I slowly folded back the turquoise tissue paper. Underneath lie a carefully folded red sweater. A lusciously soft cashmere, it was my exact size. Another Shelly gift. Shelly is a relative by marriage turned beloved friend whom I might only see once a year despite her living in a neighboring town. We share a love of vintage, thrifting, and one another. Every now and then she delights me with a selection from her closet or her most recent Salvation Army scouting. Shelly’s surprise answered the question I ask myself at the start of each year: What do I want more
NEXT: An Empowerment Series
Attorney and life coach Susan Koenig guides, supports, and inspires you on the journey of creating a life you love.
They caught my eye this morning. Their stems standing tall. Their petite pink flowers matching the morning sky. My punchbowl begonia was beautiful. Perhaps the lens through which I saw them made my vision rosy. The day had begun beautifully, so it could be everything looked lovely. I meditated with our cat Moonbeam coming by for a visit. I did some sun salutations. I made the bed and Kevin made the tea, delivering it to me as I read the morning news. “It’s almost Christmas,” he said. “And just a week until my birthday,” I grinned. “You deserve a present,”
Growing up on an Oklahoma subsistence farm with her 12 siblings, she was taught to keep her personal business private. That changed in October of 1991 when Clarence Thomas sought his lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court. Anita Hill’s moral courage called. Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Thomas confirmation hearings. She detailed his sexual harassment while she worked as a lawyer at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It included everything from pressuring her for dates to graphic talk about pornography. The 14 white men grilled her for hours and, as The New Yorker reported, did everything possible
As best we can recall, it’s a first. This weekend we will celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary in our family. My grandparents all passed by the time I was in grade school. I don’t remember my parents ever celebrating an anniversary, and Dad died when mom was just 59. Some divorced. My sister Diane came the closest but lost the love of her life after 46 years. Both divorce and widowhood meant I’d not make the mark. But now, we celebrate a miraculous milestone. A short hospital stay gave my shy brother Dave a chance ask his nurse Jan out on a date.
The clerk assisting me in the shoe department needed to page for assistance. Talking into the tiny mic hanging from the cord around her neck she said, “I’m helping an athlete.” I smile to myself at yet another clever corporate marketer making us feel special by being more than a “customer”. We are now visitors and guests and apparently also athletes. I casually turn my body sideways, pretending I’m not listening so as to avoid our mutual embarrassment. We both know I’m not an athlete. Sports were not a part of my childhood. I never saw either of my
Huddled under heavy blankets, we sat circled around the blazing fire. Above us the waxing crescent moon glowed between tree branches beginning to bare and a star-filled sky that delighted us city dwellers. Our annual autumn gathering was underway. Two of us became orphans in just the past month. Each lost a mother who’d more than nine decades including the Great Depression, multiple wars, and two waves of feminism. Years of our repeated ritual gave a sense of safety, so the sharing of stories started at once. Gretchen painted a picture of her mother’s final years, months, and days, her
I peeked in and saw her framed diplomas sat stacked, patiently awaiting to be hung. I felt a slight wave of nostalgia as I looked floor to ceiling around the office that star litigator Lindsay was about to make her own. 22 years ago that room first became mine. She would be the fourth of us to call it hers. In 2000, after 17 years of working in humble suites across the street from the courthouse, the firm made its big move to Little Bohemia. That same season, my husband John got his diagnosis. After years of him defying the
I can’t remember when we met, but no doubt he would. Pudge’s memory is legendary. On Friday nights Pudge would saunter from his bar stool to our table with his beer in hand. The Cozy Corner was the lone spot in Irwin for a bite to eat. John and I often stopped in before heading to the rundown farmhouse just outside of town that served as our retreat from city life. Pudge a consummate cosmopolitan living in a community of a few hundred. He could connect current events with detailed knowledge of presidents from Roosevelt to Reagan while eliciting a
“I don’t need another award,” I said softly. It was a feeble protest about my nomination for an upcoming honor. ‘It’s not for you,” she said, looking me straight in the eyes. Despite not a scintilla of judgment in her voice, I immediately felt a gentle punch in my gut followed by a warm flush in my face. Clearly I’d thought it was. “Awards are not for us,’ she explained with the gentleness of a parent revealing to a child that Santa wasn’t real. I was silent, confused by both her words and my shame upon hearing them. “They’re for
“Would you be willing to talk to them?” Bob asked. I was on a weekend retreat at Bob and Gerry’s, enjoying the perpetually sunny skies of San Diego when he made the ask. Bob had just run into Sue in the laundry room, and she’d tearfully told him her husband’s devastating diagnosis. Prostate cancer is so slow growing at the start that the recommendation is often merely “watchful waiting”. But when the words “metastasized to bone” are included, the fear of death looms instantly. “Of course,” I said. Bob thought I might be helpful, and I hoped I could be.