The Bouquet on my Desk

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Dear Reader:

I wore my first sweater of the season last week; it was a chilly 68 degrees. It’s fall in California, but I have a summer bouquet to enjoy every day.! It was created by my blogging friend, Tamara Jare at My Botanical Garden. It was spring when I selected the lovely watercolor and I was anticipating summertime as I always do. I framed the small piece and it sits on my desk in the pink shed. I can almost smell the peonies, roses, grasses and spirea in full bloom.

As Tamara said, “It’s a special arrangement in the same way that each summer is special.” It’s particularly meaningful to me because it’s a reminder of one of the first friends that I made after creating my blog. I have a friend in Slovenia! I never thought I’d be able to say that!

Tamara found my site just two days after I established it and became one of my first followers. I was glad, not only to have her as a reader, but also to discover the beauty on her site. We developed a connection over the past months and have continued to communicate through e-mail.It was fun to discover how much Tamara and I have in common. We are about the same age and happily married with grown children. After she read my post  about aging, she shared that Oil of Olay (tanti anni fa) was the secret to her youthful good looks, too! We agreed that they must have a good advertising company!

We are both creative women who feel happy and complete in our lives. Tamara began her blog when her mother was terminally ill and the artistic expression helped her through that very difficult time. I started my blog when my one -and -only left me to go to college. If one could bottle creative expression, it would be truthful to state that it is a potent remedy in times of loss or change.

I’m sure that I will sound my age when I say that I am amazed to find women who are so seemingly like me in all parts of the world. I’m an “old dog” who learned a “new trick” and I’m grateful to be part of a blogging community with no boundaries.

I am hopeful that someday I’ll meet my friend in Slovenia, but, until then, her art keeps me company while I pursue my creative side.

Thanks Tamara!

Love,

Michele

Thanks for Visiting…Celebrating Six Months from the pink shed!

Dear Reader:

Six months ago I launched my blog. I felt confident that I’d never run out of things to say, but I was less sure about entering the world of the internet. If I’m going to write, it must be honest. So, would I feel that I was compromising my quiet, simple, private way of life? Would I regret taking this creative leap?

From the door of the pink shed
Come on in!

Short answer:  NO! Long answer: so many lovely people have visited my pink shed and they’ve made my venture fun and rewarding!

I’m talking about YOU:

Kristin at 17 Mile Creative-I couldn’t have done it without you!

Courtney-Thanks for helping me get it together!

Beth at Bordelon Artworks-You generously volunteered your talents…taking photos, blogging, reading and commenting.

Laurie-You are the kindest, wisest reader any writer could hope for and you submitted an incredibly entertaining guest post.

Catherine, Marietta and Kimberlee-Your support means so much to me.

Mrs. Delwiche (Jean)-You were the “best principal ever” at Almaden Country Day School. My daughter raved about how much you cared about each and every student, as well as what a great witch you made every year at Halloween! You found my blog through Facebook and I feel like a star student when you compliment my writing style!

 

AND NOW…here’s to the people I “met” in the blogosphere:

Tamara at My Botanical Garden-You were one of my earliest readers and I was flattered. Now we are “pen pals.” Thank you.

Sal at Sal’s Blog and David at Fiction all Day-I’d tell my friends: “I’ve even got men visiting my shed…a handsome guy in sunglasses and a young one with dizzying energy!”

Kathryn at Busy K-You are a young, cool, New York career woman. What are you doing on my site?

Alys at Gardening Nirvana-It’s been so nice to catch up with you.

Marie at Marie McLean-We share a love of reading and writing. Thanks for your comments.

Franziska at My Tree and Me-Thanks for your support…and, of course, the always useful health, travel and beauty tips.

 

Thank you also to the young woman expecting her first child who wrote to tell me that my post No Regrets may have “changed her choice and thus (her) life.” And to the many readers who have shared their experiences of loss after reading posts about the death of my brother, Matt. Finally, thanks to my girl for being my #1 fan.

Cheers…here’s to blogging!

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Life in Six Words

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Dear Reader:

Today was housecleaning day in the pink shed… translation: a bit of dusting, a lot of moving stacks of books around. There are so many that I am constantly re-discovering titles I’d forgotten. This morning’s find:  Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs. What a fun book! It’s a collection of famous and not-so-famous peoples’ memoirs in…you guessed it…only six words!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Maybe you had to be there 

Roy Blount Jr.

Asked to quiet down; spoke louder

Wendy Lee

Me see world! Me write stories!

Elizabeth Gilbert

Couldn’t cope so I wrote songs

Aimee Mann

Brought it to a boil, often

Mario Batali

I couldn’t resist the challenge of writing my own mini memoir:

seeking: home 

found: love

shared: truth

Take the six word challenge today….and share if you dare!

Michele

 

 

I Remember a Tree

“People don’t remember each tree in a park but all of us benefit from the trees. And in a way, artists are like trees in a park.”

Yoko Ono

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Carmel Valley Ranch

Dear Reader:

There once was a tree. I remember it well…a large oak, in the center of a parking lot, that regularly shaded my car. Unfortunately, the beautiful oak reached the end of its life a few months ago. I remember the day; the entire property looked different without its grand  presence.

The tree is once again part of the landscape in the form of a bench. I’ll remember a particular tree every time I pass by or stop to rest on a particular bench.

Michele

 

 

My Blogging Friend

Dear Reader:

Back in December, I was on Maui Time reading Blog Inc. by Joy Cho and deciding if I should go public. Googling me yielded no results. I had no Facebook page. I had only just begun to read blogs.

The surf and the sand mixed with the Christmas carols, and Joy’s assurance that blogging could give me “friends I never knew I could have,” gave me the motivation I needed to launch fromthepinkshed.com.

Less than four months later, I can already say that it has been fun and fulfilling and I do have friends that I never imagined I’d have! One of the first connections I made was with Tamara Jare at My Botanical Garden. Her photography and original art inspired me. She resides in Slovenia and if it weren’t for WordPress we’d never have met.Today, I received a beautiful piece of her work that I’ll be framing and hanging in my pink shed.

Social media is as imperfect as the world it resides in, but I’m glad I decided to join the conversation. As I always told my daughter, most people are wonderful! I’m so glad to have discovered a whole new set of friends.

Michele

 

Instructor Did NOT Like My Work

Dear Reader:

“My Favorite Kitchen” did not earn high praise. This does not crush me; in fact, it rather excites me. It gives me the impetus to ask: Why do I write? It fires me up! It makes me thankful that I’m 57 years old and so I can see that it doesn’t matter that my instructor didn’t appreciate my essay. It makes me think about other writers; it makes me think about readers.

First, I write because I’ve always admired writers and loved books. I write because I enjoy the challenge of it and I am so elated when I feel I’ve got it just right. Nathaniel Hawthorne said “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Yes, it is!

Sometimes I write because I hope I can help someone. I always turn to the page when life becomes difficult for me. I look for advice and comfort and I find it. When I wrote about my brother’s death, my decision to be a stay-at-home mom and the benefits of Prozac, I was reaching out to you, dear reader.

I also write because it’s more fun than cleaning, jogging, golfing, cooking….etc.!  In other words, I enjoy it. And, it is nice to think that others enjoy reading my posts. With you in mind, I  keep my entries as short as possible and as entertaining and truthful as possible.

When I was asked to write 750 words describing a kitchen…I thought:  What? Why? I don’t want to write that. (BTW…750 words just happens to be my self-imposed max limit: I figure if I can do death, marriage and antidepressants in that many words, I should be able to convey most ideas within that word count!)  So, I improvised. I didn’t adhere to the word count. I didn’t offer generous details of how the kitchen looked (I can’t remember what color the walls were or how the countertops looked). I tried to make the topic work for me and this venue.

I decided to publish the work here because I thought it might remind you of your own grandmother or inspire you to allow someone to linger in your work space, and I added the recipe because I thought you’d like that!

Off to make some coffee,

Michele

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Kitchen

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Dear Reader:

I started another writing course this week through Stanford Continuing Studies; I’m having trouble with it. When I write to you, I decide on the topic. But, today,  I’ve been given a writing prompt that I must adhere to!  You, dear reader, now have the opportunity to read my first submission to the class: an essay about a “memorable kitchen” with a bonus recipe!

 

I’m not much of a cook, but I do love to eat so it seems appropriate that the only kitchen I ever really loved was a kitchen that I did not cook in. It was very small and it existed in a different time. One could move between the sink, table, stove and refrigerator with just a few steps. It was brightly lit with three windows counting the one that occupied the top half of the back door that led to the herb garden. There was no dishwasher or microwave, but the phone resided there on a tiny table adjacent to the stove.

This kitchen was alive. I can not picture it empty and yet, of course, it was …when Nonnie slept. I had many meals there and, without exaggeration or exception, they always satisfied me. I could tell you about the dough that was handmade, rolled and cut on the kitchen table or the sauce that simmered on the stove all day. I could try to convince you that a simple vegetable soup with a bit of pasta and meat could be a culinary delight. Or I might conjure up the image of crispels frying in a pan of oil until crispy and then covered in powdered sugar or warm honey and enjoyed with coffee.

My grandmother spent most of her days in this room. It delighted her to cook for family, friends and, of course, the clergy. She prepared meals for the priests at her church often and the bishop was thrilled when his visits coincided with her food deliveries. (Priests lined up to give the eulogy at her funeral!)

Her kitchen was akin to an artist’s studio, but she generously shared it. It was calming and reassuring to simply sit and watch her mix, roll, cut and fold. She completed these repetitive tasks with great joy and precision. She did not require participation in the task at hand, but she was glad to have you step outside to pick the herbs she needed or to allow you to take over the task of frying or filling.  Often, I just sat, though, and fully appreciated the warm companionship she offered while she worked.

Truly, I loved everything Nonnie cooked and baked, but it is a small meal in a mug that I remember most fondly. I would love to share the recipe with you!

 

Nonnie’s Beaten Egg Breakfast

Ingredients:

  • strong coffee
  • egg yolks
  • brown sugar
  • milk
  • and a loving companion

Brew the coffee while warming the milk slowly in a small saucepan. Crack and separate the eggs placing a yolk in each cup. Add a bit of brown sugar and beat the yolk and sugar together. Slowly, while stirring, add the hot coffee to the eggs to temper them slowly. Finish with warm milk to taste.

 

I remember many mornings spent with Nonnie enjoying this simple, sweet pleasure. I lived with her for several months after my parents divorced and I started college. Those coffee mornings gave me the sustenance I needed to pursue my future independently and the love my grandmother gave me remains with me to this day.

Thanks for reading!

Michele