Today Is…

lettersToday is…

a sorrowful, messy, ugly day,

a joyful, sunny, pretty day,

an instant in time

a moment,

the only moment.

Today is

what we have,

precious.

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge Letters

Advertisements

Boundless – My Word for 2014

This year, I have chosen Boundless as my wordThis word holds a promise of infinite possibilities and limitless potential.  It is the word that I want to serve as guide and inspiration for how I want to live, love and walk in this world this year and beyond.

boundlessIt feels like a big word and it both thrills me and scares me with the possibilities.  I am done with living my life within the boundaries and expectations that have been imposed on me and more importantly that I have imposed on myself.  This year, I challenge myself to  live life differently. Boundless.

What will you pick as your theme word for this year?

For more inspiration check out some of these sites:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

NewfoundlandCape Spear LighthouseDuring a recent trip to Newfoundland, we visited Cape Spear – a hauntingly beautiful spot on the most easterly point of North America. Eastern tip of Canada

As I stood high up on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, I was in awe of the power and beauty. It was a cold summer afternoon, the sun hidden by large grey clouds. The brisk ocean breeze carried just a hint of wetness. And as I stood at the base of the lonely lighthouse, lulled by the rhythmic sound of the waves moving across the rocks and the seagulls in the distance calling out to each other, I experienced a sense of peace and stillness. It was only when I walked along the cliff edge footpaths, closer to the ocean and watched the thunderous waves crash against the rocks that I felt the power and danger of the sea. It was both mesmerizing and terrifying.

When we finally made our way back to the car, I saw the signs warning of the danger that I had felt standing near the raging sea. Warning Dangerous coastline

 

For more examples of this week’s theme, visit WP’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge – The Sign Says

Local artists in the city have created a number of humorous road signs as part of an outdoor art project.  I love these two!

Duck This first sign, “Duck” is by a friend, Hitoko Okada, a fashion artist.  In this piece, she uses Kaomoji, the Japanese smileys and emoticons.  Hitoko describes that by pairing “duck” on a caution sign, it is a “humorous traffic warning for overhead hazards like falling glass from poorly constructed condos” and other poorly constructed projects.  “In general  a warning for oncoming hazards on life’s unpredictable path when the city and corporation keep passing up the response-ability.”  For more on Hitoko’s art, visit her website, Hitokoo.com.

The Road Sign ProjectThe second sign is by Matthieu Leger and is a commentary on the 21st century  “obsession with disseminating one’s location and circumstances.”

For more on this project, visit The Road Sign Project.

For more photos on this week’s theme, visit WP Weekly Photo Challenge

 

Happy 2013

Aside

Happy New Year!

I’m back!

It’s a new year and I want to take this opportunity to thank all my lovely followers and the wonderful folks who have commented, liked or simply visited my blog.  I didn’t realize how much of a thrill I would get when I received notification of a new follower, a comment or a like.  Although I try not to be obsessed by my stats, even a visit from an unknown person somewhere in the world results in a jolt of excitement.  So thank you for contributing to my joy and supporting my creative journey.

I wish you peace, comfort and joy in 2013.

Anna Marie

Changing Seasons – The fifth Season.

snowman

In seems like here in Canada we have five seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and the Holiday Season.  The Holiday season starts showing up somewhere in mid-October and gains momentum after Halloween.  It hits full force in early December when mall hours are extended, radio stations play holiday music 24/7 and television stations broadcast sappy holiday movies where everyone lives happily ever after.  Cookie trays and fruit cakes shows up at work and baking frenzies occur at home and Starbucks’ holiday drinks re-appear (Peppermint mocha or eggnog latte anyone?). Employers host holiday teas for their staff (and sometimes even give out bonuses). Family and friends host holiday open houses where there are more goodies and libations to enjoy (calories don’t count during the holidays).  Car roofs loaded with Christmas trees appear on the road and holiday lights light up the dark nights.  For many people, this holiday season culminates during the last weeks of December (and early January for some) with copious amounts of food and gift giving.

Of course, the  aftermath of the season (pounds, bills, broken toys and electronics) lasts so much longer – but who wants to think of those “nasties” while we’re in the throes of the holiday season.  Time enough to think of those things in the long cold nights of Winter.

So in the spirit of the holiday season, I decked out my little tree and have shopped for gifts (although I’m not finished).  I don’t bake but more than make up for my lack of baking by eating the cookies and cakes placed before me and I will not refuse an offered glass of wine or punch.  But mostly, during this holiday season, I am trying to feel the true holiday spirit in my heart and hoping for peace and joy and comfort for everyone near and far.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays….Peace and Joy to all!

This post was inspired by WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Seasons.

Rainbow

 

MOO called my attention to the pink glow of the fading day outside.  As I stepped into the back yard and looked up into the sky, an incredibly beautiful rainbow greeted me.  As I watched, the colours slowly faded into the  soft rose and aquamarine sky and moments later the rainbow was gone.  I walked away feeling as though I had just received a gift, a reminder of the beauty that surrounds me always if I just pause a moment to look around.  It was a perfect reminder, on this Thanksgiving weekend of all the riches and joys I have in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitary

Cayo Santa Maria, CubaI always enjoy the sense of solitude I experience when I’m near the ocean. Perhaps it’s the vastness of the sky and water and the apparently uninhabited coastline which all contribute to the perfect conditions for quiet contemplation.

This photo was taken in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. The beaches on this tiny island are some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.  The sand is white and the water is turquoise blue. Even during overcast and stormy days, the beach is spectacular.

For more posts on this theme, visit the Daily Post at WordPress – Weekly Photo Challenge.

Venice – La Serenissima

Grand Canal, VeniceI didn’t love Venice the first time I visited, 20 years ago.  Don’t get me wrong – I thought the city was spectacular and beautiful in so many ways and I was grateful that I was able to see the city at the time, but I didn’t love it.  It was another city to mark off my list during a backpacking trip through Europe. So when we put Venice on our itinerary during our recent trip to Italy, it was mostly because MOO wanted to visit this world heritage site rather than any personal desire on my part to see Venice again.

So I couldn’t have been more surprised when I realized that I had fallen in love with Venice this second time around. It  wasn’t your typical love at first sight.  I wasn’t struck with a cupid’s arrow or lightening bolt.   Rather, it was a slow-growing sense of peace and tranquility that accumulated throughout the day, coupled with a sense of awe at this incredible city standing in the water for centuries that touched my soul and filled my heart.

We arrived by train, early in the morning from Treviso (just outside of Venice).  It was a spectacular, sunny day and as we exited the Stazione Venezia-Santa Lucia, we were met with the sight of the Grand Canal. Despite the early morning, the city was bustling with throngs of tourists milling about on the piazza, collecting their bags, consulting maps and taking pictures.  Tourists and Venetians lined up for the vaporetti, the local water buses.  We bought our day passes for the vaporetto and as it started to move along the route, I felt an overwhelming feeling of wonder and reverence.  Who built these palazzo’s gracing the canals?. What secrets did the waters and the walls hold?  Who had lived in these magnificent homes and who lived in them now?  I wanted to drink it all in, to capture the feeling of the place, the energy, the mystery. It was a place that I remembered from my last visit and yet I had no memory of this city I had once visited.  This time, I wanted to experience the city, to be in the city and even though we only had the one day, I wanted to somehow be a part of the rhythm and truth of this incredible city.

Palazzo, Grand Canal, Venice

In the end, we chose to wander through the city, mostly by foot and the occasional ride on a vaporetto.  We didn’t visit the many museums in the gorgeous Palazzos.  We didn’t enter many churches and didn’t make it in time to enter the Basilica di San Marco before it closed.  We didn’t enjoy a gondola ride.  And yet it somehow didn’t matter.   It was the experience of being in this city that mattered most to me.

We browsed the fruit and vegetable and fish stalls of the Rialto markets with the local Venetians and walked on the famous Rialto Bridge.  We visited local bake shops and enjoyed specialty shops that sold art and fashions and trinkets and maps.  We had lunch in a quiet piazza and supper in an Osteria (a restaurant serving simple traditional Venetian food) with locals.   We wondered about the woman sitting in a window reading a book. We discovered a floating fruit and vegetable stand housed on a boat.  We watched as a bride and groom in traditional carnival masks greeted their guests outside the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace).   We navigated the throngs in Piazza San Marco to find MOO’s cousins who she was meeting for the first time.  We explored the shops that featured famous Murano glass sculptures.  But mostly we wandered along and explored the streets and bridges that were not featured in the guide books; the quiet, peaceful canals off the main waterways.  MOO learned something of her heritage from Resa and I took photos of twisting streets and canals, occasionally surprised by a gondola gliding silently around a corner carrying a couple holding hands, smiling happily.   A wizened, white-haired woman watching the pedestrians below her window smiled at me and held her hands in a gesture of triumph as I walked by and took her photo.  As the sun began to fade and we made our way back to the train station, I realized that this beautiful, mysterious, serene city had captured my heart and I was in love.

Rialto Bridge, Venice

GondolasBasillica San Marco, VeniceVenetian Bride and GroomFloating Market, VeniceVeniceVenice canalVenice CanalVeniceVenetian woman

Weekly Photo Challenge – Wrong

Disco

Friends got together the other night for a party in honour of the Disco Divas that have passed this year – Donna Summer, Whitney Houston and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees.  It was a fabulous night and everyone came dressed in vintage disco fashions.

I loved the disco era. I remember my girl friends and I spending hours in my basement rec room, dancing to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, trying to imitate John Travolta and his partner’s dance steps.  When I hear the songs “Stayin Alive,” “Night Fever”, “More than a Woman” and “How Deep is Your Love” it brings me right back to those days during my early adolescence when all that mattered were friends, dancing and laughing.

John Travolta’s black shirt and white suit are iconic to that period – but some of the fashions from that period were just wrong!!.  The clothes worn in the above photograph were found in a local vintage shop.  No one under any circumstances should have ever worn a purple velvet tuxedo shirt.  Do you have any favourite disco fashion memories?