Sunday, February 25, 2007

32 degrees, 80 degrees

This morning was a clear, dry morning up until about 10 am. As I was taking my morning 3 mile walk we started to get a bit of freezing rain and sleet. This, in turn, became large plump white snowflakes which proceeded to fall until about 5 pm.
The day turned into a beautiful, white,late winter scene.
After work I went out and took another walk with my camera. This is how it looked.

This was my footwear of choice today.

This will be my footwear of choice tomorrow.

We head out at 6:30 am for Costa Rica. By tomorrow evening the snow and cold will be a distant memory. not that I've minded the weather this winter. I have actually enjoyed our cold and intermittent snow falls. That's what seasons are all about. But, boy could I use a tan!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Heading back down to Costa Rica on Monday. Cannot wait to get back there, finish furnishing the house and seeing our awesome view. I haven't even seen the new furniture that was custom made for us. Hopefully it's ready and moved in so that I can accessorize, fluff the pillows and play.

So, today's Thursday Thirteen is Why I love Costa Rica so much. Enjoy the trip.

1) The people- honestly the nicest people in the world live here.(Ireland runs a close second.)These are such beautiful, down-to-earth, sincere souls- Hard workers, yet calm and happy.

2) Our house- Cutest, private, spanish-style house. Gated driveway, ocean view, pool, long breezy veranda, Lots of wildlife.

3) The View- We are told that this time of year we should be able to see whales playing in the water. I hope so- even took down a telescope hoping to see these massive creatures.

4) The howler monkeys- waking up at dawn you can hear the growls of these animals. Honestly, they sound like King Kong at times. Their growls are so deep and resonating that you never know where they are- it reverbertes through the hills and treetops so they sound as if they could be anywhere.

5) The geckos- I love these little lizards and their chittering. They live in the house with us and I know they are eating their weight in mosquitos. Natural insect control.

6) The iguanas- These prehistoric-era creatures can seem so threatening at times, yet so gentle. I love how they hang out in the old tree near the pool.

7) The hummingbirds- I could sit for hours watching these diminutive creatures flit from one hibiscus flower to another. I am taking down 2 beautiful, hand-blown glass feeders to hang by the veranda. Still have not managed a good photo. Maybe this time.

8) The volcanoes- Who wouldn't want to live in a place with active volcanoes? The power of the earth is absolutely amazing to me. And, to be surrounded by this strength is energizing.

9) The Beach- Playa Hermosa is a beautiful, crescent-shaped beach, surrounded by hills and sadly, ever-diminishing jungle. A family beach where the kids play soccer on Sunday afternoons and the dogs run freely. I love seeing the anchored fishing boats bobbing in the water waiting for their captains to wade out and start the day's work.

10) The Cowboys- This is cowboy country. Even going to school is often done on horseback.

11) The Ceviche- Oh my god, I have this almost every day. The freshest fish "cooked" in citrus juice. Very simple, light and absolutely fresh. I will attempt to master the art of ceviche.

12) Town spirit- Our little town seems more home to me than this place I've lived in for 27 years. Strolling into town, for breakfast or to do some beachcombing, everyone remembers you and welcomes you. I feel as if I've already made so many friends.

13) The Expats- I have found that there is a free spirit atmosphere here. The foreigners who choose to make this their home have a down-to-earth, funky vibe about them. So different from communities in the States- They are here to live simply and freely, surrounded by nature. No pretense.

Our Sunset view- Do you see whales yet?

Our house

Verandah and Pool- this is the previous owners furniture. We now have beautiful locally grown teak.

Fishing Boats at the Beach

Getting ready for the horse parade in Liberia

Am I on the plane yet?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The mere presence of the sun brings all the activity in the world. In the same way, your mere presence is a service, is the goal. There is no gain, no loss, no purpose, no defeat.

Posted by Shiva at

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Today's Photo Hunters theme is Antique.

I have taken a photo of a ring that my grandmother gave to me over 25 years ago. Her deceased husband had given it to her when they married.
It is a simple ring- small diamond chips surrounded by white gold to give the illusion of more diamonds.
It is a sweet ring- two larger hearts connected by a smaller heart in the center.
A perfect wedding day gift.

My grandmother was born, raised and lived most of her life outside of Florence, Italy. She was a strong, brave, god-fearing woman- Raising my father all by herself on a poor farm. A beautiful farm surrounded by olive groves and grape vines.

My most memorable summer vacations were spent on that farm with her- hauling water uphill every morning from the deep, deep well, feeding her immense hogs, sitting behind her in a wagon being pulled by massive oxen with the most impressive and deadly horns. Climbing out of the upstairs window onto the hog pen's roof to gather figs from the tree that grew there. I also had the pleasure of learning how to break a poor rabbit's neck- so that we may have a nice rabbit stew for dinner.

She also lived a very tragic life. Stories are often told of her standing in front of the farm with a shotgun trying to prevent the German soldiers from taking it over and stealing her horses. She lost that battle.

Also, as a very young woman she bore the stigma of raising a child out of wedlock (my father),and of having my grandfather die by her hands.

She suffered in her later years with Alzheimer's, finally dying of that dreaded disease surrounded by the beautiful hills of Italy and the nuns who watched over her.

I believe that she is my angel- Watching over me and guiding my choices. She is the reason that I was able to buy such a prosperous business. I felt her presence every day I worked that floral shop. All good things that happen to me are because of her spirit that I carry with me.

Here is a photo of my grandmother with her husband on their wedding day in Washington D.C.. He died 4 days later, of a brain aneurism.

She did live a tragic life.

I miss you Nonna.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007



How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Sonnets from the Portuguese, 43
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself.
Jean Anouilh (1910 - 1987)

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I took another blogthings quiz. This one was to find out which work of art I would be. I had to choose words that described my mood. Words such as dreamy, wistful, alive and creative prompted this choice of art below.

You Are Best Described By...

The Starry Night

by Vincent van Gogh

Now I would have to say that I may agree with this choice. (Of course I think Venus rising out of the ocean would have been another lovely choice.)

Below is a shot of the corner of my home office where I sit every day working. As you look at the print hanging on the wall you will see- what else- Starry Starry Night.
Is that freaky, or what?

Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the strangers that you've met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will...

Don Mclean



Different Plans

I don't know how long I can do this, he said. I think the universe has different plans for me & we sat there in silence & I thought to myself that this is the thing we all come to & this is the thing we all fight & if we are lucky enough to lose, our lives become beautiful with mystery again & I sat there silent because that is not something that can be said.

Was I lucky enough to lose. I like to think so. I hope so.


Todays Thursday Thirteen- Thirteen places I have spent a vacation.

1) Switzerland
2) Italy
3) France
4) Spain
5) Costa Rica
6) England
7) Ireland
8) Scotland
9) British Columbia, Canada
11) Hawaii
12) San Juan Islands, Washington
13) Cozumel, Mexico

Did you play?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Here's the Story of the Day:
Single Mind
If I love you with all my heart, she said, what will you give me? & then she stopped & said I didn't have to answer that because she was going to do it anyway.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I am a true believer in "what you sow so shall you reap".

I have given of myself wholeheartedly and unconditionally. Neither expecting nor getting anything in return. Yet, I continued to love, continued to give, continued to keep my heart open towards you. It has served me well.

No, I am not, nor have I in the past, received anything back from you. But, I have been blessed over and over by others. I have received love back from those who really care about me and see who I am- those who treasure my friendship and my love.

It has been worth these last few months of heartbreak and sadness. For it has helped me to see the true worth of a giving heart. It has helped me to appreciate others for their goodness and compassion towards me. The renewed friendships I am nurturing sustain me. My heart and my soul are held aloft by loving hands of friendship.

Now I can thank you. I thank you for allowing me to give. I thank you for being the reason I have become unselfish of myself towards others. In that respect you have taught me much- probably more than had you loved me back.

It has been a painful, but enlightening journey.

There is no remedy for love but to love more.
Henry David Thoreau,

Friday, February 02, 2007


Just a few very amateurish shots I've taken this week.
I really must learn how to use my fabulous new camera!

Shots like this last one remind me of Andy Goldsworthy. Really they are not even remotely close to his work, but the naturalness of the stones in the snow recall some of his sculptures. If you don't know who he is you really must check him out.


Bright sunshine on a winter’s day
is caught and held by naked trees.
Where light and shadow interplay,
like memories which fade away.
As quickly passing years erase
the glory of our younger days.

In youthful years of innocence.
Bright sunshine on a winter’s day,
dispensed by kindly providence.
Softened the sombre shades of grey
with subtle hints and shades of gold
Our winter weary eyes behold.

As we grow up and make our way
from childhood to maturity.
Bright sunshine on a winter’s day
still offers us the surety.
That winter is not permanent
in course of time it must relent.

A fact that cannot be gainsaid.
Which tells us spring is on the way
a sign of better times ahead
Bright sunshine on a winter’s day
Can send the spirits soaring high
to meet the brightness in the sky.

ivor e.hogg

Thursday, February 01, 2007

OH SH*&%@

Just got back in from a fun night of seeing a couple of my old employees. No, they're not old- they're just no longer my employees. Get it? It's funny how they seem to like me so much more now that I am no longer their boss. They always liked me, but now they REALLY like me. Unfortunately, they don't feel the same about their new boss. Which is too bad. But secretly, it makes me happy. Is that bad?
When I got home I got a text message from my daughter-in-law. It seems I am going to be a grandmother. Yup, you heard that right- a grandmother. Oh Shit!!
I'm way too young to be a grandmother. Aren't I? Can't wait though.

I'm gonna be that quirky, cool, eccentric Grandmother that all the kids wished they had. I'll have tea parties with her teddys as we wear big straw hats and gauzy skirts. I'll teach her how to grow the best tomatoes anyone has ever seen. And we'll make pesto with our home-grown basil.
We'll spend Saturday afternoons at the zoo and breezing through museums.
She'll be like Madeline and we'll go stay at the Plaza in New York and have tea in the Palm Court. And maybe on her 18th birthday I'll take her to Paris. Just the two of us. We'll wear all black chic clothes and colorful scarves draped around our necks as we stroll down the Champs Elysee eating eclairs.
I'll make up fabulous stories of my youth to shock her. And I'll encourage her to be daring, adventurous, independant and free-spirited.
All of those things that I am still striving to be.

And, if it's a boy. Oh well, there's always Grandpa.


How I Used To Spend My Free Time Back In The 1970's

This is the first time I've played this game (alhtough I've seen it before)
So here goes!!

1) Reading, alot- Books like "The secret life of plants"
2) Getting high- Yikes are my kids going to read this?
3) Occasionally running from the cops- only getting caught once.
4) Drawing- charcoal, pencil and pastels
5) Doing huge macrame' projects- My mother still has a hanging table I made.
6) Riding my bike
7) Camping and hiking
8) Shopping for platform shoes and glitter belts (I spent a short time as a "glitter chick") Mostly I was a Hippe Chick, however. Everyone says I missed my decade.
9) Disco dancing after getting into clubs with fake i.d.s (yes, I said Disco)
10) Going to tons of concerts- Jackson Browne (3x's), Deep Purple (slept through that one), Peter Frampton (I know, I know- what can I say I loved his hair),Frank Zappa (went with my mailman- who looked like a zztop member), Doobie Bros., James Taylor, Elton John (best performer EVER).
11) Listened to ALL kinds of other music- Led Zeppellin and Traffic (both, still my absolute favorites), Buckingham Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Eagles, Little Feat, CSN&Y. Too many more to remember- (see number 2 above)
12) Studying Horticulture and Art at the Univ. Of Md. (mostly checking out the cute older guys)
13) Learning to drive my new red mustang stick shift.

I am sure there are better memories of my high school/early college days. I'll have to get back to you on those.
Thanks India for reminding me about this game.

Did you play?