This image could look eerie or haunted on a stormy day. But Georgia's Driftwood Beach, was dry and sunny last January. It was hard to believe all of these wooden shapes (and there were so many more!) hadn't been carved and carefully placed by an artist. How can something dead, be so intriguing and full of character? The idea of worn and weathered wood sounds sad, but there was something calming about the appearance. And who thought up the name driftwood? I like that person.
What's to Love? The mostly smooth texture, all the hiding places, the big ones for climbing and sitting, the tiny pieces for drawing and holding, the characters and stories that come to mind... and best of all, searching for hidden pictures and letters in the lines... like I used to in Highlights Magazine and Al Hirschfeld's drawings!
This silly photo is from a couple years ago in Bonaire. I was playing around like I might have done when I was 6, while Don clicked the camera from a lounge chair. This photo op was mostly inspired by all the corny, selfie-snapping couples who were nearby. I was doing my best to teach them that they had other options for posing on the beach!
Beach Play I Still Love: Sandcastle building, shell collecting, drawing in the sand with sticks, bike riding on some beaches, digging, sleeping, game-Kadima, kite-flying and not so favorite... boomerang throwing! Not a good idea!
Here I am in the midst of one of my cooking failures. Sometimes those are the most fun and memorable. Over a year ago Don and I stayed with a family in Guatemala and Lola tried to teach me to make tortillas. Even her young daughters laughed at my inability to slap the dough from hand to hand. Lola was very patient. And we all were very amused at meal time, to see my tiny, ill-shaped goodies sitting on top of the stack of Lola's perfect tortillas.
Cooking Adventures: My failed attempt at Baked Alaska with college friend Karen, Watching friend Milissa cook anything with her Julia Child flair, Testing the boiled spaghetti by throwing it to the ceiling, Flour-flying Polish perogi making at Meyer family gatherings, Watching my bro, Chris dive into his annual Thanksgiving-Eve food prep routine, alongside Linda (son's, future mother-in-law) as she prepared an amazing Thai feast for 16. This could have been disaster with these 2 seriously skilled and intense cooks, but they laughed and teased and bumped into each other... and the outcome of both meals was fabulous!
This photo of a "swimming hole", almost looks too magical to be real. About 10 years ago, Don and I took our kids to this cenote in Mexico. We left the sweltering heat above and walked down the damp & slippery steps to the spring. Water and vines, spilled over the cliff above, while the sun hit the water like spotlights. Our kids climbed steps near the rock wall and took turns leaping into the aqua water. Perfect photo to cool me on this summer day in Texas.
Swim Memories: Styrofoam surfboards in the Florida Gulf as a kid, Swimming laps at the Webster Groves YMCA on icy winter days, Floating under a 55-foot natural dome in warm mineral water of "the crater" in Utah, Playing in the natural pools at Missouri's, Johnson Shut-ins Park... sliding done water shoots between rocks... until we a couple near drownings! Never been back!
This isn't a photo from my childhood, but it shows my party boy husband, Don. It cracks me up because there is some serious partying going on here, between the TV with rabbit ears and the modern fireplace wall. In fact some in the photo might look a little too serious! I'm pretty sure it was New Year's Eve and Don and his sister were celebrating with grandparents while Mom and Dad were out. Mostly I like this picture because it reminds me that Don is not really a party boy, but he's a good sport and he never ignores a holiday, no matter how small.
Examples of Don's Festive Devotion: First year married, our jack-o-lanterns got smashed so Don bought new pumpkins on Nov. 1 and re-carved... Don gets out the green food coloring every St. Pat's Day... He pushes for a picnic on National Picnic Day... He likes watching holiday classics like J. Garland in Easter Parade and J. Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy... He'll dress in something festive to toast the New Year, even if it's just the 2 of us at home!
I loved it when I spotted these scattered windmills in Fredericksburg, TX. Seeing a whole bunch at once, reminds me of the eerie sea of wind turbines in West Texas. I actually love those giant, sleek, wind-monsters, as well!
Windmills can be: Nostalgic, cartoonish, climbable, graceful, decorative, peaceful, towering, eerie, broken, creaky, ghostly, sturdy, bold, quiet, fun and useful!
These photos are from 1960. My sister and I were with our second cousins, trying on the fabulous clothes our grandmother had saved for our entertainment. To this day, I still own "dress -ups" that anyone can borrow for a theme related event... or just for some whimsical fun. In the first photo, I am the one in the left photo who does not seem to be having fun. Jenni is sitting beside me, being quite animated.
My Favorites: The freaky fox fur that stayed on by clasping the fox mouth to the tail... "Daw's" old high heels were exciting and nearly child-sized since she had tiny feet... The flapper hats sort of spooked me... giant, glittery, clip-on earrings... gloves, gloves, gloves! The longer the better!
I love old churches. Don and I found this one when driving through Missouri in search of my aunt and uncle's old ranch property. The church was locked, but there was an old outhouse that was open for service!
I was raised Catholic and I love some of those long ago memories with women in hats and gloves and Father Kubrick speaking Latin. But I also have fond memories of visiting friends' churches and exploring churches.
Church Memories: 1972 - A Baptist Easter service in Sycamore, GA with Jenny B and family... 2003 - The eerie, aching climb with family, up the dome of Il Duomo, in Florence... 1969 - at age 11, in that same Italian cathedral, having confession in an ornate wooden booth... 2016 - Good Friday in Bermuda, walking from church to church with locals involved in a pageant.... 1964? - St. Mary's, in Grinnell, Iowa when I got to wear a veil for my first communion... 1979 - Wearing a veil & gown while hiding (& giggling) with my sister behind the florist truck, before entering Washington U's beautiful Graham Chapel... AND! My sister reminded me of seeing Jimmy Carter speak at his Baptist church in Plains, GA last January!!
Three years ago, Don and I sat outside an old Harvey House Hotel in Winslow, Arizona. We watched the evening train arrive as the sun was setting. The image couldn't have been more perfect.
What I love about trains: The distant sound of a train whistle at night, feeling that rhythmic sway & rumble that can put me in a trance, riding a train and letting the window entertain like a movie screen, the curious history of trains, the many, many songs about trains... and I even like being stopped by a train, when I am forced to slow down and enjoy the show of train cars!
This image of a screen and 2 cars, brings back childhood memories. It's a lot harder to have the drive-in experience today, but there are at least some around. This funny set up, was at an Air Stream trailer campground in Utah. The movie was complimentary to campers, but you could pay a fee and sit in a retro car. Don and I chose the red car and watched City Slickers. The top was down, so the starry sky competed with the movie!
Theaters I remember: Tulsa, OK where my kids wore p.j.s and we watched Disney movies while cows mooed nearby... Tallahassee, FL when I was 14 and we watched Ben Hur, then waltzed on the grass during intermission while corny music played. . Traverse City, MI with my sister and we squeezed some friends in the trunk... St. Louis, MO when I was 18 and my Mom was my date and the teen boys in the next car flirted with her, not me!
Celebrations are a good thing. The month of July is full of them in my family. In this photo, my kids are celebrating July birthdays with their cousins. 3 of these adorable kiddos has a July birthday. Now I can think of 9 family birthdays in July! I love the expressions and the energy in those little bodies. And boy do I love the puppy dog cake, that I know their grandmother made! What I also love, is knowing you don't have to have a birthday or holiday. There's always something worth celebrating!
Things I Remember Celebrating: Our dog's birthday, with an iced, Gainesburger cake... Celebrating midnight in my youth, with a feast... last days of school... Vincent Van Gogh's birthday... my Birth-Year-Birthday, when my age matched my birth year at 57... and celebrating a rainy day by making a fort!
There is something about the color and the curves, that just delights me! Two years ago, I enjoyed some up close and personal time, with flamingos in Aruba. We got to the island early and had about 8 birds, all to ourselves. From a distance their graceful poses and movements were soothing to watch. Close up, I was giddy and somewhat terrified by their pecking beaks as they fought for the seed in my hand!
Observations: Delicious, creamsicle color... eerie eyes... a neck as long as the legs... the letter "S" in the neck... clever knees that bend backwards... smooth feathers that tempted me to pat... all their striking poses... bold & stalking behavior by one particular flamingo!
I really do love them, especially when they look at you... the way this young Iowa cow did! I wish I could remember the poem my mother used to recite... "My daddy held me up to the Moo Cow Moo..." That poem earned my mom the nickname Moo, from my little brother. She was a good sport about all the variations of cow names she ended with. Over the years she was called these names by her kids, their spouses and her grandkids!
All Mom's Nicknames: Moo, Jersey Mother, The Jerse, Jersey, Moo Cow, Grandma Moo...
Bubbles are pretty festive and uplifting, but honestly it's the kids that make me smile in this photo. The "Hart Kids" and the "Dean Kids" all lived just steps away from my kids, for many years. Yes, air-conditioning did lure them inside on some hot days. But they spent a lot of time running from yard to yard, amusing themselves with games and toys, as simple as old fashioned bubble blowing!
Bubbles I Like: Bubble baths with bubble hair-dos, spit bubbles coming from a baby's mouth, bubbles behind the Staten Island Ferry, watching a child accomplish their first bubble with gum, champagne bubbles, studying a bubble before it pops and... Kristin Wigg's, tiny-handed character on SNL, popping Lawrence Welk's bubbles! (And that one makes me laugh the most!)
The Rockcliffe Mansion in Hannibal, MO makes me smile... with raised eyebrows! There's something fantastically eerie about this place, especially when you are the only overnight guests. (an amazing B & B) Most mansions are gated off, so we can't snoop. But I love it when I get the chance to drive by an actual mansion, or tour one, or even explore one. I love imaging the people, the happenings...the secrets!
Favorite Mansions: As a kid I was in awe of circus owner, John Ringling's mansion in Sarasota, Florida... In Texas my favorite is Moody Mansion in Galveston... I love the Vandamm House in Hitchcock's North By Northwest, even though it was just a film set... and The Biltmore could have been a favorite... but I never visited, since the tour ticket was too dang high!
This was taken at Debbie's birthday party. She is the adorable girl with the dimpled smile, standing far left on the second row. I am the goofball, proudly grinning beside my good buddy, Debbie. (There's no need to explain my appearance, the photo says it all) This photo amuses and delights me. I could study these faces and dresses for days. I don't remember exactly what we did at the party, but I'm sure there were games, balloons, cake and lots of giggling and squealing. There's also a chance there was at least 1 pouting loser and 1 sassy winner in the crowd! Thanks to Debbie's Dad, I have this wonderful photo!
Games I Remember: Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Drop the Clothespin in the Milk Bottle, Musical Chairs, Drop the Hanky, What's Missing Game...
Yesterday's post about leaping, reminded me of this wonderful photo taken by my brother, Chris. it was 1969 and we were visiting my friend Tammy, who lived in an Italian villa outside of Florence. She is the lovely little girl in tights and Sunday dress, leaping from rock to rock. My brother, David looks like a young Italian boy. I sort of ruined the photo by wearing my striped gondolier's shirt, with my skirt and sagging knee socks. But I remember the magical setting. We started off at the creek, leaping about, like small fairies hidden in tall grass. Then we ended up diving into haystacks in a nearby field. I wish I could go back to that storybook day.
Magical Places: Summer St. in Grinnell, Iowa at dusk with lightning bugs... St. Mark's Square in Venice at 2 am, with only the sound of our footsteps and cooing pigeons... December in St. Louis, when Xmas lights glowed under layers of snow and ice, turning bushes into illuminated, dotted mushrooms.
Today I need an empowering photo for the 50th day of this journey. Today is also the day I meet with my doctor to go over results which determine what I'll be doing for the next 9 to 12 months. Whatever my test results show, I know I'll be back to leaping one of these days... just like I was last fall in beautiful Arches National Park!
Best Leaping Memories: My favorite part of ballet class was leaping across the old wooden dance floor, while the instructor clapped the rhythm and a dear aged woman played the piano... When I was 11, I recall leaping with my friend and brother across a small creek in the Italian countryside, while my older brother snapped photos. The black & white images look like fairytale illustrations... I adored playing leap frog with my neighborhood buddies!
Any sunrise is a treat. Sometimes you have to make an effort to enjoy one. When you do rise early enough, there are fewer people doing the same... which makes it more special. This sunrise at our nearby Texas park, Brazos Bend, was easier to catch because we were camping. There was nothing peaceful about this misty morning. There must have been 50 different, exotic bird sounds echoing over the water!
Memorable Sunrises: Sunrise bacon & egg picnic with Mom & sibs in a Michigan park, shivery-cold view of sunrise at North Rim of the Grand Canyon, driving through Kentucky as a kid and seeing the sun rise over fields of horses, Galveston Beach last Christmas, when the dim view of the ocean & "Pleasure Pier" began to show colors... as the sun rose and broke though the fog.
It's hard not to smile when you see a sleeping child. But, it also makes me a little jealous. I would love to sleep long and deep, like a kid again! Maybe I should take notes from this photo of Scott at age 2. If I had Mickey Mouse pjs, a bed as cozy as a small boat, a soft quilt, a Cookie Monster pillowcase and a couple of plastic dinosaurs... I might have the perfect night's sleep!
No List. Scott actually was not the best sleeper as a child, so there is no list to be made. But I have a fun memory of Scott at about this age, falling asleep in an Italian restaurant. Our small group lingered late and Scott drifted off. When a family with young ones left the booth nearby, we moved our sleeping tot to the empty, cushioned bench. Moments later, we caught the alarmed look on the waiter's face as he cleared the table. We chuckled a moment before informing him, the other family had not left their child behind.
This whimsical collection of birdhouses cracks me up. When I spotted them at the Red Oak II Community in Missouri, I had to pause and stare. I pictured cartoonish birds in their little neighborhood, flying from house to house borrowing cups of sugar or seed. I love cute little houses!
3 Favorites: 1 - My childhood playhouse, which was a shabby shed found near the alley. We rescued it to the yard and neighbors helped repair, paint and sew curtains. 2- The dollhouse I made at 15. I drew up plans and had my sister help me cut plywood using the table saw, at FSU's theatre scene shop. 3- Don & I stayed in a Victorian "Tiny House", built with refurbished materials...antique windows, doors & furniture. It was right out of a storybook!
I like a good read, but I also like a fun read! Jamie, Heidi and I were hardly reading in this photo, from 2 years go. We were actually concentrating more on trying to blow bubbles than absorbing the retro comic books. But did have fun and it reminds me of other good times, reading with others.
Reading Together Times: Reading scary stories aloud on camping trips, laughing over fan magazines at teen slumber parties, as a kid sharing the Sunday "funnies" with siblings, reading to my own kids and annoying them when I wanted to use accents.... And 5th grade, after every lunch recess, when we came in hot and sweaty and laid heads on desks, while Mrs. T. read the whole series of "Little House" books.
Whether it's a 2-week road trip or an afternoon drive, I love a 2-lane road. Just the sight of one makes me relax.
Favorite Highways: Sections of Route 66 in Oklahoma, Florida's Tamiami Trail in 1960's, with scattered motels, billboards and orange juice stands, US-50 in Arizona, where it's known as the Loneliest Road in America and a winding section of road in Missouri, known as Devil's Elbow.
I like the idea of kids growing up around critters like, cows, pigs &chickens. I didn't have many opportunities to interact with farm animals as a child and neither did my own kids. But in Oklahoma, we had Wooloroc and in St. Louis we had Purina Farms, where my kids had some good animal encounters. Heidi doesn't look like she trusts this pig very much, but she actually was pretty game when it came to animals. She was always eager to get up close to handle, pet, ride or hug any kind of beast. She just didn't want to share her bag of cotton candy with any of them!
Farm related stories & songs I once adored: Charlotte's Web, non- tornado farm scenes with Dorothy in Kansas, playing Farmer in the Dell, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Ma & Pa Kettle movies....
Actually there's a lot I don't love about spider webs, but I do love coming across a spiderweb, like this one in my backyard. Especially early morning, untouched and dew covered.
Good things about webs & spiders: Watching spiders at work, building webs, Daddy Long Legs when I was a kid, little kids singing Itsy Bitsy Spider or better yet, Little Richard doing his whacky version of the song... and I do love the overdone, silly display of stage prop spiderwebs in a spooky movie or play.