Saturday, December 15, 2012


I was reading a post today about making wishes. . .

It struck me as such a poignantly simple and beautiful thing to do. And one of those things we just seem to forget about along the road of adulthood. . . Sometimes I feel I am so fully connected to those childhood days and then, every once in awhile, I am reminded of something that I have somehow forgotten.  Today it was wishes. . .

The simplicity of a wish. . .  the multitude of reasons that we came up with to make them.
The power and the wonder of the things that inspired them.

But then, it occurred to me that I DO still make wishes.  You might call it something else since it doesn't happen with a dandelion in hand or a falling star to prompt me. . .

But it's a wish just the same. . . after all these years of seeking and discovery, I feel I have found my place, my path back to the beauty of childhood.

My calling.

And every single day, I wish for. . . ask for. . . hope for. . . one more day to create beauty and whimsy and the certain magic that you might find within my work, be it photography, music, poetry and writing, miniature worlds or Egyptian statues.

To continue to be the vessel it comes into the world through. . .
I feel I am in service to it.
I no longer create what I want. . . but instead, I create what I feel called to make.

And every day, that wish I make, is for the chance to do that all over again. . .


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Angel in the Fold

Ted Althof. . . of Tarentum PA. . . a man I never met.  An angel none the less.

It is strange to write about the loss of someone you never knew. . . but who impacted your life in ways you can only begin to sum up at the time of their passing.

When, just a few years ago, I realized that my path, my future, indeed my purpose might be tied so intrinsically to all that I experienced, dreamed and created in my childhood, I found it hard to speak of it. To share it with anyone through any method other than my creations. . . and that, from a safe distance.

We are all too often told we need to "grow up", become adults and leave behind the wonders of childhood.  That we can't "live in the past" and that we should move on from those old days and memories.

But i have believed for some time that ALL that we are is written in those early pages and all that time we spend trying to create the adult us is wasted most of the time when it does not factor in those early and pure pieces of ourselves.

But even I, who have clung to that childhood magic inside for so many years, have struggled with the notion it could be the basis of my purpose and pathways in life.

I do not remember how it was I came across the article that completely blew that out of the water for me but, upon first reading of Ted Althof, a collector of Christmas Putz houses who lived in Tarentum PA, not far from where I grew up, I found an angel in the fold.

To read of his love for the past, for his childhood memories and, above all else, the magic of Christmas, the way he had never lost that spark in his life. . . it did more than inspire me, it cast me in a form that will now remain with me forever to my death.

I am saddened today to have learned that Ted passed on last month after a long battle with illness. I knew he was not well for some time as he had not been updating his incredible Christmas Putz site for some time now. . .

I won't go into all the ways this stranger touched my life but I will leave you with this quote of his that has been woven into my heart for the last two years and that keeps me believing, daily, that I have found my path through creating wonder and magic in my miniature and fairy tale works. . .

"The power that an object unseen in decades can have to transport us in mind and spirit back to a specific period or moment of our lives -- to unlock long-closed doors in the mansion of our memory -- is the true value that it has." Ted Althof

Thank you Ted. . . you inspired the discovery, or rediscovery, of that magic in so many and many of us will carry it on for the rest of our days. . . just as you did in your life.

That original article can be found here:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

43 Degrees

I knew it would happen. . . it was just a matter of time.

Sun broke for the first time in four or five days. First thing in the morning and just weeks away from the shortest day of the year, the sun now rises and sets well within view of our windows.  It lit the eastern horizon, cascading over the coast range and filling the inland end of the bay with warm winter light.

43 degrees the thermometer read but with no wind in sight, we headed for the beach.

As we walked down the short trail from the jetty parking lot to the beach, the huge skyscape in front of us opened up. Voluminous clouds filled the sky, some tinged with the gold light of the sunrise and some, already, white against the brightening blue.

Most of the year, if one gets here early enough, you can have the beach to yourself.  Perhaps passing one or two others who may be occupants of the RV park at the jetty or a few locals who, like us, look forward to having this curving piece of the pacific all to ourselves. . . or almost.

Especially when it is rainy or cold. Even with the sunlit morning skies, i did not expect ot encounter anyone else walking today.

However, just ahead we saw an old man walking the beach with his dog. a Cairn terrier. The man, with a driftwood stick in one hand serving as a walking stick, edged along near the water, gazing out across the rolling waves. His little terrier, darting around his feet and stopping to look out at the waves, though I suspect with a less enthusiastic, shorter perspective eye. 

Once the dog noticed us his tail went up and he began to circle the old man a bit. His excitement increased as I made what I consider one of the many universal dog gestures for "come here".  He accepted this invitation and his excitement built as his short legs carried him up the beach to greet us.

I knelt down to accept his welcome and he skittered about all around us, allowing just a moment or two of petting before turning and returning to his master. It was enough time to see that he was an older dog, the years showing in the little ways they do on our ageless friends.  Ad we saw that had been dressed in a hand knitted blue and white "sweater" that ran from tail to neck. We laughed at this and commented on it as we continued our walk.

We watched the dog a moment more, waved to the old man as well, and turned to go on.

t one point I turned to look back and saw them both, man and dog, far now in the distance.  So small against this vast backdrop of sea and sky.

And it hit me.

I felt more curiosity, about a random human being, than I have in some time.

I wanted to know if the woman who had knitted that dog sweater was home awaiting their return or if the man came here to the beach alone because she had passed.  Perhaps he came here, where they once walked together, to feel her near.

I wondered what HE thought as he watched the endless cycles of waves as he has through all of his years.  I wondered if he felt peace and contentment with his life. I wondered if he felt he had done and been all that he was meant to in life.  If he was living in the place he most wanted to live.

I wondered if he had any regrets.
Or anything yet undone.

I felt all of this curiosity that life in a city, the previous 10 years, seemed to drain from my soul. Owning a coffeehouse, people are always willing to share their stories, their joys and sorrows and I have always been one who prefers to listen rather than talk about myself. It was a perfect fit. . . but the heaviness of city life, as it careens and spirals and rockets out of control in recent years,  as people struggle and awaken to more and more unfulfilled dreams, can really wear one down.

There, it is the greatness and the loneliness of any one person caught in such a contrived and stifling landscape. It is overwhelming.

I knew that the solitude we have embraced here the last year would allow my heart to open up again to that beautiful, endless wonder.  To the curiosity about one person that I know, in so many ways, is so intrinsically tied to myself.

It is a mirror.
A view into my own mortality

And here, I feel the greatness and the loneliness of one person in such a natural and timeless world.  It is inspiring.
As the tears welled up, I saw myself as whole again.
I felt the joy I've found being exactly where I know I belong
Doing exactly what I believe I am meant to do.
When people say "Oh, you're an artist?"
I say, "Well, no, I just make things"
And I tell stories with them
As I always have

Such is the wonder of accepting space and silence
Of embracing alone-ness and fragility
And the endless beauty of all that we may be, every day.

It 's all there
In one morning
In one moment of awareness
In a sky illuminated with the sun's rising
In 43 degrees