The beauty of flowers

This past week I've been surrounded by the beauty of flowers. I took the challenge to flood Facebook with flowers to break the saturation of negative images and videos, and promised my friends who liked this post that I'd choose a flower for them. As a result, for the last three days I've been posting some wonderful flower photos on my page. Please take a look here. Also last weekend while we visited family in Seattle, we attended the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. His glass flowers and sculptures are sensational. He says his glass subject matter was greatly influenced by his mother's flower garden while he was growing up. This museum reminds me so much of a greenhouse, as can be seen in the photo below. So if you're a Chihuly fan as I am, here are a few photos of my favorites at the museum. Note that the exhibit is both inside the greenhouse-like building and outside in the garden. I highly recommend you see them in person if you get the chance. … [Read more...]

A dry river bed?

To go along with our new Arbutus (Strawberry) Marina tree, Mike Garcia of Enviroscape designed a new front garden for us. It contains a wonderful mix of drought tolerant plants and succulents and a beautiful dry river bed made of rocks and pebbles. He said the dry river bed will look like running water when it rains. I said, "ha-ha, when does it ever rain here?" Here's a few pix of our new garden. We love it thanks to Mike. He really knows how to paint pictures with plants and other interesting garden elements. He also is very careful to preserve our environment in all that he does. P.S. While we were in Austin TX last week we saw several dry river beds. I'm getting to like the look a lot. … [Read more...]

A Strawberry Marina now in place of Paul’s tree

In December 2013 we removed the tree we had planted in September 2000 on the first anniversary of  our son Paul's death. We had to because the tree we called  Paul's Tree was undermining our property.  We have finally planted a replacement. Though it's much smaller than the tree we had removed, it promises to become fuller and laden with a strawberry type of fruit high in antioxidants. It's called an Arbutus (strawberry) Marina. Right now it has a display of pink flowers and buds that attract many hummingbirds. One feature of this tree's beauty is its red multi-branched trunk that perfectly matches our home's  red tiled roof. Our new Strawberry Marina tree is bringing me joy already. While my garden maven Mike Garcia and his Enviroscape team were planting the tree, they produced two videos about it. I also took a few photos to share here. … [Read more...]

Mike Garcia asks: what in life is most important to you?

Mike Garcia and his team have been taking care of our garden in Manhattan Beach for several years. He’s always been an advocate for drip irrigation, and with the drought situation here in southern California, my husband and finally decided to have it installed. Mike says drip irrigation uses 60 percent less water than a traditional sprinkler system. I can see the savings already. We see no residual water from miss-aimed sprinklers on our driveway anymore. As we’ve worked with Mike and I’ve gotten to know him better, I more and more like his philosophy of protecting the our planet, our bodies and our minds. I’ve thrilled to share his words on those subjects here on Choices today.  Light Overcomes Darkness By Mike Garcia Life is the most precious of gifts.   When we break it down, what in life is most important?  It depends on who is being asked.  Some may say making a living, which means making money.  Some may say relationships or health.  And of course, there is no … [Read more...]

Paul’s Tree is gone….

Paul’s Tree is gone. Inside of three hours its branches were cut down, its trunk chain sawed into moveable chunks and its huge root ball dug out of the ground and also split into small pieces. Now the ground is covered with a few plants. However after the first of the year we will plant a smaller – 36-inch – tree in its place. The city mandated we plant a new tree when it gave us permission to remove this one. I’m sorry to say we couldn’t save it and move it elsewhere. It was just too big. My gardener, Mike Garcia, owner of Enviroscape LA Landscaping, said we would have had to remove overhead wires and hire five helicopters to lift it away – not an economic option, unfortunately. And Mike would know. He cares about growing things. He creates sustainable and healing gardens like I create healing words. By the way, Mike offered some words of advice – don’t let your tree guy just take a few inches of the root ball away when/if you ever have to remove a tree. He says y … [Read more...]

Garden Ganesh

It's beautiful out. The heat has abated and there's a nice cool breeze running through the yard. I finally found a Ganesh for our garden while we were in Ojai a couple of months ago. Here he is. And here's a little Ganesh information: "Ganesh is Lord Siva's and his wife Parvati's son in Hindu mythology. He is a symbol of overcoming obstacles. His broken tusk symbolizes a difficult, unconquered obstacle. His vehicle is a mouse which symbolizes difficulty in removing an obstacle. His large belly means he is very content which is a juxtapositional meaning." I like the way he watches over our fountain. It looks like he fits right in - especially the overcoming obstacles part. Plus I can easily see him from my office window.   I also love this little succulent garden. It gets the right amount of sun to thrive. … [Read more...]

Esalen Big Sur CA photos

Esalen is one of my favorite places. Its beauty, serenity, and healing powers cannot be surpassed. Here's a few shots from my cell phone camera. My favorite view from the hot sulfur baths The rocks below The back garden Resident blue jays Last look … [Read more...]

The morning after

After six days of rain in the LA area, it was just gorgeous yesterday morning. There's nothing better than a clear and clean beach after the rain. … [Read more...]

Whadya think?

Except for a few loose ends and the garden work, the house resurfacing and painting is finished. So, what do you think? alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5391546403997085058" /> … [Read more...]

I’m passing the purple hat

In keeping with the friends theme, a friend sent the following to me yesterday -- in honor of women's history month and in memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer. IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck (written after she found out she was dying from cancer). I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would never have insisted … [Read more...]

They’re back!

And, just in time for the onset of Spring, our gorgeous clivia are back. It makes me smile when I walk up to my front door and see them in full bloom. And, like all things their time here is fleeting. So, I must enjoy them fully now. … [Read more...]

Bucket list update

Okay, here's the status. The things in Bold are the things I've accomplished. Needless to say, the results aren't good. Of course, it goes without saying, that my priorities have changed considerably since I wrote the first things down in November 2007. Well, yes, a lot of other things have changed as well. Leave my job as a full-time employee and work as a consultant sporadically Climb down into the Grand Canyon Go to the parts of the United States I haven’t been to yet -- Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, the Carolina's Visit Florida Get my memoir published Get a poetry book published Read all the books that are waiting for me on the shelves in my closet -- starting with "The Golden Notebook" Spend time outside in my garden Get a Buddha for my garden Spend more time in my home office Write some new poems Take a cruise on the Cunard in the Princess suites to Scandinavia and Russia Visit my brother and his family in Denver Go to Virginia to see Anna and Ian – this shoul … [Read more...]

More about goddesses

A shopkeeper new in our area is all involved in goddesses and Buddhas -- a woman after my own heart. Every month she has a goddess night in her store -- a way to drum up business and to celebrate the goddess in all women. So, pushy person that I am, I told her about our book, The Emerging Goddess, and after seeing more information about it on the book's website, she agreed to take some to sell at her store. My book partner is researching self-publishing a few for the store, and who knows, maybe some other venues as well. Here's another goddess poem: Aging Goddesses The crones – our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, old friends, and teachers walk arm in arm in pairs, each one supporting the other on the old cobble-stoned streets. They are squat, stout with veiny legs and thick ankles, their bare feet in flat sandals showing jagged toenails or clothed in thick hose and wide oxfords. Some move slowly barely able to walk, clutching each other for support. They a … [Read more...]

A Buddha for my garden

I've been looking for a Buddha for my garden, and my sister, trying to help, sent me this photo. Unfortunately, I love it, but it's way too expensive. Pure marble, 200 years old. No. I don't need a Buddha that badly. A concrete one will do, one that will grow moss and weather my meditations from the window of my office. Right now I'm looking out at my little cement pond and fountain. Birds occasionally come by for a drink. The sun is out. There's a little breeze ruffling the leaves of the plants, but what's missing is a Buddha. It's not a religious thing. It's just my thing right now -- no explanations necessary. I just want a modest Buddha for my garden. If anyone has one for sale, please let me know. … [Read more...]

Nine whole days off — enjoy and rejoice!

I can’t believe how pleasant it is to be home and in my office looking out to my garden. A huge squirrel stopped by for a drink in my lily pond, and just a second ago a gray bird took a sip as well. A new lily leaf is popping up, and the other mature, flat ones serve as little islands for the birds to skim across. Even though the sun isn’t shining, it’s just glorious out there – so calm and green. I feel so blessed to be able to look out my picture window and take it all in, and I feel so cheated when I get so caught up in work that I don’t get the opportunity for days at a time. Which reminds me, I need to get that Buddha. It needs to sit right out there where I can see it and watch it watch over me and my house. Other to dos while I’m off for the next nine days: Submit to the Things I Never Told My Mother anthology – due by November 30 Organize my poems for submittal to the 2008 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition – due by February 15, 2008 And now for … [Read more...]