Wednesday, June 30, 2010
We just experienced a lunar eclipse on June 26. This has the effect of all the energies of three full moons. I follow Susan Miller of Astrology Zone for astrological enrichment and she shared an informative piece on how eclipses affect us. (She predicted the stocks would be volatile from this date through August.) I thought it appropriate to provide these tips in light of the fact that the movie Eclipse is being released for our entertainment. Steve and I have a date at the cinema this afternoon to get engrossed in the Bella/Edward/Jacob fantasy. Just watching the trailers give me thrills. I look forward to seeing Ron Howard's daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, perform as the villian, Victoria.
Eclipses are the most dramatic tools that the universe uses to create change. They are fascinating because they always bring an unexpected twist. We have solar and lunar eclipses, but today I will focus on the lunar since we just had one. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth stands between the moon and the Sun, cutting off the light of the Sun from the moon. A lunar eclipse is always a full moon and usually marks endings or culmination points. They bring up memories, dreams and emotions and center more on the prominent women in your life. Eclipses come in pairs, always as a new moon and a full moon two weeks apart and come up every five and a half months. An eclipse is like a new or full moon on steroids! The events pack much more punch and bring on events that seem fated. Eclipses are dramatic wild cards in our horoscopes that we don't see coming. They shake us up so that we can move from one level of maturity to another, very rapidly, and provide whatever we need to get us to think, decide or change. They look for weak links in all circumstances and bring information so that you can decide what you want to do. Eclipses work from the outside in. An outside event that has nothing to do with you, or over which you have no control, will act in a way that affects your life in a powerful, direct and lasting way. The outside force can be a small, casual comment. Eclipses bring news of big life events that you long remember. You may get a promotion, start a business, meet someone or get engaged. Or, you my eclipse out someone from your life, such as a breakup or divorce. Eclipses often change the status of a situation. Keep your eye on your health at eclipse time, and doubly so if it is near your birthday, in your birth sign, or six months away from your sign. If you need to address a health issue, get advice and help so you can feel good again. You may feel like you are walking across a bridge to a new land at eclipse time. You are - with no ability to go back to the place you started. While you can't go back to the good old days, you wouldn't want to. You are ready for more. The universe wants us to embrace all that is new, not go back to what is tried and true. The ancients always wrote that if you act under a lunar eclipse, the plan would not work out quite the way you expected. Consider the ideas of others, but make no decisions. Bide your time and act a few weeks later when there is less cosmic dust in the air and things are more settled. Here is the rule: It is better to listen and react rather than set forth dictums under an eclipse. Try to allow some space of a week or more between the eclipse and the date you act.
Eclipses play with our sense of time and change it by compressing and speeding things up. They bring events to bear today, ones that you assumed would happen months or years into the future. If one of your planets will be touched by the eclipse, you may feel your life moving on fast forward. Time moves so fast, you can almost see the hands on the clock spin around. Eclipses help you do things you never thought you could do, overcome fears and show yes, you can do it! Try not to issue ultimatums or make big actions under an eclipse as things will not work out as planned. If an eclipse falls on your birthday, the year that follows will be quite eventful. One part of your life is surely due for massive change. In a lunar eclipse, it will be a year of endings, closure and fulfillment. The universe seems to know we cannot handle too much radical change at once so eclipses give us time to digest the changes before they heap more on us. Subsequent eclipses will help us move forward, step by step. Additional information will come at the next eclipse and by then you will be ready for it. If you observe events triggered by eclipses, you will be humbled to see how effective they are in their mission to bring truth to light and to help us live more productively, ethically and with integrity. Eclipses are especially effective in revealing someone's character or true motivations. After your discovery, you can better protect yourself. Often a lunar eclipse will remove a person or element in your life that you thought you needed, but really don't. This person or situation may end at eclipse time because you have already learned a great deal from them, or because the situation is outworn, dysfunctional, or in some way no longer capable of being nurturing and supportive to you. An eclipse will sound the bell to tell you that time has passed and to move on. Often we wonder why something had to end the way it did, but it is not for us to ask. Everything has its own lifecycle. Focus on the present, hope for the future, leave the past. After you have given yourself time to adjust, be eager to find out what comes next. Keep this rule in mind: The universe will not abide an empty space. Whenever a vacuum is created, the universe rushes to fill it. Have faith that this will happen in your life and all that you lose will be replaced. Often the next stage turns out to be far better than the one you just left.
Take note of all news and signals you get near eclipses. While news is often delivered in a dramatic and obvious way, sometimes it will come in more subtly, as a secret or piece of gossip. Nevertheless, take it seriously because it could foretell dramatic changes to come. If someone brings news you don't like and don't want to hear, realize it will be impossible to change things back to the way they were before. View the news as essentially a non-negotiable dictate. Accept what you are told and move on. At eclipse time, we realize that we cannot control everything in life. Accepting the finality of a certain relationship or situation can be very painful, but is a part of the life experience. If you should feel very upset or sad, trust in the kindness and wisdom of those around you. Spend time with those you love and who love you. Eclipses help us to evolve and become more mature, seasoned, reflective and philosophical. Eclipses shine the bright light of truth to the part of your chart that is touched by the eclipse, acting as brilliant illuninators, revealing a condition that has existed that you had ignored, or never noticed before. Eclipses act as catalysts to a major life decision. Under an eclipse, you may finally see someone's true character. This may be a person you know well, or thought you did. Discovering a dark side to a person can be very disillusioning. Eclipses have a way of changing perspective. It will be as though a puzzle piece suddenly fell from the sky, right into your hands. Once you add this piece to your puzzle, the whole complexion of the situation will change. Suddenly a mystery will be resolved, and you will say to yourself now I understand. Now you will know what you need to do next. You are no longer in the dark. That is exactly what an eclipse accomplishes. Even if an eclipse does not affect you, you will notice that there is plenty of action around you, not only in your own circle, but also in the world at large. The news media will be filled with information. In your personal life, you will hear of many monumental life events in the lives of people you know, both friends and family. You may be called on to help others at this time. You may be feeling more emotional than usual under a lunar eclipse. Since your judgment may be impaired with so much being stirred up at once, before you respond, take time to think about things. A quick response to news may be required of you, but have your wits about you. Keep your normal schedule light because you might have something new to focus on that will need your immediate attention. If someone is demanding an answer, you will have to give it and go with the flow. The sense of surprise or shock often accompanies an eclipse. Don't be too quick to judge an eclipse as good or bad because it can take weeks to understand the real meaning of what is going on. An eclipse always has a second act, so be patient. As you wait, the picture may keep changing. If you lose something under an eclipse, the universe has something better it is cooking up for you. Be patient and keep an open mind. Eclipses can make big, heavy gates swing open, even ones that have never opened for you before. Be optimistic! xo
oh, you crazy moon, what did you do? Miss Peggy Lee
thanks to Susan Miller for sharing your insights and expertise
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I love Trader Joe's. This is my splurge, pick-me-up place where I get what I want, not only what I need. The experience is so delightful, from the smiling faces to the healthy food and very reasonable prices. We began our orchid collection thanks to this place and I constantly purchased fresh cut flowers for my business from here. The gorgeous bouquets are the first thing we see upon entering the doors. I find many guys shop at this store; as a matter of fact, there are more men than women each time I go. Once an elderly woman was being assisted by a manager who was suggesting various items for purchase and I commented on the chocolate covered macadamia nuts so he went ahead and opened one for all to sample. I buy one of their bags not only to stay environmentally friendly, but they are so darn cute!
Have you ever needed to use their restrooms? They are decorated as if you were on an island with cutesy sayings. It really is a pleasure to shop here considering I am not a fan of shopping. I look forward to their flyer with all the special items and circle my favorites. I always forget to take it with but remember most things. I absolutely love, love, love the bakery made granola and the pita chips with sea salt. I try to sample a new wine each time I visit and the boys like their fun beers. This time I bought Pat Weasel Ale and Trader Joe's Premium Lager (like Corona.) I have not indulged in any carbs for about three months so I stocked up on various new crackers and one I must give a shout out - their 1000 layer cracker. OMG! heaven in my mouth. I enjoy the brie cheeses, but get a few of the Spanish such as Manchego and Iberico. Drool here. It has been sooo long since I had my wine, cheese and cracker indulgence. Can't wait.
I try to bring home a pie each visit and this time strawberry rhubarb won. The very best part is when I get their fruits. Aunt Aletha mentioned she bought nectarines and sure enough they were right there upon entering. I eat yogurt with fruit and granola every night instead of ice cream or cereal and the fresher, the better.
we don't do coupons, club cards or secret handshakes, just honest values, every day.
this is on the back of my receipt
Thanks, Joe! xo
Monday, June 28, 2010
house of mirrors in versailles
Hallways: Do not position a bed in line with the door in a bedroom at the end of a long hallway. Such a hallway is a conduit of negative energy. Make sure that doors opening onto a hallway don't bang against one another. These arguing doors can cause quarrels and fighting within a household. Do not darken your hallway with an excess of art and family pictures. Keep a balance of empty spaces and hanging objects. Add mirrors and light-colored artwork to hallways. Hang a picture opposite a door that opens onto a view of a wall.
Kitchen: Do not install more than one stove. Rather than doubling your wealth, this will divide it. Instead, increase the number of burners on the stovetop. Do not have the stove and the sink directly across from each other if one is on an island, as water will destroy fire and this represents destruction of your family's wealth. Don't have the stove and the sink too close together on the same counter, as water destroys fire. Do hang a metal wind chime with five hollow rods over your stove to double your money. Do not arrange your home so that you can see the kitchen as you enter the front door of your house. If you do, you will be preoccupied with food and may find yourself battling weight problems. Do not leave too many things on kitchen surfaces in plain sight, as this will detract from a good flow of energy. Keep brooms, mops, garbage cans and other cleaning tools, supplies and equipment out of sight when not in use. Use colors and light to create balance and harmony in your kitchen.
Living Room: Place a large or heavy piece of furniture in the South area of the living room to anchor your family when you move into a new home. When you want to sell the house or move away, remove the item. Do not place all of your furniture against the walls, which accentuates the straight lines of a room and creates a boxy feel. Try arranging your furniture at 45 degree angles to the walls along with a rug for a fresh look. Place green or purple items, wooden objects or furniture, and objects in groups of four in the South East corner of the living room. This corner is among the most important prosperity areas in a home, and these placements can activate the wealth of the home's occupants. Hang four family pictures in wooden frames in the South East area of your living room if you consider your family the treasure of your home. If you cherish your friends, place pictures or gifts from them in the area. Group your collections and souvenirs in multiples of four in the North West corner if travel is important in your life. The NW governs interests outside your home.
Mirrors: Hang octagonal bagua mirros on the outside of your home, never inside. Use a flat octagonal or round mirror to deflect sha energy, from common sources, such as garbage cans, dumpsters or barking dogs. Exercise great prudence and caution when using a convex mirror. It takes the images it receives and sends them out again, possibly harming someone. This strategy can also backfire, bringing you mishaps and misfortune. Don't position a mirror so that it cuts off your any part of your reflected head. To do so is unlucky indeed! Carry a small compact with a mirror or a hand mirror for protection. These flat mirrors work quietly and unobtrusively but can still deflect sha energy when directed at its source.
Office: Sit in the corner farthest from the entrance to the room to have a command position. Do not sit in line with the door, as you will be in the path of negative energy. Keep your back toward a corner or a wall for support. If a post protrudes from the corner or wall, correct it by covering it with a hanging plant's draping foilage. Sit with a tall building behind you to provide the support of a mountain if your back is to a window. Don't face away from the door if you are conducting business from home. Business will symbolically come to you through the door, so don't turn your back on it. Be aware of the sharp corners of bookshelves, tables, equipment, posts or other objects directed toward you or any part of your body. Put your computer in the North or West area of your office to enhance your creativity. Place the computer in the South East if you use it to generate income. Place an aquarium or fountain on your desk to activate business or career success. Have a good balance of yin and yang when decorating your work space. Balance light and dark colors, and smooth and rough textures in your choice of window treatments, furniture and flooring. Don't have any mirrors in your office, as they can reflect negative energy from clients to other people in the room. You should always maintain control over the energy in your office. Treat the files in your office with respect. They represent your past, present and future business. Don't keep the files near the bathroom or on a wall that is shared with a bathroom. Keep files off the floor, on higher shelves or bookcases, rather than under your desk. This is especially important for stocks, certificates, investments, property deals and other important documents. Keep the cords to your office equipment well hidden. This eliminates clutter and allows for the free flow of chi.
Pictures: Do not hang water scenes above your head in your bedroom, as this suggests you will be drowned or smothered. Hang a close-up photograph, illustration or painting of a mountain or forest behind you if you sit in your office with your back to the wall. This will lend support to you and your business. Don't put pictures of water behind your desk or place a picture of a river flowing directly toward you. Place a picture of a tortoise swimming in water behind you. This animal represents business success and long life and has been kept in Chinese gardens and monasteries for centuries. Do hang your diplomas, awards, kudos, trophies and other accolades and commendations on the South wall of your home or office. This direction represents fame and fortune. Hang pictures of yourself with the rich and famous in the South area. Do not hang pictures depicting war, battlefields, cemetaries, death, skulls, gloomy scenes or people with sad faces. Activate love and romance in the South West area of your bedroom by hanging pictures of happy couples holding hands, kissing or embracing. The frames should be made of porcelain, terra cotta or china. Check the balance of yin and yang energy in your artwork.
Stairs: Avoid desks, offices, beds, bedrooms and chairs that are facing stairs or under them. Energy flows straight down the stairs, representing the killing arrow aimed directly at the people below. Do not have your stairs facing a bathroom, since they will direct you toward the most noxious part of your home. Do not have interior stairs that directly face your front door or exterior stairs that continue all the way to the curb. These represent your wealth pouring down and out of your home. Do not place an altar or a cash box under the stairs, where energy will be pushing down on it. Energy should be able to flow freely around those objects.
Trees: Plant trees in a row or curving around your house, similar to arms embracing your home, to symbolize wealth and good luck. Plant lots of pine trees in the South part of your property. These trees symbolize longevity because they live for many years and contribute to good health by producing oxygen. Keep all trees properly topped and thinned out to allow the yang energy of the sun to penetrate through their branches. Trees can create a lot of yin energy because of their shade. Plant evergreen trees with broad or rounded leaves rather than pointed leaves. Plant two small trees to flank your entrance and act as guardians to your home. Do stand in a pine grove or forest to do your exercises. This is believed to be the most healthful location for you. Plant trees in groups of three, six or nine in your front yard as these are auspicious yang numbers. Watch the shape of your trees. Do not have any that resemble animals or other creatures. Don't have a trunk of your tree facing your front door. It will block your view of the world outside and obstruct beneficial chi. Don't cut down old trees, which are considered sacred and possess strong energy. However, if a tree is diseased or damaged by lightening, you may have to remove the dead branches or the entire tree. This is particularly critical if you have sick or elderly family members living in your home. Do cover tree stumps with creeping vines or ivy, or put large potted plants on them. A dead stump emanates yin energy and must be balanced by the yang energy of a live plant. Don't let the leaves of trees touch the building. The leaves represent the bones of the occupants of a house and will draw chi away from it.
Unicorns: Put a pair of Chinese unicorns on either side of your front entrance. They bring protection and attract fortune and good luck.
Water: Don't allow the corner of a swimming pool with straight sides to point directly toward your house, especially toward a bedroom. The corner creates sha energy. Do balance water element on the left side of your front door (as you are looking out) with trees on the right. Don't place water structures in your front yard unless the face North, which represents the element of water. Do not put a pond or fountain near the right side of the door (as you are looking out), for it will encourage infidelity in your partner. Balance water, which is yin, with the yang energy of large boulders protruding from the water. Allow sun or artifical light to reflect from the water's surface. Surround your water structure with the yang energy of color, sound, tiles, river stones, water plants or living creatures, such as fish. Do have curving or slow-moving water in front of your house; this is considered auspicious. However, if the flow is rushing or is located behind your house, it will carry away your family's prosperity. Don't have a pond surrounded and darkened by deep woods or dense trees. This is overwhelmingly yin and such imbalance in not good feng shui.
These tips are a basis for positive, loving and healthy energy flow. We cannot always have a perfect setting and location, but there are ways to diminish any negative paths, such as with wind chimes, mirrors and water fountains. Crystals are excellent for diminishing accusing corners and mirrors deflect negativity. Sometimes just cleaning the clutter around your area will improve your energy tremendously. We are always able to improve. Happy days to you. xo
my sincere gratitude to Angi Ma Wong for sharing Feng Shui Dos and Taboos
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Feng Shui (wind and water) is such a fascinating subject that I decided to share additional Do's and Don'ts alphabetically. This photo captures all the elements in one. Nice. Since this is our gardening season, I have embellished on flowers and gardens today, but other topics may pique your interest. It is the little things that can make a difference in how our energy flows in our lives. It has worked for thousands of years, why not today? After all, we must continue practicing living in the NOW. Today is our present to ourselves, our gift.
Altars: light your altar with artificial lights or candles to distinguish it as a special or holy location. Put your altar in a quiet location, away from the flow of traffic in the house. Your altar should have an undisturbed place of honor. Place statues of deities in high places. Choose a spot higher than the tallest person in the household. Clean and maintain altars by discarding dried flowers, fruit, incense and other offerings that are past their prime.
Bathrooms: Hang mirrors on the outside of the bathroom door if the bathroom happens to be in a wealth area. Put a wind chime in the window to dam the flow of water, or enery, from the house. Make sure your toilet has a door to close it off. Remember the original name for the toilet was water closet. Keep seats, covers and doors to bathrooms shut at all times because toilets emanate negative energy. Hang a wind chime that is made of an earth material, such as terra cotta or procelain, or that has five solid clay rods. This will keep your business and career success from going down the drain. Always close the lid when flushing the toilet.
Cars: Choose an automobile that matches your element. If you are a wood person, choose blue or green. A fire person should choose a shade of red. Metal-element people should select white, grey, silver or gold metallic finishes, and earth folks should pick out beige or tan. Water-element car owners should select blue, teal or black.
Dining room: Keep a bowl or an arrangement of fruit on your dining room table to represent continuous sustenance to your family. Put images of food and fruit to represent the abundance and sustenance that you want to attract to your table and your home. Refrain from hanging too many pictures of birds and other feathered creatures in your dining room, as this will create an imbalance in yang energy. Place persimmons to symbolize joy and festivity. Don't leave cleaning supplies in the dining room. They symbolize the cleaning out of one's income, good health, nutrition and prosperity.
Elephants: Use a kneeling ceramic elephant on your altar. The elephant symbolizes longevity, power, strength, wisdom, and high moral standards and is one of Buddhism's seven sacred treasures. Place pairs of standing or kneeling elephants as guardians flanking the doors of your home on either the outside or inside.
uncle tom's flowers
Flowers: Decorate your daughter's bedroom with fresh peonies to attract good men to her life, but don't keep pictures of peonies in your home after all the single women have married. Don't have pictures or vases of peonies in your bedroom if you are already married. This flower will encourage your partner to stray or seek love interest outside your home. Do use jasmine, which represents women and sweetness. Narcissus, plum blossoms, hyacinths and orchids or great for enhancing relationships.Chrysanthemums symbolize longevity, dependability and the desire for a long duration of anything wonderful, such as a marriage or career. Pair chrysanthemums with plum blossoms to symbolize an easy life from birth to retirement. Group them with nine quails to symbolilze harmony and peace for the next nine generations of family. Combine a single lotus blossom with a bud to represent the ideal partnership. The lotus flower is the ultimate symbol of Buddhism and represents purity, joy and perfection. Because its exquisite blossoms grow from the mud at the bottom of ditches, lakes and ponds, it exemplifies the possibility that perfection can come from inpurity. Don't decorate your home, especially your bedroom, with dried flowers, branches, grasses, or potpourri. These dead objects generate yin energy that can adversely affect your love life. Do give freshly cut flowers to those who are ill. This brings them much-needed yang energy. Replace the old flowers with fresh ones when the blooms wilt or fade. Don't keep an overabundance of flowers or plants in your bedroom as they create lots of yang energy in what needs to be a yin environment to foster good rest. Three small plants are quite sufficient to produce oxygen and promote health, well-being, harmony and family accord. Do plant red flowers in the ground or in planters on both sides of a front entrance that faces South. This provides protection to your family. Do plant flowers on both sides of a straight footpath if it runs directly from your front door to the street. This strategy will soften the straight line of negative sha energy by slowing it down. Plant or place two tall flowering shrubs on either side of a tree that emanates sha energy directly in line with your front door. This creates a triangle pointed away from your home and neutralizes the effect of the killing arrow.
aunt diane and uncle bill's garden
Gardens: The most basic law of gardening and life: you reap what you sow. Plant and nurture seeds of kindness, honesty, compassion and integrity, and that is what you will harvest. Your garden is a microcosm of the world. Plan a new view, surprise or delight to be revealed at every step or turn along a garden path. Incorporate curving paths which bring beneficial energy and draw visitors further into your garden. Achieve a balance of yin and yang, light and dark, and soft and hard through the various materials and plants used in your garden. Your garden should have private and public area, as well as active and meditative ones. Endeavor to create a garden that looks and feels as natural as possible. Use colors that are subtle, soothing and harmonious. Treasure the natural flora and fauna, disturb them as little as possible, and use them to their fullest potential. Share the blessings and abundance of your garden, whether it is in the form of fruits, flowers, herbs or vegetables. Create mounds or hills if your property is flat, so that it will not have too much yin energy. Add trees, bushes, walls or hedges to provide balancing yang energy. Use metal, glass, mirrors, fountains, waterfalls and ponds in the North area of your garden, which is associated with water and is enhanced by metal. This area also represents business, career, creativity, personal growth, new ideas, inspiration, music, art and intuition. Do not use stones, boulders, clay, brick, ceramics, tile, marble, geodes, or anything else from the earth in the North area of your garden. Do use stones, clay, brick or ceramics in the North East area which is associated with earth and enhanced by fire - a good place for stone benches or walls, terra cotta decorations, sundials, or a rock garden. It also represents knowledge, meditation, spiritual and intellectual growth, nature, research and experimentation. Do not use anything wooden in the North East or South West areas of your garden. Do plant prize specimens of anything you grow for income in the South East, the area for governing wealth. Place fountains, waterfalls, ponds, wooden furniture or steps, decks, trellises and arbors in the East or South East areas, which are associated with wood and enhanced by water. The East represents family, health, peace, growth, rebirth, harmony; the South East represents prosperity, abundance, communication and perseverance. Burn your leaves in the South area of your garden. Do not allow any form of fire, including a barbecue grill or candles, in the West or North West area of your garden. Do put a compost pile, children's garden or playground with metal equipment in the West area of your garden. This area represents children, fame, creativity, harvest and socializing. It is a good site for sunbathing, convalescing and entertaining.
Special thanks for the photo shares - family members with the green thumbs. xo
Saturday, June 26, 2010
my beloved rose is blooming
My screen saver says the following: I don't understand people whose greatest fear is being their parents. I wish I could be half as amazing someday. If you were a parent and saw this, what would your reaction be? Exactly. Tears, pride and joy. This moment will stay with us forever. Thanks, my Boo. I must continue my share about Wayne-O's new ride. Today he is picking up his coveted Boxster with Mikey. Exactly five months ago, Mike did the same with me when I picked up my Lexus. He is our mojo with cars. Wayne left his sunglasses in the Jeep while it is being repaired and Mike went and got him a cool set of shades from Nordstrom, the Kenneth Cole brand so Wayne will be cool at his age. These little thoughtful things make a parent teary-eyed. In 1972, Wayne's dad, my beloved Bombhead (George) purchased his own toy - a beautiful, big, green Cadillac at the dealership in Oak Lawn. He was 54; Wayne is 54. He was so happy to get this car and I came into the picture a year later and he still found joy in owning this auto. The owner of the Cadillac dealership purchased the Porsche Boxster to make a child's wish come true. A little boy ridden with cancer asked to be surrounded by Porsches and this particular car was used to fulfill the little boy's wish. Good energies already. Since it is a Cadillac dealer, they want to unload it, hence, it is meant to be Wayne's. He will take very good care of it and the history makes it even more exciting to ride in. Today will be fun to see them so happy with their accomplishments.
so are my dahlias
I hope you find time to enjoy the weekend. Although it will be a scorcher, if you are out and about, check out the Chicago offerings. We have the Crossroads concert in Bridgeview featuring Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Steve Wynwood, Buddy Guy, Cheryl Crow, John Mayer and a slew of musicians. Our friend, Eddie Reyes, went last year and said it was amazing. We have seen most of the artists in concerts in years past, but never together. I can only imagine how awesome this will be. My very favorite in the whole wide world, Lady Antebellum and Tim McGraw are performing at the Midwest in Tinley tonight. This will be utterly delightful for all my friends attending. Have a blast! The Band for TV is performing with members from different TV shows, including a few from Heroes, House, Desperate Housewives, et al. How cool will that be? Half a dozen Triathalons are being held in Chicago this weekend, the Cubs/Sox Crosstown games are going on (go Sox!) and the Gay Pride Parade and parties are happening. Members of the Blackhawks and Katy Perry are expected to participate. If you have not experienced the Taste of Chicago, it is worth dealing with the crowds. When we worked downtown, Wayne and I would meet during lunch and sample the Tempura and listen to a band, or return after work and listen to many great artists, like Barry White and George Benson. It's worth the trip. We had our fill so won't be going anymore. Matter of fact, I like indulging in relaxing weekends, just hanging around the abode. We are such nesters. Perhaps we will visit Dan in his new bartending place in Burr Ridge. We could have a drink at the new Sushi Bar. We'll see...
not ours, but cute couple's feet
We are planning to head up to Stony Lake in Michigan to celebrate the 4th of July weekend. Our dear friends, the Antoniollli's, invited us to stay in their newly acquired place up the hill from them. Mike, Margarita, Steve and Karen will go up first and Wayne and I will join them, then Dan and Darcy will be with us so it will be staggered with our family gathering. I don't want to leave the dogs alone anymore, so this works out perfectly. We may decide to take them with. I look forward to climbing the dunes and being with this fantastic family for they have 8 kids of their own and all their friends - it will be a party, no doubt. Whippy Dip, here we come!
I had a great time bonding with my brother Bo and sister Kiki this week. I love them so much and having nice conversations about the realities of life is very healing. There is nothing like the bond between a sibling, no matter what transpires throughout the years. I keep stressing this to my boys and hopefully my experiences will provide a testament that unconditional, pure love, conquers all. Always hope for the best. Always. God will always answer prayers. Always. xo
Friday, June 25, 2010
This was taken at the Versailles Restaurant when we met Margarita's family to celebrate her dad's 60th birthday a few weeks ago. What a wonderful time we had. The girls are finally entering our lives big time. The female energies are uplifting to me for now I can share girly-girl thoughts and listen to giggles.
This was taken on father's day. The girls dropped by throughout the day and the visits were staggered which allowed us time to bond with each of them. Darcy's dad is in St. Louis so she stayed by us for the day. It was so cute when she stayed downstairs to watch and listen to Dan play his drums. Wayne reminded me how I used to do that with him back in the day.
Karen is Steve's BFF. They are on an incredible journey together, making movies, singing songs, and enjoying life and all it has to offer. She comes over to learn how to make certain meals. I feel like Julia Child when she does. This week we made the chili cheese mac and that night Dan's friends stoppped by and devoured the porridge as Wayne calls it.
Here is my Thumper girl all decked out in her pink beret. It matches the pink in her droopy eyes.
Beautiful girls, all over the world, I could be chasing, but my time would be wasting, 'cuz they got nothing of you, baby. B.O.B.
Everything in time. xo
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Talk about affirmations! Wayne and Mike have been following this car for quite awhile now and he kept saying when the time is right, he'll get one. And he is. History repeats itself with our family and cars, for we usually need to purchase two cars at once and lo and behold, a few months later, Wayne will get his coveted Porsche Boxster for his double nickel birthday present to himself. He so deserves it and always puts everyone else before his own desires. Now it's time for him to enjoy a little more pleasure with this new toy. Thanks to Mikey; once again, our carboy brought it home to dangle the carrot, and it worked.
Look how happy he is! Men and their cars...Now Steve will have the Jeep whenever he wants, with the provision we may need it at times during the winter. Win-win. What a great deal - financially it is just like my purchase - and the very best part is no payments. I like collecting the titles to these cars - it took a long time to get to this point, but all the planning and saving is paying off. No boasting here, just sharing the power of perseverence.
She really is a beauty. We'll have to take some pleasure cruises, just as we did when we were dating. Don't tell anyone, but I would sneak out of the house when everyone was asleep and we would hop in Wayne's Camaro and just drive on I-55, listening to great tunes. What the heck - mom and dad knew - she busted me. Good times, there. Sometimes the universe gives you what you hope for when you're supposed to have it. If anyone deserves this toy, it's him.
I know we'll be just fine, when we learn to love the ride. Happy trails, Wayne-O. xo
Monday, June 21, 2010
and the livin' is easy...
Today is the official beginning of summer according to the meteorologists. This season offers the wonders of warmth, sunshine and lots of activities and memories to be made, mostly outdoors. We are kissed by the sun that adds that special healthy glow to our skins, the air is brighter and the clouds seem more pronounced with the blue sky as their canvas. Most of my childhood memories stem during this season. I vaguely remember anything besides the two big winter holidays unless it was during the summer. As a city dweller, we drank water out of a hose, found relief in water hydrants and went to Rainbow Beach. We vacationed in Marion and Bass Lake, but the bulk of our time was spent outdoors with our friends and cousins, playing relivio, It, kick the can and hop scotch. When I was a preteen we always hung around the field at Five's and when enough of us gathered, we played softball.
We are able to grill outdoors thanks to the invention of gas grills, but it is delightful to be outdoors while the various meals are being created. I still stand by my opinion that charcoal grills give the best flavor (sorry, guys.) Corn on the cob, watermelon, strawberries, and ice cream are the most significant summer-related indulgences in my life. Dark chocolate Dove bars rule! Tomatoes top this list, but we indulge toward the end in August and September.
I fondly enjoy all the fresh fruits available at this time. Food tastes so much better now, especially from the markets and our own gardens. I like the concept of markets - so quaint and personal. I have recently discovered my dogs like salad and watermelon. I eat this every single day and now I must share it with them. A dog liking spinach? Mine love it. Ozis likes bananas, too.
Since I was a teen, we frequented the Warren Sand Dunes in Michigan. This is my favorite place in the whole world and my boys have already been instructed to spread my ashes on a dune overlooking the lake. It only takes 90 minutes to get there and they offer camping, grilling, hiking up the dunes (getting harder every time) and just strolling the coastline of Lake Michigan. My fondest memory is when we were dating, Wayne and I were casually strolling near the edge of the beach and a hornet kept going after him. He grabbed his tee shirt and kept swatting him and that little, itty, bitty insect had him running at least half a mile down the coast. It is so funny just picturing that scene. LOL LOL LOL Good times, there.
I like being near water, but not so much staying in it, but this is the time when children love to dip and do anything pool and water related. When we had pool for the boys, it was the best investment we ever made. It lasted 10 years and they were always in that thing from May through October. It could be ice cold and they would splash around their little haven. I cherish those times.
My wish for this glorious season is that you find time to enjoy all the blessings being offered. Take advantage of all the activities and make it a point to discover a new town, market, garden, forest preserve, or something you have not done before and tack it on to your memory bank. My wish goes a little further in hoping all your travels and adventures are safe. Life has so much to offer; all we need do is reach out and touch.
so hush, little baby...don't you cry. xo
Sunday, June 20, 2010
father: a male parent, a man who raises a child, a man who adopts a child, a man who creates, originates, or founds something, a male ancestor
Today we celebrate all the dads in our lives. Many times these shoes are filled by uncles, coaches or family friends. My favorite expression is that any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad. Being a dad is more than just someone who brings home the bacon and cuts the grass, but one who stablizes a family. He is the balance of the female energy, the yang of the yin. A wise father will contemplate any situation before offering sage advice and it has been my experience that this support is filled with encouragement and optimism. Men think differently than women in that they will rise above emotion to make decisions. They are the fixers and their goal is to resolve the obstacles. The way a man treats his spouse is how a son will treat his wife. The subtle actions make tremendous impacts on how future generations live their lives.
I have been fortunate to enjoy extended father figures in my life. I had a great grandfather Walter Kelton, and three grandfathers, Lloyd Girtman and Huey Parsons (Paw Paw.) I got to know Wayne's grandpa George Nalepa (ciszawz), Uncle Achie and Uncle Andy. They have all passed now but my heart holds many memories with them throughout my childhood. We have enjoyed being closely connected with our Uncle Steve, especially after George passed on. I fondly remember times with Uncle Bill, Uncle Ronnie, Uncle Ray and Uncle Richie. I still connect with Uncle Ray (flagman) now and then and always look forward to spending time with Uncle Bill. He has a lot of talent and I continue to learn about his secret recipes and gardening tips. I so loved George, my father-in-law, and enjoyed the little time we had until his passing just after we married. We were very close and he called me blue eyes and I called him bombhead. We were each other's biggest fan.
I am lucky to be able to bond with my dad. Sometimes while growing up dads can be over protective and not so demonstrative of affections, but something happens as they age and they get a little softer. I look forward to visiting him each week and giving him a massage, tending his garden and bringing over his chili and pizza. He keeps saying we should not go out of our way for him, but truly it is our pleasure to do these little things. It's the least we could do for all he does for us. As I shared before, he worked two jobs for 45 years to support our family of 10 and made sure we had excellent educations. He taught us how to enjoy family and offered fantastic parties while entertaining us with his accordian and guitar. He always made sure we had clothes on our back and food on the table. Now he wants to win the lottery. He gave each of us a key to his home and his door is always open for visits, before and after his naps :).
Wayne-O is the perfect dad as far as I'm concerned. If the boys need something, he is right there for them in a heartbeat. He knows just the right thing to say and do in any given situation. He passed on his talented genes for music onto his sons, as well as showing them that men are indeed allowed to be strong, yet tender. Our sons adore him and happily share their experiences with him. If they follow as he is, they will have wonderful lives ahead of them. His footprints are imbedded in our hearts. They will always have a great role model when they decide to become fathers. I can't wait to see how he will be when he becomes a grandfather. Watch out wee ones!
Warm wishes to all the fathers and father-figures. Today we honor you for all you do. xo
Saturday, June 19, 2010
What a strange day we had yesterday. It began as a typical summer day, sun shining, in the 80s and around 4:00 all hell broke loose. The sky turned pitch black as if we were in an eclipse, the wind swirled intensely, tree limbs flew all around and I just watched and waited for Dorothy to appear. I was on the phone with Little Man and told him to stay put and all of a sudden the line went dead and the house became still and silent. Our power was out again. At first I actually like this for I light all my candles and watch the storms, but after awhile a terrible memory gets triggered for we have experienced a power outage of three days and five floods in our basement. When things settled down a bit, we took the dogs for a walk and felt a blast from the past. So many neighbors were out and about, just sitting in their garages or huddling together to discuss the situation. This is how is was when I grew up in the city - people were sitting outside their homes every night. We talked to people we haven't seen for years, commenting on the ordeal. As soon as we got home, the power went back on, so three hours is not so bad. The thing about these incidents is we learned to appreciate things we take for granted, such as being able to have coffee in the morning, listening to the news for updates, and having fresh food in the fridge. Fortunately, people we know did not get hurt or lose anything major. Nature reminds us of how many blessings are bestowed on us; sometimes we need a gentle reminder to count them.
I learned a new technical tool by cropping photos. Wayne calls it getting rid of all the guff. Now I want to go through all my archives and enhance them. He joined a new business social network site called linkedin. He has been busy updating his profile and already has close to 50 connections in one day. This is a great tool for keeping abreast of business opportunities and sharing knowledge about business stuff. I told him welcome to my world for now he will be clicking with his buddies just as I do on facebook. He gets a massage today as his Father's Day gift. I give him one whenever he wants. Spoiled. LOL. I had to share this pic of our babies taken prior to our trip; this way we could look at their picture when we were away. Karen stayed here and took care of them, but we found out they were so stressed by us being gone they did not eat at all. Margarita came by and took a nap with them and Ozis and my dear friend, Robin, came by to make sure all was well. Thanks to them for the peace of mind while we were away.
We stopped by my dad's and delivered his goods. We brought brother Bo a souvenir in the form of a cool cane. I was on a mission to find one that suits him perfectly and it was accomplished. Wayne and I took care of mom's lilac bush that was completely out of control and needed a good chain saw trim. She was so happy. It is always nice to visit them. The first thing we did when we got home was work on our garden - that's my favorite thing to do and my flowers are blooming like mad. Life is good. xo
For most of your life you've lived at the effect of your experiences. Now, you're invited to be the cause of them. That is what is known as conscious living. That is what is called walking in awareness. Neale Donald Walsch
Friday, June 18, 2010
We finally arrived at our coveted family trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic this week. This is where Columbus travelled in 1493 on his second voyage to the new world. We have planned this celebratory vacation for two years and some things are worth waiting for; this is one of them. Everything went perfectly as planned - the air trip was non-stop for four hours, weather was in the high 80s with a breeze at night and we bonded as a family the whole time. This was so needed as the Winds have endured quite a ride these last few years and we prevailed, so we were overdue a relaxing few days together. Thanks be to our God.
boys on the beach
This is my favorite picture of all my boys for as soon as we settled in, they all dashed to the beach. Wayne still has on his travelling clothes - he couldn't wait to change. Apple Vacations is aces - highly recommend them and we upgraded to Preferred Club which offered us the opportunities to bypass lines at the airport, choose great seats on the plane and overall being pampered to the hilt by the staff at Dreams. We felt like celebrities the whole time. Room service kept coming in to bring special treats everyday and we had our own private office to cool off and get my daily cappuccino and mammajuana. Besides rum, honey, vanilla and cigars, this is the drink the land is famous for - it is made of red wine, rum (of course) and honey and you drink it as a shot. It actually tastes like Polish whiskey and runs through your veins. Nice and smooth. Their joke is when mama drink it, mama gonna wanna. Hardy har har. As a sidebar, I am sipping a lovely new wine I discovered called Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It has such a beautiful taste and I highly recommend this if you are a wine lover. My best friend the whole time was my maggie raggie, a moist cloth that I wiped the sweat with, and my bottled water. Being a third world country, it is imperative not to drink the tap water to avoid getting sick. The country is very poor but it is building rapidly, hence, they call it the new Caribbean.
first night dinner at Oceana
The funny thing about this trip is I actually lost a few pounds while eating breakfast buffet, a grilled burger with loads of pickles for lunch and lovely dinners every single day. I think this happened by sweating profusely, guzzling water and walking all day. Note to self - sweat my ass off. The boys did their own thing during the day, cruising the pool, tiki bars and hanging around the beach on their own or at times hooking up with each other throughout the day, but our nights were spent together, something of a rare occurrence in real life. It was divine, and a memory I will cherish forever. Thanks, boys. Wayne and I realized they are young men now, with different schedules so for our next trip we will make sure they all have their own rooms. I am mentally planning San Diego as our next destination which will undoubtedly include their significant others.
flamingos in yoga pose
The grounds at Dreams were immaculate and we so enjoyed our little flamingo friends, macaws, cameleons and even a monkey and iguana. Steve happened to spot a huge spider that looked like a tarantula. The land is 200 miles closer to the equator than Hawaii. The breezes at night from the water were spectacular and we had a beautiful bonfire with music playing one night. We were entertained by the Entertainment Team each evening with a show and one night we watched the movie 16 Blocks on the big screen outdoors. Between the stars, the waves and the serenity of the surroundings, we were mesmerized. I must give a huge shout out to every single member of the staff, for their genuine hospitality and smiles were welcoming throughout the whole trip. It is not uncommon to run into a bartender or staff member who will sing and dance out of nowhere just because. It was very refreshing. They were eager to please us at all times. Every person you passed looked us in the eyes, smiled and said Hola (hello).
slow stroll after the spa
This is a picture of me after a wondrous spa experience at the wellness center, compliments of Wayne-O. I am terrible about making time to indulge back home and here I had the time to be pampered. Upon entering the spa, I was greeted with a glass of special chlorophylled water and each sip was more refreshing than the last. The glass was even wrapped in a napkin with a dainty flower on it. Their menu included one hour in the hydromassage area where I followed a list of a dozen different things to do prior to massage. Sensation shower, followed by steam room (where I sweat once again) then in the hydra pool with powerful fountains with pulsations that feel as if someone is giving a tapotement therapy on the neck and upper back. After 20 minutes I entered the rustic shower, then sauna room, followed by ice pool, sauna, and sensation shower again. I felt really rejuvenated afterwards only to be greeted by my therapist who took me to a secluded villa to receive a glorious 80 minute massage. Heaven on earth! I left that place a new woman. Wayne awaited my return so he could click this picture just to capture my buzz on film. I even cried I was so happy to feel so good. I tried to convince all the guys to get this treatment, but they weren't interested. Give them a few years.
me and all my goods
Another fine cocktail we enjoyed was the coco loco, made with rum, creme de cacao and a tiny topping of cinnamon. It is not as sweet as the pina colada and very tasty. Here is me with my rag, water and cocktail taking a break from the sun under the shade of our tiki hut at the hipster commune area. This trip is on the top of our list of happy trails and we are just getting started. Look out, world, we are ready to see you.
Hola, mi amigo! xo
Friday, June 11, 2010
~Work like you don't need the money~
~Love like you've never been hurt~
~Dance like nobody's watching~
It's Up To You
One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true,
One life can make the difference,
You see, it's up to you!
The world is full of abundance and there is plenty to go around for all. xo
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Our Chicago Blackhawks are bringing home the Lord Stanley Cup and Chi-town will celebrate their homecoming with a glorious parade downtown. All season I would write Go Hawks, but now we want them back home. The championship games were absolutely stellar and the Hawks truly earned this trophy. The Philadelphia Flyers were outstanding and the goalies on both teams are to be commended. Captain Jonathan Toews is awarded MVP and his Co-Captain Kane brought in the winning goal in overtime. So much drama - but this is the good kind! This young team has many more years to bring it home, and they will, for they remind me of all the other winning games in years past; they played together, not depending on any one superstar player. The best part of participating in the energies is when my sister Carrie called me with 3 minutes to go, for the Hawks were leading 3 - 2, and I heard her frantically panting about the heart attacks in her house when all of a sudden the Flyers scored and tied the game, taking away the lead and possible chance to begin our celebrations. She immediately said "I'm not calling you ever again" and hung up. How dare we whammy our boys? I phoned her back after the game and we continued our cheers. Girls get excitedly nutso, too.
Chicago can boast the 1985 Superbowl Championship thanks to the Bears, 6 Basketball Championships in the 90's thanks to the Bulls, 2005 Baseball Championship by our beloved White Sox and today the Stanley Cup Hockey Championship won by the Blackhawks.
The thing about winning such awards is very special to Chicagoans because we don't do it that often, so we cherish the special moments when we do. Fans cheer their teams all year and when we come close to participating even in the playoffs, the energies are high intensity. People need a purpose to bring them closer and sports does the trick. It is an icebreaker for strangers to discuss on the street. I wore the Blackhawks jacket quite a bit and everywhere I went, someone commented on the games. Historically, sports was a healer for hard times, offering hope in a desperate world. Think back to all the boxing matches during the World Wars. Broddick was a hero for us way back then. Seabiscuit brought us a Cinderella story we could cling to as well. Sports helps us to heal when all is awry in our tiny places. We can escape for a little while and forget about our money problems and any issues comsuming our threat to happiness. Even if we are not die-hard sports fans and jump on the bandwagon during the finals, we all still band together to root for our teams. Comraderie at its best.
Thank you, Blackhawks, for giving us a nail-biting, memorable thrill and bringing excitement to our little lives.
On another note, just as the final game began, I went to dump some trash in the recycle bin and noticed something move on the ground. After looking closer, I found these three baby birds directly underneath where their parents, Showy and Mrs. Showy, built their annual nest. Many times we have been unfortunate to find wee ones that did not make it, or fell out of their nests, but these babies are almost ready to go on their own. After panicking on facebook to get advice, we heard the parents chirping like mad dogs to the babies and my aunt suggested they will continue to feed them, even if they are not in the nest. After a while, things calmed down, but I was out of sorts for the first two segments of the game. They are chirping again this morning and I witnessed mama feeding one bird back in the nest and no sign of birdies on the ground, so hopefully all will work out. Nature does that, you know.
Today I have the pleasure of a peaceful morning all to myself. Wayne's working his final day before vacation; Dan's taking his final test, completing his year at DePaul; and Steve's enjoying the Sand Dunes with his friends. These moments are far and few between these days, so I indulge in the quiet and focus on getting things organized and ready to roll at my own pace. xo
I surrender to You my striving,
I let go all need to effort or to struggle.
I relax deeply into things exactly as they are.
I accept life, that it might move through me
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
the benes family
Today is Kevin's 20th birthday. He is celebrating with the angels in heaven but his friends and family held a loving gathering in his honor on Sunday. The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers organization held a 3.2 mile walk to pay tribute to our loved ones who fell victim to the carelessness of another. The love and support was dynamic in the healing from such tragedies. 400 hearts were gathered as one to bring these energies alive. Aunt Aletha and Aunt Diane have both created a beautiful photo display commemorating this day. Their talent never ceases to amaze me. Steve calls the three of us paparazzi because we all love to click and capture our moments on camera. Anyone who doubts that spirits do not exist should know we had a sign from Kevin while on the walk, in the form of seeing his favorite car idle by us. I could almost hear him whispering thanks for remembering me.
kevin's orange mustang
The night prior to this beloved event, Wayne and I had our Meet the Fockers moment. We attended the 60th birthday celebration for Margarita's dad, John, hosted by his wife, Ann. We met 15 of their family and friends and had a delightful time together. This was held at Versailles Restaurant in Buffalo Grove, which offered Russian cuisine and lots of vodka. Their homeland is Lithuania and we were entertained with so many lovely stories of their European adventures and the consequences of Russian forces. As soon as we arrived, we felt like honored guests, for they all came up and greeted us with warm hugs and their cameras were clicking off the charts. I can't wait to see the photos, especially those taken when we were all on the dance floor. Our family doings were of the Polish flavor, which is very similar, but noticably different in the amount of food being offered. I thought we were big on food, but servings of delicious fish and appetizers and desserts kept coming for hours and hours. It's a good thing we danced all night to sweat it out a little bit. It was Mike's birthday also, so there were many toasts all night long. We look forward to more gatherings with our new friends and family in the near future.
russian vodka and plenty of fish
I am backtracking on my momentous weekend as it began on Saturday morning when we visited Pops to sing Happy Birthday to him. Brother Bo was busy preparing ribs and a special 10" burger with grilled onions, the big daddy special. Carrie, John and Robert joined us and caught up on happenings. Now summer officially begins.
the birthday boys
Our dogs are heartbroken today for the sofa is being re-leathered for a month. I think they smelled a rat prior to it being taken away so I clicked this last moment of them lounging. I love them so much and fret when they are out of sorts. When we came home at 2:30 in the morning, Dan couldn't believe we were out so late (I usually turn into a pumpkin at midnight) and said the dogs were going ballistic without us. I can't imagine how they will be in a few days when we vacation in the Caribbean. Luckily, someone will be with them at all times and they won't be lonely.
I almost forgot, yesterday Wayne and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by relaxing in our makeshift family room. We opened a bottle of wine given us by Gabriella Antoniolli that she brought back from Italy. We sipped it while watching Tudors and just thanked the Lord for all the blessings He has bestowed on us. Perfectly quaint. Today he is taking another certification exam for computers. I hope he passes because I am weary of seeing him sift through that 1,000 page book since January. That's the thing about technology, as soon as you learn one thing, another system is created making that one obsolete. It is never ending. That's ok, for we are never too old to learn in life.
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. xo
I've had my moments
Days in the sun
Moments, I was second to none
Moments, when I knew I did what I thought I couldn't do
like a coat so warm,
a cold wind can't get through
Lookin' at me now, you might not know it,
but I've had my moments....
Moments by Emerson Drive