Saturday, December 31, 2011

The journey into another year begins

Welcome, 2012. I am ready for you. I am ready for all of the joys and surprises, the sorrows and challenges. I am ready for the new friends and the new projects. I am ready for the books I will read, the music I will hear, the photos I will take, and the places I will go. I am ready for all that life has to offer me. I am ready for 2012.

The road of life twists and turns
and no two directions are ever the same.
Yet our lessons come from the journey,
not the destination. ~ Don Williams, Jr.

 Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
~ Greg Anderson

 Too often we are so preoccupied with the destination
that we forget the journey.

 Then we turned, and took our journey
into the wilderness... ~ The Bible

 ...We journey to the day,
And tell each other how we sang
To keep the dark away. ~ Emily Dickinson

 As travellers oft look back at eve
When eastward darkly going,
To gaze upon that light they leave
Still faint behind them glowing —
So, when the close of pleasure’s day
To gloom hath near consign’d us,
We turn to catch one fading ray
Of joy that’s left behind us. ~ T. Moore

As you set out in search of Ithaka
Pray that your journey be long,
Full of adventures, full of awakenings.
Do not fear the monsters of old …
You will not meet them in your travels
If your thoughts are exalted and remain high,
If authentic passions stir your mind, body, and spirit.
You will not encounter fearful monsters
If you do not carry them within your soul,
If your soul does not set them up
in front of you. ~ Constantine Peter Cavafy

Welcome to 2012! I hope you will decide to take the journey with me. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!

Sometimes the joys of the season are to be found in the smallest things, such as a Christmas card from a special friend, a homemade gift, a surprise in the mailbox, the lights on the tree, a little baby's smile.

Here are just a few of the small joys of Christmas that I've been enjoying.
 This is a card from the late 50's or early 60's that shows my family's Maine farmhouse. The Hudsons were friends of my grandmother, and she let them stay in her house for the winter.

 The madonna and child was a card my dad created in the 1960's.
It's amazing how that 60's design vibe still seems fresh today.

 My good friend Patty sent me these yummy chocolate-dipped berries as a Christmas surprise.

 My friend Julie gave me this cute little bird candleholder. I have it going on my mantle tonight.

And here's another shot of the mantle with both cards and the bird, plus a handmade angel that was also a gift. The wooden Merry Christmas is from a previous holiday.

Wishing all of my blog visitors a very Merry Christmas!! I hope that yours will be magical and filled with your own happy surprises and small joys of the season.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Seaside Saturday: Foggy day at Pemaquid Light, Maine

Earlier this week, I drove up the coast to Thomaston. On the way back, I decided to make the drive out to Pemaquid Point in Bristol, Maine. I hadn't been to Pemaquid Light for a couple of years, and I couldn't be that close without paying it a visit. Although it was a rainy and foggy day, I decided to drive out there, knowing the lighthouse might be socked in with fog. But not so! It was very gray, but luckily the lighthouse was not shrouded in the mists. Below are some of the photos I took. Please click on each one for a better view. And then at the end of the photos is some information about the Pemaquid Peninsula.

I used to work at an ad agency in Manhattan, and the first client assigned to me was G.H. Bass & Co. At the time, they were headquartered in South Portland, Maine, and they had just opened 3 Spirit of Maine retail shops. Lucky for me, I've got Maine in my genes and have never loved any place more than I love Maine so it was easy for me to create concepts and copy for Bass. I'm going to include below an article I wrote for their newsletter on Pemaquid Light and the Pemaquid Peninsula.

Pemaquid Point Light Captures the Spirit of Maine

Imagine a picturesque lighthouse sitting high atop a rocky point, the surf crashing ceaselessly below, a vast expanse of ocean stretching beyond. This breathtaking scene can be found on the coast of Maine at Pemaquid Point, located at the end of Route 130 on the western side of Muscongus Bay.

Pemaquid Point Light, a favorite of photographers and artists, sits 79 feet above the water, perched on a ledge of striated volcanic rock. The exceptionally pretty lighthouse looks most impressive when viewed from the rocks below. Stop by on a summer’s day, and you’ll find adults and children alike climbing the rocks for hours on end, enjoying the views of the spectacular lighthouse and the pounding sea.

Rocky Cliffs Contain Unexpected Beauty

One of the joys of exploring Pemaquid Point is the chance to investigate the multicolored tidal pools found within the crevices of rock. Any visitor who takes a moment for a closer look at a tidal pool will be fascinated by all manner of marine life, from seaweed to tiny snails and sea urchins.

Next to Pemaquid Point Light is the keeper’s house, now converted to the Fishermen’s Museum. Individuals interested in Maine’s maritime history will enjoy viewing the fine photographs, ship models, and other artifacts on Maine lighthouses and the fishing industry on display here. Nearby is the Pemaquid Art Gallery, where local artists exhibit their works from June through mid-September. Picnic tables and the Sea Gull Shop and Restaurant are next door.

Step Back in Time

Another interesting spot on the Pemaquid peninsula is the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site. The Pemaquid area has a long history, and a visit to this archaeological site gives one the opportunity to step back in time. In the early 1800s, farmers filled in the cellar holes of the 17th-century settlement that once stood on this spot. Led by a Rutgers professor, excavations were begun in recent years to uncover the village’s remains. Today, the foundations of homes, a custom house, a tavern, and a jail are visible.

An archaeological museum now holds the many artifacts unearthed from Maine’s “lost city,” such as tools, jugs, pottery, and wampum. It is one of the few in-the-field archaeological museums open to the public anywhere. Here, dioramas depict an earlier village, giving visitors an idea of how the original 1620s settlement looked.

Next to the archaeological museum stands Fort William Henry, a replica of a structure built in 1689 to fend off pirates and the French, which contains exhibits on the early explorations of Maine. A nearby burial ground dates back to 1695. Visitors often wander through the cemetery, looking at the headstones that bear messages both amusing and poignant, wondering about the people who populated the peninsula in bygone days. One thing is certain: Pemaquid’s rugged beauty is as evident today as it was 300 years ago.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: the gray & lovely Coast of Maine

[please click on images for a better view]

Stop back on December 10th for Seaside Saturday & more photos of Pemaquid Light.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fiction Friday: an ultra-short story called Late for Dinner

I'm back with another Fiction Friday post. This is the time and place where I post my short fiction. Today's story falls into the realm of flash fiction, also known as short short stories and sudden fiction. This type of story is typically less than 1,000 words and often much shorter.  And if you've ever thought about writing fiction, consider this format. It's not nearly as overwhelming as writing a "regular" short story or, God forbid, a novel. Short fiction is the ideal format for a copwriter like me, since I'm used to writing very concise pieces that need to fit a certain space.

I hope you enjoy today's Fiction Friday post!

Late for Dinner
It’s time to go, Ned said.

I’m almost ready, Anne replied, straightening her skirt. I just have to grab my purse.

Anne knew that Ned was annoyed. They were due at his boss’s house for dinner in 35 minutes, and the ride to Evanston took at least half an hour. Ned hated tardiness, and the idea of arriving late to Theodore Gregson’s home for this important business dinner was unthinkable.

Oh, here it is, Anne said, spotting her black suede purse on the chair. As she reached for it, she felt a run in her pantyhose creep up the back of her leg.

Damn! she thought. I should have worn pants.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This is your life. Do what you love.

I saw this today on Facebook; maybe you have seen it too. I think it's been making the rounds of blogs and such. I love it! The only thing I disagree with is "Some opportunities only come once." I believe the Universe is constantly sending us great opportunities. The question is, Are you open to receiving them?

This is your LIFE. Do what you love and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Life is simple. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people. We are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once. Seize them. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them. So go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiction Friday: something new from Beth's Take on Life

Hello and welcome to the first-ever Fiction Friday! I've decided to post my short-short stories (AKA flash fiction) here on random Fridays. I got interested in writing short-short stories about 10 years ago, I think. And then listening to Three Minute Fiction on NPR rekindled my passion for this very short format (usually no more than 600 words). We'll kick off Fiction Friday with my story, The Worst Part of the Job!

The Worst Part of the Job 
The worst part of the job, Trish felt, and she was deadly serious about this, was the bathroom experience. That’s how she thought of it: “the bathroom experience.” First of all, the toilet didn’t have a lid. I mean, really, there oughta be a law. Trish had heard the NPR report about how germs and bacteria burst up out of the toilet and splatter the unsuspecting pee-er after flushing. In this tiny bathroom, no lid meant all that bacteria was simply sprayed into the air with each and every flush. Disgusting. Truly disgusting.

Then there was the low murmur of voices coming through the wall from the neighboring office. A psychiatrist’s office. Trish usually couldn’t make out what they were saying, although every now and then she would catch a word or two. “Colorful” she heard the psychiatrist say one time. “Bright.” Were they discussing personalities or decorating? Trish would never know.

Who could she complain to about this horrible bathroom, she asked herself? Who would take her concerns seriously? Not her boss. No, indeed. He was too stressed out trying to bring in new clients to pay any attention to her problems. She would just have to tough it out. Try not to think about it. Drink less water. The bathroom experience was emblematic of the job she hated. For now, Trish felt like she had no choice but to suck it up. One day, she’d find a new job – a better job -- with a better bathroom. She’d get far away from lidless toilets and whispered confessions. There would be no more repulsive bathroom experiences. She knew what she wanted, and she knew it was out there somewhere: a better job. The perfect job. With the perfect bathroom.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Today marks a milestone

This is Wordless Wednesday, but I can't stay mute today because -- wait for it -- this marks my 200th blog post! I want to say thanks all of you who read this blog. I appreciate sharing my thoughts and photos with you. Over the last 3 years, blogging has become a fulfilling part of my life.

I'm currently making some plans for the future of my blog. I still want to add more decorating info and inspiration, as I had mentioned awhile back, and I am also considering mixing in a little fiction. (Yes, my fiction! Yikes!) So stay tuned to find out what's next for Beth's Take on Life! Thank you, blogger friends!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

This year, the scariest thing about Halloween has been the weather! We got about 5 or 6 inches of snow yesterday, breaking a record that was set in the 1800s. This morning as I write this post, it's a chilly 27 degrees. The kids are going to have to wear long underwear under their costumes to stay warm while trick or treating tonight.

I'm sharing 2 little poems and some pumpkin photos I took last year at the community garden. Wishing you all a safe and fun Halloween!

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
'tis near Halloween.
~Author Unknown

 Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight is Halloween!"
~Dexter Kozen

Friday, October 28, 2011

The last of the autumn colors

I decided to do one last post on the fall colors before the snow rolls into Maine tomorrow. A Nor'easter in October? Yikes!

Anyway, these images were all taken in my neighborhood on a recent walk. Please click on each one for a better view.

I love all of the colors and textures, but of these particular shots, I think the one I like best is the hydrangea next to the gate. There's a romantic feeling about it. Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

[from an ad in Life magazine, 1955]

Don't they remind you of Betty & Don Draper? ☺

Monday, October 3, 2011

Take the Foundation of Rock Bottom & Build Your Dream Life

Today I'm sharing something I wrote one year ago after seeing JK Rowling on Oprah. I hope it gives your spirit a little boost and helps your start the week off on a positive note. Let me know what you think!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Take the Foundation of Rock Bottom & Build Your Dream Life

I happened to catch the last 30 minutes of Oprah’s interview with JK Rowling today, and it really made an impression on me. Ms. Rowling has faced many challenges in her life, but to hear her talk about how she went from depressed and broke to becoming the author of one of the best-selling book series in recent memory – not to mention a massive fortune and a marriage with the love of her life – was truly inspiring. She mentioned the commencement speech she gave at Harvard in 2008, and the phrase that stuck with me was this: Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Who among us hasn’t felt like we’ve hit rock bottom at one time or another? Perhaps you’ve weathered the demise of a relationship or the death of a parent. Maybe you’ve been challenged by life with an unhappy child or a demanding boss. Possibly your own inner demons have sent your scurrying to find relief in drugs or alcohol. Whatever struggles you’ve endured – or perhaps are enduring even as you read this – isn’t it good to know that others have gone through tough times, possibly even very similar experiences as those you’re living, and come out of them not just well and happy but truly living the life of their dreams?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t find mediocre acceptable. I didn’t come to this planet to live a mediocre life. I want to see my personal dreams of success and happiness become reality. But how to begin?

I think the path to living our dream life starts with hope. And you can have hope today if you want it. You don’t need money, you don’t need education, you don’t even need to have a job or a home to have hope. However, it is helpful to know, or know of, someone who has overcome adversity so you can use them as a role model. Someone like JK Rowling. Or even Oprah herself, who, from all accounts, had a childhood comprised of poverty and abuse. Is there someone in your own life who’s known tough times yet never given up? Use these folks as your role models and, more importantly, as reminders that change – positive, uplifting, dramatic change – is always possible. Always and without exception.

Pick someone to be your role model, and learn all you can about that person. Pin up quotes from him. Cut out pictures of her. Make a vision board depicting your role model and their accomplishments. Remember that this person at one time also hit rock bottom. But they didn’t crash and burn – they bounced. It took guts. It took focus. And it took no small amount of hope. But they did it and they went on to live amazing lives. And if you are determined to make the best of things, you can take your rock bottom – with underpinnings of hope and faith – and build your dream life, too. You’ve got the foundation. The question now is: How high will your dreams take you?