"To see a world in a grain of sand
Today's treasure was a birthday gift, even though my birthday was in February! I firmly believe in keeping celebrations going as long as possible, and this may be a new record! Our boat was also appropriately named "Celebration"!
Two young boys gathered the group and directed us to board. "My grandfather was the captain on the ferry from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ and before that he was in the Coastguard", one young man noted proudly.
Breakfast was served immediately and we carried it up on deck and found a table with a view of the water. We saw our first dolphin shortly after we left the dock and they appeared frequently through out the two hour ride. The weather was ideal with the sun beaming warmly but not oppressive.
The Captain directed our attention to groups of dolphin as they appeared, in addition to sharing He said one of his most memorable experiences was watching the birth of a dolphin and seeing the mother joyfully toss it up in the air. He noted that dolphins swim in pods, not schools, and are very sociable. The average life expectancy of a dolphin in Maryland is 40 to 50 years, about the same in captivity as in the wild.
The trip was a delightful blend of relaxation, interspersed with repeated sighting the playful rompers! There is a sense of ease to their movement - and aquatic dance. A pirate ship passed by, the ferry, and numerous other boats, wave runners and surfing boards. I'll treasure the memories os this delightful experience forever!
LOVE Seacrets in Ocean City, Maryland! At first glance there is a parking lot filled with black skull and cross bone flags flying in the breeze. A barrier of high grasses and huge boulders further disguises what's to come.
As we rounded the corner the entrance came into view and the every step became more enticing as we entered! It was as if we had entered another world! We found a full blown Jamaican party with live music, multiple bars and dancing areas, including one where partiers danced in the waters along the beach!
We lingered in our sea side seat to watch the sun set.
Several times through out the year I'll grad a sheet of paper, fold it in half vertically, title it "Same" and "Different under the day's date, and begin to list everything that was the same in my life at this time last year, and everything that is different.
This is fraction of the list but it can give you an idea. It's helpful to see the progress over the year. I often complete tasks and projects and don't really take the time to celebrate the achievements. You may also be accomplishing more than you realize.
As I review my lists, I'm able to see areas that have improved and others that could use more attention. The first time I did this it was the result of journaling about sameness. Everything was the same as it had been for years. Same house, same job, same road to work, same activities, same foods, same . . . . oh, it makes me glaze over to think of it. But it was up to me to change it! That's when I began Collecting Firsts and adding more spice to my life!
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Easy and delicious!
Mycala has been raving about Baby Artichokes (they aren't actually baby - just a different variety of the globe artichokes, which I also adore). The larger variety are a lot more work because they have a hairy choke that you need to scoop out before serving. The "baby" has no "choke" so it is very easy to prepare!
I actually purchased them because of the gorgeous colors. They were simply begging me to take them home and get out the watercolors, so I decided I may as well do "another paint first, eat later" meal.
The outer leaves peel off easily, then cut off the stem, trim the top about a third of the way down, and halve or quarter. Drizzle with lemon juice, top with shredded parmesan cheese, home made bread crumbs, smoked paprika and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. And if you have fresh parsley growing in your garden or window box top with a few fresh leaves before serving. A few sliced tomatoes and dinner is served!
This one is from the archives but worth repeating! It's been a long bitter winter in Maryland, and the birds are finally beginning to share their songs again. This morning I saw a robin and her baby scratching for earth worms when Zippy and I took our morning walk. A cardinal perched in a gingko tree looked as beautiful as he sounded against the fan shaped leaves. I'm still looking for my first Baltimore Oriole now that I'm living in Baltimore. (I'm a dedicated baseball fan so I see the non-feathered specimens almost daily!)
Birds add vibrant color to our world. But do you know that at one time their feathers lacked the beautiful variations we see today?
An African American legend explains that at the beginning of time a torrential rain fell on the earth. When it ended, the world was gifted with a glorious rainbow. No one had ever seen such brilliant colors!
The birds were the first to see it and the flew swiftly to get closer, joyfully flying in and out of the brilliant, iridescent arch! As they passed through the colors, their feathers were painted the gorgeous colors of the rainbow!
The cardinal fell in love with the red and spent most of his time flying in and out of the crimson stripe! The goldfinches were charmed with the yellow, staying predominantly in that area! Blue birds favored the blue, weaving in and out of the glorious blues.
Other birds, such as the kestral, flew through several different colors. This caused stripes and spots of colors to form on his beautiful feathers! The swift and exuberant hummingbird flew merrily in and out of every color, causing him to have his own iridescent rainbow, delightfully visible when the sun catches his feathers.
Imagine! Two of our most delightful treasures, color and birds, working in harmony to create beauty that we see every day if we just stop to notice!
When we think of 'feeding' ourselves, our first thought is "when do we eat!", but there is so much more to feed us than food. This afternoon was a delicious reminder of all things sensuous.
Mycala, my oldest daughter, treated me to a 1 1/2 hour massage for Mother's Day. The experience was self indulgent and not something I would do for myself. Maybe I need to rethink that!
Even before the masseuse began the session, my senses were stimulated. A very delicate fragrance of lavender permeated the air. An instrumental background selection was the perfect choice. I melted into the softness of the sheets on the massage table, cocooned under the weightless blanket.
All of this, followed by ninety minutes of skilled attention to knead and relax muscle tissue transported me to a meditative state. I stopped thinking about what was next. I became reminded that I can shift to be in the moment in an instant, simply make the choice to pause and be aware of the gifts of this moment, right now.
There is a Zen saying, "Don't hurry. Ever." In today's world we can feel rushed, pushed and pulled, and don't often allow ourselves that gift. When we slow down and experience the present moment, we can become aware of so many pleasures that will soothe our souls. We can enhance our experiences through fragrances, music, textures, thoughts and soothing sights. How can you make your home or office more spa-like? Flowers, scented candles, a favorite hand lotion, soothing music, inspirational quotes, a favorite painting, and soft throws can bring our focus to beauty.
My Mother's Day gift will live with me beyond the delightful experience. It will remind me to proactively integrate more delightful experiences into my life. Thank you Mycala!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!