A Conversation With Ann Ruethling

Janet: If you could spend an entire afternoon with an author, who would it be and why?

Ann: I vacillate between the types of books I crave at any given point in time, but right now I adore funny books. There's nothing like a good belly laugh when you're reading, so my author-of-choice would be Marian Keyes. And then I'd have to hope that she's as funny in person as she is in her writing.

Janet: What is your greatest simple pleasure?

Ann: Gardening -- I love the whole process. It is a constant reminder that life, just like a garden, is a work in progress.

Janet: Tell me about a time you turned a lemon into lemonade.

Ann: I had a neck injury over 20 years ago when my car was rear-ended. In the past few years the deterioration of the involved disk has resulted in osteo-arthritis, which has some pretty painful symptoms. The long and short of all this is that I've found that if I maintain perfect posture, I'm really pretty pain-free. Being aware of how I'm holding my body is quite a grounding experience. I'm much more in touch with it and, subsequently, understand myself better.

Janet: What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?

Ann: It's funny how what's unusual for me could be the most usual thing to someone else. I guess this is the same, then, as asking what I've done that is uncharacteristic of me. I've picked up a frog. Twice. (Believe me -- that's unusual for me!)I agreed to let my daughter backpack through Asia for a year. And, although I'm not at all superstitious, I join in the tradition of having the word "rabbit" be the first word out of my mouth on the first day of every month. (You're supposedly assured of good luck the rest of the month.) My friends and I howl at the things we do to remind ourselves that it's "rabbit" day. It's an extraordinarily weird ritual, as far as I'm concerned, but it sure makes us laugh.

Janet: What is the most unusual thing anyone has ever called you?

Ann: I can't repeat it here, but it involved a blind date in my early 20's. The young man had been told my name was something that was a slight variation of my real name, but that variation ended up being quite risqué! He probably thought he was in for a wild evening!

Janet: If you could only order one Isabella item from the current catalog, what would it be and why?

Ann: Do you have any idea how hard this question is to answer!? I apologize right up front for not giving you just one item. Usually I follow rules ad nauseum ("Give me a rule and I'll follow it!"), but I hope you'll understand why I just can't in this case. Right off the bat, I can think of 5 items. And the reason they come to mind isn't so much about the items themselves, but how having and using them can enrich my life, in one way or another. The book SABBATH helps me find sanity in a crazy world -- which then gives me hope that I can find more time for myself in order to become more balanced and be able to give back to the world, so I definitely have to include THE FOUR-FOLD WAY and 20-MINUTE RETREATS in my list -- which then makes me truly appreciate THE WOODEN FINGER LABYRINTH for its quiet sacredness -- and I don't know what I'd do without the PASHMINA I keep in my desk drawer.

Janet: How many pets do you have?

Ann: One cat, (found on the side of the road, having been hit by a car) and one dog. And in my humble opinion, the dog is the best dog in the world -- Homer, a rescue dog. He's blind as a bat and just makes my heart sing.