine.” - Jason Mraz
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