Thursday, September 18, 2014

re(treat)

A rocking chair, a circle of love and a window of time to mull what matters most. Some refer to this as a retreat. I simply call it a treat.

Monday, September 8, 2014

book love

I'm Italian so I do adore a good hug. Giving and getting one. That's why I'm all about Hug A Book Week, except seven days is not nearly enough time to wrap my arms around all of the books I love. And all of the ones that have loved me back so unconditionally with their words and information and ideas and inspiration. A nearly lifelong lovefest it's been, as passionate today as when I turned that very first page.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

pen(wo)manship

Maybe the only thing keeping you from writing by hand is having a tool that evokes the joy of ink across page. I couldn't agree more with this wonderful article from today's Wall Street Journal that it must be a fountain pen. Mom gave me a simple Sheaffer model (and accompanying cartridges) when I was eight years old and I've loved them ever since. In fact, that simple act may have been my writerly genesis. Thanks, Mom!
Image: 1. LAMY Studio; 2. Sailor's 1911 Large Collection; 3. Namiki Pilot Vanishing Point Metallic; 4. Faber-Castell Loom; 5. Varsity Pilot; 6. Faber-Castell Ambition; 7. Uni-Ball KuruToga Roulette F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

3 R's

While attempting to organize my desk area over Labor Day weekend, I went through a stack of magazines and made a little pile of visual ephemera into a collage. It represents how I want to feel this fall, what I want to concentrate on. My three R's: reading, reflecting, reaching out. Just naming them put me in a different place. Try it yourself.

Monday, September 1, 2014

flowery thoughts


Stories read to us as children can stay with us all our lives, says Ted Kooser in his weekly poetry column. He makes his point with a wonderful poem about one of my favorite books and maybe yours, too. Remember Ferdinand? He was the bull who loved flowers, not fighting. It was so good to catch up with him again today after too many years. So good to reread those familiar old lines. With new wonder at just how special they are.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

seasonal

If you want to experience the almost-imperceptible-while-it's-happening shift in seasons, a farmer's market is the place. There are still piles of peaches and tables covered in tomatoes, but a man has brought apples down from the North Carolina mountains today. The eggplants are irresistible. You'll notice how hydrangeas have given way to a palette of pink and orange dahlias. It's a degree or so cooler, sun the golden hue of local honey. A tattooed young guy, so kind, sells the best bread you can imagine. Take some home.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

extracurricular

I was that girl too excited to sleep the night before school started. Who would rather shop for school supplies than clothes. And who will always consider a classroom sacred space. So when the school bell no longer tolled for me, it felt emptier than a playground after recess. Too many echoes, too little activity. No one blowing a whistle signaling what to do next. Commence the existential drift. Until one day I realized that I could make an appointment with my (inner) guidance counselor and put in for a schedule change. I could cherry pick the things I truly loved about school (being in a routine, being with friends, reading, writing, learning, experiencing, growing) and adapt them to adult life.

This is why, as summer ends, I'm stocking up on Sharpies at Target, signing up for a printmaking workshop and have added a yoga class to my routine. I'm penciling in writing blocks and walks with friends. I've scheduled chunks of fresh air time throughout the day and a weekly library spree. I've got nutrition covered, too, with my sister's homemade granola recipe, Farmer's Market apples and a cute Bento lunchbox. There's a plethora of podcasts and an online course I want to partake, lectures I'd like to attend around town. You can enroll, too. Anytime. There are no exams, no grades. Except E for enthusiastic and engaged. And energized.

Monday, August 25, 2014

blessing of the backpacks

Are you ever too grown up to experience the universal joy and energy of a first day of school? Yesterday was the annual 'Blessing of the Backpacks' at church, when children carry their school bags (sometimes bigger than they are!) up to the altar for a prayer before starting the new term. It's the sweetest thing, so full of anticipation and possibility. Backpacks are actually a hot fashion item for big people right now, so it's possible to find a style that tickles your personality today as much as the Arthur and D.W. motif did back in the third grade. Just make sure there's room enough for a composition book, a few #2 pencils and abundant blessings.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

back-to-school butterflies

“With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent; warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates—will they be friendly?" - Eric Carle

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

la dolce vita

At an old Italian villa ensconced in bougainvillea,
a door opens. On the other side is the rest of your life.
From the balcony, picture postcard Positano. 
Hibiscus everywhere. And who knew the sea could be 
so many beautiful shades of blue?
Love is in the air. In the people and in the food, too. Amore
There is always a place to pause for prayer. 
Farmers here are artists, our guide said. 
The mountaintop town of Ravello takes your breath away. 
So does the nearby island of Capri. Pablo Neruda wrote a love note to it. 
The lemons are as big as mangoes and bloom three times a year. 
I did not want to say arrivederci to the Amalfi Coast. 
But the eternal city beckoned.
I just love this old place.
A double dip of dolce at every turn.
Sweet serendipity was coming upon the home of St. Ignatius.
Finding God in all things is his legacy. 
A midnight Vatican visit capped off Roma. Then, homa.
Thankfully, I brought it all back in my heart.