Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Just being. 

An early appointment with a man who really wants to sell me something. 

I sit back, sipping my tea and appreciating the interaction, knowing that he is doing his job very well but that only if I really needed his product, would I buy it. 

Which I don't. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Almost peed my pants.

Marco: Was the Mona Lisa painted by Ghandhi? 

Me: ????????? 

Marco: Oh, no, no. I meant Van Ghandi.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Life is amazing...

So, yes, I have decided to start running and I have invited people to join me and I have recruited some encouragement.

And this morning, I started with my very first baby step and it's been good.

Good except for the voice that kept telling me you know you've started this before. You know you never actually made it to run - even a full mile - without walking. You know ...

And yeah, I know.

But then, in response to my attempt to recruit some company, I received this email today, from Marty. Marty suffered an aneurysm, nine years ago, that has left him paralyzed. This much I knew. This other part... I did not.

With his permission, here is Marty's email:


I would love to do it with you but you know I am paralyzed. I was a big runner...Every Thanksgiving I ran a 5k at the city I was at...
It was called the Turkey trot....I ran a 26 mile marathon before It took me a whole year to train for it...I really miss running..:(


Followed a few minutes later, after I told him how much his words got me motivated, by

See I am helping people to get in shape..:)

So well ... yeah. I am sure as heck going to do this, now.

I am going to take these legs of mine that work really well and take these lungs of mine that will adjust and I am going to take all these excuses of mine that are so savvy and I am going to RUN.

I am going to run and when I get whiny, I will think of Marty and get my shoes on and run some more.

Life IS amazing.

Where is It?

My "Facebook Friends" post from yesterday brought up some emails as well as one poignant online comment. 

As I try to sort out my own feelings, I keep going back to different versions of the same question: 

Where is it? 

Where is that line between simply witnessing someone's path and choices, respecting them as "perfect for them at this time" (I believe Byron Katie would use these words) and letting our thoughts/fears/opinions take over loudly enough to get in the way - and risk bothering them enough that they slam the door in our faces? 

On the other hand, what about our own path and where is OUR line in exposing our hearts to someone's choices - when we perceive them as  potentially dangerous? 

Yikes... I have no answer and it is not for lack of asking. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Facebook Friends

We had met 23 years ago and had kept in touch sporadically over the years. Even though we were never intimately close (I have since learned that it is hard for me to be very close to people who drink a lot of alcohol), he always had a special place in my life and when I received his request to be his "Facebook Friend," a few months ago, I had smiled and had been very happy to accept. 

For the past few months, rarely a day went by that we did not exchange a witty comment on one another's page and that felt really nice. 

He had just gotten engaged and I was planning to attend his wedding and was hoping he would let me make the cake.

A few days ago, he emailed me directly and asked me some non-witty, deep questions. Because I was in the middle of finishing a book, I did not notice how unusual his serious tone was. I simply answered the questions. 

48 hours later, as I was going to bed, I absentmindedly logged onto Facebook and as I often did, clicked over to his page.

At the top of the page was his last - ever so telling - entry.

And then, a bunch of people.

A bunch of people in "his room." I looked around the room but could not find him. The noise was deafening but I tried to listen. To understand. 

He had taken his own life. 

Just like that - or rather NOT just like that. 

All the months of bantering back and forth and thinking that we were actually communicating. All the months of helping ourselves to each other's hyper superficial layers. All the months of really, not being such good friends. 

So, I am in shock. Not surprised really, but in shock. 

And left with many questions.

Questions such as "what is a friend?" and is it really important to be "in touch" with so many people when that touch is feather-like as opposed to strong and real?

Questions having to do with alcohol, too and my own choices in exposing my heart to people who love it so darn much.

And so this morning, when another friend writes to me and says "I need to talk - may I drive over?"      I say ... hell yes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

That's it. I'm doing it.

I am training to run a 5K by Thanksgiving.

I have been wanting to do this for years - and have started several times - but am now tired of this little bit of "I will do it some day" mind clutter.

Since I can't seem to cross it off my list, I am just gonna do it.

Never mind the "my-lungs-can't-get-enough-air-cause-my-mom-smoked-while-she-was-pregnant-with-me" excuse ... I am just gonna do it.

Never mind that I am not sure where my iPod is. I am just gonna do it.

And I may need help, so feel free to check on me.

Oh... anyone want to take the challenge with me?

5K by Thanksgiving.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Remote

(not sure about this sex button...)

borrowed from Owning Pink.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Working from Home

We may very well have the world's most prolific pear tree.

Every year, it gifts us with hundreds of fruits and this year is no different.

Having showered my neighbors and friends with more pears than they may be able to eat, can, bake, juice... I put a little ad on freecyle (I LOVE freecyle).

Within minutes, I had found myself a new job of answering an avalanche of emails about picking up the pears. 

In order to focus on my other job - yes, that one - I made up a template reply and sent it to anyone who asked, along with my address.

"I will put the pears on my front porch. Bring some bags and help yourselves until they are gone (which could happen quickly)


Then, I go back to The Job. This pear thing is wrapped up nicely and no longer needs my attention. It is self-maintaining and that is always a good, efficacious thing.

An hour later, I hear people climbing up the porch steps. I hear little voices. I hear FUN. 

Focus, Laura, focus. 

Finally, the effort of trying to focus on my work while my mind wants to put a face to the voices and connect is way more distracting than just getting up and walking to the door.

So I do. And right there are two little girls, dressed in pink mind you, looking at each pear before placing it gently into the bag their mom is holding for them. 

They are beaming. And now, so am I. 

AND I remember why working from home is such a challenge, and that I need to focus. 

And ... what the heck... maybe I just need to go bake a pear tarte.

The Glamour of Public Speaking

Sometimes, you gotta go find your audience in the wild.

Letting the Winks in

They are everywhere... little winks from life, god, love, Fred* ... whatever name feels best to you.

Little simple, humorful reminder that life is meant to be fun, funny even.

And often, they come to us at the very times when we are about to forget that we are here to ENJOY.

Like my funny little plant dude, here, who was hanging on by one arm, waving at me on a gray summer day, reminding me that hello, is the gray sky REALLY that big a deal?

Our only job is to notice them - and thank them.

Giggling is optional but highly recommended.

(*anyone curious about the Fred thing, I can explain.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


My friend Carol writes from Scotland (she has just started a one-year travelfest!)

Hoping to find some distant relatives, she asks questions of a local shopkeeper.

Carol reports that after a while, the man kindly informs her that "he has run out of hospitality" - and heads to the back of his shop to peel vegetables.

How clean is that? No suffering through a conversation he has outgrown, no pretending to be interested when he no longer is, no inventing a reason to exit.

Just clean.

Clean "this is how I feel and I can kindly share this with you." 

What an honor it is to be treated this way.

And I bet the Scottish accent was fun, too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It Hurts

I recently received an email from an old acquaintance letting me know that one of our friends had died.

Bill would have been just a few years older than me and even though I had not thought about him in years, had last seen him in the mid-eighties when we all worked together on fashion photo shoots in Chicago, the news bore a hole in me.

Reaching for some sort of understanding, I asked questions and found very few answers.

Until this morning when, along with a few photographs that I now deeply cherish, I was told that "Bill was having some mental issues and was seeing a doctor about it but just couldn't cope."

That's all I know and very possibly all I will ever know.

Could I have helped? Could I have found the little seed of joy in him and watered it enough to make him want to stick around and see his daughters grow up?

Is it arrogance for me to think that I could have altered his path? Even to think that his path should have been altered, that it is anything else than perfect?

Even that, I don't know.

I just know that it hurts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wisdom à la Seuss

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Peace


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(Shared this morning by Greg.)

— Wendell Berry

Monday, September 6, 2010

Scrapbooking Supplies

I was at a big craft store, yesterday, looking for a specific tool I needed. 

Apparently, it lived in the "scrapbooking aisle." 

This led me to spending ten good minutes in a strange and very unfamiliar land. A land where everything is devoted to the art of presenting, enhancing and preserving the past, in the form of photographs.

I think I had heard of scrapbooking but I had never really gotten that close to it. 

And as I sat there, looking for the little do-hickey I needed (and found), I started to feel really weird. 

And it is very possible that the weirdness came only from my interpretation and misunderstanding.

Nonetheless, I felt weird.

Weird from thinking of all the hours, money and energy spent decorating events that already took place instead of looking up and enjoying the Now.

When I think of it this morning, it was more of an energetic discomfort than anything rational because I am usually not that triggered at all by the way anyone chooses to spend their time. In fact, I can even see the ritualistic joy involved in manipulating photos and reliving happy memories.

But still.

Something about the fact that this is a whole industry - and not a cheap one - devoted to looking behind makes me feel funny. 

Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just funny.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On being grown up.

A few days ago, a friend of mine remarked that "I was working all the time." 

I did not say much about it but as we continued our walk, I knew that her words had been filed in the "look at it closely later" category. 

Truth is, her words really made their mark on me.

Following a decade of boundaries-free relationship with my work that landed me in the hospital and a broken marriage, I had vowed to never, ever let work "get me" again - no matter how much I loved it.

So, for many years, I didn't. In fact, I made a point of keeping a close eye on the amount of thoughts and time I gave my work. Which, for me, took a little bit of effort as I once again found myself passionate about what I was doing. 

But I did it. I prided myself on keeping my work at bay. I made sure to not let my career have too loud a voice. To take lots and lots of time off, to talk with my clients "from the road" and to always be available to my kids, no matter what. I loved telling myself that I was in charge, that I was free. 

Was I free?

Was I free when money was so often tight? Was I free when I was suppressing my creativity and my "bigness" because of fear?

Maybe not. 

Really, I had vowed to not enter into a committed relationship for fear of not knowing how to have boundaries and losing myself - again.

Where is the growth, there? Really, where is the love?

Over the past three years - and especially the last six months - my passion for my work has slowly refused to stay quiet. Encouraged by the love of a man who knows how to keep me from bolting, I have stopped driving with the brakes on.

I have started to trust that I could follow my passion and not lose myself.

But this is still new and I am still impressionable. 

And my friend's words have been the perfect stinging reminder to check in with myself. 

Is she right? Am I doing it again?

Yes. and No.

I have been working a lot, lately. I have an exciting plan and a stimulating timeline. And I am following both passionately.

And I am aware of the why. I am aware of the when. I am choosing both. 

Which for me is a very different, very new way to be.

Running away from something or someone because we are afraid of how big we can be, is not freedom. It is smallness.

I may have finally grown up.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

French Women Manifesto - by Mireille Guiliano

* French women eat three meals a day.

* French women adore fashion.

* French women are stubborn individuals and don't follow mass movements.

* French women avoid anything that demands too much effort for too little pleasure.

* French women balance their food, drink, and movement on a week-by-week basis.

* French women care enormously about the presentation of food. It matters to them how you look at it.

* French women choose their own indulgences and compensations. They understand that little things count, both additions and subtractions, and that as an adult everyone is the keeper of her own equilibrium.

* French women do stray, but they always come back, believing there are only detours and no dead ends.

* French women don't care for hard liquor.

* French women don't diet.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


September, I think, smells different from all the other months.

To me, it has always smelled of new school supplies and ever since I moved to the US, it has smelled of school buses (do you know that we don't have school buses in France?) 

It smells of new beginnings, it smells of resolutions. It smells of happy structure, of productivity, of safe routine. 

Of meals shared together, too. It is the sweet yin to the summer's yan (or is it the other way around? I never know...)

I wish all of us a happy, happy September!