Monday, August 17, 2015

More than diamonds

Thanks to the team at for inspiring me to do this post. Invaluable is an online auction marketplace that has art, collectibles, and jewelry for auction.

My mom loved bling. Big, bright, sparkly things — the bigger, the better.

But my story is not about expensive diamond engagement rings or priceless heirloom jewelry.  My story is about two 18k gold pinkie rings and the women who wore them.

My first piece of jewelry was an 18k gold pinkie ring with my name engraved on the front. My mom had one made for each of us when I was around nine years old, our script names engraved upon them. I wore mine on my ring finger for most of my middle school years, then on my pinkie finger during high school and college years.  Much later, when I outgrew it during pregnancy, it moved to my special jewelry box.

My mom recently passed away and, while going through her jewelry, I held her pinkie ring in my hand, worn down with years of constant wear, no engraved name to be seen. She wore that ring every day for the last 50 years. I held her hand so many times while she was sick and twirled that little ring around on her finger. So familiar, always there, it seems I have always seen my mom’s hand with a small gold ring on her pinkie finger.

I have a theory that the decorative, “hip-dresser” gene passes through alternate generations. My mom was always the presentable one, never a strand of hair out of place. She was always encouraging me to comb my hair and use a little “product.”  When I was leaving the house, she would plead with me to me to add a necklace —or two — and a few more rings. She was the “bling” of us and I am more the “moss on rock” person.

I have had many expensive rings. An eight-band, gold puzzle ring from Libya, gifts my mom and I both received from my stepfather. A big raw emerald and diamond ring that I bought with the money left to me by my grandmother. My grandmother’s beautiful gold, dome ring. 18K gold, Cartier tri-color, three-band rings. A very large amethyst ring in 18k gold that belonged to my mom.

Sadly, all of the above rings were stolen.

Mom and I both loved jewelry. She wore hers religiously and I just collected. After we lost a lot of our “real” jewelry, we turned to less-expensive, costume jewels — less stress and heartache when those pieces were lost or stolen. Much more fun, less commitment, less hassle and you can own so much more of it!

Buying my mom costume jewelry was such a thrill. I could never go shopping without seeing something very shiny that I new would make her very happy. Her opening a gift of rings and seeing her face light up was the best time ever. 

I have lots of stacking rings that happens to be my ring-soft-spot. I cannot tell you how many stacking rings I own, but it is many. But I don’t really wear mine. My mom wore her jewelry every day! I mean, every day. She would not leave the house without being completely dressed and decorated with all of her (costume) jewels.

So today, only a few months after her death, I see rings that I should buy. I think, “Mom would LOVE this” and then remember she is not here to open the box and shine with excitement. I really miss that!
Some rings I have bought over the years.

mom's necklace

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Baby steps

When I do one small thing, it feels huge. I keep thinking "take baby steps" and enjoy some results. D has been off for two weeks. He has whacked back the mock orange that took over before I knew it. Cut back the clematis that was had covered the window (right here at my computer) and was heading to the roof. I rather liked the coverage, I thought it kept the heat out of the family room ... but probably best it does not grow more. It is looking pretty stressed, but they always say clematis can take the hard prune.

Today, I transplanted a couple of plants I bought in pots AND in the garden. The reason this feels so monumental is because the last 5 times I brought potted plants home, I let them die on the porch. Completely put off with me, I quit buying plants, until the other day I had to have a couple of new mints. I also replanted a couple that were root bound in their pots, in particular, my favorite pasque flower (did not bloom this year). But the biggest accomplishment was cleaning out the bird bath. I have looked at that dirty bird bath for maybe a year (or more?), feeling pretty disgusted with myself. We no more filled it with water, than a couple of chickadees came to visit. Feels good. Trimmed a few more things and then gave up for the day and enjoyed my small accomplishments. D and I have decided we must cut down all the grapes that give a good privacy between neighbors. But the arbor has collapsed and morning glories have taken over.

Mason, Bri and Matt are presently in the backyard, enjoying a freshly de-pooped and mowed green yard. Kicking balls and repeating the word over and over. The baby pool that had become a mesquito breeding ground, empty and gone. I think it is not going to be warm enough, long enough to have many more "pool days".

The big American sweetgum, has taken over the corner of the yard. The shade is so delicious but it also caused a micro-climate and many of the plants that once thrived, now don't. Like my peonies. I think that if the continuing PNW heatwaves continues from year to year, we will be glad for that shade tree.

Japanese anemones (one of the plants I let die was a white Japanese anemone ... shame on me),  hydrangeas, clematis and honeysuckle, create a sweet but crowded entry to our "secret garden". Hydrangeas are really feeling the heat. Grapes and honeysuckle has collided in mid-air but D took care of that. (I actually like it, when they create a natural arbor).

All in all, a good day! Baby steps!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mandala, naturally

Mandala (Sanskrit Maṇḍala, 'circle') is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe.[1] The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T.[2][3] Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.[4]

Matt W. Moore is a genius in so many ways of the arts. I love his Mandala series he created while at the SUMMIT in Utah in 2014.

"This series was created entirely with elements foraged on the mountain and in the valley : River pebbles and stones, shale, red rocks from the high elevations, dead branches from aspen trees, bark from evergreens, cattails from the lake’s edge, dried wild grasses from yesteryear, and cut dead branches exposing the rings of the tree’s life."

Kathy Klein is a devout lover of plants, animals, people and the divine presence within all.  She creates the danmalas by first centering herself in a meditative devotional space. 

Sunday, August 09, 2015

My favorite green

Illustration frustration!

My illustration abilities seem to be waning! Maybe I have done it too long and am done. Maybe I need a long vacation? Who knows, but I love looking out there and see such talented artist and imaginations.

David Ridgway, painter of serene houses. Website and instagram


Elizabeth Graeber draws adorable birds and pretty flowers. Website and instagram

Richard Faust patterns and lovely flowers

Friday, August 07, 2015

Thank you!

It is taking me some to get back on feet after the last couple of months. Thank you so very much for your sympathy, love and good wishes. It means to the world to me. Sometimes I feel it just happened to someone else and I was just looking on.