Thursday, December 31, 2015


my wild new year party?  reading a nourishing book (elizabeth gilbert's "big magic:  creative living beyond fear") and eating warm, comforting vegetables (olive oil, onion, bok choy, zucchini, yellow squash, mushroom, tomato, cayenne pepper, fresh oregano).

what better way to celebrate than to type up some just plain fun things about the last year as i look forward to more whole-hearted living in 2016.  here's 20 things that i just really enjoyed:

1)  spice:  turmeric
2) place:  manhattan, new york
3) beauty supply:  coconut oil
4) practice:  asking store clerks, "how is your day?" and listening to their response
5) lifestyle:  4-on/3-off workweeks (revolutionary, i tell you!)
6) art tool:  white pigment pen
7) restaurant:  burrasca italian, portland
8) food:  mussels in saffron and garlic sauce
9) book/magazine:  "creative confidence" by tom & david kelly/"1859" (all about oregon)
10) sports: a three-way tie between bike commuting, kayaking and T@b trailer camping
11) winery:  domaine drouhin, dundee (or the one in france)
12) local store:  nw fresh seafood
13) gym:  first street yoga
14) event:  abbey music festival
15) movie:  "brooklyn"
16) painting:  corot's french village (pictured here) i just stood and stared at it in the getty museum
17) song:  "you matter to me" duet with sara bareilles and jason mraz from "the waitress" musical soundtrack
18) housewares:  le creuset pan (currently containing the aforementioned comforting vegetables)
19) spa:  salt therapy
20) quote:  "reading, the lifelong pursuit which made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind."--from nina george's "the little paris bookshop"

resolution?  to have even more fun next year (is that possible?!) i'm willing to give it a try...what are a few of your most enjoyable things?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

good reads

each year about this time i look forward to typing up my reading list!  this year, i did it online. also has a free app for smartphones, which means i can carry my list with me and have it handy when people at dinner or work or bookstores ask what i've been reading lately.  no more stammering around or forgetting authors when i'm at the library.

plus, you can easily connect to review and recommend books to each other.

drumroll, please...i read 86 books this year, which is over 21,000 pages. 

to see my list and/or create yours, you can visit:

happy reading!

optimism: a bold kind of wonderful

aging is something, if we're fortunate, that we all have in common.  to do it well, i embarked on a quest to ask those at least twice my current age what were the bravest things they've done, how do they keep moving forward and what is the secret to their resilience?

here are my findings...

at 91, "R" lives in his own house, tends his flower garden and makes sure to stick to a routine.  three times a week he has lunch with young people and focuses on helping others find the opportunities amid challenges.  in his own words, "you tend to become like the people you spend time with, i feel that spending a lot of time with young people has kept me from aging as much as i might have otherwise."  

"L", 83, volunteers at a large-scale museum.  the bravest thing she has ever done?  "my husband likes to stay home and i like to travel, so bravest thing?  going to china without him, in a group...that was the bravest thing i've ever done."  she still drives in LA traffic.  at one point she lost what she calls her "car confidence".  "i just told myself, 'you will keep driving' and not stopping to think about my fears keeps my confidence going behind the wheel."  

a three-time breast cancer survivor, "J", age 80, said that her resilience comes from just continuing to move forward.  she doesn't dwell on the negative but embraces challenges with a smile.  "always just keep smiling, no matter what", she shared, "my last surgery?  i went in smiling and i was back to work the next day." 

of at least four others i talked with, i noticed that it's good habits, built up over the years, that come back to reward them.  the list includes, but is by no means limited to:  eating raw foods, meditation, yoga/zumba/gym, reading & book clubs, travel, and keeping up with the latest movies and music...all of which have most helped them to stay interested and curious.

dwelling on the positive has been shown to have these results at any age:

1) you're likely to feel optimistic
2) you could live longer
3) you may feel less physical pain
4) your relationships may feel more meaningful
5) you'll possibly catch fewer colds
6) you may even exercise more
7) your heart could grow stronger

so happy new year, everyone, and may you feel the bold kind of wonderful that comes with looking for good in 2016.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

12 days of christmas (teacher style)

on the twelfth day of christmas, my students gave to me...

12 kindergarten hugs
11 candy canes
10 hand-drawn pictures
9  paper snowflakes
8  sharpie markers
7  clementines
6  bags of peppermint bark
5  starbucks cards
4  christmas mugs
3  hand lotion bottles
2  hot chocolates
1  crafty elf hat

Saturday, December 12, 2015

all aglow

overheard in my kindergarten art class this week:

"and this is where i put in baby Jesus...and I drawed this...this tree and everything is yellow, here because Jesus is light and makes nature glow!"

Monday, December 7, 2015

baby, it's cold outside

and these are about that size--to fit a baby, that is.

i learned to make french embroidery knots today to decorate these ornaments (made out of felted wool sweaters).

as my grandmother used to say, "stay cozy, eh?"  and, i might add, stay cozy in style...

poem for advent

whole hearted

"look, look up at the stars, look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!"
--gerard manley hopkins

should you begin to hum
streams and creeks would
coax you on, timorous for
the thrill and thrum in time
with your own heart


will you then let the song feel you
like a metal bowl rung round in cupped hands
wants to vibrate with your chords
as rivers pouring into seas?


and while you might pretend not
to be dancing, constellations pulse
eager witnesses overseeing all
that you have yet to be


ls 12.6.15

the little paris bookshop

a great quote and word from my latest read by nina george (the whole thing is great, if i were to quote everything to you that i like, i would end up reading the entire book out loud)...that is to say, i give it five stars! 

"reading, an endless journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind."

"saudade:  a yearning for one's childhood, when the days would merge into one another and the passing of time was no is the sense of being loved so completely...a unique experience of abandon.  it is everything that words cannot capture."

Friday, December 4, 2015

the nesting place

what's the book pile next to my christmas tree?  i'm glad you asked!

currently, my stack includes "the little paris bookshop" by nina george, "lisette's list" by susan vreeland, "etta, otto, russell and james" by emma hooper and "nesting place" by myquillyn smith.

the latter is actually a decorating book with the subtitle of "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" and you can read more on her blog at:   the nesting place