Monday, December 1, 2014

All We Have is a Gift

I'm having a bit of an after-holiday hangover, even though I enjoyed every minute (and did "detox day" yesterday - thank you Lord for H2O!).  So I'm turning down the volume, walking the block, ignoring the grid for a bit.

I'm thinking about how service to others can define us and fill us and leaving us wanting nothing.  How the choices we make, including the behaviors we indulge, are recorded in the lives of others, especially our loved ones.

I think I forgot a mantra I meant to adopt this year - to live and lead mindfully, to let others see their greatness when looking to me.  There's one for December, and maybe for 2015.

How we live our days is how we live our lives.   Andy Dillard

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Command Presence

It's the holiday season, people!  That may just mean that you will see people you love...and the people they love. 
When you want to get someone to talk to you, listen without shaming, without judgment.  If  they are involved with that nasty stress devil or are struggling somehow, try the MORE method:

M = minimal encouragers  ("What have you been up to lately?")

O = open-ended questions ("How does THAT make you feel?")

R = reflective/mirroring ("So you are bothered that you have too much X to do?")

E = effective pauses ("Hmm.  That's a lot to think about.")


Don't forget some of these old standbys:

"...and then what happened?..."

" sound X..."

"I see you are frustrated/scared/upset....(you get the idea)..."


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Happy 28, MIM!

Happy birthday to a real favorite.  One of the things I admire about you is that you "took over" very early in life.  You knew what was good for you...before I told you.  You took ownership, of you.  And you're so that way now, of course.  Determined, goal setting, disciplined.  You're driving all the time.

Enjoy the first day of school, today, on your the number 2 school for MBAs, UChicago's Booth.  You got there because you worked hard and knew it would be good for you.  And it will be.

And you give me the gift.  I get the pleasure of sitting back and nodding, yes, son, great idea.  What you're doing is good for you.  Good for you, my second born.  Second to none.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Last hours

It's almost over...we have had a fun, relaxing trip...and spent our last day checking off the final musts:  shopping on Rodeo Drive, an afternoon Ultimate Hollywood Tour that allowed us to a ride around the Hollywood Hills and traveling other roads in the Santa Monica mountains (including Mullholland Drive), stopping to peek at rooftops and hedges and an occasional celebrity's home ("the higher the hedge, the bigger the celebrity" according to our tour guide).  We ended our last day with a stop at Mom's Bar, a Green Bay Packer bar, for the NFL opener between the Packers and the Seahawks - but mostly catching up with our LA-resident niece Christine and her guy Malcolm.
Runyon Canyon Park - where the celebs exercise
Malibu Starbucks, hoping for a celebrity-siting
Herman, our resident Seagull, enjoying a cracker on us
The lobby of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, aka the "Pretty Woman" hotel, yes those are fresh orchids!
Rodeo Drive area
Commotion around Joan Rivers star on Hollywood Boulevard, moments after the news of her death
Denzel Washington's home in the Hollywood Hills
Mom's Bar, waiting to celebrate the NFL opener with Christine and Malcolm
Rank girls!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Hang on Gidget and Elvis...look out Jen Aniston and Chelsea Handler...we're here in Malibu!

It's a gorgeous French-Riviera-like beach town with celebs and mansions atop the Santa Monica mountains, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Malibu's coastline is a narrow stretch of beach running parallel to the four lane, heavily-traveled Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), the only north - south road in the city. The beaches are natural beauties, with segments reserved for non-public access, and other areas of the water designated for surfers only.  The cliffs and canyons on the other side of PCH are breathtaking!

After Steve's famous eggs and ham, aka "Shipwreck", and lots of time on our deck staring at our pet seagull Herman and the wide blue expanse of ocean, we spent the afternoon hours at Malibu Lagoon State was great until we returned to our towels on the beach to discover the seagulls had ripped open and eaten our bag of Doritos and then, returning to our rental, we found out we parked in a no parking zone.  Oh, 'Bu!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I'm a patriot, a history buff, and a bit of a joiner.  It's with that self-awareness that I happily agreed to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential library in Simi Valley, CA.  We spent the previous night in Thousand Oaks and in the morning drove to this beautiful library, ascending up from the canyons, to the top for a breathtaking panoramic view.

Even for someone who is not super conservative, like at all, I really enjoyed this museum.

We ended up in Malibu, at our own VRBO beach house (20044 PCH), and eventually at Duke's - for $3 fish tacos, discounted beer, and fabulous oceanside fun!


As George Harrison sang, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

But we knew exactly what we wanted to see...and do!


We are on our way!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How 'Bout Never?

Some people are just not into me - I know, I know!  Hard to imagine!

I've stopped running after them.  It's not that they aren't worth, no!  They're very much worth it...but I've stopped trying to figure them out.  Whenever I notice having more time for them than they have for me, I put on my running shoes and go for a short reassess.  Interdependence is not everyone's deal, after all.  Just because they have no energy for me today - and won't return my text, my call, my email - well, maybe later, in the nursing home, we'll be best friends.  Don't burn the bridge!

There are a couple prized people who seem to dig a daily dose of me.  That's the side of the street you'll find me on...join me, if you like (we'll move over and make room for you).

- Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor, New Yorker

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm Not Ready To Have This Conversation...

...this is my new favorite thought or phrase.  Sometimes I say it.  Sometimes I just think it.

I get in trouble when I push my agenda when my emotional mind is ruling.  Much better to walk around the block or sleep on it and then invite my rational mind to take the wheel.

Stepping away is as important as stepping in, as engaging, if you are upset, or angry, or extra emotional.  Nothing good will come and a resolution, or even a compromise, is very unlikely.

It's not that you're apathetic, you just know that the conversation is less likely to escalate if it is postponed.  This, in itself, can change everything.

Monday, August 18, 2014


I don't like their prices, but there's a whole lot about lululemon that begs my attention, and it's not just their new Post Practice Cardigan in ghost/black that I love so much!

I love what the company promotes:  "Breathing deeply, drinking water and getting outside  top the list of things we can’t live without."  I feel that way, too!  I think it's joy.   

"Joy - an essential spiritual practice growing out of faith, grace, gratitude, hope, and love. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive."

That's me this year.  Despite the drought, despite the long periods of time alone, despite my measly salary increase.  It's joy!  And family, and running, and plans to hope on.
lululemon manifesto

Monday, August 11, 2014

Good Morning, Merry Sunshine!

Thirty great years as a mother to this gorgeous human being - happy birthday, Katharine Jeanne!  Love ya!
Meeting at ORD for our 25:30:55 trip!
Morning Chi-town Walk and Talk!

Question:  I'm in, then, right?  We're friends?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I'll Follow You

Can't wait to get back on the road - our summer of being apart is one for the books.

I've learned so many things I should have known before now:  how to's mostly.  I know where the shut off valves are for water and gas and garage door.  I can maintain the hot tub and lawn and dehumidifier, and try to control how much I miss us.

On my way...I'll be listening to this sweet tune by Jon McLaughlin, I'll Follow You:

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Happy 17th Anniversary, love.  I think this is a legit long-term relationship!  It's been a fun ride...thanks to YOU!

ON MARRIAGE A satisfying marriage that lasts a lifetime is more likely to result when partners are fundamentally similar and share the same basic values and goals. Although romantic love initially brings most couples together, what keeps them together is an abiding friendship, an ability to communicate, a willingness to give and take, and a commitment to the institution of marriage as well as to each other. - an elderly expert on marriage, quoted in the NY Times

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Run if you can, walk if you must, but never, ever, give up!

The half marathon experience was a gratifying challenge and we are so glad we did it.  We ran together and found it emotional and so very worthwhile.  Will we be back again next year?  If life allows such an indulgence, and the kids register again, then yes, we'll be back!
An angel volunteer at the registration packet pickup desk
We had our work cut out for us!
Pre-race dinner at the Maloneys - carb loading!
Precious DIL - is she thinking about tomorrow's race?
I forgot JFM on my leg, chalk it up to pre-race jitters.
But he was on the list on my arm, and always in my heart...
Post-race joy.