Monthly Archives: August 2015

Unexpected Gifts

Heidi Sloss Ankle InjuryFor the past 25+ years I have been dealing with ankle injuries, surgeries and recoveries. During that time I have spent countless hours trying to figure out why. For years I felt responsible for creating the drama and trauma that came with my ankle adventures. It felt as if the pain was some sort of punishment for something. But at this point in my life I have finally come to see my ankle adventures as less of a punishment and more of a gift. First some background.

The original injury happened in 1989, when I broke my left ankle and damaged the tendons and ligaments. At the time I was young, strong and unaware. That afternoon, instead of going to an ER, I hobbled onto a plane to meet my husband in NYC, where we were attending a sit-down dinner with the Dalai Lama that I refused to miss. It was incredibly romantic – my husband carrying me up the stairs of the Columbia Library in our black tie attire – and pretty short sighted. Because the choices I made then have had repercussions we have dealt with for the past 25+ years.

I ignored medical advice at the time to have surgery and got pregnant instead. In case you didn’t know, during pregnancy ligaments loosen, which is great for giving birth, but not so much for recovering from an injury. Five years later, November 11, 1994, I had the recommended surgery to deal with the damage from the injury and pregnancy.

The recovery from that surgery was difficult; I had an active four year old son and my husband was in law school full time. Naively I thought I could manage on my own, but in reality it was a struggle. I remember one afternoon eating my lunch on the kitchen floor because I couldn’t figure out how to get the food from the kitchen counter to a table while using crutches. I didn’t want to be a burden on my friends. Coincidentally our daughter was born exactly a year after my surgery on November 11, 1995.

10 years later, In November 2004, I needed surgery again. This time the kids were able to help and I accepted some limited help from friends. Even so, I felt guilty for being a burden and spent hours trying to figure out why my ankle kept giving out on me. I kept thinking that if I could just figure it out, once and for all, then we/I would be done with it.

However, life has a funny way of unfolding. Last November — yes exactly 10 year later — I had another bad fall and broke the same ankle in 3 places. But this time I accepted lots of help. My daughter came home from school, my father came from the east coast, I asked friends to come in and cover when they were gone and then my husband cleared his schedule to take care of me. What a difference this has made to how I feel about the whole experience. Fact is that this was a much more serious injury, complicated surgery and a harder recovery. But instead of feeling punished and overanalyzing “why,” I finally allowed myself to feel vulnerable and consequently loved.

Recovering from each surgery has been hard on me and my family. I felt guilty for putting them through it and responsible for the trauma and drama. Classic “blame the victim” mentality—although I was the one blaming myself. And while it felt like punishment, it wasn’t. It is just life and it happens to each of us. Figuring this out is liberating.

Some of the many gifts I have received this time around include patience, acceptance, vulnerability and love. While the surgery fixed it so that I could walk again, there is some damage that could not be repaired. This is why I still have days of pain. I now see that accepting the situation is not being a victim, but rather embracing what showed up in my life: good friends who want to help, loving family members who are there for me and a slower, more vulnerable me.

 

 



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

Confessions of a Needle Geek

I am a needle geek, a stitch-a-holic. It is an obsession of mine. It is a relaxing and creative way to spend my time. Most evenings I can be found stitching to my heart’s delight. As I posted last December, I used my ankle injury recovery time to create lots of fun ornaments for friends. But I also stitch larger projects. I am not alone in my passion, and I have found other stitchers through the local chapters of the Embroiderers Guild of America, the American Needlepoint Guild, the Bay Area Sampler Guild and Vintage Stitchers.

I learned to stitch at the age of 10, and stitched alone (or with my kids) for 40 years. I took a class or two at different stitching shops in the early 2000’s, but mostly it was something I did on my own. When we moved back to the Bay Area in 2008, I finally learned about the stitching guilds, and found other like-minded stitchers. It is wonderful to find others with whom to share my obsession passion.

It is funny, I can only read one book at a time, but I am usually in the middle of three or four stitching projects. Right now I am stitching a wedding sampler and a Xmas stocking and some small ornaments – all gifts, so I am not going to post photos of them.

Generally I stitch what I like and usually modify designs or create my own. But there is one designer whose work I have stitched over the years, mostly just as she has charted. Libby Sturdy is a needlepoint designer, but this is not your grandmother’s version of needlepoint. She uses wonderful decorative stitches that make her designs pop from the canvas, in fact several have components that are stitched separately and are then added back to the piece. She has loads of designs, but I find myself gravitating to her Santas, although I have stitched two of her ‘ladies’ over the years; one for my mother and one for me. These designs are not painted on the canvas, but rather are grafted charts that the stitcher then translates onto canvas.  Hope you enjoy the eye candy!

Needlework 1 Needlework 2 Needlework 3
Needlework 4 Needlework 5 Needlework 6
Needlework 7 Needlework 8
Needlework 9 Needlework 10 Needlework 11


Which is your favorite?



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

Vacationing At Home!

My husband and I live in the Bay area, a travel destination for thousands of people, but I recently realized that we don’t advantage of our amazing location. So in the span of a few weeks we played hard, visiting places that tourists would (and should). Here are some of the highlights from our local vacation.

vacation1 Vacation2

June 27: San Jose San Pedro Square Art and Wine Pour with our daughter. This was two blocks from our new home!

Vacation 3 Vacation 4

June 28: Wine tour and family picnic to celebrate a late Father’s Day at Ridge Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. A 40 minute drive from we where we now live.

Vacation 5

June 29 & 30: Back to back nights at San Francisco Opera with our daughter where we saw amazing performances of The Marriage of Figaro and Two Women. The Opera house is an hour drive from our home without traffic, with traffic, forget about it!

Vacation 6

We stayed with relatives and got to enjoy an unusual San Francisco treat: glorious summer weather.

Vacation 7 Vacation 8

June 30: Before the second night of opera, we took a Segway Tour along Fisherman’s Wharf and the North Beach neighborhood, the weather was perfect and the scenery priceless. Our tour guide was a bit of an idiot, but it didn’t damper our fun. Now I want a Segway for Xmas!

Vacation 9 Vacation 10

July 9 – 12: I went on my annual Women’s Retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains; all the buildings are yurts. And most evenings found us relaxing in the hot tub under the starry skies. This is a 40 minute drive from our home, but it feels like being miles away.

July 17: I took no photos, but met my husband’s aunt at the San Francisco de Young Museum to see the J.M.W. Turner exhibit. It was great fun to be able to pop into the city for an afternoon for lunch and a world class museum exhibit.

 

Vacation 11 Vacation 12

July 20 – 21: I attended a Yoga Retreat in Big Sur. We did many yoga sessions and meditated while eating delicous food. These were taken from where we were. It took me a little under 2 hours each way, gorgeous doesn’t begin to describe Big Sur.

 

Vacation 13 Vacation 14

July 26: We celebrated my son’s 25th birthday early. We picked San Mateo, a central meeting place for dinner with the kids and my husband’s aunt and uncle. It is a cute town with lots going on and the restaurant, Vault 164 was great.

Vacation 15

July 27: We attended a Giant’s baseball game in San Francisco on Stitch N’ Pitch night with a group of my stitching friends. While we were there our daughter surprised us by showing up! We took the train to and SF that night to avoid the traffic. It took less than an hour to get there on the express train and over an hour to get home on the local.

I have been lucky to live in world class cities, but often forget to see them as tourists get to. This summer, between June 27 and July 27 I took great advantage of just a few of the many delights of living in the San Francisco Bay area.



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

the art of living fully-11s

Birth Announcement

As I wrote in What’s in a Name, I am changing my blog’s name because the current name no longer reflects what I am writing and thinking about these days. I still love the name, The Magic of Mothering, and I still love being a mother, but as my kids have grown and flown, so too has my focus.

Even after my first blog post, I had no Clue, I started hearing from readers who were not mothers and never going to be mothers;  yet these readers found inspiration in my writing.  So to make my blog more inclusive, accurate and in line with my life’s focus, it is time to change my blog’s name.

And as we are celebrating the my son’s 25th birthday ago this week, the timing is perfect. His birth was a life changing event with profound repercussions on me as a woman. His birth has led me to new friends, new thoughts, new images of myself, new career pathways and most of all to a much more open and feminine me. And now, 25 years later, I am giving birth to myself, this time to the post-mothering me.

My first thoughts about a blog name change was to go with the empty nest theme—a large growing demographic that I know intimately for I am the empty nester stereotype. When we were getting ready to send our youngest off to university I worried about what life for me, post-mothering, would be like. I worried about my marriage, my friendships and of course my relationships with my kids. I wasn’t a classic helicopter mom, but my life was organized around my kids’ for so long that I had forgotten how it was to be me in the world, without my kids on a daily basis.

Since that time, I have discovered that the empty nest is a great place as well as a wonderful state of mind. I loved the child raising years, even with the mess and chaos and bone-crushing exhaustion. It was a good adventure for me, but now I am ready for new ones. And the empty nest name ideas I liked were all taken.

So I got to thinking about personality traits, such as my enthusiastic approach to life. I am a leaper, not a looker. I have frequently jumped into situations, careers and relationships with my whole heart, only to realize later that it didn’t match up with my initial enthusiasm and excitement. But as I have gotten older (and hopefully a bit wiser) I realize that my enthusiasm for a shiny new projects, relationships and activities isn’t always a virtue. Slowing down has brought many positive thoughts, feelings and experiences to my life.

Which led me to think about reoccurring themes in my life (pre, during and post kids). And the one that kept coming to me was my intense drive to live a full, honest and authentic life: a life with no regrets, no bullshit, a life that reflects joy and enthusiasm as well as reflection and enlightenment. And so the new name of my blog is simply, The Art of Living Fully.

This name reflects my desire to experience and write about the rich moments of life. These are the moments of solitude as well as connection; moments of taking great big juicy bites out of life as well as days on my balcony, watching the clouds roll by; moments of travel and moments at home; moments spent hiking, walking, reading, stitching, creating and of course, moments on the yoga mat.

Living is an art, not a science. My goal is to live authentically, embracing life as it comes to me while seeking out opportunities for growth and joy and peace and love and connection. This is both a spiritual and yogic practice for me. So I hope that you continue to read and comment and share my posts as I explore the Art of Living Fully.



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!