February 07, 2016

Getting Back On The Horse

My mama turned 94 recently.

We celebrated here with all of her Boston relatives (of which there were 6) and my sister who came from afar. My first born made her this beautiful floral wreath to wear and we enjoyed some of her favorite foods, which included scallops and cupcakes. But mostly importantly, butter pecan ice cream.

As you can see, purple is her favorite color :-)

My mama is a marvel. Even as the lights start to flicker and her memory fades, she remains mostly optimistic. Going to painting lessons, playing senior volleyball (the rule is that you can't get out of your seat...) listening to music, lectures and enjoying friends and food, as she always has.

The most inspirational thing for me about her lately is watching her get back up on the horse, after having a hard day.

This, and that she still knows how, to find happiness for herself.

January 30, 2016

Living As We Can





I've begun seeing a Chinese acupuncturist for a UTI that I haven't been able to shake since last April.


I haven't been in pain- my urine just doesn't smell right. I've tried many things including two different types of antibiotics, reducing sugar and lots of remedies off the shelf at Whole Foods.

It was time to take the holistic health route, instead of more antibiotics.

The first thing the acupuncturist did was ask me many, many questions about my health and lifestyle and requested that I eliminate alcohol and sugar altogether.  

WHAT? No more glass of wine at night- the one that I've been having, like clockwork, since I was 28?

I should have seen this coming.

It's now been 5.5 days without and I am missing alcohol and sugar less and less. I feel like I am focusing better. Not so ADD'ish.

I am enjoying observing the changes within myself.

BUT I miss my bits of dark chocolate happiness throughout the day, as well as cutting the engine at night with a glass of wine.

She has suggested room temp water with lemon wedges instead, especially the rind.

The other thing that she requested is that I am asleep by 11PM every night as the body starts repair itself soon after this.

We really are aligned with the moon and the sun.

She also said I need to slow down,and have more time for healing, and for myself.

This is much needed I know.

I am being challenged by the 11PM bedtime (as usual) and slowing myself down.

Baby steps.

Trying to be more mindful, which is easier without the wine.

All around, already feeling a little better I think.

xo

January 28, 2016

Empathy



It's been a few weeks where I've kind of felt like the rug has been pulled out from underneath me a little bit. With a couple of things that have been going on.

I've felt sadness, anger, anxiety and not like the usual me.

I've even had the odd thought that I need to read Lines of Beauty and better ground myself!

I've needed to take my own advice or someone else's.

The good news is that I feel things shifting as of late and I'm in a much better place.

One thought that came to me, from my friend Cindy, is that we have to go through the darkness to see the light.

Which I think is totally true.

So while I've been moving through it, I've been making a point to do a few other things:

* Stop worrying about the things that I can't control.

* Trust the process.

* Continue to listen to my heart and allow myself to feel and express what I'm feeling.

* Stay well with exercise, whole food and sleep.

*Look for the silver lining.

* Be present and patient and keep working things through.


Feel free to add any of your own words of wisdom, dear readers of mine.

xo,
Louise


*Many thanks to Carolyn for sending in another great video from Brene Brown.

January 21, 2016

Conflicting Commitments

The biggest commitment you must keep is the commitment you keep to yourself. 
~Neale Donald Walsch

Thank you to Brenda Stanton, from Claim Your Worth for this week's thoughts on commitments:

Our heart’s desires are the things that we’re too embarrassed or afraid to tell anyone about – so it's no wonder we worry about that question of Who Do You Think You Are? It’s a question that has a dual connotation – because:
1) We hear it internally from that inner critical voice and

2) We fear hearing it from other people, especially people who are closest to us – and who we fear losing or making feel uncomfortable if we want to change and transform into a better version of ourselves.

I read recently that one of the top 6 fears that people have against succeeding in their lives/work is the fear they have of losing love.

How true that fear is - because most of the time we don’t realize that we’re not stepping out because we don’t to make others feel uncomfortable around us.
Maybe it’s our parents who we don’t want to out-succeed. Or maybe it’s an older sibling, or maybe it’s even our spouse - who, for whatever reason, hasn’t claimed their success.

This is the stuff that doesn’t get talked about much. And maybe it doesn’t get talked about much because most people aren’t aware of what they’re not aware of. 

Most of the time the hold backs we face are things that we aren't even aware of. And when we aren't aware we can't change it - especially if we're more committed to something else than what we say we want. 

For example, say we have a Big Vision – we know what we want, we know why we want it, we have the images glued to our vision board, we can see it, feel it and almost taste it, yet it continues to elude us.

What gives?

An underlying commitment. See, we're always committed to something – but most of the time we don’t realize that we're more committed to something very different than what we say we want. 

For example, if we say we want to step-out and claim our vision, we want to shine, we want to write, teach, speak, sing, get in shape, whatever – yet we aren’t taking the necessary action to manifest that vision and it continues to elude us – I can only guess that we’re hovering over an underlying commitment.

Maybe we’re more committed to staying comfortable, not being seen, and making other people in our life feel more comfortable around us – so we won’t be criticized and we can keep love - hmm - something to think about huh?

Deep stuff but critical stuff if we really want to get into action. Once we can dig up the beliefs, bring them into the light, things transform, we transform, and that vision begins to come closer and closer.
You know we’re here for a higher purpose – and others just need to accept that – including us! To delve into this a bit deeper, check-out the Worthy Work here.

January 09, 2016

Homeland Security

Al fresco in the country. Photo by Caroline J. Fernandes
The last few weeks I've been posting to you from Madeira Island, Portugal where we spent the holidays in the homeland with Mr. Fix-It's entire family.

My father-in-law is from Madeira and 18 of us flew together to visit him and his Madeiran wife, who live out in the country. It was a long anticipated, epic event, to say the least.

20 people + 4 cars = staying in 3 locations on a very twisty-turny volcanic island....

...you can imagine how each day was an logistical exercise in patience. It all worked out however and was a great celebration together.

After the first week, because of the complexities of traveling with 20 relatives, I realized that I had had very few conversations of substance with anyone but myself! This changed however as we conquered the jet lag, the barking dogs, clucking chickens and settled into a groove with each other.

The bulk of us stayed at this spacious, awesome villa in the city for only $17 a night per person. This coupled with delicious $1.75 bottles of  Portuguese wine, and many rounds of card games, wove us tightly together in a way that we had never experienced before. I so love this family that I married into.

Described as "The Pearl of the Atlantic," Madeira was recently nominated by the National Geographic Channel as the best island destination in the world and it is understandable why.

I've posted about Madeira before here and here if you would like to see more photos and learn more about her majesty.


January 01, 2016

What I Wouldn't Give



Happy New Year dear readers of mine.

I thought this video is a good way to usher in the new year. A  reminder to slow down especially and enjoy the moment.

 I have a few things I'm hoping for in 2016 but at the very tippy-top for sure is that Donald Trump doesn't become out next president....


Omg PLEASE.

I've had a whirlwind couple of weeks but more about this in the new year!

All my best,
Louise

December 24, 2015

Feliz Natal


Funchal, Madeira, family church
From here 
to you ~

Wishing you all
a very Merry Christmas.

Xo,

Louise

December 18, 2015

A Quickie :-)

Running with the wind these days as I'm sure most of you are as well.

Just want to drop-in with this gorgeous photo and share that although I didn't beat my arch nemesis in the swim meet, I did swim the fastest that I have since my younger years by a bit. This leaves me in a very comfy, cozy, 3rd place nationally for my age group (age 50-54) in the 50 meter freestyle.

It was my last swim race in this age group.

How times flies.

Kudos to my fast as lightening opponent, who swam her best race as well, just 6/10 of a second off the world record.

She beat me by almost 2 seconds, which in a sprint is a huge amount.

Holy shit, you should have seen her.

Built like a brick house.
 
19 days with very little sugar and my UTI isn't any better... but I am going to stay the course, recently adding in a probiotic and omega 3s as well.

Time to see a naturopathic doctor I think. 

Happy, healthy whatever you are doing this week.

xo

December 12, 2015

In The Throes



God I love this quote. Every time I remember it it sets me at ease, especially this time of year when so many of us are in the throes of the holiday season.

I race tomorrow so this has to be quick. A quick post and a quick race.

There is that perfectionism again.
 
But truthfully, there isn't anything like sprinting 50 meters of freestyle for me. The energy outlay. The life energy. Life force. Blowing all my physical gaskets at once. When I can stay on top of my fear it can be a very powerful thing. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I imagine that some of you can relate to being an athlete but perhaps mastering fear is something everyone can relate to or at least the struggle of it.

I leave you with this dear readers of mine.

xo

December 05, 2015

Doing it Differently

The other day I came across this list in things that I've saved. It's a pretty interesting list actually.

The happiness points that ring particularly true for me right now are #1, #2,  #3, #8 and #12. Although at different points in life others have been in the top five or probably will be at some point.

Also this week- I've gone cold turkey on eating sugar in hopes of alleviating an antibiotic resistant low-grade bladder infection that I've been struggling with. This isn't a huge deal because I've been pretty careful about my sugar intake as the years have gone on, but on the other hand, I LOVE my little squares of chocolate and tollhouse cookies and really miss my little friends.

Only another chocolate addict will understand what I am talking about. Or perhaps a former smoker, drinker or pot head etc.

It's only the end of day 6 so I will keep you posted :-(

Also this week I am beginning to prepare mentally to swim against my arch nemesis who is coming to Boston for the New England Championships next weekend ( see point #10). We've never raced head-to-head but I guess it's time, which is either thrilling or as scary as hell, depending on the day....

Have a good week everyone!

xo

November 26, 2015

When The Walls Come Down


I like this collage I made a few years back so much that I'm recycling it again.

This year, as always, I am grateful for many things but I think the thing at the tippy-top is my mom who will be 94 in January. As some of you know, for the last 3 years she has lived close-by, instead of almost 500 miles away. This of course has brought responsibility into my life but it has also brought a wonderful intimacy with her that was hard to have for so many years because I was either being a ratty teenager, or because of the long distance between us, or because I was sleep deprived and busy having my own family. Or because when we saw each other it was frequently at a large family gathering and our relationship got diluted.

Or maybe because we just didn't quite know how to do it.

I guess what I want to say it that I am grateful for our relationship. Sometimes I see us as this ball of yarn where, like an onion, the layers are slowly unraveling and being made into something anew- as our intimacy unfolds and we reach to know and love each other, even more.

But at the same time we are a ball of yarn that is winding larger and firmer- from the life experience that we are sharing about aging, and vulnerability and what it is to be a human being.

As I write this brings tears to my eyes.

Many years ago I made up a simple little grace to say at dinner with Mr- Fix-It and the kids that better represented what I personally wanted to say each night then other prayers that I've heard.

It goes like this:

Let us be thankful for all that we have.

For our health

And our home

But especially, for each other.

Each day is a blessing.

Amen


Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers of  mine.

xo,
Louise

November 21, 2015

From Paris with Love



I've no business being on here as I haven't even begun to make-ready for hosting Thanksgiving...

Doesn't the web take the cake for all procrastinating?

This week I've watched a fair amount of TV, whilst knitting away, which is unusual for me (and kind of nice). Except if I wasn't careful, too much of it covered the terrible, devastating Paris terror attacks.

In the midst of it all, however, I saw this little nugget of a Parisian father trying to quell the fears of his little boy.

If you haven't seen it already, it's really lovely.

Thank you to Econesting and Carin for the video.

XO


November 14, 2015

How Very Short the Endless Days Will Run


A Watsu Pool

Inside you know 
Inside you understand
Inside you know what’s yours to finally set right
And i suggest
And i suggest to you
And i suggest this is the best part of your life
This is a song
Comes from the west to you
Comes from the west, comes from the slowly setting sun
This is a song
With a request of you
To see how very short the endless days will run
And when they’re gone
And when the dark descends
We’d give anything for one more hour of life
May i suggest
This is best part of your life

~Susan Werner (of Red Molly) 


I am fresh off a women's empowerment/tantra weekend where I joined 17 like-minded souls for a few days of discussion, energy work, healing and celebrating. We also had a chance to spend time in a body-temperature watsu pool, which I loved.

I had heard (and felt) that creative and sexual energy are connected but now that I have a better understanding of the 7 chakras, I know it for sure.

I have to hunker back down the rabbit hole and begin work on another knitwear design project but I wanted to post first and include the very beautiful song, May I Suggest, (below) from the retreat.

I hope you all have a nice weekend,
xo



November 06, 2015

Stopping The Whining

In all my years of observing health and fitness, and lack of it, both in myself and in those around me, this is probably the most inspirational story I've ever heard.

Seventy-seven year old Constance Tillit started exercising for the very first time ever and has turned her health and life around, in an unbelievable way.

As Constance says, "Get up and do it. Stop with the whining. Stop with the, 'You've got to take care of me.' and take care of YOURSELF."

More great fitness stories from women ages 66-97 here.

Thanks to Brenda at Claim Your Worth for sending this in.



October 31, 2015

Rot in the Deck


Just between you and me, more than I wish that I was a bit more intellectual, I wish I was funnier. Humor makes me giddy inside but unfortunately, instead of being dealt the Irish funny bone, I was born with the WASPY "Don't make a spectacle of yourself" gene. Gheesh. The upside is that I totally appreciate funny people, and funny things, and always notice them- most likely in an effort to alleviate the more serious thinking that sometimes goes on inside my little noggin.

Plus I haven't given up on myself as I see my mom becoming funnier the older she grows.

Praise be!

Ever since the lunar eclipse/super moon last month, things have been, well... kind of strange. I even made a list of everything that has gone askew. I can't share every one elses business of course but I can share that in addition to many of those around me that have been struggling, that 6 people I know have died ( 3 that had good long lives and 3 who didn't) and that I stepped backwards into a large hole where Mr. Fix-It was fixing the rot in on our deck and threw my neck and back out.

It seems however that this week's super moon has brought things back into balance. And then of course- maybe last month's lunar eclipse didn't have anything to do with any of this.

But I kind of doubt it!

The video below, although not funny, is a flash mob in New Zealand- led by a 90-year-old who moves like someone half her age.

They make me want to get up and dance.

Happy Halloween everyone.
xo



October 24, 2015

Under The Porch

Autumnal bestowal
The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that love is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, love is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.

~M. Nepo


Thank you to Terry Lee for this.

October 17, 2015

Flower Girl



Time for a little lightness and beauty, amid the sorrow, even though I've seen beauty and inspiration in death's darkness.

British celebrity make-up artist, Lisa Eldridge, was featured on the Today Show a few years back and of course the video for applying make-up on "mature faces" went viral.

Love her accent.

My personal make-up regimen is all but about 3 minutes long but she is an inspiration to spend a little more time in front of the mirror!

As waking up the face,
by applying a bit of color,
is kind of like having a bouquet of flowers in the room :-)

xo

October 10, 2015

When the Wheels Fall Off

1000 Figs
Last weekend we went to a wonderous family wedding in New Orleans. My nephew and his bride own the restaurant 1000 Figs and the food truck The Fat Falafel. Their wedding hit the top tier of all weddings that I've ever attended in terms of creativity, fun, and of course, great food.

The merriment was, as it frequently is, way too short.

We returned to the craziness and realities of regular life. I am knee deep in a corporate knitwear design project, which is really fun, but in other areas of life, it feels kind of like the wheels are falling off the bus.

Mid-week we received the news that dear friends of ours lost their son to his long, courageous fight with brain cancer. He was not even 30.

The same day we learned that our much beloved tantra coach, Steve Carter, was murdered on a hiking trail while walking his dog in Marin Country. He and his dog were shot by 3 kids who then stole his car. Luckily, they were caught on video getting gas not too far away and were apprehended in Portland with the aid of the GPS in the car. To add to this, in July, Steve's wife, Lokita, was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive form of breast cancer and is fighting for her life. If this isn't enough, their tantra yoga retreat center burned to the ground last month in the forest fires.

I awoke on Thursday morning at 5am sobbing, like I have not, since my father died 14 years ago.

I am struck with a deep deep sadness, but also with how quickly, life can change on a dime.

September 30, 2015

Soul Convergence



I have a story to share.

A true story.

It happened the other night after the super moon.

A few months ago a good friend of mine from high school came to visit. She said then that her aging parents were both struggling with health problems and were deteriorating quickly.

Eventually they had to be placed in two different care facilities. Her mom, in a memory care home, one hour away from her dad.

After the moon did its lunar eclipse on Sunday night, her mom awoke at 2:00am. She looked at a photo of her husband and herself next to her bed and told the nurse on duty that they were going to Mexico together the next day.

They had married in Mexico 43 years ago. It was a second marriage for both of them.

At 3:19am her husband passed away.

And a few minutes later, she did too.

When the nursing staff found her, one of her arms was up as if reaching for something.

Perhaps it was him.

As one of their 6 daughters said, "Perhaps he was saying, 'Hurry up honey, pack your bags, we're leaving now' and grabbing her by the hand."

I can't stop thinking about the synchronicity of them both dying within minutes of each other.

And how quite likely the gravitational pull of the moon had something to do with them being able to make their exit together.

Just as they would have liked, no doubt.

A love story, actually.

September 21, 2015

Reminders

9am Thursday: garbage/recycling out
9:30 Thursday: transfer grocery $ (to college child)
10am: 20 push-ups
5pm Mon and Wed: hydrate for swim practice
10:30pm: Time to wrap it up

I've been using the reminder app on my Iphone for 
about a year to remind me to do things and it's been very helpful.

Except for one thing-

the 10:30pm "time to wrap it up" reminder.


This is supposedly a reminder to myself that I have 30 minutes to finish whatever I'm doing, get in bed, read and get a good night's sleep.

But it rarely works.

The ding goes off on my phone and I usually look at it 
and think "Yeh yeh I don't feel like going to bed right now."
It's like having a nagging parent because I'm a perennial night owl and love the evening.

But the truth is that saying up late and being sleep deprived the next day never benefits me. 
It's terrible self care.
It makes the circles under my eyes worse.
It gives me less bandwidth for my long list of responsibilities 
and I know that getting enough sleep is high on the list for maintaining health.

Yada yada yada....

So I thought to myself-

Maybe I need to edit the 10:30 "time to wrap it up" and make it more of an affirmation?
Maybe I should edit the reminder to say, "I desire to be healthy and well rested"?

...and hopefully this will help.

I think it will. Maybe, but maybe not!

by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. Gosh is it entertaining and funny. It was one of The New York Time's top 10 books in 2014 so it pretty much speaks for itself.

It's 11:30pm and I am off to read it now...



September 13, 2015

100 Years of Fashion



I love this quick and snappy video of the history of fashion. Talk about walking down memory lane. It's interesting how globalization and cultural changes have effected fashion so much.

What a wild, weird and interesting world we live in.

From what I gather, the fashion trends for Fall 2015 go something like this:

  • Lots of texture. 
  • Knit tunics and dresses
  • Plaids- especially red plaids and tartans.
  • Gloves are big, as are tights and skinny scarves
  • Lots of layering
  • Cardigans, turtlenecks, chunky knit sweaters
  • Watches are really big- as well as watches combined with several bracelets
  • Soft trench coats 
  • The Victorian look
  • Colorful denims
  • Bold blanket ponchos and blanket scarves
  • Blouses with tie-scarf necklines
  • High-waisted flare jeans( not sure how I feel about this)
  • Tonal colors- wearing variations of the same color head-to-toe.
  • Layering-up a mix of deep autumn hues.
  • Brown tones
  • Over-the-knee boots.


And now it's time for me to wash all the wool sweaters, scarves and hats that I didn't wash at the end of last winter to get ready for sweater season :-(

Oh yes and one more thing...100 years of men's swimwear :-)

(and what is it about knees- does anyone find knees as sexy as I do?)

September 06, 2015

You v.You

Favorite spot
Colder evenings and shorter days have arrived here in New England and along with them, the beginning of one of my favorite months.

It always makes me a bit melancholy though however knowing that these pristine days will soon be followed by old man winter :-(

On my solo, 569 mile (to be exact), road trip back from dropping our youngest at college in Pittsburgh last week, I was saved from boredom (and the anxiety of being alone in the middle of nowheresville) by listening to NPR. I found one conversation on breaking bad habits especially interesting. You can download You v. You here but I'll post it at the bottom as well. Great to take along to listen to on a walk or in the car. Highly recommend for breaking the barrier of what stands between us and being successful at the things we might desire like quitting smoking, drinking or achieving a healthier, leaner, physique etc.

What I like about solo car trips is that they lend plenty of time to think. For instance, one of the things I pondered about was why it's such a hard transition for me every time one of my kids heads back out into the world (or when we lose another cat, as we did this week) even though I am really enjoying this time in our life. Sometimes I can stop myself and remember what I learned in a marriage workshop that Mr. Fix-It and I took years ago called Getting The Love You Want. Most current upsets are a button that gets pushed again from a childhood upset. For me, being the youngest child of 5 by many years, I use to feel abandoned over and over again when my siblings left for college or headed out into the real world, leaving me behind.

Bingo!

Also this week, a delicious recipe for Dilly Beans. Omg.

I hope you're having a nice long weekend, dear readers of mine.
xo



August 30, 2015

Last F**kable Day



This week's post is a humorous video from comedian Amy Schumer with the best of the funny girls. If you haven't seen her movie, Trainwreck, it's very entertaining.

Thanks to Ronnie Citron-Fink at Econesting for posting.

More later! I traveled the long journey between Boston and Pittsburgh this week to drop our 2nd born at college and am getting my legs back beneath me.

xo!

August 22, 2015

Respecting Our Core


I enjoyed a conversation recently with author Sylvia Resnick whose 8th book, The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob, was recently published. At the age of 88, she is currently under contract to write an erotic historical romance.
Keep on keeping on girl!

So what might a woman who has written about Hollywood since 1964, who loves Pinterest, tea and dancing have to share about aging?
 
Sylvia began by saying that women need to stop worrying about getting older and just enjoy life! Be yourself she says. Really be yourself. Look into your heart and ask, "Who am I really?" and be that person. Don't let others take you away from what you want to do.

Sylvia suggests that we reach inside of ourselves and respect what is in our core, as everyone is an individual.

She also suggests we do not watch the news before going to sleep as it tends to put negative images in our mind. I so agree. Instead she likes to watch reruns of her favorite comedy series before nodding off.
Lastly, Sylvia says to have fun and be VERY good to ourselves. She doesn't believe in denying herself at this stage. This includes enjoying some spa pampering and indulging in her favorite vice, an occasional hot fudge sundae. I told her I love them as well.

I wish you lived closer Sylvia. We could have a sundae and then some tea.

Thank you for stopping into Lines of Beauty, dear heart.
Louise



 

August 17, 2015

Human Being

I may have said before that I love following Humans of New York on Instagram each day. It's far more interesting and way more inspiring than the news- and what a wealth of insight it provides into what it is to be a human being and not just in New York. Right now he is traveling through Pakistan.

This is one of my all time favorite posts from a few years ago:

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”

“Try your best to deal with life without medicating yourself.”


“You mean drugs?”


“I mean drugs, food, shopping, money, whatever. I ain’t judging anybody, either. I was hooked on heroin for years. But now I’ve learned that every feeling will pass if you give it time. And if you learn to deal with your feelings, they’ll pass by faster each time. So don’t rush to cover them up by medicating them. You’ve got to deal with them.”