January 24, 2015

The Tape Within

We awoke to a beautiful morning of snow lined trees today. I keep wishing storms away, so that I don't have to shovel, but sometimes forget how unbelievably beautiful a snow fall is.

And how rejuvenating it actually can be to go out and shovel, as long as I can keep from throwing my back out.

After a storm I also love watching clumps of snow cascade off tree branches way up high from our bedroom window.

Especially in the sunlight.


Anyway, I love this quote of Coco Chanel's.

It goes along quite nicely with another one I've heard, "We all have a totally different tape running through our heads."

Realizing that we all have a different tape running through our heads is one of the things that has encouraged me to be true to myself.

Not that I always am.

But one of the beauties of aging is being better able to recognize when we aren't being who we really are.

Thank goodness for wisdom I say. It certainly makes the road to aging a smoother one.

Nuggets of wisdom are kind of like little yummy presents for ourselves.

The things we know now,

that we didn't know when.

January 18, 2015

For Every Girl

Crimeth Inc- Click to increase size
Lines of Beauty will be 5-years-old in April. I can't believe it actually. As some of you know, I started this blog because I went in search of support on aging naturally and couldn't find one.

For so long when I googled "blog on aging gracefully", Lines of Beauty was showing up at the bottom of page one, if not on page two, in search results.

I've thought to myself, "How can I encourage women to age naturally and enjoy the process when I'm not even showing up in the first few results in a google search?"

Well the good news is...

Lines of Beauty has recently reached the very tippy-top :-)

Amen, halleluiah!

Honestly, this is more rewarding to me than doing well in a swim meet.

I saw the poster here on my niece's dorm wall when I visited her at Sterling College in Vermont. If you know someone, young or old, who is looking for a small, alternative, very earthy college experience, I highly recommend Sterling. Their tagline is "Working hands, working minds."

"For every man struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a woman facing the ad industry's attacks on her self-esteem."

My hunch is that women face the larger struggle.

Gosh did I ever love my Suzy Homemaker easy bake oven but I can still remember what the inside smelled like when the light bulb got cake mix on it...

Maybe you can too.

Anyway, thank you dear readers for visiting Lines of Beauty and helping it to grow.

I clearly couldn't have done it without you.

XO


January 11, 2015

Unbroken

If you can believe it, the computer that I normally blog on in my office is a Windows 2000.

Yep.

I like this computer partly because it has a huge screen and it's especially great for viewing things such as Pinterest.

I've also liked that, until now, I haven't succumb to moving on to better, hipper technology. For so long an antique computer was working for me, abet, a bit more slowly. When my 23 year-old nephew saw it this past summer he said "Wow, I guess we don't always have to be updating our computers."

Yes and throwing all the outdated ones, along with our cell phones, into a landfill.

Where I am writing to you from now, however, is on a much newer computer in part of the house that I don't heat in the winter, unless everyone is home. So it's freaking freezing in here!

Bet ya didn't know how frugal I am until now.

Clearly it's time to move this computer down to my office.

I'm just fearful that I won't get it all hooked up successfully...


Last night I went to see the movie Unbroken. I loved the story of Louis Zamperini's life, who traveled all over the map in terms of personal successes and incredible hardship and adversity. He died in July, at the age of ninety-seven, but luckily was able to see rough footage of the movie, with director Angelina Jolie, before he passed away.

One of my favorite quotes of his at age 93 was, "I have a cheerful countenance at all times. When you have a good attitude your immune system is fortified."

I think this is so true. Struggles in our hearts, and in our heads, can create upheaval in our bodies.

Last week there was an interesting article on CNN on aging. Researchers, not surprisingly, have found that the way we perceive aging influences how we age. Especially interesting to me were the findings that expecting memory decline can actually contribute to memory loss. It makes sense actually.

I am fearful of losing my memory, as it runs in my family, and I'm already experiencing it some. Especially in terms of word recall and forgetting if I've already told someone something. It's so annoying.

Something tells me that you can relate.

It's reassuring to hear from a neuro-psychologist, however, of the research on how unrefined, non-GMO, coconut oil is benefiting people with memory issues.

I haven't started taking it yet but I will keep you posted.

If I can remember. :-)

Have a good week everyone,
XO

December 30, 2014

High Heels



I always breath a sigh of relief when New Year's Eve is over each year and everyone is home safe and sound in their beds. Frankly I could skip the whole celebration as it seems kind of ridiculous to me. Especially all the kissing that happens some years with people at midnight that you would prefer not to ever be kissing...

The thing I do like about New Years is the sense of renewal I usually feel each year.  It makes me reevaluate the things that I want to do more of, as well as what I prefer to do less.

I remember my niece mentioning last summer, when we were discussing how much social media can over take our lives, that she has to stop and ask herself every now and then if this is what she wants to be practicing- for what we are spending our time on is basically what we are practicing.

This remark struck such a cord with me. It's so much easier to get in bed each night and check Instagram and Facebook instead of reading a book. They are so immediate and mindless. But the strange thing is that when I don't check them I kind of feel like I am missing out on a party or something. Isn't that weird?

A cyber party.

Yes that's weird.

So my new year's resolution this year is to delegate 4 nights a week that are social media free so that I can be reading more and not practicing what I don't want to be practicing :-)

If you have a few minutes, enjoy the above video of Tao Porchon Lynch. She is 96-years-old and the worlds oldest yoga teacher. Her high heels made me laugh. Imagine wearing those at her age. I can barely wear them now.

Like our little yogi, here's to a new year of doing more of what we want to be doing.
(Thank you to Caroline for sending this in.)

xo,
Louise

December 22, 2014

A Splash of Jean Naté


It's been a humdinger of a few weeks as the holiday season always is. In addition, we also had a funeral for Bernadette, a beloved aunt of Mr. Fix-It's, and a trip to the hospital for my mom, who pulled a muscle in her chest, and thought the pain might have been heart related. Luckily it wasn't.

Anyway, I've been unable to get to some of the tasks at hand.

Road blocks everywhere... I know you know what it's like when you can't get out of your own way...luckily the road blocks allowed for some stillness and much needed reflection.

Bernadette, as my sister-in law Laura said in her eulogy, was a beautiful, kind woman with an infamous smile and pretty white hair. She loved to wear scarves, the color red, and a generous splash of Jean Naté.

She also loved to sleep on crisp, ironed, hand-embroidered, Portuguese sheets.

But more than this, she was generous and chose to make a difference in the lives of people she loved, every day.

She was full of grace, with a gentle, calm manner,
Bernadette

whom everyone felt comfortable being with.


I feel blessed to have known her and loved her.


Happy holidays to you all.

xo,
Louise

December 09, 2014

10 Easy Ways to Age Gracefully Today



If you can't change it, move on. Thou shall not stew.

Stop getting stuck in your story about woulda. coulda. shoulda. and get on with doing what you love to do.

Surround yourself with loving, low-maintenance people who increase your vitality instead of rob it.

Remember that aging is part of the wondrous cycle of life. It is normal and it is what is suppose to happen, just like getting our baby teeth.

Take care of that pesky task that has been hanging over your head for way too long. It won't take nearly as long as you think it will.

Have an orgasm.

Did I just say that?

Stop worrying about what other people think. It's your life.

Don’t forget that human's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. Acknowledge someone.

Get over your fear. Fear is normal, so embrace it and then you'll get past it.

Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. Be your own best friend. It is the foundation for a good long life.


On another note:

I'm delighted to be featured in the Boston Globe today in the living section. Julia and Juliet, thank you :-)

If you'd like to receive the LOB posts by email simply put your address in the box on the right hand side.


Photo by Jef Bettens, Limburg, Belgium

December 05, 2014

For Her

Photo by Franci Strumpher
A few weeks ago a friend sent me this quote from a book that she was reading and enjoying called The Map of Love:

"Old people are always starved of touch: no husband, no lover, no child to slip a hand into a hand, to plant sticky kisses on nose and cheek and mouth, to snuggle and fit into the curves of the body. I watched my grandmother in her last years: her hands, the skin drawn parchment-like over the bones, stroking, stroking, stroking the chairs, the table, the bedspread."

I can't stop thinking about how true this is. I remember my own grandmother always stroking the edge of her lavender wool blanket between her thumb and forefinger. I remember her beautiful wrinkly hands and her strong, rounded fingernails.

Touching, touching. Loving to run her brush through her gently curled hair.

You may remember me saying that my Dad once said that the best thing that retirement homes could do would be to put everyone in a bed with someone else.

Recently, I went to church with my nearly 93- year-old mom. I scooched over closer to her in the pew, and put my arm around her shoulders, as we listened and settled in.

She took my hand and held it, as I rubbed the warmth of her long narrow fingers.

I try to hug her as much as I can. For her. For me. Holding her and slowly breathing her in. Knowing that someday there will be no more of her.

For me.


November 26, 2014

Thanks Giving



I am thankful for many things of course

but I wanted to stop, and let you know, that one of them is you, my dear readers.

Oh yes- and one other thing:

The cute little couple who posed naked in the above collage!

Every time I look at them they make me smile.

Happy Thanksgiving.
xo,
Louise

November 24, 2014

In Its Place

I was entertained recently by an article in the New York Times called Kissing Your Socks Goodbye about home organization advice from a Japanese woman named Marie Kondo, who refers to herself as a "tidying consultant."


Marie Kondo, let me just say it now-

I love you.

As her book title states, tidying up is life-changing magic.

So much for asking ourselves if we need something, or if it is out of style, or if it still fits....

Kondo advises to discard EVERYTHING that doesn't bring us joy.

Her thoughts on sorting papers is the most liberating of all:

Just throw them all away!

(In this day of computers I think we almost can thank god)

I've read about the relationship between tidy homes and the care we take for our bodies. I can't imagine that there isn't a correlation between tidying and what we choose to sweep under the rug- or decide to address with ourselves and in our relationships as well...

But to discard EVERYTHING that doesn't bring us joy?
 
Holy moly, I think I have to think about this.

Although there are things that I could toss in a heartbeat, there are several "levels of joy" that surround me here...

For example she says to throw out all my buttons...

Wait. WHAT?


November 15, 2014

Enough is Enough




Recently actress Ali MacGraw turned 75, looked in the mirror and thought, "Enough is enough." It was time, she says, to stop dyeing her hair.

Oh how I love this. I really wish my hair was gray enough under my blonde'ish highlights to have a beautiful head of gray hair.  Soon I hope.

Here is Ali before she stopped dyeing her hair. She looks so beautiful now!  Sometimes trying to look younger really takes away natural beauty.

Also this week the best article that I've ever read on relationships- lasting relationships come down to 2 basic traits. From my experience this is so true.

That's it for this week my friends.

Xo,
Louise

November 10, 2014

Lately

Preparing the homestead for winter.

Soup making, friend gathering, nesting.

Craving the tactile textures of handwork.

Living life through my senses.

Relishing time spent alone.

Honoring the introvert that is I.

What makes one person happy,

might not do a thing for another.






October 29, 2014

1:56 of Humor

First of all, a shout out to Ron Amick, at Lucky Cat Creative, for helping me configure the HTML for Youtube videos that I post- so that they can be watched on Iphones and Ipads etc, as well as on PCs. From hell to high water I couldn't find directions on Google on how to make this edit.

Amen halleluiah- trying to keep Lines of Beauty up with the times...

I'm warning ya though that I might be limping to the finish line one of these days!

A second shout out to Monica at The Revelation Project for a little humor this week with the Angry Yoga video below. We have a similar funny bone in us that I realize not everyone will find humorous.

If I were to make my own angry yoga video it might go something like this:

"Oh man....several nights a week I have to remind Mr. Fix-It to P L E A S E roll over on his side to stop snoring. I've resorted to putting my pillow down at his feet so that I don't have his A N N O Y I N G symphony in my E A R!

Oh yes and one more thing- Can you P L E A S E  turn-down the F R E A K I N G  t.v.?

I'm on the computer and can't pay attention to a B L E S S' E D thing!

Sorry honey- just had to get that off my chest!

Yeah and how about all the F R I C K E N construction traffic in town? Jesus! I have to leave the house like 15 minutes earlier than normal!

Are we not a culture taken by S T O R M with these F' I N G Iphones in our hands?

Is anyone ever going to talk or look at E A C H  O T H E R again in public?

Seriously, when I look around it looks S O  W E I R D that everyone is staring at a little screen in their hand.

W T F ?"


October 20, 2014

The Looking Glass


Tracy Newman ( Photo by James F. Dean)



Recently I was in a building supply store buying some grout, and as I passed through the bath section, I caught a glimpse of myself from a distance in a mirror.

 "My gawd," I thought, "I've never looked so bad."

Have you ever seen your reflection in a window and thought the same thing?

My next thought was that the lighting was awful in there. My inclination was to walk past the mirror again, and have another peek, as I wanted to see if things were as shocking the second go round, but I got distracted and moved on.

Or perhaps I was just afraid.

Out in the car, I had a look in the rear view mirror and felt much better. I concluded again that poor lighting and reflections in windows do in fact suck the color out of our faces.

For the most part I am coasting with the aging process. I really do see the beauty in it. For sure it is far easier to embrace it and be grateful for the opportunity- then to always be pining for younger years.

But-

But every once in awhile I am caught dead in my tracks.


This week musician and writer Tracy Newman sings about the looking glass in her song "I Just See You". She wrote the song after someone asked her what she sees when she looks in the mirror.

Tracy has written for numerous shows, including Cheers, Ellen, and According to Jim. She won an Emmy for writing the ground-breaking "coming out" episode on Ellen. Tracy is also sisters with actress Laraine Newman.

I love her lyrics:

"There’s a mirror on the bookcase,
In the hallway by the stairs
She always steals a look when she walks by
She stops to clean her glasses,
Shakes her head and heaves a sigh
She can’t believe the lines around her eyes...."

Tracy thank you for sharing your song with us.


October 12, 2014

What's Underneath




If you haven't seen this, it's a very moving piece. As is this article, by Robin Korth, called My Naked Truth sent in by Sandi. Thank you again.

I've come to the conclusion that one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.

About 20 years ago I wrote myself a note and put it in my wallet so that I would see it frequently.

It was at a time in my life when I was acutely aware that I was comparing myself to those around me.

The note said, "If it's okay with me then don't worry about it."

The note changed my life.


October 09, 2014

Yummy Goods

Photo by The ROPES Maine
Old friend and co-worker, Shana Aldrich Ready, whom I worked with in the design department at Susan Bristol years back, has come up with a very creative idea. Perhaps you have seen her bracelets in J.Crew and other places. Shana lives in Maine and her husband is in the lobstering industry. One day she was playing around with the ropes from his boat and viola! A very novel company was born, named The ROPES Maine.

Always a wanna-be entrepreneur, is it forever exciting to me when someone's great idea catches on.
Photo by Loopy Mango


Another delicious product that my friend, photographer Carin Ingalsbe, led me to is a company call Loopy Mango, which makes the thickest wool yarn available, as well as ready-made knitwear and houseware products made from their collection. Being a texture lover and knitter, I've been drooling over their offerings but have yet to buy their super-duper thick yarn as I'm working on 3 other projects right now. However, their store is on the list for my next visit to NYC.
 
My last little yummy good is hardly a pretty one but it might come in very handy if you know anyone who suffers from urinary tract infections as I do. Over the years I have been semi-successful curing them with cranberry tablets but I recently discovered some capsules by Nature's Bounty that are triple strength and I've been able to stay pain-free and off antibiotics :-)

They are my new best friend!

Happy fall weekend to you all. The foliage this year is incredible. Almost dream-like- and I haven't even left Boston.
xo


September 30, 2014

Evelyn


Ninety-eight year old Evelyn had her driver's license taken away because she was told she was too old to drive. For most 98-year-old folks this would be an appropriate move I'd say, but for someone like Evelyn, this was a classic example of ageism. I love her reaction to the situation.

A few years back I went to hear Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Agewise, speak on ageism. I thoroughly enjoyed her and contacted her afterward to see if I could interview her for Lines of Beauty. She suggested I read the book and call her with some interview questions.

Well....

In typical Louise fashion, I never read the book.

I've noticed I read much less now with it being so easy to google and social-media-ize the night away, and I really miss reading.

So the other day I stole myself away to the ocean again for a few hours.

Just me, and a new book, and a hot fudge sundae.

I sat down and thought "There is NOTHING I'd rather be doing right now."

That thought, in and of itself, was a delightful thing.

And the beauty of the beach, besides the sand, and the sun, and the sound of the waves-

was that there wasn't any cell reception.

Amen.

Take me away, new book, take me away!

September 25, 2014

Two Words



Whatever it is that we are yearning for in life, it is almost always ourselves that get in the way of what we are after. One possible road block is when we allow our short term choices and impulses to derail our long term desires. This is normal, we just need to get back on the horse. 

And the faster we get back on, the less we will fall off. 

Years ago I heard about the concept of "baby time", which are those moments when we worry that our needs aren't going to be met. Imagine a baby, totally dependent on someone else to meet its needs. For instance- think of hungry babies that need to be fed. They have no idea if this need is going to be met- so what do they do? They freak out and scream to let their mother know their needs. As we mature this is rarely the case, but we can so easily slip back into "baby time" and make poor, snap decisions because of it.

When in "baby time", impatience can make us grasp for things to appease our short term, rather than our long term, needs.

The key is to step back, take a breath, and trust ourselves to stay in alignment with achieving what we really desire. It's partly about learning how to better mother ourselves.

This week, my friend Brenda Stanton, who is a lifestyle and business coach ( Claim Your Worth), made the distinction between the words "choose" and "want, which I think is very helpful:

________________________________________________________________________

"Last week I had a very interesting conversation with a mentor of mine. He helped me, by giving me a visual example, of what it looks and feels like to be steeped in our younger parts - and how-to make the shift into your True, Higher Self to make forward progress. 

What sparked the conversation was when I said – “I want”. He said, “How about you change that want to the word CHOOSE – I choose.”

He went on to explain that using “I want” is like a kid in the cereal isle who wants the cocoa puffs and is having a temper tantrum because Mom or Dad is saying no – you can’t have them.

This is often how we feel when we want something but feel like there is a power outside of ourselves telling us we can’t have it. It makes us feel very small, helpless, and powerless.

My mentor explained that this inner child needs our love, attention and nurturing for sure – but we don’t want to stay steeped in this drama-filled place too long.

This is when we want to elicit our Higher, True Self – and where the word CHOOSE comes in. Rather than say “I want” and believe what you desire is outside of you, simply say I CHOOSE. I choose health. I choose loving relationships. I choose abundance. 

Can you feel the shift within yourself when you use the word Choose vs. Want?

The key is to realize that we are human. We have younger parts that are afraid and need our attention. Yet, we also are Divine, whole, powerful and bigger than anything that comes our way. The goal is to balance – not perfectly – but to balance the interaction and integration with these two parts and allow your Higher Self to have more air-play in your mind – even if its only 51% vs. 49% of your younger self – your Higher Self still wins out.

This week your soulwork is to witness how powerful you feel when you change “I want” to “I choose”."

Thank you Brenda!


September 16, 2014

Moula

I remember reading once that in regards to money, people basically are either consumers or investors. Simply put, consumers get more pleasure spending money and investors get more pleasure saving it. I am much more of an investor, especially now with two kids in college, and as I stare down the trail of what I pray will someday lead us to retirement.

Recently we've been enjoying playing a board game called Cashflow that was designed by the guy who wrote the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Gosh I wish I had played this game YEARS ago as I've learned so much about investing, creating passive income, and getting out of the rat race. I HIGHLY recommend the game for teenagers and up. Our kids have played it with us and have learned a lot as well. Plus it's easy to learn and fun.

... and it would make a great holiday gift.

Lastly, and this is why I really wanted to write this post- On Sunday, I went to the beach with a friend and fellow beachcomber- oh man...hallelujah!...as I've only been there one other time all summer. I pray I can go back again before its too late and breath in a little more of that salty deliciousness. Anyway, we stopped along the way for a sandwich to take with us and the woman at the counter handed me a receipt. It was one of those semi-shiny receipts that apparently is coated in that nasty chemical BPA. This is something I never knew until I read about it on Dominique Browning's blog several years ago.

Been meaning to tell you.

Anyway, best to say "no thank you" the next time someone asks if you want a receipt. Pass it up like a cigarette. Help save a tree and our health.

Oh yes and one more thing- I can't tell you how much I love that my bank has an app and I no longer have to go to an ATM to deposit a check. It's crazy weird- but crazy good- that all we have to do now is take a picture of a check with our phone.

wtf?

Our ancestors might just roll over in their graves if they knew.

xo

September 07, 2014

Sixty-Four Dollars

Perhaps the last heat of summer has arrived. I usually hate hot weather but having so little of it this summer, it actually feels kind of good.

This morning, I stripped our bed down to its bare bones- and washed the down comforter/duvet, shams, and the box spring cover etc. I can't tell you the joy this kind of thing brings me- when things are fresh and the house is organized. Seriously, you'd think I'd flown to Paris for the weekend or something.

Clean bedding always makes me feel like I'm sleeping on a bed of clouds.

Just between you and me, I could have been a very happy 1950s housewife ( if I had a studio). The problem is that there isn't ever enough time to really luxuriate in domestic bliss these days. For most of us life has grown too complicated, not to mention too expensive.

Back in May, I bought just $64 of annual flowers and made another attempt to have an English cutting garden like others that I've coveted. Every year I get a little closer. I was so close this year that every time I've walked by the garden, which is a lot because it's right at the back door, it made me happy. I'm making notes for the next spring's attempt. For sure I know that I want to add some straw flowers and amaranth, for rich long lasting bouquets next fall.

Ou la la!

The other thing that brought me pleasure this summer was a dingy old white rocker that I repainted green. It's amazing what a coat of paint will do. The rocker was given to me by some friends for the arrival of our first baby, 23 years ago.

That baby, the farmer girl, is tip-toeing off to her last semester of college tomorrow.

And as always,

I have a heavy heart~

and will miss her.

 xo

August 30, 2014

Living, Loving & Unlearning

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Living, Loving & Unlearning, written by therapist Cynthia Brennen, who as some of you know, has been my close friend since 5th grade.

Cindy's new book is chock-full of helpful reminders and tools, written from the heart, to help us be more of who we really are. 

Here is just a sampling: 

Unlearning is the process of erasing all that is not in alignment with the beat of your soul. It is reevaluating those things you were told to be, think, and feel, and decide whether those experiences serve you in conjunction with your inner knowing or not.

The truer you are to your heart’s desire, the truer you are to your authentic self. The truth sets you free.

Anything that doesn’t feel comfortable in the pit of your gut is worth reevaluating. 

What we think about we become. Who we spend time with, is the vibrational energy that we emit. What we surround ourselves with, is how we feel. 

Only you have created what exists in your life, and only you can change it. 
Living, Loving & Unlearning at Barnes & Noble


The less energy you give a negative vibe, the less you feed its strength. 

I love this one:

Denial = Don’t Even Notice I am Lying. 

The power of forgiveness- such a good reminder!

The higher road to health is always available- Do you choose a life of positivity and joy or a life of negativity and sadness? 

Plus, 10 tips to push anxiety and depression aside. 

These are only a few of my favorites, and just the tip of the iceberg, of the wisdom that Cindy shares.

Enjoy the read. 

Living, Loving & Unlearning is available online if you are interested here.

Here's hoping that you have a labor free labor day.

xo,

Louise

August 25, 2014

Never Ever

One of the other highlights of being in Montreal at the swimming championships was meeting 92-year old competitive swimmer Charlotte Sanddal, who has a world record in the 50 meter butterfly. She began swimming masters at the age of 72. See her photo below! Even after falling off her bike four years ago and breaking a hip, Charlotte still swims a half mile every day.

92 -year-old Charlotte Sanddal and Cindy. (... I know!)
Charlotte said that instead of running for the coffee pot, she begins each morning with a short series of stretches in bed and then gets down on the floor and does 20 push-ups, which wakes her up. She concludes her day with a healthy dinner, a glass of wine, and 20 more push-ups before retiring for the night. And these are "man" push-ups. How do I know? Because after her race she got down on the ground and demonstrated them for us. Just like that! She said that she is delighted to still be able to swim and participate in life. She also reminded us "to be mindful and to always notice how we feel."

Which brings me to this:

I think that getting and staying in shape for many people might be one of those "Don't know, what you don't know" type situations, until it happens. Fitness isn't so much about looking well and being comfortable in our clothes at midlife, it's more about feeling well and being fit as we grow older. Like a piano, when our bodies are tuned-up, they work well.

When you realize that muscle burns more than 3 times the amount of calories than fat, you can see what an additional benefit exercise is. Our bodies really can be like well oiled machines. At this point in our lives, they need to be our first priority or our health goes downhill fast. As a former out-of-shape person, I am familiar with what a waste of time my lack of fitness was for me- in all regards- as in how many times a day it was physically, mentally and emotionally an issue for me. With only 3 half-hour workouts a week, and mindfulness about what we are putting in our bodies, this can be turned around quite easily. We just need to make the decision to do it. We also need to get clear with ourselves about what stands between us and having a body that truly supports us and that we love.

People who say they hate exercise usually haven't stayed with it long enough to feel it's incredible benefits and life force.

As therapist Cindy Brennen says, the first thing that she prescribes to someone who comes to her for stress, anxiety, or depression, is exercise.

It has been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

There is no better time than now to start.

August 17, 2014

Nelson


I'll be back when the dust settles.

Nothing too crazy going on, just the logistics of life piling up, as they sometimes do.


May our choices reflect 

what our hearts and intuition are telling us

and not be a reaction

to all else.


This is all that I have to say for now.

It's a short one.

Hallelujah!

August 12, 2014

The Rest of The Story

97-year old Katherine Johnstone
Going to the World Masters Swimming Championships last week was quite an experience. A life experience. An epic experience. After having painted a ceiling ten days before departing, I arrived in Montreal in far less than tip top shape. My lower back had started to ache before getting on the train, and the ride to Montreal, coupled with racing the 50 meter butterfly the day before my main event, exasperated my condition.

I awoke at 5:30 AM the morning of my event ( the 50 meter free)  with a locked pelvis, in considerable pain, and in a panic.

Devastated that this was happening, the only thing that I had to grab onto was something that I remembered 46-year-old Olympian swimmer Dara Torres writing in her book:

"You don't need to feel well to swim well."

This, and my sister's reminder a few days before to "remain zen".

These two things, thankfully, helped to pull me out of the emotional gutter.

So I popped some ibuprofen, gathered a game plan, and decided to do a very careful start off the starting block, so as to not make my pain any worse, and use my upper body strength to swim like hell!

Low and behold it worked. I miraculously matched my best master's time ever and finished in 6th place. It was sheer will power.

By the time the race results were posted in the early afternoon, I was able to see a chiropractor who magically popped my back into place and out of pain.

But enough about me, the best story I have to share is about someone else:

When we arrived the first day at the swimming complex, I immediately spotted someone in the crowd who I thought was 97-year-old New Zealander, Katherine Johnstone, who had come to swim and claim her gold medals. Like stalkers, Cindy and I followed her and her daughter into the locker room. While Katherine was in the dressing room changing out of her bathing suit, I confirmed with her daughter that it was her. Honestly, for me, it was like waiting to meet someone like Meryl Streep. She was so gracious and happy to pose for a picture with us afterward. It was lunch time, and she had already been interviewed by others, so I didn't want to be too pushy questioning her. Plus I was feeling a little shy. I did say, however, that I thought she was quite a marvel, to which she replied, "I really am not- I am just doing what I like to do."

I'll say!

The other great news is that Cindy, my swim mate since 5th grade and shrink :-), took a whole second off her 50 meter free race. In a short sprint race, a second is like an eternity. I was so proud very of her too.

More info on master's swimming, should you be interested, can be found here. Master's swimming isn't just for racing. There are many people on my team who swim just for fitness and really enjoy it too.

And a great little clip on Katherine (at age 92) below!



July 31, 2014

Aqua Pura



Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau

As some of you know, four years ago I got back into the pool right before my 50th birthday. I had taken a 30 year hiatus from competitive swimming and was curious to see how fast I could swim at mid-life.

I thought I might just do one race and hang-up my cap and goggles once again, forever.

At the time, my first race was an especially frightening experience- as I took a deep breath and hoisted my veiny legs and droopy ass up on the starting block.

Heart pounding, I felt as though I was naked.

I hesitate talking about being a competitive athlete because I know at this stage of life it can alienate people. I have a good friend who was born on the same day and year as me and she has said that the athlete in me is the place where our common paths take a sharp turn. Perhaps she feels as I do when I meet someone like a micro-physicist or a neuroscientist and can only hold the conversation together for a nanosecond. This is a bad analogy but hopefully you know what I mean!

What I like about racing is the complexity of pulling not just the physical aspect of it together, but the mental and emotional ones as well. Like two of my siblings and my mom, I think I am a born athlete (as many people are, who are ADD'ish).

I may not always be a competitor, but hopefully I will experience the joy of swimming for many years to come.

Cindy and me on the pool deck; circa 1978

Which brings me to this exciting thing:

Very soon, Cindy, my bestie, who I met on the swim team in 5th grade, and I will head to Montreal, by train, for the World Masters Swimming Championships, along with almost 6000 other swimmers, from 93 countries around the world. Kind of like the swimming Olympics for older folks like us- but much, much easier to get into.

Older folks acting like kids again.

And- there will a 97 year-old-woman from New Zealand racing, as well as many other beauties in their 80s and 90s:-)

Fingers crossed.

Have a nice weekend everyone,

Louise



July 26, 2014

Two Sisters



One of the guys in the above clip recorded a random conversation between his mother and aunt and then decided to create a funny lip-syncing video of it with his friend.

 As one person on Youtube commented:

"As funny as this is it just really reminds me that women go on and on about some stupid stuff. My biggest woman pet peeve is when someone is telling you a story and they focus on the random parts that don't even matter. "Well, I was at the grocery store on Thursday...no, wait...it was Wednesday because on Wednesday the dog got fixed. Ok so I was at the.....no it couldn't have been Wednesday because Kathy was with me...."

OMG, how many times have you caught yourself saying something like this? ( or not caught yourself...)

I know I have. Kind of scary.


While on vacation this week, I've been elbow deep in paint, as I repaint a few rooms that were sorely in need of it.

The rest of the time, I am not getting ANYTHING done...

Because....

Guess what?

We adopted two kittens, who are sisters!

So cute!

They were found abandoned in a kayak at the shore, with two other siblings. This story alone stole my heart.

Endlessly entertaining, as they never stop tumbling around and getting into trouble.

Such as falling into the toilet :-(

I think we've named them Olive and Cleo.


Thank you to my sista' for sending the video in :-)

Partners in crime.