Drop By Drop

IMG_5366 (1) drop by drop

1-1/2 inches of water and climbing

Leadership Coach and Writer Tania Carierre challenged me with an exercise to answer the question: ” I know my day is one of meaning if I have had moments of ….”

If you know me well or have been following me, you know I have had moments of frustration, such as The Hole View.

As another week goes by with my window still broken and an abundance of rain, I’ve watched – drop by drop – how the gap between the broken and intact panes has filled with water. I actually tossed and turned the other night because I could not figure out how to extract performance from the contractor who repeatedly promises to come replace the window unit that he originally furnished. My written “demand for performance” came back undelivered. I called the owner on his personal cell phone. Another promise to schedule the fix goes un-fulfilled. It made me so angry. Why won’t people do right?!

The next day I remembered the challenge and started making note of the things that resulted in a meaningful day. Obviously, getting things done, being able to scratch across that pad rank high for me. But what else? One of my favorite things is listening to NPR. Yesterday I listened to a story about saffron grown in Afghanistan. During this show I learned of the Afghan Proverb “Drop by drop a river is formed.” This sent me onward into another rabbit hole of research. However, I didn’t feel like I was wasting time. I felt like I was learning. A day is one of meaning for me if I have moments of learning. How about you? What makes your day?

 

Quote Me – The Art of Conversation

IMG_4833 (1) conversation with Dad

Conversing with Dad

I was nominated by Britchy to participate in this quote challenge on the art of conversation. She knows I need help with the technical aspects of WordPress and what better way than to challenge me in a way that will require links and tags!! Also, in a time when conversations (i.e. effective communication) are more crucial than ever, I’m going to throw in a recommendation along with my quotes. Continue reading

Architecture, Fashion and a Rabbit Hole of Research

 

IMG_5202 (1) black dress

Cloak by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino in the Saint Guilhem Cloister

During my recent trip to NYC, I was able to enjoy Fort Tryon Park on a daily basis. One of those days, I visited The Cloisters embedded in the park and managed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I noticed the sampling of architecture throughout and learned it was constructed using bits and pieces of Romanesque and Gothic structures from France and Italy. Each piece has its own elaborate history.  In addition, a portion of the Met’s feature exhibit “Heavenly Bodies” was integrated into it.

Heavenly Bodies is a large collection of religious artifacts and contemporary “religion-inspired” fashion. I never considered the notion of religion-inspired fashion. It was very intriguing and I wanted to write a serious blog about it. I could have spent hours in this exhibit and actually did spend days drafting and re-drafting this piece. I found myself doing more research than writing. I ended up in rabbit hole after rabbit hole of interesting, beautiful stuff. I’m a fluid writer when it comes to my own thoughts and emotions, but this turned into hard work! I’ve shifted my purpose to simply sharing a few of my photos. For a comprehensive collection of professional photos, I recommend taking a look at The Gothamist publication of photos by Sai Mokhtari here:

These are a few of my favorites from that day which highlight the fashion and variety of architecture. After you enter the elaborate doorway of a Romanesque chapel, you are greeted by the stunning, yet simple image of Balenciaga’s wedding dress from 1967.

IMG_8580 (1) large arches

Doorway from a church in Italy now serves as the entryway into the Fuentiduena  Chapel

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Cristobal Balenciaga’s Wedding Dress in Fuentiduena Chapel

Hidden under an elaborate medieval stair well, is a red rubber dress by John Galliano for Dior.

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Dress by John Galliano for Dior

Outside, there are more beautiful doors, archways and gates.

One final memory of my visit – a rabbit hole on the pathway to The Cloisters. Not staged by me, but of course I had to photograph it.

 

Trying On NYC – Fort Tryon Park

 

IMG_5139 (1) Fort Tryon Marker

Battle field marker at Fort Tryon Park

Did you ever have a shirt or dress that fell out of favor, ending up in the back of your closet? Months or years later you find it, pull it on and suddenly it looks differently on you? That’s how I felt about NYC before retiring. I associated trips to NYC with work and travel related stress. Plowing my way through crowds and drug sniffing dogs in La Guardia. Stepping out into the heat wearing a suit. A scary cab ride into downtown. People everywhere. I had many creative excuses for not going to work in NYC. However my beloved niece lives there and I decided to try on NYC again. Continue reading

The Hole View – Retirement Pressures

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The guy who cuts my grass broke a window on May 17th. Two weeks later, I still don’t have a firm schedule for its repair – although I did finally get a price quoted. In my retirement transition, I’ve been focused on this hole and angry. It’s a symbol of everything that is broken and that I’ve been waiting to get fixed. Now that I am retired, that which used to be a nuisance, sometimes becomes an obsession. I retired from a  career in power where I worried about the scope of outages, when the next hurricane might come, and a myriad of daily decisions and administrative matters. Now, my decisions are like this: Continue reading

Somewhere On Route 66

 

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Getting my kicks

After celebrating the New Year in Southern California, Mark and I decided to take the long way home, venturing off the main highway to see as much of Route 66 as we could. Actually, it wasn’t that spontaneous. Mark had plotted the trip and made numerous reservations weeks in advance. The weather in some locations could be unpredictable, but we were lucky to have very mild conditions. We were able to execute our plan flawlessly. Continue reading

Boxer Tales Part 4 – Tia

 

IMG_4342 Tia with pink pillow

Tia relaxed (and slept) with her tongue out.

I set up my new lap top on the dining room table so I could look out the picture window when I write.  The sun is shining just right, and I can still see her nosey smudge marks on the glass.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern; I experience a life crisis – get a boxer. By 2014, both Buster and Tyson were gone, my Father had passed away and my Mother was seriously ill. Shaylea and I became best buds and I don’t think she missed those other boxers at all. That summer, my niece Tawny moved in with me, my long-term boyfriend moved to France, and Shaylea passed away suddenly from a bleeding tumor.  Too much life change at once.  I was a basket case. Tawny hinted at getting a cat, but told me what I really needed was another boxer. Continue reading

Boxer Tales Part 3 – Tyson

 

IMG_4229Tyson portrait

Palette knife portrait by Judy Mackey

 

Not all these tales are perfectly happy.  For starters, Tyson had no tail. A docking job gone poorly.  Good thing they left his soft floppy ears alone. Tyson was a stray, turned in to the boxer rescue still dragging a heavy chain around his neck. He’d probably been used as a guard dog. He had busted loose, looking for freedom and a better life at the age of 4-ish.

Meanwhile, my life was headed towards another rough patch. After enjoying my nice promotion for a few years, our company was going through a reorganization affecting me and my staff. What better way to take your mind off problems than to create new ones? Since I had no control over this situation, I decided to go save another boxer. It was a disastrous decision, but with a few heart warming and humorous moments. Continue reading

Boxer Tales Part 2 – Shaylea

 

IMG_4116 (002) Shaylea's portrait by Mark

Photo portrain of Shaylea by Mark Winslet

 

Within two years of divorce, I saved enough money to move myself and the dogs out of our little bungalow into a new home with a fenced in back yard and pool.  I got a promotion and a fresh start. I graduated from eating beanie weenies with boxed wine, or no wine, to fresh fish and a decent bottle every now and then. I still washed and reused baggies, though.  Being broke will make an environmentalist out of you. Life was good. Continue reading

Boxer Tales Part 1 – Buster

 

IMG_4146 (002) Buster Mom's portrait

Water Color of Buster, by Jacqueline Stubbs

 

(Having recently lost my 4th boxer, Tia, from cancer, I thought a blog would be good therapy and a way to honor her. Even better, I’ve decided to start from the beginning. This is Part 1 of “Boxer Tales”, in memory of my beloved Boxer dogs and to showcase the work of artists who captured their spirit.)

Thanksgiving weekend, 1999. My soon to be ex-husband (“X”) was pulling into the driveway in his consistently late fashion. Peeking outside, I noticed he had one of his “running buddies” with him. A dark, handsome stranger sat in the passenger seat of the sedan. I stepped away from the window, bracing myself for his latest excuse, when the front door opened and in bounded an excited 9 month old male boxer. No running buddies in sight.  The dog had been riding in the front seat like he belonged there.

Continue reading