Wednesday, October 24, 2012

11 Years and Seven Months

Last week I placed
a call to our telephone
company about some
internet problems I'd
been experiencing.

The conversation opened
with the customer service
representative saying,

Thank you for being
our customer for 11 years
and seven months.

That simple statement
left me speechless for
a moment, as I quickly
did the math.....

Yep, he was right.

As a child who moved
at least eight times and
a married adult who has
moved another seven,
that acknowledgment 
stopped me in my tracks.

It was a blustery day.

I had my pear spice
candle burning and
the windows glowed with
autumn's reflection.

The wind howled
outside and the crows
cawed noisily. I felt
warm and snug and
so appreciative of my
house of 11 years
and seven months.

Preparing a cup of tea
and settling in front
of the computer screen,
I kept thinking about
those words ~
that span of time ~
and all of the happy
family memories that
have happened here.

My daughter was in
kindergarten when we
first moved in.

My son was two and
the house was baby-
proofed.  We still find
the little outlet covers
on overlooked outlets,
from time to time.

Now my girl is a senior
in high school.

I have waved them both
off to school, every day, from
 the front door window of
this house.  For the first four
years, my little guy waved
with me, yearning to be
boarding the bright yellow
bus with his sister.

Next year, he will be
riding alone.

I am so grateful for
this house ~ our home.
Even though I know
it is not our forever
place and that we are
really just caretakers
for future families and
future memories, I feel
such a surge of love 
for these four walls.

11 years and seven months.

I never dreamed it would
be this long, but so


thankful that it has been.

It always amazes me to think
that every house on every street
is full of so many stories; so many
triumphs and tragedies, and all we
see are yards and driveways.

~ Glenn Close

What stories does
house tell?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Embracing Sabi

The Japanese have a word, sabi, 
which connotes the simple beauty
of worn and imperfect and
impermanent things; a weathered
fence; an old cracking bough in
a tree; a silver bowl mottled with
tarnish; the fine color of rust.

~ The Fine Color of Rust
P.A. O'Reilly

I have always been drawn
to things with history, patina or
age.  Flea markets, antique
malls, thrift stores or vintage
shops always put a spring in
my step and make my pulse
race as I cross their thresholds.

via Instagram....privetandholly

Over the weekend, we had the
pleasure of hosting one of my
oldest and dearest friends, 
Fiona and her 11 year old girl, 
Bella, my God daughter.

Fiona and I have known each
other for 25 years.  We worked
together in a Chicago bank, where
I was a newbie in the investments
area and she was a college intern.

We have championed each other
through sunshine and shadows, even
after my little family moved away.

Like me {and my own daughter},
Fiona and Isabella love to hunt for
treasures.  A good part of their
three days here was spent in the
car as we traversed country and
suburbia, hitting all the best places
to uncover new finds.

Our third musketeer from those days
together at the bank, Kathleen, 
has started chemo and could not 
travel.  She loves to junk, so we
chose some unique finds that will
soon be in her hands.

On Sunday evening, Fiona and I
 designed necklaces for us all to wear, 
using vintage components, in 
with our sweet friend as she once 
again travels this difficult journey. 

via Instagram
{241 = Two friends supporting one}
After squinting at jump rings and
lobster claws, jewelry pliers in hand,
our creations were finished.  Snapping
a picture for Instagram,  I said on 
a whim, 

Let's take one of us.

via Instagram

Looking at this image, it occurs
to me, that we are now both sabi, 
as we have acquired 

and age : )

And this is the thing:

We like it.

We like the comfortable feeling
of being inside our own skin.

We like not worrying about what
others think of us.

We like having friends who knew
us then....and still love us, now.

It's freeing.

We are sabi women, imperfect,
weathered, but embracing this 
beautiful life that is still spread 
before us like a gift.

Such a gift.


{Dedicated to 
Frank N. }

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Gift of Time

I'm at that point in life ~

two teens
one husband : )
one dog
one roof ~

where it's crazy busy.

So busy, in fact, that
I have to schedule
phone chats ~

write them 
on the calendar ~

with those who 
mean the most 
to me.

I was savoring one
of these very calls
last week, with one
of my dearest friends,

For those of you who
have been asking for
an update, Kathleen's
breast cancer {despite
a double mastectomy in
2010} has returned.

She started chemo 
last Monday.

Her doctor has assured
her that while today,
there is no cure for 
metastatic breast cancer,
it can be treated as a
chronic condition.

I've been really thinking
about how I want to
spend my time,

she confided to me.

Less to-do lists.....

She's planning to write
letters to her two 
young teenagers.

Just in case.

To be opened on your
wedding day.....

To be opened when you
become a parent....

When did you first
become aware of 
your own mortality?

My mom says that hers
came into focus when 
she was eight years old,
riding her bicycle.  Wind in
her hair, racing along,
she glanced at the gutter
and spotted a dead bird.

It's unusual to see these
tiny creatures still 
and silent.

Something clicked 
and she realized,

I won't be here forever.
My time on Earth is finite.

These days, as I lay in bed each
night, thinking about how
I'm going to spend my time
the next day, I am keenly
aware of the fact that we are 
doing exactly that ~ 
spending our time.

It's not a 

And I am oh so cognizant
of the fact that I don't want
to just spend it, but instead,

invest it.

Invest it in doing things
that make my heart sing,
that lift the spirits of others,
that show those who I love
that they mean so much to 
me, and that make a 
in this world.

Yes, work still must be done,
groceries purchased, dogs
fed, floors washed, 
leaves raked.

Life's time for doing.


That other time; our
free time, is a gift to be
spent wisely, richly and

until the day the balance
has been completely 
drawn down.

This golden autumn day,
I'm investing in an extra-
long walk with my pup,
Gracie, grateful for these
amazing colors and the
time I have been given
on this equally 
amazing planet.

Life is only precious
because it ends, kid.
~ Rick Riordan,
The Son of Neptune

How are you investing
your gift of time?


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mama Bears

There's a certain
in motherhood.

 ~ Celeste Zappala

I clearly remember
my first, ferocious
maternal stirrings.

Not for my babies,
who would come
later, but for a black
mutt with a white
chest who we named
Winnie, after another
brown-eyed beauty
on a TV show called
The Wonder Years.

Her wide-eyed puppy
expression, her oh-so-
soft fur, the too big for
her body paws.....

I found it all so, 

Early on in our puppy
parenthood, I went to
let Winnie back inside
from our gated yard and
found the yard empty,
with the gate open.

The adrenaline coursed
fiercely through my veins
and before I knew it, I
was outside, frantically
calling her name.

She was in the front
yard, greeting children
on their way home from
school.  Relief poured
over me and as I led Winnie
back inside the house, I was
struck by a realization.

This dog had stolen my
heart.  I was officially a
mama bear, ready to protect
her cub, and I would never,
ever, be the same.

Even if you do not have
a pet or children, you may
have experienced this
ferocity when caring for
an elderly relative.  

Your heart tells you, 

I will do whatever it takes 
to protect this one who is 
so dear to me.

Mama bear love.

I was skimming Pinterest
last week while listening
to a TV show, when a
picture caught my eye.

It was a little child looking
proudly into the camera
with a teddy bear.  The
picture was linked to a
website called 
The Mother Bear Project.


Intrigued, I clicked on the
image to learn more.

The Mother Bear Project
gives love, comfort and
hope to children in emerging
nations who are affected
by HIV/AIDS, with the
simple gift of a hand-knit
or crocheted teddy bear,
signed by its creator.


For most, it's the only
toy they've ever owned.

As I read their stories and
reactions to the 
unconditional love 
that their teddys
symbolized, I felt it.

That ferocity.

That mama bear love.


The sensation of wanting
to wrap these little ones in 
my arms and let them know 
that they are cherished.

I am hopeless with knitting
needles, but once upon a
time, I knew how to crochet.

I sent away for the crocheted
bear pattern and in two days,
there it was, in my mailbox.

It's not going to be the fastest
teddy bear ever created, but
it will be filled with this 
mama bear's love.

I hope it's just the first
of many that I turn out.

To join me in this sweet,
sweet project, click here.

Mama bear love.

Have you felt it?