Monday, August 30, 2010

The Ocean

"My soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea."
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea."
- e.e. cummings
"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
- Jacques Cousteau
 "I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought."
- Helen Keller
“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”
- Henry Beston
"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun."
- Anonymous

"When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused."
- Rainer Maria Rilke

I hope that no matter where you live, these photos of the ocean and quotes about the sea will bring each of you a little bit of joy the way that each of your comments does for me every day!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thank You

They say that when one door closes, another door opens.

And that with age comes wisdom.

That even under the harshest of conditions, life will flourish.

That although our world can sometimes seem challenging, there is always something new waiting on the horizon.

That how we chose to deal with life's adversities, overcome them, and move forward is what makes us who we are.

That even amidst the chaos, there is beauty...


Incredible strength!

And most of all, compassion!

I can't begin to thank you all enough for your wonderful emails and comments filled with the love, kindness, support and compassion that have carried me through the months, and most especially the last few weeks!  It means more than any of you will ever know, and for that I say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

I've been without a computer for over a week now since the laptop we bought didn't work and had to be returned.  Our desktops are still out of commission and I'm not sure when I'll have a "real" keyboard and a mouse again...which I sorely miss!

Ms. M is not progressing as well as we had all hoped and so we have some tough decisions ahead of us, but we'll make it through.  My dear friend Dan continues to deteriorate from his brain tumor, but he is not in pain and is surrounded by his family over in the UK so I know he is comforted even if it can't be by me.

And Mr. Tide and I took some much needed time and went to the beach for a few days to renew our souls and to unwind.  There really is no better medicine than salt water!!

Our son had an easy move in to his college, only to move out a few days later.  When faced with people making bad choices that impacted him, and with a university that couldn't guarantee it would be any different if he changed rooms, he made a very tough decision and one we are SO proud of him for making!  He stood strong and even the Dean couldn't disagree with his choice.

He is sad to have to go elsewhere, but he knows that by keeping his eye on the big prize and what he wants for his future that sometimes doing the right thing isn't always an easy path to follow.  It's a lesson that we can all learn from, that even when one door closes, another one opens.  And even though we might not always realize it at the time, it will be the door we were meant to step through!

Without a computer for over a week I was able to slow down a little and focus on what was really important to me. I spent lots of time with my family and took my camera everywhere to capture the beauty around me, like this sweet Akita named Moto that we met on the beach at St. Mary's City last week.  

I feel so much better than I did when I wrote my last post, thanks to all of you and after taking some time away.  We all need that for ourselves, time to reflect and to move onward and upward.  Thank you again for everything and I hope each of you have a wonderful week!


Kat :)

Friday, August 20, 2010


If you came here looking for a happy go lucky post the EXIT button NOW!

When I started this blog I told Mr. Tide that this would be a place for happy, relaxing posts, a place to escape for my readers and me!  But sometimes life has a way of changing even the best laid plans.  It's not that I don't want to keep things real on here, but I know that we all have things going on in our lives that make us want to visit blogs and see pretty pictures and read funny posts to get away from our everyday problems, and trust me we all have them!

A few days ago I met with a friend who had her whole world come tumbling down on her last year and as we talked I realized that we can't always be Suzy Sunshine.  She said that when her life imploded she felt like she was the only one, and that it wasn't until she started talking to others and hearing their stories that she realized things weren't so bad after all.

The last 5 weeks have been almost overwhelming for me, ok to be honest, the last 7 years have been a bit overwhelming.   But the last month and a half has really been exhausting and stressful.  It started with Ms. M's stroke which was very reminiscent of my own mother's stroke 7 years ago.  And taking on the care and responsibilities of someone who is not a family member, but who you consider to be one, is overwhelming in and of itself.

Now, let's throw on top of that the fact that one of my dearest friends in the world has entered hospice care in the UK for a brain tumor and I can't get to him to give him a hug or see him one more time!  That my baby is leaving for college in less than one week and I'm not a big fan of the empty nest situation!  And although I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world, his job can take him anywhere in the world (and I mean anywhere) at a moment's notice...!!! My health hasn't been the best in the last 5 years and I finally got normal bloodwork for the first time in 3 years, but I still have a long road ahead of me.  That I work full time and that my house was struck by lightning night before last!!!  Seriously?!  Did I really need ONE more thing on my plate at the moment?!

That's right, our house suffered a direct hit from a big bolt of ligthning a couple nights ago and fried nearly every electronic device in it!!!  The computers, ie. all of my work stuff, all of my photos, you name it!  The phones, my husband's computer, the lighting in half of the house, the AC, the garage door openers....the list goes on and on.

But you know what?  It could have been so much worse.  The house could have caught on fire and we could have lost everything, so for that I am very grateful!!!  Stuff is just that, it's stuff and it can be replaced.  And although this proverbial camel has reached her current limit on straws I know that my load is no greater than so many people out there.

I have loving friends and family, I have a house to come home to, I have sweet puppies that sense my stress and give me a nuzzle and a kiss to help me feel better, so life is good!  But hey, that doesn't mean I can't whine a bit, complain some, and feel a wee bit sorry for myself too.  We're all entitled to that I think!

Next post I promise will be a happy one, or maybe it won't be but I think it's like the song lyrics to one of my favorite songs say....

And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd 
Cause these words are my diary screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them however you want too

Just Breathe!!! 

I have a new laptop to use until we can see if we are able to recover anything from my beloved desktop!  And we'll be investing in an external hard drive this weekend.  On the bright side, this gives me an excuse to take lots of new pictures!!!

I hope each of you have a wonderful relaxing weekend and that you get a chance to Breathe!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Little Taste of Sunshines

A few Saturdays ago, after spending the day with my dear friend Connie, I headed back towards home for a local beach party in the quiet town of Leonardtown, Maryland.  Mr. Tide had phoned me as I was making my way back home to ask if I wanted to go to the party, and it sounded like great way to cap off a perfect day!

A bypass put in years ago, which re-routed traffic away from the historic downtown shopping district in Leonardtown, nearly sealed the town's fate.  But those who had grown up in the area refused to let that happen, and over the years small businesses, residents, and area officials have worked together to bring life back to this once booming small town.

And one of the ways they've sought to inject Leonardtown with a sense of community and economic welfare is to host several annual events which are centered around the town's square.  Vendors, musicians, and our local fire and rescue departments all gather on the square for the various events where fun can be had by all.

And although many of the original businesses are no longer located on the square in Leonardtown, many new and thriving ones have come in to take their place.   You can find everything from a local pub to a wonderful used book store.  And you can even find a place to take cooking lessons or purchase a piece of fine art created by local artisans.

And of course there are wonderful places to dine.  One of the new kids on the block, and a favorite for Mr. Tide and me, is The Front Porch.  It's located in a historic home once owned by the Sterling family, a prominent local name.  The house remained in the family for many generations until it was sold, completely renovated, and turned into a wonderful restaurant.

I love the casual family friendly atmosphere of The Front Porch.  The decor inside includes a trip down memory lane as the walls are filled with items and photos of Leonardtown from years gone by.  And I love this vintage bicycle with petunias spilling out of the basket!

And true to its name, The Front Porch does indeed have an inviting front porch where you can dine on great food or simply sit and have a drink overlooking the town.  And if you're feeling up to a little friendly competition, you can play a game or two of croquet on the restaurant's well manicured front lawn. 

By the time we arrived, the sun was getting low, but that didn't stop the children from having a fun time in the water provided by Leonardtown's Volunteer Fire Department.

And what kind of beach party would it be without some sand and water?!  It was a hot day that day so kids weren't the only ones enjoying the cool mist!

Crazy for Ewe is one of my favorite stores in town.  Not because I knit, but because the windows are adorned with the most wonderful sheep paintings!  It is a great knitting store to boot though, and they even offer lessons!

There are so many great places and cool old buildings in Leonardtown.  And the evening light was perfect!  Duke's, which was once a notorious watering hole (they had a drive-thru window where you could order a mixed drink!), is now home to Cafe Des Artistes, a wonderful French restaurant.  Owners Karleen and Loic Jaffres are gracious proprietors and their profiteroles are to die for!  And don't forget to try my personal favorite, the European style hot dog served in a banquette with yummy mustard from their lunch menu!

And Leonardtown is blessed with not one but several wonderful floral shops, so flowers are never hard to come kind of town!
Even the bank is located in a gorgeous old building!  Unfortunately it's no longer locally owned and operated like so many banks which have fallen on hard times, but they can never take away the history and craftsmanship that went into the building itself.

And check out the beautiful Maryland seals that adorn its brick facade!  I have made many a deposit at this old bank when I worked for local attorneys in town many years ago during my summer breaks from college.

But it wasn't just the chance to wander around the historic old buildings, beautiful homes, say hi to our son, and to mingle with a lot of friends that brought us to Leonardtown that night.  We had heard from a reliable source that one of our favorite catering companies was going to be selling their wares at the beach party that night!

You see, we had it on good authority from our friend and painter extraordinaire Jeff (he's on the left in the blue shirt) that there would be yummy BBQ to be had!

Sunshines Catering is located in Hollywood, Maryland and is owned by Patrick T. Michael, but most people just call him Chef.  They are well known throughout southern Maryland for their delicious food, and the steady stream of customers buying their BBQ at the beach party was certainly happy to see them!

And if the heavenly smell of their BBQ and other yummy food doesn't help you find them, well you can always look for their one of a kind truck!

Imagine Jimmy Buffett and a pirate/artist/biker chick had a love child...that's Sunshines Catering.  Laid back, fun loving, and oh so good!

And waiting in line becomes a real treat when this great catering company is serving up the grub!  They don't just set up a booth, they do it in style!

I just love their quirky sense of humor and I'm not going to argue with a bull and a bun!

I will argue that the sliced beef BBQ, fries, and soda I had that evening were second to none though!

And that the artwork on their truck is amazing!

These folks agree too!

I'm pretty sure if there really are pirates with chests full of booty, then this must be the greatest booty of all!  If you are ever in the area, keep an eye out for the bright blue truck for your own little taste of Sunshines!

And if you live in the area and are in need of an amazing painter, email me and I'll give you Jeff's contact information.  Just don't become too popular Jeff or I won't have my favorite painter around when I need him! ;-)

There is so much more to the town of Leonardtown then what I've been able to show you here, so I hope that if you're ever in southern Maryland that you'll venture down this way and stop by for a visit!

Thank you everyone for your kind comments about Mary Beth's wonderful artwork in her son's nursery, I know it made her happy to see such lovely things said about the room she worked so hard on!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Down On The Farm

The birth of a child is always special, but when it's your first born, that thrill is magnified.  The nervousness, the excitement, the anticipation all add to this important time in people's lives.  Finding just the right outfit to bring the baby home in, or the perfect crib bedding are all part of the fun when it comes to planning for your first child.

Today, there are so many great products on the market to make a baby's nursery a special and calming space to come home to.  But it's sometimes those little touches, like a handmade blanket or special piece of furniture passed down through the generations that makes a room truly special for that tiny little bundle of joy.  

This spring, I had the privilege of photographing a nursery that showcases a mother's amazing artistic talents and ability to create a one of a kind space for her darling baby boy!

Mary Beth Griffin is a talented artist who specializes in faux finishing, custom painting, and mural work.  Her artistic abilities are well known throughout Maryland and DC, but one of her most special works is the full room mural she created for her tiniest client, her newborn son!

Taking her cue from the home's beautiful location, Mary Beth created a farm scene which envelopes the entire room.  Living on a family farm along the water's edge, she incorporated details from the property's past and present to bring to life the scenes of every day farm life!

When I visited, Mary Beth and her husband Joe were still expecting the birth of their first child, and you could tell that she was tickled pink and ready to finally meet her new charge.

She beamed as she spoke about the impending birth, and the nursery spoke volumes about how truly loved this baby was going to be by both of his parents!

Everything from the books to the bedding were picture perfect and just waiting for the new arrival.

But what took my breath away was the incredible artwork which adorned every wall!

And the attention to detail was absolutely awe inspiring!  I thought I went all out when I stenciled a sailboat border for my son's room, and sewed Beatrix Potter curtains for my first child, but this nursery was beyond wonderful!

Just look at this darling model bi-plane that they suspended from the ceiling so that it looks like it's pulling a very unique and cute!

And Mary Beth found a great dresser and changing table and gave them a fresh coat of bright blue paint to make everything in the room colorful and cheerful!

I love all of the cute decorative accessories, like the polka dot lampshade and the flower pots filled with bright red and yellow poppies.  And of course every baby needs a piggy bank, this one is perfect!

Everywhere you turn in this room there is something wonderful to look at!  I'm partial to old farm trucks since we owned a '56 Chevy pick-up when I was growing up, and I even got to drive it until I went away to college, so Mary Beth's rendition of this one brings back fond memories.

Along with being beautifully decorated, the room gets tons of natural light, and the views are equally as charming.

And when he gets a little older, he can peek out the windows to see all of the real life animals in the fields beyond!

Even on a cloudy day, it's still a sight to behold!  This property has been in Joe's family for years, so to raise the next generation here makes it very special.

But before this little guy can run around with his own prized pig or little calf...

He can dream about the animals that adorn his walls.

It's hard to believe but several months have passed since I shot these photos, and I got a chance to see this sweet baby boy just a little over a week ago at a local beach party.  As proud as his parents were before he arrived, that feeling has only increased 10 fold now that he's here.  And he is just so cute and happy!

I think his contentment may have something to do with the loving environment that his parents have provided for him, even before he was born.  I know that in the coming years he'll be able to look all around his room, point to the animals and equipment, learn their names and know that someone really loves him to have created such a wonderful place for him to call home!

If you would like to contact Mary Beth Griffin to have her transform your home a little or a lot, simply click HERE