Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Silver Lining

With Bouzette watching from above, we set out on our three day vacation to the beach with Charlotte.  It's the first time she had gone with us in the car except for her trips to the vet each year, so she was very nervous.  Little did she know that her whole world was about to open up!  She got to take walks on the beach, chase the birds, sniff out the rest of the dog kingdom,  dine under tables and greet well-wishers. She travelled to my mom's and took her post on the porch chair--her look-out station! She made friends with the neighbor cat and took naps in the garage "close" to my dad.  She kept looking to us for guidance and we kept giving her the go-ahead.  Go ahead! This is the silver lining moment! Take it and run!

"Hold Your Breath!"

This is the picture of the cupboard where I hang my t shirt and bra each time I go to get my mammogram.  Today was the day. The clothing looks so innocent hanging there and as I close the cupboard door I wonder if I will be ok--be the same me, when I come back to open it again.

We women have to keep our sense of humor for this exam.  A breast on a tray?--almost laughable until that press comes down and removes any glimpse of a smile.  "Hold your breath!" the technician says. I want to tell her that I hold my breath for months leading up to my exam --praying that all will be well.
 But I don't say anything...I can't! I'm holding my breath!

Once this is over and I'm seated next to the doctor, I am grateful that he tells me right away that everything looks good.  I feel my breath start up again and I am so happy to see whatever he wants to show me on the screen.  We make small talk--usually about how amazing my mother is and how good my genes  are and I feel myself smiling easier.

Back to the cupboard I go---time to gather the "goods" and put them back where they belong. Tonight when I get home, I will  get my celebratory gold bra as I do every year and wear it for the rest of the day.  Breathe, I tell myself---good for another year!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


On your mark, get set, wait!
It seems that everyone in my world is waiting on something: a deal, a job, a visa, a phone call,  an email, a check... and on it goes that character building, patience trying thing known as the waiting process.

I feel like we are all lined up waiting for the "go" to be called! "Go!" so we can start breathing again, planning again, laughing again. There must be a trick to trick yourself into thinking you aren't waiting! For sure, standing still is deadly.

So let's all stay in motion and feel confident that something good lies ahead and be open to whatever that "good" turns out to be.  Getting what we want can be very staisfying... immediate gratification at its best!  And sometimes, not getting what we think we should have is the best thing that could happen...delayed gratification at its best!  No matter what, there will be gratification because everyone in my world who is waiting is so deserving. Come what may, the "go" will  be an adventure!

On your mark, get set.....

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Honor Collar

Every time we removed  Bouzette's collar,  she always stood at attention, head held high waiting for it to be put back on.  I would have thought it to be a relief to feel it come off--a feeling of freedom.   In thinking more about it, I believe it gave her a feeling of belonging--that she preferred wearing it.

When  we bring a pet home to become part of our family, we choose a collar for practical purposes; to attach a leash and to add the identity and vaccination tags.  We place it on for the first time and we know that he or she belongs to us--that she will go where we go and live our lives alongside us.  And when we take it off for the last time, we know that she was never really ours to keep....
The collar, then, is a symbol of honor--the honor to have shared the love, the excitement, the devotion of an amazing pet for the time that was so preciously given us.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Golden Girl

 Salinas--October, 1997.  We drove to a remote farm to select our precious new golden girl!  There were two girls and two boys--Camille made the choice! We couldn't believe it when we were told that her birthday was July 23rd! It was meant to be.  We drove Bouzette home in a blanket with her head resting on my lap... We were all three beyond thrilled.
 She was majestic in every way.  She began each day of her young adult life by heading to the vineyard to watch the quail.  She then made her way down to the pool for a swim and then back into our breezway to shake all of the water off (with delight )onto our hardwood floors!  Somehow, it just seemed right.
Today, we drove to the veterinarian's office.  Once again, her head was resting in a blanket on my lap.  She was tired this time--a different kind of tired and I was peaceful this time-- a different kind of peaceful.  15 years has passed and with those years she placed her head on our laps, her heart in our hands and now her life forever in our memories.  So very hard to say goodbye.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Warsaw Famous Chef!

I am alone this Easter and yet I still wanted to make something "traditional" for dinner to celebrate the day. Growing up, my dad always made a kind of borscht "stew" for Easter so I thought I might try to recreate that but in a healthier way. I began my search for that Polish cookbook that doesn't see the light of day too often! I went digging through my recipe drawer and got all the way to the bottom when I discovered a plastic baggie with several note papers in it with my father's handwriting. I was puzzled...I didn't remember that he gave me his Golabki recipe. He always made it a big secret and would never give it away and yet somehow, here is was! My tears appeared as suddenly as the recipe and I felt terrible that something so precious had remained in the bottom of the drawer for god knows how long. But then I had this thought: things we are given at a certain point in life seem less significant and they stay in that position until we are in a place to see them differently. I took the discovery as a sign that I should make golabki instead of borscht--so off I went to find the ingredients and began the laborious process of preparing the cabbage leaves for stuffing. Everything went smoothly until I had to roll the leaves so that the stuffing would stay inside. Outloud, I confessed to my dad that I had obviously not really been paying attention to his rolling process when he thought I was! I promised to make this one of my new missions in life--perfect the cabbage roll!
Well, his sense of humor was in tact when he called himself "Warsaw famous chef" so I dried my tears and kept my humor in tact in making these golabki. The Universe has been talking to me this week and I have been listening... but I didn't expect this message or this recipe. I am so thankful that the conversations continue.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Smoke and Mirrors"

"Smoke and Mirrors": the name is based on magicians' illusions, where magicians make objects appear or disappear by extending or retracting mirrors amid a confusing burst of smoke. The expression may have a connotation of virtuosity or cleverness in carrying out such a deception.

Before the no smoke law in France, I always sat outside to have some possibility of smokeless air. Now all the smokers sit outside as it is forbidden to smoke inside--so I take my chances....
Last night at my favorite corner cafe, Cafe des Pres Aux Clercs, there was indeed a burst of smoke as two men sat down next to me to have their aperitif and cigarette(s). I tried to ignore the wave of smoke that crossed directly in front of me but it was becoming impossible. Just in the moment of no return, the monsieur next to me said " I think my smoke is on a direct path to your table madame". I said that it seemed to be determined to travel my way and that while I wanted him to be able to enjoy his cigarette, it was difficult for me to enjoy my dinner. With that he took one last puff of the cigarette and put it out! The two men smiled and said that I should never be afraid to say that the smoke is bothering me.... I'm thinking to myself...Where am I? Who are these people? The French and their cigarettes are not soon parted (normalement)!
A bit later, I could see they were wanting to smoke again and so they both got up and I presumed were leaving. I said to them..."c'est pas vrais" are leaving to smoke? I feel terrible! They smiled and headed over to the planted pots, put their back to the tables and had their cigarettes. Unbelievable! The waiter said he never saw anything like it! "Respect", he said. It is out of respect for you!"
I asked the waiter to include their wine bill on my dinner bill and not say anything to them until I left. I told him just say it is for Franco/American relations and smoker/non smoker relations!
Smoke and mirrors? No illusion here---just a great example of generosity and kindness.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

You Can't Go Back

...but if you're lucky, there will be different characters to help you revisit your memories...

A nostalgic day in the Luxembourg...


It's Sunday in I felt it was my duty to eat a "religieuse"! While enjoying every bite, I had two thoughts: how fortunate am I to be in Paris and be able to walk into Laduree and order this pastry and , two , I pray that the pleasure of eating this relgieuse caramel does everything for my spirit and nothing for my waistline!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"I have a photograph"

“Time it was and what a time it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences
Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you”
-Simon and Garfunkel, “Bookends”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Who's Running the Show?

It may seem that they are waiting for their "masters" but in actuality...
they are the drivers...running the show! And what would we do without them?

A New Day

I don't know why things happen the way they do. But I do know that the reason the sun sets is so that it can lift again the next day and bring with it a fresh start, a new perspective and most of all hope.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stuart Overton Parsons

What's in a picture? More than a thousand words and certainly a life well lived.
While I didn't know Stuart Parsons as well as I should have, I felt his vibrancy when he entered a room and I knew he was a fine man because of the beautiful women who surrounded him in this life--his Harriet, his Cindy, his Carol and his Pamela! Yes, his body tired before his spirit was ready to follow, but what a wonderful gift it was that he left his spirt bright at his departure. That brightness will guide all of us who trail behind him and will instruct those nearest and dearest to him in the lessons of loving from a distance. Afterall, he was a brilliant instructor and now we will just have to listen differently to hear what he has yet to say.

Life in a New Year

Life isn't perfect. There are zigs and zags and then a cut off where there was thought to be a road.
How do we make sense of anything? "Keep your eye on the ball"-- and then the ball veers off to the left while you are looking to the right. What to do? Reset!
Our minds and hearts are required to expand and reset constantly. If there were only one way to see anything, life would be quite simple. And we know that while in moments life may appear simple, it is simply not easy! We are summoned to be courageous. Even courage sounds easy until we are put to the test.
There have been so many times in life that I have thought I escaped a "test"--there has even been a touch of arrogance in that thought. As I grow older, I realize that there is great danger in this arrogance--in the thought that I have escaped what others have had to endure. Maturing is actually escaping this arrogance and moving toward empathy and compassion.
While I plan to dream big and hope high in the new year, I also want to remain aware of the fact that anything can happen to anyone at anytime. There is such humility in that thought. My wish for the new year is to stay steady and in a moment of unsteadiness--be willing to reset.
And while there are the zigs and the zags that make visibility ahead more difficult, I always want to remember that it is precisely those same zigs and zags that make the adventure of life worth living.
Happy New Year!