Monday, January 31, 2011

The single lasting comment

This week’s thank you note goes to someone whose name I don’t even know, never did. This is an illustration of how our slightest gestures or comments can have a long lasting impact.

It was a sunny Saturday, Paul & I had traveled to his younger brother’s football game. It was the Shrine Game when John was a high school senior. It was half time, so we went to get a snack. Well there was a hotdog vendor doling out hotdogs to the people in line. Paul & I must have been conversing pretty exuberantly, and I was laughing quite a bit. When we got to the head of the line to order and receive our hotdogs, that man looked Paul in the eye and told him that he better keep me around because of that great giggle. Well, my sweet husband to be at the time took notice of that comment, and he to this day reminds me of it on a pretty regular basis, which of course makes me giggle.

So remember, when you are going about your day, and feel an impulse to say something nice to someone, go ahead, that comment may just have a ripple effect that endures.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kudos to Dad....

Well, I have managed to keep up with a note a day even if I have to play catch up. Double and triple down have been the theme this week. After posting this...Saturday & Sunday person of thanks will be etched out and ready to send tomorrow.

Sent a note to both my mom and dad separately this week. Realizing that they are individuals and have given similar and at times separate kinds of support. Having a daughter that dreams and desires things they can't understand or relate to was not easy at times. For the purpose of this post I will focus on my dad and his subtle and quiet enthusiasm in spite of his thoughts of my choices. Being an independent free thinking and spirited girl truly gave my dad a run for his money. He has always been supportive of my acting career yet he was convinced I should have 'something to fall back on'. We've had countless conversations through out the years. Usually, when I get frustrated and am questioning my choices. He'll throw that doozy in there. What is so great about him is that he does feel strongly about me finding something stable or marrying a man with money perhaps-or marrying a man period(Hey, I wouldn't mind that either-LOL). I digress. When I received my acceptance letter to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts he sat next to me with just as much anticipation and nerves while I opened it. When the result was 'You are accepted' he beamed and gave me the biggest hug. He was so happy I was happy. At the end of the year there are a set of exam plays. He flew down and surprised me to attend the plays. He raved about one of my performances and couldn't picture anyone else in the role. Nothing like a father's love, huh? He doesn't understand how I can take all that rejection and continue to forge ahead. It perplexes him yet he still loves and supports me. He does think I'm crazy-too. Which makes me smile. Again...unconditional love prevails along with differences. Cheers to having your opinion and allowing me to be who I am. Appreciate all the years of love, contention and humor. Thanks Dad!! ;-)

Supportive Words, and Kindred Spirits

This year, I returned to motion picture production after several years absent from the film industry. While shooting the film "I Am Number Four" in Pittsburgh, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely women named Gae through my boss and dear friend, David. From the moment I met Gae, I have much to be grateful to her for. While getting to know her over long dinners, and drives back and forth to the airport, I've had the pleasure to speak to her on many of life's issues, and found her on a similar journey to mine, a kindred spirit, making me feel less alone at times when I needed that most. While she did not work on the film, rather, was a visitor, her presence and positive energy was felt accutely. Over the year, she has engaged me in many thought provoking, interesting conversations about life, love, work and spiritual journeys. And through those multitude of conversations, she's provided kind, supportive words, constant praise and lent a thoughtful ear on every subject of depth that has occupied my thoughts during this difficult year, helping me find my way once again. She's been kind enough to lavish on me her patience, and ultimate faith in a positive future, whatever that may be. She's been my biggest fan, and for that, and so much more, I am indebted to her. A kind note to her via email and a quick word of thanks over dinner this week just isn't enough. I hope one day I'll be able to thank her properly in return through support of the same kind she's so generously has offered me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thank you, 102310 Group ...

Today I'm unable to send an actual thank you note, but perhaps you'll understand why. Late last year, seeing that I had so many friends who enjoyed photography, I wanted to create a platform for everyone to share their work and get feedback from others. I started the 102310 Group on Facebook (inspired by the 1010 Project) in hopes of finding ten photographers who would share with each other ten shots from a single day, but I thought it would be a struggle to find enough people who would be interested. My friends, and their friends, responded with more enthusiasm than I had imagined possible, and days later, we had 32 photographers eager to share their ten shots with each other and give each other creative feedback. Looking through the shots posted in the group's page, I still feel inspiration and admiration for the skill, vision, and perspective of these people. Some of these friends I know very personally, and others I've not actually met, but count them as friends nonetheless.

While it's a new year, I hope to enjoy many more challenging and interesting photography projects with these friends scattered across the country, and I want to thank them all for a really wonderful collaboration.

Thank you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

For this week's Thank You, I've decided to thank Mother Earth.

Without her where would we be? She gives us life. She now supports almost 7 billion people with food, water and the air we breath even though we treat her with disrespect and disregard. She offers us beautiful vistas, lakes and rivers to enjoy, mountains to climb and oceans to swim in.

Every time I drive up to Sedona, I am still in awe of the amazing "red rocks". I am so lucky to live/have lived in two very beautiful, yet very different states. Vermont, with it's vibrant fall foliage, rolling green hills and abundant lakes and rivers is such a contrast to Arizona's high desert country and Grand Canyon where the mighty Colorado River has carved it's way through, making it what it is today. I love them both. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to see different parts of this world, of this country. It is truly amazing.

She is only on loan to us all, what will be left for our children or our grandchildren? I'm doing my part, will you do yours?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear Anne

When we first met at that Women’s Roundtable event in Chicago, who knew that more than 20 years later, we would still be trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up? There is one thing, however, that I do know for certain: Without you, I don’t think I would have made it through some of the most challenging times in my life. You have always been there for me – to listen, ask the right questions and ultimately bring me around to believing that, no matter what, I was going to be OK.

There are so many things I admire about you – your creativity, your spirituality, your personal style, your love for your family, your sense of adventure. Thank you for sharing all these treasures with me.

And thank you for sharing the most valuable treasures of all – Zoe and Mia. Since I don’t have any “ grands” of my own,I’ve had such a great time with them. Remember the evening I made a dress out of Kleenex for Zoe’s naked Barbie? She thought I was some kind of rock star, and that felt great.

I know our friendship will endure for the rest of our days – and then some.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Tuesday everyone :)

I wanted to start this weeks thank you by making sure that everyone know that my choice of who I thank is not chosen by their importance level in my life nor how much I need to thank them. I am especially thankful to my wonderful family. You see, there is a method to my madness as to who I choose and they all deserve my sincere and heartfelt thanks. :) I want my thank yous to be perfect for the person I am thanking and until those words come to me, I refuse to write other lesser thank yous. I hope that makes sense?

So, that being said, this week I would like to thank a woman named Laura Felsted. Laura has been in my life for about 8 years now. I became acquainted with her at a time in my life that I sorely needed her help and she listened, really listened, to me and proceeded to provide me with the guidance I needed. You see, Laura is my General Practitioner. That is her job you say, but know this, I have had such bad luck with Doctors before her that she is a true answer to my prayer. Allot of doctors will prescribe to you and that is that but she knows that a person knows their body better than any doctor ever could and she will listen first and then suggest alternative ways to naturally resolve what you are medically experiencing (my preferred way) before she would get out her script pad. She bravely waded through the murky waters of my family's genetics and ways that my body reacts to certain things (always not the norm) and did so with determination and good humor to find a right solution. She has always made me feel comfortable, made me laugh, and shared her personal life with me to allow me more insight into what she is about. She found her calling in life and I am extremely grateful for that and for her. So, thank you Dr. Laura.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Moment of Thanks in the Morning....

Three weeks into this project and a note of Thanks has been written every morning. It's the first thing I do while the coffee is brewing. A fantastic way to start the day. Not sure why I didn't think of this earlier but I'm glad it happened upon me with this lovely group of gals.

Have received a few responses. My friend Julie said, "It brought a tear of joy to her eyes". Jon-relayed that it made his day and is displaying the note proudly. Matt-simply thanked me for the note. The theme this week was Thanks for Being. It's amazing how someone can touch your life and bring a smile to your face with a text message, phone call or e-mail. It's even better when you have time to catch up in person. When those opportunities present themselves it's all the sweeter and the moments are surely cherished. In the interim, I give a Shout Out to technology and all the ways to keep in touch these days.

Pursuit of Thanks...

I've had much to be thankful for this week, and yet, I had difficulty feeling grateful for anything by week's end. A feeling that some, I'm sure can relate to. A week goes by, and after the stressful deadlines, the time-consuming chores, the expectations placed upon you (some by yourself) and the feeling it is all for nought... well, its hard to find your equilibrium and a balance, let alone the energy it takes to pursue your happiness and heart's passions while still trying to make a living. This week was one of those weeks. And yet, in my complaints and frustrations voiced to my sister, Marie, I found that equilibrium I was seeking. While I've thanked several people this week, tonight I write, albeit, past my deadline, in thanks for her.

These last several months have been somewhat difficult for me. I've been having a hard time finding my footing... not because I don't know what I want from life, and aren't pursuing it. It's from being exasperated that I've not found the obvious path by which to achieve my ultimate desires. Tonight Marie, in her open and quiet way, listened and advised me in the purest way. She consistently listens patiently to my complaints and frustrations while reminding me that I am pursuing what I want, and that's worthy of celebrating... and in a place that I should be grateful for, as well... warm sunny Southern California (70 degrees in January). Some people never get the chance to explore their right to the pursuit of happiness. How lucky am I that I can.

Marie has helped me in that pursuit, through giving me some of the emotional tools that I need to survive this major change in my life, books that have given me answes when I was seeking them, and most of all, her constant positive attitude and support given without judgement. For all this and more... Marie, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and the pit of my stomach!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thank you, Bradi ...

Three years ago, I was asked to interview a candidate for a position that was being added to our department. She was enthusiastic, energetic and obviously very smart. "I'll take her under my wing," I thought to myself. She was hired and, fresh out of college, I taught her what I could about the corporate world. But I was surprised by what she taught me. Today I sent a thank you note to my dear friend and colleague, Bradi.

Dear Bradi,
When we started working together three years ago, you impressed me with your quick intelligence and willingness to take on any challenge. In those three years, you got married, we became dear friends, and you have shown me endless gestures of kindness.
Your friendship has been a great source of support, encouragement and much laughter. 

You've moved on to a new position, and I have to say I miss you sitting next to me, even if I admire your courage in trying out different jobs while you expand on your skills. You'll meet with success no matter where you go because of your intelligence, yes, but also because of your magnetic personality and winning smile.

Bradi, I just want to thank you. For your kindness, generosity, and loving spirit. I think we took each other under our wings. Everybody should have a friend like you.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

"I am thrilled and honored to have been asked to contribute to this blog. I started generating a list of ideas right away --- family, friends, the list is long. I have begun to compile drafts and hope to be able to get to the many things in my life I am grateful for.
However, at the end of my work day, today, I knew I would be writing about work. I work for a school district and provide speech and language services for preschool children. Services include support to children with a variety of challenges --- speech articulation, language issues, some non-verbal children have communication systems and others might have medical issues, i.e. cleft lip and palette. I see most children in their pre schools classrooms, some in childcare settings and others in their homes. What I think about as I end my day is how warmly I am welcomed in all the places I visit. Classroom teachers incorporate me into their schedules and I have become part of their classrooms, childcare providers make space for me and families greet me at the door smiling. I am often offered cups of coffee, or maybe a snack. And for the most part, children greet me and are eager to work with “the speech lady”.
Working with young children is a gift, a tonic. It’s hard to stay in a down mood when a four year old greets you with a hug and says, “Let’s play”. Yes, there are challenges but on most days I am inspired and delighted by this work I do. And so I am grateful for the opportunity to work with young children and the families and a great team of co-workers."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I have been blessed with four wonderful sisters who love me and accept me for who I am. They are creative, beautiful, supportive and funny. They are my rock, they are my sounding board. People marvel at our dynamics. I have often been asked, "How can you all get along so well?" My reponse has always been , "Why shouldn't we, we're family." Now that I live a great distance from most of them, I have come to appreciate what I have with them. Where ever we may go, what ever we may do, we'll alway be sisters. For that I AM grateful.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I knew and met Christopher Thornton years ago in Kentucky at a time in my life that was very turbulent and shaky. He lived with my then husband and I for about a year along with another soldier friend, Lance (my ex was in the Army at Fort Knox). We all lived together to help ease everyone’s financial burdens which worked well in spite of the fact that I was the only female. Chris was like the protective big brother that I never had. He would monitor my emotional well being the way a new parent monitors their first baby the first week that they have it home. He knew I was sensitive and would go out of his way to make sure that I had a reason to smile or laugh when he was around. He received many playful punches in his muscular arms from me in the process. He often said that while he was around that noone would hurt his sweetheart said in his slightly southern drawl as he stood their with his arms folded like Mr Clean. We spent many evenings talking, reminiscing or just trying to figure out life for eachother and not always coming up with a solution but nevertheless feeling better about it all. We were eachother’s sounding board.

After we all went our separate ways, I would hear from and talk to Chris about once every 6 months to a year. We would always pick up where we last left off and our friendship just flowed naturally and it was always like there was no time between our conversations. His friendship was ALWAYS a blessing in my life. We lifted eachother up when it was needed and I always felt that if people knew him the way I did that they would appreciate him also. I was his most fervent fan in life.

Sadly, on October 8th 2009, I lost my friend Chris. He died at the end of a long 5 year illness and I didn’t get the chance to tell him how much he really meant to me and how thankful and blessed I felt to have him in my life. I hope that he knows that now and that he is happily existing up in heaven fishing and listening to his heavy metal music as God smiles at him wearing ear plugs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

As I walk through my weeks, in the context of this project, I am growing more conscious of just how much I have to be grateful for. The people in my life, the community that I live, the wonderful ever changing weather, the endless stream of personal interests and hobbies are but a few areas of plenty. To choose one a week is a challenge.

Having said that, I feel that much of where I am, and how I see the world is because of my mother. Lise Lea Lauzon Turgeon. In her gentle unassuming way, she has taught me humility. Through her example of determination I learned to be resourceful. With her generous patience, I learned about family. These lessons, and more have always been and still are constant model through my life, and now through the lives of my children.

Thank you, Mom.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Possibilities are Endless...

Each morning I wake up and wonder who will I thank today? The list is long of friends, family and moments shared that deserve a li'l praise.
Which that alone is something to be grateful for, don't'chya think?!?

My heart twitters in delight
in deciding whom to write.
The first one that pops in my mind
a letter they will soon find
in a few days time.

It's fun to acknowledge those who have touched our lives in both big and small ways. Both are equally important.

This weeks thanks have gone out to a handful of people that simply and whole heartedly take me as I am. Quirks and all. Lending me their ears, laughing at our lives (in a good way) and mutually appreciating each other during the time spent. Even if it's via a phone call or an e-mail.

Love my Peeps!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Little Things Count

While I have many individuals to thank this year, for past and present generosity, this week I wanted to try something different. Something that should be a normal practice of the everyday for all of us, yet, somehow, it isn't. I decided to thank eveyone I came into contact with, no matter how small the interaction, a kind word. At the grocery store, a thank you to the cashier who checked me out at Gelson's. At the 76 gas station, the attendant that took my cash. At the restaurant in Santa Monica, the waiter that kindly saw to it that I had a pleasant evening without having to cook the meal myself. The list goes on. Each time they provided me with a simple service, or something more involved, I made an effort this week to look those people in the eye, and with heartfelt appreciation, thank them. An amazing thing happened... when you really thank someone, looking them in the eye, and show them honest appreciation and acknowledgement... you get a smile, or a nod, or even a "you're welcome" when you least expect it. It makes for a kinder, more positive day, and a better experience overall. Funny... the little things sometimes really do count. And being grateful for those, adds up to more than you think. I think I'll practice this on a more regular basis! Maybe the practice will spread!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thank you, Lynda ...

Today I sent a thank you note to a woman named Lynda, who creates magic.

Dear Lynda,

About eight years ago, I walked down the aisle in what can only be described as the most beautiful gown I'd ever seen in my life. Inspired by the Belle Epoque, it was a design by Reva Mavagaskar, and I didn't have $4,000 in my budget for a dress I'd wear only once. So my mother-in-law to be (who deserves several thank you's as well) set me up to talk with you -- and you turned my page ripped from a magazine into a reality. I didn't know at the time that you didn't "do" brides, but you made my gown anyway. Anyone who has had a garment made expressly for her understands the transformative powers involved.

Recently, I had the privilege of welcoming you back into my life, and did a little work with you, for which you made me another garment. We looked at pictures together, mostly of Napoleon, and you created another garment for me. Every detail is perfection, from the extra large cuffs and collar, to the trim and finished button holes. I receive compliments on it every single time I wear it.

You are a talented and spirited lady, and I'm so grateful to know you!

Thank you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dear Grandma

Hello, everyone! I am Rita’s friend Jane. Let me begin by thanking the sisters Turgeon, your relatives and your friends for allowing me to join this adventure in gratitude. When Rita told me about 365, the first person who came to mind was my maternal grandmother, Corea Taylor O’Connor. We just had the best time together.

Grandma, if I could speak with you today, I would tell you how clearly I remember when, as a little girl, I used to visit you and Papa in Washington, DC. I remember being able to see the White House from your apartment window high above Pennsylvania Avenue – and how you would “tsk, tsk” if the window shades were not even across the front of the house. (Of course, this was not an issue once Jackie moved in.)

We went everywhere and saw everything in DC and environs. I remember our many trips to the White House, the Capitol, the Smithsonian, Georgetown (for tea), Arlington, Mt. Vernon and Monticello. My two-week visits in the summer would stretch into a month; I never wanted to go home. Eventually, though, my father always arrived to drive me back to New York and later, back to Chicago.

When you and Papa moved to Chicago in the early 1970s to be near us, the view from your apartment window was no longer a national monument but rather a national treasure – beautiful Lake Michigan. Papa and I used to love to watch the sailboats, their colorful spinnakers full of the wind, racing through the swells. Every time I drive past your building at “the curve” on Lake Shore Drive, I think of you.

And then there was Christmas and our yearly excursion to State Street to look at the Marshall Field’s windows and eat in the Walnut Room under Field’s legendary tree. We always dressed “like ladies” for this occasion and took the bus because “one should always know how to ride the bus.”

You taught me how to do a lot of other practical things, too, for which I am grateful – like make hospital corners, iron a long-sleeved shirt with a collar, fold a fitted sheet, make a pie, cook a turkey, sew a blind hem and play gin rummy. (Confession: Papa used to let me smoke his Benson & Hedges cigarettes when I was in high school. It was our secret. OK, you probably knew.)

I regret that I didn’t see more of you in your later years when you were living with Aunt Jane in Phoenix, although you might not have remembered me then. But I want you to know, I remember how much you loved me; how proud you were of even my smallest success; how, through your own example, you taught me the importance of patience, civility and grace under pressure. I like to think I have succeeded in all your lessons – except the pie. Love, Jane

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My thank you this week goes to a man whom I met about 11 years ago when I first moved to Barre, Vermont. His name is Karl Boisvert. Don’t you just love his last name? It translates into English to mean Green Woods. Anyway, I digress, Karl is a tall (6’6”), thin man with a soft manner about him. He always has a kind word to say and is very friendly. He has a beautiful smelling store called Boisvert’s Shoe Repair where he sells leather goods and repairs shoes for just about the whole town as his father did before him and his son will after him.
I never knew that Karl watched my husband Louis and I any time we walked by his store or even entered it until 4 years ago. In a rare moment of disclosure he admitted that we were his heroes and that he aspired to be like Louis and I in his marriage in the way that we always hold hands as we walk anywhere and are never mean to each other. He admitted to telling everyone about us and what a romantic couple we were and how more people should be like us. After that day he would always compliment us on our relationship. What he didn’t know was that whenever he did so, it would make my husband and I even more conscientious about how we treat each other and how it made us want to be his heroes even more. He became our relationship cheerleader of sorts and I have always felt there should be more of those.
To tell you what kind of man he is, about three weeks ago he had surgery removing a cancerous tumor from his brain and is now going through chemotherapy for it. Sadly, his brother passed away from the same thing years ago. I saw him just last night at the Food Shelf preparing to help pack food for those in need in his selfless way. Most people would not have been there let alone been there three weeks after such a delicate surgery. So, I thank Karl for not only what he is to Louis and I but for what he is to the human race as a whole. There should be more Karls in this world so I ask you to please say a prayer for his swift recovery.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday January 10, 2010

For Paul

This week’s thank you goes to my husband, Paul. Now, I have an arm’s length list of things that I am deeply grateful to him for, and I plan to explore many of them over this year.

This has to do with his way with our children. He has always had a knack of adding an extra layer of fun to whatever occasion or moment spent together. He has a sense when someone might be bored, tired, or frustrated. At times he’ll tell ridiculous stories, often pulling them in to the telling. Long car rides have shortened with his pass around drawing or story telling games. Whatever method he uses, time always passes quicker, and memories are made from the simple times.

Above is a picture of him in action with Grace, on our 1 ½ mile walk through the woods to our friend’s house on Sunday morning.

Thank you Paul, you are a great Dad.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nine Days and Counting....

One whole week into the year of Thanks. I have committed to writing one note a day for the next year. So far so good. As of this morning nine notes have been written and eight sent. It is Sunday after all-lol. Each morning when I wake up I grab my pen/stationery and pick a friend...then tell them all the fabulous things I adore about them. Have received one phone call from a surprised and ecstatic recipient. It made her day and she has placed the card on the refrigerator. It puts a skip in her step anytime she passes it. The fact that this made her SO happy thrilled me to no end. The cheers for appreciation. Hip-Hip-Hooray!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Homes Away From Home

A full week has gone by since the start of my dedication to gratitude, and since then I have made a lengthy list of all I have to be grateful for, and those responsible for so much of it. I have many to thank, but another week cannot pass without my thanking two very dear friends for their kindness, support and hospitality. I'm thaning them both this week as between them, they've become my home(s) away from home.

I'm currently back in Los Angeles, after numerous years of living home in New England, pursuing my passion for making movies. I returned in September after working on the film "I Am Number Four in Pittsburgh - the first film I've worked on in several years. Eager to get back to Los Angeles to emmerse myself in the industry again, I came without work, and without a place to live. Two of my dearest friends, Kathy and Dominique, not only welcomed me back to town, but also opened their homes and have been giving me a roof over my head for three months now.

Were that the only thing they provided, I'd be indebted, but in addition to this, they consistently offer their sound advice, encouragement, patience and support in search for answers to my career path and life choices. They've been kind, loving and in every way, there for me. To them, I am hand delivering cards of thanks today. As I continue to work towards my goals, and search for solid ground in which to rebuild my life here in Los Angeles, I am forever in their debt, and hope one day that I will be able to repay their generosity.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thank you, Mrs. Service ...

When I was faced with coming up with a first post to 365, it wasn't 'where do I start?' that daunted me, but 'where do I stop?' I've been ridiculously blessed in ways big and small, and have many, many people to credit. You cannot appreciate what is, and what will be, without recognizing what has been. But there's one thank you letter that is long overdue. While I don't wish to make a habit of sending thank you notes only to people who are no longer here to read them, there is one person whom I never thanked; something I have long regretted. Thus, my first thank you note is written to my high school art teacher. While I could not send it to her, I was able to find her daughter and send it to her instead, in hopes of impressing upon her how important her mother was to me while she was still with us.

Dear Mrs. Service,

I can still remember how much I looked forward to your Thursday and Friday afternoon classes. I cherished those afternoons in the west wing at NCUHS. I recall you flitting breathlessly around the class, drinking coffee, arranging flowers, or a still life for us, your students. All the while, we listened to chamber music, or talked, or sat quietly, working on our art projects. Your class was a reprieve from the mundane. You didn't have rigid class lectures prepared, but talked about Duchamp or chiaroscuro, and we learned ... about art, composition, line, color, texture, yes -- but also about life. You conducted the duties of your job, opening the eyes of your silly, struggling, young students, with such joy. We couldn't recognize then how your beautiful, if busy, mind was being taken over by fog.

I couldn't understand then how wonderful a gesture it was for you to drive your best students the seven hour trip to Boston for portfolio day. Your generous guidance helped me to prepare a portfolio that revealed the breadth and depth of your classes. I remember how proud of me you were when I was accepted at the Museum School. I also remember, in later years, how unproud you were of me when you felt I was wasting my talent.

I like to think that I have, to some extent, redeemed myself. I paint still, yes, but I followed in your footsteps as a graphic designer. I also take pictures, few of which are 'pretty,' but aim at some something bigger. I think you would approve.

Thank you, Mrs. Service, for taking the time and effort to open my eyes. They are still open.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thank you my Soul Sister

This first "Thank You" goes to my dear friend Sandy. We have known each other for almost thirty years now. We first met when I moved to St. Johnsbury, VT from my home town of Newport, Vt in 1983. We both applied for a job at a new restaurant in town, finding that we also lived within a block of each other as well. The friendship grew from there. We went through the joys of raising children, our eventual separations from our spouses, and the realization of a dream of traveling through Scotland together. She has always been there for me through the good times and the bad.
When I decided to move to Arizona, she spent many weekends with me, helping me sort through my possessions, packing and cheering me on, waving her pom-poms. She supported me through my first several months after my move, knowing I was having a hard time, calling me everyday. She is an amazing, strong woman who has been through it all and is still smiling. I am honored to call her a friend.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In the beginning...

I have been blessed by so many people and things in my life that I was overwhelmed these past couple weeks trying to decide who should be the first person that I thank on my very first blog. Being a middle child I thought of everything that goes into the choosing and how I should choose them. It finally hit me that the very first being that I should thank is God. Without him, I would not have the dilemma of who to choose from weighing so heavy on my mind because of the large number of blessings I have to choose from.
God has blessed me so strongly that I fear that I am hogging all of his blessings on a daily basis yet selfishly hoping that He won’t notice and that they will continue. God has provided me with a wonderful family, loving husband, sweet bird, great friends and the blessing of living here in the United States where I get more riches in a month than some will ever see in a lifetime. I have my health, am not disabled, have healthy foods to eat, clean water to drink, a warm home to go to at night and both parents and four siblings are still alive, in my life and I am able to hug them, look them in the eyes and tell them I love them. So, God, if you are listening, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The gift that keeps on giving

Carol Castle Monday, January 3, 2011

This story starts back in my New York waitressing days in the 80’s. I was working lunches in a restaurant in the Wall Street district. Emily, was my best friend there at the time. We spent time together out of work, and got to know each other pretty well. As conversations go, we shared childhood experiences. Her father traveled a lot with the Boston Symphony, and would always bring her new books as a treat. When she reminisced about her favorite books, and none were familiar to me. See books were a luxury my family could not afford. Well, that Christmas, she gave me a gift of books, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the Maurice Sendak Nutshell Library. The ripple effect of that gift was yet to be seen.

Years later, when my first child was to be born, they were the first books on the shelf. Thousands of books were to follow as the enjoyment of each new story grew. As my children grew, we made frequent visits to the library. I ran the children’s story hour at the local library for a couple of years. Love of books has continued to progress through the elementary, high school, and college years for my children.

Now, the thing is, Emily & I lost touch long ago. I always wanted to share the story of effect of her gift. I tried to find her online a number of times, to no avail. Well, a couple of months ago, I found her through a facebook search. I think she was a bit spooked, so I didn’t pursue much. But, as I have been posting a few of my etsy offerings on facebook, she contacted me because of one. It was a book that she wanted to get her husband as a late Christmas gift. How perfect!

I have just today sent her the package of books with her check voided, and a long thank you note.

Thank you Emily, your gift is still giving.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Practicality and Friendship....

A few weeks ago when I first heard of the 365 Days of Gratitude I was inspired to add it to my daily routine in 2011. Then the opportunity to join this blog presented itself and voilá let the gratitude begin.

The first note on day one was to myself. Recognizing my sense of humor, inclination towards beauty and enjoying the simple pleasures life offers on a daily basis. Kudos to me! Tee~Hee :-)

The next note goes out to my dear friend Rob. As I looked around my apartment one afternoon there are delightful reminders of Rob in practically every corner. From the toaster he bought as a hostess gift after one of his stays to the beautiful eggplant pots and pans he gave me on a birthday one year. All in an effort to inspire me to cook a bit more for myself. Being a single gal on the go it was a rarity that I made many meals for myself. My most favorite reminder of all is The Curtain Caper of 2009! My curtain rod was not so secure and basically slowly slipping out of it's brackets. With brilliant imagination & ingenuity he created an idea to secure the drapes. We headed to the lumber store in SoHo and purchased a 12-18 ft piece of pine to to act as solid brace for the curtains. Somehow we got that on the subway and he was laughing at the situation while I was miss~moody~two~shoes and not in the mood for such a project. After a few hours and a second trip to Home Depot for a special li'l saw to trim down the pine to fit the second window the project was finished. He forged ahead in spite of my crankiness and got the job done with dedication and joy. God Love Him.

Besides all these special reminders throughout my apartment it's our years of friendship that is an honor and a privilege to share. Recently I've had a precautionary health issue arise and in typical Rob fashion he called me to give his support. This time from Germany while attending to his brothers broken arm in a hospital where they weren't getting very good care. Rob flew there specifically to be with his brother. He was not initially on the trip. Cheers to the generosity and dedication Rob gives to his family and friends. A living example indeed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year - 2011 - Many Angels Walk Among Us, And Leave Indelible Marks We Are Grateful For

Thirty or so years ago, on this day, a special woman named Frannie Whipple did something so kind, and so generous, it made such an impression on my mind, and heart, that I shall never forget it. My family was in a transition, moving from a temporary apartment building in our hometown in Newport, Vermont, into a home that my parents were building with their own two hands. It was winter, and every dime they had went into the building of what would become our family home for over 25 years. I was young, but knew that things were not easy for them. My parents could not afford a Christmas that year, and time would not allow it. January 1st loomed large that December, we had to be out of the apartment, as the building was scheduled to be demolished. That day, regardless of the fact that the house was not finished, we moved. The walls were not painted, the carpets were not installed, and the large picture window looking out over Lake Memphremagog was still on order. Our mattresses were lined up on the floor in front of the only heat source working at the time - a stone fireplace. the week leading up to it was filled with packing and moving the small things. The larger things were left to the adults on New Year's Day. That day, as good family friends as Frannie, and her husband, Foster were, they were there with their pickup truck helping our family move.

Frannie, having heard that we did not have a Christmas, not a tree or a present beneath one, did what she had always done...gave generously. She invited my fours sisters and me into her car for a trip down to the local department store - Forest Hills. It was nothing special by today's standards, but on that day, it was Disneyland. Frannie led us all to the toy department and asked each of us to pick out a toy, regardless of the price. I remember mine well - a cardboard doll house that you could decorate, and move the walls to form any space, much like the sets on film stages that I work on today. It was colorful, inventive and all mine. Each of my sisters picked up their prized and worthy choice. Afterwards, we returned to our new home on the hill. That day, Frannie did not know that the impact of her kindness would reach across time, and infuse each of those five girls with such a fond memory of one of our most cherished Christmases ever. She had inspired each one of us to remember the true meaning behind the holiday - generosity.

While Frannie is no longer with us, and I am not able to mail an actual note to her, I know she can hear my voice, and read my words. Her presence is felt in our hearts each day, particularly on this, a new day, a New Year. To her, I say thank you, with all my love and gratitude for the many things she shared with my family while she was with us.

May your New Year be filled making fond memories, but, more importantly, may you remember the importance of generosity, as it is the sister of gratitude. One cannot exist without the other, I feel. Practice both in abundance!

Loranne Turgeon