Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Fabulous Re-Read (and feel free to create your own)

I keep a collection of books, soft and hard cover, children's, cookbooks, fiction and non-fiction.  How many do I actually pick up off the shelf and re-read?  Not many.  However, this one is one I can pick up anytime and see something new and think, "I haven't thought about that in a while, but yes, that makes me happy."  It forces me to slow down and truly appreciate the little things, the details, the small pleasures in life.

What makes you happy?  The question may seem too big, too vague and almost impossible to answer sometimes, especially when you are in a low point and can't quite see your way to happy.  Instead, notice the things as they happen or appear, that make you smile and hold on to those moments.

I don't want to run out and have fried dough right now, but the thought of it does certainly make me happy.  The texture of the dough, the little bits of powdered sugar that you somehow inhale when it is handed to you, the feeling of ripping the hot dough apart, the squishiness in my fingers...see, what I mean.  It really makes me happy.

What will you think of today or see today or do today that will make you happy?  Share it, post it, tell someone, write a book about it if you can, but most of all - feel it and feel fabulous.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Emotional Hangover

Everyone knows when something is bad for them to simply avoid it.  Cigarettes for example.  I used to LOVE smoking and did so from my teen years through my 30's.  I knew I had to give it up.  Friends and family (my own children) would ask, beg, nag and try to convince me to quit and sometimes I tried.  

In the past when I tried to quit I would start back gradually saying, "I'm just going to have one," or, "I'll just bum one from someone else," or "I will quit after this pack."  Excuses.  Excuses.  An elderly lady once approached me while I was standing outside of my job smoking and said, "Honey, you are too beautiful to smoke.  My sister just died from lung cancer."  I felt horrible, but continued puffing away.

After several weak attempts, I finally turned my back on it with the help of nicotine chewing gum, lollipops and sheer willpower.  I had decided to quit, for real.  It was hellish for awhile and even today I will say once in awhile that I want a cigarette.  When I say it though, I know I really don't and that I am either stressed and need a break or it was a really good dinner.

I am currently addressing issues in my personal life that can be compared to quitting smoking though it seems a bit more like someone took my cigarettes away and I am forced to quit.  And so, once in awhile I reach out for that horrible old habit and have my fingers burned EVERY SINGLE TIME.  I am left with an even emptier feeling and end up crying my eyes out (sort of like coughing up a lung after a heavy night of smoking) and the next day I am left puffy, with a bit of a headache and a boat load of remorse.

It is time to throw out the pack and walk away.  It is time to prepare for a healthier me.  Realization is the first fabulous moment, internalizing these thoughts and putting them into motion will make the moment grow into a lifestyle.  I choose healthy and fabulous.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fabulous Reminders

I love when life reaches out and gives you a sign.  Synchronicity does exist.  It is alive and well.

In the middle of a storm, feeling alone, scared and unsure, I receive this card with wonderfully personal words of encouragement from an unexpected place.  Life may change, dramatically, in just an instant and in fact, it will.  Breathless, I will face it head on, determined and know - I am fabulous and so are you.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gathering for a Chat with Spiked Pink Lemonade

I've come to rely on my cell phone to capture fabulous moments more and more frequently.  Is a BlackBerry a girl's new best friend?

I stay in touch, by choice, with a number of people I have known since childhood.  Recently, my husband and I renewed our wedding vows and I invited 3 of my long time friends to our celebration.  The problem?  You don't really have a chance to have in depth conversations with guests at your own gathering.  The solution?  Have a separate gathering to talk it over.

I sent a text message to the group proposing dinner at a local restaurant within the next 10 days and by some miracle of fate, we were all able to meet up within only a few days.  I had told my family, then reminded them the day of the "dinner with friends."  They forgot.  "Who are you having dinner with," my younger son asked.

"Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte," I laughed.  None of us fit the descriptions, but I liked to think of myself as Carrie in this case.


"My high school friends," I answered though we all know our history is longer it is easiest to identify with this classification.

Was I anxious?  Well, I was the first to arrive and when asked what I'd like to drink while I wait I asked for lemonade while my mind raced ahead - "It's ok to have an adult beverage with your childhood friends," and so I asked, "Can you add a shot of vodka?"  Voila.  The start of a trend:  pink lemonade + vodka + new and old stories = lifetime memories.

We can't help but take a peek down memory lane when we are gathered, but like any seasoning, this is just the background flavor, not the main course.  We catch up, we share a little bit about our children who range in age from college down to junior high.  Yes, we share a little gossip, after all, that's where the giggles come from -* though no reputations were harmed in the telling of the stories. (*disclaimer intended to make any paranoid readers think we were talking about them feel at ease) 

A three hour dinner date with three wonderful women plus me.  We promise to gather again soon and I look forward to catching up with a splash of looking back.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Quick Tour

Lucky to be able to stop and smell the roses while working.  Though the heat and humidity were enough to make me want to just drop down on the sidewalk and chug about half a gallon of lemonade, instead I walked around Town (I've called and heard Pine Bush called that since I was a child.  As in, "I'm going to Town, do you need anything?")  A Spring Street Fair, Town Wide Yard Sale and the Farmers Market were all being held on a sunny holiday weekend Saturday and I was honored and happy to be able to combine my love of photography and cover the community events.  It allowed me a fabulous moment or two indeed!

I simply cannot resist flowers.  Flower gardens, fencing and a garden gate combined as a subject are like kryptonite.  I simply could not move!

Having watched some real pros taking their shots, I force myself and adjust from tight to wider shots of the same subject.  I always want to zoom in.  Does this desire have any ties to my personality and love of the details?

If the home owner was inside, are they used to people photographing their yard?  What would they say if they did see me?  This house made me want to plant rows and rows of Peonies despite their need for tiny ants to assist in opening the blooms.  I love the look and space required for these large headed flowers.

The famed roses to stop and smell.  While I thought approaching the stranger's garden to sniff the vibrant red beauties would be too much, I had no fear of capturing these images.

Though I struggled with the brilliant beastly rays of sunshine, I could not give up on this wrought iron gate and yes, more flowers.

Then off to the Farmers Market.

Chard as art?  Why of course, it is simply fabulous.

Seeing green onions is also a reminder of childhood.  Picking wild scallions in the backyard with their deep green shoots, I would simply pull the "hairy" roots away and eat them raw.  Oh the crazy fabulous times of children - sucking on clover, trying crab apples, picking wild berries... (no, I did not walk to school in 2 feet of snow up hill, but it already seems like childhood memories are of a long ago era.  The pre-electronic age.)

When I see the slightly different, a bit off-beat items for sale, I always stop and admire their unique and individual personality though I may not have any possible use or place for them.

Shooting under the sun again, I love that someone, anyone, painted their outbuilding or shed a pretty pale pink.  Quaint, yet untraditional.

Finally, the Relay for Life Butterfly.  A symbol that represents so many things, and for me bring a number of emotions from sadness and sorrow to a bit of pride in my community.  The unrelenting drive of the members of the teams that continue to walk and fund raise, the sad memories of lost loved ones, the fact that anyone has to suffer from any form of cancer, and the joy of watching as a patient becomes a survivor. 

A quick tour of a Fabulous Town and a peek into the thoughts of the mind capturing the images.

The private part of the tour includes the people I spoke with, those known for years and a few I met for the first time.  Those private experiences also do contribute to the individual memories - all fabulous.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Still on the Road

Everyday is a serious of decisions, some conscious, some without thought and a few that may be put off for another time.  Which clothes to wear?  Well, what is the occasion, what fits, the weather, comfort level and overall vibe for the day may all be factors before making a final selection.  And, I am willing to admit, the choice may change for no reason at all.  Some days it may feel perfectly fine to wear two pieces together, say a yellow sweater and gray slacks.  Another day - "What was I thinking?"  Life, for me, is filled with moments like this that sometimes make no sense.

I may think I want to be a girly-girl, sparkly, shiny and with a dash of pink (a bit of Sarah Jessica Parker perhaps?)

The next day, dark, solid black - is it chic or a uniform? While looking at Jessica Alba, also imagine Angelina Jolie...

Once we hit a certain age, aren't we supposed to know who we are, what we like and just be good with it?  I am still on the road.  I am still trying thing out, trying thing on, making alternate choices.  Sometimes I look back with regret and then I spend countless hours convincing myself my past is based simply on the information I had at that time.  I would never take some of those paths again. 

It's impossible to say what tomorrow will bring even when you think you know every combination available, a new idea will present itself.  The challenge is deciding to try it and if so, is it for the public or more personal and private?  I am still on the road.  Still trying on new styles, color combinations and sometimes, yes, returning to old, safe favorites.  Is it really about fashion?  More like a lifestyle, or more simply, a life.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fabulous Favorites

As children we learn by associating new concepts with what we know and comparing what we know to what we are newly experiencing.  We ask questions.  We've all been on the receiving end of a pre-schoolers endless inquisition, "why", "how", "what is that" and so on until the evolve into a bit more sophisticated line of questioning.  The next step is for a child to ask what our favorite is so they can compare our answer to what they know and what they already think or have experienced.  "What is your favorite movie," may really mean, "Do you and I like the same thing?"  In fact, I remember being on the answer seeking side of this phase and asking everyone what their favorite color was to see if we shared a love for a particular hue.  Silly?

It's taken me over 40 years to figure out the answer to the simple, "What is your favorite color" question and of course, it is in the form of a series of short answers rather than a direct, one word answer I am sure a small child would prefer.

I love the fabulous blue of a New York sky after a snow storm has cleared.  It is intense and complete.  It is endless, calming and serene.

I love the green the spring rain leaves behind.  The buds, the leaves, the single blades of grass seem to try to shine and illuminate the otherwise dreary landscape left behind by winter and before the glow of summer.  If colors had a smell, I would love to bottle green and keep it on hand for gray days.  It would likely smell a bit like laundry dried in sunshine, a soft embrace for the senses...

The red of a beach umbrella at the beach.  Vibrant. Strong.  

And always the red of a ripe strawberry -

The oranges, yellows, golds of a sunset - especially over water - whether the ocean, a lake or river.  The warmth that lingers as the day fades and yields to night...

Pinks and purples bring to mind the endless varieties of flowers, soft petals, some with light and pleasant perfumes.

A love for black and white comes in the form of memories, not harsh division lines.

A child may be disappointed in my answer, but now, it is the one these older eyes sees - many fabulous favorites.