More Philadelphia Murals

Mural-Jazz & Blues

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Today I am grateful for more murals in Philadelphia. Geeze, every time I’m in the city and wind up either lost or just going down a side street, I stumble upon more fantastic murals. . .sometimes within two blocks of each other. Who are all of these artists?

There are several very cool things about the Philadelphia murals. One is that they are usually huge. Another is that they pop up in the oddest places. Still another is that each and every one of them tells a story. . .probably indicative to that particular neighborhood, but I’m not sure about that. If they do, there had to be jazz and blues in one of these neighborhoods. The other one I haven’t figured out, yet. Is he a preacher or a singer. . .and why the bikes?

Someday I’m going to double park, like everyone else does, and let the annoyed drivers blast their horns at me while I study the story of the surprised, pop-up mural. Until then, I’m satisfied with studying them in my off-kilter, shot-from-the-car pictures.

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Peace sign with children and globe
Monday, May 25, 2015
Today I am grateful for peace. While, on this Memorial Day, I very much appreciate the sacrifices made by service people and their families, I’d much prefer peace. I would like to make their sacrifice unnecessary. Redundant. Obsolete. A large request? I know. You can go ahead and rebut me with your internal or external voice as much as you like, but it’s what I want.

I’d like to live in a world where different factions are not squabbling over every single thing imaginable. I want religious acceptance, border acceptance and peaceful coexistence. I want genocide, starvation, poverty, lack of water and other forms of distress to end now. I want my grandchildren to one day ask, “What was the deal with all of those wars?” because they have never experienced war in their lifetime.

I don’t know how we will achieve World Peace. It seems like an insurmountable task. But I think we have to keep trying. If not globally, then in our own back yards. We each need to stop insisting all people believe exactly as we do. We need to not only accept our differences, but celebrate them. We need to stop judging. We need to find the peace within ourselves and that will encourage us to be nice to each other.

Will we be able to create a perfect, peaceful world? Probably not. Just a better one. Peace.

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Alabama Ave House-Sept2013

Alabama Ave House-Sept2013

David Avenue House-Great Grandma's-Sept, 2013

David Avenue House-Great Grandma’s-Sept, 2013

New York Avenue house-1st w/TRBraun-downstairs-Sept, 2013

New York Avenue house-1st w/TRBraun-downstairs-Sept, 2013

14th Street house-Sept, 2013

14th Street house-Sept, 2013

Sunnyside Ave House
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Today I am grateful for circumstances. John and I are planning on driving into Philadelphia today, just because. Well, not quite. . .I’ve heard a lot about a great place for pie, called Magpie, on 16th and South Street. Seems like a good enough reason for a road trip to us.

When we drive anywhere we have a lot of conversations about various houses and living accommodations. Because all people are different, yet inherently the same we speculate based on the house design, color, location, gardens what the people are like and what they might be doing.

“Someone in there is probably sick or depressed,” I’ll say. He’ll ask why I say that and I’ll tell him that the garden looks like it was once beautiful, but has not been tended in years.

“The guy who lives there is probably an accountant or engineer,” my husband will say, explaining that the symmetry of the porch decorations, precision of the lawn and pristine paint job, would indicate an analytical, probably anal personality.

I’ll mention someone is making love inside that place; that house smacks of sadness; there is alcoholism there; the woman who lives there is horribly abused; that man just lost his wife; those people can’t have children; these folks have more children than they can handle; this family added on in so many different textures and configurations they can’t make a decision to save their lives. Of course, we are full of crap when we make these assumptions. It’s a game. It’s far from fact. You can’t tell what the people inside are like by looking at a house. Otherwise there would not be child abuse in fancy mansions and we know that horror crosses all economic cultures.

The truth is that you never know what is going on behind closed doors any more than you know what a person is feeling, thinking, or struggling with. We become masters at “closing our door” until someone knocks us out of ourselves, insisting on being let in. We still have the choice as to whether or not we open the door. If we’re smart, we open up and let some company inside. If we can’t, then maybe we will be able to let them in tomorrow. We hope that our friends know when the time is right to knock down the door and come in anyway. They usually do.
Our present circumstances don’t allow for a tour of Europe, a road trip across America, or a junket to an island. We have been fortunate and travelled a lot, but it’s like the old song, “How you gonna keep them down on the farm, after they’ve seen paree?” When the bug bites and there is no way to treat the itch, you have to be careful it doesn’t fester into an infection. So we speculate, evaluate, ruminate and dream. John dreams of a house on a lake where the fishing is good and the boat is big. I dream of many book deals and movie/TV rights and getting him his house on a lake as a result. Hey, they’re dreams and dreams have no limits.

We are not alone. Many people would like to go places, or do things that they are unable to do, for whatever reason. Yet as we drive by houses we know that some people don’t care a hoot about traveling. . .they just want their child to not be sick. Others spent long periods of time jobless and homeless and now have a job and a place to live. They don’t care about fancy trips. They are just glad to be settled. Everyone has their own set of circumstances that they cope with.

In my circumstances, if I can have a good old solid belly laugh a day. . .it’s enough! My dreams have been fulfilled and my goal has been met. What about you? What do you need every day?

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Spring in Pennsylvania

Huge rhody bush

Huge puple azaelia w garage

bright pink azalea

seedy dandelions-horizontal-cu
Friday, May 22, 2015
Today I am grateful for Spring in Pennsylvania. John and I have driven all over the country at various times of the year.

One was a particularly long, emotional trip to Arizona to move my mom to Wisconsin and then drive back home. The Smokey Mountains were breathtaking. The hills of New Mexico were not to be believed. The blooming dessert cactus in the flatlands of Arizona looked fantastic. The painted buttes and mesa’s in Sedona looked fake and hand painted. Driving into the rich farmland of the Midwest made us feel voluptuous and abundant.
Each and every place we drove through, we’d say, “Isn’t it beautiful?” And they were. All of them. . .each in their own unique way. Exhausted, we crossed over from Ohio into Pennsylvania and the beauty of the hills took our breath away.

“I can’t believe we live in this gorgeous state,” my husband said. “You have to go some to find a place as pretty.” Even my mom, when she visited us years ago, said, “I’ve never seen a prettier place in the world than Pennsylvania in Spring.” I agree.

Spring in Pennsylvania is when every twig, bush, piece of scrub in the world bloom. It can take one single plant and make it look like cotton candy, ready to devour an entire house. Fuggetabout the watery eyes, sneezing and hacking coughs all of that beauty brings us and focus on how pretty it is. Mom is always right.

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Finished Projects


big baseball mitt

big V -before

big V

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Today I am grateful for finished projects. After looking all over the place for reasonably priced, dark TV tables and not finding anything, with a stand, for under a hundred bucks, I decided to re-fashion our old tables.

They started out blond and varnished. When we painted, my oldest granddaughter and I got the idea to paint the bottoms the tan of one wall and the tops the red of another wall. She is very creative so I enlisted her to design four large masks to put on top of the tables to keep them from being boring. She did a great job, but that was probably when she was eight and she turned 16 yesterday, so it was time to do them over.

First I got the correct paint. What a concept. Then I sanded, (sort of-I hate sanding) and painted two coats. Because the outline of the masks was still there, I used gold paint and just whacked away at them until I was satisfied. Then two coats of gloss varnish, some touch up because we had used some before all the varnish was on, more varnish and voila. . .two months later. . .they are declared finished.

These are two of my favorites, before & after.

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This is our youngest grandson at his Blessing Ceremony eight years ago.  I think it says it all.

This is our youngest grandson at his Blessing Ceremony eight years ago. I think it says it all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Today I am grateful for splashes. I got to talking with one of the lifeguards at the Y today about all of the bawlers we have in our current classes. I don’t know if it’s a full moon, or fear, or if bawling works every place else so hey, why not try it at the pool. When you’re three you don’t have that much rationale, but we do, so we keep trying to figure it out. Here’s how it plays out.

Tot: Brwaaaahhhhhhha!
Me: No crying in the pool. We have enough water already.
Tot: uhnsgyabrwaaaahhhhaa!
Me: Do you know why you are crying?
Tot: (Sniff, gasp, snort flubberizing with a lot of vibrating lips.)
Me: Okay, that’s better. Now tell me why you’re crying.
Tot: I got splashded.
Me: Honey, you’re in a pool. There is water. You’re going to get splashed at some point.
Tot: (Sniff, crank, bluster.) But I don’t like getting splashded! (whoofing, sobby breaths)
Me: Well, sweetie, it’s only water.

While we were discussing this, the lifeguard made a good point. She said, “Everyday you’re going to get splashed by something. Might as well get used to it.” I got to thinking how true that statement is.

From the time we are little and begin to really live, we are getting splashed. Someone pushes us down, hurts our feelings, laughs at us, yells at us, gives us a bad grade, won’t hire us, fires us, hurts our feelings (that’s an on-going one), betrays us, physically attacks us, wounds our pride, lies to us. . .the metaphoric splashes are endless.

The sooner and more completely we teach our children, grandchildren and ourselves that what sometimes seems like a personal tsunami, in the big scheme of things, is only a little splash, the better off we’d all be. What’s a little water?

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white flowers-cu

white & yellow flowers-tall & thin
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Today I am grateful for wildflowers. It’s no secret I bagged the Y yesterday heading for a walk in a park. Sadly, with the bursitis in my hip flaring up, it was not as pleasurable as I wanted it to be.

I was cranking along, dragging my limb, annoyed and peeved and every other adjective to register disappointment and frustration. Man, that bursitis can feel just like a hot poker when it gets pissed off. The sun wasn’t out, but the wind was cold and blowing just enough stuff around to have the allergies irritate. Grouse, complain, bitch. You get the picture.

I was just about ready to turn around and drag my blazing attitude and peeved hip back to the car when the sun popped out for a second, catching on some color in the woods. Curious, I walked on further to get a better look. There along the path, in the thick of the woods, up a steep embankment, through the thicket of trees and large boulders, to the right and left of me, as far as my eye could see, were thousands and thousands of different shades of purple phlox! Growing free and wild.

Who cares about a stupid pain-in-the-hip when you’re given the unbelievable gift of wildflowers!? Not me!

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