Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Magical lanterns!

Our friends had a party this weekend and we took a walk to a nearby field where they pulled these marvelous things out!


They were so beautiful and bright floating up into the darkness.

The bright warm light really thrills me. I have a photo for my next vision board with a festival in Thailand that I want to attend someday. There are thousands of lights floating up into the darkness. It reminds me of the wish candles floating at night down the Ganges river when I traveled in India. Gorgeous.

Light as a wish in darkness must be universal.

Thailand during the Yi Peng festival


Our biodegradable lanterns rose up one at a time and slowly turned into far away stars.

Warm walk

It was such a nice day, this warm weather is so confusing.
We heard the chickadees singing their spring song from the birdfeeder.
No winter coats!
Georgia collected some sap from a pine tree and Lily tried to protect her from the bounding Cookie, who was thrilled to be out with all of us.

The girls climbed trees which is so much easier when you're not wearing mittens and snowpants.

Another bell on the golfcourse to warn other golfers that you are about to send a ball their way.

Lily found a friend.

Georgia being tender with the moss she found under the grove of pines.

You could hear the drip drip of melting snow and the roots of the big trees held water like tidepools.

Georgia's jumping in!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bingo Night!!

Fundraiser at the girl's school. It was like a festive silly party! And Georgia won! She got to yell BINGO and pick out a prize. She picked bowling passes.

She had put some of the pink mineral fairy makeup near her eye where it wouldn't come off. People all thought she had been crying so everyone was very tender with her.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tracks in the snow

I went for a walk this morning after a dusting of snow fell last night.
It was amazing to see all the tracks! So much activity in the dark night that I hadn't imagined.

Mice, bunnies, raccoon, skunk, squirrel?

The damp mud had sweet little white footed mice tracks along with Cookie's big paw print on the right. She kept running through the delicate snow tracks trying to figure out what I was doing taking photos of the ground.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ice skating lessons!

Started last weekend. Lily was not thrilled as you see by her squinty glare.

Rob turned out to still be a good skater even though he hadn't done it for 29 years.

Here are my skateless booted feet. I don't know how to skate and that makes me sad. This week I'm going to try but I don't want to injure myself (my herniated disk has quieted down so nicely) but I hate to miss out. There is a free skate while the girls have their lesson and everyone looks to be having such fun.

I'm forcing the girls to learn (Georgia is game even though she fell about 45 times the first class, she only fell about 5 times this week.) because I want them to learn how to do physical sporty things now when they don't have so far to fall.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Advice from the elderly

in a New York Times article.
Here's a link:


and here's a part that struck me:

"ON REGRETS “Always be honest” was the elders’ advice to avoid late-in-life remorse. Take advantage of opportunities and embrace new challenges. And travel more when you’re young rather than wait until the children are grown or you are retired.

As Dr. Pillemer summarized the elders’ view, “Travel is so rewarding that it should take precedence over other things younger people spend money on.” Create a bucket list now and start whittling it down.

ON HAPPINESS Almost to a person, the elders viewed happiness as a choice, not the result of how life treats you.

A 75-year-old man said, “You are not responsible for all the things that happen to you, but you are completely in control of your attitude and your reactions to them.” An 84-year-old said, “Adopt a policy of being joyful.”

I especially like the part about travel. I am gathering supplies for a new vision board and I am really excited to do more traveling. The girls are old enough to have fun and see the world! I just got a credit card that will accrue miles for travel. Here's to paying it off every month and gathering miles!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sparkle makes a move

for the watermelon in Grandma's trunk.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


So, when I was sick last year in the hospital, my window looked out at a brick wall.
It was sleety and gray out, early March once I was out of the ICU and on the med surg floor, the one with the dreary view.

I was glad to be alive after the Strep A ear infection had gone into my brain, made me forget I had children and generally and completely kicked my ass.
I lay there with yellow pus fluid draining out of my ruptured ear while vomiting and retching frequently from the antibiotics and infection as the days dragged by.
My children were not allowed to visit, too many freaky germs so children were not allowed on the unit.
My devoted family, who had constantly been at my bedside when I was dangerously sick, was gone for part of the day for well deserved showers and naps because I was going to be OK.

The left side of my face and head were swollen and sore from the effects of the enormous ear infection (a week later a puzzled Ear Nose and Throat doctor would sit back on his stool and stare at me, after looking in my ear with his light, reporting thoughtfully, "I don't even know what I'm looking at in there. There are no landmarks. I've never seen anything like it.")

My roommate was crazy, loud and incontinent of stool; demanding Coca Cola all night and then yelling that she couldn't sleep. Her TV was on day and night.

It was some serious suffering.

One day, laying there watching the sleet fall, I thought. "Next year at this time; if I am still here. I am going to an island."
It settled in.
Then I declared to myself, "I am going to an island next year."

I went home and slowly and totteringly got better. I had to give myself antibiotics and anti-nausea drugs through a mid-line IV in my arm for weeks to kill off any stray bacteria that might lurk in my bones and start proliferating again.

Here is a photo of me from that time with my medicines on my desk, my IV and hotpack at the IV site because it really hurt when the antibiotic would run. I was so weak, all I wanted to do was sleep.

Here's a link back to my postings about my illness if you missed the adventure and want to read up.


I got better; months went by.
I got to thank all the beautiful people in my life who prayed for and cared for me.
I got to feel the residual gift of feeling held and loved by the universe itself, allowing for a deeper feeling of trust in the process of this beautiful life.
We worked on paying off bills. (I was out of work for a month and now we had medical bills!)
I got stronger.
We recovered and slowly processed the experience.
My hearing slowly started to come back (really slowly after getting my eardrum punctured 2 more times to try to relieve pressure. uggh!)
My short term memory loss begrudgingly disappeared and I began to feel like myself again.
I stopped having really frequent medical appointments.
I stopped worrying about random pain possibly being residual bacteria hiding in my bones and spreading.

After many months I got a cat scan and was told by the doctor he was relieved to find that "there was no brain material protruding into my ear canal or any cracks in my skull to allow in further bacteria." Well, happy day, who knew that was something to worry about?!

The island pledge to myself has been with me all these months.

Shortly after getting out of the hospital last year, my friend who did not know about my island plan, mentioned wanting to go to Culebra, a quiet little island off Puerto Rico.
Then another dear friend surprised me by saying she went there on her honeymoon and told me I would love it.
Then I found out another friend has been there several times and really enjoyed it.

Culebra Culebra Culebra.

Rob was skeptical, and worried about the money, but I was persistent.
Very persistent.
I have to go.

So, just after these hectic holidays I focused on doing some research and finding a spot.
Tickets are crazy cheap (230 round trip no stops )

One cold 9 degree day Rob sent me an email:
"Book the tickets."
And I did!

We found a sweet spot to stay with a kitchen.
The girls are over the moon.
We're hoping to see dolphins, turtles and iguanas.

I'm so glad to be going.
I'm so glad to still be here.

It's time to celebrate with an adventure.

Photos of Naniqui Guest House & Rentals, Culebra
This photo of Naniqui Guest House & Rentals is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Yoga of Pleasure

Pleasure Circle is a continuing part of the Pleasure Weekend I did with Jena LaFlamme in NYC in November.

It involves a monthly phone call and an online community to help support the transformation to really treating your body well and learning to listen to her (your body, not Jenna, although it makes sense to listen to her, too)

Homework last month was to "learn to unite more powerfully with pleasure as a healing force, in your life and in your body, by developing your breath."
with a page full of helpful suggestions and some reading homework.

December was not an easy month to focus on my breath. I don't think I have ever been so busy!
My teaching job was intense, working on labor and delivery was crazy busy and I had to pull off Christmas and everything that entails. It felt like each day was packed and I was running.

I did try to breathe.
When I was hunched over wrapping I would try and sit up and take a big slow breath.
When I was helping a student give meds for the first time I tried to relax my shoulders and take a breath.
When I was surrounded by sweets at work during a quick break from caring for a woman in labor I tried to sit and breathe.
When I was on the computer doing work or ordering things or worrying about money I would stop and breathe.

The last week before Christmas I talked with a friend at work who had 10 thirty gallon trash bags full of gifts for her children and family still left to wrap. She was predicting that she'd have to pull an all-nighter. I groaned in empathy but she smiled and said, "I know it's crazy, but it's so fun!" I thought she was insane but then it hit me. It is fun! I do love to make magic for my kids and family. It's fun. I had completely forgotten! That conversation helped bring me over the finish line and really enjoy the holiday.

But I was drained.
Ready to just sit still for a while.
Couldn't look at my list for a while.
Couldn't do homework.

Throughout the busy month I did listen to the new book by Geneen Roth Lost and Found about losing all her money in the Madoff scandal. I really enjoy her stuff and her clear writing about private issues like food and money. In this book she writes:

"During my years of dieting and binging, I saw my body as a thing I could throw around, an empty trash can I could stuff with whatever my mind wanted to eat. As if what I ate and the body that received it were not related. But then I started to understand that eating was not about being fat or thin; it was a physical means, a path, to being more-or less- alive. I could use food to feel energetic, or I could use it to feel dead. I could jack myself up on a sugar high for half and hour and drag myself around for the rest of the day, or I could eat something that would actually give me energy instead of taking it away. It depended on whether and how much I valued feeling as alive as possible." p. 42 Lost and Found


That quote articulates my recent realization beautifully. Why would I eat food that makes me feel like crap? Why not eat food that lets me be present and energetic? I suppose I've asked that question for a while but something has shifted, so right now I really get it.
Food and eating are about nourishing me.
So obvious, but feels like a big change that takes away alot of the banter and resistance in my head. The focused group energy of my Pleasure Camp weekend might have loosened old mental brick walls while we were dancing and eating chocolate blindfolded!

I also listened to a lecture by Jena that inspired me. You can listen to a similar one here:
http://www.love3point0.com/ricdownloads/ (scroll 1/3 of the way down the page and click the replay or download.)

Jena talks about the conversation years ago with her teacher in which he told her that her body was an animal and a "she" and how it shifted things for her. (My transcription here might not be exact.)

"By calling the body a "she" I realized that the body is a living, decision making animal, an intelligent creature that has alot of savvy and intelligence...Animals in nature know how to eat. If my body is an animal...I'm a mammal, I did know this. Something clicked, then my body, too must know what to eat, if given a chance.

So from there, the distinction for me was, my body was not something I owned and possessed, that I had the right to starve her, binge and overeat, eat the worst thing, like,

"Eeh whatever-it's my body. I can handle it. It's mine I can do whatever I want with it."

He pointed out "Uh uh. She's not yours to abuse. She doesn't belong to you.
She belongs to life.
She belongs to the planet and you are her guardian.
You have the responsibility and privilege to care for her in this lifetime.

And with that new frame, everything shifted.

I began to listen to her and that's what I ask you to do.."

That really struck me.

"She belongs to life."

I do feel that since my illness and recovery last year I have felt more reverence for my body. When I was gravely ill, my sister sat at my bedside, gently petting my leg or my arm saying over and over in a soothing voice, almost a chant, "Your sweet body is working so hard. It is so strong. You are so strong."

My body is working to keep me alive on this planet.
What a privilege to care for it.
Why not let it enjoy the beautiful world around us?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snow changes everything!

The terrain is so clear and bright now. I was ready for a layer of snow.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snowy Walk

Friday was a half-day for the girls.
I had big plans to get out in the snow and we actually did it.
Usually my half-day plans putter out because I plan too much and then the sun goes down, we put in the chickens, eat dinner, clean up and then we have to get ready for bed!. But everyone (including me, really) was totally willing to forget that I was going to go to the dump and buy milk so that is what got missed this week.

Big flakes of snow were falling.
The dog was tearing around the shallow bowls of hills and valleys that make up the nearby golf course.
We did some sledding, made snow animals and threw snow balls.

It's about time!

Cookie looked very pleased to be out running free. I have to bring a little container of treats for her, today it was leftover pulled pork, which she really likes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


For the last few weeks Rob has had this youtube video on repeat at home almost all the time. We all like it! No one is sick of it! It is so beautiful! And the video! The colors are so brilliant and the details of the lit up tents, the windy desert and the men dancing in bright scarves are so satisfying maybe we'll just have it on repeat forever!

(I had no idea I could post a youtube video! Look out!)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bubble making!

My sister and mother came out on Sunday to hang with the girls and do art projects.
Georgia blew a plastic bubble from a kit that EJ had given her for Christmas. She tried forever. long after we had each tried a few tricks with no success. We all gave up, but she was persistent and suddenly there was a huge clear bubble!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chain letter guilt and fear

Chain letter guilt and fear are very real. I've passed on a few things just because I was in a panic to get it over with and out of my inbox. I did feel some regret, but see what can happen?. (I loved this image from justcapshunz.com)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gingerbread houses

We went down to our neighbor's house for the annual gingerbread-house-decorating-party today. Georgia got her hands on the pugs and there was alot of candy.
We do it after Christmas now, because before the holidays is too busy.
It's also nice to have an activity for after Christmas day, which can always be a desolate candyless time for children.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

We lit sparklers out in the misty night (long before midnight.)

Even an illegal firework!

I got out of work a bit early and made it in time for the festivities. We took a nighttime walk with friends to celebrate a new year.

A lit up tree seems to wobble in the dark.

I love the bright light in the dark black night!

May you have a fantastic new year filled with health, happiness and love!!