Posts Tagged ‘Laura Matson Hahn’

PURPOSE – Do You Have One?


Whew – its been two years since I’ve posted on this blog.

Lots of Travels and Changes since then.  Including a new dog, inherited from a friend.

Little Moose - well before he was even a thought to come our way.  Happy he did. Sweet Boy.

Little Moose – well before he was even a thought to come our way. Happy he did. Sweet Boy.

Time to restart the engines. Hi Ya’ll.

What got me going is DAVID BROOKS and his New York Times opinion essay on 5-5-15. With his new book THE ROAD TO CHARACTER, he seems to be on a quest to inspire moral conversation. On his website, invites people to post their bucket list, note their hero and share their purpose. He asked readers to answer three questions: 1. Have you Found Your Purpose in Life? 2. If So, How Did You Find It? 3. What Decisively Helped You Get There?

Geez Lousie – that kind of question is right up my alley!

 

My response is posted below.
And I’m curious as to what your answer would be?
Peace – Laura

MY PURPOSE: ‘Live A Heart Centered Life’
By Laura Matson Hahn

When I was in my formative years, 0 to 18, there were five key elements which formulated what became my purpose in life. It was no grand objective to serve the world. It was more like a bet with myself, could I do it? Sixty years hence I can say I did, and still do.

But I hesitate to use the word purpose – for the word has become associated with the great ‘new age’ scurry to tag oneself with a vaulted ideal or cause. All the better if it garners applause, sell books or engenders an “ah-ha” from the divine Miss O. All of which, keeps people focused on external validation for an understanding that is essentially an inside job.

My purpose was the opposite: “To Live A Heart-Centered Life:” To measure my choices from the inside out. To discover my life, my path, with the guidance of my heart. To be true to the spirit I innately felt within. To trust my quiet inner voice.

While there was no one speaking about “heart-centered” living back then, the adage of follow your heart was ubiquitous and universal. But How to do that was the question I pursued, leading to a most interesting career, diverse study, world travel, good friends, spouse and a book on that very subject.

The five key elements of my youth were:

FIRST: A vivid dream at ten, envisioning a book I would write much later, after I’d acquired some life experience. (this has happened).

SECOND: Around the same age, observing my mother’s duties in raising 8 children led to my declaration not to have children. (never did, never regretted)

THIRD: While cooking dinner, my mother played musicals on the stereo to entertain her children. I became enchanted by a line from The Unsinkable Molly Brown: “I mean much more to me than I mean to anybody I ever knew.” It married my soul. I had to know what that felt like. It sounded good. (and it is).

FOURTH: Growing up in the age of Bo Derek, I longed for a mentor to show me how life works, to tell me what to do. I did not get that mentor. But I got several others who showed me myself and how to apply that in my life choices. (much better)

FIFTH: In my senior High School year, my father had a heart attack and open heart surgery. I witnessed his dramatic life switch from a crew-cut company man to a singer and dancer in local Gilbert and Sullivan productions, taking Chinese cooking and modern dance classes, growing his hair and a beard and learning the art of a well placed valium when the stress of his bosses was too high.

The last solidified my choice to live my life NOW: to risk not being the same as everyone. To strike out on my own with no Daddy Warbucks back up. To make every choice based on the trueness it felt within me, regardless of other’s options. To avoid external measures.

Was it easy? Nawww. It takes a pretty strong constitution to swim up stream. I didn’t marry young and have children. I didn’t want to raise someone else to live their life true. I wanted to know the truth of me, in this body, on this earth, at this time. I wanted to feel ALIVE like Maggie The Cat and Auntie Mame. I did things my family didn’t understand. I sought out knowledge about the spirit and sociology, participating in a wide range of classes and movements, harvesting what was right for me and letting the rest go. Each decade revealed new challenges, understanding, temperance, disappointment, excitement and love until finally I was ready to write the book on just that subject and LO! science had caught up with my initial sensibilities.

In the 1990’s Paul Pearsall and Doc Childre premiered books on the factual discoveries of the Heart’s Intelligence separate from the brain and the actual existence of the heart’s wisdom. It spurred me to add my voice to that knowledge with the creation of the novel, THE HEART CODE, illustrating the hows and means for hearing and heeding one’s heart. And I wrapped it around the facts of an ancient civilization, the original Bohemians, Circa 3000 BCE (who inspired your own work, Mr. Brooks: Bohos In Paradise).

So in essence, my philosophic choice turned into my purpose many years later.

As Gamma says to her granddaughter in The Heart Code:
“To make dream is good, is part of life. Is how we know ourselves, test ourselves . . . but maybe is only small part of journey. More important, maybe, is what happen along the way. The people we meet. The laughter we find. The trouble we work through. Things we cannot know or imagine. Things we cannot dream. Things that come out of following our dream. This, I think, is what life is really for. To find out who we are from what we face, with courage, with creativity, with truth. This is why we have life, I think. Dreams are just something to do while we learn how to live.”

I think that is true for the majority of people who live as best they can from a good interior set of values. From my experience, the only thing I have to pass on to every generation is this: We now know we are mostly the same, in our DNA. So what makes us unique is our path. The key skill for finding that path is hearing your own heart voice. Everything we need to maximize our learning and loving on this planet is already in one’s heart. In essence: It’s An Inside Job.

**** Now, if you like, Share Yours! ***

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And Now Presenting …..


For those who haven’t heard ….

THE HEART CODE Novel is now released to the world!  TaDa!  Long time a’coming but very pleased with the result.

Below is the press release.EBook_Heart_Code_Cover04

It can be ordered via AMAZON.com or http://www.createspace.com/3666028 and soon it can be bought in the New Hope Farley’s bookstore and the Doylestown Bookstore.  I’m working on other independent bookstores as well.  Do you have a favorite? Please send me the contact info so I can follow up! 

Thanks to all for your support over the years.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

And when you do read it – give us a call!  We love to hear what readers think! 

This photo is the one I used in the back of the book.DSC_2143

  It was taken in the creek in our back yard!Betty Watson Nugent

And here are some of my family and friends who are “Showing Their Heart Code.”

Do send your picture with the book to add to the collection. Thanks!

My Dad, Richard Francis Hahn

My Dad, Richard Francis Hahn

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Lindsay Leggin

Lindsay Leggin

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Julie Bowman Williams

Julie Bowman Williams

Judy Miller

My Brother John Nugent Hahn

My Brother John Nugent Hahn

Janet Christie

Janet Christie

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Elaine DeGuise Lynn

Elaine DeGuise Lynn

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LOCAL AUTHOR RELEASES FIRST NOVEL:

 

THE HEART CODE by Laura Matson Hahn

 

A Delicious, Literary, Winter Read

 

NEW HOPE, PA, November 9, 2013 – After numerous drafts, editors, book clubs and friends input over 14 years, the release of THE HEART CODE novel by Laura Matson Hahn has finally arrived.  A very local production, the book was first edited by Bernadette McBride, a recent Bucks County Poet Laureate; and lastly by Gerald Monigan, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and now a Bucks County Herald featured reporter.  In between, Ms. Hahn, who worked two decades as a Communications Strategist for organizations, spent the last decade as a freelance journalist, nonfiction author and creative writing teacher while composing this novel, the first of a series.

 

THE HEART CODE is a universal story of a young woman’s quest to hear and heed her heart’s voice. Set in 1930’s Connecticut, Czechoslovakia’s Bohemia and New York City, this heartwarming, inspirational adventure follows three friends, two families and one unforgettable grandmother over two continents and four years as it reveals the map for discovering one’s own heart wisdom … and the secrets of the Bohemian Way carried in six copper bracelets. An old fashioned tale with strong characters, robust action, and contemporary themes, it presents a tonic to quench the thirst of anyone seeking to find their own true path. Part Coming of Age story for every age, it also encompasses Romance, Adventure and Family dynamics as it focuses on personal growth and resurgence through visionary wisdom based on modern day heart-science and the lore of the historic, original Bohemians, the Boii Celts, circa 3000 BCE; all wrapped around a wise and loving grandmother anyone would love to call their own.

 

The inspiration for the book came in 1999, when Ms. Hahn was traveling in France. A sleepless early morning brought an idea of a childless, traveling Aunt who wrote letters to nephews and nieces, to help them stay true to themselves.  When asked how this Aunt knew what she shares, Ms. Hahn began an exploration of the Aunt’s family – her parents and grandparents, which brought her to the grandmother character of Gamma and her homeland of Bohemia. 

 

While Ms. Hahn is an intuitive writer, letting the characters lead the story, she does extensive research for all the ideas which crop up in her imagination.  Early in the writing process, she searched Amazon for books conveying her subject of heart-centered living and found the non-fiction book: The Heart’s Code by Paul Pearsall, which documented the modern day scientific investigation of the heart’s intelligence capabilities, separate from the brain. That book documented the fact of 10% of heart transplant patients having completely new interests, passions and tastes that were identical to their donors, despite having never met them.  “That science is finally catching up to the universal notion of Following One’s Heart was very invigorating,” says Hahn.

 

Another area of investigation stemmed from the homeland of the Gamma character.  “When the word Bohemia came into my mind, I immediately researched where that was and why it was called Bohemia,” Hahn said.  “Turns out, the original settlers of the territory that became the Kingdom of Bohemia and an independent country from 600 AD to 1919, (and is now the Czech Republic), were actually a Celtic tribe called “Boii.”  Bohemia literally translates to: Home of the Boii.  The novel covers the history of the Boii Celts extensively and has woven the modern day heart research into the lore of the grandmother’s Bohemian philosophy, in which each heart carries its own code; a point postulated by the contemporary heart scientists.    

 

The first draft of the book covered a wide swath of time, incorporating the original Aunt as a little girl along with the grandmother “Gamma.”  “But it was not ready for prime time,” Hahn quipped. “My very supportive husband delivered the straight truth when he called it a nice term paper.”  While that could have crushed a lesser committed writer, Ms. Hahn buckled down, focusing on Gamma as a driving force in the first book.  As it turned out, the Aunt doesn’t even show up in this first book of the series.  “What is nice about the Term Paper is that I already have the second and third books outlined, once again documenting the heart-centered philosophy of  paying attention to what shows up because to everything there is a season and reason.”

 

The beautiful cover for the book was created by Artist Julie Costanzo of Portland Oregon.  She worked virtually with Ms. Hahn for over a year to create the oil painting that now wraps the book with a delicious mystique.  “Julie and I met via facebook, never in person, yet,” noted Hahn. “We share the love of a book cover that beckons you to gaze at it, after reading a chapter.  She began with a photograph of a large heart –shaped rock from my local ravine and we developed the imagery together.  But the final beauty of the cover is all Julie’s.  I couldn’t be more pleased or proud of it.” 

 

Ms. Hahn and her husband, John Matson, are long term residents of New Hope, PA and published the book under the moniker Conversation Farm. It is available via Amazon and www.createspace.com/3666028, and select independent bookstores, including Farley’s in New Hope and the Doylestown Bookstore. Additionally, Laura Matson Hahn loves to meet with book clubs, in person or via skype.  “We actually sat with four book clubs in the early stages of the book’s development and gained so much from the reader’s input.”  Now, with book two in the development hot seat, she looks forward to hearing what readers of THE HEART CODE will have to share.  For more information Laura can be contacted at theheartcodebook@gmail.com.

 

The Heart Code, Published by Conversation Farm 2013, ISBN 978-0-9890495-0-4

 

Search Words: Fiction:Coming of Age, Fiction:Visionary-Wisdom, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Romance, Adventure, Young Adult, Grandmother Lit, Soul-Searching Spirituality, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia’s Bohemians, Ancient Celts, Boii Celts, Dr. Paul Pearsall, The Heart’s Code.

 

 

 

BOOK BLURB:

 

THE HEART CODE NOVEL: Ancient Truth, Modern Wisdom

 

An Inward Journey to the Heart’s Wisdom.

 

When sixteen-year-old Bertra Vogen fled Bohemia in 1870 for an arranged marriage to a New York City hardware merchant, she believed she had left behind her most egregious mistake. But sixty years later, now a widow living in Connecticut with her son and daughter-in-law, she feels compelled to return to her beloved homeland with her 16-year-old granddaughter, Celeste, in the hope that her only heir will embrace the wonder of their Bohemian heritage and discover the wisdom of her own Heart Code. But Celeste’s mother Myrtle, an Irish immigrant, has other plans for that very same summer. With an eye on the richest family in town, she had already wrangled a series of party invitations to introduce Celeste to society, in the hope of securing the best husband for her daughter and a high place in society for herself. But the next four years do not unfold according to anyone’s plans as Celeste struggles to find her own way, torn between her mother’s social climbing desires and her grandmother’s counsel to follow the yes in her heart. If only she could be sure what that meant. “How will I know what’s true for me?” Celeste asks Gamma. “How do I find my contentment?”

 

The Heart Code is a universal story of a young woman’s quest to hear and heed her heart’s voice. Set in 1930’s Connecticut, Czechoslovakia’s Bohemia and New York City, this heartwarming, inspirational adventure follows three friends, two families and one unforgettable grandmother over two continents and four years as it reveals the map for discovering one’s own heart wisdom … and the secrets of the Bohemian Way carried in six copper bracelets. An old fashioned tale with strong characters, robust action, and contemporary themes, it presents a tonic to quench the thirst of anyone seeking to find their own unique, true path. Part Coming of Age story for every age, it also encompasses Romance, Adventure and Family dynamics as it focuses on personal growth and resurgence through visionary wisdom based on modern day heart-science and the lore of the historic, original Bohemians, the Boii Celts, circa 3000 BCE; all wrapped around a wise and loving grandmother anyone would love to call their own.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In her earliest years, Laura Matson Hahn was drawn to writing and knew someday she would write a novel. But to have something worth writing about, she spent several decades experiencing life while cobbling together a career working with words in different industries, and became published in multiple non-fiction formats. This is her first novel. She lives alongside a creek in New Hope PA, with her beloved husband John and their dog, Miss Daisy, who loves to be driven in their vintage red truck.

 

 

 

 

“Dum-Dum-de-Dum” A Most Happy Occassion


April 27, 2013 — HILLSBORO BEACH, FL – The Wedding of Matt Lawskowski to Pamela Borden.

A Most Happy Occasion … you remember yours, right? Even if the marriage ended abruptly or occasionally careens into a train wreck, somehow the wedding day remains untarnished … as it should be … with an indelible feeling that is hard to explain …. but oh, what a feeling.

Today, I’m reporting on that feeling at the Wedding of Pamela Borden to GRHS Class of ’73 Matt Lawskowski … at a most sumptuous setting in Hillsboro, Florida – April 27th, 2013.

"Yes ... its in the kiss"

“Yes … its in the kiss”

Why were John and I invited?

Well, through the magic of Facebook, I reconnected with Matt a few years back. We went to the 1973 GRHS Graduation Ball.  I always had a cozy feeling about Matt, and it was nice to find he is still that cozy, funny, laid-back dude. Two years ago, John and I visited him in Boca Raton. He took us out on his boat with his cohort friend Larry, and we caught up on life stories. Then he lamented about finding someone to love  (divorced with two grown kids). It soon became apparent (ie: I grilled him) that he and his friend Larry troll for the young chickies.  WHAAA??? Come on, man, young chickies are looking for money and babies (to secure more money).  So we …”encouraged” ….  Matt to seek love by getting involved in things he loves to do: Opera, Nature, Howling at the Moon Parties in the Everglades … which is exactly where he met the lovely Pamela Borden.  The very next year, he brought her to our Cedar Key home where we witnessed their love blossoming  (ok, they were sex kittens that weekend) …. and a year later, we are invited to their wedding!   Nice Story thus far, eh!

Hillboro Beach, FL is north of Ft Lauderdale, at the beginning of the inlet to the inter coastal at the top of Pompano Beach.

Gazzebo leading out to the beach

Gazzebo leading out to the beach

Daisy and John on the Ocean side of the Inlet

Daisy and John on the Ocean side of the Inlet

Daisy doing her daisy thing with a little one

Daisy doing her daisy thing with a little one

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Two of 4 1920's cottages

Two of 4 1920’s cottages

It is host to a distinctive black and white lighthouse at the inlet entrance and four 1920’s cottages – fully equipped and beautifully outfitted and maintained by a resort right next to the property — and all of it available to retired military – whom our dear Matt is (Mr. Top Gun with 200 plus missions under his belt).  So he requisitioned two cottages for his wedding to Pamela and graciously gave John, Daisy and me a room to enjoy on this little spot of heaven.

We were joined in the house by Matt’s brother Mark & his wonderful wife Amy who came from Washington State …

Mark and Amy Lawskowski

Mark and Amy Lawskowski

and Matt’s Fraternity brother Greg and his wife Pat – who are now located in Key West – seen here working on the table centerpieces.

The house was also the gathering place for the families and all in all had a very cool vibe.

flowering center of the centerpieces

flowering center of the centerpieces

Fraternity Bro Greg and his wife PAT beribbon the centerpieces

Fraternity Bro Greg and his wife PAT beribbon the centerpieces

How does she get her mouth around a large coconut???

How does she get her mouth around a large coconut???

The night before the wedding, after a supper with the family, Matt, Pam, Mark, Amy and Greg and Pat were entertained by a spirited and amusing conversation that sprang up between John Matson and Matt’s Kids:

Christine 28

Andrew 26 ?

and Christine’s wonderful  boyfriend Jose.

Matrk & Amy and Pam and Matt Keeping an amused distance from the "discussion" with the kids

Matrk & Amy and Pam and Matt Keeping an amused distance from the “discussion” with the kids

.

So ... do you think they are brothers?

So … do you think they are brothers?

Meeting of the Minds (and they were all good ones)

Meeting of the Minds (and they were all good ones)

Matt's Daughter: Christine with boyfriend Jose

Matt’s Daughter: Christine with boyfriend Jose

Let me first say:, the “kids” were really cool people.  Each of them is super educated (multiple degrees), super nice and super interested in fixing the world’s incongruities and injustices.

Each of them is socially conscious, and passionate about rights and wrongs.

And at least two of them strenuously believes that their future is seriously compromised without a concerted recovery action (think: Student Loan relief) …..

And they are pissed off that the rich kids get all the good jobs. (so what’s new?)

And they seriously believe they face a more difficult world than any previous generation (despite having  multiple degrees and world travels far exceeding any generation prior) …  AND from their POV – we — that’s you and me, darling — have had a privileged life! PRIVILEGED!  Really?  What part of my life was privileged?  Working as a meat wrapper in HS?  Or was it the Nabisco factory job?  Or the College Cafeteria?  Or – oh, was it the cold-calling radio sales job after grad school?

Matt's Son: Andrew - Aerospace Engineer (who desires to be a HS Math Teacher)

Matt’s Son: Andrew – Aerospace Engineer (who desires to be a HS Math Teacher)

Mr. Patience

Mr. Patience

John engaged them into a conversation about how they see the world — very contentious and stimulating. It got heated at times … and the wine and cognac bottles were quickly emptied.  I don’t think there was much resolved  – each generation sees the world as they have been conditioned to see it via their upbringing.  And each has their own challenges and burdens.

I do recall having many of the same upsets when I was their age — about how the truly privileged kids got an easy pass while we (I) had to work multiple jobs in many different venues to keep body and soul together – But I kept at it and it worked out and all those different jobs actually did add up, eventually, giving me the range of skills necessary for the dream job I didn’t know was coming … and it was the best surprise ever.

Every generations tends to think their path is more difficult than the previous generation’s — but it is not so. Everything has a balance and to those who much is given, much is expected.  No doubt: the children of the babyboomers got a lot – maybe more than was good for them. But – that was the shuffle of their cards and your best bet in life is to play the hand you’re dealt … with as much positive energy as you can muster. Because, really, what’s the use of complaining?  Get up, Get Out and Do Something ….and watch your path unfold.

WEDDING DAY.

DEELicious Swim in the inlet bay .....

DEELicious Swim in the inlet bay …..

Glorious, beautiful morning.  Beach Walk.  Swim in the Inlet — ohhhh what invigorating water.

Yep - this is how it felt!

Yep – this is how it felt!

Daisy Scores a Coconut on the morning beach walk.

Daisy Scores a Coconut on the morning beach walk.

South View from the Cottages - That's Popano Beach on the other side of the inlet

South View from the Cottages – That’s Popano Beach on the other side of the inlet

While in the water, I met 4 amazing 30 year old women who were smart, savvy, spirited and sassy – who did not feel what Matt’s kids were feeling. They were busy making plans and seizing opportunities – of which they saw many.  Good. My faith in a generation is restored.

After Lunch we built the Wedding Bower with two of Pam’s friends, (Diane and Mabway – I think that’s her name)

Building the Wedding Bower

Building the Wedding Bower

Yes - Yes - the flowers will work just perfect there!

Yes – Yes – the flowers will work just perfect there!

OK  - We are getting there!

OK – We are getting there!

Diane was a fun helper

Diane was a fun helper

Then set up the chairs and tables until we finally had to get dressed and join the gathering crowd.

John led the setting of the chairs on a magnificent day!

John led the setting of the chairs on a magnificent day!

Pam - the Bride to Be - checks in with her happy crew.

Pam – the Bride to Be – checks in with her happy crew.

Matt and his Mom: Henryka

Matt and his Mom: Henryka

Then Matt came out in his wedding outfit – wow!  What a cool dude.

Pam has a previous history in Hawaii – so she had Lei’s sent over for her groom and family.  It was such a fitting touch on a piece of Florida land that uncannily looks like Hawaii.

Matt’s Mom Henryka – an operatic Diva in her day – is 93 amazing years with the same panache I saw in her when I was 18.

Then the wedding began.  Matt and Larry stood by the bower –

Matt and Larry await Pam's entrance

Matt and Larry await Pam’s entrance

and Pam made her entrance . . . .

The Bride Arrives

The Bride Arrives

Oh My!  We all gasped.  She looked Marvelous in a sinuous white dress with a crown of flowers around her head – from Hawaii, too.

Gorgeous Back of the Dress

Gorgeous Back of the Dress

A beautiful, beautiful  bride

A beautiful, beautiful bride

The ceremony was an interesting mix of Star Trek Satire, Storytelling and unabashed adoration.

With Matt as master of ceremonies, he orchestrated Larry as the minister “under the powers invested in me by the “Chronosynclastic Infundibulum” 

The what of the what????

(crow-n0-sin-class-tick In-fun-dib-u-lum)

This is a Kurt Vonnegut creation, first defined in the novel SIRENS OF TITAN as “those places … where all the different kinds of truths fit together.” The story line features characters from different planets and each planet has its own set of truths …. that are not necessarily true on the other planets … but the space in between the planets is the place where all those truths can co-exist peacefully.

Vonnegut notes that any detailed description of this phenomenon would baffle the layman, but any comprehensible explanation would insult an expert. Consequently, he “quotes” an article from a (fictional) children’s encyclopedia. According to this article, since the Universe is so large, there are many possible ways to observe it, all of which are equally valid, because people from across the Universe can’t communicate with each other (and therefore can’t get into an argument). The chronosynclastic infundibula are places where these “ways to be right” coexist.”

Now isn’t that just like MATT’S way of thinking?  You betcha!

During the Ceremony, and in concert with each other, Matt and Pam told the story of their meeting … at a weekend Howl At The Moon Everglades party.  Matt had shown up late and was riding his bike to catch up with the group of bicyclists …. but he soon tired of the race so he threw his bike down by a brook and sprawled out on the grass.  After a while, Pamela, who had tired of riding in the bicycle pack, ditched the group and turned back toward camp when she came upon Matt’s sprawled out body by the brook.  “Are you OK?” she asked the prone figure.  I forget if Matt told us his response but I’d hazard a guess that somewhere in his being he said ….”I am now!”

Well …. that was the beginning of Matt’s being very OK!

Matt and Pamela made several commitments in their service, but the one I liked best was the commitment to “RELAXED ADVENTURES”GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Later on I found out they both own and ride motorcycles …. which became the basis of the Honeymoon travels up through FL to NC and back.

It is quite wonderful to see these two fully independent individuals find a niche between them that lead to a Most Happy Occasion.

Oh yes, and there is more!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAMatt's Family - Andrew, Christine, Jose, Amy, Mark

Matt’s Family – Andrew, Christine, Jose, Amy, Mark
Daisy and John's Pirate Pants (they were perfect for this wedding!)

Daisy and John’s Pirate Pants (they were perfect for this wedding!)

After the Ceremony, drinking resumed (it was a very happy partying crowd) and dinner was served under the tent and soon dancing began – (“Everyone was moving, Everyone was groovin’ Baby) It was all good.

Pam’s family was wonderful too – her Mom, her Aunt, her Sisters and nephews and nieces — flying kites on the property. Pam's Mom and Aunt

Pam’s Mom and Aunt

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThe kids and kites had a ball!

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The joys kept bubbling up.

The Post-Wedding March Ukelele Player

The Post-Wedding March ukulele Player

Laura and Matt - both very happy for each other.

Laura and Matt – both very happy for each other.

Happy Happy

Happy Happy

Bower still standing, framing Pompano Beach

Bower still standing, framing Pompano Beach

Matt and Pam have many lovely friends

Matt and Pam have many lovely friends

Blue Moon ... Now I'm no longer alone ... without a song in my heart!"

Blue Moon … Now I’m no longer alone … without a song in my heart!”

The First Dance was serenaded by Jose and Christine, along with several other songs.  (Jose, I’d like to note here, is an aspiring musician – however we were so impressed with his thinking skills – a great mind he has).

First Dance Viewers

First Dance Viewers

Christine and Jose Singing and Playing

Christine and Jose Singing and Playing

Mom got her dance, too!

Mom got her dance, too!

Everyone was happy for the happy couple

Everyone was happy for the happy couple

Cup Cake Tower for Wedding Cake

Cup Cake Tower for Wedding Cake

Yum

Yum

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Mawbry had to jet out on the beach to sober up.

Mawbry had to jet out on the beach to sober up.

Sunsetting on the day

Sunsetting on the day

This is the couple who hosted the everglades party that began the romance.

This is the couple who hosted the everglades party that began the romance.

John cools out on the beach for a few

John cools out on the beach for a few

And I soon join him

And I soon join him

Middle of the night I awoke and took this shot of the full moon by the lighthouse!

Middle of the night I awoke and took this shot of the full moon by the lighthouse!

And this shot of the sunrise from our room ....

And this shot of the sunrise from our room ….

And nearly the same shot during Sunday Morning from the porch of the cottage.

And nearly the same shot during Sunday Morning from the porch of the cottage.

We won't soon forget this lighthouse or fantastic weekend, celebrating two kids in love.

We won’t soon forget this lighthouse or fantastic weekend, celebrating two kids in love.

-CONGRATULATIONS,PAMELA AND MATT:  May all your days be loving, relaxing and exciting.

xoxo – Laura & John and Daisy!

"Yes ... its in the kiss"

“Yes … its in the kiss”

FEBRUARY – OFF TO THE RACES


Whew – whirl-winding our way through a short month makes it go all the faster.

Painting Buckets All Ready to Go at the Art Center

Painting Buckets All Ready to Go at the Art Center

I know many people feel, and dislike, the warp speed of modern living – our days whipping by, our time not our own, our moments blurring one to the next with barely a breath to appreciate.

How did it get this way? I remember hearing my parent’s friend’s converse about how “fast time goes”.  Still a little girl myself, I was anxious for those days to come upon me.  As a child, life went so slooooowly, sitting on the curb, trying to think up something to do, waiting until I turned xteen to do whatever.  Everything took soooooo long. But I don’t think my parent’s and their friends were operating at the break-neck speed our time seems to require. Is it technology driven?  Despite having more options to communicate – most seem to do less, having no time for tea, a chat, an evening together, a phone conversation, a hand written note, letter, thank you.  We just keep speeding along.

Even here, in little Cedar Key, the pace of doing can create a slippery slope of too much.

Too Much Doing.  — Never thought I’d hear myself say that – because I love doing.

However, it has become very apparent the the right kind of doing is essential for balanced maintenance.

tree in balance

tree in balance

Take Yoga, for example.  A wonderful woman named Kathy conducts free yoga classes on the island. They are wonderful. They have a devoted following.  I wanted to be part of that following but the Festival work truly sucks up all my time.  I can’t seem to break away at 2 for 2 hours (yoga is an hour and 15 – but on CK – the pop-up conversations extend the time commitment.  The last time I went was in late January – I know because when I decided to pop in again last week, I discovered a folder in my yoga bag with some important papers that had gone missing. Fortunately it all worked out fine – but it was a good reminder to keep a balanced doing – and I’m happy to report we’ve “done” a few fun things over the past month.

SEAHORSE ISLAND TOUR

The first weekend of Feb we toured Seahorse Key = a gorgeous island off Cedar Key with a LightHouse. It only open 2x’s a year – because it is a bird rookery – where the sea birds nest undisturbed – and the cottonmouth snakes lie beneath their nests, feasting on the fish that gets dropped – while keeping away the rats and racoons who would raid those nests, if they had a chance.  They say there are nearly a 1000 snakes on that island. We saw not a one. (However, I did nearly step on one during our walk in the scrub one day — and I’m told I made quite a LEAP over it.  Both the snake and I were terrified)

Seahorse Island Light House

Seahorse Island Light House

Up the tower steps

Up the tower steps

One Way

One Way

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Classic

Classic

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cacti growing in the chiminey

cacti growing in the chiminey

Lemon Trees on the Island were FULL and we were welcome to pick

Lemon Trees on the Island were FULL and we were welcome to pick

Finally met up with Captain LLOYD at the Island!

Finally met up with Captain LLOYD at the Island!

Jeff's Happy at the Top

Jeff’s Happy at the Top

top view

top view

top view

ART OPENING – MOSAICS

That same day we also popped into the opening reception for the Art Center’s monthly exhibit – this time featuring  Mosaics . OH, WOW.  beautiful and  stunning work. I had no idea mosaics could be so painterly.  We scored the mosaic that is the FESTIVAL DESIGN selection at the art auction last month.  Now I see more work that makes my heart pitta-pat.

Winning Mosaic!

Winning Mosaic!

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SARAHS CLOTHING

Also on exhibit was Sarah’s Clothing Art. Sarah is a full time resident who loves to create with fabric.  She works part time at the consignment shop and has first pick of the cool stuff – that she then reworks into even more cooler stuff.  I felt MORE WOW! She epitomizes the spirit of “Gotta keep creating to have a happy life”.

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AIRPORT

While at SEAHORSE ISLAND, we met a couple who were oddly dressed for the island trip: big leather handbag, italian loafers, but we got to talking with them and discovered they had just flown in from the PALM COAST in their two-seater CHINESE WAR PLANE.  They were with 5 other planes and would be taking off on Sunday – flying in formation around the island before heading back for home.  Sunday morning, I suggested we go over to the airport and check out the planes and I’m glad I called it when I did because when we arrived, they were all getting ready to take off.  1950’s Chinese War Planes – 2 seaters – circa the Korean War – very interesting and they they took off, giving us a great air show as they fell into formation and circled around Cedar Key several times before flying off.

Our friend Martin told me he saw one of them earlier in the morning, who had left before the rest of the group, as he flew by his house.  But then the pilot circled back after he saw Martin’s HUGE American flag – the one he got from a battleship (sorry, I forget which one) he’d been stationed on. The flag, which Martin only flies on Sundays and Holidays – caused the pilot to swing back around, maneuvering his plane to cause the flag to “dip”.   A way of showing R-E-S-P-E-C-T  …. Tell you what it means to me …..

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TIKI BAR COCKTAILS

After nearly two months here, we finally got to the cool, funky, handbuilt out of lumber and old bottles TIKI BAR – which is attached to the Low Key Motel, where the best sunsets are caught.  They now have a full liquor license and made some nice martinis to go along with the sunset.

 

STARGAZING HAYRIDE

We also enjoyed a “Hayride” though the scrub for a star gazing tour.  There is an annual, weeklong event where serious stargazers gather in Cedar Key and part of their program includes a ride through the scrub with a star expert and a naturalist.  Although it was a cloudy night – and there was no hay (only molded plastic boxes), the clouds parted, we saw stars and had a good time.  Nice to get out into the wilds at night yet still feel safe.

We also went to the Valentines Dance on the 14th , followed by an impromtu dinner at our house  on Friday the 14th with Lonna & Martin and Linda and Chris Reynolds, followed by a date to the BLACK DOG CAFE for dancing at the 3rd year anniversary (John and Linda made a hit on the dance floor!) followed by a peek at model T fords from a group that came to town, followed by a big blow up between John and me – we were very raw and tired out from all and everything – but we worked it out – and it was a good stress relief!

“WAY DOWN UPON THE SUAWNEE RIVER, FAR FAR FROM HOME”

Getting out onto the water is what it’s all about here for us.  So when Bill Roberts suggested we cruise down the Suawnee River – having lunch in the town of Salt Creek at the mouth of the Suawnee – there was nothing to say or do but GO!

So Jeff and Suzanne Krieble joined us on that wide, wild river.  We saw one small alligator.  That kind of put a damper on it for me — all that wonderful water but no swimming??!!  Someone later said the alligators don’t bother you but I’m not sure I want to find out, personally. We were also told that GIANT STURGEON is the real hazard in the Suawnee.  They pop up and out and have caused many a boating accident and even death – because they are huge and come flying out of the water, knocking people out.  Didn’t see any but would love to catch one.  Have you ever heard John Matson’s story on catching a sturgeon in the Canadian wilds? That’s a good one – ask him!

Captain Bill Roberts

Captain Bill Roberts

Suzanne

Suzanne

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Suawnee Area

Suawnee Area

sights along the water

sights along the water

SLIDE into Alligator water

SLIDE into Alligator water

Suawnee Man

Suawnee Man

TENT TIME

Last year we were given a great pop up tent by my brother John and sister-in-law, Lisa. While my John resisted it for a while, once it was up, he was delighted having a tent over his outdoor office table.  But it got crushed in a pop up storm (remember that from last year’s blog? The very night of a big party we were deluged by sudden rain and wind – ripping apart our backyard set up and then disappearing just as quickly – leaving us to reset up and enjoy the evening)

Anywho … so we (I) researched tents whenever I could squeeze it in – finally settling on one that balanced cost and strength.

Now my husband is the most brilliant strategist and thinker I’ve ever met. But as an engineer – not so much.  So I was delighted when Jeff volunteered to help.  Whew – a good way to avoid marital squabbles. The Kernel (as I call him – completely spelling it wrong on purpose), came over with his ever-present cigar and took charge – in such a nice way – and up the new tent went – taller than last years, with screens and RED!  The Kernel likes to call it the party whore house.  But I want to tell you all the ladies love the color, so there you have it.  We are up and ready for the month of March when three sets of friends are swooping in for a CK visit.

Jeff and John (Kernel & Thatch)

Jeff and John (Kernel & Thatch)

Kernel Jeff

Kernel Jeff

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My Hammock

My Hammock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOAT BUILDING

The Kernel likes to call John “Thatch” …. short for “Mr. Thatcher” as he is always having to accommodate his life to my work schedule.  One of the things he is doing is actually building a model of a boat he admires.  Billy Mac gave him that model kit year ago and I gave John grief for bringing it down, sure it would sit around here as it had in New Hope. But he is proving me wrong – albeit cursing the directions at the same time – an building this thing.  It may be tossed in the ocean at the end – but I’m proud his is “getting it “done”

Da Boat!

Da Boat!

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taking a break

taking a break

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“YOU SAY ITS YOUR BIRTHDAY”

Feb 19 is my day to reflect – and on this year, my 58th, I feel a bit sanguine.  Due to some shows we’ve been watching and some books I’ve been reading,  it is front and center how my personal if isn’t what one would call “significant”  That’s the term a woman on HOUSE OF CARDS used to describe her ambition.

Don’t take me wrong – I don’t feel my life has been insignificant.  I can feel its value, created by caring about life, people and an authentic journey that still has me feeling whole and true. A far, far better feeling than I witness in those (on TV and real life) who squander their own integrity to “get ahead” to become “significant” or “powerful” or rich at any cost.

In the world I live in, I am not a “player” – by choice.  Somehow, I recognized that many of the superior things one can achieve in life come at a cost to one’s very soul – and that was not my goal this time around.  I have never been one who strives to be a politician or kingpin who use power OVER others, to gain control.  Yet that is what seems necessary to get celebrated in life.  Those people — who hoist power over others, to have their own way,  rather than sharing power with others for mutual benefit — seem to get all the attention.  While all around I see many more people who live life true and quietly and honestly – and uncelebrated.  I’ve never wanted fame – but I do hope I will yet have the opportunity to bring attention to the heart-centered life, rather than the head-centered ego-busting-BS that gets passed off as “success”. That is my wish for this Birthday.

We celebrated quietly – starting off with a lovely painted sign waiting for me when I opened the back door. Sweet Johnny.

And a nice coconut cake, my favorite

And a shopping trip to Gainesville where John kept getting me to try on clothes (which I hate to do) but he is so good at picking them out!

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WOK THIS WAY

One of the downsides of WORKING the Art Festival is the inability to enjoy our Cowboy Cooker. Making a fire to cook dinner outside is just too time consuming in the schedule right now – but the other day, I stopped by the local RV and picked up some wood so I could make dinner in the new WOK that Larry had made for me.   It felt so good to build the fire and prep the food and wok it into deliciousness.  It was what I was missing in our Cedar Key life and it felt so good to be back at it.

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Cocktails and Dinner continue to be a very important part of our day – and we make delicious ones nearly every night.  But it is the reason why I get up so early to get things done …. so when the day’s done, John and I can settle in with each other over drinks and a good meal.

Hamsteak dressed up with Blue Moon Acres Micro Greens!!

Hamsteak dressed up with Blue Moon Acres Micro Greens!!

SUDDEN STORM

On Tuesday morning (feb 26) I heard rumbling around 6am and rose – to increasing winds sheers that eventually burst into a drenching storm – cracking off tree limbs and crushing a dock and generally reeking havoc.  I watched our tent sway – but fortunately it was not in the path of the crushing whip of very bad weather that cruised past the front of our house.  The tent stayed strong as the puddles piled up.

drenching!

drenching!

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Afterwards, I walked Daisy and took some shotsGEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

— glad to share with you the Osprey fledglings who are making such a noise these last few days as they test out their prowess in the sky.

split cedar (smelled so nice)

split cedar (smelled so nice)

Also a shot of the WIKI boat around the corner from us.  I just love the look of this boat – a cross between the African Queen and My Little Tug Boat.GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s off to March now — MARCH FORTH! – where we will have John Pascoe and Cindy Matossian & George Saunders and son-in-law Scott stopping by for a visit … as the days speed toward the April Festival!

Hope spring tickles you all soon.  Happy to have you in our lives.

xo  Laura & John & Daisy.

A MONTH OF MONDAYS


MUSINGS

Sunrise at the Beach

Sunrise at the Beach

“Monday-Monday, Can’t Trust That Day” Mamas and Papas.

A song representing the weekly grind to me.

January was a month of Mondays for me – and John was stoic through it all.

The Art Festival Job has been super demanding – we had to Jury the Artists for the show, Run the Annual Fundraiser, Secure Sponsors, Line Up Press, Design a Marketing Plan and Map out the streets for booths plus, plus, plus.  Believe me, many of those jobs will be spread out over many more months next year but for now, much loss of sleep = good progress and I think I’ve hit the crest of the rollercoaster – not for a wheeee ride down, but at least not quite the grueling slog up.

Along the way we had a bit of fun …. An Art Retrospective Opening – A Parade – A Boat Trip to the Islands

More Important – were the connection to people places and things.

There is magic to this town.

John spreading Pine straw over the back yard

John spreading Pine straw over the back yard

My dear Bud Larry - the cowboy cooker creator.

My dear Bud Larry – the cowboy cooker creator.

This is who some roll!

This is who some roll!

Sunrise at the Beach

Sunrise at the Beach

Daisy Mud Bath

Daisy Mud Bath

Although much smaller than New Hope – it is busier – buzzier – and much more friendly.

There is time for conversation – real, face to face talk.

First Draft of the Cracker House.

First Draft of the Cracker House.

Donna Leeward Paints for her contribution to the Art Festival Fundraiser

Donna Leeward Paints for her contribution to the Art Festival Fundraiser

There is place to pause, experiencing the beauty, the elements, the oddities.

There is heart and soul evident in every person we meet – without the northeast barriers to friendship.

We wave to each other as we pass in cars, on bikes, walking, in a golf cart.  (Lets call them Gulf Carts!)

Linda Seyfert cuddling with Daisy on the Couch.

Linda Seyfert cuddling with Daisy on the Couch.

Spirit Day at the HS - were the Senior Cross Dress for a Pagent show.

Spirit Day at the HS – were the Senior Cross Dress for a Pagent show.

We finally got the NYT’s delivered on Sunday – and I really didn’t care.  The style section, which was my go-to-first – bored me.

Who cares what style hats they are wearing in New York City – especially when most looked like vintage Annie Hall and some were hats I wore in the 1980’s?  Who cares about the self proclaimed and self anointed fashionistas?  I’m too busy seeing what SARAH created out of consignment store finds.  Beautiful clothes she creates and wears – talk about Self-Actualization!

Then we experienced the intrusion of the superbowl  …. oooph – the commercials and the pushy pageantry felt like an overwhelming assault.

We really are on a foreign island – connected by a bridge that we don’t long to cross. (OK, except for Trader Joes in Gainesville –  that exception I do make.)

During the month I watched the TV Series “WORLD WITHOUT END”, set in the 1300’s I believe – where the church and royalty were corrupt and selfishly driven.  I saw a lot of parallels to modern day society and wondered just how much progress have we actually made as the human species.  If our TV programs are the harbinger, then we seem to have made precious little progress over the last 2000 years – excepting our sanitation and transportation system. Everything else is “wash, rinse, repeat”

As Humans, our social structures echo the Feudal Lords, Roman Gladiators and Controlling Religious Entities.

It begs the question: WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH OUR TIME HERE ON EARTH?”

Our answer to that question for the month of January is: CONNECTING AND CREATING

John has made good progress on the model Chris-Craft boat Billy gave him so many years ago.

He’s also begun several other art projects.  Thank god he can keep himself entertained.

When I can get out of the “office” (second bedroom with a table and all my files spread out on the bed”) I connect at the free yoga class twice a week and an hour-long morning walks in the scrub and on my bike, riding to town to fulfill errands and on the streets and park – there is always someone to meet and greet on the streets and everyday in the park, where daisy entertains by doing what she loves, chasing the ball.

That’s where I take a breath – looking at a big sky and placid gulf.  Soothing, soothing, soothing.

ACTIVITIES

Jan 18 – The Art Retrospective of Chick Schwartz was amazing.  Ocala FL is about half way across the state. Appleton Museum is swanky.  Chick’s Art is amazing (Chick is our neighbor – an un-repressed creative soul who makes amazing 3-d paintings, bronze sculptures, found object sculptures and is always tinkering…. we hear his shuffling feet each day as he continues to work in his “shop” which is the open air space beneath his house (13 feet in the air) .  The gathering at the Appleton was delicious – many Cedar Key folks attended – all dressed in their finery.  It was exciting and felt …. well, when I asked John what it felt like to him, he said: PARIS SOCIETY, 1920.  YES!  That is what it felt like and it does apply to Cedar Key — Accomplished and emerging and wanna be artists of all disciplines gathering to feed their creative souls –

Here’s what we saw at the Opening Night:

Chris Reynolds, his gorgeous wife Linda Seyfert and My hub John

Chris Reynolds, his gorgeous wife Linda Seyfert and My hub John

On our way to Ocala Art Show -passing through Marion County BIG HORSE COUNTRY

On our way to Ocala Art Show -passing through Marion County BIG HORSE COUNTRY

Artist Examining his Work

Artist Examining his Work

Chick Schwartz and Laura Matson Hahn by his work: Angles on the Head of a Pin

Chick Schwartz and Laura Matson Hahn by his work: Angles on the Head of a Pin

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Is everyone avoiding the Big Fish in the center of the room?

Is everyone avoiding the Big Fish in the center of the room?

Salute!

Salute!

Jockey Ho!

Jockey Ho!

There's a light in the back!

There’s a light in the back!

Kathy Fotterall and Chick conspire to look natural

Kathy Fotterall and Chick conspire to look natural

Carol and Chick's Lovely Wife Marsha! (Gertrude to us)

Carol and Chick’s Lovely Wife Marsha! (Gertrude to us)

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Martin and Lonna Dickenson - all dressed up!! my my

Martin and Lonna Dickenson – all dressed up!! my my

Marsha Schwarts - proud wife of the celebrated artist.  And a fantastic artist herself.

Marsha Schwarts – proud wife of the celebrated artist. And a fantastic artist herself.

Bev and Stanley

Bev and Stanley

Ze Artist Celeb - Chick Schwartz

Ze Artist Celeb – Chick Schwartz

Jan 24: The Parade for the Homecoming Week at the school is an annual event and they year,  Council Woman Sue Collins wanted everyone IN the parade “like one long conga line”. So the OFCA (Old Florida Celebration of the Arts Festival) joined in – making BIG RED our float.  Linda Seyfert came over – squeezing in some time – to do the art for our Frame – and Suzanne and Lauren Krieble found decorations at the Dollar Store (we knew Suzanne could pull this off from her many years in sorority life)  During the Parade, John used the loud speaker system (thank you Frank Deluca) to play “76 Trombones” all through the route. Four of us marched in front of the truck with dogs,  and John noticed people kept looking for the band.  WE were the Band.  It was Fun!

Sue Collins shark-fitted her gulf cart!

Sue Collins shark-fitted her gulf cart!

Masks are fun

Masks are fun

76 Trombones is blasting out the loud speakers

76 Trombones is blasting out the loud speakers

Well Done, Suzanne

Well Done, Suzanne

Viola! We Heart Art and Sharks (mascot)

Viola! We Heart Art and Sharks (mascot)

Lauren Kieble adds some touches

Lauren Kieble adds some touches

Suzanne Kreible leads John in the decoration

Suzanne Kreible leads John in the decoration

Linda creating the frame for the Truck Float.  Suzanne appreciating her finesse

Linda creating the frame for the Truck Float. Suzanne appreciating her finesse

Jan 26: Bev Ringenberg – my go to girl for all things art festival – invited John and I to join them in a boat cruise she’d put together for her family – son, daughter-in-law, cousin Joe (who would be playing at the fundraiser) his wife and sister.  SOOOO nice to get onto the water cruising the bay – stopping on North Key – Touring Atsena Otie – where a graveyard from the 1800’s still exists… it was once THE inhabited Island – until a horrible storm nearly swept everyone away. That’s when they moved buildings to the main island we now call Cedar Key.

It's been battered but still here!

It’s been battered but still here!

Backside of North Key

Backside of North Key

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J-A-N-U-A-R-Y (hehe)

J-A-N-U-A-R-Y (hehe)

Gnarly Sea Monsters

Gnarly Sea Monsters

Visceral Serenity

Visceral Serenity

Sea Horse Key

Sea Horse Key

Dog gone day. Too bad Daisy didn't come too.

Dog gone day. Too bad Daisy didn’t come too.

whoop whoop

whoop whoop

Cormorant

Cormorant

Dock to Atsena Otie Key

Dock to Atsena Otie Key

Grave site on Atsena Otie

Grave site on Atsena Otie

Fenced Grave site

Fenced Grave site

Searching for the birds

Searching for the birds

Jan 27: The Fundraiser was a great community success.  We incorporated Storytellers along with the music afternoon and it was a big hit! Bill Roberts is a beloved “cracker cowboy”, fishing guide and artist – he told some of his cowboy stories, rounding up wild cattle in Florida. Russ Weaver, another artist sketched faces throughout the day. Toni Collins, historian storyteller, shared knowledge of the lighthouse occupants on Seahorse Key – when it was operational in the 1800’s.  And musician Joe Peters played beautifully!  Good fun. Great Fundraiser. and Good silent art auction – to which we heavily contributed.

sketches of the crowd

sketches of the crowd

Tony - the husband of the Mosaic Artist Valerie (who's piece I won in the silent auction)

Tony – the husband of the Mosaic Artist Valerie (who’s piece I won in the silent auction)

Love Bill's leg sticking out here

Love Bill’s leg sticking out here

Ton Collins as the LADY OF THE LIGHTHOUSE

Ton Collins as the LADY OF THE LIGHTHOUSE

Joe Peter's soothing music

Joe Peter’s soothing music

Shannon and MANDY - my coordinator predecessor (what a help she has been)

Shannon and MANDY – my coordinator predecessor (what a help she has been)

My Festival Team!

My Festival Team!

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There is nothing boring or retiring about this little island.

We treasure our days – even our sleepless ones – and can’t wait to see what comes up next!

Happiness to you.

Love, Laura, John and Daisy

HEY – one more note – it takes a lot of effort to put this blog together – especially when I’m to the wall with my job.  So please, take a moment and respond – at least push a LIKE Button!  Merci.

WELCOME, AGAIN: Cedar Key– 2 Point – OH!


HELLO, HELLO – CEDAR KEY 2.0!

BACKGROUND: For five years, John and I flew over the NW section of FL on our way home from Sarasota, FL. Soon after wheels up in Tampa,  the land below would become a vast, empty space with nothing but wiggly roads.  It inexplicably beckoned me. Pressing my face to the airplane window, studying that empty space, I felt a longing, a tugging to explore that territory. Finally, happenstance brought us there –  to Cedar Key – in the middle of a seemingly empty coastline. My longing did not get us here. My longing gave me a direction and a dream. How it all came to fruition was the surprise … and the surprise continues to unfold.

After a glorious three months in Cedar Key last year, during which I felt I’d found my tribe, I was then offered the Job as Event Coordinator for the April Annual Arts Festival. So our stay upped to a 5 month stay.

Art Festival Post Card

Art Festival Post Card

Like last year, we don’t know how we will feel about Cedar Key after 5 months of being very in the mix with every group in town. Nor do we know how the town will feel about us after the festival. It works both ways. So once again we dive into the unknown … with our eyes and hearts wide open.

DEPARTURE DAY: Our departure from New Hope to Cedar Key was late due to an unexpected trip John made to his daughter (Laura in VA) who  had a horrific car accident (miraculously unscathed). Then we had a great renter for the house pop up – (another Laura) – the day before we were supposed to leave. All good luck.

Driving straight down 95 was a relatively easy ride, (note the passing sights)

Piggly Wiggly - how did they come up with that supermarket name?

Piggly Wiggly – how did they come up with that supermarket name?

 What is holding them in??

What is holding them in??
I'm not moving from this bed!

I’m not moving from this bed!

until we stopped for the night in Lumberton NC – just north of the SC border – and were sorry for it.

Anynight USA

Anynight USA

I chose Motel 6 for the price and dog – never again. Besides being too spare, the location was scarey –  just off the highway, warning signs PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK and plexiglass covering the local convenience store worker. Locked behind our room door, with BIG RED just outside, we were grateful Daisy has such a BIG bark – used 4 times before we  settled and slept through the night.

The saddest thing about that area was the “HISTORIC LUMBERTON”.   As “Video Killed the Radio Store”,  Big Box and Chain Stores have certainly slaughtered small town America.  Driving into the town, off the “chain slathered highway” we saw gorgeous houses leading to a substantial 8 block downtown with terrific, turn of the century buildings – all mostly empty. Geez, it was so sad to see. It was so easy to imagine it full of citizens and society. When will the muckty-mucks of commerce wake up to the fact that COMMUNITY is the only way to build a safe, productive society – take away the center and the work = community stumbles.  Any  ideas as to how we take our Country back?

At first light we zipped out, stopping at an I-HOP in Florence SC where John got ticked off by bad service – like I rarely see. 

"We've been waiting a half hour already! Where is our Breakfast?"

“We’ve been waiting a half hour already! Where is our Breakfast?”

After that, it was an easy cruise to Jacksonville, FL, where we spent a delightful afternoon and evening with ELLEN, a dear friend of the family – who was her joyous, warm, delicious self.

Ellens Screened Porch

Ellens Screened Porch

Ellen Emerson & Laura in Pontra Vedre

Ellen Emerson & Laura in Pontra Vedre

On Sunday, we cruised toward Cedar Key, driving through St. Augustine (busy, busy, busy), stopping to ride the carousel.

St Augustine Carousel

St Augustine Carousel

Wheee

Wheee

Found the tiny, old town called Micanopy (mick-ah-nope-ee), claimed to be the oldest towns in Florida. Dripping with spanish moss covered old trees, old buildings and lots of antiques. An old-timer told us about the town’s history and art festival and …. well, ya know … ya just get to jawboning down here about one thing and a tuther. 

Micanopy

Micanopy

Micanopy Old House Antique Shop

Micanopy Old House Antique Shop

More old Micanopy Homes

More old Micanopy Homes

Love these whimsical fences!

Love these whimsical fences!

Cedar Key View from Bridge 4 As you Enter

Cedar Key View from Bridge 4 As you Enter

ARRIVAL:  As the sun was aming to set, we crossed Bridge Four into Cedar Key and we were flushed by the  island’s beautiful wilderness We were also welcomed by friends as we rolled up our street: Lonna and Martin, 

Lonna and Martin Dickenson our neighbors

Lonna and Martin Dickenson our neighbors

Neighbor Marsha Schwartz came with welcome flowers. But the abundant tangerines on the tree in the backyard had been picked clean by the former renters who now rented the place on the water across the street. Hmmmm. I was looking forward to our Tangerine Juice.

SETTLING IN: 

7 DAYS LATER: A week after our arrival – we can barely believe all we’d done.

Cedar Key Beach - Park

Cedar Key Beach – Park

Monday the 17th  and the next three days, I zipped around town – meeting festival committee( great group),  getting introductions, making and distributing posters for the January festival FUNDRAISERBev and Kathy selling tickets to the January Fundraiser

Bev and Kathy selling tickets to the January Fundraiser

and dealing with a computer hacking that took me 6 hours and tears to get fixed. 

Six Hours trying to get UNHACKED

Six Hours trying to get UNHACKED

Having a job – a highly interactive one – is going to make for a very different year. But, we sincerely feel, it will lead to exactly where we are supposed to go – even though we don’t know where that is, yet.

Kathy of the CK Emporium and Peter, President of the Arts Center

Kathy of the CK Emporium and Peter, President of the Arts Center

Chief Virgil and Miss Frances at the City Hall

Chief Virgil and Miss Frances at the City Hall

Getting settled was not as easy as last year. The owners, Boyd and Tom, had not been back in 8 months – so the place lacked  their spit and polish. It had a moldy odor and was not as clean as we’d found it or left it last year. After a phone call, Boyd agreed to replace a BR carpet – the mold source – and we got it done quickly then  scrubbed down of the place.

Johnny Clean

Johnny Clean

As my cousin Dee says: “I like to start fresh, so I live in my own germs”  Our full day cleaning frenzy was fueled with a robust bloody mary and capped with a G&T –

We slept well that night.

John found the cement paint - freshened the steps and painted the back platform!

John found the cement paint – freshened the steps and painted the back platform!

Backyard set up with Dee Lights and the Cowboy cooker and new work table

Backyard set up with Dee Lights and the Cowboy cooker and new work table

DEC 23rd  We joined a real southern Christmas feast, up the street at Miss Wilmas – with her sons Kenny, Kevin and Keith and their families.

Southern Feast

Southern Feast

Grits and Greens, Black Eyed Peas, Fried Mullet (fish), Casseroles of Squash, Lasagna, Mac & Cheese and Sweet Meatballs and Pork and …. oh, well, it was mighty fine … right down to the Peach Cake and Chocolate, Chocolate Cake. Sitting outside, we listened and inquired and got to know each other: Making Strangers into Friends. I’ve noticed a certain way Locals inspect us with a jaundiced eye and locked jaw, until we show some interest in them.  Then they open up like a dried jasmine flowerbud in hot water – unfolding petal by petal – revealing their own brand of exotic beauty.

Alex serving the sweets

Alex serving the sweets

We also supped on fresh and steamed oysters with Lonna and Martin and their most gentlemanly son, Owen and his sweetheart Tatiana and her sister Alex and Tatiana’s three rambunctious boys who could shuck oysters like I’ve never seen!  Tatiania and Alex are Serbian born and raised, but followed their father to the US in their later years.  Lovely people, all.

In between those two events, we drove over to SHELLMOUND, a preserve by the Suwannee River – to walk the paths. What sublime beauty.

Daisy loves shellmound almost as much as ball

Daisy loves shellmound almost as much as ball

Shellmound  it was chilly!

Shellmound it was chilly!

The Nature of Florida’s Nature Coast is spectacular. And SHELLMOUND  is the inspiration behind the Mosaic Tile selected as the design motif for the Art Festival, representing the indians who populated the area for millennium and who created the mounds (hills) of shells. A Must See Spot!

Dec 25th we joined 5 other couples at a brunch – what a fun, diverse group – and stories, stories, stories.  Interesting people with sophisticated background populate this island along with the long-time families and shellfish industry and artists.

We also established our routines – bicycling to the park behind the cemetery, doing the fitness routine set up among the trees. I remember seeing it the first year and wondered “who does that?” Now it’s me!  All the while shooting the ball for Daisy to chase.

Then Jeff and Suzanne showed upJeff and Suzanne Krieble

Jeff and Suzanne Krieble

so we made a reservation at the ISLAND HOUSE restaurant upon their arrival.  OK, that’s enough for now.  More to follow soon with lots of pics!.

It has been very busy with this new job but I’m working hard to keep a blog too.  Thank you for your patience.

Lots of Love from Laura & John  & Daisy – in Cedar Key Florida, where all is right.

BOOB-E-TRAP? 13 YEARS SINCE MY LAST MAMMOGRAM


November – 2012 – IT HAS BEEN  13 YEARS SINCE MY LAST MAMMOGRAM.

Witch Doctor Icon

1999 was my last one – until recently – and given my experience – it may well be my last one, ever.

Why?  Because I am fed up with the “breast industry” that has created more and more “procedures” for the purpose of making money, while delivering more false scares.  Oprah and I share that story.  OPRAH BREAST CANCER SCARE

Over the past decade there has been a constant shifting in the frequency and age of mammography. First at 50 – every five years – then every year – then they pushed it to 30 and 40 year old – but switched to every two years. The “breast experts” began to resemble the “food pyramid experts”, and look what they produced: a fat country.

Plus, I don’t like the idea of shooting radiation into my body – not for my teeth, not for my breast – unless absolutely necessary.

But this year, I allowed my young Doc to convince me to have a baseline mammogram. Which I did.  Then I got the call they needed a closer look at my left breast.  Whew – I thought the first  Poke, Prod, Twist, Squeeze was tough – the “close up” one was even more painful.  What is all that squeezing doing to our cells, I ask you? No man would ever allow this to be done with his pecker or balls, period.

But honestly, all of that was fine, generally.  What I objected to was the full court sales pitch that came after the scan.

The nurse (a Jane Lynch look-alike) takes me into the small, dark, hot, stuffy radiologists’ room who shows me the scan which looks like a small cluster of snow. They want to biopsy it – to see if it is cancerous.

“What?” I needed some clarification.  Like, what was I looking at on the screen and what was involved in a biopsy?

The radiologists explained that it could be simply some ducts that were non-cancerous  and clogged or had not opened … but they wanted to stick a needle into my breast and draw out some tissue to check, to make sure.

“And how do you biopsy that?” I asked.  The nurse explained two options

Option 1: A Surgeon cuts into you breast – guided by the projected image of your mammogram on your chest. FULL BOAT SURGERY.

Option 2: Lie on a table, breasts hanging out two holes, local anesthesia, shoot in a needle to draw out a sample tissue, leaving behind a little clip in the breast, then have ANOTHER Mammogram to see if they got the right spot. Oh, and I believe that is followed up with radiation and some kind of toxic medicine.

Really?  Would you let a mechanic do a procedure like that on your car? With that kind of outcome?

I looked closer at the image on the screen and said: “I’m going away for 6 months. I don’t think I’ll do anything about this until I return.”

The radiologist and nurse visibly shifted in their attitude and that’s when the full court press began – a concerted effort to convince me that having a biopsy was necessary.  As the Nurse walked me toward the exit, she urged me to reconsider with the zeal of someone on commission to capture a new recruit for a cult. No Joke.  And she did so right by the reception room, for everyone to hear.

I finally escaped and buzzed home – incensed – and remembering the woman I met just the day before who shared this horrific story of her daughter’s breast “cancer” experience – and subsequent surgery to get a cyst removed, that turned into a full-blown catastrophe because the surgeon punctured the cyst, spreading into the breast whatever was inside the cyst and now no one will touch her unless she agrees to have her breasts removed.

The woman then tracked down her daughter’s radiologist, who actually remembered her daughter’s scan and admitted: “You know, we really don’t  know a lot about this breast cancer yet. We just sit in a room and stare and stare at radiograms all day until we think we see something. ”

Really?!  But then, I’m not really surprised.

I’ve had the sense for years that Breast Cancer is an INDUSTRY, a CASH BOX and I was not a patient – I was a sales opportunity.

Breast Cancer is rapidly becoming the same as Prostate Cancer – which most men will get … but die of something else.

It’s not that I’m sticking my head in the sand -My aunt died of a full-blown case of Breast Cancer – in her early 80’s.

She knew she had a problem but refused to do anything about it as she was not going to spend her last years in a hospital environment.  She is my heroine.

It IS upsetting to hear someone suggest the BC word to you and it takes a lot of gumption to step back from the rush of treatments they push. But I believe we should SLOW DOWN rather than rush into procedures.  Even the radiologist said to me she believed there were too many biopsies being performed unnecessarily and she cited an article from READERS DIGEST that said the same.

“Mammograms also offer a smaller benefit than many patients — and doctors — assume. Mammography’s effectiveness has been hotly debated, but a carefully conducted 2005 analysis suggests it cuts the risk of dying of breast cancer by 15 percent, says the NIH’s Kramer. That means a 60-year-old who gets regular mammograms shaves her risk of dying of the disease in the next decade from 7 per 1,000 to 6 per 1,000.” (Readers Digest Article)

My cousin recently called to say she heard a news report that stated 1 out of 3 women will be over-diagnnosed with breast cancer and 1 out of 3 women will have unnecessary procedures. ONE OUT OF THREE!!

So Ladies – “Do No Go Gentle Into That Good Night…” Do not believe what they say on first sight.  Stop, Look, Listen, Research and Advocate for Yourself–  before you become a cog and a commodity in the Breast Cancer Wheel of Industry.

BREAST CANCER MISDIAGNOSIS ARTICLE New York Times Article

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