Always remember- You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Winnie the Pooh
In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back.Charlie Brown

Casting Pearls: Got Questions? Ideas? Comments? Tales? Laments? Email Away!

Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, "Why me?", then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up."Charlie Brown

10 May 2014

Listening to Voices-Today and Everyday

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. ~Ambrose Bierce

I consider myself to be a pretty independent woman....known for my strong will with my own opinions and vision of the world. Yes, even headstrong and truly stubborn at times.  "My Way" is could be my anthem along with "Don't Rain on My Parade"...but there are in fact other voices in my head.   Let's just acknowledge from the start, much like Peter Rabbit we don't listen to our Mothers either...not with our ears anyway. Momspeak after so many years can become the true Muzak of our lives. "Why are you wearing that?" is the hit single we can all dance to-But I promise you Moms, we may not listen...but we hear! How else do we grow up to sound just like you??

No matter what else a Mom does with her life her job is her children. For our Moms our "end result" is the product of their of course we have been asked to get it right!! Our success is their success and for more than one generation of women that reflected "glory" or "failure" defined the women who raised us. We are the personification of their life's work-if we messed up so did they. I may have my days when I wonder if I will ever do it right, get it right, but I am a woman who cares a great deal about doing it right and getting it right because I was taught by the women whose thumbprints are all over me that it matters. Sure, I have picked my rebellions to drive them nuts...I never learned how to properly fold a sheet which drove my Nana up a tree. I consistently neglect to wear a raincoat on a potentially rainy day leading my Mother to exclaim that I truly don't know when to come out of the rain. "Do something with your hair" is a constant chirp -I know I am not alone with that one!

I have to come to realize,however,that I am my Mother's product. I am put together not with a selfishness or interest in making her mark, but with a complete commitment to her job. She is a Mom, this is what she does. Despite many other roles and abilities, being a Mom is who she is with every inch of her being. If I can stand back and look at the woman who raised me with any objectivity I will see that not every woman who wears the label Mother does that. With all due modesty, my Mother is better than your Mother-ha!
It isn't that other Mothers don't love their children, or that they didn't do a good job, but that somewhere along the growing up line they declared an end game. OK, so a professional might say that is healthy-forget it! Maybe I can't see how it is possible to retire from the most important job any human can have because my Mother, and her Mother before her, never put their feet up on the job-thank goodness! Even though my Grandmother is no longer here she will be happy to know that the Muzak she implanted in both her daughter and in me plays everyday! WWND?-What Would Nana Do? makes us smile,laugh and remember. By some string that will always connect us we do it her way, with our own twist, but Nana is in the building!

How lucky am I -I got stereo! There is my Nana's Muzak and there is my Mother's- not surprisingly very similar tunes.

Of course it is not just the "do it my way" tunes that I hear each day but more profoundly the emotional songs that have taken root from the bottom of my feet. These roots come from knowing without any hesitation or embarrassment that I keep playing those tunes because I need to hear the noise. I need the voice of the person who loves me no matter what! I may not always get it right but there is no auditioning here. Even when the raincoat is in the car keeping the car dry, I know that if I get wet there is shelter available.

I also have the innate comfort that my Mom's job is far from done-her daughter is a product in development and will continue to be, as Anna Quindlen wrote-"A finished person is a boring person." I'm not finished, and only a person who does not need to be loved, does not hear the Muzak or recognize the thumbprints, can be finished.

If you are lucky in this life the bond with your Mom is the simplest, and many times the most complicated, one you will ever have. I am THAT lucky! There is nothing simpler than being loved completely and knowing that her love sustains , motivates and grounds you. The string that runs from Mom to child is the most powerful and lasting connection there will ever be. We may walk through different doors sometimes but we are usually going in the same direction... together!(much like the time we discovered we were in adjacent dressing rooms in Bloomingdales!)

The definition of a Mom cannot be found in a Hallmark card, in an ad for cake mix, or on a rerun of a 70s sitcom. A Mom is defined by her life's work. She can be a Supreme Court Justice or a candidate for President, her Momdom is at the core of everything she does. Her success is not found in material success but in the knowledge that there is a work in progress out there that will always hear her music, always need her tune to be played, and always love her.

Emile Pierre de la Montagne via

Happy Mother's Day Mummy...job well done,but never finished! I love you!

Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor. The Tale of Peter Rabbit

18 August 2012

The View from the End of My Nose

"Men Seldom Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses"
Dorothy Parker

Suzy Parker via
First, apologies to all who have worn eyeglasses forever-I have not--the ornaments at the end of my nose are relatively new in my life...and I'm not happy about it!  I have whined about this before and yet I was convinced that through great resources like Warby Parker and Kate Spade that I could find a way to embrace the concept and treat eyeglasses as a new excuse to go accessory shopping.

 Seriously I have a pair of glasses in every room of the house, one for every bag and in every corner of my office-but I can never find them when I need them! and it seems I need them more and more each day.

Fleur Cowles via
  It started simply enough--I couldn't decipher 8s from 6s from 5s on faxes and then it was reading labels, fine print of course, and then  price tags became an issue-culminating in my attempt to purchase a fabulous bag that was on sale.  I was so very excited with my bargain, only to discover that when I reached the check out register and my sale was rung up that I had missed a digit!  The gorgeous bag that I was treating myself to was about $1,000 more than I thought I read on the tag! 

Brigitte Bardot via
Now I need to reach for glasses even for simple reading-well if it was OK for Grace it should be OK for me...

Grace Reading via
...but I am still trying to find my way to glam with my glasses. I don't wear them to look smart--Thank you,I am smart without them--with them,however, I feel like my Great Aunt who wore her glasses on a chain around her neck---someone stop me if they see me do that!   I don't have to be Mrs.Freud to know the real issue here --when a grey hair pops up I can cover it, but when the words on the page blur--well it can mean only one thing-can wrinkles be far behind??????
So to make myself feel better I have gone in search of chic women who carry off their eyewear with fashion and charm...Women who have always defined style no matter what was at the end of their nose...

Elsa Peretti via
Catherine Deneuve via


Doris  via
...and for the moment as I look in the Mirror Mirror and question who is looking back

I tell myself that I what sits at the end of my nose will always lead me forward and  if I don't like the look there are about fifty other pair of glasses around the house to change into!

“Rose-colored glasses are never made in bifocals. Nobody wants to read the small print in dreams.” Ann Landers

24 June 2012

Weeding Life

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them-
 A. A. Milne, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh

Bella Foster for Kate Spade
But make no mistake: the weeds will win: nature bats last.- Robert M. Pyle

The Gardens at Camp MoneyPit did not exist 6 years ago. There was literally nothing to salvage, nothing to "grow" from or keep. For a small caretaker's cottage that took over 18 months to breath life into you cannot imagine the panic that set in every time I started contemplating the landscape. Camp MP has no less than 7 different areas surrounding it , each with its own challenges...I of course chose to take them on all at once! making me long at times for my old lovely rooftop garden filled with overflowing containers and window boxes.  My flaw as a gardener, as in my life, is that I want to make everything right, make it better, make it beautiful and make it into what it can and should be...I do that with people too-they don't always respond as well as the hydrangeas!

So it should be no surprise that my need to control and keep everything blooming beautifully does not really leave a lot of tolerance for weeds! Gardening for me has become the corner of my life that insists on teaching gardens have a stubborn student! The gardens are determined to show me that I may hold the trowel, I may dig and amend, and plant and water, and nurture and hover, and... but I am not in charge, nor do I determine the success. I am just a "player" in this ever changing "landscape". 

Every gardener will tell you that patience is perhaps the gardener's best tool. I am not the most patient...I want the "result", I want my vision realized-NOW, please! Taking on the gardens of CMP has shown me that there are small yet great victories if you wait and watch and let it happen-a Clematis, given up for lost, coming into spring with strength and showers of blooms is one reward for a lesson learned, as is a climbing hydrangea that slept then crept and now has leaped to grace the stone of the house.

It was a surprise to discover that the soil at Camp MP is good in most spots, unless you hit one of the old stone walls buried beneath. Most of the "new" residents seem happy to be here, but so do the weeds...the weeds absolutely adore it here, and they are determined to take up permanent residence-I should have them chip in for the mortgage payments!

Most days I actually do not mind weeding. True, one of life's most thankless tasks..or is it? Yanking, tugging, pulling unwelcome intruders out of the ground can actually work wonders after a long week. The weeds at Camp MP,however, are on a mission. They are determined to win, to take over, to pop up at will from the weed cloth and mulch. They arrive and start crawling about as if they were in charge...not so fast fellas, remember I am the Controlling Gardener!  

This weekend I spent about  hours weeding- filling three trash bins and ruining a pair of gloves. I woke up this morning, slipped on my garden sneaks, picked up the hose to water the new roses and Hello!- WEEDS!!! You know what, tomorrow there will be weeds, and the next day and certainly all summer til the frost of October I will have weeds. I will pick and pluck and pull every Saturday morning-maintenance yanking-but they will come back more determined each time to "show me". Just like in life, things grow and pop up where you don't want them...they certainly do in my world.

I have made my peace with some weeds. If you look like a pretty groundcover, if you have a delicate white flower, you might be able to hang around til you become unruly. If you are a dandelion, or your first name is "Crab" you are out of here-NOW!

The weeds at camp MP have taught me that I cannot control what grows overnight. I cannot totally stop "ugly" from happening anymore than I can stop unwelcome or sad for that matter. Yup, weeds happen! The gardens are lecturing ..."Accept that, adapt and work with what you can...make the best out of it, even learn to live with some of it."

So sure, I will continue to pull and yank the ones I can grasp, but for those that I simply cannot get to budge I will have to accept them, welcome them and make them a part of the garden til I can take a shovel and give one big tug...then I will plant hydrangeas and roses in their place to show them how Life s really done. The weeds of my garden, and my life, may crop up another day in another spot but I'll have a peony ready to put them in their place!

Gems from the Wild Garden (1888), postcard from the Rawson Company catalog. via

29 October 2011

Are You a Good Witch???

Are you a Good Witch or a Bad Witch??  
Well...we ALL have our moments don't we!!??

"A person should choose a costume 
that contrasts her own personality."-
Lucy Van Pelt

Endora and Samantha
Too many Bad Hair Days! and my morning  "Mirror Mirror on the Wall" go a long way toward confirming my next career-
Haunting Houses!  

Alexander McQueen, Bergdorf Goodman
This Halloween I want to celebrate my favorite Good Witches---

... if I'm going to be a Witch I might as well look to a few role models who with a twitch of a nose,a wave of a wand or a ride on a vacuum cleaner ( like The Wednesday Witch) Make it Work!

Professor McGonagall

Kim Hunter,Bell Book and Candle

Lena Horne, Glinda The Wiz
Hermione,Harry Potter
Veronica Lake, I Married a Witch
So, if I must be a Witch then why not take a wand
from the Best Witches...
 Best Witches to all!

19 June 2010

Daddy's Gifts

Run your own race,baby. He could have said it a dozen other ways. “Be independent.” “Don’t be influenced by others.” But it wouldn’t have been the same. The words he chose touched my heart and have remained with me all through my life. Whenever I’m at a crossroads, I ask myself, “Am I running my race or somebody else’s?” What a gift he gave me. Marlo Thomas on her Dad Danny Thomas' advice to her.

This Father's Day weekend is not my first without my Father but like every year at this time I try to keep the mascara from going by hugging the memories and opening his gifts to me.

I am a "Daddy's Girl" and that is a label I wear proudly. There are a lot of negative connotations with that phrase..spoiled, princess, indulged...but for me it symbolizes not only the unbreakable bond between a Father and Daughter but also the foundation upon which I stand every day.

We lost my Dad suddenly. After the shock wore off, and the numbness set in, I felt as if I were living without a safety net, I still have days I feel that way. It took some time to realize that Daddy had left me many gifts, the most important perhaps being that I would always have firm ground beneath my feet because of the lessons he taught me and the love that guided me and helped me grow.

How very lucky I am to know that being a “Daddy’s Girl” means that I carry the gift of unconditional love with me wherever life takes me. That love has taught me to believe in myself and my strengths, and to know that I CAN “run my own race”- even when I have trouble finding the track. My Father taught me to trust my instincts, believe that there is nothing I can’t accomplish and that the worst thing I could do would be to sit on the sidelines and not try!

On the days when I think…”There is NO way!” I hear Daddy saying “just try”. Happy Father’s Day Daddy…Thank you for my many gifts. Oh how I wish you were here to watch me run my race. I love you.

16 May 2010

Men Seldom Make Passes...

Men seldom make passes At girls who wear glasses”  Dorothy Parker

Well, we are about to prove Ms. Parker wrong--we hope!

"Suddenly" perched at the edge of my nose, and invariably slipping off, is a new appendage---reading glasses.  These so called "cheaters" seem to have arrived from nowhere and without asking my permission.  It all started innocently enough as I found I had to take faxes to the window to read the numbers--is it a 6 or is it an wait, I think it's a 5...before I knew it I was squinting and stretching my short little arm beyond its reach to read paperwork, price tags,instructions, recipes and the New York Times...explain to me how our eyes know when are over 40??

Merry Me- Eyebobs

Every 8 seconds someone turns 40. Good to know I am not alone and according to Eyebobs this means "1.5 million people are having birthdays and if they don’t already wear a reader, they soon will be (97% by the time they are 50). "

Rather than look at this as a devastating road sign "You are Now Entering Mid-Life" I have chosen to see it as a fashion opportunity--an excuse for a new accessory!  I have discovered that I need several pair-a couple in the office,  in the bathroom,  by my bed, in the kitchen, in every handbag...a pair for knitting, a pair for reading,  for typing and even for shopping! As the population ages cheaters, or peepers,or  reading glasses are the new jewelry.

 Diva - Eyebobs

So if I am destined to have specs sitting at the end of my nose you better believe I am going to have fun with it!!  To take the sting out of this aging thing I headed to Eyebobs  for fun, style, and wardrobe building.
 Too Naughty- eyebobs

I want styles that match my mood, my day, my style and will express who I am at that moment. I love the styles from Eyebobs , they design and sell "eyewear for irreverent and slightly jaded".

 Stirred -eyebobs

Visit their site for the names alone!  Favorites include-
Do the Limbo, Cher, Checkered Past, Smitten Kitten, Too Naughty,...oooh, what about a lorgnette???

Also check out Peepersspecs - this could be fun!!!

If you need to go the prescription route  be sure to visit Warby Parker (the name inspired by two Jack Kerouac characters)offering vintage inspired frames all under $100 and for every pair of glasses they sell they donate a pair to someone in need of a new pair through their work with

 I am choosing to take a positive approach to this signpost of my 40s...unlike lines and gray roots I can actually dress this up!  Maybe look a bit smarter, mysterious, alluring...chic--- and maybe prove Ms. Parker wrong!!