Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carpe Diem


In the garden, the delphiniums were in flower. Through scented twilight the girl in the white dress walked with a step as light as a cobweb. That evening, she hadn't a care in the world.

Mrs. Delahunty, My House in Umbria

Mrs. Delahunty: I may be dead next month. The moon may have crashed into the earth. Who knows what dreadful things may come to pass? But at the moment, I'm happy. What else matters?

Colonal: Carpe Diem

Mrs. Delahunty: I'm never really sure just what that means.

Colonal: Oh. Seize the day. Embrace the present. Enjoy life while you've got the chance.

Mrs. Delahunty: Carpe Diem. I'll remember that.

My House in Umbria
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Lately, I am aware that I have to do just that, carpe diem, because everything seems to have a feeling of impermanence. Not in a dark somber way but in the way that you feel that some thing's moving, some thing's changing.

I wonder what it is about life that after you hit a certain age, you wake up with memories of people and places that you haven't thought about in a long time. And fragments of youth-inspired dreams come back to your mind with a strong force. When I was a teen, I wanted to travel to Europe, and I did. I think my early obsession with travel was connected to my romance novel addiction. The love story inclination was left in the past, while the enjoyment of other lands and people remained.

I think that's why I love Maggie Smith in My House in Umbria. She's a writer of romance novels who has a calling to help people. She quirkily entertains us by her thriving imagination about the people who stay with her after they all are involved in a train explosion. (I wanted to post a link here but it's difficult to find a positive evaluation- to many spoilers. ) Nevertheless, I love the movie and the character that Maggie Smith plays, Mrs. Emily Delahunty- who has many other delightful nom de plumes.

The movie is set in Italy and if you can watch it and not yearn for travel to Italy, you are a strong person. It has magical views and entertaining cultural moments. If you are having an Italian themed movie night, you might rent Under the Tuscan Sun or go out to see Letters to Juliet. Both of these movies will make you feel as though you have been in Italy -or that it's essential for you to go there now!

I have read the memoir, Under the Tuscan Sun (Frances Mayes), and found it to be richly satisfying-and NOT A ROMANCE. I loaned this book to a close friend who found it tedious with detail about the Italian countryside, garden restorations and house renovations. However, I like these boring details of ordinary life. I like to see how people make decisions and what occupies their time. I'm interested in both real and spruced up life. (A little magic making fantasy is fine with me.) Another popular book that has an enchanting section on an extended vacation in Italy is Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. Did you know that Julie Roberts is going to play Gilbert in the movie? (Scheduled to be released in August.) There is another saturate-yourself-in=Italy movie that I have already mentioned in previous blogs, Enchanted April, which documents a life transforming month in an Italian Medieval castle. Gorgeous scenery! If you want to explore Italy this summer, or imagine yourself there in real life, try Rick Steves' link to travel.
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As for myself, I plan to stay in Puerto Rico, cook vegetarian lasagna, solve concrete everyday problems and at every moment-carpe diem! If that doesn't excite, think about my lovely gardenia bush that finally bloomed after three years of waiting, hoping, and supplementing with coffee grounds. Finally, it has a fragrant white bloom! Maybe it foretells of positive moments yet to come? ~~~~~~~~

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Oasis Life: A Wake Up Call; A view of this morning's mini-mudslides on the side of the mountain


Get out from that kitchen and rattle
those pots and pans

Get out from that kitchen and rattle
those pots and pans

Well, roll my breakfast 'cause I'm a hungry man

I said shake, rattle and roll

I said shake, rattle and roll

I said shake, rattle and roll

I said shake, rattle and roll
You never do nothin' to save your doggone soul...

Oh, come on, Elvis!

Do you really mean for her to get into the kitchen and cook some vittles?


(Or should I blame these sexist lyrics on songwriter Bill Haley?- Please forgive the aside comment here- I just couldn't resist. I digress!)

We had an earthquake this morning!

It occurred sometime after 1:00am while I was lying in bed watching Camilla (1994), a film staring Jessica Tandy and Bridget Fonda. It's kind of a female road trip film that makes me think about how I want my life to play out in the coming years. It's Jessica Tandy's final film. She plays Camilla, a free-spirited violinist who makes a difficult compromise in her life. I particularly appreciate Tandy because as an actress over 80 years of age, she is willing to skinny dip, celebrate life, and make love to her long lost lover (who happens to be her real life husband). The story is compelling- even if some of young Fonda's lines feel false.


Camilla is a real shake-up-your-life movie-as was this morning's earthquake.


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I took a tour of the property to check for damage and found


just a few avocados lying on the ground but most are still hardily growing on the tree.
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We had an earthquake early this morning!


Low rumble crescendos to a smart pound as

adrenalin rushes the sleep out of our bones.

Old shoeboxed photographs fall,

upper shelves now layer the floor.

Box sets of Paul and George open and

spill a pile of The Beatles out

and into the laundry.


We had an earthquake early this morning!


Rushing outside, calling

"What happened?" while the canine pack sniff,

wag and lick the nearest leg or toe.

"A surprise visit from the entire family!"


We had an earthquake early this morning

- a cause for panic

- a cause for celebration

- all is well.


Cynthia Pittmann 5/2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Maternal Moosings

Oasis Returns: A few notes on life, change and mothers

Espresso coffee with warm milk taste better than Mr. Coffee's rushed cup.

Do you start your day off with coffee? I can drink a pot of "American" coffee without getting "the jitters" while consuming two cups of Yaucono espresso could send me over the top. I usually get up early in the morning and put on the coffee- first thing. Though I have cut down my intake of coffee, I continued to drink a cup of coffee in the morning. (Haven't you been thrilled with the news that coffee could have some health benefits?) My motto: Healthy eating in moderation! Isn't that sentiment a contradiction coming from a lifelong vegetarian? I still like a bit of butter and cheese but lately, I prefer higher quality dairy products and avoid eggs.


This morning, I listened to the roosters crow and chickens squawk while I walked to the front gate of Green Oasis Finca. I have just planted a white rose bush that was given to me by nearly grown daughter, Miss A, which I, in turn, dedicated to mom because it was the anniversary of her murder on May 5. I found the physical act of digging deep into the earth and planting this ever-blooming floribunda rose, Summer Snow, the perfect way to connect and disperse this heavy laden grief that burdens me around Mother's Day. I feel refreshed and ready to get on with life. I just need a little sip of coffee, love from my family, and the company of blogging buddies to keep me thriving. I have appreciated the continued visits to my quiet Oasis blog, even though I feel like this black and white Holstein. Look at that face!
I have discovered that "girl cows" do have horns. And that in women, they hide under the surface until about the age of 50 years or so. My own horns are showing! Or rather I'm feeling a bit edgy-and it's not from the coffee. My daughter is soon off to college, and I feel strong pressure coming from that impending change in both of our lives.

My lovely daughter just finished this painting, yesterday.














Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that most counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will! Hope Floats


Amber's Sun 5/2010