Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dave 15 - My cousin and Bagpipes!

Great day today. Wave-runner tour around back country in Key West. A beautiful sunset with bagpipe entertainment from my cousin John.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 14- Tampa, FL

Well... Mother Nature has surprised us again! As of now a thunder storm seems to be hanging around Key West. We plan to have a great time any way... Starting with the Green Iguana in Tampa Airport.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 13 - Vacation Bound

Lying on my bed, showered and almost all packed. The dogs know something's up, they're sticking close to us. We tell them that we're coming back...and then I think that there is always a chance we aren't or at least I'm not. It's not morose, it's reality and mostly, it reminds me of how precious today is.

I've decided to not do social media while I'm away. Maybe a very little , but I really want to be present for myself and my family and the experience. We found out there might be a lot of thunder storms so I'm planning to do a lot of meditating and spiritual work...which I happily welcome. You just can't argue with Mother Nature and I wouldn't want to.

I'll be writing a blog or posted pics here and probably occasionally on FB, but maybe not - it's obvious I'm conflicted about this. I think a little vacation from that will be good too.

Until tomorrow - where I'll be posting either from an airport or Key West.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 11 - Eden

How grateful I am to work in this little garden of Eden... with flowers over taking the roof and cascading down in front of the door to my office, only 25 feet away from my house.

Life is good.

(This photo was taken with my iphone - I used the Hipstamatic app)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 9 - Being Special

Sometimes, all I have to do is look at Luna (pictured) to be reminded of the inherent happiness and love in all of us. She can amuse herself like nobody's business... playing with balls and stuffed animals and when we leave to take out the garbage and walk back in the house, she is so excited to see us as if we have been gone for a month. 

Maybe this love makes us feel that specialness that we all desire.  Of course, feeling special comes from within, but this unmitigated show of love sure is a wonderful confirmation and reminder...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 8 - She's a Rainbow (Rolling Stones)

A few years ago, an exhibit of my black and white photography was coming down and I had no idea where I would store it.  We had a spare room so I decided to paint it light green and hang the photos in there. Soon after,
I decided that I wanted to paint our dining room "terra cotta" and with my husband's blessings, we did. Before I knew it, with my husband's help, I had painted every room in our house (except the second bathroom, which was already painted) a different color...terra cotta, purple, cranberry... and I felt like we really created our own home... making it colorful and cozy.  Here, these tulips looked so beautiful in front of the dining room wall... light coming in from the window... I couldn't have asked for a better back drop.

I think it's important to make our space our own, even if we rent it... it's still ours, temporarily and I guess when all is said and done, it's all temporary.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 7 - Speak No Evil

My father gave this gift of three monkeys  when I first got married.  I can't help but wonder if he was trying to tell me something.  I had just become a step-mom of three girls.  Most of the advice my father has given me I have implemented  and if not at the time he gave it to me, then, in retrospect.  But he has consistently given me this one piece of advice that I have grappled with for years and that is, that I should refrain from expressing myself and bite my tongue as often as I can.  I know he was coming from a place of love and caring, there is no doubt about that... I'm just not sure that I concur with this approach quite as much as him.  At a time when I am  re-learning the importance of being honest, with myself and others and expressing that in gentle ways, I find it difficult and almost painful to keep my "mouth shut".  Maybe it's a matter of trusting myself to express my feelings in ways that are not antagonistic or defensive...and I would like to think that I am open to hearing  expressions of others also, preferably in a non-attacking way.  Of course, this is a learned trait, that I practice as often as possible, sometimes better than others.

 I won't get into the dynamics of my experience of being a step-mom here...(that's a whole other blog) I will just say that it has been an amazingly delicate dance... one that I continue to learn, sometimes stepping on toes, and sometimes getting my toes stepped on.  Learning when to keep quiet and when to see, hear or speak....  maybe this family dynamic is really just a microcosm for everything else... and all relationships - always weighing the ramifications of speaking up. However, I am becoming more concerned with the ramifications of stifling myself and not expressing my feelings or truth at all.  I think it all comes down to intentions... and mine are always to have a relationship with more honesty and depth... though there have been times when I lost a friendship or even a family member because I expressed myself honestly, which is probably why it has taken me so long to speak up for myself again.  I've learned though, that sometimes it might take an uncomfortable communication to make things better... deeper and more loving.  I think I owe that to myself and to those I love.  It's not easy for me to confront myself and then be vulnerable with another... it never is, at least not for me... but I believe it is worth the discomfort and part of the process of growing a relationship-with myself... and with others. I think it simply comes down to self-trust and self-respect.  It bothers me that the word "confrontation" has acquired such negative vibes over the years... I think confrontation, when done in love, is crucial to intimacy.  In fact, I think it can actually save a relationship...actually, I 'know' that it can save a relationship.... because it has... mine.

Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.   Brian Tracy

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 6 - part 2


Day 6 - Father's Day

We decided to try a new place to walk today and ventured to Marina Del Rey. Not exactly nature, but still a nice walk with reminders all around about what's important in life.

I believe all men are one way or another. I am so grateful for my own father, who is celebrating on the East Coast. And I am grateful to celebrate with my husband, a father to 3 girls, 2 dogs and 1 cat.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 5 - For the Love of Dog!

I had the joy of going on a walk this morning with my youngest stepdaughter and dogs.  Usually, I  notice some nuances that I haven't seen before but today, she pointed out ones that I have never noticed.  One of these was this adorable dog looking through a fence that somebody so lovingly built so that  he/she could look out and see to the outside.   That's love.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 4 - Good for my Art & Soul

Yesterday I had the most wonderful day.  After dancing in my kitchen (see yesterday's post)...  I met with Jeanie Madsen, owner of the amazing Jeanie Madsen Gallery here in Santa Monica.  Every now and then you meet a kindred spirit and she is one of them. We went to Bergamot Station and perused some galleries and had lunch.  It was such a treat to take in other people's artwork and to hear what Jeanie thought from a gallery owner's perspective.  She would throw out ideas about certain pieces that blew me away... little nuances that would enhance a piece beautifully... not change it.  

It's so easy to get comfortable in my bubble and not venture out of it.  Yesterday, I was reminded of how crucial an ingredient it is, to get out and soak up the work of others and feed my art and soul.   I loved seeing Dan Shepherd's work at DNJ Gallery  along with Dale Johnson's work By The Sea.  All of the art, whether I liked it or not, was wonderful to see.  Don't shoot me for making yet another comparison to music but...  It's like listening to a lot of music and absorbing it all and then what comes out is a combination of all the different sounds that made an impact on me.  And another comparison for writing... the adage -if you want to be a good writer, than read voraciously.  It's this aspect that I miss most about formally studying with a professor... I used to love reading the articles assigned and going to exhibits and then writing about what I saw and how I interpreted it.

Just being in the galleries refueled my desires to have my own work exhibited in galleries and museums... I let the energy fill me and when it came time to have lunch at the amazing Bergamot Cafe I could hardly eat!

Yesterday was a wonderful gift and I consider myself extremely blessed to have shared it with such a beautiful and inspirational woman.  Today's image was actually taken in one of the galleries yesterday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 3 - I Got The Music in Me!

 Day 3.

What a perfectly sculpted piece of art... created by nature.
Today, I thought about letting go and how constricted I have been in so many ways. Depriving myself of some things that I know fill my soul with joy and excitement and one of those things is dancing.  On my way home from my walk I was listening to Pandora again, but today they were playing spa-like music, and while I love that kind of music, I was hoping to hear something "groovier" that would get my heart pumping ( you know, like the Miami Vice theme).  I was two blocks away and I had just taken this photo of the cactus and I just went into my play list and first thing I saw was from the Girls Night In mix which was mostly 70's dance tunes. 

So I turned up the volume and started listening to Lady Marmalade and I felt a jolt of energy and started skipping home and by the time I got home I was ready to really boogie.  My husband was at the sink in the kitchen with his earphones in.  He took them out and I took mine out and plugged my phone into the speakers in our dining room and just started dancing in the kitchen and he joined me and there we were, jumping around, dancing in the kitchen and having so much fun!    The next song that came on was a Kiki Dee  I Got The Music In Me  and as I was dancing and listening to the words I was in total bliss, "I'm never frightened or worried, I know I'll always get by."  - "When something gets in my way I go around it"  and finally.... I got the music in me.  

I invite you to try it... just click on the links and shake your booty!  We all have the music in us!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 2 - Silence

I woke up at 5 am today and got out of bed at 5:30, went into our tent room to meditate. Soon after, both dogs, Nico and Luna, followed and together we listened to the birds and stared out into a peaceful green backyard.

Excited, and a little nervous about keeping my commitment to myself, I took a photo of my view just in case I forgot to take one later today.  I thought about the importance of silence.  It felt so good to be an emptying out of worry and stress.  I am a fairly new consistent "meditator" and the more I meditate the bigger the gift I am giving to myself feels like.  It's so easy to wake up and hit the "automatic" button of the day.... but now, it's getting to the point where it's much easier to wake up and think about 'not thinking' before I "do" anything in the new day.  After meditating, I went for a walk and listened to more DavidJi and then some Heart Meditation music on Pandora, which I really love.  It reminded me of the days when I used to take my Walkman (remember those?) and walk from my apartment on E. 91st St. down to the village,  Bleecker St.,  to see a band at Preachers or The Bitter End in NYC.  I would listen to instrumental music mostly, and it would make me feel like I was in a move and the music was the soundtrack to my movie.  Yes, listening to Jan Hammer, who wrote Crocket's Theme for Miami Vice and the Alan Parsons project.  Today, I felt present, and the combination of soothing music and noticing the flowers and trees, was delightful.  It's June gloom here in Southern California and the diffused light really makes the greens rich and the purple on the jacarandas is stunning.

 It was so early, I caught the crows hanging out on some street and when I got closer they flew up onto the roof of a house.

I like my silence, I like my solitude. I'm learning that the more I fill up on it, the more I have to share with others in my life and the more I can be present.

You take yourself to be limited, but you are not.
Discover this.  Stay silent and attentive.
Be earnest about it.  Just be aware of your being here and now.  Reality will find you. ~Nisargadatta

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 1 - This Magic Moment

When I was in my 20's I was pursuing my music career and living in Manhattan in a little studio apartment. My bed was five feet high on a loft that I had built so I could have my piano in my apartment. My dresser was under my bed. I had pink carpeting and I painted geometric designs on my wall. In one corner I had my recording studio set up, complete with 4 track recording machine and synthesizers. My step-brother, Eddie, built me the coolest wardrobe closet, covered in "mauve" Formica, with a slide out plank that gave me a place to eat. I had two stools from Pottery Barn that I still have since 1985. My apartment on East 91st faced the street and had a tiny terrace which kept me from feeling completely claustrophobic and in the nicer weather I'd sit on the step and play my guitar. The woman in curlers, who lived her life looking out the window across the way, became a usual site and part of the landscape from my fifth floor view. She could probably write this blog post better than I.

During this time in my life, I had the privileged honor of meeting the great songwriter Doc Pomus, thanks to Harold Kleiner. Doc would wind up taking me under his wing as a songwriting student and after some time, he actually wrote a few songs with me and invited me to be in one of his documentaries. For those of you who may not know Doc, he wrote "Save the Last Dance for me," "This Magic Moment," "Viva Las Vegas" and many more well known and loved songs. One of the assignments that Doc gave me comes to mind now as my desire to be a better photographer grows. Doc had me write a song or a part of a song, every day. He said, "I don't care if you like it or hate it or think it's crap, just write it down, every single day and you will hone your skills." I loved his theory about writing songs, that it is not only about talent, but skill as well, and skill, is something that improves with practice and time. Thank you Doc.

I often take photographs in the morning when I am walking in the park or my neighborhood and listening to spiritual fodder...but recently I got away from it and I realized how much I missed it. This morning I listened to a davidji podcast from the Chopra Center, about commitment. Commitment to one's self and to the universe. Sometimes I stray from my commitment to myself and it feels bad. I get edgy and feel a little out of control and lost. So today, I "got back on the horse" and recommitted to my "self"and while having breakfast, I noticed how the light came in through the amazing white flowers on our table. I took a photograph with my phone and I decided, right there, that I was going to commit to taking a photograph every day, without judgment, I will take at least one photograph a day and post it to my blog. If I have something to say, I will accompany it with some text, if not, there will just be an image. I guess this will be sort of a photographic journal.

I hope you enjoy the view...