Tag Archives: Laura

BLOG – GIFT DAY 196 :: for better or worse?

15 Jul
Today, I continue my CARD CRUSADE.
My little way of saying thank you and spreading some abundance.

And I have a question:
Is your handwriting better or worse than it was five years ago?

I find, as I write out these cards each day, that my handwriting is strained. As if my hands have forgotten how to write with pen and ink.

However, I can now type much faster.

And my thumbs, well, even though they are stubby, they can text pretty darn fast.

But my penmanship — that was honed over years of practicing calligraphy — has suffered from this digital revolution.

Just one more reason to get out a piece of paper and write. The old fashioned way.

And, to commemorate this newfound exercise for my fingers… I have added a little inspiration to my desk.

It feels like a real writing desk now. Flowers and prayers included.

Yesterday’s card (which had to be mailed today because it was Sunday) went out to a very special person.

Her name is Laura. And every time I see the sunflowers in our garden I think of her. I’m not sure why …sunflowers just remind me of my sunny friend, who I met in college as a freshman.

Laura has been with me through thick and thin and back again. From my mother’s funeral to my divorce decree, to jobs coming and going…

Laura has been that friend that will drop everything and find a reason to call, or write, or send a card.

Speaking of cards…
I have the best news and I can’t wait to share it with you…. tomorrow. 

Tomorrow, I will also share who received today’s card in the mail.

Here’s your hint:
– she was in the restaurant biz
– she is super fun
– she loves dogs

More tomorrow.
Lovemore {fearless}
Jamie
{do you have a card to send someone?}

GIFT DAY 011: who painted my house blue?

11 Jan

I walked through my old neighborhood today.

I happened to be in the Davis/Porter Square neighborhood for lunch today with my friend, the most amazing and awesome Paige.

Anyhooo…

On a whim I decided to find my old house. The first house I moved to in Boston. Back in the day. In my twenties. With my college friends, Laura and Lisa.

I found the house at 31 St. James.
But it wasn’t what I was looking for.

I thought I would find my old, yellow house.
Turns out 31 St. James is now blue.

31 st james, jamie eslinger, the promise 365

Like, electric BLUE.

I stood in the street for a few moments squinting, trying to remember what the house looked like when I lived there. When it was YELLOW. When it was my home.
After snapping a few photos I walked down the street to find our old friend WINSTON.
Winston was the best neighbor, friend, and confidant.
Winston was always there for us.
Winston never let us down.

Because Winston was a tree.
Still is.

Winston, the promise 365, jamie eslinger

Every time we passed Winston, the three of us would call out his name in unison.

“Hellooooooo Winston!

Mr. Winston is still there, looking as strong as ever.

And that reminded me of me of Laura and Lisa. They have always been here for me, through thick and thin.

When 31 St. James was a house of yellow, we three girls had each other.

At 31 St. James, we helped each other through the death and divorce of parents. We got engaged, started jobs and shut down internet companies. We cried our eyes out. We laughed over stupid movies. We gasped in disbelief after going to bed one night and waking up in the morning shocked to hear that George Bush was elected president.

And then we ate frozen chocolate chip cookie dough — right out of the container. We threw parties (and we threw up a few times too!).

Always TOGETHER.
We were the crew of 31 St. James.

st james group, jamie eslinger, the promise 365
So today, my gift of the day was to my girls. Just a simple photo of a house that was once yellow but is now BLUE. Electric blue.

Kind of fitting too.
Because our friendship has only become more electric as time has passed.

We may live in three different parts of the country, in three different colored houses, but in our hearts we will always have 31 St. James — no matter what color they paint it.

Because just like Mr. Winston, our friendship is still there, looking as strong as ever.

And that’s the gift of a lifetime.

More tomorrow.
Lovemore,
Jamie

{Have some life-long, rock-on friends? Feel free to share on the blog.}

Day 240: swinging in the rain

28 Aug

It rained this morning. Scratch that, it poured — as if the earth cried a blustery sob.

And then blew its nose on all of us.   

The rain kept me inside all morning, until finally the sun gave way and I left my perch above my laptop. I had errands to run. The Post Office awaited.

After mailing my parcels I turned right instead of left out of the parking lot (to avoid one crazy intersection).  Just that one move, that split decision, sent me in a whole new direction.

As I drove a different road home I spotted something I have not done for years, maybe even decades. A park swing. Memories of swinging rushed back to me. College days and lazy afternoons with my roommate Laura, where we grown women too-old-to-play-on-a-swingset sought them out and sang in the sunshine as our bodies tipped up and down and back up again.

There’s really nothing else that makes you feel like a child. 

So today, as I passed the park swing I abruptly turned around and drove back.  Why not?

The park was empty. The swingset was all alone. I grabbed the widest, most sturdy looking rubber seat and gave it a go. I even (tried) to take a photo with camera phone in one hand, the other gripping tightly to the chains.

It was fun!
And freeing!

If I thought I was too old for a swingset at eighteen, as a freshman in college, then I don’t know what that makes me at thirty-eight?  Call me the Grandma of Swingtown. I don’t care, it was worth it.

As my feet pumped me up and down, through the air and back to the earth again, I felt a little voice inside me scream, Wheeeeee! 

And then another belted out: You’re too old for this!

Then again it said: Whhheeeeeeee! 
And I retorted: You’re too old for this!
To which I finally landed on: Who cares!!

And, then it occurred to me that I had to LAND somewhere.

When I was young I would just jump out of the swing, waiting for it to reach its peak and then fly out of the saddle without a care. But, now, I’m not so young. But, I’m not so old either, so who says I can’t jump right out of the saddle?

I decided to go for it.  No fear.

1 – 2 – 3 – JUMP!
I thankfully landed on my feet. No bruises or scrapes.

Just a big smile on my face.

And, isn’t that how it goes? 
Once you decide to jump there is always a safe landing. Somewhere.

Wheeeeee!

Day 150: chill out, love -or- how to train your puppy

30 May

I love the word YES.
But, I have become the Queen of No.

We saw some of our favorite people this week.  One, was my college roommate, Laura, who conveniently lives right off I-95 in Wilmington, Delaware.  We are so lucky to see her every spring and fall on our trek between north and south.

This time, however, I felt like we arrived with the traveling circus in tow.  Our dogs.  One broke a lawn chair. The other ate all the sticks in her yard.

I suppose if you are a dog person you can easily nod your head in a “been there, done that” sort of fashion.  Laura’s family owns a cat, but she seemed to be very understanding of our canine mayhem, just the same.

For the record, we paid her for the broken chair and left with our tails tucked between our legs.  Good thing Laura has two children and a really big heart — and has known me for over twenty years!

Our next I-95 stop-over was with our favorite vet, and cousin, Brian.

This was Brady’s first time meeting Brian and he was, of course, on his best puppy behavior, which he proudly displayed by immediately sniffing out rat poison in the yard and gulping it down.

Did I mention Brian is our favorite vet?  He took control of the situation immediately with a little peroxide solution. Brady made it through just fine.

And, then, this old dog learned a few new tricks.

Brian explained the subtle nuances of dog training.
And, it’s all about LOVE.

Puppies don’t respond to “no” commands. They respond only to positive ones.  (Don’t we all?!)

Brian instructed us to ignore Brady when he cries, makes a fuss, turns into a puppy nightmare — because all he wants is love and attention — even if he has to throw a form of tantrum to get it.  (Sounds like all well-meaning two-year-olds to me.)

Which made me realize I have been doing everything ALL WRONG. 
I have been the mothership of “NO” — “STOP” — “DON’T DO THAT!” — in hopes of showing Brady the ropes, and laying down the rules.

Turns out, I have been talking HUMAN and Brady only understands DOG.  But, there is a language that connects the two, and it’s called…. yep, you guessed it, LOVE.

Some tips from Brian included this: find Brady when he is doing exactly what we want him to do — like, laying down, nice and quiet and relaxed — and reward him with our attention.  Approach him with love and praise and say, “Chill Out. Good Dog.” in a happy, loving way.

“No” goes unheard because it is meaningless.
Love is actually training.

So, we have a new rule around here.
No more NO’s.

So, far, it’s working well. For one, I find myself saying much more positive words. I am also wiring myself to be on the lookout for positive behavior.  I can’t help but think that I must sound like a drugged out slacker, talking like The Dude from The Big Lebowski all day long with, “Chill out, good chill out!”

The good news?
So far, we have mastered a “SIT” on command without food involved! (Not me, Brady.)

And, I have ordered the book Brian suggested, Good Dog, Great Owner by Brian Kilcommons, in hopes of becoming a better purveyor of puppy love.

Of course, all of this doesn’t take the puppy out of the pup.
He just ate Justin’s ear phones for dinner.

But, I am looking the other way — or at least looking for other positive behavior to reinforce.  Like… “Throw up the wiring you just ate! Good doggy.”

I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it sometime soon.

Until then, I am reminded about the power of love.
No matter the question, or behavior, or the relationship, be it between humans or dogs …the answer is always love.

Woof.
Now, excuse me while I go chill out. 

Day 80: cottey friends we’ll always be until the end of time

20 Mar

I’ve gone back to school!
And, I’m all set up in my dorm room.

Except, this time it’s in the beautiful mansion on the edge of campus — that same mansion where I always wanted to peek inside the windows.

Much has changed in 18 years. For one thing, that mansion is now part of the campus and I am staying in one of the guest rooms. (A small dream come true.)

Now that mansion is called the Center for Women’s Leadership, a gift of Dr. Helen and George Washburn. And, right inside the door is their photo.

Dr. Helen Washburn is no longer the college President, as she was while I was a student, but just seeing their faces felt like coming home.

Being here also makes me think of my college pals, Laura and Lisa.  Here we are at Elvis’ Graceland on our way to Spring Break — “back in the day.”

Those girls seem so young now, and the proof is in my mirror.

I’m sure I’ll see many other changes on campus tomorrow morning, but until then, I can’t get this song out of my head.

Friends we are and friends will always be,
We’ll meet again, returning faithfully.

Cottey friends, we’ll always be,
Until the end of time.

Day 331: inner peace and interior bliss

27 Nov

Nap Day around here.
In between meals and football games Pup and I took advantage of the last day of Thanksgiving Weekend and officially napped it out.

It was good for our bodies and souls.

It felt great.
I didn’t realize how tired my body was from the move, the driving, the unpacking, the settling in, while still trying to keep a somewhat normal human schedule, until I settled down to read a book and fell directly asleep.

If nothing else, I am certainly grateful for the time national holidays give us to catch up — with family and on some z’s too.

And, tonight, I think I experienced the antidote to Black Friday-Small-Business-Saturday-Cyber-Monday-Hurry-You-Are-Running-Out-Of-Time-Madness — otherwise known as the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Simply Being. 

Sounds easy doesn’t it?
Actually, it is easy. It’s an App on my iPad.

Simply Being, Guided Mediation for Relaxation and Presence.
My friend Laura recommended it, and while this one costs a few dollars there are free versions too.  Plus, you can choose your length of meditation (Need a quickie?  Five minutes will do.  Need to chillax?  Take the 20 minute med).  You can learn more at MeditationOasis.com 

I also downloaded the Houzz App too.  It’s free.  It’s fabulous.  It’s all about interior design.  And, it has over 224,00 photos of inspiring displays of architecture and design.  Plus, you can keep your own Ideabook with favorite images and ideas.

Yes, it is clearly a new age for searching and finding both inner peace and interior bliss.

And, I am fully convinced that looking through my iPad Apps would tell you more about me than my Myers-Briggs score.

While I sometimes hover between a ESTJ and an ESFJ, my iPad has on full display my favorite Apps.

Likes: Pocket Yoga, O Magazine, Kindle, Evernote and Hulu+.
Hardly uses: NFL score, eBay, RedLaser, and Words Free.

Along with Nap Day, I guess we could call this App Day.
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Makes me remember Sunday’s of long ago, when I used to drink coffee and read a thing called a …what was that called?

Oh yes, A Newspaper.

Day 310: not real simple

6 Nov

Today I caught up on old magazines, of the Real Simple and Oprah sort. I holed up under a blanket with Laura’s stash of glossies on my lap while all the children took naps and I dove right into the pages of Consumer-Land.

Within the pages I found a few lovely options (like the photo above!).
It has me thinking about a question Laura asked me tonight:

“What will be your very first purchase in 2012?”

It’s hard to know at this point in time.

Will it be a necessity?
Like snow boots after a freak snow storm while we are visiting family in the Seattle area during the holiday?

Or will it be pure style?
Will I wait it out until Ms. Holly Getty takes me shopping in New York City?

I don’t know the answer yet.

But right now, I can say this:
The answer is not real simple.

Day 309: my favorite shirt :: holes and all

5 Nov

My favorite shirt is made of an ultra-thin cotton weave, is light and soft, and long sleeved.  Now it has more holes than I can count. Or mend. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I would buy a new one if I could, but of course I can’t— not yet anyway.

Someday I will replace my favorite shirt.
But right now, it still reigns.

This shirt was one of the first items I purchased after my divorce, after I lost over 30 pounds in the process, as well as losing most of everything I owned.  When it was all said and done, I didn’t fit into what was left of my life, including the clothing.

So I bought a few things for the new me, including two staples:
My favorite shirt.
My favorite pair of jeans.

Both are now tattered and torn.  But both are all mine, all me and alright just as they are.

They have been to Mexico with me, to the west coast, east coast, north, south and everything in between. They have been to the beach and to the mountains, through sand and through snow, on boats and buses.

Today my favorite shirt went bowling with two of my favorite friends:  Laura and Lisa.

Someday I will buy a new favorite shirt, I’m sure, but it’s hard to imagine getting rid of my wonderful old favorite shirt.

Because just like my favorite girlfriends, my favorite shirt has seen me through some of the hardest and most wonderful years of my life — and still fits just right. Tatters and all.

Day 296: a road trip for the body and soul

23 Oct

I slept next to this contraption once at Boston Logan Airport.
All night long it went Cling! Ping! Ding! Whoosh! Whack.

It was during a holiday with my trusted traveling buddies Laura and Lisa. We were road tripping between Boston and New York during Thanksgiving Break in order to do our patriotic duty of walking the Freedom Trail and witnessing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade all in one week.

We were sophomores in college and back then it made total logical sense to sleep in the airport instead of pay for a hotel room (since we had early morning flights).

All night long I heard the inner workings of the art installation as I tried to wrap my six-foot frame into some sort of slumber between two arm rests of the pleather airport lounge seat.

All night long it went Cling! Ping! Ding! Whoosh! Whack.

Today as I sat next to this same contraption at Logan’s Terminal E, I thought to myself — I will never do that again.

I’m discovering there’s a lot of things I would never do again.  But, back then, it was exciting to spend a night in a foreign city — at the airport!

Actually, it was more than exciting, it was daring.

Everything about that trip was daring for three 19 year-old women from small agricultural towns.  We rode buses and subways and planes through the great North East. We booked a (seedy) hotel room in Times Square.  (I have no idea HOW we found a HOTEL ROOM back then without the INTERNET.  But we did.)

We froze in arctic wind tunnels in the shadows of New York City sky scrapers as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floated before our very eyes.  At least, that is, until we couldn’t take the bitter cold anymore and then huddled all together in the doorway of a luxury hotel under outdoor heaters.

We ran through the streets of New York laughing and giggling. With wide eyes and big hearts we tried our best to fit in.

We thought we were so sophisticated.
We laughed like school girls.

We made our way through by sensing and seeing and asking for directions.

At stop lights and intersections we instinctively followed the crowd.
“They go. We go!” We screamed to each other following native New Yorkers into the street without (GASP!) that familiar blinking walk signal.

Like I said, it was daring.

Other road trips took Laura, Lisa and I to Chicago, SeattleAlabama and the Gulf of Mexico.  With each new adventure we grew bigger as the world became smaller.

As I sat next to that same old contraption, chiming and clinking in the airport today, I was whooshed back in time to a younger, risk-taking version of myself.

It occurred to me that the journey I am on this year, during this promise, isn’t all that different from the adventures and risks I took back then.

This road trip is taking me in a different direction of course, one more inward than out.  But, in a way, it is allowing me to grow bigger while the world appears to be smaller with each and every step.

And, in much the same way, I am making my way through this head/heart/body & soul road trip by sensing and seeing and asking for directions.

In the process, I have cleaned up my food act, learned to meditate, traded cookies for green smoothies, and powered through yoga.

I have discovered I shop for emotional reasons far beyond my conscious awareness.

But, more than anything, I am learning how to touch the surface of my soul and hear the voice of my mother again.  Like the tip of an iceberg there is still so much more to discover.

Who would have thought not shopping could bring me so many riches?

And, that thought alone, makes the light bulb inside my head go Cling! Ping! Ding! Whoosh! Whack.

Day 276: yes you can

3 Oct

It’s October.
For Red Sox fans that means a few painful tears and jeers. For breast cancer patients and survivors October means wading through a sea of pink products and reminders that there is a “fight” to be fund-raised, walked, raced, and hopefully won someday soon.

For me, in this year of taking care of my head, heart, body and soul, October means a new season in my life and a new promise to myself.

I am officially committing to changing my dependence on caffeine.

It may be a small step, but for me it’s a big commitment to a dance I have been stumbling around and stepping on my own toes for awhile.  When I announced my new “new” commitment to reduce caffeine in my diet, Justin smiled and said: “You know you already did that, and then decided as long as it didn’t have sugar in it you could drink it again, right?”

Yes.
He’s right.
That’s exactly what happened.

But it is different this time.

For one: I am not going cold turkey like I did with sugar.  I will allow a little and hopefully that will help me get off of a lot.

For two:  I have a bigger inspiration for making things stick.  After meeting with Suzi last week I realized that I need to take care of my body for more than just me, for more than just this year of The Promise 365. I owe it to my future too — for having a family and creating a strong body that can make strong babies someday.

And, that, is all the inspiration I need to say:  yes you can.

There is great confidence in saying that three letter word: yes!

Just today my dear friend Laura sent me a link to an incredible story of a woman named Vicki George. Vicki was an outstanding athlete, playing intercollegiate varsity softball at Temple University and ultimately women’s major league fast pitch (not to mention a whole lineup of other sports too).

At the age of 39 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
When I read Vicki’s story my heart fell.  I know the pain of being an athlete one week and a patient the next, trading in a uniform for a hospital johnny.

But, guess what Vicki did?
Instead of allowing her disability to disable her, Vicki started an organization called Yes U Can, a community-based, staff-assisted exercise program for people with disabilities, people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get up and out to the gym — including herself.

Being able to work out her muscles gave Vicki a sense of new-found control  — rather than being helpless and feeling hopeless.

“I felt like I was back in control again. I felt empowered to do things. I didn’t feel helpless. I started to feel alive again. I started to accept what I could not change, but I realized that there was a lot that I could change.

To Vicki, I say — Yes YOU did!
As for me, I am still on the can — I know I can do without this caffeine addiction and I know I have the inspiration to get there …one less coffee cup at a time.

Whatever October means to you, I hope there are a few new, inspiring and meaningful promises to say YES to for yourself and your dreams too.

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