I Believe in the Mayor of London, Sunscreen and Smiles

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Dear Reader:

I believe in pretty packages… generosity, feminism, friendship and flowers…art, whimsy, birdwatching, dogs and truth…long lunches and dinners on pretty dishes. I believe people don’t change but that the people we’ve loved and lost become part of us. I believe in Disneyland and Christmas and that my life has been blessed with a few angels in the guise of a teacher, counselor and grandmother. I believe in the power of personality, words, coffee, sunscreen and lipstick. I believe in smiling and asking for what I want because most people like to help and I like to get what I want. I believe in California and Californians. I believe in London and its mayor. I believe in creating a beautiful home and celebrating and entertaining frequently. I believe in the young and the old… modern and classic and that everyone has a story.  Most importantly, I believe in my own strength, the love of my husband and the beauty of my daughter.

And, of course, I believe in pink, as Audrey did!

What do you believe in?

Michele

P.S. And, I believe as Crash Davis does, that “there ought to be a Constitutional Amendment outlawing the designated hitter.”

A Kiss for You…and Me

Dear Reader:

My pink shed is filled with all manner of things that inspire me, inform me or simply please me. One of those things is this bird; you squeeze the sides and its beak opens to reveal a chocolate kiss. It’s been with me for 25 years now. The yellow has faded and it has been stained with coffee spills. It used to hang from a knob above my coffee maker in my old home.

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It was hand-made by an elderly woman who lived down the hall from Nonnie (my Italian grandmother) in her last residence:  an assisted living facility. I remember the day I acquired it quite vividly. I was visiting with the rest of my family and Nonnie was uncharacteristically demanding. She wanted “the bird with the kiss.”  We kept re-directing her back to the garden as it was a particularly pleasant day. But, she wanted the bird. She wanted the bird her neighbor made that gave kisses.

It took a while for us to consider her request seriously and decide to comply. We were, I remember, confused and impatient. But, she persisted, and led us down her hallway and into the room of a woman perched on her bed surrounded by skeins of bright yellow yarn. Indeed, she was making birds that offered chocolate. It was a cottage industry and she could barely keep up with the demand. We each purchased a bird and then retired to the garden where we enjoyed chocolate in the sunshine.

My grandmother died a week later.

I look at that bird and wonder:  is there a moral to this story? Is it a reminder to listen better and judge less or to stop and be patient? Or does its value simply come from the smile it produces on my face when I look at it and remember one of the most beautiful people who ever graced my life.

Tell me about your interesting mementos,

Michele

 

 

 

 

Party Pictures

Dear Reader:

I invite you to sit down, pour a glass of sparkle and peruse my pics of Sunday’s launch party in the pink shed.

Cheers,

Michele

 

 

A Party in the Pink Shed

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Me, my tech consultant, Kristin and her daughters Gio and Julia.

Dear Reader:

From the Pink Shed was launched six weeks ago and yesterday we celebrated in perfect 75 degree California sunshine. My blog has reminded me how exciting it is to learn something new and how rewarding it is to live a creative life.  More than that, though, and quite unexpectedly , it has been simply another reminder of the beauty of friendship. Thank you for reading, my friends, and thank you for the support and encouragement.

Courtney and family-I love all six of you! Thanks for introducing me to:

Kristin-Couldn’t have done it without you! Your family is as lovely as you are.

Beth-Thank you for your generous comments and photographic contributions.

Ann-YOU can cook…thanks for the delicious Thai treats.

Tom-You can rock a bright pink polo!

And, to the other partygoers who made my day:  Marietta and Frank, Rosemary and Mary, Fred and Carol, Peter, Fred, Catherine and Keith, Franzi, Kimberlee, Christina and Odysseus and Malcolm.

Thanks also to Laurie, who could not attend, as she is still on Mars, and my daughter, Natalie, because she’s “proud of me.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, I think, spoke truly when he said,  “The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.” Yesterday, my home was decorated beautifully with all of my treasured friends.

Michele

 

How Old Do You Feel?

 

Dear Reader:

It was one of those moments that just sneaks up on you. It was 5 years ago, but it remains fixed in my memory. It was the day I realized that even though I was the one driving from point a to point b, my passengers were not far behind me. I was sitting in the car pool lane at school with my neighbor in the back seat awaiting the arrival of my daughter.  We had just finished an uninhibited, full-throttle, banging on the steering wheel and backpack sing-along with Adele. I was still “Rolling in the Deep” when my 15-year-old passenger asked. “How old do you feel?” I turned to face her and she continued. “Do you feel as old as you are?”

I was impressed with her question, and I wanted to know where it came from before I  answered. She said that it came from observing her mother closely. Fair enough. She deserved a thoughtful response.

At the time, I was a mere 52-year-old, so in some ways I was still getting used to the label:  “50-something.” I was then and still am in good health fortunately,  but I didn’t really think that was at the heart of her question. I had to tell her that, although I wasn’t really sure what “50” was supposed to feel like, it was very hard to believe that it had happened to me, even though I was along for the entire ride.

“So you are saying what everyone says:  time goes by quickly?” she asked. She’d heard it before and I could only confirm that it is one of those truths that can’t be known…until it is known.

She wanted more than a simple, trite, easy answer though, so I drew a comparison for her. I described “Imaginary 50-year-old Michele.” She’s a better driver. She’s very wise in a very casual way.  She’s less fearful. She’s more organized.

In contrast, “Real Michele” was still a lousy driver and a bit disorganized. She knew what she didn’t know and she did not hesitate to ask for help. She was not unafraid, but she had a greater sense of peace than she could have imagined.

I also confessed that the picture that I carried in my mind no longer closely matched what I saw when I looked at photographs of myself. Generally, I wasn’t bothered by that though. I estimated my imaginary mental picture age was about “35.”

If I were asked the same question today, I’d probably reply in the same manner. I’m now closer to “60” than “50” and I’m sure when that happens it will feel sudden, and I’ll bet I won’t feel like a 60-year-old.  I’m guessing I’ll still be a poor driver and a bit disorganized, but, in my mind’s eye, I will have aged some; I’ll probably look about “45.”

I’ve decided a bit of denial is just fine. I know how old I am, but there’s no reason to dwell on how many years I’ve lived except to marvel at my incredible good fortune. When I want to feel really young,  these things always take me back:

  • Listening to the Bee Gees
  • Driving a fast car…fast
  • Flirting with my husband
  • Swinging, you know, in a swing in the park
  • Eating a doughnut or hot fudge sundae or a piece of cake with special candles

My daughter baked me a cake!

This year I visited my daughter at college the week before my 57th birthday and she and her roommates helped me celebrate. They baked me a cake and used the only candles they had in their apartment, as they had all turned “20” this year!

Michele

Period. space, space.

Dear Reader:

This is, at once, an explanation for my errors and a defense of my sanity.  Since I launched fromthepinkshed.com, I’ve received comments, criticisms and suggestions from those nearest and dearest to me. There is nothing I like more than constructive criticism, unless, of course, unbridled enthusiasm is the alternative. How is it possible to make it better if I don’t know where it went wrong?

Here is a partial list of the mistakes I’ve made as illuminated via lengthy text messages from friends and family:

  • You haven’t been alive for a “century”…insert “half.”
  • There is an extra space between the first sentence and the second sentence.
  • The “Bachelor’s” name was Nick, not Chris.
  • There is an extra space between every sentence in paragraph 2.
  • Um, your link doesn’t link.
  • There’s an extra space after, LITERALLY, every sentence in your post, Mother!

 

What’s with all the extra spaces? Period.  space space.  Period.  space space.  Typing, I think, is kinda like riding a bike…you are not supposed to forget how to do it. I learned how to touch type back in 1976 when I was in high school; I topped out at a swift 80 wpm! Fast…I was fast. I’m still pretty fast! When readers began pointing out my “spaciness,” I began to type more slowly and edit. But, really, I was bothered. Are the extra spaces the first indication that I’m at the top of the hill and will start rolling down very soon.

NO, definitely not. The answer came from my daughter, as so many other good things do!  She called one day to say that after a class in typography as part of her Graphic Communication major, she had the answer to the riddle.

Here’s the explanation.  Typewriters, it turns out, are very democratic machines. Every character is given the exact same amount of space on the page. That means that the letter ” i” is given the same amount of space as the letter “w,” even though it clearly doesn’t need it. This is called monospaced typesetting and we need that extra space between sentences to make it easier to see the beginning of new sentences. Word processors and computers and everything that is not an old typewriter use proportionally spaced fonts, which adjust spacing to the size of the letter. This is why a proportional font can fit 12 letters into the same space where a monospace font can only fit nine.

So, I’m not crazy; I’m old.   Fine.  I can live with that.

Michele

 

My Dog’s Favorite Books

Dear Reader:

Remember my little editor, Bart?  You caught a glimpse of him in “See the Nose?! He spends a lot of time with me in the pink shed, because he’s a “mama’s boy” and, well, he’s an editor.  This week he has two books to recommend: he hopes you will consume them with as much pleasure as he did.

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His first recommendation is the $60,000 Dog: My Life with Animals by Lauren Slater. It’s probably obvious why he was drawn to this book, and, of course, it’s the same reason I was drawn to it. Slater’s memoir is one long, beautiful meditation on the solace and joy that animals can bring to our lives. Slater, a psychologist, survived a difficult childhood with a mentally ill mother. As a child, her bike provided her with a means of escape from her troubled home and the country lane she travelled was her introduction to the natural world. It was there she fell in love with a variety of animals. We meet a horse, raccoon, swan, bat and Lila, her precious dog, who eventually loses her sight despite the $60,000 in veterinary care.  Her dog is resilient, though, and adjusts to blindness so well that it seems to inspire Slater’s husband who is suffering a medical challenge of his own. Anyone who loves animals will love this book, but it is not just for animal lovers. Slater’s honest reflection on life’s joys and sorrows is inspiring.

Bart’s second choice is an old favorite of mine, as it reinforces my eat, drink and be merry philosophy!  A surgeon and a psychologist teamed up to produce:  Live a Little:  Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health. The book covers the full gamut of women’s health topics including: exercise, stress, nutrition and sleep, and contains quizzes to help you determine your current state of health. Love and Dormar debunk some common myths and explain why the studies we read about in the headlines are often highly flawed. The big takeaway is just as my grandmother preached: everything in moderation. Don’t worry!

I’m sure you’ll agree after reading these two titles that my little guy has excellent taste in books!

Have a great day,

Michele 

 

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