Category Archives: Stuff I Love

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Raising My Vibration With Houseguests

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I’ve been giving myself a bit of a hard time lately. I wanted to document our Epic Move on Ye Olde Blog, but, dammit you guys, this settling-in process has been overwhelming to say the least. I find it difficult to write when my environment is in an upheaval. Upheaval doesn’t even begin to describe what this relocation has been like.

Nonetheless, I also try to practice self-forgiveness, so I’ve been doling out heaping helpings to myself, too.

But we’re finally edging towards normalcy and routine here, as evidenced by the fact we had our first overnight houseguests last week! There’s nothing like knowing someone is going to have an extended look at your home to motivate you to get it together.

My dear friends from college, Anthony Wood and Anne-Margaret Redding, own a yoga studio in New York (The Giving Tree in Astoria, check it out), and are currently on a year-long Raise the Vibration Tour of America. The tour was born out of a deep and intuitive need they have to help heal inner and outer divisiveness on a local level. They have a series of workshops that focus on yoga, meditation, community-building, live music and performance. I’ve been following their adventures on Facebook.

https://www.raisethevibration.com/
https://www.raisethevibration.com/

As it so happens, we have an incredible shop here in Miller Beach called Vibrations Health, Wellness & Juice Bar that just this week was debuting a new studio space called The Breathing Room for yoga, meditation, massage and other types of wellness services.

Vibrations
Vibrations

Since I’m eager to get friends to come stay with us in our new place, and since the connections between the tour and the shop’s new space were incredibly self-evident, I suggested to Anne-Margaret that perhaps they could come to Miller Beach and give a workshop in the new space at Vibrations.

Not kidding, guys, an hour later the whole thing was in the works. Synchronicity much?

So this last Thursday, Vibrations celebrated the opening of their new space with an evening workshop presented by Anthony and Anne-Margaret. I suspected the community here would be receptive to this kind of thing, but even I was surprised by the turn out. In fact, so many folks showed up there wasn’t enough room in the new space, and we relocated down the street to the Nelson Algren Museum.

I love that in our community, the shop owners in our small commercial corridor work together and have each other’s backs.

We were treated to an evening of gentle yoga, meditation, deep breathing, live music and spoken word poetry. The vibe in the room was incredible. Anthony and Anne-Margaret are confident and capable, and holy cow does Ann-Margaret have a beautiful voice. If they’re coming through your town, you should get yourself to one of their events.

But the real joy for me was having them as guests in our home for two nights. I love being a host, and while hubs thinks I go a tad overboard, I really enjoy creating an environment that is warm and welcoming.

I think one of the reasons I haven’t been writing so much is because so much of my creative energy has gone towards creating the environment in our new place. These last two weeks I’ve been looking at that environment through the lens of being a guest, and trying to make the house as comfortable as possible, especially in the guest bedroom. Good books to read? Check. Tasty and healthy snacks? Check. Information about local attractions? Check. Earplugs? Check. I really tried to think of everything.

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Come stay awhile…

There is something about focusing my attention so closely and specifically on my home that puts me in a state of flow. I lose track of time and feel more finely tuned in. It is such a joy to prepare for guests and create just the right environment.

At one point over the weekend, Anthony and Anne-Margaret interviewed us for a series of webisodes they’re making for their YouTube channel. They asked us what raises our vibration.

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I think the time I’ve spent infusing my home with love and intention has seriously raised my vibration. Having guests over, connecting with them, sharing our stories, and sending them back on their way with full bellies and hearts raises my vibration. Knowing that their visit to my community had a positive effect on so many others raises my vibration.

Long story short – be sure to check out the tour. And if you ever want to spend a night or two in Miller Beach, our door is always open.

Disney Does Debbie’s…Period?

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story_of_menstruation

I am no stranger to talking about vaginas. After five years of talking about vaginas, raising money for vaginas, even making anatomically correct vagina cupcakes for an annual charity production of The Vagina Monologues, I thought I’d seen it all.

I was wrong.

Hubs, who normally acts squeamish whenever I talk about vaginas, and who puts his hands over his ears whenever I dare even mention periods, actually sent me this article today.

Did you know DISNEY once made a short film about getting your period??!!

Yes, the media giant most known for delivering sanitized-for-you-protection stories about cute animals and princesses in distress, actually made an informational animated film about menstruation.

You guys, they actually say the word “vagina” in it. More than once. And there’s a even a mention or two of the “rectum”.

Check out the link to the article if you want some history about WHY Disney made this film – and apparently others like it.

And while the film certainly plays into antiquated gender stereotypes, I’d say it’s pretty revolutionary in its rather scientific explanation of what the hell is going on in your body when Aunt Flo visits. Can you even imagine a film like this playing in a place where they still practice female genital mutilation? Hardly. You’d probably be sent to prison.

Below is the film in its entirety if you’d like to check it out for yourself.

Who knows, maybe in a parallel universe, “Frozen” is actually a story about IVF.

Exploring Creativity

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creativity einstein

Woah! Where in the world have I been since April?

Sitting right here at my desk, actually, caught in a whirlwind of work. I’m afraid I had to set aside some things in order to focus and finish, and posting updates from the fray was one of the casualties.

But here we are, the first day of summer, and things have quieted down a little bit. Seems appropriate for summertime, no?

One of the things that has captured my attention these last few weeks is exploring the idea of creativity.

I’ve been thinking about its place in my life and how it affects my happiness. I’ve noticed that at times where I’m disconnected from my creative wellspring, I feel “off.” My happiness levels plunge, I feel less in tune with my internal barometer and more disconnected from the world around me.

It’s gotten me to thinking about how creativity plays into everyone’s lives, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a creative person.

I’ve been thinking back to times when I’ve connected with other people over their similar detachment from their own creativity. Talking about it and helping each other through those times have been enormously rewarding for me.

I’ve also been thinking about ways to expand my freelancing business, looking for other opportunities that align with the skills I have and how I’d like to spend my time.

Lo and behold, I stumbled across the idea of becoming a creativity coach.

What? Does that even exist? Apparently, it does. And a person can take classes and become certified in it.

I’ve signed myself up for the introductory class, and I can tell you I am blown away already. The entire thing is conducted through email (a Google Group, to be exact), and there are about two dozen creative souls taking this course along with me.

What surprised me is that the other students are from all over the world – various places throughout the US, Canada (including the High Arctic!), the UK, Australia, Switzerland, South Korea, Greece, Cyprus, and even an aide worker in Turkey who lives about 100 miles from the border of Syria.

Reading everyone’s stories, hearing about their creative lives, where they struggle, how they want to help others with their own creative struggles, is even more inspiring than I thought it would be. I feel re-energized and excited to pursue this so that I can confidently add “creativity coaching” to my skill set as an artist.

Along with the class, we need to do 100 hours of private coaching to become certified. I’ve secured my first client (yay!) and will be looking for others who might be willing to give it a go with me. For a limited time, while I’m getting certified, I’ll be offering private coaching for FREE. If you’re interested, drop me a line either in the comments or through the “Hire Me” page on this blog.

I’m really looking forward to this adventure, and I’m excited to share with you all some of the insights from the journey. Stay tuned!

Why Rupi Kaur Gives Me Hope For the Future

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Have you heard of Rupi Kaur?

I hadn’t, until my 15-year-old stepdaughter asked if I was interested in reading her favorite book – a book of poetry, no less.

I am not normally a poetry person. I continually try to open myself to poetry, and there are some poets I do love (Walt Whitman and e.e. cummings and Mary Oliver come to mind), but I often struggle to make a connection to poetry. To hook into what the poem is conveying. I have problems finding my way in.

But when a 15-year-old girl gives you an opportunity – an invitation – to peek into her world, to have a glimpse of what grabs her attention, what penetrates her heart, what expresses even a sliver of her own inner life – you don’t say no. It’s an honor to be let in.

So, she deposited “Milk and Honey,” Rupi Kaur’s first book of poetry, on my nightstand. I’ll admit — it sat there for two weeks before I finally picked it up. But the universe has a way of tapping you on the shoulder by way of synchronicity, so when a close friend shared a Rupi Kaur poem on Facebook, I took the hint and immediately picked up the book.

 photo by rupee rags
photo by rupee rags

You guys – wow.

First of all, the language is simple and bold. There’s no fluff, no fancy constructs, no unnecessary elaboration. It gets straight to the point and immediately taps into some decidedly raw feelings.

Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Secondly, the subject matter speaks to what is arguably the every day experiences of many women around the world. It’s about hurting and loving and losing and healing. It’s about vulnerability and strength. It’s about learning to be female in the modern world. It’s about self-knowing and growth.

Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The poet is in her early 20s. She was born in Punjab and moved to Canada when she was 3. In addition to writing poetry, she performs spoken word and writes fiction and plays.

But to get to the point – Rupi Kaur gives me hope for the future.

Why? Well, millennials are often maligned in our culture, characterized as being lazy and self-absorbed and stupid. And, OK, when I see interviews where young people can’t correctly tell you who the Vice President of the United States is or who won the Civil War, I worry. I do. This characterization isn’t totally unfounded.

But when I read Kaur’s poetry, and when I know that it resonates in the soul of a 15-year-old girl on the precipice of adulthood, I’m fucking grateful. I’m grateful that our culture has birthed young women who are unafraid to speak about their experience, their emotions and their bodies.

For the past five years I’ve been involved with charity productions of The Vagina Monologues, V-Day and One Billion Rising. I know that odds are 1 in 3 that a woman will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. I know that we have thousands of years of patriarchal culture to unwind before women can feel safe and heard and equal.

But I think we’re making headway. The teenage girls I know are smarter about their bodies than I was at their age. They have less shame. Many have cultivated an emotional intelligence that probably outstrips men twice their age. They are empowered in many ways. There is still work to do, of course, but I can see how positive change has affected this next generation.

And it gives me hope.

Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Rupi Kaur (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

If you haven’t, check out “Milk and Honey.” And if you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

What is Your Vision?

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Back in May, I had the pleasure of escaping for a week to Colorado where I met up with Michelle, an old friend from college whom I had not seen in 20 years.

My 40th birthday was looming on the horizon, and I had expressed many times that I’d like to welcome in this new chapter of my life with some quiet time for reflection and meditation. Michelle generously invited me to spend some time with her at her cabin in the mountains and then join her sister for a yoga/meditation retreat with SoulSpark Journeys in Steamboat Springs.

I was game. Who could turn down such a thoughtful invitation? It was one of those more obvious examples of synchronicity in my life, for which I’m always on the lookout. I had put it out there into the universe that I wanted this experience, and the opportunity presented itself.

Over the two days of the retreat, we were pampered with plenty of quiet time (holy cow do I love Yoga Nidra) and unbelievably tasty vegan and raw food (who knew?). But perhaps the most enlightening moments for me were spent in a workshop aptly named “Slow Down and Tune In.” I mean, that’s exactly why I was there.

I was expecting two hours of mindful meditation, or something else equally as quiet. When we began the workshop, however, I was surprised to be greeted with a tall stack of magazines.

“Have you ever made a vision board?” our instructor, Alex, asked us.

“Have I ever made a vision board?” I thought to myself. “My office walls are covered with them!”

Vision boards

Although I’ve made plenty of vision boards in the past, I would never turn down the chance to make another. I LOVE ripping up magazines and gluing the pieces to poster board. It engages with my ever-hungry-for-more-messy-situations inner child.

Plus – I think visions change over time. What we want right now might not be what we want tomorrow, or in a month, or in ten years. It’s worth taking the time to explore how our desires change.

If you don’t know what a vision board is, it’s pretty simple. Take a stack of magazines and give yourself about 30 minutes. Look through the magazines and pull out any images or words that speak to you. Don’t overthink it. If it sparks something inside of you, rip it out. (The more ripping the better – ripping is fun and therapeutic!)

After you’ve looked through all your magazines and chosen your images, arrange and glue them on a poster board in a manner that is pleasing to your eye. Here’s what mine looked like that day:

My vision board
My vision board

Heavy on the words, which is not insignificant given that many of my goals and aspirations have to do with being a successful writer.

But wait – there’s more!

But it was the next step that threw me for a loop. Every time I’ve made a vision board, once the images are glued together, I stop. I admire my creation, hang it up in my office, and wait for the visions to arrive.

But Alex asked us to take it a step further. Once we completed our vision board, she asked us to take 10 minutes to write about what we saw in it.

It never occurred to me to do that before. And I’m a writer!

I took a good look at my board, and this is what I wrote:

My Vision

Afterwards, those who wanted to showed us their vision boards and shared what they wrote. I think all of us were awed by the power and depth of feeling captured in each collage, and the poetry that resulted. That’s really the only thing you could call the words that the other women were sharing. It was all so spontaneous, yet all so deeply felt and richly recounted. I know I’m not the only one who got goose bumps that day.

What is your vision?

I challenge you to set aside an hour this week to make your own vision board and write about what you see. And I’d love for you to share it here with me, if you are so inclined.

We need to give voice and space to these desires and visions of ours. It is the first step toward creating the life we have imagined. Go for it!

Oh, and check this out!

My amazing friend Michelle owns a fantastic shop named Oak and Hawthorn. She specializes in plant magic and herb lore and makes gifts inspired by yoga, Ayurveda, Celtic mythology and the natural world. I highly recommend you check out her Etsy shop, Facebook page or blog.  I’ve got a few of her medicine bags and chakra jars. It’s magical stuff. And if you live in Denver, she does house parties!

Some of Oak and Hawthorn's gorgeous chakra bottles.
Some of Oak and Hawthorn’s gorgeous chakra bottles.

 

 

Showing My Work

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 11/16/14)

I’ve been anxiously waiting for a book that I’ve had on hold at the library, and finally got it into my hot little hands yesterday afternoon, after a wait of about three months.

I’m already finished reading it.

In fairness, it’s a short book, easily digested, but it is FULL of GREAT and USEFUL IDEAS. That book is “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon.

show-your-work-cover1

 

Do you know him? If not, you should check him out. Particularly if you are a creative type person. His first book, “Steal Like an Artist” is also right on the money. You can find out all about his books and his blackout poetry at www.austinkleon.com.

I’ve been thinking about this concept – showing my work – for a few months now. Ever since I started on the journey of The Artist’s Way, back in August. A journey which is coming to an end this week. I’m a changed person because of it.

I’ve got lots of ideas brewing in this brain of mine. I’m smack-dab in the middle of working on a Young Adult novel – called “New Summerland” – as part of NaNoWriMo. This very blog you’re reading right now is scheduled for a New Years overhaul, and I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve got a better idea of what direction I’m heading in, and I’m excited to share it with you.

I’ve been enjoying this new process of showing my work on a regular basis. I thank you for going on this ride with me, and sharing your work with me. We’re all in this together. We are all students and teachers, simultaneously.

Go forth and create! And show me what you’re working on!

An Afternoon in Paris – Then and Now

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 11/13/14)

I am engulfed in wonderful memories today. On this day one year ago my husband, Adam, and I were on our honeymoon in Paris. We spent three wine-soaked, wonder-filled days bumming around the city with our good friend, Wally, after having spent the previous three weeks exploring rural France, Sicily and Marrakech. It was epic.
On this particular day – November 13, 2013 – we spent the afternoon tracking down the location of a photo that Adam’s parents had taken on their honeymoon in Paris in 1949, in the hopes of recreating the photo ourselves. Adam wrote a beautiful story of our little adventure, which is posted below with the pictures – then and now.
On a side note we have recently learned that the Frank mentioned in the story below, Frank Mankiewicz, has recently passed, which makes this memory all the more bittersweet today. Frank was Adam’s father’s best friend, and later became the Press Secretary for Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Adam’s parents were at the Ambassador Hotel with Frank on the night Kennedy was assassinated, which is another story for another time, but certainly makes all of the below even more poignant for us. We certainly wish to express our deepest condolences to Frank’s family. He will always be remembered quite fondly by us.
I do hope you enjoy.
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An Afternoon in Paris – Then and Now

by Adam Hall

Paris, 1949. Four years after the end of the world’s most destructive war, which had destroyed large swaths of Europe, my parents chose to celebrate their nuptials by honeymooning there. Most of the details are lost, and perhaps not particularly interesting. But central to this story is the sole surviving photo from their trip. It shows them on a motorcycle, in front of a cafe, on a street corner in Paris. I came into possession of the picture following my father’s passing in 2011. Framed simply, it hangs in the central hallway of my house, above the usual line of sight.  For the last two years I have occasionally glanced at it, trying to conjure images of what their trip must have been like. They seldom mentioned it, not out of any reluctance, as they obviously enjoyed the adventure, more from a perception that no one would be interested in the telling.

Los Angeles, 2013. I have recently married Amy, a wonderful woman who enjoys travel, and specifically travel with me. A fortuitous combination of factors led us to plan a honeymoon trip to Paris, from which seed a general plan of travel emerged. As I began the planning, the image of that picture of my parents on the street in Paris took more precedence in my mind and I began to view it as a quest for our trip. My most traveled friend always advised that one should have a quest on any trip, something which guides and provides directions in the absence of any other motivation. Even a honeymoon can benefit from some focus, so I imagined tracking down the location where the photo was taken and recreating it with my wife. We would be visiting our good friend, Wally, while in Paris, and he thought the challenge to be an admirable one.

As you can see in the picture, there isn’t a lot to identify the location. The Rue de L’Université is a rather long street in a city where streets tend to change names at every brasserie. Thanks to the advent of Google Street view it is now possible to take a virtual drive along a street, and so I had hopes of being able to spot the corner from the comfort of home prior to visiting Paris.  Unfortunately, that did not pan out. Or more precisely, I could not pan in close enough to match any of the details. Of course, it has been over 60 years since then and not surprisingly the buildings have undergone renovations, redecorating, change of tenants and use, and even entire buildings torn down and rebuilt (although, this being Paris, that is a rare event).

It was looking like the only way of identifying the building would be to walk up and down the street hoping to find someone old enough to remember how the street appeared all those years ago. How far back would that be? Did the cafe survive 10 or 20 years before succumbing to progress? There are many cafes still in business from that time, for example the ones Hemingway wrote about in The Moveable Feast. Would I get lucky and find that this was such a stalwart? At least then the cafe might have old pictures of its history, or an owner with ties to that time period.

There was one remaining link to their trip – their best friend Frank, who I recall them saying was with them at the start in Paris, and who, at 90 years of age, is still going strong and has vivid recollections of their times together (as evidenced by a set of recollections and stories he sent me on the occasion of my father’s recent passing). Whether those recollections are reliable is debatable. Frank’s family was as literate as the Kennedy’s were orate. He also had the demeanor of a top poker player, of which there was already a representative amongst the family. The combination led to some memorable family word games (trust me, it was more interesting than it sounds.) The point being, no matter how firmly and believably Frank might respond to my questions, I had to take his answers with a grain of salt.

Paris, 2013. Upon landing in Paris, I called Frank and asked if he remembered the photo. After some confusion about who was in the picture he quickly described how they had decamped to the Hotel de L’Université, using it as a base for trips around Europe that continued through the end of the year. He recollected the address as being number 5 or 6, and the intersection was Rue des Saints Pères. The cafe, he thought, was the hotel cafe and called the Bonaparte. This was all promising information, and informed by that intelligence I set off with Amy to see what we could find. We made arrangements to meet up with Wally in that general area later in the afternoon.

Amy and I arrived at the Rue de L’Université by Metro and began walking towards the location we had identified. Eventually we came to the 10s and found ourselves in front of the Hotel de L’Université. My spirits lifted as a major piece fit the puzzle. But there was no cafe fronting the hotel, nor did it look like there had ever been a place for one. More importantly, it was not on a corner, so unless a street had been closed off Frank’s data was a bit off. And in Paris, changing a street like that would be unheard of.

We continued on down the rue, looking for the next corner. The hotel ended and we started to pass other buildings. This meant that the cafe couldn’t be in the hotel. Further down the street, number 6 was just a store in the middle of the block. But then, coming to the intersection with Rue des Saints Pères, I found two cafes on opposite corners on the north side of the street, matching the shadows on the picture showing that the café was south-facing. On the near side was the Galette Café. On the opposite side across Rue des Saints Pères was the Comptoir des Saints Pères bar brasserie. To confuse things, a sign on the outside of the Comptoir touted their “cafe a la tasse” and “chocolat chaud”, similar to what was on the window in the original picture. But everything was different from the photo. Then, looking above the Galette Cafe, I spotted the window and filigreed iron railing on the second floor, and a smile lit across my face as I realized that I had found the same building. Amy and I excitedly looked back and forth between the photo and the building, and confirmed that it had the right features.

We crossed the street to the cafe, but it was closed until lunch time. With an hour to wait before it opened, and also for Wally to arrive, we adjourned to the bar on the other corner to do what Parisians love to do anyway – enjoy an espresso and watch the world go by. I showed the picture to one of the older waiters. He said that had indeed been the cafe across the street many years ago. I had my confirmation!  After a bit Wally arrived. We shared our success with him, and all sat down to await the opening of Galette.

Shortly after noon, the blinds went up and Galette Café was open for business. We walked over, sat down, and showed the waitress our picture. She and her husband were the owners (he was from Brittany, hence the specialty of galettes – buckwheat flour crêpes – in the name and on the menu) and we all traded mutual travel stories for a few minutes, including me telling about my parents’ trip 64 years ago. They had opened the restaurant about a year ago, and the previous place had been there for 30 years, which still did not go back to the original from the picture. But we knew we had the right place. We then sat down to a delicious lunch of galettes, and planned our next steps.

Paris has a system of bicycle rentals on streets throughout the city, and we decided to rent one of them to recreate the picture ourselves. Put our own spin on it, as it were. We found a nearby bank of bikes and took one back to the cafe, which by this time was half-bathed in bright sunlight coming down the street. We needed to wait for about 30 minutes until the sun passed behind the street’s buildings, so we settled into the Comptoir bar across the street again for another libation. It was a very European thing to do anyway.
Presently, the sun went behind a building and we were clear to take the re-creation photo. We took our places with Wally assuming Frank’s role across the street as photographer. I tried imagining what those three experienced on that day more than 60 years ago.  Of course theirs was a spur-of-the-moment photo. Between getting the pose right, lighting, and constant foot and vehicle traffic, it took us about 20 minutes to get the shot. I felt very uncomfortable with people staring at me so I guess I could never have a career as a model/actor. Amy and Wally (both actors) on the other hand, enjoyed the hell out of it.

A Simple List of Things I Love

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 10/30/14)

Today’s task in The Artist’s Way was to make a simple list of things I love, and to post it somewhere where I can see it. If possible, I’m also supposed to get myself something off this list to enjoy. I’ve posted here before about my essentials for happiness and things I want, but making this list felt a little different. These are the simple things that bring me joy. They aren’t necessarily essential to my well-being, but they make life richer and more meaningful.

THINGS I LOVE

  1.  CATS!
  2.  Slow meals with good friends and family
  3. Candlelight
  4. Bright colors and patterns, especially exotic ones
  5. Wonderful smells like lavender, lilac, rosemary and onions cooking on the stove
  6. Things that are soft and fluffy and silky to the touch
  7. Bright fall days
  8. Being surrounded by plants and flowers
  9. Rain and thunderstorms
  10. The sound of meditation bells
  11. Lemon flavored desserts
  12. Receiving cards and letters in the mail
  13. Giving gifts
  14. Traveling to new places
  15. Indian food
  16. The first glass of wine at the end of a long day
  17. Hugs from my parents
  18. Bringing a smile to someone’s face
  19. Halloween
  20. Feeling like part of a family
  21. Listening to music while driving, and singing along
  22. Street fairs and farmer’s markets
  23. Claw machines, and the feeling I get when I win
  24. Sunrises, and the quiet early morning hours
  25. Being in nature, and seeing animals in their natural habitats
  26. The first cup of coffee in the morning
  27. The anticipation of travel, of fun upcoming events, and of seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time
  28. Dramatic sunsets
  29. Clean sheets
  30. Pretty little flowers in a vase

What do you love? I challenge you to make a simple list. It feels good, and it’s a great reminder to add these little things to your life whenever possible. You deserve it.

My cats, Murray and Venus, enjoying a fresh breeze.  I love them!
My cats, Murray and Venus, enjoying a fresh breeze. I love them!

Dear Dad: On the Occasion of Your 70th Birthday, I Want to Say Thank You…

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 10/26/14)

Dear Dad:

On the occasion of your 70th birthday, I want to say thank you…

dad1

…for working hard in the steel mill for all those years so that you could support your family and send me to college.

dad2

…for taking me to Disney World for my 5th birthday!

dad3

…for being an excellent dance partner.

dad4

…for coming to my rescue when I was scared during a thunderstorm, even though it meant breaking your foot.

dad5

…for making sure there was always some time to have fun together.

dad6

…for your service to our country when you were a young man.

dad7

…for giving me an appreciation of country life.

dad8

…for loving my mother, and showing me through your example what love is.

dad9

…for always being the person I can call when I have car problems.

dad10

…for coaching me and going with me to the dealership to buy my first car, which I drove out to Los Angeles.

dad11

…for having a bit of a mischievous side.

dad12

…for having an excellent sense of humor, and showing me how not to take myself too seriously.

dad13

…for being the kind of guy who can rock a pair of suspenders.

dad14

…for showing me through your actions how important it is to help other people and to be of service.

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…for traveling to the far sides of the country to visit me.

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…for taking me to and picking me up from the airport, endlessly.

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…for giving me so many birthdays to share with you!

With Much Love,
Your Daughter,
Amy

 

I Want To Be a 90-Year-Old Fashion Icon

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 9/17/14)

Do you know Iris Apfel? I didn’t until literally just now. Well, I’ve known her through photos, but I never knew her name. This woman is marvelous. She is exactly who I want to be when I am 90.

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Found at http://www.theenglishroom.biz/2013/06/15/film-news-iris-apfel-documentary/

Isn’t she marvelous? Those glasses! That make-up! Those bracelets! All that poof and pattern and panache! I love it!

Learn more about her in her own words at Into the Gloss. Or here at the New York Times.

Look at her house, featured in Architectural Digest!

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THIS OUTFIT!

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THESE PANTS! WHERE CAN I GET THESE PANTS? I WANT THEM NOW!

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EXACTLY.