Category Archives: Commitment

Give a Cheer for Independence!

No day is happier for Americans than today, July 4,  the day we celebrate our Declaration of Independence.

Spider and palm fireworks against a black sky

We celebrate the unlimited possibilities of what can be accomplished when we set out to build a brighter future

The principles upon which our country was founded, as embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, are freedoms we struggle with every day as a democratic nation.    Continue reading

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Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

The alarm pulls me from sleep. I stumble towards the bathroom, and then the coffeepot. Turn off the porch light, bring in the newspapers. Do my yoga while the laptop boots. Write.

Jazz musicians playing in a nightclub

Life has its own rhythms, unpredictable, changing, pushing us in new directions before we can get too comfortable. On stage, our friends, drummer Sergio Belotti and saxophonist Rocco Ventrella

When it’s time for my day job, I move from the laptop in my upstairs reading space to the office off the kitchen and turn on that laptop. Breakfast over email. In the late afternoon, I reverse the process. Shut down the office computer, move back upstairs, more yoga stretches to relax the body. Write and work until Brad tells me dinner is ready. More work-writing. Sleep. Continue reading

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How to Break a Bad Habit in 6 Steps

I am developing a new habit, and so this weekend, as part of my effort to break the cycle of the old habit, I learned how to sew buttonholes. How can sewing buttonholes be the secret to forming a new habit?

bald black man in orange jacket, headphones, at edge of football field

To break a bad habit, we must choose to avoid what we’ve been doing. To form a good habit, we must choose to practice it repeatedly.

I’ll explain shortly. First, if you don’t sew, you cannot appreciate how hard it is to sew buttonholes. Niccolò Paganini wrote his wickedly difficult Caprice No. 24 in A minor so that violinists could learn it in lieu of learning how to make buttonholes.

I have a mechanical sewing machine that requires four separate steps for a buttonhole. The jazzy computerized machines sew perfect buttonholes in one step. It’s the difference between managing a team of horses and driving on cruise control.

I am not known as a domestic goddess, but once in a while I’ll trot out the sewing machine and make pillow covers. I decided this time that I’d finish them using buttons. That means buttonholes. Something I have successfully avoided since my high school life skills class.

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