Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Joie de Vivre: A virtual coffee

Paris is always a good idea.

~ The movie Sabrina


Pull up a cafe chair.
I've found us just
the right spot to drink
cafe au lait and watch
the world go by....

It's raining in Minnesota
as I write, but this is a virtual 
coffee, so I ask myself,
Where would you love
to be right this minute
sipping coffee and sharing
confidences over steaming
cups of goodness?


The sky is crystal clear,
with just a few puffy white
clouds.  Although it is
still early, the streets have
already been washed
clean; the city is ready
for the day.

The fragrance of fresh bread
from the boulangerie next
door permeates the air,
mixing with the aroma of
the rich brew in our cups.


How was your last week?

Mine was filled to the brim
with social activities.
Every day included a lunch
or coffee date, a baseball
game, a band concert or a
dinner party.

This seems to be the norm
at the end of the school year.
I call it the sprint to the finish.

And while I love spending
time with friends and cheering
on my son's baseball team, I'm
really a homebody at heart. 
Too much out and about social-
butterfly-ness throws me
off balance a bit.

This year we have received
half a dozen invites for
graduation open house parties.
My head just spins when I
realize that in two short years
we will be hosting our own
high school graduation party.

Sniff, sniff.

{I do think a chocolate crosissant
would help right now--thank you!}
  You are such a good friend!

One of the {many} things I
absolutely adore about watching
the world go by in Paris is
the fashion.
 So effortless ~
So classic, yet so current ~
So beautiful.

There goes a little girl in
a sweet smocked dress.
I love her red shoes!

There goes an older
gentleman ~
Trousers and white
dress shirt, a scarf
casually knotted
around his neck.

And there goes a
group of young women,
probably headed to the
office, high heels click
clicking on the pavement,
smartly cut dresses and skirts,
confident and glowing....

A scooter zooms past
us and rounds the corner,
roaring down a little side street.
Our waiter asks us if we'd
like another cafe au lait.

Oui, monsieur!

We chat about summer and
our sand-bucket lists.  Here's
part of mine:

strawberry picking
reading books by the lake
writing outside
early morning bike rides
my feet in warm sand
star gazing
cold museums on hot, muggy days

And it occurs to me
that what I really want
to do is capture moments,
like fireflies in a jar,
savoring them for a little
while and then releasing
them back to the universe.

Which is why we are in
Paris, sipping cafe au lait
together ~ capturing a moment.
The French do this so very,
very well.  It's in their
DNA, I think.

 They can pull up a table
and a chair anywhere ~
on a street
under a tree
on a terrace ~
Add a pot of coffee or a
bottle of wine ~
A friend and some sunshine ~
Voila! A moment : )

I haven't been to Paris in
many years.  I wonder if
technology has changed
the French way into the
mulitasking way that so
many of us now live?

I hope not.

I like to imagine that I
 can meet you for coffee,
the French way ~
and we will linger and
relax and be wonderfully
in the present. 
A gift.

Time to walk off our
croissants.  I want to hear
more about your sand-
bucket list.  Let's meander
towards one of the famous
Parisian jardins.  It's
 such a very pretty day and I
don't want this moment
to end.

 Thanks for joining me for
a virtual coffee.  Enjoy all of
your special moments,
this week!


Linking to

[Photo credits:  photobucket.com,
unless specified under image.]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The L Word ♥

Take away love and our earth
is a tomb.
~ Robert Browning

Last year I had the very
good luck to attend the spring
Na-Da Farm Barn Sale with
one of my BFFs, Kathleen. 
It was a beautiful weekend
and we soaked up the Illinois
countryside, the new friends we
made and our time together.

May 2010
Six weeks later, she met me in
Savannah, GA, where my daughter
was attending a college workshop
for highschoolers.  On the second
day of the trip, Kathleen received
one of those telephone calls that
changes your life forever.

It was her doctor. 

You have an agressive
form of breast cancer.

One of the many things that
amazes me when I think back on
 Kathleen's experience with cancer
is her gratitude that we were
together when she got the call.
She's mentioned that many,
many times.

Some would dub it serendipitous
that we were side by side that day.
We live 350 miles apart and usually
only see each other a couple of
times a year.  Some years, those
busy toddler and early elementary
years, we never saw each
other at all.

Kathleen completed her cancer
therapies ~ chemo and radiation ~
at the end of March.  It seemed
fitting to meet again at the
Na-Da Barn Sale to celebrate....



As luck or serendipity would have
it, the stars aligned {meaning
wonderful husbands who were able to
manage multiple kid activities in our
absence} and I was able to drive
 to Illinois for our Na-Da Farm
girls getaway weekend.

To take advantage of six hours by myself
in the car, I listened to one of my favorite
motivational audio books on the way.

The gist of the book?
The most
powerful force
in the universe
 is love.

And that force
was literally pulling
me back to Illinois.

When I make this drive, there is
a spot in Wisconsin approximately
halfway, and that is usually where
I stop to stretch and fill up my gas
tank.  But this time, that exit was
under construction.  So, I got off
at the next exit, turning into the first
gas station that I came to.

As I jumped out of the car, preparing
to run my credit card at the pump,
the name of the station caught my eye.

Love's Truck Stop.

I kid you not.

I smiled to myself
and said a little prayer....

I'm listening, God!

This year, the Na-Da sale felt
 more like a homecoming
than an unknown adventure.
We were welcomed with hugs
from many bloggers who we'd
 met for the first time last year at
this event. 

Loved seeing all these
talented blogger friends!

Anne Marie/ Kathleen {Charm Bracelet Diva}/ Jill {Gypsy Brocante}
 Fifi O'Neill/ Jen Rizzo
Beth Quinn/ Jeanne Oliver/ Traci Thorson

 Bravely sporting her
 post-chemo hairdo, Kathleen
was radiant. She'd journeyed
with cancer through summer,
fall and winter and I couldn't
think of a more perfect way
to celebrate the new spring of
her life than being there that weekend.

Love you, girl!


It was evident in all of the sweetly
displayed vendor booths both
inside and outside the barn.  It was
 joyfully displayed by the hostess
of the sale, Anne Marie, whose own
face glowed as she talked to those
attending, little baby Daniel cradled
in her arms.


The next day our dear friend Fiona
joined us for Art on The Farm,
taught by blogger Jeanne Oliver.
Using mixed media and guided
by Jeanne, we spent three special
hours immersed in the creative
process. The last step was choosing
words for our pieces.  I'm betting you
know one of them that I chose : )


Here is Kathleen's art work:

She was stronger than she thought she was.


I can't wait to go back to Na-da
Farm and celebrate another year
of friendship and life next year.
Until then, I will I will take those
moments of serendipity.....
of God.....of love.....wherever I can
find them, each and every day.

Wishing you all of that
and much, much more.

Enjoy this long weekend!


Monday, May 23, 2011


Hey Friends!
I hope your week is off
to a wonderful start.

Mine sure is.

This time, last week, 
I was in the middle of
a three-day raw detox
eating plan and I promised
to check back in and
give you the honest-to-
goodness low-down
skinny on the whole 

{Cue drum roll!}

It was great.

So, let's dive into the



P&H:  Remind us why
you wanted to do a detox.

Me:  This time of year is
crazy, with spring sports
and all of the end of school-year
activities that have our family
grabbing meals on the run. 
While I always make sure
that my family is eating well, I
let the ball slip on my own health
and wasn't making the best
choices for nutrition.  I don't
get enough sleep and really
need to draw as much energy
from my food as possible.  This
seemed like a good way to
focus on that goal for a few days
and hopefully jump-start the
desire to continue eating real,
unprocessed foods all summer long!

P&H:  Why a raw detox?

Me:  A raw {vegan} diet means food
not cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit,
so it maintains all of its digestive enzymes.
The raw foods act like little sponges
and soak up and carry away toxins such
as heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides
from the body in a way that cooked
foods do not.  The menu was also organic,
gluten-free and had no added sugar.  This
increases nutrients such as vitamins and
minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants 
and increases enzymes to keep the body in 
good working order.  Beverage choices were 
water or herbal tea.

P&H:  What was a typical day's
menu like?

Me:  I am lucky to have a friend who is a
chef and prepared the detox menus fresh
each day.  I always looked forward to picking
up my daily food and seeing what Emily had
created  for her detoxers to enjoy!  
Breakfast might be a creamy smoothie made from 
spinach, bananas, strawberries and Brazil nut
milk.  Lunch was another smoothie, such as 
the filling avocado, pineapple and basil one 
I had on the first day.  Dinner was a cold soup, 
such as carrot ginger, which was served with 
home made crackers or flat bread.  The rosemary 
crackers were my favorite.  I also had a raw 
energy bar each day, made from almonds,
buckwheat, walnuts, coconut, almond butter,
honey, vanilla and sea salt.

The lack of preservatives and emulsifiers meant 
that all of the food felt really pure.

P&H:  Did you experience any side
affects from eating this way?

Me:  I had some minor headaches,
which was probably due to eliminating
caffeine for those three days.  The detox
made me realize that I'd been using
coffee as a crutch both morning and
afternoon for the last month or so,
which isn't good.  A positive side affect
was realizing how satisfying the flavors
of fresh fruits, veggies and herbs can be.  When
I went back to normal food, it seemed
very salty; even processed food that seems
natural  can be loaded with sodium!

P&H:  Were you tempted to cheat?

Me:  While it was challenging to cook 
meals for others without partaking, I
knew that I'd only be short-changing
 myself if I ate or drank anything not 
on the plan. So, no, I stuck with it 
all the way through.  Stepping out of
my comfort zone and testing my self-
control {and winning! as Charlie Sheen
would say} were positive benefits for me.

P&H:  What did you miss the most
while on the detox?

Me:  The only thing that I really missed
was my morning coffee....because I love
the way it smells when it is brewing.  That
first hot sip, tempered with half and half
and yes, the little jolt.....the I'm awake and
ready to rock and roll through my day feeling!

P&H:  What changes have you made 
since finishing the raw detox?

Me:  I have tried to get more sleep, but
am still grappling with that.  I just have so
much I need {and want!} to pack into each
and every day.  I am usually asleep almost
instantly when my head hits the pillow.  I'm
drinking a lot more water and I find that I
crave fresh fruit and veggies, so am constantly
looking to work them into my diet.  This week
I am cooking up some nutritious food that
can be kept in the fridge, ready to consume
despite my busy schedule.  Emily's blog has
some really wonderful, quick recipes.  At the
moment, our cupboards contain very few 
processed snacks.

P&H:  Would you do this detox plan, again?

Me:  Absolutely.   One of the positive side
affects that can come from doing a raw detox
is mental clarity, which I absolutely experienced.
I would highly recommend it for anyone.  Even
if you don't have an Emily to prepare it for you,
there are plenty of raw detox recipes on-line
 that you  could make yourself at home.  

P&H:  What did your family think?

Me:  They were supportive of the concept, but
it was hard for them to get past the look of the
green smoothies!  You have to be open to new
colors and flavor sensations.  Not everyone is cool 
tasting cilantro, for instance, in their smoothie : )
The kids seemed especially interested in the menu.

Thanks to all of you who left me such encouraging
comments about the detox.  I just love you all!  
I hope that I was able to answer a lot of your 
questions about the detox experience, here.  
If you have anything specific questions, please 
contact me by e-mail:  privetandholly@gmail.com
I am very happy to lend an ear. 

Sending you my 
 thoughts for terrific week
 full of energy and happiness! 

Now, off to grab a banana......


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Waste Not

When we are old
our lives become the
sum of all whom we
have loved.  It is
important not to
waste anyone.

~ Bernard L. Lifshutz

I read this quote on
a park bench on
the River Walk
in San Antonio, Texas.

It made a home in
my heart and I have
cradled it there for
the last month.

All of the
natural disasters
around the globe
this year ~

wild fires

have made this
quote especially
meaningful to me.

When interviewed,
individuals who have 
narrowly escaped one 
of these tragedies 
typically aren't
mourning the loss
of their possessions.
It's the people 
who may have perished
that cause the tears to flow.
Or, they are celebrating;
Thank God we all
made it out okay!

I love collecting things and
I love reading about the 
collections of others, too.
But when it comes down to it, 
the most priceless collection
of all is truly those people
who we have loved.

Because really, at the
end of our lives, it's
our relationships
that we cherish above
all else.

husbands and wives
moms and dads
sons and daughters
brothers and sisters
beloved pets
aunts and uncles
friends who feel like family

The sum of

We've had a full moon
these past few nights and
when I gaze at it pinned 
up in the sky, surrounded
by stars, I think of people
on that list who are no longer
here on earth to share this
beauty with me.  And yet,
they will always be a part
of that unique equation 
that is mine, alone.

For them and for those who
I am still lucky enough to
share the journey with, I
don't want to squander full
moons or bear hugs, bare
feet in the grass or early
morning sunlight caressing my
 face.  I want to recognize
and remember it all.  I don't
want to frivol away any of it.

The changing seasons have a way of 
sharpening the senses, of refocusing
 the lens on this glorious earth that
we call home.  I hope that you
get the opportunity to revel in its 
magic over the next few days with
someone who loves you.... Or
perhaps sit quietly in the sunshine, 
connecting with the 
memory of someone dear,
who was integral to the 

It is important not to waste anyone.

Have a beautiful day,