Life and everything else

  • The road - “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he [Bilbo] used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Bilbo knew what he was talking about! Whether the road is literal or figurative or, as I … Continue reading The road
  • Don’t finish what you start - When I was in my 20s (shockingly long time ago that was!), reading The Far Pavilions got me interested in learning more about the Khyber Pass, so I bought a book on it. Despite the interesting subject matter, the book was the most boring book I had ever read. Even though my boyfriend suggested I … Continue reading Don’t finish what you start
  • Love Language - Originally posted on Not Inclined To Resign To Maturity:
    Love languages have been on my mind lately, in part because of Skype conversations with my oldest sister, Melissa. We haven’t actually discussed love or love languages, but what we have done is engaged in amusing ways to say goodbye to each other as we sign…
  • Beauty for Elka - When my friend Jeff married Elka several years ago, I lucked out because while at first she was ‘Jeff’s wife,’ over the years she became ‘my friend Elka.’ I remember saying to Jeff one night, as he drove me to my train after a visit, that I liked Elka more and more every time I saw her. About … Continue reading Beauty for Elka
  • Be of good cheer - New Year’s Day is generally a non-event for me. Sure, if I’m with people, I’ll enjoy whatever rituals and traditions they have, but I don’t expect to feel that life has been ‘rebooted’ and is all bright and shiny just because the calendar says it’s the start of a new year. This year, though, I … Continue reading Be of good cheer
  • The fabric of life - Sadly, I went to a funeral yesterday in Stia. A local shopkeeper, someone my friend Catherine and I knew from numerous visits to his shop, died tragically. Although we had committed to attending a workshop at the wool museum, we knew we had to attend the funeral Mass. It didn’t matter that neither of us … Continue reading The fabric of life
  • Working the dream - A couple retires, buys a RV, and takes to the road, planning to spend time with children and grandchildren and explore the highways and byways of their country. A woman fulfills a lifelong dream of moving to Europe, which among other things gives her easier access to the opera performances so important to her. Another woman spends … Continue reading Working the dream
  • Letting go - When I moved to Italy last fall, my friend Elka was starting her second year of cancer treatment. Although I had been emailing her and responding to posts on her CaringBridge site, I felt badly that because I was living in various cities distant from her, I couldn’t provide the kind of support other friends could, … Continue reading Letting go
  • Facebook and mindfulness - When the season of Lent started in February, I happened to be IMing with my sister. She mentioned that she was giving up Facebook for Lent and although I am not a member of her religion, I said I would too. It was partly to keep her company and partly because I thought it was … Continue reading Facebook and mindfulness
  • Assume good will - Several years ago, I logged onto the website of a car-sharing service of which I was a member. I wanted to reserve a car, but when I tried to do so, I got a message saying that my account had been cancelled. My immediate reaction was ‘what is wrong?’ followed by ‘oh no, are they blaming … Continue reading Assume good will
  • New Year’s Day - I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions; I think my coach has the right idea (Resolutions … Bah Hum Bug!). However, I occasionally take the approach of starting the new year as I mean to go on, not in all aspects (the day is not long enough), but in one or two. I’m not fanatic … Continue reading New Year’s Day
  • A Christmas wish - Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, … Continue reading A Christmas wish
  • Home, for now - Two years ago, when I told a lifelong friend that I had closed my apartment and put my stuff in storage (see Two Years a Vagabond), she replied that she wondered if my travels would bring me to a place that would tell me “this is my new home.” In a way I did not … Continue reading Home, for now
  • Two years a vagabond - In one of my first posts on this blog, I wrote about how a ‘brush with death’ accident changed my perspective on life. That changed perspective led to one of the more major changes I’ve made: two years ago this month, I closed my apartment in Providence, put my belongings in storage, and became a vagabond. … Continue reading Two years a vagabond
  • Stuff about stuff - Earlier this year, I took advantage of a sojourn in Providence to go through the clothing I had in my storage space. I tried on everything and discarded two bags of clothing that didn’t fit or wasn’t in good condition. It wasn’t until this summer that I realized I had overlooked some clothing that was in a … Continue reading Stuff about stuff
  • The space in which we live - “The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Marie Kondo  
  • A lovely thought - This morning, I donated some clothing to a local organization that provides work-appropriate clothing to low-income people who are completing training or educational programs. As I was filling out the donation form, I chatted with the woman who took in the clothing, saying that I hoped the recipients would wear the clothing in good health and on their way to a … Continue reading A lovely thought
  • Life goes on - For me, as I imagine for others, one of the hardest parts about the death of a loved one is that life goes on. I remember walking to work a couple of weeks after my dad died and wondering how the sun could shine. Although the circumstances of my mother’s death were different (see Grief in … Continue reading Life goes on
  • Mom - Today would have been my mother’s ???? birthday. (If you’re wondering if I know when my mother was born and how old she would have been today, the answer is yes, I know, but she said she’d come back and haunt us if we revealed her age.) In her honor, I am posting an edited … Continue reading Mom
  • Grief in the twilight zone - Last Mother’s Day, I wrote about the twilight zone my mother was in as a result of dementia and how my siblings and I and our relationship with her were also in that twilight zone. By this Mother’s Day just past, our mother was dead and I find I’m still in a twilight zone of … Continue reading Grief in the twilight zone
  • Gifts - When I first thought of writing a post for this day, I planned to take advantage of it being my 60th birthday to wax philosophical – I figured maybe I could get away with it. But thinking about birthdays led me to thinking about gifts, so instead of writing the ‘let me share with you what I’ve … Continue reading Gifts
  • Inspiring quotes - Despite 30 years of experience with New England winters, I’ve found this one to be tough (when I check the weather in the morning and the temperature is -10 without wind chill, it’s a little discouraging). A combination of general malaise and seeing a quote I liked on a client’s website prompted me to review my list of … Continue reading Inspiring quotes
  • The tie that binds - Last month, my siblings and I were together for several days. Although there were serious moments, mostly during our discussions of our mother’s health, we laughed a lot as we usually do when we’re together. We laughed at each other’s stories and at old family jokes and sayings (as my brother said, sometimes the old … Continue reading The tie that binds
  • Just this once - Years ago, my dad told me a story he heard from a speaker at a business conference. The speaker talked about someone going on a diet (in the days when a diet meant eliminating certain foods altogether). The speaker said that when offered dessert at a dinner in a restaurant, the person thinks ‘I’ll never … Continue reading Just this once
  • Tradition - tradition: a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time When we were children, we had a set of cardboard buildings with which we made a tabletop snow scene every Christmas. My sister Nancy and I were usually … Continue reading Tradition
  • 100 Things To Do If You’re Sad - Loved this list so much, I had to share it!
  • Algernon and Ilsa: in Toscana - Algernon and Ilsa spent the summer in a cottage on the grounds of Castello di Porciano in the Casentino Valley, where I joined them in late August. They were eager to do some sightseeing in the area and I was happy to oblige! Soon after I arrived, our hostess took us on a jaunt to nearby … Continue reading Algernon and Ilsa: in Toscana
  • Oh, staff! - Today, Sophie, my friend Catherine’s cat, died. Despite acquaintance with several cats, I can’t wholeheartedly say I am a cat person. I was definitely, however, a Sophie person. If it’s true that dogs have owners and cats have staff, I fell into the staff category with Sophie. Over the last three years, I have spent several … Continue reading Oh, staff!
  • Beautiful - I’ve been feeling frenetic lately – lots of things to do and arrangements to make, lots on my mind. Recent posts by my sister (Not Inclined To Resign To Maturity) on things she finds beautiful were a respite from the buzz in my life, so I thought I’d emulate her. A few of these overlap her … Continue reading Beautiful
  • Flying Changes - My guest blogger today is my sister Susan. I like what she says about humans doing flying lead changes in life – so many of us are doing those!
  • Moments of grace - In the last couple of months, the state of the world has seemed worse than usual to me. It depresses me to go online and see news of atrocities and deaths and crises. I’m also mourning losses in my life and worrying about family and friends, including a dear friend undergoing treatment for cancer, so … Continue reading Moments of grace
  • The courage to change - I’ve been thinking about this post for several days, but couldn’t get it started. This morning, though, the serenity prayer was referenced in a book I am reading (“A Trick of the Light” by Louise Penny, if you’re interested) and thinking of the courage to change got me started. In the last month, two family … Continue reading The courage to change
  • Changes in latitude - A concatenation of circumstances earlier this year – projects on which I was working with one of my sisters, training for the Katy Trail Ride, and my mother’s health – resulted in my taking advantage of the opportunity to spend several months in the Texas city in which I grew up. It was definitely a change in latitude – not … Continue reading Changes in latitude
  • July 20, 1979 - This is a story I like to tell and since today is the 35th anniversary of what occurred, I’m telling it! As a prelude, I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘space baby’ because I grew up at the same time the US space program did. I remember my dad showing me our local newspaper with … Continue reading July 20, 1979
  • Notes from the trail - Riding the Katy … … pedaling along the Missouri River, reading the plaques about the Corps of Discovery (Lewis & Clark) Expedition, looking at the markers that delineate the high water mark of various floods, realizing how powerful the river is … … the plaques about Lewis & Clark reminding me of “Undaunted Courage,” one … Continue reading Notes from the trail
  • What now? - For almost five months, my sister Nancy and I have been training for the Katy Trail Ride. During that time, we also worked on the documentary we’re making about our ride – drafting a story line, researching equipment, and videoing interviews with each other. Now the ride is over and I’m at a loss as to where I, and we, go … Continue reading What now?
  • Silver and gold - One of the nicest coincidences in my life is that I have two dear friends with the same birthday, one of them a friend I’ve had since childhood, the other a friend I’ve made more recently. My friend Lee and I have known each other since we started grade school (and a shockingly long time ago … Continue reading Silver and gold
  • Algernon e Ilsa: la dolce vita - By the time I returned to Florence last fall, Algernon and Ilsa had had many adventures in Italy. During the winter, they went to Venice, where their friend Donna helped them pick out the perfect masks, and to Castello di Porciano. In May, they went to Naples, where they attended the opera two nights. They loved … Continue reading Algernon e Ilsa: la dolce vita
  • Thank you - Following in the footsteps of his three older brothers, my youngest nephew received his Eagle award last week in a ceremony attended by family, friends, fellow Boy Scouts, and Scout leaders. One difference in this ceremony was that his mother, my sister, asked him beforehand for an opportunity to speak. In her brief speech, she noted that … Continue reading Thank you
  • In a twilight zone - On Facebook today, I saw messages from children of all ages to their mothers, wishing them a happy Mother’s Day. Several were accompanied by photos of mother and child with arms around each other and smiles on their faces. Other Facebook friends posted remembrances of their deceased mothers. I wished I could have posted something but I … Continue reading In a twilight zone
  • “Old” dog, new tricks - One of the most liberating moments of my life occurred when I was around 30 and decided that I was never going to be a seamstress. My aunt and cousin sewed and I aspired to be like them – the kind of person who could make her own clothes. The reality was that I wasn’t good at … Continue reading “Old” dog, new tricks
  • Lost in Translation - Originally posted on Not Inclined To Resign To Maturity:
    ? My original title for this post was going to be ‘Identity Theft,’ but my identity hasn’t really been stolen, more like temporarily misplaced. Dictionary.com defines identity as: 1) the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones as under varying aspects or conditions;…
  • Aunt Melissa - My sister was babysitting her six-month old grandson for a long weekend recently and invited me to her place for a couple of days to join in the fun. The time spent with my great-nephew made me realize again all the ways in which I enjoy being an aunt. My nephews and niece and I have … Continue reading Aunt Melissa
  • Algernon et Ilsa: la vie est belle - In September of 2012, Algernon and Ilsa moved to France. Their first stop was Paris, where they visited a patisserie and did some sightseeing. In the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Ilsa was overcome by the existentialism of it all. After a few days, it was off to Narbonne, where they would be living for four months. Narbonne … Continue reading Algernon et Ilsa: la vie est belle
  • Spring resolutions - I mentioned a couple of months ago that I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I think any time of year is a good time to make a resolution. That said, I think spring is one of the better times.  Part of this for me is the association of this time … Continue reading Spring resolutions
  • Algernon and Ilsa - By the time I met Algernon and Ilsa, they were already world travelers. Algernon began traveling in 2002, joined by Ilsa in 2006. Separately or together, they traveled in the USA (Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio) and to England (Cornwall, London), France (Paris, Normandy, the Loire valley, Provence (nude sunbathing in St. Tropez!)), Italy (Naples, … Continue reading Algernon and Ilsa
  • Out of my window, looking in the night… - Out of my window, looking in the night,  I can see the barges flickering light.   Silently flows the river to the sea  And the barges too go silently. A couple of months ago, my sister Susan wrote about singing to herself when riding her horse as a way of conquering fear and remembering to … Continue reading Out of my window, looking in the night…
  • The wheels on the bike go ’round and ’round - The training for the Katy Trail Ride has started! We have about four months to prepare for riding 240 miles over five days. Now that we’ve started, I’m rediscovering the difference between exercise and training. Several years ago, I trained for the first time, for a sprint triathlon. Although I exercised regularly, it wasn’t the … Continue reading The wheels on the bike go ’round and ’round
  • Immortality - immortality:  the quality or state of being immortal:  a :  unending existence; b :  lasting fame Examples of IMMORTALITY She believed in the immortality of the soul. He found immortality through his films. Over the last months, I have been thinking a lot about immortality. Being in Italy for three months, I was surrounded by examples … Continue reading Immortality
  • My dad - Last week, my sister Susan was thrown from one of her horses, so my other sister and I went to her house to look after her and help with the barn chores. We had a ‘Dad’ moment when she said how much she hurt and we replied, “you know why it hurts? Because it’s pain … Continue reading My dad
  • Past year, new year - I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I think any time of year is a good time to make a resolution. However, I like what my career coach suggests, which is to use January as a time to reflect on accomplishments and what one learned in the past year and think … Continue reading Past year, new year
  • Lighting candles - In my weeks in Europe last year and this, I have visited a lot of churches and in many of them, I have lit a votive candle. Although I am not a Catholic, I was raised in the Catholic Church and I know that votive candles are lit in front of statues or altars as … Continue reading Lighting candles
  • Dog tales - My brother Barry and sister-in-law Ellie are currently dealing with the serious illness of their dog, Hobbes. Hobbes has been a figure in many of their stories over the years, so I felt like I already knew him when I met him 18 months ago. He was every bit as lovable as I had been … Continue reading Dog tales
  • Love letter to Providence - When I moved to Providence from Boston almost four years ago, friends and co-workers evinced some surprise at the move, given that it was a move to a smaller city. However, as a friend of mine said then, ‘you’re not marrying Providence, you’re just dating!” That summed it up perfectly and I must say, it’s been … Continue reading Love letter to Providence
  • Untethered, but not adrift - It’s done. I’ve closed my apartment, put my stuff in storage and am heading to Italy for a couple of months. Why? I closed my apartment because I want to untether myself while I figure out where I want to be next. Looking back, my past moves and residencies came about by chance or because of … Continue reading Untethered, but not adrift
  • Life changes - On an evening in January 2012, I was hit by a car while walking to the train station from my office. My memory of that day stops around 2:00 that afternoon and picks up again around 11:00 that night, so I don’t remember being transported to the hospital in an ambulance and treated in the … Continue reading Life changes
  • The buddy system - A couple of decades ago, I took advantage of a new job to join a fitness club, as the company subsidized membership. My plan was to work out after work, but there was always some reason why I couldn’t go – usually a computer emergency (I worked in user support). If I didn’t leave right … Continue reading The buddy system
  • Stuff - The last several weeks have been all about ‘stuff.’ First, as I mentioned in a previous post, I was in Texas, working with my two sisters to close out my mom’s storage spaces. Now I am weeding through my own possessions as I prepare to close my apartment and put everything in storage. For 25 … Continue reading Stuff
  • Saying goodbye - A boyfriend once told me of a t-shirt he’d seen imprinted with a cartoon. In the cartoon (by Jennifer Berman), a banner saying ‘Adult Children of Normal Parents Annual Convention’ is displayed over an auditorium empty except for two people. I said ‘that’s me’ and he replied, ‘yes, it is.’ My parents weren’t perfect, but they were good parents and … Continue reading Saying goodbye
  • Angels - I’ve been thinking about angels for the last couple of days. I am not religious (spiritual is a different story), but sometimes I revert to the terminology of my Catholic upbringing. In this case, I use the word ‘angel’ for a person who has said or done something that I needed in the time since my … Continue reading Angels
  • “The Alchemist”, continued - In my last post, I mentioned a journal entry written February 2005 that referred to my having read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. In this entry, I referred to a couple of mind- and heart-opening moments, one of which was about the author saying that love can be the impetus for the journey and that those … Continue reading “The Alchemist”, continued
  • “The Alchemist” - Recently, some thoughts swirling around in my head made me look at a journal entry from several years ago. Let me say here that I am not one of those people who writes consistently in a journal; maybe that’s why I was able to find this entry! This journal entry was written on February 6, … Continue reading “The Alchemist”
  • Blog Title - The title of this blog may seem odd, especially from someone who has made a practice of not obsessing about her hair. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve said as an adult ‘I’m having a bad hair day.’ That doesn’t mean I haven’t spent time and money on … Continue reading Blog Title