Friday, December 31, 2010

Toasting the New Year

New joy to you.
New Courage too.
New Strength to last
The New Year through.

Salute! Here's Looking at You Kid! Gan Bei! Skol! Down the Hatch!
and my favorite Cheers!


p.s. What's your favorite toast?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Elves of Blogland

Dear Merry Elves of Blogland (and Beyond),

Thank you for your gifts of beauty and light!

Wishing each and everyone of you...

A Season of Joy and Love,


Friday, December 10, 2010

Simple Toys...Simple Joys!

Remember When Children's Toys were Unplugged and Simple?

Before we communicated via iPhones...

Before the uncontrolled spending on Black Friday?

Before Barbie and Ken?

When we would take time for a tea party with our friends.

Yes, some activities were stereotyped, while others were just...

Preparation for life.

My children spent many happy hours in their Playroom (formerly a second floor kitchen of our first house). There, amidst an array of art materials: pots of paint (finger and tempera), big fat brushes, and long rolls of newprint, they were free to create. Daddy's old Brooks Brothers shirt, when worn backwards became a smock, and the old white ceramic sink was perfect for washing up. On rainy days, a large cookie sheet filled with cornmeal became an indoor sandbox. Early recyclers - we cut cereal boxes into jig saw puzzles. And of course, we mixed up our share of big batches of play dough. Bath time was fun too - when, with the addition of a few drops of blue food coloring, it became a dip in the Ocean. Good Times!

Please play with me, and Share your memories of your favorite Simple Toys.


P.S. Take a peek at the blog A Femme d'Un Certain Age. Tish asked me to contribute to her Christmas post on Gifts that Cost Nothing. (In my case almost nothing!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Lone Cypress

The winter tree against December's sky
Has never stood more poignantly than now;
There is no leaf to soothe its tragic lines.
But far beyond the landscape of the eye,
Within the core, within the barren bough,
Faith lies with life, inseparably entwined.

Poem by Dora Hagemeyer (1891-1989)

A Poet of Nature, the late Dora Hagemeyer was a fixture of the Carmel, California literary scene. For fifteen years, her column the "Poetry Corner" appeared in the local newspaper, The Pine Cone.

Spending this December on the California Central Coast, not far from the scene in this painting.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Doing the Turkey Trot

Since Thanksgiving is here...

Let's talk Turkey.

These brave wild turkeys were recently sighted in downtown Marina, CA.

Checking in at the local mall and post office...

They then took to the sidewalks...

And paused for a political campaign endorsement...

Made a pit stop at the local Chevron station...

Then were off ... Scurrying into the bush.
Some nights when I open the bedroom window, I can hear the sound of wild turkeys in the back field. Some nights I also hear the howl of coyotes , and I wonder if they are having turkey for Thanksgiving dinner too.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Evening at the Mission ~ Night at the Hacienda

Travel down the Camino Real of California's Central Coast, and you will come upon the 18th century Mission San Antonio de Padua, the third of the missions founded by Father Junipero Serra.

Each year the Mission hosts an "Evening in the Garden" festival. The entire complex is adorned with church candles, swags of autumn leaves and tables with arrangements of nature's bounty.

Costumed musicians play music evocative of both the Colonial and the Hispanic heritage of the area.

The tables are laden with local food and wines.

And the paths in the Garden are lit with luminaries.

One mile down the road is the Hacienda Guest Lodge - a perfect place for a sleepover.

The Hacienda is a Spanish revival white stucco and red tile roof building. which was built by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst in the 1930's. It was designed by Julia Morgan who was the architect of his San Simeon Castle. Hearst used the Hacienda as a working ranch, and as a guest house for his famous friends-Jean Harlowe, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Marion Davies, Will Rogers, and Dick Powell.

In 1940, Hearst sold the building to the US Army. Today the Lodge is located on the grounds of Fort Hunter Liggett Miltary Reservation, but is open to the public. There are 4 tower rooms, 2 garden rooms, and 5 cowboy rooms with bathrooms down the hall. So you can stay in a room once occupied by Clark and Jean, or Erroll. Oh if the walls could talk!

Many touches from Hearst's day remain-including this mural in what is now the breakfast room.

At the entrance to the base, is this old general store. It will soon be the site of a group tasting room for the wineries of the San Antonio Valley wine region. This undiscovered area produces some outstanding full-bodied red wines.

Already Planning a Return Trip,

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Happy Girl in the Kitchen

We knew that an eery scene lurked behind the door of the fruit cellar in the basement. Inside were shelf after shelf of old Mason jars filled with murky liquids of unknown contents, which seemed to continually bubble and ooze. To us kids these looked more like failed anatomy experiments,

than successful turns at domestic science.

No wonder that it took me years to appreciate the nuances of home preserved food.

But happily today I am a convert!

That is why I am so delighted with our new "foodie" neighbor...

This inspired food concept business was created by the husband and wife team, Todd and Jordan Champagne. Well-known on the local outdoor organic market scene, they are producers and retailers of fine preserves and canned goods sourced from local organic produce. Recently they opened shop in Pacific Grove, CA.

There in a state-of-the-art professional open-view kitchen, they prepare their popular Happy Girl Kitchen products, which are sold in-house and on-line,

and hold workshops on Home Canning and Preserving Techniques.

Workshops on Raspberries, Blackberries and Strawberries; Heirloom Tomatoes; Apples, Pears and Quince; Pickles; and Marmalades.

A cosy cafe serves excellent teas and coffee, and delicious old-fashioned cinnamon buns.

Proponents of "food that feeds your soul", the owners are very community minded, and envision this space as a multi-functional food event center.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Harvest and Halloween 1905

Antique Leaf-Shaped Dance Card ~
Harvest Dance, September 28, 1905.

Fill your dance card, and Grab your partners for the traditional Waltz, Two Step, and the extra dances: The Pumpkin; The Corn and The Y.M.L.C.

And three days later, don't forget to come to the Y.M.L.C. hall for the Halloween Party and "The Ghost Walk"!

Dancing Under a Harvest Moon,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guardian Angels

I believe in Guardian Angels.

This week I had my yearly mammogram. It reminded me of that time fifteen years ago, when a host of real-life Angels guided and protected me on my path, as I became a breast cancer pilgrim.

We had just moved back to the US, after years of living in Europe, and I had gone alone to get a mammogram. Right on the spot I was told that they had found a possible cancer.

The first Angel appeared the following day, my new ob/gyn. He viewed my mammogram, and while doing a physical exam, found another suspicious mass, (not the one on the films). Immediately, he arranged for me to go into Boston, to meet with a surgeon colleague of his. The surgeon reviewed the films, examined me, and declared that it was "Nothing!", and said to come back in six months.

Relieved, we drove back home, were just about to pop open the Champagne, and toast our good fortune, when the phone rang. It was Dr. #1, he was certain he had felt something, and he wanted me to have a biopsy of both places. The subsequent biopsies revealed that what the X-ray technician had found was not cancer, but what Dr.#1 had felt was. In addition, a follow-up test also found a tumour (not related to my breast cancer) in my lung. So Dr. #1 probably saved my life!

During the next months other Angels of comfort included: a new circle of friends and neighbors who drove me to every radiation treatment; Arlette in Belgium who lit a candle for me in the Leuven Cathedral; my daughter who flew across the country; my son who came from China: and my husband. Though he formerly fainted at the sight of blood, he bravely sat holding my hand through every chemo session, never failing to tell me how beautiful I was.

And then there was the Angel Raphael. After my lumpectomy, I had surgery to remove a lobe of my lung. Every day for a week, I was visited by Raphael, a kind and gentle hospital technician who would take my daily chest X-ray. (Ironically, I recently learned that in religious mythology the Angel Raphael represents "God's Healing Force"). One year later, I was back at the hospital for an appointment; and while walking the halls, I encountered Raphael. "Hi Raphael", I said. "Hi Marjorie", he said - followed by "I remember you in my prayers every night." Not only did he remember my name after all that time, but he contimed to pray for my health!

All this was fifteen years ago. My mammogram this week was fine, so I am still being carried on the wings of "Angels."

Counting my Blessings, and Praying for you too! Marjorie

P.S. I knew I was getting better when I wanted to get out and go antiquing!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Barrels, Burlap and White Linen

Up bright and early ~

and off to the Remnants of the Past Antiques Show down the Coast in Nipomo, CA.

Have Cart will Shop!

The show's promoter, and blogger Judi Watkins.

With a backdrop of mountains, amidst the scent of flowering citrus trees~

Burlap covered hay bales set with white linen~

where special guest, Shabby Chic's Rachel Ashwell, was to autograph her books.

First stop was an audience with blogger royalty~

The Brocantess et moi!

Rustic Chandelier in the Barn.

Emilie M. (blogger/artist) brought her wreaths of cut-outs from old paper which were featured on Martha's televsion show and magazine and in her calendar.

Antique and Vintage French Holy Cards.

Buttons galore, as well as this collection of spools of silk thread.

Timeless Antique Designs by Kymberley Fraser of 3 Fine Grains.

Au Revoir!

Back on the Antique Trail,