Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The name Emma conjures up the spirit of Jane Austen’s incorrigible heroine in the novel of the same name. The great Austen purportedly stated that she was creating a character "whom no one but myself will much like."

The Emma that we write about in this episode – - our Emma - - was just the opposite. You just could not help but love Emma. Emma was an administrative assistant at our workplace. What a dry set of words for such an amazing woman!

Emma was one of the very first persons you would meet the day you started work here. Every new employee got the word right away to go and see Emma. She would get you on the right track with everything from parking to where to hang your coat. From that first day - – for each of us - – Emma became a mentor and friend. She truly was a woman to be admired , although she would be totally embarrassed by that statement.

Over the years we knew her, Emma was dealing with many health problems. Her body was not strong, but her spirit was radiant. She was such a selfless person that it was easy for us to forget about her hardships and health issues ... how she had to make regular trips for dialysis and sit with an IV at her desk. Even though she must have felt sick much of the time, she refused to give in to it. Emma would put all the bad things into her life box labeled "aggravation, " rather than the one labeled "most important." She was so busy with life, she could not be bothered with things outside of her control. She took care of what she could, and the rest just went into that "aggravation" box.

One thing she believed she could take care of was making every person who crossed her path believe that they were the highlight of her day. What a wonderful gift she had for making you feel special just for walking by her desk! She asked about your family members or your cats. She brought apples from the mountains to share. She liked fairies, and she loved the occasional margarita. When she wanted to make a point, she could throw those eyebrows to the very top of her head, open those eyes as big as saucers and make a statement that could bring you to your knees with laughter.

She shopped all year to get just the right Christmas gifts for everyone around her. She wrapped each and every one of them and struggled for days to get those gifts to the office in dozens of shopping bags. Some years we would have to make two trips to the parking lot to get them home.

Emma died over the Christmas holiday several years ago. With all the gifts she gave even in her last days, she did not realize that she was the most precious gift of all. Much of her lives within us today, and we continue to get strength from the Emma that is still in our hearts. We laugh together at her funny stories, and we remember the example she set of living life to its fullest every day.

Emma took us both under her wings, and she left her imprint on our souls. Perhaps we may also have a positive affect on some of the young women we know. If we try very hard, perhaps we can make the kind of difference for them that Emma made in our lives.

We loved you, Emma. We still do.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pearlfleur Passport: Cloves of Christmas

Last month we wrote about the herb sage (see Got Sage? post). This month we focus on the spice we call cloves. As you take this spice out of the cupboard to stick into a pomander or a ham, take a good look at it. The word cloves is derived from the French word "clou," which means "nail." Fitting, isn’t it? And it really does poke right into that orange or ham when you push it hard enough.

Cloves are actually a dried flower bud taken from an evergreen tree called the clove tree. Traces of cloves have been found in trading vessels dating as far back as 1721 B.C. There are stories that as early as 226 B.C. the Chinese would chew on cloves when they spoke to the emperor so they would not have bad breath (old version of the breath mint).

Cloves came to Europe in the 4th century with Arab traders. They became such a valued commodity that they were used as currency -- reportedly worth more than their weight in gold. The clove tree grew in the Molucca Islands (known as the Spice Islands) in what is now Indonesia. The island natives would plant a clove tree at the birth of every child.

Cloves were at the center of a major struggle over trade between the Portugese and the Dutch. The Portugese conquered the Spice Islands in the 1500s and monopolized the clove trade for about one hundred years. In the 1600s the Dutch made their way to the Spice Islands and wanted to control the cloves that grew there. They started destroying all the trees that were not under Dutch control. This angered the natives, who believed this destruction would harm the child in whose honor the tree was planted. It resulted in political unrest and conflict that lasted over 40 years, and many believe it still resonates today.

Centuries later, the fragrance of cloves conjures up memories of Christmas. It is in cookies, on pomanders, in potpourri, in apple cider, on the ham. Cloves are everywhere this season. Isn’t it ironic that this delightful heart-warming fragrance originates from a dried-up unopened flower?

Cloves give us something deeper to think about this season. As December draws close we begin to feel overwhelmed. We get tired and stressed out as we try to recreate past Christmas celebrations that are tucked away in our memories. You know the ones I mean. They are there in your imagination: the days that were filled with glitter and glue and everything from Santa to the Wise Men. So we fill our plates with an overabundance of food, chores, errands, and good intentions. Then we become disillusioned when the superhero in each of us fizzles before the tasks are all finished.

Like so many of the items in our lives that seem mundane on the surface, the clove has a lesson to teach us. The beauty of the clove flower -- a perfect bloom -- was not allowed to be. Instead of a perfect flower, the clove is a dried up little brown nail. But cloves bring us something intangible, a fragrance that gives us pleasure as it touches our senses and our hearts. That little clove in our cupboard, may not be pretty, but it is that ugliness that brings forth the fragrance that warms our soul. So instead of striving for the "perfect" Christmas that ends up being more stressful than serene, go to your spice cupboard. See that this little dried up brown flower gives something that warms our hearts without all the tinsel and sparkle. Maybe a sprinkling of cloves is the perfect gift for all of us. Merry Christmas from Pearlfleur.

this is bailey. i am a pocket mouse.
i hope they leave cookies out for santa.
also, i can’t wait to jump in the stockings.
when people are asleep, i love to type, type, type.
bye for now,


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pearlfleur Passport: Hand Signals

Hands can tell us a lot about a person. Stop and look at your hands for a minute. Do they tell your story the way you want it to be told? When you think about it, our hands are the part of our own bodies that we see the most. Other people see our face, but (unless you are looking in a mirror all day) we don’t see much of our face or our hair or other parts of our body. But we see our hands all the time.

We use our hands to express ourselves to others when words may not be enough. Our hands can signal "yes" or "no. " We extend a hand when we greet others with a handshake and when we say goodbye with a wave. And, of course we all know that universal hand signal that some folks just can't seem to do without when they are driving.

Our hands send signals even when they are not really doing anything, just gently laying in our laps. I remember being in church one day and observing my best friend’s hands. Although the choir sounded like angels and others in the church were listening as they should, I was looking at my friend’s hands. At that moment, those hands said more than any sermon I have ever heard.

They told of the gentle person they were attached to, of the garden they had just pruned the day before, of the many students’ papers they had graded during the past week. They told of the meal they had prepared for an elderly neighbor, of the stress of the divorce papers just signed, of their applause at the elementary school play. Those hands signaled the joys, the burdens, and the love they had experienced and shared in the past. I told my friend how beautiful I thought her hands were. She laughed and said, "Oh, not these hands with a crooked finger and liver spots!"
Yes indeed, my friend, those very hands.

People can have lifts, tucks and injections, but their hands remain true.
We get to watch our hands each day as they tell our story. We need to care for them, as they are telling others about who we are and what we are made of.

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think about hand signals. Is there someone whose hands you think tell an important story. What do your hands say about you?

this is bailey. i am a pocket mouse.
i am looking at my paws.
i think they are very nice.
i wish they were not so short, because it is hard for me to type and press the shift key at the same time.
so all my letters have to be lower case.

when people are asleep, i love to type, type, type.

bye for now,
<:3 )~~~

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pearlfleur Passport: Life Layers

Since the theme of our blog is "adding luster" (no, not lust, luster ;) ) we thought we should have a blog entry devoted to it. Why do we want it, and how do we get it?

Buried in the words "fluster" and "bluster" is the perfectly beautiful word, "luster." Yet we often let the other two dominate our days. When Fluster and Bluster join us, we are usually headed for some anxious moments. When they leave, there is little of value left.

But luster is different. Just saying the word gives our mind’s eye a picture of a radiant pearl, burnished copper, or polished wood. The kind of beauty that glows from within to form a lustrous surface does not happen overnight or with one swipe of the polishing cloth. Just as the person we are today is made up of decades of experiences, it takes many soft brush strokes over many years to create the inner radiance that is luster. Our own life luster comes from the little things that we do each day, together with the major events that occur each year, layer upon layer.

Pearls gain their luster – sometimes called the heart and soul of the pearl – from layers of a substance call nacre. The longer the pearl develops in the oyster, the more layers of nacre are deposited, and the more luster for the pearl. We tend to worry that we will lose our "glow" as the years go by. But we have it backwards. With luster as our guide, we are gaining our glow with each year that passes.

Maybe luster is our most visible way of showing those we love, those we know, or just those we meet what we are made of. The glow is there, even if we cannot see it ourselves. During some low points, we may think it is no longer important. What a mistake! That is like saying that the experiences of life – those that make us strong, compassionate, forgiving, and warm of heart – are not important.

It is true that luster can become dull or just plain unrecognizable with tarnish. When that occurs it is our duty, yes our duty, to reclaim our luster. Pull out that polishing cloth and polish away the dirt and grime. Do this for yourself – to show the world what a treasure you are. There is not another of you. There will never be another you. When you embrace what you have become through the layers of your life, only then can you bring luster to those you love most.

Who do you know who "gets it" (or "got it") about luster? Your mom? Your friend? You? Audrey Hepburn? Tiger Woods? ... Britney Spears?
Write a comment and tell us, or tell us what you did today to add to your luster.
this is bailey. i am a pocket mouse.
i think cheese has the most beautiful, radiant luster of anything in the whole wide world.
and it is also delicious.
when people are asleep, I love to type, type, type.
bye for now.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pearlfleur Passport: Got Sage ?

For those who are cooking the traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, chances are you are digging around the cupboard to try to find that little tin box of the herb sage so you can put a pinch in the turkey and dressing. Just a pinch, mind you, Good cooks know that too much sage transforms its woodsy, minty flavor to a bitter musty tang.

Sage has been part of the human story for many years, and not just for turkey and dressing. It has a long tradition in herbal medicine, as well as in the kitchen. In medieval times the French called the herb "toute bonne," which means "all is good." It has been used to treat a wide variety of illnesses from sore throats to snakebites. Some herbalists even say that a combination of sage with other herbs may slow the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s. That is an interesting claim, since the word sage also means "a person who is wise" or who has "sound judgment."

The sage plant is lovely, with blooms that form a spire over gray-green leaves. Okay, it is nice to look at, but our only interaction with sage thus far has been pretty limited. We shove those leaves into the carcass of the turkey, place them around the bird on the serving platter (presentation makes any old dry turkey better); throw a dash of sage in the dressing, and then put the rest back on the shelf until next year. When we meet up with sage this way each November, it seems to be an insignificant herb.

But if we think about it from a different angle, sage is anything but insignificant. There is a saying that originated during the Middle Ages about sage that makes an important point for this special November holiday:
"Why should a person die, when sage grows in his garden?"

That tells us that our "sage" doesn’t come in a little tin box, but from within. Our personal sage is not insignificant at all. It is sharp and savory. If we use it wisely (with "sound judgment’) our presentation will be stunning. Those folks of years ago had it right. Keep your sparkle. You got sage !

Please leave a comment.
We would love to read your best – funniest – most inspiring – craziest – Thanksgiving memory.
this is bailey. i am a pocket mouse.
sage? yuck.
my best thanksgiving memory is punkin pie!
apple is yummy, too.
when people are asleep, i love to type, type, type.
bye for now,


Monday, November 17, 2008

So What's Your Point?

Hello from Pearl and Fleur.

We created this blog to reach for the stars ... dance under the moon ... live the good life.

Why PearlFleur?
The ancient Romans believed that pearls were the crystalized tears of angels. We now know that when an oyster or other mollusk secretes a substance called nacre, and then repeats that process, layer upon layer over several years, it forms a pearl. Each layer adds to the pearl’s luster - - that special glow that gives pearls their iridescent beauty. High luster pearls are valued more than low luster pearls, and the amount of luster is a function of how long the pearl has developed in the oyster.

We are part of a similar process as we live our lives. Everything that we do each day is one more layer that determines what we become. As the old saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out." We want to avoid layering on garbage as we create a beautiful lustrous pearl (our life) day by day.

Fleur is the French word for flower. Flowers teach us that we can blossom early in spring like the primrose or late in summer like the aster. Each one adds its own special charm to its surroundings. Flowers were among the first survivors on earth. When the going gets rough, they just reseed ... start again. They reseed not only to survive, but they do so with color, form and grace. Flowers teach us that we can bloom where we are planted, and that we have the option of just surviving or surviving with beauty.

Join us as we tell what we know and learn as we go in this amazing journey we call our lives on Earth. Please feel free to leave a comment here, or email us at We would love to hear from you. You can also subscribe to our blog so you won’t miss one episode of our adventures.
Until the next post,
Pearl and Fleur
hi everybody ---
this is bailey. i am a pocket mouse.
my latin name is chaetodpius baileyi, but you can just call me bailey.
when people are asleep, i love to type, type, type.
bye for now,