happy birthday ingrid

Happy 5th Birthday, Ingrid Neko Kesswood!

You light up our lives.  

Have a wonderful birthday, full of laughter and fun.   We will celebrate again when we get home.  Love you more than words can say.  You bring us unlimited happiness.  Thank you, honey, for being you!  xoxoxoxoxoxo

tea lady

Protected: She Ain’t No “Lady” (thank goodness)

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

I am laughing.

Ha. Ha. Ha.  Laughter is good for you! 

laughing

.3smilesha hamarilynnerudastacyonphonelaughing9pemalaughing8laughing3old woman laughinglaughing4laughing6laughing5laughing7laughing2laughing1laugh1tee heelalughingjohnny cashgenielaughingkels subwaykaugh1stacyonphonesharron angle

Try it!  Laughter is the best, most  joyful music on earth!  Regardless of what might be “wrong” in your life, you’ll feel a lot better if you can just find something to laugh about!   Laughter is medicine.

bay11-old vs new

Where Little Cable Cars…..

bay6-bay bridge

The new Bay Bridge soared majestically over us yesterday as we headed into the city to catch August Wilson’s first play, “Jitney.”  John and I have been August Wilson fans for decades.  In fact, the class that I took from John, in which we fell in love, had one of Wilson’s plays on the syllabus.  We saw that play together in Texas, and felt sentimental about seeing this one last night.

Jitney is part of Wilson’s Century Cycle, and is about a group of blue collar men who offer gypsy cab rides to and from African American communities in Pittsburgh where city cabs refuse to go.  We have attended other plays in the same venue, which was once an Episcopal Church, and love the small, intimate environment that makes the audience feel like it is a part of the play’s environs. 

4bay-alcatraz

A luxurious fog bank was beautifully rolling into the city by the end of the day, but Alcatraz was still visible as we crossed the bridge.  Of course, Robin Williams was on my mind as we entered San Francisco, as was my best friend, René.

  3bay-city

See how the streets sparkled in the photo above?  Everything looked silver and blue.  It was beautiful!

 bay8-embarcadero

We took our customary drive down the Embarkadero, but did not get out and walk as we usually do, because we wanted to catch a bite to eat before the play.  Again, I thought of Robin Williams, because he used to jog here, and further down the way near Chrissy Field.   There was a definite Robin Williams vibe going on in the city.  I think all of us are still shocked.

bay7-sculpture

As always, there were interesting things to see, as in this amazing metal sculpture. called SOMA.  The 60-foot sculpture combines metal and LED lights to mimic brain neurons and create an interactive experience for visitors.  The piece was first built five years ago by the San Francisco artist collective Flaming Lotus Girls. The group is known for the fiery statues they feature annually at the Burning Man festival in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert .  When it is lit, it is magnificent!

The usual Mimes were entertaining tourists, and a lot of people were out walking around.  It was a glorious day!

bay9-mime

We also drove over to the Haight, hoping to eat over there, but it was ridiculously crowded, so we went elsewhere.  I did snap a shot of this cool mural, however, even though I couldn’t capture the entire thing.  Kind of reflects on that whole hippie, Haight-Ashbury thing from the days of Jimi and Janis.   Doesn’t it? 

bay12-mural

We drove close to the theatre and decided to walk over to Kala Udon Kitchen, a nearby cheap noodle place that serves some of the best udon imaginable.  We had veggie tempura sushi, tofu, and our bowls of steaming hot noodles.  It was way too much food to finish, but we ate until we were full and had a great conversation.  We were both excited about the upcoming play.

bay1-food

We arrived early for the play, so John took a couple of shots of the very simply constructed set.  When writing is as good as that of August Wilson, a fancy set is not needed.  The work speaks for itself.

bay13-set1 bay14-set2

We held hands during the play and enjoyed one another’s company AND the play, more than I can say.  It was really good.  In fact, I was shocked that it was as good as it was since it was Wilson’s first.  I loved his later work, but this first effort was very strong.  It was well-acted and thoroughly entertaining. 

Overall, our date night was a big success! 

balloons

Clicking Off Items on the Bucket List….Up, Up and Away….

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to take a ride in a hot air balloon.  I have done this, in a small way, in that I went high into the air in one years ago, but the balloon  was tethered by a long rope.  Soon, my Auntie and I will be embarking upon the real deal, by floating high above the Napa Valley in an epic photo opportunity among the clouds.

balloon2

The first hot air balloon launch was in September of 1783, when a scientist named Pilatre De Rozier,  lauched the Aerostat Reveillon.  The balloon’s passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster.   The balloon stayed in the air for a grand total of 15 minutes before crashing back to the ground, and I read no accounts of how the animals fared…but I hope they survived.

balloon4

My former husband (and still good friend) and I used to go to the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta to see the spectacular and creative air ballet danced by balloons in the wildest shapes and colors!  It was always so beautiful and exciting to see what people would come up with.

balloons3

There were balloons shaped like trains and cars and airplanes.  There were balloons shaped like houses and animals.  There were star shaped balloons and psychedelic balloons.  It was always so much fun to see them drifting by.    There was great music there as well.   It would play as the sun went down and all of the balloons would light up creating a fantasy wonderland of colorful whimsy. 

balloons5

Of course, I’m a little bit nervous about the flight.  Accidents do happen….but I prefer not to give those thoughts my energy.  I anticipate a smooth, beautiful ride with a chance to see the Valley from a perspective that I have not seen it before.  It will be fun to do this with my favorite Aunt, who is also a fun loving individual.  I’ll be sure to take a lot of photos, and will let you know how it goes! 

Up, up and awaaaaaaaay!!!!! 

 

 

 

 

Serenity At Its Best

feetpool

This was a good day…a quiet one, with no visitors, no pressing issues to attend,  and perfectly perfect weather.  I meditated at the far end of the pool for a long time this morning, then stretched out on the diving board and read for hours.  John was nearby with is laptop, working on his class.  One more week here, then a couple of days on the Pacific at the Oregon coast, which I really look forward to….then back to work and school as I head into my final year. 

This afternoon, I decided to make some pasta out of butternut squash that I picked up at the Farmer’s Market the other day.   I was planning to do a Beurre Blanc sauce, but John got hungry before I did, so he made a concoction of different kinds of mushrooms, garlic, and kale with some excellent, aged Parm-Riggiano. It was outstanding, and I was grateful to him, because I truly did feel like being lazy by that time.   I seldom get any rest, and this was much needed.

pasta

I took Maddie for a walk and saw a herd of deer just across the road.  They were so beautiful.  One of them had a big rack…huge, actually, and I felt a wee bit threatened, because they were all such big animals, and Maddie and I were standing there out in the open.  That feeling quickly passed, however.   I responded to them respectfully and they responded to me in kind.

flowergarden

I tended the lovely flower gardens in the front of the house, which is something I truly love doing…and I also tended the herb garden on the side of the house, harvesting some rosemary to infuse in some olive oil for cooking. 

It truly was a good day…a little romance in the afternoon…skinny dipping….a wonderful dinner with some world class wine…and now, we’re going to watch a film together…so night all.

An Afternoon among the Ghosts and Goblins…

At first, the thought of spending hours in a cemetery might seem grim  However, we spent the afternoon shooting photos at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, where many Bay Area residents go to jog, picnic, walk and read the tombstones that date back to 1863.  Cemeteries have interesting ambiances and one can tell a lot about the history of a place by reading the inscriptions on the tombstones.   I used to go to this particular cemetery when we lived in the Bay Area, because I found it to be the perfect place to meditate.  The place was designed by the same landscape architect that designed Central Park in New York, and  is now a famous historic cemetery nestled in the foothills of Oakland and Piedmont.  John and I had such a nice walk here today.   Bay Area families have found our many fountains, gardens and panoramic views comforting for more than a century. 

Here are some of the pictures that I took there on this bright, clear August afternoon:

Golden Gate Bridge from a Distance

gg bridge

The New Section of the Bay Bridge

bbridge

Mr. Chang

chang

Cemetery as Seen from Upper Level

c1

Triumphant Runner

1a

1 Year, 4 Months, 9 Days

1yr

Tombstone

1aa

Old Rugged Cross

1cross

Overlook

1o

Pondering

pondering

Statuary

statuary

Louisa Kohler

1louisa

Trio

1trio

 

 

 

quixote

A Trip Up Valley

gold dome

I have long been a fan of the architecture of the late Viennese architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.   This week, we visited Quixote Winery, the facilities of which were designed and built by Hundertwasser himself.  It  will stand out in our minds as a stellar day, as we had a wonderful time.   The art….the wine….the company…the perfect weather made this a memorable occasion. 

hundertwasser detail

 Quixote Winery produces Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon varietal wines under its own “Quixote” label.  The fruit used in this exceptional wine is sourced from the 27 acres, sustainably-farmed Stags’ Leap Ranch estate vineyard, and was planted in 1996.  It is  located between Stags’ Leap Winery and Shafer Vineyards off of the beautiful Silverado Trail, near where my family lives.  The interior and exterior alike were all about art…and design…and stunning beauty.  It felt like a wonderland to me.  I loved it all!       

Quixote is not just about the wine.  It is also about the art.  The owners have a staggeringly beautiful collection of contemporary art.  The furnishings were astounding…and even the wine tanks were covered with colorful canvases. 

winery1

interior1

interior2

color chair

vase

This kinetic sculpture was one of our favorites.  It mechanically opened and closed these pieces of paper to make them look like butterflies fluttering about.  It was created by the artist, Matta Clark who has a larger version of it at  MIT.  She said she would try to find out his name and would give me a call back.  Watch this little video.  It is so cool!

The wine, which retails at $90 per bottle is bottled with screw caps rather than corks for better quality and storage.   I am rather old school in this regard, and was taken aback by the screw caps, but after tasting this exceptional wine, I have changed my opinion about the need to always use corks. The wines are highly rated and receive numerous awards. Deservedly so. Food and Wine Magazine rated Quixote one of the twenty best new wineries in the world between 1999 and 2004.    We are now proud owners of a case of Cab from there, one bottle of which we enjoyed last night after we got back to the Bay Area.  Except for the one bottle that we shared with our friend, we will save the rest for 6 years.           

quixote wine

The building, including grounds, is the only United States project built by Hundertwasser and it is magnificent!  Some of his original art hangs there as well.   The winery is designed in a whimsical, exotic way,  with ceramic tiles, irregularly rounded and painted columns.  The deliberately uneven floors are designed for their tactile effect on occupants’ feet. There are no right angles, except in the basement. The design style has been called,  “…phantasmagoric, psychedelic, and Dr. Seuss-like”. It resonated with my very soul! I loved everything about it. The winery structure is dominated by an onion dome covered in gold leaf, as well as a living roof topped with grass, bushes, and trees.  Even the light fixtures were artful.

light fixture

hundertwasser original

tasting room

mosaic q-winery

dome

One of my favorite trees there was the Buddha’s Hand. These citrus fruits can fill a room with their light, wonderful fragrance. I sometimes buy the fruit at Whole Foods, but had never seen it growing on a tree.  I just place it in a dish and its fragrance fills the whole house with lemony goodness.

buddhas hands 

Ours was a private tour, and Carlo, our guide, was terrific. The sweet French-German wine expert made sure we had the low-down on Quixote’s history and plied us with delicious imported cheeses and dark chocolate as we talked about the wine. And oh, the wine! It was so magnificent! I had not tasted a wine that resonated with me so much in years!

 carlo

After we left Quixote, we took our guest to see Castillo di Amorosa. We didn’t tour the castle this year, but instead, walked around the grounds and hung out for awhile and snapped some pictures. Lovely experience, as always.

castillo

 When we left, we went into Calistoga and bopped around in some art shops, had veggie burgers at our favorite Hydro Bar and then headed to St. Helena to pick up some English muffins from Model Bakery.

shoeslegs

These legendary English muffins were featured on the Food Network when one of the country’s top chefs recommended them as a “must try” item.   We tried them last year for the first time, and just had to buy more this year. Pricy, at $14.00 per half dozen, they are worth every penny! I have never attempted to make them, but did find a recipe online to share with you this morning.

Overall, I’d say we had a damned good day yesterday! 

english muffins

Model Bakery’s English Muffins

 Ingredients

  • Biga
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup/ 75g bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant (also called quick-rising or bread machine) yeast
  • Dough
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp instant (also called quick-rising or bread machine) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups/ 510g unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
  • 1/4 cup/ 35g yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • 6 tablespoons melted Clarified Butter (recipe follows), as needed

Procedures

  1. 1

To make the biga: At least 1 day before cooking the muffins, combine the flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl to make a sticky dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. The biga will rise slightly.

  1. 2

To make the dough: Combine the biga, water, yeast, olive oil, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Affix the bowl to the mixer and fi t with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture looks creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in 3 cups/435 g of the flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let stand for 20 minutes. (To make by hand, combine the water, biga, yeast, oil, and salt in a large bowl and break up the biga with a wooden spoon. Stir until the biga dissolves. Mix in enough flour to make a cohesive but tacky dough. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.)

  1. 3

Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely cleans the mixer bowl. Replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed (if the dough climbs up the hook, just pull it down) until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface to check its texture. It should feel tacky but not stick to the work surface. (To make by hand, knead on a floured work surface, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and feels tacky, about 10 minutes.)

  1. 4

Shape the dough into a ball. Oil a medium bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil, leaving the dough smooth-side up. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, about 2 hours. (The dough can also be refrigerated for 8 to 12 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding to the next step.)

  1. 5

Using a bowl scraper, scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut into twelve equal pieces. Shape each into a 4-in/10-cm round. Sprinkle an even layer of cornmeal over a half-sheet pan. Place the rounds on the cornmeal about 1 in/2.5 cm apart. Turn the rounds to coat both sides with cornmeal. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until the rounds have increased in volume by half and a finger pressed into a round leaves an impression for a few seconds before filling up, about 1 hour.

  1. 6

Melt 2 Tbsp of the clarified butter in a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat until melted and hot, but not smoking. In batches, add the dough rounds to the skillet. Cook, adjusting the heat as needed so the muffins brown without scorching, adding more clarified butter as needed. The undersides should be nicely browned, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook until the other sides are browned and the muffins are puffed, about 6 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel–lined half-sheet pan and let cool. (It will be tempting to eat these hot off the griddle, but let them stand for at least 20 minutes to complete the cooking with carry-over heat.) Repeat with the remaining muffins, wiping the cornmeal out of the skillet with paper towels and adding more clarified butter as needed.

  1. 7

Split each muffin in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Toast in a broiler or toaster oven (they may be too thick for a standard toaster) until lightly browned. Serve hot. (The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

  1. 8

To make the clarified butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until completely melted and boiling. Cook until the butter stops sputtering, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim the foam from the surface of the butter.

  1. 9

Line a wire sieve with dampened, wrung-out cheesecloth and place over a medium bowl. Carefully pour the clear, yellow melted butter through the sieve, leaving the milky residue behind in the saucepan. (Discard the residue.) Pour into a small container and cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.

yotexas

So Much Ignorance….Yo, Texas!

I lived in Texas for 18 years and while I am still close to the majority of my friends there, I am still astounded by the amount of ignorance that exists in Texas.  Just plain stupidity.   Take creationism, for instance.  Republicans on the Texas State Board of Education have been fighting a desperate last ditch battle to shoehorn their superstitious creationism and climate change denial into public school science textbooks, but in the good news of the day, the board voted this morning to adopt the textbooks without compromising the science.

TEXAS TEXTBOOK ADOPTION IS A MAJOR VICTORY FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION

No Compromise on Science Instruction about Evolution or Climate Change in Textbooks, TFN President Says.

Despite last-minute efforts by some board members and political activists to derail the adoption of two textbooks, the State Board of Education today voted to adopt all of the proposed instructional materials up for adoption for high school biology and environmental science. Throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks, said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of today’s vote, which is a huge win for science education and public school students in Texas,” Miller said. “Four years ago this board passed controversial curriculum standards some members hoped would force textbooks to water down instruction on evolution and climate change. But that strategy has failed because publishers refused to lie to students and parents demanded that their children get a 21st-century education based on established, mainstream science.”

The board voted to adopt all textbooks and instructional materials submitted by 14 publishers for high school biology and high school environmental science. None of those textbooks call into question the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution and climate change science.

The adoption of the Pearson biology textbook is contingent on the review by a panel of three science experts of factual “errors” alleged by an anti-evolution activist who served on the official state review team this summer. The publisher has insisted that the alleged errors are, in fact, accurate representations of established, mainstream science.

The board adopted the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt environmental science textbook after the publisher submitted a document agreeing to revise material that might be outdated. Scientists who have reviewed the publisher’s proposed revisions were satisfied that none of the revisions would compromise the integrity of the science in the textbook, Miller said.

There’s a reason why the Republican Party fought so bitterly to insert their junk science into these textbooks: book purchases made by the state of Texas are so large that they have a strong influence on which books are published and used by the rest of the nation. If the religious right had succeeded in Texas, the effects would have been felt far beyond the Lone Star State.

They lost. And science won, this time. But don’t kid yourself — the anti-science right will be back. They always come back….because ignorance is rampant in the state of Texas….people choose to believe what they want to believe and proof of the contrary has absolutely nothing to do with it.  If someone can make the rest of the world believe that things are hunky-dorey, that’s all they need….never mind reality.  Oh, well….I love you anyway, Texas…or, at least, I love certain people that live there….and thank goodness they still love me, too.

stacy orange

poetry

Express Yourself Poetically

“It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”  –William Carlos Williams

Have you ever wanted to write poetry, but just couldn’t find the words?  Are you currently a poet that would like to take your work to the next level?  Fear not.  The answer is here.

writing poetry

Join Jen Lightly  Sept. 1, 2014, for The 30 Day Poetry Challenge where students will reinvigorate their relationships to their mother tongue through the exquisite art of poetry. If you are an accomplished poet, you are welcome. If you are a novice, you are welcome, too. If you have never written a poem in your life, you are most welcome. And if you just want to read poems and engage with creative and passionate minds and hearts, you are also welcome.

REGISTER HERE.  <—-click

poetry2

During The 30 Day Poetry Challenge Jen will send you a poem and a writing prompt inspired by the poem every day. You will have the opportunity to engage with words in fresh, exciting ways while learning “the art of the line,” the nuts and bolts of what makes a poem into something as solid and beautiful as a Grecian urn, to paraphrase one of the all-time poetry greats, John Keats.

“Jen Lighty doesn’t only walk the Medicine Wheel– she lives it. A guide, a priestess, a mythologist, a story-teller and a scholar, Jen has spent her life preparing for her work helping others achieve transformation into their own beauty–that is, she re-introduces people to themselves and their own sacred journeys. I never understood the concept of ‘finding one’s teacher’ until I began to walk the path with Jen toward clarity, toward compassion, toward the light.

poetry3

Jen has published two chapbooks, Siren and Bluebell: The Apocalypse Diary, and many of her poems, essays and stories have been shared through The Beloit Poetry Journal, Earthlines, The Island Review, The Providence Journal, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Bamboo Ridge, Thrush Poetry Journal, Seneca Review, Water-Stone, and The North American Review. Jen recently received a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on The Arts, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for the Best New Poets Anthology, and was awarded an Honorable Mention by Cutthroat Magazine in the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize.   Additionally, she has a taught an innovative series of workshops combining poetry, movement, meditation, and ceremony for 7 years at The Block Island Poetry Project. http://www.bipoetryproject.com

daymoon2

Daymoon Over Point Reyes

We went to Point Reyes yesterday and I managed to get some great shots of the area.  One of the places we went was the Pt. Reyes lighthouse.  Walking down, and then back up, the equivalent of a 30-story building was worth the walk just to see the magnificent rock formations and the interior of the lighthouse itself.  There was a low fog and a cool breeze, making it a very enjoyable day.

Enjoy!

1lighthouse

1pelican

1blackbug

1redrocks

1rockformations

1rockformations2

1rusty1&2

1stairway

1silverwater

Jimmy Page Talks About Kashmir

This is a great little video in which Jimmy Page talks about the making of the Led Zeppelin song, “Kashmir, one of the most original and distinctive songs Led Zeppelin ever recorded , hailing from the 1975 album Physical Graffiti. In this clip from Davis Guggenheim’s film It Might Get Loud (2009), Page explains the origins of the song to fellow guitarists Jack White and The Edge. Then Page demonstrates it by picking up an old modified Danelectro 59DC Double Cutaway Standard guitar that he played the song with on some of Led Zeppelin’s tours. (Watch Kashmir live here.)

In 1973, Page had been experimenting with an alternative D modal, or DADGAD, tuning often used on stringed instruments in the Middle East, when he hit upon the hypnotic, rising and falling riff. The song came together over a period of a couple of years. John Bonham added his distinctive, overpowering drums during a two-man recording session with Page at Headley Grange. Singer Robert Plant wrote the lyrics while he and Page were driving through the Sahara Desert in Southern Morocco. (Neither Page nor Plant had ever visited Kashmir, in the Himalayas.) Bassist and keyboard player John Paul Jones added the string and horn arrangements the following year. In a 1995 radio interview with Australian journalist Richard Kingsmill, Plant recalled his experience with “Kashmir”:

It was an amazing piece of music to write to, and an incredible challenge for me. Because of the time signature, the whole deal of the song is…not grandiose, but powerful. It required some kind of epithet, or abstract lyrical setting about the whole idea of life being an adventure and being a series of illuminated moments. But everything is not what you see. It was quite a task, because I couldn’t sing it. It was like the song was bigger than me.

 

packing

Pack Up and Go -5 Tips for Packing Your Travel Bags

For me, August usually means travel time.  This year is no exception.  Travel means getting things ready for the house sitter, running extra errands and packing those awaiting bags.  Although I prefer to travel light, I seldom do.  Forgetting an essential item is not only disappointing.  It also means that I have to scramble to find the nearest store in my destination to replace the item…so I pack thoroughly.  Here are 5  packing tips that can make packing much less painful:

1.  Try rolling instead of folding.

roll

Travel experts—including backpackers, who are forced to stuff months’ worth of clothing into a pack the size of a box of wine—agree that rolling is superior to folding. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones. Plus, they are much less likely to getting deep wrinkles from fold creases.

2.  Make a list and check it twice, even if you are already aware of who is naughty and nice.

list

I start my packing process days or even weeks ahead of my departure date.  In fact, because I travel as much as I do, I keep a bag partially packed at all times.  Thinking ahead gives one  time to craft a complete packing list, plus purchase any additional items that are needed for the trip. Creating a packing list is a fail-safe way to ensure that you never, ever forget to bring something important.

3.   Pare down!

bag

 Even though I pack thoroughly, I try to reduce the number of items that I do pack, to the essentials.  For instance, I might take a dress that can be changed by adding a scarf or belt or jacket, rather than packing 3 different dresses.  Economize when packing.  Pack wisely.  It’s a lot easier to lug one or two bags around than it is to pack 6 or 7 and traverse the airport, even if you do get assistance from a SkyCap.

4.   Don’t take “the good stuff”.

diamonds

I own a lot of very nice jewelry.  However, I do not take more of it with me than I can wear at one time.  I might take a nice ring, or a nice pair of earrings, but frankly, traveling with one’s nice jewelry collection is tantamount to asking for trouble. If you choose to take it all, be prepared to have it lost or stolen.  ’nuff said.

5.  Keep the basics in one place.

champagnerosesUse a large purse, backpack or tote bag to keep items that you may need along the way, easy to access.  For some, this may mean a hairbrush, deodorant, lip gloss, or makeup.  For me?  Champagne and roses, of course!

Happy Trails!

 

Private message to “B” from Ace Agency

Thank you for the warning.  The new url has been added to the old site, not that Mark  would have gotten very far anyway…but I do appreciate your looking out for the biznez.  Wear your armor.  He will probably try to outbid you  when he finds out you’re onto him.  Some people are just desperate! lol!   Sorry you have to look at those bulging folders every day, but hey.   In the end it will be worth it, right?  ;-)

 

Ciao!

S.

Four

This is my contribution to the Doctors Without Borders Auction for 2014.  I will post details when they are available.  I call this piece, “Four.” 

dwb

FOUR

10″ x 10″

Glass, ceramic tile, vintage jewelry on wedi board with wooden frame

by Stacy Alexander

2014

Native American: As in other cultures, ceremonies and ritual acts are repeated in fours. The Native Amercican cultures have used the number 4 most frequently as in the four cardinal directions. The four winds are depicted by the symbol of the cross and by the symbol of the swastika. The swastika as some misbelieve was not created by Hitler. It was instead borrowed from the Native American and occult beliefs of which Hitler had great interests. Hitler derived his “insanity” of power from his misdirected interpretation and use of metaphysical principles. He used knowledge that his human consciousness couldn’t possibly understand and the use of this knowledge for personal gain is part of the imbalance that creates the chaos and karma.

Buddhism: The Damba Tree of Life has four limbs and from its roots four sacred streams of Paradise that represent the the four boundless wishes of compassion, affection, love impartiality. It also represents the four directions of the heart as well.

Chinese Buddism: there are four celestial guardians of cardinal points are Mo-li Ch’ing, the East, with the jade ring and spear; Virupaksha, the West, the Far-gazer, with the four-stringed quitar; Virudhaka, the South, with the umbrella of choas and darkness and earthquakes; Vaisravenna, the North, with the whips, leopard-skin bag, snake and pearl.

Chinese: Four is the number of the Earth, symbolized by the square. There are four streams of immortality. Four is even an number. It is Yin in polarity.

Christian: Four is the number representing the body, with three representing the soul. Again we see the theme of the four rivers in Paradise. There are four Gospels, Evangelists, chef arch-angels, chef-devils, four Fathers of the Church, Great Prophets. There are four cardinal virtues–prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance. The are four winds from which the One Spirit is said to come. There are four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Revelation: There four angels standing at the four corners of the Earth, holding back the four winds of the earth (Rev 7:1). The great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language (four-fold description) – Rev 5:9 11:9 13:7 14:6 the four-fold description indicates that these people come from all over the earth.

Egyptian: Four is the sacred number of Time, measurement of the sun. Four pillars support the vault of heaven. There are four canopic jars placed around the dead at the four corners guarded by the four sons of Horus who are associated with the cardinal points. In the Hermetic it is the divine quaternity. It represents God.

Gnostic: belief in Barbelo, the Four-ness of God.

Greek: Four is the sacred number of Hermes.

Hebrew: Four represents measuring; beneficence; intelligence. In the Kabbalah four is memory; four represents the four worlds of the Kabbalah.It also represents the four directions of space and the four levels of the hierarchical organism of the Torah.

Hindu: Four is Totality; plenitude; perfection. Brahma, the Creator is four faced. The temple is based on the four sides of the square, symbolizing order and finality. There are four tattvas the four bodies bodies of human and kingdoms of nature which are animal, vegetable, mineral, mind. There are four yugas. Four is the winning throw of the dice. There are four castes and pairs of opposites.

Islamic: tradition the four terms of the quaternary are the Principle which is Creator; Universal Spirit; Universal Soul; and the primordial matter. These correspond to the four worlds of Kabbalism. There are four angelic beings and four houses of death. There are four levels to the Bardo.

Mayan culture four giants support the celestial roof. Four is seen as the number of support .

Pythagorean: Four is Perfection; harmonious proportion; justice; the earth. Four is the number of the Pythagorean oath. Four and ten are divinities. The Tetraktys 1+2+3+4=10.

Scandinavian: there are four rivers of milk flowing in Asgard.

Sumero-Semitic: Four astral gods are indentified with the four cardinal points.

Teutonic: four dwarfs support the world.

Taoist: There are four celestial guardians, Li, with the pagoda; Ma, with the sword; Cho with two swords; Wen with a spiked club.

Yo! Control Freak…Control THIS!

How to Stage a Home for Potential Buyers

 stacyjr

My brilliant and successful daughter, Stacy, Jr. has her own business in the Dallas area, working as a real estate staging consultant.  She has been doing this for about a year and a half, helping sellers and real estate companies with home interiors and landscaping to attract potential buyers.  Please click the following link to read a casual, informative article that she wrote about getting started in the business.

http://www.knowerly.com/stories/53dbc225466f723941080000-How-to-Stage-a-Home-for-Potential-Buyers