December 2010

Dear Friend

It’s hard to believe that on my birthday, November 8th, when I awoke, it was snowing! One of the most wonderful things about living in Stonington Village is our ability to appreciate the beauty of nature and the changing seasons.

Peter and I went to New York City to celebrate my 69th birthday at our favorite restaurant in the world, La Grenouille. We had a little party before our romantic dinner at our daughter Brooke’s apartment with precious two year old Cooper. Just being present with a grandchild lifts our lives up to a higher consciousness of love and appreciation. I was on television on Cooper’s second birthday in October and I smiled and said, “I’m loving every minute of this wonder filled grandmother chapter in my life."

We’d come into the city to go to observe Copper in her music class but we were there because of my birthday celebration and the bonus was to go to one of her regular classes with all her friends. As I’ve said, when Cooper hears music, she’s moved to dance. To experience her in this spontaneous flow state is the most delicious treat imaginable and her music classes are moments of pure joy we look forward to with happy anticipation.

The snow quickly melted and we enjoyed a spell of warm sunny autumn days where we were inspired to take long walks around the village and engage in intimate conversations about our good fortune to love living in Stonington and be able to always see water wherever we choose to take our strolls.

Most of the colorful fall foliage has fallen to the ground, leaving the trees bare, opening up wider views of the harbor from our cottage. The best view of all is from the third floor, where we sit on high swivel chairs facing the huge fan window looking west at the harbor.

We’ve created a ritual to leave our writing rooms on the second floor in the middle of the afternoon and go up the stairs to sit at a high table the workers built for us. We look out at the sunset as we listen to classical music and in private reverie, we feel sheer bliss. I can’t explain why our attic has become our favorite place in our cottage, but in many ways it really is. It has an art room at one end for the grandchildren and at the other end we have a large table, where we sit side by side. In between are books, art, notebooks, scrapbooks, files and piles of photographs, our treasured memories of our past.

I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone should have a sacred space to go to be alone, or in our case, have solitude for two, off limits to the rest of the world. The third floor is a place of mediation and our new table is our high alter. Gazing at a vase of pink roses, lighting a jasmine scented candle, listening to Bach in peace becomes an opportunity for inner transformation and builds on the rest of our conscious hours.

As much as we love to travel and see great beauty as we widen our perspective, wherever I am, I can bring myself back to our cottage, to the various places where we go to read and write, visualizing the specific spirit of place. Hemingway wisely knew that it isn’t necessary to write in one particular place because we write in our minds. So true.

The Thanksgiving miracle began in Washington at the Episcopal National Cathedral service when our granddaughter Anna walked down the aisle with a silver chalice to bring to the alter for communion. Lily and Nicholas brought baskets to the alter representing food being offered to the poor. Tears of joy and a heart full of love and pride made me burst with thanksgiving spirit.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is all about appreciation and feeling of gratitude for the bounty and abundance of our lives. I read that 89% of Americans spent Thanksgiving Day at their feast with some family. I love the fact that we give our presence to loved ones and don’t exchange presents.

On a rainy afternoon Anna and Lily asked me to join them in a scrapbook making project. We ended up using colorful word stickers to create a fun game. We giggled uncontrollably as we glued the words in place.

Cutie pie gorgeous
Looking very cute
Good home living
Sunny smart funny
Little Kool Pet
Dislikes money
& never bad
Sometimes clumsy
And likes silly activities
Admires warm wiggles
Yes I am
A yellow teddy bear
Love the places
Awesome roller coaster amusement
What great fun
Tomorrow is homework
So go out
Giggle swing and party
And desperately dance
Until morning.

After a lovely family breakfast Alexandra and her husband prepared for us, we said our goodbyes to our beloved family. Brooke, Cooper and her husband Tony drove to New York City and Peter and I went to the airport to fly to New York. We’ll see lots of the city clan in December but not the Chevy Chase gang. Seven year old Lily gave me a note. On the envelope:

From Lily
To: Big Mommy & Peter Rabbit
: )
Have a Nice Day

Inside, on Lilly Pulitzer note paper in her signature favorite colors – apple green and hot pinks, Lily wrote:

Happy Holidays!
You have a good day and
you will be a very happy person!
Love, Lily

More tears of joy. Who could ask for anything more!

Saturday, December 11th, we are having another fun event to raise more money for the Stonington Free Library to offset the cost of renovating the children’s section of the library that suffered heavy damage in last spring’s severe flooding. From Noon to 2 PM, at the Dog Watch Café, at Dodson's Boat Yard in Stonington Borough. Peter will sign more copies of his new book, Figure It Out. Free gift wrapping, shipping and for every $25 donation where all proceeds go to the Children’s Room, come, toast the holidays with a free drink!

I wish for you a beautiful month of December with a heart filled with love and inspiration. Find your own “third floor” in your soul. Happy Holidays to you.

Love & Live Happy

Have you taken photos at one of Alexandra's events that you'd like to share? If so, you can email them to AStoddardInc@aol.com. Please be sure to include the names of those in the photo and where and when it was taken! We will try to include them on the website in the future.

Come join us at Dog Watch Cafe' from Noon on, Saturday, December 11th.
194 Water Street, Stonington Village.
Hope to see you!!

A photograph of our cottage taken by a friend.

Alexandra with dear friends Kerri and Sharon

Our last trip on the Gansett from Stonington Harbor to Watch Hill, Rhode Island

After dinner with the "grands" from Maryland.

Figure It Out: A Guide to Wisdom

Please consider giving Peter's new book to family and friends for the holidays. Make checks for $25.00 per book to:
The Stonington Free Library

Send to:
Peter Megargee Brown
87 Water Street
Stonington, CT 06378

Peter will pay shipping. Your contribution is 100% tax deductible.

If you would like to get an autographed copy of Alexandra's book, please send your order (including inscription information) to:
Jane Hannon
Bank Square Books
53 West Main Street
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 536-3795

Grace Note

Lives based on having are less free than lives based either on doing or on being.
~~ William James ~~