Friday, December 27, 2013


Alain and I bought our first home on Archer Way in 1986.  When we had friends over, they marveled about how perfect it was for us but when we had Dave over, I could see him reworking the kitchen and family room in his mind. It was always our dream to have Dave build a home for us but we were young and just starting our journey into the world of work, earnings and responsibility. Within one year, all of that changed with Dave's project on Bella Vista Court in Los Gatos. We squeezed through the loan process and into our first Flick home…our dream came to life! Little did we know at that time that our dream would be a recurring one! After Bella Vista Court came Francesca Court and after that came Quail Hill Road. He helped us on Kellogg Avenue and then the beautiful remodel on Palo Alto Avenue became one of his finest pieces of work.  When we sold this home, I grieved and I believe part of that grief came from knowing that he would never be involved in our future homes again.

Over the past 8 months, we have looked for a new home… sometimes it was a half-hearted search thinking that no home could ever live up to a home that Dave was a part of. Searching for a new home then, became a soul-searching process as well.  The places in our hearts that are emptied by grief, have to be replenished.  It doesn't mean our love for anyone is replaced, it is just that we have to find a way to love differently.

Our home search took us to many beautiful Spanish- style homes and each one felt familiar --like it would work fine for us and yet my heart stayed still.  I finally realized that I was gravitating toward what we had known and not toward what we needed to discover. Magically, Amherst Avenue came on the horizon!  The moment I stepped inside, my heart began to beat! I couldn't wait to bring Alain to see it and I thought about how Dave would approve of it.  It was originally built in 1950 and had been completely restored in its' mid-century modern glory by the owners.  We made an offer to buy it and we were on our way!  Now if we could only involve Dave in some way…. and so, on our offer letter, we decided to set the closing date to December 27, 2013--Dave's 56th birthday!

Today, we are thrilled to own Amherst Avenue.  Dave and all our friends and family will be with us in spirit as we sit on a bench and dine from a tray table tonight.  What I know is that home is people and not just a place.  I will close my eyes and see what is no longer there and with a full heart will welcome all that is to come!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Moving Again!

In between homes and living in this "canyon" on Greenwood Lane has created a kind of stand-still feeling that has begun to feel uncomfortable recently. I'm not good at standing still and I don't ever want to get good at it!  I decided that I needed to jump into action and dance.

The mad search for my old dance bag began. The contents of the first one I found are pictured above.  High heel dance shoes and knee pads!  Can you imagine?  I could barely bend over after this class I had just taken and there were those knee pads staring up at me.  Tears sprang to my eyes as I stared at these archeological findings of my youth.  I closed the bag and reminded myself that I'm not going back but going forward.  When I found my next dance bag, it looked more friendly; low-heeled shoes and a knee brace.  I smiled and felt hope!

 My motto in this process is simple: no excuses, just go to class. This is my 2nd week and I still want to cry each time I finish class--happy tears because I'm doing something good for myself and sorry tears because I hurt so much.  The emotion lasts for a few minutes and then I remind myself to be kind, to take two Motrin and to head home to a hot epsom salt bath.  I've never taken yoga, but it is now my good friend as it helps me put myself back together on my off-dance days.  With all of this, I'm finding my way out of the "canyon" so to speak!

I like the quote: "Never stop looking for what's not there."  In the case of subliminal vs. conscious, I am working to keep my eyes open to life's silver lining opportunities.  They are the there in the what's not there!  In light of that, I kept hearing a voice say, if you are so uncomfortable, then move!  So, I'm doing just that--moving again!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Travelling Home: A Dream

Finally, in a very deep sleep, I dreamed of him.  It has been two years since he left us to travel the heavens and light the stars and whenever he comes to visit me in my dreams, I am grateful.
 I miss him.

It was night when the gathering outside finished and I returned to the table to make sure all the candles had been extinguished.  The crickets were in full chant and there was a bit of a chill in the night breeze. The chill moved around me starting from my toes and finishing near my shoulders--it made my shoulders lift and my head look up to the stars.  Before I could register it, he was standing next to me.  I'm never startled by these visits; they seem quite natural.  He had a small box with him and as he put it in my hand he said, " I need your help. Open the box!"  I lifted the lid slowly and inside was the most beautiful round cut, pale blue stone I had ever seen.  In its center was a sunset pink color that swirled like liquid and I wondered if I was looking at a piece of heaven.  He asked me to take it and put it on her finger... that in doing so, it would allow him to come home.  He wanted to come home. I took the box in my hand and we smiled at one another lovingly.  

While the dream ended there, fragments of it have stayed with me for days.  We have all been far from home at some point, wanting to get back--dreaming of all that is home.  As I continue to search for my own understanding of it, I imagine a place where all the hearts of our loved ones gather-- a kind of love compound where we can visit at will.  Whether it's a night lit by candles or a day warmed by the sun, we can travel there as long as our hearts and minds stay open to all those we love.

Dream! Let your heart be the box... open it and travel home.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Love, Letters, and Lemon Drops!

We have a black 18th century bureau plat (writing desk) with a red and gold tooled leather top that is one of my greatest treasures. By itself, it is an object of beauty but its function is of equal if not greater importance. It's drawers hold bundles of ribbon-tied letters and 18th century French hand fans that speak of love, poetry and clues of what the past held and the future might hold. It is a majestic moment to sit at the desk and carefully untie the ribbons that bind the letters and the many carefully chosen words that lie therein.  As memory fades a bit with each passing year, I am so grateful for the written word so that I can close my eyes and feel a special moment come back to life.

 I decided to go through some of the letters in my desk recently and I came across  a letter that Camille wrote in 1998.  Two lines stood out on the page when she wrote, "I love you so much. But I am still having fun without you." There was a healthy confidence in those words and an independence that would show up more and more in her future years. That my parents could offer her an experience filled with such joy was all our good fortune.
Last weekend we all met at Lucky's and shared another  precious moment. I love this restaurant for many reasons but just stepping through the door with my family makes me feel lucky that we still enjoy being together and that we still can be together.  We tell stories and remind each other of things we might have otherwise forgotten and we love our lemon drops!
I worry that with people writing less and less, we will have more difficulty in remembering all the small nuances of certain times of our lives. Like printed photographs, letters give us a snapshot of a moment. And further, the written word allows us to close our eyes and give our own visual interpretation to the memory.  "Love you again" can play over and over in my mind and take me back to the time when Camille was 10, I was 41 and my mother was 79.
It is my hope that my thoughts will inspire us all to sit at a desk from time-to-time and with a pen in hand, write the words to one another that will become precious investments for the future-- a way to  capture and rejoice in times past.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yellow Silk Chair

What do you see in front of you? It's so simple isn't it? A yellow silk chair framed in yellow!
(That is unless you were/are a philosophy major and then you might argue that the chair isn't really there.... I was an English major so that won't be the topic here!)

What I am thinking about today is that we spend so much time in our lives trying to know ourselves, figuring out our parents,  finding the people we want to be with, birthing our precious children, and then trying to understand the people that they choose to be with. This figuring out period pretty much lasts our entire lives! We struggle with, we fight against,  and we can't seem to understand why people are the way they are. At certain points we even try to get them to be who we think they should be and then we try to make ourselves the way we think others want us to be. What a crazy cycle! But this is life and this is being human.  Where there is ego, there is struggle.

I used to think that when someone said "He/she is who she is"  or "I am who I am," that this was a cop out--just too easy an explanation. Today I realized that I can't find a better explanation for who people are; why they are the way they are. If I want to keep hitting my head against a wall to try to understand people, then that is my choice but why would I want to keep doing that? I have been doing that for 56 years and counting....No, today I am sitting quietly with myself and understanding the word "acceptance" for the first time in a different way.  It is so liberating! It's so simple! I don't discount the fact that we do and should keep working on ourselves but that is something that we must feel compelled to do all alone. It can't be driven by anyone else nor can we expect to drive someone else to a point of change.  We are responsible for a kind of fine tuning that gives us lives that become extraordinary.

 Seeing "the chair" for what it is invites us to either sit in it or to pass and let someone else occupy it. Seeing "the yellow chair" for what it is, allows us a kind of peace. I like to say that how we see life all depends on how we frame it. I think that goes for how we see the people in our lives as well.  As Maya Angelou so wisely said: "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them."  "Believe them" doesn't mean change them-- they simply are who they are.

Before you sit in anyone's chair, fully occupy your own.  Find your own beautiful yellow silk chair and frame it in yellow!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Pie We Make

It's a summer day and it's a Sunday. That means pie night! When I was a young girl, my mother and our dear family friend Marian Hunter would each make several pies, Sunday pies. They were all made from scratch and delivered with love. My sister and I would stand at the table where they were all displayed and smile (drool!) at our good fortune. Of course, we could never decide which pie to choose so we did what any passionate pie lover would do--choose them all!  

Tonight, I have my daughter and two family friends for dinner and I decided to make pie for dessert. I got up early and went to the farmer's market to select the most beautiful organic berries and then I supplemented them with the berries that are growing wild on Greenwood Lane. I came home and started the crust and then remembered that I had never found my rolling pin in our moving boxes. How to roll out the dough? I had my father's beautiful pie board out and with him in my thoughts, looked up to see a vodka bottle and thought, that's it! Divine inspiration! It worked beautifully and with the leftover dough, I made the little crust that my mom made for me: (roll out the dough, spread it with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar-bake 10 min). This is my gift to Camille tonight.

In the process of making this pie, all the people who are so dear to me helped me along with their secrets--words that still play in my head.  I made my mother's crust and heard her tell me to make it thinner so it could be flaky. I remembered to brush milk on the crust so that it would be shiny and I chose the lattice work top to honor Marian.  I made berry pie as it is my mother's favorite and I loved rolling the crust on the pastry board my father made for me. I shed a tear here and there remembering him and Marian and wishing my mom were closer to share the pie--they have all contributed so much to my life. The vodka rolling pin added the humor and made me think that we are the pie we make! 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Love Travels

Coming and going...opening and closing.  Today we will open and close the door to Palo Alto Avenue for the last time.  It is a moment of no path in front of us and no road map.  It is a moment of faith that all we have done will lead us in a fulfilling direction. They say that to survive this world, we have to maintain a high level of flexibility and that implies movement.  We know how to move!!

While we have never done this, we decided to host the new owners Gretchen and Matthew for a candlelight dinner in the garden. We saved 10 plates, 10 glasses, and 10 sets of silverware from the moving boxes and set a table under the Moroccan chandlier where dreams could be made--ours and theirs. The inside of the home was definitely in "deshabille" but the chosen dining spot in the garden was aglow.   From the moment they walked through the door, it was as if we had known each other for a long while. We inspired one another, we laughed and we shed a quiet tear here and there.  Love was the theme of the evening as they spoke of falling in love at first sight with the house. Later, they expressed that what sold them was all the love they felt inside the house.  There could be no finer compliment.They promised to build on the love they felt and we will continue to build and love in a new world.

This morning, I awoke on Greenwood Lane and saw the Palo Alto peony petals had fallen and created a wreath-like design around the vase.  I'm always looking for symbols in the Universe and so I interpreted this one to be a symbol of completion and celebration.

So here we go--off to define a new path! Love travels!