Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Blog Friends!

I feel so fortunate to have my entire family here for the holidays (first time in 4 years!)  TC arrived a week ago from Los Angeles and Jack, two days ago from Boston! They’re both here for another two weeks and we’ve been laughing non-stop! Such a reminder of what life was like when they were kids!  mulhernchristmaseve

 

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From our family to yours, Merry, Merry Christmas!!  I hope you all have a fantastic day!

Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂

Aechmea fasciata and miscellaneous

Before my mother downsized her house, I lifted several Aechmea fasciata from her heavily shaded front lawn. Only one survived the transplant process and for 2.5yrs I wondered when (or if) it might bloom in my sunnier location.  Yesterday, the reward. 🙂

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Urn Plants (as they’re commonly known) are ubiquitous in Vero Beach but they aren’t native.  Originally from Brazil, this stemless epiphyte grows 1-3′ tall in a basal rosette of stiff, arching, silvery-green leaves with black spines. Like many bromeliads, it blooms only once before dying, leaving pups (offsets) to take its place.

The inflorescence above is in a very early stage: at maturity the dense pyramidal head will lengthen as small violet-to-red flowers sprout among the bracts.  Such a beautiful, showy plant!

In other news, Jack had been visiting (he left last night) so we’ve spent a lot of time beachside and dining everywhere but home. 😉  My mother took this pic after Chicken Cacciatore at her house:

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If TC were here, this would be a perfect a photo!

You may remember Jack wielding a machete on the rubber plant last January?  If not, here’s the original pic and a new one:

What a difference in 6 mos: both are so nicely dressed. 😉

For more  on A. fasciata, check out the Zemanta related links below.

Until next time…..
🙂 🙂 🙂

It’s Graduation Week!

I’m staying in Daytona this week, atttending Maggie’s various graduation events at the University of Central Florida. Yesterday we participated in the Honors in Major Luncheon:

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It was a very elegant affair! 🙂

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During the event, Maggie received a Medallion from the School of Social Work for her Honor’s thesis: Social Work Students’ Perceptions of Labor Trafficking.  If you’d like to see her thesis abstract, click here.

Needless to say, I was very proud!

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We’re looking forward to Commencement on Friday morning!

Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂

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TC’s Visit, Easter, and Garden Update!

Wow!

Since my last post an entire week’s gone by…and what a mad dash of a week it was! My oldest son was in town, and he crams more activity in a single day than any other person I know.  Take April 12th for example: 10am we’re on the beach; Noon we’re in a restaurant; 2pm we’re racing home to shower/change; 3pm we’re at the Hibiscus Festival; 5pm I’m dropped back home; 6pm he and Maggie drive 2.5hrs across the state to a VIP party (hotel room included!) hosted by a co-worker.  Dance til dawn, April 13!

Carpe diem is how he rolls!

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Rolling toward Easter Brunch: Carpe Diem!

The entire week was a definite BLAST, but Maggie and I were exhausted by Easter! Nevertheless, we rallied for our new family tradition: celebrating with brunch at the Disney Vero Beach Resort:

easter brunch 2014

Maggie’s fiancé took the above photo, so I returned the favor:

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All the cool people wear shades…even when the sun don’t shine! 😉

 

While we were racing around all week, Spring snuck up on my back gardens:

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Assorted Coleus and Cosmos, with a meandering sweet potato vine

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2yr old Rex begonia, blooming for the first time.

 

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Regal Darner Dragonfly (aka Coryphaeschna ingens)

 

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Phalaenopsis (x 2) blooming VERY late!

For my beloved Amaryllis, a little slideshow!

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It’s looking decidedly like Spring, yeah?

Before I close, a head’s up on something I stumbled across at our Beachside CVS:

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Seen at CVS Beachside, Rte A1A, Vero Beach, 4/19/14

I’ve NEVER seen flower bulbs sold at CVS, have you?!?  I purchased these on Saturday, and have since hit 3 other CVSs, but couldn’t find them anywhere! (and I scrounged the stores HARD!)

For all you gardeners, “keep an eye peeled” as my Irish Granny was wont to say!  You might get lucky, too!

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

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Wordless Wednesday: April 16, 2014 (Baseball!)

Last night my son and I caught the Jackie Robinson Celebration Game at historic Dodgertown’s Holman Stadium.  Nothing says Spring like an evening of minor league baseball! 🙂

 

Manatees vs Flying Tigers, 4/15/14, Holman Stadium, Vero Beach

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For other Wordless Wednesday posts, click here and on the Zemanta related links, below!

Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/smelikian/2905025337/

“Sports Matter,” Dick’s Sporting Goods Ad Campaign

I typically DVR my favorite t.v. series to avoid seeing commercials, and I’m deeply in cahoots with my clicker’s fast forward button to breeze right past them!  Yes, I know ads are a necessary evil–someone has to pay the bills to bring me The Following, The Americans–and when I’m feeling particularly mindless–Dallas, but the commercials are all too often offensive and dumb and I hate wasting my end of the day brain cells on them!

Not so, this one, part of the “Sports Matter” campaign in which high school athletes (average kids, not necesssarily “stars”) are highlighted in a 1minute vid that gets to the essence of sports’ affect on the individual.  Take a look

Sports Matter was conceived by Anomaly Advertising for U.S. retailer, Dick’s Sporting Goods. Lauren Hobart, Dick’s Chief Marketting Officer described the casting call this way:
 “It wasn’t very hard to find these kids. For any given kid who plays sports…there are other things going on in life that are challenging them. We wrote the scripts after we found the kids. We were very flexible all the way through the shoot — very much in the background trying to just let real life happen.”

From our own family experience, I’m 100% in agreement with Ms. Hobart: kids have many difficulties in their home lives, especially boys with absentee fathers.  My middle son, Jack, is the fine man he is today largely due to team sports. Lessons about shaking off mistakes and focusing with renewed determination on the next play; subjugating the needs of the self for the good of the many; discipline learned by showing up for practice when you’d rather not; these are the benefits derived from youth sports, and the foundation upon which solid citizens grow. (I SO firmly believe this!)

Like all Ad campaigns, Sports Matter is an effort to build Dick’s brand, but with the wider purpose of raising awareness for the growing issue of underfunded youth sports.  An estimated $3.5 billion was cut from school sports budgets between 2009 and 2011, and by 2020, 27% of U.S. public schools may not offer sports programs at all.

Dick’s hopes to fund between 75 to 100 teams through a $2million matching grants process in which the teams raise half the money via a crowdfunding platform.  You can see more about the program (and what YOU can do to help) by watching this very short vid:

And finally, to illustrate how “sports matter” to our family, I’m including Jack’s college recruitment highlight reel. TC was studying video editting/production at the time, and pulled Jack’s best football plays into a great little package complete with soundtrack and the play-by-play announcements from a few games televised on local media.  Needless to say, I was very proud of their combined efforts, and still am! 🙂

Sports Matter!

Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

(thanks to Sara Melikian for the header pic, taken on 9/27/2008 in Worcester Ma.)

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Mass Ave Bridge, Boston, 1/18/2014

This Much Disdain leads to Spiral.

Today I’d like to shake things up and introduce you to This Much, an acoustic trio whose folk inspired melodies I think you’ll love!

This Much, an Acoustic Trio from Boston, Ma.

From left to right, John, Denny, TC (my son!)

This Much was formed in Boston in 2012 and consists of Terrence Mulhern – vocals, guitar, keyboards, recording/mixing;  Denny Kennedy – drums, manager;  John Stricker – bass.  Thus far, they’ve released 1 Single and 2 EPs with a full album due out in 2014.

The audio track and video for their newest song, Disdain hits iTunes and Spotify next Tuesday (3/4/14,) but you can preview it here right now!  Sit back, and feast your eyes and ears on this subtle, atmospheric gem: (video and editing by Denny Kennedy and John Stricker)


Amazing what an iPhone and  Mac can do, yeah?

TC has been writing songs almost since the first day he picked up a pencil, so you can imagine the musical incarnations I’ve heard develop over the years. Without question, this next song, Spiral, is my ALL TIME favorite.  When I listened to the demo version via email audio file, I shook and got goosebumps.  Musical tastes vary of course, and your reactions may differ (I am the boy’s ma after all 🙂 ) but I think anyone who clicks the orange button below will appreciate it! (Note: A doubleclick may be necessary: depending on your machine, Soundcloud can be a tad sluggish to load!)

Pretty damn awesome, isn’t it?

You can hear more from This Much by clicking their Soundcloud page

Until next time……

🙂 🙂 🙂

{Header Image credit: “Crossing the Mass Ave Bridge, Boston” by Bill Damon,)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

This week’s Photo Challenge asks us to illustrate the concept of juxtaposition: a fancy term for incongruous elements of strong visual weight that draw your attention at the same time.

Uh….. Say what ❓ ❓

Maybe I should just show you some examples! 😉

1. A seagrape branch where seapgrape shouldn’t be, on a day just shy of magical.

Seagrape, Jaycee Beach

2. The lushness in the top half of the next photo is in stark contrast to the railroad vine in the sand, below.Railroad Vine, Jaycee Beach

3. The next shot is a twofer! 😉  Same juxtaposition as above, but with added contrast of sun vs. shade competing for the viewer’s focus. :

Railroad vine closeup, Jaycee Beach

4. The last juxtaposition is a clash of opposing emotions:  Melpomene and Thalia at the Seaside Grille! 🙂
Jack and Maggie, Seaside Grille, 1/10/14

This was SUCH a creative challenge, yeah?  I hadn’t participated in awhile but the topic drew me back in!

For other bloggers’ submissions, click on the Zemanta related links that follow!

Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

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“Joy in one’s heart, and laughter on one’s lips…..”

Joy in one’s heart and laughter on one’s lips is a sign that person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” —Hugh Sidey, Journalist

I ran across the above quote awhile back, and it came to mind as I was uploading the last few pics from Jack’s vacation week.

Jack and Maggie at Jaycee Beach, 1/12/14

The return of Florida’s iconic sunshine allowed us to spend his final 3 days beachside, with plenty of time for laughs and conversation.

Jack and "big Ma" at Jaycee Beach, 1/12/14

If there’s a plus side to geographic separation from family, it may be the startling awareness of growth you notice when reunited.  In early childhood, visitors exclaim “look how BIG you’ve gotten!” and I found myself thinking the same of Jack, not physically of course (although he is GIGANTIC 😉 ) but emotionally and–for lack of a better word–spiritually.

In the annals of Jack’s life, 2013 will be recorded as his first big “setback year” ➡ sooner or later it happens to all of us, and how we react (and cope) determines much of what comes next.  From my vantage of time and distance, I was thrilled to note big changes in self awareness, sensitivity, and character since his visit last May.  His sense of humor is as irreverent as ever, and deep down he has a pretty good grasp of life.

As a parent, you can’t ask for better than that!

Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

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Wordless Wednesday: January 8, 2013

It’s 8° in Boston, but who cares?
-John K. Mulhern

Jack at Jaycee Beach, 1/6/14

Jack at Jaycee Beach, pic 2, 1/6/14

😉 6 hours later…
Maybe I should’ve worn block!?

Jack, after a day at Jaycee, 1/6/14

We’re having so much fun playing Bananagrams and Scrabble, and just all around hanging out. 🙂

Until next time…..

Karen, Jack, Rita, (left to right) 1/7/14

The tall gene didn’t come from us!