Blue Skies Gray Clouds

It has been raining here for so long that I have come to believe I am not in Kansas any more. (Dorothy knows what I am talking about.) Perhaps this is misty Portland or rainy Seattle, or cloudy Norway.

Then, I got to thinking. In Norway in summer, the days are longer, so when the sun does come out, isn’t it twice as nice? And rain brings rainbows to dazzle and delight.

Sykkylvenfjord, where Stressless was born

This Stressless offer will make you smile

Throughout July, receive a $100 instant rebate for every $1,000 spent on the NEW Stressless Mike and Max recliners and/or the Stressless Emily and Mary sofas.

Sayings from the Stressless chair

“The weather is always fair, viewed from a Stressless chair.”

Here are a few more Norwegian proverbs to brighten your day.

“The fair wind blows even if the sailor does not see it.”

“There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

“A good anvil does not fear the hammer.”

“Better to have one bird in the hand than ten on the roof.”


Emily sofa

On a Wing and a Prayer

Col. E.C. “Bud” Laedtke, USAF (bottom row, second from right)

I once had a friend, Laedtke, E.C. “Bud”, Col., USAF, now deceased, a business mentor, but more than that, a friend with whom I could discuss the ways of the world. He piloted a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber named “Ack Ack Annie” during World War II, flying out of  Bassingbourn, England on bombing runs over Germany and in tactical support of the Allied landing in France. His plane was part of the 91st Bombardment Group, unofficially known as the “Ragged Irregulars.” Now when, at the end of the day, I sit in a Stressless Wing recliner thinking of days gone by and friends long gone, I am reminded of Bud, and the World War II phrase, “She’s coming in on a wing and a prayer.”


On a Wing and a Prayer

When the odds are against you and it doesn’t look good, when you are struggling mightily to hold things together, saying a prayer, looking above, this phrase comes in handy:

“I’m coming in on a wing and a prayer.”

The origin of the phrase rightfully goes to many World War II pilots whose crippled flak ridden planes limped back to base. God only knows how.

In 1942 and 1943, slow moving bombers were regulary shot down, averaging a down plane with every 12 flights. 1Lt. Hugh G. Ashcraft Jr., an American B-17 pilot on The Southern Comfort was returning from a bombing run over Germany when, over Holland, flak took out one engine, the oxygen, and the rudder. The plane was on fire when Ashcraft told his crew, “Those who want to, please pray.” The plane made it over the English Channel reaching the White Cliffs of Dover before the crew bailed out.

In the 1942 movie The Flying Tigers, written by Kenneth Gamet and Barry Trivers, John Wayne’s character, Capt. Jim Gordon, was told “She’s coming in on one wing and a prayer.” In 1943, a song Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer was written by Harold Adamson and Jimmy McHugh. In 1944, the movie Wing and Prayer starring Dana Andrews and Don Ameche was released.

Since then the phrase indicates hope for a good outcome and optimism for a better day. Something “Bud” heartily believed in and always shared.


Robinson Crusoe

“I was born in the year 1632, [in the tumultuous reign of Charles I, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland,] in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we are now called—nay we call ourselves and write our name—Crusoe; and so my companions always called me.”

Lost on a Desert Island

Thus begins the tale of Robinson Crusoe, third son of an ancient father, not inclined to any trade, but for the want of adventure, sailed on a ship that led to many adventures and calamities.


Words of Wisdom from the Chair

Knowledge comes from learning, wisdom from experience. Here is a little bit of Robinson Crusoe’s wit and wisdom:

“It is never too late to be wise. [And never too late to read a good book and learn.]”

“It is impossible to set down the innumerable crowd of thoughts that whirled through that great thoroughfare of the brain, the memory, in this night’s time. I ran over the whole history of my life in miniature, or by abridgment, as I may call it, to my coming to this island, and also of that part of my life since I came to this island.”

“…[N]ow I saw, though too late, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it.”

“Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them. All of our discontents for what we want appear to me to spring from want of thankfulness for what we have.”

“I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted…”

“Sudden Joys, like Griefs, confound at first. ”

“I could not forbear getting up to the top of a little mountain, and looking out to sea, in hopes of seeing a ship : then fancy that, at a vast distance, I spied a sail, please myself with the hopes of it, and, after looking steadily, till I was almost blind, lose it quite, and sit down and weep like a child, and thus increase my misery by my folly.”

Before I leave my desert island, I would like to say a word about how to destress:

Sit in a Stressless recliner, take a couple of deep breaths, relax, and imagine you are on a beautiful island.”


The Beach Home


“If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according what others think, you will never be rich.” Epicurus

Beaches serve as a buffer zone between the rush of the waves and the winds against the sandy shore and the succession of dunes, cliffs, and grasslands. The beach itself is finely-grained sand, gently sloping, and quite flat. And the sand is made of of finely grained quartz and the tiny weathered mollusk shells and skeletons of a thousand animals of the sea. The swash of the waves, the push of the tides, constantly tug and pull at the seashore, creating a living space well adapted to this dynamic eco-system.

The home with its living room, dining room, and bedroom is also a buffer between the hectic pace of the outside world and the peace we seek at home. The home should be harmonious with our feelings and wishes. It should set the mood, allowing us to weather the storms that from time to time come our way.

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If life is a balancing act…

What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. Look at us. We run a tightrope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head. Baby-carriage, parasol, kitchen chair, still under control. Steady now! This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea.



If life is a balancing act, then you better get Stressless with Balance Adapt at Traditions Furniture in Downtown Overland Park.


So we beat on

img_4638 So we beat on, boats against the current, ceaselessly into the past,  so says Nick Carraway recalling Jay Gatsby’s faith in a future that will bring him his dream, Daisy Buchanan and everything she stands for.  We are all Gatsby’s muse, longing for a far away ship that will carry us to our promised land.

The land is not enough, it represents the past or the present. The future is the ship on the vast ocean blue that represents our hopes and dreams.


Sitting on the porch at day’s end viewing the sun glinting off the ocean, my wife said, This is what vacations in Maine are for, and I replied, completing her thought, absolutely nothing, to sit and Think of things that matter not and mean everything.

I want to be alone

I confess that I am torn between twin desires – I love to travel, I love to stay at home. We travel, some of us, forever seeking other places, other lives, and other like-minded souls, and yet, we always long to return home, to be alone.

As the Russian ballerina Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo) in Grand Hotel (1932) said, “I want to be alone.”

To book your stay, visit


Little things in humble places

I am on this kick right now of looking for unusual things in out of the way places. You don’t have to look hard. You just have to see with your eyes and your soul. Saper vedere, Leonardo da Vinci called it. Knowing how to see, but that doesn’t seem quite right. How do we know that which we have never seen?


Bishop Arts, Bishop and Melba Streets


Sure there are many wonderful works of art adorning the great museums of the world, many grand structures that are admired, but sometimes it is the little thing in a humble place that catches the eyes and captures the spirit. A flower in a field of green, a feather floating on the water, the smile on the face of a child when you’re feeling sad. All of these things are as beautiful as the Mona Lisa hanging on a wall in the Louvre.

Let us go to Dallas.

Bishop Arts is an entertainment district in Oak Cliff, across the Trinity River from downtown Dallas. It is centered on the intersection of Bishop and Davis Streets. Thank goodness the mass retailers and chains have not yet arrived. For now it is a thriving cauldron of entrepreneurship, restaurants, bars, pie shops, boutiques, antique stores, and even a foot massage.

Bishop Arts

Changes are on the horizon. To the south a large development is going in. This may change the flavor of Bishop Arts, but one hopes not. Parking will become an issue and the homeowners who share the area with the retailers will rue the day Bishop Arts became a happening place.

Bishop Union


Across the street on the corner from the new development is an old house. It is the eye in the hurricane, a place of serenity. For the time being, it is an impressionist’s work of art, a humble place, and thing of beauty. Why someone even thought of adding a picnic table and a tire swing for passersby to enjoy.


Bishop Arts, Dallas Strong



Where do ideas come from? Who is inspired to take an old house and make it a work of art? A combination of Camille Pissaro and Henri Matisse.

Camille Pissaro (1830-1903) was one of the Impressionists, one of the oldest who came to his style late in life at the age of 54. His comment to a friend was,”my painting doesn’t catch on, not at all …” Born in St. Thomas in the Caribbean, he lived for a time in England before returning to France, the home of his father.  There he painted both rural and city scenes, concentrating on the lives of ordinary people.

Blessed are they who see beauty in little things in humble places when others see nothing. Camille Pissaro



A door

A house, destined to be torn down for redevelopment becomes a work of art. A door, an imaginary entrance to something new and different. “X’s” and “O’s” become shapes and colors filling the canvas and inspiring the viewer.


His advice to a young painter:

Don’t work bit by bit, but paint everything at once by placing tones everywhere… The eye should not be fixed on a particular point but should take in everything, while simultaneously observing the reflections that the colors produce on their surroundings. Keep everything going on an equal basis; use small brushstrokes and try to put down your perceptions immediately. Do not proceed according to rules and principles, but paint what you observe and feel.


His paintings today sell for millions.

Henri Matisse was born in 1869 in the north of France in a weaver’s cottage with a leaky roof. Like Pissarro his aim was always to discover “the essential character of things”. When the younger Matisse was introduced to Pissarro and Matisse showed him his work, he was given the advice:

“Very good my friend you are gifted. Work and don’t listen to anything anyone tells you.”


Good advice, don’t you think?

In a hundred years…

One wonders what will be in a hundred years, a span of three generations but one lifetime.

Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

What would Elizabeth Bennet have thought of what was to come? As the second daughter of a country gentlemen of limited means and no ambition, Elizabeth could see more clearly than her four sisters. Oh, to be single and a woman of modest income in Victorian England, yet intelligent, lively, attractive and proud is a curse, for one suffers the prejudice of all those who are suitably wealthy, while less intelligent and attractive.

Then again, we are living in the present and the future is too far away. One may fret about today and the next, but not about tomorrow’s tomorrow.