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The Gift of Pie

In our case, the above gorgeous pie was a gift from our sister-in-law, Marian. What is even more special about this gift is there was a second pie underneath the one pictured. Oh my! My thought with this post really is about giving in small ways, often. Giving of what we have. For some of us it is a baked good. For others it is time. For all of us it is a smile to someone we don’t even know. Give a kind word. This past week I got to meet two different blog readers from different parts of the country. Each shared their story with me which was an amazing gift to me. This giving idea is a lovely circle of love. Goodness and kindness and love all wrapped up in a simple gift, a gesture, a word.



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 217

Today’s Ted’s Tip words from the great Arthur Ashe. This is above the players entrance at the US Open. What wise, wise advice for all of us each and every day. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.



 

 

The Front Sunporch at Hawthorne

The front sunporch at Hawthorne was a major selling point when we bought the house, oh my gosh, now 6 years ago. Walking into it that first time, I felt transported. My heart rate felt like it dropped by several beats as I instantly felt more relaxed once crossing the threshold. Scott, the previous owner had completely redone the space, finding old windows to wrap around the room and engulf it in sunlight. We gave it all a fresh coat of paint and furnished it with a comfy down-filled sofa and ottoman on one end. An assortment of chairs over the last few years has filled the other end. Recently we found a green wicker set that completely fits the space to a T, or make that an H! Matching consoles on each side of the French doors that take you into the living room we made identical–with a lamp, candelabra and papier-mâché ficus tree. We love this room year round, but on a hot humid August Hudson Valley Summer day, it is one of my very favorite places to be.



 

 

Independence Day 2019

Bailey is now up at 5 a.m. like clockwork. I snapped this photo right after I took her out. The marine layer over Colvos Passage so thick this early morning you can’t see the water. I love the peacefulness it brings. A symphony of bird song fills the air. Later tonight all the little beach communities will each set off their fireworks, which is always a treat. The energy completely different than it is at this quiet moment. Red, white & blue play a major part of the design scheme here at WestWard. Along with flags. It makes it the perfect place for us to be to honor the day. Happy 4th of July!



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 201

Today’s Ted’s Tip is a small compilation of acts of kindness that I asked for last week in honor of my 200th tip and in celebration of Style & Simplicity turning 5.

Visiting the elderly at their home, to cooking or baking for your neighbors and delivering the food as a surprise, to paying for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop or grocery store, holding the door open for someone, sitting with someone who is alone, or letting a car in at a busy intersection, to looking someone directly in the eye and using their name, or simply smiling. Just some of many, many thoughtful simple acts of kindness each day that were submitted. If you want to perk up your day look over the list on Instagram or FB or right here in the comments section. It will warm your heart and make your day. Cheers to daily acts of kindness!

I have drawn the 5 winners. Look for a message by way of the social media channel in which you posted your act of kindness with a message of YOU WON!



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 198

The gift of a note or letter is one of the very best things. To make the process easier, put a small stack of cards & envelopes out on your desk at the ready. That way you can reach for one easily and jot off a quick note in a heartbeat. Makes someone’s day!



 

 

Grieving

The grieving process is quite something. It happens whether you are ready for it or not. Rather, whether you are willing to let the process wash over you. The death of a parent, even at an advanced age, is an ending not like many others. So many factors get mixed in the soup of emotions. Things will hit you when you least expect it, like an item on a menu at a restaurant that brings back a flood of memories. Swim in those memories. Grief is personal and there is no roadmap, so each person’s journey on that road is as unique as they are. I had the not wise thought that since my mother had lived such a full life, dying at 92 that I would somehow grieve less than I would over my father dying at 61. Loss is loss at whatever age. The last 10 years of my mom’s life was challenging for her, which in turn made it challenging for my family. The goal I am learning, is to not have those later memories supersede a whole lifetime of really good ones. Being a fairly task/goal oriented fellow, I am smiling as I type that, I had set a timeline on my grieving. What a silly, silly man. It just does not work that way. I have had many lovely conversations with customers who follow along on the daily blog or social media thanking me for sharing my experience over the last few months. Sharing it is part of the healing process for me. I think we must talk about these things, as death is such a part of life. But really it should be me thanking you all, as talking about it and writing about it is part of my grieving process. We head to Chicago next weekend for her service, a Catholic mass in her honor, followed by a lunch. Each reading, each song, chosen by her. Just how she wanted it–which delights me beyond measure. The above quote I found this morning seemed pretty perfect… X, T



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 191

Take a moment, or more, when you first wake to take a long breath and just be. Give thanks, think of the day before, think of the day ahead. A quiet moment that is yours uninterrupted.



 

 

Shirley Ann Watson

My mother died last night comfortably in her sleep after a sudden illness. We flew to Chicago from New York early Sunday morning to be with her. Bailey jumped out of her black Sherpa bag that she travels in right onto my mom’s stomach. TPS getting to hold her hands to comfort her. Oh how she loved them both. We got several hours with her before the morphine and other drugs put her into a restful, almost twilight-ish sleep. Her last words as she held my arms tightly as I stroked her head, were ‘I love you’ as she looked right into my eyes. The hospice nurses could not have been more lovely and caring and warm, to both my mom and to my family. This photo from her 90th birthday a few years ago. She always had such style. Rest In Peace mom, I know dad was anxiously waiting in the heavens for you…



 

 

A Hudson Valley Arrival

We traveled through Christmas Day, arriving to Hawthorne a bit after 8 last night. The temperature dropping as we meandered North up to Columbia County, hitting 32 as we drove up the long driveway. Caretaker Bill had once again beautifully prepared the house for us, getting the perfect tree and having it lit so we could see it the moment we drove in. Then our Twelve Days of Christmas began! We are hosting a Boxing Day supper for family today, a new tradition. So it is up and at em’ early getting things ready. Then tons of R&R is on the menu for this stay. The retail marathon a big success (huge THANKS to all who shopped WK this season) but each passing year my 55 year old body takes a tad longer to re-coup. I hope your Holidays have been and continue to be divine and all you wished they would be.

From the Hawthorne Valley, sending much love, Ted2+Bailey