Wednesday, June 28, 2017

T stands for Time together...and words on wednesday

T stands for time together with my sister in one of our favorite neighborhood bistros.
Cibo translates to uncomplicated, unpretentious casual food and drink, which describes our weekly get together perfectly.
Raspberry lemonade prosecco and bruschetta
I love these moments, a great chance to catch up and talk about all sorts of fun things. We both love fashion, reading, psychology, classic movies, and family.  I have been reading Writing with Quiet Hands. The book is inspirational, full of wonderful tips and quotes, and a great book for self reflection. I have been thinking about what I like to read, and consequently my voice in writing. I have also been thinking about word choice. I find haiku really challenging, but when I read it, I think it can be simple and beautiful. Part of my transformation challenge is to bring poetry into the moment. Here's my haiku for today's special moment with Nish.


Sisters, memories
Reminiscing and laughing
embracing future

Wishing you someone to share memories with and join you to embrace the possibilities.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mail on Monday...

Fun mail came in this past week. The pushing the envelope challenge always gives me something to look forward to.
from the two Jeans!
Jean R. had lettered a quote from Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets. Her copperplate was exquisite..and the love stamp worked perfectly. White lettering on the love stamp and white lettering on the blue envelope, very clever.  Jean W., who organizes, runs and masterminds the Pushing the Envelope exchange sent me a lovely envelope, lettered in white, and accented with colored pencils. I loved the owl stamps she used.

Susan used my name to expand the basketball stamp to the edge of the envelope (right in time for the NBA draft). As a basketball/Celtics/Kevin Garnett, AB, IT Brad Stevens fan, this was perfect for me. Janet's envelope is underneath, love the gold accents on the blue lettering. Even more special was the card she enclosed of her painting, Boat on a Beach in Ireland.
Janet's watercolor
This could rank with my favorite mail yet,  So love it, I may need to frame it!!!
And finally my mail for the exchange is going out.
A dazzle of Zebras.
One of Fi's expressions that I have adopted to deal with those things that are beyond my control is...not my zebra, not my zoo, so that was my inspiration for the month's exchange. I paired it with the save vanishing species stamp of a tiger.  On the bottom of the address side, I've written "it's a jungle out there in homage to Randy Newman, and one of my favorite tv shows, Monk.   Sending you good wishes and a little bit of dazzle.  Hakuna Matata!
The envelope please.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Flowers on Friday and a Transformation follow up

Thank goodness for Friday flowers, you can be assured that changes are always happening in the garden.

knockout pink!
Looking around and seeing that pop of color always lifts my spirit.
knock out red!
Since starting to blog, I have seen some fantastic photos, and I am inspired. The shape and color are stunning, so I have taken the time to get up close and personal. If only I could do their beauty justice. Onz has suggested I take it to a different level, and practice sketching or painting. I've put that in my planner for next week's to do list.

Roses for inspiration.
Another part of my transformation Thursday is to do something creative everyday. Also not just to read and admire blogs, but to incorporate some of what I see into my journey. Karen creates some simple, elegant, beautiful cards, so I wanted to incorporate some of that into my card/envelope exchange this month.
A group of zebras is called a dazzle, but even in a group of zebras
you are spectacular!
I have tried to go with a simple design that could work up quickly and make it a little fun, so I have drawn (what I consider) a cute zebra, and practiced a bit of my calligraphy skills.

On the healthy eating side, I am trying to incorporate as many vegetables as I can in my pasta salads.
Asian Chicken and pasta salad with 7 vegetables
My transition /contentment challenge is still going strong. May next week bring us all transition with lots to look forward to.

Things are bloomin' happenin'
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Words on Wednesday ..with Hallie Ephron

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of listening to Hallie Ephron give a talk on her new book, You'll Never Know Dear.
Hallie's latest.
Hallie spoke a little bit about her personal life. She grew up in Hollywood. You may be familiar with her sisters Nora and Delia Ephron, responsible for such gems as Heartburn, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Silkwood,  Sleepless in Seattle, Julie and Julia, When Harry Met Sally, You've got Mail, the list goes on and on. Her parents were collaborating writers, responsible for writing the screenplays for Carousel and Daddy Long legs, among others. Hallie also has the writing gene, and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award and four time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark award. Talented story teller, a dose of Hollywood glamour and after her talk, I can add engaging and funny!

Hallie's new book centers on a porcelain doll which may hold the key to a disappearance of a little girl years before. Hallie came up with the idea from Mary Alice, one of her friends, (and ideas for books almost never come from friends)  Mary Alice's mother,  Blanche was a very talented craftswoman who made porcelain dolls. Shelves in the bedrooms at Blanche's southern home were lined with dolls, whose eyes seemed to eerily follow your every move.  Under the beds were doll parts, various limbs and eyes. From this, the seeds of a "deliciously creepy" story were planted. 

Hallie went on to explain a little more about how she started writing novels in her 40's.
                                                                      Hallie's advice
1. Everyone has a story to tell.
2. Observe and develop a story from your environment.
3. Travel, Soak in the atmosphere.
4. Attention to detail counts. 
Beverly Hills Murder

Since, I was on the waiting list for her new book. I picked up this one to read.   Hallie used the tabloid murder of Johnny Stompanato, boyfriend of Lana Turner (Ephron's former neighbor) as inspiration for her book.  Her book is strictly a work of fiction, but her knowledge of screenwriting and movies is obvious.
In six words. Scandal, publicity, greed complicate celebrity murder.

Be prepared for some twists.
Favorite quote: "A really good story makes you care what's going to happen to the characters after the movie ends." I was definitely engaged with the characters, and was curious where they would all end up.

Hallie also wrote book reviews for the Boston Globe, so I was inspired to pick up this book of hers.
Food for thought?
I have read some books she recommended, and put some on my to read list. If you are interested in mysteries, pick up a Hallie Ephron novel. You will get a book that will keep you engaged, but you won't find any violence against women or children. That is a no go area for her. You can learn more about Hallie Ephron by visiting her website,

Happy Reading, happy writing!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Get Mail, Set Sail...T stands for Tall Ships

The tall ships are in Boston this weekend. They arrived Saturday, and it was foggy.  Luckily, we had been invited to a party on Sunday... on a chartered yacht.
I think I missed my calling..

Seas the day!
I's a birthday party!
Sunday proved to have fantastic weather, with quite a breeze to keep us comfortable.

Boston Harbor
Wind in our hair
This was the perfect occasion to pull out my Lilly Pulitzer you gotta regatta dress! And boy did we regatta! The crew circulated with all sorts of appetizers and I had  a spiked cranberry seltzer... Boston with a twist and a little kick. Here are some of the ships we saw on our voyage

Seen in Boston...

Fi and me
We cruised down as far as Hull and then it was back to City.
Boston skyline

Zakim Bridge

Docked and back on dry land, we will remember our birthday bash on the water for quite a while. Smooth sailing to you.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Flowers on Friday and a follow up

Friday flowers follows that transformation Thursday theme. I love this time of the year; to look out in my garden seeing new things coming to life, and some old mainstays lingering on. The pansies seem to be lasting a long time. Since I am a sentimentalist at heart, I can't bear to get rid of them while they are still flowering, even if a bit straggly. So cut back, they remain in their spot, with a few white petunias to offset them.
Side garden in transition
And of course, there is a rose bush in the flower bed.


The back garden is filled with roses. It seems every time I look another bud has bloomed.

 And talk about a climbing rose bush...
Over 10 feet in the air

through the lilac tree
reaching for the sun

up close and beautiful!
Nature...showing the heights we can reach if we have the support. As for me, getting loads of support here and keeping up with my contentment and transformation challenge. No unnecessary spending, plenty of exercise and little by little Fi's Christmas stocking will get done.
Counted cross stitch...
One stitch, one step at a time, a little everyday makes a big difference. Wishing you love and support to get to where you want to be.  Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

T stands for Tea...with Susan Branch and Fi

Susan Branch....yay! she signed them for us!
Before we went to Ireland, Fi and I attended a Love of Literature luncheon hosted by South Shore Stars.  It is their annual fundraiser for RISE... Reading is so Exciting.  For me, this couldn't be more accurate. As my local librarian recently told my daughter, " I love your mom, she is open to anything." So true, but being a cautious person, my adventures are limited to between the pages of a book.   Still, I would say it's a great way to experience adventures, get a taste of other cultures,  gain a different perspective, be entertained while learning, and expand your world. If you haven't picked up on it, I am a life long lover of books.  And sometimes, I have had the chance to meet an amazing, interesting, kind, heartwarming author/artist.
Tea with Susan Branch.
I love Susan's style and whimsical illustrations, recipes and books, so I was excited to attend this tea.  Even though Susan said she is really not a public speaker, her warmth radiated through her talk. What you see on her blog is beautiful and thoughtful, and shows a special effort and attention to detail. Her writing is so engaging you feel you must read...just one more chapter.   Check out A Fine Romance, a charming journal about the English countryside filled with her illustrations. As Susan advises, "Fill your heart with beauty."
and add some tea and scones!
And if you ever have the chance to visit Susan, run don't walk. At the very least check out her blog, you will be both delighted and inspired.
Spread sunshine.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Gardening vs. win

Whew! The heat is on, with a fury....all of a sudden, it's gotten hot, hot, hot. In a week, it has gone from rainy and cold to hot and humid. Vacation and last week's weather have put the planting a little behind schedule but I am on it.  Hopefully, those tender roots will survive this heat and thrive.
...with a little help from the angels.
Have a good start on the front garden...and I have hung my summer basket on the door.
Summer color!
Roses are in bloom...

and the portulaca (or moss roses) have been planted.
But there is still alot to do.  All this gardening has left little time for mail creation, but some of my favorite magazines came. I will be browsing through them tonight while enjoying iced tea in the back garden.
Time to sit sit back and relax.
And of course, temptation came through the mail slot...

oh no, these must go...
As part of my contentment challenge with no unnecessary purchases for 90 days, these had to be recycled promptly...My Transformation Thursday remains intact, but it is not without its challenges. Remaining hopefully optimistic, I am a work in progress.