Dancing In The Stars

Some people just stick with us. For me, I find that the people who stick with me, the lasting memories, are very specific and not generally what would be considered “obvious.”

Last week began with the news of our dear family friend, Maggi BB, passing away. My parents were–sigh–on their way to visit Maggi in the bay area when I got word and called to tell them. I also relayed the news to several people–each time difficult, some more than others. So after that was done, I went to have my own moment, to process the news for myself. My pup and I walked over to Maggi’s beloved home in the mountains, and I sat in her colorful garden, listening to the quiet. Listening for Maggi in the quiet.

2015-Jul-Tuenicole watering (1)
Watering Maggi’s garden last summer

To say that she was part of our lives would be an understatement. She was PRESENT in our lives, bringing her lively, colorful spirit with her, always, all ways. Christmas evening she would join us for dinner, bringing with her a treasure trove of earrings she’d collected throughout the year, and would let each of us ladies pick a pair. At our birthday parties, she would show up wearing some vibrant ensemble–usual for her–and stand up in front of everyone and sing a spontaneous Birthday Song, making the lyrics and dance moves up on the fly.

She lived bravely. She lived colorfully. Her past–while I only know hints of it–were colored with some darkness. And her life, in later years, was lived brightly, with bold colors and a big heart. She loved humans fearlessly, she wasn’t afraid to say she was afraid of something, and she made us all feel special.

Some of what I will remember most will be: her voice, the way she spoke, the cadence of her voice. She spoke like a mystic. She would speak and make expressive sounds with wavy tones, especially if she was feeling frisky, and always end with a FLOURISH! Maybe a clap of hands! Then she’d laaaaaaaugh. She spoke as if she had a fun secret to share–even if she was speaking about a new water filter she’d purchased.

I will remember when she came over to my newly renovated pied-à-terre and got tears in her eyes as she told me how lovely my new home was, how happy she was for me. And, because Maggi was Maggi, she walked around doing a spontaneous blessing in every area of the place. (see above Birthday Song–very similar approach)

I will remember when I was housesitting at my parents’ house and a deer died in the driveway. No joke. Just died right in the driveway. I called Maggi and said, horrified, “What on earth do I do about this?” Without a second thought, she gathered up her handyman and came over, and she chatted with me, making me laugh, while he kindly removed the deer from the driveway.

I will remember not just how eccentric she was, but how authentic she was. She had this ability to be whimsical and silly and fun, and at the same time, speak gently, compassionately, and earnestly from her heart.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.22.59 PM
With Maggi BB

She loved life. She loved living it her way. And she lived it beautifully.

And now, Maggi BB is dancing in the stars, I’m sure of it.

Hug the ones you love.

xo Isla



Dara Visits From NY – Part 4

Dara is leaving this morning. Le poo poo! Gigi puppy up before dawn as usual (me too, of course). Construction workers outside working on deck renovations. Turkeys gobbling and giggling that it’s Friday.

We will miss our Dara. She flies home to rainy New York and today we have sunshine and warmth in the mountains of California. We had so much fun laughing yesterday that her eye makeup ran and she ended up getting Gigi eyes. 🙂

Happy day to all,


Dara Visits From NY – Part 1

Dara is here! My good n’ fancy friend from my NY days is making her annual trek to come visit me. Each year the easter baskets get filled and we do celebrations and little gifts. This year we did a pair of casual flats–hers black, mine grey–along with little fluffy bunnies on a stick, miniature planters with seedlings–hers daises, mine sunflowers–and to top it all off, pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Lots of flavors to choose from, too many to name but my favorites were the Vanilla and some Chocolate Therapy sort of deal. Yum. 

We’re playing with Gigi puppy by day, giggling a lot, and all sleeping really really well by night. So much day-play, chat, stories, etc. Day before last we went to South Gate Brewery and sat outside munching on fried mushrooms with some sort of tasty dipping sauce. Dara and I returned home and drank beer from the growler she refilled while we sat out in the sun catching up with each others silly stories. 

Yesterday we went to Yosemite–fairly leisurely venture through the park. Sat outside the famed and lovely Ahwahnee Hotel where we each had a Widmer beer and Gigi lapped up ice water. So hot outside we all got some sun. (And saw a bobcat!)  

Fun first few days of adventures with Dara.