Ocean Breeze

ocean1

View of the ocean from the cliffs

Friday afternoon; the park is a buzz with activity. My dog leads the way, pulling us behind her with her leash. The park is up on the cliffs, overlooking the ocean. Cool, ocean breezes drift up to us preventing our warm bodies from overheating. Salty air awakens the senses, bringing you and your surroundings to life.

seagull

A seagull, perched and unmoving

 

A still seagull sits atop a wooden post, swaying slightly in the breeze. Not even my approaching startles this peaceful seagull, though the birds are usually rather flighty. It seemed that us humans were not the only relaxed ones in the park.

A walk takes your mind off of things, but can also give you time to think. My favorite weather to walk is cool, but not cold with a whisper of wind. And that is exactly yesterday’s conditions. Because my dog came along there was a perfect balance of swift walking and time to dawdle while she sniffed the grass. Bright flowers edged the path, including the famous California poppies.

calipoppys

California poppies growing on the side of the path

Near the end of our walk we came across an older woman and her dog resting on a bench. She told us a bit about her dog, and was soon talking about herself. She suggested a book author to me and told us a bit about her family. When walking in the park you never know who you will meet. This woman was truly a character, with an English accent and an equally English name. It was an interesting encounter, and I learned a bit about the history of a type of dog I’d never heard of. Take a walk! You never know what you may find.

 

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Fictional Heroines and I

As an avid book reader I have met and enjoyed the company of many heroes and heroines. As a girl there is something about a strong female character that I can relate to and be inspired by. Over the years, a number of inspiring female characters have collected. The following is just a few of these inspiring women.

Hermione Granger is a character in the Harry Potter novels. She is the brightest witch of her age, and is an endless source of strength, wit and knowledge through out the series. Hermione is one of the strong women who have inspired me. She is independent, smart, and through many a hard times a true and good friend. She is a character to look up to, learn from and strive to be alike. A true heroine.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Bennet is a character from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She is a young women who refuses to marry a man far above her and of good means, when first proposed to. Lizzy is a girl after love in a time when women were expected to marry before they got to old. She is strong, smart, proud and witty character that many can relate to, despite her being from another era.

Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire in the Hunger Games. She is forced to fight to the death (literally) in a dystopian society, but goes on to become a revolutionary symbol and leader. She is a strong women, the back bone of her family and later the symbol of hope for many.

Jo March is a smart, creative writer in the novel Little Women. She is proud of her accomplishments as a writer, and pursues a career despite what society tells her. Jo is a loyal and loving women. Jo teaches us to be true to yourself.

Liesel Meminger is a character from the novel The Book Thief. Though she is just a young girl, she is brave and loyal to someone who the society tells her is the enemy. She is a girl who loves words and knows the importance of them. She is a girl who teaches us to stand up for what you believe in.

All these literary characters are women with strong values, and wit. There is something to be taken from each of their stories. What have you taken from the stories of some of your favorite literary characters?

A Night at the Theater

Last evening my parents surprised me with tickets to see West Side Story for my birthday. The opening night, March 18th, happened to be on my birthday and so it seemed that it was meant to be.

West Side Story is a Romeo and Juliet-like story set in New York City in the 1950’s about a boy from the “jets”, Tony, and Maria, a Puerto Rican girl who’s brother is the leader of the sharks, the Jets nemesis. Despite this, Tony and Maria fall in love, but like Romeo and Juliet are bound for tragedy as the Sharks and the Jets fight for their “turf”.

West Side Story is a musical with social commentary that is still relevant today, though it was originally debuted in 1957. Tony is a retired member of the Jets, though he sometimes gives them a hand, and Maria is the sister of the Sharks leader, Bernardo. Despite all the prejudice surrounding Maria and Tony they do not see prejudice, they see only one another and their love.

Maria, played by MaryJoanna Grisso, and Tony, played by Jarrad Biron Green, were beautifully matched. Their voices soared together in songs such as “Tonight” and “Somewhere” and their chemistry was obvious. A great pair to play the two lovers.

The choreography in the many dance scenes was outstanding. From the colorful and lively scenes of “America” and “Dance at the Gym”, to the more graceful moments, the moves were executed beautifully. I found myself enchanted by the graceful dancing during “Somewhere”, set against a pale back drop with the cast dressed in light colors. “Dance at the Gym” showcased the two dance styles; it began with the lively dance moves displayed by the opposing gangs, but turns soft and romantic for a moment when Tony and Maria see one another and meet. Dance expresses so much in this story, so it was important to get it right, and get it right they did.

This was an amazing performance. If this national tour of West Side Story comes to a theater near you, I encourage you to make the trip to see it. There were laughs, excitement, tears, and song. A very good performance of the classic West Side Story.

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Saturday in the Park

Last Saturday: After a lazy morning, I decided to go down to the local deli. After ordering a delightful chicken sandwich, I walked to a lovely little park that has ocean views, and big grassy fields. The park was just the place to be; there was a group of adorable young kids playing games, and a few others relaxing on blankets as well. With the kids laughter in the background and the wind in my hair, I settled down for a picnic.

park

The soft wind and warm sun, made us sleepy on a the cozy blanket after our meal. After a long time of just peacefully starring at the sky, we rallied ourselves and took the short walk to a near by grocery. There we bought ice cream and again returned to the park to stare at the sea and eat ice cream.

icecreampark

This time we camped out on a small bench over looking the sea. The smell of the ocean, mixed with the cooling ice cream made for a delicious snack.

Picnics at parks are one of the best things to do. Being outdoors invigorates you, making you more hungry and the food more satisfying. It is a wonderful thing to have an entire afternoon to do nothing, and be outdoors at the same time. The ocean, the trees, and the blue sky created a relaxing atmosphere, letting me forget my worries. A lot of the time my mind is off in another place, thinking of school work, and plans but on that day I was simply in the moment.

Saying Goodbye to Winter

Though my town received a somewhat weak winter this year, it was winter none the less. These past few days I have seen the weather getting warmer, and the sun setting later (thanks to the time change). With the Spring equinox right around the corner, we are now able to fondly look back on the winter months.

My town did not receive much rain this year, but I will miss the little rain we did have. I love the rain. It invigorates you, makes you feel alive. Much like having a chilly nose. Though some may deem these things unpleasant, I enjoy them, though perhaps I wouldn’t if I had to deal with them on a regular basis

Any excuse to curl up by the fire with a book and hot drink is a good excuse to me, and chilly winter nights gave this excuse many a time. Though you will find me curled up with a book in every season, I may not always have as good an excuse to. Winter and cozy are two words that easily go together.

During the winter, I often find myself burrowing into my cozy bedroom. Flannel sheets come out, and the room gives off a warmer vibe during these months. In the other months I will enjoy a different kind of feeling in my room.

Baking is a much exercised thing in the winter. There are holidays which require baking, and so much more. While you will defiantly catch we taking a warm batch of cookies out of the oven all year long, the warm smell of baking always reminds me of winter.

What aspects of winter will you be reminiscing about come summer?

Thursday Farmer’s Market

My town enjoys a beautiful, fresh farmers market a few times a week. My family usually makes it their business to always visit the Saturday morning market, but by Tuesday we were already beginning to run out of Saturday’s bounty. And so, we took a trip to the Tuesday market.

Some of the vegetables the Famer's market has to offer

Some of the vegetables the Farmer’s market has to offer

The market was bustling and alive with people. Street musicians playing music gave the market a lively and almost celebratory air. Stands overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables lined the street. I walked to one of my favorite organic farms stand to pick up the most delicious spinach I have ever had, and one of my personal favorites during spring, snap peas.

snappeas

After picking up a few things at that stand, I wandered around the market until I came to a stand with some beautiful strawberries I simply could not resist. With spring around the corner, the market had many things to offer that we hadn’t seen all winter.

strawberriess

The Market’s lively environment and fresh produce makes for a great shopping experience. Being in the fresh late afternoon air, and seeing many faces of the community is also nice. After going to the market at least once a week, my family has become familiar with some of the farmers and their crew. Farmer’s markets are great; the food is fresh, the people healthy, and the vibe is great. If there’s a local farmer’s market in your area, take a trip there. You may enjoy it!

Spring Arrival in the Garden

March is here, and it’s beginning to look like spring. In the gardening plants are beginning to bloom or are already blooming. I took a few pictures of the outdoors while on a walk in the garden.

Lilac in bloom

Lilac in bloom

Lilacs are a beautiful, purple color when in bloom that let off an intoxicating scent. Some lilacs, like these, only bloom for around 2 weeks, which makes this period very special. The lilacs in my own garden have yet to bloom, and simply look like a stick growing out the ground, so I took a picture of my neighbors beautiful lilacs which I always make sure to smell when I walk by. Lilacs are some of the most special flowers, because of their short spanned bloom, and are quite enchanting.

Lilac not yet in bloom

Lilac not yet in bloom

Freesia in bloom

Freesia in bloom

Freesia are beautiful flowers with a distinctive sweet scent that many have re-created in perfume. Each year freesia’s multiply, bringing more of that sweet smell with them.

Agave

Agave

Agave plants rarely bloom, because after their one and only bloom they die. Our agave in my front yard has begun to bloom, and these large stocks are beginning to grow from it. Goodbye beautiful agave, thank you for your bloom.

gardentree

In my backyard we have camellia’s that are bright and pink. These flowers often fall from the tree, creating a floor of flowers, as shown in the picture above.

That are so many beautiful plants and flowers out there, what is your favorites?