Saturday, December 24, 2016

When There is No Right Answer~

My 86 year old mother is in hospital in Indiana and I feel helpless. She is fiercely independent except for her unparalleled reliance on my father. In 2016 she has dealt with pelvic ring fractures and sacral fractures associated with osteoporosis, recurrent breast cancer requiring a lumpectomy followed by a mastectomy and 37 radiation treatments, and now kidney and liver degeneration resulting from dehydration and resistance to acceptance that aging and heath concerns require time for healing. 

My siblings and I feel bereft. We’ve been cautioned to refrain from rushing to Indiana from Virginia, Texas and North Carolina lest our mother interpret the collective visitation as last rites. We feel fear, sadness, guilt, unease, trepidation, grief, frustration, and a bit of anger that we are not wanted at her bedside. We understand and yet don’t. 

As the scions of fiercely independent parental units we understand their need to remain self sufficient. However, we also have a bit of resentment that our collective need for information and feelings are secondary or tertiary. Our parental units are codependent partners of 62 years, a love story, a partnership, a force of nature, a marriage of equals who have loved, lost, built, sustained, shared, laughed, cried, prayed, studied, taught,  and supported one another for more than 6 decades. They want to protect us and they want to shield themselves from our “hovering”. It is a delicate tight rope walk to honor their preferences and fulfill our own desires and needs. 

Ultimately, however, we cannot allow our selfish wants to interfere with their needs and desire to walk this path - wherever it may lead - alone. I am struggling. I am resistant. But if by staying home we give Mom hope, no matter what it may cost us, it is the right thing to do. Damn! Adulating is hard!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Making Choices & Accepting Consequences

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda…..Had I made different decisions in 1988 would I now be at the top of my game professionally? Would I be happy in my personal life? Where would I be?

In 1988 I made the decision to give up my job as a claim supervisor in Dallas, Texas to follow my then husband to Taiwan. He was offered a position as an international sales manager. I would have to give up my career and follow my spouse as a dependent unable to work to a foreign country where I did not know the customs or language. I learned quite a lot! I knew if I rejected the opportunity I would forever regret that I’d rejected the chance to live in Asia. I had to go! I’d always dreamed of visiting China! I’d also dreamed of becoming a Vice President at 30. But the call of adventure overrode my determination for professional success.

Ultimately, circumstances brought me back to the USA five years later and I found myself needing a job and trying to figure out how to explain my absence from the market for 5 years. Essentially, I found myself starting over at 36.It was a difficult realization. The real world marched forward while I was performing the role of expatriate wife in the surreal world of the dependent spouse supporting an international corporate representative in a bubble devoid of reality or any association with the real world.  Then, all came crashing down. I had to pick up the pieces. 

Thanks to the support of my dear dear friend Cindy Bennett,  I had a place to use for a base  and got a job in my former industry and fought my way back to  my professional ground zero. Things had changed. I’d gotten older and was no longer the golden child. I had to compete in a corporate environment that had transitioned. I was no longer the only woman in the office - a good thing but…..I had to face altered dynamics. The competitors were no longer men. Now I had to navigate the challenges of women competing against on another - an entirely different ballgame.

After several years back in the game I’ve found myself at a peace. I have a job that I truly enjoy. I’m afforded privileges I could not have imagined at the beginning of my career. I have earned everything that I’ve achieved. It took a long time; but I do feel appreciated. There are times I consider that I should be farther along my path; but I did make choices along the way that had some repercussions. And I have no regrets. 

I learned many lessons during years I spent in Al Anon thanks to somebody that has not been in my life for many years, learning the tools  I need to live a full life, to accept what is, and to appreciate that I am where I am supposed to be. Had I not made the decisions that I did make, I would not have traveled the world, lived in Asia, learned to embrace change, found the job that I currently have, met my wonderful husband of nearly 11 years, and found peace, serenity, and an understanding of who I am. I accept the decisions that I’ve made and embrace the results

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Republican Voter the Media Ignores~

The liberal and conservative media tend to ignore the moderate Republican voter. We are not disaffected rust-belt white men, Wall Street tycoons, the alt-right, evangelicals, racist /  misogynist / homophobic / xenophobic “deplorables” as defined by Hillary Clinton. Most of us were not and are not ideological supporters of president - elect Trump.  

Many moderate conservative voters are just like me - a college educated woman who was raised to believe that every human being should be treated with kindness and respect regardless of race, gender, national origin, sexual preference, religion, socio-economic level, political ideology, disability, education, marital status, type of employment, carmaker & model, mode of dress, physical looks, size, or “side of town”. The concept of discrimination, hate, prejudice, judgment, or rudeness was not on the radar of  a girl growing up in a small town in north central Indiana in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the child of Hoosier born elementary school teachers - one Catholic and one Protestant, the son of a farmer and daughter of a plumber, the first of their families to attend college, both born at the beginning of the Great Depression and graduating high school at the end of WWII. 

My parents raised me to believe that hard work, playing by the rules, focus on studies, and an understanding that no job was beneath me could give me the tools to live a good life. My parents struggled to give us opportunity and a college education. I worked in a hospital kitchen, as a waitress at a diner, at a radio station, and making pizza. These jobs helped me save money to travel to Europe, pay for extras at college, and understand that this was not what I wanted to do for a career.  

At university I studied languages, English, history and political science. I learned that the Swedish social welfare state was not the type of society that appealed to me. Political science and history studies reinforced my belief in the beauty of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

I’ve lived in Asia and Europe and saw that the American way of life and republican form of government is the envy of the world. From Hong Kong to Indonesia, to Vietnam to Malaysia to Italy and Britain I saw that we Americans have the highest standard of living, the fairest elections, the greatest freedoms, the most advanced technology, and the best opportunities to reach for the stars and attain the goal. 

My fellow moderate Republicans support a woman’s right to choose, stem cell research, racial equality, gender equality, the right of the LBGT community to marry, and open arms for legal immigrants. Every person deserves an equal chance for a job at equitable salary, the right to cast a vote, the freedom to live in any community, fairness in loan applications, and the right to equal opportunity.

I was taught not to judge another unless I’ve walked a mile in his or her shoes. We tend to forget, however, that American society believes in a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” ideal.  Work hard and earn your way. I do not believe that people should be given something just for existing. 

During my adulthood I have voted for third party candidates, Republicans and Democrats. This last election, however, caused me pain. Despite the fact that I would relish having a woman as president, Hillary Clinton could not be that person and represent what I believe in. I could not vote for her merely because of her sex. I do not believe in dynasties in America and could not send the woman of Whitewater, the Rose Law Firm, and dishonest rhetoric to the White House. I knew a lot of diplomats during the Clinton White House and heard too many disturbing stories to return that corrupt lot to power.

Trump is not one I would have chosen to represent the American people. But it was time for change. The vitriol spewed by the liberals is nothing more than a new form of discrimination against people for exercising their rights. It is like George Orwell’s thought police. Believe as I do or you are an enemy. This is not American. In fact this seems more Soviet or totalitarian- the idea that it is okay to censor thought, opinion, speech that one disagrees with. 

Many of my friends, coworkers, associates, family members, neighbors, and others that believe in the Constitution, states’ rights, the rule of law, that all should earn their way, and that we should keep the wages we earn by hard work are the typical Republican voter. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 - Gratitude for Time With Family

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite American holiday because the focus is upon family and gratitude for good fortune and abundance. While efforts have been underway for decades to commercialize Thanksgiving with Black Friday shopping promotions starting ever earlier, at heart this is a celebration of home, loved ones, relationships, and thankfulness for blessings.
As each year passes I’ve become even more attuned to my good fortune in being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wonderful  husband  of 10 1/2 years Todd and my parents and in-laws at our home in Virginia. Collectively my parents and in-laws have been married 120 years: 61 years for my mom and dad and 59 years for my husband’s. I hope 
both couples make it 70 years together!

2016 has been a challenging year for family and friends. My mother experienced a fractured pelvis and sacrum followed by two surgeries for breast cancer and follow up radiation. My uncle Clyde Butler and cousin Tom Smith succumbed to cancer. My husband’s grandmother, Ruth Moore, and youngest uncle Greg Moore passed on. Several of my coworkers lost parents this year. There has been a lot of sadness.

Amidst the sadness and grief, however, there is cause for celebration. Despite upheavals in the companies that employ us, my husband and I have managed to weather the changes, transitions, and frustrations successfully. My mother is as feisty as ever with an incomparable  positive attitude that inspires all who know her. My dad regularly works out at the YMCA and has the energy of men 20 years younger. My in-laws were able to play golf regularly throughout the season which keeps them mentally and physically fit. Like the Energizer Bunny they keep on going and going. Like a Timex watch they “take a licking and keep on ticking”! 

While Mom was recovering my sister and I embarked on a road trip from Virginia to Indiana to visit the parental units. It had been years since we’d had the opportunity to spend so much one on one time together. We laughed and talked non-stop during the 10  hour drives each way and remembered how much we enjoyed being together. She also shared the joy and healing she experiences being a new grandmother to my niece’s first child, an adorable boy that reminds us all of the circle of life.

Before Thanksgiving my brother flew to Virginia to spend a couple of days before the rest of the family arrived and we were able to visit - just the two of us - in a way we’d missed over the past 15 years while life took us in different directions. It was therapeutic. 

Yes, I am filled with gratitude for the love, warmth, joy, happiness, and blessings of family and the good fortune I’ve had in 2016 to spend time with those I care about most. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembering Veterans & Accepting Election Results

Thank a veteran that you have a right to vote in a free election. Men and women have served our nation and fought from its inception to achieve and then preserve our rights to free speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, the right to peaceful assembly, and the freedom to protest. 

Many of the individuals that formed our imperfect republic were erudite scholars that had studied the classics in the original languages and were well informed as to the rise and fall of ancient civilizations. The Constitution was formed with a system of checks and balances to ensure representation of all citizens whether they were from a small state or a large state, urban or rural, northern or southern. There were virulent  disagreements and a multitude of compromises that many found distasteful; however, the founding fathers had fought a long war to win independence and rightly believed that a union of the states would be stronger than 13 individual colonies. The decision to create the senate with 2 representatives from each state gave smaller states an equal voice with larger states. The house of representatives was created with representation based upon population distribution which gave a greater voice to states that were more  populated. The framers of the Constitution enacted the electoral system for presidential elections because they didn’t trust pure democracy or believe the average voter would be informed sufficiently. Throughout our history there have been calls to eliminate the electoral system, which affords each state votes based upon its population.

But this is the system that has served our country well for more than 200 years. It is also the fairest and freest electoral process in the world. 

In the 2016 election many people did not so much cast a vote for Donald Trump as vote against Hillary Clinton and the establishment. Ms. Clinton, though arguably well qualified, suffered from insufferably hubris. Many find her untrustworthy, corrupt, and a hypocrite who espouses support of women yet vilified those who were abused, harassed, and victimized by her husband. Despite her scandal ridden history, many women were content to vote for her merely because of her sex. While I would be thrilled to see a women elected to the presidency, I could not cast my vote for Hillary. Her decades of self-serving dishonesty from Whitewater to the Rose Law Firm, to the email server debacle to her arrogant expectation of an electoral mandate have been offensive. However, if she had won the election, I would have accepted the outcome as I have accepted the results of numerous elections in the past when my candidate did not prevail. That is the American way. We are not a third world country that rejects the results of elections we do not like by burning cars.

Regretfully, President Elect Trump is not am artful or powerful orator. Cicero he is not. He has espoused ideas that many find offensive. But he spoke to a constituency that felt forgotten, voters that traditionally voted for democrats but felt betrayed by Washington and career politicos  who they believe abandoned them. Alternatively, “snowflakes” who were given participation trophies and have never been forced to accept a loss seem to want Xanax  or therapy or counseling to help them deal with such bitter disappointment. However, I’ve yet to spy the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse  on the horizon.

It is time to accept the outcome of the election and give Trump a chance. After all, the Republic survived James Buchanan, Chester A. Arthur and Warren G. Harding in the Oval Office. No doubt the USA will survive Donald J. Trump. Four years is a blip on the continuum of time. In 24 months the next election cycle will begin yet again. And who knows - perhaps a business person who knows how to fire those who are unproductive, who knows how to make things happen, can cut through red tape and bull-feathers and can run for president without his ex-wives trashing him in the National Enquirer might actually achieve something worthwhile. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Right & Duty to Vote

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 8, 2016 is election day in the USA. Many citizens who have the right to vote will abstain because they abhor the options. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton appeal to voters with a refined moral compass who believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. For those of us with Libertarian leanings the candidates for the Republican and Democrat parties are soulless options that do not represent the country that we love, do not support our hard fought freedoms, and seem to polarize the citizenry rather than unite. 

However, as an American woman I truly believe that each offs has a duty to cast a ballot for the candidate that best represents our political psyches. It is preferable to exercise the rights that women and people of color fought and died to achieve than to abrogate the right because we dislike the options that our political process has presented. 

We are not a democracy. Americans like to posture that we have a democratic government, but we do not. We are a republic. We elect representatives to speak for us. And we tend to re-elect the same individuals repeatedly to unsuccessfully argue for what is best for our states and country. Despite what we may argue, Americans tend to like the status quo. We do not want to replace our senior crooks with less influential ideologues. We want our pork. 

As a people many of us conveniently forget that in the  more than the first century of our republic one had to be a wealthy white male to be eligible to vote. Today, thanks to the advocacy and sacrifice of suffragettes and people of color who marched and suffered indignities, incarceration and death for the right to cast a ballot, any citizen over the age of 18 who is not a convicted felon has the right to vote.  

Making a conscious decision to abstain from voting because one does not like the options gives others the power to set our future course.

Throughout our history there have been numerous elections that involved candidates that the general public really did not embrace. Hence, we had presidents such as Franklin Pierce, Warren G.Harding and James Buchanan. Yet, the republic survived because of the checks and balances memorialized in our constitution.   

While one may raise the argument that each citizen has no duty to vote, history has shown that many elections are decided on just a few ballots.  And as a woman I am grateful that brave activists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony fought for 70 years to pass the 19th Amendment so that I can participate in the electoral process.  How could I as a beneficiary of such a legacy apathetically ignore my responsibility by abstention? 

Neither candidate for president appeals to me. I truly believe that neither candidate can represent my interests. However, I also believe that I must choose. While my political leanings are Libertarian, a third party candidate is not a viable option. As such I must consider the options an select the best of the worst. And so should you.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Joyful Moment in Time ~ Reflecting on the Cubs World Series Win!

Wednesday evening into the early hours of Thursday I sat clutching my mug of herbal tea, glued to the television, pondering whether I could or even should stay up for the final score of the 7th Game of the 2016 World Series. I had a major presentation Thursday afternoon for the launch of a company project that would involve senior executives. But this was the Cubs! After a 108 year drought there was hope, even after they blew a huge lead that normally meant another loss was in the offing. But I refused to give up through the rain delay and a 10th inning and found myself jumping up and down while screaming with absolute joy, alone, in my family room in Winchester, Virginia 47 years after watching my first Cubs game on WGN, one of 6 channels we received with cable TV in Logansport, Indiana in 1969.

During my childhood I was a tomboy. While I did play with Barbies, during the summer I played baseball with the neighborhood boys. No softball for this girl! I loved hardball, pitching, batting and first base. I wanted to be a major-leaguer. Nothing was more exhilarating than hitting a home run over the roof of the neighbor’s garage. I played poker and marbles with the neighborhood boys for baseball cards, football cards and marbles and amassed quite a collection.

My parents were not sports fans beyond listening to the Indy 500 on the radio or attending local high school basketball games. After all, in Indiana, basketball was king. But for some reason I was drawn to baseball and the Chicago Cubs. Baseball was the perfect sport for radio. It’s slow elegance made it perfect for listening to afternoon games on my transistor radio while reading a book or sitting in the sun. I remember watching Ernie Banks hit his 500th home run on TV; I still recall the names of the 1969 team that came so close to winning the National League pennant: Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Don Kessinger, Randy Hundley, Glenn Beckert, Billy Williams, and Fergie Jenkins. So began 47 years of hope and disappointment. 

Unlike my brother-in-law that remained ever hopeful to the rueful smiles of the rest of the family, I began to lose interest in the Cubs and baseball in general. The use of steroids in the 1990’s marred batting statistics of great players such as Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds and I no longer felt a connection to the game that celebrates individual and team achievement. 

But once a Cub fan always a Cub fan.And Americans always love an underdog story. The 2016 World Series between the Cleveland Indians  and the Chicago Cubs brought together two underdogs and America watched with hope. If the Cubs and Indians made it to the Series, there is hope for America! The Series distracted us from an bitter election season, police shootings, Vladimir Putin and ISIS. 

Everybody was suddenly talking about the World Series at a time when people were pondering the demise of baseball. Maybe this is just what Baseball and America needed. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Hypocrisy & Betrayal of Women

It continues to mystify me how so many intelligent, modern, educated, thoughtful women continue to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. Are the collective memories of American women so short that they forget her aiding and abetting or at least participating in the cover-up, concealment or blame game to deflect the numerous instances of Bill Clinton's sexual harassment, sexual assaults, sexual peccadilloes, serial adultery, and abuse of power while governor of Arkansas and President? By standing along side Bill Clinton on 60 Minutes to show her continued support of a man who used his power to subjugate, coerce, enthrall, entice or manipulate less sophisticated women to fulfill his sexual desires or inflated ego Hillary Clinton betrayed modern women. Is there no recollection of the quip Ms. Clinton made following her public support of Mr. Clinton during the Gennifer Flowers scandal that despite her actions reflecting that she was overlooking Bill's indiscretions she "wasn't some little woman 'standing by my man' like Tammy Wynette."

Candidate Hillary Clinton blamed Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Sally Perdue, & Dolly Browning for the indiscretions. Really? When a powerful man attempts to seduce a women Hillary blames the woman? Taking this position repeatedly reveals Hillary Clinton for the inexcusable hypocrite that she is. She claims to have devoted her adult life to public service supporting disadvantaged women and children. Instead she had devoted her public life to increasing the influence, financial position and faux public perceptions of Bill & Hillary Clinton and in doing so betrayed the psychologically, emotionally, and physically abused women she claims to have helped.

If Ms. Clinton had stated clearly, unabashedly, and publicly that she was aware of her husband's infidelity and just didn't care because they had a marriage of convenience such as that between Claire and Frank Underwood on House of Cards, I would appreciate the candor and agree that the consensual relationships are not my business. 

Frankly, I had enough of the Clinton family during the two scandal ridden terms of Bill Clinton. Lest we forget the Rose Law Firm billing documents found in a White House closet, Whitewater, the use of Arkansas state troopers to facilitate assignations during the years in the governor's mansion, the allegations of temper tantrums & flying ashtrays, and continued support of Bill when he equivocated on the definition of "is". 

The deleted emails and the belief that it is quite appropriate to hold diametrically opposed views on certain issues in public and private are just the latest. But these are political issues. My concern is that at heart Hillary Clinton is a throw-back to an era that a modern woman wants to forget, a time when women subjugated themselves to support a man, when it was okay to cast aspersions against or betray  another women to convince oneself that they weren't betrayed. For me this is a deal breaker. And really, would she be where she is today had it not been for her making the 1950's decision to "stand by your man'? I think not! At least Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice made it on their own.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Gift of Looks Into the Past -Old Movies

Every once in a while my husband and I will watch a silent movie on Turner Classic Movies. Tonight the offering is "Little Annie Rooney" starring Mary Pickford, a 1925 film. For movie goers of today used to the wonders of modern technology this movie will seem melodramatic, kitchy, dull or painful to watch.

But for us these movies offer us a glimpse into the past, our collective history, a distant mirror. In 1925 this technology was state of the art.Mary Pickford was "America's Sweetheart". She was also a savvy business woman and one of the founders of United Artists - truly a modern woman.

Watching some of these films affords us an opportunity to see how people looked, what music was appreciated, how they lived, dressed, enjoyed life,  or found escape from everyday life.

With each passing year, decade, century, millennium we lose a sense of what has come before, what has brought us to who and where we are. I am fortunate that my parents raised me to appreciate our collective history. I do believe what historians have espoused that if we do not learn from the past we are bound to repeat it.

Perhaps it is my interest in, ties to, affiliation with and focus on what has come before and how our studies can give us insights into how our nation was formed, what divided us, what united us, what brought us together and what tore us apart, how we came to be who were are today as a people that draws me to this topic. Or maybe it was what I heard on NPR this evening driving to yoga.

But I truly do believe that we have a responsibility to look at the past, accept where we have been, remember what has come before, appreciate how far we have come, and decide to do better.

Be it acceptance of that we cannot control, embracing multiculturalism, appreciation for the globalization of our world, tolerance  for those who are different or believe differently, compassion for those in pain, celebration of those who succeed, love of friends and family, kindness to a stranger, letting go of frustration and resentments, embracing change, I believe there are lessons to be learned from the past.

Occasionally that glimpse into where we have been gives me a reminder that we are all on a journey and celebration of the strides we've made which  must be balanced with appreciation for how far we've come. Yes, to be trite, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Philosophy ~ When Hope In A Jar No Longer Suffices There is Miracle Worker

I love Philosophy make up and skin care products because they are made in America and they work. While I haven't always loved the product names I do love the products and am thrilled to be able to find them readily at Ulta and Sephora. There is something disconcerting about transitioning from Hope in a Jar, to Renewed Hope in a Jar to Miracle Worker. One must contemplate if one must have lost all hope to resort to belief miracles. Fortunately, I've been a life long believer in miracles although I've not here-to-for expected to find it in a jar or glass bottle with a pump.

My most recent experiment with Philosophy products involves the Miracle Worker line. During Ulta's September daily beauty deals I found myself intrigued by Miracle Worker SPF 30 Anti Aging Foundation. It was 25% off and I'm still on the prowl for the holy grail of foundations. While I am moderately content with the results using Bobbi Brown, Nars, or Estee' Lauder, the reviews of the Miracle Worker enticed me to give it a go. Imagine my surprise when the first two times I wore this foundation I received compliments about how wonderful I looked! So I am sold!

Just as advertised Miracle Worker does not accentuate fine lines and burgeoning wrinkles. Shades #3 and #4 both worked for me and disappeared into my skin. This foundation is moisturizing and works best without a separate moisturizer or primer. For me it lasted all day. 

I did receive a full size sample of  Renewed Hope In a Jar through and have gleefully substituted my Hope in a Jar with Renewed Hope in a Jar. I've also been a long time afficianado of Purity Made Simple, Philosophy's one step facial cleanser. I have very sensitive skin and use this with my Clarisonic every night. It works as a makeup remover, cleanser, and toner all in one. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

With the Weather Changing I'm Obsessing About Boots

Resistance is futile! No matter my desire to live in an endless summer, the rains have come, the temperatures are dropping and we've moved to the dark side of the Autumnal Equinox. Winter is coming! 

Bos & Co Holden Wool-Lined Waterproof Boots

I can no more control the change in seasons that I can influence the orbit of the earth, change the flow of the ocean tides, or wave a magic wand and replace both horrendous presidential candidates with honest politicians that have the welfare of the American people at their cores. 

As the hot, humid, care-free, make-up free days of summer where the feel of whisper light linen caressing my skin pass into shorter, cooler, darker days and earlier nights I am drawn to seeking out the perfect boots, close toed shoes, burnished leather handbags, and moisturizing make-up. I've been craving fall accessories and cosmetics just as I've rediscovered my enjoyment of thick soups, bread, pasta and sandwiches as well as cups of hot herbal tea and cozying myself in a cashmere /wool throw while burrowing into my chair with a book.

But footwear has really conquered my mind. I've been scouring website and catalogs looking for fabulous boots to keep my cold averse feet warm and dry during the months ahead. 

My tolerance for heels has diminished through the years. As such I truly appreciate  boots with a heel no higher than 2 inches. But my boots must be leather and the Ugg styles of sheepskin boots that look  like mid calf slippers do not appeal. I've worn them as slippers, but cannot face the outside world in f'ugly footwear. My psyche craves classic or flamboyant or artsy or artisan. 

While my Frye riding boots are my "go-to" boots for everyday and I rely on my Stewart Weitzman ankle boots for dressier occasions, until today my search for the perfect waterproof boot has been for naught. But I've found my "Holy Grail" waterproof, shearling lined, fashion conscious, comfort focused, flamboyant cold weather boot at Overland Sheepskin! While surfing the website for a hat I stumbled across a pair of boots that caused the angels to sing in my fractured mind!

I've got two other styles in my shopping cart. Must say No!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The MacBook Pro Is Dead! Long Live My New MacBook Air!

While a MacBook Pro may be a workhorse that tirelessly keeps on ticking like the Timex watch John Camron Swayze tested underwater or the fluffy pick drumming Energizer Bunny, mine died a painfully slow death and succumbed to a frozen cursor and an error screen that even seasoned Apple Techno Geeks had never seen previously. As always when it comes to laptops, mine never approach normal life expectancy. 

Granted my MacBook Pro hung on longer that its predecessors achieving the grand old age of 4.5, which is computer years is ancient. But I'd heard legendary stories of Macs continuing to sputter for twice that long. Alas, not in my world.  After consulting all of the Apple community groups, technology sites, Apple Support and oracle cards, I gave up the ghost. I followed all of the tips, suggestions, guaranteed success strategies, hail Mary passes, reboots, reconfigurations, and obstacle courses only to conclude and be told by the "experts" that the laptop is no more, pining for the fjords, stunned, demised, pushing up daisies, bereft of life. 

Rather than mourn the dead laptop, I conducted some urgent research and decided to replace it post haste with a cuttlefish....I mean a  lighter-than-air MacBook Air with twice the RAM of the dearly departed and half the heft. My OCD kicked in at warp speed and within less than 24 hours I was communing with the iCloud to populate my latest technological wonder with data. 

And to think in my formative years I eschewed the concept of taking a course in computer science because it would surely be a flash in the pan, a cumbersome machine that filled wall to ceiling rooms the size of football fields and required knowledge of indecipherable gibberish known only to wizards and scientists to master. 

It is almost unimaginable that only 20 years have passed since the personal computer started to become common place in the home. My first PC was a used 386 that I got from my brother in a multi way trade in which he received my sister's bad karma diamonds, I was given the computer, and my sister rid herself of an albatross. [I kid you not, within a short time after gift his wife with the bad karma diamonds, she fled the scene.]  Little did I know that this primitive venture into the modern world would create my irresistible desire to stay connected through cyberspace with a serial compulsion to replace my iPhone, iPad, laptop and backup Windows laptops whenever something updated comes along.

But truly - myMacBook Pro gave its all. But as with all of my prior discarded laptops (and I can remember at least 5 in the last 12 years), my husband will likely find a way to raise it from the dead and put it to use for one of his hobbies or projects. Good luck with that!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Autumnal Equinox & Seeking Balance in Life~

Photogenic Drawing-LacockAbbey 209

As always I find a sense of peace when I practice yoga with an accomplished teacher. I’ve been feeling weary the past week with the temptation to skip my practice. However, I know that no matter how resistant I feel, yoga helps me find energy, reset my psyche and body, and to re-calibrate my balance with life.

Today my instructor reminded me that tomorrow we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, when we experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness – a perfect balance in our universe, equal parts sun and moon.  By October 23rd the days will gradually become shorter and I will begin preparing for my hibernation that will follow when the leaves drop from the trees and shrubs, frost covers the ground and branches, and cold permeates my feet and creeps into my soul until the rebirth of Spring re-awakens all that surrounds me.

Photogenic Drawing -Lacock Abbey 2009
The Autumnal Equinox can also signal a time of endings and new beginnings, of letting go of what no longer serves us and embrace something new – be it a hairstyle, a job, a significant other, a resentment, a disappointment or a fear. It is a time to give thanks for an ample harvest, the love of family and friends, and to feel gratitude for our blessings.

Whenever the seasons change I become reflective and consider whom I am, where I have been and how far I’ve come in the last 57 years on this earth.

Last week I had the good fortune to enjoy a lunch date with two coworkers and friends including the dynamic woman who hired me for my current employer nearly 15 years ago. We’ve both reached a place in life where finding a work life balance and a life / life balance is more important than climbing the corporate ladder.  As I drove my friend to the train station we discussed how fortunate we are that we can let go of things we cannot control and enjoy the successes we have attained without craving more.

And that is the greatest gift of life! If we are lucky we find a modicum of wisdom that allows us to let go, accept what is, laugh, embrace our blessings, celebrate the benefits we’ve fought hard to attain, and live a life that is balanced with work, family and personal enjoyment – each facet of ourselves having a sacred place within us that we will not sacrifice.

Namaste y’all!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre – A Book Review

Black Widow is an intriguing mystery, a story that kept me guessing until nearly the end. After reading this novel set in Inverness, Scotland, I plan to read the earlier Jack Parlabane books. I'd not heard of Scottish author Christopher Brookmyre previously; however, I love his writing style, the character development, and the suspense. This book is truly a page-turner. Even the unlikeable characters are written with empathy.

In Black Widow discredited journalist Jack Parlabane is asked by the sister of Peter Elphingstone, a recently married man who died in a single vehicle auto accident, to investigate the circumstances.  She suspects his fairytale marriage to “Bladebitch” surgeon Diana Jager was fraught with disharmony.

There are numerous red herrings, twists, turns, and narrative told from the varying perspectives of the leading characters that create a truly fascinating read.

I had the good fortune to read this book courtesy of in exchange for an honest review. The book is set for release in the US on November 1, 2016.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Trying to Embrace the Approach of Fall Thinking of Cashmere & Boots

For those of us who embrace the sun, heat, humidity, glistening skin, linen, the sounds of trickling water, and the slow easy pace of summer, the approach of autumn tolls the end of lazy afternoons spent on the porch with lime flavored iced tea, a book, and a cat lounging at one’s feet or evenings sipping wine on the deck in an Adirondack chair enjoying the beauty of the gardens and sounds of the Corinthian bells wind chimes with the aroma of some delicious treat on the grill or smoker.

Towards the end of September my psyche begins to prepare for hibernation. I do not ski. I do not appreciate cold weather, snow, wind, bare trees, leafless bushes, starkness, ice, frozen feet, closed windows, and a landscape bereft of color, texture and life.

Fortunately, I work from home and now have the privilege of avoiding a multi hour commute in inclement weather. And have a full wine cellar. But I still must venture outside to go to yoga, the grocery store, and run errands. The limited amount of sunlight causes seasonal affective disorder. I tend to withdraw into myself and embrace my home.My husband and I do not overindulge in holidays, which we believe focus too much on the commercial rather than the spiritual.  We do enjoy the days off from work.

For me the only facets of fall and the approaching winter that I can celebrate involve wearing whisper soft cashmere sweaters, wrapping myself in a cashmere shawl while sipping tea and reading in front of the fire, slipping on my beloved Frye boots, enjoying the aroma of burning leaves, watching the birds at the feeder through my window, and embracing rich cool weather pasta, soups, & stews and huddling under a lovely down comforter.

Perhaps my mood has transitioned as a result of receiving fall catalogs in the mail, which I perused this afternoon and caused me to start thinking about wearing sweaters. It could be the earlier sunsets, the smell of the cinnamon bun candle I lit this afternoon, the leaves starting to brown, or the cats fattening up. Maybe a part of me looks forward to pulling out my favorite cashmere sweaters from Garnet Hill!  Cashmere does bring me joy!