July 2009

Dear Friend

Peter and I enjoyed a quiet June, joyfully interrupted by a trip to New York City for a family reunion – ten of us plus Homer, the 80-pound German Sheppard. We had four days of being together, singing in the rain, enjoying delicious meals, celebrating Father’s Day, walking around Central Park, seeing white polar bears in the zoo, going to a candy store, a toy store, and giving me an opportunity to show our grandchildren their mother’s favorite childhood scenes growing up in the city.

Nicholas, Anna and Lily climbed all over Alice and Wonderland near the miniature boat pond; we saw lots of horses and carriages as we walked to the boat pond. Baby Cooper loved the clock at the zoo where two bronze monkeys bang out the chimes and then animals prance around and around the clock for several minutes. I can sense this will become a ritual. I lived half a block from the zoo when Alexandra and Brooke were little, and now the next generation can enjoy the same enchanted clock with a baby elephant whose trunk is up for good luck.

To celebrate the completion of our cottage renovation as wells as our 35th anniversary, Peter and I gave each other a garden for a present to our sweet front yard. Because we have had an entire month of showers and thunderstorms, day and night, our roses in the front of the cottage hugging the picket fence have never been more lush and glorious. Sometimes when I walk into the downstairs study and look out the window, I’m surprised by joy as I see the geraniums in the window boxes, the pink beach roses and the newly planted garden with sailboats beyond in the harbor.

The Nikko blue hydrangea encircle our tiny patio in the back of the house and they are beginning to blossom. In memory of our friend, the artist Roger Mühl, I have some purple-blue plumbago in pots behind the sink in the window sill overlooking the cool blues and purples of the hydrangea. Our neighbor noticed our picket fence was rotten in places as he pruned his lilac trees. One thing led to another. Our wonderful crew returned to the cottage. Two feet from the fence was a 22’ deep well on our neighbor’s bluestone terrace. Mike and Mikey discovered it when they were trying to straighten the stones. Nothing is ever quick, easy or cheap. We now have repaired our bluestone because we needed to excavate a huge tree trunk that was making our common bluestone uneven and therefore unsafe. My motto has always been, safety first, then happiness and health.

The joy is that now we have a flat space where the tree stump was, allowing us a better place to sit, side-by-side, and look at our garden, the roses and boats. A few inches can mean a great deal when it is where our view is, and even in the wet weather, we’re glad we have a table there. For privacy, we had the picket fence solid in an 8’ space in order to hug the fence, enjoy the view and not take away privacy on either side.

I’ve spent night and day with Aristotle and feel I’m making progress in my re-writing. In order to complete this book to my satisfaction, I’ve had to completely focus on his teachings, trying as hard as humanly possible to avoid distraction. Because I am trying to represent Aristotle in the best possible light, I’ve had to be quiet and let his voice speak to me with my pen in hand.

Peter and I have re-scheduled our anniversary visit to Paris and leave the week after July 4th weekend. I will bring Aristotle with me in spirit, but have vowed I will not bring my manuscript to Paris. I have made a commitment to myself to send the book off to be typed up the first few days of July, being free to enjoy some family time, playing with baby Cooper over the July 4th holiday at the cottage.

Every hour I’ve spent writing about Aristotle has brought me great happiness. The book has challenged me more than anything else I’ve ever attempted, and with the effort and discipline, I have the sweet benefits of pleasure and satisfaction.

I’ll be in Connecticut at Anthropologie in Westport and Greenwich the two Saturdays on book tour when I return from Paris and hope you’ll come see Peter and me if you’re anywhere near. Also, Sunday, August 23rd, Peter and I will be in Stonington at the LaGrua Center at 5 PM talking about the books we both love to write, followed by a book sale.

Happy July. I can’t stop thinking about Aristotle and am unwilling to think that my book on his principles will ever end. I intend to bring a few of his books with me to Paris to re-read for pure pleasure. I’m looking forward to being enlightened!

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.

At last, the sun!

Our sweet new garden

Our lovely view from our study

Another great view

Oh our blue hydrangea!

For all of the mothers that you'd like to give an autographed copy of my new 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

Aristotle urges us to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason. When we know right from wrong and our actions are virtuous, we will be happy.