Thursday Memories – Me and Nance



This is my friend Nance and me. The photo was taken in the late ’80s. Nance is one of the few people I’ve kept in touch with since high school. Still do, too.


Nance has been on my mind a lot lately, as her mom passed away earlier this month. Mrs. L. was ill for some time, and I know that was hard on her and her family. She was a swell lady. Both Nance’s parents were alright. I know losing loved ones is part of life, and something we will all experience. But that knowledge does nothing to make it any easier.


On a completely different note, check out my leisure wear shown above. Honestly – I don’t know what to tell ya.

I Knew It All Along, Philippe’s



A couple of days ago I read a piece about the true origins of The French Dip sandwich. For those of you not familiar with L.A. lore, The French Dip was invented here (for reals). But there has been a long-running dispute about the sandwich’s creator. Many thanks to Thrillist for its piece and clarification. (It’s worth the read, if you’re a food dork.)


As for me – someone who’s had both contenders – the truth comes as no surprise. I knew it all along. And now that the guessing game is over, I may have to make my way downtown to Philippe’s for a treat…


Trio Ellas



Last week I had the privilege of seeing a new-to-me band – Trio Ellas (“Three Shes” in Spanish). And I was in awe.


Part of me wants to call them a female Mariachi band. Part of me wants to liken them to old-school, tight-harmony groups (think chicks on “Lawrence Welk” or “The Andrews Sisters”). But the truth is, as I sat watching their show, they were unlike anyone I’ve seen. And I adored them. At the end of each song of their set, I said, “Wow!” It was all I could muster.


I bought their latest CD after the set (as shown above), and I am enjoying it immensely. Most of the tracks are in Spanish, and as I love music sung in other languages, I’m a smitten kitten. I only wish I’d bought the other disc on offer, as well.


Give these ladies a listen. They really are top-notch and what’s heard on their recordings is what they deliver live. As I type this, I’m listening to their CD again. I am still in awe.

Sweet Fancy Moses



You ever have a weekend that’s so jam-packed with activities that you need another weekend just to recover? I just had one of those. And it was fabulous. And exhausting. And fun. And draining. And memorable. And it severely affected my sleep time.


But you know what they say – there’s no rest for the wicked. So I’ll just have to recover incrementally, if at all. And that’s okay. Because life is busy sometimes. Busy and beautiful.

Happy Easter



For those who find religious meaning in today, forgive me. For in this day, I find Ham.


And I shall be eating ham today, and loving it. Trying a new recipe. We’ll see what happens.


No matter how you choose to spend your day, I hope it’s grand.

Goodnight, Mr. Hamner



Early Thursday afternoon, Earl Hamner, Jr. died. If you’re wondering who the heck that might have been, then you, my friend, probably weren’t glued to the television in the early ’70s, watching The Waltons.


I, on the other hand, was soaking up as much of The Waltons as I could get. I loved the narration, provided by Mr. Hamner himself. I loved the grandparents. My own depression-era great-grandparents were living representations of those poor, TV mountain people. But for me, the show’s appeal was more than that. The family shown on The Waltons was a dream. They were good, decent people. Good, decent parents. I loved “John” and “Liv.” They showed me what parents could be. And they gave me hope. Thanks to them, I learned a lot about choosing what sort of person I wanted to be. And I learned, through watching that program, that I didn’t have to become anything less, regardless of what I saw in my own real-life family.


According to all the reports I’ve read, Mr. Hamner was surrounded by loved ones and listening to his favorite music (John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”) when he took his final breath. It sounds so simple, and yet so perfect. We should all be so lucky as to have a long, love-filled life.


Goodnight, Mr. Hamner.

Art on The Ceiling




Twenty-some-odd years ago, I was reading an interview with Madonna and the writer spoke of visiting her home. I don’t remember one thing about that piece other than a description of a painting hanging on the ceiling of Madonna’s house. That stuck with me. And I know it sounds crazy, but I can remember where I was sitting when I read that. I knew right then and there that I wanted art on my ceiling. I figured it would take a while, as I would have to find and acquire the right art for the job, and I had no idea what that process might look like. But I was patient, and filed away the desire.


Cut to me, many years later. Lo and behold – I’m a painter! And I decided to paint myself a work suitable for ceiling installation. Never mind not having a clue as to how I’d make that happen, or where it would go. I only wanted to paint something from the right perspective. Something I would love. And so I did. I called it Siena Sky.


And then I went on a tour of the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation and I was fairly blown away by what I saw there. The entire tour is amazing, but what stood out for me was the art Mr. Weisman had hung on the ceiling. Because indoor photos are not permitted, I purchased the beautiful book offered at the end of the tour so that I could reference the way the Weismans had lived with art. (I love this book, and highly recommend it for those touring this fabulous home.) And there, in its pages, I found a photo of the art that mesmerized me so…



Still without a clue as to how I might hang my own art on my own danged ceiling, I started poking around the interwebs and found – nothing. Seriously. Not a thing. And I was so let down by this, so disappointed. Most of us have come to expect answers to life, the universe and everything as being merely a well-typed search phrase away. All my attempts – my multiple attempts – had failed. I had the art and I had the ceiling, and yet I found no useful information and had no idea how to proceed in making my decades-long dream of art on the ceiling come true.


So I hearkened back to an old jingle from my childhood and “Let [my] fingers do the walking.” I called The Weisman Foundation and spoke to a lovely, kind soul. After hearing my query, she said she wasn’t sure how Mr. Weisman had hung his art on the ceiling, but that she would be happy to ask his widow – and current Foundation director, Billie Milam Weisman – if she knew how he’d done it. The kind lady said she’d inquire and get back to me. Honestly, I didn’t expect much. I figured either the person I’d spoken to would forget to follow through, or there simply wouldn’t be an answer. (Yes – my negative side was in charge at that point.) So imagine my surprise when, about a half hour later, I received a phone call from the kind lady at The Weisman Foundation. She said she’d spoken with Mrs. Weisman, who said she seemed to recall Mr. Weisman using d-rings and cup hooks on all 4 corners of the art he’d hung. Wow! It was so simple. So do-able. And she had actually called me back! I was so happy about that! What a doll!


Now, I keep d-rings on hand to hang art on walls, but I didn’t have a single cup hook in my tool box. So I got 4 (ceiling hooks, actually) and got after it. With a helping hand from Mister, the piece was placed on the ceiling…



When I sit on the sofa and rest my head, looking up, this is what I see…



I am so thrilled to have seen this through to its fruition. Is it quirky? Yes. Is it for everyone? I sincerely doubt it. But it is for me, and I’ve known it would be for years. I simply cannot tell you how happy I am with this little installation here at the new pad. And I’m so pleased to have stuck with this idea. For me, it is beyond worth it.

Thursday Memories



This photo was taken a long, long time ago. When I was young. Not just young-er, mind you, but truly, actually young.


When I look at that girl, living that previous life, I am amazed she survived. Happy for her, too. And though I recognize her, I am not her. Not anymore.


Today I am older. A whole year older, in fact, as today is my birthday. And though I have more wrinkles than the kid in the photo above, I also have more good memories. More to smile about. More love than I ever thought imaginable. I think that counts for a whole lot.


Here’s to another year. And hopefully another. And another. And…

CitySeat Bike Seat Covers



Recently I read about a product and knew I had to try it. It’s a padded, washable bike seat cover from a Brooklyn-based company, CitySeat.


I ride my bike for exercise and to get around. And though I have a decent seat on “Helen” (my bike’s name), long rides can leave my booty a bit sore. As I don’t wear padded bike shorts when I ride, I couldn’t depend on those for relief. I suppose I could have duct-taped a small pillow to my seat, but come on.


Enter CitySeat. I like that I can remove the pads inside and wash the cover, should I find it necessary. And it’s cute to boot! It’s super-easy to slip over my seat and when I took Helen out for a test ride, I can honestly say my booty was thanking me. It’s quite comfortable and I didn’t even notice it was there, other than thinking what am improvement it was over my plain seat.


For the record, no one at CitySeat has ever heard of me, y’all, so please know I’m only sharing this in the interest of your booties! If you decide to try a CitySeat bike seat cover yourself, drop me a line and let me know what you think! I’m fairly smitten with mine.

Not For Sale



I passed this display in a department store and had to double back, as I was quite taken with one element. I knew immediately that I wanted it in my own home, and I also knew I needn’t inquire about the price. The item I wanted? The painted branches. And they were not for sale.


Sometimes I see a thing and know I can make it myself, or at the very least find a better deal. The gold branches in this display are right up my alley. They’re natural, yes, and they’re also shiny. Me like shiny, friends. I already have a few glass vases from which to choose, so that’s covered. I’m fairly certain I have silver spray paint. (Silver will work in my tableau better than gold.) The only thing left to do is track down some interesting branches. And let them dry out a bit. And make sure they’re de-bugged. You know – little things like that.


I’m so glad I followed my inclination to backtrack and do a double-take at the gold scene. I nearly walked right past, and had I done that, I surely would have forgotten how much the branches appealed to me in the first place. I can hardly wait to make this happen!