Author Archives: Heidi BK Sloss

Making our House a Home

One of the nice things about our latest move is that we bought and/or were gifted some new items (both large and small) that we have both really enjoy having in our new place.

Spice Rack Spice Rack Open

My father, his wife & my sister gifted us this gorgeous hand carved spice rack that holds all 50 spice jars that I have and we put in the dining area, by the kitchen. It is as much a piece of art as it is practical. The photos don’t do it justice.

Doorbell Deliveries

This is a Ring Doorbell that is connected to an app so it rings on my phone or tablet when someone is at the front door—whether or not we are home. And it records on video the whole interaction. We are thinking of installing one at the back door instead of using the cheesy sign I hung up telling people to go to the front.

Door

We have three outside doors and we installed coded door locks on all of them. We no longer carry house keys, which is great. And I can program codes for visiting friends and family without having to worry about finding them a copy of our keys.

Of course not everything I bought was a success. After we closed on our place, but before we moved in, I picked out new living room furniture against the advice I received from friends and family—they all said to wait until we actually moved in before buying. Since new furniture takes 12 weeks to show up, I wanted to get a jump on the timeline. The result was furniture I picked out was all wrong: too large, wrong colors, not my style. It lasted less than five days in my home before it was picked up and returned to the store. Bad news was that it took another 12 weeks for the new pieces I ordered to arrive, but the good news is the new pieces are very comfortable and I love our new living room!

Furniture

A photo of the furniture before it was returned. We covered it up so that we didn’t damage it. I couldn’t wait to get it out of my home.

New living More New Living

Our new living room, with a rug I bought almost 30 years ago that we were not able to use in our last home, but works great in this one. We opted for two matching love seat couches, a leather recliner with a matching ottaman along with two end tables and a sofa table in dark mahogany wood. I need to figure out what colors to paint som accent walls in the living/dining area to tie it all together, but this time I am taking my time.

All in all we are very happy with our new place. I remember my sister-in-law telling me that she loves walking into her home since they renovated it and feels lucky she gets to live there. I now understand what she meant as I feel the same everytime I enter our new home.

 

 

 

 

 



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 Book Prescriber is in!

Left to Write

I have always been intrigued by the power of books to affect our lives so profoundly that we change, grow, move-on, get over, become different by just reading them. It has been my experiences that reading certain books can profoundly heal and/or change our lives. Whether it is through imaging what the characters are going through so strongly that we change or by reading their cautionary tale we become different, just by reading the book. So I am always on the lookout for books that are ‘life-changing,’ novels and non-fiction alike.

Books that inspire us ourselves came up as a topic of conversation seven years ago, when I reached out to an ex-best friend – someone I thought I would be friends with forever – on her 50th birthday. Have you ever had a friend with whom you just clicked? With whom it felt like she just ‘got” you and vice versa? With this particular friend I felt that we would be friends forever. Sadly this relationship did not last.

I have been lucky in that I have formed quite a few of these friendships and had various best friends over the years. But also unlucky in that so many of them have faded away. For this particular woman, we stopped being friends decades ago; she became another name on a long list of lost girlfriends.

I remembered her birthdate and called on her 50th birthday. After catching up on husbands, kids, careers, etc. I asked what she had done to mark the event. I was intrigued and inspired by what she told me.

She had had a party, invited dear friends, asking each to bring a ‘life-changing’ book as a gift. The book could be motivational, or inspirational or aspirational, fiction or non-fiction but it had to have made an impact or difference to the gift-giver’s life.

Of course we’ve lost touch again – picking up some relationships after 25+ years is just not possible – but I have thought about her clever book party theme since then. I would love to have a list of books that have the power to change our lives. Think of it, if you are feeling depressed or sad or blue, wouldn’t it be great to have a list of books that are perfect for elevating your mood, a book pharmacy of sorts.

Feeling blue over a dead-end career? There are books for that! Feeling wistful as an empty nester? There are books for that! Longing for a long lost friend? There are books for that! Looking for help to get over a broken heart? There are books for that!

This is one of the main themes for the book, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George that I recently read for my online book club, From Left to Write. It is about a book seller who calls himself a literary apothecary set in France who obviously knows and loves books.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go into a book store feeling one way and walk out with a prescription for a book that would help heal you or energize you or raise your spirits or calm your anxiety? This is what I imagined the inspiring books themed party that my friend described to be like.

There have been quite a few movies about small, independent bookstores with delightful book sellers encouraging people to buy some books and discouraging them from buying others, basically trying to make a difference in someone’s life. Two that come to mind are Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill and Meg Ryan’s in You’ve Got Mail. And while I love watching movies, there is nothing that compares to a book in my mind for elevating my mood, changing my perspective or inspiring me.

Two of the many books mentioned in The Little Paris Bookshop that I had heard of and loved were The Elegance of the HedgeHog by Muriel Barbery and The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.

So while I don’t have any plans for an inspiring books themed party for my 55th birthday later this month, maybe I will host one for my 60th!

What life-changing books have you read? It would be wonderful to share and compare book lists!

Disclosure: This post was inspired by the novel The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, where Monsieur Perdu–a literary apothecary–finally searches for the woman who left him many years ago. Join From Left to Write on October 8th as we discuss The Little Paris Bookshop. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.



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!

I’m Sorry StL

Dear St. Louis,

I want to apologize for all the mean and awful things I have said about you over the years. It is true that I didn’t want to move to you in 1999 after having lived in gorgeous northern California. Your Midwestern ways and weather scared me.

StL

Frankly I came with an open heart but after being wooed by some of your residents I opened up a bit and wanted to love you. However if seems that, many of those folks who courted us with flattery and false kindness lost my new number soon after we moved in. And I never could quite get over that.

I’m not really sure what makes us feel at home in some places versus others. For whatever reasons, I always felt like a fish out of water while living in St. Louis. Maybe it was your strong Midwestern ways—both the positive and negative aspects of what that means. Or maybe I held myself back from fully embracing you as I assumed we weren’t there forever.

Whatever it was that just didn’t feel right for me while living there, I must admit that it definitely affected my affections, or lack thereof, for you. That and the weather of course: 110% humidity, with 100’+ temperatures in the summer with biting cold, freezing weather in the winter is not endearing. I’m still not over the whole weather thing frankly. But I want to make amends.

So please accept my apology. You were not the place I would have chosen to move to, nor the place that I wanted my kids to say that they are from, but nine years in a childhood is defining. It means that both of my kids identify as being from St. Louis and I finally see that is not a bad thing.

Yes your weather is too hot and humid in the summer and yes it to too cold and freezing in the winter (I’m still not ready to let go of this issue) but my kids picked up some good values while living in St. Louis. And I have to admit they would not have gotten this from the San Francisco Bay area where we are all about the latest and new shiny bright object.

When my husband approached me about taking this job in St. Louis I was dead set against it. We had just bought a home in Palo Alto that I was redoing. I was ready to set down roots, raise our kids and figure out what was next for me after being a stay-at-home mother/wife for 10 years. Moving to St. Louis was not on my radar.

What finally convinced me to move was a newspaper article that my husband strategically showed me in a moment of weakness about Palo Alto high school students who were day-trading and buying themselves BMWs. That got to me. I did not want my kids to grow up in that environment. So off we moved to you for what I thought was three or four years at the most. Of course I gave away the punchline already and we all now know that those three or four years turned into nine years.

Nine years is a lot of years to be lonely. I know for I spent most of that time longing to feel a part of the community. I tried various things, but the bottom line is that I never felt at home while living there. And this made me disparage you in ways that I am now sorry about.

There were some nice aspects about living in St. Louis. I liked that I always ran into people I knew when out shopping or at a movie or just grabbing coffee. Always. And I love that my kids received a wonderful public school education, something that was lacking in the California schools both before we moved away and was even more true once we moved back.

So while I am relieved to no longer live there, I want to say I am sorry for all the mean, nasty, snide comments I said. It wasn’t your fault that it didn’t work out for the two of us. I can now comfortably say that living there was not all bad. Who knows, maybe in another few years I will be ready sing your praises. And if/when that happens I will start with Ted Drewes frozen custard!

Have you ever lived in a place that just never felt right? Where you never felt at home?



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!

First Mothers Book Review Part II

 

First MothersLast week I shared Part I of my review of First Mothers, The Women who Shaped the Presidents by Bonne Angelo. Here is a rest of my review with 3 more commonalities that the presidential mothers from Sara Roosevelt to Virginia Kelly all shared. 

3) Each presidential mother wanted an education for herself as well as for her children – especially the sons who went on to becoming president. Some of these women went out of their way to get an education during a time in history in this country when educating women was not valued.

About Rebekah Johnson (1881-1958): “From childhood she was set on going to college, and though her decision was slightly less astonishing than that of Martha Truman and Ida Eisenhower decades earlier, the number of girls in higher education in Texas at the turn of the century was minute. It is impressive, and significant, that these nineteenth-century mothers of contemporary presidents place such important on higher education, which scarcely figured in the thinking of most young women in those days.” (page 174)

It is very impressive that of the 11 mothers, 6 attended college, two went to European finishing schools and two received nursing degrees. This is especially remarkable given how few women were being educated in the USA at that time.

Further education opened doors for these women, which in turn opened the eyes and minds of their sons. Note: only Nelle Reagan had no formal education beyond elementary school, and Barbara Bush dropped out of Smith College after her freshman year.

Was your mother educated? Was your grandmother? How about your great-grandmother?

4) Each of the 11 presidents has a very Special Relationship with their mothers. Fact is they each could have been called ‘Mama’s Boys.’

From a 2001 with the author:

“The younger brothers were proof — to me — that there was something special between the mother and the son who would become president. Billy Carter, Sam Houston Johnson, Don Nixon and most of all, Roger Clinton, conducted themselves in a way that embarrassed their brothers….The mothers would never acknowledge that they had a favorite child — but when one son shines and achieves so brilliantly, there had to be a greater feeling of pride on the part of the mother. His success was her success.” 

Margaret Truman Daniel, author and daughter of President Harry S. Truman is quoted as saying:

“The enormously strong intellectual and emotional bond between Dad and his mother – the sort of bond which, I have discovered in my delvings into presidential lore, has existed between an astonishing number of presidents and their mothers.” (Page 433)

According to the author it is a key ingredient to the makings of a self-confident man who is able to withstand the rigors of a presidential campaign and then the office of the presidency. What do you now think of the expression ‘mama’s boy?’ Is it an insult or a compliment?

5) Each of these presidents had a weak or poor relationship with their father—or at the least they were not nearly as close as they were with their mother.

From the 2001 interview:

“Most of the fathers were disappointments to these mothers — failures or feckless or abusive. To compensate, the mothers poured themselves into these sons — he would be her fulfillment and her monument.

Yes, Joe Kennedy, particularly, had great influence, but it was his first son, his namesake, who was the apple of his eye. Joe Jr. was the Kennedy he expected to see in the White House. Jack, a sickly youngster and quite different from Joe, was closer to his mother. And, yes, the senior Bush had an influence, but the new First Lady, Laura, says her husband is much more like his mother: “They are both feisty; they both are funny.” And they share a much more outgoing personality than father and son. Says George W: “I got my looks from my father and my mouth from my mother.”

From the book:

“Some were weak or feckless, even outright failures….And some were never there at all. Even two of the most successful and powerful fathers, Joe Kennedy and Prescott Bush, were absent a great deal in pursuit of their careers [and/or] lifestyles.” (Page 432)

Did these sons feel the need to make up for the shortfalls of their fathers?

When I reread the book recently I read the 2008 version that now includes a chapter on George Walker Bush. A side tangent: When the author was preparing this revision, during the 2008 presidential election, she actually did research on both George Walker Bush and Al Gore. She found that Gore and his mother, Pauline, LaFon Gore also fit the patterns! And I think President Obama also fits the patterns, but I have not read anything directly on his relationship with his mother nor about her relationship with her father.

Bottom line: Each chapter of the book presented a different president and his mother, chronologically. I have since also read her other book, First Families, which I can not recommend as much. But if you are looking for an interesting read, insights into the past 12 presidents, reflections on the mother-son relationship and thoughts on how to help mold a self-confident, high achieving young man you will enjoy reading this book.

Click here to read First Mothers Book Review Part I.



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!

First Mothers Review Part I

I read First Mothers, The Women who Shaped the Presidents by Bonne Angelo in 2002, enjoyed it tremendously and recommended it to many friends over the years, including my book club, who selected it for our September 2015 meeting. Over the next two post I will share some of my notes from the book discussion I lead. Look for part II of my review next week.

The original edition profiles the presidents and their mothers from FDR to Bill Clinton, with added information on the first ladies too. I learned a lot about the president and their mothers, including the idea that these 11 presidents had much in common when it came to their relationship with their mothers – something I never would have guessed.

As the time I first read the book, my kids were 7 and 12 and I was inspired by some of the parenting concepts. For instance I took these two quotes to heart:

“They were diverse women who led [mostly] conventional lives, exercised their keen intelligence and didn’t shrink from controversial opinions—which they dispensed without hesitation to their political sons. As a group (with the exception of Sara Roosevelt) they were concerned about social issues, troubled by racial inequities and other injustices.” (Page 425)

And

“An intelligent mother with strong opinions stirs more than her son’s intellect. She stimulates both his curiosity and his energy so that he will one day be an opinion-shaper himself.” (page 425, quoting Carole Klein, author of the study Mothers and Sons.)

No one will accuse me of being a shrinking violet or holding back my opinion on issues that matter to me! Both of my kids were raised to see the value in social justice, for speaking out on issues and values that matter to them.

First Mothers

In this week’s post I will share 2 of the 5 commonalities that I found most interesting from the book.

1) Each presidents’ mother had particularly strong relationships with their fathers. Most were each their father’s favorites. In an interview the author, Bonnie Angelo, gave in February 2001 she said:

In every case of these mothers, there was a special bond between this particular daughter and her father….they made these girl feels that they could go beyond the constraints placed on 19th century women to do more, to be more. The fathers made the girls more independent minded, more self-assured. And I am convinced that these traits were then passed directly to the son who would become president. Father to daughter to son.”

This self-confidence, given from father to daughter to son is “fundamental to achieving success in any career, whatever the choice. Personalities may be unlike, motivations may differ, but the one who makes it to the top, the achiever, first believes in himself.” (page 427)

From the same interview:

I wrote only about the modern presidents — FDR to Clinton — because the modern presidency really began then, when they had to go out and actively seek the office, which meant they had to have that self-assurance the mothers implanted in them. That is crucial to anyone running for president these days.” 

2) Each presidential mother dealt with various forms of adversity and they then passed their resiliency to their sons. Some of these mothers knew hard times. But even in the face of poverty, alcoholism and even domestic violence, these women rose above it and passed this ability onto their sons — something that many of the presidential fathers could not and did not do. 

From the same interview:

Rose Kennedy was the foremost example of a trait that these mothers shared: resilience in the face of hard time, of abusive and alcoholic husband, and the unbearable tragedy of the death of children. Rose lost not just the two we all suffered with her, Jack and Bobby, but her first born, Joe Jr., who was lost flying a dangerous mission over the English channel in World War II, and her golden daughter Kathleen was also killed in an air crash just after the war. And yet she never lost her faith or her ability to meet any challenge. Think also about Hannah Nixon, who lost two sons to tuberculosis, one when he was only seven, the other at 22.”

Virginia Kelley is quoted in the book, from her memoirs saying,

“Too many people seem to think life is the tablecloth, instead of the messy feast that’s spread out on it,” she stated in her memoirs. “They want to keep the cloth clean and tucked safely in a drawer. That’s not life. Done right, life leaves stains. That’s why I don’t judge Bill Blythe for the things I found out about him. That’s why I feel sorrow, not hatred, for Roger Clinton. That’s why I love my mother, even though many a day she made me feel like murdering her…. It’s called resilience.” (page 401)

Have you overcome difficulties in your life?

Come back next week for part II of my book review on First Mothers by Bonnie Angelo. (Click here for part II)



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!

Motivational Quotes I

What is it about certain quotes that stop us in our tracks and rocks us to our core? I love finding these kinds of quotes and/or phrases in books or online. From time to time I plan to upload quotes that I find inspirational, or thought-provoking. I would love to hear what you think of them too.

To get us started here are four such quotes, all from books that I have read this past year and highly recommend. The first one in particular has influenced my perspective on my life, my art and my self-image as I have struggled to accept that I only reached a modest level of professional success during my time running various businesses. The fact is I invested a lot of time in my work and businesses, but much more time in my relationships with my husband and kids. And so at the end of the day, the expression of my art has been focused on how I created and raised my family rather than on what I accomplished professionally. Something to think about.

Hope you find these phrases thought provoking and/or motivational as I do.

“She really was an artist, but her art was not something that would be viewed in a museum or contained between the covers of a book. Franny’s art was in how she had lived her own extraordinary life. SHE was her best creation.”

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan Page 444 [Note: Highly recommend this book!]

“It was supposed to say “Great Artist” on my tombstone, but if I died right now it would say “such a good teacher/daughter/friend” instead; and what I really want to shout, and want in big letters on that grave, too, is Fuck you all. Don’t all women feel the same? The only difference is how much we know we feel it, how in touch we are with our fury. We’re all furies, except the ones who are too darned foolish, and my worry now is that we are brainwashing from the cradle, and in the end even the ones who are smart will be too damned foolish.”

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud Page 3 [Note: Another great read!]

“I’m angry because I’ve tried so hard to get out of the hall of mirrors, this sham and pretend of the world, or of my world, on the East Coast of the United States of America in the first decade of the twenty-first century. And behind every mirror is another fucking mirror, and down every corridor in another corridor, and the Fun House isn’t fun anymore and it isn’t even funny, but there doesn’t seem to be a door marked EXIT.”

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud Page 4

“Wouldn’t you want someone to tell your story? Ultimately, it’s the best proof there is that we mattered. And what else is life from the time you were born but a struggle to matter, at least to someone?”

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman page 148 [Note: Loved this book!]

What do you think?

 

 



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!

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!