Monday, November 17, 2008

Artists by the Sea

A Grand Opening

Saturday, Nov. 16th was the grand opening for "Artists by the Sea". A new gallery in the beautiful little town of Cardiff, California with a fantastic view of the ocean. This little gallery is owned and operated by three very energetic and ambitious women who have families besides their newly acquired family of artists.

I am very happy to be a part of their family of artists that are featured in their gallery. A small but very well put-together gallery in a brand new building at 111 Chesterfield, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007.

They have done a great job of designing the gallery to include two full-time working artist studio spaces and a teaching room for classes. They are open seven days a week for maximum exposure.

The works they display are paintings, sculpture, jewelry, metal art, crystals,
mixed media, music,
hand blown glass,
photography and
other unique works
of art.

Paintings by Alex Sample

Weather was fabulous as always, and there
was even a beautiful sunset!

I hope you enjoy some of the photos from the
evening's event. If you are in the area
stop by and check us out.

Harley Art


"Nirvana" by


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quest for Renewed Health

I'm always searching for new ways to be healthy. I am fortunate to have acquired good healthy genes from Hungarian, Czechoslovakian, French and German ancestry, how could I go wrong? However I find that as I get older, my body is asking me to re-define the way I eat, exercise and I am constantly trying to readjust my self image. What I feel like inside and mentally, does not reflect in the mirror. How sad! Now I know the meaning of the quote that youth is wasted on the young. If I had only had the wisdom I now have in my youth! Oi vey....I would be unstoppable!

I recently purchased a juicer and just love the taste of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables. I find many mornings I just don't have the time or desire to eat a large breakfast but the fresh juice give me the energy I need to stay alert and active and juice doesn't bog down my internal machinery.

There are many juicers on the market but I went with the Jack LaLanne juicer because it is not too expensive and is highly rated. It also looks pretty neat on the counter so I don't feel like I have to hide it from view. It came with two little recipe books but you can also find great recipes for ways to use the pulp in cooking and baking. I hate to throw out anything so I put the pulp into a plastic container in the refrigerator and am adding it a little bit at a time, to my dog's meals and they love it. It also keeps them healthier by giving them the fruits and vegetables best part--the rinds-- in an easily digestible pulp form. I also baked banana bread last week using part of the pulp from carrots and apples in the turned out fantastically moist and tasty.

Also the most fun part is that I have discovered a new art form!
Although I don't normally play with my food, as you can see by this photo, it happened quite naturally.

Last Sunday I was making
breakfast by blending apples, pears, celery, carrot and beets, and this is what it looked like after it was ejected from the juicer into the glass pitcher! This is just before I stirred it all together. Beautiful art inspiration with food!

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Love of Having Fun

I sometimes wonder why I don't go out more often. I find myself too comfortable with my my daily routines and lack of routines which dictate my life and yet when I disrupt the norm, I am always SO glad I did. Like, for example what happened this weekend.

I LOVE music, especially live bands, and I am blessed to live in a town where live music is abundant, almost everywhere you go. In tiny tucked-away coffee shops you can find live musicians playing almost every Friday, Saturday eve or Sunday mornings, and larger downtown cafe's and restaurants wouldn't think of not having live music.

One of my best and oldest friends was visiting this past weekend and an old friend of hers was in town with her husband to promote a new CD she had just cut. An amazing woman, Christina Fasano, or better known as that "Funky White Girl", who now goes by the name Cee Cee James, sings with her whole body, heart and soul. She combines the sound of blues, rock, funk and soul all in one stupendous voice and she has the heart of a true angel. She met my friend over ten years ago while they were on a vision quest in the desert of California with an organization called The School of Lost Borders. Ever since that time Christina's career and personality have blossomed into the beautiful and successful person she is now.

My son, Todd, who is developmentally disabled, loves music and of course we brought him with us that night. He was particularly drawn to Christina and couldn't stop going over to shake her hand during the break and tell her how much he liked her songs. Another band was playing while Christina had a chance to mingle with her fans and sell CD's so I went over to say hello and tried to get my son on the
dance floor to dance, but he couldn't keep from eyeing Christina. I suddenly realized he didn't want to dance with Mom, but he wanted to dance with the pretty lady. I was afraid that he was bothering her but Christina didn't miss a beat. She grabbed Todd by the hands and off they went. Dancing around the floor in square-dance style, to the jazzy beat of the band. Todd was beaming from ear to ear and just couldn't stop laughing. I don't know when I have seen him so happy. Christina's joyous attitude was so infectious pretty soon she had half of the dance floor in on their dose-does and twirling around. Needless to say she has made a fan for life. Todd got his CD and was so happy. Such a small thing to do but what an effect it had on him.

Most of the time, Todd is pretty shy about dancing, but this evening he sure came out of his shell, thanks to the spontaneity and warmth of a truly exceptional human being that Todd was drawn to because of the love in her heart. It always touches me when people who are used to being in the spotlight can stop for one sincere moment and just allow someone like Todd to take center stage by giving him their full attention. Todd lives in the moment, he does not live his life worrying about how he looks, or what people will think, or if he knows how to dance or even whether or not he is "interrupting someone", he only lives in "the moment". He doesn't know about "fame" or "stars"; to him everyone is equal. In personal interactions with people, he knows if he is polite and kind to people, then there are no other conditions necessary. He is usually only concerned with telling people "to have a nice day" and that he thinks "they are a nice person" or that in the case of Christina "he really liked her songs". Todd is a constant reminder for me, to stay in the present moment and not let my mind go wandering too far off into space, which I have been known to do at times.

At the end of the night I got this priceless picture of Christina saying goodby to Todd with a little peck on the cheek. You can see by his innocent expression he didn't quite know what to make of this. We all enjoyed a wonderful night of music and entertainment. So much better than sitting at home. If anyone is in the area, I highly recommend The Downtown Cafe, in El Cajon. The food and service is fantastic and they usually have a great band playing.

Unfortunately we won't see Christina for awhile because she lives in Washington State, but hopefully she will make it down here again some day. And if you are in to funky music, please check out some of her music on her website, click on the audio button.

Thank you Christina for being such a breath of fresh air!

We love you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Perfect Love

A friend I know is looking for the "perfect" person to love, and joined one of those on line dating services. I asked him "how's that going". He basically said that he didn't think he would be able to find anyone who was totally compatible on every level. I said "there is no such thing" for I believe perfection is always in the eyes of the beholder, and even if you found someone whom you think is perfect, they may not return the feelings.

Are you perfect? Don't you need someone to understand you? I said that I don't need someone to understand me, just to accept and love me as I am, and whether I agree with everything they say and do and believe in does not matter if I love them and they love me. I would not want a carbon copy of me in the person I love. I would want someone who is his own person, who knows who he is and what he believes in and stands up to fight for what is right. That person would be so busy doing what he loves that he would not have time to find fault with me, and I likewise.

When you are busy doing the stuff of life that you so love, and that energizes you to be who you are here to be, you don't look around at others finding fault. You are a DOER, and a giver, not a taker and a whiner. When you are doing what you love, you are happy and make others happy by sharing that love. It can't help just pour out of a person who is in love with life and just being.

Anyway, its fine for me to talk since its been years since I have been "in love" with anyone other than my kids, my life, my art, my gardening, my pets, and just being alive every day. Just putting one foot in front of the other enjoying each moment, and trying not to look too far ahead and think about what is "missing" in my life. I'd rather try to manifest the magic by thinking about what I DO want in my life instead of worrying about what is NOT there. Maybe that way the perfect person for me will appear in my life. All it takes is putting the focus on what you want and living true to yourself in the meantime. And maybe a little help from above wouldn't hurt.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Peaceful Coexistence

What We Can Learn from the Animals

I love my animal friends. Annie the cat, is actually a newcomer in our house. Oscar the dog thinks he is the boss of everyone but is really just the resident male. He is a lovable, silly Labrador mix who came into my life almost ten years ago from Labrador Rescue. I have dragged Oscar all over the country with me and he is my best buddy and pain in the neck at times but I don't think my life would be the same without him.

The first thing I did for Oscar when I adopted him was to take him to obedience classes because he definitely needed to learn manners. It was also a great way for us to bond by learning the joys of teaching via "clicker" method. At one point I realized that it was me who was being trained, not the dog! But chewing on my new shoes and anything in his reach was definitely not a good thing and by taking these classes Oscar eventually learned the difference between his toys and mine. After he managed to pass obedience with flying colors, I took him to therapy dog classes so he could become certified as a therapy dog. Oscar had shown from the beginning that he had a natural gift with people, which is one of the reasons I loved him from the beginning. In therapy class it took two tries before he mastered all the commands and different phases of training, but he finally came through on that one too. Oscar now had a profession!

He has been a wonderful companion dog over the years, visiting with me at the home where my Dad lived shortly before he passed on, and then later where my Mom lived it was a joy to see how the people brightened up and looked forward to Oscar's weekly visits. A dog can sense emotional things that humans cannot and has a way of knowing when to stick his nose in your face and when to back off. I've often said humans can learn a lot by raising a Dog. I have seen Oscar gently stand by a person's wheelchair while the person, attempted in their own difficult way to pet him, but what would usually end up for him being banged on top of the head, unintentionally of course, but he would just stand by and allow the person to do the best they could to make contact with him. For some, who could not react by petting him, he would just lay his head gently on their knee and look up into their eyes. Some form of communication was going on because often a little tear would fall from the eyes of my Dad, when he did that. My Dad loved dogs when we were kids, and seeing Oscar always made him happy.

Later on, I had a back injury and had to have surgery on my back. I didn't know how I would ever manage to take care of the dog with no help, but the dog ended up being my savior. He was constantly by my side, and often when I could not get out of bed for days other than to let them out and feed them, he would jump up on the covers and push his back against my back to comfort me. Up to that point I had never allowed him on the bed, but when he knew I was sick, all bets were off on that one. Luckily I had a full recovery in time and I owe it partly to the fact that even though it was hard for me to get up and walk right away, it was the one thing that forced me out of bed and on my feet, and resulting in a faster recovery than if I had layed around for months doing nothing. Having the responsibility of someone who depends on you is a great healer.

Three years ago my son, who is developmentally disabled, came to live with us again and Oscar and Heaven are a blessing for him. He has an autistic spectrum disorder and having the dogs around create an aura of peace and love for my son like no other. When he is having a bad day it is usually because he gets "off track" and the dogs know it and are right there by his side. They say nothing but they do by their presence, what no person can do. They have a way of calming him and putting his mind back into the present moment. If Todd is getting "stuck" or just refuses to move forward on something, Oscar will go into his "silly" act, jumping on his bed, or laying on the floor and rubbing his back on the floor, making silly gestures. This usually makes Todd laugh and gets him out of his "mood". The dogs are fantastic and truly a blessing in this regard.

Oscar on Left - Heaven on the Right
The second dog in our family was Heaven. She is also an adoptee from the Golden Retriever Rescue which I was foster mom for a few years. When Heaven arrived I knew it would be a lifetime connection with her too. She has the most angelic personality of any animal I have known since Oscar. Heaven's history was that she had been raised by a breeder in Canada originally and then placed in a "forever" home to live out her retirement from breeding. However her forever home ended up having to place her with a rescue group because of family problems, and this often happens. I took her in, and loved her from the first moment. She was, at first, extremely nervous and shy and it was a month before she would even leave the kitchen where her bed was. Finally after much coaching and coaxing, she wandered into the living room one night and jumped up on the couch with me. It was the beginning of her transformation. She was nine years old then, and has now just turned 14. She is still the same loveable and sweet dog, just older. Her heart is weaker, her eyes have cataracts, her hearing is not so good any more, but I still love her and treat her with the utmost respect she deserves as an old girl. She gets groomed regularly, and looks beautiful. She is happy and bounces around the kitchen whenever there are treats or dinner preparation going on, she loves to be petted and brushed, and her favorite thing is to bring me a toy at the dinner table, expecting a little snack. Of course I know its not good to feed dogs at the table but how can anyone resist that face!

Oscar is the most tolerant dog I have ever known, and the most gentle and silly with other animals too. When Annie came into our lives this was a new thing for him. Annie is my daughter's cat who we acquired last June because she and her husband were on a trip to Europe and did not have anywhere for Annie to stay. So I sort of cheerily volunteered. I've owned cats before but Annie is her own person. Historically she has been a very aloof cat, but when she got to my house she suddenly became the new boss in town. No place is out of bounds for her, if she wants to go there; in front of my computer the minute I turn it on, on top of my desk, under the bed, in the shower, sitting on the living room couches and windowsills, and the dogs just wonder where the heck she gets off going there. She will get on or off my lap whenever and if she feels like it. But that's just the way cats are! When it comes to the dogs, well, she just barely tolerates them. Oscar though is no pushover and will not be ignored. He is always in her face trying to get her to play. Annie of course doesn't really mind but she won't let him know it. The photo of them laying together separated by the wall, says it all. They like each other but want to keep some "space" between them. Oscar doesn't seem to mind. He is patient and will wait for the day when Annie will be sleeping right next to him. He knows he will win her over eventually, just like he won over Heaven. The two of them wait for each other to go outside and they love to go on walks together. It is a peaceful coexistence, with respect and dignity for all....each respecting each others food bowls, and space to sleep. They share their toys and their love for everyone, willingly giving love to all who give it back, and sometimes to those who don't give it back. I guess this is a good code to live by for all of us.

G'day for now!