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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Argh matey, join me for a pirate party!

Sweet boy turns seven today. It is not unusual for him to be dressed like this while watching Peter Pan. He loves the pirates.

When I found the following cards on clearance for $1 it shivered me timbers and a theme was born.

We had a lunch of boiled pirate fingers (hot dogs) out on the patio. The table was laden with jewels, shells and pirate paraphernalia.

A truly motley crew.

Fellow buccaneers saying "Argh!"

The first game was "place yer treasure on the chest". Each child had a lightweight gold piece with their initial on it. They were blindfolded and had to try and place the piece on the treasure chest.

Walking the plank~blindfolded.

Cannon ball toss~ each child had a partner. The water balloons felt good when they busted as it was 100 degrees.

The highlight was the "treasure hunt". There were six clues total. This was "message in a bottle" ~found floating in the "forbidden cove" (pool). Don't you just love Mr. Decor's fashion savvy? His t shirt reads: "Dead Man's Chest".

The booty. I would have painted the (styrofoam) chest gold, but Sweet boy's favorite color is red. There are upholstery tacks attached to it.

Inside were eye patches, spy glasses, beads, chocolate gold coins and other treasures.

The cake was an attempt at a pirate ship complete with cookie cannons.

I cut out a round piece of scrap booking paper with a water print to set on top of the cake plate.

Here's a laugh. Early in the morning, Sweet boy decided he wanted a ship that "had been in battle" and began hacking away at it. After I remembered it was HIS birthday, I quit yelling. :) It did look kind of cool once the "cannons" were lit.

This is the part of the post that will show up later in the form of an email forward about pets who hate their owners.

I found the cape at Savers and Auntie sent sweet Rudi the dreadlock hat. Before you call PETA, I did take off the outfit right after the pictures were taken.

Thank you for joining in on the swashbuckling fun!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Will you be a part of history?

For regular readers of this blog, you are aware that I generally write about "fluff and stuff". My cousin recently sent me a copy of an article that explains why women should take the time to be registered and vote. It touched me greatly. What is most amazing is that this all occured less than 90 years ago.
The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and with their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of "obstructing sidewalk traffic." They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the "Night of Terror" on November 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food -- all of it colorless slop -- was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press. So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because ~why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie "Iron Jawed Angels".
It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder. All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient. My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was, with herself. "One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie," she said. "What would those women think of the way I use -- or don't use -- my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn." The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her "all over again." HBO will run the movie periodically before releasing it on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum.We are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order. It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."Please pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. -Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave.,Cleveland, OH 44114, August 2004
History is being made. Please be a part of it. Register and vote.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Healing Havens part 4

As September draws to a close so too ends the four part series of Healing Havens. It is my hope that you have logged onto the NOCC website and have become more aware of the quiet warning signs of ovarian cancer.

I have saved a very special Healing Haven for the last. When I met Linda she was currently battling ovarian cancer. She told me that it was such a shock to be diagnosed with the disease as she had just recently won a major cycling championship and felt she was in the best shape of her life.
Linda was going through chemotherapy and spent a lot of time in bed. She wished for a more restful and beautiful space. The two pictures below are of the space BEFORE.

Here are the AFTER photos. I will never forget the joy on her face. She told me how nervous she was to have me in her home, but the final redesign was more than she could ever hope for.

We began to plan redesigns of the other rooms of her home and became fast friends. I have never met anyone as positive and full of life as Linda.

Sadly, the chair below is now forever empty.

Linda lost her battle with ovarian cancer a few months later at the very young age of 47. I promised Linda that I would continue my work in creating Healing Havens, but more importantly I would tell her story. Linda had had some slight stomach discomfort and a feeling of bloating, but just dismissed it. By the time she went to the doctor she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. There are just four levels.

Ovarian cancer symptoms whisper. Please listen carefully.

This post is dedicated to my dear, sweet friend, Linda Susan Guzylak. You are greatly missed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A pompadour perhaps?

Have you seen Brad Ngata's new hair salon at The Ivy in Sydney, Australia? It is so dazzling and opulent that even Mme. Du Pompadour herself would have felt luxurious having her tresses done here.

What is Madame envisioning? Something new? Let's begin with a wash.

Yes, I'll be happy to look down at those gorgeous herringbone floors.

Here is some of Mr. Nagat's previous print work. I think his salon suits his style.

The architect was the wonderful Scott Weston. Weston, who does both residential and commercial design, has won numerous awards. You can see from this photo of his home from Belle Magazine what his personal design style is. Brilliant. He was the right man to bring forth Mr. Ngata's vision.

The salon is located at 2 Palings Lane, 320 - 348 George street, Sydney, 2000. If you'd like to book an appointment the international number is 0011 61 2 9281 1220.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin West

One of the many wonderful places to visit here in Arizona is Taliesin West in Scottsdale. It was the winter home and school created by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

I first went to Taliesin West in May of 2006. My cousin and his family were visiting from the east and like me adore all things creative. This is my son and his darling cousin near the entrance.

Due to health reasons, Mr. Wright decided to create a school in the desert in 1937. The buildings were constructed by Wright's students of concrete and rock, continuing Wright's practice of creating organic architecture, meaning architecture that is in harmony with its natural surroundings. The rock was quarried locally and many of the stones have ancient petroglyphic images created by native Americans. Today such artifacts are protected.

Red was Mr. Wright's favorite color. He also had a great love for Asian design and decor. This love was probably developed during his extensive travels that began in 1909 when he eloped to Europe with Martha "Mamah" Borthwick, the wife of a client. He left behind his own wife and six children. Indeed, Mr. Wright had quite the colorful personal life. The red door leads to the cabaret.

Inside the cabaret my cousin and I, eternal hams, posed for a picture with one of the many sculptures that dot the buildings and landscape.

A beautiful sculpture of a native American figure amongst the desert landscaping.

The front exterior of Taliesin. Wright, originally from Wisconsin, insisted upon a front lawn. There are several wells on the property, so water is plentiful enough to sustain the grass and fountains.

Approaching the front door to the Wright family home. I love the colorful glass globes in this sculpture.

The door itself is quite small. Wright did not believe in wasting space and many of the buildings contain fairly low ceilings and doorways.

To the left of the doorway is this oriental sculpture set into the concrete. Wright bought a total of 12 various sculptures from a department store. It can become quite a game to locate all twelve pieces placed throughout the property.

This was a photo from my recent trip to Taliesin West. I went with Mr. Decor who had never had the opportunity to see the site. I am sitting in a Taliesin West wing chair. It was over 110 degrees that day and the glass ceilings (which were once made of canvas) made this room feel like a greenhouse.

Mr. Wright and his third wife Olgivanna loved to entertain. They always made sure to have enough seating. Mr. Decor appears relaxed enough.

In the family's personal sitting area is a colorful panel featuring an Asian scene.

This is part of the enclosed courtyard garden near the family's bedrooms. Isn't the round gate built into the stone wall wonderful?

I adore this Sprite sculpture. It was was originally created by Wright for Midway Gardens in Chicago 1913~1914. You can buy a copy through the FLW foundation.

A desk in Mr. Wrights personal quarters. Notice the large fireplace. There are several fireplaces located throughout the property.

All in all a fairly humble master bedroom for a design genius.

Would you care to shower in the aluminum bathroom?

Another interior courtyard.

This was once the fire bell. It now announces mealtimes and other meeting events for the students who still live and learn on the property. (Did you happen to notice another sculpture?)

Here is more information on this site, as well as the many other Frank Lloyd Wright sites, his continuing school of architecture and foundation. I hope you will be able to visit this wonderfully creative complex that is featured in Patricia Schultz book "1,000 Places to See Before You Die".
Last week's quote:

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~ George Eliot