Monday, June 12, 2017

Eating a sandwich

It has been two years since I wrote out loud. TWO years is a long time... and no time whatsoever.
In these two years, I have opened a new business, finished raising a child, walked through grief with my brother, trauma with my sister, growth in my children and watched my parents slowly fade into the depths of dementia.

I am part of what I have heard called the sandwich generation. Adults with adult children and living parents, who all still need their help.

Inherent in this sandwich is a slue of life questions and comparisons. Am I a better parent than my parents? Was I as mean to my mom as my daughter is to me?  What is my part in this big picture?

My childhood was a morass of traumatic events, but as I age, I am noticing that the traumatic memories have faded in my mind. My parents, the perpetrators of the abuse and neglect, were so young, so untrained. So strapped for knowledge, empathy, support. They had no one to guide them and no internet resources to look up how to treat a child who was a picky eater or a free thinker. They had to do everything based on their own experiences and judgments and advice from friends and family also fairly uneducated about the raising of healthy, well-adjusted children.

I think maybe this is what forgiveness looks like.

The perspective of my almost 60 years on this earth has softened my harsh long-held belief that my parents were evil into ... my parents were young, uninformed, unsupported and doing the best they knew how.

Enter my last child leaving for college in two months. I like to think I've done a better job than the generations that preceded me, but no one is perfect. I have simply worked to love and care for these precious beings for whose care I was chosen. I have tried to be present and available, loving and as consistent as is possible for someone as whimsical as I tend to be.

It will be the first time in almost 31 years that I have had no children in my home. Needless to say in my thirties when I gave birth to my last child, this was a passing thought that didn't get real until recently.

A month ago, she turned her car upside down in a ditch. We almost lost her. It all came home in one blinding moment. I am so going to miss this wonderful child. It will be so quiet in my home without a teenager. Her laughter, her snarls, and constant questions about life and her crazy busy schedule. I will miss her. I will sooooo miss her.

About three months ago, we finally talked our parents into moving into assisted living. It's the best thing we could have done. They had gotten to the point where they weren't paying bills, so things were getting messy. Every so often my dad would decide he needed to go to "work" again, and he would get into his car and leave. He doesn't remember how to use his cell phone, and he doesn't have a job anymore, so he would just drive around until he got hungry. Once he got more than 100 miles away. We had to put out silver alerts and involve the police, it was not pretty.

But if I've come to any conclusion, it's that life is NOT pretty. It's soulful, messy, intricate, beautiful, painful, joyful and any number of other descriptors, but pretty is NOT one of them.

So here we go, life's next chapter begins now. Every day.
We just sometimes have a forewarning of change, and sometimes ... we don't.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

10 Tips to Beating the Winter Blues… a few minutes at a time

Fifteen years ago, I moved to the Pacific Northwest where winters are long, cold and dark. Winter had always been a bit difficult to get through, but after living through my first PNW winter, I felt like the winter was never going to end.
Anyone can be susceptible to the winter blues, a drop in energy, vitality and joy, and in a particularly dark year, some of us even suffer from full-blown S.A.D. 
For many people, this sluggish depressed feeling can lead to inertia. It becomes harder and harder to get up and go about our daily tasks.
So one year, I decided to become proactive before the darkness hit and made a “to-do list” for those particularly difficult days. One of the hardest parts about the winter blues is that you think it is never going to end, and then you become hopeless and action becomes difficult.  The key to this list is to keep it handy, like on your refrigerator, and to pick one thing and just DO IT. The most important thing to remember is to stay in this moment and do the next right thingright now:

1.      Get out in nature. This can be as simple as walking around the block, taking a drive or going to the park or as complicated as a ski trip, a bike ride or a chilly golf game.
2.      Build a fire. It is amazing what a roaring fire and a cup of hot chocolate will do for your mood.
3.      Snuggle with a buddy. This could be a pet, a stuffed animal, a friend, a child or a lover. Take your pick.
4.      Help someone else. There’s always someone in more need than you are, volunteering is a great way to lift your spirits.
5.      Comfort Food. For me it’s spaghetti. Make your version of a comfort food, maybe something you bake. Warm up your kitchen and warm up your heart.
6.      Go to a movie. No not on your TV, get out of your house and go to the movies, add some popcorn and forget yourself.
7.      Meet a friend for coffee or tea. Again, get out of your home and laugh over old times, cry over current issues or just listen to your friend’s life. Get the focus out of your own head, and put it on the table.
8.      Do some sun salutations. Get your yoga on. Sun salutations are warming, energizing and centering. Good for your body too!
9.      Cut a rug. Turn on your favorite dance tunes and get busy. Increase your heart rate and dance your way to joy.
10.  Do some self-care. Run a bath, light some candles, throw in some bath salts and relax. Follow it with a pedicure, facial or other spa treatment of your choice.

It doesn’t matter which one of these you do or how many you do. Start at the top and work your way down if you need to. The important thing is to get up and move physically to a different place. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Taking Stock

I don't know if it's because this year has been so full of change or if it's because my life has just gotten a lot quieter because of the changes, but my mind is in a constant churn right now.

I will spend hours going over and over things of the past -- trying to ferret out where I made mistakes or when things shifted or trying to figure out what I missed, what served me, what did not.

Funny where this has led. I've drawn some conclusions, come up with some life lessons/philosophies... And, news flash: life is short.

  • Also, I'm not perfect. Nobody is perfect.
  • Mistakes have been made. 
  • Love is all that it's cracked up to be -- and more. 
  • Forgive yourself. In fact, forgive everyone.
  • Kids grow up too fast.
  • Worry is useless, none of that stuff ever happens. The stuff that does happen, you never see coming. And you'll deal with it because you have to.
  • You can't change the past, but it can inform the present, and you can do better now.
I like this stuff, but really all this churning brain stuff fell apart this week in this one moment when my 10-year old friend/yoga student, who is so sweet and serious; he's mature and beautiful, spiritual and deep. I often forget he's 10. (Honestly, he may be 9, I think he's about 105 most of the time). We often discuss philosophy, meditation, spirituality, life, death and dogs.

That day, we were discussing the benefits/deficits of weight training at his (real) age, and I suggested he get online and do some research on the subject, and he said, "OK, I'm going to be writing a letter to Santa tonight, so I'll check it out then." 

He's not 105. He's 10. He's right here, right now. Nothing else. Matters.

In those few moments the churning stopped.  I was right there in the room with these marvelous young people who share their yoga with me, and I realized the past is the past. It's done. I did the best I could at the time just like I try to today and REALLY... my advice to myself and pretty much everyone:

Stop worrying, be authentic, do some yoga, take a walk, call your mother, hug your kid, walk your dog, spend time with your partner -- write a letter to Santa. Life is happening -- right here, right now.

Monday, November 10, 2014


By Lisa Cosmillo
I almost left out the word ALMOST from the title just now. But nothing is perfect, so I put the word almost in there.

I have just returned from an incredible month in Bali, where I took a 300-hour Yoga teacher training course and I learned a whole lot more than I knew when I left, and I am back and ready to share my knowledge.

I have a specific idea in mind about what I would like to teach. I believe there is a lack of classes that target students in the above 40 or maybe even above 50 age range. And the ones that do exist, are all about the "restorative" (not that there is anything wrong with that, but I know many of us in our 40s-100s would like to continue a fitness routine that does not require us to be a pretzel or to balance on our hands.) So I envision this class to be an accessible strong class with poses that challenge, but don't kill us and are totally attainable. The classes would be total body work outs and focus on joints and flexibility, safety and strenghthening.

I would also like to be able to teach a restorative class on Saturday mornings and a kids class on Mondays. In the future, I am looking at teacher trainings as well.

So my goal is to find a place that is open and light, not too pricey and holds around 20 or more yoga mats. I would like this place to be visible and have parking. Am I dreaming, maybe... but I don't think so. So I'm putting this out there. Do any of you have or know such a place? I would want it to be available at 5:30 pm T and Th and 9 am Saturday. Possibly 9:15 am MWF and Saturday as well.

Or a studio that would allow me to teach the above class.

If you know any such place or are interested in Yoga classes as described above

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lessons Learned, Still Breathing

by Lisa Cosmillo
I am just beginning to register the myriad lessons I have learned in the past two years since the inception and subsequent growth and sudden death of my business, Breathe. At this point I know I will never regret a moment I spent building and working on such a worthwhile project. I also know that it was not time wasted. There is a need for more places like Breathe. There is a need for a sense of community in Olympia that transcends the mighty three separate entities in this county.
Breathe served state workers, business folks and students. There was no biases allowed and all were served with love. In any day sitting in the cafe or moving in a class, you could find someone from all walks of life. All equal under that roof.
We need that kind of environment here; we need that kind of environment everywhere.
So lesson one, no time was wasted.
Lesson two, when you start a business, start small. I made the mistake of renting too large a space. We never quite made enough to support the space. Start SMALL.
Lesson three, I am not enough people all by myself to run a business of that magnitude. Partners can be difficult, but partners can be good. I don't need to go it alone.
Lesson four, communicate better. Perhaps if I had reached out instead of trying to support it all on my own, maybe others would have stepped up. I will never know. See Lesson three.
So this is just the beginning of figuring all of this out, and I suspect it's going to be an extended grieving process filled with much reflection.
I am just so grateful that I had the opportunity to do something I loved soooo much. And I'm grateful for the amazing people I got to work with and serve. I am a very fortunate woman.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

30-Day Balance Challenge

I keep seeing 30-day challenges all over the Internet, so I decided to take my latest mission in life (to help folks learn the importance of balance as their bodies age) and create my own 30-day balance challenge.
Why Balance?
According to the World Health Organization, falling is the 2nd leading cause of death. As people age, it becomes the LEADING cause of death. Not heart disease, not cancer, but falling down. When a person starts to fall they have under a tenth of a second to catch themselves. Once that's over, it's over.
Not only does falling lead as a cause of death, but it is also the major cause of injury in people of all ages.
So join me as I stand on one foot.
I designed this progressively more challenging exercise with options for poses to try, however, I want to stress that the most important thing with this and all exercise is to begin where you are and to be safe. So if that means you have a chair or the wall nearby to lean on if you need, please do it.
Also remember, as I tell my Yoga students, this is not a competition...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Can't Sleep

This is about the 7th night in a row that I have been unable to sleep, and I'm losing weight, and everything is fine. I am starting a new business... well three businesses in one.
First and foremost the name of the business is BREATHE.
But the funny thing is that ever since I took possession of the retail space, I haven't been able to breathe.
Life playing little tricks on me.
BREATHE will include a yoga/fitness studio (we are currently interested in talking to teachers), a small cafe/juice bar... (looking for vendors) and a retail clothing store specializing in comfy clothes for fitness and fun as well as some equipment for yoga and pilates and teas and other fun stuff to make your life more cozy and sweet.
So, now that I've written this blog, I'm going back to shopping for stuff and hoping that I get some sleep eventually again.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A little can be A LOT

Inspiration sometimes comes a bit at a time.
About 4 or 5 years ago, I began to practice Yoga. I have been more consistent about Yoga than any other form of exercise in my life. But still somewhat spotty. Off and on for the past 5 years, I have made an effort to walk my beloved puppies. But also fairly inconsistent and weather driven.
About 4 months ago, I began a meditation practice.
Soon after that, I decided it would be a good practice to do a few minutes of Yoga pre-meditation. Then I decided at some point to add walking the pups back into my day. And in the past twoish months, I realized, I can manage to do each of these activities for about 15 minutes each. So I began getting out of bed, throwing on clothes, walking the grateful pups for 15 minutes, returning home, doing about 15 minutes of breath and heart guided yoga and then slowing into a 15-20 minute meditation, either guided or on my own.
It felt simple and good.
So I kept doing it. Now my dogs are accustomed to it, so they get up and prod me each morning.
Even when I was sick, I only missed one morning.
Pretty soon, I realized I was doing this every day.
After a while, I did the math and realized that I was getting a gentle work out about 3.5 hours per week.
It sneaked up on me, gently, slowly and with joy.
Yesterday I added a slight twist. First thing in the morning, I'm going to decide on an intention for my practice, like in Yoga class and carry it with me through the walk, the Yoga and the meditation. Maybe through the day...
Today, it was JOY.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weird and Delightful Side Effect

I rarely write two days in a row, but the strangest thing happened yesterday, and I wanted to share it.
I have this rare and bizarre eye condition... it is stress-related... big surprise. But the more stressed I am the worst the vision in my right eye. It has something to do with the way my body reacts to the stress.
So the other day, I was eating and reading and my left eye got something in it, so I shut it and rubbed and suddenly couldn't see clearly with my right eye... with my glasses on.
So I took off my glasses to see if they were dirty, and realized I could see without them.
Of course I started playing around trying to figure out what was going on, and realized that my glasses just weren't working right, so I went to the eye doctor. She told me that my vision in my right eye was about 3 times better than a three months ago.
Knowing this was stress related stuff, I asked if a daily meditation practice might be what was doing it. She lit up.
She told me that yes it could affect my physiology and that I seemed calmer and more centered in general to her.
Ironically, I am slammed busy. Dealing with issues and not really stress free. But I am making a practice of meditation daily.
And I truly believe it is helping me.
My doctor agrees.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My favorite Olympia "Holes in the Wall"

Olympia is cool.
We live in one of the coolest places in the country or so says many a popular magazine poll.
One of the things that makes us cool are our homegrown restaurants or what I like to refer to as "holes in the wall." To qualify for "hole in the wall" status, a restaurant must be locally owned, have good food and be fairly small and simple.
My favorites:
1. Ramirez Mexican Grocery: Fresh food, well seasoned, clean, delicious and inexpensive. You feel like you are in Mexico. By Ace Hardware in Tumwater on Capitol Blvd.

2. Sri's Corner: South Indian food, delicious, reasonably price. Great buffet for lunch $7.99. This place opened about a month ago and fills up for lunch most days. Right next to Ramirez in Tumwater on Capitol Blvd.

3. Gyro Spot: Downtown Olympia on 4th Avenue. Amazing Gyros, great prices, absolutely worthy of my repeated visits.
4. Le Voyeur: Downtown Olympia on 4th as well. Best Philly Cheese steak EVER. But they call them Oly cheese steaks for obvious reasons. Little scary to go in, but once your inside, it's dark but clean. Interesting and   a real taste of downtown Oly. Highly recommend.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

10 minutes

I am contemplating life.
"So what's new?" you ask.
One of my favorite Yoga instructors, Karen Birbari of One Yoga in Olympia, WA,  held a meditation work shop, and I thought that it would be something I might like. I'm always looking for a way to calm my spirit.
I had no idea how much I would get out of this workshop. She told us that research had found that ten minutes a day would change your life.
So I thought, I could do anything for ten minutes a day.
The reason I have never tried meditation before is I can't sit still and focus on nothing. It's virtually impossible for me, but with a little help from the internet, my Ipad or computer, I found that a person could listen to innumerable guided meditations.
I find some of the ones at Deepak Chopra's site the best, but also Meditation Oasis for the Ipad is a good one too.
I am feeling more centered, calmer and happier.
My ten minutes sometimes turns into 30, but so what?
I have even caught myself writing more and doing more Yoga.
These are seriously good side effects.
Try it. 10 minutes OOOOOHHHHHHMMMMM....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Moments of Grace

   We all go through our lives trying to capture those perfect moments. Those few minutes when we know we are in the right place, with the right people, doing the right thing.
   Recently, I have been blessed with a huge insight.
   If I am with my children, taking care of them, talking with them, but more like listening to them... I get to choose to be in those moments.
   No more waiting for them, they are there for the taking.
   So one of the best things I've ever done, and I recommend it to one and all, I took my beautiful daughter on a trip to Mexico.
   It was an eye-opening, world-class vacation. We had so much fun, and I got to know my maturing young lady daughter on a whole different level.
   She is amazing.
   She is talented, brave and smart. She is sensitive, but tougher than nails. And best of all, she is resilient. For this I am eternally grateful because I know that that is the key to surviving in this life.
   Every night of our trip at dinner, I would ask her what was her high and what was her low that day. One day, she told me that her low was when we had an argument. When it was my turn to tell my side, I explained that my high was our argument. She looked at me with her teen-aged perplexed face. So I explained to her, that every argument and every conversation were opportunities for me to know her better and that that was a wonderful thing.
   Since our return, I have been blessed to find that we have not relinquished this new-found knowledge of each other and our closeness has continued. I am so blessed.
   So yesterday, I requested a few hours with my dear son, Nick, who is 25 years old.
   To get 3 hours with Nick is one of my favorite things in the world. We went out for a haircut, lunch and shopping. Again, a perfect moment. I found out where he was in his life, what he's been doing and how he's been feeling. I am so blessed.
   Nick is about to graduate from college. This is a HUGE milestone, and I am so proud of him. He has not taken the short route to this accomplishment, and it has never been easy. He has worked very hard and very long to get to this point in his life. And I can't say enough about Nick....

                                                   This is Nick at lunch with his new haircut!

    So lessons learned. The recipe for happy, fulfilling, perfect moments, spend them giving. Having children helps. But even friends, parents, siblings, partners, spouses or animals can make this happen!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

5 Rules

I have a wonderful, quirky, amazing friend.
I met him through business, but he, like most of my clients, has come to mean so much more to me.
I am not going to name him because I respect his privacy.
But the other day, he was in my office, and I mentioned someone who had treated me badly. He said, "Oh yes, Rule number 5."
I said, "What?"
He responded, "Rule number 5 -- Stay away from nasty people."
Later in the conversation he mentioned another "rule," so finally I asked about the rules. He offered to share all five with me, and they are so eloquent, simple and profound, that I will share them with you now:
Rule 1: Spend less than you earn.
Rule 2: Save the difference.
Rule 3: Outlast the bastards.
Rule 4: Live in the solution not the problem.
Rule 5: Stay away from nasty people.

Thank you, and you know who you are.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Medical Marijuana, Cannabis, Pot, Weed

I tried to think of every word for Medical Cannabis that I could for the title...I'm sure I missed some. This stuff is incredibly controversial here in Washington right now. And I have a pretty pragmatic view of the situation.
First of all, it has been legalized right?
Well, sort of. The Federal Government has not gone there, and this is what keeps the subject murky.
But yes, here in WA it's legal with a lot of strictures.
Every week, I get at least one call to help someone who has a "legal" cannabis co-operative as proscribed by the state of WA. They want a place to distribute the drug to patients.
Hmmmm, a place where you can distribute legal drugs to patients... does this sound like the definition of a PHARMACY to anyone but me????
I do not understand why we can sell heroin, morphine, sudafed, codeine, valium, percocet, etc, and so on over the counter at a pharmacy, but in order to sell medical cannabis, which is far less addictive and far less harmful to our society in general, we have to jump through all these hoops.
I just don't get it.
Do I believe the illegal trading of drugs is a good thing? NO. I am simply talking about the legal sale and use of a fairly harmless painkiller to patients under doctor's orders. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel to distribute this drug??? I don't get it. Seriously, it's legal, it's mild, and it's no worst for a person than alcohol, which is more than I can say for many prescription narcotics. Why is this not being sold in a PHARMACY?
Perhaps it's because the pharmaceutical companies don't like the competition? That's one theory I've heard. But what's to keep them from growing and selling? Nothing that I know of. Maybe it's because it's more like an herb than a chemical. To me, this is another reason to leave people alone.
I have a friend who had cancer, and this was the only thing that relieved her nausea after chemo. No side effects, and she could eat again.
OK, I've gone on enough.
And as my son would say:
I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong. About 3 months ago, Nancy, my business partner attempted to talk me into hiring someone to help us with property management. I fought this idea. It felt like a loss of control, God forbid..., but Nancy persevered and finally, I agreed to give it a go. Enter Jim. Jim has agreed to work with us on bookkeeping and maintenance and other tasks to make our lives easier.

Jim is, and I mean this, the best thing that has happened to my life in a while. He is organized and efficient and smart and best of all, he explains male mentality to me on a regular basis. I have more energy, I'm smiling, I'm dressing nicer and I am busier than ever. So Nancy, I was WRONG!!! And Jim, YOU ROCK and for that matter, so does Nancy!

I have even planned a second vacation this year...

And with this new help, my brokerage business has picked up. I sense the economy turning in a positive direction.
Happy, happy, joy, joy.

So today, I stopped for lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Ramirez in Tumwater and wrote this blog. Gotta love it! Happy 2012 everyone.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Down TIME!

This little old lady is finally taking a break. We got a lovely opportunity to visit with some friends in Mexico and then at the last minute some friends in California. So we jumped at the chance. However, the first three days on this lovely break, I am catching up on sleep and lots of it. When you are self employed, it is always difficult to get away, and you never can get completely away as long as you have a cell phone. But I was determined to get a break, so last week, I pushed and pushed myself to get as much done as humanly possible, and now I'm more or less paying the piper. I can barely move. But it's ok, I don't have to. I look out my window and it's quiet, and it's sunny. I'm breathing and trying to stop having worry dreams. Yes, the minute I get away, my lovely brain goes into overdrive trying to decide if I'm allowed to relax. It tries to think of all the horrible things that could happen while I'm gone. That's where the wine comes in. The more wine, the less my mind cares. LOL right? Well we'll see how it's going in a couple more days. Maybe my brain will let go after a bit. Maybe today, some yoga.
Look at that. Breathe. Let go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Food Blog

So, I kept thinking about the spaghetti posting last night and realized it wasn't what I wanted to do with this blog. So I am spinning off (like a sitcom hunh?) a food/creative blog for that sort of thing. It's called
I will post appropriately food and creative stuff there and continue to do my kvetching and discovering on this site.
Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Awesome, Simple Spaghetti w/meat sauce

OK, so my first attempt to write about food and recipes, and I've already screwed up. I forgot to take pictures of the dinner. So the above picture looks like my spaghetti, but isn't. I'll add my pictures next time.
I am Italian. OK, not really, I'm actually 1/2 German and 1/2 Sicilian. But Italian is what I look, and it's easier to explain.
In my family making red sauce is an art form. The irony, though, is no one does it the same way, but we all adopt some of the stuff our mom taught us, and then we change it up.
I think my sister has mastered it, so I have adopted her strategies, mom's strategies and added my own twists.
I truly love meatballs myself, but my daughter has lately taken to meat sauce, so I've come up with a really good meat sauce that doesn't take too long.
Meatballs are another art form, and I will address them in a different entry.
Mama Lisa's Meat Sauce 
1 lb. ground beef, I use 85/15 
1/2 lb. Mild Italian Sausage
1 Walla Walla or Vidalia onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
A couple of cans of diced tomatoes
A couple of cans of tomato sauce
(both of these can be less or more depending on your tastes)
A Tablespoon or two of Garlic Powder
A Tablespoon or two of dried Basil
Grated Parmesan cheese in the can and fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage at Med High
2. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft
3. Add the garlic and cook a couple minutes until brown but not burned
4. Add the tomatoes and sauce, garlic powder, dried basil, salt and pepper and canned grated Parmesan cheese to taste.
5. Stir and let come just to a boil
6. Simmer anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 hours, I usually do about an hour.

This sauce always tastes better when it's reheated, so I will save even the smallest amount and add it to a new batch to kind of season the new batch.

Make any kind of noodles you like and put the fresh Parmesan on top....MMMMMMM.