Monday, December 09, 2013

What A Weekend!

What a weekend, and a long one at that!  It began Thursday evening with the annual monument lighting in Mount Vernon, which I typically go to with friends.  However, this time around it was just me, myself and I.  There I was standing in the shadows – observing the crowds, eavesdropping on a few conversations, and ultimately focusing on the music and the spirited fireworks before me, which sadly was noticeably different this year.

The delays (timing sequence between the fireworks) were too long, and the display itself appeared shorter.  It wasn’t as smooth as it has been in the past, and much of this had to do with the weather (rain and fog), I’m guessing.  (One should try their best not to make comparisons to years’ past, but focus on the present moment, easier said than done.  We should allow our senses to take it all in, appreciating the effort and the gesture of goodwill.  That’s the beauty of age, and that’s just one example of what it’s taught me, but I digress.)

It wasn’t too long after when I decided to take a relaxed walk home, but made a stop along the way to enjoy a holiday cocktail with one of my favorite people – Ron.  It was more of a pre-birthday celebration.  (Here’s to a new year, my sweet friend. May you continue to be happy, healthy, and strong in spirit.)

We had a blast doing what we do best, talking and laughing, and of course, in true Paul style I met a few new friends – women that brought even more laughter to my evening.  Our banter ran the gamut, from simple and sweet to intense and edgy, and I loved every second of it.  These women were accomplished, strong, independent and awesome communicators, something I look for when developing new connections.

Our time together came to an end, and that’s when I made a beeline for the Red Maple.  I had some excess energy in me that needed releasing, and I knew just what I wanted to do – dance!  (There are so many ways to decompress, and dancing just puts me in a healthier and happier space.  Note to self: dance more in 2014.)

What a joyful evening!  By the time Friday came around, I decided to relax at home.  I used up a lot of stamina the night before, and it was so worth it, but only after the 4-hour headache from hell went away.

It was nice to rest – reading, blogging and catching up on emails.  I did some holiday decorating too.  I no longer go all out this time of year (tree, stockings, etc), but choose simple and tasteful with bowls of ornaments on tables, cards on the fireplace mantle, a few poinsettias here and there and votives everywhere.

By the time Saturday came around I was recharged and ready to go, and I needed that boost for the annual tree trimming get together at my friend Hannah’s home.  This is our second year, and it’s always wonderful.  She’s the reason I don’t need to purchase a tree (wink).

The conversations we share are never ever boring, and the laughter is nonstop, even guttural at times.  She has two cats (Andy & Edith Anne), and their crazy mayhem this time of year provides for additional indulgence, which always makes my heart feel a little lighter, and my soul just a bit brighter, and it’s these types of memories that will stay with me forever.  (As always, thank you for your love and support, my dear Hannah.)

I didn’t think the weekend could get any better, but it did!  We had our first snow of the season on Sunday.  It came down fast and furious, and amounted to four inches of heaven.  (When it snows, the child within me comes out with full force, and I must be outside.)

I invited Hannah to accompany me to the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens to see their Victorian holiday display.  It’s beautiful!  There's no train garden this year, but the poinsettias are plentiful and make for nice photographs.

As always, to the conservatory team, you do an outstanding job, and I truly appreciate your efforts – I really do!  Thank you, for so much beauty.  (Dear friends, add the Conservatory to your list of places to visit this holiday season.  You won’t be disappointed.  This event runs through December 29, 2013.  Don’t miss it!)

Our adventure continued, but only after my friend Brian joined in on the fun, with all opting for an impromptu brunch at Woodberry Kitchen.  Everything about our time together at that point was excellent (or close to it – a TMI moment took place, but I nipped it in the bud – thank God, for those additional mimosas to keep busy mouths quiet, but I digress again).

The food, service, conversation, and ambiance were memorable, meaningful and full of purpose, and I know without a doubt, the three of us were right where we were meant to be, thriving in each other’s company on that blissful snowy December day.  Even though winter hasn’t officially arrived, I consider this the start of a new season, one I hope will be filled with deeper love, and forgiveness too, I imagine (I’m thinking of you with the latter, enigma).

Our time together was coming to an end, but not before a leisurely hike on part of the Jones Falls Trail.  We looked like three tourists, with our cameras in hand.  It was quite funny.  It was cold and wet, but we had a good time trekking through the snow.  (I love my alone time, but I’m really happy my friends came along for this heartwarming experience.)

Just when I thought our day and my weekend were ending, we went back to my friend Hannah’s home to share a bottle of Malbec, talk and enjoy that gorgeous, if I must say so myself, fabulous tree.  There was something about the day that seemed familiar, so romantic to me – something I was longing for, needed and missed.  So, thank you, cherished friends, for indulging in my desires.  You are my joy.

I’m on a journey, and at the moment I am at a crossroads (an interesting place of learning and growing), and I’m happy that I have friends in my life that are there for me when I need them the most, people I can count on.  Something we must all do, every chance we get, but it must not be forced or contrived, and it must never come with condition – we must be proactive and invest in our friendships, now more than ever.  Never take them for granted – NEVER!  Don’t let too much time go by between those moments when you tell your friends just how wonderful they are, and how much inspiration they bring to your world.  They need to hear it, just as you need to hear yourself saying it.  It’s a gift we share – together, one that shows our deepest love and devotion, and our commitment too.

If I call you my friend, know this – you are loved from the deepest part of my heart, my soul.  Happy Holidays, to friend and foe. – paerki

What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.

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I love photographs! They have this amazing ability to tell stories of fun places, special moments, memorable events, and exciting places. They give us reason to pause and remember friends, family, coworkers and so many others. One photograph can conjure up a flood of memories taking us on a journey. They help us remember the past, enjoy the present and ponder the future.

On a cold and rainy day I love sitting in my living room with a roaring fire, a glass of wine, classical music playing in the background and my many photographs scattered about me. I love sifting through what I call my special collection, which refers to my favorites. They remind me of the saddest and happiest moments of my life. They remind me of challenges and overcoming.

My large collection of images are a testament to a life lived. Life happens all around us so it’s important to collect special memories, and what better way than with a photograph.

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There are many people in the world affected by disease. I never thought I would be one of the many. However, at any given time life can change. Mine did! There were many twists and turns, but I made it through and you can too. I am a Celiac on the move living life one meal at a time. Learn more about my life as a Celiac. Celiac Disease is a lifelong, digestive disorder affecting children and adults. In short, I have an allergy to gluten, and the treatment is a lifelong scrupulous avoidance of it.

No matter what, know this: You are never alone. There are people out there who’ve struggled, endured, made it through and are sharing their message of survival. No, they might not be at your side, but their spirit is out there in words, attempting to help others on their journey. Let’s all unite by sharing our individual stories, remedies for healthy living, food and recipes to keep us strong, and let’s find the laughter too because it can be some of the best medicine. Always remember, there is power in numbers. Check me out: A Celiac On The Move

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A Happy Life Begins At Home (Apr 19, 2010): My home is very important to me. My life between these four walls of privacy I value like no other. It’s immeasurable, and absolutely priceless. It’s an oasis with a cocoon-like feeling, shielding me from the outside manipulative forces of violence and pollution. It allows... Continue Reading
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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