I went on retreat again this weekend. If you’re keeping track, I tend to go at least once every six months–though I already have another planned for June 1st this spring–because I have found that these organic, completely unwired getaways are essential to my well-being.
The time was unstructured enough to allow for me to take 3 naps. Yes, three. Hmmm…guess I was at a bit of a deficit sleep-wise. Oh and the lovely women who shared the weekend with me, the incredible food we ate, the massages we had, the views on the lake and the scrumptiously comfy beds!
I will wax poetic in a future post with more details and (hopefully) more photos. For now, it’s time for this girl to get to bed, because tomorrow is another day packed full of work and responsibilities. Good thing I got some sleep this weekend!
On retreat and an hour or so into being pampered, with Friday evening cocktails on the lakeshore: Erin, Amy, Taisa, Caroline, Pam, Bev, Katie, me and Sheila (taking the photo).
On Easter weekend we went to Omaha to visit friends and we had such a great time just chilling, roaming, laughing and staring in amazement at how big and charming our boys have gotten (if I do say so myself.)
While in Omaha we did some thrifting and got to enjoy Janna and Dwight’s morning ritual of heading to the sun porch, putting an LP on the record player and sipping coffee while watching the birds on the bird feeder outside. Yep, slow, simple pleasures that add up to a lot of contentment are high on their list. They embrace life at a more rational speed–33⅓ versus 78, shall we say–and it was great for us to be a part of it for a weekend.
Fast forward a mere 2 days and Jeremy and I have turned their record player experience into a ritual of our own.
Craiglist, date night and an astonishingly few bucks later, we are the proud owners of this beautiful piece purchased in 1958 for $324–equivalent to nearly $2700 nowadays–and a small stack of LPs. It has a record player on the left, and a short wave radio on the right. The sound is truly incredible. The people selling the player also had a ton of virtually unplayed records. Last night before bed we enjoyed Mozart and Swing.
Now we have the focal point we need for our May redesign of the four season porch that used to be my office.
I’ve been pinning ideas to my Pinboard, here, and yesterday I went to the Cottage House and found four vintage glasses with blue unicorns on them, just to get us started. Years ago, my parents gave us an ice bucket that has a retro feel in the same light blue, so that will finally have a cool setting.
So begins the fun. We’re envisioning summer nights with screened windows, a hardwood floor and music on the hifi. Wanna come over?
We’re feeling very 1958 and we have Janna and Dwight to thank for it.
Love you, friends.
Vintage Blaupunkt Rio Radio/Stereo
Title: Blaupunkt Rio
Date: 1950’s – 1960’s
Medium: radio and stereo components in wood cabinet with material covering
Dimensions: 31.5 x 37.5 x 16 inches
Edition: Jese-Tonmöbel Fabrik Nr. 41631
Blaupunkt is the Rolls Royce of stereos. Even after 50 years, this Mid Century Modern console record player unit sounds better than anything you can buy today. You won’t see another piece as stylish as this. The speakers sound just as they would have over 60 years ago. This is a true gem.
Here’s what I wore today–to co-working for the Magic Wand Collective, where the beautiful and charming Cate Mezyk shared some Wild Ruffle wisdom on finding and expressing your own style through clothing and accessories–I tried to get some good photos but obviously I need a tripod and some practice!
Enjoy…and while you’re at it…why don’t you check out what everyone else wore today over at the Pleated Poppy?
Easter resurrection shouts its message of hope.
It says, “I cannot be silenced.”
It says, “Even if you say nothing, the rocks will cry out their amazement.”
It says, “Something completely unexpected, decadent and defiant, anti-gravitational and extravagant has taken place.”
Truly, this day, this story, this unparalleled gift, they all demonstrate one powerful truth:
“Miracles surround and connect us, in this life and beyond, in ways both visible and invisible.”
Quiet yourself. Be still. Take notice. Gasp in wonder.
“This is one of those poems that acts on me cell by cell. It softens me, fills me with a reverence for the living world, and brings me into the fold of all living things…It is a blessing poem, full of that ancient power that can revive even the brokenhearted.
If you let your mind and your tongue savor these first two lines of Galway Kinnell’s,
stands for all things,’
you may find, as I have, that they give you the feeling of wanting to live large again on the canvas of your life. For we, too, are buds, you and I, full of life unfolding into flower. These two short lines stir the faith in me; faith in the potential that is inherent in everything.”
– Roger Housden, Ten Poems to Open Your Heart
I mentioned briefly in yesterday’s post that I am re-branding my business and adopting the title, “Life and business curator.”
What I mean by curatorship is that you can learn to view your life as a gallery. You can ask and answer important questions about the Gallery of You: Which paintings and/ or sculptures will you display? What type of art will make your heart sing? Whose photos should you frame for your walls? Perhaps instead of traditional art, what your heart really really wants is to be surrounded by vegetables fresh from the garden. That is totally achievable, by the way.
The unavoidable truth is that this gallery is yours. No matter how many other people try to make you think it isn’t–perhaps not so subtly indicating that their opinions are better than yours–or how many times you try to abdicate responsibility–because it can be scary having your name over the door–you are its curator.
Your best chance for happiness and fulfillment is to decide what you want filling the halls and walls of your gallery–what will bring you joy and allow your life to mean something to you and to the world–and to set out as soon as possible to collect exactly what you need to make your gallery look and feel like you want it to look and feel.
Your life’s work–or as is the case for many of my clients–your small business, should reflect the beauty of what you hope to curate too. And that’s one of my specialties: Helping people to create a business that reflects the intentions and skills and values of the owner’s whole life.
Isn’t the simplicity of Ben Stein’s quote (above) just brilliant?
“Decide what you want.”
If only it were that easy, right?
It’s worth the effort though…believe me. And if you need help articulating what is in your heart and mind–perhaps a little support as you set your gallery up, source what you most need to find, and plan out what is going to go where and in which frame–you might want me to be a co-curator for a while.
One thing’s certain: If you embrace your role as curator, your life will become a work of art.
More than two weeks without blogging. This is the longest I’ve ever not posted since I started il bel far niente over two years ago.
It wasn’t intentional. I kind of don’t know how it happened.
Except that I kinda do.
For one thing, I moved into my new office–a quick decision but a good one. This meant all new decor and furniture and moving and organizing, in addition to the usual crazy swamped workload.
There was a weekend completely devoted to organizing our financial records and preparing the information for our tax accountant. Scouring my sloppy records for critical deductions, trying to not berate myself for my lack of attention to this task year-round.
There was the weekend of hosting Jeremy’s brother and his wife and 19-month old, visiting from Toronto. So fun, and a big relief from all of the demands and productivity.
And then there was the Open House for my new office, which 70 people attended last Monday evening. It was fantastic and exciting, but phew! What a whirlwind!
Along with the physical move, I decided it was time to refocus my business. I created a new brand and am conceptualizing a new way of working with clients as their life and business curator.
I went away with Anna and Jen for two days to work on my growing business’ financial model.
And I am beginning the process of transitioning to share leadership of the Magic Wand Collective with our new Leadership Board.
So, lots of changes.
Of course there’s also everything going on inside my heart. As usual, it has been riding the teeter totter of pain and joy that accompanies a life of loving many people.
I celebrated my friend David’s recovery from surgery; a surgery that removed a benign but very problematic brain tumor from crowding his pituitary gland.
Dylan learned about meteorologists and continues to read with the fervor of a 7-year-old discovering chapter books.
Jesse’s high school, Washburn–underdogs many would say–came within a point of winning the State HS Basketball Championship at Target Center. Oh the disappointment of being so close yet losing in the end! Oh the joy of having an experience like this to remember as a ninth grader!
Within the last week, my beautiful friend Persis has been diagnosed with a horrible, aggressive brain cancer. Her Caring Bridge site is here. As Family Programs Director for Ronald McDonald House, Persis is no stranger to the ups and downs of the cancer experience. Yet, this is a seesaw of a unique kind. Because it is hers.
We received a call from a beloved old friend, who shared with us that her husband had died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 40 and two months. My heart aches that I won’t see Rafael’s joyful smile or hear his broken English again. Rina described the see saw of grieving her loss, yet rejoicing in what she and her children had learned from life with Rafael. They are trying to begin again.
Yesterday, my parents called from the road. It’s nearly the one-year anniversary of my Grandma Sylvia’s passing. They are on their way to visit both of my grandmothers’ graves in Kansas and to connect with my mother’s newly-discovered family. Ups and downs, all along the way.
My friend Candy launched her play, Expiration Date, which I’ve not yet seen, but which examines issues related to end-of-life decisions. I am in awe of her courage and vulnerability, wondering how she is maintaining the energy to perform this very personal piece day after day. What is breaking open in people because of her artistic expression, I wonder? Will I have the courage to go before the show comes to a close?
I have been all action, with nearly no pause for reflection. I still have a few weeks to focus primarily on the tactical.
To connect with my own homeostasis, it will soon be time to switch the seesaw back. This intention has a firm date and event attached to it: An April 20th retreat with Anna Dvorak’s nutritious food, lake and woods, and dear friends to nurture me. Followed soon thereafter by the arrival of May and gardening season, which affords me space and time for communion with nature and God.
So, I am noticing it all swirling around and within me. And I’m wondering how it will all feel in a few weeks when I have the opportunity to face and process it. All of this newness combined with goodbyes…isn’t it all a reminder of our mortality? This is the hard, hard work of life.
The sunshine is out and perhaps we will finally get the gorgeous day the meteorologists (thanks, Dylan!) have promised us. I think we will go for a little walk and see what we find.
The Lenten Rose in my garden has started to bloom, right on time–a reminder that no matter the ups and downs of the seesaw, somehow things always come back at some point to where they should be.
There is loss in the cycle of our seasons, but there is comfort in it too.