Sunday, November 27, 2011

back to october

I just realized there are three different posts that I *thought* about writing, but never got around to making it happen.  So, before the holiday season becomes too crazy and my memories fade, I'm attempting to catch up on some noteworthy events . . . namely Halloween, our NYC/Boston trip, and Yosemite.

I'll begin with Halloween festivities:

Sophie and friend Gracie as "Hansel and Gretel" for the 5th grade "Fairy Tales on Parade"
  Liza and her friend Gracie as "Mario and Luigi"
 A card from Alice in Wonderland, Hansel, and Gretel
 Halloween piano recital - Sophie decided to dress up as Gretel (gotta love past dance recital costumes)
Liza's very first piano recital (in the 2nd costume choice of the season)
 Nicely done girls
 Halloween Night - Sophie and friend Emily as M&M's
Caroline and friend Maddie - pirate and a gypsy
 Neighborhood street party!
 Mario and Luigi ready to start trick or treating
My favorite costume of the evening by Isaac and Megan - MINIONS!!
 oh, how I love Halloween night . . .
 all finished - exhausted, but happy (what would we do without the Osterloh family??!)

HaPpY HaLLoWeeN ~ 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

so blessed

"Gratitude is a Spirit‑filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God's love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. 
Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence."
~ Bonnie Parkin ~

Friday, November 18, 2011

once in a lifetime . . . Jackson Browne

Last weekend I experienced one of those rare, but oh so pure, mesmerizing, "if you breathe you'll break the spell" moments.  A moment that I want to remember for the rest of my life, because it was so fleeting, so real, so beautiful that I really don't expect it to ever happen again.

I know, you're probably thinking my ramblings will continue down the familiar path destined to arrive at a moment when nature spoke to me.  Not so this time, I'll spare you another "Julie loves nature" post for now (that will be included in the upcoming "Yosemite is the most spiritual place on earth" post - just a warning ;-).

I'm talking about spending two magical evenings in nostalgic, tiny, lost in time California towns sitting in small theaters with unbelievable acoustics listening to Jackson Browne work his magic.  It was like we were invited into his own living room for a private, intimate concert.  It's a wonderful sight to see a small stage laden only with a row of guitars, a chair and table, and a piano.

In my eyes, Jackson Browne's music and lyrics transcend the human condition.  It's not just his rich, full, emotionally charged voice that touches my soul, but his sublime understanding of humanity, of love and longing, happiness, laughter, sorrow, peace, and the troubled heart.  I was moved to tears more than once, especially during Saturday evening's concert in Hanford, CA when Jackson became emotional himself and struggled for a moment to compose himself during a few songs ("Late for the Sky," "The Pretender," and "Enough of the Night" - the song written about his sister, who incidentally had passed away last year).

The highlight during the 3 hours happened as we were yelling out our favorite songs and someone asked to hear HIS favorite song . . . .  Jackson then treated us to a beautiful song written by Leonard Cohen, "A Thousand Kisses Deep," which he sang with such raw emotion the audience was spellbound - to be granted entrance to a personal moment like that of someone you've admired for years, was captivating.   To me, this concert almost felt like a "swan song" of sorts, and I'm not sure if I really want to see him perform again because nothing will compare with the beauty of this night.

Chris was just as taken in, if not more, than I was.  I think the best part of the experience for him was having a conversation with Jackson after Friday evening's show about how great it was to hear one of his more obscure songs, "Linda Paloma" from The Pretender (1976), and how amazed we were that he could just pull it out of his hat and play/sing it so beautifully.  During Saturday's performance, Jackson shared with the audience his conversation with Chris and then proceeded to play the song once again for the Hanford crowd.

yep, once in a lifetime.

 It doesn't get any better than this
 Turlock Community Theater (yes, it was that small)
 Chatting with Jackson after the show 
 My new friend Catherine asking to get an autograph on her albums - 
I love how you can see his picture from "Late For the Sky"
Yes, I got emotional
 Saturday night's concert
Thanks Jackson for two unbelievable nights 

After the show inside the Hanford Fox (est. 1934) - we loved the vintage/nostalgic lobby and theater
 My first attempt - the flash didn't go off - had to try again . . .
Chris and his hero

It's such a clever innocence with which you do your sorcery
As if somehow the years just bow and let that young girl go free
I thought I was a child until you turned and smiled
I thought I knew where I was going until I heard your laughter flowing
And came upon the wisdom in your eyes . . .

("I Thought I was a Child" - J. Browne)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"There is no city like this in the world"

I'm just going to cut to the chase.  This film was enchanting, exquisite, and pure magic from beginning to end.  Indeed, I'm sure film critics around the globe have already pointed out its plot deficiencies and flaws, but let's face it, for me it was perfection.  I love Paris.  I adore Woody Allen movies.  I love art and writing.  I'm intrigued by the search for one's soul mate, and add bonus points if it's paired with a personal journey of discovery and reflection.  AND I need to laugh . . . not some silly, Hollywood contrived "make the audience laugh here" moment, but true "human to human moment of understanding" humor.  I actually found myself giddy as the movie progressed because each scene was absolutely delightful.

Another lovely evening at the Broadway, which feels like a home away from home since I head down there so often.

Thanks Woody for intelligent writing, for confirming my faith in dreams without slaughtering disillusionment, and for making my memories of Paris more vivid than ever.  Indeed, as Gil muses in the film, "There is no city like this in the world."


And not many movies come along that make you smile like "Midnight in Paris" . . .

simple rules to live by . . .

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. 

When something happens to you, good or bad, consider what it means. There's a purpose to life's events, to teach you something you need to learn. 

You can't make someone love you. All you can do is to be someone who can be loved. 

It's better to lose your pride to the one you love, than to lose the one you love because of pride. 

We spend too much time looking for the right person to love or finding fault with those we already love, when instead we should be perfecting the love we give. 

Never abandon an old friend. You will never find one who can take his or her place. Friendship is like wine; it gets better as it grows older.

Many thanks to my friend Lyn for letting me swipe this awesome post from her blog!

Friday, November 4, 2011