Today’s post is a photo journal from a day spent at Hidcote Manor Garden in England. We toured this idyll in the middle of the Cotswolds last September and I never posted the pics. They’re simply too divine to sit languishing on my phone so pardon the year’s delay. As every procrastinator knows, and as I will someday tattoo on my arse, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.Read More
I am just back from a writing retreat up in Door County, a scenic peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin that juts into Lake Michigan. The retreat was held on the grounds of Write-On Door County, and it was pure bliss.
For three days, eleven of us plus an instructor had the run of Write On's beautiful property. And that included the famed chicken coop (pictured above), which was once the writing space of Door County author Norb Blei. We wandered the fields, stretched out in the grass, and turned our attention to important thoughts. Like how the flight pattern of a butterfly resembles an EKG test.Read More
I had the great honor to attend the wedding of the daughter of our French friends, Beatrice and Didier. Their daughter Margaux, an intelligent, beautiful, and accomplished young woman, married Gaël, a suave, open-hearted, life-of-the-party French man.Read More
It's been almost five years since I began blogging here at The Bubble Joy. Not long ago, I paid for a one-hour consultation with Abby Glassenberg, a blogger, podcaster, and small-business consultant. Abby advised a number of things, including that I spend a little of my shop earnings on updating the look of The Bubble Joy: new template, new color scheme, a new logo and profile pic.Read More
Only two Hispanic families lived In the small rural Illinois town where I grew up. My family, headed by my Colombian father from the cool mountains of Bogotá, tried hard to fit in. Then there was the Rodriguez clan -- a boisterous group of Cubans who fled Castro’s communist revolution only to somehow land in southern Illinois.Read More
I am sending this dispatch from France, specifically from the waiting room at the ferry station where my husband and I sit after missing the boat to attend a wedding on an island off the coast of the Atlantic.Read More
What happens when a man veers off the road travelled by his fellow humans and walks alone into the wilderness? When, like Henry David Thoreau, he decides to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life?" This is the story of such a man. Born in 1908 the son of a Georgian sharecropper, Eddie Owens Martin eventually became St. EOM, the visionary artist who transformed his backcountry farmhouse into a trippy acid-colored temple he named "Pasaquan" and who died, alone, in 1986, never receiving affirmation or recognition for his flamboyant artistic genius.Read More
We are a few weeks away from Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle and I just heard the news that the British are not exactly overjoyed about Diana's second son marrying an American.
I get it. The last time a British royal married an American divorcée, things got discombobulated, throne-wise. Edward VIII was confined to a life of pugs, pins, and pained smiles.
But Harry is sixth in line and as likely to wear the crown as Sonny Purdue is to occupy the Oval Office.Read More
We were at Wormsloe Plantation (above), remarking on the flora and fauna along the Skidaway Narrows when I noticed a girl, probably thirteen or so, standing nearby. I screamed at her, "Watch out!" She didn't flinch. Not even her eyelids moved.
"Did it work?" I asked her, referring to her hiccups and my attempt to startle them away.
To which my husband said, "You mean did you convince her you're crazy? Yes. Yes it worked."
She looked at my husband. She looked at me. And then she hiccuped.Read More
This Tuesday, the northern hemisphere began its tilt back towards the sun, and Iranians around the world celebrated the Persian New Year, also known as Norooz. (It can also be spelled Norouz or Nowruz, as it is a phonetic approximation of the word as written in Farsi, the language of Iran. This inexactitude drives me a little crazy, tbh.)
In Iran, Norooz is an ecumenical holiday, meaning no matter your faith, you take part in the celebration. I liken it to the American Thanksgiving because as a holiday, it boils down to sitting around a table with your family for hours. On Thanksgiving, we express gratitude for the blessings we have enjoyed in the past. On Norooz, we express hope and joy for the future.Read More
This is an all points bulletin. My finger puppets, last seen above in front of Cinderella's Castle in Orlando Florida, are AWOL.
Somewhere in the Magic Kingdom, I left them, careless mother that I am. And not the first time either. Once, years ago, I lost a human child in Disney World. Every staff member within a 2-mile radius sprang into action and George was found quicker than you could say bob's your uncle.
Not quite that reaction from the staff this time.
This is a huge issue for me but maybe you're with the staff on this one. Do you care? Have you ever cared? Have you just tolerated these puppets this whole time and now you're secretly relieved?Read More
You are a tourist when you walk through a museum. You marvel and gawk. Standing in front of a famous statue, you know there is more to the object than its surface. You wonder how the sculptor chiseled away the marble's negative space to reveal the goddess within. Perhaps curators at museums prefer a little intellectual distance between the art and the tourist. Maybe our ignorance intensifies the mystery behind the art.
This gap between art and visitor does not exist when it comes to quilts. We are as familiar with fabric as we are with our own skin. We understand the physics of a needle and thread. We can't see the cotton batting between the front and back of the quilt but there's no mystery to it. Perhaps this is why quilting is called the democratic art.Read More
New Orleans is a colorful city. Not just the buildings. Not just the music. But the people. It is a stewpot jambalaya. Stay away if you can't handle a little spice.
Our trip was short but sweeeet! Our youngest son, George, is a jazz musician and we were fortunate enough to hang out with a couple of his musician friends, longtime natives Wes and Desi Anderson. Wes teaches music at Loyola University, and we loved the bulletin board (photo below) hanging outside his office. Wes and Desi steered us to many of their favorite spots. Their recommendations were so great, I thought they were worth sharing with all of you:Read More
On a trip to England this fall, my husband and I rented a small car and very slowly drove on the left through hedgerows slightly wider than my kitchen island to a place in the Cotswolds so quintessentially English, so utterly charming, that our first night, I dreamt I was a flower girl in Kate Middleton's wedding. Not the famously grumpy flower girl. The other one.Read More
The last time I traveled to Washington D.C., I went for the Women's March. Hesitant to get political on my blog, I never posted those photos here. Last weekend, I returned to D.C. to visit my son. On Saturday night, we attended the Washington Nationals baseball game. As we rose for the National Anthem, the announcer asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the violence in Charlottesville. He expressed a rejection of racism and bigotry in all its forms, and in a very emotional response, the crowd roared its approval.
On Sunday, we toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We certainly didn't plan it that way, but the NMAAHC, or the Blacksonian, as it is affectionately nicknamed, seemed like the ideal place to spend the day after Saturday's events. I thought you might like to learn a little about the newest addition to the Smithsonian fleet of museums.Read More
Last year at an estate sale up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the woman standing next to me remarked that this was the home of her deceased surgeon. "Sorry to hear that," I said. "Yeah," she replied, "Good thing my cleaning lady saw the obit. I was scheduled for a boob job that Tuesday."
Of course I immediately looked at her boobs. Couldn't have helped it if I tried. My glance answered my first question, which was whether she found a replacement surgeon. But the second question I asked myself went unanswered. Which was why. Why did this nice woman tell me, a perfect stranger, such a thing?Read More
Recently, I attended Alt Summit, a conference for creative entrepreneurs. Alt Summit used to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, a logical setting for a conference organized by members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I've attended twice in that location. But this year, founder Gabrielle Blair moved the whole shebang to Palm Springs, California, and the new setting made a big difference for some interesting reasons.Read More
We are just back from a quick trip to London and Paris where we saw old friends, made new friends, and shopped flea markets under a warm winter sun. We had other touristy adventures as well but I'm limiting this post to "friends" and "flea". No Eiffel Tower pics today, sorry!Read More
I'm leaving on a jet plane. No, not headed to Canada, though it feels good, getting off this planet, even temporarily. The plane ascends rapidly and I let out more breath the higher we climb.
Visibility is excellent today. We are nearing Chicago and there is the distinctive lacy dome of the Baha'i Temple. A moment later, Wrigley Field, which for all its larger-than-life history, looks so small, like Casey's diamond in Mudville. Then, south of the skyscrapers, the large swathe of green in Hyde Park where President Obama will build his library.Read More
The couple in this photo are teacher and student. The photo was taken in the early 1950s. He looks like Salvador Dali with his pencil mustache, artsy beret, painter's smock and flamboyant tie. His lovely subject is dressed similarly and clutches a bouquet of paintbrushes. Their names are Hugo Martinez and Gisela Ballesteros and shortly after this photo was taken, they married. They have spent their lives in Bogotá, Colombia where they have dedicated themselves to the practice of art -- she as a painter and he as a sculptor.Read More