Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A moment to reflect....

I return from Greece and the refugee camps...different. And while I know I helped individual babies...individual mothers. The big picture is soo bleak for these resilient souls. With spotty internet, I did journal along the way on my facebook page. This is simply one of those entries.

Thank those of you that supported my efforts...Ongoing support is still needed and there is a link at the end of my post.

September 16th, Kahlachori Greece

I've been to and worked at three of the refugee camps surrounding Thessaloniki Greece. Each is Different from the other. Some are predominantly Kurdish. Others more Arab and Iraqi. Yet...each camp, inside, has the acrid smell of rotting garbage and raw sewage. 

I worry that I may be getting used to this mishandled crush of humans and poor poor infrastructure. Something seen and done regularly ( and we do work every day. Dawn till dusk) can quietly become "normal". 

The smell, however, slaps me, and wakes me each time.
 Here these beautiful bright eyed children, these often college educated women create moments of normalcy in the makeshift shelters they call home. Through grit, resilience and often, the help of each other... They wait for the day their country stitches itself back together. I desperately want to change this for them. It hurts how much I want to.

I had to stop by a young mothers tent to deliver a package of food this afternoon. On the way, I was met with the beaming face of Amina... (I had sat down with this pregnant mom earlier in our clinic tent, assessing her situation). It was no different from meeting a neighbor on the street at home. Arms reaching out, she brought me to her with a kiss on each cheek, beckoned me to sit. There was one dingy broken chair outside the row of tents. She hurriedly brought it over gesturing me to sit. I sat. I so happily sat. A spoon of Nutella she had been licking, was offered to me. It was a decadent treat and she wanted to share. I tried to suggest she eat it, gesturing to her growing belly.... But her eyes and her beaming smile and her spoon of chocolate insisted. And so we shared a spoonful of Nutella. Three other mothers came over and joined us. The spoon was passed and Sweet black Syrian coffee was offered in thimble sized plastic cups. And there we sat, us five, on a damp and muddy floor, with laundry hanging to dry on the tent roping. We giggled We joked. We shared.
Perhaps...the best sharing I have done in a long long while.
They ARE us. We ARE them.

You can donate to this valiant and small non profit that is doing important work  Here
You can spread awareness....ask your politicians and the UN to allow these refugees a home. In Europe...In our country.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Heavenly New Hampshire. Invisible friends....and muddy dogs.

I was lucky enough to take a little respite from
our tropical temps read hellishly hot and head to cool and crisp (ish) 
New Hampshire
I met my daughter
who had just culminated a three month environmental conservation internship
in the beautiful Lake District
remember the movie
On Golden Pond?
THIS is the golden pond where it was filmed.

maybe my most treasured part of the trip
was meeting my long time 
invisible friend's
Joan, Dan and the girls
Such a beautiful, warm and authentic
family. I loved them!

They generously introduced me, not only to their beautiful home and property
which is no less than true art
But to their beloved community and state...

That kitchen....Even better than any image I have seen
and while I always joked I would be happy to live in their 
glass refrigerator as they were rebuilding....

My wish came true!

these glimmering dog bowls made me smile.

The light in their house was stunning to wake up to
and I'm pretty sure I used that word 1.998.567 times.
the ceilings unusually tall for an antique new England home
made it so happy and light and full of welcome.

the barn room with the original untouched barn door

Their true love and respect for their antique beauty
more than once Joan mentioned just being the caretaker
is so evident. It was impossible for my camera to do it justice

original barn beams....with milagro love.
the next day, they introduced me to some well loved
and curated and historical towns
that dot  New Hampshire . I loved the tour!

Their girls.
oh those black shiny happy beautiful girls
Ella, Louise and Magnolia...
Be still my heart.
I fell in love. Hook Line and Sinker.

They followed me everywhere
so...maybe....I had a few treats...

pointing out their favorite

we walked down the road 
on a cool canopied walk
to a nearby  lake and some falls

this reminded me of Joan and her house full of "shells" or "ears"...or there is some other word for these interesting little tree growths.

Their property...and the entire area is pastoral. Bucolic.
And I could not think of a better introduction
and ambassador to New Hampshire.

 Our travels took us throughout New Hampshire
we enjoyed hiking in the White mountains
and whale watching on the choppy  seas of Portsmouth

 and as we drove we listened to the sound track of Hamilton
which seemed oddly appropriate

 we had a blast meeting and leading a team of rescued/retired iditarod race dogs through the
gorgeous White Mountains...Muddy Paws

 The name was appropriate!

 I adored the granite state....and am ready to call it home
I just need to talk a few others around here into it :)

Shout out to a few AirBnB's that we loved . It was my first experience using them
and it was fabulous!

this one in Laconia

And this fabulous carriage house in Portsmouth

Back to the tropics

Monday, August 8, 2016

Championing for the small town....A home tour.

...We live in a truly beautiful small town
in some ways it is a nostalgic throw back of 60 years
to the days gone by
Black and white striped awning shops dot our ocean drive

Some of these shops have been open
and selling beachwear for over 60 years
... a long and beautiful time
in this era of Malls and Big Box stores...

This  eclectic town
with a neighborhood vibe
is also dusted with world class art museums and galleries
award winning restaurants
and fabulous hotels and Inns.
We are lucky. We know this

This type of small town, Like many, need champions
to keep it alive. 
They need the believers...who work to
keep it breathing and thriving...
yet maintaining it's simple and beautiful roots.

These small towns need people to shop in the quaint local shops
and eat in these amazing restaurants, and buy the stunning art.

Enter one  such champion in our small town....
Cindy O'Dare 
 Cindy has  been singing and dancing the praises of this little town for decades
she has saved several older cottages
breathing life and soul into them...
 Currently she loves and calls this classic, almost modest, Central Beach house home

The cement and stucco house....Is a classic to this area.
The property is hugged by the
century old and wise
Live Oak and  Banyan trees.
I love that in  this area these trees are protected as historical. They cannot be removed
nor should they.

It is pristine and happy house... with it's new metal roof
and fresh paint,,,,and blooming welcome pots.

Inside it smiles in 
color.....and art....and wild and wonderful wallpaper
this is not a shy wallflower donned in safe beige.
uh uh
Much like it's owner....it is infused with a vibrant and generous personality.
It sings happy.
Join me for a fun tour....

You are welcomed by a GIANT thought provoking
canvas by Cindy's late Brother in Law Theo Wujcik
actually... much of the prominent art pays homage to family and friends.
The Van Gogh table was done by her artist mother....paintings by her Artist father also don her walls.

This painting below is by NYC pop artist and friend James Rizzi

The kitchen is the color of sunshine
I love the vintage table cloth
and the vintage looking, but new, fridge...

AND... the ' can't help but make you smile' wallpaper...
on the other side of the kitchen.
The kitchen is always the hang out room...why not cozy it up?

C'mon...you are smiling, right?
Can't help but...

It's  curl up your legs, cozy...and nest-like. And all Cindy.
She almost exclusively shops at local consignment, thrift and boutique shops
girl after my own heart

Maybe my favorite part of her abode is the Orchid lined sunroom/porch
right off of the kitchen
It is a portal to her tropical backyard
 This Table....be still my heart

Just past this table is a carefully tended butterfly garden 
currently not in full bloom...but welcoming birds and butterflies all the same

...and past that... an abundant grassy and majestic oak
lined back yard

Back inside....the bedrooms and a hallway are infused,
each, with their own wallpapered personality
and they play together  albeit unorthodox....beautifully....who knew?
Cindy knew.

The bathroom is a beauty in marble subway tile and a basketweave floor that I loved...

This house...and each she has brought back and colored with her style
 is a jewel

clearly loved and cared for...
a sacred space.
It is also reflected in her care for her community...her small town.
that she champions and gives back to...
Thank you for championing....for giving back.

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again. 
                                                                          ~Joseph Campbell


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