Monthly Archives: April 2015

Just BREATHE 4 7 8!

It’s free. Free. FREE!

breathe

SandraBallART SLAPBoard. Available on Etsy and by custom order.

Everyone has complications and slumps right?

Everyone breathes right?

Sooooo…modify your breathing just a smidge and voila those complications will unravel like magic.

What, you say? Nothing can be that easy. Oh, but it is. It really, really, really, really is.

And the best part. You’ll notice how things that used to MATTER don’t matter as much any longer.

Here goes! Follow these complicated directions. It only takes a few seconds. 19 to be exact. And with a five cycle recommended limit we’re talking about a minute and a half of your time. One minute plus 35 seconds. 95 seconds. Tops. And that is if you are counting by seconds. It can be shorter or longer. Just keep the rhythm. My cycle tends to be shorter.

It’s an absolute. And we rarely speak in absolutes around here because well life ain’t absolutely that absolute.

Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth. Keep it there throughout.

INHALE quietly for a count of 4.

HOLD your breath for a count of 7.

EXHALE with a whooshing sound for a count of 8.

REPEAT up to five times BUT no more in any one cycle.

Repeat the cycle as often as you like throughout the crappy day. The happy day. The day.

That’s IT. The MORE you do this the more effective it becomes. It’s your own natural drug. Trust me. It works.

Free. And you have the tools with you all the time.

You are going to laugh and say sure something so simple as that is not going to do Anything.

What have you got to lose? But a lot of stress. And 95 seconds that you probably just spent that and more of complaining about how this day is not going like you want it.

4 7 8 who do we appreciate? Ourselves!

Print this page or get a copy of THE book where I list even more good things to do for yourself .

today

Every day is your day. Breathe 4 7 8 and own it!

 

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We TRIP Through Germany

“The suitcase. We left it on the bus!” Stephen rushes up to the bus door pounding on it before the driver can pull away.

We, Mom, middlemost child Stephen and myself, are in Germany only a few hours and already the comedy of errors is in full swing. We have gotten on the bus because the train master advises that our strasse is close by and we can save cab fare by using public transportation. Then when we ask the bus driver where to get off he looks confused (later we find out that Van Sparr Strasse is only three blocks long). A passenger lady tells us to walk, it is that close. More money saved. We exit the bus and in our jet lagged state leave the suitcase behind.

Emily & Lydia are headed to Germany for Lydia’s graduation celebration from 5th grade German emersion school. When the kids got into the German immersion school Emily & Marty decided that upon 5th grade graduation they would each take the respective child on a trip to Germany. Marty & Martin went two years ago. This year it’s the gals turn.

Head back to 2001 and travel with me, Mom & Stephen on our own trip to Germany. Mom has always wanted to go. Heritage on her daddy’s side, Edward Dyott Boschen, is rich in Hannover. Stephen Dyott has talked about going to Munich since he was a tween. I have a German artist friend who has an apartment in Koln. She rents it occasionally. It’s not occupied the month of August. I book it. Donny finds us mostly affordable tickets. We secure our Eurorail passes before we leave the states. Upon advice of Rick Steves whose guide I come to rely on as my bible.

Mom cannot believe that she is actually going. Donny & I pick her up at her home in Reedville Virginia. We head to Dulles where we catch our flight. We meet up with Stephen, who is coming from Raleigh, in Chicago and head across the pond to Koln.

plans

Our three week plan. It is in pencil. And some things do change on literally the spur of the moment.

It is literally on the trip to Dulles that I truly realize that Mom and Stephen will be looking to me to make the specific plans about what we do each day. We could just tool around Koln but no, that is not what our trip is about. Rick Steves has plenty of good suggestions and what I like about his books is that all conversation is centered around the local train station. We will blitz Germany! I begin making notes.

I quickly assess that Mom has too much luggage even for us having a home base apartment. She good naturedly starts pulling things out of this bag and that and consolidates. She’s a veteran traveler. She knows how to power pack.

directions

Our map to the apartment.

Back in Koln we are trudging along a beautiful city street for quite a while and decide that we have gone too far. We turn around and head back where we have come from. All we have to go on is a tiny hand drawn map and occasion advise from the occasion shops we pass on this residential street. We then learn that we have not gone too far and turn again. Mom is about to shoot us and convinced that the strasse and apartment are a myth. We get her some ice cream at a convenience store and sit on a low wall eating our treat. We begin again. Finally we find Von Sparr Strasse 50 and the deli that has the key to let us in the main building. (We have the apartment keys.)

Slightly begrudging us our success but happily so, Mom opts for a nap. We have sorted out sleeping. Mom and I take the bedroom. I pull the top mattress on the floor for myself. The under mattress is very soft and will give Mom more room. Stephen takes the couch in the tiny living room. We are cozy and happy. We are on the third floor. We have an on demand shower. A little kitchenette. And a street view.

I go out to find some help with directions and public transportation. And to get a few groceries. We are in what I call the Brooklyn of Koln. Nice neighborhood. Mix of people and life styles. We are on the other side of the river that dissects the city, not centrally located at all. We have few clues how to get anywhere. Later Mom meets a lovely lady named Gina in the common garden created by the backyards of our several buildings. She says to come to her place on the next block and she will give us her local train/subway schedule. We do. She does. We see that the closet train is a few blocks away. It’s the end of the line. Or the beginning depending on which way you are going. It’s not elevated and above ground. From there we can reach the world. And the rest of Germany!

We are ready for the blitz!! Below just a FEW of the places we visit. More about them and the rest in my next post on our whirl wind generation trip.

Rathaus

The center of Munich. So absolutely beautiful.

glockenspiel

We see the Glockenspiel work its charm.

deutsches

Stephen & I are in love with this museum. I would go to Germany JUST to spend days here.

berlin dom

We go to Berlin. I told you we blitzed!

chocolate museum

The chocolate museum in Koln. Flowing chocolate fountain!

baden baden

We spend a day in THE spa at Baden Baden in the Black Forest.

alps

We visit Bavaria and THE castles.

 

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Filed under Bavaria, family, generation travel, Germany, Koln, travel, Van Sparr Strasse

The Girls of 909 West Franklin St

909

Sandy in front of 909 standing under our balcony room.

Current VCU campus rumor has it that we were hand picked by Mrs Bocock to live at 909. When we are told this at our reunion dinner we all laugh. The unspoken thought that floats through each of our minds is, “Hand picked? Cannot imagine how I got on that list.”

Elisabeth Holmes Bocock is a force of nature. She lives as a widow in her parents antebellum home on W Franklin Street in Richmond. The house was then in the heart of the VCU RPI campus. Good friends with school president, Dr Oliver who resides across the street with his lovely wife in his own mansion, she graciously offers the upstairs front rooms of her house (she lives in the back section) to the school for their use. Dorm space is needed and so the rooms are outfitted for a handful of girls. I am one of the first thirteen girls to live in this mansion. Previously I have been offered a single room in another dorm house on Park Avenue but turn it down as being too cramped and small.

I have already done the cramped room tour with incompatible roommates my freshman year at Miami in Ohio. Never again. Besides, I am living in my grandmother’s home at 6416 Three Chopt Road in the west end. I share a room, a big room, with my 5th grade cousin. We are well suited roomies. I am in no hurry to move. My uncle might have been in a hurry for me to move as I play my Beatles album over and over and over and over again. That was when it and they were new. I still have it.beatles

I learn at the reunion that 909 was closed as a dorm the year after I graduate. Sandy has to move to Monroe Terrace, a high rise old apartment building turned into dorm rooms, and is miserable. She gets an apartment as fast as she can.

Such a small window of time to experience the splendid glory of life at 909. We know we have it good. But we are in college, a lot escapes our radar. During the reunion dinner held in our old dorm, now a school culture center, we marvel at all the beauty we missed or so took for granted that we barely saw it.

When Frances (Bolton Wilkins) calls to suggest gathering at the reunion can be fun, I stall. Could be fun but an entire weekend. Sandy stalls too. Then we chat and agree to go together. We laugh at the fact that her picture is in the middle of the photo montage used for every segment of publicity for the reunion. She is on all the mailing material. She is on the website. She is everywhere. But that is typical Sandy. She never seeks attention. It comes to her.

Frances is delighted that we are committing. She has a bevy of other 909/RPI girls signing up too including Barbara (Buskell Davison) who rooms with Sandy and Alicia after I graduate. That is after we stealthily move all of her belongings from her other dorm to our room because we know that she needs to be a 909 gal. It’ll be a grand party. I email the amazing worker bee Diane Stout-Brown that has put everything together to thank her for all her hard work and add that she will have a contingency of former 909 residents at the dinner. It is a grand evening. Well, until Barbara provides the requisite gal reunion drama by unintentionally leaving her purse in our now locked room upstairs. Chris has left with the only keys. Diane works her magic and the drama is short lived. Just a token 909 antic.

our room door   bathroomwatercloset909 bathroomsandy and chris   balconyfive of usentertainmentdorm dome   purse searchsingserenade

When we arrive at the dinner I introduce myself to Diane and she says to stay put. She has a surprise for me. She comes back with a guy and introduces me/us to him. He is Chris Ritrievi, Senior Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and has keys to the offices, his included, on the roped off second floor. He begs us to disregard his office mess and leads us upstairs. We are having our own private tour! We are a group of about ten plus a few that get wind of what is happening and join us.

Up the beautiful splint staircase we clamor (there was no carpeting in our day). Chris opens the first door. It’s my original room. It’s much smaller now because when they put in a spiral staircase to the third floor (more rooms for girls) for a fire code second exit it took part of this room. Frances and Maureen live here after I move across the hall. Chris cannot show us the adjoining bathroom (because it it out of commission) where we used to climb out the window and sunbath on the roof. That is until we got in trouble with the Dean of Women. But Mrs Bocock tells her that it is fine and we resume our golden disk worship.

The next room, Chris’ office, is a huge corner affair. None of us spend much time here. The girls are on a different focus from us. All the rooms adjoin via interior doors. Our room is next door through a small inner connecting hall. To one side of the tiny hall is a shared bathroom that we pretty much claim as our own. Those corner girls can share the other bathroom. It’s just as it was then. The water closet. The big tub. Sandy and I both remember it as a claw foot. It’s not but it is deep with one of those tall porcelain shaft stoppers. (My grandmother’s are exactly the same.) “No shower?” someone asks. Nope. “How did you wash your hair?” Probably stuck our head in the running water of the tub.

And then we step through the doorway into our room. We know the French hand painted wall paper went years ago. But the room is just as we recall it. The balcony. The twist and turn secret passage like closet with a door in our room, in the tiny hall and in the adjoining the room we just left. Totally occupied by those corner room girls. We settle for metal free standing things the college gives us. I change to this room that second year because Betsy, the girl already in the balcony room, and I are good friends plus my roommate Jane (Winters Wise) is leaving school at the end of the semester. Mary Ann Sturgis (Nassawadox native ferry ride and all) has already left midterm.

Enter roommate number three, Sandy, a freshman. I get a letter from her that summer naming all the things we have in common. Our names. Sandra Lee and Sandra Leigh. Our home towns. Rockwell and Rockville. It is a match meant to be. We become instantly Jett and Nash, so decided by me to avoid confusion but also because my Dad and his best friend in college went by Jett and Leggett and I thought it exceedingly cool.

When Betsy gets married on the spur of the moment in early January (I vow in a letter home that if anyone else dares to get married during exams I will shoot them) we quickly turn her bed into a sofa in fervent hopes that the school will not assign another girl to our room. It works, just us for the balance of the year. About that wedding. Betsy is engaged to a guy, Ronnie, from VPI. We talk her into going out on a blind date just to get out of the dorm. With Jack Bruce, Gordon’s (dating Frances and also Sandy’s first cousin) roommate. They fall madly in love and truth told no stretching it (letters home confirm) get married in a church with a posh hotel reception the next weekend. Poor Ronnie. He shows up that first date weekend with roses in hand to surprise Betsy (it was one of their anniversaries). Betsy will not see him. It falls to one of us to break the news. Talk about drama. The next year Alicia who lives in the ballroom on the third floor joins Sandy and myself. Then it’s just one more year and 909 as a dorm is closed forever.

A small window in time when we were The Girls of 909.

A composite I made one winter break when I was the only one in the dorm and bored to tears

A composite I made one winter break when I was the only one in the dorm and bored to tears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Worlds Collide

“I’ll go if you’re going.”

“Well I’ll go if you’re going.”

And so our college reunion weekend begins. Sandra Lee Nash Hamilton from Rockwell NC and I, Sandra Leigh Jett Ball from (then) Rockville MD, roomies for life. Different as day and night on the surface but eternally bonded kindred spirits in the soul where all love lives.

moose and thumperI pick Sandy up at the Richmond airport midday Friday and we proceed to our not to be believed loft apartment for the weekend. It is a dream place for our reuniting. We have not seen each other for over twenty years. We have always kept up with Christmas cards including the requisite family update notes and pictures but that’s all. In trying to locate a place to stay for our last minute decision we find ourselves invited by Outer Banks good friends and neighbors Al, Steve, Wally & Jagger to rest our heads at their Richmond loft apartment in refurbished Lee School. They have decorated the downstairs like a 50’s diner complete with jukebox, pay phone, popcorn machine, menus, a seating booth. And lighting. Ah, the lighting. Stunning. We are immediately time warped back to our college years.

We wrestle Sandy’s big blue suitcase up to the elevator and inside. (I have a small carry on size). She has big blue and a carry on size. In her defense, she is going on to a family funeral after the reunion. Still she would have had more luggage than me in a heart beat.

three beast diner poodle skirt picture ladder photo wall james dean french door copy check outWe semi-unpack. Our loft bedroom is another story. We are in a palace. King size bed, posh pillows, plush throws, rich fabric drapes for closet doors, a loft over our loft (reached via a tiny wooden ladder beside the bed) big enough to sit in and read while looking at street life going by through the huge arch window.

sandy vmfa

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts garden

We change to walking clothes and head to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts just around the corner. We want to check out the restaurant Amuse for lunch potential with the rest of the gals the next day. It looks perfect. We move on to Carytown where we find a plethora of fun restaurants for another lunch option. Funky shops are everywhere. We sip some tea at 10 Italian Cafe and chat. We head back to the loft. It’s time to prep for dinner.

linda and glenn

Linda and Glenn Eure

We have reservations at Millie’s Diner on Main Street in Shockhoe Bottom. Friend Linda Lauby and her husband Paul Keevil own this and others in Richmond. It’s a quick trip and we find a parking place just down the block. It has started to rain. By the time we reach the door we are close to being drenched. But it’s a diner, we are fine. And not too wet to dry off quickly. We are seated in a booth across from a small pre-wedding celebration. The hostess apologizes for the noise. We don’t mind. We try to pick out the bride and groom.

The next day we have time before the rest of our group arrive for lunch. We decide to walk the dozen+ blocks to school down Monument Avenue. Sandy has brought walking clothes. I have brought everything but. I live in running/walking clothes. I pull something together out of sleep wear and get my emergency running shoes from the car. We set off. It’s beautiful. Trees are in full bloom. We happen upon an estate sale. Pause a moment for those who do not know Monument Avenue. It’s a boulevard style street with a huge tree lined grass medium strip in the middle. If you walk on one side you can see the other but it’s pretty much way over there. Back to the narrative. We decide to go inside this happened upon piece of luck. “Maybe we can find a host gift for the guys,” Sandy reasons. We don’t need an excuse to browse but I agree.

close up of estateaddress bottle doorselfie at 2315  ceiling 2315 tapestry IMG_4960 hidden door tapestrydining room fake wallrooftopside yardestate salefrances and gordonmonument ave

We do find something but don’t want to carry it. Besides everything is marked down the next day. We chance it and go on. We do go back on Sunday and get the piece. We are going our separate ways after that. Sandy has a ride to her funeral with the gals. I am headed home. I decide to wander through the sale and impressive house designed (I later read) by William Lawrence Bottomley (sold for 2.2 million in minutes) some more. It is stunning. I take pictures and post one of me on the nude sunbathing roof on Instagram. Friend Linda (Millie’s) sees it and messages me. “Wait. You were at the 2315 Monument estate sale?” I tell her yes. “The son of the owners was at Millie’s Friday night for his pre-wedding party. Paul & I went to their wedding yesterday. We have been to dinner at that house.”

Like the song no one ever wants to hear says, “It’s A Small World.”

 

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Suicide, The Deepest Hole

It’s been four years

When my brother was ten he fell in a hole. Mom had told him not to play near it. But all his friends were so of course he went along. It wasn’t a deep hole and was close to home. It was deep enough that he could not get himself out.  I was living and working in Richmond so I don’t know any details like where the friends were, or if with time he would have been able to get himself out. I do know that he was not in any danger and someone would have eventually found him. And that when he was late for dinner Mom went looking and found him shivering in the hole. After she helped him out, she gave him a stern tongue lashing reminding him that she had told him not to go near the hole. His rely was, “I guess some people have to learn things the hard way.”

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Hurry Up! We’re Going to Be HAVING SEX Late for Church

writing is fun but I really want to draw you here…

The shock value of fuck is slipping slowly down the slope. F bombs are common from anyone. Any age. And are laughed off by all of us as fucking funny. Nothing shocking at all. Just an F bomb. Man the word is taking a beating. Cannot even hold its water as a sacred cuss word. No shock value of any value.

I got a lesson in deflated shock value as a five year old. My aunt and I are walking the few blocks back from town to the parsonage in Farmville, Virgina where we both live. She as a daughter. I as a granddaughter. It is dusk. On coming car lights kept glaring in my eyes. “Damn those lights!” I stamp my foot. Nothing. We keep walking. “DAMN those lights!” No response. “Didn’t you hear me I.G.?” She nods. And we keep walking. After all it was only damn.

One of my favorite childhood chants is one choosing who goes first in a game. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe catch a N word by the toe. I always use it over the boring one potato, two potato. Until one day Mom’s had enough. “Sandra Leigh!” she shouts out the kitchen window. I am told to never ever use the N word again. Ever. Good advise. But just listen. It does have potential as a shock word. Not. Let me repeat not to be directed toward anyone of African descent. But just as a shocking expletive. I mean does, “I can’t get the fucking toaster to work,” imply that the toaster ever had sex. Of course not. So using the N word in general terms to lay into something could work. But of course I really don’t advocate it. I just want a good shock value word. And fuck doesn’t do it any more.

Fucking shame.

 

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Work = Work With a Dash of Patience Thrown In For Good Measure

Make it Work

The life of a minister is never easy. You have to feed whoever stops by for Sunday dinner whether you can or not. You have to make it work. My grandmother could stretch a dollar six ways from yesterday. But compromise her standards? Never. Flour was cheap and her rolls legendary. She bought the cheapest A&P coffee beans and then when she perked the daily brew poured it through twice to make her bold black coffee the talk of the town.

She always saved string. Time was when everything was tied with string. It was never thrown out. Always reused. We all laughed at and loved that ball of string. Of course she saved and reused bacon grease. Doesn’t every one? And buying groceries? She would take the butcher to the mat over the price of a cut and the look of it too.

She could out Tom, Tom Sawyer. She taught me to love burnt toast. She would scrap the blackest parts off and convince me that it was the best way to eat toast. She taught me to love the chicken back, to actually beg for it and be relieved that no one else did. It was years before I caught on to her wiles. But long before that I was hooked on what she sold me.

She taught me to love to play with buttons. Something free in bountiful supply. While I sorted and made up endless button games, she turned collars and cuffs to give them new life. She would cut a thread bare sheet in half, then sew the two worn ends together so smoothly that no one felt the seam. She made it work.

That Dash of Patience

When I am a kid I have my first epiphany moment. I am bored. I beg the universe to tell me, “Why is this was taking so long?” I actually do not know what this is. But I need to know why it’s taking so long. I am told to use my time for something useful. I am sitting outside in a little bush fort I have created. It is a warm sunny day. This is not the answer I want or expect. I ponder. I decide to teach myself to read. I go inside and get a book. I take it back to my fort and really, really try to make sense of the patterns of letters. It is valiant. But to no avail. It is then that I realize that hard work with a lot of patience and I are going to become very close.

PSSS Have I Got A Deal For You

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Progress Can Be a Bitch Especially When You’re in a FOG About It

“We’re in a FOG! I can’t see you!” My friend and I are running behind a DDT truck as close as we can get to the sputtering machine pumping out noxious gas to kill mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that live by the thousands on our tiny island called Guam. We are not alone. Kids from all over the neighborhood join the ritual. It’s fun to be in a fog surrounded by only whiteness. Get as close as you can without keeling over from the fumes. And of course the truck is moving so you need to run, hold your breath, stop to catch a breath, then run some more before you get left behind.

The fog came in today while I was dashing around the monument. (Yes, yes I did dash on the runway.) And made me think of those evenings on Guam when we chased the DDT truck. Our kids wonder that I’m alive. They also wonder why they don’t all have six legs or three eyes.

Tumon Bay Guam

This is MY Tumon Bay

Life on Guam. In the fifties. Perfect in every way. Mom said it. Dad said it. We live it. We three and baby sister Suzanne, born there mid-tour. It really is perfect. The weather is always warm, we have no windows or even screens, only louvers to close for privacy. Rain comes in showers and leaves just as fast. Flowers are everywhere. The war is over long enough that living standards on the AFB are comfortable.

mom on reef

Mom on the reef at Tumon Bay. Look how far away the beach is!

We are cautioned to not stray too far away from civilization because Japanese soldiers still hid in the hills. We mostly stay on base. There is hardly any civilization to stray away from anyway. Agana, the capital, is a tiny village. There are a couple of public beaches. You have to wear shoes because the coral will cut your feet. But the shallow warm water with no dangerous marine life is a child’s playground. It only gets deep beyond the reef.

We are warned to never get on the reef. A rogue wave can wash you off. Into the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. Of course Dad has to urge Mom has to take on the challenge. Tumon Bay (you don’t want to click on that link, you really don’t) is our favorite beach. Dad can take our jeep (no seat belts, no doors) from the top of the towering limestone cliff to the sandy beach at the bottom in seconds flat. Beats any roller coaster I’ve ever been on. We swim. We bring our own lunch and snacks. We find incredible shells in tiny caves along the shore. We gather coconuts that fall from the palms. Take them home and after way too much work get to the succulent meat inside. The folks that visit Tumon Bay today haven’t the foggiest notion what slice of paradise they’ve missed.

The Little Shop of Sass

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A Flower by Any Other Name

“Pick it like so. Run your hand down the stem. Then snap. That gives you a long flower for your vase.” My grandmother, Mother Leigh’s, sage advise. And we all paid attention. Her love for jonquils, and us, was strong. She wanted every aspect to be as right as possible.

oakland road daffodils

Our Oakland Road jonquil field.

Recently Emily and Donald chatted via FB about having daffodils in their own yards finally. And how it reminded them of home. Our Richmond home. We lived on an old daffodil farm. Blooms by the hundreds were ours for the picking every spring. Except that one spring when I thought I would be resourceful, and so when pickers came by asking if they could pick for cash I quickly said yes. The house was always overflowing with the bunches and bunches of blooms that we picked. And the fields were still full. But I should have known that they would pick the fields clean. And you only get one bloom per bulb each year. “Mom, where are the flowers?” Emily demanded when they got home from school. No undoing that mistake.

three chopt driveway

Three Chopt driveway

I too grew up surrounded by hundreds of jonquils every spring. At Mother Leigh’s Three Chopt antebellum home in Richmond, Virginia. Her semi-circular drive was lined on both sides by the blooms. She had a big aged formal garden in the side yard that in its neglected state grew nothing but daffodils. It was awesome. There was a birdbath in the middle surrounded by four patterned simple mazes defined by raised ground flower beds. The gardener always cut the grass so it looked tended. It just had no flowers except in the spring when it was a blaze of yellow.

Where we live now I’ve tried to get a few bulbs to grow. The moles always thwart my attempts. And I am no gardener. I am an admirer and acquirer. I gladly take garden bounty bestowed on me by others. And I richly admire all gardens with great admiration. It’s the growing that teases me. And so I paint my gardens.

Need A Little Art?

 

 

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All You Need is LOVE

The original Wellington Rabbit

The original Wellington Rabbit

“Write that it is all about love,” the bunny whispers in my ear. He tells me that Easter is slipping in popularity and his story will help fix that. I listen and write exactly what he tells me. But before that happens, this happens.

A long time ago, call it two decades, Easter approaches. The children have always received a stuffed animal, often one of the Beatrix Potter ones. I ponder how to make it work this year as we have no money for traditional Easter bounty. I decide to make them each a stuffed animal since I already have fabric and stuffing on hand. I quickly pump out five identical rabbits complete with a cape and a sack full of colored cloth eggs.

The first book.

The first book surrounded by the entire thirteen. Twenty years. 10,000+ words. 100+ illustrations.

Then I decide that the bunny needs a name and an introduction. A simple paragraph turns into a page and then more over the next few years. Other stuffed animals depicting the central characters emerge. The pages become a book, Wellington Easter Rabbit or the True Tale of How Wellington Became the Easter Bunny. He tells me what to write and I faithfully do so.

The first book is stitched together on my sewing machine. I make a pen and ink drawing of Wellington for the cover. This is great they all say, friends and extended family by this time. But we need more. Illustrations. Divide the book into chapters Donny suggests. So demanding, but they are right.

I get to work. Over the next few years their ideas for book 1 come to fruition. And then slowly at first but gradually picking up speed books 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on until book 13 (the final book in the series completed last year) become a reality. Some years Easter is so early and we are so busy that I only get half written.  By this time the book has a format. Three pages per chapter, one illustration. Ten chapters. The half book years it is a to be continued offering.

Every year I wait until the eleventh hour to begin writing. I am always amazed at how well the story comes together. I mean I do know where it’s going, just not how it’s going to get there. Donny my incredible editor is always there to drop everything and see that the book looks as good as it reads. He polishes and polishes and then we make a dash to get books in the mail (because by this time the children are grown and have children of their own) in the nick of time.

This year I am somewhat relieved to not have the self imposed pressure of The Book to write. But I miss it and at almost the eleventh hour (again) decide to create a new series. A simple set of easy to read books using all the characters from the original series as they fit into the story. And so happy readers I introduce you to the Wellington Rabbit Adventure Series, book 1, The Case of the Disappearing Eggs. Love! Sandy & Wellington

Wellington Rabbit and the Case of the Disappearing Eggs

Wellington Rabbit and the Case of the Disappearing Eggs

 

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