The Power of Collaboration


Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. —Oliver Wendell Holmes

This has been an interesting week in terms of collaborating, from business to personal there have been many heads together sharing ideas, enlightening one another or just plain brain storming. I found myself in “meetings” of all kinds that proved very satisfying. As you know that isn’t often the case.

It seems that most misunderstandings start from lone assumptions, yeah yeah I know you’re shocked. You’d be surprised at how long someone can carry an assumption around before they consider its validity.  Such was the case between two mothers who, up until just recently, seemed to make their blended families work just fine. You know the old adage about assuming.  Each believed the other was conspiring against them until one had the courage to call the other and they sat down to join forces and try to understand where things ran amuck.  There was a culprit; it turned out it was neither of them.

Sometimes someone’s burning question becomes a thought provoking discussion.  A Facebook friend had just been informed that one of their former clients had passed. The question, should they delete that person from their phone?  All manner of opinion sprung from that question, all manner of spiritual beliefs and pragmatism showed up in the comment section of the post.  I don’t know what they decided but there was certainly enough food for thought.

Meals and drinks shared with friends were end to end this week.  I was a bit amused at three different women sharing lunch talking about a TV show we had all seen.  I mean we are three distinctly different women, yet there was that one strand, aside from the fact that we were colleagues, that ran through us. Even tiny moments like that blow me away.

Erma Bombeck once said, “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else”.  I’ve had the distinct honor and pleasure to be part of a friend’s burgeoning new venture and she has been an amazing supporter of Ordinary Legacy. This week each of us has played devil’s advocate, creative genius, or soothsayer to the other. The results are always enlightening, encouraging and creative, this week was no exception.

The point is no one can come into their own without others.  I say this as the daughter of a man who considered himself a loner and may have passed some of those genetics along.  I can certainly be social but I have spent much time on my own and tend to ruminate on things myself.  I am learning that “no one can whistle a symphony” as someone once said.  I started to really understand this just a few years ago, but it actually came home when a dear friend sent me a TED talk by Boyd Varty.  It was about the African concept of Ubuntu: I am because of you.

I hope you’ll be more aware of the collaborative moments in your life and know like you know they make you what you are, good, bad or indifferent.

So Much Water Moving Underneath the Bridge

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There are things that just occur to you sometimes, like this year was my twentieth on the Cape. It is as vivid to me today as it was twenty years ago that my Summer Sister scooped me up and brought me to a porch with a rocking chair in a picturesque town to try and exhale, or at lease stop hyperventilating. Exhaling might have to wait a few years. She is dear to me in the way she curated my new beginning, this new place, the possibilities. Thus began my healing, her healing, our everlasting friendship and the sand in our shoes.


We would return over and over, each year around the same time, in the middle of summer between my sister’s birthday and himself’s birthday to a lovely B & B to do what we do on the Cape. First, lobster at the Squire. Come hell or high water we were there, grubby from the ride, once during a hurricane (Danny I believe) it was always first on the list. It was the event that began our visit on the Thursday we arrived. That’s right we were Thursday to Sunday girls, swooping in for a whirlwind, get everything out of our systems and hit the highlights and be on our way refreshed and sure that we had covered everything. Our highlights were the Friday night band concert in the town square, the whatever-was-being-performed at the Monomoy Theater, and at least two more exquisite dinners. We once had lobster at every meal. Our days were spent at the beach, reading from each other’s “bag-o-books” (there were no readers then) and talking through whatever needed to be talked through.


This was the first decade, not sure I’d ever see those words coming out of me but there they are. I began my Chatham Pottery collection during that time, picked up my camera again (then put it down…) we both learned more about perennial gardens and booked our next year’s visit on the way out of town. There came a time when our favorite B&B was sold and there was nowhere to book for the following year.

Enter Willow Street. My dear friends owned a home in West Harwich that served as a summer rental, and so began the next decade on the Cape. The Thursday through Sunday became Sunday to Sunday. The throw-a-few –things in a bag became, the clothing bag, the kitchen bag, the “bag-o-books” and later still there was a dog bag (that blessing needs an entire other post).   The middle of summer became a week in June and a week in September. There were times when we were all on the Cape and times when it was just me.


I have to say that I sometimes fantasized about living year round on the Cape and everyone would come to visit. I would perhaps own the little house on Willow Street someday but then my life changed in a truly epic way. The advent of condo living on my beloved Stowe Lane changed my life; my views of home ownership, my tolerance for being away from it grew thinner and thinner. The little house on Willow faded out of the vision for my life with its tiny kitchen and maintenance requirements. I became immediately enamored with paying a maintenance fee and things happening, like lawns being cut and trimmed, gutters being cleaned and most importantly SNOW being plowed. Thank you very much.

In this twentieth year I must confess I was a bit underwhelmed at packing the assortment of bags for my week on the Cape, I was disappointed that those friends who thought they could join me weren’t able to swing it, I was a little bit more rickety after getting out of the well-worn bed and the girls were having a little trouble with the three mile walk to and from the beach. One of the true highlights has become meeting up with the Aunt Ms in Ptown. That thrills me and brings the Cape feeling back over and over. The beach still had its hold on me though and I love love love a screaming hot latte in the early morning on the beach with no one around. The smell of the Cape is like a salve for me I can’t get enough of it and it is impossible to duplicate.


This was the first year in many years that I was able to see a performance at the Monomoy. They usually don’t begin the season until July but I was thrilled to take myself to see Kiss Me Kate. The kids were fabulous, they killed the Tom, Dick and Harry number and the Too Darn Hot number was awesome as well but it wasn’t the same as sharing it with my Summer Sister. The funniest part was my will-call was first row on the aisle. Apparently that was Jane’s seat and the dear bitty subscribers were whispering up a storm, there is no subtlety from year rounder’s on the Cape.   From two rows back I hear, “Is Jane coming back?” The woman seated next to me patted my hand and turned around to tell them Jane would not be coming back. This sets up a whole another scenario, “So dear, are you on the Cape alone?” I half expected to see Sam Shepard (Baby Boom) enter from the garden….you can’t make it up but it was much appreciated to be swept up by the bittys.


And so it was with a bit of relief that I found out that the house on Willow Street was sold and the closing would be in August. Ever the helpful woman, Trudy, had several options for me. There was a week in July, two other rentals to check out or a refund. My heart told me to accept the refund and keep open to the possibilities.  For those of you who know my very dear friend Terry, you will know exactly what this sounded like: So San??? Is this the end of an era?

God I hope not…there were so many breakthroughs this year. First, not crying all the way through my four hour conversation with my Father on the way up was not the least among them. Then the realization that, I’m really still a Thursday to Sunday kind of traveler, I am thrilled to walk back into my home.


The blessing of Uncle Pete taking care of the girls so I can be away without a care in the world. But the Cape is still part of me and helped make me what I am today. The Cape taught me to exhale, walk more, eat fine food, be alone but not lonely, share myself with perfect strangers wherever I went. I could no more give up the Cape then give up writing.

They say once you can talk about it without emotion you are well on your way to being healed, in my case the “it” was the hard life I left behind, but the friendship that has remained. The “it” was the constant worry that has been replaced by the “know like I know” that I have some power. My life now is indeed running rings around the way it used to be and yes there are times that I do wish I’d started long before I did but would it be as it is now? So much water underneath the bridge, for now I am looking forward to the Summer Sisters return to the Cape. I know like I know we can figure that out.

Good Company



My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), Persuasion, 1818

If you’ve got to be in the car for anything over five hours it helps to have a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t a train…just sayin.  When the day is done and your meetings went very well and you’re ready to kick back it’s especially nice to do it in good company.  That usually means someone who can just welcome you and live in plan B for a tiny period of time.  Someone who can take time out of their own routine to insure your visit is delightful, I call that a good friend.

A really good friend will walk with you to get the blood circulating again, hand you a glass of wine and just wait for the exhale.  Walk a bit more to eat with you in a fabulous restaurant exploring the menu and taking a chance on something that might not be familiar.  Lingering over the meal and the wine/martinis and catching up on all that we may have missed over the last few years that life has gotten in the way of seeing each other more often.  It’s a rich conversation, a funny conversation, a smart and poignant conversation that seems like we’ve never missed a beat. How I love a good conversation that defies the boundaries of time.

Continue on to something sweet at the bar, of course, and laughs and giggles with the bartender, when was the last time I remember doing that? Jeez.  Still not tired still chatting still laughing, thoughtful moments with tears on the brink but never spilling over; this is a true catch up.

The next morning explore the city from a native’s perspective finding more and more in common among the people we meet and each other.  Camera in hand, capturing our time together, even on a no makeup Friday, enjoying the glorious weather and the history that is Old City Philly we promise to keep in better touch.  This was too much fun not to.

There are people that come into your life and immediately make themselves indispensable, who understand that legacy means living your life the way you want your story told. It is a rare and precious gift to have people like this and to make sure you don’t lose them to anything as silly as the passage of time is imperative.

Happy Birthday Bethie, you know I wish you enough.

30 Day Challenge

So June seems to be the month of 30 day challenges. I’ve seen the 30 day ab challenge, squat challenge, paleo challenge, Christian music challenge, bike to work challenge and photo a day challenge. As I’m seeing all these I’m wondering what the hell the big deal is.

Turns out thirty days is a magic change your life and it might actually stick kind of a thing. I didn’t believe it until I started looking back on some of the things I’ve changed in my own life.


I no longer watch the news, my tolerance for the daily list of disasters reached the breaking point almost four years ago. The big dramatic voice that all the newscasters have adopted just plucked my last nerve. I didn’t consciously say I won’t watch the news for thirty days but that’s exactly how it started. Now I’m informed through other sources that are more balanced.

I needed to get more veggies and fruit in my diet so I bought a Nutri-Bullet (which I wore out and had to buy another one just recently) and almost two years later I’ve been getting practically my entire daily allowance each morning. Check.

I wanted to pick up my camera again. I missed it and apparently it missed me too. I did an actual thirty day photo treasure hunt (this was a friendly challenge, no pressure, safe place kind of an entrée back into the photographic world) with amazing results. The right side of my brain suddenly remembered things like depth of field and shutter speed but more importantly everything looked worth photographing. The other challenge I tacked on to this one was daily post production and ruthless deletion of so so images. I believe my hard drive will thank me. Still annoying everyone with my documenting life…Check.

In December I bought a Fitbit which will count your steps, analyze your sleep, connect to Spark People so you can log your food, you get the idea. The goal was ten thousand steps a day. Well for the first four months it told me exactly what I WASN’T doing. The winter sucked what can I say? Along comes spring and I convince a few friends to Fitbit with me and we’re off…kind of. It’s not a challenge but a friendly way of competing. What I found is that people have lives, they’re busy and making sure I’m getting my steps in is not their problem. Just sayin. So I did a few things to get the steps in, walk the girls in the morning, walk them separately in the afternoon. Not gonna happen, they are not afternoon walkers. There are too many distractions for my Lina to bear and one day she actually turned us around and took us home. Ok.

Then there is the matter of mindless TV and I’m not really a TV person. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom and my poor little TV in the living room is about 12 years old and so is my Tivo. I don’t need much and the thought of a huge crystal clear like you’re at the movies TV is lost on me. TV sucks me in as soon as I turn it on. It makes me snack and makes me mad and I can’t stand it but I can’t break away either. Oh you know what I’m talking about, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Pitbulls and Parolees, anything makeover don’t say you’ve never been there…whatever your personal variation in programming.

So now I’m thinking of doing my own 30 day challenge to only watch television while on my stepper. That will get me my steps, clean up my TIVO and get me out when I’m done.   I can jump off after reaching my ten thousand steps (I’ve been averaging between six and seven thousand a day) and get on with the business of relaxing or walking my way into over achievement…not likely. Stay tuned.