The What Ifs vs. The Why Nots


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My coffee mug is filled with the best Jamacian coffee in the universe. My hands are cupped around the warm mug offering comfort on this morning of 8 degree temps in the northeast. The coffee was given to me by a friend for Christmas. A simple gift of coffee to say thank you for your business.  Around my shoulders hangs a heated throw blanket given to me by a new friend. Both are comforting to me on this gray day.  Both warm me, warm my soul. Simple yet satisfying gifts that make me smile. In this crazy graceless world it’s nice to know that something can be so pure and uncomplicated.

Along with my sweet mug of coffee and my warm heated blanket are my family and friends, my dogs Honey and Jack, my cat Isabella, my home that I call “Vintage Cottage,” and my store called Blue Eden. There are also my favorite tunes on my playlist. All are my effortless likes; really loves, for their true colors, their innocents and their unassuming courage. Some of these gifts inspire me, some make me reflect, some make me work hard, and some make me just enjoy the passing of time, after all isn’t that the secret to life?

Sometimes we hold on to things and we have a tough time letting go. Admittedly I suffer from this syndrome. I try so hard to let go without compromising my integrity. But here’s the unseen paradox that took me home.  When I thought about it was I being true to myself, was I honoring my feelings or just wallowing in disbelief and disappointment? Did I like it? On some level I guess I liked feeling sorry for myself – it justified what had happened, it garnered sympathy – it made me feel like a martyr of the 21st century. Turns out this was my way of coping.

Towards the end of the summer my life took a bit of a different path. As I found out about someone that was suppose to have my back. Well, they never really did have my best intentions in mind, only their own selfish intent was on the agenda. In August it was all exposed. The feelings of mistrust for years were dead on. There was a reason why I wasn’t feeling comfortable, yet I never allowed myself to believe anything other than what he was telling me – for this reason. I just wanted to believe in something that was pure and simple and it seemed to be (he was a very good actor). There in living color and screaming at me on facebook were all of my biggest fears. My heart sunk. The realization was my feelings were finally validated.

Being grateful for the little things. Don’t worry, I already learned this a long time ago after going through my divorce, I was pretty much left broke and without the things that I loved. No matter what I did, if I did it mindfully and carefully it became a form of meditation and discipline, as if it was almost a ritual in re-training my thought process a little differently. Meditation doesn’t have to be a quiet place of sitting and breathing in and out, but a place in our heart, a place where we watch the sun rise and set, a place where our breathing is in motion to the flow and tides of the day, and a place where we can loosen and unravel, a place that stores away a fond memory. There is a place for all of us where we can find a new way of breathing in and out. It’s called mindfulness or living in the moment. It’s not an easy idea or concept to achieve, for example; when I brush my teeth instead of thinking about the tooth brush and the tooth paste I am way ahead of myself going through the list of things I need to get done. For us overachieving multi-taskers from the Yuppie generation, these qualities where great (back in the 80s) however fast forward to today and thinking in the moment instead of thinking about the week ahead is a really hard thing to do and to stop. Personally I am sick of it and have decided that it’s ok to think about this moment only, write this blog only and drink my hot coffee now – not an hour from now when it will be cold and I will have to pop it into the microwave – see this is what I am talking about, I am already getting ahead of myself. Moral of the story – start to live in the moment of mindfulness and let’s see where we go. Maybe the secret to life and the antidote for the pain experienced in life is being mindful of the moment , not thinking to much about the “what ifs but thinking more about the why nots? Good luck with that.

Personal Plots


St. Francis looks a little chilly today but guards the gardens and protects the animals.It’s gloomy. Winter is not my friend. I am a fair weather person. Looking out at the gardens from my frost covered windows this morning only to see snow on plants, containers and the beloved garden statuary makes me inconsolable. Well, that’s a little much, it just makes me long for all things warm, so I guess I am a bit inconsolable.

The dead of winter prevails.  Winter is humbling and last nights arctic blast not only made history throughout the Northeast, but for a gardener in the north it was the end.

My personal plots are what I like to call my front and back gardens. All created from trial and lots of error in a soil that is as rich in mystery and a little history as it is in nutrients.

About 13 years ago I started this ritual with my grandmother when I purchased my home. It was Easter Sunday and she was up for a ride; “down da shore,” (she had a very thick Italian accent) so we packed the car, packed some perennials and set our sites for Wildwood NJ. Never studying horticulture I learned to garden from my mom, from my grandmother, from reading, traveling and just going with what I liked – whether it was going to work was a completely different story. At 40 something (then), it was my first real time as a gardener since childhood. I was determined to create the prettiest gardens on the block and with that, it was my hope that neighbors would enjoy the view and want to create one of their own. They did! Mind you, I have no desire to start a landscaping company – I leave that to the real professionals.

As I write this surrounded by sleeping dogs at my feet, all rescues that came to me with as much mystery as my gardens and plantings I have the distinct pleasure  to look outside my window and think, “I am spoiled and I like it.”

Isabella sitting on the window bench.With a whimper from Jack and a bark from Honey, I know it is time to let the dogs explore the snow. They go running cheerfully out the door dressed in their finest wool Martha Stewart sweaters. They too are spoiled. They sprint passed the winter pansies which are half smiling today from their containers but I can tell they are cold. And for the dogs that were once all cozy at my feet they show no regrets as they run in the frosty flakes like the wild animals they once were.  As for the cat named Isabella who puts a whole new spin on the word lazy, she wants no parts of this nonsense, and I can’t say I disagree with her today. We both choose lounging on the newly washed blanket that is placed on top of a window bench. She enjoys a life that I envy. I read and write on.

The cycle of the seasons are so astonishing, no matter what age we are, each one uncovers a new meaning, a new look – a makeover if you will but spring will always be my favorite. When tulips and bulbs that you forgot you planted start popping up through the soil. Plants are budding, and the grass is shedding its look of burnt straw. Add to the mix the scent of spring in the air – ahhh, it doesn’t get any better.  Take the time to think back on the various storms and realize that in only a few weeks the cycle of the seasons will present another show stopper.

When mother nature throws up her starting flag to the sun that’s our que that she’ll be kicking off another season, one that is a little more forgiving and gentler, one where  longer days and flowers yet to bloom a not far out of sight.

Enjoy your snow day.

Uninspired by a New Year?


Life is a balancing act

Life is a balancing act

Let’s face it, life isn’t easy – the world is cold, mean, cruel, unsteady – it’s uninspiring – depressing really. Seems like this is standard operating procedures these days. Did you ever think for a minute that it doesn’t have to be that way? Stand back, look at the whole and make a decision – do I deal with it or fight it? The fight – is it worth it or is it sometimes easier to walk away knowing you did the best you could do and now it’s time to move on.

Balancing life is a trick that I don’t think anyone knows for sure – there is work, relationships, children, pets, home obligations, expenses – it all makes you feel like you’re on a merry-go-round just waiting for the right moment to jump off , ahh but wait; relax, find the spot that is comfortable.

Give yourself a break today, look at everything you do in one day and make that your inspiration. Read a book on a cozy chair, take a walk, find a hobby and know in your heart you did your best ever and each day.

Leaving Smile


Take a smileThat phrase; “leaving smile,” conjures up all of the great romance movies like that leaving smile of Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca at the very end of the movie when she walks away from Rick (Humphrey Bogart). It’s a killer. It’s bittersweet. Isla Lund  is a person of honor and respect, so is Rick, and back then in 1942 they made movies where people just did the right things.

In 1978 a song came out sung by Leo Sayer, it was called; “Can’t Stop Loving You.” Phil Collins did a remake of it in 2004, it’s a beautifully sad song. There is a line in the song which says; “you put your leaving smile on.” All lights on it, it’s a great phrase.

As we bid adieu to 2013, I can honestly say that I have my leaving smile on. I have my ticket and my suitcase, we’re all packed and heading to 2014 with lots of love albeit some regrets but I will look back to 2013 for my inspiration. Hey why shouldn’t I? While I thought at one point towards the end of 2012 there was no way out of a very dark place I also knew that I wasn’t going to lay down without knowing where my future was going.

And in the words of Winston Churchill, I was; “never, never, never going to give up.”

When we go through changes we wonder where we went wrong and maybe sometimes we try to turn back time, but when you testify to yourself and see another way, it boils down to seeing another day and another year at face value.

All the changes that needed to happen for that moment happened. This place, this time, this everything was changed forever and it was hard. Somehow I looked into the hole in my heart and it gave me the strength to see where my journey was going and how I needed to carry on for my future. What I needed to do was to take a look through my eyes, open them and realize that there is a better place for all of me, hell for all of us.

The year 2013 had some challenges, but from those challenges came a better understanding of everything that I needed to walk away from and why. How can I ever thank 2013? How could I not stop loving 2013? Shit, it set me free – it gave me my leaving smile.

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I will always be there for you – always. Thank you 2013 – you taught me so much.

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make – Paul McCartney, John Lennon

Writer’s Block – A Regretful Story


never-regret-anything-It’s been a while. I’ve had writers block and its been bad. In fact, so bad that nothing seems to inspire my creative thinking gene. Why? Life and work seem to meld into one big long day. Sitting and finding something that seems interesting to write about just doesn’t or hasn’t happened these days.

Let’s see, I could write something that sounds like a corny country song sung by Tammy Wynette. It would be about a bad romantic breakup, the intensity of his lies and it would include betrayal and cheating. In my country song, I tell him this; “you never deserved me anyway, so go lie to someone else cause it’s not gonna be me anymore. I don’t care. It’s a new dawn.”

But in all honesty, what fun is that and who really cares because it has already been done to death, many before me have beaten that dead horse.

What else is there to write about. Life? Fashion? Music? Movies? Pets? Decorating? Cooking, cleaning or baking? Romance? Regrets? hmmm Maybe? Ugh, but all of these topics seem boring to me now too. Geeze, what’s wrong with me, is my life that filled up with obligations and commitments that I can’t seem to sit and write? This is turning into a big regret.

Regrets. Let me try this topic. Not so long ago I had a friend that passed away. My regret is that I never apologize to him for being a jerk. After he passed I sat down and wrote my best work ever, a letter to my friend. I took this opportunity to make all of my wrongs right. As much as it felt liberating, I still had regret that I never spoke to him in person. You see regret is a funny thing. When someone dies do we connect regret to their death? Probably not. Why is that? Do we want to remain in our regret less bubble? Would we rather talk about grocery shopping, gardening, taxes and the Kardashian’s and less about the things we regret and the things we never did? Is this a right regret?

I am thinking that this time of year brings out a lot of regrets – not losing weight, not putting enough money in the bank, not going with our intuition, not saying goodbye to an old friend, not telling my dad that I loved him enough. But I am going with the silver lining playbook on all of this as my vow for 2014 is imagining a way to fix the future of my past regrets and provided a better, more realistic life solution than invincibility.

Arthur Miller said; “die with the right regrets.”  Maybe that’s the plan to get my writing juju back?

It’s Just Reality Right?


My friends Sue, Doreen, Marjorie and I have a long standing joke; “wouldn’t it be funny to do a reality television show about the day in our lives?” Not that our lives are that fascinating, but look at the reality shows that are out there. Do we really care about the Real Housewives of New Jersey, Atlanta or Beverly Hills? Is that really reality? Money may buy them anything but from an outsider looking in there seems to be something drastically wrong and sadly missing. Just saying.

Our reality show would be different because it would be real. It would show real women getting up in the morning without gobs of makeup on, women that haven’t had Botox or facelifts, tummy tucks or implants. Real working women struggling to make ends meet and real women making diet lunches and dinners to lose a few pounds without the help of a chef and a personal trainer. We’d be real women doing laundry, cleaning the house, walking the dog, feeding the cat, talking to neighbors, taking the kids to school, oh and working full time jobs too. Cameras following around four completely normal friends that all contribute to each other on a daily basis constant emotional support and validation. Real women who actually have to deal with reality on a daily basis.

But Andy Cohen or America, for that matter would not be interested in seeing how our days go because American’s seemed to be preoccupied with the rich and vulgar and might I add far from real people, but I said that already didn’t I? Admittedly I watch them too occasionally and compare them to a car crash, you just have to look but while I am watching it I am thinking the entire time; “what world are these people from, certainly not something like mine?”

I am wondering, is this what young women are basing their daily duties and responsibilities on? Are they thinking that it’s ok to be a Kim Kardashian or a Paris Hilton and do absolutely nothing yet be famous for just that? What are they contributing to their family’s and friends or even society? Seems to me nothing really?

Me, I’d rather clean up the cat’s throw up than have a life that’s not lived. We may not have a ton of money but I’d take the wisdom of these women over any of those reality tv gals any day, cause we keep it real.

Wildwood Walks to Cure Diabetes for JDRF Saturday, May 18 on the Wildwoods Boardwalk


Wildwood, NJ – Wildwood is calling all walkers to participate in the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes, Saturday, May 18, at Morey’s Adventure Pier. The event is sponsored by the South Jersey Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the City of Wildwood, Morey’s Piers, WAWA, AtlantiCare, Tony Luke’s and Hutchinson Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.

 

Everyone is welcome to participate: individual walkers, families, groups, businesses, schools and anyone who shares the JDRF’s goal to raise money for research that will lead to better treatment and prevention of Type 1 diabetes, and ultimately find a cure for the disease.

 

“It’s great to partner with JDRF and work together on this important goal – curing a disease that kills one American every three minutes,” says Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano.  “This year, we invite everyone, from kids to grandparents, to take part.  Walk for someone you know, or for one of the 3 million other Americans who have Type 1 diabetes.”

 

Registration is 9:30am at Morey’s Adventure Pier/Guest Services with the Walk starting at 10:30am.  The Walk is a 3.0 mile route on the Wildwood’s famous Boardwalk.  Adding to the fun is live entertainment and a DJ spinning tunes to motivate the walkers.

 

Actor-musician Nick Jonas is the National Chairman of JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes.  This is Jonas’ third year as a celebrity advocate for JDRF. He has been living with the disease for the past eight years.  “As a person living day to day with diabetes and recognizing the tremendous contribution the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has done for our community, I couldn’t be more honored to serve as the National Chair for the Walk to Cure Diabetes,” says Jonas.

 

JDRF Walks are held in more than 200 cities worldwide.  Nearly 600,000 people in the United States walked last year, raising $86 million to cure diabetes, which costs the nation more than $174 billion in health care each year.

 

Since its inception, JDRF has provided more than $1.5 billion to diabetes research worldwide. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and education. JDRF’s mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

 

To register, sponsor, build a Walk team, or for more information, please visit http://www.jdrf.org or call (856) 429-1101.

 

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