Babbie’s Life

People often ask what my car tags mean: SH Harbr. My great-grandmother, Ellen Woodbury born in 1863,  built a house there in 1910, in a small artist community where all the streets are named after composers. Her daughter Babbie and her husband “the General” retired there after their life of travel. Because my military father also moved every year (I attended 13 schools in 12 years), home was always Shelter Harbor in the summer.

My grandmother, pictured here pushing the hair from her eyes, influenced me in ways I am only now beginning to recognize. She had an art room, where she exposed us to painting, clay, jewelry making, and doodling the hot afternoons away. She wrote, though she only had an 8th grade education. I still have a folder of her short stories and letters of rejection from well-known magazines. Perhaps my love of poetry and printing grew out of this.

Each summer, she would organize an activity for the cousins–usually an extravagant play we would perform for the community. Any money collected went to the New York Times Fresh Air Fund. I remember being Peter Pan one summer and an island girl in Mutiny on the Bounty another time.

We ate meals in the yard at specified times, so cousins and friends would come from waterskiing, napping, playing Monopoly or reading to gather for swordfish, corn on the cob, and usually a choice of three desserts!

Picnics on the beach, sailing on the pond, long talks in the living room with my grandfather. These are the memories.

Today, we cousins all still gather from places across the country, though we are now Babbie’s age when I was a child. We try to create those memories for our grandchildren as we eat popsicles on the porch and try our best to swim out the dock to win the 5 silver dollars my grandfather bestowed on each of us.

I know I am lucky. And as my life takes turns and swerves, ups and downs, I try to remember the foundation of love I was given and to appreciate how lucky we were.

100 Times Over

Your hands are so old, my grandson says to me. You have bumps all over them.
To him, I must seem ancient. Yet in my mind, I am still young enough to be vain about how my hair looks, or to want to lose 10 pounds.

We see things as we are, not how they really are.


Change Yourself

The first time I read Frankl’s book was in college– in 1970. I remember not fully understanding what he went through nor what his words meant. I was a kid, and not too thoughtful.

It would be years later when this quote would resonate. Nothing, nothing I have gone through compares to his life. But his attitude and philosophy help me realize that so much of what we face can be tempered by changing our thoughts about it.

It is, often, the only way.

When Being Bold Doesn’t Come Easily

Being a badass is not the advice you necessarily want to give to a son or daughter.

Yet, I wish I’d been told this when I was growing up. Actually, I equate being a badass with not caring so much what others think of you, standing up for yourself.

I’ve struggled with this my entire life. It’s not an easy trait to change. So, as I often do, I print what I need to see. I’m also experimenting with watercolor washes under the text.

Does it get your attention?

sleep, sleep, and more sleep

I’m craving a good night’s sleep. 

My research led me to an app that measures how you are actually sleeping, and it’s fascinating. Check out the chart from last night. The initial blip is because I set it to start before I had brushed my teeth and actually climbed into bed! But then I seemed to sleep well until 12:30, when I think David let the cat out. I did wake around 4:45. I tried to fall back asleep, but couldn’t. So at 5:30, I was up for the day.

The article pointed me to another change– sleeping in a cold room. We turned the temperature down last night, and I think that helped. I normally bundle up in my flannels no matter how hot it is. I know, I know.

After 5 nights, I get a report of some kind. Looking forward to that!