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!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Recalling Incomparable Memories of 2 Flights on the Flight Deck of a 767~

Before 9/11 and the fear of terrorist attacks there were international air carriers that allowed civilians to join the flight crew in the cockpit of a commercial airplane. Okay – so maybe it wasn’t really official authorization rather than turning a blind eye to pilots that were bored and sought entertainment beyond the Daily Mail or National Enquirer. When a plane is an autopilot it can be quite dull.

I had the good fortune to twice be invited to join the captain and co-pilot on the flight deck of a Qantas Boeing 767 en route to / from Hong Kong to Singapore. It was the early 1990’s. The pilots were for the most part retired RAF.  I was traveling throughout Southeast Asia (often alone) as the dependent spouse of an international salesman.

Because of some airline tragedies that had adversely affected my psyche in my youth, I had discomfort with flying.  However, I’d spent two years on Taiwan and learned that it was preferable to depart by air on a regular basis rather than inhale the toxic fumes of Taipei. So I embraced the chance to experience flight from my perch with a view through the windshield. It was intoxicating! For the first time I was filled with the excitement of flight and an understanding of the adrenaline rush that one felt when the plane lifted off the ground and the mesmerizing view one feels banking over a mountain with the lights of a vibrant city or seafaring vessels in the harbors below. I felt an exhilaration I’d never known before.

I will never forget the beauty of the expanse of land and water that I saw through that window. It is so different from the view that one has from the portal in the body of an aircraft.  To have been asked not just once but twice to enjoy this experience is almost mind-numbingly joyful!

Sometimes I wish I could reach into the past and revel in those experiences that I took for granted. Alas, that is not possible. But at least I have the memories.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Celebrating Who I Am Today~Rebooting My Hard Drive

My Louise Hay calendar with daily positive affirmations keeps me focused on what is truly necessary to maintaining my sense of peace and serenity - a focus on celebrating my gifts, who I am and how I deserve to live. These words of encouragement remind me every day that I am worthy of love, success, happiness, abundance and pure joy.

Living an abundant life for those of us fortunate enough to live in a free society is possible for all. Most of us are not born into affluence with an entry card to the best schools, clubs, teams, organizations or jobs. But having that card does not convey the gift of happiness. That comes from within, from celebrating blessings - no matter what they are.

The first 45 years of my life I was afraid. I was afraid to be wrong, afraid to fail, afraid to succeed, afraid to make the wrong decision, afraid to be alone, afraid to admit weakness, afraid to take risks, afraid to be who I am. I wanted to be successful, affluent, fit in, dress fashionably, be part of the right crowd, feel loved, be needed, and be admired. I could not accept just being me. I'd developed a false sense of entitlement and believed the world owed me what it did not.  It led me to some irrational, unfortunate, misguided, inept, wrongheaded decisions. Fortunately, I've learned that those choices that I made gave me the tools I needed to heal and ultimately make healthy decisions about my life. 

I've learned that all of the choices I made brought me to the place I am today. So I have no regrets. If it is possible to reach a Nirvana in this life, I am there. I learned from many of my mistakes. I've learned to appreciate the people that I've met on this road of life who have taught me valuable lessons of kindness, compassion, acceptance, spirituality, self-awareness, love and beauty. I've learned that I must accept the people I love as they are and not try to change them.  I've learned to refrain from giving advice, that everybody I meet has something to offer, that I am blessed beyond anything I could have imagined 12 years ago, and that I deserve love, happiness, joy, success in my career, loving friendships, good health, a loving & attentive life partner, and pure unadulterated joy. 

It was necessary to reboot my hard drive (brain), rethink my path, re-imagine where I wanted to go, and ask the universe to provide what I wanted and needed to life fully. I used the abundant resources available  to help me. For me that meant the books of Doreen Virtue and Louise Hay, the loving & un-judgmental friends I met through the Al-Anon 12 step program, a bit of therapy, some pharmaceuticals,  the earth angels that crossed my path, and the spirituality I found in practicing yoga. This was a years long process that required self examination, a searching and fearless moral inventory of my life, a decision to let go of resentments or regrets or self recriminations, embracing the possible, and making the decision to life a life focused on positivity, possibility, self awareness and the understanding that my own attitude can make a profound difference. It works. I've let go of negativity and embraced positivity and wellness. 

There are stressors everyday. I cannot escape loss, sadness, pain, anxiety, fear, uncertainty or frustration because I am human and life pitches curve balls. But I accept that I must accept life on life's terms, understand that I cannot control outcomes, and tell the people I love that I love them and treasure them while I can.