Friday, November 27

boyz n the hood

This was the first thanksgiving in my new house and I have to say, it set the bar high. We had a feast that was half vegan with Forrest and his friend Andy doing all of the cooking save for a mushroom/quinoa casserole that I made as the vegan entree.

Above you can see the wee centerpiece I created from bits I gathered in the garden-- ivy and lavender. It goes to show the power of sentiment as I don't know that I have ever loved a centerpiece more than this one.

Wednesday night had Forrest breaking out his kitchen aid and making pie dough from scratch for his pumpkin pie. (Mary Berry would be so proud).

Two of their friends joined in so it was a table of five - me with four guys and after dinner (which was utterly perfect, crazy good) we played Cards Against Humanity and I won. 

Which I'm sure made me very happy last night, but in this moment, I have such a sugar hangover that nothing sounds good except camomile tea - isn't that what Peter Rabbit's mother gave him for his over indulgence in Farmer MacGregor's garden?

Today I am in full on post Thanksgiving slump. Three days left of this blogging gig. 

We'll see if I make it across the finish line or not.

Daisy looks very serious here but she could not have been more happy with so much extra attention. It was a very full day of gratitude and fun. Blessed be.

bisous, Elizabeth

all photos thanks to Forrest

Wednesday, November 25

oh, well

me, as a kid

Turms out I didn't hit the road yesterday morning. 

Which is all fine, except I feel so bad for disappointing my sister-- am a Thanksgiving tease, apparently-- and I really will miss that soft pretzel. 

The weirdest part is how hard it is for me to switch gears, allow plans to change and simply flow with it. Like, really hard. My rising sign is Pisces which is water - fish- flow and ease.  And yet, I'm still working on developing that approach to life. This little hiccup is such a clear example for me.

I am watching myself and all the contortions (soft pretzel anyone?) I go through in resistance to what is. 

What happened was that yesterday morning I woke up and my body was not going to be happy in the driver's seat of a car for the 10 hour round trip as I popped something in my lower back (probably from all the running I have been doing). I made the right choice to stay home. And, I am super happy to be home.

And yet, there was all this forward momentum-- all my thoughts and plans that were already way ahead of me, hanging with my family, being in Philadelphia, etc. It's taking a bit to simply let go and be HERE now.

Does this ever happen to you?

 loving on the tree skirts of moss

One of the hanging elements that I have to close out and take in another direction is that I had started a playlist for the drive. It's what I'm listening to as I type to you. Turns out, it's good for the road and for blogging. 

Link is here if you want to take a listen, too:  First HOUR of my playlist.

Oh, and I totally didn't blog yesterday.  Glad you didn't notice. Maybe I'll double it up sometime this weekend. Maybe not.

Mostly I am looking forward to taking it easy. Sinking into books. Dabble at some house projects I never seem to get around to. 

Tomorrow will see an impromptu Thanksgiving gathering here. More on that as details come into view.

I do think what's going on with me right now is to have NO PLANS. 

Make no plans.

That seems to be my marching orders of late. It's all part of the mist and mystery that I seem to be moving through. Sort of like I am cosmically blindfolded and the universe is trying to make me learn to use my intuition the way I currently use my other five senses.

Yes, I am having my Luke Skywalker moment where I finally learn to use the force, baby.

me and Mookie, two jedis back in the day

bisous, Elizabeth

Monday, November 23

in flight

photo from this morning

For the first time ever, I got up close to a blue heron. And then, it flew away.

Which is pretty much what is happening in this blog. I got in close and now I gotta fly.

There was time to write in the past weeks-- but this weekend things went a bit bonky and there simply wasn't a moment for me to sink in. Not an issue except I want to keep showing up, I want to fulfill this attempt to write every day of November.

It's just that some days? I can't do it all. Plus, I just dashed THIS out this morning.

So feeling a bit out of things to share unless of course you want to hear all about the laundry I'm about to run.
Scintillating. I know.

Tomorrow I hit the road to Philadelphia to hang with the fam for Thanksgiving. Dogs love a road trip, me-- not so much, but I am looking forward to stuff I just can't get up here real hoagies and soft pretzels among other things.

a demain, elizabeth

Sunday, November 22

paws for Sunday

Things about today:

  • rain
  • dogs snoring
  • yoga followed by a 4.5 mile run/walk (boo-YAH)
  • quick trip up and back to Boston
  • more rain
  • more dogs snoring
  • last episode of season 4 of SUITS
  • bed bed bed
  • requisite blog post with hopes for more time to write another day

bisous, elizabeth

Saturday, November 21

with regard to rest

there is one rule to follow regarding rest: 
if we need a rest, we take one

from The Heart of YogaT.V.K. Desikachar

Of course, reference to napping is incomplete without a nod to the snuggle king, my sweet Henry.

hope your Saturday is long, lazy, luxurious and all manner of restorative.

bisous, elizabeth

Friday, November 20

love + breadcrumbs

The weather today is not to be believed. T-shirt temps. Soft air. Bright sun.

A couple of merry little breezes running around in a game of frisbee golf.


This morning I cracked into My Life on the Road and oh dear lord, I somehow forgot that Gloria Steinem is, at heart, a writer.

This is where you will find me this weekend as I don't know the last time I was so ready to sink into an autobiography.

She had me at hello.

from the prelude:

"We eat home-cooked food brought in trucks, sit on blankets around powwow grounds where dancers follow the heartbeat of drums, and watch Indian ponies as decorated as the dancers. When it rains, a rainbow stretches from can't-see to can't-see, and fields of wet sweet grass become as fragrant as gigantic flowers."

from the introduction:

"We have to stop generalizing about 'the American people' as if were one homogeneous lump. I'm also now immune to politicians who say, "I've traveled the length and breadth of this great land, and I know . . " I've traveled more than any of them, and I don't know.
 . . . As Robin Morgan wrote so wisely, "Hate generalizes, love specifies." That's what makes going on the road so important. It definitely specifies."

It think this also explains my love of daily journaling, snapping photos and sharing them.

I don't pretend to be anything but ordinary. My dogs are mutts. I live in a city rife with economic struggle. Home is a rather small, second floor apartment. There is nothing glamorous in any of it.

And yet, I love it so. I love it all. And paying attention, close attention, enlarges and expands what I gaze upon, which makes me love it more.

When you look at something, really sink in and look -- when you align your energies with the object of your focus, more worlds open up. You begin to see the uniqueness in everything, which, as mentioned above, is the direct road to love.

follow the breadcrumbs, baby

bisous, elizabeth

Thursday, November 19


Montreal, 2009

I just read Jeanine's post where she chats with her darling baby girl Wren, and could not help but to reflect on how freaking fast time flies and what surprises life holds for us when we least expect it.

Et voila, throwback thursday!

Wild, isn't it? How small decisions, impulsive road trips and the connections we make on the internet have affected all of us, me most particularly.

Case in point:  December 2009 when Christine Chitnis and I spontanteously decided to make a road trip to Montreal to see Jeanine.

You can get a glimpse

Arriving at Mile End

Laughing til my stomach ached

green walls, blue phone

wow, I totally forgot about the passport story

Montreal, 2009

*shaking my head in wonder*

What if we hadn't gone?  I have always said, the power of three women gathering cannot be underestimated.
Some things I see from where I sit today:

Life changing.

painting is titled: crawling into the unknown 

bisous, elizabeth

Wednesday, November 18

when I'm not sobbing my heart out

This morning is one for the record books-- otherwise known as my gratitude journal. 

Seriously, gorgeous morning, full-on sun, bird song, still some color in the trees, a few wayward roses holding fast to their blooms, an early walk through the hood with the pups and I got my ass to 7am yoga.

boo to the YAH.

Speaking of seriously, the fact is if someone did nothing but read these posts they would think I was a rather serious person and nothing could be further from the truth. Although I do feel things deeply, I am rarely if ever serious.  Goofy, silly and sometimes decidedly uncoordinated seems a far better description of my essential self.

I seek to have as much ease and light in my day as possible, so despite my ramblings here-- most of my waking hours are spent with my head in the clouds. Big walkabouts with the dogs followed by deep relaxation and almond butter on wasa crackers pretty much sums up a typical morning.

I chose the title of this post in reference to the fact that sobbing falls into the category of showering, washing my hair, eating broccoli, buying shoes or shopping in general -- which means rarely. I have such admiration for people who cry and can cry deeply, sort of like when people say to me, "I wish I was a morning person."

(Which, on a total aside, makes no sense to me-- own your wild, night-owl self!!)

We all just move through the world as we do and as much as I might wish to sob with the best of them-- it's really not how I roll. In fact, it is such a rare event it's sort of how some people know how many times in their life they have thrown up. I know the times in my life I have lost it and sobbed til I needed a brown paper bag in my face to keep from hyperventilating-- but on that particular instance I am thinking of, I was also laughing so hard right in the midst of the storm because I could see how absurd the situation was.

Not that feelings are absurd, just that there's a part of me that is completely detached and watching emotions come and go.
I know, weird.

All of which to say-- I am here this morning in one of my profoundly empty headed moments where all I am aware of is Daisy's nose pressing on my thigh to put the laptop away already, the light coming through the window, and the pulse of gratitude in my heart that this moment feels like this.

Hey, now that I'm signing off-- I just realized I have something to share tomorrow-- or sometime this week--- my donkey story.

Yes. The perfect contrast to whatever I just rambled on about above.

Perhaps some sobbing will be in order for my beloved donkey story, because the best part of a good hard cry is the relief and spacious expanse that fills your body after, don't you think?

Ahhhhh. You would think I was high for how incoherent this is and you know what? Me no caro.

peace out.

bisous, Elizabeth

Tuesday, November 17

give yourself a gold star

paris, may 2013

Today, and the next few ahead, I am showing up here because I want to fulfill this commitment to post every day in the month of November. Setting goals, staying the course, pushing through when it would be so easy to walk away with a shrug and say, who cares, why bother -- it really isn't so much the actual value or purpose of blogging (dear lord, you know me better than that by now) it's the act of commitment, of follow through -- of staying the course.

It really doesn't matter what you commit yourself to - it is the act of practicing discipline that matters.
That's where the bounty lies.

I'm pretty sure I could find a quote from Krishna saying this to Arjuna - but, given my copy of the Gita is upstairs and I have exactly 4 minutes left to type here -- let me get back to you on that. In fact, it was last Spring when I was deep in the reading for my yoga teacher training that I really understood this for the first time, ever.

I have always been one to walk away when things get difficult. My reasoning based in some kind of belief system where conflict is not good, driving/striving can be incredibly unhealthy and you should only do what you want.

But let's be clear. That internal code developed when I was an adolescent in a world that bewildered me. It was definitely a self-protective measure. You can't lose a race if you don't run it.

Like anything in life, competition has two sides. I grew up seeing and experiencing the shadow side of competition and so rejected it outright.

I am only now finding my way back to how actually signing on to push myself beyond what's comfortable can have the most wonderful results. Of course, it can also really suck.

                                                                           detail from "I will rise from the sorrow" March 2013

But if you keep showing up, eventually, things shift.

You know, eventually.

Yesterday the dogs got all their shots for the year and their vet check-up.

In the big picture of dog health, they are doing really well, but both are going blind and their hips are getting stiff and painful for them. Change is ahead. I know this. Painful change. And I am not ready.

I want things to be gentle and easy - without struggle and strain, Without heartbreak and grief.

And that is not life. That is not what we all signed up for.

So, if things are feeling sweet and comfortable for you this morning, I encourage you to sink even more deeply into that gorgeous state of being.

And, if things are feeling pinchy, hard, sad or confusing for you this morning, I offer you a hug and a promise that you can get through it.

That some days, it's enough to show up.

Gerri giving me one of her fabulous mama bear hugs 

bisous, elizabeth

Monday, November 16

one of the vivacious many

photo credit:  TARA MORRIS

I love that photo above so very dearly. It captures the joy I see and experience at Squam. And, as some of you know, this morning the Squam bell has rung as registration is now open which means I got no time to be in here.

Lucky for you, A Thousand Mornings is next to me and I will share a bit of luminosity from it.


Who can guess the luna's sadness who lives so 
briefly? Who can guess the impatience of stone
longing to be ground down, to be part again of
something livelier? Who can imagine in what
heaviness the rivers remember their original 

Strange questions, yet I have spent worthwhile
time with them. And I suggest them to you also,
that your spirit grow in curiosity, that your life
be richer than it is, that you bow to the earth as
you feel how it actually is, that we - so clever, and 
ambitious, and selfish, and unrestrained - are only
one design of the moving, the vivacious many.

- Mary Oliver

bisous, elizabeth

Sunday, November 15


Not only is the month of November a return to blogging, I'm also running 4.5 miles every other day (today is the 'other' day) and back to my regular yoga routine.

Yes, this eleventh month is my reset button; in my world, dominated as it is by the Squam calendar, this is my quiet time. That rare hour when all the kids are bathed, asleep in bed, dishwasher's running and I still have enough energy to sit and knit while watching Suits.

You know, metaphorically.

All of which to say, this morning is my normal dash/stream of consciousness blast through the blog. 

Green smoothie at my right, dogs snoozing below my feet after a walk by the river, a second coffee -- lukewarm but good enough -- at a careful distance from my keyboard (it only takes one coffee spill / keyboard death to teach that lesson).

Yesterday, I stopped reading on page 57. This morning, I picked up the magazine and turned the page. 

Page 58 begins a story whose timing could not be more amazing if my life unfolded like a novel. Above is a snap from the article on Riad Sattouf, a French-Syrian artist who is one of France's best-known graphic novelists. 

Seriously? Well, alrighty then. Back into Paris I go with a deep dive into the "masculine power and its violent rituals" that are at the heart of Sattouf's work.

Again, a subject way too big for me to tackle under any circumstances, let alone a blog post-- but will that stop me? 

Please. My blog, my rules.

Here's the thing. What I wrote yesterday could be seen as so much naivete, a priveleged, American, white woman's starry-eyed admonition to kindergarteners to "all play nice."

Nope. I am super clear in what I see and believe. We have all lived in a world with a profound imbalance between masculine and feminine. The masculine's beautiful strength, desire to protect and commitment to loyalty is beyond distorted and corrupted. We live with its full blown shadow side: insecurity and fear masked as arrogance, cruelty and an insatiable need for power. The feminine's extraordinary ability to endure, celebrate beauty, and nurture life in all of its exquisite forms is crushed within an inch of its life. That we have all been poisoned by a perverted image of beauty and sexuality is only one of the spiritual crimes. We are poisoning everything - the plants, the earth, our food, the air, the water. 

How we treat the planet, the animals, all living creatures - all of life, basically - is a direct reflection of how we treat women. For me, the connection is indisputable.

And, that was what I was trying to say yesterday, which of course, I can't articulate because I am not taking enough time to shape my thoughts and words because I am blogging here, not writing a magazine article and 25 minutes is what I've got.

So, without the rich earth of careful exposition beneath them, my thoughts translate as jejune. Oh well. 

To sum up, my basic perspective is that women have got to stand up and own their lives - no one else is going to do it for you.

And, that we are ALL DEPENDENT on each woman doing this. 

Yes, I believe it is that important. And I know it is hard, I know it so painful. And, I know that holding on to our depression, our anxiety, our overwhelming sense of hopelessness is a deep pattern that comforts us somehow.

But, I am gonna call on my friend Melissa McCarthy when she counsels her friend who has hit rock bottom to get off the couch.

(I know there will be an ad before the video but wait it out, it is SO worth it!)

Because, the good news in all this is that women don't have to do it alone. 
We gather up with our friends, we circle, our strength is how we link together.

bisous, e

Saturday, November 14

the long and the short

Lead with love. 
Low ego, high impact. 
Move at the speed of trust.
:: the three principles, Black Lives Matter ::

This post will be too long and too short. I'm writing it anyway.

Did you read the article ROAD WARRIOR (The New Yorker,10.19.2015) by Jane Kramer? 

I won't be surprised if you didn't. I read it this morning entirely by chance.

My tenant,* a most lovely woman who quilts, dyes fabrics from natural elements, practices the clarinet and has a cat named Mabel, has begun passing on her issues of The New Yorker once she is done reading them. I find them in a stack on the back steps.

It's kind of a perfect scenario for me as I was a long, long time subscriber to the magazine until I moved (twice) and all those issues had to go and living through getting rid of them lead me to stop subscribing.

Plus, let's be honest, I only read it for the cartoons.

On this beautiful Saturday morning, I finally had time to sink into this particular article that I had earmarked earlier in the week. I don't think I had any idea how it was going to be just what I needed on this day when my heart is aching with all that is going on in Paris.

Half of my family lives in and around Paris. I have lived there. It is one of my most favorite places in the world. 

And, none of that really matters. 

I have never lived in Sandy Hook NJ, Syria, Columbine, CO, North Korea or any of the places where horror and suffering exceed my capacity for understanding. 

What I know is that they are all my cousins, my family. 

It's all the same place. It's all the same tragedy. 
Over and over and over again.

I am nobody's political animal. It is simply not my gift to bring to the world. I will not respond to anger and violence with anger and violence because never, has that reduced the amount of anger and violence in the world.

My daily political acts are to refuse to let someone goad me into aggression. 

My daily political action is to remain open, undefended.
My daily political act is to be at peace with myself.

Do you think that is easy? No big deal?

Go ahead-- try it. Do it for seven consecutive days. 

Here are the rules of the no war game:

  • you must notice when you criticize yourself and, instead, respond with love
  • you must notice when you judge another and, instead, respond with compassion
  • if a friend calls you to say another friend has said untrue things about you, you do not engage
  • if a friend calls to say something unkind about another friend, you do not engage
  • you release the need to be right
  • someone hurts you, fails you, steals from you, you respond with love
  • someone is disappointed in you, you love them anyway
  • someone is angry with you, you love them anyway
  • images of suffering, hatred, war, destruction & cruelty are put in front of you daily, you bring your attention to images of peace and beauty
Piece of cake, right?

Although, I will admit since we've been talking of magazine subscriptions, that there was a stretch in my late 20s and early 30s that I subscribed to Ms. What ended that relationship was the anger. Maybe it's different now, I don't know. But at the time, the essays seethed with burning outrage at the injustice and there was no humor anywhere to offset that vibration. Don't get me wrong, every bit of that anger was deserved. More than justified. It was simply toxic for me. Anger does not fire me up, anger paralyzes me.

I would collapse after reading an issue. Useless to anyone.

The most healthy, healing political commentary, for me, was Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. That really did save me through the dark days of the Bush/Cheney administration.

All of which to say, political activism has never been my path. 

And yet my admiration for people who are, Gloria Steinem in particular, is epic. In the article she is quoted as saying,

"I'm an entrepreneur of social change.
I talk. I write. I tell stories.
I want to do justice to the women I meet."

This profile, in part, is to promote a book that she has just published called My Life on the Road which she began writing in 1997, but it is so much richer and deeper than that because to spend any time with Gloria Steinem is to be in the presence of such astonishing power, beauty and grace, an extraordinary force of good on this planet.

I didn't know anything about her personal life until reading this article. What stayed with me during my walk with the dogs this morning - which lasted about an hour longer than usual because I was so immersed in thinking on something she shared here.

"It was only much later, when I began to understand 
how unjust the position of women was in this 
country, that I knew my mother had never been 'ill,' 
as the doctors claimed. 
It was that her spirit had been broken."

This is what had me walking on and on this morning, unwilling to come back inside. This is what had my mind suffused with images, memories, thoughts, anger, sorrow and grief.

This is the heart of my story.

This is why I do what I do in the world.

It begins and ends with my mother.

I will not write her biography here. I will not focus on all the ways our matrilineal line is fraught with broken links thanks to a couple thousand years of patriarchy.

I will share a few things.

  • When I had a school assignment about a ship that sank in icy waters, my mother stopped mid-step on the stairs, railing in her hands, her eyes overflowing with tears, and told me how they sang Nearer My God to Thee. And then she sang it for me.**
  • She had three babies in three years. Yeah, a two-year old, one-year old and pregnant. Think about what that daily life had to feel like. And then? two more.
  • At a time when women were forced into the horror of drugged 'twilight sleep' during labor, my mother insisted on natural childbirth (she was the first to have natural childbirth in the hospital where she gave birth to her first child) and then was mocked by the doctor during labor for experiencing pain.
  • My dad traveled a lot when we were growing up. A lot, weeks at a time - sometimes months. My mom had a full-time job and was the single parent to five kids when he was away.
  • When I was Mrs. Claus in our second grade production, my mother went into her closet and took out her beautiful red winter coat, cut it down, sewed white fur collar and cuffs onto it, then had me wear it with the buttons down the back.
  • When my oldest sister was a little girl, she and my mom were in a department store when a woman's purse was stolen. My mom plopped my sister on a chair and told her to stay put, then she chased the thief down and caught him.
  • My mother taught me how to read, how to play bridge, how to be discerning, how to be fierce at scrabble and she typed every paper I wrote for the six years of junior high and high school.
And she did this and more for all five of us.

I could go on, but I won't as my mother is an intensely private person and I honor that. And, because she reads this blog and I know any kind of praise or recognition embarrasses her.

And that's my point.

Women have been poisoned. They are taught to devalue their greatest gifts and worse, to actively hate themselves. 
And it needs to stop.

As long as we do not practice gentleness, love, acceptance and compassion with ourselves anger, violence, cruelty and destruction in the world at large will continue. 

It begins with women seeing what fucking heroes they are. 

It begins with women owning what rock stars they are.
It begins with women owning their power, beauty and light.
It begins when we no longer allow our spirit to be broken.

"People are always asking me, 'Who will you pass the torch to?' The question makes me angry. There is no torch--there are many torches--and I'm using my torch to light other torches." - Gloria Steinhem

So. That was too long for a blog post. And, way too short for me to even begin to dive into this subject. Oh well.

c'est la guerre

bisous, elizabeth

*yes, I rent out the first floor apartment of my house

** although, we'll never know if it really happened or not