Friday, February 25, 2011

Encyclopedia of Moi: B

B is an especially meaningful letter to me with both my first name and maiden name starting with B's.  You can't go through life with the initials BB or even B without forming an attachment to the letter and all the nicknames that go with it (Bibi, Baby, Bea).

Bees - What fascinating insects!  Between flowers and honey they have such sweet associations.  Because of my initials and part-time nickname "Bea", bees have become my mascot. 
Books - I always have at least one book going -- usually a novel ,  Every night I read right before going to sleep. No book?  Plan on a restless night.  Besides a novel, I usually have a biography, philosophy, educational, work-related, self-help or some other such book going.  Kindles look handy, but I doubt I'll ever give up the luxury of a real book in my hands, the smell and feel of the pages. My shelves are full.  Browsing through bookstores is sheer entertainment in our family.

Blonde and Blue-Eyed - Chalk it up to our Northern European heritage, towheads abound in our family. Although we each look quite different, you could always tell we were siblings when you walked in the room from our fair hair.  Only my sister Chris and my daughter Ash ended up with my mother's truly green eyes.  The rest of us carried on my dad's blue eyed genes.  And yes, I hate blonde jokes.

The Fab Four won my heart the first time they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show all those years ago.  I've had a crush on Paul McCartney ever since!  In high school my brother and I collected all of their albums, then when things converted to CD's we got rid of them -- silly move.  Now I'm working on recreating my collection in CD format.  Such talent!  What songwriters!  Fabulous music that stands the test of time.  Hey Jude, The Long and Winding Road, Let It Be, Penny Lane, A Day in the Life, Good Day Sunshine, Hello Goodbye, In My Life, She Came In Through the Bathroom Window, You Can't Do That -- to name just a few old favs.

Which brings me to another composer....

Bach - When it comes right down to it, my favorite classical composer is musical genius Johann Sebastian Bach. There is nothing like popping the Brandenburg Concertos into my stereo on a Sunday morning, making a batch of French Toast, grabbing my journal and relishing the peace within my soul.  The Brandenburg Concertos is an exquisite composition, my all time favorite classical piece. I fell in love with it when I attended a Music Appreciation class to satisfy a humanities elective back in college.  See, there are reasons to take those "annoying electives."  My life is so much richer for it.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Please, please have a listen to this guaranteed-to-lift-your-soul youtube presentation:  Brandenburg Concerto No. 1  AllegroModerato

Join in and create your own Encyclopedia of Moi.  Link to:


Photos are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why, Hail, Yes!

We've had some wet and wild weather on the Central Coast this week, including several hailstorms.  I can sleep through rain, but the hail we had last night woke me up. It looks nice and calm from the webcam on Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey at the moment.  Check it out:

Live webcam on Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf

Sounds like another good day to stay in and organize my closets.  There is still clean up to do in there from Christmas chaos.  Is it quirky that I actually enjoy organizing or at least the idea of it?  Organizing books are plentiful in my house and several home organizing and decorating sites and blogs are bookmarked on my laptop.  One of my favorites is Get Organized Now!

Actually rolling up my sleeves and getting after it can be prone to procrastination.  No more!  One of my New Year's Resolutions was to stop putting things off.  It's action year so here I go!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Encyclopedia of Moi: A

I heard about some bloggers participating in "The Encyclopedia of Moi". It was started by the witty blogmeister Shannon (who I heard about through my friend Teri) who decided, “I'll pick some things that I like, do, appreciate, covet or just find interesting and tell you all about them. And by the end of the year, I'll have a whole encyclopedia of moi.”  (Of course, me, myself and I are probably the only ones interested in the outcome of moi's self-indulgent encyclopedia, but it still sounds like fun -- and it's been fun reading other's alphabet lists!)  So we take one letter every two weeks and tell something about ourselves (except I'm jumping in late so have a little catching up to do). So here I go with the Letter A (this one is easy!).

Ash and Alys
: My darling daughters, the apples of my eye. This picture was taken almost 20 years ago! They are just as close now as they were then and I love them to pieces! (Doesn't it look like they are enjoying the box more than the Li'l Miss Mobile?)

Apples: Love 'em. Always have. Fresh, baked, homemade apple pie, in salads, applesauce, apple juice, hot apple cider, apple red, apple green. I especially love this apple picture which my hubby gave me when we were dating soooooo many years ago.

Amtrak: I don't ride the rails often enough but the times I have I've treasured (even a couple mild horror stories make for fascinating tales).  A wonderful day trip is from Salinas to Southern California, winding through the hills and oceanfronts near Santa Barbara and all points in between. There's nothing like waking to the silhouettes of snow laden trees in the mountains of Oregon or dining to the sight of a desert sunset on a trip to the Midwest.

America the Beautiful: Okay, there are some songs that bring out the sap factor in us. This is one of them. I'm so proud of our country, successes, innovations, warts, yearnings and all. These three words are not just about the meaningful lyrics, but the images of America that we all have ingrained in our memories. Enjoy this youtube pictorial guaranteed to give my fellow countrymen goosebumps:

Antiques: Perhaps it started with my first visit to an antique shop in Carmel before we even moved to this area. Or maybe it was when my mom presented me with an antique letter holder or my sister gave me an old wooden stationery box. Somewhere I fell in love with antiques. Nothing too fussy. Good wood. Old silver. Nautical things. Functional items. I love running my hand over them and imagining who had them among their treasures in decades past.

Africa: Who would have thought Africa would have such an impact on my life? My Aunt Pearl and Uncle Tracy traveled to Africa as missionaries when I was a little girl, stopping by our house en route home laden with handcrafted souvenirs and exotic stories. In high school my mom and I sponsored a child through Christian Children's Fund. Then 10 years ago, while everyone shook their heads in sadness over the drought and children dying in Ethiopia, I read an inspiring article about "empowerment."  Not just empowering the suffering, but empowering us to do something about it -- one child at a time.  Shagitu was a little Ethiopian girl I sponsored then.  The next thing I knew I became involved with a school in Kenya. Many children attending the school were orphans, all live in extreme poverty. This involvement changed my life in so many ways. In 2007 I traveled to Africa myself to see first hand the beauty of Africa's nature and meet the children we've been helping through our nonprofit organization.
Above an ostrich peers at us through the grass on our safari. Below giraffes graze, demonstrating their grace and quiet demeanor.
Galilee school children perform dance routines for us while classmates look on:
Want to start your own Encyclopedia of Moi? Blogster Shannon welcomes anyone to start their own -- visit her and link up to play along!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Will You Be My Valentine?

What sweet words! If you have someone special in your life, enjoy the romance of the day. If you are single, shower your friends and family with kindnesses and little surprises.

Have a lovely Valentine's Day!

Low Tech meets High Tech

I've always been a pen and paper kind of girl. Growing up I loved writing poems and stories, had several pen pals and always kept a diary. As an adult visiting a stationery store is like going in a candy shop. I swoon over the exquisite note cards, the pretty wrapping paper, the elegant writing paper. For many years now I've kept a Day Planner. My last binder had become frayed and worn so my daughters gave me a beautiful sleek red and cream colored one for Christmas this past year. I love it and it commands compliments where ever I go! Making my daily to-do list keeps me focused on the priorities in my life. Jotting notes as I talk to people on the phone keeps reference information at my fingertips. Checking off what I've done during the day provides a sense of accomplishment.

Enter the iPhone. I was overdue for a new cell phone -- in fact my old one was developing some quirks. So when Verizon announced the arrival of iPhone in their lineup of smart phones, I decided to treat myself to the latest in technology. It took me a couple hours to figure it all out, download the additional apps I wanted, enter contacts and set up some passwords. But wow! Having a cell phone, GPS navigation system, the internet, and a calendar all in your pocket is amazing!

I have no intention of sacrificing my Day Planner's calendar and to-do list for the iPhone's version, though. For one thing, it takes awhile to type something on the itty-bitty keyboard of the iPhone with my fat fingers (though I'm getting much better). Secondly, I believe in good old-fashioned paper and pen for when batteries go dead or electricity fails. But most importantly, I would miss that feeling of ink scribbling across smooth paper, seeing handwriting and colored inks and a year spread out before me at a glance, and knowing it is my own hand that is creating my life.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Beach

This has been an incredibly beautiful weekend in the Monterey Bay area. Today the temperatures reached 77 degrees and I decided my soul needed an "airing." Driving toward Monterey the blue skies were glorious.
Fields of gold seemed to sing spring is coming...

... and on the way home I stopped at the beach for a spell.
At first I wondered, what is that creature in this photo? It is not uncommon to see dolphins in these waters, so my first guess was that it was a dolphin, though a very flat one! After zooming in and in and in, I decided it was an optical illusion and is simply a seagull in flight.

The days are getting longer. The beach beckons me to come back more often.