Friday, May 20, 2011

Raphaella visits Sarasota's Marie Selby Gardens at last!

A few blocks from downtown Sarasota lies the beautiful property that is Marie Selby Gardens. The history of Marie Selby and her beautiful gardens can be found on their website by clicking here.

The garden fence that borders the property looked so small from Mound Street, for years I would speed on by to go to Whole Foods on 1st, or head for Main Street to buy French bread and croissants, or go to the Burns Court area for lunch, to see a film, or an art opening. Plus, knowing the entrance fee is $17, I let almost three years go by without a visit to this beautiful place.

Now that I've been there I must emphatically tell you the $17 entrance fee is worth every penny. I, for one, can't wait to return for another day of writing, photography, poetry, art, and inspiration. It's that kind of a place. When I lived in Los Angeles, I often visited Huntington Gardens in Pasadena for the same reasons. In Minneapolis, it was the conservatory at Como Park or the beautiful Minnehaha Falls. In San Francisco, it was the redwoods of Muir Woods in Marin. In Miami, my parents and I often visit Fairchild Gardens. We plan to go again in June. Flowers and green living things, in sunlight or in the rain, always inspire me to create more beauty with art and words of my own.

My friend Patty, an artist and musician who moved to the Gulf coast of Florida around the same time as I did in 2008, bought a season's pass to another museum in town and had a guest pass for Selby Gardens for the month of May. Luckily she invited me to join her. The weather this week has been glorious, so when she called yesterday to remind me it was the day we planned to go, I put aside my work, grabbed my camera and off we went.

Approaching noon, I was hungry when we arrived so we found the garden cafe and treated ourselves to an amazing wholesome lunch. We stopped briefly at the poi pond to enjoy the ducklings, and then we walked for hours, thrilled with every turn at the beauty unfolding before our eyes. Click here to see photos from our day in paradise. Let the images be inspiration for your life and your art, whatever that may be. And walk with me in spirit as you sense the beauty in this place.
 -Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mothers Day 2011 in Miami - Three Magical days with Mom (and Dad)

It's so great that I live in Florida, close enough to my parents to drive over to spend time with them. It's a 3-1/2 hr. easy drive across the Everglades where I am always delighted to see the natural habitat of alligators, egrets, and Florida panthers.

I had so many Heartful Art orders to fill and get in the mail before the trip, I got a late start getting on the road after the Venice Farmers Market on Saturday. Alas, through a rainstorm with nary a car on the road through the Everglades, I made it to their house by 8pm.

By then we were all very hungry for dinner at PF Chang's. Even though the parking lot was mobbed, the handicap parking place right outside the front door was empty and waiting for us. We were blessed with kindness by the maitre d', had lovely conversations with the other families waiting in line, and eventually were shown to a booth in Ceasar's section. We enjoyed our fabulous meal and talking with our waiter Ceasar (who is in pre-deployment training on his way to future dreams of being a Navy Seal). My Dad, a veteran Marine, and our family always enjoy the chance to applaud our service personnel and wish them well.

On Mothers Day morning I went outside to greet the day and was blessed to be welcomed by a mother duck with her five ducklings. They were sweetness personified! It's a simple life when we get together these days: Breakfast on the patio, read the paper, talk about life and old times, have lunch, take a nap, share some more, give presents to Mom, cook dinner (meatballs with scalloped potatoes), play cards (Dad won), watch a movie (King's Speech - we all loved it), sleep, and do it all over again. Click here to see a few photos on Flickr.

I've been bringing my webcam on my visits so we shared a Skype call with my daughter Cate and her family in Minneapolis, and also with my sister Kathy and her daughter's family in Jordan. The video calls and the entire three day vacation was lovely. I cherish my Mom (& Dad), and I'm so appreciative of every moment we are together. Next month I will journey again to visit them for Father's Day.

I wish you and your families treasured times such as these. Bless you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011