Beauty Fully

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Last weekend we fled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get out of the smoke in the valley. There was some smoke lingering there too, but it was a good reminder that a colorful Fall is here, the skies are still blue, and the air is breathable. The reflection on Sand Pond at Sardine Lake was still and peaceful with no mosquitos in sight. 

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Peaceful Sand Pond

This last week we voluntarily moved all those things we thought were important to us but had to leave one very precious thing behind. The Atlas Fire was on the ridge, not terribly far from the neighborhood we live in. I said goodbye to this item I had to leave behind and said I would be back, but it made me realize how very much I take this piece for granted and what tremendous pleasure this thing has yielded me over the course of about thirty years. I hadn’t even given this prized possession a name. So before anymore time passes, here is the name; Beauty. You see, Beauty fully fills my life with joy, peace, and a tranquility that few other things can offer. My black Knabe grand piano has given me Beauty, fully for years and never asked for anything in return except a yearly tuning. Beauty fully was too large to pack in the car. You see, everything you need, or is very important to you, can fit in a car. It was a lightbulb moment for me. If my family were still living with us, we’d pack them in first and possibly leave everything else behind. All that is important to you, fits in your car. That means we have many creature comforts that don’t hold much value in our hearts. When it comes to what’s important, family is at the very top of my list, and I think it is at the top of yours too. Don’t forget to let those family members know the depth of the Beauty they fully bring to you.

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Parading

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After years of wondering what it would be like, we finally found ourselves at the Rose Parade.  It was a better experience then I had ever dreamed it would be.  We did get up at 5:30 to get to the parade on time.  Wouldn’t do it that way again, but we weren’t sleeping on the street to see it either, like so many people do.  This float caught my eye.  It could have been that the sun was starting to warm my back.  Everything about it just seemed friendly.

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City of Los Angeles “Discover Los Angeles”

 

This dragon was fire breathing and a spectacular sight.

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Singpoli Group “Marco Polo East Meets West”

The longest float, by far, was the Disney float.  It seemed like it went on for miles.  The magnitude of the hours of volunteer work,  practice, planning, and plant growing that goes into this parade is frankly, unimaginable while you are sitting, watching it travel by.

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Disneyland Resort “Diamond Celebration”

My favorite band was from Japan.  They had smiles on their faces as they danced and jumped about, backwards at times.  Their enthusiasm was contageous.

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Toho High School Green Band Nagoya, Japan

My favorite float had zip-liners floating from one end to the other.  They would reach one side and the tree would grow and off they would zip again.  Very nicely done.

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Dole “Soaring Over Paradise”

I would have included my favorite horse, which looked as though it’s spots had been painted on, but it is quite true that I ran out of battery power on my camera and had to cease taking photos.  I loved just about everything about that weekend.  From the opening B-2 flyby to the sky writing at the tail end of the parade, I know that all those colors will remain with me for a very long time.  Happy 2016 Everyone!

Pine Cobs

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Over the Labor Day weekend we headed to the mountains.  We found that the squirrels and chipmunks had been quite busy with the pine cones.  They left pine cobs scattered everywhere about the yard.  Some people say that they can tell if the Winter is going to be cold and long if the squirrels are especially busy in the Fall.  Our patio was a mess of pine cobs.  I’m hoping for a long, snow filled, Winter.

Pine Cobs on the Patio

Pine Cobs on the Patio

One of the things we like about the mountains is that the pace seems so much slower than the rest of our world.  There is a place where musical artists come to share their songs with the locals on the weekend evenings.  Friday night was one of those special events.  Karl Larson was singing.  He especially likes to sing Cat Stevens and Jim Croce.  He looks so happy when he is singing.  There is even a brighter spot to his performing though.  His daughter, Karlene, comes and sings with him too sometimes.  

Karl Larsen

Karl Larson

What makes this so special is that you then have everything from Operator to Girl Crush.  She keeps him up to date.  It is so much fun to listen and watch them interact.

Changing Colors on the Mill Pond

Changing Colors on the Mill Pond

Fall is certainly settling in and you can see it everywhere.

New Growth

New Growth

We hiked to Eureka Lake and found the water levels to be low but still amazingly beautiful.  As we sat out having lunch by the lake, we talked about how good our life is.

Lonely Stump

Lonely Stump Reflection

There is nothing better in life then getting older and realizing how good we have it in the USA.  It’s not perfect but it’s pretty grand.  We are the fortunate ones.

Pacific Sunsets

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You may have missed my recent attempt at posting my blog.  I was in Maui, Hawaii and my iPad didn’t want to allow me to post anything.  I thought about struggling with it, and then I thought; why?

First Evening Sunset Kaanapali

First Evening Sunset Kaanapali

This isn’t the best photo that I took, but on our first night, we were serenaded with a concert six floors down.  It was amazing.  I love music, I love tropical evenings, and I love pleasent surprises like this.  I wanted to keep the feel of the party long after it was gone.  I’ve been listening to their CD’s for days now.

Concert with Henry Kapono & Willie K

Concert with Henry Kapono & Willie K

Our first night in Wailea was beautiful and I took this while on our way to the welcome party, down the beach pathway which was just past the pool. 

Pool Sunset Grand Wailea

Pool Sunset Grand Wailea

I had heard glorious rumors about Mama’s Fish House and was longing to go there all week.  We finally made it on the last evening and stopped in for an appetizer.  This place is like being in first class.  I wasn’t sure if I’d return to Maui, as it is rather congested for me these days, but I must return to go to Mama’s.  It was devine.

Final Sunset at Mama's

Final Sunset at Mama’s

There’s more to come as we had many adventures while in Hawaii.  I’m missing the sound of the ocean waves as they pounded the shore.  It’s funny how fast you can grow to appreciate certain things.

Aloha

Far Beyond Normandy

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Lately I’ve been thinking about our trip to France a couple of years ago.  We walked down the Normandy Beach on an eerily still Fall day.  When you are there, you are consumed with thoughts of WWII and what those young men must have been thinking while being dropped off to perform an unimaginable task.  What is most remarkable, is that it is so very peaceful there now.  

Normandy Beach

Normandy Beach

While wandering around Paris, we happened upon a very large building with a glass roof, The Grand Palais.  I was told that tourists seldom get to see inside of this building, but there we were with the giant side doors standing wide open, and I was allowed to take a couple of photos.  It was immense and beautiful.

Surprise Opening

Surprise Opening

Around every corner was a gorgeous church and often the pipe organ would be playing.  Music is the most amazing universal language.  I wish that everyone around the world would be touched by the spirit of lovely music.  I don’t think that all people seek peace in their lives.  I am so sad about the events that occurred in Paris this past week.

One Peaceful Universal Language

One Peaceful Universal Language

With that being said, I think the world could use a little more things to celebrate and be light-hearted about.  You can find this happy frog in the pond at the Schramsberg Caves near Calistoga.  We went there with some friends a bit ago and had a remarkably memorable day.

More Bubbles Please

More Bubbles Please

It’s on days like that, when I realize that my little life, in my little piece of California, is quite lovely.  I hope that, wherever you are, your life is peaceful and lovely too.

Navigating Peace and Forgiveness

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Last evening I went to a group grief session.  I’ve never done anything like this before but I thought it might be helpful going into the holiday season.  We were asked why we were attending and I was the only one that answered with the thought that I was searching for peace and forgiveness.  As I was listening, I found it interesting that I was the only one looking for these things.  It made me think.  I have been searching for peace my entire life and finding it around every turn.  I can find peace in the simplest of things, for instance, Stanton Lanier creates songs and plays the piano in the most soothing of ways.  It’s quite peaceful.  Taking my grandchild for a walk and stopping to watch the Cormorant fishing in the pond, watching the birds fly as we approach them, greeting the doggies along our path, are things that bring both of us delight and a calming peacefulness.  Everyday we are greeted with a sunrise and left with the beauty of a sunset.  This sunset made me think of my mother last weekend while we were stuck in traffic along I-80 near Dixon.  What a lovely way to be stuck in traffic.  Mom always liked a good sunset.

Peaceful Sunset

Peaceful Sunset

I think that I have the peaceful part of what I am searching for realized because, it surrounds me everyday and everywhere I go, all I need to do is look for it and be aware of it when I see it.  Searching to find forgiveness is the tricky part.  I don’t often need to find forgiveness but I realize that it is an important part of finding peace and joy in my life.  It is interesting that those people who I feel I need to forgive seldom even notice that something is askew in the relationship.  I have come to find that there are times when I simply need to accept them for who and what they are.  I can not expect them to be anything other than who they are.  I forgive them for being themselves and just figure that it is all they have to give.  I know these things but implementing this idea proves to be a struggle for me.  I need to find a solution so I can move on with the peaceful part of my life.  See, peace and forgiveness are intertwined for me.  I must remember to immerse myself in those moments of discovery and beauty.  It is there that I can bathe in the glorious act of acceptance and forgiving.  

I hope all your sunsets this week are exquisite. 

Storms and Stillness

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I skipped writing the blog last week, and with good reason. My mother passed away on Oct. 27. It was her 88th birthday. She passed peacefully, right after I sang “Happy Birthday” to her, per my aunt’s request. There is more to the story, of course, but I have since been struggling with certain images that come to me while I am sleeping. I am not the only person to have these unsettling images, and I now understand that they can be with you for a very long time.
The whole premiss of this blog was to help people communicate, and with that thought in mind, I will share with you my video, with the hope that my idea might help others. You’ll have to make a video of your own, or put together a collage of photos that take your mind to a better place, times with happier memories. I put the music that I wrote for my mother, and would play for her, behind the photos. I hope you enjoy the video.

So lets start talking.  We are of an age, where many of us share these same hiccups in life.  You needn’t hide from them, but embrace them, and talk with others about your feelings.  I believe that, when we discover that we are not alone, we no longer feel isolated in those feelings.  With all this said and done, and the images I’m trying to shake, I wouldn’t have done it any other way, when it came to my mother.  Her last words to me were, “I love you.”  Now doesn’t that just say it all?  That is the very image I want to remember.