Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Byron Katie

I went with 5 friends to see Byron Katie at Newton-Wellsley hospital. We had a fun 2 hour drive there. It felt like we were going to a rock concert.
We even got our hand stamped and were escorted into the auditorium.
It was great to see her in person.
There was lots of laughter amid the intensity of doing "The Work"
The breakthroughs we witnessed weren't quite as efficient as on the website, but we all drove away feeling lighter and like some of our thinking had been transformed.

We stopped at 10pm on the way home at Cabot's ice cream and got sundaes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tossing the crow mug

The girls and I went to the Connecticut river to toss my broken crow mug into the river.

Such an amazing fall day; the leaves had just a tinge of reddish starting to spread along the hills.
We each threw a piece of the mug in, after the last splash quieted Lily said,
"Maybe a crow will come flying out of the water!"
We all waited but the water was still.
Maybe at night when the stars are out and no one is watching..

Saturday, September 26, 2009


In yoga last week Kellie had us do a crazy pose.
After getting up into handstand (with help) and coming down, she wanted us to try a new pose. In this one there is one hand flat on the ground like in handstand and the other forearm down on the ground like in forearm balance. Then she told us to kick up (with help if we needed it) It felt so unbalanced!
I couldn't kick up, even with her right there! I was just too scared.
"I can't do it." I protested, "It's too uneven and unfamiliar."
She leaned over and said in her loving but challenging way, "Oh, so you only do things in your life that you're good at? That you're used to?"
"Well, yeah!" I laughed, but it got me thinking.
I have been dreaming so long of serenity and peace; writing quietly and lovingly being with my children.
I was shocked recently when I got really angry at Lily. It didn't fit in with my idea of myself.
But it got me thinking, as I wrote in a previous post, maybe I have to shift my story.

Maybe work on doing things that challenge me and make me uncomfortable.

I think part of what I loved about my experience with the clairvoyant last month was that it reinforced my deep feelings of being drawn to a quiet monastic life.
But, as my therapist said when I was complaining recently about the difficult mundane experiences of life, "Well, someone's got to take out the garbage."
Maybe I need to work on that in this lifetime....practical messy reality.

(I also am really smitten with my husband and children so I have no intention of running off to be a Buddhist nun)

So, I'm pretty lucky to be here in this regular busy beautiful life

Maybe my next step is moving toward being more present in the changing tricky world;
taking some risks and seeing what happens.

Like in that pose.

I'm listening to Marianne Williamson's The Ten Bridges of Transformation in the car which has been mind-altering and fun. It's about crossing over into new spiritual territory.

Then I got invited to do a canopy tour through the trees in New Hampshire for a friend's birthday. There are zip rides above the trees and suspension bridges high in the air, even rappelling!!! Yikes!!
I thought, "Maybe I'll watch the rest of the group from the ground and cheer them on. I'm way too scared of heights to do it."

Then it came to me, "Uh oh, I should do it." Time to cross some serious bridges inside and out.
I can do anything, right?
I can fly above the trees.
(And it seems like they are well trained, so if I pass out someone on staff will retrieve my dangling unconscious body, get me to a lodge and give me some cocoa.)
I'm going to be brave.
So I put the $100 on my credit card and it's on my calendar

Friday, September 25, 2009


There is an abandoned prep school near where I live and I think it would make the perfect Hogworts. It has enough magic and charm to be the place where wizards go to learn their craft.

I keep hoping someone will buy it and we'll start seeing people like Dumbledore at the local market and the gas station. I imagine it's difficult to get reliable wizard faculty; they always seemed to have trouble in the books; but I bet it could be done.

I mentioned my dream of a Hogworts to an older man who had gone to the abandoned school when he was a boy; when it was a lively place. He was visiting, walking around the empty grounds.

I thought maybe I had offended him, because he was silent for a while, but he finally said, "You know, it kind of was like a a Hogworts.....It was a magical place to learn."

So, if anyone knows any wizards with deep pockets; have them consider buying the place before it crumbles from neglect.

For now, I try to enjoy it as a beautiful place to walk. Today Georgia collected fruits from the ornamental trees and fed them to the pink and black alligators she said were in the sewers; waiting there hungry, but patient, beneath the old metal grates.

Kid on bus; lunch on table

When Lily was in kindergarten and first grade I drove her to school most days. She insisted but I also liked to see what was going on at school. Now that she's in second grade, the bus has a couple more friendly faces and most days she wants to take the bus.
As I am a frequently tardy person who often works late at night and am sleepy in the morning (last night I got to bed at 2:15am.) So this means some anxious running up the hill as the rumbling bus is on its way to our stop. The neighbors yelling, "Lily! It's coming!"
Akkk. Anyway, after the triumph of making the corner before the bus arrived, Georgia and I waved goodbye and then sauntered back down the hill into the warm kitchen where I was met with the vision of Lily's carefully packed lunch box!
So deflating.

Shoes back on and off to school we go to stuff it in her locker before snack time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My crow mug broke!

I'm sad. It was a special gift.
I had overpacked the cup cabinet so when Lily opened it, a foolish plastic cup came flying out and knocked my precious mug from the counter to the floor. Lily was horrified so I had to shrug and say, "Just a cup; no big deal."
We collected the pieces, but I can't glue it. Not sure what to do with it. We might go throw it in the big river. Let the river turn it smooth and murky colored.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumn!

I cannot believe fall is here!

We got 4 cords of wood delivered yesterday.

Now we get to stack it. This year they dropped it in two different piles; one for the yard and one for the garage.

Georgia still feels a bit under the weather so we took it easy with a small walk around the neighborhood. My neighbors have a bearded lizard, a parrot or these orange roses in their yard; depending on the season.
While I'm sad another summer has passed too quickly; I am excited for fires in the woodstove.
Last year was my first year having a wood burning stove. I loved the deep dry heat. We spent so much time sitting around reading and playing in the evening, watching the glowing flame.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Georgia home sick today

She didn't feel well so she spent most of the night awake and most of the day sleeping. I had to go to my first day of teaching clinical after working last night so I got 3.5 hours of fitful sleep with her and then hated to leave her in the dark morning.
Rob used a family sick day from work and hung out with her. While she napped he put the final coat on our door to the upstairs that's been bare wood for two years.

I love it!

Lily came home on the bus to find the whole family home.

Here she is reading a Dora book to Georgia. She was very animated and it was sweet to see how much she wanted to comfort Georgia. First she tried roughhousing which ended badly and then she figured out that she could read to her! How cool to be a big sister.
Everyone is sleeping now and I'm off to bed after doing the bills.
Here's hoping no one wakes up with stomach pains tonight!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~Joseph Cambpell

Was the quote that caught my eye on the spine of a Real Simple magazine. It made me sigh.

I have been fiercely holding on to my deep desire for another child.

Even though it is impractical (We don't have money, time or space for another baby.) I still want that third child.

We are taking a break from talking about it because it was driving me (and my dear husband) crazy.

This break is a tiny crack in my plan. I have been holding tight to this plan, along with the clear and practical vision that I would write a book (I did) sell it (I did not) and it would set me free (guess what? didn't happen)
I know I know; I've complained about this before...
This freedom I hoped for entailed being home with my babies and husband while taking time to write and walk in the woods. I was going to be a mom and forest hermit at the same time.
This did not happen.
I think I have been holding out for that third baby; hoping that maybe this third time life would fall together. That meant it would be peaceful and filled with expansive serene moments of solitude combined with heavenly baby togetherness. Ahhhhhhh.
I am so pissed it didn't happen!
Now my children are getting bigger and bigger. They're not babies anymore. Time has run out for my plan.
How did that happen?
I am angry and stressed out; juggling too much, just like every other overworked overwhelmed working mom.
That sucks.

Back to the quote.

Maybe it's time to get rid of the life I imagined.
And see what's waiting for me.

Uggh. It's so difficult to let go.
It seemed like such a good plan.........

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Too cold to sleep out tonight!

I was hoping to sleep out tonight because I'm not working.
But there's a low of 33 predicted!
Maybe next weekend?

Last night I picked up a few hours at work from midnight to 3:30am.
On my way home the stars were unbelievably bright and beautiful.
They called me to look, but I was so sleepy.
I stopped the car at the golf course near my house and got out.
The Milky Way was a bright scattered sweep above me.
The night was quiet.
It was 4am and no birds were stirring yet.
After a few minutes I got back in the warm car, drove home and snuck into my cozy bed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Busy Week

I've been busy getting ready for a new semester of teaching nursing students. I do it one day a week during the fall and I always forget how much prep, coordination and paperwork I have to do before it even starts.
So I've been doing that and not doing this.
Lily is enjoying second grade so far. Here she is with her show-and-tell cupcakes she and Georgia made with playdough.
And here is Georgia taking apart my mother's sewing bag and trying on the crazy magnifying glasses my mother keeps in there. Rob said she looks like some kind of cartoon character and she does!
Ok off to bed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sleeping under the stars

I have been wanting to sleep outside at night for years. But I always come up with excuses of why it is too inconvenient and difficult.
I've done some camping here and there but usually as a cheap place to stay when we were traveling. In the 7 years since children came along we have probably slept out 2 or 3 times.

I realized that I am urgently seeking mystical clues of what step to take next in my life, but, really, I have had a strong urge to do something, that calls deeply to me, and I still haven't done it.
I think I'm probably supposed to listen to that urge.
But it's cold outside.
My sleeping bag won't zip.
What about bugs?
My back is sore and I need a good mattress.
Rob has a c-pap machine for his sleep apnea and has no interest in sleeping outside. I'll miss him.
What if the children wake?

Lots of excuses.
I recently rediscovered the Loreena McKennitt song The Dark Night of the Soul and it reminded me that I have had this urge for many years.

Loreena McKennitt - The dark night of the soul

Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
and by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire t'was led me on
and shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
it was a place where no one else could come


Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave
And by the fortress walls
the wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow


I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lovers breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the mornings mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

Loreena writes in the CD booklet about this song:

May, 1993 - Stratford ... have been reading through the poetry of 15th century Spain, and I find myself drawn to one by the mystic writer and visionary St. John of the Cross; the untitled work is an exquisite, richly metaphoric love poem between himself and his god. It could pass as a love poem between any two at any time ... His approach seems more akin to early Islamic or Judaic works in its more direct route to communication to his god ... I have gone over three different translations of the poem, and am struck by how much a translation can alter our interpretation. Am reminded that most holy scriptures come to us in translation, resulting in a diversity of views.

The cd came out in 1994 when I was in college and I remember reading the liner notes and listening to the music in my tiny square dorm room and thinking, "I could go wander around out there in the quiet night and then fall asleep outside!" It gave me a thrill then, too.

I loved the idea of sneaking down a secret stairwell with a lantern!
I loved her interpretation of the poem as a love song to the divine.
Even though I was a co-founder of ASP (The Association of Smith Pagans) I felt a universality to the yearning St John described.
"But I can't go outside now." I thought, "It would be weird."
And I didn't really want to be weirder than I already was...
I had different excuses then, I'm sure.
Where would I go?
What if I slept late and people found me in the morning?
What about the good night sleep I needed for class the next day?

I did give it a try with the girls in June this year.
But Georgia was puzzled about why we were lying down in a fabric fort outside at night.
I finally passed her through the tent door to Rob at 10pm when she had kept Lily and me awake and stepped on my resting head about 100 times.
Then Lily and I got chilly (It got unseasonably cold and windy!) so we snuck into the living room and slept on the futon.

I'd better try again before the snow comes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Love this mushroom

so sweetly pushing up from the dark earth.
I couldn't decipher what is was from above, so I had to stop and stoop down.

I have been taking more walks outside in my Vibram 5 fingers. They feel like barefeet, but you don't get poked. I read about them on Mark's Daily Apple

Which is also the source of The Primal Blueprint diet I've been following for over a month now. It pretty much cuts out processed foods and grains. The goal is to even out insulin production and avoid big draining swings in bloodsugar. It's been working really well for me. I've been eating healthy unprocessed foods and not feeling hungry or having cravings. Nice.
The workout component is really appealing to me because it involves lots of low level daily exercise, like taking walks outside. But it also involves sprinting, lifting heavy things and some high intensity exercise.

The sprinting and heavy lifting hasn't been as easy for me to figure out, but maybe this week I can get to the gym or sprint up my hill. I'm still a bit intimidated about really pushing myself physically. But I know I have to do it to get stronger. I'm working on doing one pull up!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blueberry Girl

is the name of this lovely book by Neil Gaiman I just discovered the other night at work. A family had it for their daughter who had just been born.
Here is a link to an animated version of the book. It is a blessing to a girl for a whole and beautiful life. Lovely.

I can't wait to show this to my girls and to read them the book.

Here are my blueberry girls at Rob's cyclocross race this weekend.
It was cold, so thank goodness we had towels in the back of the car.
Georgia is shaking her cowbells to cheer the riders on!

Go Rob!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Georgia the cat-whisperer

She has a way with cats. She is obsessed. Rob is allergic so we have no cats and no plans to get any. Maybe we'll get a barn cat, if we ever get a barn.

We went to three different farms this week. Two of them because I was on a hunt for raw milk for my Primal Blueprint diet. One was our beloved Picadilly farm.

Somehow the cats appear during our visit and she goes after them in a focused relentless way that should get her scratched or bitten, but instead she ends up holding them! For a long time!

The black one near the pumpkins was at Upingill Farm (where I got some lovely raw milk in a glass bottle.) The farmer looked surprised that Georgia was able to corral and hold the sort-of unfriendly cat.

The tabby is from NMH farm where we saw a baby cow and enormous horses, but nothing topped the kitty for Georgia.

The bottom photos are of Georgia and Butternut, one of the three barn cats at Picadilly. Georgia walked around with her dangling in her arms limply for about 15 minutes. I started to worry it had some sort of spinal cord injury. Georgia was so very happy, as you can see.

The farmer there told us that no one but Georgia is that fixated on the cats. None of the other kids can catch them, but Georgia is persistence itself.

When It came time to leave she handed Butternut to the little girl who lives there, who saw that Georgia was sad, so she said, "Don't worry Georgia! I will hold her all day for you." This comforted Georgia until she had to get in the car and then she lost it, as you can see.

She cried for Butternut all the way home.

I told her one day she could have as many kitties as she wanted. She held up her open hand and said, "I want this many!"

Someday she'll have 5 cats of her very own. Until then we'll prowl around the nearby farms and our neighborhood hoping for a willing victim.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Home repair then fire department

We had an plans for an efficient and productive night but instead the dishwasher started pouring water out from the bottom, all over the floor. I am the type who just mops it up with a beach towel and lets it finish it's run. Which involved another wet beach towel. I didn't want to have dirty dishes to clean! Rob came in from painting the trim outside (an overdue and unpleasant task) and was horrified to find water spewing out of our appliance.

After putting away the cleanish dishes, we assessed that the water was backing up in the bottom of the washer. We are usually timid about home repair, but we're low on cash so I googled "dishwasher leaking" and we got a nice website where someone told us step by step how to evaluate and treat our problem.
Rob was chugging away, taking apart hoses and using a coat hanger to unclog them. He got a big gush of water and figured he'd cleared the blockage. Hooray!

We were feeling successful and powerful. Like Handy Manny, "We can fix it!"

Then he dropped a screw in the motor!
Uggh. We spent the next hour, the kids wasting away in front of the tele and all of us growing hungry as dinner time passed. Rob or I would be soo close to grabbing the tiny screw with tweezers, flashlight trembling and back killing, and then we would drop the screw again.
We had lots of ideas about how to get it out, finally after using the leaf blower to blow out the dingy water that blocked our view of the screw, (Rob's idea) I leaned in with pliers holding a strong magnet (we'd ripped from a lovely butterfly magnet of the fridge) and out came the screw.

We were victorious.
We put some dirty dishes in the dishwasher and fired it up.
No leaking.
We were proud.
Then Rob called to me, "I see smoke, Kat! It's smoking!"
"Oh no that's just steam!" I called confidently from the other room.
Then I smelled the smoke.

What to do!
It was streaming out of the side of the dishwasher.
I called 911.
They were very polite and prompt.
I told the dispatcher that Rob was going to try to pull the dishwasher out and see where the smoke was coming from.
She said, "Ma'am. Don't touch it. Get you and your family out of the house and wait for the fire department."
So that is what we did.
We had a picnic on the back deck.
The smoking had mostly stopped but the girls were scared that the fire department was coming to their house. So was I! I felt a bit foolish but also relieved.
It is hard to ask for help.
They arrived quickly, with the truck and all their gear.
They came in the kitchen, pulled out the dishwasher out and noticed we had not turned the water back on. (oops!)
and that the heating element had burned a small hole in the plastic floor of the dishwasher, which caused the smoke. (We had leaned on the heating element while we were retrieving the screw and apparently left it pressed against the plastic floor.) (oops again!)

Out they all took it to the driveway!

I'd say our home repair confidence is nil now.
But at least we know the fire department can get here really quickly!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Funny bumper sticker

at the house neighboring our violin lesson.
So violin: here's the thing. I think I am so amazing for taking violin lessons. Remembering to show up and actually bringing the violin is a feat! But apparently to improve and keep Lily's interest and momentum, we have to practice more than 5 minutes a day. I keep hoping the great effort of lessons (scheduling, paying, remembering, driving, etc.) and pulling the dang things out most days will be enough! But now we have been instructed by our lovely, focused and accomplished teacher that we have to practice 20 minutes a day! Yikes! 20 minutes! It is a really long time. Our computer (with the i tunes where we play back the music) is in the kitchen; in the center of everything. Georgia tries to get involved and Rob is to cooking or getting in the fridge.
Uggh, We will have to move our music studio up to the study...
We have to get a bit more focused.
We do love the fun exciting lessons and enjoy holding and playing the violins; we just have to step it up.
Lily and I are having some friction lately, which is new and disturbing and, of course, aggravated by violin.
I do want to stick with it because she loves it and learns so much about music, practicing, memorizing, work, and other important things.
Also, for me, even if the rest of life is overwhelming, at least I am learning something I always wanted to learn.

So, this morning I tried the 20 minutes (I had done alot of verbal preparing , but Lily quickly had a meltdown.) It did not go well. She said, "You know, you are a bad mom!" It was the first day of school so I had to be calm and kind, but I was angry.
I see now the first day of school is probably not the day to do something new, but I thought why not just jump into fall and new habits?
Well, now I know why not.
I was very glad I had listened to How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk (thank you Emily) and tried to be empathetic, but it is difficult. (More on that on another post.)

We'll try it again tomorrow.

Here she is heading to her first day of second grade. She and her Papa rode their bikes.

Here's hoping she has a great year!

Psychic reading

My friends had a 40th b-day party last weekend. Part of the festivities included a psychic doing individual readings. What a gift! I have always been too nervous to go into some stranger's house and ask private random questions, but because it was my friend's house; it felt comfortable.

I stuck my name on the list as fast as I could.

She was a large friendly woman with jewel necklaces and a purple shirt. She gently took my hand once I sat down and held it in her soft clasp, closing her eyes. She asked a few questions: single or married? where do you live? kids? job?

After a moment she said she saw me clearly, somewhere where there were cherry blossoms, maybe Virginia or DC. "It is a past life" she said, "and you are writing at a desk." (I had told her I was a nurse and a writer)

Then a little girl ran through the room and the psychic laughed and said, "Hold on! I just lost what I had. She ran in- and off I went with her."

Then she looked back up at me and said, "Oh that's funny! That doesn't usually happen! I just saw you in a nun's habit. You were a nun."
I laughed loud just because I really did know that; deep down. After a few moments she continued, saying I had a long monastic tradition and that I had "walked with the saints."

Then she added, "You have a very strong a very strong connection to the Divine Mother." She was looking up over my left shoulder, seeming pleased..

She said that writing was something I'd done well and could do again, but she seemed a bit bored with that. She talked about lots of other interesting things and then she said with a tired smile, "Really, with that connection to the Divine Mother you can do anything!"


I asked if she had any suggestions for making contact with the Divine Mother and she laughed and pointed above and around me and said, "She's right there. Really, she's all around you. You just can't use your head. You have to use your heart. You have to seek."

I might have looked frustrated because I feel like I have been seeking.

She offered, "You have to find out what works for you. I walk in the woods and after 45 minutes insight comes to me."


I've never thought much about past lives, but sort of believe in reincarnation. I don't know what I believe, but at Wellspring House I had just finished revising a personal essay from last year where I wrote:

“I’ve always wanted to be a nun,” I told her as I gathered my papers. “Not a Christian one, but a Buddhist one or some witch in some secret ancient coven on a medieval island. Maybe I was one in another life. I can really imagine walking in a line toward a temple, something.”

So, I was struck by the parallel there. That's the only reference I've ever made to another life!
She said lots of other compelling things that I am still filtering..

I can't believe I didn't ask her if I would have any more children. But maybe I didn't want to hear her answer.

Already, this odd experience has shifted some burden.
If this life is not my only life and if I've spent entire lives meditating and praying then I can really focus on being a mom and wife this time. It made me feel less tight and cranky about alone time. "Oh come on! You've had years of quiet time! Buck up!" I felt myself saying to myself, even just the next day.

I was feeling puzzled, so I did what I do when I'm not sure what to do.

I checked by beloved Rob Breszny's horoscope a few days later:

If at some future time you sell your life story to a filmmaker who makes it into a feature film, it may have a lot to do with adventures that kick into high gear in the coming weeks. The fun will start (I hope) when you decide not to merely lie back and be victimized by your signature pain any longer. This brave act will recalibrate the cosmic scales and shift the currents of destiny that flow through you. Soon you will be making progress in untangling a mystery that has eluded your insight for a long time. You will be able to uncover the guarded secrets of a source that has for some time been tweaking your personal power without your full awareness.

and I pulled a Goddess oracle card from

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:;

I am letting the experience settle.
Today I took a long walk outside alone and tomorrow I'm going to start up meditating every day again. (I stopped for the summer. Too difficult to get away from 2 kids!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rat Playtime

The rats (Cakey with the grey face and Jewel with the whiter face) haven't been featured on the blog much, mostly because they REALLY don't sit still for long. Today (Lily's last day of summer!) the girls made a rat maze on the table and fed them breakfast cereal in a rainbow of blocks. Cakey and Jewel sat still so I got photos that give a glimpse of how cute they are.

They have a big cage and spend alot of time napping during the day, in a pile on top of each other.

They eat anything we give them, except they did reject some apple the other day. I came back with some chicken and they each grabbed it in their little paws and ran to devour it alone on the ground floor.

They're still a bit rowdy so they don't just sit on our shoulder's while we watch TV, which I still hope will become a habit some day.