Putting it all together

So, I've been rather busy as of late helping my friend Lesley-Anne plan her wedding for next summer. Now, this is my first formal involvement in a wedding so it's been exciting and a bit overwhelming at times to see how much detail goes into getting everything together to make a special day happen. Lucky for me, my friends have great taste and I've had a lot of fun coming with up ideas for flowers, table settings, cakes (yum!), and the overall color scheme of the wedding. We've been using paint swatches, color scheme books, vintage Martha Stewart wedding guides and lots of websites like Style Me Pretty to get closer to finalizing the perfect look. Here's what we've been gotten so far:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The original inspiration for this palette is Georgia Tech (where Lesley-Anne and her fiance attend), as you can see we've expanded upon the original navy and gold scheme to include more shades of blue.

There is definitely a lot more work ahead (and also some things I can't discuss because weddings should have surprises!) but work is always a lot easier when you get to share it with your friends.

Wednesday and it's half way through the year! {UPDATED}

I'm pretty sure it was just April, and now it's June. How many more days till Christmas? It doesn't matter, it will go faster than you think, and you still won't be ready!
I'm making a new purse. With yummy Amy Butler fabric and one of her patterns too. It's a long drawn out process. Buy 2 kinds of fabric. Let them acclimatize for a few days. Then buy a 3rd for the lining, but not AB, that's too expensive for the inside of a purse where you will get pen marks and gum stuck to. Think some more about the purse. Put fabric downstairs. Bring it upstairs. Buy some interfacing. Let sit for another day. Hand wash all fabrics. Let dry on clothes line for 12 hours, worry someone might steal your fabric, realize you spent $60+ on fabric to make a purse you probably won't even like. Shake bugs out, bring it in. Leave downstairs till ripe. Find ironing board, and iron, make sure they are clean, not stained by crayons or other craftiness. Wonder why you are ironing since you are just going to fold the fabric up for 3 more days? Blog about it.
Update: I put off procrastinating and decided to start my purse, only to find I have misplaced my pattern. I can't believe I finally bought an Amy Butler pattern only to lose it!!!

Wrinkled Ladies

Are you an internal or external person.

In order for a person to be successful in any endeavor, he needs to be totally and completely present. For a soldier to win, he can’t be distracted in any of his soul garments. Whether it is in thought, speech or action, when a soldier is engaged on the front, every part of the soldier has to focus on his mission to be successful. That means no Blackberries, iPhones, texting or multi-tasking.

Chassidim sing a meditative melody to prepare themselves to hear and absorb a mystical discourse. It once happened that they were singing this preparatory song quickly in order to already get to the intellectual discourse. Their Master addressed his students on the differences between the preferred and better, internal oriented person versus the inferior external oriented person. The Master explained that an internal centered person, even while singing a preparatory song, he is still totally and completely into what he is doing at the moment, despite anything or everything going on outside of the present moment.

A person who is completely immersed in the moment won’t just do things technically as an external oriented person. An internal oriented person is completely involved in the moment. He is therefore totally alive and enthusiastic in what he is doing since the act is not only on the outside for show but is internally oriented. This manner in doing things allows the person to have the greatest chances for success, since all of his faculties focus on the mission at hand. Doing something, and having ones soul in it, gives a person the greatest satisfaction since the person is at peace with himself and living harmoniously.

Once, a Mystic in the times of the Bolsheviks was being sent off to hard labor. Minutes before he was taken away, he was working on important documents and addressing issues, completely oblivious in his thoughts and actions, at that moment, that so much danger lay ahead for him. At another occasion, he explained that this is the secret in making the best out of a day and the most out of life ,to always be in the moment.

When a person prays, the Bible says all his thoughts, and of course his words and actions, need to reflect his desire and interest to connect with G-d. If while saying his prayers at that moment he entertains foreign and alien thoughts, thoughts that just don’t belong with the words and actions he is involved in, the words remain hollow and lack the thrust and engine to reach the heavens. For prayer to be meaningful and to have any significance, a person has to enter the words with his thoughts and soul and immersed in the words he is saying.

King Solomon says, “In all YOUR ways you shall know him,” and “all YOUR deeds shall be for the sake of heaven.” King Solomon is teaching us something very important. In all that you do, always make sure it is imbued and in line with your higher purpose --, that is the secret to success and deep soulfulfillment.

Jenna Sucks

I wrote this post for my new personal blog, Prep Judicata, but Michelle wanted me to share it with our Rococo and Caffeine audience. So here goes!

I used to love J.Crew. They had fabulous cashmeres, adorable dresses, and great basic polos. I think my favorite thing from that store was the line of fun flip flops they carried in the summer. You know what I'm talking about- the ones embrodiered with stuff like martini glasses, sailboats, fleur de lis, and other summery patterns. I decided to stop by when I was in Georgetown last weekend just to check out what patterns they had this year. Very displeased was I to learn that J.Crew isn't selling them in stores anymore. According to the snooty, faux-artistic store clerk, "[t]hat's not the direction J.Crew wants to take." You can buy some on the website, but there are only three patterns, and none of them are very vibrant. But buy 'em up quick, kids, because there won't be any more after this.

This is the cutest pattern from the lot, and I'll probably end up getting a pair:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

But it's obvious that the designers didn't put ANY effort into these patterns at all. They're just dull rehashes of earlier patterns.

This pattern, especially:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Back in 2007, J.Crew had a cute fleur de lis pattern with gold fleurs and a cranberry background (I have a pair and they have been loved to death). This pattern, however, is just a travesty. The colors don't even go together. It's almost as if J.Crew is trying to make you not want their traditional merchandise...

While the men's clothing remains as preppy as ever (my boyfriend was very happy that Sperry Topsiders is doing a line of shoes for J.Crew), the women's selections have changed drastically in style. I'm ~pretty~ sure you can only buy polos online. And remember the cute lighthouse halter dress from a couple of years back? You can't get anything like that anymore. Just stuff like this:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There's nothing wrong with this dress; there's just nothing distinguishing it from half the stuff sold on Gilt or Ruelala.

Why am I making such a big deal about this? Well, J.Crew didn't come into existence until after the Official Preppy Handbook was published, but it has become an icon of stylish, modern prepdom. In fact, it is going to feature heavily in the forthcoming OPH sequel, True Prep. It seems odd to me, then, that they would switch out their 'look' right before this book, which praises their preppy style, comes out. Personally, I think it's deliberate. Preppiness went out of style in the 90s, relegated to a basic stereotype along with 'goth', 'emo', etc., and all the two-faced nasty girls in pop culture got distinguished as prep (think Cruel Intentions). It came back into fashion mid-2000s, especially with the popularity of Vineyard Vines, and the 'new look' was glorified in the Tea Partay video. However, it seems that preppiness is going back out of style in favor of the casual slightly-less-ridiculous-than-boho look with drapy stuff, decorated t shirts, etc. Connecticut College, William and Mary, and Washington, DC are still bastions of prepdom, but I think, as a whole, the style is out (but true preppiness is a lifestyle, not a clothing trend!). It seems True Prep is a bit tardy in its making, and J.Crew has moved on in search of a different cash cow. This is highly frustrating for me, because I really loved their classic stuff, but LL Bean and Brooks Brothers are excellent substitutes.

Good Deeds - Maria Robinson

Kat's Diary: Who am I really? I wife of over 50 years, a mother of 48. A child rescuing a mother, tethered with innumerable screaming babies. A father at the shipyard day and night off Staten Island in the 40s. A taste of Manhattan and the life of the upper level Jewish and Protestant women, breaking free of family and home and worship. And here I am, at 70, a mother to my grandsons, a dreamy dysfunctional daughter, and absent but good provider husband. I have not lacked for anything. But duty, duty, duty. that's all its been. Yes, I have my mother-in law's house in Florida, but really I am still the caretaker of everyone and everything. Didn't anyone ever think that I wanted something more in my life? Yes, I have my dog's, my special time to be alone, but that is all part of the show.

Good Deeds - E. D. James

Bright lights lit the end of the tunnel and the station indicator beeped insistently. Alan struggled to open his eyes and pull his head off the glass. The train would operate automatically but it wouldn’t look good if one of the supervisors happened to be on the platform and saw him napping. The warning panel began marking off the distance – 100 meters, 50 meters – at 25 meters he got his head up and grabbed the rag he kept on the dash and quickly swiped it across the grease spot he’d left on the window from his hair. One of the tricks of the trade his buddy Dave had taught him years ago when he was first training.

Suddenly the dark cocoon of the tunnel opened to the blazing expanse of the Embarcadero station. The run under the Bay always lulled Alan into a relaxed and easy state. A long dark run with no possible obstacles. It was his favorite section. He always regretted that station popping out of the dark. He could ride that tunnel for eternity and be perfectly happy.

The platform was jammed. Usually was on the midnight run. Last train to Daly City. People got out of the bars and down the hole so they didn’t have to take a cab and waste a days pay. Alan sat up and got his head into the game. The platform was the place things happened if they were gonna, especially at this time of night. Right at the end of the platform two groups with flags seemed to be jostling. Alan’s field of vision telescoped and he could see bodies getting bumped very close to the edge so he put his hands on the controls and switched to manual pulling the speed down more quickly than the computer would have done. Just as he passed the halfway point he could see a young woman in an oversize red, white and blue jersey suddenly lose her balance and pitch down on to the road bed. He jammed on the brakes and felt the lock and heard the squeal of fifty tons of steel and flesh grind against the rails. The slide seemed to go on forever, the girl was getting to her knees and Alan could see that she wasn’t going to make it up and back to the hands of her friends frantically reaching down to try and snatch her up from the onrushing battering ram. The girl began crawling on her hands and feet moving forward like a crab and then standing and stumbling along the ties her feet slipping as they hit the edges. And then the distance between she and he seemed to reverse. She was getting farther away and he was slowing and stopping.

He hit the lock button, slammed open the door behind him, stepped across the passengers who’d been thrown to the floor, and made his way out the door. He stepped over a sign that said “Slovenia Rules!” and pushed his way through the throng that was jamming forward to see if what had happened to the girl. When he got to the front he yelled, “Don’t move, the rail to your left is electrified.”

The girl looked up and burst into tears.

Good Deeds - Anne Wright

The cub scout’s head almost reach the waist of the old woman, but he took hold of her arm as they stood waiting for the light to change. At his touch, she gave him a malicious stare and hugged her pocketbook to her chest with gnarled hands. She was my mother although sometimes I didn’t recognize her as the pretty young woman in the family photos, the same way I didn’t recognize myself when I looked in the mirror, now that I was nearly fifty and fighting grey hair and wrinkled craw.

The light changed and we moved into the crosswalk monitoring mother’s halting steps while the Vespas fought and heaved alongside us anticipating the seconds until they’d surge and race to their destinations. We were in the middle of the cobbled street, the one overlooking the Arno when mother stumbled, knocking the cub scout to the ground, clinging to me and cutting my arms with her unmanicured claws. The little boy clambered up and ran to the sidewalk, leaving us bloody and disheveled, me kneeling and mother sitting on her feeble hips. The light changed and all I remember is the gutteral roar of the Vespas’ engines.

Fake - Camilla Basham

Well, you don’t know me, but let me tell you, if anyone could keep a secret, I could.
If there was a prize for secretiveness I would have won it and kept it on the foot of my bed, slept with it like a body pillow, worn it like a blanket. So, Eddie asking me if I could keep a secret wasn’t so much a real question, just a guy stalling before he got to what he really had to say.

I set up in bed, wiped the blurriness from my face and focused on him through the veil of the mosquito net.

“What’s wrong, Eddie?”

Eddie was never one for words so I knew right off this would be like pulling teeth. He tugged at his roman collar. He was always in some sort of uniform, when hands weren’t clapping for him as he took the field in his football jersey they were clasped in prayer as he led the Sunday procession in his altar boy cossack.

The scent of incense still lingered on him, his right hand motioned from his lips to about a foot away from his face and back again, as if he was trying to pull the words out by some invisible cord, his eyes drowning in their own tears, his cinnamon brown hair sticking straight up from the constant running of his sweaty left hand through it, stroking and tugging as if to coax the very roots out that it might offer some relief to his brain.

He opened his mouth to speak and instead of words out came a heaving sound followed by a putrid sour jet of liquid that sprayed into the palms of his now raised hands. The look in his eyes said, flee. And that’s exactly what he did.

Using the Virgin Mary statue to brace him self, he grabbed her hips, lifted himself from the floor and ran out chanting, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t”

I could feel my heart beating in my chest and I didn’t know whether to go after him or leave him in peace. Giving into my ancestry, I chose the fake security of avoidance. The smell of incense, and sour wine lingered. I watched the latter run down the robed hips and thighs of the Virgin Mary, pulled my blanket of secrets up to my chin and fell into my pillow.

Out of Oxygen - John Fetto

Hawley stood at the sink, washing the blood from his hands, watching the red water circle down the drain, and breathing, long deep gulps, his chest stretching to collect enough oxygen to push the blood pulsing in his brain, but no matter how fast he breathed, there wasn’t enough. The bare light bulb of the washroom flickered, as if it too were gasping for air and with each pulse of light, the room disappeared in darkness as if the whole world stuttered and gasped, on the verge of deserting him in darkness because of what he had not done. He rubbed his hands harder, harder, no, he was wrong. He wasn’t being cast in darkness. The darkness had always been there. This wasn’t punishment. This was a test. He would get another chance. At least one chance. And the moment he thought that, his lungs caught a breath as easily as a boat’s sail opened to a warm breeze. He knew how to make it right. He would make it right.

Out of Oxygen - Judy Albietz

Richard likes to listen to Rose’s version of how they met. That was fifteen years ago. She was on a business trip. He was coming back from a long vacation. The way he likes to tell it he was caught off guard since he was so relaxed—or maybe he was just jetlagged. Rose describes how she spotted him at the ticket counter. A green day pack slung over one shoulder, he was tall and lean in his worn blue jeans, t-shirt and tan blazer. When he turned around, she saw he had a heavy day’s growth of beard. She didn’t see him again until she got on the plane and saw he was sitting in the row right behind her. She usually didn’t talk to anyone on an airplane, but that day she did. She even talked to him through the crack between the seats. Finally, he moved up to the empty seat in her row. What did they talk about? That’s not part of her story. Next she tells how the seat he sat in refused to recline and he threatened to move back to his seat for the long five-hour flight. “So what did I do?” she asks. “I fixed the seat.”Then she goes on to describe how he swept her off her feet. After a long sigh, she slowly lifts both hands in the air, palms faced away from her, to illustrate her surrender to him—or maybe she was showing how inconvenient it was to meet him. After all, once they met, fell in love and decided to live together, she was the one who had to move 3000 miles to a new place, get a new job and leave all her friends.

Out of Oxygen - Elizabeth Weld Nolan

He slammed the door of the old white station wagon and turned the ignition key. The car was parked in front of the house facing the wrong way. He leaned into the steering wheel as he engaged the gears. She stood beside the car in her green running shorts and top, hugging herself against the morning chill.

``What time will you be home? See you tonight?’’ He didn’t turn his head but managed a little wave. He pulled the car away from the curb with a deep thrust of the accelerator. She kept her eyes on him as she began to run alongside, feeling at least she could be beside him for a minute more. He pulled away onto the right side of the street.

She kept pace for two more seconds until she slammed into the concrete with her chin and knees. He kept going. Flat on the rough sidewalk, she gasped and began crying with the shock, curling around to reach for her knee, patting her face and coming away with blood. Confused and stunned, she sat up. She had stepped in a deep hole in the sidewalk in front of their next door neighbor’s house, a hole she had never noticed. She couldn’t get her breath and held her stomach until slowly, air returned and she could get up.

She hobbled into the house feeling as if she’d been assaulted. At least the children were already gone to school and she could tend to herself without scaring them. She dabbed at her scraped knees and hunted in the medicine cabinet for the antibacterial ointment.

Tending herself, by herself. She sat still in the quiet house, no chaos, no shouts and tears. She wanted this. She had to make it happen. She had to go, take the children and go, before she stepped in another hole, before she ran out of oxygen for good.

Grown-ups - Kate Bueler

Grown-ups. I am a grown up or I play one regularly on this show called my life. Sometimes my job as a nanny. Sometimes in my family. But the kids think I am a kid adult. And I am not sure if it is because I don’t have grown-up things like a house or a husband or kids to call my own. But actually it is probably because I am a grown up but still childlike. The kids write me notes and cards that say- Kate’s number one rule- Have fun! Y will say you remember how it is to be a kid. How important street cred is- I laugh. I let them play and laugh in the safety of not running while chewing or terrorizing each other too much.

For I am still a grown-up but it is nice to take off the veil of adultness that seems to squelch the fun of living. I let it go, go until K starts skipping with his mouth full. Or when he runs with his hands in the pocket- power hand out I remind. I am a grown-up again. But grounded in the sand of the playground, throwing the water in the play fight, allowing the kids to have whip cream poured in their mouth from their can sometimes. Sometimes. Once a month I allow them to. I tell them stop having fun. Having fun is not allowed in a serious tone with a smirk coming through. Then we laugh. Laugh. And I splash the kids with water, water, water from the dishes sprayed from the sprinkler of my hand.

It is hard to be a grown-up and not forget the childhood ways, the ways we were, the lightness of when the next game of super hero, when the next ice cream run would happen, when we might play doctor or school again. I forgot about water fights, water fights until last weekend. Last weekend when I was watching a set of twins and their sister. All together with tupperware and plastic cups and hoses. I sprayed them like my childhood sprinkler I ran into back and forth up and down on the damp grass it was the solitude from the heat. Laughter reverberated into my heart. Into theirs and we decide, I decide that water fights should be required. Required. So as grown-ups we don’t forget.

Grown-ups. As grown-ups I have learned what matters most other than the chalk of the line of boundaries is modeling. Psychology reports this, cognitive and behaviorists analyze this, studies support this, parents and child givers try and do it. Model. Model my clay of humanity. Of how to be a grown-up, how to be a kid, how to make the right choices.

As I run after, after the empty milk carton gallon down the Cole Valley Street. I run after recycling because I shouldn’t litter of course. But I run more and more as it tumbles pounding it’s plastic against the pavement springing up and down it keeps going. But I keep going, keep going because she is watching me. Watching me run after the milk carton. I keep running because she is watching. And I know, I know she values recycling. And would be heartbroken if we littered the family trash. I run praying that it will stop down it’s windy hill. My bouncing ball of modeling keeps going until it stops in the bottom half of a bmw. Alas, I reach down to grab it and my reefs begin to slip from under me. I am sliding and catching myself and now flashing the cars and their passerbys my world from underneath my dress. Flying up. I catch myself and catch the carton and turn around running up the hill. I know I did it because I am a grown-up. I know I did it because I am still a kid. I know I did it because she was watching. Modeling and laughing is what I try to do. Try to remember what was fun so I can teeter tooter between responsibilities and the freedom. The freedom. I laugh. But I still run after that carton. But alone I might have let it go. You can’t let it go when they are watching.

As I drive, I remember they are watching. As I remember my father yelling. Yelling at the cars. I willed children super powers for him to stop. Heart rattling my chest. And not get out of the car. But I still talk to the driver’s. It wasn’t your turn. I say. Come on dude drive. I say. Seriously. I say. For the quest and calling of urban driving is a map of routes in my head of the best way to go. Best way to go. Then I hear her say. It wasn’t your turn. It wasn’t their turn she was right. They are always watching. Even when we forget we are grown-ups.

Grown-ups - Karen Cassey

How many times have we looked back at our childhood and realize how much time we wished away? I can remember that I couldn’t wait to turn thirteen, I’d be a teenager, a teeny bopper as our parents of our day would refer to us.

My next wish was I couldn’t wait until I was fifteen. I would be able to get my learner’s permit and take Driver’s Education, on my way to getting my Restricted Drivers License. The law at the time was that you could drive during the hours of 8:00AM and 6:00PM without a licensed driver, the other hours with a licensed driver accompanying you.

The next wish was, I couldn’t wait to be sixteen…….my Special Restricted License turned into a Regular Driver’s License, just like the grownups. Most importantly, I could finally date.

My last wish was to be eighteen. Finally, I would be taken seriously, after all I was consider an adult by then.

Now I’m fifty. And where did all the time go? I find it interesting that still people of my generation are still wishing their lives away. Wishing they were younger now, while time still passes them by.

Grown-ups - Melody Cryns

The years melted away as I approached Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park – walking down the familiar trail from Stanyan Street near Haight where I’d parked – carrying a brown paper sack with chips and salsa and my Beatles purse. I wore the orange and yellow tie-dye shirt that my son Stevie and his girlfriend had gotten for me in Thailand – no size on it, Stevie just guessed and he got it just right. Honestly, I’ve come to the realization that my own sons know me better than any guy I have in my life! I found myself wishing that Stevie and his girlfriend Liezl were with me now, as I walked past the dried up lake and through the tunnel past Children’s Playground which now breaks my heart because it’s now completely remodeled and no longer resembles the wonderful playground I remembered playing at all the time when I was a kid – the big round slide is gone and sadly the moon swings are gone as well – deemed as too dangerous. All that’s left are some lame play items designed for small children and not any kid I can think of past about the age of 6 or 7.

But the trees that surround the park still look the same and so does the historical Sharon Building and the merry-go-round, oh yes the old merry-go-round still remains thank heavens! So if I look in that direction, it’s as if 40 years have melted away.

As I looked around the area for a large group of people, I began to feel more and more nervous. It’s no big deal, I thought – it’s been 35 years after all…

I was looking for the big picnic next to Children’s Playground – the class of 1975 and other 70’s classes high school reunion picnic for George Washington High School in San Francisco. I’d never been to any of the reunions, so I had no idea what to expect – my first reunion ever…but I was glad at least it was in an informal picnic-like setting and I didn’t have to get dressed up and wear some weird cocktail dress or anything – I wore my tie-dye, the brightest shirt I could find – and jeans – cool-looking jeans for once, not like in high school when I didn’t always wear cool clothes…

Hey wait a second, I thought – you’re a grown-up now, who cares about all that stuff, like what they think of you, what you’re wearing and is it cool? I mean, really…

I had to laugh at myself as I looked over and Hippie Hill hearing some conga drums – a small group milled about there. I knew that group wasn’t big enough. Somehow I knew where they’d be – in the picnic area above the merry-go-round, the same area where I’d ride a skateboard down the hill as a kid so many times and the hill we walked or rode down to get to Children’s Playground from where we lived—and now for the first time ever, I’m going to see some of my classmates from high school, many of whom I haven’t seen for 35 years. I’ve only kept in touch with a small handful of people from back then.

I saw the large group of people and smelled the barbecue and the balloons, and I knew that was my group, the 70’s people – still so vibrant and ethnically diverse as they were in high school. I felt nervous, as if I didn’t quite fit in as I walked past people, some of whom nodded and smiled as I walked by. They all had sticky name tags on, “Ruth, 1975.” Yes, I recognized Ruth right away – she looked almost exactly the same as she did in high school – I think she was the “class clown,” and she still wore the same clothes she wore back then, it seemed. How cool – so many people…do I really belong here I thought? I’d always felt sort of like an outsider looking in while in high school, and this seemed no different.

It was warm, kids ran around with hula hoops, a group of guys played conga drums and barbecued chicken and hot dog smells floated through the air – everyone looked as if they were chilling and just having a good time. Suddenly someone yelled, “Group picture, c’mon everybody, especially class of ’75!”

That’s when I saw Mark a dude who had just befriended me on Facebook who had seen me at Woodham’s – he’s friends with some of mine apparently and I didn’t realize he was a GWHS alumni as well, class of 1973. “Hi, good to see you!” he said, hugging me. Wow, this is kinda cool – Mark wore his hair long – he looked exactly like the kind of guy I might have hung out with in high school, one of the cool, down to earth people. We talked for a few before being whisked off to a small hill to get our group picture taken. How would any camera fit in this huge group of people, I wondered, plopping myself down right in the very front – so I’d be seen…I had never felt seen in high school, and now there I sat front and center.

After the photos, I walked around, seeing people who looked vaguely familiar, others who didn’t. I bought my raffle ticket, paid my five bucks and went for the food --- so much amazing food and drink. Rita Marie, one of the organizers, looked familiar to me and she said, “Hey didn’t you sing in high school?”

“I was in the chorus, yes,” I said. “I remember you – you sang alto like me.”

“Yes! Wow!” Rita stood up and gave me a hug as if we were long lost friends – that was cool, especially since I was still attempting to remember who she was, feeling bad that it hadn’t hit me yet.

I walked around listening to the groovy 70’s music playing on a loud speaker, singing along with “Betcha by golly wow, you’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever…” even though it was classified more as popular music than anything else.

Mark, the cool hippie musician dude, came back over and stood around with me, along with a guy named Tony who also looked really familiar to me – we all three talked and that’s when I saw my son Stevie and his girlfriend Liezl walking up the hill – yaaayy! They’d made it. I was so happy to see them. Stevie had his digeredoo and his drum with him, just like he said he did and his hair is long again – like when he was a teenager. He fit right into the rather diverse group of people.

Slowly but surely I began to recognize more people and they me – there was Bruce Jolly who totally remembered me from several classes – and wow, Julie. I remembered her.

But the right of passage moment, that special moment when I finally felt as if I’d done something I’ve been wanting to do for 35 years, but had never had the guts to do it, came a little later. In high school, I had just watched, on the outside looking in and I’d always wanted to do it.

When a group of my class of ’75 classmates started doing one version of the Hustle to disco music, I jumped in and did it with them – and then I danced the Soul Train dance and another version of the Hustle and well – it was fun and later one chick even said, “Wow you’re a dancin’ fool out there, how cool.”

And Carli Jones, the prettiest girl I remembered in high school, was there – still looking beautiful 35 years later. We immediately recognized each other because we had lockers right next to each other in junior high. “I always thought you were beautiful in high school,” I said to Carli as my son Stevie snapped a photo of us.

Carli smiled and said, “Well, you still have the hair that I remember – wow, did I want your hair!”

That to me was the ultimate compliment – me the wallflower girl hearing that from Carli Jones.

Didn't get much done this weekend (Picture Heavy!)

On Friday, we had my Grandpa's 93rd birthday, I thought it was his 94th and said that when I saw the cake. Grandpa said he thought so too.
I got an email after sending these pictures out, "Why are we all looking in different directions? Why aren't we more photogenic?" I don't know, and I refuse to swap heads so live with it. It's just who they are. My mom is second from the left. Her twin is 3rd from the left.

We did not take our dogs up to Grandpa's, we like to enjoy our visit. I think there were 4 dogs, this one being the smallest, the rest are labs, and goldens.

There was plenty of this for Kerry. I'm such a good wife, I went to the liquor store and picked up beer for him. I also set off the security alarm, just like I did at Walmart the day before. The lady at the liquor store did not do what the lady at Walmart did and ask me rather loudly if I just got a new bra.

I'm trying to come to terms wit the fact that even though I like to photograph anything and everything, and I get some pretty decent shots, I may never have 'perfect' photos of my family. I get ones like this....

And like this....

But then I take my super cute cousins outside and I get ones like this...soon-to-be Dr. S. So proud of her! She's studies more than she breaths.

And this...Silpada wearing, wine glass toting hotness.

I'm thinking of offering my family money to pose for pictures!

I was heading out to check the cherries, and maybe take a few pictures, and I saw this on my lavender. I took a bunch of shots and then it flew at me and I was done.

"We" washed the van, really, I sprayed it, not Kerry approved spraying and then I took pictures. But I did wax it. Which always brings a good dose of "Wax on, wax off".

While at the liquor store I also picked this stuff up, after seeing Terrell win it at Bunco (another story). It's not half bad. Shaun said he could drink it a lot. Kerry did drink it a lot, I drank it a little.
I went with these two down to the lake and then we walked around until one of them dried off. He made a friend, a woman from Ontario, whose dog was just put down. She thought he was the cat's ass. He was so tired he just leaned on her and let her pet him. Then we told Kerry that was enough, and took Linus to the bird sanctuary. He was so tired, he made the best dog ever. Sally was at home loving the solitude.
This is what tired that big boy out. He starts out like this. He's pretty slow moving. He's got all day.
And he ends like this, taking on water.

I did a little, very little gardening. My beans are getting big! Well, the plants are. I haven't seen any bean buds yet. I did find some teeny tiny zucchinis!

The poppies were nicer a few days ago.
We had my family over for dinner on Saturday and we felt sorry for the couple across the street as her parents went away and we were worried that Uncle Binny might starve so we invited them over too. We had a nice time, ate a bit too much and talked a lot.
Then last night I said to Kerry "I feel like we didn't really do much this weekend." It was about 9 pm. He said "What are you talking about?" and rattled off all the stuff I just blogged about. And then I said "Oh, you're right, I'm so tired now, let's go to bed."


It's uni holidays and I am not quite sure of what to do with myself! Aside from drinking too much coffee, wearing pyjamas around the house until far beyond an accepable time and riding closer to lunchtime than breakfast I got nothing!

Anyway, being a lazy Monday I am not even riding today, which basically means that the early-morning haze and general confusion persists until I engage in something at least moderately active. I may need to go and joggle at some stage to wake up (bearing in mind it's close to 2pm here).

Dreaming about upcoming races (because they don't actually hurt while you're planning them, and it always seems like a good idea at the time).

I would love to go to the Red Centre Enduro next year, funds and university timetable permitting. And have (perhaps stupidly) just signed up for The Coffs Harbour Pleasure and Pain (I am guessing more pain than pleasure though...)

Can't wait for the next challenge, which I think is the next Sunny Series race in two weeks. Good times!

Mt Perry Race wrap

Check out my Mt Perry Race wrap at the EnduroMag blogspace here.

Lessons from fashion's free culture

I saw this on You Thought We Wouldn't Notice and thought it was pretty interesting!

Environment, eh, whatever.

Sooooo...It's 10:30 am and I'm not showered, I'm not dressed, I don't have a bra on. I see the spray guy is spraying the cherry tree. WTH? It was sprayed last week and by the last 12 yrs. experience, we have to pick in 3 weeks or risk infestation. No biggy, we mark the calendar.
Why's he spraying today then? So I go outside. Not dressed, not washed, boobs all over.
Him: When are you picking these? Next week?"
Me: What? We have 2 more weeks.
Him: Ah, no, we are using environmentally safe spray now, it's different. Pick them next week.

It's a good thing I blog, I went back and looked and we picked on or around the 5th of July. NOT the end of June. At least it has stopped raining. If I remember right the perfect cherry recipe is... stop watering, heat them up, no splits, pick them, eat them.

I better start eating ice cream, we need the buckets. I guess it makes sense, I ate one yesterday, it was almost ripe, 2 more weeks and it would be over ripe. Darn. This messes with my master plan to do nothing for 2 more weeks.

There's Something About Sarah...

I have always loved Sarah McLachlan, so I was thrilled to learn that the Grammy award winning, singer/songwriter released her long awaited new album, LAWS OF ILLUSION on June 15th!

The album is fueled by the deterioration of McLachlan's 11 year marriage and all the songs are really touching and poignant.

The album’s first single is “Loving You Is Easy” is my favorite, it points an optimistic face towards the future and the tune is really catchy.

My second favorite song "Bring on the Wonder,” is one of the album's most beautiful. It's very simple, with McLachlan's voice singing over piano.

All in all, this is a perfect album to put on when you want to relax, and cut out some of the clamor from your life. I'm going to keep it in the minivan to pop in whenever I need to chill.

I love it, and I think you will too!

You can purchase a copy of Sarah’s new Album "Laws of Illusion" from
Amazon or you can purchase the single " Loving you is Easy" on iTunes or Amazon right now.

I would like to thank the One2One Network for providing me with a copy of the Sarah McLachlan Laws of Illusion CD for the purpose of this review.

Classic & Modern

Some Days Titles Come So Easy, Some Days They Don't

1. ate a 2 weeks from being ripe cherry of the tree.
2. got my boxes of Stampin' Up catalogues today.
3. sorted my retiring colours and stamps from my not retiring stuff.
4. found a buyer for the above stuff.
5. got tax refunds in the mail. whooo hooooo. See you later Kerry!
6. watched 2 frogs get married on the news in India.
7. gave my neighbour not so handy info on how to get a prescription refilled.
8. the a/c guy is here. Dog hair may have killed the a/c.


Success with time is to be totally immersed in the moment.” The Rebbe Rashab.

“ …we need to serve and worship - in this place and at this time with whatever abilities and powers we have at our disposal, using our thoughts, speech and action in the manner of an “internally centered person” who is totally and completely immersed in what he is doing now at this moment. He doesn’t think at this moment, about anything else but what he is now involved in... This is how one transforms the present moment (totally and completely, when saturating it in all ways with Holiness) into – a holy moment, a connected moment with G-d himself….”

This principle rule, that where the mind is, that is where the person really is, is especially powerful and true when it comes to visualizing in the minds’ eye.

We already established the very close and strong connection between the mind and the soul, how thoughts are connected to the infinite spark of G-d inside ourselves and it is for that reason that there are no boundaries of time and space in a person’s mind. Thoughts have many of the qualities of the soul. That is why a person, in his mind, can see himself in the past or even in the future. In a person’s mind, he is higher than the limitations of past, present and future.

In a person’s mind, one can re-experience an incident from the past and go through all the same physical occurrences he had when he went through it the first time.

It has been established that a person can actually salivate when thinking about eating a bitter lemon rind.

Good memories, especially those that are spiritual, can enlighten one’s brain and warm up one’s heart. When a person relives a spiritual G-dly experience, for example such as an encounter he had with a G-dly person, this will place him in an elevated disposition, just like he had the first time and this will affect his body accordingly.

The same goes for a person who places his imagination and thoughts with negative and harmful memories, at this point we don’t have to spell out how this is tremendously destructive to the soul and to the body. In the same way the positive memories will uplift and strengthen the person psychologically and physically, the negative will pull down and destroy the person.

For a person to avoid a conflicted life and live a harmonious life in a peaceful existence, this is THE GREAT SECRET.

Wherever a person is, he should be in truth – not half way – appearing like he is there but mentally he is somewhere else and away from what his actions are reflecting.

When a person is physically in one place and in his mind he is someplace else, it is “one of the mouth and one of the heart,” and it is untruthful and unwholesome. It is a lie to the person himself. No one can live with a pretender, not even the person who pretends to himself.

Facebook Dad

My dad is never on Facebook, but today I post "Butter Tarts" in my status, because I made some for my hairdresser and my dad fb's me with...
Subject: goodies
ur fav parent neeeeeeeeds butttttttter tarts
I replied with "I guess I better call mom to see when she wants her tarts."

She's crafty, she gets around

Can you name who sang the song that the title comes from?

Last night, Karl and Uncle Binny* came over to work on their Christmas gifts. Yes, Christmas gifts. Karl says once school starts there won't be any time. I can't even pretend to imagine that. So I worked on a mini album that will be a class. I figured I don't have any decent pictures of my own people, why not use Amy and David's**?
I used one of my Grandma's 'antique' buttons on the cover. So if you sign up for the class, you won't get a button like that. I took the pictures with my new lens, SOOC, and I love the first one! I love it so much. Is it weird to make a mini album of people we've never met? Yes. Is it weird that I want to keep it? Yes. I told Amy I'd send it to her after the class. But now I'm thinking I want to keep it. Just kidding, Amy, I'll send it, later.
*names have been changed to protect the innocent.
**names have not been changed because I couldn't think of anything to rhyme with Amy and David.

In family related news...
-Emily got her appliance today. I wish I could say she got a candy apple red gas stove. She didn't, she got a metal torture chamber for her jaw. I am keeper of the key. Everyday for 2 weeks+ I get to crank that key to widen her jaw. The most exciting part is that in the end, her jaw will be wider and she will have a gap between her front teeth. All I could think about when the dr. told me this was Madonna and her gap.
-I had to pay for the above. Ouch.
-Grandpa turns 94 this week. He won't be bowling in the fall. The bowling alley is worried that he's too unstable and may hurt himself.
-My hairdresser's brother passed away unexpectedly this week. The obituary said in lieu of flowers and donations, do a 'pay it forward' action that would make him happy. I'm going to find something to do. I think everyone should, just because.

Scenes from Father's Day Weekend

I'm always up for the chance to take pictures and I don't always mind a bit of a challenge. So for me going to watch Yolanda's team host the Armstrong team at Prospera was a bit of a no brainer. But Kerry didn't really want to go. It was also fight night, a toss up between watching guys or girls beat on each other. I played the "I'm afraid to walk downtown after dark" card and he went with me. Afterwards, he said he was glad he went, he 'actually' enjoyed it. What's not to enjoy? The Peach Tarts won their first game on home turf! I got a few good pictures, but I'm still trying to learn my flash. The lighting was odd in the arena and bouncing my flash was not really working. But it's a learning experience.Sunday we went to the Father's Day Show and Shine. We have different tastes in cars. I had read an article in the paper about the Nissan Evo. I think there was one there last year. It wasn't there this year, but I made sure Kerry knew that I knew that it wasn't there. Seriously, I don't know what one even looks like but he thought I did. I like the older cars. He likes the Porshes, Shelbies and other Mustangs. I want to touch them, the smooth paint, the leather, but most cars have signs asking you not to touch them.
I like the details too.
I told Kerry I'm taking pictures of the cars I like, if you see something you like, tell me. So this is his 'like'.
And this one too.
But this was both of ours. A woman was walking around the bike to go somewhere else and her daughter says "Mom, people are trying to take pictures of the bike!" The woman stopped and posed with the biggest smile ever beside the bike and her daughter had to tell her that no one wanted a picture of HER!
Baracuda! Nash Bridges drove one. I have wanted one since then. I miss that show. And even though the Baracuda is named after a shark and kind of looks like one, I'm still okay with that. It's got a super big hood, and I once saw Nash Bridges slide along the top of it. I think Cheech was already in the car waiting. Side note: My uncle has a charger or a challenger, I can never remember, it's burgundy but really dark burgundy, and I always remember from when I was about 5 yrs. old that it smells like Pina Coladas. He's had it since it was new, I think.
We see this Suburban driving around and it makes us nostalgic for the one we had. That thing was huge!This truck was so shiny and sparkly. I try not to talk to much when we are looking at the cars so that I don't embarrass Kerry. "Ohhhh...shiny and sparkly. Stand there so I can get our reflection. It's like chocolate cherry truck. I wanna lick it." I just say it in my head.
And then we came home and smoked a brisket and had our parents over for dinner. Go BEEF!

Mt Perry

Karingal XC, Scouts Honour!

Sunday saw my first proper dig at a State XC race in a long time. And I had forgotten how much it hurts!

The day before saw my FINAL exam for semester at uni (it had been a long and stressful exam block—several weeks with Mt Perry stuck in the middle!), and so all my uni buddies and I shimmied over to the Normanby for a few celebratory beers...which lasted into the eve. It was awesome fun and I had a great time perfecting gymnastics maneuvers in the pub.

When I woke up in the morning, however, still feeling seedy with crampy legs, I realised that the eighties dancing and gymnastics maneuvers may have been a bit on the vigorous side considering I was going to race that day.

Oh well, it's supposed to hurt, and I guess it ups my pain tolerance by being stupid and wearing myself out and making it more painful than necessary, but that's racing I guess—and you can't have fresh legs all the time!

The Karingal Scouts race site is always a toughie—while it doesn't feature the typical climbing profile of an XC race, the racetrack being run in reverse to the usual route meant that the climbs were short, sharp and leg sapping:

Personally, I feel better with a 5-10m climb in a race rather than four or five 1-2m steep ones! But it's a fun course, with many challenging loose corners that proved it difficult to find your flow...especially if tight, loose, off-camber corners aren't your forte!

I started off strong, but my legs were burning from the get-go. I rode with the U19s most of the race, which seemed like forever even though it was a short race-time.

On my final lap I had a chronic bout of nasty chain suck that I had to try and delicately remove while trying not to damage my frame. It proved tricky, and I lost a whack of time. I was just waiting for the other girls to come up and pass me!

As it was, I had enough of a lead to safely extricate my chain, run up the rest of the pinch and ride on to the end.

It was nice to have a win, even tough it didn't really feel like it!

I'll tell you what, though, I was in the box the whole day after the race—serves me right for having a late one the night before and forgetting to eat after the race—poor form AB!

But to top off what ended up as a good result, Aiden "sweepee" Leffo took the win in the males, from Glenni "white-pants" Stewart, and Aido and I somehow both managed fastest lap times! Wow!

Amber Lights

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Raquel Zimmerman was superbly styled for the launch of the new fragrance Love, ChloƩ, I particularly adore how perfectly the vintage Mercedes-Benz coordinated with her outfit. I used her look as the basis of this Georgia peach meets champagne dreams themed collage. I'm normally not a fan of orange, but paired with the right neutrals it can be very beautiful.

The Seven Mystical truths to inner happiness & Fulfillment.

This was a full day seminar I gave a couple of times in Palm Beach at the Palm Beach Wellness Center. This is a copy of the handout -- Hope you enjoy.

#1 Foundation of all foundations.

The foundation of all foundations is that G-d is the source of all things and He impossible to be understood because He is beyond any kind of logic.

G-d is one and is everything. We must know our entire existence is G-d. Feelings of ego run contrary to this principle. Judging others is a product of the ego. Ego makes us want to be in control and ultimately causes us insecurity. We meditate on the above in our morning prayers and before we go to sleep in our night prayers. This knowledge that all is G-d, gives us our security, strength and pride.

#2, Giver and taker.

Everything in this world has the dual function of giver and taker. We receive what we put out. By attaching and elevating ourselves to a level higher than ourselves to spirituality we make ourselves part of the cycle of life to receive G-dliness. When a person gives charity whether physical or just helps another person, this is the highest form of currency “current” flowing through him. In the measure a person gives of himself he will receive through that exact circuit. “Bring another person closer to G-d and G-d will bring you closer, Love another person and G-d will love you, do a favor for another person G-d will do you a favor.”

When all this is done with Joy, all boundaries are broken in the giving and in what comes back. When you bless another person with a full heart G-d blesses you with a full heart. The way we approach G-d is the way G-d then responds to us.

#3, Reward and punishment.

For every action there is an equal and in line reaction. The principle of reward and punishment. Everything we do every act, even mere thinking creates a response and reaction. King David was amazed at how the higher spheres are affected by the small details of Mitzvot (G-ds commandments.). Our mind wields much power. We can make a sacrifice not kosher, by how we think. We control our emotions with our mind. Everything we do or don’t do is a decision with consequences. Bad past decisions can be dealt with through Teshuvah-repentance which puts a person in touch with his pure essence the spark of G-d within, and this puts him in touch with the past and the future. Lechatchilah Ariber – elevating oneself above his current challenges, is the thrust to move forward.

#4, Everything is in the hands of G-d.

Except for the study of Torah and the performance of Mitzvot (good deeds) and fear of G-d everything comes from G-d with little effort. There is a plan and purpose behind everything. Divine providence is always in charge and all comes from G-d and therefore a person is always accepting of the way things are. A person doesn’t have to work hard to have a livelihood or health etc. It’s enough he does a small effort and has trust in G-ds kindness and benevolence in providing him with what’s best for him. We don’t have to feel stress or pressure regarding any worldly needs. Although a person must always pray for his needs and wish for what is needed he is always in a great state of Joy believing and accepting G-ds timing.

A person need only to be focused on his performance of doing what’s proper in the eyes of G-d which at times come with great illusionary difficulty to assure all the others things that G-d provides almost effortlessly. G-d assures everyone that strength is provided to fulfill this task.

#5, The path YOU choose.

G-d provides His kindness in line with our desires. As we desire so will G-d help us. Nothing stands in the way of a true desire and the world was given to a person to conquer. A person was created with free choice to choose as he pleases which direction he will go in, similar to G-d who chooses his decisions without coercion. A person by strongly attaching his mind to something is able to propel himself in that direction. A person realigns and refocuses himself three times a day during his prayers and is never embarrassed of the direction he has chosen to go in.

#6, Acceptance of G-ds timing.

A person places upon G-d his worries and lets G-d sort out the solution and how they will materialize. To a person, however G-d decides to respond, is always equally acceptable to him because G-d knows best. A person opens his hands to accept G-ds good grace in whatever way G-d decides to send his graciousness. Moshiach- the ultimate good and all good things come by surprise in the blink of an eye as G-d decides how and when to send his blessings. We never expect or demand that G-d should send His blessings in any specific way we are whole hearted and sincere in our belief and acceptance of G-ds ways.

#7, Unique mission for each person.

G-d has a unique plan and mission for every individual. No one thinks or looks alike and each individual has a purpose that no one else can duplicate which the entire world and cosmos is dependant on. Wherever a person finds himself it is because he was sent to offer his unique talents to that part of the planet. Everyone has a unique mission in the army of G-d in bringing about G-ds plan in this world. In addition to the idea of each person having a unique mission, every person has a particular unique practice that is special to him and this is his special act among all the other things that he does. At every stage of a person’s life he must ask himself am I doing and fulfilling the reason I was created for.

Blowing the 17th Candle...

Tonight's backsound: The Time Has Come - Hillsong United

Dear God,
Tonight im turning 17. And im sure You know it. This hv been so freakin' great. You've planned everything so perfect, im always amazed. Im enjoying every single second of my life, like a man you've sent, called Dad, told me to. Ppl said 17 means maturity, i don't know, im still learning to. But 17 is a beautiful number, God. Thank You for takin care of me.

Dear God,
You set me up 17 years ago to this planet, this home, cool mom and pop, the right family, I know not any detail of it was wrong, nor a coincidentally happened. Everything was cool. Oh God, You're an uber coolness. You know it. Haha.

I haven't planned anything for today. I even don't have any idea what I'm gonna wish to You for my sweet 17th birthday. But I just found out my wish for tonight! Draw me closer and closer to You! :) Not tend to be excessive, but that's all I need.

Dear God,
Someone sent me rose tonight. And surprises. I love surprise. He's just so sweet. Please takin care of him too, God.

Dear God,
Thank You for friends, I laughed so much. I met plenty of new friends this year, cool! Thank You for creating Jack Dorsey who invented Twitter. You know, Twitter has been awfully fun.

Here's cool ppl I know on Twitter. They've been so nice, they greet me happy birthday on twitter :) I feel bad i cant reply them all, i want to save all of their tweets and shout AMEN! to every wishes, make it all my wishes, haha :D

So so sorry I can't mention you all bcos it all stacked to the new ones every minute, but I do read your tweets (im still thinkin if i had chance to write all of your names here but idk i might finish it 2 days later, hehe :) and that makes my dayy, thank youuuuu! :) Okay it's 2 AM already, sleep well, see ya in the morning!

....Dear God,
im sure You KNOW my secret dream. *wink* :))

A Place of My Own

There comes a time in everyone's life where you take the big step of moving out on one's own. In just a few weeks I'll be taking the plunge and moving from suburban Atlanta to lovely Cambridge, Massachusetts for graduate school. I've already got my apartment chosen, it's in a new beautiful ultramodern building right on the Charles River.

While I'm definitely excited and ready to move, there are of course some design faults to over come in my new space. My apartment is a very small studio, which means I need to figure out how to make one room into my bedroom, office, living room, dining room, and also a second bedroom for when my friends come to visit. The key to making this all work is bringing only the essentials, being creative with storage, and getting furniture that is properly scaled for a smaller space. I'm also thankful that there are so many great interior design blogs out there to give my ideas on how to make this the most out of my new apartment. Today I found Apartment Therapy's "Smallest Coolest Spaces" 2007 contest which have been especially helpful in showing that you don't need to compromise style to have a functional space. I love Laura's California studio, especially since there are elements of her floor plan that are similar to mine so I consider her apartment design to be my Rosetta Stone of sorts for studio apartments. Some modifications (like painting) won't be an option for me, but I'm just thankful that there are so many great resources available to give me ideas on what to do with my new space. I'm trying to look at this small space as just an opportunity to be extra creative!

Another great source for ideas has been the LiveJournal community Saucy Dwellings. By using their "studio" and "small space" tags I was able to browse several studio apartments. These two in particular stood out to me because of their genius usage of space to create something very special and unique that definitely reflects their personal tastes and interests.

I'll be pulling ideas from other places like Plush Palate, Coco+Kelley, Elements of Style, Small Place Style, Door Sixteen, the stacks of Domino, ELLEDecor, and Architectural Digest my mom has saved from over the years, and of course getting advice from our own DIY guru, Taylor to get some more definitive ideas of what I want to do in my place. Any suggestions or tips are more than welcome!