Feel-good Friday: Change

Welcome September!

september2“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
―E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web  (As a child adult I loved the book & animated movie).   I am proud to say I’ve never killed a spider.

Doesn’t it feel different already?  We’re in that in between stage – not quite summer (even though it is officially still summer) but not quite fall.   Temperature is a bit cooler and it gets darker earlier.  Just giving us a little glimpse of what to Fall for.  I actually don’t mind it as much as I thought.  I’m all for a little change as long as it’s not too too sudden or disturbing.  I’m trying to embrace change.  Not crazy life changing change….just little changes here and there that are healthy and positive.

What I’m Falling For this Year:
september4

For starters exercise and diet – and it’s not even New Year’s Eve!  I’m starting early.  That’s not to say I don’t look after myself  by getting proper exercise (I do) and eating as well as I can but I’m making an effort to do it better and more effectively.  I’m kick starting this because I’m of no use to the important people in my life or anyone else if I’m not in top notch health myself.

I believe in looking after yourself as best you can and keeping your house in order.  Otherwise things can get out of control.

I’m exploring some alternative methods of relaxation like meditation to help improve sleep and anxiety.  I’m looking into acupuncture….just because I believe it can help with a multitude of symptoms.  Not just for myself.

Getting back to reading.  By that I mean….books.  I have too many gathering dust up on the shelf.

Getting rid of excess.  Going through clothing and other items that I no longer have use for.  A few of these are bigger ticket items like condos & cars (possibly).

Dancing for exercise, enjoyment, expression, social and fun.

Language for communication & the mind (it is said to help prevent alzheimers).

Philanthropy because it feels good to help those more “in need”.

I’m researching some things on my own.  I will look forward to sharing them with you in the upcoming months.  I hope to bring more inspiring posts to this page over time.  That is the main purpose of having this blog.  By keeping track of things that inspire, make a difference and improve life mixed in with the usual fashion and fun.

Style is always inspiringseptember1

Only make sure they’re GOOD surprises!

 

Coffee ART: a delightful disappearing ART

You might want to linger over your mocha or lattes by Melannie Aquino, a barista at the  Elite Audio Coffee Bar in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood. Mostly because as you can see from the following photos, they’re dazzling masterpieces in a cup.

With a side of Ice Cream
I’ll have my latte with Ice Cream on top

Melannie uses a metal skewer and a pot of chocolate to draw remarkably detailed sketches of everything from sweet-faced pugs to London’s Big Ben atop the frothy foam. Aquino, who grew up in Hawaii and moved to San Francisco 10 years ago, was recently named the best coffee artist in the world by Mashable. Without question she’s the best in San Francisco.barista1I thought that was a really bold statement…” Aquino says. “I may be one of the best, but I don’t think I’m the best. It’s a lot about perception.”

Most coffee art is made by “free pouring” steamed milk into a shot of espresso and adjusting the pour to create certain patterns and designs. The drawing method, Aquino says, is unique and she knows of only a few other “drawing” artists through Instagram.

“With a latte, the picture starts degrading after a few minutes,” she says. “Whereas with a mocha it sticks together for about 20 minutes.”barista7

Whole milk works best, while almond doesn’t cooperate.barista2

Requests:

Corgi dogs are currently the most commonly requested, and unicorns were popular for a while. R2D2 is also a favorite because a video of her creating the droid was featured on Instagram on Star Wars Day. She won’t do portraits or company logos. Once a girl used one of her creations to ask a boy out to prom. “While he was in the bathroom, she ordered his drink and asked me to write ‘Prom?'” she says. “He said yes.”barista6Aquino has always been a doodler, but she says her ability improved when she was studying film at the Academy of Art and required to take a drawing class.

“I’ve always been doodling throughout my life, but that class really showed me the basics of shape and shadowing and that’s where I learned to make my drawings a little more refined,” she says.

Moving to San Francisco and going to art school wasn’t what Aquino’s parents had in mind for their daughter. “It’s one of those things where they wanted me to go to college and get a stable job,” she says. “And they wanted me to stay in Hawaii.”barista4

But now that Aquino has over 22,000 followers on Instagram, websites calling her the best at her craft and people from all over the world coming to Elite to order her creations, she says her parents are proud, and most importantly she’s happy with what she’s doing.barista5

When I’m next in San Francisco I can’t wait for my JiaJia (he’s my sheltie dog) latte ooops, I mean mocha with whole milkbarista3

Source: Amy Graff for SF Gate

contemplating loss

Experiencing the loss of loved ones is never a happy time.  It just seems to be happening a lot lately. A parent, a relative, a friend, a pet and so on. We might know it’s coming but because we don’t know when exactly, we’re not as prepared or so strong as we think when the dreaded time comes. But the circle of life continues in it’s weird and varying ways of making itself known.

80th birthday visit in Montreal
80th birthday visit in Montreal
Ada & her sister (my mom) Elva (aka Cookie).
Ada on left & her sister Elva (my mom, but dad & friends always called her Cookie).

While I was having a fantastic time taking my mind off of other issues by visiting friends in B.C., my mom’s only sister passed away suddenly in Montreal.  By sheer coincidence the remaining sibling (their brother) and his wife who now live in Florida visited with her just the day before she passed.  In fact, they left the morning of without knowing.  Their timing and hers was impeccable. We wonder if because she knew they were coming, she decided to wait until just after they left to bid a final farewell.

I would like to pay a tiny tribute to my auntie Ada 

She was the most elegant 86 year old woman on the planet who looked and acted at least a few decades younger. A very modern woman who still looked good wearing jeans. She was a great mother to four (Frankie, Adan, Elizabeth & Johnny) and a really good friend to me. Until almost two years ago she was vibrant, always on the go, curious, active and I have to say this…..she had great style!

Me, Ada, brother Brad, sister Lisa and uncle Chuck.
In the courtyard with Ada, brother Brad, sister Lisa, uncle Chuck (mom & Ada’s brother) and a chair.  Where was our DOP (director of photography)?

She was not only beautiful but she had a wicked sense of humour.  The whole family got together in Montreal to surprise her for her 80th birthday which ended up with all of us on a custom-made Tiki boat on Lac Masson in the Laurentians chock load full of booze, my uncle playing captain and only one life vest (it is Quebec by the way – you can allow for this).  Ada grabbed the vest, looked around at all of us and said “I’m the only one worth saving.”  As luck goes we didn’t capsize but the engine fell off into the water and we had to call for rescue.  It was pretty exciting.  The booze did come in handy.  It was a great family celebration vacation.

Unfortunately another family member bites the dust.  It happens but it sucks big time.  Especially when you’re hoping to see that person again, have good conversations or silly ones where you laugh a lot out loud which we did.  It sucks because at 86 you can still be young if you’re lucky to be like Ada.  She taught me a lot about life.

We did some acting together when I lived in Montreal. Ada continued on and just had fun with it doing lots of commercials and bit parts in movies – many major ones.

A coiffed Ada said Christopher Reeves was a real Super Man!
Found this in my photo album. An overly coiffed Ada said Christopher Reeve was a real super man!

She loved being on set and made lots of friends and was well liked.  My cousin Liz shared a funny story about one of the movies Ada worked on.  Liz asked her mom which actors she was working with.  At the time, Liz was in love with Rob Lowe (I know, but it was then) and had posters of the actor plastered all over her bedroom wall (before her Motley Crue phase).  Ada said Jodie Foster, Nastassja Kinski and some pipsqueak.  Liz wanted to know who the pipsqueak was.  Ada replied “I think his name is Lob Rowe.”  Of course she meant Rob Lowe.  Liz freaked out and her mom had to take her on set (refer to photo of a stunned and stunning Liz with RL) to meet him.  Ada could make anything happen.

Pretty boy & Liz
Pretty boy Rob Lowe & my cousin Liz

Of course our conversation then went on to “whatever happened to Rob Lowe?”  Besides playing one of the sons in Brothers and Sisters he was picture perfect playing a plastic surgeon (lots of p’s) in the film about Liberace’s life.  But this post is really about Ada’s life.  A life well lived, a life cut short (because I think 86 is way too young) a life many people would treasure.  Those close were lucky to know her and my cousins will surely miss her along with Ada’s grandchildren Shanny, Tyaa, Ginger & Finlay.  I’ll close with this saying:

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.

adaThe sky just got a bright new star! 

Give my mom and your parents a big hug – love to all of you & miss you always. XO

Beautiful Creatures

Just had to do it!  Did you really think I was going to let one more week go by without posting a few more photos of my two BFF’s?  (best furry friends).

I want to lounge around like Jack
I want to be a lounge lizard like Jack.  He really makes himself at home.
“But I love sushi – especially wild barbeque salmon.  It’s so much better than that dead fish I found and tried to eat behind the Planetarium.”

Little did I know that Jack loves Thai food and I’m told he goes nuts for rum/raisin ice cream but I wouldn’t know because I’ve only given him french vanilla.  I suppose I can always add rum to it, if he likes overproof.  Now I have him on a different diet (one with much less alcohol) and have asked for joint-custody….at the very least.

My unbiased opinion of Jia Jia is even though he has some quirks he's very smart and is the sweetest, most gentle and sensitive dog I've ever known.
My unbiased opinion of Jia Jia is even though he has some quirks he’s very smart and is the sweetest, kindest, most gentle and sensitive dog I’ve ever known.

20150712_14124520150712_141716Playful Jack likes to sleep curled up into a little ball with Jia Jia’s teddy bear.  Good thing Jia Jia is so generous with his toys.  It’s hard to keep the bed tidy but I don’t care about that as much anymore.  I always cook an early dinner for them and walk them several times a day. They keep me occupied and they’re the best good company. I feel like they’re both old souls. Poor Jack does not have a warm coat for when the weather gets colder so I may need to buy him one…hee, hee.

I know just the place in Yaletown!

Ha, ha...I'm up here & you can't come up the stairs on your own.
“Ha, ha…I’m up here & you can’t come up the stairs on your own.  You’re so spoiled you  always want to be carried up….and she always does. People say I have a long snout but you look like a little cow with YODA ears!”

I’ll try not to post photos of them for a while….no promises though!

In the meantime here is a new board I created on Pinterest for these two:

Feel-good Friday: HELP?!

I just met this cool new guy a few days ago and it’s already moving so quickly.

Bangkok Jack
Bangkok Jack

His name is Jack. He’s much younger than my current guy but I like his energy. He’s adorable, lean & muscular with tons of personality, makes me laugh only he’s a bit of a player.  I was warned he has a way with the ladies.

Also, isn’t it a bit too early for him to be showing signs of possessiveness?Jack5Jack & Jia Jia

I like it here
I like it here

He no sooner got off the plane from Thailand that our eyes met, love at first sight and then what do we do? We end up sleeping together, but only cuddling. It’s a bonus that he gets along with my dog.

He was looking for some action here in Vancouver so I took him to Mahony and Sons on his second night for the view. What did he do? He got bored and fell asleep right on my lap then after a few rounds he ended up under the table.

This is how we roll
This is how we roll
?
Before we rolled out of here & my hat fell overboard and I almost went overboard
Is he ever going home? Or don't tell me....
Is he ever going home? Or don’t tell me….because then I might have to throw him overboard.

But today we went for a rum run and he kept up right alongside me.  So far so good, but we’ll see how it goes. You never know with these smooth types. I might be in trouble.

Contemplating fairy godmothers & happy endings

cinderella4

In Charles Perrault’s Cinderella, he concludes the tale with the cynical moral that no personal advantages will suffice without proper connections.

Disney
Disney

When I was very little I was certain that I saw a fairy sitting on my window ledge one morning and it whispered my name. When I ran to the window to take a closer look it flew away.  Maybe it was just a grasshopper making a noise in the wind that sounded like my name, but I can still remember it vividly to this day.  I like to believe it was telling me that it would look out for me.

I still believe in angels

When I was three I was in the back seat of a taxi cab and leaned on the door and fell out onto a busy street wearing one of my little frilly dresses (of course).  My parents didn’t even notice right away perhaps they planned it? but I got up, brushed my dress off and started running like hell towards the car that dumped me. They were horrified as soon as they noticed me missing the next day a few seconds later.  Our family doctor paid a visit to the house to check on me later that day and couldn’t believe my luck – not one single scratch and not a mark on the dress.

Then on another occasion as much as I loved to swim, I almost drowned.  My mom caught me spinning around in the ocean waves (baby sitter nowhere to be seen) and pulled me out grasping for air just in the nick of time. The angels or the universe or a fairy godmother was looking out for me.   I almost changed my name to Deberella.

So let’s just collect our thoughts here for a second:

Disney
Disney

This “Fairy Godmother,” whose whole purpose in life is to make Cinderella happy, showed up for the first time EVER in NINETEEN YEARS to spoil her with materialistic things, FOR A F*****NG DANCE, and it will all only last for a few hours? YOU GAVE THIS POOR ORPHAN HAPPINESS THAT WILL LAST SHORTER THAN A LORD OF THE RINGS MOVIE?

Like where was this Fairy Godmother when she was forced to scrub floors?

Disney
Disney
Disney
Disney

But like all fairytales, there was a happy ending

Source: (for Disney photos & last paragraph) Christian Zamora  Staff Writer for BuzzFeed

what MATTERS: the bond between HUMAN & DOG

Brad & Kira11011566_10152718400661852_8284452701846702819_n

Brad is my brother and Kira is my niece.  Even though she’s a dog, Kira is still my niece.  Dogs are family and family is everything.  I sadly just found out that Kira was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.  I thought I would share something that Brad posted about the relationship between the two.  Something  that only those who have dogs can relate to.  Sometimes our bonds with animals are stronger than our bonds with people.  I think it’s because our animals (dogs in particular) don’t ask anything of us other than love.  It’s totally unconditional and so amazing that I feel sorry for those who have not experienced it (especially if they don’t have children). Brad & Kira Here is what Brad wrote:

This is the year my baby girl is supposed to turn 13. Given the way I raised her, I fully expect her to live into her late teens. Regardless of how long I am lucky enough to have her in my world, it won’t be nearly long enough. Anyone who owns a pet can attest to that.

When I look at my girl lying in the grass, sprinting up a hill, or swimming in her favorite watering hole, immeasurable warmth overtakes me. Over the past year or so I’ve been filled with urgency to express my gratitude for what she’s brought to my life, in many little ways. Even though she may not know what I’m saying, I still tell her; I love her, as if she does. My ritual has been to visit her on her daybed every night, kiss her on the head and tell her she means the world to me. I then wish her; love, health, happiness and longevity.

When I’m in town, she accompanies me to my office every day and sits in the big bay window in front of my desk. I can’t tell you the number of times she’s startled me and made me nearly jump out of my chair. Whenever someone walks by, or when she sees the cat that loves to torment her, or for any other reason that makes sense to her, she’ll start to bark.

I’d be lying if I said a shrill bark, reverberating off the glass didn’t bother me. More times than I care to admit I was on a radio interview, or on a conference call, only to realize there was nothing I could do until the person walked out of range, or the cat finally got bored and left. As much as I love that 17 pound ball of fur, those were the times I didn’t like her very much.

Well, yesterday it happened again! I was working away in my office, and sure enough she started to bark because something got her attention. My reaction however, was quite different this time; as I just stopped what I was doing and watched her until she calmed down.

It was as if I didn’t want her to stop barking, as it made me realize how alive she was. Instead of getting angry with her, I just smiled and told her in a gentle voice that it was ok, and then I said; I love you. And then I cried, uncontrollably and harder than I could ever remember, for what seemed a long, long time. The last time I cried like that was over 20 years ago when my mother passed away. I honestly thought I’d forgotten how to cry, but I didn’t.

You see, just the other day I found out my little girl has cancer and it seems to have spread almost overnight. I was hiking with her a couple of weeks ago, went on a 7-day speaking tour, and when I returned home she was different.

Gone was the 10 minute routine when I walked through the door, the one that always made me feel like I was her entire world. Instead I was met with a bit of a whimper and a slight wag of her tail, which seemed to take all the effort in the world to raise. There was sadness behind those beautiful brown eyes, and she just stared at me as if to say; Daddy, there’s something wrong, why do I feel this way.

So you see, even in the things that trigger you or make you angry, you can find love if you look deep enough. So now I can’t wait to hear her bark, and every time it happens I will smile and fill my heart with gratitude for having her in my world for as long as she’s willing to stick around.

Please send love and light her way, as she truly is an incredible little soul, and I wish so deeply for her to feel well again.11020261_10153363222311424_8027077531756354233_nYou bet Brad!