Thursday, September 29, 2011

america the beautiful

On a whim, we lightly packed the Lexus and let her take us on a journey to the East coast.  The plan was to have no plans and just drive to clear our heads and soothe our souls.  This is uncharacteristic of us but my inner voice told me we needed to do this, so we did.  We didn't know where we would go or how long, but let the spirit move us.  On Friday we checked in at our local AAA to get a few triptik maps to give us an idea of how to hit the roads but we soon discovered the best tool to travel is the AAA traveltik on the iphone.   Everything you need is literally at your fingertips and it gives your current location, gas, food and hotels in the area, how many miles and hours until the next destination, and it even has a little co-pilot.  And it's a free app, to boot!  We drove in sunny silence through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio without any music or noise to clutter our thoughts.  We talked and talked some more, and as Wayne says "kicked the same old can around" quite a bit to give us some direction in this thing called life.  After 8 hours, something strange happened.  We fell upon Buffalo, New York and impulsively drove to Niagara Falls where we were filled with awe at the wonder of this natural beauty.  
This was the only moment we felt a little pressure to get somewhere as we hoped to arrive before the sun set ~ and we did!  Back in the day, Niagara Falls was the place to take a honeymoon.  This trip was taking on a healing form already.  Nature does that.
Wayne made this trip 27 years ago for business so we revisited his routes a little at first and decided to settle in Rochester to rest our weary bones.  It took 3 hotels before we secured a room as the town was filled to capacity due to a hockey tournament.  Lesson learned ~ it helps to pre-plan overnight lodging. 
I dubbed this my giving tree as we parked the car and I sat under her in the early morning, receiving loads of inspiration and some answers to my questions, embracing the healing being provided.  We did not plan this, but it just so happened we began travelling each day at 8:15am and took stretch breaks every 3 hours.  These were just natural occurrences so it struck us as strange that it worked out that way.  We were in awe at how remarkably beautiful upstate New York appeared to be.  For some reason I associate this state just as the Big Apple but the landscape where we drove proved otherwise.
Driving on I-90 gave us a taste of the lay of the land as we only wanted to keep driving and explore in detail the sites that tickled our fancy later in life.  We scoped and scoured and took notes where to revisit another time.  The Adirondaks area is on our list.  New York is a very long state to drive through and this is where we popped in some music and played Allman Brothers listening to Whipping Post (no comment) Dreams, Blue Sky, Melissa and many more.  It brought us back to our relationship roots and filled us with warm fuzzies until we arrived at our second magnificant landmark of Boston. As we arrived at this historic coastal city, we decided to stay at the Harborside Inn as we favor boutique hotels ~ perfect. 
This gave us an opportunity to stretch out and grab some seafood at No Name restaurant built in 1917. We hopped on a trolley where the guide gave us a glimpse of the downtown sites and after dinner we strolled throughout Boston.  The first settlers arrived in the 1600s so this town is filled with our country's historical roots; we fell upon a cemetary with headstones carrying these dates.  We browsed the area while enjoying a pistachio ice cream cone and watching a movie being filmed.  We hung out at the Faneuil (fannel) Hall Marketplace and when dusk fell upon us, decided to retire for the evening.  Thanks to cable television, I watched the new show Curiosity and was intrigued with the history of what happened to the mesmerizing island of Atlantis.  Worth watching.  The next thing I knew, a new day fell upon us. 
We tried to take a photo of a beautifully designed building where we parked our car, but security prohibited us from doing so and when we inquired as to the reason we were just told  "not allowed" and wouldn't devulge who was in the building, so we assume it was a secret governmental or important business.  No picture taking allowed outside the whole block either!  Kinda cool.  At 8:15 we headed up north on I-95 to visit Portland, Maine as Danny's friends own a jazz bar called Gingko Blue so we decided to check it out.  Were we in for a pleasant surprise.  The sun was shining brightly on this 80 degree day as we arrived to find Portland filled with wonderful energies.  We almost felt like we were in Oz ~ it had that affect on us. 
After a bit of strolling we settled at Portland Lobster Co. and ate the best fish ~ cod and salmon ~ with the tastiest onion rings and Shipyard Thumper beer.  It got even better when a trio entertained us and performed Babylon by David Gray ~ to perfection.   It captured our hearts so much so that we are determined to revisit this city in detail in the near future.  In retrospect, we both agreed we should have lingered longer but now we have a plan for another day.

After picking up a few souvenirs for the boys we headed back down I-95 and while our souls were shining a bit brighter, just followed it to the southernmost tip in Rhode Island and headed back west which gave us an overview of Connecticut and Massachusetts.  We hoped to see the waters, to no avail.  Another day we will explore Nantucket, Cape Cod and make sure to see some whales and lighthouses in the bay area. 
The sun was setting in Rhode Island which is just a little itty bitty state but we made sure to get our lottery ticket before entering Connecticut.  We secured 22 tickets total ~ two for each state we passed through.  Big Daddy will be proud! 
Connecticut is lovely in its own way.  There is a quaint feeling of pureness as we travelled north.  This would be a state to take the sideroads to really get the feel of its offerings.  My cousin, Deena, and her family resided there for over 20 years so we can get tips from her.  After Massachusetts we entered Vermont as we followed the one and only side road of the trip ~ Route 9 ~ which would lead us to Bennington (I just pointed and picked this place to stay overnight.)  I would have stopped at Yankee Candle and loaded the trunk but unfortunately it was closed.  Nightfall arrived and driving the winding roads in the mountains reminded us of the scene in a Pee Wee Herman movie.  Initially, the area was not too welcoming and we almost kept going, but once we drove through the town we felt secure enough to stay overnight at the designated dwelling. 
The morning provided a gorgeous sunrise and delicious treats at the Main Street Cafe.  The storefronts boast these unusual artsy designs and we noticed moose are favorites in this area.   We stopped at St. Francis church and made our intentions.   
Continuing on route 9 brought fog and the beauty I envisioned the area would behold. 
The leaves are just beginning to change colors and I bet in a few weeks this area will be filled with color extravaganza as mother nature continues her annual autumnal ritual. 
  As we headed back home, again at 8:15 eastern time, we let I-90 guide us all the way in. The weather was absolutely perfect all four days providing sensational sunny 80 degree days all the way through, enabling us to enjoy the beauty to its fullest.  As we drove through Ohio the rains began and continued through pockets of Indiana, but alas, after 15 hours, we arrived back home, safe and sound, filled with so much stimulating scenery and the comfort of bonding with my best friend.  The thing about relationships is when one partner has their glass half empty, the other is usually half full and can help bring the balance, but when both partners have half empty glasses, we have to let nature take its course and provide the answers with healing anecdotes.  The messages received from the universe were keep the faith and united we stand (remember that old tune?  well, we heard it in Ohio!) 
We found it necessary to get back sooner than later as our beloved puppies refused to eat while we were away.   Our adventure lasted 4 days, covered 11 states, and the Lexus odometer packed on 2,410 miles. 90 ~ 95 ~ 9 were the roads that carried us.  This whirlwind journey cleared out the cobwebs tangling our minds and brought us the strength to endure come what may.  We will definitely encourage our sons to travel more often while they are young and discover all the beauty America has to offer.  There are 14 more states to see before we can claim having touched base through all 50 in our country.  Everyone should make this a lifetime goal.  I understand Sir Paul McCartney travelled Route 66 when he was 66 years old.  Cool.  Sometimes spur of the moment pursuits bring enormous moments that take your breath away.  Now that we took our virgin road trip in this manner, we are confident another trip out west will provide just as much pleasure.  I have the Sturgis and the Black Hills on my mind and Utah and New Mexico call me at times.  The only detriment about travelling this way is not being able to capture on film all the little signs that made us chuckle.  Our memories will have to hold the little treasures.  We did manage to take photos of the welcome signs in each state, but the one that made us smile the most was in a little New York town that posted the following "welcome to Hoosick, population: 12,407 happy people and a couple of grumpy ones." 

clear eyes...clear hearts xo

Thursday, September 22, 2011

leaf peepin'

Sometimes you just gotta get up and hit the road.  Get out of dodge.  Chop off your hair filled with heartaches (I now sport a bob.) Let it all go.  Don't look back. We decided to get in the car and see the sights out East.  The leaves are beginning to change colors and it is known that leaf peeping is referred to people who travel to view and photograph the fall foilage in areas where foilage changes colors, particularly the Northeast.   This is on my list to do, so let's get 'er done, as they say.  Off we go ~ no plans or schedules, just our mighty Atlas and some tips off the internet. 

This is also the time of year where the whales come to mate in the area.  Perhaps we'll get lucky enough to witness something spectacular while dining the finest seafood in this country.  I hope to visit the coastline after our first destination ~ Boston ~ and see Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey and if we feel like it, the Carolinas.  My foot is healed so I can help with the driving.  Hold the fort, boys.  Take care of the pups and birdies.  Be back whenever the spirit moves us and we get a big dose of Mother Nature to soothe our souls.  Off we go into the wild blue (and autumn colored) yonder! xo

Thursday, September 15, 2011

it's dillan day!

Today I begin my special time with Dillan.  We spent the morning looking around and we saw a hummingbird hovering our flowers.  I read Goodnight, Moon, Are You My Mother and But No Elephants.  He seems to like his new bouncy but doesn't stay in one place too long.
This is the fourth time this little fellow came by this week.  We never saw hummingbirds since we moved here so this is a real treat. 
It is so adorable to listen to him say agoo and ma and oh.  He is busy little dude with his kicking and batting at his mobiles.  He likes the music from my ipod and going outside.  It's a little too cool today but the sun is shining so it makes things feel good. We both took a lovely nap together.  I don't know who needed it more after yesterday, but naps rule!  He's waking up again, so off I go to play.  Thanks, my little rainbow.  I had the best day ever and look forward to many more.  xo

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


  Greek:  bio life and opsia to see

Biopsy is a medical test removing cells or tissues for examination to determine the presence or extent of a disease.  When a sample of tissue is removed with a needle in such a way that cells are removed the procedure is called a needle aspiration.  The pathological examination of a biopsy can determine whether a lesion is benign or malignant and can help differentiate between different types of cancers. 
This is the official definition of biopsy.  My personal definition is pain, extreme stress and trauma.  I have endured two biopsies in my life:  30 years ago I had a uterine biopsy to determine infertility (which was excruciating) and Monday I had my left breast traumatized with a sterotactic and ultrasound breast biopsy.  After 18 radiation mammograms, they detected calcifications in two areas of my left breast, so I had to bite the bullet and make sure the abnormalities were not cancerous.  Wouldn't you know it would be the one all my boys favored when they suckled as infants?  I went to the imaging center begrudgingly for in my heart I knew I was healthy, but after the radiations and titanium markers, hematomas and all that pain and stress, I wondered if it was worth it.  Perhaps I should have followed my intuition and left well enough alone.  Ten days of extreme tension have been relieved when I received the call from Dr. Simon that all cells are benign and I am cancer free. 
While I went through the biopsy there were technical difficulties which prolonged the aggravating ordeal, but all I could think about was my little moonface.  The nurses were very compassionate and tried to distract me with senseless chatter but all I wanted to do was focus on my little grandson and that is what I did.  I envisioned holding him and giving him smooches the whole time.  Tomorrow I begin my special time with him as Margarita resumes working. Wayne drove me to the store so I could get some goodies for the little guy and we bought some rattles and teething rings and a couple of age-appropriate toys and assembled the mighty bouncer.  I once read that just when a woman thinks her job is done, she becomes a grandmother. Amen to that! 
I dodged a bullet on this one.  Thanks be to God.  xo

Sunday, September 11, 2011

where were you?

I remember...

...driving on I-55 going to Brighton Park to take Helen to her doctor appointment.  Eddie and JoBo of B-96 announced the first plane hitting the World Tower.  I immediately called Wayne, then Linda, then my folks.  While at the doctor's office, we watched the second plane attack the remaining Tower and all hell broke loose.  Initially, no one knew what was happening and being an American, we could not believe this reality.  This is not a war-torn country where buildings are demolished and people terrorized as an everyday occurrence.  This is the land of the free ~ where we build and create, not attack and destroy.  Our minds could not grasp the fact that someone would intentionally and maliciously cause such devastation.  Who?  Why?  What is next?  Our reign of terror and supreme surveillance began this day,  a decade ago.  It was the end of the world as we know it and forever will be.  Our mighty country was raped of its innocence and will never, ever be the same.  Despite the horrifying details, our one nation, under God, indivisible, stood up to the bully that is known as terrorists, and we continue to remain strong and patriotic.  Ain't no one, no how, gonna bring us down!
september 11, 2001
the day the angels cried

We spent the next decade rebuilding, repairing our soil and our souls, and loving each other with more kindness and compassion.  Alan Jackson's creation of Where Were You? is perfect for reflection. This weekend revealed so many interviews and stories of the heroes, human and canine, and each and every story held inspiration to be better persons.  Other countries banded together with their support and Sir Paul McCartney chronicled his benefit concert including many English performers.  I was so proud to be part of the culture that inhabits American soil and while I refuse to live in fear and alter my life as the bullies hope we would, I do hug my kids a little longer and tell those I love that I do much more often.  I take nothing and no one for granted and count my blessings every day.  We are a braver country and perhaps we needed this jolt to appreciate our freedom and those who dedicate their lives to keep us free. 
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imagine all the life in peace! you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

My best buddy and darling Linda had airline tickets to any place in the country and wanted to take a trip together.  She was surviving ovarian cancer and knew her time on earth was coming to an end and she was adamant about her need to visit Ground Zero, so the following April we headed to New York to witness the aftermath of our nation's tragedy.  What we found was a city of compassion and healing.  Our visit was indeed memorable and standing on the grounds connected us in a spiritually enlightened way. 
Today will be filled with memorials and testimonies about the 3,000 fallen victims of the attack.  Every single person is a victim, in a way, for the loss trickles down to every human on earth as we are all connected.  I understand many fire houses are holding memorials at their stations and this is a way we can all personally show our support and appreciation for all these first responders do for us. 
The Darien-Woodridge firestation is a teaching firehouse just a block from our home so we strolled by for the ceremony and to shake the hands of the all the firefighters and policemen (and police doggie) to thank them for always having our backs.  They are our guardians and saviors on a scene.  My first born spent a year learning to be a firefighter as his profession, then he became a policeman, and that evolved into working for the state's attorney.  He serves and protects in his way. 

Let's take time today to honor our heroes and let them know how grateful we are. Share your stories of where you were that day and how you coped and how your life is different and hopefully, improved.  Remembering is the best way to honor the victims of 9/11. 

This survivor kept us in tears as he reiterated his personal experience on that fateful day.  Keep their heroism alive for this is now our nation's history.  Show the bullies we are stronger because of their antics, not a weak people.  As the chaplain mentioned, there is always more wisdom in a room filled with mourners than a room filled with laughter.  God loves us and will continue to bless us. I believe, I have hope and I am proud to be an American.  xo

Saturday, September 10, 2011

happy 25th birthday danny!

Wow! Where did the time go?  A quarter of a century has flown by filled with tons of memories since you entered our world.  And look at you!  What an amazing man you have grown up to be.  You are just beginning your journey for the first part was filled with observing and learning how you will contribute to this thing called life.  You took your time to get where you want to be and just as a catepillar morphs from its cocoon and spreads its wings as a butterfly, here you are. 
This is your passage year, Danny.  I always knew the huge potential you carried, and perhaps I was a little harder on you so you would not waste all the talents you possess, but now you are choosing to show the world how awesome you are.  No matter how many setbacks and challenges you had to endure, you always dusted yourself off, got right back up and forged ahead.  You have no idea how happy your core family is to share your world and we limitlessly embrace your essence.  You are truly conquering your world to its fullest and in a matter of weeks, will accomplish a goal no one else in the Wind family did so far by obtaining your bachelor's degree at DePaul.  Dad is beside himself with pride of this achievement ~ and this is only the beginning for you.  You now have all the strategic tools in your toolbox and we can't wait to see what you will do next.
You have the honor of being godfather to your nephew, Dillan, which holds its own responsibilities for you to begin sharing all you know with him.  He is a lucky little dude.  Teach him wisely.   Between you and your brothers, he has the best of the best surrounding him with lots of love and support.  Maybe he will be the next Dave Grohl!  You can teach him how to drum and Mike can teach him the guitar.  Steve can direct him to perform.  Whatever you do, you can add role model to your repertroire. 

This is your year to shine, sweet son.  Now that we've had a taste of your time and involvement, we can't get enough of it, so keep it coming.  It warms my heart how much bonding is going on these days and that is because you chose to let us in.  What a wonderful gift for our family.  So on your special milestone day, bask is our love and warm wishes for a beautiful year and many, many more.  You are not old, you only just began your journey.  Make your memories and stand proudly at all you are.  Keep learning new things (like craps and roulette) so you can win big in Vegas next month.  Keep the passion fueled and your arms open.  We love you. xo

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

garden guests

Over the long weekend I have witnessed quite a few rare sightings of fabulous creatures visiting our gardens.  It is something to see them once in awhile, but they all gathered within a few days, which is my message from the universe to listen up.  Animal totems play huge roles in our lives.  They aid in self-discovery and capture our imagination, giving us incredible avenues of self-expression and awareness.  They assist in understanding our past and if we are attentive, can reveal glimpses of our future.  I researched the air animal totem symbolism as they have a penchant for assisting us in matters of higher knowledge.  Air being the most ethereal of elements (and I am an air sign) it is understandable that the creatures who inhabit it are able to lend the best understanding as they are closest to the heavens.  They are symbols of physical and mental strength which is important when we are experiencing new transitions or surroundings in our lives.  If air animal totems are catching your attention, you should feel very heartened by their presence.  Allow their spirit to boost your confidence, and remind you that the ultimate power is within this present, unseen moment.  Air animals are good omens, powerful symbols in our spiritual toolbox, and their appearance is like a wink from God.
The butterfly stayed very close to me for a long while and out of all the visitors, I was able to capture only her beauty on camera.  She is the symbol of transformation because of her impressive process of metamorphosis in her unfurling glory.  Consider the amount of energy it takes in such a short amount of time.  Her lesson is that she asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does.  The butterfly unquestionably embraces the changes of her environment and her body.  This unwavering acceptance is symbolic of faith.  She beckons us to keep our faith as we undergo transitions in our lives.  She understands that our toiling, fretting and anger are useless against the turning tides of nature and we must recognize the same.  In many cultures, the butterfly is associated with the soul.  We are on a long journey of the soul and encounter endless turns, shifts and conditions that cause us to morph into ever-finer beings.  At our soul-journey's end we are inevitably changed ~ not at all the same as when we started on the path.  Look to the grace and eloquence of the butterfly and realize that our journey is our only guarantee.  Our responsibility is to make our way in faith, accept the change that comes and emerge from our transitions as brilliantly as the butterfly.
The praying mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives.  Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we've flooded our lives with so much business, activity or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us.  The mantis takes her time and deals with stillness and patience.  She lives her life at her own silent pace.  These traits have lead the mantis to be a symbol of meditation and contemplation.  The mantis never makes a move unless she is 100% positive it is the right thing for her to do.  This is a message to us to contemplate and be sure our minds and souls all agree together about the choices we are making in our lives.  She is a symbol of stillness and an ambassador from the animal kingdom giving testimony to the benefits of meditation and calming our minds.  An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quiet and reach a place of calm.  It may also be a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making
I held my gaze to the skies for quite a long time as two hawks hovered over me.  Hawks are the symbol of our primal life force and remind us of the hunter and the hunted and the circle of life.  They are a reminder not to take anything for granted, savor every moment and to be thankful that we are alive.

The unexpected and the incredible belong to this world.  Only then is life whole.  Carl Jung
The woodpecker is an attention-grabber and is sent to shake up our awareness.   When a woodpecker is knocking, think of opportunity, as in the old saying, "when opportunity knocks, answer the door."  Woodpeckers are extremely opportunistic themselves.  Each tree is a door, revealing tender morsels of food and providing mansions for their young.  When the woodpecker is tapping into our awareness, it is a signal to use our heads (intellect) in finding solutions to our own barriers.  The symbolic meaning of woodpeckers also point to a need for creative vision.  Being opportunistic, woodpeckers see value everywhere, even in dead trees.  Perhaps he is telling you to breathe new life into a project just as they build homes in dead trees.  The symbolic meaning of woodpecker indicates a return to our roots, or having trust in our basic gut feelings.  Dr. Carl Jung observed the woodpecker as a symbol of a return to the womb of creativity.  The tree is symbolic of a womb, earthy, grounded, sturdy and secure.  The woodpecker's home within the tree is as that of a fierce determination to return and protect that which is sacred to us.  When this bird comes pecking, it is a call for us to return to our roots, back to the womb of our ideas and use our intellect and discernment to follow through with our plans; prime, protective energy to be aware of our core impulses, our basic beliefs. The woodpecker may also remind us to be mindful of our words.  It has a narrow tongue, extremely effective for picking up food in narrow places. This is symbolic for using a narrow route to get the most profound effect.  The woodpecker asks us to use fewer words to make a stronger impact in our statement.  
I was in awe of three dragonflies dancing around me for quite a long time.  As a creature of the wind, the dragonfly totem represents change.  It's iridiscent wings are incredibly sensitive to the slightest breeze and so we are reminded to heed where the proverbial wind blows ~ lest we run into stormy weather.  Dragonflies are also creatures of the water hence the symbolism is relative to the subconscious or dreaming mind and thoughts, and relates to the thoughts we have in relaxed/meditative/sleeping/subconscious states.  Dragonflies carry messages that deal with deeper thought and they ask that we pay attention to our deeper thoughts and desires.  As the dragonfly skitters across the top of water surfaces, this implies that our deeper thoughts are surfacing and we must be mindful of the outcome we wish to have.  The dragonfly is a reminder that when our deeper thoughts rise to the surface we must pay attention ~ let it rise to the surface of your mind's ocean ~ see that thought float lightly up to the water's surface.  Now upon the top of a smooth, calm glass-like surface ~ visualize that thought moving across that water ~ sliding across ~ smooth and fast.  This is an exercise to to use when we want to visualize positive outcome in a situation.  We see the thought of hope happily moving across an ocean of peace (peaceful mind) and skitting to a perfect outcome.  Lastly, dragonflies live a short life, and it knows it must live life to its fullest with what it has.  Huge lesson for us all.

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.  Charles Ketting
The last little visitor happened to sample the nectar in the same place as the butterfly, so the circle was complete at this area.  A cute little ladybug hung out on Wayne's tee shirt for awhile which is always good luck, but this hummingbird has never come to these here parts before.  The fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol, further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity and infinity.  By observing the hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless, always actively seeking the sweetest nectar and remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.  Amazing migrators, some hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2,000 miles to reach their destination.  This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams and adopt the tenacity of the hummingbird in our lives.  The hummingbird animal totem is a messenger of hope and jubilation.  The most important message to you is the sweetest nectar is within!
Now that I have shared my recent inspirations thanks to the universe and its amazing creatures, I thought you would like a quick and easy (my style) baking concoction.  This is loosely based on Ms. Paul Dean's recipe so it is not at all a weight watcher treat, but rather something to indulge in to satisfy the sweet tooth using the divine home grown peaches so abundant these days.

peach cobbler

5 large peaches, peeled and sliced
(make sure they are just ripe enough, but not too soft)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup sugar and water in a saucepan and mix well.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Put the stick of butter in a 3 quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.  Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar, flour and milk slowly with a spoon to prevent clumping.  Pour mixture over melted butter ~ do not stir.  Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup.  Sprinkle top with cinnamon.  Batter will rise to the top during baking.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.  To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Happy days...xo

Monday, September 5, 2011

it's labor day!

I have a hard time wishing a happy labor day because it seems contradictory.   Labor: a physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; to work, toil, strive painstakingly; to process with great effort; to distress, burden; to undergo the efforts of childbirth.

Happy and Labor feels a bit off, but you get my meaning; however, this entire weekend is typically the last hurrah for summertime activities and the symbolic end of summer.  Right on cue, our area has felt "hoodie weather" as my son calls it.  You can smell it and the days are somehow crisper and brighter (and cooler.) 
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Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the contributions of America's workforce.  No one knows who started it but the first celebration can be traced back to New York City's Union Square on September 5, 1892 and designed as a way to appease city workers after numerous strikes and even violence.  Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887 and it became a federal holiday in 1894.  The reason we stop wearing white after this weekend is that in the early 20th century, white was the uniform of choice for Americans to vacation to warmer climates for months at a time and light summer clothing provided a pleasing contrast to drabber urban life.  If you look at any photograph of any city in America in the 1930s, you will see people in dark clothes.  By contrast, the white linen suits were a look of leisure.
We spent this weekend recovering from surgery and hubby doted on me.  I get around better than expected but cannot drive until next week so I am confined at home for a bit.  We had quite a scare yesterday as our beloved finches flew their coop for a taste of freedom but seemed to hover in our garden trees.  Somehow, someway, Wayne was able to capture one of the males in our garage and have him lure the female, which he did.  She stayed close to the house all day and after five hours she entered the cage to eat some millet. He quickly put the brother in with her and they were very happy to be in their secure nest once again. We tried to get the third brother to come back home, to no avail so far.  Perhaps today he will rejoin Lady Antebellum as I call the trio.  If not, I bless him for all the joy he brought me and wish him well.
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I have grown quite fond of these finches and cherish their soothing sounds.  I found some interesting tidbits on animal symbolism pertaining to finches.  When finches come into our awareness it is a sure sign of exciting, ebullient times ahead.  Finches are a sparkly omen of high energy and bright days on the horizon.  Consider the flight pattern, in the same way you can pick up on a person's character by his gait, we can do the same with a bird's flight.  Finches are never satisfied to just go from point A to point B.  They seem to boogie from place to place; bouncing and bobbing through air currents is big fun for these birds.  Observing them gives you a feeling of freedom and happiness.  Native Americans held the finch as a bird of happiness.  They observed their variety and colors and considered this bird to be favored because they were painted in shades of bright joy.  Joyful dispositions and freedom-loving behaviors are admirable qualities much revered by our wise ancestors.  Native wisdom holds the finch as an oracle of celebration and upcoming festivities. 
These are song birds and their music heralds the bounty of spring.  The song of the finch holds a great deal of symbolism.  When the finch sings to our awareness it is a beckoning to unleash our own song.  If we've been concealing our brilliance from the world, the finch is a sign to start making our value more audible and available to others.  The finch will sing lightly to your heart, and guide you on a bouncy path of creativity.  If the finch comes into your life it may be a sign to get more involved with social activities.   The flight of finch is full of zeal and zest and the message here is enjoy the journey!  Their color is derived from food source (finches don't produce their own pigment.)  The quality of their food determines their brightness.  Better food, better color.  The message here is you are what you eat!  Feed your body good stuff and let it flourish brightly.  Finches feed their young plant matter (not meaty worms like most birds) and this message is nourish your body with good greens from the earth.  Did you know finches have, on the average, 12 tail feathers?  Twelve is symbolic of structure, particularly in matters of time (our 24 hour day is halved by 12, twelve signs of the western zodiac, twelve months in a calendar year)  Tail feathers are the rudders, so the finch may be telling us to navigate time wisely.  Finches are happy to nest anywhere.  They are extremely opportunistic (even using discarded nests from other birds) and seemingly easy to please.  The message appreciate what you have, and make the most of it!

Apple~Pineapple Pie

This is perfect pie weather.  Today I share a new creation based on my eldest son's favorite ingredients.  He loves apple pie, and he loves anything pineapple, so I decided to create a dish to satisfy all his taste buds.

1 package refrigerated piecrusts
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
2 large cooking apples, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Fit 1 piecrust into a 9" pieplate according to package directions, gently pressing out fold lines.  Combine pineapple and next 3 ingredients; stir in sugar and next 3 ingredients.  Spoon into prepared piecrust.  Cover with remaining piecrust.  Trim edges of pastry, seal edges and crimp.  If you like, mix one egg and little milk and lightly brush on crust.  Cut several slits in top for steam to escape.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 1 hour or until golden.

Be bright in your day...just as the finch encourages us to be! xo