P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

19 January 2017

The "Audacity" and Dignity of "Leading with Hope, Never Fear"

"...if our democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

As President Barack Obama gave his Farewell Address last week, I didn't want to listen. It would be too hard, but this man,this family, this administration, has meant too much to me, so I sat with my Kleenex box at the ready. The first President I have any memory of was Richard Nixon, and that memory was his resignation speech...thus my political socialization was formed.  With the Obamas came the very first time that I could look at a President, look to the symbol of the office, and feel truly proud to walk as an American.   A man who faced obstruction at every turn yet who led with a grace and a dignity almost unseen in our history. The overwhelming challenges he inherited on day one: a country on the verge of collapse embroiled in economic disaster and multiple wars, an unrelenting Washington establishment that vowed to block his every move from the moment he was elected simply because he was Barack Obama, the unmatched expectations that lay on his shoulders as the "The First"-all meant that this President was never going to win within a partisan planet.  There is never perfection in politics, a system that rewards patronage not need, rarely leaves room for the Hope he promised. There is always disappointment, mistakes, but when this country faced horror, sadness and challenges it was THIS man that we looked to for assurance and comfortWith intelligent caring thought, humor, style, and grace he let us hope. We will not have that again-and perhaps it is that void that hurts the most. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe and Jill Biden have shown us how it can, and should be done!  Michelle Obama has redefined what the role of FLOTUS is in an age when women's voices and challenges,especially for young girls, need a champion.  Her graceful heart brought meaning to the role that had been strictly ceremonial since the days Eleanor Roosevelt was "her husband's legs".  She opened the doors of her home, America's home, to everyone. She has been a beacon of promise for so many.  Her work for girls all over the world, showing them they deserve and have a right to any future they can envisionEncouraging all kids to believe they could and should have an education. Michelle Obama literally got dirt under her fingernails as she worked everyday for America's kids.  With Joe Biden as his true partner, Barack Obama worked to help this country transition to a new world-one that holds promise and fear A world that means truly being in and of the world-not isolating ourselves or turning our backs on so many that look to this country to lead.  Change is painful, and as economies change and society changes people cling to only what they have known-I get that...but going backward, to a world that doesn't welcome, that segregates, that discriminates is horrifyingly dangerous.  So as I listened to his "goodbye", there were so many memories-his tear laden face on the night of Newtown, his voice at the Charleston Church, the joy of watching him with kids, his heart, his calm and control and ability to literally turn the other cheek, his humor and intelligent cool  ...too many moments, and a frustration beyond words for what he could not change.   His speech last week in Chicago,however, as always, inspired and brought me to tears.  It also left me with a promise of the Hope he instilled, his optimism and belief that "we're going to be OK", that the fundamental core of this country is good.  May he continue to be the crossing guard, the gate holder, the indomitable guide to decency, courage, indomitable cool, and always a real leader standing with every citizen with a  dignity and grace that made us proud.  THIS is the voice we will need, the one we must listen to even when all we want to do is hide under the bed.   Thank you to MY President.
"...democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued, they quarreled, and eventually they compromised. They expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity. The idea that, for all our outward differences, we’re all in this together, that we rise or fall as one..."

"But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change"
"We have to pay attention and listen."

 “The hope of folks like my dad, who got up every day to do his job at the city water plant, the hope that one day his kids would go to college and have opportunities he never dreamed of,” Mrs. Obama said. “That’s the kind of hope that every single one of us — politicians, parents, preachers, all of us — need to be providing for our young people, because that is what moves this country forward every single day.”  Michelle Obama
“Our glorious diversity — our diversities of faiths, and colors, and creeds — that is not a threat to who we are; it makes us who we are...So to the young people here and the young people out there: Do not ever let anybody make you feel like you don’t matter or like you don’t have a place in our American story because you do, and you have a right to be exactly who you are...Lead by example with hope, never fear...
 And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and 
working to support you for the rest of my life.”
First Lady Michelle Obama
  "So regardless of the station we occupy; we all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own."

"The peril(s)... to our democracy is more far reaching than a car bomb or a missile. They represent the fear of change. The fear of people who look or speak or pray differently. A contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable. An intolerance of dissent and free thought. A belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right."

 "Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning — with our participation, and with the choices that we make and the alliances that we forge."
 "...that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when you own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life...
... If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes
 and do some organizing.

...If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.
 ...Show up, dive in, stay at it. 
 My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days...
...But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.
...I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change 
— but in yours.
...I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:
Yes, we can.
Yes, we did.
Yes, we can."

08 January 2017

Just Do It January

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential." 
- Ellen Goodman

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I don't do birthdays (mine anyway) and I never ever do New Year's!  Sure, I will wish one and all the happiest and healthiest for the coming year, but to celebrate that another year of my life has zipped by--nope!  I have dreaded this January, as many of us have, since November.  The world and the journey forward have the sensation of tumbling without a known landing spot...lots to be worried about for sure BUT a plan always helps...even if it is to clean a closet.  There is calm and hope in action of any kind.  We may not be able to control the WHOLE planet, but there is a lot we can do FOR the world and for our tiny corner of it.   

T.S. Eliot wrote that to "...make an end is to make a beginning." 
  I do do Lists-lots and lots and lots of lists.  As a hopeless romantic and dreamer lists are a way to keep it all organized and even though on my 17 for 17 List there are plenty of wishes and dreams there are also the things that must be done,especially in a new unknown world...how did strolling through the Tuileries and sailing Santorini get in there??

Though not always easy to accomplish, I do believe in fresh beginnings. That does means closing some doors-often big heavy ones that have been left open too long.  This is scary and overwhelming to think about doing so I plan to kick those doors shut a little at a time...and who knows where the new doors marked "Beginnings Ahead" may lead me

 I certainly know the doors to close and I think I know the doors I want opened in the New Year... but forcing them may not be the best plan.  So I have a better plan-
Que Sera Sera!!

 Planning is good but I left lots of room for "What Will Be Will Be"--Thank you Doris Day for that!!   Lists are all well in good and they can indeed provide direction and a path for planning... but how important is it to always be open to the surprises, be welcoming of the unexpected (good unexpected) --this is why I always wear mascara even to pick up the mail--ya just never know!!
So onward -bright shiny new calendars, clean desks, new notebooks, perhaps a pair of new shoes or a new bag...not an organized closet yet though-but that is why there is January!...
and let's see what will be!!!   

May all your lists, wishes, dreams, hopes, promises and beginnings be realized, may the world know peace and kindness and we may do all we can to keep those in fear safe...  and may the unexpected be happy and the surprises bring you only joy in the New Year!
17 for 17

1. Breathe! : Always a good plan and often we are so busy juggling just breathing falls off the things to do!

2.  Face It!:  Deal with it-the face looking back at me in the mirror each morning isn't 12 years old anymore-Hello moisturizers!

3. Bloom Where You are PlantedTake a look around you,if you don't like the place get up and move or paint the wall!

4. Count to 10: There are at least 10 things that are good and worth counting!

5. Don't leave home without your Passport: Santorini, Bellagio, Tuscany await my arrival-let's pack!

6.  K1 row: 1 row a day... that's all we ask-OK who can stop at just one row!

7.  Pages-Turn Them!:  Sure a kindle is nice but give me a a real page to turn and while I am at it--turn a few life pages too!

8. Spacing Out: Clear a path, unclutter the room and the mind will follow!!

9.  On My Toes: Just MoveMost of us spend our days seated on our seats and those seats need to stretch and move or they can become real pieces of furniture!

10. Color Your World!:  Go Pink, or Orange or Yellow, or Tiffany Blue-It makes a difference!

11. Change the Channel: If you don't like what's playing in your world, click!  Be your own producer!

12.  Don't Sit on the Sidelines-Care!- The world is very sad and scary - Stop and help where you can!

13. Don't Whine-Hope-There must always be Hope!

14. Dis-connect and Connect-Scrolling through depressing news feeds will not help -connect to organizations that are working to move us forward

15.When the Going Gets Rough...Keep Going!
 (Winston Churchill I believe)

16. Doris was Right!...Que Sera Sera...Spinning in worry will only find you under the covers -get up, get out and go!

17.  What Will Be Will Be!!

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
- T.S. Eliot

27 December 2016

Take Time for The Time Between

As New Year's Eve approaches we all start the annual rear view mirror exercise...and then we search for our crystal balls to see what will come. Not sure after 2016 I want that crystal ball.  What results- some regrets, some smiles, some sadness, a lot of worry and fear tossed in too... and a whole lot of "what nows".  That's a lot to take in before midnight chimes. The month of December is one BIG blur.  It seems as if sometime around Halloween someone fires off a starting shot and away we go.  It's a whirlwind of plans, events, deadlines, GET IT DONES,  fires to put out just in the "Nick" of time... and a snowstorm of shopping bags, ribbon, stamps,cards, packages,flour,sugar,sprinkles, twinkles and...

 That is why I adore this week best of all.  The time between when all I need to think about, at least for today, is where my book is and whether I should watch The Crown again, re-watch The Gilmore Girls or read Julia Baird's biography Victoria the Queen, all about Queen Victoria before the new Masterpiece series , Victoria, begins on January 15-can't wait!!   Sure there is mail to open, bills to be paid, dusting and laundry, closets and cupboards to clean out for donation boxes and...but for this week I'm taking my time in  between!  2017 will be here soon enough and with it a world untethered and we will all need to be involved and CARE!  The New Year will come with us all walking without a steady road beneath us and with a whole new list of "DO ITS".   So while the phones and email are relatively still I will be too...No looks back, no projecting forward, just today.  Enjoy the time in between...comes but just once a year!  ...and may the New Year bring peace to all!

18 December 2016

Pretty Pages Please-The Precious Perfect Gift -Books!

 "A Book is a Dream You Hold in Your Hand"-Neil Gaiman

I believe in books-real books.  Books with deckle edged pages and firm covers that welcome you into a wonderful story filled with characters who become friends or foes for life.  I admit to owning a Kindle and that after fussing about owning one for awhile I like it-especially for traveling when lugging pounds of books can cost you airline dollars...but for the precious days when there is time to  curl up with a book as the answer to the world gone mad-I need a BOOK.  

“In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself. ... There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books, a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but was never really a stranger. My real, true world. My perfect island.” 
 Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

 Can there be a more perfect gift than a book??  Can't imagine a fruitcake or silly mug bringing the joy that reading a wonderful book can.  By all means dive into Best Sellers and Best of 2016 Lists but books are also an art form I feel and there are some beautiful books to treasure-especially if you are giving to a book lover or new reader.  Of course books should not just sit on a shelf but when they are there they can look amazing!  Love Juniper Books special series of beautifully bound classics with fabulous shelf appeal-See the whole collection- I want to design a library around these!

My favorite paper company, Rifle Paper has designed a series of classics for Puffin Books 
that you can purchase individually or as a lovely set-cannot imagine a better invitation to beloved classics than these covers!

Juniper Books also offers a great opportunity create your own Puffin Book set-they offer ready collected sets of 8 or curate your own by choosing 1-11 classic titles to love forever!
Covers call you into a great book and I love collecting my favorite reads in new editions-Penguin Classics bi-centennial editions of two Jane Austen faves I found at Anthropologie are great!

Another favorite spot for book lovers  is Litographs.  They take the words from great books and create art to wear or carry or hang on the wall-I love looking at each and guessing the titles without peeking at the description--this one, you figure out the title,  features over 40,000 words...such fun!
So, give pretty pages this year-promise that each time that book is opened you will be remembered. 

  THE  most important and special book-loving present you can give,however, is the gift of reading and being read to.  In a world with incessant distraction and unequal access to resources, giving a book, and the chance to become a reader, is a forever gift!!!

PLEASE visit these organizations this season and help them in their wonderful work to get books into kids hands who may not have access to them and to encourage and grow generations of readers-what could be a better gift!

Read to Grow

Room to Read

Reading is Fundamental 


First Book