Street Art… A cute squirrel.

Squirrel - street artHappy Monday!

I walked past this street art yesterday. I loved it.

The squirrel on the red brick, the acorn resting on the top of the window, the flowers blooming — it’s WONDERFUL, such a clever idea.

Here is a close up of the squirrel.

Squirrel - street art 2

In life, it takes something small like this to LIFT our SPIRITS.

I could not stop smiling, it’s SO PERFECT. I hope YOU smile too!

Have a great day.

Travel – Where will you go?

A few years ago… 10 to be exact, I went to Egypt on a River Cruise. My mother wanted to go on a trip. I was busy with work, so half listening as she talked. I love my mother, but Italian mothers can go on and on sometimes. You have to tell them to “get to the point.”

Suddenly, my ears perked up. She said, “I found a good deal for a River Cruise in Egypt.” My life long dream had been to go to Egypt to see the pyramids, ride a camel, be in the desert. Now, I was listening.

Today, I was reminded of our Egyptian trip when I saw an email from Sunny Land Tours, Inc saying, “Where will you go when this is all over?” They attached a $200 coupon.

This is the tour company we used. They were very good and reasonably priced. While an International trip is impossible at this time, I still went to their site to see what tours they have. I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco. Ah, Morocco, is that even a possibility? Hard to imagine.

For now, we are all investigating smaller trips close to home. This is a year for self-reflection and time spent with family. I’m reminded of when I was a child. No cell phones, no big trips, riding our bikes, reading books, pulling weeds (LOL), swimming in the Lake, blueberry picking, and picnics. It’s been good to “slow down” a little bit!

However, back to the BIG question —

WHERE WILL YOU GO WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER?

July 4th, no fireworks… Brewery, drive-in movie theatre?

In the old days, we used to go to the outdoor drive in movie theatre. Who can forget the Grease Lightening song?!  Grease was a great one to see on the big screen.

Basically, a green grassy field for cars to park and a big screen to watch a movie. There was a small restaurant to buy some food and go to the restroom. If we were bored with the movie or trying to get away from our “hands on date,” we’d head to the restaurant. Back then, no cell phones, so you couldn’t text your friend to “meet you” somewhere or find out where they parked.

Then… suddenly… drive in movie theaters went away. Not sure why that happened.

BUT NOW, they are making a comeback.

Colorado — I just read an article in The Gazette about a Colorado Springs Brewery (FH Beerwork East) that got creative during COVID. To stay in business, they opened their parking lot to drive in shows calling it CAR SEAT CINEMA. Sounds like they are doing this once a week, it’s been going well. Now, they are back open to customers, social distancing, of course. Sounds like a fun place.

July 4th Fireworks Cancelled — I say we go to an outdoor movie!

HAPPY 4TH of JULY!

fireworks-cubs

Road Trip – Lavender Farm in Michigan

FFEDB355-5406-4D0E-AA1D-C99E01543143When I lived in Seattle, I tried to explore as much as I could. One thing I didn’t make it to was a Lavender Farm. It’s not that I buy lavender all the time, I just wanted to see the beautiful field of purple flowers blowing in the wind.

Good news, I have a chance to see lavender in Michigan. I grew up in Indiana, I know about corn, lettuce and sunflowers, but I didn’t realize across the border there were lavender farms. As a child, we did go blueberry picking in Michigan. We ATE a lot as we picked!! Luckily, the farmers never weighed us before and after, who knows what our bill would have been.

Here is where I am going in a few weeks. The Cherry Point Farm & Market, click on the link. They created a special lavender labyrinth. Now, their website says they lost a lot of lavender in early 2019 due to the Polar Vortex we had. They started re-planting Spring 2019, so it might not be as beautiful as in the website photos, but I will ENJOY walking through a labyrinth. I’ve never done that before.

My mother read many stories from Greek Mythology. King Minos and the labyrinth he had built was one of them. I will be thinking of this as I walk through the maze.

Europe has said borders are closed to American travelers. They are worried about a second wave of COVID. No traveling to Italy this year. So, that means we start explorations near our own home towns. 2020 – the year for change.

Toy Collection — Do you remember Raggedy Ann?

Dolls, how many people are familiar with “Raggedy Ann?” When my mother grew up as a child in Italy, she didn’t have a doll. She must have longed for one, because when we were young she was ALWAYS looking for Raggedy Ann dolls.

When we walked through antique shops, she always found one. There were different sizes and styles as the doll kept evolving over the years. You can see in the YouTube video, this woman has quite a collection. I noticed the original dolls had orangey hair, not bright red and the doll is known for her triangular nose.

As I researched, I found that Johnny Gruelle (illustrator from Illinois) was the creator of Raggedy Ann. His daughter Marcella brought him a old rag doll, he drew a face on the doll and named it Raggedy Ann. His daughter loved her doll, so he created a book/doll combo (got a patent in 1915) and started selling in 1918. First dolls were delivered to Chicago! Many books followed.

Finally, Chicago is known for more than Al Capone / gangsters. I had no idea!

This is interesting, 75,000 handmade dolls were made between 1918-1926 by a toy company in Michigan called, “Unbreakabale Toy Company.” In 2018, the town of Muskegon celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Yes, Raggedy Ann eventually had a brother, Raggedy Andy.

In 2002 Raggedy Ann was voted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. In 2007, Raggedy Andy, her brother, joined her.

My Mom will be so surprised to hear that her beloved Raggedy Ann was the creation of a man from Chicago.

And as Paul Harvey would say, “And now you now… the rest of the story.”

Father’s Day (not easy)…

It’s Father’s Day this weekend. I was excited to find “just the RIGHT card.”

It was harder than I thought. Some cards start out nice, like the first one, “Sophisticated, Dignified, Cultured…,” this one had potential, until I opened the card and read the message. What a let down. I mean, it’s sort of funny, but definitely NOT what any of us would want to read.

The spin on a Dr. Seuss book made me chuckle, but I am grown up. I mean REALLY GROWN UP, so my Dad would raise his eyebrows if I sent that card. He would wonder if I had had a stiff drink or if I was just going a bit wacky in the brain.

Now, this last card was HYSTERICAL, not appropriate for me to give to Dad, but for sure my brothers could pull it off. Many of us have father’s who would use that expression, “Don’t be a Smart Ass.” I never use these bad words, I can see my younger brother joking and telling me to wash my mouth out with soap. A good phrase that our grandparents used to use.

As you can see, this is tough, but there is still time.

I deserve an “A+” for effort!

I read A LOT of cards!

A bench (legacy / dedication) — How to be remembered…

How do you want to be remembered? Lately, as I walked in different areas, I wanted to rest, so I sat on a bench. That is when I looked at the dedications on the benches more closely. Some are really amusing. I smiled at this one.

This made me think that bench dedications are cheaper than a tombstone and we can decide where we would want our name/dedication, right. It’s nice to walk, find a bench, relax and enjoy the scenery or the view around us.

At the cemetery, I came across a grandmother sitting with her two grandchildren on this long bench. It was PERFECT. They seemed like cemetery “regulars.” The kids were eating their snacks. We started chatting, it turns out she has a lot of relatives in the cemetery. The bench is not from her relative, but she often takes a rest there. She shared the history of the cemetery with me.

Here is another bench I saw. Isn’t it a bit strange with that slant. At first I thought maybe the ground had sunk a bit, but it seems to me this bench was meant to be slanted. Not sure. I enjoy looking at it though. Great idea to have a bench for relatives to sit and visit versus dashing off.

I want to investigate “how” I get my name on a bench. A bench by a beach would be preferred, but I see dedications on benches in the zoo too. There must be a bench out there “waiting” for my dedication, right? There is probably a character limit, so I will have to be “creative” with limited space. The one I shared with you today was funny. I won’t forget it (swimmer girl, wine, pringles…) — I am still smiling!

 

 

Great show… Oprah’s, “SuperSoul Sunday”

Have you ever watched, “SuperSoul Sunday?” Oprah Winfrey created this show, it is meant to touch the soul, make us think about life, how we treat others, encourage us to make a difference in this world of ours.

118952A6-80E2-4B7B-BA6F-73109584A9F5This Sunday she interviewed Bryan Stevenson. He’s a public interest lawyer dedicated to helping the poor, the condemned and incarcerated. He’s especially focused on saving the lives of children who are convicted.

He’s written a book called, “Just Mercy: The Story of Justice and Redemption,” which was turned into a film (2019). It’s a true story, I can’t tell you much about it, because I haven’t read it yet, but I just requested it from the library.

 

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Every Sunday, Oprah interviews someone for about 30-40 minutes. Last Sunday (5/31/20), Shaka Senghor was her guest.

Shaka Senghor spoke to us about his life in prison (19 years), his road to redemption and how reading books and writing helped him through solitary confinement. He’s an incredible motivational speaker, very well spoken and well read. It’s hard not to feel sad and think, if his childhood had been different, his path in life would have been different.

So, if you feel a bit low and need some inspiration, visit Oprah’s SuperSoul Facebook page, I promise — you won’t be disappointed. Every Sunday a new thought provoking interview.

Puzzle time… I found a table.

Remember, I told you, I wanted to make a puzzle, but I didn’t have a table BIG ENOUGH? For weeks now, I kept putting out to the Universe the table I wanted. I thought about the size, the cost (very little) and envisioned my puzzle on the table.

Well, a MIRACLE HAPPENED! My neighbor next door was moving, she had a small kitchen table that she was giving away. A little old, looks like something I might find in my grandmother’s house, but I LOVE IT. Perfect size.

So, I started my puzzle. Gee, it’s a big puzzle — a lot of fun.

While I was working away, I turned on this audio book, “Women of the Silk,” by Gail Tsukiyama. Really good book, so I am enriching my brain in two ways – wonderful!