T’s Birthday Wish

IMG_6280

Hold a treasure close to your heart.

Close your eyes.

Then…

Make a wish..

Say a prayer.

Sing a song.

Twirl around.

Tell someone Thank You.

Tell someone I Love You.

Tell yourself I Love Me.

Believe in Peace on Earth.

Know that you are loved.

Then…

Go out into the world and follow all your dreams!

Happy Birthday Sweet T

IMG_3798

xo skyblue

Peace, Love and Facebook

I know you have all been sitting by your computers dying to know where I’ve been and what I have been up to.  I’ve been here, and there, not sure if I’m coming or going.  I probably have a dozen half finished posts and I can’t seem to finish a single one.  It’s always a photo I’m missing, or a paragraph that makes no sense.  Sometimes I just lose my nerve and I am afraid to post..  Afraid?  That’s silly.  Maybe my post is stupid, and nobody cares… but no one has ever really been mean to me on WordPress, or anywhere online for that matter. In fact most everyone has been super nice!   And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to cause much controversy or ruffle anyone’s feathers with my silly little blog about dragonfly’s, kitty cats, daisies, flea markets, cupcakes, holding hands, ice cream, willow trees, sunrises, dancing, cups of tea, love birds, rainbows, best friends.   Actually… i haven’t written about at least half of those items yet, so I better get to work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Speaking of getting to work… November came and went and I still haven’t posted the giveaway for the Sky Blue 2014 Yoga Gypsy calendar.  I’ve spent way too much time trying to make sense of the Facebook rules, trying to figure out if i need to use a third party app, worrying that only one person will enter… what i need to be doing is making some art.  Writing, and making art.  But unfortunately these are all necessary evils, part of sharing your art with the world.  I’m just going to do the best I can and get done what needs to be done, and hope I don’t get kicked off Facebook.

Tomorrow, Monday December 9, I will be posting a Facebook giveaway for the Yoga Gypsy calendar.  Does Yoga Gypsy have healing powers? I’m pretty sure she does. The longer you look at her, the more at peace you feel.  How did the calendar come about?  One day, I thought it would be fun to play with the original pencil drawing in my photo edit software, and I couldn’t stop looking at her in every shade of blue, and orange, and pink, and on an on… each color making me feel a bit different.   I thought others might enjoy her zen-like presence in many colors as well, and a calendar can offer that.  Besides… once the year is over, you are left with 12 adorable prints, with which you can make an Andy Warhol-ish collage, give to friends, or keep to enjoy her peaceful glow in a rainbow of colors every year.  Read more about Yoga Gypsy’s story from this earlier post.

I hope you will visit (and Like if I’m lucky!) the Sky Blue With Daisies Facebook page, and tomorrow, I hope you will be on the lookout for the giveaway post.

The winner will be announced later this week!

xo skyblue

2014 Yoga gypsy Calendar Image

Light, Sound, Voices, Art…

One week ago today, a group of talented artists and friends at The Freight Street Art Gallery were adding the finishing touches to an art show and fundraiser in Waterbury CT.  I tried to help out here and there during the weeks before the show, but it was apparent from the beginning i was in a bit over my head.  I love art, but i have no clue how one goes about organizing a fundraiser, or art show.  The friends made it look easy… recruiting volunteer musicians, readers, artists… gathering donations, scheduling the evening’s events…creating the overall atmosphere of the event. I was like a dear in headlights. I had no idea how i could contribute.  But I did the best i could to help and hesitantly donated some art.

Ollie at Freight Street

As the hours before the event unfolded, the tables of food and raffle items were tidied and fluffed, the art was arranged, and the space was seamlessly transformed.   I had no idea what would happen, or what the evening would bring… and I didn’t know how powerfully it would resonate.  The evening was a huge success, i met some of the loveliest people, I learned a ton, and I experienced one spectacular, magical evening.The people, the cause, the light, the music, Ollie, the voices, the art…

Thank you again Freight Street. Awesome. Cheers!

x.o.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An unexpected visit… is often the best kind.

***

Gliding, gently across the glass surface,

Trying not to disturb.

splish… splash… splish… splash… until I reach other side…

Only to find the quietest cove.

The crooked bridge smiles, and welcomes me.

A perfect frame to the delight that awaits inside.

I am a humble guest here.

Hello, old friend!  May I come in?

Please do, I only ask that you remove your shoes.

Morning light twinkles, tickles my skin,

dripping through spaces between weathered wood.

The deep lines on my brow soften and fade, the first time in months…years.

I only breathe in, and out…in, and out…

Floating there so bashful, just to my left

Five tiny lily pads and two curious blossoms.

They giggle and tug at my pant as I enter and kick my shoes off.

I know this will be a lovely visit.

Who’s eyes are those, peaking timidly through a shady curtain of branches?

Oh, they are adorable.

Hello, there.  I’ve brought you some delicious bread.

I hope you will have some with me.

Come, friend.  We will sit on the porch.

The breeze is so refreshing this time of year.

There is a swing, and sweet lemonade.

We will listen to music and catch up on old times.

A familiar tune plays, in surround sound, from the perches above.

I love this song. Where have I heard this before?

We remember, and laugh. Weren’t we silly back then?

The tall blades of grass swish back, and forth… back, and forth…

Upon several, I find the most delicate creatures.

Such tiny wings, I’d swear these are fairies.  Irridescent, light purplish blue.

They dance for me, spinning, spiraling, twirling.

Only one, a much fancier blue… Look what I can do!

Your children are lovely.  My goodness, where has the time gone?

Seems like yesterday, our future, a dream.

Here we are, in a blink.

How we’ve aged.  How they’ve grown.

No, I do not have any of my own.

Oh how I wish I could stay here all day, sipping and chatting with you.

This lemonade is the best I have tasted.

I have had the most fun.

We should definitely do this more often.

But I know as life goes, while intentions are good,

It may be months… years…

So long for now, dear friend.

Promise we will soon do this again.

We embrace with a pause, sweet little hugs at my knees.

as I place worn shoes back on my cool bare feet.

e.j.l.

They have been there for me throughout…The ups and downs, the ins the outs, the upside-downs… they have been there for all of it.  They have never given up on me.  They have never judged me.  They make gifts for me.  A blanket, a scarf, original artwork, soup, home-made jelly, and one of my favorites… a crocheted hat with a flower on it, given to me when i needed it most. They send letters, cards, and the most thoughtful presents in the mail.  One friend sends me my favorite incense sometimes…what a treat!  When we are together we discuss everything from art and religion, to old boyfriends, girlfriends and our humungous 80’s hairstyles. While i have other incredibly dear friends, these special friends… are my family.  They connect me to my childhood, my youth, my home.

We are different from each other in many ways, but i have always thought we are alike in all of the ways that matter.  My friends are insanely gorgeous and talented, and i am average… but they always make me feel smart and beautiful. Some of them live in much sexier homes and cities…but they never makes me feel inferior.  I have never felt like i am as good of a friend to them as they have been to me.  But they have never punished me for it or tried to change me in any way.  They except and show unconditional love for me through every dorky, dark, awkward, bitchy, quirky, ugly, lazy, crabby, clumsy moment i have ever had.

They are more than BFF’s.  Much more.

This poem (if we can call it that) was written from a kayak floating on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire.  It was less than a year from my diagnosis, chemo was finally over – and I never felt this good in my life as I did that day.  It was the day I woke up, opened my eyes, and realized I was going to survive. I made it through, and the loveliest light was just through the door… i just had to push it open, put my chin up, and walk through.

I crawled out of bed that morning at the lake house, before anyone else was up, heaved a kayak into the water and pushed off the dock with my bare foot.  The sun was just about to make its debut for the day.  I quietly paddled and listened and smiled.  Across the lake, overcome by exhaustion, I found a tiny cove, dripping in the most beautiful morning sunlight, framed by a homely little bridge… ‘oh, and you wouldn’t go in??’.

While I floated amongst the ducks, and birds, and dragonflies, and gazed in awe of the beauty i found here – i had thoughts of nature, and how rarely i stop to enjoy it.  I also had thoughts of my dearest family and friends…the people who i could not have done it without.  Often so much time passes in between phone calls, and visits… living such separate lives, babies arriving, and children having grown so much.  But when we do stop to visit, and listen, and smile, it is magical.  We laugh the biggest belly laughs, and cry the most vulnerable tears, and replay our youth with angst and delight.  We revisit decades of memories, good and bad.  In recent years I am doubly blessed to know many of they’re sweet children, which makes it much easier as I say goodbye to the dream of my own.

It was very difficult to leave that cove, and return back to shore that day.  But every lovely visit must come to an end.  I quietly paddled back to lake house… feeling strength, hope, and and happy thoughts of dear friends.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~marcel proust

skyblue XO

Christmas Happens

I am a hot-HOT mess during the holiday season.  Every year this is so.  I do not adorn my house in lights.  I do not put up any trees or tinsel.  i do not even send out cards anymore. I am just not good at what has become “Christmas”.  Trying to find the energy to go to work every day, when every moment of your free time becomes – shopping, baking, wrapping, frosting, traveling, coordinating, buying, cleaning, planning, rushing, organizing, mailing, cooking, standing in obnoxious lines… I long to simplify this madness.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with the madness.  I am just simply not good at it, I can’t seem to find the energy for it, and I have not figured out how to not go into debt more and more every single year because of it.  I know it is not healthy when I start worrying about it in August, only to become paralyzed from about November 15th straight through until January 1st, just before the New England winter really starts to suck and I start to stress out about tax season. (-:

Regardless of my obvious aversion to this red-green-and-glitter covered-money-making-machine mania we call Christmas, I am blessed beyond words.  Much of my trouble keeping up during this season, is self-induced drama, stemming from procrastination, poor planning, laziness, and forgetfulness. Looking through my photos today, i realized i am easily distracted… by the most ridiculous things.  It is a wonder I get anything done.  I tend to fall in love with the most random moments… i want to draw them, i want to write a poem about them, I want to take photos of them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In between my hot flashes in the mall…are the fantastic surprises, delicious food, family gatherings, and sweet moments.  This is the only way i know how to even slightly express my gratitude to the universe…

e.j.l. xo

the music sounds sweeter these days…

The calm has set in.  I feel like I can breathe.  The past month or so has been a little jarring to my spirit, but it has not been without many of the sweetest moments.  Besides dealing with the Great Power Outage of 2011, which most of us in Connecticut are finally recovering from… I was sent in for a wee bit of surgery… again… just to make sure I am still paying attention I suppose.

Since October 2009, when my life was so rudely interrupted with the Breast Cancer diagnosis, there have been what seems to be an endless number of surgeries and medical challenges.   I had never had surgery before this time.  The thought of it made me shudder.  But I have been poked, sliced, stitched, injected and infused more in the past two years than I would like to admit.  Most of my treatments and surgeries had wrapped up earlier this year and I was moving on.

Life was getting better, but it was an adjustment.  I was feeling like one of Picasso’s lovely nudes…  my body felt so disjointed and awkward, but I knew I was of a new strength.  I knew I was somehow more beautiful, even with all my jagged scars, and without my long hair. It was a sad beauty… a beautiful sadness…  Yet I was a stronger, more powerful, more beautiful woman.  I became one of the women for whom all the pink fuss was about.

As things were returning to normal, I had no intention of dwelling on this pothole in the road.  Life was going good for us in 2011.  The economy still sucking… The weather still usually sucking… but I was all patched up, i had some peach fuzz on my head, i was alive, and life was going very good.

Then we get another shot of “Oh Jesus!” juice.  Early last month I found out I had a cyst on my ovary… which is typically not that alarming and very common apparently… but because of “my history” they immediately sent me back into the OR to get the whole ovary removed.   It is likely nothing… but if it is something… we will just remove your other ovary and your uterus… and if it is still something you will have some more chemo… and then you should be fine…  You are over 40 so you must have had your children already… (no, thanks for assuming though).

It was hard to keep the thoughts at bay… to not revisit my dark thoughts of pain and mortality…further departure from my femininity… but I managed to stay positive for the most part.

Today my new set of scars are starting to heal, I can sit up on my own again, and test results all came back good.  Now that storm Alfred, and my own personal little power outage, are over… I am back in the swing and all “lights” are back on!  Fist bumps all around.

I have made some interesting observations recently.  Each time I come out of this ever more familiar post-surgery storm… I seem to know myself a little better.  There seems to be a noticeable light shining upon my surroundings… a tangible sharpening of my senses.  The colors of the trees and the horizons are so much more vibrant.  The flavors of a home cooked meal are so much more delightful. The voice of a friend is so much more relished.  My dance music makes me feel so much more emotional.  Songs on the radio are so much more fun… I can’t stop car dancing!  I’ve seriously got moves like Jagger lately.

I am not taking these observations lightly.  It should not take being injected with toxic chemicals or winning a one-sided, unarmed fight with a scalpel-wielding professional to make me notice a sunset or make time for a friend.  I always notice sunsets, and i always love my friends,  but maybe this is why we must go through rough times.  Just to make sure we are still paying attention – really paying attention.

Are you there God?  It’s me, erica.  Please no more surgeries this year… I’m listening!!!  (-:

ejl x.o.

PabloPicasso-Girl-with-Mandolin-Fanny-Tellier-1910

Images: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Pablo Picasso, e.j.l.’s sketch book, Girl With a Mandolin – Pablo Picasso

Big lights will inspire you

Nothing energizes me and exhausts me, so acutely and simultaneously, as a busy weekend in New York City…especially a gorgeous sunny October weekend.  I can barely walk afterwards, i always gain about five pounds, but I can’t stop thinking about it’s beauty for days and weeks afterwards.  Beautiful streets, beautiful people…my senses max out as i try to take in every building, every face, every color, every word in lights.  I’d add, every smell… but there a few of those I could do without.  Many are delicious and lovely of course!  I feel like i am being yanked in fifty directions by sticky peanuts, greasy hotdogs, giant cookies, and tiny cupcakes.  Did I mention the pizza and ice-cream?  Ample Hills, Brooklyn, Shout-Out!!!

I often long to live in the city, to be able to experience it’s rich brilliance day in and day out, to be able to walk outside for miles and miles.  But visiting is pretty great too.  I tend to take a LOT of photos while i am there.  Someday I’ll get my “real” camera, and a clue how to use it, but for now I must express myself with my husband’s point and shoot.   This past weekend in NYC was especially breathtaking.  Thanks for coming with me, Amanda! Thanks again for having us Mel, Sean and Teru!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

absolutely inspired, sore as f*ck, and always hungry,

e.j.l. xOO

p.s. i think the only thing i forgot to take a picture of was the Ample Hills ice-cream shop in Brooklyn… i was very distracted.

p.s.s.  Brooklyn Flea… I did not forget about you!  I will save a separate blog post just for you!  (-:

Thank You, Isabella

I first came across the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum while roaming about Boston back in the early 90’s with some [of my favorite] friends.  I don’t remember how we ended up there, or who’s idea it was to go in… but from the moment I caught a glimpse of the magical botanical courtyard, I knew I must tell others about it… and I knew I must someday return here.  Specifically (and secretly), I hoped I would return with someone I love.  You know…maybe with a husband or something.

Fast forward 20 years to last weekend…just having met what they call middle age… and I was finally making it back for a visit.  I was bringing someone I love too, which was cool.  (-:  My husband doesn’t much think about art and such things, but he made the two hour trip to Boston with me for my recent birthday.  Once in the city, we found free rock-star parking only one block away (and not in a tow zone!).  After taking a quick photo or two (or three…) out front, we found ourselves walking past the giant iron gates, through the “whimsical meets Gothic” doors and into a dimly lit corridor.  We were greeted by a friendly guard, and the grand four story courtyard… and showered by the most delicate light.   It was just as breathtaking as the first time i saw it.  It was better than i even remembered it to be.  I knew I was having a moment…I was pretty sure that we were having a moment.

[Although my husband would say his moment came later when we were having beer and bacon burgers]

We made our way through shadowy corridors and up marble staircases (butt workout…bonus!), around each corner greeted by a different viewing room, all with walls of vibrant colors, vintage leathers and fabrics, and all with brilliantly framed views of the courtyard.  Each room was filled to the brim with art and treasures from all around the world.  There were brief, but foot-stomping-temper-tantrum-make-me-so-stinking-mad reminders of the mysteriously stolen Rembrandts and Degas drawings (amongst works by other masters that some loser walked off with).  Every nook and cranny, every tile in the wall, every window, every piece of furniture – it all had a story to tell.  This was Isabella’s collection.  Her collection that she decided she wanted to share with all of us.  How lucky i felt to be standing there, again, on my birthday, with Isabella, and my husband.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For twenty years, whenever someone asks me to close my eyes and envision myself in one of the most beautiful places i have ever been, I am immediately transported to this place.   Photography is not permitted inside (bummer), but you can see some sneak peaks if you do a Google search, or go to the official website.   Even so, I hope I have inspired someone to travel there someday, or to stop in if just passing through.

Thank You, Isabella!

e.j.l. xo

photo of courtyard : source www.gardnermuseum.org

Brooklyn Flea, Here I Come!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

photo source: http://www.brooklynflea.com/

I recently went to a great flea market in CT.  It wasn’t anywhere near my house, but it was in CT and i appreciate that.  The Elephant’s Trunk was my first big flea market in such a long time, and oh my… it was delightful!  My husband had other words to describe it, but he enjoyed the fried dough.  He was a pretty good sport considering there were probably 800 other things he’d rather be doing, including getting his teeth cleaned.  We strolled up and down the isles overflowing with treasures… i saw a dozen things i thought i just had to have.  But I passed on most everything and only spent a dollar, and then we shared the dough and a root beer.  I thought it was a good time.  And it got my creative juices going.

Anyway, fleas are my newest mini-obsession.  Even though I’ve never been there, the Brooklyn Flea is my new favorite.  I love the story about the people who created it.  I will be going there soon I’ve decided.  Husband will not be invited on that trip.  I will spend all day there with my camera, my backpack, and some Twizzlers.  I will spend much more than a dollar. No one will stop me.  No one will rush me.

Really fantastic fleas are the sort of experiences i really crave and miss living out in the burbs of CT.  But I can always read blogs about fleas!  And I will go to the Brooklyn Flea.   It won’t be long…  I can feel it!

Anyone want to join me?  Mel?  Karen?  Careesah?  Amie?  You know you want to!  I will share my Twizzlers.

e.j.l. xo