Just learned that one of my childhood idols, Shirley Temple Black, passed today.

From the time I was about 4 until about 7, I used to pretend to be her.  Granny used to curl my hair in those pink sponge rollers on a regular basis, and I even performed “Good Ship Lollipop” on stage when I was 5 or so.

Shirleigh Temple 2
Yeah, my hair was a little long to get the full Shirley effect — LouAnn (to my right in the pic) had it goin’ on — but I didn’t care.

One Easter, age five, dressed in a new handmade outfit, complete with this awful puffy hat, a lady at church commented, “Oh, look at Little Miss Muffett!”  I snapped back, “I’m NOT  Little Miss Muffett… I’m SHIRLEY TEMPLE !” I was a rabid fan… and apparently,  a fiercely dedicated young impersonator.

“Lemonade stands fill the air…” That’s what I like to think will be waiting for me on the other side, too.  Thanks, Shirley.

#shirleytemple

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Life (and Rocking Chairs), Remembered

It’s no secret.  I love porches.

When I was young, my front porch was “home base” during heated games of tag.  It was the safe place where neighborhood parents knew we would be until late at night in the summer.  It was the place where my friends and I would camp out and watch Monty Python episodes on a battery-powered mini TV.  The place where I sat and talked with my dad the day I decided to leave an alcoholic, narcissistic husband.

I also loved my Grandmother’s front porch.  The way the gigantic Boston ferns swayed in the hot summer breeze was almost hypnotic.  Comforting.  When the house was filled with family members (and too much cigarette smoke), I would slip outside to sit on the white wicker loveseat.  It had puffy cushions and was the best place to catch a quick nap… at least until my cousins came outside to pick on me or to try and steal my spot.

The first Christmas after Momma died, I spent a good deal of time sitting out there on my own, just attempting to understand all the feelings that were overwhelming my twelve-year-old heart and mind.  Someone came out and captured this picture of me, sitting in one of Grandmother’s rocking chairs. For many years, I learned how to smile, even though inside, I was far from happy.

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One of the things I love the most about my current home is the “farmhouse” porch that spans across its front.  It reminds me so much of Grandmother’s — a comforting retreat to clear my head, to consider the day’s tasks, or to do some reading and writing.  Of course, a nice cup of coffee or hot tea is mandatory.

My seat was a tan Adirondack chair.  One of those plastic ones that had a comfort duration of only about 30 minutes because it didn’t have that fancy lower back support thing that the more expensive versions did.  Yeah, I was a cheapo when I bought it.  Its twin didn’t fare as well, breaking one night after a summer wine-drinking session.  The back just broke off… instant recliner.  Thank goodness for wine, or that might’ve really hurt.

Finally, after about six years of serving me through 100-degree days, being brutalized by windstorms, and enduring several butts — mine, my husband’s, my stepkids, and my dog’s — the Adirondack finally called it quits.  I felt lost — the other chairs we had just didn’t fill the vacant space.  So began my search.  When my dad heard that I was looking for a good porch-sitting chair, he offered one that couldn’t have been more perfect…

Rocker Before

…or any uglier. It was a wicker rocker that my Momma had purchased when I was little.  Over the years, it was neglected.  Abandoned in the dark corner of my dad’s living room.  It had been painted cream and accessorized with a nondescript cushion. A perfect candidate in need of some well-deserved TLC.  This thing is probably over 40 years old, and boy, did it look it.

As I painted it, the project took on an even bigger meaning to me, as I recalled brief memories of sitting in it as a young girl.  While I don’t really remember when it was purchased (my dad told me about it), restoring it to a new life also helped restore some happy memories as well.  Couldn’t help but think that my Momma would approve of the quirky choice of colors and patterns.

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint, a comfy new cushion, and a whimsical pillow can do to brighten up a forgotten treasure. I cleaned up a cool daisy table that was hiding in the corner of the porch.  Now, all I needed was the perfect pillow to coordinate the colors…

…and, thanks to a friend’s help, I was able to locate it!rocker final

Now, my favorite spot is almost complete.  A place to relax, read, write… and remember.  Once again, as an adult, I’ve found my “safe place.”  Just need that huge Boston fern.

There’s something about a front porch…

Tea Meditation

Tea meditation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m growing quite fond of tea lately.  It has an extremely settling, grounding quality to it.

The tea I’m having this morning has lemongrass and hibiscus… with just a smidge of honey.
I woke up with a sore throat and pretty severe back pain… and drinking this tea worked magic.
Later in the day, I’m going to have a cup of lemon and honey Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea.
People… it WORKS.

I feel that, to enjoy this experience fully, you must find a teacup or mug that “speaks” to you.
There’s something comforting about my heavy green mug.  I love its calming color and the weight of it.  Like those coffee cups you get at the all-night diners.  It feels secure in your hands. Like a trusted friend. Oh, and the fact it has the little “Life is Good” guy, stretched out in his favorite chair… I just love him.

So, go boil up a pot of your favorite blend.  Hold the mug lovingly and breathe in – a wonderful experience is about to happen.  Focus yourself on the present. Let go of the past and the future.

All is well.

If you’ve never heard of the tea meditation, check out Thich Nhat Hanh’s explanation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNiwOI0u9AI