Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Georgia found a yellow spotted salamander

Actually Rob found it when he tried raking it up, thinking it was some abandoned pool toy from summer. It seemed to have survived the assault. It had a very sweet face.
We put it back under a layer of dirt and leaves; in the morning it was gone.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Update on the organizing

So far having the woman come clean the house has been wonderful.
Knowing she will be here twice a month has made me keep the house more straightened.
We've all gotten used to a certain level of tidy and clean so keeping it up is less of a monstrous struggle.
She does the floors, bathroom and the kitchen.
Everything looks so gleamy and lovely that I end up cleaning the windows and dusting the ceilings when I get home, which I never used to bother with because everything else was a disaster.

The Mondays with childcare have been useful, although meetings and sick kids have eaten up a share. The enormity of the photo organizing is daunting. I spent an entire day going through just six months worth of photos, trying to make sure they're all downloaded online and in some kind of order, then trying to pick out my favorites to make an album. It required alot of brain activity. Today was to be day 2 of photo management but Georgia had an earache and a doctor appointment and I had a 3 hour meeting at work about worst-case-scenario codes. Ugggh.

The money management if difficult. It has been a struggle for me to really keep track of where the money goes. Maybe I don't want to know how much I spend on food, gas yoga and debt? I don't know; but I am still trying to get enough of a cushion that I can maneuver over to yodlee http://www.yodlee.com/ and automate all my bills. I find when I try to download stuff from my local bank it often doesn't work and that pisses me off. Hmmm

I read this book from the library How to get out of Debt, Stay out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Jerold Mundis and it has been amazing. I almost didn't get it because all the newer editions were lost from the library (which didn't make me proud about the company I'm keeping) and there was just this ancient one available, but I did get it and read through the whole thing. Now I'm feeling very inspired to get out of debt. Many of the concepts are similar to the organizing book It's hard to Make a Difference when you can't find Your Keys, so I am trying to use them both together. Rob and I are writing down what we spend every day just to get an accurate spending record.

So, some progress; not as much as I would like.
But the spending record will be interesting and I have (knock wood) two Mondays to work on photos and getting paint off the stairs before April Vacation and jury duty steal a couple more Mondays.

Does anyone have an online photo storage place they like?
I've been using kodak but it's not very smart and it takes FOREVER to download photos.

Life is not the way it is supposed to be

Life is not the way it is supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference...I think if I have one message, one thing before I die that most of the world would know, it would be that the event does not determine how to respond to the event. That is a purely personal matter. The way in which we respond will direct and influence the event more than the event itself.

Virginia Satir

My manager posted this after our team handled a really frightening emergency at work with tremendous calm. I was so proud of us and how well we communicated and carried out each essential task.

The quote can be applied to anything, really. It creates liberating freedom, yes, but such responsibility.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

They're really blooming now!

The magnolias are more beautiful than I ever could have hoped. The amaryliis looks like a loud red trumpet. Spring!

I haven't written in here for a couple weeks, which is a first for me. I did download photos and think of the things I want to post but for some reason these last few weeks I haven't taken the time to sit down....
This afternoon I took on-call for work and Rob has taken the girls on a walk so I have 90 minutes to blog.

Here goes!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Creature Teacher

came to Georgia's school with a chinchilla, chameleon, kinkajou, cockato0, boa constrictor and the grand finale was this alligator. Georgia remembered it from last year and it was all she talked about for days. Her hand shot up in the air when he asked who wanted to hold the alligator. She was so pleased with herself!
The alligator does have electrical tape around it's snout which does create some ethical dilemmas, but at least I was sure it wouldn't snap her face. Hmmmm. The man is so sweet and so madly in love with his animals that it all seems cozy until you go home and have to explain the electrical tape....
But the photo is a keeper; the tiara really brings it all together.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March warms up

We had a free afternoon and went up to the reservoir near our house. It was still covered in a thick layer of ice. I had thought it would be melted, but it's shady up there.
We saw some salamanders in the water. Lily and Rob stepped in the ice cold water until their feet cramped.

Georgia and I stayed on the shore.

Gathering ice to break into diamonds.

Then we went to NMH farm because it felt too light out to go home.
We bought some maple syrup and some maple ice cream

Then we got to see them cleaning out and putting away all the syrup buckets. We couldn't believe it! The season was already over?!

We were told that once the trees bud, the sap stops running.
I was disappointed I hadn't sampled more sweet cool sap from the buckets around town, but I was glad to witness the silver buckets and lids lovingly cleaned and put away until next year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hot Yoga!

My parents were here to watch the girls and Rob and I took off to a hot yoga class.


I had always vowed I would never do a class where the room temperature was raised to 90 degrees because I knew I would pass out.

But it was my recent ziplining success that motivated me to go.

I reminded myself that I had lived for years believing I was too scared of heights to do anything more than 20 feel off the ground. But, it turned out, that wasn't true.

I figured maybe I could survive a hot yoga class, too
And I did.
I even enjoyed it!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We went to a local restaurant Hope and Olive to see our fiddle teacher Lissa Schneckenburger http://www.lissafiddle.com/ play Celtic tunes. We were also celebrating great report cards and teacher meetings for both the girls. We're trying to make the report card experience fun and encouraging so we have been taking the girls out to dinner on report card day, which happened to be today.

The mac and cheese was too fancy for Georgia and she didn't like her first Shirley Temple, but Lily enjoyed the food and had a blast seeing her teacher play the fiddle.

We met up with some friends and who didn't bring kids. I had my first Earl Grey Martini, which was tasty and made me tipsy. I was starting to enjoy some conversation.
Then, somehow, I spent the next 30-40 minutes back and forth to the bathroom with Georgia who decided she needed to poop and that I had to hold the door for her.
Bored and lonely in the bathroom, pining for the adult company I had gone to lengths to invite and also aware that I was wasting a rare buzz, I tried to drown my sorrows by singing Wagoner's Lad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vuf25juzyI which is what always comes to me when spontaneously singing. The acoustics were gorgeous in the bathroom and no one entered during my whole song, with both verses. When I finished, ready for applause (again, I was slightly drunk off 1/3 of a strong martini) Georgia responded with frustration through clenched teeth, "Mama! I can't poop when you sing. Stop singing!"

By the time we made it back to the table, we were ready for dessert and several different conversation threads had come and gone. I realized why I don't make a habit of taking my children out to a nice restaurant and also why I don't drink when they are around. It's not fun to be tipsy when you're kids are there, looking a bit suspicious and not laughing at your jokes.

Once I got settled, Lily had to go to the bathroom. I took another swig of my martini and headed back to the familiar stalls.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh MY!

I had given up on these branches. They seemed dry and dead. They had all laid on the cold ground, broken off from their trees for days before I found them and put them in water. Of course they were too traumatized and broken to bloom.

I put them out on the porch to see their silhouettes and begrudgingly watered them. I was going to use them as egg trees come Easter.

It was warm today and I went to lay on the sun filled porch while I waited for Lily's bus.

Holy crap!
Pink eeking out from a magnolia bud and a bright red eye looking at me from the buds of the other branch!

They're opening!!!

Resting Exercise from Martha Beck

I got this in an email today and it seemed so wonderfully simple I gave it try. I found it interesting to spend any time with my back pain because, usually I'm just annoyed that I have a herniated disk and I do my best to ignore it. This exercise did seem to create some opening where I had been stuck, so I thought I'd pass it on.

"Give It A Rest --

And See What Happens
Insight from Martha

Warning to all those who think that resting is out of the question when you've got goals to achieve! Last June, I began getting an insistent message from a variety of sources telling me that the time has come for those who wish to heal the world to paradoxically move forward through rest.

I have suspected this for several months, but I wasn't sure quite what this meant or how to do it. For me, rest has usually meant working (playing) until my eyes crossed, then collapsing into a coma for a few hours. Then, just when I needed the information, a teacher appeared in the form of Dan Harmon, a wonderful Team member who spends his life developing and teaching a technique he calls "intentional resting".

GeckoRelaxingIn a few minutes, Dan took me through some basic resting exercises, which seemed similar to other relaxation exercises, but for some reason created dramatically different effects in my body and mind. We'll walk through one of these exercises in a moment, but first I want to say that using Dan's resting techniques consistently has suddenly increased my ability to manifest the things I want to experience. In that sense, I have come to believe that resting deeply and deliberately is more than a nice idea. It is powerful magic!

Here's your first intentional resting exercise:

Step One: Scan your body and find an area where you're holding pain, discomfort or tension. For a few seconds stop reading this and imagine all your attention flowing into this stressed out part of your body. Allow the sensation of discomfort to grow until it fills your awareness. Then come back.

Step Two: Repeat step one, but this time, silently give your stressed out location the suggestion, "relax." Then meet me back here.

Step Three: Note any changes that occurred in your stressed out area in response to the command to relax. Now, return your attention to that spot and this time mentally give it the invitation "rest." Continue to invite the area to rest for at least 30 seconds, then return back here.

Step Four: Notice any changes, brief or lasting, that accompany the invitation to rest. Common experiences may include a sense of softening, or melting, diffusion of energy, lessening of stress symptoms, or nothing at all. No right or wrong answer - just observe.

Step Five: Send your attention into your stressed out area once more. This time, slowly switch back and forth between the words relax and rest Notice any differences.

This is the basic format to achieve resting as opposed to relaxing. The two are not identical. If you felt a positive response to the word rest, try scanning your entire body while slowly and gently stating "I am resting for my feet now; I am resting for my legs now; I am resting for my heart now;" and so on. Put special attention on areas that are in pain or in distress.

Then you can begin applying rest to non-physical aspects of yourself. Try stating "I am resting for my fear now; I am resting for my perfectionism now; I am resting for my troubled past now; I am resting for my future now."

Then choose one thing you are trying to manifest into your material experience -- good health, a relationship, more money, friends, whatever. Spend 30 seconds resting for these things: "I am resting for the friends I am about to meet now; I am resting for my bank account now; I am resting for my good luck now."

As simple as this exercise obviously is, I have been flabbergasted by how powerful its effects can be. Not only have I been able to reverse minor infections in my own body, but the people and things for which I rest have been responding in ways that are simply too improbable to be coincidence.

Whatever it is you hope to attract, add a little extra twist by resting rather than forcing the result. The worst that can happen is a wonderful feeling."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Art and Soul

is the name of the shop where I brought my wares to sell today! http://www.artandsoulnorthfield.com/About_Page.html

The proprietor was welcoming and kind to me and turns out she is excited to sell my things. She was shocked because just the day before her husband had remarked, "You really need some massage oils in the shop!" and Walla! They appeared.

Heidi at http://faboolosity.blogspot.com/ made me a magical and professional price list far beyond anything I could have imagined. It is so gorgeous that it made me brave. I was surprised how nervous I was to walk through the door of my first shop, but it went well and now I feel like a professional herbalist/potion maker!

Monday, March 15, 2010

This got me!

"Woman Is the Youngest to Cross an Ocean Alone

Bert Wilkinson for The New York Times

Katie Spotz and her father, Dan, on Sunday in Guyana after she finished her trans-Atlantic trip.

Katie Spotz completed her mission Sunday, becoming the youngest person to row an entire ocean solo, and the first American to row a boat without help from mainland to mainland. After 70 days 5 hours 22 minutes in the Atlantic, Spotz, 22, arrived Sunday in Georgetown, Guyana, in South America.

“You’re in a situation that you can’t escape, so you really have to dig deep,” said Spotz, who left Jan. 3 from Dakar, Senegal, on the west coast of Africa.

Her 2,817-mile journey raised more than $70,000 for the Blue Planet Run Foundation, which finances drinking water projects around the world.

“Are you nuts?” Dan Spotz, her father, said when she told him about her plan. “When she rode a bike across the entire country, she didn’t have to worry about sharks or pirates.”

Spotz did see sharks. She was splashed by dolphins as big as her boat. Fish leapt and slapped her in the face, and exhausted birds nestled beside her as she rowed.

Rather than thinking about how far she had traveled or how many miles she had left, she tried to notice her surroundings.

“For this journey I really couldn’t think that far in advance because otherwise it would be overwhelming,” Spotz said. “It allowed me to focus on what was happening in that moment.”"

All of the above is directly from the NYTimes.

After reading this I felt inspired and proud of her all day. 70 days! Sharks! Fish slapping her in the face! Storms!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wild Geese

The geese are on their way back up north. It sort of seems like the stragglers just left, but it is nice to see their V formation in the pink evening sky. I wanted to get a video of them flying and overhead honking, but no luck.

Kellie read this poem in yoga class this week. It is one of my most favorite Mary Oliver poems. Kellie had us focus throughout the class on letting "the soft animal of your body love what it loves.." which gave the poem whole new meaning.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

© Mary Oliver

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ziplining Bretton Woods NH 3/6/10

Here I am with 3 wonderful women-friends near Mt Washington in New Hampshire.
(I'm the one in the Balaclava that drew much snickering but kept me warm. Much of the snickering came from my inability pronounce the word combined with the fact that apparently it made me look like both a nun and a ninja, depending on the situation.)

I was really frightened when my friend initially invited me for a ziplining adventure last fall, so I did alot of mental prep, but then our October trip got canceled because of 60 mph winds. This weekend was our second attempt and the weeks leading up to it were way too busy for me to do any mental preparation. Instead I just showed up and tried to have faith that I would survive. That, even if I had a panic attack or started sobbing up in some tree, somehow it would all work out.

But, miraculously I had a wonderful time. It was a really transformative experience.
The guides were really amazing and supportive while still being goofy joking young men. My friends are marvelous strong women. As the day went on and we did each of the ten (ten!!) ziplines and two suspension bridges I felt so elated and brave! The rappelling down 60 feet really terrified me. I had been dreading the act of holding a rope, turning my back to open air and then jumping off with 60 feet below me! Uggh! It makes me nervous to think about it now, but I did it! It required deep eye contact with the guide who looked right back at me and said, "You can do it." And he was right!

I felt slightly detached and mildly amused, because as I performed each feat with supportive and competent guides on a sublimely gorgeous day surrounded by delightful people I could trust; I had a realization. I had shut countless doors based on erroneous ideas of what I was capable of, like:
"I'm afraid of heights.
I get cold outside in winter; it's better to stay in by the fire
I don't have enough upper body strength to do adventurous things like that.
I might hurt my back.
Or break my bones.
I don't like to ski because I don't want to fall.
Outdoor sports are too risky
If I might freak out or fail why even bother?"
The list goes on and on.

Flying over the trees blew all the doors off!
Who knows what I can do?
If I can do this; I can do anything, really.
This video looks like it didn't download, but it did and it is awesome. Patrick, our guide, took my camera and got a video of one of the zips. it really gives you the feeling of height, speed and wind that still almost takes my breath away.

I did not like the suspension bridges! Way too wobbly and icy!

Here's me 60 feet above the ground about to rappel down! Yikes! I'm so glad I took photos because I don't know if I'd believe I did it!
My first thought upon waking the next morning was, "I DID IT!!"


Silver Moon is a magical store in Brattleboro I've mentioned before. I went in with the girls the other day and was drawn to buy a small piece of Fulgurite. Patti, the owner of the shop, had a print-out near the stones with an extensive and exciting description. She said this stuff was special because it was from nearby, right here in the Vermont mountains.
It looks like she got the information from her flyer online because I found it in two different places.

This is from a site called Heavenly Scent http://www.heavenlyscent.net/fulgurite.htm

"What are Fulgurites?

Fulgurites are glassy tubes that are formed when lightning strikes the sand or rock. Lightning carries extremely large amounts of static electricity which is discharged in a very small spot, and the temperature there has been calculated to be hotter than the surface of the sun. The heat is intense enough to vaporize the sand at the center of the strike and to melt the material around the edges. The tube is formed from the melted sand and the hole down the middle is where the vaporized material had been. Fulgurites come in various shapes, sizes and color. Some can be hollow tubes and others can be glassy on one side and or sand/rock on the other side.

Fulgurites are one of the most powerful stones for manifesting one’s visions through the power of prayer. The lightning energy is believed to be the touch of the Divine, still resides in them, and they can act as magnifiers of one’s clear intention, building a powerful resonance between oneself and the powers of the higher worlds.

Fulgurites have a strong, high-frequency vibration, and they seem to hold a clear resonance with the powerful electrical force that created them. Holding a Fulgurite, one may sense a vortex of energy whizzing through the chakras and all levels of the Light body, purifying and cleansing the entire system. There may also be a strong arousal of the Kundalini forces of creativity and inner power.

Fulgurites are powerful for grounding the Light body and manifesting one’s higher purpose. Fulgurite is a stone of prophecy, opening the higher chakras to Divine energy. It opens and clears the psychic and intuitive senses and can assist one in rapidly connecting with the frequency of the Divine through prayer or meditation.

Fulgurite is especially helpful for those ready to experience major breakthroughs and to release habit patterns that no longer serve. Fulgurite will assist you in bringing your thoughts into form, so be sure to hold positive thoughts and do this work only after surrendering to the Divine. This will ensure your creations serve the highest good!"

Patti does Feng Shui and she added a tip: "Place Fulgurite in the Fame and Reputation area of the home. This area is associated with the element of fire. Helpful to clear the system of any blockages that may be inhibiting manifesting your fullest potential! This area is also our connection to the divine energies of the universe."

I had never bothered much with my "Fame and Reputation" area because I didn't care much about either, but clearly I don't know much about Feng Shui. I did a bit with it a couple of years ago and try to keep positive pretty amulets in the important areas. I looked at my little Feng Shui cheat card and figured out the spot in my house and after letting my Fulgurite spend some time on my Reiki grid I put it on the windowsill in the kitchen, which, apparently is my fame and reputation area.

I asked Patti how they know where to find it and she told me that there is a woman who is a lightening tracker in the mountains of Vermont who finds this magical Fulgurite. It gave me chills and has captured my imagination. Who is this woman? Is she out in the storms? Does she find the spot where lightening hit while it is still smoking with heat? Is she out at nighttime watching the skies? I love it. I love not knowing the answers, just imagining this wild woman out there; tracking lightening.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Textile Company

is a gorgeous old fabric store where I picked up some remnants I can use for dream and therapy pillows.

Hopefully whatever virus we have doesn't survive for long in all the fabric, buttons and ribbon that Lily touched just hours before she began to vomit.


Magic Wings

Magic Wings is the butterfly conservatory in nearby Deerfield. Lily had the day off school today so after I dragged both the girls of a few errands we ended up there.

It was hot and sunny. Music by Enya was playing from the speakers. Butterflies and birds were flitting about. I got serene and sleepy very quickly but Georgia who is mostly better got tired and cried for her own Chinese Quail that could live at her house and sleep in her bed.

She was a wreck in the heat. Itchy, grumpy and weepy, like an impossible combination dwarf from Snow White.

Lily held it together and had a lovely time but when she got home she started throwing up.

The chrysalis are collected in the nursery where they wiggle and sway, which looks a bit creepy, but cool.

What Rob Said

when he walked through the dining room I had filled with branches that I'm hoping will bloom. They had fallen from trees all over town in the snowstorm.

"What the hell! Do we live in a f#&*king terrarium!?"

Wisdom in Cycles

I pulled this card from the Goddess Oracle when I asked for some wisdom.


(All contents © Kris Waldherr 2008. All rights reserved.

Kris Waldherr, the artist who makes these cards said I could put them on my blog as long as I included this link to her facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/l/;KrisWaldherr.com. )

It can be difficult for me to take time to listen and be quiet, but after meeting with Noelle I have been trying to meditate again. Now when I get that spacey feeling I try to feel my feet or ground myself but I also just try to go with the flow and carry on. Maybe I just have to adjust to different energy frequencies at different times. I'll see what happens as I keep meditating.

Then I listened to this wonderful 4 cd set I got from the library. It has these amazing funny lectures and I highly recommend it to anyo ne. I laughed alot the week I listened to Louise Hay, Susan Jeffers, Christiane Northrup and Carolyn Myss all at some lecture 12 years ago.

They were all great but some of the stuff that Christiane http://www.drnorthrup.com/ said really struck me. I transcribed it and am going to put it in here so I remember it.

It made me think of the very real and beautiful magic that is our bodies and our cycles.

"I don't care if you've never had a baby. I don't care if you're a man. Birth is the way that life comes into form on earth. Physical birth, the way it is done through a woman's body is a metaphor (and it's also the real thing) for all of creation. Conception, gestation, labor and delivery, miscarriage, abortion, stillborns. You name it, we've all got 'em. I want you to start thinking of the things you're gestating, the things that you're giving birth to, hopefully your self is the main thing."

Then she goes on to talk about the menstrual cycle.

"From the time you have your period (most women, when they lived in the dark of the land started it with the dark of the moon) we go into a cycle of outward inspiration as the egg develops. We have a little more estrogen and our culture loves us in the follicular phase of the cycle, day 5 until ovulation-you want to get out into the world! You want to do stuff.

Then at ovulation the FSh/LH peak and you're maximally open to cross pollination from any source. So, waitresses get the most tips, men describe the women in their lives as 'electric'. The cervical fluid becomes a super highway for sperm. That's what happens on the physical level.

On the emotional level you're open. Libido is often peaking.

Then if you don't get pregnant you enter this inner cycle of reflection, this cycle reflects the seasons in this part the nutrients move underground- you can't see them but there's intense activity as the uterus cleans itself out and prepares for a new cycle of growth just like the planet does- remember we're just like the planet.

In here you must respect the fact that we'll be naturally more apt to cry at those things that have the most meaning for you and if you're not taking time for yourself or you feel like you have to ask permission to slow down then that will be the degree of your rage or anger.

This is when the tide is out and everything at the bottom that you don't want to see will hit you between the eyeballs.
Everything that isn't working in your life will magnify premenstrually. Does that mean you're Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde? Maybe.
But what it mostly means is you have been ignoring you're wisdom, so it has to come and kick you in the pants premenstrually and that's PMS"

I loved hearing about the cycles and the way our inner monthly cycle changes how we interact with the world. It made me want to use the information and make my life more accepting and supportive of my own cycle.

A quote she read about self-care also stayed with me.
It was from Audre Lord the poet who lived for 8 years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer metastasized to her liver. She said:

"I had to examine in my dreams as well as in my immune-function tests, the devastating effects of over-extension. Overextending myself is not stretching myself. I had to accept how difficult it is to monitor the difference. Caring for myself is not self indulgence, it is self preservation and that is an act of political warfare."