The Weekly Round Up: Black Tie Edition

Late on Friday afternoon, I donned evening make-up:heavier than usual base, smoky eyes, heavy brows and even mascara, which I don’t tend to wear. I had been to the hair dresser earlier in the day to tame my curls. Then, it was october_dresseduppursetime to slip into clothes.

I say “slip”, like it was easy, but when’s the last time you “slipped” into a strapless bra? Being rather endowed, my strapless bra has an industrial level band with five hooks and it must be as tight as possible. Sometimes, help is involved in this step. Then, it was time for pantyhose – silky nude control-top pantyhose – which I know is old fashioned these days but one of the things this Southern Gal hasn’t shed yet. Then came…the dress. Floor length, cornflower blue chiffon. Help isn’t an option here, but a necessity. It’s impossible to zip on my own.

Ah….then for the final touches. High heeled patent leather pumps. Sparkly jewelry. Bold lips, thanks to treating myself to a new L’Absolu Rouge Définition lipstick from Lancome in Le Pourpre.

A break in primping to assist JB…who has been showering, shaving and dressing while I was…he’s in his tuxedo pants and shirt, cummerbund in place, and a holding a bow-tie in need of tying, which I do after watching a YouTube video a couple of times.

JB grabs his jacket. I grab my evening bag, which only has room for my phone and a lipstick, but nothing more. I toss an elegant black shawl across my bare shoulders. And we head out the door to attend the National Aviation Hall of Fame Induction Dinner.

We arrive at the museum at 5:30 and begin with wine and mingling. We shake hands with Gene Krantz, and inductee october_alldressedupand greet another man being honored that evening, Jim Lovell. We greet our table-mates and enjoy stories and conversation…and then, the ceremonies, where there are more stories, from family members and friends and the inductees, including an escape from the Nazi’s through the underground tunnels of Paris from General Robert Cardenes.

Then…home around midnight. Where I am too wired to sleep, so we have a glass of wine and share our impressions of the night.

What I’m Writing  (& How it Dovetails with Work)

I am deep within an editing phase, and frankly am still not writing. Well, of course, I am writing some, like a blog post and newsletter, but eeking out any other fresh words has been an ongoing challenge. I have the pressure of some deadlines and those deadlines are wrapped around editing.

My most urgent deadline is the Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar book and associated workbook. I am on the 3rd draft of this book and finally got all of my formatting issues worked out so that my Table of Contents appears the way I desire it to…. And to be frank, this project took the lion’s share of my attention last week.

I got a letter from my girlfriend yesterday and it has me thinking in different terms still about my soul-level need to put words to paper. In some ways, my need to successfully complete these projects within their timeline is hampering that next step for me.

Quotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-MagicHow can I take that next step if I haven’t successfully closed the open projects?

What I’m Reading

I fell in love with The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell. The story of family and coming home to ourselves.

I began reading Big Magic this past week, but put it down in pursuit of editing. I can read fluffy fiction when I am feeling all the pressure from my deadlines, but am feeling more challenged to read for inspiration or education.

What We’re Eating

I’m still in pursuit of more veggies, so they are making their way into eggs in the mornings and drinkable pureed soups at lunch. I shared a cauliflower soup recipe in the newsletter this week. I made the exact same soup with broccoli, too.

What’s I’m Shaking My Head At

The latest round of school shootings and lost soldiers is hurting my heart.

What I Am Obsessing Over

It’s BULB time. All those bulbs I ordered earlier this year need to be planted. It was a lot easier ordering a couple october_lovellandkrantzdozen of this variety, and a half dozen of that….but when it comes to planting them, all those dozens begin to add up. Especially when you realize that yep, each one of those bulbs needs it’s own little hole dug into the earth.  Earlier today, I planted 64 tulips in the front. Then, I ran out of energy.

I still have around three dozen tulips to plant in the back along with 2 1/2 dozen daffodils. And, I need to buy chicken wire, to hopefully guard all those bulbs from becoming lunches for the neighboring squirrels and chipmunks.

What’s Really Floating My Boat

It all comes down to story. The highlight of Friday night, of course, were all the stories from the individuals being honored, the folks around our table, and even the stories behind an airplane here or there. Stories are the juice of living…

I had such a delightful evening with JB. Dear, Lord, that man excites me.

And I know I mention it almost every week, but the letter writing experiment is still inspiring me. Forcing myself to not go for the instant gratification of a response…forcing myself to dig a little deeper, be more honest and more vulnerable is a daring and loving adventure.

What’s been the highlight of your week? What’s floating your boat? What are you reading?


The Weekly Round-Up: The Bookstore Edition

Last weekend, a new bookstore opened up near us…. The Booksellers at Austin Landing. I can’t express how excited I bookstorecafeam to be able to walk in and be surrounded by books, magazines, bookish gifts, and people who are dedicated to the reading experience.  Their cafe, Pages, serves pastries, coffee and tea, of course, but also makes sandwiches, salads and soups. And, as a morning person, I was beyond delighted that the store opens at 7 AM during the week.

I took all my letter writing gear with me Wednesday morning, lingered over a latte, and basked in the environment as I wrote.

Right now, they don’t have WiFi available, which I see as a blessing, because it also means they don’t have the “campers” yet like every other coffee spot and bookstore in the area.  Hooray! It was such a peaceful experience, unlike the last few times I’ve tried to duck into a coffee shop or bookstore to get a little bit of writing done.

I know that sounds judgmental, but my experience is that when people become daily campers at a coffee shop, they seem to lose any sense of polite behavior. They spread out all their stuff and stay for hours and hours. They watch their videos without headsets and talk to their fellow campers across the way. They talk on their phones – loudly. They smoke outside the entrance despite the “no smoking” signs.

But I digress.

Bookstores have always been a happy place for me. And a bookstore that is minutes away (and even a bike-able distance) feels like a gift.

What I’m Writing

It was frankly a week of indulging in all of my bad writing habits: no morning writing, avoiding my desk, and writing in the living room.  I know these are bad habits, yet because so much of my writing time has been devoted to the copy-paste-format-edit process of converting classes to book formats, my office has felt stifling.

I did write a fresh piece for the work blog describing my Annual Review Process.  And does THIS count as writing?

What’s Happening with Work

This entire week has been focused on getting those courses that used to be delivered via email into book format. sexkitten_101215While on the surface it sounds easy, it hasn’t been simple. A thirty-day course morphs into a 90 page book and the year-long course is upwards of 450 pages.

Thank God for good (and honest) friends. Editing, I think, is harder than creating sometimes.

I’ve got, what I believe, is the “final” version for 30 Days to Clarity: Clearing Brain Clutter now. I’m going to begin soft sales next month through Gumroad for the eBook version….and a push to have it available on Amazon as a printed book by Christmas.

30 Days to Clarity: Clearing Soul Clutter is about 80% completed as a compiled book. The email courses actually ran 31 days + a Post Class Reminder instead of 30 Days and I’m editing it to a pure 30 days with any bonus material in the front.

Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar is in it’s second draft as a book.  I’m did a major editing on the order of the lessons and all the worksheets that accompany each lesson… It still needs three new lessons written, a shift to take all the assignments from the end of the lesson to being segregated with the worksheets, and then a final “fine-tooth-comb” edit.  Oh, and another round of formatting to ensure the Table of Contents only contains titles. I’ll also be creating a Workbook to accompany the book, but that will be about and then the fine-tooth-comb edit.

What I’m Reading

I haven’t been reading much this week. I abandoned my morning read so that I could edit.

I finished reading the Death of Santini .  It was beautifully written in a painful sort of way if that makes sense? Exquisite pain? Thoroughly enjoyed our book club discussion about it.

This weekend I read Catherine Coulter’s The End Game. It’s written with her new writing partner  JT Ellison. Fast paced, totally enjoyable, still one of my favorite authors when it comes to romance and thrills and intrigue.

On tap for this coming week are Blue: a Novel by Kayce Stevens Hughlett and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

What We’re Eating

In an attempt to up my protein and veggie intake and step away from the bread, I’m finding I’m eating lots of eggs breakfastscrambled together with veggies, drinking tomato or V8 juice, and wrapping lunch meat with lettuce leaves. Making a salad for lunch feels like too much work, so I made a small batch of Creamed Cauliflower Soup this week to have with my little lettuce wraps and that’s been pretty wonderful.

I’m finding I’m not missing the pasta or rices at dinner, though I am happily making a single batch to serve with JB’s portion of dinner. Again, salads are feeling like a lot of work to not make, but EAT. So I’ve been tossing veggies into the pan along with the chicken or sauteing spinach to go with fish.

Tonight, I’m making my first batch of chili of the season!

What’s I’m Shaking My Head At

I attended a “Going Away” party for one of JB’s co-workers this Friday.  We’ve traveled together and he’s one of the guys that I’ve gotten a chance to know and just LIKE him. So I wanted an opportunity to say Goodbye before he left.

I am so grateful for the ability to travel with JB and meet his co-workers. I like to get a sense of the folks he spends so many hours with on a daily basis. I was grateful to meet folks I hadn’t met before and reacquaint myself with folks I’ve met but haven’t seen in ages.  To put faces with names.

What I didn’t like, though, was “THAT Group of Women”.  Not a single one of the ladies smiled at me nor spoke to me, even when I smiled and said hello. They looked me over head-to-toe, whispered with each other, and one poor gal about had whiplash from all her subversive glances as me. I could feel the waves of hostility and dislike.

What is it about some women that they have to be….judgmental, unfriendly, and hostile towards other women? Especially in this situation when I am a co-worker’s significant other…and am in no competition for good assignments or for the attention of any co-workers?

What the hell is that about? And who wants to put that kind of energy into the world??

What I Am Obsessing Over

Fall Television. I am so happy that there is new fall television to enjoy. The best tongue-in-cheek new show I’ve watched is Scream Queens on Fox and the best new Intrigue is NBC’s “Blindspot”.

What’s Really Floating My Boat

Writing letters is still a beautiful experience. I can’t wait to GET a letter and read it several times before I write writingincafeback…and the writing process is intimate and thoughtful. Like a conversation over drinks.

Book club was just delightful. Great discussion, delicious snacks, perfect fall evening (we sat outside on the patio) and so much laughter. A small group of us stayed until after 10:30.

The weather. After the goodbye party, we stopped for dinner on the way home and at al fresco at Brio. What a treat it is to sit outside and enjoy a nice meal. Good food, perfect company and great people watching.

And you know how I feel about JB, but it was nice to hear some of my thoughts reflected back to me by one of his coworkers. He told me how BRILLIANT JB is…and, I agree 😉

This week, I am determined to finish Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar, write some fresh content for my book, and get a solid beginning of a draft for the book.

We also have tickets to a fancy dinner Friday night, so I’m looking forward to getting all dressed up

What’s on tap for your week? What light can you shed on the “haters”? What IS up with some women? What are you eating?


Weekly Roundup: Kitchen Duty Edition

I fell back in love with my kitchen this week. In the last few months, it had become simply a place to Get Things tub_racksDone. To launch JB into the day with coffee and breakfast and lunch. To efficiently manage my morning coffee and some sort of sustenance for lunch (most days). To pull together an evening meal that was nutritious and easy.

There was no lingering, no leaning in and the passion for foods I had when I purchased them at the grocery store waned by the time they were ready to become meals. It’s an internal tragedy to love and care about food yet no longer feel connected to my space to create with it.

I signed up for The Kitchn’s “Cure” series and in the midst of week two when the task to Clean the Oven came up, my apathy for my kitchen lifted from my heart as I soaked away the baked on crud from the oven racks.

Cleaning. Clearing Clutter. Getting Things In Order. These save me time and time again.

What I’m Writing

I had a great writing day on Monday and turned out this week’s work blog “Want to Shift? Read Differently. Act. Do the Work.

The rest of the writing this week was painfully slow with zero progress on the book in the way of new words, but it’s been a great week of editing, all work related.

What’s Happening with Work

ClearingBrainClutter_AdI finally finished the first version of the book version of 30 Days to Clarity: Clearing Brain Clutter. It’s in the hands of the current class participants and I sent it off to one long-time client and friend to give me an opinion. I got started on the process of creating the 30 Days to Clarity: Clearing Soul Clutter into book format as well.

I completed the first draft of taking Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar into a book and am kind of freaked out that it’s over 400 pages long and I still need to add in worksheets for about 1/3 of the exercises. The course, in the new format, goes on sale October 12th.

What I’m Reading

There was one more Cozy Mystery on my Kindle that was demanding my attention and it didn’t disappoint:  Fudging the Books by Daryl Woods Gerber. It’s the next Cookbook Nook mystery and as a fan of food, humor, personable characters and books, it’s a great respite for my brain.

I zoomed through Lessons from Madame Chic between Friday and Saturday evenings. It has been recommended to me ages ago and I’d put it on hold at the library. The core of the book speaks to me: choose to live a quality, well-lived daily life. But too much Frenchy Love for me.

For my morning read, I am slowly diving into Handling the Truth: on the Writing of Memoir. It’s doing exactly what I demand of a good morning read for me: it’s causing me to pause over the language and it’s forcing me to think. It’s pushing my boundaries in a lot of good ways.

I’m almost finished with  The Death of Santini. Though the first few chapters were a bit too graphic in their description of childhood beatings and the psychotic break of Conroy’s sister, the underlying theme of the book is important to all of us humans – family, forgiveness and love. I have to admit the chapter on his sister, Carol Ann, was painful to read for a lot of reasons…but I’ve parented a combative child who held in her core the need to shake things up and prove she was right at the sacrifice of any peace in home and it’s exhausting.   Bookclub is on Tuesday, so I’ll be finishing it this tonight or tomorrow.

gsw-audio-coverI finally read / listened to Go Set a Watchman. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite books and I wanted to read more from the brilliant Harper Lee. But all the controversy surrounding the publication of the book – did she agree to have it published or was she coerced? would it damage her legacy?  THEN the first reviews of people freaking out about Atticus being a Racist…frankly had me reluctant to pick it up, even though I had pre-ordered it months and months ago.

Though I had purchased the book, I put the recording of the book (done by Reese Witherspoon) on hold at the library and when it came my turn to have it, I couldn’t put it off any longer. So, I began listening as I ran errands – a snippet here, a snippet there.

One of the things I loved about Mockingbird carries through to Watchman: the language is beautifully, achingly, and brilliantly written. It’s Southern Literature. The core of the story is about the coming of age of a young woman who discovers her father isn’t perfect. As a child, she put him on a pedestal and as a young woman, she discovers her father is flawed. Many of his core characteristics are still there, but the fact that he sees the world differently than Jean Louise shatters her identity.

And the thing is…when we come of age, we must shatter that first identity, the one that mimics the belief of our parents. We must grow a conscious based on our own beliefs and experiences, not through emulating our parents or parroting their beliefs.

I do see where the book is flawed, like any book. I also looked at the book from the perspective of the writer when she was writing it. To expect the novel to be politically correct to 2015 is where I think too many folks got hung up on their view of the book.

It was written by a young, southern woman during the tumultuous civil rights era and she was trying to make sense of the world – her beliefs that all men are created equal and should be given the same opportunities as their fellow man no matter what their religious beliefs or skin color may be grew out of how she was raised and how she became her own Watchman to her morals instead of relying on her father to do so.

What We’re Eating

IMG_20150513_101914It’s been a fishy and veggie week here. Halibut and salmon as well as some Machong…all alongside the end of the summer veggies – corn, zucchini, tomatoes and such. Yesterday, I spend a solid hour in the kitchen cleaning and prepping salad greens and other veggies to prep for the week.

I also made a fresh batch of mayo this week.  It’s perfect as a base for sauces and dips and healthier than what I could buy at the store.

Veggie prep because, dear God, I do not eat enough veggies. I have them at dinner every night, but my lunches and breakfasts are barren in the veggie department.  When it comes to eating, my go-to-comfort food is a carb of some sort: crackers, toast, bread, sandwiches, chips or biscuits. All Hail the Perfect Buttermilk Biscuit. I don’t believe in demonizing any food group, but I think I need to give my body a break from all the heavy carbs to rest and reset a little.

So, I’m going to experiment with no grain related carbs for a couple of weeks and see if it helps me break my cravings. And, in all honesty, to see if cutting back on grains will help my dry skin as we edge into cooler months.

What I Am Obsessing Over

How the heck am I going to get all my courses to digital format and easily in the hands of people that want to buy them? Right now, all my courses are delivered manually and the free eBooks are delivered thanks to the magic of Mailchimp. However, I need to get out of the middle of these transactions, so that when someone clicks on PURCHASE, they get the item automatically.

I’m leaning towards Gumroad right now as the delivery vehicle for both Sex Kitten and all the 30 Days Courses, but my obsession is, of course, is it the right choice? One that is good for me and also good for clients.

But the learning curve is exhausting and I am obsessing over how to make it Work RIGHT.

What I’m Shaking My Head Over

I had registered for an in-person, six week fiction course that was to be held on Tuesday mornings. I rescheduled all my regular Tuesday Morning activities. As I’ve been telling a friend, I am longing to be with people doing their creative work. Not just virtually, but face to face. Then, late Monday night, I got an email cancelling the class due to not enough people signing up. There was a promise of rescheduling and a future discount,  but no news so far (and frankly, no refund yet).

I have to admit I am disappointed in not just the class being cancelled, but the lack of communication and customer service about it.  The teacher of the course is a multi-published, well respected local author that I know. I was looking forward to her professional view of the writing life….  But that her colleague managing the registrations has yet to respond to update me or refund the course fees has me shaking my head.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk about it, to be honest. I have a small collection of trusted editor friends and readers and opening myself up to strangers is super scary, but necessary for growth. That it didn’t happen made me frustrated and sad. Goodness that sounds dire and melodramatic 😉 .

What’s Really Floating My Boat

Is it crazy that despite a challenging week, my daily life is still floating my boat? Day in and day out, showing up and being present HERE in this experience is still what sets me on fire.

The letter writing is still fascinating me as well. I was so excited to get the next letter yesterday and can’t wait to sit and reply.

I have a busy week ahead: a doctor’s appointment in Cincinnati and several coaching calls this week as well as a Goodbye Party for one of JB’s co-workers on Friday. I also have one full, glorious day of no appointments which will be the designated Writing day.


Weekly Round-Up: Hints of Fall

On Saturday morning,  I reached for the sweatpants instead of my comfy knit shorts for my lounging wear. Though I’d prefer not to live in sweatpants, of course, it was just another sign that fall is indeed on the way. After spending septembersunsetmost of my years in Texas, where the seasons are either “brown” or “green”, I embrace everything fall offers here in the Midwest, especially the opportunity to spend all day on the deck and open the windows!

Somehow, we sleep better with fresh air flowing through the windows than we do with air conditioning or heat.

What I’m Writing

I’ve continued with my 750 Words practice and have discovered when I type in the stream-of-consciousness way, I can write those 750 words in about 12 minutes. Otherwise…goodness, it’s been another challenging week when it comes to words on paper. ‘Nuff Said 😉

What’s Happening with Work

A short work week for me, as JB was off on Monday and Tuesday. I coached on Wednesday and Thursday. Edited Are Your Desires Always Last On The List? which I had written two weeks ago and as most blog posts do when I let them sit for more than a day, it morphed a bit. The newsletter was completed on Friday early in the day and I called it a WEEK.

What I’m Reading

I finally finished An Altar in the World . It was a good choice for a spiritual morning read…but to be honest, I liked the first half of the book better than the last.  The beginning of the book was deeply spiritual and I was able to really connect, however, the end became a bit more preachy, which doesn’t work for me in the same way. I like uplifting, loving, and connecting when it comes to my spirituality and in many ways I was on the same page with Taylor, especially that the entire world around us is ripe for sacred connection. But show me and tell me stories….

I indulged in lots of cozy mysteries again this week. It wasn’t on my plan, yet when the library loads me up, who am I to say “NO”? 😉

I read the most recent Juliet Blackwell  Lily Ivory book, Spellcasting in Silk. Strong women, great cast of supporting characters, a lovable familiar and lots of info on Vintage Clothes.

I really love Ellery Adams newest series: “Book Retreat Mysteries” series. Book two, Murder in the Paperback Parlor was a delicious follow up to the first book. Likable and humorous cast of folks and a relatable heroine, Jane Steward. That the series is about all things books doesn’t hurt my enjoyment, either.

I began reading the Death of Santini  finally. It’s a little slow going as the violence sends me back to Cozy Reads. Book club is on the 22nd, so I need to get cracking this week!

I haven’t settled on my next morning read, and that has shifted my morning routines and not necessarily in a good septemberbananapancakesway. I need to address that this week.

What We’re Eating

It’s been a good food week overall.  JB asked me Saturday if I could please make pancakes, something I haven’t done in over a year, so I said YES and proceeded to make the most perfect weekend breakfast ever. I made banana pancakes with a rough take on a recipe from Clinton Street Bakery. I alter it, though, by replacing half the flour with a whole wheat pastry flour. I usually like to make it with buttermilk instead of regular milk, but I didn’t have any. So, it was a down and dirty and messy project that was well worth it.

Of course, I made too many, but did you know you can freeze pancakes? Yep, just wrap ’em in waxed paper and put in a freezer bag. Then, warm ’em up by placing them in the oven (or even the toaster if you haven’t put any fruit in them). I made banana pancakes, which will be amazing with peanut butter on those leftovers.

Breakfast today was scrambled eggs, toast, and sliced of beautiful Amish tomatoes.

septemberdinnerOtherwise, this was a heavy fish week when it comes to dinner. The Alaskan fishing season is drawing to a close which means no more wild fresh fish, so we are indulging. Salmon alongside little filled pastas, Salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes.

Saturday night’s dinner was a pure homage to the end of summer: wild halibut served with a 5 grain mix and all the summer veggies: two kinds of onions, bell peppers, an ear of corn, a yellow zucchini and a healthy handful of spinach.

I’m beginning to long for more complex meals. The process of chopping veggies is like active meditation for me and nothing beats the act of taking raw ingredients and creating something from them that nourishes us physically and spiritually.

In an email conversation with a dear friend this week about food, I realized that cooking was the first place I reclaimed my creativity after my divorce.

What’s I’m Shaking My Head At

I’m so grateful that I don’t have to deal with Office Drama and Office Politics. JB was only in the office for three days this week thanks to the holiday, but there was Drama every day. While I love hearing the stories because they make such great fodder for fictional tales, I hate that he has to witness unprofessional behaviors and adults acting like middle schoolers.

He’s like me in that he doesn’t like conflict, so I feel bad that he’s having to work in that environment. Occasionally gets dragged in for an “opinion” to the situation, and while I know he can provide wise counsel, no one wants to be a part of the drama….except those folks that love it, of course.

What’s Really Floating My Boat

I started lifting weights again this week.

I had forgotten how much I love approaching my body with focus and reverence as I lift. Back in another life, I got up at 4 AM so that I could be at the gym before work and worked with a really wonderful trainer. I just hadn’t found anyone here that I liked to work out with.  So, I dug into the Lift to Get Lean book by Holly Perkins and chose one of her plans (the Newbie Plan), which is to lift two days a week with a plan for 90 days.

Thanks to years of working with a really excellent trainer, I understand the basics of lifting which allowed me to choose some substitutes for exercises that required a gym.   I may not be a newbie when it comes to weight lifting, september_pancakemessbut it’s been many years since I have lifted regularly!

To keep me on track, I’ve scheduled my workout sessions in the calendar already. Yep, appointments just like a call with a client or any other important thing.

Of course, life in general is floating my boat. Yes, I am frustrated when it comes to my writing and feeling a tad stressed out about my 4th Quarter deadlines for work.

But life is so sweet.  Messy, yes, but life is supposed to be messy. (Like this glorious after-pancake view of the kitchen)

Each day, I get to wake up next to a man that I don’t just love, but like and respect. And I’ve never had this level of support in my life. Not as a child, not in my first marriage….

I love the little things about our life, like matching shirts and ties to his suits so he has an easier morning. I like sitting on the deck watching the golfers as they search for lost balls. I’m glad I don’t have to hustle to be loved or seek some imaginary success based on the terms of others.

This is it. and IT is perfect in all it’s imperfections.

Hope you have a great week.


Weekly Round Up: Labor Day Edition

I’m not going to lie: this week has been all about The Chair.

readingin_thechairI selfishly have wanted a chair in the little corner in the bedroom for the last four years. JB tends to sleep later than me most Sundays and instead of laying in bed and having those Alice in Wonderland dreams or going downstairs to the office, I wanted a place to sit and read and journal without having to go “out” into the rest of the house.

I know, I know…but going to other parts of the house means getting dressed or being too far away to miss a morning snuggle and pillow talk.

And to be honest, on the nights when he is out of town, I really like being ensconced in the bedroom as I read before bed…we have a mostly glass front door and no blinds in the living room…and the bedroom feels safer and cozier.

We’ve looked on and off and finally got serious about it, so I purchased a chair last week and it arrived MONDAY.

I took JB to the airport on Tuesday morning for a quick trip to Philly, and have spent time in the chair reading, writing, journaling,dreaming  and even napping. It tis perfection.

After coming home Thursday evening, JB felt pretty awful most of Friday and a big chunk of Saturday. He was in bed Friday night around 7 PM and we slept until well after 9 AM, then he napped for a couple of hours. He’s finally feeling like himself today.

What I’m Writing

It’s been a challenging week in terms of writing. ALL My Buttons Are Being Pushed by this book. And, since I wasn’t able to travel with JB to Philly, I spent more time reading than writing this week.

I edited the blog post later in the week than I had planned, wrote the newsletter, and then did a small round of editing on the Brain Clutter portion of the book. Beyond the blog post I wrote here, I got nothing else “new” written.

To say I am frustrated – with myself  and my writing – would be an understatement.

What’s Happening with Work

Though I don’t count it as “writing-writing” I did a long spell of editing on the Clearing Brain Clutter course-to-eBook project. I have a healthy rough draft of the book and will make final edits this week.

The highlight of the week, work wise, was a brown bag lunch with a group of local, self-employed women coaches. To sit down with ladies who Get What I Do. There were six of us there and we’re going to shoot for getting together once a month.

This coming week the busiest week of the month coaching wise.

What I’m Reading

I’m still have one chapter of An Altar in the World to finish. I haven’t settled on my next morning read, so am lingering over my highlights in this book….and saving that last chapter.

I did finish listening to Learning to Walk in the Dark this week. I loved her lyrical voice, but I am still a visual person and will be re-reading the book sometime in the future.  It isn’t my next “morning read” because the material is still fresh in my mind, but I won’t forget about it.   I took great comfort in the epilogue when she said in the epilogue: “Someday I would like to know what  a book is about before writing it, but so far that has not happened.” That statement is a good reminder to me that even if we know what a book we are writing is about, it will still take a life of it’s own and that’s ok.

With John traveling, I didn’t want to read anything too scary or taxing or stressful, so I read two cozy mysteries this week. Yes, it’s like reading a grown-up Trixie Belden book, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I finished Butter Off Dead by Leslie Budewitz which was enjoyable. Most delightful, though, was The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss, by Krista Davis. I love the realness of the main character, Sophie, her collection of friends, and the location: Alexandria, VA. Both of the books are Food Related mysteries, and as a both a lover of food and a writer that sometimes writes about food, I like seeing how they work the food into the story.

I finally finished Nemesis by Catherine Coulter yesterday. This is her 18th FBI book, so the characters are like old reading_booksfriends. I started the book earlier in the year, but then got distracted by work and had to return it to the library before I finished it. Perfect ending to the book for characters I’ve loved for years.

Next up for this long weekend: The Last Word by Michael Koryta. I’ve interviewed Michael twice and he’s really a wonderful person as well as a talented writer. The first book of his I read, So Cold the River, has me sleeping with the lights on in my hotel room 😉

I didn’t start the September book for our book club last week like I planned, but it’s on my Kindle just waiting… The book is Death of Santini by Pat Conroy and to be honest, I didn’t feel like diving into the messiness of Conroy’s family this week.

What We’re Eating

With JB traveling this week, and then not feeling well most of the weekend, eating has been fairly uninspired and lots of cook once, eat several times. The day I dropped him off at the airport, I went to my favorite grocery store, Dorothy Lane Market, and let the butcher cook for me: a beautiful sirloin and one ground sirloin patty. I also picked up some rotisserie chicken, too. Then, a quick visit to the deli for corn salad and some salmon patties meant lots of quick and easy, but still yummy and nutritious meals. Then,, I rounded out my shopping for the week with whole wheat buns, spinach and local Amish tomatoes.

A juicy burger with homemade mayo and a thick slice of organic sharp cheese for dinner one night; steak and corn salad for breakfast, and a couple of meals pulled together with the already cooked chicken.  Meals for one can be a challenge, or they can be easy. I chose easy this week.

When JB came home, we had salmon burgers (those deli salmon patties on wheat buns) along with fresh spinach salads. Then, on the nights he wasn’t feeling well and only wanted some soup, I took the rest of the chicken and threw it in a pan…and sauteed it in olive oil along with onion, an ear of corn, and half a can of beans (tri-blend – black, red and white) and lots of spices.

The first night JB felt like eating real food, I prepared another standby: a chicken breast sauteed in olive oil and spices,simmered in some chicken stock and then topped with a container of baby spinach. I served that long with my favorite quick cooking Italian 5 Grain blend cooked in more chicken stock.

It’s still too hot to really dive into the kitchen and I realize that I am more inclined to make hearty sauces, experiment with new recipes, and create lavish meals when the fall and winter weather arrives. All the heat and the abundance of local produce has me leaning more towards those rawer meals with quick proteins and raw veggies.

No more Bacon Sandwiches from Arby’s, though 😉

What I Am Obsessing Over

I’m finally wrapping up my final bulb orders for fall plantings, which means I’ve been obsessing over my White Farm yellow tulipsand Jackson & Perkins catalogs this week while looking at photos from the spring. A couple of weeks ago I ordered some tulips from J&P for a front flower bed in a spot that hasn’t had bulbs of any sort….and a few more to fill in empty spots in the front.

Today I made my final order from White Flower to round out my needs for daffodils and some very select tulips. Last year, the bed in the back was all yellow and white, thanks to the squirrels or chipmunks preferring red and purple bulbs for winter snacking….so I added some orange and purple tulips for the back beds…along with some shorter-growing yellow-orange tulips for the fronts of the beds. My daffodils are to fill in spots where the chipmunks have been snacking this summer.

I’m also obsessing over what to do with the daylillies. They need “dividing” this year and I sure am not in the mood to do it, but now is the time since we should have at least 6 weeks before the first frost. They are just too “thick” and are suffering.

What’s Really Floating My Boat

I’ve had a fair number of “animal encounters” this week: dragonflies, a turkey vulture, the butterfly, bees, and a little frog. Time to dig into my favorite Animal Totems website and do some research.

I know I previously mentioned letter writing, but I can’t tell you how nourishing this conscious exploration into my creative life and the creative life of a dear friend has been. It’s also been an incredibly fascinating way to look at how we communicate, our need for INSTANT answers, and what happens when we have to wait for the “next chapter”. To wait for answers to my questions that we could, instead, email or chat about on the phone…yet I know that this pace is forcing my focus and training me in ways I hadn’t expected. After writing a letter Friday evening, I was energized to work on another writing project for the first time all week…

I hope you’re having a gorgeous Sunday. JB is off work until Tuesday so I’ll be a little absent around the web til Wednesday.  Happy Labor Day

Because Life is Messy

The sunflower field came into bloom this week. A mere six days ago, the field was nothing but green. We obsessively greensunflowerfieldwatch it as the earth begins to make her shift from summer to fall and on Monday morning, JB sent me a text to tell me it was beginning to bloom.

Sure enough, as I drove by this morning on my way to Office Depot for paper, the field was ablaze with yellow and gold beauties. I promised myself that I would stop on my way home.

And I kept that promise.

I pulled in behind a silver minivan and she stood on the edges of the field trying to capture the colors. As I walked closer to the flowers, she smiled at me.”The ground is soft,” she cautioned.

We had a heavy rain yesterday afternoon and not enough sun yet today to dry the earth.

I am not dressed to explore today, so I carefully walked along the edges  of the field. Then I gingerly squat to get on eye level with the giant golden beauties and begin to frame the glorious field with the magic camera in my phone. I don’t consider myself a good photographer, yet I know that capturing images of my ordinary life helps me seize the present moment as it forces me to slow down and breathe.

The field is luminous and overflowing with life. A feast for my eyes and a nourishing feast for the bug world. I see bees, flies, ladybugs and grasshoppers exploring. I am regretting not having my regular camera, but I keep snapping safe_sunflower_anglephotos to share on Instagram and in the newsletter.

Then I see a butterfly making her way among the flowers. She settles on a giant bloom and treats herself to a banquet of pollen. I want to capture her, but I’m too far away.

I tiptoe between the rows, watching my feet.

When I look up, she is gone.

In focusing on being careful, I have lost her.

Not only have I lost her, but I discover that the ground isn’t just soft, it’s muddy. I’m not dressed for exploring and my black sandaled feet have sunken into the soupy clay.

I sigh in frustration.

The woman in the silver minivan leaves and a black jeep pulls in.

I snap a few more photos now that I’m deeper into the field. And then I see her again.

This time, I keep my eye on her and ignore the glop suck pull process of moving through the thick clay. She moves again, teasing me to continue following her.

I do.

Even after the earth becomes greedy and sucks one sandal off my foot.

It was then that she stopped and began fanning her wings for me. I hold my breath as I snap snap snap away, knowing that in order to get one good photo, I may need to take dozens. So, I do.

And then it’s time for my monarch friend to continue on her journey.

muddymessyAnd time for me to come back to the real world. I have writing to do, more errands to run and coaching calls to prep for.  I recover the lost sandal and make my way to the edge of the field towards firmer ground, yet my feet become mired again. I realize  only way I’m going to make it back to the car is remove and then carry my mud caked shoes.

As I stand beside the car in my bare grubby feet, I wonder how I’m going to make it home this way.

The woman in the jeep eyes me, shakes her head and drives away.

I am forty-seven years old and haven’t played in the mud since I was twelve.  Yet, as a child, sinking my feet into the earth was a gratifying experience. What has compelled me to try to stay so clean all these years?

I laugh and breathe in this moment. My inner child is curious and delightful. And messy. And that’s okay.

I dump my purchases onto the backseat and slip the filthy shoes into the Office Depot bag.  I find a few napkins in the console and wipe the bulk of the mud off my bare toes. Then I drive home, drag out the hose to rinse everything off and go into the house.

I am grateful there are a pair of slippers in the laundry room, just inside the door.

I love things to be nice and neat, but at it’s core, life is messy. It’s supposed to be gloriously flawed, yet I spent most of my years hoping that if everything was perfect, I wouldn’t feel sad or unloved or unworthy.

monarchbutterflyPerfection, though, meant I didn’t feel quite alive, though.

In order to live, we have to be present and allow for the muck. We have to keep our eyes on the butterflies of living, because staring down at the narrow path we’re trying to watch sucks all the joy out of us.

We miss the beauty of life when we’re trying too hard to make it perfectly beautiful. We will always miss those moments that take our breath away if we’re only looking at our feet.

We worry about what the strangers are going to think of us, so we don’t step as boldly into our lives as our soul is begging us to do.

A good reminder on a week that has frankly been challenging on the creative front. I’ve been so afraid of things not coming out perfectly that I’ve been doing everything I can to avoid the work.Afraid to step in, afraid to get messy.

But my inner creative force – that creative child – understood that life is supposed to be experienced with all our senses and therefore will be messy.

Because the results of that mess are worth it.

What about you? Do you stare at your feet and miss the sheer beauty in your life? How can we all listen to that inner child of ours?

The Weekly Round-Up: Cincinnati Edition

Through all the stuff in a typical week, this one began and ended in Cincinnati.

We officially live in the Dayton area; the TV stations are from Dayton as are most of the radio stations.But Cincinnati cinci_nightis just a hop skip and jump away. It’s funny, but when I lived in the Dallas area, a trip from my home in Arlington to the Galleria or North Park mall would take me around an hour, yet here in the Midwest, I am in Cincinnati in forty minutes.

Which is a whole ‘nother another broadcast area.

On Tuesday, I drove over to the Kenwood area so that I could go to the big Macy’s Furniture Gallery in search of a chair for the bedroom. And, to go to Nordstrom’s for the previously mentioned serviceable nude bra.

We ended the weekend in Downtown Cincinnati. We visited downtown the first year we were here and beyond a solo trip to Sak’s to check out their lingerie sale the winter before last, we haven’t been back. We were gifted tickets to the Bengals vs. Chicago Bears game and, instead of worrying with parking and the leaving crowds, I booked us a room at the Hilton downtown.

We headed down in the early afternoon, checked in and wandered around Fountain Square for a late lunch. We had a little bit of time to kill, so we headed back to the hotel to check out the beautiful architecture. All those Art Deco details were just a delight. Those old historic buildings have a palpable soul. We also got to see more than one Bride 😉

bengalsThen, it was time to head to Paul Brown Stadium and be a part of the action. I have a lot of observations about the experience, but those can wait as I’m planning to share them in the newsletter this week.

It was a good decision. We were  able to safely park the car and instead of fighting traffic at 11 PM, we just walked a few blocks to the game and back to our room for a night. The rooms are TINY and quaint, but comfortable…typical of hotels built in the 1930’s. I wonder if Elvis, Bing Crosby or Winston Churchill were given similar rooms or suites…

We ended our time at brunch in their Palm Court; a lavish spread, impeccable service, and a soft jazz pianist.

What I’m Writing

I didn’t write anything fresh for the work blog this week, but instead did major edits. I wrote two blog posts last week and by the time I got through editing one of them, I realized it needed to be split into two. Thanks to feeling passionate about the subject (busyness) and the word count going near 2,000…much too long for a work blog post…I found a good breaking point and published the first one this week.

When I edit now, I am finding that I am editing more heavily. There’s more magic that seems to happen when I step away from something for while and then come back to it. What you see here in this blog, my personal blog, is the more write and done approach, without a lot of editing, so at times it feels more raw and certainly isn’t as politically correct.

The piece I wrote about lingerie is a piece of the memoir. Unedited, of course. Not quite polished, but it’s the direction I am going with the first draft.

What’s Happening with Work

I love coaching and this was a good week to be with clients. As time progresses towards 2016, I am going to be even more diligent in segregating coaching days and writing days as it’s harder for me to switch gears back to writing after I’ve coached.

My weekly newsletter goes out on Saturday mornings and, in the past, I was often doing it late on Fridays or sometimes even up early Saturday mornings because I was just too tired to do it. This week, I had it finished on Wednesday and happily in queue waiting for Mailchimp to magically send it along to subscribers.

I have become dedicated to work harder at doing work AHEAD of time instead of waiting until the deadline of that Saturday morning newsletter. It’s a real shift for me. It feels good, it feels right. But, of course I worry that something is going to happen that makes the newsletter not feel authentic enough, because that is where I share what I’m learning – in the midst of learning at least.

One of the changes I am going to be making in 2016 is to go to doing the newsletter every other week.

It feels good yet scary, too. I’m planning on still doing 2 blog posts and have to make the decision on how the blog is laying out. I had tried to not do a link to read because I personally hate to click, but would readers prefer that?

What I’m Reading

I’m still reading An Altar in the World, each morning. It’s drawing to a close and am contemplating what to pick up next.

I am also reading – well, listening to -Taylor’s next book Learning to Walk in the Dark. I have the physical book on my desk, but had also borrowed the CD’s from the library. I love listening to books on tape when I am driving, so began listening as I drove to Cincinnati earlier in the week – and have been listening to snatches here and there as I run errands.  I am putting little post-it notes in the book as something she say strikes me that I need to re-read.

I returned Jane Green’s latest, Summer Secrets, to the library this week. Unfinished. I gave it a good try, but I just didn’t love the main character, which kept me from the innate curiosity of what had happened to this young alcoholic woman?

Alert by James Patterson certainly held my attention. I love the Michael Bennett Character that Patterson created and he feels more real, more fallible than Alex Cross.  Of course, the Cross books are the only series Patterson still writes 100% without working with a co-writer.

The September book for our book club is the Death of Santini by Pat Conroy and I will be reading that book this week.

What We’re Eating

This week seems to be about two things: Bacon and Salmon.

I am obsessed with Bacon this week. I dreamed about perfect bacon sandwiches on thick wheat bread topped with fresh tomatoes and a big dollop of mayo. Though I’m not much of a fan of fast food nor of eating in the car, after shopping on Tuesday, I just didn’t have the energy to face a restaurant full of people, so I got a BLT at Arby’s. I’ve never been a fan of Arby’s, but I guess the lull of James Earl Jones’s voice touting the deliciousness of their harvest_pier1sandwiches enticed me into giving them another try. And I am glad I did.

Of course, while confessing my bacon sins I should mention the food I NEVER eat being consumed this weekend – like drinking beer and eating brats slathered in mustard. But, isn’t that what you’re supposed to have at a Football Stadium? 😉

Salmon has been a prevalent meal choice this week. Salmon with veggies and then salmon on top of salads. I purchased some new dishes at Pier One – just two actually – large pumpkin bowls for pasta or salads.

Aren’t they lovely? I have Christmas dishes and have been lusting after all the fall themed dishes for years.

I’ve also gone back to one of my tried-and-true fall backs: protein shakes. Putting more dedicated time in the office to the books means I just forget to eat until I’m starving or just not hungry yet I know my body is needing food.

I tried a few vegetarian proteins – they are pea proteins – but they were just too gritty for me. I’m back to using a whey protein powder. Yesterday’s was the best – a cup of frozen blueberries, a fresh peach, vanilla almond milk and the protein powder. Healthier than my BLT but just as satisfying.

What’s I’m Shaking My Head At

I’ve begun to wonder if people were always vicious and violent and inhuman or if we just hear about it immediately now. From the shooting of the reporter and her camera man during a live broadcast to the story of Derrick Rose and his alleged misdeeds.

I used to work in Network news. Back when CNN was just beginning but we hadn’t yet slipped into our 24-hour News Cycle. I can remember coming home from work in those days and wanting just silence as I was “news-ed out” from my day watching Network feeds. I want to be informed about the world, but I don’t want to lose myself in the process.

What I Am Obsessing Over

I came to the conclusion last weekend that I needed to either do a writing workshop, a writing group, a writing residency or a mix of them.   I am in discussions with a few ladies I adore and trust about a writing group. And I have my eye on a writing workshop/retreat that I’m really wanting to be a part of.

What’s Really Floating My Boat

After searching for ages and ages, I finally purchased a reading chair for the bedroom. It’s always been a dream of booksellers_austinlandingmine, to have a cozy spot to curl up and read or write. I’ve experimented with how it would feel by dragging one of the chairs from the living room in there when JB has traveled. The Chosen Chair arrives tomorrow.

An independent bookstore is coming to our area soon. We visited their store in downtown Cincinnati this weekend and I’m more excited than I was before. I love the ease of Amazon and the coziness of Barnes & Noble, but this place will have coffee and be within biking distance of home.

I went to lunch with a friend & colleague this week. I have become a bit of a recluse since moving here to Dayton and forcing myself to be out of the house – and not just for errands but to interact with others – is good for me. I am a true extrovert, but the older I get, the more I value my solitude for creation. The thing is, there’s a fine line between solitude and hermitage….and, for my own well to be fed, I need to remember that sometimes, I just need people.

Can you believe we’re almost at the end of August?

We’ve one more week to go until the Labor Day weekend brings an official end – in my mind – to summer. This week is full of extracurricular activities for me, so I’ll just say…Happy Sunday and Happy first week of September!

The Healing Power of Lingerie

I have a deep fondness for beautiful lingerie. From the time I was a little girl, I found pleasure in just seeing silky carole-landis-negligee-and-peignoirslips, lacy bras and charming nightgowns.

My mother purchased flannel pajamas for the winter and knit gowns for the summer, but I always longed for the lacy and sleek gowns with matching robes. She’d tell me that those things weren’t practical, nor, were they comfortable. Lace itches and satin just doesn’t wear well, she would tell me.

Instead, I got every lacy or satiny outfit I could find for my Barbie.

I was twelve when my sister got married. Of course, there was wedding dresses and fancy dresses for showers and luncheons to be purchased. They also created a elaborate lingerie trousseau with silk nightgowns and lace nightgowns with matching delicate gossamer robes. Each lingerie set was paired with complimentary slippers.

I can still see the ivory negligee and peignoir Set: long silky gown with copper colored ribbons, chiffon ivory robe, and delicate copper-colored strappy slippers with kitten heels.

I couldn’t wait to get married one day so that I could finally  have beautiful and sexy lingerie!

I won’t dive into the details of how my bridal experience was in no way similar to my sister’s first wedding, but suffice to say there was no creation of a lingerie trousseau beyond a few things I received from a shower my coworkers threw for me….

Sexy nightgowns aside, I can’t talk about lingerie, though, without a frank conversation around bras.

Bra shopping was always a nightmare for me. By the time I was in the sixth grade, I was a healthy B cup and playtexbraswas a D cup by the time I began high school. Sangar Harris was the go-to place for bras in those days and I made do. When it became obvious I had a bit of a problem getting fit, I was taken to a shop downtown that did custom order bras.

My problem was a small rib-cage and large natural breasts; I was sized at a 28H.

I was excited for the experience of having a custom fit bra, until it arrived. This bra wasn’t lovely in any way. Talk about serviceable, it looked like a Playtex Cross Your Heart Bra from the 50’s.

Yes, the bra fit perfectly, but what young woman desires to wear a bra that looks like it should belong to her grandmother.

I began to believe that my life would always be about practicality. Sturdy bras and cotton panties. Serviceable nightgowns and flannel pajamas.

I‘d been married a year before I finally purchased a truly beautiful piece of lingerie. It was a white lace haltered gown with a pink satin underlay embroidered with tiny flowers. Of course, it had the coveted matching robe.

My husband thought it was a waste of money.

Discouraged, I window shopped in the lingerie departments of Foley’s and Dillard’s, but rarely purchased anything beyond packages of Hanes panties purchased at Walmart paired with dependable nude bras.

There was this one time that I was in Neiman Marcus and couldn’t resist an ice blue silk chemise with ivory lace trim. It was on clearance for $25, a bargain to feed my now secret obsession with beautiful lingerie. Of course, it hung in my closet…only worn when I was home alone.

Over time, I’d add some prettier bras into my wardrobe, but I didn’t own a bra that was exquisite until after my divorce.

I finally discovered the world of European bras, designed for larger breasted women with practicality and beauty both in mind.

To be honest, I went a little wild with lingerie after the divorce. Stunning bras in black lace with marvelous matching panties. A tantalizing white satin corset. A lush red velvet halter dress. And stockings. I found a love for provocative thigh high stockings with wide lace cuffs.

I had begun to make the connection that wearing delicious lingerie made me feel powerful. I felt pretty when I was wearing a beautiful bra and sexy when I wore stockings instead of pantyhose.

Sure, I loved enticing the men I was dating by wearing inviting lingerie. But I began to understand that I was choosing the lingerie not to turn them on. I was choosing lingerie that made me feel turned on to my mere existence.

Part of growing and healing all of our childhood wounds can be found in our ability to find our way around not just the big things, but the small little stories that pile upon each other and slowly shift how we come jacqueline by fantasieto see ourselves.

We get pigeonholed by folks; My sister was the pretty one and I was the smart one. And smart girls don’t look sexy and they sure don’t dress to entice. She got the pretty lingerie and the colorful bras and I got what was serviceable. As the smart girl, of course, my logic told me that because I was never as pretty as my sister, I didn’t deserve pretty things.

That theory, of course, was confirmed when I did finally treat myself to the kind of beautiful lingerie I had always dreamed about as a little girl, and was summarily was rejected by my husband when I wore it.

Merge that with my growing hate for my body and frustrations with the clothing industry. Any bra size above a DD cup is looked upon as freakish.

It’s hard to love yourself when you don’t love your body. Large breasts, while desirable in media, aren’t really desired in real life. I should be ashamed of my curves and my cleavage.

As a part of changing the ending of all those stories I told myself about being not pretty enough, undesirable, unwanted, or never sexy enough, I began shifting the dialogue one luxuriously beautiful bra at at time.

It wasn’t done in a conscious way, but I had stumbled upon the way to heal myself.

I think we humans are wired to heal our own wounds so that we can move forward as we age.

Who would have ever believed that the mere act of claiming my own desire to dress in beautiful and sexy things could help heal how I felt about myself and who I am in the world?

Two years ago, I set out to consciously change my dialogue around what I desired. I made the decision that it was time to have a full wardrobe of foundational garments, so I purchased eight bras and at least two pairs of panties for each of them.

Each bra was beautiful – red lace, pink and ivory lace, purple lace, and, of course, several black lace bras. The panties sussannahbyfantasiewere exquisite. Each bra was low cut and nothing my grandmother would choose.

I also began to make peace with my body and my size. Any sales person that tried to talk me into something more practical – or worse yet suggested I look at minimizer bras to make me look more “normal” was walked away from.

It takes a lot of courage to stand naked in a dressing room and walk away from “the expert” who is trying to get you to conform to a societal standard.

Most of the bras I purchased were lace bras with side supports created by the British Brand Fantasie. They were a 38G.

After the bras came nightgowns. Though I rarely sleep clothed, I still wanted satiny gowns and matching robes for lounging before bed and on weekend mornings.

All these years later, I’ve come full circle.

I went bra shopping on Tuesday with the sole purpose of leaving Nordstrom’s with a light colored TShirt bra. Thank goodness one of my favorite bra fitters was working, because it makes the process of looking for something specific so much less stressful.

After some trial and error, I left with a basic almost boring nude bra with a tiny nude and black polka dot bow.  It was a 36GG and by Elomi, Fantasie’s sister company.

Yes, it was a serviceable bra my mother would have chosen for me, however, I was happy about it for two reasons. One, I wasn’t dousing my desire for beautiful lingerie to wear next to my skin as I had a full wardrobe of gorgeous bras at home. Two, sometimes you just need something basic and practical.

It brought my bra count to 10 bras that fit me. There’s the Panache workout bra in a 34H. The new nude 36GG. A couple of older 36G’s. And the lovely lacy selections of 38Gs.

Though I still may have some work to do when it comes to how I feel about my body, I’ve come to understand that my yearnings for those delectable negligees and lacy underthings wasn’t weird or crazy. It was simply a piece of my inner landscape pulling me towards what I needed to feel at home in this place that holds my soul.

If you have a deep longing for something, it may be your soul’s way of calling you home. To You.

Photos: Old Hollywood from Archives, Vintage Playtex Ad, and Beautiful looks from Fantasie’s Fall 2015 line.

The Weekly Round-Up

It’s been an intense week here for a lot of reasons. Don’t get me wrong and think that I’m complaining or calling it “bad”, it was a week full of multiple balls in the air for each of us. JB traveled back home on Saturday and it feels as if Coffee in The Netherlands, October 2014we barely had a weekend before it was full speed ahead into the week.

There was a management shift at his office recently, which has led to more meetings than normal and the new guy’s attitude that he must “fix everything – even if it isn’t broken”. That meant a mentally tired and sometimes frustrated JB at the end of the day and more than once, we were in bed before 8:30 rolled around.

As for my world, I blocked off writing and editing time almost every day last week. And not just “writing time” but appointments on my calendar for two hours on this project or two hours on that project. I made significant progress on each of my projects, but to be honest, I have created some mighty big deadlines for myself. Those deadlines have me feeling a little on edge and a little afraid and a lot empowered.

My What I’m Writing

I just wrapped a three-week series based on my personal history of keeping a journal: why keeping a journal is good, how I recovered from the betrayal of having my teenage journals not only read, but destroyed, and how to take care of yourself when you create new truths about yourself.  Though all of those pieces were written earlier in the month, I did a fairly heavy edit on this week’s piece, 10 Tips to Hasten Post Fire Recovery to the point that in some places, it felt as if I was writing it fresh again.

I got four drafts written this week. Two drafts for future articles for  YourTango, which I owe edits to my editor tomorrow.  One piece is about marriage and the other piece is about parenting a child with mental illness. The other  pieces – one about Being Busy (SO Busy) and another about being true to your own soul – are for my work blog.

I dusted off the outline for my memoir this week and begin laying out the structure of that book in Scrivener. I also create a draft of part of the forward.

I set a publication deadline for my other Work in Progress that’s a bit on the aggressive side, but logically makes a hell of a lot of sense. I spent most of my time organizing this, again in Scrivener. This project needs significant attention in the coming week.

What’s Happening with Work

One of the decisions I made in regards to my business in 2016 is to restructure how I offer my current courses.

ClearingBrainClutter_AdI am converting Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar to a fully downloadable, do-it-yourself course available beginning October 12, 2015, which means I need to get to editing, don’t I? Previously, I offered the material delivered via a weekly email.  Right now, I have all of the course material in Word just waiting to be combined and edited into one giant document.

Most of the courses in the 30 Days to Clarity family are also being moved from the email format to a downloadable workbook that can be purchased at any time. I committed to delivering the first version to current participants of the Fall courses as a bonus, so the first deadline is the Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart’s Desires to be delivered on September 8th. I have a rough version of the book completed and now it needs to be edited.

What I’m Reading

I’m still reading An Altar in the World, mostly in the mornings, though on occasion, I’ll read a bit from it before bed.  I go for a tiny dose each day, until I’m “full up”.

Fiction wise, I’m finishing NYPD Red 3. Taking the Master Class with James Patterson has shown me a whole ‘nother side of taking ideas and getting them in a publishable format, so to read what comes from that process always fascinates. Besides, Patterson and the writers he works with (Marshall Karp on this one) shows me how collaboration can be successful and a way to develop characters that are real.

This week, I skimmed Delicious!  I read it in June but refreshed my memory a bit before my book club meeting on Tuesday.

And last night, I finished reading A Vision in Velvet, pure cozy mind candy with lovable characters and little doses of humor. I enjoy Juliet Blackwell and am looking forward to her first “non-cozy” book coming in September, The Paris Key, which I’ve already pre-ordered.

What We’re Eating

I’m “off” cooking anything new, elaborate, or super involved right now, yet I’m desperately missing creating in the IMG_20150616_194211kitchen.  One of the simple facts of living is that I can’t do everything even when I want to, so I have to be honest with myself and admit that just to much of my creative energy being spent in the office that I just don’t have IT when dinnertime rolls around.

What that means is we’re having old standby meals that I ensure are healthy by choosing quality ingredients. Typical dinners this week have been oven roasted Wild Salmon or Wild Halibut served with grains and spinach, Dorothy Lane Market Salmon Patties on whole wheat buns with oven fries, or chicken sauteed in a pot with veggies – corn, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, spinach and onions.

I have to confess, though, that I’m hoping some new cookbooks come out this fall to inspire me to experiment.

What’s I’m Shaking My Head At

The new wave or Guru Preaching that routines mean you are doomed to be a boring individual. I love variety of life, but I know that taking the attitude of “just taking life as it comes” equals not “getting shit done”. Things like a healthy lifestyle, writing a book, creating change in your daily living all require solid and supportive routines. Yes, we gotta shake things up, but anyone that accomplishes true transformation does so with solid habits. Just sayin.

Because years of being a coach has shown me that most folks need help to establish new habits and they can’t create new ways of living, because frankly, how can you master anything if you don’t approach it with regularity and respect? That’s why I keep reminding myself that compassionate self-discipline is the key to really moving forward towards goals.   Yes, we need to shake things up and evaluate what’s not working, but to preach that the new gospel is no routines will make you happier just isn’t logical to me in any form.

Most people that transform their life do so through structure and a steadfast approach. They take small, but consistent action.

What happens when these glamorous and seemingly-have-it-all-together gurus preach this is that people believe that their answer to happiness lies in emulating their Guru’s life and then find they don’t get any lasting results.

Maybe my life – and my approach to life – is “boring” or seems mundane. But I can tell you I’ll take this loving, nourishing approach over the years of worshiping busy and having no foundational routines to help make move things from “idea” stage to real.

What’s Really Floating My Boat

I’ve begun a letter writing project with a friend. Sure, we could (and do) email, however, there is a different kind of intimacy in putting pen to paper and sharing what’s happening in my inner landscape. It’s helping me to get clear around a portion of my desires and goals, too.

The process of going from Writer to Author. It’s a mindset shift and has changed how I am approaching writing that isn’t immediately consumed.

Getting my eyebrows dyed. My hair is dark brown (and grey). My eyebrows? Blonde. Making my eyebrows the same color as my hair? Priceless!

My relationship with JB. It’s always floated my boat, so to speak, but in recent months I’ve been more San Diego 2014 (5)transparent with him around what I want long term when it comes to career and lifestyle. He’s getting more verbal around the same and has taken to remind me, often, because I need to hear it out loud, that no matter what I choose, he’s behind me 100%.

Having a partner that has my back, that’s willing to listen as I talk about what I want in five years and ten years and what needs to change in order for that to happen is completely new to me in my life experience.  I always dreamed about a love like that, but never really thought I would have it.

Happy Sunday.

Do you like reading this kind of weekly round up?

A Week from August Break 2015

Days 13 through 20

I have been knee deep in work this past week and my time at the keyboard has been spent either writing for work or hydrageas_fadingediting. Lots and lots of editing. I have gotten most of one of the projects into Scrivener and am happy with how that feels when it comes to organization.

On Wednesday, I spent way too long sitting. It was productive, but I got up from the desk feeling hunched up and tight in the shoulders and my back. I may need to start setting a timer to remind me to get up and STRETCH or move.

I wrote in the newsletter (which goes out tomorrow) about how hard this week has felt when it comes to the new morning routines. How easily I could have skipped my morning reading  (because I’m too busy) or skipped the 750 words (because it isn’t real words on paper).

I know the resistance is really about fear. What is going to happen when I do what I set out to do?

So, I get real with myself. I get compassionate. And I show up and do the work. There was a reason I shifted the mornings to include reading and morning pages. Because I need the structure and feel it gives.

Today will mean less time at the desk than usual. I have a haircut appointment and lunch scheduled with a friend afterwards. Oh, and groceries. We need groceries to survive the weekend ahead.

My goal for this weekend is a bit of a round-up kind of post here to share what I’ve been working on for the long-term for my business, those changes I am making as we make our way from 2015 to 2016.

In the meantime, my collection of August Break 2015 images for days 13 through 20.  (And Happy Friday)

Day 13 – Last Year

Day 14 – Favorite Smell

I wasn’t sure how to photograph this one, because I have so many favorite smells.

There is the smell of JB, fresh from the shower. The combination of his Coast soap and Old Spice Deodorant with the faint scent of fresh laundry and starch when I hug him goodbye in the mornings. And then, his end of the day scent, when the traces of Coast and Old Spice have faded a bit, the starch is a bit wilted, and there is the faint scent of Man Working.

I love the scent of cinnamon in the air. It’s warm and crunchy cinnamon toast or pumpkin bread baking.

And roses. Though old fashioned, I love rose scented talc or a lightly fragrant lotion with undertones of rose and bergamot in all it’s yumminess.

Day 15 – Art

Day 16 – Fire

Day 17 – Reading

Day 18 – Look Up

Day 19 – Sweet Delights

Day 20 – Two

in closing

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