A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Sunday, March 25, 2012


...is air.

And this week is apparently oxygen infusion week for me.

Such a happy time!

I spent Thursday night at Zoey's in Ventura.  It was my first time there, and I came away impressed with their commitment to live music.  Very nice little theater, great sound, terrific atmosphere.  Will definitely be keeping my eye on their calendar.

The draw Thursday was a full concert of Bearkat and Paul Starling in multiple (and delightful) combinations.  I would be a fan of these fine musicians in any case, but admit to a mother's pride that my son is drummer for both groups.  Garrett has played with more groups than I can remember (he started pounding on things with sticks when he was three and had his first drum set at six).  From alternative to funk to straight jazz to big band.  He even knows how to back up classical choral groups.  His groups have always produced high quality music in their genre and I've always been proud to be a bandmom (for both of my sons).  It is from that experience that I boast:  These groups are something special.

So, into the music.

One of my favorite pieces is "Summertime" with Bearkat.  One of Garrett's gifts is that he can crawl into a piece of music, then use his percussion kit to enhance the music without overpowering it.  I think he does this especially well in this number.

"Summertime," Bearkat, March 22, 2012 Zoey's Ventura CA

In the Paul Starling set it really hit me just how these groups have that magic communication that musicians don't always connect with.  Charm and camaraderie as the underlayment to excellent music - unbeatable combinations.

"All the Good-Looking Girls are Dead," Paul Starling March 22, 2012, Zoey's Ventura CA

Toward the end of the evening Bearkat and Paul Starling came together for an acoustic set and revived a favorite from my tweenhood, the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown."

Cover "Cathy's Clown" (Everly Brothers), Bearkat and Paul Starling acoustic, March 22, 2012 Zoey's Ventura, CA

The Most Magical Moment award for the evening went to Bearkat for "Oh, Sailor."  It was one of those rare experiences in music when the entire audience was so enraptured by the song that - at the end - we all held our breath with the last note.  Such a rare experience, but so splendid when it comes.

"Oh, Sailor" Bearkat  March 22, 2012 Zoey's Ventura CA

Sometimes you just don't want an evening to end.

But, end it did and I was back to work the next day.

And looking forward to today's treat.   The rain will not keep me from this:

Tagline: "200 Men and One Big Organ."  They've advertised John Lennon's "Imagine" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".  I am prepared to be blown away, and will now go start the process of getting ready.

The choir usually posts a video or two.  I'll send them your way when I find them.

Monday, March 19, 2012


...for a friend.

A friend died today.
I did not know her.

She was the daughter of another friend.
I do not know her either.

Except here.

I met the mother on facebook.  I had posted to Anne Lamott's facebook page, and this woman sent me a friend request and a message.  I saw her avatar photo and my heart said (to quote Derek Sivers, another internet friend I do not know) "Hell yeah."  And we have posted and messaged ever since.

Over a year now.

A year during which her daughter has died of breast cancer.

They gifted us with their journey into another place.  They traveled with joy and color and music and a connection to each other and to me and to all of us that I am just learning to know.

As a mother I can only weep for her loss.

And be grateful to have had her in my life for this year.  And through her, her beautiful daughter.

These friends I do not know.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hi, Mom!

Hope you're having a great day!

It's a stunning morning here in Southern California so I had to take a meander through the garden to see what's awake.  Weeds are wide awake, as is spring grass.  There are some treasures up already, though.

Geum "Totally Tangerine."  One of the best plants I've ever grown.  She seems to be having an epiphany this spring.
Geum "Flames of Passion."  Dramatic name for a tiny little thing.  Flowers are the size of a 50-cent piece.  I'm afraid she's going to be choked out by the veronica that grows here, so I'm going to move her someplace safer.

Brunnera "Jack Frost" in bloom again.  What a treasure this has been.  It seems to be spreading so I'm going to try to take a runner off and replant it somewhere.  It can take over my yard if it wants to.

This is funny.  This is a stephanotis.  It decided it liked it here last year.  I want to repot it but am nervous as to how to unwind it from that hook.  Very patiently, I guess.

I moved a couple of dead-looking heuchera (coral bells) over the winter.  They are both putting out new leaves so guess that was a good decision.

Third year on this heuchera.  It's getting a jump on spring, too, and should bloom into the fall.

Lots of new growth on the passion vine.  I've already seen a fritillary on this plant this year.
 "Joseph's Coat."

 "Honey Perfume"

 "Brass Band"

"Hot Cocoa"

Things have been crazy busy here and I haven't had a chance to post the news from my last trip to Disneyland with my mom.  Finally have a weekend free so that's next on my list.  First, though, a little news from other realms.

There has been a tiny bit of stitching.  It seemed to take forever - one stitch at a time - but I finally rescued the green fairy's bustle from my previous mistakes.  I'm trying to schedule in a couple of stitchy nights each week to move this piece along.  My plan (which I've probably mentioned before but doesn't hurt to remind myself of - continually) is to finish the floss, block it onto q-snaps for the metallics and beads and then take it - still on snaps - for framing.

Thanks again to everyone who voted for my son in the drumming contest.  He didn't win, but considered it a terrific experience.  He connected with drummers he had not yet known as well as a Brooks videographer who now says he wants to film only drummers.  He had a great time, made new contacts and new friends and has now moved on to spending more time with his other drumming experiences.

He is drummer for several groups.  One is a jazz trio that has grown into a quintet.  I haven't heard them yet.

We are all excited that he is now drumming for Bearkat and Paul Starling. They have a dual concert at Zoey's in Ventura on Thursday, March 22.  Can't wait!  Here they are at O'Brien's in Santa Monica last month.  Playing "Summertime" by Bearkat (Katy Pearson).  Music and poetry is phenomenal. 

My journey through Transformation continues as inspiration continues to fall into my path.  I'm working another Julia Cameron program...

... and have been profoundly moved by Tom Shadyac's documentary, I AM...

... and continue to read and re-read (and watch and re-watch) Brene Brown's work on vulnerability and connection.


This is where the transformation begins and leads.
And sometimes it leads to Disneyland with my mom, so Mom, here's the update you've been waiting for.

Saturday, February 22.

We chose this date because we'd read that the Coke Corner would be open again on that day and we hoped to catch some ragtime piano there, but it was not to be.  The Corner is now open again, but wasn't ready on that Saturday.  Still, we did not hurt for entertainment and delightful surprises.

As is our custom, we headed straight into the park for breakfast.  Our favorite Carnation Cafe is still not open (undergoing some exciting rennovations) so we headed to the Riverbelle Terrace and then back to the front gate for the first Disneyland Band concert of the day.

We hit the character jackpot.  Not only our favorite Hatter/Alice duo, but White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, Mary Poppins and Bert, Cruella deVille and even Goofy showed up at the end of the set.


This was the first time we'd seen the Band and characters grab audience members for a joyful dance party at the end of the set.  Talk about tolerance of diversity and connection, check out who Bert is dancing with in this video!

After this party at the gate we "dashed" ("dash" being a debatable word choice for our move across the park) to the Golden Horseshoe, assuming that since the Coke Corner was closed and the Mark Twain in dry dock for renovation we might catch some piano there.


Jonny May is one of our favorite piano players!  We listened to his first set and I was delighted when he included some intentional discord in his arrangement of "The Entertainer."  Discord can be such a fun "joke" in music.

After Ragtime Jonny's set we "dashed" again to the front of the park for the Town Square Disneyland Band Concert.  I guess Saturdays will always be the movie tune set and it was awesome as usual.  I love the flower show in town square, and this visit they were celebrating with a fabulous spring flower display.

My favorite variety of "Johnny Jump-Up" violas.
Red tulips catching the sun at the train station.
After this concert...

...we headed back toward the Golden Horseshoe again, hoping to catch another piano set before Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.  Before that, though, Mom and I decided to stop at the Adventureland restroom (one of the easier stops with the wheelchair) and had our second delightful surprise of the day.

The legendary MAYNARD!


I'd seen his picture and read of other DL fans running into him around the park, but in all the visits I've made here over the decades, I've never seen him.  I noticed a familiar face as I passed the Tiki Room, then stopped in my tracks (not easy to do while pushing a wheelchair) when it hit me who that familiar-looking castmember was!

He was talking to a couple of guests when I took out my camera and snapped a profile shot.  They finished their conversation and he turned to "pose" so that I could take another.  I shook his hand and said how great it was to finally meet the famous Maynard.  He shared a humble moment, then asked if we were going to the Tiki Room.  I answered, "No, we're headed to the Rest Room."  "Ahhh," he responded, "the water rides."  He then started walking with us toward the restroom and sang us a delightfully silly song he said was from his days as a Jungle Boat skipper (something about a lion).  As he finished his song he looked down at the empty double-stroller that was rolling past.  "Oh, it's the invisible twins," he exclaimed.  "Everybody's here today!"

That was about the end of the line (honest, I didn't really think he'd go with us into the restroom, honest) and so we said good-bye to this memorable character.  Now I know how legends are made in the Magic Kingdom:  charm, warmth, humor.  He has it all.
As we neared the Golden Horseshoe we saw a scene I had NEVER seen at Disneyland before.  About a half-dozen teenagers running screaming through Frontierland.  As I pushed Mom around the corner toward the entrance to the Golden Horseshoe, I noticed Farley the Fiddler standing and staring toward the Steamboat landing.  I followed his gaze and was blown away as a swarm of bees made its way down the street.

I don't know if you remember, but I photographed and mentioned the bees - and the fact that I had never noticed them there before - in the Town Square flowers.  And here they were again, searching for a new home.

I wheeled mom into the theater where the Billies were finishing a set for a packed house...

...and watched out the lobby window as the swarm of bees tried out a small tree as a possible new home.

 And what happens at Disneyland when you have a swarm of bees move in?  The next thing to move in is a swarm of castmembers to protect the guests.

Or were they protecting the bees?  Hard to tell.

We waited until the theater cleared, then got a great table for another Jonny May set on the piano followed by our own Billy Hill and the Hillbillies performance.  We never get tired of these guys.

By now it was past 2:00 and we were ready for linner.  We made our way to Redd Rocket's Pizza Port and our favorite, the Pizza Salad.  The outside patio is usually a comfortable spot to eat, but this day was a little on the cool side.  Why they had the AC on we couldn't figure out.

After lunch it was time to head back down Main Street (I put almost four miles on my pedometer that day - yay WW activity points!) to get a good "seat" for the parade.  I have to brag - I've lost almost 80 pounds now, and one of the pleasures of this new physical self is that I can sit on the curb (and get up two hours later without a problem) and wrap my arms around my upraised knees.  One of life's little, non-scale victories.

I don't think I will ever "love" a Disneyland parade as much as I loved the Parade of Dreams, but after two (or was it three - seemed longer) years of Celebrate!, this parade is a welcome relief and inching its way up to POD for delightful fun.

Lion King Monkeys caught mid-leap.

And absolutely my favorite part of the parade, the Steppin' Time chimney sweeps in the Mary Poppins finale.  Great choreography and energy and charm from these guys every time!  (Not to mention a fabulous float design.)

After the parade we moved over to the flagpole for the flag retreat (always moving and powerful).  While waiting, I had to get pictures of the gorgeous yellow and white tulips against the lavendar violas.

Sunset is my favorite time at Disneyland.  At dusk the lights start popping on all over the park, but there is still enough light to see all the details of this magical place.

Mom and I found places to watch the swing dancers again.  Another reason we had chosen this particular day was because the band we had enjoyed before - Swingtown - was playing again.

As we had before, we enjoyed watching the dancers as well as listening to this band (Sing, Sing, Sing was fantastic!)  But, dang, it was cold that night.

We stayed long enough to enjoy the fireworks again...

(Watch closely.  Did you see her?)

...and then headed to the car (and its heater).  I think it took me a couple of days to actually feel warm again.

But it was, as always, worth it.