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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas' Past...

Christmas has always been a wonderful experience in my life.  My childhood memories are ones that I will cherish forever.  My Mom always made this time of year feel very special!  The house always had a wonderful smell of brisket and all the fixings, or a turkey...Mom would make her special apricot pinch cookies and enlist our help in mixing until our arms practically fell off!  We'd get a tree and call it our Channukah bush.  The house always looked very festive, even in our bedrooms and the bathrooms. 

We wrote our letters to Santa.  We even mailed them!  I remember going to Marshall Fields in downtown Chicago to look at the store windows...they were all made up with the story of Christmas, with manniquins that moved, of little girls and boys being tucked into their beds, stockings hung by a homey hearth.  Big fat Santa's were outside ringing their bells for donations.  I knew they weren't real though, they were just helpers and Santa gave them his suit to wear cause he was still making the toys in the North Pole.  I would even question Mom when I'd notice that her handwritting was on the Santa presents "He needed my help", was the answer I got!  I did find a "stash" of presents in the big armoire at the end of our upstairs hallway one year, but I quickly dismissed it and didn't think of it again until years later.  I'm also Jewish! 

I know, this doesn't compute...but why not celebrate as many traditions and holiday's as possible? least that's my moto! Just in case you were wondering...I'm the little girl on the left. :)

I grew up, as most of us do.  I moved away and met my prince charming and then started my own traditions in my own home.  Much like my Mother did, I decorate, I cook and bake, I make sure the stockings are hung and the menorah is out to be lite for all 8 nights.  I started taking my daughter to see Santa when she was 6 months old. She's 14 now and I still take her.  We also made it a tradition to see The Nutcracker play and sometimes go for holiday tea.  Last year we went to see the production that was in San Francisco, but we usually attend the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.  I like tradition...Tradition is good...

Above is a picture of my daughter and I in 2005, right before seeing the play...the muff she has is one that my father gave me as a child, made of rabbit fur.  I know, I know, not politcally correct anymore, but hey, the bunny's been dead for over 45 years!
Below is a picture of us last year on Christmas morning. I made them clean up all the wrapping paper from the floor, I made them brush their hair and teeth and sit in front of the tree while I set the timer on the camera.  Oops, got to take it again...your eyes were closed...opps, taking it again...I'm not sitting up straight...wait...the third ones a charm!  SMILE!

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah! 
May your coming year be filled with many blessings and joy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My passion...

My creative juices started at a VERY young age...but that's a story for another post.

My latest (last 20 years, LOL) passion and creative outlet is photography.  From my first instant Kodak camera with the attachable cube flash (8th grade graduation gift from my Grandma Mare) to my digital today... and Minolta and Nikon in between!

I am not prejudice on what subjects catch my eye either.  Food, family, friends and events, beach, even table settings from Breakfast Club...but my latest joy is capturing some awesome photos of my lovely daughter.

Come on! I mean, with a subject like this, I doubt my camera could take a bad shot if it tried!

Of course the lighting or that radiant smile had nothing to do with it! LOL!

I'm truly obsessed with pictures...more so of capturing the memory visually I think though.  The first things I'd grab if there was ever a photo albums!  I know I can make new memories, by shooting new photos, but the joy of looking back and remembering what once happened, fills me with happiness and most always brings a smile to my face.

Like my Auntie Bon sitting outside a beach cafe' in Santa Barbara in 1984! What was she thinking?

Technology has gotten better by leaps and bounds!  And parallel to that my memory has gotten worse!  But when I look at these photos of times past, on line, in a photo album or stuffed loosely in a shoebox, I feel blessed as that moment reaches the surface again and I recall that silent bliss.

This photo above is of me on my wedding day helping my step-daughter get ready for the nuptials in 1993.  I wish I had some of that time back with her...I think I might do things a bit differently.  She and my best friend Jane stood up for me.

Here's my dear, dear Aunt Miriam. She's showing my baby how to draw a puppy dog.  She was my Grandfather's sister, a beloved wife and mother, an artist and one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world.  I'm so glad that she was able to touch our lives.  I have two of her painting hanging in my home. :)  Makes me smile knowing that she created them.

Above is a shot called "Delighting in the Delectable" with Andre', Sydny and Taun Taun Pierre in 2001 in La Hume, France.  Notice how I made the desserts seem as big as the people?  :)  Tricky, eh?

How about this one from of our favorite places...the beach!  Here you can see my husband's, and his two little helpers...Faith (who's 16th birthday is today!!!) and Sydny. 

I could take rolls and rolls of sand and surf...okay I'm dating myself now...memory cards and memory cards full! Better?  HA!

In 2006 Sydny and her Auntie Sheryl were captured at Pajaro Dunes. She and her dog Brownie love the beach too! Hard to beat that backdrop!

See? I told ya!

Thanks for coming along with me down memory lane... I enjoy taking these "trips" a lot, so stay tuned for more shots of joy!

Next time the camera may find you!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our brief beach vacation...

I'm sitting here in front of the french doors looking out at the ocean, on the last day of our beautiful vacation. We're at the beach cottage we rented for the last week.

The waves are a familar and welcomed repetition, although late in the day, beach life is still happening around us..

At one point earlier in the day on a walk dragging my feet in the sand, letting the salt air brush back my hair and looking out into the vast ocean, I spot a family of dolphins and I become mesmerized...

I'm not the only one that is drawn to this beautiful site...

I find myself savoring every last grain of these simple moments that are filled with joy and looking forward to returning to experience it all again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finding friends in surprising places...

I've never thought of myself as a "sports" Mom...I mean, although I sat in the uncomfortable stands and bleachers at my step-son's T'ball, swim meets and soccer games, I thought I was safe in not having to schedule my precious weekends around a little boys activities. Then I had a girl... At the ripe old age of 13, she decided that she wanted to try Volleyball. Really? I mean, talk about committment which included time and money! Lots of money...and did I mention...time?

She loved learning the game, loved getting together with the girls at practice, loved getting the backpack with her name on it (spelt right!) and the team clothes. I have to admit... I was beginning to enjoy it too...actually looking foward to chatting with the Mom's, and teasing the Dad's, bringing my share of "base camp" food and trying to find ANY thing in my closet that remotely resembled the color TEAL...the color of our team of course!

Little did I know, that this game would bring into my life, some pretty wonderful people, that I probably never would have met otherwise. My daughter played on a "Club" team for the season, and there were practices, and games most every weekend. At first, I must say, it was hard to get up and be an hour away from home with a game starting at 8am! I mean, aren't weekends to sleep in!

But as the weeks turned into months, our little group found friendship and laughter. We consoled eachother, and cheered eachother's children on, we built up egos, and shouted encouragement from the side lines! Yes, I became one of 'those" Moms! We enjoyed homemade chili, and bbq, we tasted some wonderful homemade treats that one of the team Mom's was experimenting with. We always had a wonderful container of hot coffee to wake us up and keep us warm.

Friendships were built.

Thank you 14 Teal girls and parents for coming into our lives, enriching them and filling them with JOY.