The Magic of Ikebana; The Art of Japanese Flower Arranging; Illustrated and With Hope of Bright Future; Proof that Alexis McBride (aka Ayla) Anti-Ages; An Acute Sense of Timing Illustrated; Photos of Me; An Ikebana Instruction Book and a Flower Arrangement, Lyrics of Love ’Em and Leave ‘Em

I do live a charmed life at the moment, the concept in the Islamic faith is immense; I am of the opinion that I am blessed, blessed by Allah of course. Examples shall follow, this will be a positive blog, based on positive experiences. But come to think of it, a negative experience which turned into a, rather breath-taking hopeful wish for the future.

Faithful readers will know that I practiced Ikebana for twenty years, while living in Marin in the pre London and pre Vancouver, BC days. I recall signing up for a class, held in the San Rafael Terra Linda Recreational Center. My motivation was that my (then) husband never gave me flowers. Ikebana makes maximum use of a few blossoms, so it seemed a way of feeling less deprived. The instructor that evening continued to be my sensei for twenty years – we also were most companionable travelling to Japan and to New York together. Folks who know me (even remotely) attest to the fact that I am driven and when I get into something, I really get into something. I became a member of the San Francisco Ikebana Society and even performed a demonstration before one of their monthly meetings held in the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. After my retirement from the County of Marin achieved my Master’s Degree in Humanities from Dominican University. A required course centered on the concept of Meaning, my term paper was the meaning underlying the practice of Ikebana. The research was fascinating, learning that Japanese warriors were required to practice Ikebana (as well as swordsmanship) and that Ikebana flourished in the American and Canadian concentration camps that held Japanese people as prisoners during WWII. The stated purpose of the camps was to “Americanize” the inhabitants but the Japanese ‘rebelled’ by clinging to their traditions such as flower arranging. As you can see fascinating.

But then it was off to London in 2014, then to Vancouver BC., then to San Francisco – my flower arranging paraphernalia did not travel, so it became a lost art. However, when in Vancouver, a cousin learning of my interest gifted me with a book of Ikebana instruction which had been her mother’s. I was particularly fond of my paternal aunt, spending one summer with the family when I was eight. My return to Marin heralded a renewal of flower arranging as my sensei lived here and remained here – not rushing off to other countries. But, for various reasons, my hopes of renewed instruction were dashed, although some my containers, left in her possession were returned. It was very disappointing, but looking in my bookcase found the instruction book gifted to me by my cousin. It shall be pictured. It was perfect as it was a beginning book with detailed instructions showing basic designs. So hopped down to the San Rafael Farmer’s Market, bought flowers and the fun began. Began at the beginning working on my patio. I was joined by one of my neighbours, an utterly charming seven year old girl whom I had met with her father at the swimming pool. She was swimming, I was not as I cannot swim. She is so vivacious and delightful and made a proposal – she would teach me swimming, I would teach her flower arranging. I will get to be a Granny again – her Granny will be returning to her retirement home in Mexico. I cannot imagine anything more fun and fantastic – despite the fact that I was not a parent, I am very great with kids. It is my playfulness, everyone says.

So a bad situation (the loss of a sensei) turns into a a rather breath-taking hopeful future. That is being blessed, no one can doubt that. I did have something to do with it, admittedly, but if Allah gives you a gift, you are supposed to use it. I have the gift of writing, so use it with thousands of followers the world over. I have curiosity, which is a gift – will write about that at some point. I use and practice the curiosity, constantly.

Two photographs will accompany this blog. The cover of the book and the completed flower arrangement. Texted my cousin with a photo. .
Me: The flower arrangement with the help of your mother’s book.
She: It is lovely
Me: Thank you! It means so much to do it. Actually felt like your mother was at my side.
She: (Huge emoji heart)
Me: A darling 7 year old who lives here is going to teach me how to swim in exchange for flower arranging instruction. I am getting most sentimental. Must be I am getting old. Hahahaha
She: Sounds like a good trade.
Me: That is so funny and so true.

Old photos keep popping up on my iPhone. It is most strange, do have to admit that often I do not recognize the guys who accompany me in the photo. At one point my theme song was: Too Many Men, Too Little Time. It was during my Vancouver days, it was the lads at the Equinox gym – a handsome and fit bunch. But this photo is of my London Days, my farewell dinner at the fabled (but now closed) Rex Whistler Restaurant in the Tate Britain. One has to admit that my sense of timing can be most acute – it was open in 2017, but not now. Acute has the best of synonyms: astute, shrewd, sharp, sharp-witted, razor-sharp, rapier-like, quick, quick-witted, agile, nimble, ingenious, clever, intelligent, bright, brilliant, smart, canny, intuitive, discerning, perceptive, perspicacious, penetrating, insightful, incisive, piercing, discriminating, sagacious, wise, judicious; on the ball, quick off the mark, quick on the uptake, brainy, streetwise, savvy. So it was perspicacious, shrewd and rapier-like of me to be in London from 2014-2017. Please laugh, even though I probably cannot hear it.

Anyway – the amazing thing about my picture is that I look younger now than I did then and four years have passed. I am anti-aging. Some man, who shall remain nameless as he had more than one – called me Benjamin Buttons. He was Ray who was really Benjamin from Nigeria and he kept asking for money but he did not get any. The amount requested kept shrinking but nothing was the final result. The guy took a lot of my time, texting and talking, stuff like that. I get over men rather quickly, very quickly as a matter of fact. Love ‘em and Leave ‘em and Let Them Be Lonely could be another theme song. Hahahaha
Lyrics of the song by Gene Simmons:

My limousine is a-waitin’
And I see you comin’ my way, hey, hey, hey
I’m sittin’ by the window
And you ask me which hotel I stay in
Well, make a reservation
Between the hours of ten and two, how do you do
You’ve got the time to remember
I’ve gotta slick proposition you
There’s nothing else I’d rather do
So you lift your dress
You wanna impress
There’s one thing I’ve got to confess
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Mmm, so I give you my number
You say you will see me tonight
You just have to remember
Check with me if it’s alright
You wanna sit in my driver’s seat
If you do it’s alright with me
I’ve got to hand it to you, baby
You know what a girl’s gotta do
There’s nothing else I’d rather do
With you, but I, but I
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em
Love ’em, leave ’em
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em, yeah
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em, yeah
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em, yeah
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em
Love ’em, leave ’em, love ’em, leave ’em, yeah
Love ’em, leave ‘em

Tomorrow’s blog is going to be most serious, will include the writing of a Muslim man, Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898)

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