Monday, April 06, 2009

Pathways, Paintings and Memories

So Saturday was my birthday, and Chris surprised me with a new painting (this one, of the pathway) by B.J. Stapen, an artist we met in Santa Barbara, CA, about five years ago. Her paintings are timeless. I can see myself walking down this path, quietly drawing in the power and beauty of the place.

We're not art collectors, and I don't have much on my walls besides family pictures, but I fell in love with B.J.'s work as soon as we saw her booth at the weekly Sunday art show by the beach. (It was the summer of '04, the day we spent in and around Santa Barbara before my surgery.) We now have about a dozen of her paintings, including this newest one. If I could, I'd have one in every room.

I lived in Santa Barbara when I was little and my dad was in graduate school at UCSB. I have vivid memories of running around married student housing barefoot with a huge pack of kids (mostly preschool to early school age). We still keep in touch with several of the families.

None of us had any extra money at the time, so life wasn't extravagant in terms of stuff. But boy was it luxurious in other ways--like an absolutely perfect climate and lush, captivating views everywhere you'd look. For a treat on Saturday mornings, my parents would fill a thermos with coffee, pick up some donuts and take us to the playground at the beach. They say those were some of the best days.

Back to this past Saturday...when everyone was singing Happy Birthday, Bridget began dancing in the middle of the group. She was twirling with her hands high in the air. She was singing her own version of the birthday song and enjoying it. When the song finished, she clapped and yelled, "Day Day! Yea!" What a Day Day it was...


  1. Happy birthday! I love the painting, and wish I had that talent. I'm always a sucker for a good pathway.

    Love your blog and your way with words!


  2. Happy Birthday Lisa!!!. Chris’s gift is such a beautiful piece of art. I’m happy you had a PERFECT celebration :0))

  3. Happy Birthday!! I loooove the painting and could easily see getting lost in it :)

  4. Sounds wonderful. Happy birthday!

  5. What a beautiful,peaceful painting.
    You have an award on my blog:)

  6. Thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes :)!

  7. Happy Birthday!! The painting is beautiful--makes you really think about where it goes and where it came from. Lovely.
    And about childhood, it's the simplest things that you tend to remember. I always want Samantha to have memories like that.

  8. Missed your b-day! Sorry! Happy belated! That is one gorgeous painting!