Monday, August 15, 2011

Denmark, Neverland, Wine, Lavender, and Horses, and Liberty in Three Hours

The Statue of Liberty, a lavender farm, miniature horses, swedish clogs, danish pastry, split pea soup and Christmas all in a half day!   My old (20 years) brown clogs had finally fallen apart and it was time to either order them online, or make an event out of it.  We decided that latter.  My 90 year old mom has been house bound with a knee fracture for 8 weeks, soon to walk again, and she thought it would be fun to take the ride to Solvang to get the new pair of clogs.   Solvang in itself is eternally charming, with its extraordinarily beautiful Santa Ynez Valley wine country location, Danish architecture, shops and food, and horse ranches. Realizing she would really not get out of the car once she was in it, we planned to take in the lessor known treats in the area.   Going south from Cal 101 we exited toward Los Olivos and then turned left onto Figueroa Mt Rd.  Our friend , Laura, was along and had been hoping to see Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch someday.  After taking some photos at the gate, we drove back through Los Olivos and turned off toward a most wonderful Lavender farm.  The aroma is heavenly, the grounds are heavenly and so pristine.  They do have a sense of humor there with the landmark Statue of Liberty front and center!   It turns out that she is the prop used in one of the Ghostbusters movies.  Time to move on, next was a visit to Quicksilver miniature horse ranch.  It is easy to park next to the fence and see them up close, so for my mom it was perfect.  Tiny new babies were with their mothers on one end, and soooo cute! After five minutes, we moved on to Solvang, clog shopping and pastries.  Just a quick stop, we headed west past the Ostrich Farm to Buellton to Andersen's where we all ordered the all-you -can-eat pea soup and browse the Christmas Shop!   This was a speed tour/shopping day, in a place where you can see a lot in  few miles and limited time!  It was great to see Eileen have such an ambitious and entertaining outing.  We were all reminded of how lucky we are to live in this part of California.

Living in Full Color

This last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting the home of artist, Chet Hill.  I was so excited to tell him that we at La Perla del Mar Chapel in Shell Beach were contacted by someone interested in purchasing one of his paintings of the chapel for a soon to be married couple.  At age 92, with a few physical ailments, I wondered if he might still be able to produce another one of his colorful pieces.  Fortunately, he had not done only one painting, and we were happy to know the customer would be satisfied in any case.

Just walking through the front door, I was immediately reminded of the fullness of life, the color and brilliance, the thoughtfulness that he puts into his work.  It is hard to believe that this man has had extremely limited vision for several years, and yet maybe that is what makes his work so special.  I continue to be inspired by his wit and memory.  I find it hard to imagine that his ability to be so productive and creative is anything less than extraordinary.  He is exemplary of Erma Bombeck's quote:  "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left.  That I could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"