It’s That Time of Year, Begorrah, for the Wearin’ of the Green

Fuchsia Fantastic

Fuchsia Fantastic, 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

I’ve always dreaded St. Patrick’s Day.  Every kid in school was wearing green but me. My mother fashioned a homemade clover pin out of green felt and crepe paper. But since it wasn’t legitimate clothing, I got pinched anyway. “That doesn’t count,” my peers all agreed as they chased me around the playground.

On Wednesday, We have a St. Patty’s Party at our church. I scanned my closet and discovered I still don’t own anything green. What’s with that? I love green, especially grass green. It’s nature’s color, for heaven’s sake! My clothes hangers are full of beiges, browns, whites and blacks, but not a smidgen of green.

My eyes are a mixture of light brown and green. Hazel I write down on required forms. They turn chameleon whenever I wear lavender or peach, and then people say “My you have lovely green eyes.”

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I had an olive green carpet in the seventies. In fact, my favorite color back then was olive green. I not only had a suit and a dress in this color. I was designated a “Fall” by the latest home-party color technologist. Of course, my hair was still brown when I took that first test.

Incidentally my favorite foods are green. I love spinach, avocadoes, lettuce, edame, kale, endive, romaine, peas, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, okra, etc. I’m surprised my skin hasn’t turned green on me.

My kids favorite dip was made with spinach, cream cheese and mayonnaise. When finished, it looked like the Emerald City ; bright green and luminous. When friends came over, my kids told them convincingly it was “green grasshopper” dip. After that its popularity plummeted. Soon the authors of this trickery became a bit squeamish themselves, and that was the end of that.

Popeye & Olive Oyl Salt 'n Pepper Shakers

Salt ‘n Pepper Shakers

My mother was a fabulous cook. She rarely used a recipe and had an instinctive sense of how she wanted something to taste. I tried to coax her out of a few concoctions, but she was more comfortable with her own methods of a pinch here, a taste there, a squeeze of this, a drop of that. Her potato salad was to die for.

My kids would eat no one else’s scrambled eggs; only hers. Whenever she asked “what do you want to eat?” without preamble, they always said scrambled eggs. Her curry was the hit of her pinochle club. I relished the smell of it simmering on the stove.


Prayer Circles 24 x 18 acrylic on canvas

Mother cooked the way I paint. I like to try new mixtures for a certain look or sparkle; a dab of this, a swap of that. One of my favorite colors is made by mixing one part alizarin crimson with a little bit of orange as in the painting above. If you add a drop or two of yellow, it creates a tantalizing background especially for white.


Cafe’ Costa Rica 20 x 20 SOLD; prints and gicle’s available

If you mix a dot of cobalt blue with yellow, you can get the exact color of varied shades of green from new bright growth to mature bluish stems.

Green up your world this St. Patrick’s Day and experiment with color!

Forever Green — Life in the Tropics

"Fall in Apple Valley" 11 x 14 watercolor on rice paper

“Fall in Apple Valley” 11 x 14 watercolor on rice paper

When “good stuff” happens, we want it to last forever; especially things like vacations, romance, and wonderful weather. But as my mother used to say “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it!

My oldest daughter who was always wise beyond her years said “There are trade-offs in life. You have to be willing to accept the good with the bad.” She said this so she could tolerate Washington’s grey skies and continual rain six months out of the year while she waited for the remaining half of sunshine filled pleasure and moderate temperatures.

I think of her statement often now that I live in the tropics where it stays green year round. It’s not just the evergreens that behave exactly as they’re expected to. It’s the plants, the grasses, the bushes, the winter and summer flowers that grow lush and jungle like and need constant pruning. In the beginning it was something to rejoice about. But after awhile, you get weary living in a season-free existence.

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Lush foliage and flowers that border the walkway into our villa.

“Another beautiful day in Paradise,” I tell my husband on our morning walks. We keep our eyes open for new colors and unexpected flora and fauna, but the daily scene rarely changes.

The trade-offs are the six months of perfect days unrolling one after another from December through May; a daily barrage of moderate temperatures and bright blue skies. Heaven most of us agree. And lest we forget, endless days of year round play on the beaches, golf courses, and tennis courts.

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Two brown pelicans enjoy the tropical water; blue-green and clear all the way to the bottom!

Life is full of trade-offs. We suffer through trials, illness and bad weather in exchange for the countless days we enjoy good health, fast friends, hearty food and cloudless skies. After all, most of us have learned to adapt to whatever befalls us.

There are cozy fireplaces and knitted sweaters to help us endure the chilly frosts of winter. We fill the cooler seasons with colorful holidays and festivals. We harvest the fruits of our labor and rejoice in drinking and merriment. We circle our loved ones around tables filled with celebration, grace and plenty.

weddin-AZ2013 048

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The next time your days seem overcast and your spirit gloomy, look for the trade-offs around you. Be willing to accept the bad times praying that they’ll be brief, and appreciate the sacred times of peace and enjoyment.

Here are some trade-offs I miss:

  • Hot chili on a frosty day
  • Warm spiced cider to ward of the chill
  • Fall leaves crunching underfoot
  • The smell of bonfires
  • Snow-capped mountains
  • Glistening new fallen snow
  • Fluffy snow balls
  • Wool mittens and fuzzy hats
  • Ice skating
  • Sleigh riding
  • Snow mobile riding/driving
  • Sparkling hoarfrost on trees
  • Using the oven to warm the house
  • The homey smells of holiday baking

Here are the trade-offs I don’t miss:

  • Raking fall leaves until your hands are blistered
  • Shoveling snow
  • Mounds of grey dirty snow piled everywhere
  • Slush
  • Frost bitten toes
  • Wet muddy boots and dripping snowsuits in the entryway
  • Climbing into cold sheets at bedtime
  • Slipping or falling on ice
  • Driving over slippery treacherous roads

After you make your own final list of trade-offs: those you love and those you hate, count your blessings. There are many more things to be grateful for than to whine and complain about and the benefits are well documented! You’ll live longer, and you’ll learn to enjoy where you are. The adage “grow where you’re planted” is one of those universal truths that carries us through when everything else seems bleak.

At table

At table with family and friends