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My posts have been very intermittent the past few months—just not feeling the inspiration, I think. Consulting and traveling have been occupying my time. I was watching last night’s Charlie Rose program and a few ideas arose in his discussions that caught my interest.

Harold Evans

Rose’s first interview was with Sir Harold Evans (former editor of “The Sunday Times” and the “Times of London,” former president/publisher of Random House, and Tina Brown’s husband). In these roles he has witnessed firsthand the evolution of 20th century journalism.

He has a new book out, My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times, that sounds as if it’s worth reading. What caught my ear (I was multi-tasking and only listening) was when Charlie asked Evans about people he admired. Bill Clinton politically, he responded. Charlie asked if it was because of his “gifts” and Evans replied,  “yes, though he’s squandered some of them.”

It’s a thought-provoking concept, squandering one’s gifts. To lose (as an advantage or opportunity) through negligence or inaction is the applicable definition of the word, squander. What are the gifts that you and I possess that we squander? Worth a ponder, perhaps.

Rebecca Miller

The second interview of the program was with Rebecca Miller (writer/director) and Robin Wright (actor) about the film, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Wright described it as a melodic, intense but happy movie. Miller said the book and subsequent screenplay were inspired by an acquaintance she met many years after she had known her originally and this woman’s transformation from wild

Robin Wright

youth to sedate mother. She was intrigued by the selves inside each of us, nestled within one another like a Matryoshka doll. I often hear people remark when they look back, “it’s like a different life, I was a different person.” Who are the selves nested within you and me and who will be the next “doll” that contains who we are now?

I just returned from spending one week with my daughter and her family. She has two sons (ages one and three) and a new daughter. Yes, I’m still sane but also suffering from cuteness withdrawal and sighing with relief that I, unlike my daughter, am able to sleep through the night. I have been reflecting on my own children as infants and toddlers now grown and so far, far away.  After returning from a visit, I often contemplate my relationship with my daughter and my mother throughout the years. Now I wonder how this new little female in our lives will evolve and experience her mother. Sometimes the pendulum swings!

PS. Looking at the previous post and this one, I think it must be the season for introspection for me.



Looking through photo albums and memorabilia of my bygone days is not a favorite pastime for me. A feeling of melancholy descends along with “what if” and “coulda shoulda” type thinking. I prefer to focus on today and anticipate future events. Still, last weekend we took a trip into my past to a small town in northern Michigan where I raised my children. Not that there weren’t  good friends and good times during those many years, but I am more of a big city gal who also craves lots of sun and warm weather, and I always was eager to move. I just feel more alive where I live now.

Why did we head north? My husband and I have wonderful friends who still live in northern Michigan and we wanted to spend some time with them. True to form, the weather did not cooperate. It rained on the way up and most of the time we were there. My expectations in this regard were few. But it was a great weekend! Lots of laughs, a few games of super scrabble, champagne, long discussions and a visit to a farm market where we ran into my ex-husband (remember I said small town)  and bought veggies to make soup— a perfect antidote to the cool, damp weather.

I also like the intimacy a road trip brings between my husband and me. It’s a time to talk without distractions. It’s another adventure together. On the way home the sun peeked through clouds to illuminate the fall color. As we neared the city I could feel the blood start to flow through my veins again. There’s no place like home. We look forward to seeing our friends again soon—in Chicago this time!

I decided to share this photo because it made me happy this morning to see how the remnants of a blue bar of soap had melded into the larger cream-colored soap. It looked mellow and delicious!

I decided to share this photo because it made me happy this morning to see how the remnants of a blue bar of soap had melded into the larger cream-colored soap. It looked mellow and delicious!

A few days ago I was reminded of a life lesson that I learned 30 years ago. Back then, I was living in a small house in a small town, unhappily married and raising a toddler and an infant. With envy, I would gaze out my living room window at the big Victorian house on the hill next door. A family lived there. The wife was attractive and acted in community plays, the husband was a doctor and the kids were middle school age. I imagined their lives of privilege and good fortune while I mentally and emotionally wrestled with the mess I had gotten myself into. My beautiful children were the only things keeping me hanging in at that point.

One summer day I saw the attractive woman next door in the yard tending to the flowers. Envy reared its ugly head again. It was only a week later that I learned that her husband was leaving her to marry his nurse. Quite the scandal in a small town. Oh, I thought, obviously things are not always as they seem. Even now when I feel a twinge of envy, I evoke this lesson from long ago.

My husband and I divorced soon after the family next-door split up. Eventually I fled the small, smothering town for the big city when my children graduated from high school. Last week I heard that my former neighbor, the physician husband, had committed suicide. I don’t know why he did himself in but it reminded me again of my “envy” lesson and  that things are not always as they may seem. It also struck me that we don’t really know how our lives will unfurl and what the future holds. I’m sure this is not an end he could have imagined for himself all those years ago. Nor could he have imagined that his life provided me with important insights about living. We never know how each of us may touch other people’s lives.



Did you know you can store your self, park your self and do other things like serve your self? It always strikes me as odd when I see these signs, and sends me off on introspective tangents. Am I storing myself? Am I in park? My one difficulty is imagining me serving my self on a platter.
Do-it-yourself, self-esteem, self-motivation, Self magazine, self-expression, self-improvement…the list seems infinite. Are we all more self-absorbed than ever before, or by being true to self does it naturally follow that we are true to others?

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

William Shakespeare


Slum Dog Millionaire or a Burning Man documentary? Our mood was right for Burning Man and it was a great way to spend a few hours watching this Netflix video, reminiscing and enjoying the good vibes. We’ve traveled to this annual festival in the desert three times over the past seven years. It’s almost indescribable, somewhat like a Cirque du Soleil with over 40,000 people camped in a 5 square mile area in the desert north of Reno.

Our first year we were part of a group that had one of the many themed art camps, so we spent spring and summer in preparation. Part of the fun is ideating and creating the experiential projects. I can see people’s eyes rollback in their heads when I mention costumes. But that’s also what makes it unique. During the day when the sun was hot and the playa was sometimes a big dust storm, I often wore doctor’s scrubs and goggles. burning-man-2005-152Someone else wore a tutu and carried an umbrella, and others wore assorted wild and imaginative outfits or whatever they felt comfortable in. At night the desert glowed with L-wire on clothes, bikes and the flotilla of people navigating the playa—a surreal kaleidoscope of shapes, colors and sounds. It’s a pyromaniac’s dream with lots of propane flames used in kinetic art installations. We met people from all over the world, and experienced the wonderfulness and weirdness that is Burning Man from dawn to dusk.

I reveled in the nights and felt renewed by the early mornings. Most people slept late, which made it an optimal time to bike alone to the huge open-air, harem-like tent at center camp, grab a latte and relax on an overstuffed old sofa to watch other early risers of all ages and sizes perform their daily yoga workouts. Then I’d hop on my bike and pedal out to the art installations in the vast playa surrounding the “Man.” The sun rising over the encircling mountains, the newness of the day and the creativity that surrounded me were invigorating and fed my soul in a way nothing has except pure love and spring sunshine.

After the first day on the playa, all thoughts of work and problems melted away. I felt new and open. Like I did when Iimg_0132 was a teenager and the future was a big, beckoning adventure. While I was at Burning Man, I found the “me” that I thought was long gone. It’s gratifying to know that I still exist.