Friday, January 30, 2009

.ode to the flower.

If it were not for these simple and yet so meticulously beautiful posies, I think many of us would find the dreariest of days to be absolutely unbearable.  Here are some quotes that I found quite fitting for such lovely, little beings.

It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.  ~William Carlos Williams

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.  ~John Ruskin  

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.  ~Victor Hugo

The flower is the poetry of reproduction.  It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.  ~Jean Giraudoux

When words escape, flowers speak.  ~Bruce W. Currie


Poppy, by Menq Tsai

I am glad that the weatherman's earlier forecast of snow for today was incorrect.  Granted, it is frigid as all get out right now, but the sun. . . oh the sun. . . he is casting his warm smiles upon us now.   This week has been rough for me.  For the first time in all the years I've lived here on the mainland, winter has finally taken a toll on me.  I don't know what it is.  It doesn't help much that I've got a cold either.  Ugh.  So, in an attempt to find some springlike visual stimulation, I went online to search for images of red poppies, one of my favorite flowers.  I came across a website called, which is an online community of artists and art galleries.  That is where I found what is now one of my most favorite poppy paintings ever.  

The blissful painting of vibrant red poppies amongst hushed companions was created by a man named Menq Tsai, of Simi Valley, California.  Wanting to know more about the artist and the piece, I found very little information about him.  What I did gather was that he was an electronic engineer who had to give up his career due to a disability in 2003.  It was then that he began a life pursuing art, having never drawn or painted before then.  The site showcases several other pieces by Tsai.  I was utterly disheartened when I found out that this man with a wonderful gift, whose painting left me in such awe, lost his battle to cancer last August.  His son, Richard, left a note for many of Menq's fellow artists and fans, opening up about his father and thanking the friends who helped encourage his artwork.  Grateful for having stumbled upon his painting, I felt the need to introduce Menq Tsai's work here, to all of you.  With much reverance, I gaze upon the dreamy image of red poppies amidst hints of wildflowers, and I know that he must be smiling, truly at peace, knowing that he was and is an inspiration.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

.Rabbie Burns.

My love is like a red red rose
That's newly sprung in June:
My love is like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love.
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my love,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.
~My Love is Like a Red Red Rose

Today marks the 250th birthday of Scotland's favorite poet, Robert Burns.  Surprisingly, many have never heard of him, although they know the words to some of his poems, and songs.  In most of the English speaking world, after the clock has struck midnight on New Year's Day, we sing the infamous song, "Auld Lang Syne," which is most likely the most popular of all is work.  In Scotland, many celebrate the anniversary of his birth with a gathering called, "Burn's Night."  Unfortunately, tonight our plans had to change, so we did not get a chance to "toast the haggis," and down our whiskey.  Instead I make mention of this bard here, a brief tribute to a man from my husband's hometown, Alloway in Ayrshire, wishing him a very glorious 250th birthday, wherever he may be!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

.the key.

~Dear Stranger,
I found the key you hid behind 
the old mirror in my room.
Many years have gone since you left it,
For what reasons?  I have no clue.
I tried the locks on every door
and even the gate outside.
But none of them would open
no matter how I tried.
Perhaps to a treasure chest,
Somewhere buried in the lawn?
Or sunken deep in an ocean,
now a home for fish and prawn?
Will it unlock the door to a castle,
in a land far, far away?
Or will it free a guilty man 
whose life had gone astray?
Now wait!  Look here!
What is this upon the floor?
A note left for me to read?
How'd I not see it there before?
A letter somehow overlooked
fell from behind the looking glass.
A note for me, a stranger,
with a message from the past.
It reads:

~Dear Stranger. . . 
You have found the key I hid behind 
this old mirror in my room.
It is not a key to greater wealth
nor is it one that saves from doom. 
It is simply just a reminder,
to anyone, great or small, 
that the key to one's own happiness
is in the reflection on the wall.
(a poem by yours truly)

Friday, January 23, 2009

.is it spring yet?.

So here lately, I have detected quite a bit of "spring fever" taking place on the internet.  Unfortunately, it looks like we've still got two months of winter to deal with before Mother Nature "officially" announces that spring has arrived.  The weather today was much warmer than it has been.  Some trees are already starting to bud.  The picture above was taken several years ago at the BiCentennial Mall here in Nashville.  The cover of the recent Rangefinder magazine reminded me a little of this photo, with its more monotone look at the bottom and gradually working into the pinks and green on top.  Soon enough, the droll grays of winter will be replaced with the more jovial hints of pastel colored tulips, and trees sprinkled with delightful blossoms.  I know.  Doesn't seem like it could get here any quicker.  But it will.  So until then, I shall follow the wisdom of an old Japanese proverb:

One kind word
can warm
three winter months.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

.a day of celebration::a day of change.

Today's date marks a special day for me.  One, it is my 31st birthday.  "Happy Birthday to me!"  Earlier in the day, I spent it at my sister's, watching events unfold in our country on the television while folding laundry.  Later, it was spent with hubby and baby. . . a nice sushi dinner at Omikoshi in Brentwood, a trip to Cool Springs Galleria mall, and then to Target for their 75% off sale!  Oh!  And I got to order a scarf from Anthropologie that has been going in and out of stock since before the holidays.  It will finally be mine!!  Yay!  
Now the second reason for this being a special day is quite obvious I think to anyone who has their televisions on.  It's the inspiring Presidential Inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama.  It's a day that has made history in so many ways.  I was proud to see a HAWAIIAN man make it to the White House!  Regardless what your political views are, you cannot mistake the fact that change is coming.  You could feel it in the energy that was clearly present amongst the millions, MILLIONS, of people that made their way to Washington D.C.  Truly a vision of hope, of celebration, of unity.  I pray that this country of ours, will move ahead into a new era, one that will allow our children to grow up knowing better times, seeing positive change, both here at home and in our global environment.  It will take all of us to help this one man to make these changes take shape.  When hope, inspiration and vision are strong. . . that is when we start to see miracles happen.  
So here's an Omikoshi "geisha" drink to you and I, Mr. President, in celebration of a wonderful day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

.making time.

Hello everyone!  Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!  I've been rather busy with my "day job" lately, a little more than I had anticipated.  But, things will be slowing down considerably in February so I guess I'll just need to suck it up and wait, then I'll be able to spend more time doing things I really want to do.  Meanwhile, I am reminded how imperative it is to "reclaim the weekend" and spend more time doing simple things that add more quality to the day.  This is something that I have been trying to claim in my own life.  What brought it to mind was an article in January's issue of the British Edition of Country Living magazine.  The cute illustrations by Rose Forshall are what originally caught my attention.  As I went on to read the article, I recalled days with less responsibility and more free time to truly enjoy simple things in life.  I ask myself, why can't I make a point to do that now?  I can.  It's all about making time.  Sure, we can't throw some ingredients into a magical bowl and literally make time, (don't we wish we could!) but we can try to discipline ourselves to set aside time for things that really matter.  Make time to bake your own bread.  Make time to spend with friends and loved ones.  Make time to just sit still and be.

What is this life if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs
and stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
and watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare.

~Leisure, by W.H. Davies

Today, my focus was on sending out some notes to friends, letting them know, "I'm thinking about you."   

~note card:  Hobby Lobby

Friday, January 9, 2009

.old photo fun.

There is no doubt that one of my favorite things in the world are old photos.  So I was extremely delighted to find a website, that was mentioned on this wonderful blog, that will alter any photo you have to one that looks like it has endured the course of time.  Like the original blog says, it's addicting!!  Give it a try.  It's quick and easy.  Mind you, the site is from Japan so 99% of it's contents are in Japanese.  But you'll figure out what to do.  Have fun!   

Monday, January 5, 2009

.a taste for small pleasures.

Amelie. . . such a quirky, sweet French film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, starring Audrey Tautou as the film's heroine.  I hate to admit that the first time I watched this movie, I didn't really pay much attention to it therefore didn't care much for it.  I know, what a dope!  But that was many years ago!  Here lately, I have fallen deeply in love with music by Yann Tiersen, the composer who created the soundtrack for this film.  Well, needless to say, I broke down and bought the movie. . . and I am so glad that I did.  I LOVE it!  Truly one of my most favorite films of all time.  As I watched it over and over, there was one line in the film that really stuck out to me.  It was a line from the narrator. . . [gently a piano plays "Comptine d'Un Autre Été"] . . . and he says, ". . . she cultivates a taste for small pleasures. . . " as Amelie slowly glides her hand into a barrel of grain.  I had to think about this.  What "small pleasures" make up the little hints of sunshine in my day?  Your day?    

~ I like feeling the coolness of the sheets when I slip my hands under my pillow.
~ I eat the toppings off of pizzas and then the bread.  Same with sushi.  I eat the insides then the nori and rice.  
~ I enjoy watching rings form on the waters surface.
~ I love hearing the laughter of a child. . . especially if that child is my own.
~ I like to sing while I drive.  

Well these are just a few of them anyways.  I truly believe that if we could simply slow down a little each day, just enough to "smell the roses," we could enhance the quality of our life just a bit more.  I don't know about you, but I too want to "cultivate a taste for small pleasures" and maybe then, I could smile just a wee bit more.  I hear smiling is good for the face.  ;o)

Now for those of you who have never even heard of the movie Amelie, here is a taste for you.  Yes, it is a foreign film.  There are no subtitles in this trailer, but who cares.  Just look at the wonderful imagery!  Definitely a film worth watching!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

.brighten my day.

I was not expecting anything to come in the mail.  Christmas cards would have most likely already arrived.  But what I did find in yesterdays mail though truly brightened my day.  Just a little brown kraft paper envelope addressed to me.  When I opened it up, ahh. . . I found a little fabric pouch adorned with five buttons and a thin card wrapped with several citrus colored threads, as you see here.  Within the pouch was a little card, from a fantastic shop providing me with a gift, in celebration of my upcoming birthday.  Thirty-one.  {gasp!}  
The card will be used, of course, but this little pouch. . . oh how I love the vibrant buttons, all sewn down in a neat row.  You gotta love buttons!  So I say, "thank you, anthropologie" for remembering my birthday this month.  You brightened my day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

.a recipe for warm goodness!.

As the weekend approached, I searched for a recipe that would bring some warmth to what would become a cold and dreary couple of days.  I came across a recipe for bread pudding here.  I vaguely remember my grandmother having made the dish when I was just a kid.  I recall liking it, but that would be a long time ago.  So I attempted this recipe with the assistance of my sister.  What a delightfully warm and sweet dish!  The only alteration I made was in the sauce.  We ran out of milk and only had enough to make half of the recipe.  Fortunately, it was just enough.  The whole recipe would have been too sweet in my opinion.  So if you are looking for a simple recipe for some warm comfort food for a dreary day, this bread pudding is a wonderful treat!  

Thursday, January 1, 2009

.the fortune cookie says. . .

There was a time that my wallet was full of these thin pieces of paper.  Not paper of the green kind that would allow me to expand my wardrobe.  No, these are half inch by two inches long, with "fortunes" printed on them.  If you've ever had a meal at the local Chinese buffet, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Fortune cookie fortunes.  Most of them would say, you know, the usual. . . "You have a friendly heart and people admire you," or "Good things are coming to you in due course of time."  Better yet, "Your special someone will cross your path in the near future."  Okidoki.  Sometimes, if the "fortune" just didn't seem to "fit," there would be an exchange made across the table, like trading cards.  "I think this cookie was actually supposed to be yours," we'd say.  Or, if it didn't suit anyones present circumstances, or rather it fit too well, it would be pitched altogether.  But this small strip of paper, printed with red ink, that I pulled gently out of its edible shell just a few weeks ago, was a little different.  Had it just simply read, "You are capable, competent, creative, and careful," I would have simply nodded, smiled, and tossed it with the rest of the other pieces of paper that would have soon enough been taken away to the trash bin.  Instead, it added just two more words.  Two words that caught my attention enough to not only make me nod my head, and smile, they inspired.  Two words.  "Prove it."  This year, I am making a point to do just that.  

New Year's Resolutions

~ Pursue my artistic desires with much more fervor & focus.
Make it happen!
~ Don't sweat the small stuff.
~ Love more. . . gripe less.  (Yes, sweetie, that's directed to you! ;o) )
~ Read more.
~ Drink more water.
~ Save more. . . spend less.
~ Stay in touch better. . . even with those who are close by.
~ Finish the unfinished.
~ Mend spiritual relationship.
~ Lose weight.  (You know I had to throw that in there)

I truly hope that all of you have had a wonderful and memorable Holiday.  Welcome the New Year with open arms, lets those dreams fly and make them happen!  Time for change is now.  Have a spectacular weekend!