Always In Awe

of the beauty of
seeing my children together
and the joy they inspire in one another.




To the outside world, we all grow old.
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each other's hearts.
We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time.

~Clara Ortega








Christmas Day 2009

The past several years we've hosted Christmas Eve at our house.
We are lucky enough to have some of our very favorite people join us here

and there's always room at our table for one (or ten!) more.

This year was no exception.

We had a beautiful evening of fabulous food and even better company.

You'll have to take my word for it since there are no pictures.

I was the Chef and Hostess and my camera didn't see the light of day.


It has been our tradition to join my father at his house on Christmas Day.

He and his wife always have a houseful the night before on Christmas Eve

so it is especially nice for WonderBoy and Sweetie

to have Grandpa all to themselves on Christmas Day.


The kids spend hours opening their gifts and playing with their toys...and I mean hours.

Some were left by Santa and the others are from Grandma and Grandpa
(who seriously don't know how to pass up a single toy or goodie for the kids)


Honestly, I've never seen so many presents for just two children.
(Except for here; last year and the year before and the year before that...)

Yep, all these were for them and then there was another mountain waiting across the room.

Christmas truly is a big day around here.

I can't possibly even begin to post pictures of everything the children received.
(We literally had to make 2 trips back to their house with our SUV to bring everything home!)

Inevitably, JR becomes Chief Elf for the day landing in a sea of boxes,
wrapping paper and instructions;
phillips screwdriver in one hand and a box of every size batteries in the other.


We are treated to a beautifully set table, a scrumptous early afternoon meal,
flowing champagne and lots and lots of lazy time to spend together.



Sitting at the table isn't really in the cards for a couple of Littles, though,
who rush through at lightning speed to get to the good stuff...play and more play.


Until even the Energ*zer bunny himself conks out........
(note the tiny ear of Kiddie on the pillow peeking out beneath his own ear)

Another beautiful memory.



Gingerbread Memories

On Saturday we went to a House Party.


It was just for kids.
At a very lovely place.


WonderBoy and Sweetie were given a chance to go to town and be creative on their own.


They had lots of containers of candies for decorating
(and eating along the way)
and oodles of royal icing.

They served eggnog, hot chocolate and donuts to fill
the tummies of the young gingerbread house decorators.




Though they love hot chocolate, my kids REALLY love
Shirley Temples and they each just had to have one to keep their energy up!

The relationship with Shirley goes WAY back to my own childhood with my brother.

He and I slurped down our share of of them in
in that very dining room where my children now sit.

Little has changed at that place despite the 30+ years that have come and gone.


It still feels like home there and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to share the experience with my own children.

These are the memories that last a lifetime.

WonderBoy did his best to help his little sister but she wasn't havin' any of it.
She cried and howled when he so much as moved a gumdrop or worse; stole one of her candies from her basket for his own gingerbread house.

I guess doing a While You Were Out makeover for her would be out of the question.

I watched them together and took comfort in knowing that
long after those gingerbread houses are gone, they will still have one other.



And the sweet memories of Christmas' past will live forever in their hearts.



Santa Claus is Coming to Town

One more day, Sweetie.....





A Touch of Christmas Cheer

Search results for My Lightroom Photos-2

(Special thanks to my sweet angel Gail at Aging with Grace for teaching me to use her signature collage technique!)


Exceptional Nadejda



There on the stage, alone, sits a single, glorious, sparkling black grand piano.

The strategically placed lights above shine down upon it as the audience waits in hushed whispers on a chilly night in a beautiful hall in NYC's Lincoln Center.

As magnificently crafted as that elegant Grand is, it is just a curvaceous box of wood, ivory, strings and metal….until she glides from the velvet curtain; stage left.

She is true elegance as she floats across the stage passing in front of the Mighty Steinw*ay that, in that moment it is clear is merely her accompaniment.

The anticipation is palpable as I hear the audience collectively catch their breath, along with me, as we take in just how beautiful she truly is.

She stands before us in her stunning silky,pale toffee-colored, sleeveless gown.

It perfectly showcases her glistening, flawless, alabaster skin and lithe frame.

The crystals embedded on the front and back of her gown sparkle and shine like diamonds beneath the lights.

In a moment, she greets her audience with a bow as she shyly parts her lips: showcasing that unbelieveably dazzling smile of hers.

Even before she begins it is clear; she is a one woman show.

She quickly positions herself in front of the piano and with ultimate concentration and grace she embarks on a magical journey as her fingers enchantingly begin to touch the keys.

The incredible sound has enveloped us all and within seconds we are helplessly and happily under her spell.

She summons Prokofiev, Liadov, Bortkiewicz, Vladigerov, Shubert (Liebermann) and Liszt.

She undoubtedly makes all of them beam with pride.

The strength, power, endurance and precision that emanates from her, alone, can only be described as mesmerizing.

Her fingers dance across the keys like delicate ballerinas then pounce like a tiger.

They are as playful as a couple of Jack Russell Terriers on an afternoon jaunt, hopping like a fluffy white rabbit on the new grass in Springtime, and then, without warning move furiously in a controlled blur; only to come to rest in a lingering slow motion as if to squeeze every minute detail from the notes beneath.

She delivers every emotion right at our feet…

A Sunrise
A Crashing Cymbal
A Waterfall
Black, White and the Rainbow of Colors between
A Moment in Time
Loss, Love, Hunger, Satisfaction
Unbridled Passion
Silent Snowfall
A Speeding Locomotive
Purpose, Whimsy
Waves relentlessly crashing against a jetty
Abandon, Devotion
A Dazzling Racehorse
A Delicate Music Box

Her statuesque beauty and elegance evokes a timelessness that is hard to deny.
She is in front of me, yet I am magically transported as I watch her playing a hundred years ago; perhaps two hundred.
She is a vision.
Her talent is undeniable and the intellect that goes hand in hand with that kind of talent
is beyond my comprehension.
There is not a stitch of music before her yet;
she executes a perfect performance for nearly two hours using merely the contents of her head.
Merely the contents of her head?!
I cannot imagine such a gift…just her and the piano.
With her sheer ability and the depths of her soul, working in absolute unison,
she captures the world.
My eyes well up as I imagine the foresight, allegiance and respect for her extraordinary gift that led her down the path of nurturing it and dedicating herself completely
to her craft since childhood.
She has worked tirelessly through the decades to perfect it, often under the scrutiny of others but always under the ever present and watchful eye of her harshest critic; herself.

She sits at the helm of the Steinw*ay, not on a bench,
but high upon a stack of cushions; an unlikely throne for such royalty.
As I watch her there, her slim and elegant silhouette reminds me of the fairy tale;
The Princess and the Pea.
I cannot take my eyes off of her as I hear her play the Christmas Waltz.
It is so incredibly beautiful and she brings it to life.
I feel the warmth of my own tears silently stream down my cheek.
My husband reaches for my hand and swallows hard, himself,
gently shaking his own head in acknowledgement.
How such beauty and talent can live in one person... I am lost in wonder.

The performance has ended but the audience will not allow her to leave.
She momentarily disappears behind the curtain and emerges
time and again after each of the 4 ovations.
Each time she appears she is, characteristically, shy and unassuming but the moment she sits before her piano (her familiar partner and friend); her fears are quickly abated
as she re-enters her zone.
Before each encore she whispers to the audience the name and composer of the piece in her soft, shy Bulgarian accent before she magnificently performs it...becomes it; from memory, for her insatiable audience.
The moment I hear her voice, I awaken from the trance the music has put me in.
I smile among the backdrop of the sounds emanating from the stage; from her.
I am remembering all the beautiful words I have heard from that very voice.
There she is, my darling friend;
the enviously thin, bubbly, joyful, ever appreciative girl
who always looks so chic even when clad in jeans and a t-shirt.
I know her and I adore her.
She’s ridiculously unassuming; a true lover of life.
I see her quietly asleep on my sofa;
picking crumbs from a giant cupcake
in the middle of the night that I have made her the evening before…
she’s like a little mouse!
She is being so silly and making our daughters (our little virtual twins) laugh,




She’s rockin’ a hula hoop and cracking herself (and us) up.


In those moments, she is just the sweetest girl I know.

She is adept at putting her alter ego, Pianist Extraordinaire…La Virtuosa, upon a shelf.

She is a wife.


(Handsome Prince Farhan)

She is a mother.


(Breathtakingly Beautiful Rosalia)

She is a friend.


She is slipping her arm into mine and walking together in the park as we chat and giggle like schoolgirls enjoying every moment of one another.

Ours is a friendship that we almost missed had the stars not been precisely aligned.

Her precious, genuine words and kind, gentle manner never cease to warm my heart.

She snuggles close to me and whispers “you are so real” and she means every word...

she thanks me for our friendship.

I remind her how extraordinary she is and how lucky I am to have her in my life.

She is and I am.

If you ever have the privilege to hear an exceptional, enchanting performance by my dear friend, don’t hesitate for a moment.

Her performance is as unforgettable as the woman is herself.

To learn more about her,you can visit her here


And watch a clip of some of her past performances
Here and Here.


A Decade with Santa

My Beautiful Boy
10 Years Ago
(with the real Santa!)

Where does the time go?

Merry 10th Christmas, WonderBoy!