Sunday, July 24, 2016

Adventures in happily ever after đź’ś

If you were ready to send out a search party in Blogland, wondering where I've been ... here is my answer. I've been in a creative private incognito world, busy writing and staging photos for my fairytale. A fairytale that today I proudly share with you. I hope it gives you a chance to escape our world's often tragic events occupying constant airtime and you find pleasure and humor in my fairytale, Adventures in happily ever afterđź’ś

For Violet and RĂ©mi their fairytale began on their wedding day -
Flying from Paris to Transylvania, Romania to a medieval castle far, far away.

A castle with turrets and Gargoyles was the location on Violet's and RĂ©mi's wedding day -
Actually Count Dracula's 14th Century Castle filled with much mystery and decay.

For all of Violets life she has lived and breathed the ballet,
born in an abandoned French theatre of once great grandeur, now there is much decay. 
Violet is happy dwelling with RĂ©mi right where ballerinas dance on stage to accolades from an audience that they love -
Indeed there's magic living in a centuries old theatre for our thespian's, instead of the 4th floor walk-up built upstairs above.

Our couple do not worry about measuring their life by days turning into months of each passing year -
They choose instead to live in the each moment rejoicing each day's adventure sharing a love that they hold very dear.
One evening Violet and RĂ©mi arrived at la cinĂ©ma in RĂ©mi's 1972 CitroĂ«n DS23 
I know a mouse driving a vintage French car will require an open mind to believe...
But you see our little tiny couple live life joyfully and fearless -
Celebrating their marriage in each heartfelt moment, they are peerless

Violet and RĂ©mi went to la cinĂ©ma in Paris to watch on the silver screen their favorite 1967 French film Le SamouraĂŻ playing at La CinĂ©mathèque Francaise. 

Tonight is closing night of their friends FrĂ©dĂ©ric, Eugène and Henri's  play, 3 Blind Mice -
A play Violet enthusiastically choreographed the dance routines and is always there offering her advice.
They rocked the house and when bravos filled the air it became a reverberating sound that quickened in gaiety and laughter -
Echoes of past plays and ballets is what Violet hopes to embrace in her future days living happily ever after đź’ś

Looking for a weekend in a magical place, for an adventure of sheer romance ...
a place to fall in love with at first glance Violet and RĂ©mi drove to Provence, France.
Enjoying the Purple haze of luminescence as the heady aromas mingle in the sunshine -
Grown side by side, where wheat fields and lavender steeped in old world traditions align.

Our couple love to travel the French countryside
and when Violet and RĂ©mi arrived at the chateau for their holiday in Provence, the Summer sun shined intensely bright-
Mysteriously casting long dark shadows in its radiant light.

There are castles with moats and turrets to go and sightsee-
And to gain entry our mice discovered the desire for adventure was the only needed key.
Castle after castle some in ruins, RĂ©mi and Violet visited - 
In France the number and grandeur of castles is nearly unlimited ...
Luckily the castle was closed for a holiday and our mice didn't have to scurry under people's feet -
They felt like a Prince and Princess having the castle to themselves to explore it alone was a sweet treat.
Earlier that day RĂ©mi purchased a miniature car as a souvenir of the weekend at a toy store -
Look closely in his arms because he's carrying it into the castle to race it on the marble floor.

On weekend getaways, friends Michel and Veronica from the ballet would often join our couple traveling the French countryside- 
Visiting ancient castles, while Violet and RĂ©mi, ever the dreamers hope to one day reside ...

One day on a drive they discovered a magical castle on a hilltop up in the sky,
Violet smiled with delight and they ran right in, because our mice couple are not shy!
After an afternoon touring the fairytale castle RĂ©mi and Violet shared a kiss- A kiss that lingered in tenderness, a sweet little kiss of absolute bliss ...

RĂ©mi and Violet embrace each and every day, living moment by moment, in their measured mouse time-
Living large when you are teeny is a challenge because most every adventure requires a scurry, jump or climb!
One afternoon they went to a micro car show in Paris and checked them out by jumping right inside.
Violet loved the Isetta, RĂ©mi the gogomobile having much fun our couple left excited and wide eyed-
They are vintage car enthusiasts and proudly own two Citroëns and value the uniqueness they provide.

They often on Sunday's meet up with best friends Michel and Veronica and go for lunch and a drive-
feeling the warmth of the sun and putting the pedal to the metal, in their classic cars in style they arrive.

For days and days, nearly a week Paris saw more than their famous grey skies, it rained and rained and rained-
Violet and RĂ©mi stayed indoors because mice do not like rain, they occupied themselves and never once complained...
Rémi read books on the history of Citroën cars and Violet baked a cheesecake, a recipe she was given from the Pâtisserie at the corner.

During a break in theatre productions RĂ©mi packed up Violets 2CV and they drove for a holiday in Normandy France-
It's an understatement to say Violet loves cheese and on top a purchase of Brie they did their happy dance!

After a wine tasting paired with cheese Violet became a wee bit tipsy so they spent the night at a romantic Bed and Breakfast.

Before heading back to Paris RĂ©mi took a glance under the hood
and announced to Violet for the drive home all looks good

Violet loves to go through the Paris Flea Market and Brocante shops always looking for a treasure-
When planning and staging the set designs for plays and ballets she shops with RĂ©mi at their leisure.
Often Violet discovers the loveliest pieces antiquing and she has become quite a magpie,
Plus RĂ©mi will do anything to satisfy Violet and keep her happy, a fact he can not deny.
Today driving through the enchanting town close to the Château of Chantilly with friends Violet screamed,
 "stop the car"!
She spotted the most amazing iron day bed and decided to tie it to Michel's 356A Porsche because returning home was not far...

So RĂ©mi and Michel checked the ropes and gave it a quick tug and left to drive back home to unpack
And Violet and Veronica left in the 2CV already jammed packed with knick-knacks to bring back.

While out and about one sunny carefree day our couple ran into Big Gus, a mechanic who handles all their cars servicing and repairs-
RĂ©mi mentioned the 2CV has been running rough since Normandy and they followed Gus back to his shop because no other mechanics work compares.

Violets car only needed a tune up which brought a smile to their face,
Because sometimes with vintage French car repairs simple isn't the case.

While at Gus's repair shop Violet and RĂ©mi checked out a few vintage scooters from the 1960's for sale. Which one, which one ... One was a Vespa the other two Lambretta's.
Now RĂ©mi already knew the saying "happy wife - happy life" was fact, oh yes indeed.
So it should be no surprise when Violet asked for the Vespa, he smiled at her and agreed

Violet married her Prince Charming and knew RĂ©mi wore an invisible crown, seen only by her-
But here it is for all to see, because sometimes fantasy and reality in a creative mind can blur.

For even in each evenings fairytale dreams -
They conjure up the most adventurous schemes
Our petite theatrical mice continue to be wishful -
living each day of their marriage unbridled and blissful

So next time you're out and you spot something out of the corner of your eye and scream "Eeek a mouse" ...
Look around carefully when you get home, for you just may have a couple living blissfully in your house!

Goodnight Paris ... Bon RĂŞves 
This fairytale ends my story about sweet Violet, she will now live out her days with RĂ©mi surrounded by love in our row-home. My first presentation of Violet began on December 11th, 2013 on my very first blog post. On that post I shared a poem I wrote introducing Violet, I leave you with my poem and my exciting announcement. Another fairytale is starting to be written and photos staged and will again be shared on my blog. My announcement is that I am self publishing a book of my fairytale, Adventures in happily ever afterđź’ś 

Wanderlust guided by moonbeams and stars up above,
I ventured in time to a place filled with love
While waiting for sleep and full of wanderlust I was swept away,
to a location in Paris, France, tonight my soul needs to play
Once upon a time in a place of grandeur and grace,
I instantly knew I was in the right place
A very old abandoned French Opera theatre of decay,
outside was a tiny mouse holding a sign and wearing a Beret
Perhaps a mouse holding a sign might keep you away,
But he welcomed me in under an ancient archway
His sign simply said Mademoiselle Violet's opening night,
inside I encountered the most adorable vision ever so right
A ballet of a young Violet, who is a mouse,
who inhabited this centuries old Opera house
Violet in purple right down to her ballet slippers with her tutu all a swirl,
transcending the audience into her miniature dream world
Pantomime to tell her story, while the tempo and melody grew stronger,
delighted my senses and I wanted to linger longer
But reality came with a barking dog,
all because a runner was out for their morning jog in the fog
Gray skies of Paris I awoke to today,
memories of Violet that will never fade away

© Vera 2013

Friday, June 24, 2016

Living your dash...

Todays post will take you back in time to the 1840's, to the French Quarter and the Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana. I will share a fable I wrote, about a legendary love story during a time of decadence in New Orleans history. While weaving in pictures I photographed in our row-home and hopefully leave you with a deeper appreciation of time worn patinas occurring during their legacy and my fable to contemplate.

Since 2012 there have been countless emails and late night phone conversations with Doré Callaway from Burlap Luxe. Over time we have nurtured a close friendship and I'm fortunate to collect Doré's French inspired art. My latest purchases were of cemetery art and inspired me to write my fable. A fable I started working on during my blogging break and I just completed in the wee hours of this morning. The couple in my story will remain in my heart, writing does that, you create fictional people that linger in your heart. So here goes...

It truly doesn't matter how many years you dwell on Planet Earth, in the end, all that really matters is the living and love you share in your dash that will become your lasting legacy. "The dash" is the infinite dash that divides the year you were born and the year you die on your tombstone or mausoleum plaque. For in the end your life is measured by the love you graced those you leave behind as you will continue to live on in their memories and hearts.

(Source Google)
For eternity, laid to rest, side by side in 1853 in a mausoleum of art and symbolism, Trent and Josephine Bernard 1823-1853. Shaded by groves of lush greenery in the Garden district. Lafayette cemetery No. 1, one of New Orleans cemeteries know as the "Cities of the Dead". Built with  beautiful architectural 19th century tombs, mausoleums and statuary. Above ground, because New Orleans was built on a swamp and has seen many floods. 

Trent and Josephine met when they we both 20 years old in old Antebellum New Orleans. Invited party guests on a star filled evening to a local societies daughter's debutant ball. Serendipity brought our couple together in the month of September 1843. When the cities population was 102,000 and New Orleans grew into the third largest city in the US. During a time of corsets and lace, white linen dresses and seersucker suits. When woman held Parasols and wore wide brimmed straw hats to shade their skin from afternoons brilliant sun-rays, wearing linen that felt cool and helped wick the humidity away. 

A time of curtsies and bows, etiquette and proper attire ... the learned southern code all women knew. Formalities and evening gown parties held in grandeur that flowed into the wee hours meeting in decadence and indulgence that tied years together in merriment. 

Their first date was at Arnaud's restaurant and over Creole fare they fell passionately in love. Josephine in her summer hat and pearls wearing a white linen dress she designed and sewed herself. Josephine was head strong, full of aspirations, driven and ambitious to become a famous gown designer.

They agreed to meet outside of Arnaud's restaurant as they hadn't seen each other yet in the daylight. Trent handed Josephine a boutique of cream roses with a smile so bright it could of illuminated the sun. Her light brown eyes sparkled with delight and Trent was hopelessly lost in their luminous glimmer with flecks of honey gold. That evening over dinner their passions peaked as their love bloomed in promise and innocence, purity and secrecy just as those cream Vendela roses represented. 

Trent was in management, employed with the Mississippi Valley trade commission at the local sawmill. Work depended on the ability of the railroad to ship lumber up north and he handled the negotiations. Debonair and handsome he was born with an adventurous spirit, traits Josephine admired. 

They were married in early December, in Vieux CarrĂ© (the French Quarter). Quickly learning and embracing the rituals of Antebellum high society. Josephine understood the importance of traditions and designed her elegant wedding dress as her fashion debut. Instantly acceptance and orders of satin and lace, taffeta and silk for gowns became Josephine's promise of successful tomorrow's.

Josephine and Trent soon purchased a beautiful ornate French style mansion on Prytania Street. Shaded by mature flowering Pink Magnolia trees. Cultivating a pristine rose garden full of Southern charm, Josephine grew her beloved Vendela roses. Daily she would design gowns looking out over the rose garden as the morning sunlight dried petals moist from evenings dew.

Their love was immense and their devotion to one another had become legendary in Antebellium high society. Together, life was well lived with a boundless love, but sadly they were unable to bear a child. They became emotionally obsessed with conceiving and living in a time when Voodoo magic was practiced in New Orleans, desperate, they agreed to have an authentic ritual spell preformed. But that was of no avail... Perhaps it was destiny intervening.

And even though their house didn't echo with the sounds of laughter and play from youngsters running underfoot, it didn't mean they didn't surround themselves with children and their activities. Josephine filled her days volunteering her talent during school plays and pageants making costumes. Trent supplied lumber for the plays from the sawmill which he now ran and often helped with building set designs.

When the first Mayor A.D. Crossman helped to emancipate the slaves, Trent took to philanthropic work setting up an endowment with Josephine organizing a charitable foundation. Their generosity spread goodwill as their commitments conveyed tolerance and deep humanity. 

In their decade together, not one day was ever spent apart. Late June hearing the faint trickle of a fountain nearby Josephine smelled tar outside. The city was burning tar to supposably purify the air from illness afflicting many. To help rid their house of the smell Josephine cut all her beloved roses and placed them in vases throughout the house. Days later they both developed headaches that they thought was caused by the burning tar, but it was not. Sadly, high fever followed and they were confined to bed and on July 2nd,1853 they died in each other's arms...

When precious moments are emotionally expressed through sharing or prayers, our hearts are lifted in jubilance and the energy released spends eternity resonating love's energy in universal grace.

And even now, through weary eyes from everyday fatigue, that ravishes ones most precious time, standing in the presence of ruins and aged patina through countless seasons of decay, in an instance my appreciation for life was renewed. 

In 1853, 7,840 people died in Louisiana from the Yellow Fever epidemic caused by a mosquito borne viral disease. I wrote my fable in memory of the dead in Lafayette cemetery No. 1. A non-segregated, non denominational cemetery built in 1833. 

Tours of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 are one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Orleans. Restorations are occurring to bring back the tombs in ruins and are funded by guided tours. There's a graceful essence and beautiful peacefulness felt in Lafayette cemetery No. 1. Many movies have been filmed there, including Double Jeopardy and Interview with the Vampire. My fable was inspired by the soulful cemetery art created by the very talented Doré Callaway and New Orleans "cities of the dead".

PS I post daily on Instagram and on my sidebar there is a link to click to visit me there. I love reading your comments and please tell me what you thought about this post.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nurturing Nature ...

I am back from my blogging break with a post about nurturing nature and how we are graced with its beautiful bounty in Earth's accolades. My time away had both laughter and tears as I went about living daily life through observation in the quiet. But my time away will be measured and remembered through moments not by time. This post is a share of an afternoon, one spent amongst nature's beauty that took my breath away. No compensation for doing this, just a share.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
~Maya Angelou~

Two huge yellow Adirondack chairs on Route 31 in Ringoes NJ command your attention and create curiosity to visit, wander and explore. All photos are of Rutgers nursery and my photos were taken on my iPhone 6S and appear without any enhancements or alterations as I prefer to post this way.

"A garden must combine the poetic and be mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.
~Luis Barragan~

Rutgers Nursery is the premier nursery for locals and residents in the New York and Philadelphia areas. Their grounds are breathtaking and their gardening sales assistants are polite and extremely knowable. Expect to leave with not only a pleasant experience but plants and flowers to enjoy.

John and I went there on a mission. One to add to our city gardening and to seek out a huge/tall aesthetically pretty urn/container. After a year of searching for one we were not disappointed.

"All gardening is landscape painting."
~William Kent~

You wander and meander at your own leisurely pace. You feel the peacefulness and ponder your gardens possibilities.

"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies."
~Gertrude Jekyll~

"Regardless of geographical region or culture gardening is perhaps the most common and shared experience of nature."
~S. Kelley Harrell~

At Rutgers you walk, you explore, you admire, you desire! 

"Garden as though you will live forever."
~William Kent~

The vista is breathtaking as Rutgers Nursery grows its own.

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth and no culture comparable to that of the garden."
~Thomas Jefferson~

There are benches to sit and reflect as you rest and even a cafe named the "Good Roots Cafe".

"Gardens and chocolate both have mystical qualities."
~Edward Flaherty~

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."
~Audrey Hepburn~

Be still my heart ... there it is. The only one of its fluted kind and in an instance I knew it was love at first sight. Calling over a garden assistant we marked it sold.

So many unique pots to choose from!

"Gardening is how I relax. It's another form of creating and playing with colors."
~Oscar de la Renta~

"My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece."
~Claude Monet~

So in the end of meandering, pondering and thinking of what we wanted to grow in our tall gorgeous urn we chose Lavender. This photo is of John and our gardening assistant holding three containers of Lavender for me to see if 3 would be enough plants, but more importantly so I could snap this photo to share with you.

"The earth laughs in flowers."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

I am working on a post inspired by a recent art purchase from DorĂ© at Burlap Luxe. I am writing a poetic eternal love fable set in New Orleans to weave into my photos. Until then I leave you with my poem - On land or by Sea.  

During the Summer season the ground is revitalized and flowers bloom...
An extravagant gesture of earth's bounty that fills the air with floral perfume

Through the eternal ever cleansing waters colored in ocean blue 
A harmonious serenity washes over the shore and replenishes you 

Intrinsically nurturing all you love in universal development you consciously nourish
miraculously graced your fertile ground thrives and will abundantly flourish 

It is a longing deep inside ones soul to nurture nature and be connected with the soil
A time to dig in the dirt and plant a garden becomes a labor of love never a chore or toil


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