SPRING IS IN THE AIR (Well, actually, it was in the air)

Once spring has arrived our thoughts turn to traveling, before spring clean up in the yard begins and our attention is required at home for watering and trimming and all the little maintenance that summer requires.  The end of April we headed to Boca Raton, Florida to visit our friend Inge and then down to the Florida Keys where my hubby and I met,

oh sooo many years ago. . .

We took along with us so many

memories. . .

and the

excitement. . .

to search out places that are a part of our history.  As we entered Old Town Key West it seemed so much bigger than the image my memory held.  At 19 there were so many things lost on my young mind.  The history of this beach resort inhabited by writers and artists, old town architecture, expats and people that just wanted a simpler life away from city lights and fast food restaurants.

As we headed down the Keys our first big memory was the 7 mile bridge which carries you over the Keys and eventually guiding you into Key West.  The bridge has since been replaced with a more modern version, but leaving the old bridge as a piece of another time and a place to walk and bicycle.  As we wandered and searched we found pieces of memories, but it was pretty hard to find the Key West we remembered. Because of the high temps and even higher humidity not to mention the local mentality of the leisurely life that filled this place, leading the locals and tourists to much sipping, meandering and slipping into sidewalk cafés to enjoy the local flavors of freshly caught seafood and cool tropical drinks.

My favorite part of our visit was touring Ernest Hemingway’s estate, the biggest and richest-looking house on the whole island, right in the middle of Key West, framed with a brick wall to secure his privacy and beautiful gardens with chairs tucked away under Mangrove trees where he and his second wife, Fife met for their afternoon martini.  Actually, the martinis began flowing shortly after breakfast.  We toured the charming upstairs of the tool shed, which actually looked more like a Carriage House.  (I’m pretty sure there was not a tool to be found) where most of Hemingway’s writing took place. His typewriter is still present on his writing table leaving you with a sense that he has just stepped out for a moment.  There are 15 resident cats, descendant's of Hemingway’s first cat.  I felt like I had stepped back in history.  Hemingway’s wife Fife who inherited the estate during her divorce from Hemingway, disliked Key West because of its casual atmosphere and lack of big city night life and fashion, but settling to live the remainder of her life there anyway.

As we toured the mansion, my mind took me back to an earlier time when servants walked the hallways, where dinner parties frequently took place around their dining room table entertaining notable artists and many of the island locals.  Hemingway loved to be surrounded by his friends and found it hard to be alone with his own thoughts. His legendary writing career was overshadowed and in constant competition with his love for alcohol, his dark mood swings, his wandering eye for beautiful women and his need for always falling in love with the next Mrs. Hemingway.  And somewhere in the mix he found time for his love of fishing where, once he stepped foot on his boat, leaving his depression on the shore and losing himself in the cool, emerald green tropical waters of the gulf that surrounded the Keys, he found temporary peace. 

As I walked the streets I noticed many locals mode of transportation was bicycling and bicycle drawn carriages replaced taxi cabs to show tourists the sights or just give you a lift when it was too hot for walking. With beaches framing Key West it was a mile walk from one side of town to the other, beginning and ending on a beach.  On our first night we took the walk stopping for dinner along the way.  Night life filled the air with music and conversation floating out from the open air restaurants.   It was easy to see why residents and tourists are drawn to this place. 

And yes, we did hail a bicycle taxi back to our hotel.

The Backyard Swing

In the summer this is where I start my day.   

In my back yard  

on my swing. . .  

I come out here early in the morning to talk to God and hope that’s he’s up early too to hear my 

 hopes. . . 

dreams. . . 

my gratitude. . . 

and issues that are way too big for me to tackle.  

Then I sit quietly and wait to hear from him and how he’s going to answer my prayers,  

of course. . . 

in just the way I would like them answered.  Sometimes in the silence I feel his presence and hear an answer.  Most times though he tells me to be patient because a ready answer isn’t coming to him  

right at the moment.   

And of course I want to  

help him 

but there’s a rumor going round that when we put our hands on the problem we hinder and get in the way of  

his work.  

Sometimes. . . .

things can be taken care of more easily with only one set of hands working on them.  At that point I know just how my kids felt when they would ask me for something and my reply would be,  
“just be patient”.   

You can’t always have what you want the moment you want it.  

But we all know it would be so much nicer  

if we could. . .


Fresh Watermelon Juice

Cubed watermelon + ice cubes + bullet =
Fresh Watermelon Juice

Bon Appétit!

Beach Reading

In the summer my thoughts turn to

sandy beaches. . .

warm balmy breezes. . .

blue skies dotted with white puffy clouds. . .

a great beach chair. . .

and of course. . .

saltwater has to be in the mix somewhere. . .

and a great book. . .

Here are some of my summer reads.

Decorative Edibles

I know rhubarb is meant to be eaten. . .

Sigh. . .

But. . .

Once it’s reached a certain level of beauty . .

the eating part is all but lost on me. . .

even. . .

when I watch it going to seed it doesn’t remind me - that it’s time to be eaten.

I do have to say. . .

what surrounds me whether in our home or in my garden, it’s pretty much always

about the

ambiance. . . 

Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccino

In the spring I'm excited for all the changes taking place in our yard and getting my hands in the dirt.  Waiting for the perennials to begin pushing their way through the dirt looking for light, and the brilliant green colors that fill our yard in the form of ivy, new leaves and ferns and somehow, after the winter, the grass becomes thicker and greener and brighter.  I notice the details. 

I love rainy days and often open my office window just to smell the rain.   

I love when my friends stop by just to say “hi” or to share a “hug”.   That leaves me smiling all day long.   

I love it when my hubby pokes his head into my office and says he’s brought me my favorite treat from Starbucks.  

A Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccino. 

Last week there was a knock on my door and when I opened it I found one
of my friends on the other side holding a bouquet of flowers for me.

I love the smell of freshly brewed coffee early in the morning (even though I don’t drink coffee).

I know. . .

I love the smell of freshly baked bread.

I love the smell of laundry fresh out of the dryer.

I love walking in the rain.

I love thunderstorms. . .

I love salt water beaches.  I love smelling the salt water.

I love drinking water.

I’m thinking somewhere in my previous life I might have been a

fish. . .

Well, probably not,

But it seems only logical. . .

I love the story Oprah told about one of her visits to Africa, meeting this beautiful
African woman whose home was a piece of sheet metal leaning up against a dirt hill.
Oprah interviewed her sitting on the ground outside her “home” and I immediately
noticed her radiant smile and the peace that seemed to rest on her face.  And then Oprah
asked her, also noticing the same thing, "Where does this happiness come from that I sense
from you and see in your beautiful smile."  And I will never forget her answer.  Here is
what she said to Oprah:  

“Look across the road at those beautiful, colorful flowers.  I get to enjoy them
every day. . .” 

Her answer took my breath away.  And taught me a lesson I will never forget.  It’s not what
we have or own, it’s what we focus on that brings us joy. 
Was it because her life was not cluttered with “stuff” that she noticed the flowers or was it

just. . .

that she chose to find beauty in whatever form it came in. 

And for her. . .

it came in the form of. . .

wild flowers. . .

growing in a field. . .

outside her door.


The "Good" Dishes

The Good Dishes - and always eat on the good dishes every day!! Always!

I think we all have something we are drawn to of some flavor. Mine just happens to come in the form of the love for dishes.  Just when I think I have everything I could

ever want. . .

sigh. . .

another one catches my eye and of course it comes home with me.

When I had doors on my cupboards I found that what lay behind them were piles of mismatched dishes and unused clutter.  Several years ago a friend called who was frustrated with her kitchen cupboards and asked me to come over and see if I had any ideas.  Her kitchen was big with lots of cupboards.  As soon as I walked into her kitchen I knew.  The cupboard doors needed to come off.

I went home and soon my phone was ringing.  My friend, asking me to come back and see what she had done.   The doors had come off and she had emptied her cupboards, painted the insides and took only the dishes she loved and gave them a home in her new cupboard.  The change was stunning and oh sooo practical. 

A few months later. .  same friend . .  same scenario .. only this time

my kitchen.

My friend comes to my house and this time I’m complaining about my kitchen cupboards. 
She looked at me and rolled her eyes.  I know she was thinking, the answer is

obvious. . .

She goes home,

hubby comes home,

off come the cupboard doors. 

A few weeks later my same friend comes by to visit and we’re standing in my kitchen and she asks me, do I have a crowbar?  I’m guessing most people would ask,


Instead, I locate one and so willingly hand it over to her.  Before I know it she has taken off the back of the cupboard that faces the dining room.  And the amazing thing was that all the light from the dining room windows came pouring into my kitchen.

Who would have thought. . .

I love to live simply and practically.  Cupboard doors were always a nuisance to me.  All the opening and closing that goes on just to retrieve a dish or two. 


My cupboards only hold the dishes I love and what we use everyday.  Life’s so much easier.  The bottom line is, everything has a place, is easy to access and for me my dishes are like

art work. 

I enjoy looking at them every time I pass through my kitchen.

We have a sign hanging in our kitchen that says, “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify".   I think “one” simplify would have been enough.

It’s a daily reminder to me to:

1)  Keep life simple.

2)  Remember to breathe.

3)  Bring my inner child out to play every day.

4)  Take life lightly.

5)  Say "no".

6)  Know that someone else can wash the dirty dishes.

(7) And when you “Stumble” make it part of your dance.

And to remember that if I take time each day to Breathe In and Breathe Out - I
know that I will be O.K.