Creating Purpose From Pain

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor Frankl

It’s ok to be sad or mad. Grief and anger are those steaming piles of shit in life that become the fertilizer for your garden. What becomes of your compost heap? What grows in your garden on a cloudy day?

A small reflecting pool at Hui Ho’olana
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My Favorite Ungulates – Photos from Tanzania

We took over 3,000 photos with two cameras and two iPhones in 10 days. I wasn’t sure how I would ever organize or narrow down the images, let alone my thoughts from our first photo safari. Then Mark told me he was tagging his with the D-65 Digital Workflow Lightroom Keyword tool. Under the category of “mammals” were carnivores, marsupials, primates…….. and “ungulates” or hooved mammals. Neither of us knew the word (no biology majors here) and I suspect people who do know it google the definition to be sure! So, for the next sub category of photos and experiences, I’m talking about ungulates (both even and odd toed).

Ungulates Who Look You in The Eye


008-20190518_duma1_0054 A female Cape Buffalo in Arusha National Park keeps guard while the male naps.
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Tanzania – A Cat Lover’s Dream

I just returned from 10 days in Tanzania visiting several National Parks and Conservation areas to photograph wildlife with Mark and friends. We had our iPhones, plus two cameras with wide angle and zoom lenses. We took thousands of photos and are still sorting through them. I’m also still synthesizing the experiences of my first trip to Africa, making blogging a challenge. However, I am eager to share some of what we saw in Serengeti National Park where we spent several days. When all else fails in blogging, I fall back on my love of art and photography. Here goes! Caution; not all images are cute and cuddly.

Female lion leaving her resting spot to drink water from a nearby creek.
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Fool for Adventure: Laura Kyswaty Shares her Talent and Enthusiasm

IMG_8556 (3) Laura high resI recently attended an incredible retreat by Advivum Journeys (https://www.advivumjourneys.ca/). A group of total strangers gathered in Molokai for “The Reimagined Self” at Hui Ho’Olana. We were exhausted from travel, life’s dealings, or both. Even so, a few of us decided to ride into town, away from the comfort of the resort or its facilitative processes. 

We were introducing ourselves in the outdoor lobby of Hotel Molokai and waiting for one final member when there she was! Wait, I was told the age range of retreat guests was “middle-aged to 80.” Here was this 30-something woman with long, freshly washed and damp hair, wearing a strapless sun dress. She had to be one of the facilitators. She was full of energy and literally stood on her toes, then landed on flat feet as she extended her hand. “Hi! I’m Laura!” Continue reading

What I Wish I’d Known About Retirement – Your Invitation

I just celebrated two years of not getting up for work. I didn’t have solid plans for what I was going to do instead. My plans shifted like sands on a windy beach. I knew I would spend more time traveling and volunteering, but the rest of the time has been a lot of experimentation and a little bit of frustration. I’ve written quite a bit about my retirement revelations here on WordPress, so what’s knew? I didn’t realize, until recently, that I’m not as uniquely confused about retirement life as I thought. There are other women out there blogging about retirement transitions. Other women without kids and grandkids searching for their next in life. Other women dealing with the loss of their corporate identity.


In fact, the other day I was catching up on posts by author and fellow blogger Patricia West Doyle about her recent book Retirement Transition: An Innovation Approach. (Doyle’s blog is also called http://retirementtransition.blog and full of great nuggets. ) I wish there had been such a book when I started contemplating early retirement! In her blog she mentioned the project http://www.retirementvoices.com. Through Retirement Voices, authors Leslie Inman and Roxanne Jones are creating a book called Voices from the Other Side…of Retirement to guide soon-to-be-retiring women with lessons from women who’ve already retired. Inman and Jones are looking for input. Doyle had responded to their survey and shared the invitation. Now I’m doing the same. In responding to their thought provoking questions, I realized I wasn’t alone in this quest for non-financial related information about retirement. You too can assist! How has retirement affected your relationships, your physical health, your sense of identity? Add your insights by following the instructions at http://retirementvoices. Deadline is April 30, 2019.

Meanwhile, although I’m still searching for my “higher purpose meaning in life identify” I’ve learned a few great things about the retirement transition:

  1. You can’t travel, volunteer or read too much.
  2. You have time to improve your health and fitness.
  3. Relationships get better without the stress of work.
  4. New connections are made through hobbies and volunteerism.
  5. You have time to think about what is important to you and make plans accordingly (Thank you Pat Doyle!)
  6. You learn new things – painting, drawing, photography and selfies!

Modernism Week – No Sitting On The Bed

Daylight Savings began this morning. I stayed up past my bedtime and woke up too early. Now I’m stupefied. Here is another good reason for procrastinating on my writing goals. Several interviews done and zero drafts completed this year. I must remind myself of how and why I  write.  There is no deadline and I’m not getting paid. This blog is about my crazy retirement adventures, not just promoting art. In honor of that philosophy and not getting enough sleep, take a look at these fantastic “keep you up all night” bedrooms from Modernism Week in the Palm Springs area last month. Continue reading

No Bull, This Art Sparks Joy!

What does The Houston Rodeo and Marie Kondo’s Netflix show have in common? Nothing, but that’s not how my mind works. I can lasso a tangent faster than you can process my last sentence. Even though I read her book a couple of years ago, I’m still dealing with clutter and still wonder what brings me the most joy. I didn’t find the expression “spark joy” helpful when dealing with things like pots and pans, or cleaning supplies and many other things that I need and use. It doesn’t help when curating art work, either, because I just want more! Continue reading

A Bias for Street Art

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.” 

From “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

Last month I spent a week in Molokai, Hawaii at a women’s retreat called The Life Reimagined. Some of our workshop guidance on interaction was inspired by this poem. One of the rules was to get to know and support each other without talking about our “back-stories,” one of which is what one does for a living. Recently retired, I found not being able to talk about careers pretty challenging.  “What do you like most about your job, without telling me what it is? “What would you be doing more of if you got paid for it?” “What were you doing before you arrived here?” With some adjustment, my open-ended questions started to reveal the dreams and passions of my fellow retreat-mates. Continue reading

Artist on a Tear – Jacqueline Stubbs

Day light savings has ended and I have more time to write….or rearrange furniture because what I’m feeling is “ants-in-my-pants” instead of creativity. I was furniture shopping on-line yesterday. I imagined how a white leather sofa could brighten things up. How would my eclectic taste for Danish and Japanese furnishings, accented by large-scale cat castles, do with a high-tech, low profile leather sofa injected into it? Then I glanced up at one of my favorite paintings and started thinking of my Mom. She was a master at mixing things up; artwork, interior design, colors…I’ve been meaning to write more artist features. Why not start by covering my own Mom? This feature is about her. Continue reading