Category Archives: Mothering

Repeat Mammograms Suck

After getting a mammogram last week, I learned that I needed to have a repeat one done. These are not words that any woman wants to hear, much less one who is a cancer survivor. Once you have heard the dreaded cancer diagnosis, everything feels like borrowed time—even those of us who are 30+ years out.

For the last four or five days, every time I started to think about it I found myself sucking in air, but never fully exhaling. I’m proud that I didn’t obsess – an old pattern of mine for many years. Basically I gave myself permission to think about it and then let it go. Meditating and mind discipline (another word for yoga!) is finally working for me.

Cancer screening is not fun or pleasant; it can involve moments or days or weeks waiting for results. Since my cancer was malignant melanoma in 1985, screening for me also means a full body check by a dermatologist. I don’t like going, but I sure like knowing. Head in the sand is not an acceptable option.

Some of my random thoughts as I was waiting to get in for my repeat mammogram were:

I thought about how my breasts fed and nourished my kids and how breastfeeding was an important tool in my mothering tool box for many, many years (yes, I was that kind of mother ;-).

I thought about the odds and how both my mother and maternal aunt had post-menopausal breast cancer. They say that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. I remember sitting on an all-woman Board of Directors for an international non-profit with 15+ other women and speculating that at least 2 of us might get breast cancer. These past several days I wondered if it was going to be me.

The good news is that all is fine and the problem was a technical one with the mammogram and not at all with me. But I write this post to remind everyone reading it to get screened. Cancer happens. For years after my cancer in the mid 1980’s I stopped getting cancer checks. I was young and I didn’t want to deal with it. After my first child was born, I finally grew up and realized that this is a part of life.

So while I am doing a happy dance after getting the good news today, I know that I might be in for another round next month when I go in for my skin cancer body check. Odds are that they will want to biopsy something (they usually do) and I will get to spend another few days waiting and wondering. Such is life.

 



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!

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

Last week I was invited to join other bloggers this holiday season to flood the internet with happiness and gratitude by linking our posts together and inviting friends, family and readers to join us. Here is my list and below that are instructions for how to join us.

1) My family

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2) Being able to walk after my accident last year

3) A local yoga studio with teachers and students who I like

4) Young people in my life

5) Older people in my life

6) Having a husband who talks me down from my emotional ledge more times that I care to admit that I need him to

 

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7) Our new home in downtown San Jose

8) Xmas without a wheelchair

9) A fabulous ankle doctor who I like and trust

10) Being able to travel east to hear my daughter sing in her recital last November

11) My home yoga practice

12) Having the means to travel to local and distant places

13) Having the means to do the work on our new house so that it now feels like our home

14) Selling our old home fast and for a profit

15) My mother’s husband and my brother who live by and take care of my ailing mother

16) My mother’s husband for all that he does to please and take care of my mother

17) For my mother’s aide who helps her call me several times a week so that I continue to feel connected

18) My mother’s new found ability to tell me that she loves and misses me in most every phone conversation

 

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19) My BFF (and chiropractor) Deb Mosca whose healing touch got me out of the wheelchair and back in my body after last year’s accident

20) My one day solo road trip from Princeton, NJ to Syracuse, NY last November, releasing the emotions after visiting my mother, talking on the phone with friends, listening to NPR interviews, seeing the fall foliage

21) Visiting the east coast last April and seeing the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin

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22) Passover 2015 with family and friends

23) Being able to connect with my father, his wife and kids from his second family

24) Hawaii for my birthday this year

25) The magic air in Hawaii

26) Snuba’ing with my husband in Hawaii

 

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27) Actually getting to meet and have dinner with a blogging friend and her husband when I read on FB that they too were in Hawaii, on the same part of the same island at the same time

 

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28) The private cabana by the pool with a lovely view of the ocean that my husband insisted we have while in Hawaii

29) Taking afternoon walks, after lunch, in search of espresso with my husband while in Hawaii

30) Being upgraded to business class on most of my 2015 cross country airline trips

31) Meeting and hanging out with and really liking my son’s fiance’s parents

32) Double shots of espresso

33) Having a husband who insisted that we cut down our Xmas tree, even though it is was just the two of us this year decorating

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34) Stitching at the end of most every day

35) My stitching friends

36) Learning new stitching techniques

37) Being able to find all sorts of stitching and craft supplies I had stashed away in our old home and now having the room to play with it all in our new home

38) All my yoga teachers—locally and abroad!

39) My yoga friends – locally and abroad!

40) Being on a yoga mat in a community with friends and strangers

41) My dad

42) My brother

43) The amazing women I meet on my women’s retreats

44) The deep rooted experiences I get to have on my women’s retreats

45) Reconnecting with my first cousins

46) Having a master bedroom with three windows that let in lots and lots of light every morning ion our new home

47) Authors of (most) of the books I read

48) My friends from the blogging world

49) Family and friends who read my blog and send me emails and notes about my posts

50) My husband, who I met at age 18, married at age 28, and who still surprises me when he shows up at home every night!

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If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise. View Dawn from Tales from the Motherland’s original instructions by clicking here.

View everyone who is participating by clicking here!



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!

This is a sad week for my family.

My mother was moved into a memory care unit at her retirement community. She and her husband moved to the community a year ago with the idea that someday this would happen. What no one expected is that someday would arrive so fast. But it is here and it is time that she moves to a space in which she will be well cared for, kept safe and no longer a full time burden to those who love her.

The reality is that the person who was once my mother is mostly gone. There is still a joyful person inside, but she is mostly anonymous, with no past, no future, and only a present and that is short term at best. The many details that make up a long, full and rich life are largely gone from her memory.

Seeing my mother’s life reduced to circumstances that I know would appall her is beyond sad, beyond grief, beyond words. And now to have to stop living with her beloved is just heart breaking.

While I grieve her lost memories, reduced life and our relationship, I also worry that perhaps this is my future too – all children of parents with Alzheimer’s worry about this.

I know that as we age, all of us suffer from some short term memory loss; this is normal and to be expected. But since my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis any little blips in my memory are a frightening reminder of what might be in store for me. The bottom line is that none of us are promised a long and healthy life. Anything can happen.

Each of us has the possibility of coming down with some catastrophic disease or suffering from misfortune. I have written a little bit some of what I have experienced: the random murder 38 year ago of a beloved cousin in Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop; my cancer adventures; several years ago I shared a post from a friend whose son tragically died way too young, In This I Will Find Beauty; as well as a few posts about my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Because of my experience with tragedy, medical scares and other random events, I have always been a sucker for quotes that tell us to “LIVE AS IF THERE WAS NO TOMORROW” or “NO REGRETS,” because we are not promised tomorrow no matter how healthy we eat, how much we exercise or how often we meditate.

Years ago I chose a quote for my highschool yearbook page, that I felt drawn to then and still holds sway with me today.

“If I Had My Life to Live Over

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I’d be sillier than I have been in this life. I’d take fewer things seriously. I’d take more chances, more trips. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I’d eat more ice cream and less beans. Perhaps I would have more troubles, fewer imaginary ones.

You see I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely hour and hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments but if I had to do it all over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments one after another instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, hot water bottle, raincoat and parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I’d go to more dances, ride more merry-go-rounds, pick more daisies.” – an 85 year old woman

So in honor of my mother, who can no longer take a juicy bite out of life, I will laugh too loud, take up too much space, make tons of mistakes, apologize with an open heart, and love fiercely.



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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

The Liebster Award: Get to Know Me and Other Bloggers!

The Liebster Award: Get to Know Me and Other Bloggers!

Fellow blogger, Kim Acedo of Transformation Wellness for Women, nominated me for the Liebster Award, which is an award for bloggers to recognize and get to know other bloggers.

I was asked to answer some questions and I get the opportunity to nominate other bloggers to participate. Check out the blogs I nominate at the end – their writing inspires me and I am committed to reading, tweeting and commenting on their blogs because I know how much it means to me when my readers tweet and comment on mine [hint, hint!].

Yours, Heidi

Here are the questions Kim asked me to answer:

1. What makes you happy?

Spending time with my family: kids and husband! I also enjoy yoga classes, stitching, meditating, reading and writing. But I get a thrill in my heart when people respond positively to my work. Motivating and/or inspiring people makes me very happy.

2. Why did you start blogging?

After I retired from my marketing consulting business I wanted an outlet and I wanted to create/be a part of an online tribe. And as we were getting ready to travel out of the country for 5 months, it seemed like it would be a great way to keep in touch with people and explore parts of my creative side. At the suggestion from my son, I thought I would develop a forum to help teach women how to mother their kids by sharing my experiences, but the blog is morphing into something new and different; I plan on changing the title soon. [Suggestions are most welcome!] I still want to reach/teach women, but now in a different direction from just focusing on motherhood.

3. What is the best thing anyone has ever said about your blog?

Recently I was invited to a yoga retreat because of a post. Receiving comments that are appreciative of my perspective and life experiences makes my heart sing.

4. What is one piece of advice you would offer or one saying you live by?

I used to say that “life was too short for shit,” but now I find myself thinking, “if not now, when?” Meaning what is holding me back from joy and love and connection?

5. What are your top three bucket list items?

1) To create an outlet to reach women through life-transformation workshops and seminars.

2) To finally find a business partner who wants to work collaboratively with me.

3) To maintain my health and weight loss through the rest of my life.

Short term goal is to have my ankle heal so that my husband and I can resume real hiking.

6. What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?

Drinking expresso and stitching! And of course because I am a woman, dark chocolate anything!

7. What is one product or service you cannot live without?

My smart cell phone/tablet.

8. What is your favorite U.S. destination?

Bottom line is that I love being/visiting any place in which my kids are living. But other than that, I love visiting New York City, where I lived in my 20’s and my father and his wife still live. If it weren’t for the weather (and money!) I could see myself living there again. Other places that I want to return to are Hilton Head, SC, anywhere in Hawaii, and Crater Lake, OR.

But I have to admit that I am loving our new home town of San Jose, CA. We just moved to the downtown area and exploring all that is within walking distance is exciting to me. After living in the suburbs for 22 years, while raising our kids, I am experiencing a re-found love affair for city living!

9. What two countries make you the happiest to visit?

Spain and Australia. I loved visiting both and would be thrilled to go back to either/both again

10. What is your dream destination?

I know it sounds corny, but at this age and stage of my life, I want to go with and where my husband and/or kids are. And I would love to get a chance to spend time in Greece and Portugal someday.

I now nominate the following bloggers to answer these questions as well. Reading their posts has inspired me and my writing. I hope they accept this award because I can’t wait to read their responses!

Lisa Owens of My So Called Glamorous Life, The Adventures of a Domestic Engineer!

Lorrie Goldin of Shrinkrapped

Jennifer Arlin of Still Life with Crockpot

Janelle Daniels of Thirty Plus Mom

Dawn Quyle Landau of Tales From the Motherland

Susan Macaulay of My Alzheimer’s Story, the joys and sorrows of an amazing journey

Melissa of Psychobabble

Thanks for reading! I’d love to get to know YOU more as well. Would you care to answer a few of the questions? Please comment below!

 

 



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!

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Stupid decisions can haunt us all of our lives. We all have made them. I have, most with little or no impact. But back in the summer of 1977 I made a very stupid decision, and it has haunted me for years, decades really. That summer, while hanging out in Greenwich Village, I went up to the roof of a building in New York City with a stranger. It was stupid and dangerous. And it still haunts me because a few months later my dear cousin was found dead on the roof of another building in New York City.

I was at that age and stage when I didn’t think anything bad would or could happen, and certainly not to me or anyone I knew. But that all changed in October 1977 when my cousin was murdered and left to die on a rooftop near Columbia University – just three months after I was attacked on a rooftop in New York City too.

I wish I could say that nothing happened to me that night on the roof in NYC, but that would not be accurate. Many things happened to me that night. And, of course, I am haunted by the similarities to my cousin’s death a few months later.

The death of any relative is hard, but when it is someone you are close to, under circumstances that are relatable then it is terrifying. In many ways, I still am terrified. It is like the experience got into my nervous system, and just won’t let go. Maybe this is because I looked up to my cousin in so many ways.

My cousin was more like an older sister to me. She was the oldest of the 8 cousins, the beautiful, accomplished ‘rock star’ of the family. And she lived with us when she was 16, and I was 7. I still remember going with her to the temple on Friday nights and sitting with her by the pool on sweltering hot Dallas afternoons.

But I also remember the dark side of her stay with us: food fights and whispered secrets. You see my cousin lived with us because she was suffering from anorexia. It was live with us or be hospitalized – she was that sick. Her illness made a strong and lasting impression on me. I remember her hiding food in her napkin, tears, doors slamming, food thrown in frustration. That was also when I learned to ignore my body’s hunger signs, eating all of my food to please my mother.

Over the years, through adolescence, I always assumed that my cousin would be there for me, just as my family had been there for her. But all that changed in the fall of 1977 when we got that call and time stood still.

I don’t know why I survived, and my cousin didn’t. Why I got a lifetime of joys and sorrows and she didn’t. But even with the highs and lows, in some ways it feels as if my nervous system has been stuck on high alert all these years. I have been waiting for the next time the phone will ring, my world will turn upside down and finally that other shoe will drop.

I have talked about the death of my dear cousin over the years, but rarely, if ever, shared the details of what happened to me on the rooftop three months before. It was shocking and embarrassing and shameful. I was 17, innocent and so naïve.

The reality is that I survived a frightening experience that my cousin did not. It still haunts me and probably will for the rest of my life. And maybe instead of the other shoe dropping after all these years, I am finally ready to put it down. Maybe I am finally ready to give myself a break for living when she did not.



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!