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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween approacheth!

This is the first year in over 20 years that I find myself living away from Salem, MA during Halloween. Now, for 99% of the world that means absolutely nothing. But for those of us who have lived in the Halloween Capitol of the World (and we take that title quite seriously), it all just feels so strange to be away!

In recent years I dressed up as Cleopatra, Snooki (I know), Manny Ramirez and a host of other ridiculous outfits meant only to make others laugh and point! It's a good excuse to be silly and dance and laugh and show others how "adulthood" does not have to equal "boringhood!"

Here's a bit of the ridiculousness that was my life during October in Salem, MA:

The domestic Cleopatra! (I miss that gorgeous kitchen of mine)
My bestie, Karen. We were probably four or five here.
I believe we were going for Fairy-Princess this particular Halloween.
She can probably tell you the exact date, the time of day and what we ate for dinner.
She's one of those people who has a steel trap memory. Amazing.

Butterflies - homemade by my Momma!
It rained this particular Halloween and I remember crying because my
beautiful costume started to disintegrate! Booo hoooo!

Snooki!! My ex-husband went at Mike - The Situation this year! Hilarious
 Here are the decorations I did today in Alaska! Werd to my Salem homies!


Fall/winter in Anchorage...


Our perpetual motion machines, Phoebe and Jax! 

Spiral staircase with skulls and purple LED lights!

Huh?
Gay skeleton! Faaaabbulooous (said like Paul Lynde would)....






So that's the dealio from AK today! I hope you're all having a wonderful, safe Saturday. 

Ciao for now,
xoxo

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Few Gems from Hank. My GOODness I love his sense of humor!


A man walked into a bar. He told the bartender that he didn't have any money, but he would show the bartender something amazing in exchange for a drink. It was a slow day, so the bartender agreed.
The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a frog, a hamster and a tiny piano. The frog started playing a fantastic jazz solo. Then the hamster started singing along in an amazing duet. Impressed, the bartender gave the man a drink.
Just then another bar patron rushed up to the man and offered him $1,000 for the singing hamster. The man instantly agreed to the deal.
The patron paid the man and quickly left with the hamster. After the patron left, the bartender couldn't keep quiet anymore and exclaimed, "I can't believe you sold a singing hamster for only $1,000!"
The man shrugged and said, " the frog is a ventriloquist."



The Pleasures of Reading...
I love to read. When I have nothing to do I pick up a book and read. Sometimes I read for fun. Other times I read to learn something. I really enjoy reading.
Sometimes I become unhappy while reading. I will be enjoying a fine story when all of a sudden a big word will stare back at me. Now I know a few big words but, after all, isn't it true that in simplicity there is beauty?

Take the other day. While reading a particularly engrossing story I ran across the word "scree."  
I later found out that the word "scree" meant "pebbles and rocks." Why didn't the author just say "pebbles and rocks?"

Another thing. People just can't say anything the simple way any more. Yesterday I read about a guy "adroitly manipulating the shifting mechanism!" So he threw the car into second gear.

Now if I were a writer, I would try to avoid confusing my readers. We all feel that confused and pompous prose has no place in contemporary society. It does no good to engulf you readers in a sea of indistinguishable trivia.

I feel quite strongly about this. I feel that perpetual adherence to enigmatic expression stultifies intellectual response. Furthermore, excess circumlocution inevitably leads to incomprehensible mayhem.

When authors engage their literary crampons into my lethargic intellect, I feel like poking my pate into a catatonic mound of fronds and lianas. I would rather ascend icy scarps or embroil my ego into a capacious sea of undulating hummocks than perambulate through a plethora of insatiable verbiage.
It all leaves me flaccid as a sprag.



A guy spots a sign outside a house that reads "Talking Dog for Sale." Intrigued, he walks in.
"So what have you done with your life?" he asks the dog. "I've led a very full life," says the dog. "I lived in the Alps rescuing avalanche victims. Then I served my country in Iraq. And now I spend my days reading to the residents of a retirement home."
The guy is flabbergasted. He asks the dog's owner, "Why on earth would you want to get rid of an incredible dog like that?"
The owner says, "Because he's a liar! He never did any of that!"





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Random Thoughts for a Wintery Wednesday

Happy girl in the garden with a giant liatris!
So, we had our first "official" snow here on Monday of this week! October 20th and it snowed here. Two to four inches in Anchorage!

You may think I'd be all "YUCK" about it, but truthfully? I've missed my fun-in-the-snow winter sports like Nordic skiing, snow shoeing and ice skating. And who doesn't love a walk in the woods after a powdery snow has fallen? You gotta some kind of weird not to appreciate that!
The prettiness of fall in the front of the house.
And also the change in the landscape when the deciduous trees become vacant of leaves and beautiful pine, cyprus, juniper and spruces provide us with rich greens and sages for the entire winter.

Even the critters change - different birds arrive, some animals hibernate and disappear, and other animals just eke out an existence for the cold part of the year.

So, I'm kinda digging the fact that I went from 80 degrees in Massachusetts to the current temperature of 27 degrees with icy snow on the ground!

Right now the dogs are snoring, the house is warm, the sun has just risen over the Chugach Mountains and I'm wearing my new, cozy slippers. The laundry is ticking in the dryer and I've just made a big pot of my family's recipe called Vegetable Goop! A lot of you have enjoyed the Goop over the years and can attest to its hearty and delicious mixture.

Ok. Those were somewhat coherent thoughts. I'll commence with the random here now.

This was my beautiful boaty named Altair.
I loved this boat like she was my daughter.
Cliches are actually true.

Don't judge a book by its cover: The best book I've read in a long time has the worst title ever - The Worst Hard Time . That's a bad title. However, the goddamn book was mesmerizing. I read it during my deepest depression and it was about the dustbowl in the American Southwest and how it help create the Great Depression. Huh. Pretty cool.

My friend N (a sistah fromanothah Mothah) suggest that one. And also Swamplandia, Devil in the White City and The Hunger Games series.

A sneaky one, that N. She saw very clearly that I was in dire need of a kick in the pants to get my self-esteem re-activated. She was really right. After my divorce I ceased being the dynamic, fun, silly and happy person that I had been all my life until a series of unfortunate bullshit kinda stole my mojo.

We were in Martha's Vineyard for Obama's visit a few
summers ago. We were docked next to a retired
Nantucket Light Ship! Super cool. Was a great trip, indeed.
Anyway, N was a mastermind of sneaky kindness and esteem-building exercises! You see, she had also been through a terrible set of tragedies herself and had overcome unbelievable obstacles to find her way to "okayness."

Sometimes just "okay" feels like a miracle.
My beautiful girl Lady. She was a complete jerk and I loved her to pieces.
As my husband would say, she was put together "by committee!" Nothing matched on that dog!
We believe that she was part German Shep, part Border Collie and part Pygmy Goat. What a combo platter.
May she be gallivanting in heaven with her precious Koty right now...
Sadie has no idea where she is, so that'd be fine.

Well, she had me read books, she let me grieve and cry and carry on like a banshee. She encouraged me to quit a job I hated and to come and live with her FOR FREE! She wouldn't let me pay rent. We cooked together, hung out in pajamas and drank gallons of coffee and ate really good chocolate.

I started caring about food again. I got my cooking mojo back first.
Peanut butter cookies we made
every Christmas!

A new recipe in my new, gorgeous kitchen!

And then N asked me to help with her butterfly garden and to advise her on shade plants and design.

So then I got my gardening mojo back!
My gorgeous garden in Massachusetts. The idiots that bought
my house? Ripped out the big butterfly bush. Ugh.

Happy violas, pussy willow and tulips for spring.

One of my many lilacs! They've gotten HUGE!

Grape hyacinth, obedient plant and tulips.

More pretties including variegated ivy and tete-a-tete narcissus.

Ahhh, spring in New England!

My Sadie wandering the spring garden.
The bleeding heart bush was among
my favorite in the back yard.

Wildflowers in my back yard with my mosaic Crane birdbath
 by Judith Wright. I still have that here in Alaska!

My two gorgeous girls, A and Sadie! A is now a kick-ass pilot in the Air Force!

One of my arrangements for our friends' Thanksgiving table.

And then winter came again and our pipes burst from the freezing effing polar vortex. N was in a panic and I knew just what to do. I unplugged her floor heater, got her daughter's priceless artwork off the floor where it was flooding and I called the fire department right away.

So I got my logical mojo back. No panic, just act.

And as if that all weren't so fabulous (I know?!), we had to vacate the premises because the mold and mildew set in within 72 hours. So, within 6 days of the flood at the house, we had to leave! Where to go? Why not go live in Georgia and South Carolina for the winter with my wonderful Aunt and Uncle?

Yes! I will do that!

So, slowly and surely, living in the warm climate, staying at my Aunt and Uncle's home on a lake in South Carolina with sweet Sandy kitty? I returned to myself. Utterly and completely myself again. Happy, go-lucky, fun, silly, dance during dinner prep, make flower arrangements, have a glass of wine, filled with hope...
Icelandic poppies. I grew them each spring as an annual in MA.
In Alaska? These are called Himalayan poppies and they
are a wildflower (considered a weed!!).


A gorgeous sea turtle we swam with near Norman Island in the British Virgin Island.
This was taken with a cute little camera we borrowed from my husband's Dad!

On the way to Mississippi with the doggies Lily and Rudy.



Cooper!! Sweet peach!

Sweet Sandy reposing on the glass coffee table!
Kitty FEETS!

Old Faithful, still faithful after all these years!

A bridal bouquet for our friends' wedding. My husband
was the officiant and I did the fleurs! FUN

My Phoobles on my second day in Alaska!
She likes me, I think...

It was divine. And it is divine! I feel so very lucky for my life. And just being alive feels so good again.

Giving thanks for every moment I have now. Life is truly a gift. Another cliche that's just plain true.

This particular Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be different for me. I no longer feel like I don't belong. I finally feel just right.

The symbols at our gorgeous resort Barcelo de Bobadilla in Loja, Spain.
They had little zen gardens like this all over the place.
Sun, moon and star in the sand. All the elements but time.
Time disappears at this place. So beautiful.

One of the many wreaths I did for clients in MA. 
The wreath for my back door in Salem.

Wreath for my front door. (Which is now metal. Ugh)

The entry to my house. PRETTY!

My grand old house. The William Lane house, built in 1800.
I miss that house.
My current house is no slouch, however. It was the only home to survive in Lyn Ary Park,
after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit here in Anchorage 50 years ago.
It fell off its foundation and lost the windows, but my old log cabin home,
built in 1940 is a survivor. Just like the rest of us!  : )


Thanks for reading.

Ciao for today.