Friday, July 31, 2009

Have Fun Sweet Boy! (and TGIF)

We leave for vacation in a few hours and while I pray for long, lazy, unaccounted chunks of time in which to unwind, right now I am a mess. But I am remembering to breathe, to acknowledge these feelings and know they will soon drift by like big, fluffy clouds.

Today I am Trusting: the wonderful people who will be caring for Moose at doggy camp (that's what I'm telling Cowgirl; it is a small, family run dog day care/kennel on a nearby farm). I went to drop Moose off and the owners reassured me he will have a wonderful time and they were insistent I take off and have fun. They obviously are familiar with helicopter dog owners! And yes, I did leave him with an old t-shirt I had been wearing for 2 weeks ... hopefully, he will smell me and understand I will be back.

I am Grateful for my life that allows us the money and the time to travel. This will be Cowgirl's 3rd beach holiday. I maintain 1 week a year at the seaside is a right of every child. The husband doesn't agree, he says it's a privilege. Well, I am grateful we are so privileged and I will teach Cowgirl never to take these things for granted.

I am Inspired by ... wow ... SO MUCH. I am loving the SARK writing workshop and have been madly making my tags for 52Q project. I have a bunch of blank ones packed away along with paints, markers, glue stick and colored pencils. I hope to use all that free time for small projects. Yeah, I know ... hopefully I will be dozing on the beach, just dreaming of all this creativity.

Happy days ...

I miss you already sweet Moosie boy ... sniff sniff ... maybe I'll write you an ode on the plane ride out ...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 2 of SARK - Another Poem?!


Possibility dances into my life.

She has wild, flowing hair

Sparkling with jeweled barrettes

and strands of gray that hint of many adventures lived.

Her clothes are soft, unfitted, allowing for fluid movement.

She wears the colors of the earth and sky

so as to blend in with the World she is so comfortably a part of.

Her skin is freckled with the many angel kisses

she so willingly receives.

Her smile is sunlight upon my skin.

Her dark eyes penetrate deep within me,

Seeing all that I am

and the All that I might become.

She lives in Flow and her actions

Sparkle with the effervescence

that is life bubbling up

unencumbered, unplanned, unprodded,

accepted, trusted,

And cherished.

As she twirls by me,

She leans in

and sings into my ear.

I can barely catch the words,

and the tune, while unknown

Rings familiar to my soul.


and be the dance.


and be the song.


and just be



and welcome

All your heart’s dreams.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I think I've fallen down the Rabbit Hole

So, here's the truth: I think I have a little problem and it is morphing into something pretty gia-normous. You see, it all started with an art camp ecourse with McCabe which enabled my - ahem - addiction for all things arty like paints, papers, brayers, stamps, brushes and inks. (Oh, there's more I'm not telling you!) A seemingly innocent class designed to empower Cowgirl through art has shifted into a fascination on my part with art journals and for lack of a more politically correct term, scrap booking. Oh yeah baby, I took a little 10 day e-class on creative scrapbooking which opened up another can of worms.

This would be enough, but no, I was not satisfied. My cravings intensified and I needed more! Much like Victor Hugo on a caffeine binge chewing coffee grounds (bet you didn't know that was where caffeine addiction can lead you!), I had to sign up for more classes, filling up my notepad with more projects. Well, I've written about the Unravelling course which jump started my love of journaling and photography (translate: more how-to books, new camera, new found love of Moleskine journals) and now I've hitched my wagon to 365 days of photographing myself along with 29 equally crazed and inspired women who are suggesting other subjects to photograph!

In a sleep deprived state, I found out about this humble little challenge called 52Q which has you make a tag/card collage/journal response to a question a week. Participants can post pictures of their work in a Flickr photo pool. It is pretty inspiring stuff and of course Emily's Blog has tossed me into a whirlpool of scrap booking ideas/projects. I haven't officially signed up (joined the Flickr group) but I did run out and purchase large shipping tags to use for my responses.

So, are you slumped back in your seat, exhausted from all this mania? But wait - there's more! I'm not sure how this happened - can I say I was on a Modgepodge fume induced bender? - but I just signed up for Juicy Journaling with SARK a 30 day course. Oh yeah, sure they all say you can go at your own pace, but if I don't stay on top of things, I will be buried alive under all these enriching activities.

Okay, so besides Paypal loving me (I just check my limits to make sure I hadn't busted anything) I have to say, I am having a blast! Yeah, I do have that giddy, sitting on the edge of my seat I am so excited but nervously overwhelmed feeling like the roller coaster is just pulling out from the station and the metal bar slapped down upon my lap and how did I get here? Or maybe it is just I've been creatively cramped for so long, getting out and stretching feels a little uncomfortable and scary, but how can I not experience this ride for myself?

But here is what I wrote today, in response to the first writing exercise. I love poetry, but I do not write it. So forgive any errors in form ... but I am pleased with my little poem. Be gentle, she is a newborn.

Gorgeous Moments

Dried salt air upon my skin

A warm summer day and I am sticky and drowsy with sun and play.

Cooled by creek water over hot toes,

Spicy smell of pine in the air reviving me,

Like that first sip of hot coffee in the early morning.

My soul is soothed like the sun dipping down into the ocean at sunset.

Above me, a flock of geese flap by, their wings fanning my senses.

I am reminded it is time to turn homeward.

Dinner needs to be cooked, creating new smells

Signaling nourishment and pleasure and satisfaction.

The evening’s close will find my head upon the pillow,

Scents of perfume from previous nights lingering

Calling me into a dream world of jasmine, rose, and spice.

I pause on my way up, peeking in to see

My wild child, still at last upon her bed,

Arms flung out, as if finally releasing her day to the world.

Monday, July 27, 2009

You know you want to LIMBO!

Summertime = birthday parties. We had 3 in one week plus our zoo trip. Phew! It is like training for a marathon. This was by far the most colorful and fun party of the bunch. Come on ... I know you are just itchin' to limbo with us!

Here's my best shot for Monday.

Practice and Mothering ... Reminders

From Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali:

Practice and parenting should be as one and we need not compartmentalize one from the other. If your child cries when you are half way through your meditation, your concentration needs to flow smoothly and without resistance and mental comment to what is required of you in that moment: comforting your baby. The carry over of the practice is more important that the practice itself.

Okay, step one: start practicing ... again!

Step two: taking 2 daily tasks and making them into times for mindfulness practice. Can drinking wine be one choice? Okay, walking the dog and washing the dishes.

Want to join me? What will you choose as your mindfulness practice? Let me know how it goes. I would love some company along this path.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Sun and TGIF

I had many profoundly wise and inspired things bubbling around in my brain that I wanted to write about, but a morning spent at the zoo on the hottest day of the month has leeched any coherent thoughts out of me. I've been thinking a lot about creativity: the need in all of us to find and express our unique voices as an act necessary to our well-being, much like breathing and eating. I am hoping to figure out a way to combine my studies and teaching of yoga with my newly rediscovered joy in making art - or more accurately stated, art play. But I will have let these ideas ferment a little longer before sharing them here.

Meanwhile, Cowgirl and I spent a busy morning at the zoo with a friend from her school and his sister. Three and a half hours, one train ride, merry go-round ride (today the animal of choice was a Big Rooster, replacing a rabbit and an ostrich as favored steeds), the bears, big cats, gorillas and lunch by the duck pond later, and we are spent. I don't need to go to a gym; I have my own 41 inch tall personal trainer and she is unrelenting!

My mother flew in yesterday and we are enjoying a long overdue visit. It has been a year since we've seen each other and it is fun to hear her describe the changes she sees in Cowgirl. We've been excited for this visit and Cowgirl thoughtfully "decorated" Amma's room with some of her animals and toys. She wrapped up a present, selected a few painted rocks and arranged all the throw pillows face down, so Amma would have a surprise when she turned them over. Children can be so me oriented, so I am doubly blown away when she does express such care and consideration.

Amidst all the activity, I am remembering to take time for the things that ground me. I may not be able to find the time to retreat to my yoga room, but I am committing to staying present to these precious moments. It's Friday, and that means TGIF!

Today I am trusting all the practice I have done in the past will sustain me in these next 2 weeks which will be crazy busy with my mom and then our trip back East. I've been craving the practices I used to have time for before Cowgirl, but I am trying to see this as a time to be more creative in what are opportunities for growth and understanding. I am listening to the book Buddhism for Mothers and so far it is just what I needed to hear. Am also eagerly awaiting Momma Zen and a book about art journaling from Amazon. Yum Yum, Books!

I am grateful for having my mother here at last and for all of us to be in good health and able to fully enjoy this time together.

I am inspired by the wildly creative, supportive, generous and playful women who are a part of the Unravelling 365 group recently formed after the ecourse. We are committing to a year of self portraits, some doing one a day, others one a week. Each time I dip into the photo pool, I am blown away by the bravery, honesty and beauty of these talented women. I am so grateful for their words of encouragement and for the genuine care and acceptance they express in their comments. A grueling task, photographing yourself on a regular basis and I am glad to know I will have this pack of wild women with me for the journey.

Now, go decorate your space with some favorite things!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Best Shot Monday - "Photo memento"

The theme for today's entry is an image that conjures up a meaningful memory or has a special story behind it. A challenge since my memory is not what it used to be! Mommy mind? Or hormones? Okay, another topic.

Meaningful for me these days is time spent in the company of good friends, free from to-do lists, activities and events that seem to be cluttering up our calendar. So no big story here ... but a great memory of a recent afternoon spent at the bookstore with a good friend and her daughter. The girls ran around giggling and being silly; hot chocolate and baked goodies were consumed; and the moms had some precious minutes to sit and talk. All the fixings of a good time. (The image I should have shot is of two adults huddled around a child sized table, deep in conversation and trying to ignore the wreckage building up around them. Two pairs of small hands and energetic legs can gather up quite a loot of books and toys in short order!)

And I am a sucker for little girl's rain boots. Aren't their knees just yummy? Don't you wish you could get away with such wild outfits? Stripes, hearts, polka dots ... everything one could love.

Friday, July 17, 2009

TGIF For Sure!

Well, no surprise here ...

Today I am Trusting the fairies to continue to spin their magic. I am taking each day to make a step, no matter how small, towards the dreams that have been filling my head and heart these past few months. I am thinking it is like the expression, "tether your camel and then trust in Allah." Meaning, do your part, do your best and then trust the results will be what they need to be. Another way of thinking that has been very healing and beneficial to me is a concept called prasada Buddhi. This means to receive what does result from my efforts or actions as a gift or an offering, prasada - that which was initially given to a higher principal (The Universe, God, Goddess, Fairies - whatever rings true with you) - and returned to me. So I am trusting the magic and trying to cultivate a grateful acceptance for all the gifts that come my way. They usually go way beyond my imagination and at first may seem like gifts from a crazy aunt who likes her wine before shopping. But those gifts end up being the most profound and the most memorable.

Today I am Grateful for the return of my husband after a long 2 weeks apart. I have grumbled about what husbands do and don't do and for the record, I am stating my husband helps me immensely and it was very hard here without him. Cowgirl is thrilled to have her Pop Pop back.

Today I am inspired by this challenge over on Creative Thursday and also by Susannah's contribution to the challenge. As some may know, I dabbled recently in video art and have been feeling the call to try a new piece. Not sure I will join in ... gosh, the gals over at our Unravelling 365 group have kept me on my toes with a self portrait a day project! Yeah, I signed on for a year of taking more pictures of myself. I may need more than the fairies to help me out on that one!

Wishing you an inspired, magic filled weekend. And remember, baby steps, baby steps ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Look! Can you see it? Can you see the fairy dust?

I can no longer ove
rlook the fact that fairies seem to be popping up all around me and my blogging buddies around the world. Never mind the abduction of a couple of neighboring garden gnomes (I pointed this out to their family who had failed to notice their absence! No wonder the poor gnomes left. Cowgirl and I are always on the lookout for those mischievous gnomes that like to steal underpants from dresser drawers.) The fairies seem to be getting antsy and are letting us all know they will be acknowledge!

A few months ago Cowgirl received this kit to make a mailbox. I'll admit, at first I was perplexed as to what a child would do with a foam mailbox that obviously defies U.S. Postal standards. Then I realized it was a mailbox for Fairy Mail! Ever since, it has been sitting on the dining room table and every morning Cowgirl faithfully checks it for a new letter or prize. On the days there is mail, there is great joy in our household. A gasp, a shout "they left mail!" and then the demand to read the message pronto. The days of no mail, well, bitter disappointment. And even though we've talked about how busy the fairies are, how they cannot deliver mail everyday, how they took a vacation after helping the Easter Bunny (because unlike Santa who has all those elves, the Easter Bunny has no real help unless the fairies pitch in) and how rain thwarts their flight ("you have to tell them about umbrellas mommy!") we still are deeply dismayed on no mail days.

I've enjoyed watching Cowgirl engage with the fairies. I mentioned we left them rocks in the creek and we also scope out good flowers in the garden for fairy hangouts, and we leave them notes and pictures. But I am beginning to think I've not been giving them their due. While I smile as I watch the magic swirl around Cowgirl, I am sensing those fairies are up to something with involving us adults.

There seems to be a fairy plot to scatter magic dust upon more cynical, tired, jaded heads. Let's face it, belief in magic and dreams is not perceived as responsible or practical in grown up circles. But what if the fairies are trying to shake things so we will take a longer look and see magic has always been there for those who choose to believe? What if we've been under some kind of spell from an evil troll or witch who want to hoard all the magic and glitter for themselves? Are we being asked to cast off those mental shackles and step into the fairy ring to receive our due?

I'm not sure of all the details but I've decided to leave a few notes of my own for the fairies. Just asking for a little more guidance. In return, I am promising to Believe. I am closing my eyes, invoking my dreams and asking for a little fairy magic to help me on my way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Best Shot Monday - Playtime

All around me are reminders that now is the time to play. Summer is naturally a play season, but I am also seeing so many changes occurring in the lives of family and friends and I am reminded to take time now to grab some fun because, well, you just never know what may happen next.

We've been having fun at home making art, going to the pool, taking walks with the dog and visiting with good friends. Cowgirl and I are still missing our friends from our Colorado vacation, so in their honor I offer a few more images to show just how much fun we had. My only regret? Why didn't I wear a swimsuit and join in on the fun? Look at all the adults crowded around the edges ... you just know we all wanted to join in. Next time, you'll see me in my wild paisley printed mama skirted big butt bathing suit. Promise!

So share with me: how will you play today? Let's inspire the adult world to get with the program.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TGIF (Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration Friday)

I cannot get the badge for it, but I hope to regularly remember TGIF from Brene Brown.

Today I am Trusting that if I stay centered in my heart, speaking my truth from that centeredness, all will work out for the best. I am struggling a bit with some decisions - or nondecisions (do nothing but changing my attitude) - and I want to act from a place of faith and trust, not fear.

I am Grateful for my dear friend, Diana, who so lovingly welcome myself and Cowgirl into her temporary home for a much needed retreat. I was in desperate need of friendship, mommy bonding, and good 'ole feminine fun (we watched Mama Mia and sang; drank many spiked drinks; and talked talked talked.) This is a friend everyone should have: she made me honeyed lattes with lots of foam every morning. Yes, every morning!

I am inspired by this song which Mermaid used for this equally inspiring video.

Yes, I am exactly where I need to be. I just need to remember, resistance is futile and often painful.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Our Vacation is Over Blues

The trouble with having a really good vacation is the return home feels even more difficult and unsettling. The days away were such a high with friendship, activity, beautiful sights and finger-licking foods. Now we are home and I am staring a suitcase that will not unpack itself; mail to be sorted through; messages to return; a few ailing plants needing TLC; and a bare refrigerator (yes, the husband believed he was doing us a favor by "cleaning it out" but didn't bother to fill it up.)

I'm not even in a place mentally to begin to unpack the memories of the past week. Is it enough to say, we had a blast? Cowgirl and her buddy attended a 2 day Chinese Heritage camp where they made cutout art (Chinese snowflakes?) and collages; learned some martial arts moves from a pretty intimidating looking Master (Shi Fu?); and danced a hat dance with the cutest straw hats which they twirled on their fingers. What else they did for 12 hours is a mystery. All I know is they did NOT do any drumming or sword fighting, a fact Cowgirl repeatedly told me whenever I asked what she did do all day.

The mommies did the best we could to amuse ourselves while the girls were at camp: had brunch at a beautiful tea house; strolled the pedestrian mall and people watched; performed a little shopping therapy; took a dayhike into the mountains; and soothed ourselves with caffeine and fatty/sugary/yummy treats.

The days after camp were equally action packed and included a stroll on the bikepath to a nearby park and then a short hike up the hillside to a secluded creek where we all splashed and played for hours. It is those kinds of activities I wish were more readily available where we live. We spend so much time surrounded by visual stimulation, running to classes and activities all in an effort to enrich our daughter's life and we often lose sight of the importance of simple pleasures. More than anything, I will cherish and am grateful for the reminder to seek the magic found in those simple moments in nature when the imagination is given full rein to explore and play. It is those times when we can share and really relish the joy of being a child discovering their world and their voice.

For our little tribe, that moment was very wet and muddy! And some lucky river fairies received a bounty of pebbles left by two munchkins as a token of our appreciation. I need to remember to put out a few more stones as my way of saying thanks for a magical trip.

What offerings do you want to make to your fairies?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vacation Time!

Cowgirl and I are headin' off for some adventures tomorrow! We have been waiting ages for a true vacation that involves airplane rides, suitcases, and backpacks filled with essential travel goodies. We will be spending time with dear dear friends who we met via the internet on a forum for adoptive parents. A magical meeting as we quickly found out we were in the same travel group and our daughters are only 1 week apart in age. These are friends with whom we have made the commitment to see each other regularly, even though we live 8 hours apart. We say it is for the girls, but truth be told, it is for the 2 mommies who fall easily into deep, meaningful conversations, p#nty-wetting laughter (okay, I am paranoid about someone googling that phrase and peering in here) and wifely camaraderie. It is going to be a very nourishing week for all the girls (the boys are doing their own things.)

I love to travel and enjoy the change of scenery and break from my routine, but I am always so anxious in the days leading up to our departure. Why I do this, I do not know.

Part of me wants to believe I crave simplicity, spontaneity and the ability to carry my home like a tortoise's shell upon my back. The reality is, I am a creature of habit. Left to my own devices, I fall immediately into a routine. Even my pets settle quickly into set routines. I love variety which means I love all my stuff; and I believe in always being prepared which involves more stuff.

So packing for me is a nightmare. I stress over bringing too much, but on the other hand fear not having what I need. Rephrase that: not having what I want. Years ago I went on a week-long Outward Bound trip to Joshua Tree Park. It was an amazing experience with many empowering moments but what I vividly recall was the reaction of the group of grown women being told we could only pack 2 pairs of underwear. We were given a very bare bones list of items to bring; then we arrived and they slashed that list down to one t-shirt, 1 long sleeved shirt, 1 pair of pants & shorts, 2 pair socks and the said undies. And I still remember the glee when one of us declared "I think tomorrow will be the day I change my underpants!"

So I know I can be bare bones and survive but still ...

I mean, shoes alone? How does one decide? Add to this stress the fact I am packing for the Cowgirl who is less attached to her stuff but has some pretty fantastic things that need to be worn. Worn before they are too small. Bought because this mom cannot resist the yummy prints and designs available to those weighing less than 40 pounds.

So we've determined which stuffed animal buddies will be traveling and have narrowed down the necessary notebooks to pack. (Yes, she is my daughter ... telling me she needs her art and her exploring journals!) Toiletries still have to be tackled. A lot of lotions between the two of us.

Tell me, what is on your list of essential travel items? Does packing bring up similar angst and guilt about all your stuff? Or do I need a professional to help me on this matter? I am left wondering if all this anxiety is less about being prepared and more about wanting to maintain my individual identity, while also wanting to fit in. What I love about travel is it opens me up to new ideas and ways of being that I can then bring back home. But I want to blend in with the natives to really see how they live.

So, if you see a harried mom dragging a large suitcase around the airport with a backpack and camera bag slung over her shoulder, say "hi!" and hand her some chocolate.

above is Cowgirl watching her favorite movie Ghost Busters while I packed.

Happy Moments

This guy came home with Cowgirl today ... don't you love his face? On one side it reads For my family and on the other Cowgirl's rap handle which is her name with Dog added at the end. Yep, that's how she signs it.

I needed this today.

Did you figure it out? It's a butterfly :)