Monday, August 29, 2011

la dolce vita

Notes from the life of a middle-aged Italian woman. I like a strong cup of coffee in the morning and a piece of toast with preserves made from summer's cherries. I have to have a good book going at all times and something to knit. A dog at my feet is comforting. I cherish my holy figurines and say my prayers. It's true, I also worship my kids. I dream of going to the old country one day. And of becoming an old Italian woman, with time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Enrolling at Wonderful U

Why should college kids have all the fun? While I wouldn't want to go back to communal living, cafeteria fare and Calculus, it occurs to me that there are a lot of lessons that can be gleaned from the university setting when it comes to composing a life out here in the real world. Here are my notes:

1. Pick a course of study. Learning doesn't end at graduation, it just becomes more personal and self-directed. Come up with something new to delve into, like nutrition, racquet ball, calligraphy, comparative religion or Native American history. Your brain craves this and will pay you back in wellbeing.

2. Keep up with your reading. I've committed to reading a book a week this year. It's something I love to do, but always seem to get side-tracked by things like unloading the dishwasher or watching a rerun of American Pickers on the History Channel. Not anymore, Bub, because I've got a plan and I'm working my plan.

3. Check in with your advisor. Don't try to go it alone. That's what God, trusted friends and family members, mentors, ministers and therapists are for: to listen and guide. Let go and let them.

4. Make new friends. If your list of contacts hasn't changed since you first got a cell phone, it's time to add some new lives to your life. While you're at it, make sure they aren't all carbon copies of you. Where's the fun in that?

5. Put effort into your social life. The world will not come seek you out in your dorm room/cubicle/condo. Check out a new band, start a supper club, take a loaf of banana bread to the neighbors. Make sure your people-connections are stronger than your internet connection.

6. Major in something you love. Whatever you're passionate about, put your energy there. Good things will happen.

7. Walk everywhere or take a bike. The more active you are, the healthier and happier you'll be. All you need is sneakers and a Schwinn.

8. Stay in touch with the folks back home. They love you more than you'll ever know.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

juiciness

Neighbors Marla and John hosted August 'Supper Club' today with a fabulous Sunday brunch, to which I was charged with bringing lemon bars. The irony wasn't lost on me, while baking early this morning, that it felt like life had thrown a few lemons my way as we delivered Italia to her freshman year of college yesterday. The rational part of me is thrilled that she's launched into an exhilarating next chapter, but mostly I'm wondering where the sunshine will be without her clouds of perfume and constant smile, her inside/outside beauty and all of that everyday love.

Not wanting to completely disappear down the rabbit hole of loss and sadness, I willed my thoughts back to the kitchen, back to Sunday morning and the lemons at hand. I thought about how much I adore the way, when piled in a pretty white bowl, they brighten a room. How they make me think of Italy and the citrus groves of Florida and a van Gogh painting. How crazy I am about their flavor, zest and juiciness - qualities I need to cultivate in life, like Italia does. All of that seemed like just what I needed to remember today and somehow it showed up.

Later, during coffee and dessert, my friend Susu happened to tell me that it's actually quite easy to grow a Meyer Lemon tree, that I'd be surprised how big and luscious the fruit gets and how much there is of it. I think I'll go looking for one this week at Campbell's Greenhouse. I've got the perfect spot for it.
(Still Life with Lemons on a Plate by Vincent van Gogh, 1887)

Monday, August 15, 2011

i surely do

Anniversary flowers, every petal a sweet memory.

Monday, August 8, 2011

home sweet office

This is the moving announcement Arkon and I sent out today. So good to be settling in and anticipating a super productive and successful third and fourth quarter!
(click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

humming right along

Summer's waning without me even once having filled the hummingbird feeder. Yet, there a tiny one was the other evening, hovering over it for a good minute or two before flitting away. I quickly ran and made a sugar solution to put out and am hopeful he'll find his way back and even bring friends. This made me think how sometimes the things we neglect are right there waiting for us if we choose to show up and notice.
A lithograph by John Gould of Poortman's Emerald Hummingbird, Plate 358 from A Monograph of the Trochilidae or Humming Birds (volume 5, 1861)