Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Look for it.
Turn things inside out.
Let your heart be soft.

Let the past rest.
Begin now.
Be willing.

Be astonished.

Happy New Year, my friends here. Thank you for your company. I treasure you. I hope we walk into 2014 together.

I hope you are astonished.

Love, most sincerely,

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What Happened in 2013?

  1. i am not beyond stealing a good idea. my friendthe walking man has asked his readers to list the highlights of their year (aka "shit happens")  what is your condensed version? Here is mine, except I would add I am actually happy more than sometimes.  
    love kj

    kjDecember 28, 2013 at 8:3PM
    i bought a house in ptown
    i left my job
    my daughter had a girl
    i had a knee replaced
    i'm still confused and sometimes happy
  2. kjDecember 28, 2013 at 8:39 PM
    oh and my Mother went in a nursing home.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Warning: I Won't Be Able to Help It...

 I've always written about Provincetown but it seems I am going to be here more and in all seasons, and I have a new camera, and I almost can't believe the beauty.

So I might drive you crazy talking about Ptown again and again. But honestly I hope not and I don't think so. Because this place is flecking awesome and I am psyched to show you: 

 JB and I are here until New Year's Day. This is the beach at the end of the day. 

But I'll start earlier: 

JB and I are putting this place of ours together. Little by little we decorate. (To refresh: we've improbably managed to buy a house in Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and we are in delightful shock. We still live in Western Mass. but we're trying to be here whenever we can and it's possible (probable?) we'll end up living here.) 

I think we are doing a good job design-wise  :^)

Today I am going to show you some houses near us. They are in the order of our walk:

I know this is a tree not a house but this tree is so cool.

Nothing fancy, just a public entrance to the beach just a block up the street (oh yes!)

If you see variety in the architectural or economic structure  of these houses, that's because there is. It's become much harder to modestly live in Provincetown and that's a concern. This is all the more reason somehow that JB and I are going to be secure here. 

Not that most of Provincetown is houses. It's a condo town too, with squished waterfront spaces everywhere. 

And this is again the end of the day This photo is not altered. The sea and sky here are just unbelievable.

So fare warning that herein in these here parts there will be more words and  pictures of Ptown. I can't help it. Don't make me. :^)


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Free Advice & Happy Holidays

I'm writing this on Christmas Eve Day and as always am amazed by what I've learned and what I cherish. 

This has been a year of transition for me and for the planet. It's an unsettled world and I think that makes it difficult to feel settled in every day life. Yesterday I came across somebody's advice about important things to do before you die and it got me thinking about my own advice.  

So here goes: here are the things I offer as helpful and important for a happy(ier) life. 

1. Never take the sky for granted. Look up and you are guaranteed to see changing sometimes gentle sometimes ferocious beauty. Guaranteed.

 2. Know what you appreciate. This is a new fence for our place in Provincetown. It has created an actual yard from a tiny plot of land. Every time I look at it I swoon. I can't say why, but I know the fence has made me happy.

3. Be on the lookout for your favorite colors and covet them. A scarf, a pillowcase, a window box: bring your colors into your life and let them soothe you.

4.  Time, place and circumstance determine when it's right to indulge guilt free and when it's best to be prudent. This is true of people as well as chocolate. 

5. Hold on to  people who matter and add festivity and support to their lives whenever you can. Send a card and decorate the envelope. Call more often when times are tough. Be a kind good person at every opportunity.

 6. Appreciate blessings and good fortune and recognize when you have it. 

7. Slush and tough sledding? Or simple beauty? This is the same principle as seaweed or starfish. You can't ignore the tough sledding and seaweed but there is always more. 

8. Loss happens. Longing hurts. Several years ago I thought my heart would never heal. Now I know that people and memories will always live on inside me. Seeing it this way has helped me immeasurably.

9. Things don't always need to be precise. Fog can illuminate and protect in ways that clarity cannot. 

10. Look to be astonished. Look and keep looking for anything that exalts and astonishes you.  Do you see the leopard in this photo? You have to believe there is a leopard to be seen, because there is. 

Tonight JB and I will share our table with good friends and tomorrow we will for the first time travel to our daughter's house for Christmas day. It will not be the Christmas we have had in past years and there will be new people at the table and changes in tradition and routine. But through it all we will share the day with four blessed much loved little children and I will see my Jessica secure and happy with her family and I will be grateful for JB in my life and I will look up at the sky and think about my new fence and …..  and….. and…..

Happy holidays, dear friends and visitors. Thanks for being on this ride with me.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Not So

I cried this weekend. A lot. 

Christmas is my favorite season. I am energized by the hustle bustle and I delight in executing the giving part: I choose gifts thoughtfully and I bake and decorate give-away cookies and I reach out to people whose importance I too often fail to affirm.

JB and I have been arguing. Jess is on a work project and missing in action. I am such a small part of the kids' holiday festivities. 

I cried for all of this. What set it off was a tiff JB and I had in the paint store. Hurt feelings and rising anger over what type of paint to choose for the bathroom walls? Yes, just that. We are both astounded that neither of us can seem to foresee when we are going to overreact over stupid slights and frightened that we can't seem to figure out why this keeps happening. 

We're working on it. I move from feeling alone in the world to knowing that I am with someone who wants to work out problems as much as I do.  Hope strongly floats in a relationship that has lasted thirty years between two people who need not question their love for one another. But it's not easy either.

Sometimes Jess reads my blog so that part of my tears is more delicate. I know one thing: I will never ever want her to feel anything less than solid and at peace and good about our love for one another. We live two hours apart. This means I am not in the day-to-day life of her and Mike and the kids, and I am not on the immediate-help list when they need immediate help. This also means that sharing the holidays with my daughter and grandchildren is limited. I guess I realize that this season more than others. I'm sad I'm not sharing my just baked cookies or the Santa train at Look Park or the secret whispers and anticipations of Santa's arrival with them. JB and I could move closer, and I believe we would if asked or needed, but I don't think that feels right to any of us right now. If there is some middle ground solution to feeling more connected, I haven't found my part in it yet.

So I cried. For the better part of a day and night. My feelings welled up and the my tears wouldn't stop. My friend Renee, who died almost three years ago, as gracefully as a person ever could, called this kind of sadness "healing tears." 

I stopped crying too. I just stopped. JB and I talked and wrapped presents and went out to dinner and finished some shopping. We reaffirmed. As I write this, I know I am solely responsible for how I deal, how I feel, what I choose to do and how I choose to interpret what happens and what doesn't.

In part I am writing this post because I know it's important for everyone to know that none of us has a perfect life. At this time of year, when the message is to impossibly reach for an impossible perfection, I'm on record that I cried. 

And now I'm not.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Happy Time

A celebratory weekend with JB and friends in Provincetown. There are both person made and natural decorations all around in this coastal community.  We are doing everything and nothing at our leisure.

Another achievement in my holiday list of seeing, doing, and sharing with special people and places.

I am still grateful.  I hope this may be true for you too.


Tuesday, December 03, 2013


I'd like to offer little holiday gifts here and there on my blog. Forgive me if forgiveness is needed: here is my first offering:

So this woman goes to the doctor and among other things informs him that every time she sneezes, she has a mini-orgasm.  The doctor asks if she's taking anything already for her condition.  She says, Yes, pepper.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Ah Yes

Funny thing, how gratitude seems to work.

I am thinking through the lens of gratitude more and more; thankful for what is and not spending a lot of time lamenting or worrying. It is definitely an easier way to be.

This is my approach for the holidays. So far so good.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weekend Mish Mash

I am back in Provincetown. JB and I pass this scene merely driving from one place to another. I don't know why the gulls and ducks were so active today: I don't know this because I have ALOT to learn about the sea. 

I do know that light bounces off the water in the most stunning ways here at the land's end, and the skies are almost always spectacular. I always think of my Mother when I look up because she never fails to comment on the sky and the clouds. 

The only time she ever flew with me, probably only the second time she ever flew anywhere, she looked out the plane window to the clouds below us. In total innocence and amazement she said,

"I never knew they were two skies."

Several people nearby on the plane smiled at us so sweetly. I remember that so clearly.

  This little girl named Reese will be in my life for the rest of my life. There is not a word for how delighted I am every time I see her again. She is now four months old and I still think she is an old soul. And as happy as I've ever seen a human being be. Her brothers crawl over her, kiss her sometimes even roughly, hold her on the couch while they eat popcorn and watch tv. She has great parents and great brothers, just for starts in life. All the difference….

And finally, tonight, I am officially into the holiday season. Be prepared when you visit here that I might be talkin' holiday. The last two days JB and I have been shopping. I am not normally a shopper, not one bit. We went to Target and made very fun choices in the toy department. Got my mother a soft sweater. Bought some shiny fake christmas branches and berries and leaves to put in the window boxes in in Ptown. That will happen tomorrow. Instant decorating: my favorite kind. 

I would like to have a gift away. But I don't know what I have to give away. Please help me with suggestions. I am serious. :^) Heck, I might give you something just because you helped me give something away.

What I really think of the holiday season is as always I am concentrating extra hard for a month to reach out, love out loud, count blessings, and bake cookies. 

You are each certainly invited along.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ready or Not

I love Christmas even when I can't.

I love the music, the scents, the lights, the gift giving (more than the getting), the baking and cooking, the get togethers, and an internal satisfied feeling inside me that switches on every year just before Thanksgiving.

Last May I stopped my work of five years; for the first time in my adult life, I would rely on a government social security check and no longer let income factor into most things I might choose.

In July I had knee surgery and all summer into fall I've been (re)learning to no longer hobble.

This week I went back to work, of sorts. I will consult for an industry where I feel at home and am regarded and respected. And in minutes I will leave for a board of directors meeting whee I have been invited to serve for the rest home where my mother lived for five years.

I am toying with developing personal growth workshops (again), maybe held in Provincetown with JB and I arranging accompanying meals for 8-10 people at a time.

I am well behind finishing my second book but it must not yet be time.

I now have four grandchildren ages six and under and I find that a blessing and a responsibility.  I am indescribably grateful for each of them. And for my Jess. And for her happy marriage to a good man.

Tonight I will write out a list of people I want to see during the Christmas holidays and experiences I wish to have. I am more ambitious this time of year: I design our holiday cards, I bake and decorate cookies and miniature cakes, I write, I shop, I putter, I straighten out my desk. 

Picture that my current life became a blank canvass early this summer. All of the above is filling that canvass with color and form and placement. Don't get me wrong: I'm unsure as much as I'm hopeful. I'm sixty six years old; I feel much younger; I feel wise and sure footed; and I know things could go very wrong in a flash. I know good people get sick and sometimes die. 

These nights I am falling asleep with reason to worry and reason to exalt. That's the way it is. And unlike my past selfs, I am thinking less and ambivilizing (my own made up word!) less. I have time to use in a different way, without a fixed schedule and with advance thoughtfulness.

So not tonight after all, but tomorrow, I will write out my hopes and plans for my holiday. I'll start with cooking a turkey and making an apple pie for Thanksgiving. 

I'll remind myself to think less and live more. I will say thank you even if that simple act is in reality not quite so simple.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Chase & Us

I haven't been able to write about this.

This is the last photo I took of Chase, before we turned him over to a very kind man and his wife and their three greyhounds and one son, in a process called 'surrender.' They will foster Chase until another family wants him. They may end up keeping him as their own. We hope so.

That is what we did: we stopped trying and surrendered. My ego wants you to know I have never given up on a dog and never returned one.  We did try. 

Too many things didn't work: Chase began to howl several times a night. JB does not do well woken up like that every night. He hated going to Provincetown: he willed himself not to leave the house for up to 24-30 hours and he was traumatized being there even days afterward. Most days he slept most of the time and rarely got us to greet us. We weren't sure how much we mattered to him. His teeth are in bad shape and sometimes he wouldn't eat. 

We got his seizures under control but sometimes he would startle or freeze and we sometimes noticed a thick siliva from his mouth. We really questioned, and maybe still do, a head injury as a result of a known collision on the racetrack. He needed five pills two times a day, we arranged an animal communicator to 'talk' with Chase; she told us he is in too much pain to care much about us. 

He stopped going on walks. He was not happy. Nor were we. 

We are relieved. That's the truth. I try not to think about Chase too much right now. We've talked to the very nice man about once a week and he tells us Chase is doing great. He says and we agree that he needs to be with other dogs. A highlight of life at the track was greyhounds together as a family, even though they were probably in crates a good deal of the time. 

He told us last week that Chase has just been diagnosed with Cups disease; horrible inflamation and infection in his mouth. All his teeth will be removed next week. 

We feel terrible about that. The very nice man says he has seen greyhounds without teeth before and that Chase will be fine. 

JB is not ready for another dog. Probably I'm not either. In time, that will change. I have vowed to do my part in rescuing dogs as much as I can in life. It's tough to admit that we were not able or willing to do what Chase needed. But it's the truth. He is back with his greyhound family and we are glad for that.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mish Mash

I am back on my feet: no cane, no pain, more walking. Feeling more like myself and looking ahead.

Thank you for every comment on my book excerpts. I will keep posting snippets until the darn book is finally in publication.

Here in New England the leaves are falling and the temperature has dropped. I am preparing for winter and thinking of holidays. Here are a few suggestions if/when you are in the market for gifts:

1. My friend Tracie's new CD, The Dream. Hopefully this link will take you to the first song on her CD. At $10, with a gorgeous enclosure, it's so worth it for yourself or for somebody's holiday stocking :^)

2. My friend Joss at www.etsy.com/shop/soulbrushart : Her African inspired cards are sold in sets of 8 and are just fantastic. There are four different sets on her Etsy site, along with her original art at affordable prices.

3. My first book: an adult love story. I'll sign it and send it where and when you'd like. It's available on Amazon but if you prefer to order directly from me, you'll pay a sale price of $ 8 plus shipping. 

4. Fall is a most beautiful time of year here in New England.  JB and I drive the back roads and scenes like this are common.

5. Look what JB and I made for our grandkids! I got the idea from Lo on Facebook (thank you lo) and this weekend they were a huge hit with the under six crowd-- all kinds of candy stuffed into thin gloves I pilfered from my Mother's nursing home :^)

6. I am catching up on so many people and events I've neglected since my surgery. Among this was my 97 year old Godmother's birthday. We took her out for lunch and darling 4 year old Drew wanted to sit beside her. It was all special and I felt great joy.

7. JB took this photo of 14 week old baby Reese. I think this child is an old soul. She is quick to smile and does not cry. My daughter and son-in-law are wonderful parents and it shows.  

8. Drew ready for Halloween...

9. The decoration and upgrades in a new beach house in Provincetown continue. We've installed this light over the dining room table. The table and chairs will soon be painted distressed ivory white and we are adding bead board to the wall around the table. What utter fun to make these changes and be able to pay someone else to do the work! We're on a budget but we have enough to put up a fence, fix the brick steps, add railings, paint a room or two. I am feeling very very very very lucky.

10. How to say this? We have returned Chase to the greyhound adoption agency for his placement with a different family: one that has other greyhounds. JB and I have tried everything we could think of but Chase has not been happy with us. He has been inactive and mostly unresponsive almost 23 hours a day, has howled through the night, has seemed lonely and sad. And taking him to Provincetown has been visibly traumatic for him. We know we are not the right family for his needs. So sad but relieved too. He will be placed in a family with at least one or two or three other greyhounds and where his inactivity and history can be supported without making things worse. 

We are visiting him on Friday.... :^(

That's my news. Thanks for stopping by. If you don't know already, your visits and comments are Hersey kisses to my grateful soul.