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My Backyard Friends

Once upon a time, Stay at home moms communed over their backyard fences while hanging laundry out to dry. Their social needs to bond and chat were met because their days required them to be outside with their neighbors doing the very same chores. When the “automatic” washer and dryer arrived to make life easier, laundry became an inside task. And being inside meant a new era of isolation for the very people who needed community support.

Mt Vernon in Baltimore on

Where once women were connected and substantiated over our fences in the sunlight with sheets dancing in the wind and children shrieking at our heels, now there’s a disconnect to our backyards and to ourselves.  Garden and card playing clubs and porch sitting gave way to soap operas and TV sitcom addictions. We’ve fallen out of touch with our natural need to bond with people in our community, the ones we are always a part of whether we know it or not. We’ve forgotten how to request support. We suspect it might be good for us to have community “if we could just find the time”. We are unaware that the smile from someone and human touch can heal us from so much pain and fear.

At the Walter's Art Gallery on

Long disassociated from our fellow women folk, we surprised ourselves by embracing the internet and, stripped of all our pretenses, we delved into the online world of social media bearing our sorrows and struggles as we posted soulful paragraphs and square photographs. Suddenly a generation of turtle women is coming out of their shells. And we are connecting again with our global community albeit a sometimes faceless one as the rare selfie is all we have to go on to know what our new friends look like. What is truly amazing is that we already know each other even though we’ve never spoken.

My new Friend on

I was buoyed this month when I came out of the box and met with fellow Mother and creative Leah, a contemporary who I have much in common with and met through Instagram. I needed to hear her voice as she gave words to the same struggles I’m experiencing and suddenly, those struggles were smaller. We are more empowered to create plans of action together when we hear the same worries and realities behind others’ stories and we can say, “I’ve been there. This is what I did”. We allow ourselves to move on then.

A tthe Walters Art Gallery on

A the Walters Art Gallery on

A tthe Walters Art Gallery on

My new friend and I met for the first time at the Walters Art Gallery in downtown Baltimore, the city where we both spent our teen and young adult years. And what a delight to talk creativity and artistic direction. We talked about motherhood, childhood, stumbling and rising again.

I have a new friend and renewed hope that where I’m headed, and the lovely women I am headed there with, are all my destiny.

Garden in Baltimore on

 I like the view of my life’s possibilities standing out in my backyard, standing out in the world, standing with people I met through our new playground telling and listening to one another’s stories.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Good Enough

My life is brimming. Where there’s good family time, there’s also getting on my nerves time. Where there’s wonderful resources to read, there’s no designated time to read them. It’s a yin and yang of good stuff and bad stuff doused with expectations that leap and land in my head from who knows where and leave me saying, what sort of life is this? Am I doing it right? It feels like too much. And it is. Because I haven’t adjusted my expectations to meet up with my “best” work. I have yet to understand fully what “good enough” means.

I’m doing my best every day. I am the best mother I’m capable of being at any given moment under that moment’s circumstances. And lacking any more arms or a private paid army of task-doers, I’m doing a pretty darn good job. The dirty nails are clipped every so often. The bellies are filled and they whine with that spoiled tone that says their needs are met. Yet I can continue to feel like I’m not enough. Me thinks my standards of enough need to be lowered.

Motherhood is a Sisyphean task.

You finish sewing one seam shut, and another rips open.

I have come to believe that this life I’m wearing will

never really fit.”

Jodi Picoult, House Rules —


I’d like to be creative more often than I am these days. I think fondly of my craftroom as I’m grocery shopping or folding that next load of laundry. I aspire to so many wonderful soul building tasks as I do those mysterious housewife tasks I do so well. Our lives look calm because of my hard work. And I literally have no brain or energy left to get that leg up on myself that I yearn for. My aspirations are just above my head always making me feel like this much of a loser. Housework is Sisyphean indeed as my friend Sabrina suggests.

My therapist asked permission to bust me and I gave it to her. She said she observed that I was always looking for the negatives. I agree with her as I seem to collect them up and savor them like some sort of sad sack rosary ritual. I have defined myself for so long by what I don’t have and by what goes wrong that I don’t think I have a realistic understanding of what enough or my best truly is. But I need to hurry up and lower the bar if I ever want to hope to feel like maybe I’m on my game and where I need to be now.

That constant feeling like I’m not enough, not doing enough, can’t reach the standard or the bar that is set, is a joy stealer. Seems so sad to feel like I’m not doing my best when I work so very hard every day. So let’s adjust this scene shall we? Let’s lower the standard and make it easier to connect with joy every day somehow.

Simone de Beauvoir on cleaning:

Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

For me maybe it’s finding room in the budget to sub out my household work. Hire a cleaning lady regularly to get to the dusting I’ll never get to. Or maybe it’s being more Sandra Dee and buying prepackaged dinner for the ease of it all. Or doing one more day of childcare. Or just making Wednesdays my mandatory reading night. shift_happens_poster-rd503f831363f471786b0a74816875271_wad_8byvr_324

Any and all of these would help tremendously so why don’t I allow for all of them? Because I’m so used to having it be hard, it’s unthinkable to make it easy. If I keep holding the expectations above my head and those standards too high, I guarantee that I will always feel sucky. Shift is happening.

I spoke with a wheelchair bound woman about gardening recently. She can not get out to weed her garden and lose herself there like she’s used to. And when I bemoaned the fact that so many plants had been murdered off by the late spring cold snaps two years in a row, she looked at me and said,”You just pick up and start over again. You replant and begin again because there’s no other choice”. Wisdom of experience trumps whiny head voices.


The Danaides

So I am going to be very conscious of the standards of living I set that may be a little to haughty to keep myself risen to. Do my best, let go of the rest. Shoot those expectations right out of that pie in the sky. And begin again with the new belief that I’m doing my best at any given time. It’s my expectations of what my best should look like that need to go a little substandard in order to not go insane and live a feeling of happy fulfillment for the rest of my days until again I am forced to adjust my perceptions and my choices and begin anew in my spiritual and emotional garden.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.


I didn’t grow up with a working concept of community. Family lived far away and there were no church groups or potlucks. Other than a yearly community block party, there was just my Mom and my sister and my visits with my Dad. So when my husband and I began our family, I intuited our need to be part of a spiritual community which could support us and sustain us. That, as a part of a larger group, we could lean on it and give back in equal parts. And I hoped my children would know about the interconnected web of humanity, the necessity of community, and the care-taking for one another that takes place within.

Every Memorial Day weekend our Unitarian Universalist fellowship community holds a yard sale fundraiser requiring a lot of hands-on work. Last year when I was still up to my eyeballs in baby and crazy, I couldn’t help. This year I offered myself up for three days of yard sale work as I am good at yard sale organization and pricing.Twister at church on

But I was dreading this week. I dreaded the sacrifice of my few child-free days for work that wasn’t creative and productive and for my personal benefit. I also dreaded humping stuff in out of houses and trucks and pricing and displaying all the stuff. But I told myself, this was the week I was showing up and being of service to my community daggone it.

But what is community and what is service? A community is based on relationships. It is composed of friends and families who share similar interests or beliefs or live in the same place and often become more like family through sharing lives. The reciprocal giving and receiving, often through service, is the foundation for these relationships. You then pay it forward when you support the church or the Rotary or Lion’s Club as they give back to the same community you are a part of. And the recycling of kindness and generosity is just a really nice process to be a part of. I kept these concepts in mind as I pushed past my grumbling brain onto the work at hand. Daddy and Fiona on

I understood this week was about being humble and not making it about me. I understood there is always a job that needs doing for the larger community. And I came to understand that the sacrifice feels better when there’s visible value. I was asked to move stuff out of storage to the church for a woman who spends much of her time in a wheelchair. I saw the relief on this woman’s face and I saw progress as I helped price and organize the mound of stuff for the yard sale that would then profit the church and the community they then benefit. Like the spreading ripples of a stone thrown in a pond, even the littlest gestures of service affect many others.

As I am honoring and understanding Memorial Day today, my thought is that serving your country in Military Service is brave and often thankless work. As the likelihood of having someone in your family who has served in a war is dwindling, fewer people understand Military sacrifice . Our reciprocal gift to our service people is our recognition of their service and sacrifice.

The holiday reminds us that, although sacrifice is not the goal of military service, it is too often the outcome. If we did not understand the generosity and necessity of the work of our military personnel as service to the country, their passing would be pointless.

Thanking a service person for their work may be awkward. They may not be comfortable with accepting compliments as they see this as their job and not an invaluable service to us. An interviewed soldier says this about someone offering him thanks. “It feels a bit like that ‘thank you’ belongs to someone else…I’ve made my peace with the fact that they can’t find the wounded warriors or the families or someone who died in service to offer that thank you to. So it’s my responsibility to accept it graciously.” Perfect words don’t exist yet something still needs to be said or perhaps done to acknowledge the loss of people who were serving their country and community when they lost their lives.


horses on the handles for Service on

This week I discovered being of service is tougher and more rewarding than you’d think. And that once you’ve given of yourself to serve a greater community, you feel better than you would just serving yourself. Your esteem raises as does your faith in humanity. And you come to understand that good wins even in the presence of the ugliness. You can find gratitude and ease in knowing that for those whose backs you’ve gotten, they’ll have yours as well.  And that through the giving and respectful receiving of these gifts time and skill, we then have the honor and great privilege of valuing the best of what we are as a civilized human beings.

Happy Memorial Day Fellow Citizens !

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Turnbridge Point Bed and Breakfast Open House

One of the facts of home-ownership is that you can’t pick your neighbors. And when our neighbors of nearly nine years sold their house last year, we were slightly apprehensive about who would replace them. Meme was a third grandmother to my son and Mr Ray helped me many times when stuff went awry and Mark was working.The front  hallway in Turnbridge Point Bed and Breakfast from

We bid them farewell and waited for the new neighbors to move in. Being an optimist, I placed a welcome home card in the mailbox to greet my new neighbors. And we then became the luckiest family in town when Chef Steve Konopelsky and his spouse Rob Griffith moved down from New York to the Eastern Shore of Maryland with plans to make the beautiful mansard mansion and riverfront property into a bed and breakfast.

The library TV room in the Turnbridge Point B & B on

We chatted when they walked their beagles by the house and we chatted over the bushes and began a food friendship ushering our son out the door to deliver and pick up food next door. Did I mention Chef Steve is a pastry chef? He’s also a feeder like me. And Steve and “Robin”, as Fiona calls him, have already established themselves as kind and doting Uncles. Double score.

One of Five bedrooms at the Turnbridge Point B & B on

Upstairs hallway at the Turnbridge Point B & B on

Last Friday May 15th, The Turnbridge Point Bed and Breakfast in Denton, Maryland had its official unveiling and open house.

One of Five bedrooms at the Turnbridge Point B & B on

For accommodation descriptions visit but suffice it to say, Chef Steve is a service industry professional.

One of Five bedrooms at the Turnbridge Point B & B on

View through the rooms at the Turnbridge Point B & B on

His rooms are luxurious and comfortable and his food is extremely yummy.

One of Five bedrooms at the Turnbridge Point B & B on

And there’s an air of indulgence in his “Stay and Play Packages”.

Offerings include private baking lessons, breakfast in bed, and a tour of Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel, Maryland.

Steve and Rob hosting their Open House at the Turnbridge Point Bed and Breakfast on

The owner of this local winery was serving his local wine at the Open House. Chef Steve had goodies and gnosh food to chew as we gabbed with friends and community members. So many faces from a community I feel I’m just starting to know in ways while Steve has an impressive way of throwing roots out into it so comfortably. He used locals to design his website and his flowers and renovate the kitchen to the perfect catering kitchen. And he pairs with many local businesses to create his Play Packages at Turnbridge Point.

Guests at the Turnbridge B & B open house on

Flowers at the Turnbridge B & B open house on

At nightfall, this beautiful property was lit up with lighting designed and installed by my husband Mark and his lighting company,

On Your Mark Lighting Design and Equipment.

The view of the river at the Turnbridge B & B open house on

Shiny nautical themed lanterns lit a path down to the riverside. And uplights lit the front of 119 Gay Street and made the event a grander affair.

The front of the houise at the Turnbridge B & B open house on

My children wandered about for a little while saying hello to familiar faces and grabbing crackers off trays.

Juliette and Fiona at the Turnbridge Point open house on

And I met and talked with a few people I have wanted to get to know about travel and life experiences.

Guests at Turnbridge Point open house on

Guests at Turnbridge Point open house on

Guests at Turnbridge Point open house on

The hosts, the weather, and the spirit couldn’t have been lovelier. And we so wish them luck in this marvelous endeavor.

Fiona and Eamon at the Turnbridge Point B & B on

But something tells me, they don’t really need my wishes of luck. They’ve already worked super hard and with their future on this property envisioned,

are well on their way to making their vision a reality.

My Chair is Where…

There in the corner is my chair. Overstuffed khaki slip covered large butt chair with a faux sheep covered ottoman.

My Chair is where…

Mother's Day kitties on

I write and receive morning guests.

I drink coffee and talk with my husband.

Mother's day in my chair on

I give “snuggles” and pets.

Fiona and Me Selfie on

I watch TV or tune out.

Fiona in my chair on

I breastfed my babies and watch the traffic go by.

Babies in my chair on

I catnap and connect my dots, ponder my value, and write in my journal.

Chair pile up selfie in May '15 on

Cats perch on the chair back behind me, children wedge their ever-widening butts beside me, and occasionally we take morning time selfies to amuse ourselves and remember…my chair is where it all starts.

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