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.

July 15, 2014

Still


"I don't think people realize how hurtful of a word 'still' can be. So many times people have asked me if I'm 'still' chasing my dream of being on television, with a tone that implies I'll eventually be giving up."

This quote is from my favorite site, Humans of New York, that I follow on Instagram. I love HONY. I love his portraits and the raw intimacy of what his subjects share with the world each day. They are such a step inside the human condition.

The quote particularly struck a cord with me. I remember when my Dad died, and the kids were young, I use to mourn him while driving alone in the car or taking a shower. These were the two places that I could go and cry myself a river without freaking them or anyone else out.

One night a few months after he died, I drove to the store, while sobbing along the way. After arriving, I bumped into a dear old friend. She noticed my red eyes and said "You're still having a hard time?"

She had never lost a parent and didn't know that the year following a death can be just as hard, or even harder, than the actual day you lose someone. 

Although I didn't take her comment to heart or wonder why I was having such a hard time, in my head I remember thinking "You have no idea". I knew that it was just a bridge that she hadn't yet crossed.

And that's the thing- unless we have walked in someone's shoes or know someone who has- we don't have any true idea usually about anything. 

I always say that we all have a completely different tape running through our heads and we do.

So this is a tribute to all of us who are STILL in the middle of something:

Whether you're still looking for love, or are mourning a love-
Whether you're still trying to make an idea work, or are in a job that you hate & can't leave-
 Whether you're still self-medicating with food, or alcohol, or drugs-
 Whether you're still struggling in an empty or abusive relationship-
Whether you're still scraping by financially or are struggling with health issues, or both-
Whether you're still recuperating from a childhood wound-
Whether you're still too lonely....
or any of the 100's of other things that we can still be.


The truth is that we are where we are, and we probably won't make a step towards change until we are sick and tired with ourselves and have had ENOUGH.

So on this note- may we all try to be at peace with our journey.  

xo,
Louise


July 11, 2014

Sorry, Not Sorry


I've had a razzly-dazzly crazy week preparing for a family wedding. The highlight being I cleaned out my studio for the first time in a few years. It had become a storage space/catch-all while trying to launch the failed attempt with our natural food product...

Man oh man can crap build up quickly, but now it's a creative space once again that's calling my name.

Recently my daughter said something like "What are you going to do now- be an artist again?"

 I said "Well...yeah....why?"

She responded, "Well, what else are you going to do?"

Well... I could become a dula... or a life coach...or hop on someone else's idea train.

I think however, that it's time to marinate for awhile in my studio. Perhaps next to running and swimming, I have my best thoughts there.

Anyhow- I saw the above video last week and now all I am paying attention to is how often people apologize to each other, especially in the grocery store. It's kind of like when you get a new/old car and you suddenly start noticing it everywhere you go. I conclude that sometimes saying "sorry" is very appropriate and sometimes we say it when what we really mean to say is "excuse me", or we say it when we're feeling bad about letting someone down (as in "not tonight dear") or when we feel like we're being a burden.

One thing's for sure- human nature sure gets more interesting to observe the older I grow. I think this is what I am noticing most of all.

Enjoy the full moon this weekend dear readers of mine,
xo

June 29, 2014

Till The Morning

As I've grown older, mornings have become a favorite part of my day.

Especially this time of year, when I can wander out and poke around in the garden.

Always a slow riser, I am even more so now since I had to give up coffee because of a heart arrhythmia several years ago. 

Turns out I didn't know how anxious coffee made me feel until I stopped drinking it.

Anyway, I've been wanting to share a super-easy granola recipe that I've been making. A batch of it usually lasts me over a week, unless Mr. Fix-It gets into for a late night snack.

I love it for snacking too.

It's hardy enough to put hunger pangs at bay for several hours, plus it isn't too sweet. It seems perfect actually.

Toss together in a bowl:

8 cups of rolled oats
2 cups of nuts ( almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans etc)
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup pure maple syrup

Add after cooking:
2 cups of dried fruit ( I usually add raisins but dried cherries are great too, or cranberries)

I bake it at 350 in a glass 11" X 17" pyrex pan because it's easy to stir while baking. Bake for 15 minutes, stir it, bake it for 15 more, and stir again. Then I shut the stove off and leave it in there until I remember it's there. Turns nice and golden brown, and yummy.

If you're more of a muffin person these better than sex muffins are, shall I say, very, very, very good.

Lastly, I leave you with a favorite old song.

Happy day,
Louise


June 25, 2014

Science Says So

Research suggests that as we grow older, particularly after mid-life, we tend to grow happier. I feel happier at mid-life than I ever have, so to hear that more happiness might be in store for us is good news.

This is from a really good article on Inc.com:

"Studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods, for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and focus their goals on greater well being."

The article lists 10 ways to bring more happiness into our lives.

Here are a handful of ways, beyond the common lifestyle choices of exercising and getting enough sleep (so that we aren't crabby little whiners):

  • Nothing matters more than our connections with other people- not even a raise.
  • The importance of getting outdoors.
  • The importance of helping others.
  • The practice of smiling.
  • Move closer to work- a short commute is worth more than a big house. A short commute is heaven.

All good reminders.

It always comes down to the simple things in life.

Things have grown way too complicated.

Have a nice week, dear readers of mine.

Thank you to Carolyn for sending this in.

xo



June 14, 2014

Maybe That's Not Love



Donna Lou Steven's video "Older Ladies" and Lines of Beauty are a match made in heaven.

Just 10 days on Youtube and it already has over 22k hits. It's very catchy and makes me wish I was in it, as not only are the lyrics great, but it looks like it was a lot of fun to make. I've already listened to it five times.

Oh man I love creativity. Keep it coming girl.

Also this week, from The Open Mind, some truths we so easily forget:

  • The average human life is relatively short. 
  • You will only live the life you create for yourself.
  • Some kind of failure always occurs before success.
  • You don't have to wait for an apology to forgive.
  • It's not other people's job to love you; it's yours. 

The last two I think are especially important. In all my years of observing people, those who hold grudges or can't find a way to love themselves are sailing on a sinking ship. The good news is that these wounds, usually from childhood, can be healed. But as my friend, therapist Cindy Brennan says, in her wonderful new book, Living , Loving & Unlearning,  you have to face the darkness, to see the light.


June 06, 2014

Because

#thethirdtimeisthecharm
I'm changing the channel in my head to one of gratitude:

First of all, I'm thankful for my health and strong body, and for the health of those around me.

I'm grateful that the plane crash that killed 7 people, a few miles from here this week, did not land in our neighborhood or any other. 

I'm thankful for my perfectly imperfect home.

I'm grateful that the delphiniums, that I've tried to grow twice before, are finally blossoming.

I'm thankful for our eldest daughter who has lead us to a more organic life, with her flourishing vegetable garden and her environmental studies.

She broadens and inspires me, more than she knows.

I'm grateful that this week's car repair was only $425, and that we didn't need a new transmission costing $4000.

I'm thankful for frugal people, who inspire me more than anyone, while making-do with less.

I'm grateful for my love of making things.

Anything.

I'm thankful for the near-summer sun, the longer days, and the birds, who chirp outside our bedroom each morning.

I'm grateful for this Norwegian blog.

Even when I don't have time to read it,

her photos are like little rays of sunshine.
   

May 31, 2014

Slipping Away

Bubs, our lovable and entertaining calico, of 16 years, made her exit on Thursday. After seven days without food, it became clear that she wasn't letting go with ease and needed to be put down. For me, it was in-part, a real-life primer on holding someone's hand; while they made their way to let go of ours.

#ladyinwaiting  #hospicecare #sweetsixteen
Even if you aren't an animal lover, I imagine you probably understand how I feel. I've been trying to appease myself with visions of a new kitten, or two, taking her place, but the reality is, I think it's good to wait a bit. They will have some very big shoes to fill.

Coinciding with this, we received our 8th lab report for the natural food product that my business partner and I have been trying to launch the past 2.5 years. It was more bad news. I've kind of seen the writing on the wall, in several ways, the last few months. Just haven't wanted to let go of something that I have loved and believed in so much- or of our branding that I've thought is, for lack of a better word, awesome (thanks to my "mad man" partner).

I'll be back.....just need to go and cry in my soup for a bit.

Thank you for listening to my woes,
Louise

May 22, 2014

In the End



Unless of course 

we're talking about love and gratitude,

or fresh air,

or self-care. 


The secret to having it all

is knowing 

that we already do.


May 14, 2014

When the Dots Line Up

I've been yearning to write. Kind of like how I frequently crave making something, or going on a long hard run, or searching for some sort of intimacy with another human being. You know, that feeling that we reach for in our day, as we put one foot in front of the other, hoping to make all the puzzle pieces fit. Honestly, sometimes when I put a piece of chocolate in my mouth it almost feels like a mini-accomplishment of what I am subconsciously trying to achieve. When all the dots line up and we find ourselves in a blissful state. I think it's called "being in the zone." Kind of feels like being in love. I like how, as we grow older, that feeling in love doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with an actual relationship. Maybe it's just holding a newborn baby or seeing a teeny tiny rabbit in the garden. Maybe it's making something with our hands or simply listening to a song. Yesterday, as all the trees and flowers were brilliantly bursting from their buds, I sat back, and looked at all that laid before me. Enamored and suddenly at peace. Contently, in love.

May 09, 2014

Mom Was No Poet: A Daughter Remembers Her Mother

"Sarge"
Happy Mother's Day. This week's post is written by my dear old friend Chris Radant, who wrote the original short story for the movie Home For the Holidays.
.........................................................................

We called her “Sarge.”

My brothers and I knew her unflappable love for us, as well as the part that was highly flappable. Her jaw would set, her mouth would pucker and rise up a half inch closer to her nose and her voice….ho boy, that voice. And words only sailors used. Hazel Kay Radant in the house!

Heels would click, children would salute and scurry, apologize and know full well that the love didn't go away.

She used to pull me up onto her lap, show me the “learn to draw ad” in the back of a magazine, put a pencil in my hand and things got really quiet. “Let’s draw pretty girls, honey,” she said each time.

I had a bedroom in the attic where I assumed the pitched ceiling over my bed to have been built expressly for me. I could rest my chin on the windowsill between my chenille-covered twin beds. With a pillow under my knees, I knelt there like I was taking communion and watched the drive-in theater’s movies.
In the summer, I could even hear them.
That’s how I learned about the big world outside our housing plan in Columbus, Ohio.

She’d call me down into reality, to wash the dishes, watch my little brother. I hated her cooking…food from cans and boxes, ‘50s style. “Set the table, punkin’ and get the box of mashed potatoes out for me and the squirt cheese.” We ate what was squirted in front of us… or so Mom thought.

All the quirks made life interesting and taught my brothers and me to be ready for anything. And thanks to Sarge, I can draw now. Today, I’m an artist and writer living on Martha's Vineyard.

Drawing by Chris Radant

Special thanks to the Martha's Vineyard Times.

April 29, 2014

Choices That Serve Us Better



Choice, not chance, determines our destiny.  ~Aristotle


This week's post is written by gum surgeon Dr. Cheryl Townsend Winter, who was featured on Lines of Beauty a few years ago, when she was in the middle of writing her book. The book is now complete and chock full of very helpful guidance for the journey of aging.:

I like to think of life as a piece of art of which we are the artist. That life is a composition piece; a unique woven tapestry of the choices we make.  Dorothy Sander said: “We are all artists. We just create on our own unique kind of canvas.” I say, we are all artists and we create our own lives. 

One choice we make is attitude: we can see ourselves aging gracefully, and beautifully, with longevity. Not at all surprisingly, having a positive attitude contributes to longevity. Research by Becky Levy proves that having a positive outlook on aging can add seven and a half years to one's life.

But there is more to this story than just attitude. Genetics accounts for 1/3 of the factors that lead to a long life so there is the other 2/3 which is the composition of all of the choices we make each moment of every day: what we eat or drink; what we do or don't do; whether we smoke or not; what time we go to bed and get up, etc. We can decide to live healthier and enjoy feeling good as we move along the longevity pathway. To give you a few ideas of choices that serve us well, here are some examples from my book, The Aging Gracefully Pathway: A Toolkit for the Journey. Some of them may surprise or intrigue you:

Longevity Quick Tips: 


 -Drink water to be healthy, think clearly, and even lose weight. 

    -Play in the dirt a little (gardening is so good for us in so many ways) to help win the aging battle (strengthens immunity).

    -Prevent gum disease: Floss your teeth - adds six years to your life.

    -From RealAge.com: Two 20 minute walks per day can take five years off your biologic age.

    -Shedding pounds can add 3-4 years to your life. 

    -Appreciate the magnificent equipment the body is, listening to what it has to say, and acting as its steward.


  Thank you Doctor.  

  Dr. Cheryl Townsend Winter's book is available at Amazon


April 18, 2014

Salut Salon





German female quartet performs comedic instrumental acrobatics.

Bravo!

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Day,
xo