Out With The Old, In With The Old

What do you do with something you inherit, but don’t really want? Either you try and get your sibling to take it or you re-create it into something you love.

Such was with the old dining room furniture that belonged to my grandmother and was deposited in our home when my parents left Denver. My Bobie (Yiddish for grandmother) had lovely furniture. But let’s face it –  it looked like my Bobie’s lovely furniture.

When we moved last Spring and I gave most everything to anyone walking by,  I suggested to my husband that we keep two of the dining room pieces and try and make them into something we could use to keep my Bobie’s spirit alive in our home – she loved people and her dining room was always filled with the sound of family (I have wonderful memories of sitting in her dining room with my cousins and of the smoked whitefish and lox spreads during Connecticut visits).

My intention with my dining room is to create a space that is colorful and comfy (still waiting to get the curtains hung and buffet lights back from the shade maker – final pic to come). We don’t have an eat in kitchen that fits more than 3, so this room takes on a special meaning. It’s where friends will gather and help us make our house a home.

So, imagine my excitement when my talented painter, Matt, stained and burned the china cabinet to reflect a transitional theme. With a new coat of stain, you can see the old wood burnish through. Now we have Bobie’s china displayed and easily accessible. I am sincerely trying to use what I have and if I don’t love it, I am passing it on. It is said that using your good china, wearing your best underwear everyday and drinking good wine if you are going to drink, are ways to add quality to one’s life.

If you have it, use it. If not, lose it.

As I set the table for casual dinner with friends, I will raise one of my Bobie’s crystal goblets filled with Diet Coke and toast the lady who would have encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to with her furniture. She was all about being who she was and dressing with a skip in her step. I think she would have loved the fuchsia inside that brings out the fuchsia in her china. She always added an accessory or color to her outfit.

Here’s to loving what I have. And to those who give me much to love.

How do you MindFULLY use what you have? Let us know!

Ooops, I Did It Again

A few weeks ago, I once again got caught up in my “downsizing/cleaning out” mode and ripped through my closet. 14 trash bags later, I rushed to GoodWill before I could change my mind.

Darn! In the bags were 3 things I wish I had kept. Red suede loafers that I bought to celebrate my Masters Degree in ‘95, high heeled loafer work shoes that were made for “working women” and a gold lame’ sweater set that gave me a silly sense of elegance. It also made me look like the “Mother of the Bride.” It had to go. The loafers had been re-soled four times and the insides were peeling onto my feet and socks. The high heeled loafers were hard to stand in for more than 10 minutes. Still, I miss them.

I sense a freedom in letting go and also a bit of sadness.

Such has been this sense, after last weekend when my daughter and I spent a rainy and cold Yum Kippur afternoon in the basement, working on journals and talking of atonement and insight. Rather than attend holiday services in the same old way, we lit a candle, turned on the lava lamp and created a new Pandora station. As we cut and pasted into our New Year Intention books, I couldn’t help but think about all of the different ways we had celebrated holidays in years past.

I had the same mixed bag of feelings when I looked inside my closet.  Stuffed with clothes that no longer fit, I took them out and gratefully passed them on to a place that would ensure someone would enjoy them. I realized that an old way I used to celebrate the Jewish High Holidays no longer fit, and gratefully let it go with blessings for the community I used to be part of. I felt that sense of freedom and sadness.

Change is hard. We hold onto things and people, thinking we should; we will wear it again or we will “see them soon.” And for some, that is true. I’m not advocating giving it all away. Heavens no! I have a few wonderful items that I carefully keep tucked on a shelf and many friends/family who live here and around the country that I truly hope to “see soon,” in spite of the time that separates such good intentions.

No, no, no…I am talking of the long brown satin dress that I wore to the fundraising Ball two years ago. The one that a friend held up and quizzically snickered, “How long ago were you a bridesmaid?” Or the group I used to work hard to be part of and now realize that I had given my best intention/love/loyalty/creativity to and  for a variety of reasons, some theirs, some mine, I am no longer part of. For me,  the thing about clearing out is that I make room to add in – the friend I made by being on a new Board, the memory I created by giving an old tradition a new spin, the new clothes I bought that are appropriate for my age, but still make me  look fun.

As my friend Vesna says, there is great peace in Gumzalatova – a Yiddish saying that means “Its all for the best.”

It’s hard to know that when your heart hurts or you long for those old comfortable shoes.

But there is some ease for me in knowing that what I have is what I should have, Today.

A funny, hip and straight shooting friend of mine, who used to be in retail, says the new color combo for the season is gray with brown, taupe or black and that if you add a scarf for zip, you will no longer look like the “Mother of the Bride.” So, I  splurged and bought myself a great scarf at Nordstrom’s last week. It was my metaphor for wrapping myself in something that fits and that I delight in. I wear it, draped around my neck in a new knot, as I look across the table and see my husband and daughter —  and in that moment I know that all of the choices I have made in my life, to let go or to hold on, are right. And that knowing is worth keeping.

Now if I can only clean out the “what if” voice in my head. Where is that trash bag?

What can you MindFULLY clean out of your real and proverbial closet? Let us know!


My daughter has a homework assignment that befuddles me. So, what’s new? I could hardly pass school given the work I see her complete and the load she juggles. I don’t remember having so much to do – or having learned as much as she does.

She is currently studying water. There is more to the story than that, but beyond turning it off when I am washing dishes to conserve it, that is all I really know. I do think about it and understand that water is Political Power, but on a topic much deeper, I plead daily ignorance.

That’s why when we headed to the library to get some “print sources” for her research, I wasn’t as helpful as I would have liked to have been. Picking up one of the books, I couldn’t even pronounce the word “hydrostratigraphy”. Not only did it roll off her tongue, she knew what it meant.

Whether it’s what she studies or how she studies, it is new to me.

But what was familiar and still awe-inspiring, was the library. The downtown branch of Denver Public Library is now blocks away from our new home.

What a gem. Designed by architect Michael Graves, the library is adjacent to the Denver Art Museum.  It is truly a work of art.

When she suggested we head to the downtown branch instead of the small branch in the heart of a neighborhood close by, all I could think of was where to park. But as we got closer, street parking was open and we slid right in. Walking a block or two, the building loomed ahead. I felt a rush of excitement.

Once inside, I breathed in quiet. Then I breathed out gratitude; For the books, music, videos, resources, reference librarians, beautiful chairs, bright light and worlds beyond ours that required no more than a card. All free. It’s amazing to think about. And even greater to experience.

I haven’t been to the library in a long time. Now I can’t wait to go back. I guess I am learning something new. My lesson is how to appreciate something right in my own back yard.

Now, that is a lesson I hope to always remember.

When was the last time you went to the library and what did you MindFULLY learn? Let us know!