Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Writing Life

The writing life...doesn't it sound so romantic! Maybe not to everyone..I am thinking of my old students who moaned and groaned and fell on the floor when asked to write.
I have joined the Nanowrimo this year ( ) and so far I am on target. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This breaks down to 1667 words at day. It definitely is going to be an interesting ride, just seeing if I can make it through 50000 words. My writing tends to be thinking of a word count can make me crazy. My Master's thesis was only 41 pages....I said what I needed to say and that was it. I am having fun with this project and when I figure out how to do links on this blog, I 'll add them here.
On the home front, the kitchen remodel is up and running. I signed the contract with the "kitchen guy". I guess I should call him the kitchen and bathroom guy because both rooms are getting done. Yesterday, I got a call from the cabinet company to set up an approximate delivery date. Now it is real. My dining room has no furniture and part of the kitchen is in there....and has been in there for a couple of weeks....but the cabinet call made it real to me. Crazy..huh?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

October 28th

I know that I have been among this missing lately and that is not good. I need to write....I need to write more. For me. I guess I will be getting lots of writing in during November. I have joined the Nanowrimo project which involves writing a 50,000 word novel or novella in 30 days. I think this will be great. I have had a few ideas bubbling around for books but that's all they have been doing for a few years. Its time to put the pedal to the metal and see what comes of it. My blogging is a good way to keep me oiled up for the pages ahead. This weekend, after the kitchen demo and clean up ( a whole other story) I need to look at some character outlines to help me really get a better idea of whose heads I will be living in for a while. The actual writing starts November 1st with my personal goal of about 2000 words a day. This will be quite the feat for me, the writer of brief and concise words. I am struggling with voice (does each main character tell the story from their point of view or is it narrated). How much do I outline beforehand...or do I let it flow and see where it goes. Let's see what this next step brings.....

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Discovering..... I guess I am in the slow group today thinking about Columbus and discovering America (or maybe not). Discoveries are so exciting, even the discoveries that we don't want to make. Discoveries get your heart racing and the sense of anticipation can be felt in the air. Living the life of an adventurer must be exciting because they are constantly expecting a new discovery. How many discoveries have I missed by going about my business??? Discovering the first tree to begin the beautiful buds of spring or the turn of its leaves in autuum. Discovering a new place to visit. Or more importantly, discovering new people to open our lives to....possibilities. Keeping my mind and heart open to discoveries and enjoying that process. This is a big leap from doing the major kitchen clean up and toss that I've been doing most of the weekend. I think while sifting through the items of everyday living that may bog me down, my mind was travelling to new lands. What did I discover as I tried to get the kitchen ready for Demo 101? That duct tape can hold a leaky faucet in place so the pipes do not sound like a fog horn every time the toilet is flushed or the washer begins a cycle. I do not need so much of the stuff that I have...old nail polish, cold medicine, extra pans, or 5 kinds of cleaner for the same job. I enjoy some of the utensils that my parents and grandparents makes me feel connected to them while I cook in some strange way. I guess I made some discoveries of my own this weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Going With The Flow

Going with the flow authentically is what I am working on today. I had a difficult conversation with an office person at my doctor's office yesterday that stirred up alot of old insecure feelings. It was wonderful to have the benefit of my morning pages(from Julia Cameron's Artist Way Program) and planning my yoga class with an Ahimsa (non-violence, compassion to other's and self) theme to help me shift from toxic, sludgy feelings to a moving on type of flow. Phew....I feel such a release in my breath and that is good!

Yesterday was the eleventh anniversary of my mom's passing. I really don't like to mark the passing but I do love to remember her vibrancy in life. Her ability to laugh out loud and to connect with so many types of people. I do miss seeing my mom in the here and now but I do feel a connection to her in my life when I need her most. During her decline in health I was really rocked to my core. Fear was probably my biggest emotion that I tried to mask that fear by being super knowledgeable about her treatments. I constantly keep looking for more information and pushing for better solutions. I think that was good but I also think I spent a great deal of energy trying not to feel the emotion around all the possibilities. When your parent is sick and you grow into the role of care-taker, it is a great shift. My mom was such a wonderful care-giver throughout my life that it was very hard to measure up to her. We shared a similar sense of humor and that brought up much laughter during our years together. Even when the tension of regular mother-daughter passages arouse, we could usually enjoy a good laugh together. I know that I was blessed in being my mother's daughter.

Now I am heading off to the world of Yoga. Today's class is the beginning of our fall session in which we will share the yamas and the niyamas. Today's theme is the Yama of Ahimsa or living in non violence. Its such a wonderful way a being and this practice truly helped me turn this day around.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Today was a sad day. My favorite Clam Shack, Iggy's was closing so that major renovations can take place between now and March,2008. When I heard the news from my friend Dale, my immediate reaction was 'they can remodel, but they are keeping it a clam shack, right??' Dale's mom, Mal and I love going to the clam shack for a bowl of RI chowder and some clam cakes. There are times when we have to beg Dale and Chris to humor us and come along. They usually do because they want to eat. After hearing this news,we decided to meet at Iggy's for a "last lunch". Its' a good thing we didn't make it a "last supper" because they were running out of some items when we were there around 2pm. There was no bottled water and they had no salt packets. When the man in front of us asked for salt, they just gave him the cook's shaker and said this is all we have.....salt and go!

What is it that draws me to the clam shack? The feel of the beach and this wonderful view (above photo) is a big draw. I have this wonderful thought of coming to Iggy's with my journal or laptop and having a cup of warm chowder as I work on my "great American novel". Iggy's is a very informal place but it also has a rich history in Rhode Island. Situated in Oakland Beach this institution has outlasted the Victorian resort community at the turn of the century, a honky tonk town complete with a carousel and Dodge'Ems, and a rough and tumble kind of neighborhood where people turn the heads away from all sorts of transgressions. Through it all, Iggy's was the place to walk up to the window, give your order and wait for your number to be called. I remember being in line at the window of Iggy's and not being able to see into the kitchen. At that age, it was not the chowder that I liked; then we came for the dough boys. The lovely pieces of fried dough coated in sugar were a great treat. Walking through the attractions on the midway was exciting. I remember going on the DodgeEm's with my mom and getting scared out of my wits at the way she was driving. I really hated the sparks on the ceiling above our car and the smell of the greased parts.
I ran out of the hall as soon as the cars stopped and I don't think I ever went on Bumper Cars again.
Iggy's in the past few years has been a great sanctuary.....a place to feel the attraction of Narragansett Bay, the warm sun even in the winter and the serenity around the water. So many wonderful memories of this little clam shack. I told Dale that if she sees the news tomorrow and there is a video clip of two women lying across the front doors of Iggy's not letting the bulldozers pass to check and see if its Mal and me!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Zen of Washing Mini Blinds

There is room for meditation in tasks of daily living. I would definitely not call washing the mini blinds a task of daily living since I have never attempted to do this before...I would just toss the old and buy some new blinds. Trying to be more GREEN and not really knowing what I really want on the windows, I decided that it was time for a serious wash..even by my very low standards of cleanliness. I filled up the tub with hot sudsy water (thanks to lavendar fabulouso) and dumped the first one in. It really took a while to figure out the best way to get the job done. The blinds were not cooperating, hiding the dirt between their slats. After first finding a comfortable position by padding the tub and leaning over into the sudsy water with both hands free to work, I did find a comfortable rhythm in working with the blind totally submerged and running the cloth over the back of one slat and the front of the next slat in a rhythm....that's when the zen kicked in. I noticed that all I needed to be concerned with was the slat I was working on and the rest would take care of itself. I did not experience this until the second mini blind. The first washing was full of struggle and thinking 'how many more slats until I am finished with this sucker'. The gift of getting into the zen of the task was I gave up the struggle for it to be over and just stayed in the moment. Thicht Naht Hahn has a short story in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness about his friend and getting into mindfulness in doing the dishes. So this was my time to be mindful in doing the mini blinds....the gift of the day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


This week, it really happened for me.....realizing that Fall has arrived and I am so enjoying it. Its not that I didn't love this summer, I did enjoy it. I just feel so excited to be enjoying another wonderful September without the trauma of returning to school. It wasn't that school was was getting used to all the headaches and stressors of the beginning of the year that made September a blur. Trying to have a smooth entry into the world of school for my students and all parties meant that a great deal of my time (not in school) was spent on plans, phone calls, coordinating meetings. That created a numbness around what was going on in the rest of the world for me during the first few weeks. This feels like the first September that I don't feel like I am playing hookey! I have my days planned with teaching Yoga and tutoring on two days of the week and the other days are for me to fill mindfully. A writing group is starting next week and my strength training class started this feels like the week takes on a wonderful tempo with meaningful work and enough time to do some things that feel good. I am really getting alot of satifaction with feeling productive....making the phone calls, cleaning out spaces, painting what needs to be painted. I hope this lasts for a few house needs it!!

The other day, I made Pumpkin Scones with a recipe that was a copy cat from Starbucks. It felt great to smell the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg along with the crisp air that was filling the kitchen. As the scones cooled, we had unexpected company drop in and it was wonderful to have these fall treats to serve. The recipe is as follows:

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoon half-and-half
1 large egg6 tablespoons cold butterPlain

1 cup plus 1 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Icing
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger in a large bowl.
3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half-and-half, and egg.
4. Cut butter into cubes then add to dry ingredients. Use a pastry knife or a fork to combine butter with dry ingredients. Continue mixing until no chunks of butter are visible. You can also use a food processor. Pulse butter into dry ingredients until it is the texture of cornmeal or course sand.
5. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle that is about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide. Use a large knife or a pizza wheel to slice the dough through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough.
6. Bake for 14-16 minutes on a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled or lined with parchment paper. Scones should begin to turn light brown.
7. While scones cool, prepare plain glaze by combining ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed. Mix until smooth.
8. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint a coating of the glaze over each scone.
9. As that white glaze firms up, prepare spiced icing by combining ingredients in another medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.
Makes 6 scones.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Serious Business

This is very serious need to make sure everything is just right. Having a Martini PJ Party can be a lot a pressure so it is best to work together to get just the right combination of flavors for the Chocolate Martinis and the Almond Joy Martinis. Nancy and Beth are you can see!

After all the measuring was through, it was important to have an independent taster. Susan provided a great commentary on the quality of our Martinis. After a very busy week with her good friend, Geri, and lots of late nights, it did not take much to please Susan. The Chocolate Martinis were 'smooth as silk' and having them out on the deck with that beautiful view (see yesterday's entry) made them all the more intoxicating. Susan had a little trouble hiding her disappointment that I did not bring my blender along. My last "blender martini" resulted in a very loose bottom(on the appliance) and some aerial tricks to save the last bits of juice.... it was a "Depends Moment" for all of us! The Almond Joy Martinis had eye appeal.....I forgot the Frangelica and added a bit too much almond extract. Thankfully, they were served after the first batch of Chocolate Martinis and our only concern was getting the Hersey Kiss in the bottom of the glass! How things have changes...from the worm in the bottom of the tequila bottle to the kiss in the martini glass...some changes are very good!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Martini PJ Party....The Beginning

The view from Nancy's house is just breath-taking. It's the kind of view that a photo will remind you of, but not capture the true sense of awe as when you are there, seeing for yourself. Nancy has this view from almost all the rooms in her house, just awe-inspiring. Nancy is great at describing the bodies of water and the land you can see from her house: Ninigret Pond and Charlestown,RI; followed by Block Island Sound and Block Island; followed by the Atlantic Ocean......and Europe or Portugal depending on the day, direction of sail. I just crack up every time we do our geography review from the deck.
Our PJ Martini Party started here and pretty darn early in the afternoon....thank goodness! This was a place and a purpose that I just could not wait to get to! Getting to spend a good chunk of times with my wonderful friends was something I waited for all summer. We definitely try to meet once a month to catch up and connect. Our visits are usually on a Friday night and greatly anticipated, coming at the end of our 'working' weeks. The time flies when we meet and before you know it, we need to call it a day. There never feels like there is enough time to catch up. Planning this little gathering was a great idea and having it at Nancy's house was a perfect setting for our Summer Soiree.
Once we all assembled at Nancy's, there was no moving us. From the deck to the living room(when it got alittle too warm on the deck) and back to the deck again....the day unfolded. Lots of laughter, good conversation and heart connections continue. Every special time together continues to weave our lives together in great friendship, a true sisterhood. When I think of these wonderful sisters I see once a month (Nancy, Beth, and Susan), I just am so grateful.
***Because I cannot figure out how to post pictures then text, then pictures again, the next entry will address the actual making, testing and enjoying of the Martinis!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Newf Angel

Our Molly.....Here are photos (that I finally got out of the digital camera) that show a typical day in the life of our girl. Two of the things Molly typically did every day was to sit with Chris and check out whatever meal was happening. Notice that we had a bar table with stools because when we ate at the regular table; it was not pretty if Molly and Chris were at the same meal. (Molly was fine if Chris wasn't begging). The photo with Molly in her New Year's costume shows her hugging into Chris...she totally loved Chris's rubs and would lean into him in a wonderful Newfie hug. We called Chris's hands 'healing hands' and I truly believe that his loving touches helped ease the discomfort and pain Molly was feeling.
Molly came to us as a puppy (at approximately 12 weeks old) and about 30 pounds. My first Newf, Anka, had passed in September and about 2 weeks later my mom passed. It was an unbelievably painful time. My two godchildren, Beth and Jill, were really encouraging (as only kids can be) us to add another dog to our family. Finally, I called the person that raised Anka for her first three years to see if there were any puppies or older dogs in Anka's line. She said there was one puppy in a kennel in NJ that was from the same line as Anka's dad (one of those famous Newfie stud dogs) and she could get her the next day and we could pick her up late the next night. It took us about three minutes to make the decision and we knew that someone special was about to come into our lives. Suddenly I realized that the next day was my mom's birthday. ...and I felt that she was giving us a wonderful present.
The next night, Chris and I were told to meet our new addition around 9pm. I purposely did not tell Beth or Jill this news because I finally wanted to be able to really surprise them. Chris and I drove to Robin's kennel and as we walked into the building there was a cute little newf in the pen playing with a big ball. Chris said, "I think this is our new baby". I abruptly said, "there are alot of newfs here" (not wanting to get my hopes up). Robin greeted us and sure enough that little ball player was our new addition. Chris and I decided that we would meet our girl before naming her. On the way home, Chris rode in the back seat and held our girl and it was then that we knew this special girl was Molly!!
When we got home, I was so excited to finally be able to surprise the kids. Chris stayed with Molly in the kitchen and I went to the other side of the house (we live in a duplex with our friends living on the other side) and looked at the kids and said, "Who made the big mess in my kitchen? You better come and help me clean this up?" Both Beth and Jill looked at me like I was crazy (they did that alot). When we got my side of the house and they looked into the kitchen and saw the beautiful black ball of fur, both of them were beside themselves with excitement. I told them not to freak out the puppy so it was even funnier watching them trying to "contain themselves" in front of Molly.
The bond between Molly and Beth and Jill was so wonderful. Our group attendance at Puppy Kindergarten and Obedience Classes was a record....1 dog and 4 people. There are so many wonderful memories of these classes that I may need to do separate blogs on some of these escapades.
The girls have grown up and Molly travelled to Rainbow Bridge last November, ten years after blessing our lives with her presence. I truly believe that Molly was sent to us as an angel. I often called her my Newf Angel.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Golden Boys

How do you spell RELIEF (from depression, anxiety or just the world when it's crazy)? D O G !! The beautiful boy in the top photo is Jameson, my grand dog. This is my first and oldest grand dog and he is such a wonderful boy. He has a gentle spirit which you can actually feel as he nuzzles into you for a hug. Jameson is my godchild's (Beth's ) dog and their bond is just incredible to see. From the first day that Jameson came home with Beth, they have been in sync with each other. It is a hoot to watch Beth and Jameson communicate with thier eyes really is another language. When Jameson comes over and Beth runs out for an errand (usually to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee), Jameson quietly waits near the door that she exited from. During this time he is very social and loves pets and cuddles but he is multi-tasking because he always has a watchful eye for when Beth will be back. Beth has done such a wonderful job in training Jameson and caring for her boy. I love it when she calls from Vermont with a Jameson care question....all my years of worrying have paid off!! Jameson got attacked by another dog last week and when Beth called and told me about it, I was ready to jump in the car and check out our boy....but Beth handled that crisis well. One of the positive outcomes of that whole situation was that Beth said that I really didn't do a bad job when I shaved Molly (Molly will be the topic of tomorrow's post...get out the tissue!!). Jameson loves the water, balls (trying to be like Ricky the stud dog) and DD coffee. Actually Beth likes all of the above also...hmmmm...interesting. One of the funniest things to watch Jameson do is to quietly and gently crawl up onto the couch when he thinks no one is looking. I would say it is like a cat but I have a feeling he would not speak to me for a long would take alot of peanut butter cookies to repair that damage. I think when Beth gets settled in her next career adventure, she will need to get Jameson his own couch (since she seems to hog his bed). We are so lucky to have a grand dog like Jameson.

The gorgeous boy in the second photo is Newton, as in the Fig. Newton and Jameson have been friends forever. Well, maybe not close friends initially, because Newton is the older (and he thinks wiser) Golden. Newton looks so relaxed laying with Beth in the grass. Come to think of it, Beth looks pretty relaxed there too. Newton is also a wonderful boy. He came to visit us this summer when Beth was home for a bit and we just feel in love with him. If you can call a dog polite...then that would one way to describe this big boy.

I think these two Goldens are really Newfs in disguise!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Hole In One

Today was a wonderful day. The morning started on the golf course. We learned that this course will probably close this year to make way for condos..unfortunately. My two friends and I met at the course that we played more frequently a couple of years ago. We were just learning the game and really struggled through this course, which is mainly par 3 and par 4's, a snap for the seasoned golfer. We would fret over the water balls and the longest hole seemed like an eternity.
One beautiful summer day two years ago, on the sixth hole, we hit off the tee. Janet and I had taken our turns and Sue was up at the tee. We are not serious golfers and when someone was up at the tee the other two people tended to talk quietly . For us, golf was also a social sport. Most of the time we apologized for not keeping track of our co members ball. However, on this hole, by some miracle of the golf gods, Janet and I had our eyes glued to the ball as Sue drove her ball right up the fairway onto the green and into the hole!!! A hole in one!!! We were totally amazed and Sue looked in shock!! At any minute I expected the skies to open and confetti and balloons to reign down upon this miraculous golfer. Once we finished our "hole in one" jig, which we made up on the spot, Sue needed to tell Bob, her husband. Luckily, I had my cell phone in my bag and even luckier, the cell phone worked that day! It was a moment of pure celebration and it felt wonderful to be a part of it.
Today we returned to Hole 6 at Firefly prepared.....we all brought a camera to have a memory of that wonderful moment two years ago. As we played the first few holes, Sue was not happy with her performance and I said, "Don't worry, your whole game will turn around at hole 6". The cameras came out and we took pictures of Sue on the tee and then she took her shot......and sure enough, it sailed right up onto the green. Although it wasn't a hole in one, it certainly was a great shot. Up at the pin, we got a few shots of Sue and each of us to bring us back to that special day.
This brings us to now. My plan was to learn how to upload photos to this lovely blog and today was definitely my day to try it. Unfortunately technical difficulties are in my way. Apparently the USB cord that came with the camera does not fit into the camera so it looks like a trip to the store and then I'll try again!! .....this is sounding like golf!!
Edited to add: As you can see, I finally figured out how to post a picture!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Checklist

This is a day to get things handled. I've got alot of birthday, anniversary, special occassion presents to get and I am feeling stumped with ideas for these gifts. Its not easy to always have a good idea for a present. I love it when I think of just the right thing for a special person and giving that gift is just so much fun. But for now, I am stuck. I need an Anniversary gift for my sister and brother-in-law, a birthday gift for Chris and one for Karisa and I am stuck on all counts. Part of this dilemma is that I need to buy within a very small budget and I am really not liking that! When I think of some of the gifts I have given over the years, this year seems like a dud. I also know that I need to change my thinking around this or it will be more upsetting than it needs to be. I need to focus on the interests of those people and then find something special within my price range. The "within my price range" is the new learning to me. I do have a thought for sister told me that she wants to learn to I could give her a gift certificate to the yarn shop near the mall and start her with lessons...That may be fun. I think Chris would really enjoy the idea of extra cash that is not for something of a fun buying. I am not narrowed down to one gift to keep thinking about..Pat and Kevin's Anniversary Present...ok..That's not so bad.
Later this morning, my friend, Anne and I are going shopping and I should have another item checked off my to-do list! I really like to plan ahead with gift ideas but there are times when pulling through at the last minute feels great.
My next goal will be getting some photos on this blog.....yet another item on the check list! Checklists only feel good when you are checking things off.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Time for the Pity Party to End....

Vacation does not feel so good. I have worked a bit to clear some time so we can play and guess what ....we are not playing..ugh!!!
We went to a little birthday party for Othniel yesterday afternoon. Chris did not feel well so we needed to leave after about an hour. I felt very cheated......out of a good time that I wanted to have. Chris has alot of chest congestion and generally looks pretty pale and clammy...not a pretty sight. Nevertheless, I am having a pity party about this vacation going down the toilet. It was bad enough not really having any money to do something really good but now I feel stuck just waiting for Chris to brighten up....and why is it my job to put together the fun, figure out how to pay for it and generally do all the other stuff that needs to happen. I am thinking that we need to regroup.

I do know that I have to take responsibility for my happiness....and probably looking into joining the Peace Corps was more of a reaction to my pity party than a burning desire to do something wonderful with my life..or was it? Right after college, I planned to go to St. Thomas, USVI to teach and save the world. When that plan didn't work out, I settled into a life teaching in the public schools for the next 28 years. Commitment is definitely going to be an issue on any future endeavors. I definitely don't want to feel stuck into my work. I know that I am so good at 'making things work' regardless of whether it is truly a good fit for me that I have to stay aware of that inner voice of knowing....knowing my purpose and keeping that the focus, not making something work for the sake of ...whoever or whatever.

I hope this pity party passes...I feel like I've been stuck in it for a while and I want to scream. I also notice that I haven't been writing....anything. Could that be effecting this lovely mood of the blues that I've been in for a bit?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Packing in all in

This week is the week before Chris has some vacation time. I am also taking time off from my life. I have no yoga classes and I may only squeeze one tutoring session in next week. I am trying to get all my plans finished so that I can really take time off....even mentally, especially mentally.

We haven't planned anything specific for next week and I am thinking we need to get some plans made or the week will go by and we really won't get a change from our usual, rutfilled rountines! I wish we could go away and really get a change of pace but that is not going to happen this year. I feel a list coming on with fun day activities that we could do and enjoy. Going to the beach in late afternoon, picnics, movies we want to see, concerts in the park, taking the boat from Providence to Newport and exploring...all things that will be good to plan and do. Home days for kitchen prep...maybe doing a bit more of the demolition and then some! Lots of packing away stuff. Do the fun stuff first and then demo stuff later.

Why am I packing all this in??? I need to change my thinking on the inner clock.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What is this???

I have been reading the knitting blogs and I feel like jumping in! It been a while since I took a spin around the needles but the zen of knitting is calling to me. This brings me to a questions....should this blog have a specific focus....knitting, writing, golf, yoga, cooking, fitness????
My answer is I want a place to do all that....and more. So what is this blog and what is its purpose?
I guess I feel like there are more people like what is called mid-life and exploring life in a different way. This time is a strange combination of emotions and this is a place to sort some of what is happening out.
I feel like I have been putting my toe in the water of many different things but I am not sure if there is just one pool I want to dive into. It feels wonderful to have opportunities to do lots of different things. The challenges I face are more the mental roadblocks I put up in letting myself explore.
In some ways, all the little parts of my life are so scattered. Each part does provide a different energy. I am just not used to having this freedom of choice and the restraint I put on my choices can be upsetting. I am seeing some of the lessons that I needed to experience in my old job coming to new obstacles in my life today. Do I need to get these lessons?? The opportunities seem to happen no matter where I am so I guess that answers the big question.
Life at the oasis is sometimes not so easy!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You Can Never Go Back

So I have been doing my old job for 6 days in the past month and I have taken migraine medicine five times...ummmm. Interesting. This makes me think I made a good decision in leaving two years ago. I just can't believe how it feels like I never left that job....doing the paper work, dealing with the people, and multi-tasking with the ticking of the running clock. Going into a school ten days before closing is like walking into a minefield.....there is tension, excitement, anxiety and irritability in every step. I really feel grateful for the practice of yoga in my life. It is providing me with a centering and a sense of non-attachment to the crazy dance going on around me. I realize how much doing that job saps me of the energy to do other things in my life.

On a more positive note, Beth came home for a few days and its been great to see her. Beth and her beautiful golden retriever, Jameson, are a match made in heaven and its great to see them together. Hanging out and finding silly things to laugh about are moments of incredible joy for me.
Another moment of joy happened when Jill's godchild finally arrived. Jill's friend had her baby girl and Jill was with her through it all. It is alittle bit of an out of body experience to hear Jill talk about the whole event and think that she is actually old enough to be living this part of her life.

So the title of Never Going Back relates to so many things. I need to take Joy in today.....

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Life Goes On

It has been a month since I have blogged.....too long. I am now back doing 10 days in my old job and I realized that at times it feels like I have never left...and on the other hand, that life does go on. I did make the 'right' decision for me in leaving this job two years ago. It is nice to see the people I worked with and some of the students I worked with two years ago but I also know that I don't want to be involved in the crazy dance that happens there. I am really so blessed in my post school life. My challenges and lessons are presented differently but I clearly see similarities in what lessons were presented during my school time and what is happening in my life now. Lessons involve setting boundaries, taking one thing at a time, taking care of others without giving myself away.....there are so many times I have been presented with opportunities to learn these lessons at so many levels.
I have a deeper appreciation for the Yoga teaching I am doing and how good that is for me and for my students. I also need to concentrate on opening myself to more students in my classes and know that what I offer them is important for them.
Life goes on for all of us!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

In Conflict

I have been struggling with a decision....and it feels good to finally make the decision and finally let go of the struggle. Its not a big, life altering decision but it will effect my life for three weeks. In my head, I knew that this struggle was another piece of small stuff that really didn't matter but my mind was another matter. The pros and cons of the decision crept into my thoughts when I travelled through my day....even waking me up from a restless sleep, and my first thought was of MY DECISION. Needless to say, alot of emotions surrounded my decision. I was asked to go back to my old job for about three weeks. I knew that I would probably be asked this for some time and have been wavering about the possibility. It was hard to leave the job and it is also hard thinking about going back. Finally I decided that I would do this for many reasons. This is a time when my Artist's Way class has ended and my writing group has ended so there is a window of time here that works. My schedule can be adjusted around my yoga class so that is good.
In talking to the principal, it seems funny that my first day is already planned with a big intake. It felt good to think about program planning for a new student. It has been a while. My thought is to stay positive about this time and to stay will be a wonderful practice. It will also be great to be with the kids again and experience their wonderful energy. Right now I am not going to think about any negatives!!
My life feels so different now than it did two years ago. I appreciate my schedule and the pace of my life. I also realize that I am looking at new and different things to put into my life for fullness. I don't want to make any big committments so it has been a time of putting my toe in the water for some things and that feels right. As opportunities present themselves I need to go with the flow and be clear and positive about the direction I am moving.
Being in conflict is an uncomfortable place....especially when the conflict resides within. Sometimes it helps to just acknowledge the conflict and now that with time, it will resolve and the path will unfold.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Missing Out

Part of this wonderful mid-life time I feel like I miss out on some fun. I had planned to go out to celebrate my dearest friend's birthday tonight. We were planning a "Girls' Night Out" and I have been looking forward to it. My friend, Anne, does so much for other people and she really enjoys her birthday and the days of celebrations that accompany this time of year. I have been struggling with a wicked headache that turned into a migrane today. I am so disappointed. I know that struggling made it worse but as I watched the clock hoping that the medicine was going to kick in and seeing how much time I 'had left', I think I actually made the headache alot bigger than it needed to be. I know that my friend understands why I can't join them tonight because she has had terrible migranes for years but I still feel such a sense of disappointment and missing out on her big event. I definitely know I will be missing out on an evening of fun.

Friendships are so important all through our lives. Celebrating milestones and happy times is as important as being there when times are tough. So, if I feel that I can join in on the celebration later, I will go with my fuzzy head and have some laughs and wish my wonderful friend a very happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Day In The Life

All of my days seems to unfold...I love that! I don't feel in the rat race, on a treadmill, or overwhelmed. I love the variety in my days when they are filled with new things I enjoy. Today we needed to bring one car in for an oil change so Pat, my sister, was my chauffeur for the day. We had a writing group meeting this morning and it was fun to go together. For me the group was a good opportunity to learn more about this whole writing thing in the real world. Barbara, our group leader is a woman of great wisdom on many levels. She has written many books and we are priviledged to share in her crafting/fine tuning her autobiography. Pat and I are like little kids waiting for the next chapter each time we meet. We had a lot of fun joking about some parts of her work but also I learned alot of information about her process. It seems as though the bottom line is that if you want to be a writer, you have to write...alot!! Barbara is a great inspiration because she is a "bottom line" type of person and I really like that. Her comments on our writing are helpful and make alot of sense.
After the writing group, Pat and I got Kaitie from school. Kaitie is a freshman in high school. Watching dismissal from this school gave us a few laughs. Listening to kids walking by and talking on their cell phones, seeing the pack move by as a whole and ducking as the teenage drivers pulled out of the parking lot in cars that were definitely too nice and expensive for a sixteen or seventeen year old to be driving was a reality bite! On the drive home, the pack that was with Kaitie kept very busy in the back seat in what I assume was texting their friends and making plans for the day ahead.
By the time I got home the car was ready. I made the filling for Spinach Pies for Chris's dinner and let the dough rest (here is where a digital photo would be nice) while we picked up the car. I stopped by the studio to set up for my yoga class tonight. It was so great to be in the space...enjoying the quiet for a few minutes. I am looking forward to tonight's class for many reasons....the people are wonderful; what we are doing tonight will feel so good and it makes a wonderful ending to a day in the life!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

On A Mission

Today I woke up and wanted to accomplish my Monday chores so that I could enjoy the beautiful spring day. Spring had a way of feeling like summer today. Well, the kind of summer day I truly love...temps in the 70's, low humidity, sunny, clear blue sky. I planned for my yoga classes and my tutoring sessions this week, did three loads of laundry and even got some cleaning in before it was time to enjoy the day. I had a two cooking adventures, one of them making a "holiday" chicken salad for Peg and me. We had a wonderful lunch outside on the deck. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the neighborhood and outside. I combined some errands with enjoyment. It is amazing how much I enjoy doing these little pit stops when I am not drained from racing from work. I left the school system almost two years ago and I have just begun to feel that I am not playing hookey when I am out and around town in the middle of the day. It is such a wonderful place to be. I have found I can give my focused attention to my life: whether its planning my tutoring sessions or learning more to bring to my yoga teaching, it is wonderful to feel like I can breathe in these roles and do a good job. My second cooking adventure of the day was dinner. I am a fan of Cooking Light magazine and the bulletin board at I made a Spicy Peanut Noodles with Shrimp for dinner. I was worried that it would be too out there for Chris and me...but it was great. The best part was that we had dinner outside on our porch...Life is good!
I began the day on a mission and now it feels like my mission was accomplished. I need to set other missions for learn to use my digital camera to post pictures here, and be able to get more familiar with this site. One mission at a time!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Just Do It

Chris and I took a class at the studio today and one of the pieces of wisdom I got from the teacher was to just do it! I had been talking about how I was torn between offering a journaling workshop or getting more time to devote to my own writing journey and I wasn't sure which way to go. She looked at me and said "just do it!"....I asked, "What?" and she powerfully responded, "Both". It got me thinking about this: one part may give the other part energy. I do tend to spend too much time in my head, thinking about DOING, rather than just doing it!! Whether it is painting a room, starting the kitchen remodel, yardwork...I expend so much thinking energy before I even start the job, I am already sick of it!! Getting to the finish line is quite the unbelievable challenge. Just do it is great wonder Nike is so big. So many of us can relate to our overthinking. It paralyzes action. It feels so good to get out of my head...its such a busy and confusing place. It is time for action on so many out...things are going to get moving!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Phone Deprivation

Yesterday, we realized that our phone line was dead. After a frustrating call with the cable company who provides our phone service, I decided that it may be nice to have 48 hours with no phone calls. The cable company's customer service person was just upset that I would not give her a cell phone number as a contact. She doesn't realize that my cell phone gets awful reception in my own neighborhood so if they did call me on it, I wouldn't really be able to get a audible message. It made me think of all the technology we have and all the additional stress it brings when it doesn't work they way it should. I also thought back to the differences in customer service now as compared to long I am really feel old. The reps attitude was "this is when we can get there and its your problem". It just makes me want to take my business elsewhere but hearing from friends that use the other company, I know that it's basically the same run around. I used my most authoritative voice in saying, "Monday is not acceptable" and I did get the time moved up to Sunday. That didn't seem like a such a big win to me. It just amazes me the power game that is played in society on so many levels, even a simple service call. The rep made it sound like she had to pull strings to get me on Sunday's schedule and I should be thanking her for the big favor. Makes me think if I got another operator, maybe my phone line wouldn't be looked at until Tuesday or Wednesday.
Also makes me wonder how that company is run if the customer service people need to bargain and negotiate with the tech people to do a service call. Survivor is more than a TV show and that saddens me.

Going through this day, it has been wonderfully quiet. I like the silence that the non-ringing phone brings. There were no interruptions when I did my morning writing, or cleaned up around the house. I even took a nap this afternoon and did not hear a ringing phone in the distance. Maybe I should call my customer service friend back and see if she can get my on the list for next Thursday!

Friday, April 20, 2007


Today I needed to call my old school district and have them write a letter that my health care through them will end as of June30th so that my husband's company can enroll us for July 1. Just a routine call.....but so many big shifts for me. I have always gotten my own benefits from my work. It feels so very strange to be getting benefits from Chris's work. We are so very fortunate that we can pick up my benefits from his job. I am just experiencing many emotions around this shift....another shift. On one hand I know that I have been given an opportunity to try new things and I appreciate this time. On the other hand, I definitely feel out on a limb at times, trying to figure out the next limb to jump to!! I anticipated much grief and upset over the phone call. My old system is playing a big power game with folks who need to sign on to pay their full benefits through them and I naturally felt that my request for a letter would be a big problem. Well, the biggest problem was the one in my head. Doing the action was so much simpler than all the negative thinking before I made the call. The call was fine and the request was no problem...whew!! Right before I called I tried to visualize a positive experience and a conversation that moved with mutual respect and ease. I have to say that is how the conversation progressed. Where did all that crazy thinking come from??
It is finally a beautiful day in the Northeast. I am trying to decide how to best enjoy the spring sunshine. Many things call to me and I not sure which direction to move toward to squeeze the wonderful bits of sunshine from this day. Its nice to get the chores out of the way early and then look at doing something that will bring pure enjoyment.
What does bring me joy? Connecting with the people I love in my life. Making sure I get to hear from my godchildren and friends always lifts me up. Enjoying reading good books and learning new things also adds that spark to my life. Traveling to new places and experiencing life in other cultures has added so much to my life. Cooking and knitting help ground me to myself as does my yoga practice. This week I have not taught my two yoga classes because we are on vacation and I really miss the connection with my students and my practice of yoga in the class where I get to be the student. There is so much that brings me joy.
The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, the plants are reaching toward the is good.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Memory Lane

Memory Lane.....Today a friend that I worked with in the school system and the person who bid into my job came over for lunch. Jenn, the teacher who has my old job is on a maternity leave. It was wonderful to see her and her baby, Andrew Jack. Love is beautiful. There is nothing like a baby to put everything into perspective. Looking at this beautiful baby and watching him explore his world was awesome. I really have forgotten just how cool those little people are as they do their thing and we watch in amazement of it all. I really need to figure out how to use my digital camera to post some photos.
Our discussion was partially work related and that felt very strange. There is definitely a duality....feeling connected yet disconnected. So many emotions wrapped around this position. I do feel like I am on a self- imposed oasis....a place of reflection and conscious thinking. It feels wonderful to have distance from the politics and craziness of a system but I also feel the absence of seeing people who I value on a daily basis. I guess I can't have it both ways!!
What to do on this self-imposed oasis? Time, space and place to be conscious and present. Writing is definitely on the list of activities....whether its pen to page or taping the keys, I need to let ideas flow and see where that takes me. Let the road be interesting and the lessons be gentle.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Starting this blog has been something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I just needed to start! I am at a transition time in my career ending and new ways of being opening in my life. It does feel like an oasis at times and other times it feels very scary and uncomfortable. After working in the area of Special Education for almost thirty-five years (28 in public schools), I was able to "retire" and explore my options. It has been almost two years at this oasis and I think I am finally getting it! Right after I left the school system, I worked with my good friend, Peg and did a yoga/journaling retreat. She taught the yoga and I did the journaling piece. The retreat was a five day experience at an ocean farmhouse. It was a magical experience. Seeing how yoga supported people opening into the journal experience was powerful. In the fall, I started a Yoga Teacher Training program which was a great experience and a big Stretch in so many ways for me. I have been teaching two yoga classes and co-teaching a class facilitating "The Artist's Way". Life is good. This blog is a time to check in at the oasis. The Oasis of that calm place of inner knowing when things in the world around me are challenging.