December 31, 2013

Feliz Ano Novo



Here's to a new year of love,

companionship,

spontaneity,

and finding joy

in the everyday,

simple things in life.

xo,
Louise






December 28, 2013

And Then


"I didn't want to let women down. One of the stereotypes I see breaking is the idea of aging and older women not being beautiful." - Photographer Annie Leibovitz

Aside from the longevity of many of the people in my family, it was Annie Leibovitz's photographs of older people that inspired Lines of Beauty in 2010.

It's not every day that I look in the mirror and think that aging is wonderful. Letting go of youth is a process, not unlike the natural process of letting go of many things in our lives.

But I truly see the beauty of aging in those around me, and even in myself many days.

What I like is how real it is. Does that make sense? I like how authentic aging is and how it is simply what is suppose to happen. I like how all around us in nature we see aging. I like the organicness of it. The rawness. And I really don't want to monkey with it. This masterpiece of living.

I was thinking- how neat would it be to have wrapping paper with cool wrinkly old people on it?

This morning I've been enjoying a present my eldest daughter gave me. Devouring it actually. It's a beautiful book/magazine called Kinfolk that is published quarterly in Portland, Oregon. The photography is heavenly and this issue focuses solely on aging; in people, food, and in wonderful old things, like antiques, that we can fill our homes with.

Hope you're enjoying the post-Christmas calm as much as I am.

xo



December 22, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods

Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village
I've been missing the blog but have been too bowled over with life to sit down and write. Last weekend I went to a family baby shower in nyc. I love the energy and sensory overload in ny, and can never quite get enough, even in a storm. I can't imagine living there however, as I'm too much of a nature girl.

Upon returning my business partner and I finally met with a manufacturer for our natural food product that I think we like. It's a huge accomplishment after being on the hunt. I will keep you posted!

And then it was straight away into the holidaze scramble which I both love and hate. I love making things, but I hate the pressure of working under a deadline.

One thing that I have been dying to post is a video that my daughter made for her final english project about women and aging in the media. It is so good but her teacher warned her that she could get sued for using images taken off the web so she is of course hesitant. The video is about loving the skin that you are in.

Warmed my heart as you can imagine. Turned me upside down with glee.

One more thing before I push off and head back to cookie making and wrapping presents, which is my 2nd favorite thing about Christmas :-) In case you need a great last minute quickie homemade gift- the planter to the right is one of those amaryllis bulb kits that you can buy at the grocery store for under $10. Comes with the pot, dirt, and bulb. Just throw an old 100% wool sweater into the washing machine on hot and then dry it in the dryer on high (you might have to do it twice). Then cut a piece of the felted wool to fit the planter and sew up the seam. Viola! Can be enjoyed many winter seasons to come.


A very Merry Christmas to those of you who are celebrating.

xo,
Louise



December 07, 2013

Bridging Divides



I've been swept into the world of crafting this week. For me it's the best part of the holidays.

But I want to stop and give tribute to the incredible and beautiful Nelson Mandela.

 Pray for more world leaders like him.

... The man who inspired millions to bridge divides and seek peaceful change... but remained on the US terrorism watch list until 2008...
Beautiful Mandela at age 92


WTF?

Sometimes I really want to run away. To where, I am not sure.


On a lighter note:

I've been staying warm as I craft with this curried lentil soup that is a cinch to make if any of you out there are curry lovers like I am.

I have also been making some super cute knitted crowns, which are also easy to make. Having become a great- auntie, I'm delighted to have new wee ones to knit for.  The directions are from Etsy for $4 but I'm pretty sure there are others on the web for free. I just like this pattern in particular.

Still have to put 2 more bobbles on this one....

And last but not least I found this very cool scarf that you knit ON YOUR ARM in 30 minutes. Haven't tried it yet but I just wanted to show you. There is a free how-to here.

Hope you are finding pleasure doing whatever you are doing this week.

xoxo,
Louise



November 26, 2013

Obrigada



This photo collage is a recycle from last year. We're hosting my favorite holiday this year. This morning I was out in the woods gathering bittersweet and greens for the table. Tonight our eldest arrived. Tomorrow night our youngest arrives, if her flight isn't delayed with the storm here on the east coast. I am loving having our home come alive again after three months of quiet and solitude.

I'm not a religious person but when the kids were young we began saying a quick grace each night before dinner, as we continue to do. I wrote it so we could take time to count our blessings each day.

I leave it with you now but first I want to say Obrigada ( thank you in Portuguese) for your continued readership.


Let us be thankful for all that we have.

For our home, and our health, but especially for each other.

Each day is a blessing.

Amen


Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


xo,
Louise



November 22, 2013

But Then





I keep noticing both the amazingness and the absurdity of smart phones- how this little gadget can, in one breath, bring us closer together, and yet in another, pull us further apart.

Smartphones are a contrast in so many ways.

I love them.

And I hate them.

I like that in a flash I can ask Siri to wake me up at 8AM and without further ado my alarm is set. I love how in an instant I can look up words that I don't know the meaning of. I like how through the camera's lens, we can capture life with crystal clarity.

I love that even though my children are both far away that they still feel in some ways close-by. Without even talking, we can remain a relatively intimate part of each others lives with photos, texts, and videos.

But then, I step out into the world.

I step into an elevator for instance. And the normal social uncomfortableness that humans experience with each other is masked by phones. A moment to be lost in nothingness, is hard to find. A minute to be bored, has been washed away. And nature has become perhaps for many, a bit of a blur.

It's harder than ever to just be.

I have to keep reminding myself to forget my phone.

Because when I do,

it's heavenly.


November 14, 2013

Three Things



The Long Road: I've been struck this week by the story of Madonna Badger who lost her 3 children and her parents in a house fire on Christmas 2011. It is of course a very sad story, but one in which Madonna has shown incredible strength, recovery, and inspiration. It is amazingly therapeutic when we can stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

The Coolest Thing: Looking for a great holiday gift? How about an extra long, color coded charger for your smart phone?

The Skillet: Quick and easy sauteed chicken thighs with lemon caper sauce. Ou-la la!

Off to mow my leaves ( haven't raked them in 2 years and the lawn is loving it)

xoxo




November 08, 2013

Even If

When we speak and say what we really mean, we cross a waterway whose current carries us even closer to our truth.

There is something so delicious and freeing about speaking the truth.

But sometimes it's hard to do.

I had an image when I wrote this of being in a shirt that was three sizes too small.

I imagine that the shirt represented the straightjacket we can all enter when we're afraid to speak the truth.

The buttons on this too small shirt were all straining and pulling with tension. And with my arms outstretched, straight at my side, and puffing and flexing my chest, all the buttons popped off.

 And flew up into the air.


October 30, 2013

Trust Yourself

Nothing in life just happens. It isn't enough to believe in something. You have to have the stamina to meet obstacles and overcome them, to struggle.

~Golda Meir


Trust yourself.


I love odd shaped pumpkins.

Happy Halloween my little goblins.

xo,
Louise

October 25, 2013

All There Is

With the threat of autumn's first frost last night, I went out to harvest my farmer daughter's garden. Not pictured here are 4 delicious snap peas that I ate happily enroute.

I also wanted to make a birthday bouquet for a friend but when I poked around at the tale end of the season's offerings I thought to myself " Is this all there is?"

I had a moment of thinking that I needed to go and buy her some flowers. Then I looked a little closer and started clipping what was there. Amongst the hydrangeas, marigolds, and mums, there was also some kale, and mint, and sweet little yellow pedals on the broccoli that had gone to flower.




So I brought it all inside- and ta-da!- the experience went from being one of lack, to one of abundance. "Look at ALL there is," I thought to myself.

The same thing happened the other night when Mr. Fix-It was off at a game and the pantry was nearly empty. Not in the mood to shop or get take-out, I scrounged the kitchen. Before I knew it I had before me a whole wheat wrap with some chicken soy tenders from the freezer, melted Camembert cheese (thank you farmer girl), buffalo hot sauce, blue cheese dressing, and some garden veggies nestled inside of it.

And a glass of wine.

And the remote all to myself.

Ahhh. peace.

Peace be with you too.
xo


October 19, 2013

It's So Much Easier...

.... to just say "Thank You."

How often does someone give you a compliment and you try and brush it away?

Me too.

Then several years ago I read what a relief it is to just let the compliment in and say thank you.

Like a little present. Not just for you, but for them as well.

"If you say how lovely she is,

or how beautiful her art is, 

or compliment anything else her soul took part in, inspired, or suffused, 

something in her mind says she is undeserving and you, the complimentor, 

are an idiot for thinking such a thing to begin with. 

Rather than understand that the beauty of her soul shines through when she is being herself,

the woman changes the subject 

and effectively snatches nourishment away from the soul-self, 

which thrives on being acknowledged."


~Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs 



The #1 human need is to be acknowledged.

More this week from The Revelation Project

xoxo

October 11, 2013

Redefining




Award-winning director Sue Bourne explores the art of aging in a new documentary from the UK, with six extraordinary women whose average age is 80.

Love it.

All six women have something inspirational in common: a determination to keep going, to look fabulous and to have fun. Without botox or plastic surgery, these women are redefining old age. They are all wonderful but my favorite, besides 84-year-old model Daphne Selfe, who I've posted about previously, is Jillian Lynne.

Jillian, age 87, directed/choreographed Cats and staged The Phantom of the Opera.

Above is the piece on her. You can watch the full version of the documentary if interested here.

Thank you to Cindy for letting me know about this.

Also this week: Never thought I'd say this....but.... I am loving the AARP website, especially their posts about relationships.

Happy long weekend, dear readers of mine.
xo

October 03, 2013

Adaptation



More than 30 years ago my sister-in-law knit this hat for me from wool that she had dyed and spun. On Christmas she gave one to everyone in our family, in all arrays of color. We affectionately call them our Bonnie hats. Even my Dad used to wear one atop his bald head. Being knit in earth tones, I thought that it kind of made him look like he was wearing a wig.

Luckily I've never lost mine over the years, but it has stretched out, and I've been afraid that it might blow away with the wind. So today I decided to shrink it a little in some hot, soapy water, and put it out in the autumn sun to dry. This did the trick. I love it even more than before, because it's now slighted felted.


Tonight I harvested the leeks from the big vegetable and herb garden that my older daughter grew this summer. I brought them all inside and excitedly texted her to say that I was going to make leek soup.

She texted back, "I didn't grow leeks."

Hmmm...

Ha! It turns out they're huge scallions...

So I found what turned out to be a delicious scallion and potato soup recipe on Real Simple.

The only changes I made were that I used skim milk because we didn't have any heavy cream. (I put in 3-4 tablespoons of butter instead to compensate). I also sprinkled in some crushed red pepper. We also didn't have any white wine in the house...so I put in a 1/4 cup of gin :-)

Mr Fix-It loved it too.

After his second bowl, I told him about the substitutions.

When I got to the gin he said,

 "I really wish you hadn't told me that."  :-)

September 26, 2013

Into Place

Like a bird, I'm slowly settling into the empty nest here.

For the past several weeks when I've walked past the kid's bedrooms, with the sheets stripped on their beds, it's made me miss them even more. So today I made their beds, which makes their rooms look nicer and it's no longer a stark visual reminder that they aren't here.


This week on Humans of New York, they posted a picture of an older man who is also a dwarf (small person).

Under his photo was this quote:

"My philosophy is: 'If you like yourself, everything around you will fall into place.' "

Clearly there is a connection between people liking themselves and their contentedness in life. As well as a connection between people who felt loved, and accepted by their parents, and their contentedness in life.

So if we can just love, support, and accept kids, just as they are, and let them know it, we've really helped in the process.

God I hope I've done this. I really do. For the most part I think I have. However, I am sure there are places and times I've fallen short unfortunately.


Also this week, I thought I'd post this video that I made for a friend who is suffering from "Text Neck", as I have been. Caused by texting, "Text Neck" has many symptoms, like headaches, but for me, my right hand goes numb during the night, and sometimes even during the day.

It is the new epidemic, that can easily be confused with carpel tunnel syndrome.

The good news is that I have been doing this quick exercise before bed, and when I get up in the morning, and I am doing so much better. Amen!

Have a nice weekend everyone,
Louise
 


video



September 19, 2013

Time-lapse



Filmmaker, Anthony Cerniello, went to a friend's family reunion, along with photographer, Keith Sirchio, and shot portraits of various cousins through to the oldest relatives. All with similar bone structure. The photos were then pasted together and the result is this wonderful, subtle piece, which I think so well illustrates the beauty of aging.

I love how faces soften over the years. Kind of like what happens with driftwood, sea glass, and pebbles on a beach. Kind of like what happens with our favorite clothes when we've worn them over and over again, well read hardcover books, and windblown sails.

Thank you to Caroline for sending this clip along to me.

Also this week I wanted to tell you about my new favorite thing, in case you haven't already heard about it: 

Humans of New York.

Twenty-nine year old photographer Brandon Stanton, takes photos of strangers on the streets of New York and asks them questions. I love the honesty in his project. He's just out with his first book.

I especially like looking at the photos, because of how they are formatted, on Facebook.

Photography is a such a wonderful thing.



September 12, 2013

The 7 Rules of Life

How sweet are these cement pots?

They are from a company called Terrain. My knitwear designer friend, Kristin, posted about them and I just had to repost. So yummy.

They also come in a short, squat variety.

They remind me of this small porcelain cup that I have on my dinner table that I put matches in by Alyssa Ettinger.

I glued a match striker on the bottom of it, for easy lighting. Being a knitter, I especially love these. My photo fails miserably however in showing how delicate the cup actually is.

Better photos on Ettinger's site.

Tonight I discovered former British fashion designer, turned potter, Annette Bugansky.

Her work is just H E A V E N L Y.

Check out her google images if you have a second.


As of this past Sunday, we are empty nesters again. Where as last fall it seemed like a lovely novelty, this time around it seems a little lonely.

Just a little.

Perhaps I just need to do something creative, instead of putting out logistical fires.

Time to knit again maybe.

Lastly, I like these 7 rules of life. One for each day of the week.

Happy weekend to you all. xo




September 07, 2013

Finding a Way

Being a competitive swimmer, I have been entranced this week with Diana Nyad's triumph of swimming 110 miles from Cuba to Key West, at the ripe age of 64. If you haven't heard, she swam for 53 hours straight. Yep. Unbelievable really. I can't think of an athletic endeavor more challenging than what she has done.

Diana has said that her mantra throughout the swim was "Find a way."  Find a way to deal with strong headwinds, incredible exhaustion, the threat of sharks, and enduring the chill of two long, dark nights.  Find a way to deal with an uncomfortable face mask to protect her from life threatening jelly fish, the inability to keep food down, the loneliness.

As she said, " It's so easy to talk ourselves out of things." 

Just as inspiring, in a totally different way, is the clip below of Arthur Boorman, who was told for 15 years that he would never walk unassisted again.

The power of yoga.

The power of deciding to find a way.

Thank you to Chrissy for finding this.


August 30, 2013

Switching to Love

Being in the middle of launching a food product is at times a consuming endeavor. Logistically, and emotionally. Sometimes I feel like a little cricket with either excitement or anxiety, depending on the day (or hour). It has really been a practice of being in the moment, and not worrying about all the what-ifs. Of just taking it one day at a time. Of putting one foot in front of the other, and living in a place of not knowing. Trusting the mystery. The process of it, of whatever it might be.

Of knowing that in any situation I will hopefully choose the best route or at least learn from my mistakes.

We can apply this to so many situations in life.

On another front, you know that feeling in your body when you are experiencing lack of ease? When you are worried or are being judgmental of those around you? Like when you just want to split and go read a book? I had this experience again recently of being in an uncomfortable situation. I decided in my head to just throw the love in my heart at it, without even saying anything-  instead of paying attention to all the mish-mash that was going on in my head and making me tense.

My dad use to say "just love people."

Dropping the ball worked like a dream. It was like I put down my emotional dukes and dropped the bone. Changed the channel- from one of judgment- to that of love.

It kind of felt like I had popped a pill. What were the pills stressed-out housewives use to take in the 50s? Just had to google it....oh yes: valium.

Switch to love.

It's kind of like taking a valium :-)

xo

August 20, 2013

On My Stairs


I am heading off on a road trip with my eldest daughter to take our youngest to her first year of college in Pennsylvania.

A 10 hour drive each way.

Goodness. ( but I say this in more than one way, I hope).

Happy that Jet Blue flies to Boston inexpensively the next four years,

to bring her home to me.


I miss her warmth already.


It was just yesterday that she was a content little baby sitting in her baby chair,

happily listening to classical music.

Parenthood really is an exercise in letting go. Over and over again.


Anyway,  I thought this is an appropriate time to post the message that has been living above our stairway the last few months.

A daughter fairy put it there.

Keeping the peace.


Peace be with you too.

August 17, 2013

12 + 8 = Heaven


A few weeks ago I set a bedtime for myself for first time ever. I read recently, once again, how important it is for our bodies, minds, and spirits to get a good night's sleep. Being the perennial night owl that I am however, this has always been a challenge for me. I love the quiet of the night. It feels so blissful.

So lately I've been getting into bed at 11:00'ish and giving myself an hour to read or whatever. Lights out at midnight. Eight hours of sleep. Heaven.

The old me might have been in bed by midnight but frequently it was 1AM or even later until I hit the hay.

It's strange, but I can't tell you what a relief it is to have a bedtime. Being better rested I feel better in numerous ways. I am sure the cool, dry nighttime air this past month has helped too.

For as long as I can remember my mom has taken a 20 minute nap in the middle of the day. She sets the timer on the stove for 20 minutes and stretches out on a couch. She has said it's the perfect amount of time to rejuvenate herself. I have always found it remarkable that she does this. To do it within the chaos of the day.

Also this week I wanted to share the id/ego chart that my friend Cindy sent me. I love this chart as it's such a great reminder what to focus on, and not focus on, for optimal happiness.

As I've said before, we are what we think about.

What we think about, we become.

Hope you're all enjoying the last weeks of summer. xoxo, Louise.




August 09, 2013

One Taste

"One taste" is a Buddhist expression. Just as the ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so does the taste of liberation. The taste of truth.

Early in June I posted about the Tantra workshop that Tom and I did for our 25th anniversary. My 91-year-old mom was recently reading Lines of Beauty and mentioned that she had read the post. She was curious if anyone had contacted me about it. I said that they had not. I said that I knew that I was sticking my neck out a little on the post, and perhaps I lost a few readers with my honesty. I also assured her that Tantra is an age old practice that originated in medieval India and reassured her that Tom and I have a committed relationship with each other.

I also explained that the topic of sex is no longer a taboo one. In fact it has sadly gone to another extreme I feel with the younger generation.

But at the heart of this subject is a very natural, healthy, wonderful thing, and as Nicole Daedone, founder of One Taste, says in the TEDx video below, many women are hungry for something they can't quite reach. They work too hard, eat too much, diet too much, drink too much, shop too much, and give too much. The western women's mantra she calls it.

A sense of hunger that can't seem to be touched.

Without explaining any more, have a listen to this when you are folding laundry, or driving in the car.

I doubt you will be bored or wish that you hadn't.

xo,
Louise


July 30, 2013

Faking It





I first heard about Dr. Brene Brown when I watched her powerful piece on shame on Ted Talks a few years ago. Recently my sister suggested a great book she was reading called The Gifts of Imperfection. It took me awhile to put two and two together that it was written by the same person.

Perfectionism permeates our culture. Brene Brown explains it has only worsened since 9/11 because everyone feels so vulnerable.

As she says, if we want to be happy we have to stop striving to be so perfect.

I think happiness comes from loving ourselves more. We love our self ( and others) more when we can embrace our imperfections.

Brene Brown is speaking at the Women and Power Retreat September 20-22 at Omega Institute.

I would love to go if I can swing it.

July 23, 2013

Heads-Up




I have been suffering from carpal tunnel'ish symptoms that I am pretty sure are being caused by looking down at my Iphone. They started around the holidays this past year and I didn't put two and two together, until recently, that just twelve weeks prior I had started using a smartphone. I've been waking in the middle of the night with a numb right hand, which is so damn annoying I can't tell you. My chiropractor thinks it's from a pinched nerve in my neck, not carpal tunnel issues, but either way I think it's caused by looking down at my Iphone.

 Grrrr.

Anyway, I thought I would post this smartphone ergonomics video for y'all so that you don't end up in the same boat as me, if you haven't already.

Yet another reason to leave our smartphones behind.

Do chime in if you've had similar issues. Readers have been emailing to say that it's hard to successfully leave comments on here. If you are having issues I think the best way around this is to leave comments anonymously (in the drop-down box) of the comments section below.

Thank you m'dears.
xo

July 17, 2013

All You Need

video


It's been a doozy of a week here. One of my daughters had surgery on her nose for a deviated septum, which compared to many surgeries is minor, but was still quite an ordeal none the less. Poor little critter. It's not helpful that I am a bit of a woos unfortunately in medical situations.

And the heat wave! Oh my gawd, the heat...

I have also come face to face with the issue of accountability as of late. It's not appropriate to go into details but I will say this:

I think the human default when we error in life is sometimes to get defensive about our actions and get into our "story". This can waste all sorts of extra energy and cause further conflict. I know I have certainly done this.

But the reality is all we really need to do is step back, and acknowledge that we screwed up, and apologize.

It's really so simple when we can just take our ego out of it.


I have also heard this week about something called the "release technique" for when we are confronted with negative thoughts or situations. For instance, we might say to our self, "I didn't get enough sleep last night!" but then you respond to yourself with "It's not so bad."

Oh my god it's so hot out!

It's not so bad :-)


Thank you to Sandi for sending in the above silent clip in response to last week's post.

And have a good week my friends.
xo

July 07, 2013

Take Me There

Mother's Day
Since my mom moved to the area a year ago we've been church hopping a few times each month. Having not ever been religious, and not having gone to church since I was young, it has been a nice change for me.

I especially like the hour spent alone with my thoughts in church.

And that I can spend time with her at the same time.

Alone, together.

Sometimes, a sermon will bring me to tears it's so relate-able.

Sometimes, I drift away, and hardly catch a word.

Anyway, I think we've finally discovered a church that suits us both. I knew it when the choir of mixed ages sang the Beatle's "All You Need Is Love."


Go out into the world in peace.
Have Courage.
Hold on to what is good.
Return to no person evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Support the weak.
Help the suffering.
Honor all beings.

~Adapted from Paul's letter to the Thessalonians


June 26, 2013

Hiatus

I took my mamacita to the countryside in eastern New York this past weekend to celebrate her youngest grand baby's graduation from high school. She brought her bathing suit along for the ride but decided later that she was content in the shade, under the big blue umbrella.

Too much work getting a bathing suit on and off, especially for a ninety-one year old.

"Been there, done that!" she exclaimed happily. We all chuckled.

I know what she means, in more ways than one, and I have a hunch that you do too.

I am on a lovely annual four-week hiatus from my not-full-time job. Some of you might not know that I've worked as a household manager/personal cook/real estate manager since the bottom fell out of the economy in 2008. I call it my mid-life crisis job. It's close-by, pays well, and it's fun. Kind of like playing Martha Stewart with someone else's credit card. I am living the life that I didn't get to live when my kids were young and I had to commute into Boston for work.

But here at home, with my real family (or my "first family" as I refer to them), I am still struggling to launch the natural food product with my business partner. The bad news is that we still haven't launched. The good news is that we're still optimistic. With four shelf- life evaluations, and a second round at trademarking, I've had moments though of wanting to throw the towel in.

No wonder people don't launch food products.

However, if we launch, it's going to be good.

And hopefully, in more ways than one.


I hope you're enjoying the summer.

Here in New England, they say that summer is to the rest of the year, like the weekend is to the week.

Or something like that.

Personally, the heat knocks almost all ambition out of me!

XO,
Louise




June 19, 2013

Having a Baby



I thought I'd celebrate our 25th anniversary and my 53rd year with a baby.


Just kidding!


The two GUYS in this video, however, signed up to see what labor is really like. Brave men that they are.

I thought maybe we could all use a good laugh to start the summer off.

Thank you to Chris for sending this in.


Happy almost summer solstice to you all,

Louise




Labor Pain Simulation from Kensington on Vimeo.

June 12, 2013

The Breath of Life


After last week's scare, I was grateful to be able to head off with Tom to celebrate our 25th anniversary with a weekend workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.  I have been drooling over their body, mind, and spirit course offerings for many years.

The course we took was essentially about love, intimacy, and tantra sex.

I don't think it was a coincidence that Tom's anaphylactic shock episode and this workshop came together within 3 days of each other.

Tantra originated in medieval India.

I first heard of tantra or tantric sex several years ago when HBO featured it on their show Real Sex.  While watching it I thought, "Wow. This really takes sex and intimacy (and energy) to whole new level." The show piqued my interest and I never forgot about it.

You might be wondering if last weekend was one big orgy. It was not. In fact it didn't involve anything too strange, although it did put me outside my comfort zone at times.

Which is good.

The workshop was basically about breathing, and creating an energy flow, in part by squeezing the PC muscle, and bearing down with the stomach muscles.

Tantra is about channeling sexual energy, that normally leaves during orgasm, back into the body.

Kind of like recycling :-)

When we focus on the "grand finale" we miss an amazing range of pleasure. So instead of having a relatively quick genital orgasm what happens is that you are able to have a full body orgasm that goes on and on.

I kid you not.

And the beauty of it is that you don't need to have a partner to garner this energy and pleasure.

I will say no more but to add that I highly recommend taking a tantra class. What a great way to usher in the second half of life, create greater intimacy, and deepen pleasure.

Dr. Christianne Northrup has said that "Sexual energy is one of our most powerful energies for creating health. Our stress hormones lower and serotonin shoots through the roof."


If you are still with me, and curious, below is a video made several years ago by Steve and Lokita Carter of Ecstatic Living Institute, who taught our class.

They journeyed all the way from California and were terrific teachers.



   

June 07, 2013

Fragility


We had the scare of our lives on Tuesday.

Mr. Fix-It was prepping for a colonoscopy.

He drank his first glass of the PEG solution and within 90 seconds he said he knew something wasn't right.

Luckily our younger daughter was here and called to tell me he had broken out in hives.

I told her what to look for and said if he went south to quickly call an ambulance.



In a short amount of time Tom's chest started to tighten, his lips and hands swelled, and he went into anaphylactic shock. 

His blood pressure began to plummet and he blacked out. 

Our daughter called 911, and while the paramedics were en route, he was able to make it from the rec room up to the first floor. 

When they arrived they gave him a EpiPen shot and he fainted.

In the ambulance the paramedics where saying "Tom stay with us buddy!" and things like that. He wasn't responding to questions.


I arrived at the hospital after the ambulance had arrived, as did our older daughter.


We ran into the emergency room but they said he was out in the ambulance because they were still working on him  (low blood pressure).



This is when I knew he was really in trouble.



The weird thing is that 5-6 hours later, after being stabilized, he was back on his feet like nothing had happened.

He feels fine now but is on a steroid to counteract the PEG solution in his system.

Tom has said more than once how amazingly calm and helpful our daughter remained.


He was able to remain calm as well.

She saved his life.



Left untreated anaphylaxus is deadly, because eventual swelling of the throat will cause suffocation.

It has taken time to put my arms around what happened, and didn't happen.

Even now I can't stop thinking about it. The reverberations are still washing over me. 

Still putting the pieces together.

Life is so fragile.

What happened was life altering for all of us, I think.

I'm just so happy to still have my sweetheart, who I married 25 years ago this month.

I hesitated posting this because I don't want to ever dissuade people from having a colonoscopy. The reaction that Tom had from PEG is HIGHLY unlikely- in fact, nearly impossible to find statistics of on the web.

The lesson we learned however is take the signs of allergic reaction seriously, and get help, immediately. 

Don't wait. 

As soon as the hives broke out he should have been on his way to the hospital.

We know this now. 

With love to all my readers,
Louise

May 29, 2013

At My Doorstep


Life really does go by faster the older we grow.

My mom use to say this but I didn't quite understand it until more recently. It kind of freaks me out now how fast the months come and go.

For instance, my dad died twelves years ago this past week.

Twelve years, just like that, come and gone, so easily.

I will feel very lucky if I get to live 3 more sets of twelve years, which will put me at age 88.

52 + 12 +12 +12 = 88...

Oh my.


Here is what I know of death- the pain of losing my Dad certainly lightened over time but I never stop missing him.


He was such a kind and loving soul. Full of goodness, through and through.

In celebration of him I took his ladylove on a short field trip to the Concord River on Friday, where we launched 6 paper boats in his honor. One for each of his five children, and her.


She was delighted.

As was I, to have had the moment.

To stop long enough in the whirlwind of life and not only remember the day, but to pause long enough to acknowledge him, and the hole his absence has left.

And to give my mom an extra squeeze.

To set a boat or two afloat.

But not adrift.

For the man who loved to sail.


May 22, 2013

Shades of Summer

The other day I was looking through old photos and came across this one. Several years ago a scout from Country Living magazine came into my booth at The SoWa Market in Boston. I was doing my felted wool line in full force back then and she said she might like to feature me in an upcoming issue.

After touching base later that week the scout said she was still considering me and asked if I could send her photos of our home.

"Sure!" I said.

But in my mind it was shear panic as our house was undergoing a major construction project. Most of our lawn was ripped out, we had temporary walls up, everything was in disarray. And there was dust everywhere.

So I spent the next two days in the summer heat taking photos, amidst the plaster and chaos. Vacuuming, dusting, primping, creating little visual vignettes. It was crazy. It was fun, but a lot of work.


I emailed her all the photos and a few days later she contacted me, apologizing, because she had lost her job. She said that all the info she had gathered on me would go into the "felted wool file" at the magazine but she couldn't make any promises about what would happen next.

Someone did eventually call me from the magazine to feature my line at the Country Living Fair but I never did make it into the magazine.

Maybe my house wasn't "country living" enough for them.

Oh well, I like the photos I took and I'll enjoy reminiscing with them again when I'm an old lady perhaps.

On a more inspiring note, Mr. Fix-it and my older daughter recently built five raised garden beds and she has been hard at work planting organic veggies and herbs that she raised from seed, which is exciting.

My hope is that her bounty will be big enough that we can set up a little self-serve farm stand and send the proceeds to Safe Passage, the school in Guatemala where our youngest interned this year.

This is jumping the gun, but maybe we'll even name the farm "Safe Passage Farm" partly because the produce will have had an organic, safe passage themselves. I feel the liberty to say this only because she is leaving me to babysit "the farm" while she does an internship this summer in California!

I'll keep you posted...

I hope you're all enjoying the spring.

XO,
Louise


May 14, 2013

Long Ago & Far Away



I've been taking a trip down memory line.

Long ago and far away.

But sometimes it feels like yesterday.

This song takes me back to my teenage bedroom with the blue, white and green daisy wallpaper, and the brown wood shutters that I stained myself with my father's encouragement.

I use to listen to it on my record player while lying on my bed, on my back, staring up at the ceiling.

I had taken my bed off its frame and put it flat on the floor, following in my four older, hippie sibling's footsteps.

No matter where teenagers were in their lives back then, listening to Seventeen helped to dull the pain of being one perhaps.

Janis Ian received 461 valentines the year it came out.


In my teenage bedroom, her album Between The Lines rivaled number of times played with Carole King's album Tapestry. There were so many songs on that album that I loved. Most notably Lover's Lullaby and When the Party's Over.


"In books and magazines of how to be
and what to see while you are being
Before and after photographs
teach how to pass from reaching to believing
We live beyond our means on other peoples' dreams
and that's succeeding."

Out of the mouth of a babe.
Between the Lines
Janis Ian, age 22.


May 08, 2013

The Find

Google image search for Kilim boots


The older I grow the less I like to go shopping. Number one, I am pretty frugal, and number two, I get bored quickly. If I am on a mission and shopping for something in particular, I enjoy shopping more-  but basically, I would rather be home making something than buying.

Then last summer, when I was the design coordinator on one of Tom's construction projects, I discovered a great way to find what I am looking for with Google Images. This might be old news to many of you but to me it was a fabulous discovery.  For instance, instead of googling the words "Mexican sinks", I hit the image tab on google for "Mexican Sinks" and there, in full color, was every sink of this type on the web, like magic. Viola!

Back in 1983, I bought a pair of Kilim boots that were made in Morocco. Over the years I have loved and worn these boots countess times and had them resoled at least 3 times. But there comes a time when 30 year old boots have to be put to rest. The problem was that I couldn't find a pair to replace them ANYWHERE. I searched high and low online. Then last fall, they finally hit the market again, and I found them with a Google image search. Score! This made me very happy.

Another great source for finding more of what we love is Ebay. It's a good place to find something we already have but has seen better days. For instance, pants I've bought and wish that I'd purchased two pairs of. Just look for the style number inside and chances are you can find the same beloved ones on Ebay.  Sometimes brand spanking new too.

Okay I'll shut up now.

I hope I haven't bored you to tears with this post!


One more thing before I go.....I am finally working on a Lines of Beauty Pinterest.

If you have a Pinterest, follow me if you would like, so I can follow you.

Thank you dear readers of mine.
XO


April 30, 2013

More Than We Think




Two weeks ago Dove's latest project, Real Beauty Sketches was launched on Youtube and already has had over 35 million hits. If you haven't yet seen it, I think you might find it interesting. In the experiment women were asked to describe themselves to a forensic artist who drew them without being able to see them. Each woman was then drawn again but this time with a stranger describing them to the artist instead.

The result:

How other people see us is quite often much more favorable then how we see ourselves.

We all spend time being self-conscious about certain things that other people aren't even paying attention to!

For instance, how many times have we all had a zit and thought that it's the only thing people can see when they look at us?

Ahhh, I guess it's just human nature. It's not always all about the media and what is fed to us through big business. I bet way back when, like in the pioneering days for instance, women were still self-conscious when they got a zit.

Anyway, I've been impressed with Dove over the years and the messages they're trying to instill, whilst making a buck at the same time. They always get their share of bad press, as this one did, but on the whole I like where their head is.

If you missed Dove's Evolution of Beauty you can catch it here.

Also if you've already seen Real Beauty Sketches and you're ready for the parody/ guy version, it can be found here :-)


Hope you are having a good week,

XO,
Louise

April 24, 2013

One Ringy Dingy

Ever since I got an Iphone last year I've been kind of consumed by it. There is hardly ever a dull moment anymore, such as waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for anything. I knew it would be this way and that is why I resisted. But then my camera broke and I was need of a new phone because mine was hanging literally by a thread. And I loved that handy wonderful little camera on the Iphone. Plus I blog and I need a smartphone. Right?

So I bought one.

And that's when all hell broke loose.

Kind of.

Truth be told, I am an information junky. Like so many people, I catch a buzz from the internet. It makes me happy. I like getting my questions answered in lightening speed. Smartphone makes me feel.....smarter.

Plus I am always entertained.

Until I am not.

Our blood pressure goes up every time we hear our phone ring, or hear the ding of an email arriving, or a text. It's like all day long we get these little presents in our phone. But these little presents are often problems that arrive. Emails that need to be addressed. Distractions that rob our time, and our soul, from doing what we really want or need to be doing.

Author Unknown

Sometimes by day's end I just want to throw the little fucker across the room.

It also makes me sad that the first thing people do when they come out of a class or a meeting is check their phone. It's the perfect escape for people who are afraid to be, or don't want to be, together.

Like me sometimes.

And then there is my aging mother who in reality I have PRECIOUS little time to spend with, even though she's just 3 miles from me now. When I am with her my phone exaggerates the tug of war of needing to take care of life's details and spending uninterrupted time with her.

I imagine you know what I mean.

And then there is my friend who found out recently that her twenty-six year old son has brain cancer. And the tumor is right where he has been holding his phone all these years (see video below).

Oh my dear,dear darlin'.


Maybe it's related to cell phones, maybe it isn't, but with all this said, I vow to leave my phone in the car much more often.

We don't need to be accessible 24/7. It's stressful to always be on call.

I also vow to not carry it around with me as many of us always do.

I vow to charge it, not next to my bed as I've been doing at night, but across the room.


Basically I vow to give myself the break,

and the peace of mind,

that I've been sorely missing.


April 17, 2013

Camino Seguro

Antiqua, Guatemala


After six days of having to watch our backs in Guatemala, it was a relief to get off the plane Monday night and be back on safer ground. The first thing we heard about however was the horrific Boston Marathon bombings. Such terribly sad news. It's hard to imagine any of it. It led me to think about the sheer panic many of the runners must have felt, after running almost 26 exhausting miles, to not know if their loved ones waiting at the finish line for them were okay, or not.


The trip down to Guatemala with my older daughter to visit my younger daughter, who has been interning at Safe Passage, was an experience to say the least. I don't think tears have filled my eyes as much as they did there since losing my Dad almost twelve years ago.  They were tears of sadness. Of gratitude. Of admiration, and even of joy. What the teachers, interns, and support staff are doing at Safe Passage is incredibly inspiring.

My girls going to catch the early morning bus to Safe Passage.
Safe Passage was started in 1999 by a 29 year-old-woman from Maine, named Hanley Denning, who went down to Guatemala to study Spanish. While there she saw such a need for help that she sold her car and belongings back home and started the school.

Many of the parents, of the now 500+ impoverished students who attend Safe Passage, work in the huge dump near the school in Guatemala City. They do not have jobs there but rather try to scrape together an existence by recycling and selling ( and eating) what they can scavenge from the dump.

While sipping a decaf on the 2nd day at the school it occurred to me that the cost of what filled my cup was more than the average person makes in a day. I couldn't get rid of it fast enough.
Hotel Aurora where we stayed for $85/day including taxes and breakfast :-)

On the flip side, our time in Antigua, where we stayed, was a tapestry of incredible beauty. Antigua was founded in 1543 and the cobblestone roads, ancient architecture, brilliant colors, textures, and amazing handwork were a constant delight to me. I knew that they would be but it all far exceeded my expectations.

Simply put, it was glorious.

And so was spending time with my two daughters. We had never been away alone together, and as I told them, I know it will forever be a highlight of my life.