May 16, 2015

Pull Out Your Hankies



This posted on Youtube on Thursday and understandably already has over 2 million hits.

Clearly one of my favorites ever.

Many thanks to Jules for sending it in.
 
Sniffle sniffle...

P.S. If you'd like, please share to social media on my buttons 2 lines below.

May 13, 2015

All You Need




There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy

Nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy

Nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy

 All you need is love
 All you need is love
All you need is love, love
 Love is all you need


  ~The Beatles

                         
Photo by Julia Fernandes

May 08, 2015

But What Will I Wear?



As buds start popping on trees and we stroll in honey coated sunlight, it's finally time to shed sweaters and thick wool socks here in the Boston area.

Amen.

At last there is a bit of humidity in our hair, and our skin is no longer dry and weather beaten. We're all looking a bit rosier and yummier I must say.

But then begins the age-old, Grinchy question of "But what would I wear?"

Each season I look in my closet to see if there is something that I can resurrect from 20-30 years ago that is currently trendy. To feel just a mite bit hipper.

Please. Anything.

However, I am not always successful...


What follows are the Spring/Summer fashion trends for 2015:

Shirt dresses
Culottes
Funky Boho prints
Gingham patterns
Omg no way
Sheer fabrics that make you feel like you aren't wearing anything
Midi skirt lengths from the 60s
Fresh florals- big, bold and feminine
Roomy, cropped, baggy denim jeans
Military greens
Sounds like the wrong season
Kimono style jackets and coats
Mesh fabrics
Jumpsuits
Can't imagine myself in a jumpsuit
White lace
Ballerina
Hmmm
Nautical
They always say this
Mixing/stitching contrasting fabrics together
Flats, slides and sneakers
My poor back
Polo shirts
Too preppy
Khaki
Blue & white color combinations (as well as timeless black & white)
White on white
Imagine
Red
Yellow
Apparently there is a shade of yellow for everyone.


Happy dressing :-)
And Happy Mother's Day to all you hard-working mamacitas out there.
Let's put our feet up.
XO


April 30, 2015

Riding with the Wind

Isn't it the truth. I think however, or at least I hope, that part of the reason why we forget is that there are more and more things to remember- and because we have so much coming at us at once, like technology.

The thing I worry about with aging is my memory. Once in awhile as I am writing a post I won't be able to think of a word for the life of me. To the point that sometimes I almost break into a sweat from the anxiety of not being able to remember. 

I think I may have mentioned this before.

Then there are other more soulful moments that I think, "Memory? Who needs memory! Just live life through my senses and that's all I really need (not...). Sight, sound, taste, touch and scent...our senses don't need to remember anything. Tra-la-la.

I think I may have also mentioned this before! Omg.

I don't know where this photo came from but perhaps it's from a campaign to encourage people to wear helmets when they bike ride :-)

Oh yes and there's also the sense of humor that I so miserably fail at...

Anyway, for our sense of hearing this week, there is a great website where they play the #1 song from your birthday, or the day you got married ( or divorced..), or any day you'd like to look up: Pretty coolio.

Thank you to Chrissy for sending this in.
 XO


 

April 26, 2015

Sunday


Sometimes there is something mightily beautiful 

about flowers that have seen their day. 

Roses, peonies and dahlias come to mind especially,

as their beauty turns a new leaf.

I hope I will parallel my life this way.  

April 19, 2015

More Like Ourselves


I've shifted into a slower lane and it feels like I've cut the engine a bit more. Aside from doing something like taking a long trek into the woods or knitting, I have to say that being on the computer is a very relaxing thing for me.

It's like reading a book but the beauty of it is that the storyline keeps changing.

I've had this lovely quote for awhile that I keep meaning to share:

We grow neither better nor worse
as we get old,
but more like ourselves. 

~May Lamberton Becker

I guess maybe the question to ask ourselves, whether we are young or old, is if we are continuing to thrive, and grow emotionally and continuing to spread our wings.


But even more important, as the quote says, is to become more like ourselves.


Thank you to Lizbeth for sending in this week's photo.

xo

April 07, 2015

The List of Honesty

I've been feeling out of sorts lately with not enough down time or time to be creative. Feeling like I am on a bit of a treadmill and putting out too many little fires. Not a lot of substance. I imagine you know what I mean. It's felt kind of like the holiday hustle but it's April...

Geesh.

So I stopped myself the other night and pondered what I'm yearning for besides more downtime and creativity and it prompted me to make a list that I have never made before or have even thought to make.

A list I was kind of afraid to make it turns out.

The list of honesty.

I thought I could make a list of things that make me happy. Like dancing, going to the beach, holding babies, reading a good book...knitting...chocolate...swimming. Blah blah blah. That's easy to do. But what I was trying to uncover was a list of experiences that I've had throughout my lifetime that were truly rich and made me feel alive.

And connected.

That had real substance.

Experiences that made me feel like I am in love but don't necessarily have anything to do with another person.

This took some time. It prompted me to slow down and remember moments that have been golden.

Not storybook golden, or anyone else golden, but just me golden.

It turned out that many of the things that showed up on my list were experiences that involved discomfort in terms of doing something that I was afraid to do. Experiences that made me feel vulnerable but I was able to get to the other side of and stretch beyond my comfort zone.

Some of the other things on the list I would put in the "self-help" category. Times when I have stumbled and needed guidance.

Interestingly, some very sad times are also on the list. Like losing my Dad/celebrating his life and cleaning out/selling my childhood home.

The other interesting thing is that only one of the vacations that I have ever taken is on the list.

This was a big ah-ha.

Lines of Beauty is also of course on the list.

So thank you for continuing to stop in and read what is on my sometimes wacko little mind :-)

xo



April 01, 2015

Happy April Fools



Photo by Stephanie Hofschlager, www.djk.deon

For long time readers this is a repeat story:


As some of you may know, my husband Tom (Mr. Fix-It) loves games and especially likes to play a good April Fools prank.

I have gotten use to this over the years and every April Fools day I tread very cautiously so that he can’t be successful in fooling me again.

One year Tom woke me up at the crack of dawn on April Fools Day and said that his big toe was killing him. He told me that it had started to bother him the day before and was throbbing so horribly throughout the night that he couldn’t sleep.

“Maybe you have an ingrown toe nail honey,” I responded, half asleep. “Maybe you should see the doctor today.”

Tom agreed that this was a good idea.

During the day I called his cell phone to check in to see how he was doing and if he had seen the doctor. He didn’t call back. I tried him again awhile later. Still he didn’t call.

At dinnertime I was in the kitchen cooking. The kids were busy making chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Tom was running late but finally we heard him at the back door. He came limping into the kitchen with the look of horrible pain on his face. On his right foot was a white plastic grocery bag. You could see blood on the inside of the bag.

“Oh my god what happened?” I asked very concerned.

“The doctor had to take my whole toenail off,” Tom winced.

“And then he put your foot in a GROCERY BAG ??? I exclaimed. “Is there even a band-aid on your toe?” I asked very concerned.

“No,” said Tom, “It was so late in the day that they were rushing to close the doctor’s office and told me to just put a band-aid on it when I got home.”

“Are you KIDDING ME?” I yelled. “This is HORRIBLE! We are never going back to that doctor again!”

I told him to sit down in the other room and went to get him some aspirin for the pain.

“Let me see your toe,” I said returning with the aspirin.

Tom removed his bloody foot from the bloody bag. I inspected it. “Oh my god-I hate to tell you this- but your toenail is still on there Tom…”

“No it isn’t. You just can’t see under all the blood,” he replied.

At this our younger daughter yelled from the kitchen “Nice April Fools joke Dad!!!”

I shot back “ This is serious!!! Dad is in PAIN. This is NOT an April Fools joke!”

At this Tom limped into the kitchen and stuck his foot into the kitchen sink to wash the blood off. Our kids, still skeptical, and horrified by his actions, hastily moved the chocolate chips cookies out of the way that were cooling next to the sink.

At which point Tom started laughing and said “Happy April Fools you guys!”

Realizing that I had been taken ONCE again, I hit Tom over the head with the kitchen towel and very slowly, finally started to laugh.


Tom hadn’t stopped at the doctor on his way home. He had stopped at the local pizzeria and asked for a white plastic grocery bag and several packets of ketchup :-)


And for a bit more humor this week:

How many of us can relate to this?

Omg.

March 24, 2015

Stillness



I've felt kind of like a bulldozer lately pushing through several projects.

It's never good when everything seems kind of like an emergency,

when it isn't.

I leave you with this quote this week

because it's oh so true.

xo


March 17, 2015

Full Circle



My mama has been doing a little painting. It's something that she has dabbled in over the years and always delights me to see. Especially now that she has chronic macular degeneration and is in her 90's.

We begin life as such sensuous little beings, exploring all that is around us by touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. It's kind of wonderful actually that as life carries on, as we grow old and memories get foggy, that what we are left with, if we are lucky, are our senses, still.

Her 93rd birthday at Sofra.

Life really does come full circle.

In so many ways.

The other day, I can't remember what we were talking about, but my mom made reference to a quote that she has tucked away somewhere. She said, "it says something about the beauty of an older person's smile".

I said, "What??? You never told me about this!"

But she actually has I realized,

just by being who she is.

March 07, 2015

Until

Ain't it the truth.

Thank goodness for the beauty of wisdom as some things that we use to get our knickers twisted over have seemed to quietly faded into the background.

Kind of like finally shaking a nagging cold actually.

Is part of wisdom about getting more conscious about what swirls around us and addressing it in a different way?

I think it is.


I'm suppose to be doing our taxes right now but the blog is such a great way to procrastinate. This and going on Pinterest where I can be swept away into dreamland abyss like nothing else. Pinterest is such a visual, inspirational delight.

Kind of makes me feel like I am in love.

Along with chocolate I must say.

Mr. Fix-It is working tirelessly downstairs reconstructing the layout of our very, very old kitchen. It's almost done. Not a complete renovation, but just a little low-cost sprucing up to get us through a few more years of paying college tuition...

Last night I began replacing the shelf paper in the cabinets and you'd think I had died and gone to heaven.

How much I love repetitive tasks.

And the hint-of-spring sunshine that is gleaming through my windows today.

If you haven't seen this video of the dog singing, it's so adorable. I especially love how his master kisses him.
( you can X out of all the annoying stuff on the video).

xo


February 28, 2015

In The Winter

Sander's Beach, Bahamas
I realize that my intention as I grow older is to have as much fun as I can. Many times this means being alone unfortunately. I guess this is good however for growing old as I like to putter around the house by myself especially. Perhaps my love of aloneness is partly supported by the fact that I can still choose at this point in my life when to be sociable...

On the plane back from the Bahamas I read an article about Julianne Moore. She is one actress whom I really respect and feel a kindred spirit towards. Not just as an actress, or in the way she is choosing to age in Hollywood, but as a person in general. She said that what is most important to her in life are "people and relationships and language and feelings."

BINGO! Me too. Perhaps this rings true with you as well.

She went on to say that, " What you need in life is love and work. My mother used to say this to me all the time. Those are two really important things. And I don't mean work has to to be paid or love has to be a romantic relationship, but if you have people to love and stuff that you want to do, you're usually in pretty good shape."

It's similar to what my Dad use to say-

That it's important to have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.

Especially during such a long, FREAKING cold winter such as this one.

GRRR!

It's interesting how comfortable 15 degrees can grow to feel when it's been -15.

Stay warm chickies,

it's only 20 more days till spring :-)

February 23, 2015

Forty Photos in 40 Years




We were down in the Bahamas this week for a few days. Trying to escape the 4+ feet of snow in our yard and the below zero temperatures. However, we arrived to a land having strange weather all its own. The first day it poured. The second day, a wind storm rolled in but luckily the sun shone brightly. The third day it was cloudy and the coldest day the islanders had seen in seven years (62 degrees). It was so cold for them that they ended bus service early that night because they knew that no one would be going out!

It was nice to get away however and cut the engine on regular life and just drift.

It was also nice not to wear my hiking boots for the first time since the holidays...

I've been meaning to post this photo project that my sister sent me of four sisters who were photographed together, every year, for forty years. Perhaps you've seen it but in case you haven't here is a link in the NYTimes to all forty pictures of them together.

It's so interesting to see people morph physically. Both visually, as well as the energy that they radiate.

Morph...don't think that's quite the right word but you probably know what I mean.

As author Susan Minot notes, what is interesting is how the four sister's body language changes with one another as the years move along.

It's indicative of how much more grateful we are for loved ones as we grow older.

You  might want to turn your speaker down (or off) as I think the music is kind of haunting unfortunately. I enjoyed the video more without it.

XO


February 13, 2015

If Kisses Were Snowflakes

Click to enlarge


Welcome to my favorite day.

What could be better than love

and chocolate

and flowers?

Not much I must say.

Happy Valentine's Day from my home to yours.

xo,
Louise



February 07, 2015

This Is One Of Them

Photo by Caroline Fernandes
Cactus garden. Madeira, Portugal. Photo by Caroline Fernandes
It feels good to have a relatively unplanned weekend at home. As good, or better, as it sometimes does to have a full one.

Last week our eldest graduated from college and two days before that our youngest went off to a semester abroad in South Africa to study human rights and social change.

In the days before she left we were discussing favorite quotes. I thought the one below is good for younger people especially. I can remember thinking that the world might be over when I had a bad day.

But what does a mother say to a child when she is putting her on a plane, to the other side of the earth, to one of the ten most dangerous places in the world, especially for a woman ?

Don't go?

I love you?

I miss you already?

Come back to us safe and sound?

In the end what I came up with is my realization (not that long ago actually) that we need to be our own best friend.

Is this something that a mother should let her daughter discover for herself?

Maybe.

Do I wish that my mom had told me this?

I do.

So I told her that no one is really watching out for us or is as dependable as we are to ourselves.

This is because no one knows us as well as we know ourselves or cares about us as much we do.

I also told her to take good care of her "best friend". 

Body, mind, and spirit.

And to let the love for herself continue to grow. 


I weep as I write this now.

As I wept when she left.


I told her that I would be here, waiting for her,

being my own best friend too.



January 30, 2015

Actress Frances McDormand




It's been a doozy of a week but I wanted to at least hop on here and post this video. High five to you Frances McDormand. Let me know if you ever want to join forces :-)


In her conversation with Katie Couric, Frances McDormand says that "everybody is concerned about a smooth face". The 57-year-old actress eloquently explains that she feels nostalgic for a time she didn't even have. "The time before we regarded ourselves with such criticism but also with the currency that looking a certain age has."

Thanks for stepping up to the plate Frances.

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?