Wednesday, November 28, 2012

dotting my i

There's something almost subversive about stopping in the middle of a hectic day during a busy week to order a pair of gold polka dot pajamas. I'm not even a pajama person and I don't order much online, but I spotted these (from Target!) in a gift guide and something said 'buy me.' They're very Katherine-Hepburn-meets-Kate-Spade with the smart piping and I'm counting on them to transform my holidays into a cozy scene out of an old black & white movie like Christmas in Connecticut or the original Miracle on 34th Street. 

They haven't even arrived yet and I've already got big plans for these pajamas:  lolling over the New York Times Book Review, catching up on correspondence in bed with a lap desk and thick, monogrammed stationery (will have to order that, too), sitting spiffily at the kitchen table before anyone else arises, with a carafe of coffee and a clipboard for making lists/checking them twice. I've long told my friends that if it's not sold at Target, I don't really need it anyway and now believe that more than ever. Some silly polka dots, a festive daydream or two, the excitement of a package on the doorstep. What can I say? It's a wonderful life.   

Monday, November 26, 2012


For a limited time only. In ad layouts, we refer to this as a "call out." But what better call to action for the holidays? To keep the season from flurrying by, I've decided to collect moments this year. Small things that mean something special to me apart from the cultural commercial fray. Like taking the long way to work just to pass the Christmas tree lot.  And listening to Yo-Yo Ma's Songs of Joy & Peace in the car. I've got Dickens downloaded on my phone for reading on-the-go. And I don't want to miss a single frosty evening walk to see the magical light balls hanging from the trees up and down Hillside Avenue.

Today I took ian to the craft store after school for the makings of a Greek mask (well, he drove me with his new Learner's Permit) and then waited while he ran into Chick Fil A for "Milkshake Monday," which is when you get a free shake with the purchase of a sandwich.  Out he came with his snack . . . and a peppermint chocolate chip milkshake surprise for me. It was the sweetest #holidaymoment. And a reminder that there's no limit to joy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Quiet days.  I'm not ready for this time around Thanksgiving to give way to what's next.  Not yet anyway.  The kids have to go back to college for a few weeks to take exams, turn in projects and even a thesis.  I feel pressure, too, to get caught up on work, to get my head into and my heart around the season  But this morning feels suspended in something different.  A time for carving out how to approach these days, the coming holidays - the rest of life - with the kind of intention that makes it all worthwhile. 

The centerpiece from our Thanksgiving table seems to offer up a perfect example, a simple white pumpkin topped with a myriad of tiny succulent plants resting in a bed of moss.  As pretty today as it was weeks ago when I bought it at the County Farmer's Market.  All it needs is a very occasional replenishing of water at the roots to stay vibrant and lovely.  I was entranced by the lady who planted them and made their uniqueness and artistry seem so simple.  I think of all the things I overcomplicate instead of just letting them be and savoring them.  Keep the roots watered - the well filled - and the rest will take care of itself, this plant says.  Today I listen.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for pecan pie and Life of Pi . . . Dagwood sandwiches . . . football on tv and in the yard . . . having a green Friday instead of black by spending time in nature instead of spending money}

Thursday, November 22, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  cousins gathering . . . the Macy's Parade . . . an email chock full of love . . . putting the turkey in the oven and then a long morning walk . . . finding a perfect prayer for the day . . . holiday movie night . . . cannoli cake . . . comforts of home}

Monday, November 19, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for the opportunity to work on an ad campaign that can save lives . . . the collaborative process . . . having a touchstone or being one}

Sunday, November 18, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for a friend's happy housewarming party . . . Saturday morning yoga . . . equestrian therapy for children with special needs}

Friday, November 16, 2012


Am I the last person on God's stressed-out earth to learn the handy-dandy technique known simply as STOP? Try it the next time angst strikes: Stop. Take a breath. Observe the situation. Proceed. So basic, yet practically revolutionary in it's effectiveness. The best thing is, in case you forget, there's a reminder on nearly every street corner.
{Thanksgiving:  for The Forest Unseen by David Haskell . . . Science Friday on National Public Radio . . . color combination of turquoise and tangerine}

Thursday, November 15, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for the birds and art of John James Audubon . . . an elementary school play . . . seeing metaphors all around in life}

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for the red leaf maple tree at the corner of Croydon and Selwyn . . . Anam Cara and all of the beautiful writings of John O'Donohue . . . whirling dervishes}

Monday, November 12, 2012

get thee to the snuggery

After an entire adulthood of snuggling up with shelter magazines and interior design books, I'm finally coming home to the look and feel that fits me best. That of a snuggery, or what the dictionary defines as a  comfortable, cozy place. Nothing particularly stylish or elegant about it, but where the edges are soft, the linens are crisp, the towels are thick, the dog is sweet and a great pot of coffee is only minutes from ready. Think shelves brimming with books, tangerines in a bowl, a fluted cake stand made in Italy. There's rosemary growing in the garden and a sun porch with lovely old Florida wicker. There is a fireplace by which to nap in winter. Good people come in and out. This is home. You won't ever see it in a magazine, but it's the kind of place I hope you can picture in your heart.

Friday, November 9, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for standing in the warmth of a sunbeam on a chilly day . . . Barbara Kingsolver's new novel, Flight Behavior . . . being open and accommodating to oneself}

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for the freedom and privilege to vote . . . Upstairs, Downstairs on PBS . . . leftover homemade pumpkin pie in the fridge for breakfast}

Monday, November 5, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for a collage of leafy autumn colors . . . the first twinkling light ball appearing in neighborhood trees, harbinger of the holidays . . . deep sleep, good dreams.}

Sunday, November 4, 2012

time is of the essence

A friend told a story about going on a retreat where the face of a huge clock in the gathering space was covered up by paper that had the word 'NOW' written on it in big, bold letters. What a great thing to ponder on this day when we've literally turned back the hands of time. Poof! A mysterious extra hour pulled out of thin air. And a timely reminder: it's never too late to reclaim all the energy squandered over those numbers on the clock and pour it into the now. Starting right now.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for a good poem first thing in the morning that stays with you all day and beyond . . . 'falling back' and the gift of an undiscovered hour . . . nature's jewel tones}

Thursday, November 1, 2012

{Thanksgiving:  for saints in our lives . . . the golden leaves of a ginkgo tree . . . discovering the poet Kim Addonizio}

communion of saints

All Saints Day. The moon was full in early morning darkness, a van Gogh sky with a soft gauze of clouds and stars twinkling through. According to Franciscan Brother and writer Richard Rohr, today is what the Celts would call a thin day, when "we are invited to be aware of deep time when past, present and future time all come together as one." And, according to The Writer's Almanac, this was the day in 1512 when Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were first displayed. The detail above, the hands of God and Adam, is such a powerful, perfect metaphor for a day when we reach for those we love whose lives have touched ours. This image suggests to me that they reach for us, too.