Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Feeling Happy in 2014!

Took a break this fall - more beach happiness to come.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Good-bye Summer . . .

Labor Day marks the end of summer for me, so the day seems bittersweet. 
No more lazy days sleeping late, lingering over cups of coffee and reading the paper, or sitting in the hammock reading a book.  No more afternoons at the pool or warm evenings on the back deck looking at the lightning bugs and stars.
The first hint of autumn is in the air, the days already seem shorter,
and the bustle of life picks up. 
"We had mighty good weather as a general thing, & nothing ever happened to us at all."
 - Mark Twain  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Beach Art - Ikki Matsumoto

One of my favorite illustrators is Ikki Matsumoto, an artist who I associate with Sanibel Island, one of my favorite beach destinations.

Ikki was born in Tokyo, Japan, but moved to the US as a young man to study art at the University of Cincinnati under the noted wildlife artist, Charley Harper.  After getting married, he moved to Sanibel Island, FL and opened a gallery with his work.  His popularity grew and he enjoyed wide success with his original art, prints, calendars, and illustrations for books.  He is especially known for his charming line illustrations that appear in the latest edition of The Joy of Cooking

My favorite pieces of art from Ikki are his illustrations of various shore birds.  I especially like his long-legged herons and egrets that are camouflaged by reeds and other tall grasses.  I also love his drawings of the little sandpipers and sanderlings - I can just picture them running along the shore, darting in and out of the waves.
I like the sense of humor and fun that's reflected in his work.
Original art and prints, as well as more information about Ikki, can be accessed at:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Beach Music: Trip Around the Sun


So for this Beach Music post I had to go with the obvious choice; Mr. Jimmy Buffett.  He may seem like a "brand" now, but I remember when he started his career and was the musician of choice for kids living in Ohio who dreamed of sunny days and far-away beaches.  He sang about pirates and sailors and getting away from it all.  I particularly liked his album "A1A" which included a fold-out cover with a map of the overseas highway that ran from Miami to Key West.  (ahhh . . . album cover designs - a lost art form that kids who download music will never know)   After a very snowy Ohio winter, I finally made my way to Key West and bicycled by the house where he had lived and written many of his songs.   It's not for nothing that his Greatest Hits CD is called "Songs You Know By Heart". 

I'm also a fan of his CD "License to Chill" which features duets with some of Country Music's biggest stars.  Although I'm not a big country music fan, I really enjoy the songs on the CD and it includes one of my favorite songs, Trip Around the Sun, his duet with Martina McBride.

Playing Trip Around the Sun has become a tradition for birthday's around our house.  The song's lyrics contain some good advice, so I'm closing with the video and the lyrics - Enjoy!

Hear 'em singing happy birthday
Better think about the wish I make
This year gone by
Ain't been a piece of cake.

 Every day's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun.

 I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

 No you never see it coming,
Always wind up wondering where it went.
 Only time will tell
If it was time well spent.

 It's another revelation,
 Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun.

 I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing I have learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

 Yes I'll make a resolution
That I'll never make another one.

 Just enjoy this ride on my
Trip around the sun.
Just enjoy this ride
On my trip around the sun...
Trip around the sun

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

My Dad . . . .
My dad could fly a jet . . . and cradle a baby in his arms,
My dad liked riding a motorcycle . . . and reading me bedtime stories,
My dad could cast a fishing line . . . and teach me how to tie my shoes,
My dad could navigate by the stars . . . and help me catch fireflies,
My dad could identify trees, birds, and rocks . . . and liked to take me on walks through the woods,
My dad attended church . . . and liked lazy days at the beach,
My dad expected the best of us . . . but was never afraid to show us his love.

Miss you Dad!  I loved those days at the beach with you.  (photo is either Hampton Beach, NH or Jones Beach, Long Island, NY) 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Beaches of the California Coast

Because I live on the east coast, most of my posts are about the beautiful beaches along the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.  But I have fond memories of the California coast and I hope to get back there someday.  My last visit to California was so long ago that my pictures are film, rather than digital, but now that Instagram is popular they actually look "hip" again. 

We started our trip in San Francisco and then took California Highway #1 south to L.A.  The scenery is spectacular and I hope to get back with a good camera, so I can do it justice. 

I love Japanese Gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is one of the most beautiful I've seen.   Legend has it that the Fortune Cookie was invented in this Tea Garden!

Driving south from San Francisco leads to Monterey and the famous 17-Mile Drive, which hugs the coast and provides the most dramatic scenery of the trip. Some of the classic "post-card" shots of California are taken along this stretch of beach. 

At the end of the 17-Mile Drive is the charming "village" of Carmel.  This little storybook town has wonderful shops, galleries, and restaurants.  We particularly liked a little toy store called Thinker Toys.  There are many wonderful places to stay, but I loved our hotel, La Playa, which featured lush gardens and landscaping.  It was built as a mansion in 1904 by a Norwegian-born artist for his bride, a daughter of the chocolate-famed Ghiradelli family, and was later converted to a luxury hotel. 

Many of the town's residents had wonderful gardens and window boxes.  I liked this 4th-of-July themed display!
Our next stop was the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.  It looks like classic California with a wide sandy beach, swaying palm trees, and the blue Pacific Ocean.   We stayed at the Santa Barbara Inn, a boutique hotel which featured Michel Richard's famous restaurant, Citronelle. 
We then drove to Los Angeles . . . . which of course has wonderful and famous beaches . . . . but I will leave that for another post!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day always marks the beginning of summer for me, and all the wonderful things that come with it, including trips to the beach!  Yes, I know the official first day of summer is June 21, but in my mind Memorial Day starts the season . . .

As a child, that meant a count-down to the end of school, the opening of the pool, sleeping-in, late-nights eating ice-cream, looking at stars, fresh lemonade, flowers in my Mom's garden, and reading on our screened-in porch.

This was posted on a friend's facebook page (from a group called the Homeschool Divas).  I may have to print it out and see how many I can check-off before summer ends!

(And I find it humorous that #1 is "Go to the Beach")!