July 09, 2010

More Credit Where Due

Want to read a really great review of Toy Story 3?
It's written by a 13 year old movie critic?

Look here.

July 08, 2010

Belated credit where due.

My son made this.
In Middle School English, you get to do the Dream Project. Some of the kids made board games, one wrote a song, etc. It's a kind of communication to the English teacher about what you learned from her.

Well, in true "apple doesn't fall far from the pastry chef" form, my guy baked a cake and decorated it with words. He also learned that decorating ain't quite as simple as it looks. He worked for quite a while and I have to say: I'm keen and not at all aghast at those who veer toward the gnarled folk filled with ample, vital glee and definitely not fickle!

Belated joy from me.

July 06, 2010

Living your life.


First, a deep breath.
Then, a realization out of observation.
We really should be living our lives.

My friend Mary worked for years and years in her family's food supply business. She was the sales manager. The beautiful, interesting and highly competent daughter of the magnificent founder and owner.
As her neighbor, I spend a fair amount of time in and around her home. It's beautiful, too. The kitchen is cozy when we're chatting at the big old wooden kitchen table by the fire. You feel a sense of place and ever changing art-stuff throughout. Sitting areas are settings. Outdoors and in. It's peaceful. It's eclectically cluttered with big pieces of furniture and lights draped here and there, for the joy of effect.

Recently, the recession and credit crunch slowed the family business to a point where she and her siblings decided there was wisdom in closing. It was a horrendous time for all of them. They'd taken over and continued to grow this wonderful small business, honoring their dad and then the plug just seemed to be pulled.
Within a week or so, another friend of ours found himself in a bind. He owns a couple-story spec house at the beach and needed it completely furnished - beautifully. He hired Mary to do the work.

The final look, the touch, the setting in each room is magnificent.

She couldn't have done it if she were doing her old job.
She's supposed to be designing more.
And enjoying her home more.
Her garden more.
Somehow, this abrupt passage is allowing her to become more of who she is.
To live her life more fully.
And it makes me all the more interested, with my heart and ears open:

Am I living this life to the full?




All of this is the work of Mary Cecile Landis, for information about her Southern California based designs, contact me. She's busy on a project in Beverly Hills this week, though.

July 05, 2010

Shifting expectations and a big bang.

Holiday's bring great expectations. Take for example, oh, Christmas. No, don't, you'll work too hard recalling all the expectations of the holiday, start thinking of under-delivery on your part or someone else's and feel stress. Don't. Really.
Try Valentine's Day or Labor Day.
Any of them.
For me the holiday with the second biggest list of expectations is The 4th of July.
We're supposed to gather, picnic, barbecue, fly the flag, wear red, white & blue, listen to patriotic music, see fireworks, and in the end, say, "Ouuuu," and "Ahhhhh!" collectively.

My favorite 4ths were as a kid, when a little box of fireworks was completely magical, and all the families in the neighborhood gathered to watch the dads dazzle us with their pyrotechnic talents.

I also loved the years we found our way to that slice of the 1950s Americana, the Pacific Palisades 4th of July Parade. Hometown at it's best. The mayor in a convertible, little floats, horse teams, and Chevy Chase waving to the crowd. This year they even had, Kate Linder, a 27-year member of 'The Young and the Restless cast. Oh, and pinwheels, streamers, ice cream and horns.

In recent years we've bought tickets to the big stadium fireworks show. It's spectacular, but it comes with a lot of parking and sitting and waiting and filler and then, after the fireworks, the line to get out of the stadium and back into the parking lot to, wait. One year, we walked blocks and blocks to get to the beach show and then found the view, well, blocks and blocks away. The adventure was there, but not the full reward.

Last night, our many gathering opportunities vanished and we found ourselves just the little family for the holiday. After a backyard barbecue of burgers and bbq's chicken legs, my Dear suggested we all get in the car and took us to the best celebration place of all. The place where real American families gather -- the streets outside the fireworks stadium. Miles of service roads in our town are lined with people on blankets, in lawn chairs, or milling to get the best view of the show. Whole families, big families are out there. Kinda like a parade route. And when the fireworks start, so do the "Ouuus & Aaaahs."

The teenager sat on the top of my SUV, Grandma and Dad stood nearby and my girlie and I layed  on a blanket, avoiding trees in our view path and marveled at the colors and shapes and sounds. When it was over, we hopped in the car and came home to steal into the backyard for sparklers and a raspberry tart.

It was the 4th of July at its best. Easy and fun. A time with family to celebrate our county's hard won freedom. And the freedom to celebrate well with, perhaps, some simpler expectations.

Photo courtesy The Sun Sentinel.com, hurricane central.
Program graphic courtesy of the Pacific Palisades Post.

July 04, 2010

Quotable Sunday ~ Friendship

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.  
- C. S. Lewis

My darling Jemma took this and emailed it to me. Now, there's friendship.

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Original text and images sole property of BirdandSeashells. If you wish to use something, please ask or quote me.