Julie’s Journal

“We ache to touch intimately what is real” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer


 
 

WELCOME ALL!

  

This is where I shall begin a new adventure… letting light pour through those windows that have remained tightly shut for what seems like endless days and nights. Okay! Perhaps said with a bit too much melodrama … but the prospect of all that fresh air fills me with great expectations.

Lucky you!

All who find me here shall be eyes to read and ears to “hear” the words I hope to share…… be they letters, essays, poems, mere ramblings….. perhaps a recipe or two… thoughts on my journey from mother to nana….. to my passion for fashion and design…oh, and cooking too.

A recent book purchase of mine contained the following vignette….”This is a space for dream words, love words, made up words, flying words, fall down and get up words. Get to know the sound of your own inner voice. Be creative! Be generous! Be bold!”

I’m excited!

And, just for clarification … I’m the “young one” up there in the arms of my mother.

 

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In awe even at age one!

In awe… even at age one!    


And, speaking of young ones…. My first born darlin’ Amy stands alone before the mighty waves at the tender age of one and seems to understand her Mother’s love for the beauty of Oregon’s coastline. (1973)

Sisters behold the mighty waves

Hand in hand… sisters stand at water’s edge


And then there were two… Amy and Allison at about ages 4 and 2 stand in “awe” of the surf and sand…with pails in hand, ready to build their sand castles. How we all loved the Oregon Coast. Year after year we returned time and again to play, to walk, and just be happy! (1976)

Mom and Me…..

Mom and Me.....

I know a woman of strength and beauty
I watched her for years.
She is my mother

This picture is almost ancient history by now, as mom has been gone for over a decade and I’ve become a grandmother seven times over during those ten years. As wonderful a mother as she was however……. if possible, she was even better at being a grandmother and she is and always will be my shining star to follow as I strive to be a loving Nana to the seven beautiful children of my wonderful “threesome.”

Mom could remember and tell the best stories about all her grandchildren and I would cajole and downright beg her to record them in some fashion. I gave her notebooks galore and even a tape recorder but alas…. no written or oral record was ever made of her wonderful stories and memories. In thinking about my pleas to her, it occurred to me that I should do what I so wanted of her. Hence this amazing format for me to begin my journey. I shall call it a journal since the word blog is just plain harsh and even ugly to see and hear…… wouldn’t you agree?

Please keep in mind dear readers that there is no ‘rhyme or reason’ to my postings. If blogs could be arranged in chronological order then so would my journal but, since that’s not the case, it will seem like I’m jumping all over the place….memory to memory and picture to picture. Come to think of it…perhaps that will make it more interesting. After all, it is sort of the zigzag nature of how our mind works.

With that said… I begin with a poem

 
 

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Re-Arranged

 

She’d laugh and say…
“Indulge me please this one idiosyncrisy.”

Do you remember, Stacey?

How often did we arrive home from school to find
the sofa had traded places with a chair
and the chair with a table?

As for the table….well it had completely disappeared.

“How many ways can this room be re-arranged?” we’d wonder aloud.

Mom’s vision was limitless.

~ julie © may 2012

 

How true! How true! Stacey and I were constantly amazed and surprised, mother, by your ability, strength and passion for finding just the right arrangement for any room. This propensity lasted well into your retirement years and was passed on to both Stacey and I. The better part of my morning was gloriously spent re-arranging….. maybe not the furniture but a newly framed picture just had to find its’ place among all the others. Great fun! Thanks Mom for the gene that won’t let “things” remain the same for too too long.

Your daughter, Julie

 

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Content on our home's front porch.... Stacey in my lap (I loved being her second care-giver)

Pure contentment sitting on our homes’ front porch…. Stacey in my lap. I loved being her secondary care-giver.(1955)

 

With a ten year age difference between us, my sister and I have struggled to find ourselves ever in similar enough circumstances that we could maintain a real friendship and sisterhood. Seems our footprints have always been on different paths at different times. We joke that perhaps the day will come when we can slow down and catch-up to the relaltionship that we’d like to have together. Our mother was ten years younger than our favorite aunt and, in their later years, they finally formed the sisterhood that awaited them. So perhaps…. the same will happen between Stacey and I. We’ll be able to ‘re-arrange’ the stuff of life long enough to spend more time together.

Out Like a Lamb

This year March came in like a lion… roaringly fierce, cold and stormy.

Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.     
~ Lewis Grizzard

In the midst of Puget Sound’s coastline, there’s a small town privately known to those who live here. Selfishly, I suppose, we’d like to keep it that way…. with only our footprints in the sand.

Brrr! Big yawn!

As they blew hard and re-defined our streets and beach, those gusty March winds delivered a transitory shambles into the life of our town. While the tides ebbed and flowed, battering the sand with ragged scraps of shells, driftwood, seaweed and rock-covered barnacles; and while the branches broke, swirled and fell, cluttering the grounds below, a new tableau of beauty was defined by color, shape and texture.

Though the water may be rough…. the dichotomy of white caps under a poetically blue sky, outlined by the snow-capped Olympics, made one take note of the moment. Though the streets may be strewn with debris, new pathways always find their way to the beach.

No wonder they call it an ‘Edmonds Kind of Day.’

This year March went out like a lamb… soft and gentle into the folds of a new season.

In March… winter is holding back and spring is pulling forward. Something holds and something pulls inside of us too. ~ jean hersey

I love my hometown. While I rarely take its charm and beauty for granted, every so often, in a sudden burst of appreciation and realization, I wallow in how blessed I am to call this small corner of the world home.

Today I was overcome with such a surge. As I stepped off the porch and onto the pathway, I could almost feel the earth tilting toward the sun, warming both air and soil… and me. It was enticing! It was bewitching! ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and so much of the wonder of spring is found in the return of what was absent.

Warmed by the fresh sunlight and rain, trees emerge from under the covers and unfurl their leaves. Birds shed silence for joyful song. From dormancy, white buds and pink blossoms appear. Permeating the air with jasmine, daphne dazzles with her perfume. While neither pretty nor dainty, even the weedy dandelion perks up the landscape. Hello yellow! All give new noise, new color, new aroma and new life to nature’s tapestry.

A napping, drowsy pleasure is aroused with the unveiling of all this newness. How much I’ve missed you all, as my small corner comes back to life, giving new meaning to an old adage…‘hope springs eternal.’

What a day full of gifts! All I had to do was take notice and let nature-given happiness fill me to the brim.

Look there!… I squeal to myself.

Much to my deep delight, buds are ‘bustin’ out all over’ on the branches of my dancing peacock. A happy surprise this morning, as one of my weekly watering chores led to disbelief when I noticed that life is emerging from a prized, nurtured young maple that, late last summer, appeared to have lost the will to survive its potted life on my deck.

Aptly named after the beauty of the peacock, the Acer Japonicum Aconitifolium or Dancing Peacock has thickly dissected green leaves, giving this maple the general appearance of a multitude of peacocks dancing on the limb. Fantastic performer in the fall, as leaves display brilliant scarlet tones with oranges, mimicking the appearance of flames.

Have I just experienced a ‘joy of gardening’ moment? Because, to my utter amazement, this fledgling has survived the winter and I am humbled by its sheer determination when I so easily gave up on its tenacity. Thanks to Janine, who urged me not to throw in the towel or throw out the maple, we moved the container to a different deck and, except for an occasional light watering, left it on its own.

Here we are…. Janine’s wise advice has proven ‘gold.’ The peacock has another season to dance in my garden. I eagerly await being its partner, as we waltz around Autumn’s ‘bonfire.’

How does my garden grow?

I’m going to be very upset should I die before ‘my garden’ reaches enough maturity to show off its much planned for and anticipated beauty. I keep thinking that enough is enough when it comes to new plants and new places to plant new plants but I guess a garden is always a work in progress, as is life itself. I keep telling myself and Janine that I need to stop planting plants, as I might not be around long enough to see them grow and I would be so disappointed not to witness their maturity.

“It’s exciting to see things coming up again, plants that you’ve had twenty or thirty years. It’s like seeing an old friend.”
― Tasha Tudor, The Private World of Tasha Tudor

Well… there’s no way that my current friendship with the garden is going to last twenty or thirty years. So… since I’m relatively new to this gardening passion… I’m in the midst of a dilemma. The garden is small and, as a consequence… slow growing dwarfs of any species are the best choice for space and time. Alas… slow growing means …. well, you know what that means!

I wonder if all gardeners have the same ‘thoughts’…. did Tasha Tudor wonder if she should no longer plant perennials?

Did Beatrix Potter wonder if she should stop planting annuals?

I started this blog with a short poem about my mother’s penchant for re-arranging the room she was in and how that gene was handed down to both my sister and I. It would seem that the latest ‘room’ for re-arranging in my life is the garden.

Spring beckons and the heart beats faster! Do I add to my garden’s beauty with two more red pots who already know exactly where they should land?

Who am I kidding?

Me or you?

Must be you!

‘Cause Janine and I are off to the nursery for two more pots and maybe, just maybe, we’ll throw in a new plant or two.

When the heart beats faster, one must ‘listen’… and follow!

By The Garden Gate

“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” ~ Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

So… just why, I wonder, did Sally choose rosemary to keep by the garden gate as opposed to parsley, sage or thyme?

By the way, before I wax poetic about rosemary, it’s important to know that the garden gate up there is mine and the wild and wooly rosemary, which not only survived the freezing snow of 2019, seems to have thrived and multiplied despite our inclement weather. Someone once told me that rosemary doesn’t have the longest ‘shelf life’ in the garden and will eventually ‘burn out’ so to speak. Perhaps getting put in the icebox for the winter has seen a thaw that renewed rosemary’s drive to dominate its allotted spot by the garden gate. Some pruning is in order, as soon as weather permits.

Hmm!

‘Cause just between you and me…. Rosemary is not my favorite seasoning and, alas, I’ve been waiting some years now to replace that ragged, rugged weed of a plant with something much more pleasant to the eyes.

Back to my poetic waxing.

Rosemary has a rich history, filled with legends and lore. It has plenty of culinary uses, medicinal benefits, and even some magical tendencies.

So… let’s plant some rosemary, shall we? ‘Cause. . .

Those ‘who know’ and contemplate such things proclaim some of the following. . .

Rosemary gives peace to both the living and the dead,

represents remembrance and loyalty,

brings good luck,

boosts your immune system, protecting against colds, flus, and other ailments,

and, protects against evil.

Smelling rosemary lifts your spirit and is great in times of renewal while decreasing nervousness and stress.

For all of you plagued by darkness, it may prevent nightmares.

And last, but certainly not least, rosemary attracts elves and fairies….just the magic we all need in our gardens.

So… while I don’t know for ‘certain’ Sally’s reasoning for choosing rosemary by the garden gate, I do know mine.

Look closely at Sally’s last certainty ….. fall in love whenever you can…. and you will understand my letting go of a certain propensity toward perfection and letting a wild and wooly stray take root by the garden gate.

After all, the 1970 one-hit wonder said it best, Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes.

Love Is All You Need!

Dear Ian. . . ’twas Christmas morning in the year 2017. As I was watching the joyous fun of all the family opening packages, you bashfully and lovingly handed me your gift and my heart was touched forever.

Thankfully, there are limitless ways to love, fall in love and be loved and thank goodness for the hearts’ infinite capacity to love.

Early this morning, in the dark before daylight, I heard rain spattering against the skylight. I curled up tighter, pulled my down blanket closer to me and fell in love with the intimacy of the rains’ chatter while feeling so content to just be in this moment.

So what if I can’t fall back to sleep. I tip toe as quietly as I can to the kitchen, push one simple button for a cup of hazelnut coffee, carry it back to bed where I sip and embrace this loving moment of quiet solitude, along with a moment of romance courtesy of the Hallmark channel. What can I say? I’m a sucker for those romantic Hallmark movies.

Then, with the realization of ‘having to get up’… I smile and feel thankful for the love of a hot shower, raisin toast and another cup of coffee.

There are so many daily and delightful tender ways to let love in.

Attentively listening to and cherishing the rhythm that beats another drum… be it the heart of friend or stranger: be it the routine of daily life; be it the moments missed in our hurry to get somewhere… ah! The roses do smell sweet! And really. . . love is right here and not there where we seem so anxious to go.

After all. . .

Love fails only when we fail to love. ~ J. Franklin

May these simple thoughts on love offer a belated Happy Valentine to you all for this year 2019.

After all. . .

A Dribble of Despair. . .

While there is no despair here… but rather the obvious joy of a SNOW DAY as my darling grandson, Micah, so exuberantly demonstrates. . .

one thing leads to another and so it goes.

Don’t you know? Snow days stop the world and make you take a vacation.

But, sad to say, generations take their toll and …..

while Micah was out in the thick of it, sledding and making angels in the snow, his Nana’s ‘snow day’ kept her safely inside which led to the discovery of a marvelous movie that marvelously moved her to tears and a tremendous need to elaborate….both of which demonstrate two of my less flattering traits… emotional sentimentality with a penchant for wordiness that does or, more correctly, doesn’t do justice to the former. Some long ago professor “voice” (with red pen in hand) is telling me “you could have written that in ten words or less.”

Ah well! Back to the movie!

“I hears your lonely heart in all the whisperings of the world.”

What a duo!

Steven Spielberg gives life to the words of Roald Dahl, as The BFG… an eternal being in the body of a big friendly giant who catches and delivers dreams to humans… blossoms onto the big screen, unfolding beauty, grace and absolute magic.

Like books that capture you in the first paragraph, I just knew that I was going to love this movie from the opening scene…. hooked and couldn’t look away as rain pelts the streets of London in the darkest hour of night some ‘eons’ ago and the camera weaves its way to the orphanage where Sophie, sitting at the top of the stairs under a blanket, can’t sleep and it’s the witching hour when all good giants like to roam. Oh my!

Sure enough… Sophie can’t resist being pulled away from her book, quilt and orange tabby to throw open the shutters on the window where she spots the BFG, as he jumps from one camouflage spot to another. That’s when he hears Sophie’s “lonely heart” and realizes he’s been seen. Sophie’s life is about to change forever but is it for better or worse?

I’m sitting on my hands here because, as tempted as I am to answer that question (I could go on and on about this marvelous movie), you best find out for yourself. I don’t want to spoil a moment of its charm by giving away the plot or character development or…..

So… while I won’t give away secrets, I will praise the author’s clever, insightful use of language. Genius!

BFG speaks in delightful malapropisms and sports a fantastically fun vocabulary.  He never went to school and explains, “Words is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me.”

From there we are charmed, entertained and left wondering to what heights the imagination of Roald Dahl could possibly soar.

After Sophie is captured and deftly swept off to Giant Land, somewhere during her stay with the BFG she discovers all his jars of human dreams and spots one with her name on it.

“What is Sophie’s dream?” the little girl asks towards the end of the movie.

“It tells the story of a little gal, a little chittler with her whole life ahead of her — with a family of her own,” BFG says. “Little chittlers of her own, too. Someday. There will be great successfuls and funnies ahead for her. And, truth to tell, just a dribble of despair. Times will be hard, times will be soft. Adventures will come and go, but in the end she remembers the good deeds. And Sophie, I know that story be your heart’s desire. I know that.”

So sorry! Despite the best of intentions, I may have just answered the earlier question and given away too much.

Still and all…. please see this movie and be charmed by its magic! You’ll soon realize that the world is more giant than you can imagine!

So Peter said to his Wendy Lady…
 
 

Happy Happy Happy Thoughts….. think about things you like to do!

Late in September….

I had the happy thought to light up my glass cupboard
by planting a grove of miniature Christmas trees within its borders.

I had the happy thought to blow the dust off my fascinator and make ready for Ivy’s fifth birthday party.

I had the happy thought to be a good witch for the ‘twelve days’ of Autumn that I’m about to spring upon a friend.

I had the happy thought to give my minature bear a tree to hug.

I had the happy thought to love my newly adopted kitty
in spite of her aloof, unloveable opposition to my happy thought.

I had the happy thought to step outside my comfort zone and wear those skinny jeans.

Sad to say…… that is still an unfulfilled happy thought.

I had the happy thought to parade my stunning Himalayan goat down main street and relish in the compliments, as the pashmina shawl hugging my shoulders turned many a head.

I had the happy thought to simply be content and blessed to share a best friend.

I had the happy thought to forgive myself for not living up to everyone else’s definition of love.

I seem to speak a foreign language….. sometimes understood but mostly not heard.

Je t’aime, mon cher amie.

And then… I had the happy thought to have a happy thought. Give my telomeres a break and stop ruminating about do I or don’t I?

Go ahead… plant a hundred daffodil bulbs. Spring and I await the ‘naturalized’ sunny field of blooms.

Indeed, it was perhaps my happiest thought!

~ julie 2019

Cheers!

So here we are… the first day of a new year. What’s done is done and what is yet to be will be.

A clean slate comes with new hope… all in one fell chime of the clock.

A baby’s lustful cry into existence co-exists with his elder’s sigh of relief.

Tis the way of life.

Happy New Year to All!

And while I’ve never been too fond of resolutions, as they often get broken almost before they are spoken, I do have one hopeful promise to keep.

“I will open the book. Its pages are blank. I am going to put words on them myself. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” — Edith Pierce