Bored senseless

Yesterday was an odd day.  Both Robb and I felt BORED and out of sorts and restless.  I felt like the kids in the Cat in the Hat - we needed Thing One and Thing Two to shake things up a bit.  It was one of those days where we just didn’t WANT to do anything.  We had all day, no small kids to take care of, no agenda, and we just didn’t know what to do with it.  The concept of boredom is completely foreign to me.  I don’t remember being bored since I was about 9 years old.  We went through the motions of the day; a trip to the farmers market, house cleaning, Robb attempting to paint…. and yet, nothing seemed to satisfy.  What’s funny about this scenario is there are so many days when I have so many things to do I am completely overwhelmed and I LONG for the potential of boredom.  It seemed really odd that we both were feeling this way - probably some planetary thing; mercury in retrograde or that whole blue moon thing.  Whatever the cause, we were both experiencing this overwhelming feeling of complete and utter boredom. 


We discussed the scarcity principle.  There is something to having limited resources, be it time or money or space.  You are forced to work within set parameters and prioritize and organize.  Too much time and space and choice seems to create an environment of paralysis - or at least it did for us yesterday.   


We decided to just get in the car and GO.  We drove around all the familiar haunts, checking out new developments in the hood (traffic already going nuts around Ponce City Market), people watching, looking at various options of things to do.  At one point I looked at Robb and said, “How DARE we be bored!!”.  And I meant it.  I felt guilt over being bored.  I should be volunteering or saving the world or…or….something.  I should at least be embracing the ability to do ANYTHING I WANTED.  Well, we don’t have a private jet, so Paris was out of the question.  Where was that list of all the things I want to do in Atlanta but I don’t because of kids, job, responsibilities, etc., etc?  We laughed at the fact that at least we were bored together.  We are fortunate to truly just enjoy each other’s company in the face of activity or non activity.  It was nearly 6 pm, so we pulled into a favorite wine spot, ordered up a couple of glasses of wine and some bread and pimento cheese (dinner of champions).  We told our waitress we were bored.  She laughed and thought that seemed pretty normal on occasion.  I informed her it was ABSOLUTELY not our norm, and we just didn’t know what to do with it.  She brought our wine and our cheese and we giggled to each other at the absurdity of it.  Our life is so damn good it’s boring.  We are never at a loss for words with each other luckily and Robb is never short on stories, so we relaxed into our evening and started to embrace the boredom.  We started talking about the many many things we are grateful for in our lives - the big, the small- and somehow we got back on track.   I’m not sure if it was the wine or the gratitude, but either way, we started feeling like ourselves again.  Gratitude is powerful.  Wine helps too.  


Resistance. It’s futile.  We’ve all heard it - none of us live it.  Life goes along smoothly - meaning in line with our demands, our ego, our wants.  Then, wham - something happens - an annoyance, a worry, a demand, a disaster, an unmet expectation, a catastrophe, and all serenity goes out the window.  We decided to play the “resistance game” on our way to the beach.  I’m always in favor of good clinical trial.  

You heard me right - on our way to the beach again. :) I admit, I have a beach problem.  I love the beach.  I really should live closer to the beach, and I will someday.  After our fabulous trip to Hawaii, I knew I had to plan a beach trip with the kids.  It was tough to find another time in our short summer (school starts August 5!) to schedule, so 4th of July weekend it had to be.  Two vacations in a row is never a problem, right?  

So, back to the resistance game.  Robb and I often discuss the fact that it is so easy to RESIST things.  I wrote a previous post on the power of “letting go”.  If only we could “let go” more often than we resist, life would be much easier and we would be much more relaxed.  We decided that every time one of us resists (either self policed or called out by the other), we owe the other person a dollar.  For example, when someone cuts me off in traffic during the 6 hour drive to the beach, if I make a disparaging comment about that driver (hypothetical of course), I owe Robb a dollar.  If he, hypothetically, is a backseat driver and tells me to go this way or that way in opposition to what I have chosen to do, the dollar comes my way.  And so on.  Let’s just say many many dollars have been exchanged so far, and at last count, Robb’s down a buck.  I’m not saying he’s more resistant than I am……he just has greater expectations.  Expectations are a killer.  Ego is a killer.  The end result - resistance.  What IF we just went with everything that came our way?  What IF, with every disappointment or frustration, we just let it go?  Is it possible? Is it at least possible to ASPIRE to this? 

Last night - finally loaded up in the car, knowing the decision about picking a dinner spot could be a challenge given the varying tastes of the humans in the car with me, we head out with a “let’s just find something” attitude.  We pass a place or two, then Robb says - let’s go with the flow.  I see a restaurant immediately on our right and turn in.  We were looking for a place we could sit outside, watch the soccer game, have a glass of wine and a decent meal.  We had found just that.  In addition, we got a wonderful breeze, great live music, and a good conversation with the musician who happened to be an artist.  His art is beautiful, and I’m going to buy one of his pieces.  We knew we needed to go to the grocery store, but the beach was beckoning.  It was dusk, the light was low, and as we crested the dunes to the beach, the full moon was aglow in the sky.  The reflection on the turquoise water was magical.  We all gasped at its beauty and proceeded to the water’s edge feeling the warm silky sand between our toes.  THIS is what it’s about.  Listen to what is beckoning….go in that direction.  Stop resisting.  

It was raining when I walked outside our condo this morning.  WHAT? I have THREE DAYS at the beach and it’s RAINING? Resistance.  Instead….ahhh.  It’s raining.  Wilson can create something with the Bendaroo toys he brought.  I can WRITE (this post).  Acceptance of what is is a beautiful thing. Robb is grumpy (again - expectations) this morning.  I can either resist or I can take a deep breath and keep on writing.  It will be fun to watch him realize it and come out of it.  How many hundreds of times will we all resist, then realize it, then accept it?  Whatever IT is.  We have no control.  The painting I’m going to buy is entitled - Rain Rain It aint No Thing.  Truer words have never been spoken. 


Here I am at  home after a week in paradise.  We had a beautiful, stress- free week  of being surrounded by beauty, of feeling inspired to write and to live and to just BE.   I want to bring that feeling home with me.  I want to be in that place where every day is a new adventure and everything I see is a miracle.  I choose to focus on the miracles in my every day life - they are many.  

Last night we had dinner at home in front of the tv - a guilty pleasure.  My kids are all off on their own adventures this week, so it's just Robb and I at home with Bella.  We watched a movie called "The Good Lie" - a story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, their journey of 1000 miles on foot across the desert.   These children were faced with death and fear and destruction and starvation.    It is a story of loss - loss of family through genocide, loss of home as they transitioned as refugees into a camp in Kenya (for 13 years!), and loss of culture as they became refugees to the United States.  The story revolves around the survivors; three young men and one young woman.  They were not all related by blood, but called each other brother and sister.

These four young people were all they had left from their home,  so they were family.  Three were sent to Kansas City and one to Boston in a glitch, but all were reunited later in the movie due to the work of one person.  This woman, over the course of the movie,  was changed by these people.  She was changed by their spirits - so strong and joyful and loving in spite of their circumstance.  These boys howled with laughter over the "why did the chicken cross the road?" joke.  The simplest things were wondrous; they would sing when they were happy or when they were sad.  They despaired when the grocery store  THREW AWAY the "expired" food in the dumpster.  "Doesn't anyone want or need this food"?  was Jeremiah's response.  They knew hunger like the people I know will never experience.  They were overwhelmed by the change of temperature - what is this "ice"?   Culture shock came in  many forms - the mattresses they slept on, the incessant ringing of that "alarm" (telephone), the cars they rode in, the large building.  Our posh American lives must have felt so foreign and, at the same time, so ridiculously abundant.  

Perspective is a beautiful thing. My everyday life is a vacation.  My work is a breeze - I get paid to talk to people.   I have a fancy gadget for every task before me.  In a given day (and each day IS a gift), I take for granted 1000 different things.  I woke this morning to a freshly brewed cup of delicious coffee, an ice cold glass of water, a shower, a toilet, air conditioning cooling the 90 degree heat outside, books everywhere I look, a comfortable couch upon which to sit and write on this latest model (almost) MacBook Air, and a kitchen full of ingredients to make any breakfast imaginable.   My children are safe and loved.  I am free to work and play and worship and love and speak freely.   My list could go on for pages and pages and pages.  Let us never ever forget the beauty and miracles and gifts right in front of us in our everyday lives.   

I am thankful.  


So many times on this trip Robb and Iooked at each other and said - "wow; the beauty, the marvel, the majesty of this place".  We also were continually shocked at how things serendipitously just fell into place while we were here.  We came to Hawaii with absolutely no agenda; no travel books; no "must see" or "must do" plans.  We came to Hawaii and let go of expectations and outcomes, and Hawaii came to us.  As we drove back to our home away from home last night after the most spectacular sunset I have EVER seen, we marvelled at the ground we had covered on this island, the new friends we have made in our air bnb hosts, and all of the lovely sights, sounds, smells and experiences that unfolded before our eyes - like the island was rolling out the red carpet for us.  Breathe. Play. Rest. Laugh. Enjoy. Share. Love.   I woke up this morning and just meditated on our adventure; overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to travel to paradise, to meet new people, to embrace a beautiful culture, to feel the sun on my face, the sand in my toes, the lush tropical warmth surrounding me.  

How can I take this experience home with me? I think about the possibility of just "letting go" in our day to day lives - the lives so meticulously scheduled and regimented and planned - most days filled to the brim with activity, work, play, life.  How can we take a little bit of this relaxed spirit back to the mainland with us?  Can we remember to look around at the beauty that is everywhere?  Can we share a sunset (me, Robb and the iPhone) on most days? (I have never taken so many photos of a sunset before.....)  I have felt more inspired to write and create than ever before while here, Robb has been lulling himself to sleep every night scrolling through art images on his computer; I know he is anxious to get to his painting as soon as we return.  A new outlook comes with truly getting away.  Vacation is not a luxury, it is a necessity.  We live in a hurried world, a world where we often don't feel like we have the time to sit and listen and reflect and create and breathe.  When we step away from our "reality" - we see possibility and we feel limitless.  

One of the highlights of our trip was a 2 am wake up call and a bus ride to the top of Haleakala - a dormant volcano 10,000 feet high.  The early wake up is to ensure a view of the sunrise over the volcano; a truly awe inspiring experience.  The clouds roll over the lip of the volcanic surface and the orange/pink/red sun slowly comes through these clouds to create an other worldly view. It feels like being on top of the world and bathing in a rainbow of color and light.  We chose the option of biking down the mountain post sunrise; 26 miles down.  This distance sounds daunting, but remember - it's all downhill.  One would think going all downhill would be very easy, but there are moments you feel like you are flying and moments you are gripping the brakes thinking "what the hell am I doing?  I could just fly off the side of this mountain with one wrong move of the handlebars".  This ecstasy/fear combination is an interesting metaphor for life.  You only enjoy the ride if you let go and take each curve as it comes your way.  You can't anticipate the next hairpin turn, the speed you may gather at any given point, or even something in your way in the road.  IF you are too busy putting on the brakes, you never reach peak potential.  You just have to take it as it comes, one obstacle or fear at a time, and let go.  Then, you feel the breeze blowing your hair in the wind.  Then, you smell the eucalyptus from the giant trees all around you.  Then, you see the ocean stretched out below.  Then, you feel the sun on your face.  In that moment, all is just as it should be,  and all is well. 

If we had planned and overthought every aspect of our trip, we would have missed SO much.  We  wouldn't have happened upon the lovely little mexican restaurant right on the water in Lahaina, we wouldn't have had the passionfruit smoothie when we took a wrong turn, we wouldn't have discovered the little beach right next to the airport where we watched kite surfers compete, we wouldn't have enjoyed bananas foster with our lovely hosts, Sally and Brian, we wouldn't have ventured onto that part of the island they tell you aren't allowed to drive rental cars on (one lane roads on a cliff most of the way - the most spectacular views of all), we wouldn't have enjoyed this tremendous overwhelming FREEDOM that comes from letting go.  


This is the Hawaiian word for "let go" or "release".  Thank you Hawaii.  This is what I'm taking home with me.  


As I look around at the splendor that is Maui, I wonder if the people that live here notice it anymore.  I mean, when you wake up and see mountains, ocean, brightly colored flowers and trees and lush foliage everywhere you look - do you still take it in and really appreciate it?  On our first full day here, we went on a spectacular hike - the deep greens and blues and reds and orange colors were overwhelming.  We met a young Hawaiian man on the hike - native to Maui.  He was stopped at a place of particular beauty - deep mountain gorge covered in green; everywhere green - the ocean stretching out below for as far as we could see.  He said to us - I have lived here all my life, and sometimes I forget.  I forget.  I forget how beautiful and amazing this place is; I forget to look around.  I’m so glad I’m here today remembering.  I’m so glad he is too, and so glad that we are.  


I can barely write because my eyes are continually distracted by the beauty.  My ears hear the river below me, the birds chirping, the rooster announcing it is 5 am.  Who knew?  Roosters and chickens everywhere.  Mountains meeting the sky; clouds coming and going and draping over the lush mountain tops like blankets.  So many details that I don’t want to forget.  This is a place of beauty and strength and welcome. Aloha.  


I am so grateful to have this week in paradise; a week away from the normal responsibilities of life; a week to breathe deeply, to explore, to go on an adventure, to watch the pink reflection of the sunrise in the clouds over the mountains.  To run between the mountains and the ocean through a field of sugarcane.  I want to remember just this moment as I stare at a laundry room full of dirty clothes or board an airplane for a work trip. I love this slow pace. I love waking up and stretching and knowing the day is mine.  I don’t want to forget.  This is something I will take home with me - look around.  Notice.  BE.  There is beauty everywhere - in the mountains, in the ocean, in my own home, in the eyes of my beautiful children, in the warm embrace of the man I love,  even in the pile of laundry.  The sun is up now; bathing the mountains in bright light, illuminating the crevices and the trees and the clouds above, beckoning me to come out and play.  


Love wins

How can you meet a new person and feel like you’ve known them forever? Travel to a place that feels like heaven and home?  Robb and I travelled to Maui for the writing conference that I bailed on after the first day (secretly just a way to get to Maui?) - it was focused more on promoting a publishing company which wasn't what I was looking for;  what it did for me is get me to realize I just need to WRITE every day.  That's it.  No magic, no message from the universe, no spiritual or mental shift - just WRITE.  

So.  Maui.  I rented an air BNB room online in an attempt to save some money.  Maui hotels are PRICEY and touristy and everything I don’t like about a vacation.  I found a place online that just cried out to me “pick me!” “pick me!”….and my intuition did not steer me in the wrong direction. (as usual; go with the gut).  It wasn't in a location that was convenient to the conference (foreshadowing?), it was just a room in a house (would that be weird?), and I knew nothing about this part of the island and had absolutely no plans for what we might do there.  Yet I knew this was it.  The pictures on the website were amazing and they undersell the property and location.  This place is a little slice of heaven and the woman who owns it feels like a long lost sister.  I love it when things come together and just feel right. This place is THAT for me.  It has an energy and a calm that together make this exactly what I needed in this week.  The mountains meet the ocean and in between is this place with flowers and plants and chickens and trees and warm banana bread.   When I booked this trip I was feeling overwhelmed; overwhelmed with parenting, with work, with housework, with life.  This was four months ago but this trip has been right on time.  I am grateful.  So very grateful to be able to do this; to come to Maui with the love of my life and spend time exploring, resting, writing, reading, and remembering who I am when I'm not wearing all of those other hats.  

Our hostess, Sally, has been wonderful.  She has a unique and wonderful story of what brought her to this island.  I've known her for three days yet her story speaks to me.  I know so many women who have struggled through divorce (myself included), dealing with the trauma of doubting yourself, questioning your decisions, coming to terms with what was and what is now.  Not to mention "why?" and "what was I thinking?" and "will I ever love again?".  Love comes to us in so many ways.  For Sally, it came in a form she never expected; she reconnected with someone from her past, someone twenty years her senior, someone who had once been romantically involved with her aunt.  Who would have ever guessed?  Who would have ever guessed how any of us wind up together in this crazy life?  How can we know if the universe is conspiring against our own well laid plans?  I write this for multiple reasons; to give hope to anyone struggling with the why's and how's and to remind myself that control is an illusion.   I saw a painting I loved once with that title, and I think of the phrase often.  It all just works out.

 I'm grateful for where my crazy life has brought me; grateful for the connections with people along the way.  I'm grateful I get to spend my days and nights with  a man who loves me just as I am, who understands me and accepts me and all of the baggage that got me here.   I'm grateful for meeting Sally and her love, Brian, and hearing how the universe conspired to bring them together on the same path.   It's beautiful when you hear a story that reminds you that love always wins.  


The love is in the details

Kasia and Dan's Wedding - 4-11-15


I LOVED making the wedding favors for this couple's wedding this past weekend.  I've always said the "love is in the details", and I felt priveleged to be able to provide one of the details of love for their wedding.  This is a couple who didn't meet until their late 30's; they are blessed to have found one another, and their wedding was a deep reflection of the love they feel for each other.  It was a beautiful wedding, a fun reception, and a weekend of surprises.  

The minister who married them talked a lot about the "details" - about the importance of taking care of one another and putting the needs of the other first in your relationship.  He encouraged the men to be men - to be leaders in the family, and that no successful man exists without a strong woman to support him.  In our modern day world of equality and strong women and "doing it all",   I think the beauty of this ebb and flow in a relationship is sometimes lost.  I think, as Leo Buscaglia says (one of my cookie box quotes in fact), "we all need each other".   It's often hard to be vulnerable - to NEED another human being. Sometimes life makes this necessary, however, and this truth was evidenced in my relationship experience this weekend.  

Robb (LOML not my husband bc I'm still afraid of marriage failure given my track record) woke up early Saturday morning - Kasia and Dan's wedding day.  We had a wonderful Friday night on the town in Savannah, GA (GREAT meal at Local 1110), laughter with friends, and the anticipation of a beautiful wedding in such a lovely place the next day.  Robb realized his phone was dead and got up to go across hotel room to plug it in so he could check the Angels score (one of my pet peeves is that first thing in the morning phone usage......but hey - no one's perfect).  As he got up, he forgot that the boxes of cookie favors were on the floor next to the bed.  In the dark (so as not to wake me and alert me to his predawn phone checking habit), he stumbled over the boxes and fell forward into a wooden ledge  - landing WHAM on his ribcage.  I won't repeat the words screamed nor can I replicate the sounds of agony that escaped his mouth.  I sat up thinking the room was on fire only to find him writhing in agony next to me on the bed.   I think we immediately knew he had broken SOMETHING, but at the moment he was dealing with regaining his breath.   I haven't knocked the wind out of myself since childhood, but it's a feeling you never forget.  

We debated - Urgent Care or ER?  We found an urgent care on line that was walkable - he WANTED to walk - he seemed somehow better when up and moving.  We had to walk SLOWLY - a new pace for both of us.  Robb, in fact, often curses the "slow walkers" - you know the type - the ones that just amble along as if going nowhere anytime soon.    We were forced to be "slow walkers"....and what a lovely walk we had!   I was nursing a bit of a two martini hangover but I knew I couldn't complain given the circumstances, so I was good with the slower pace myself.    The trees and azaleas were in full bloom.  The historic district of Savannah is comprised of multiple architectural styles - Federal, Georgian, Gothic -we took note of the homes, the businesses, the windows, the porches, the balconies.  We discussed how fun it would be to renovate one of the "jewels in the rough" - crumbling homes left in disrepair over the years.  We walked through an old cemetery- Colonial Cemetery - where we saw that 700 people that died of yellow fever were buried there in 1820.   We looked at headstones covered in moss with inscriptions rubbed off over the last century.  We noticed all of these details - talked about these details - admired the Spanish moss hanging from the live oaks - giving the final resting place of these people an eerie, other worldly quality.   My point in mentioning all of these details is just that - we NOTICED the details.  Had we been on our normal uber fast walking "let's get to where we are going quickly" pace, we would have missed it all.  How much do we miss every day - rushing from here to there and cramming too much into our already crowded calendars? 

We finally made it to the urgent care - only to realize it was a bit rough around the edges and didn't take insurance, so we called a cab to take us to a more established (i.e. clean) urgent care 4 miles away.  As we waited for the cab, a wave of post martini nausea swept over me - suddenly making me crabby and grouchy and disgusted with the whole situation.  I was disappointed that the day of leisure we had planned was NOT going to happen.  I had envisioned a long lunch with a "hair of the dog" mimosa or two, maybe reading a book, taking a nap, possibly a massage?  It's not often we have a day free of responsibilities - I was ready to embrace it!   Alas, our leisurely day took the form of "resting" in an emergency room; poor Robb just miserable, difficulty moving, difficulty breathing....feeling helpless and hopeless and probably a bit frightened (they had mentioned internal bleeding as a possibility - I know that freaked ME out!) - waiting for this test, that test, this blood work, that doctor...... I finally had to go back to the hotel (I had cookies to deliver to the wedding planner!), returned with some food from the local health food store (what exactly IS Chia pudding??? - got some just to try it) only to discover Robb wasn't allowed to eat.  I felt a little selfish scarfing down my turkey avocado sandwich and gluten free dairy free chocolate cookies (who knew? delicious!....might have to try to make those!) in the car before going inside, but I needed to be the STRONG one after all - and the last thing I needed to be in this situation was HANGRY.  

As it turns out, this wasn't so easy for Robb.  It's not easy to let someone else be the strong one when you are used to being the strong one.  I think he had a lot going through his head that day (we talked about later), and it's what caused me to write this blog post about needing one another - about being there for someone when they need you and harder yet, ACCEPTING the help when you are the one that needs it.  I've never been very good at this either - so I fully understand him.  However, I NEEDED to help him.  I NEEDED to show my love for him by helping him however I could. And, let's face it, two broken ribs, lots of internal and external bruising,  and a whole lot of PAIN - he NEEDED help.  Since then we've laughed about me tying his shoes, helping him out of bed, etc.....but I know he's not laughing that hard on the inside.  OR the outside - laughing is quite painful with two broken ribs!  But the reality is, he needs me.  He needs to slow down, admire the headstones and Spanish moss of our lives, and be helped.  

I made it to the wedding - Robb, a bit loopy on painkillers,  got suited up, looked extremely handsome in spite of his pain, and made it to the reception - briefly.  I was so happy to see him and so sad to know he was miserable.  He is my hero though - he always shows up for me; one of the many reasons I love him.  NOW - he needs to let me show up for him while he heals.  I can fetch him drugs, tie his shoes, help him get dressed, make him dinner, pull him up out of his chair, and smooch him.   So, the moral of my story.  Slow down.  Notice the details.  Relax.  Be taken care of when you need it.  

The love is, after all, in the details.  


"Love is life.  And if you miss love, you miss life."

-Leo Buscaglia


Thinking about hugs and gratitude

You know how sometimes work is a drag, there's too much laundry piling up (clean but unfolded - seems to be my style; love to throw a load in, just can't seem to finish it), and there's no vacation in sight?  I've been dwelling on those things lately and it has made me grumpy.  Not over the top grumpy, but just a low level of general dissatisfaction grumpy.  What we FOCUS on becomes our REALITY.  Truth.  

I realized that all of the rituals I rely so heavily upon to keep me sane and focused and balanced - like journalling what I'm grateful for, looking around at all the beauty and goodness in my life, breathing deeply, yoga- had fallen by the wayside.  The result - I had become focused upon the weeds and not the flowers.  All it takes to get out of that kind of thinking is a simple mental shift; a shift toward beauty and goodness and love and kindness.  I have a lot of love in my life; I have a family of really great huggers - I am grateful for those little and big arms that wrap around me and fill me with peace.  What are you grateful for today?  If you're in a funk, just a tiny mental shift can lighten your load.  


“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

Maya Angelou


They're not just for breakfast anymore. "Home in a cookie"

Today's creation - the cranberry chocolate chunk o love.  Why? Because I told myself I was going to eat health food today.  So far it's been sourdough toast and cookies...but at least there's fruit and oatmeal involved!   This is a cookie that you can eat for breakfast or to increase your fiber or to carbo load for a good long run.  This is THE cookie for the oatmeal raisin cookie lover that also loves chocolate. (wait..that's me!) This really is one of my favorite cookies; I love a mix of ingredients and textures in my cookies - this one delivers.  It also reminds me of my grammy - she loved oatmeal cookies.  

Thinking about how food makes a person think of "home"  brought my mind to an episode of "This American Life" that I listened to on a road trip yesterday.  If you've never listened to "This American Life" - start now!  A description of what this podcast is all about.......from their website:

This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 2.2 million listeners. It is produced by Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards. It is also often the most popular podcast in the country, with around one million people downloading each week

To me, it's a wonderful way to stimulate my brain, listen to great stories, and pass the time while driving.  

The episode I listened to yesterday is called "No Place Like Home".  What's funny about this is I was driving home from a mini vacation/work trip and I was so excited and happy to be coming HOME.  I had nothing in particular to do (bake) or no real plans (bake), but I just wanted to be in my own house, sleep in my own bed, and cook in my own kitchen (bake).  If you read between the parentheses, maybe I did have an ulterior motive.  Anyway, it's great to be home.  

I highly recommend listening to ALL of the stories in this podcast (No Place Like Home), but the third one - "Act Three - The Hostess with the Toastess" brought me to tears and made me think about the importance of connection to other human beings. (It's also probably the reason I ate TOAST and COOKIES this morning) 

Everyone has a story, and the older I get and the more people I know - I realize we are all the same; we all have hopes, fears, struggles, a desire to love and be loved.  There's no perfect life, no story without drama, no family without secrets.  We all learn coping mechanisms and deal with struggle in our own way and our own time.   

The woman highlighted in this story established a routine in her life that helped keep her on the right path.  She developed very specific coping mechanisms that helped her find her "home".  My mom struggled with mental illness her whole life; I couldn't help but think of her when I heard this. Please give it a listen - 

"This American Life’s Beautiful Profile Of San Francisco Cafe Owner Giulietta Carrelli"! This is the link:




“Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it empowers us to develop courage; to trust that courage and build bridges with it; to trust those bridges and cross over them so we can attempt to reach each other.”

Maya Angelou







Why cookielove?

I've been baking for as long as I can remember.  When I need to think, or dream, or process, or create - I BAKE.  Baking is therapy.  Baking is love.  Baking is hot and gooey and sweet and kind and delicious.  When I see someone eat one of my cookies for the first time (or the 97th time...) - I love to see the smile and hear - "did YOU bake these?"  Life is full of complicated things; a cookie is a simple small pleasure.'s love in a small round package.