Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pink Champagne

Ringing in the New Year!

I'm kicking off my shoes and wishing you an incredible 2012. 

Hoping it's one filled with love, peace, joy and clarity!

I am watching "An Affair to Remember" tonight while writing this post before heading out to a get together with friends, old & new.  Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr are drinking Pink Champagne.  It brings back so many memories of years gone by. I love old movies.  It drives my boys crazy.  I don't know what it is but maybe simpler times and sweet endings.

OK, I'm sappy.....

But this morning I am looking forward....with clarity.....and a deep desire for a joyful new year!

Life is so rich.  Hold every moment close.

Mendocino in my twenties...

"New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights."  ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Endings and Beginnings....

Yup....2012 is almost upon us!

For me, this last week has been one for reflecting on what transpired during 2011. 

All of it...the good, the bad and the in between are equally important because they are all teachers in this journey we call "life"!

I have also thought about what changes I hope to see in my life in 2012.  Not huge, drastic transitions but small steps that lead to bigger, more permanent change.  Some of these shifts are very obvious and others need a little deeper thought.


Just now while adjusting a load of laundry in the washing machine, my son asked why it was "clonking and moving like it was....what makes it do that?"

I replied "I placed a rug in that load and now the machine is out of balance."

Mmmm....what was my one little word for 2012?   Balance.

Made me think about things, even laundry, going out of balance and how other things need to overcompensate for that lopsided and wobbly part of life.


Today is a cold,
gray day
and a good one
for meditating
on what is in
& out of balance
in my life.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”—Mary Oliver

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Morning Has Broken....

"Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning.
Praise for them springing fresh from the world." 
- Cat Stevens

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry, merry....

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career
however humble;
it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you
to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham,
drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.”

   -- Max Ehrmann  (Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

One Little Word for 2012

In January of 2011 I chose a word to integrate into my life and that word was "intention". 

I loved having a single word that I could chew on and spit out, keep it in my pocket and ponder over. 

It is very different than making a New Year's resolution.  You don't HAVE to do anything.  But you end up wanting to make subtle changes.  That's why OLW works for me! 

Over the last few months I have been "trying on" several different words for the upcoming year. 

A few weeks ago the word "simplify" felt like it was my word. 

Mr. B and I tend to hold onto everything we ever owned and I don't even think we have been able to walk through the garage in over a year. 

Well, several of our boys have moved back in and out and back in again.  They also use the garage for storage of things they don't need right now. (Boy's if you are reading this, you better come over soon and clear out your things before I get out the Bobcat!)

OK - That's another whole story.  Moving on.........

I loved everything about the aspect of "simplify". 

But then three day's ago another word popped into my soul and I knew it would be my new word for 2012.

B A L A N C E.......

It's where I am at in so many aspects of my life. 






Ellen in Monterey

I have always tended to be a black & white sort of person. 

You know, hard to see the gray areas - of which there are so many!  

It's either life or death ........hey - there's a lot of gray in between there!

Yes or about "I'll think about it"? 

Clean or dirty, open or closed, happy or sad.
Friend or enemy.
On or off, up or down.
Well, you get the picture. 

Life has so many beautiful, gorgeous gray's.....

Try to look for the lovely gray's in your life.  Just for today!

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. " --Thomas Merton

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the Little Things

Looking for the "little things" in my life, has helped me to slow down this season.


Finding a rose that is still blooming this late in the season.

Enjoying the smile from a stranger and returning it to another person.

Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.

Finding a "lucky penny" and placing it in my shoe.

Turning on the lights for our Dickens Village and Christmas Tree.

Lighting the logs in the fireplace and curling up with the doggies.

Watching "The Bishop's Wife" for the ----well let's just say for many times.  Or "It's A Wonderful Life" for even more times!

Enjoying Holiday cards from friends and family.

Hanging a heart ornament that Mr. B and I bought in Taos almost 30 years ago.

And finding out that a friend of mine bakes 70-dozen cookies every year.....and I don't!!!


Yep you read that right.


Let's do the math....mmmm...that would be 8 hundred and 40 cookies!

I'm wondering how many pounds of buttah......?'s the little things and a good chuckle!

"Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself." --Henry Miller

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tree Day

I had a full day yesterday.  From 6am until 10pm, I was gone from home.  I drove to a painting class in Tomales, then worked at the Gallery in Lafayette, came home to change clothes just in time to return to Lafayette Gallery for a Holiday Reception in the evening. 

This morning Mr. B and our oldest son Andy left for the country for a few days but before they did, I asked them to pick out a Christmas tree and place it in it's stand so I could begin to decorate while they were gone.  

Can't you just smell that wonderful pine tree?

Oh yeah..... Andy and Tyler had to take 352 Christmas boxes down from the attic. (Jon - you lucked out this year!)

Actually, I think I have consolidated it down to 68 boxes now.  But I'll have to ask them because I have actually double numbered several (10-20) boxes so that they wouldn't give me such a tough time about my hoarding problem.  N-e-e-d h-e-l-p - s-o-o-n-!

So today (with my new "Enjoy the Holiday's" theme) I began to put lights on the tree. I put on some old fashioned holiday music, fed the songbirds, turned the tree to it's best angle (but there was no one to say - "a little to the left..... no forward...... no back a little more,, not that way, the other the other, other way.......honey, this is the best tree ever!)

The first 3 strands of lights where burned out and the rest were so tangled that I couldn't keep with my "Enjoy the Holiday's" theme unless I ran down to the hardware store to purchase several new strands.  So several hours later, I began the music again and began to light the tree.

I ran out of lights half way through so had to head back to the hardware store. 

 It felt a little like "Groundhog Day.....if you know what I mean?

But I was in a great mood - remember "Enjoy the Holiday's" theme?  I whistled while I drove Mr. B's new car to the store to pick up a few more strands.  Well I whistled in my head.

I wore my flip flops.  Beautiful weather today......Fa la la la la......

The cashier said "Weren't you here earlier?"

Me  -  "Yes sir-ree....I just needed a few more strands, ho, ho, ho!!!"

Whistled (in my head) all the way home.

Finished lighting the tree, put out some decorations around the house and began to put ornaments on the tree.  After 5 hours, I decided that if I really wanted to "Enjoy the Holiday's", I had better call it quits for the day and pick up tomorrow where I left off.

I love hanging each ornament and remembering where Mr. B and I bought it or who gave it to us.  I remember our economic circumstances when I hung the ornaments we bought or made early in our marriage.  They were hung with paper clips because that was all we had.  They are still attached. 

Sweet memories.  Warm, cozy memories. 

Hope you are enjoying your December?

"Well,"said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. - Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Slowing Down

 This year for the holiday's I have "intentions" of slowing down.  

Not physically (there I hope to speed up a little) but in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. 

Remember what is truly important.  

Enjoying friends and family
Good food cooked together
Date night with Mr. B.
Relaxing by the fire
Cozy slippers and a good book!  
Feeding the songbirds
Enjoying my doggies
Spending time outside in nature. 
Flannel sheets! 

We have so much to be grateful for.....

I am taking a class with Tracey Clark from The Shutter Sisters called "Picture the Holiday's"
It's a gentle reminder to "breathe" this month and enjoy the little things around me.

Enjoy December my dear friends....

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? 

It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” -- Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lightness of Being

Junie-Maroonie - my niece

Last evening I got a text from my friend "J".  While we don't get together too often, when we do, it just feels like "home".  Neither of us are very "high tech" people but we can email and text and....oh yeah, sometimes blog!

Our text last night began over concerns about a mutual friend of ours who is in the hospital.  The evening ended in laughter and tears.  I'll tell you, there is nothing like a good ol' belly laugh to relax your body and remind you that you need to laugh.......and often!

Our waiter in Avignon (must of been my pronunciation of Diet Coke please!)

Here goes - typo's and all....

ME - Jill is doing great. I walked here up & down the hallway today!!

J - Great.  U walked the hallway or she did?

ME - Sorry.  I walked with her (Jill).  Up and down the hallway!
ME - Actually I probably needed the workout more than her!!!

J - Ok that makes more sense.  I thought u were proud of yourself for the walk!

ME - I am! ! !
ME - Thanks for the rose & dogwood info too!

J - Btw.  What's next on the schedule?  Nantucket, France ???

ME - I had to cancel my trip to France in June as Jon is graduating from Cal Poly on June 10th.
ME - When can the three of us get together?

J - January?  Maybe for a couple days-we can take over the apartment and plan our next trip.
J - Sh******, I need to buy and puck up my painting b4 Xmas.

Me - Okey dokey.  Let's book it!

J - Pick
J - Why r u so fast at this?  New phone?
J - U home for the holidays?
J - Forget what I just said "slow poke"!

ME - Yes.  We will be home.  And I will mail or

J - Or what?

ME - OK I was just trying to compose my message girlfriend!

J - Lol

Me - Is hubby helping you QuickDraw ?

J - What's that

Me - Or what is that I will bring it to PA.

J - Okely dokely
J - Let's check in next week

Me - Quick Draw mcGraw was a TV show.  And FYI I'm crying now because you crack me up!

J - R u drunk
J - Now that makes me laugh.
J - Are u skinny, medium, or fat?
J - I'm door #3 - fat.

Me - I just read our text to Jim and he is crying now too.  Good going!
Me - Me too...what will we do.  You are not Fat.  Just beautiful.
Me.  Next week.  Painting delivered.  Lunch?

J - What will we do?  Talk about our plan when I c u.

Me - I mean diet lunch?

J - Next week is BAD.  What about the following week

Me - Okey dokey.

J - Perfect.  Hi to Jimmy baby

Crystal clear.....right?

You know how when you are texting and the person responds faster than you can answer.  That's what was going on and we never really got in sync.

I think we will hook up eventually.

Maybe in Nantucket or possibly France......

Tyler at the Boadwalk - delighted to be "driving a car" with his big brother!

TJ & Jon - happy to be playful

Tyler laughing at himself for hamming it up for the camera

Paul & TJ - my nephews

Sweet, sweet Cal - my grand nephew

Jodi - my friend laughing at playing Canasta in Tahoe

Junie - Maroonie & Andy

My parents - Betty & Cal - happy to be at the World Series

Mark & Mr. B - (private joke) while boating in Tahoe
Me & Jackie in Paris
Even dogs have a lightness of being!! Especially if they live in Carmel!

“Laughter is carbonated holiness.”  ― Anne Lamott

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble Gobble....

Our son Tyler used to recite this poem to our family every Thanksgiving.

What a wonderful memory because he was so cute in second grade and because it was exactly how we all felt after our big meal.  

Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Hope you are enjoying time spent with your family and friends!

Ate Too Much Turkey
By Jack Prelutsky

I ate too much turkey,
I ate too much corn,
I ate too much pudding and pie,
I'm stuffed up with muffins
and much too much stuffin',
I'm probably going to die.
I piled up my plate
and I ate and I ate,
but I wish I had known when to stop,
for I'm so crammed with yams,
sauces, gravies, and jams
that my buttons are starting to pop.
I'm full of tomatoes
and french fried potatoes,
my stomach is swollen and sore,
but there's still some dessert,
so I guess it won't hurt
if I eat just a little bit more.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...