Saturday, September 27, 2008

One of My Favorites

It seems like only yesterday that I went with my older brother to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It's one of those movies that I own and enjoy watching over and over again but I have especially enjoyed listening to South American Getaway It is one of those songs that sounds exciting and sad at the same time. Posting this as a tribute to Paul Newman.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Fast Can We Go?

Most of us are accustomed to juggling but last week and this week both home and work seem to be moving at such a rapid speed that I can't keep up! Have you ever noticed those signs on the interstate that post a minimum speed? Well I fear that I am going to be ticketed shortly! Sometimes life just comes at us at all angles and so for the time being I remain a turtle. Slow and steady, I am determined to make it to the finish line.

At least for a moment while I stop and type up this message I am taking a break from all the many demands that life is sending my way. Meanwhile my niece (10 years) called earlier this evening as she was working on a Christmas card. What a happy thought. It gave me a mental break just to stop and talk about silent nights and Christmas tree lights. If your September is anything like mine I hope you will stop do something pleasurable and take a deep breath in between tasks. I keep reminding myself to do the same.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My friend just moved to Houston so tonight Ike is on my mind. I just called to check on her and she said the city is in a frenzy but they have provisions and are prepared for the coming storm. It was interesting to learn that gas prices jumped from $3.50 to over $4 today. It just so happens that this girlfriend grew up in Orlando so dealing with tornadoes and hurricanes have been part of her growing up but for me I am still worried. When I called to check on her I had to confess that I have always wished that I could hunker down and experience one of these storms. The part of the country where I live we do get plenty of rain from storms and sometimes tornadoes but not the hurricane.

One of my childhood friends emailed me yesterday from coastal South Carolina. She too has seen plenty of these storms but her viewpoint of the storm is more focused on maintaining shoreline and protecting the coastline.

While I am not sure what your weekend weather might be, I hope that you have time to enjoy some candlelight and time together with your loved ones whether it is rain or shine.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Ex Voto

Just a few weeks ago I purchased a beautiful antique Italian ex voto to mark the entrance of my house. I thought it would be the perfect thing to remind me of answered prayers and life's many blessings. Many times you might have noticed these items on blogs, in decorative magazines and in other places. They are often pictured as hearts sometimes with small religious markings, adornments in silver, gold, enamel or sometimes even jeweled. I have seen some that were made into lockets for holding a prayer inside. Some of the ex votos were designed with a small flame attached to illustrate the Sacred Heart, such as the one that I purchased. Here is a picture of the one that I bought and hung in my entrance hall. To me the Sacred Heart ex votos are some of the most beautiful.

For those of you not familiar with an ex voto, Wikipedia says: An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or divinity. It is given in fulfillment of a vow (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, "from the vow made") or in gratitude or devotion. Ex-votos are placed in a church or chapel where the worshipper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks. The destinations of pilgrimages often include shrines decorated with ex-votos. Ex-votos can take a wide variety of forms. They are not only intended for the helping figure, but also as a testimony to later visitors of the receieved help.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Visitor

It doesn't happen often anymore, but this week we had quite a nice surprise. My husband is Lebanese and most of his family lives in many other parts of the world. Just in case you aren't familiar with families from this part of the globe, the families can be large. Not because there are so many siblings but because extended family is just as important as your immediate family. In fact it can sometimes be a little overwhelming when marrying into the family but you eventually get used to it and for me and my kids it has been exciting to be a part of such an extended clan. Back in the '80s and '90s, because of the civil war, many of the younger cousins came to the states to go to boarding schools so our kids had the opportunity to "grow up" with their overseas family over school holidays and breaks. During that time aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws would come to visit regularly and would stay with us for weeks and sometimes months at at time. It was wonderful - most of the time. But in recent years as family has gotten older and young cousins have started families of their own, the visits have been less frequent. We have taken advantage of Skype and Facebook and Google Talk but it just isn't the same.

Now back to the surprise. On Tuesday when I got home from work my husband said he had just gotten an email from a cousin and that he would be arriving at the airport at 8:45. This family member now lives with his wife and family in Geneva but he had an unexpected work assignment in Atlanta. It was so exciting to have him here even if only for two days. We took advantage of the evening hours so I have to admit we stayed up much later than we normally do while he was here but it was worth every minute. As we said our goodbyes it made me realize just how much we miss our family.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Joining Becky's Party With a Wonder

Please celebrate Becky's birthday as we all share our wonders. I was inspired to share something with you after attending a big arts & crafts show this weekend. It just so happened that at this fair there was a collection of old buggies and wagons and one in particular caught my eye. It inspired me to share my fascination with you.

I have always been fascinated with gypsies. Back during my piano lesson days I know there was a gypsy tune that I loved (and could play) in one of those John W. Schaum piano books. That song and the illustration is surely responsible for my strange fascination with gypsies. My first encounter with a real gypsy was a few years later. When I was in high school I worked at a department store in our hometown mall (a very small mall but a big deal in a small town). Anyway, we had gypsies who lived somewhere in the vicinity so the store manager would tell us when they came in the store (we were supposed to keep our eyes out for shoplifting). He said you will know they are here when the Cadillac pulls up. I remember the day a yellow Cadillac pulled up to the back door of the mall and a clan of five women, all dark haired with olive complexions, piled out of the care and entered the store. To me it was exotic and exciting to observe. I later learned that they were Roma gypsies.

Many years later as I was planning my first trip to Paris when someone warned me to "beware the gypsies." Of course I am thinking to myself, gypsies? Sure enough, within the first 12 hours in Paris, we encountered a gypsy mother with a baby and a toddler begging. We saw gypsies in the train stations, gypsies outside the churches and gypsies on the Champs Elysees.

In the early 90's I saw a movie about the Tinkers and discovered the Irish gypsies. Even though the name is different, they are still gypsies.

Photo of a Tinker wagon

Then in 1997 the most amazing thing appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution obituaries. The headline read, "U.S. Gypsies Come to Say Goodbye to Their Chief Justice." It was so unbelievable that a very important gypsy leader had been living right here in the Atlanta area. To this day I remember reading about the white horses and carriage that would carry the gypsy dignitary to his final resting place.

Since that amazing discovery NBC has run a special on the Murphy Village community just north of Augusta. After watching the program I was even more intrigued and fascinated with gypsies, their society and culture. I am just curious if others have had encounters with the gypsy communities.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Room With a View

We had such a nice weekend and I hope you did too. We spent the weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Thankfully there was no sign of a hurricane our way and the weather was perfect for celebrating the end of summer. Normally we go to my Dad's family reunion in Tennessee for the Labor Day holiday so somehow it seemed a bit strange to be away from my siblings but because my son is in Iraq, we decided to spend the weekend with his girls and go to the beach together. Here was our view from the balcony of our room. It was a perfect weekend on the beach with plenty of sun, fun, sand and water. So tomorrow is back to work as we say goodbye t0 summer.