Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Singing Helps You Live A Long And Better Life   4 comments

Posted at 5:27 am in Life

abetterlifeAs a little girl singing in a Texas church choir, Etta Moten could never have Imagined herself one day appearing on the Hollywood screen. She could never have pictured herself becoming one of the first black women to perform at the White House, or in a museum. And she certainly never thought she’d star on Broadway in a legendary opera. Or be partly responsible for a movement.

“I just loved to sing,” she says with a shrug. At 96, Etta lives in a large Victorian on Chicago’s South Side with her daughter Site. She’s dressed in purple velour with gold hoop earrings, and has a fresh manicure. She’s surrounded by a lifetime of awards, honors, and artifacts from her travels throughout Africa, but points out none of these. Instead, she calls attention to her father’s college diploma.

“That’s real sheepskin,” she says, explaining that her father, a “free Negro,” went to a Texas theological college and became a minister. “He knew Latin and Greek,” she boasts. “He believed in education. That came first.” He would even send Etta’s mother to get her college degree. And as for Etta, an only child, the girl with the gorgeous contralto voice, she too should become a scholar, according to her father.

“But …

Written by TheEditor on September 15th, 2015

Living Below Your Means: Great Rewards With Solid Willpower   3 comments

Posted at 7:15 am in Life

livingbelowLike all newlyweds, Melissa Fey and her husband, Andy, shared dreams of exotic vacations and ambitious life plans when they married five years ago. Unlike most couples, they are well on their way to realizing those goals, and have kept well organized as well. They have vacationed in Germany, where Andy was raised, as well as in Jamaica and Alaska, and the couple recently bought a house in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. “I haven’t worked in a year, and we still have money in our savings account,” boasts Melissa, a stay-at-home mom.

The Feys’ secret? They believe in “living below your means,” the latest trend in financial fitness. And they’re not alone. An Internet search for the phrase turns up more than 19,000 hits. One of the most popular message boards on the Motley Fool’s personal finance Web site is devoted to LBYM. And the For Dummies series of how-to books just published Frugal Living for Dummies.

LBYM starts with the old premise that a penny saved is a penny earned. But it’s less about deprivation than about living a good life on less. As one devotee puts it, “It’s not that I can’t spend because I don’t have the money. It’s that I don’t spend because …

Written by TheEditor on September 3rd, 2015

Quilting Can Ease The Stress Of Major Change   no comments

Posted at 6:12 am in Life

quiltingcanI quilt but I haven’t always done this. The cutting and piecing, stitching and embellishing started about the time my marriage was unraveling as fast as a hem on a cheap dress. I tried to calm a frantic anxiety with simple pleasures: baking bread, planting gardens, making jam and quilting. My first quilt was crib-size and made entirely by hand. It is a homely thing with a top made of nine simple blocks, each a traditional pattern with names such as Wild Goose Chase, joined by sashing and bordered all the way around. Inside, there is a thin layer of batting and a backing of solid green cotton. The actual quilting, the stitches that bind the fabric sandwich, are uncertain; they are too long and uneven and meander wildly along cross-hatched lines of indelible ink. The rosy pink fabric has faded to fleshly beige and the mossy green has the scruffy faded look of tundra lichen. A quilter whose work I admire–even stitches, sharp points, good color–called it the ugliest quilt she had ever seen and said if it were hers she’d throw it away or put it in the dog’s basket I laughed because she was right Still, when I tacked the last thread, I felt a flush of …

Written by TheEditor on August 30th, 2015

Dream Analysis: An Interesting Foray Into Your Mind   no comments

Posted at 4:46 am in Life

dreamanalysisIf you’ve ever doubted the value of dreams, consider this: Elias Howe credits a vivid dream with helping him invent the lockstitch sewing machine; some prophets and great authors are also said to have been inspired by their dreams.

What’s that? You’re not planning to create large machinery, major world religions or timeless works of art this week? That doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your dreams. Looked at properly, they can assist you in everyday life–by shedding light on your inner and outer worlds and giving a truer sense of how you feel about the things and people around you. They might even help you solve problems.

There’s a new tool on the market that makes the dream-interpretation process a lot easier. In her new book, All About Dreams (HarperCollins), Gayle Delaney shares a technique she calls the dream interview. The purpose of the four-step process is to ask yourself questions that “explore the dream images and reveal their metaphorical similarities to people and situations in the dreamer’s life.” Translated, that means to figure out how things in dreams relate to your life.

Anyone can learn the language; dream reading is fun and a terrific way to spark up a boring conversation. It takes a little …

Written by TheEditor on August 18th, 2015

Living Abroad Can Be Fantastic For Your Soul   no comments

Posted at 6:12 am in Life

livingabroadLast night, we sat in our cockpit and had homemade lobster pizza for dinner. The hills of Grenada – verdant and lush with coconut palms and mango, nutmeg and papaya trees were dark silhouettes in the distance. The water around us glistened with drops of light from the almost-half-full moon, the breeze was warm and gentle, and the pizza was fantastic. It had been made entirely from scratch – in a place where “from scratch” means not only preparing the dough ourselves but also diving to catch the lobster. We are 3,800 kilometres south of Toronto as the crow flies – much, much farther as the wind blows – and for perhaps the hundredth time, I said silent thanks that I’d pushed doubts aside to embark on this adventure. How could I have hesitated so long?

When my husband, Steve, and I first talked about taking a midlife break from our careers – leaving jobs and home, family and friends – and sailing our boat from Toronto to the Caribbean, it was idle, dreamy chat: pure escapism to whisk us away from the slush of winter and the unrelenting pressures of deadline-oriented work. (I’m a magazine and book editor; Steve, a magazine and book designer.) We gave our dream a …

Written by TheEditor on August 12th, 2015