For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Savoring Christmas

Acclaimed French photographer Marc Riboud says, 

Photography is about savoring life at 1/100th of a second.”

This blog is about savoring Christmas 2011
                at 1/100th of a second! 

I am really into wool felt this year.
I had so much fun sewing new stockings for all of us!

 Then I put my dogs' fur to good use.
I combined their fur with colored wool
that I purchased at the craft store to make
a garland of felted balls.

 These are the balls before they went through the
washer and dryer.

These are the felted balls strung into a garland.
Halle and Sami's fur if the brown/tan color.

I also made a runner for my table using medallions of
birch that I cut from the trees that fell during last month's 

My family spent a quiet Christmas Eve alone at home
opening gifts from our stockings.

 After we finished,
 Annie fell asleep on the dog bed with Maddie...

On Christmas morning, I couldn't wait to open 
the gift Kerry made for me.   She stayed up
until 4AM on Christmas morning to finish it!

 It was a beautiful glass vase filled with delicate
origami flowers.  Each flower was made from
five folded origami folders.
 So colorful and pretty!  Perfect for my desk!

 After opening gifts on Christmas morning, 
we headed to NJ to visit Vance's relatives.

The favorite gift for the 2 little girls there
was a make-up/beauty kit.

Adam was one of the first to get
a make-over!

 But before long, everyone was looking

We don't get a chance to be around little
girls much anymore, so this was a treat!

One more stop before heading back home!
We stopped in to see our friends from
Lake George, Linda and George and their
children, Matthew and Zachary.

But first, we had to don our ugly Christmas sweaters.

Adam and Annie bought sweaters from Goodwill
and jazzed them up to make them ugly!

Then lunch and a few games of xbox.

I hope your Christmas was as fun as ours!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thank You, Berra!

For the past few days I have been coming up blank as I've been trying to come up with an idea for a blog about Christmas.  I've had many ideas go through my head, but nothing that I felt was right.

Until this morning.

 I was watching a talk show on TV about great children's books for Christmas when I found it.

Let's back up a little.

My 19 year old daughter Kerry has been holed up in her room since I picked her up from college a week ago.

What has she been doing?

She's been making my Christmas gift!

Every day she comes downstairs and comments on how it's coming.

Sometimes she seems excited about her creation.

Other times she seems discouraged, and tells me not to get my hopes up.

Annie told me there's no way she can come up with a better idea than Kerry.

Then, this morning, I heard about a children's book called Thank You, Bear.

Early one morning, a little bear found a little box.
He looked inside. Then he exclaimed,
“Why, it's the greatest thing ever! Mouse will love this.”
Bear's friends aren't so sure of his newfound treasure, however. “That's not so great,” says Monkey. “I've seen those before,” says Owl.

  You can see, through Bear's face and posture, that he was becoming discouraged by his friend's words. We all can relate to Bear as he sits wondering if his treasure is so great after all.
 But Mouse has the last say.  

 Mouse looked at it this way and that.
Then Mouse crawled inside the empty box 
and said,

"It's the greatest thing ever!"
“Thank you, Bear.”

There is a simple, powerful message in this story.
"It's all in how you look at it."

So as Christmas approaches, I can't wait to see the treasure that Kerry has for me!
But no matter what it is,  I'm sure I will love it!
I already know what the beauty of the gift really is.

By the way, our nickname for Kerry has always been "Berra".

Thank you, Berra!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

The INs and OUTs of Innies and Outies (Part 3)

In the book, The Introvert Advantage,  Marti Olsen Laney explains the differences between introverts and extroverts. Her research is valuable because it helps us to understand each other and lifts the shame of being an introvert.

The strongest difference between innies and outies lies in their energy source.

Extroverts are energized by the external world - by activities, people, places, and things.  They are like solar panels.  Solar panels need the sun to recharge, just as extroverts refuel by being out and about with many people, activities, and stimulation.

Introverts draw energy from their internal world of ideas, emotions, and  impressions.  They are like a rechargeable battery.  They need to stop expending energy and rest in order to recharge.  A less stimulating environment restores their energy.

What's important to know is 
you cannot change what you are. 
Introversion/extroversion is hard-wired.
Their brains are different.
It cannot be changed.
But we can learn to work with it.

Extroverts like to experience a lot.
Introverts like to know a lot about what they experience.

Extroverts like breadth - lots of friends, experiences, knowing a little bit about everything.  Life is about collecting experiences.  At a party, an extrovert will flit around and catch highlights from each conversation, not wanting to miss out on anything.

Introverts like depth.  They will limit their experiences but feel each of them deeply.  They have fewer friends but more intimacy.  Their mind absorbs information, reflects on it, expands it, mulls it over.  At a party, an introvert does not enjoy idle chit-chat.  They are more content to be in a deep, meaningful conversation with one or two people.

Extroverts think and talk all at the same time. It's effortless to them.  In fact, things become clearer as they speak out loud.

Introverts, on the other hand, need time to think and don't speak with spontaneity unless it's a familiar subject.  They don't talk for talk's sake.  They need to formulate their thoughts before they speak.

There is actually a gene (D4DR gene), or the "novelty seeking gene" that has been studied extensively.  This gene affects the neurotransmitter dopamine, which controls excitement levels and motivation.

Those with a long D4DR genes are less sensitive to dopamine, therefore needing to experience more of life's thrills to produce higher levels of dopamine in order to feel happy.  They can't stand repetitive experiences or routine work. They can be impulsive and temperamental.  They are fast talkers and persuaders. They are willing to take risks to gain rewards.

Those with short D4DR genes are more sensitive to dopamine. They receive enough dopamine in quiet activities that they don't need as much "buzz" in their lives to feel happy.  They feel more discomfort than enjoyment from thrill seeking or risk taking.  Orderly and cautious, they enjoy the comfort of routine and the familiar.  The like to see the big picture before plunging ahead.  They focus well on long-term projects.  They are even tempered, good listeners, and loyal.


Why do introverts feel like they are flawed?

Think about it.
Our culture values and rewards the qualities of extroverts.
We value action, speed, competition and drive.
Talkers are perceived as influential and become role models.
Introverts are outnumbered 3 to 1.
They feel pressure to "shape-up" and act like the rest of the world.

Take a look at the following definitions in the dictionary.
It is obvious that there is a negative stigma associated with

Introvert:  a personality trait characterized by preoccupation
                 with the self, lack of sociability,
                 passiveness.  A brooder, egoist, narcissist, loner.

Extrovert:  marked by obtaining gratification from what
                   is outside the self, friendly, uninhibited.
                   Social, a man of action.


Contrary to  popular belief, many public personalities
are introverts. 

Diane Sawyer
Abraham Lincoln
Michael Jordan
Bill Gates
Harrison Ford
Julia Roberts
Tom Hanks
JK Rowling
Steve Martin
Thomas Edison
Clint Eastwood


I could go on and on about this book.

It has changed the way I view myself.
I finally understand myself.
I finally know that I am not flawed.

This book is so valuable -

It's valuable to help parents understand their children.
It's valuable for teachers to undertand their students.
It's valuable for spouses to understand each other.
It's valuable for everyone to undertand each other.

Most of all, it gives introverts insight into their own selves.
It offers strategies on how to live in an extrovert world.

Pick up a copy.
You won't regret it!