Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmases Past

Well, it seems I have been away for quite sometime. It is not that I have had nothing to write. It is that so much of it is at a level of complexity that I really need a good chunk of time and I just don't seem to have that recently. It seems more and more memories from when I was a kid are coming back. They swirl in to my consciousness at very random moments. Memories that had been sitting in the file drawer that is my brain, in some cases for decades.

The most recent memory came to me while in the car with the girls talking about Christmas. During my childhood my family was poor. I don't remember Christmas being a miserable time though. I loved to decorate, I loved the lights, and honestly that is still my favorite part of the holiday. There is one Christmas that I cannot believe I had forgotten about.

Christmas morning was long gone. I don't remember what I got or my exact age. I think I was around 7. I remember playing on the floor in the living room with my sister when there was a knock at the door. We opened the door and there stood Santa. Dressed in all his holiday regalia with a big red bag. Santa came in to our house and proceeded to pull gifts out of his bag for us. I do not remember what was in any of them. When Santa was done unloading his bag he asked us to give him a moment and went outside. He came back in with a small table and chair set. This is what I remember most. My sister and I played with that table until it literally fell apart from overuse.

As an adult, I look back and remember all the times presents were left on our doorstep on Christmas Eve. One year, a box was left on our doorstep that contained a git for each of us. I vividly recall a gorgeous watch that was left for my mom. It was made out of cloisonne in a deep burgundy and inlaid with little flowers. You had to lift a little cover to see the time on the watch. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Recalling these Christmases past makes me feel really happy inside. It humbles me and pushes me to find my own way to share my good fortune with my fellow beings.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

Very few people, even those who know me well, understand the amount of anxiety I have typically lived with. The anxiety has reduced greatly over the years but there has always been a lingering amount that held the potential in any moment to rob me of quality of life and joy. In my mentor's work, I am a plane type. According to Spotted Eagle, Plane types suffer from severe abandonment issues. We believe, even if it is unconscious, that we were dropped off in a dangerous, unfair place. Truth is, even though I am not a dogmatic believer in anything, I fit this type all too well. Even though I have no set idea about whether there is a god or not or where everything came from, I can see the ripple effect of this existential decision in my life.

Going to California really was a way for me to face many of my own fears. I got to stare one of my prevailing fears in the face almost as soon as I arrived in San Francisco. Before my recent trip, I had never driven in a large metro area, let alone in a rental car. I did all the usual things, got my luggage, went to the rental car counter, and then proceeded to the rental car pick-up area. While I was waiting a black car came toward me, I felt an instantaneous, "that is my car and I do not want it." It was a very strong feeling. The rental car agent came to escort me to my car and the unease grew. I looked for a reason why I was feeling uneasy. Was it the out of state plates? The color? In the end although I could not explain why, I told the rental car agent I was not comfortable with this car and was willing to wait for another.

She took me to another car. None of the uneasiness was there. I put in my stuff, checked out and was on my way.

While at the rental car I added a GPS to my rental. It was one of the smartest things I could have done. Plug in an address and the GPS shows you and tells you exactly what to do. Upon leaving the parking garage I set out on the streets of South San Francisco and immediately made my first wrong turn. I was very glad to have the GPS because it recalculated in about 10 seconds, giving me a new route. I learned very quickly that the GPS was only helpful if I chose to listen and listen I did. The GPS had a small screen with a network of computer generated roads and a little car where you happened to be. I began to look at it like a computer game, one I wanted to win.

I proceeded through the city of San Francisco, driving over streets with names like "Beach" and "Eucalyptus". All of a sudden I found myself on the Golden Gate Bridge. Although I had printed directions before I left home, I had not looked at them. Driving over the bridge was spectacular. Having it be a surprise was awesome.

Soon, I was on smaller roads heading towards Northern California. The road was empty and the drive beautiful. Then the road began to wind back and forth like a canyon road here in Utah. I could feel my anxiety rising. Quickly, my brain offered up an alternative to being afraid, fun. I pretended the road was my own personal roller coaster. I concentrated on driving it well, paying close attention to where my car was on the road, and then had a hell of a time. By the time I arrived in Philo, where my hotel was, I had to pee really bad but had a sense of huge accomplishment, like the biggest part of the reason I came was to take that drive.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I was entranced by the bark of the manzanita tree while in California. Today, a new friend posted this on Facebook.

Living in the Moment

I returned from California on Saturday. I am still sort of in a daze and trying to integrate my experience with my life. I know that living what I know will take a lifetime. It is a journey. I had an experience while I was away that will be a defining point in my life going forward.

I have known for some time that my being was largely intuitive and instinctual. I have played with living from instinct and intuition and if I am present, I can feel the quality of my choices in that space. On the final day of the seminar I was attending, I decided to immerse myself in my intuition and instinct. I chose to live in each moment making no choices about what I was going to do, when I was going to go somewhere, nothing.

I got up and lived in the flow of the unfolding present. The details are not important but when prompted, I acted, I did what felt right and I trusted any insight or instinct that came to me to direct my choices.

I ended up at the sight for the seminar a full 45 minutes early. My brain kicked in for a split second, "what am I going to do here, now?" I found the present again and got out of my car and proceeded to walk down a dirt road. The seminar was at my mentor's home and she lives on top of a mountain in a quiet sanctuary of space in northern California. Up until this point, I had not walked down the road at least not very far.

I have no idea how long or far I walked. I immersed myself totally in the experience of all that was around me. The air was crisp. The trees were covered with a green moss that looked soft and felt soft to the touch. In the distance were hills and hills of grape vineyards. I came upon a tree and was nudged to climb it. This I questioned for a split second. I used my instinct and attention to guide me through the brush surrounding the tree, listening for sounds of snakes. I climbed up the tree and sat down. I sat looking at the wonders of nature all around me. Listening to the birds, trying to see who was making what call. I gazed across yet another valley where two hills full of grapevine met in a low dip. At some point I lost all consious connection with myself and my surroundings. I literally became part of the tree, and the air, and the sky. I had no idea I lost connection. I am still not sure how long I sat in that tree, maybe 20 minutes.

Suddenly, an acorn fell making a noise loud enough to bring me back to the present moment. I got my bearings and when prompted by my intuition climbed down from the tree and began ascending the road. I arrived back at my mentor's home just as the first of the other students were making it up the road to class.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October 17, 2010

I was afraid almost to paralysis upon waking this morning and realizing today is the day I leave my family for a week. There is a short list of first happening on this trip and each one scares me enough to make the whole white hot scary. Lets see first there is the first time I am renting a car by myself, my first time driving in a big city, my first time checking in to a hotel without company of some sort, that might be all of the firsts.

So here I sit in the airport. My own anxiety dealt with and properly grounded I can't help but notice and feel the emotional lives of the other passengers. There is anxiety, excitement, and even some ho hum normalcy in there.

This is possibly the last time I will have internet connection for the week. Apparently, the area I am visiting is a 1950's throwback and I have pondered on more than one occasion what I am going to do with myself with no television, no phone in my room, and no children or pets or responsibilities to pass time with. See you all on the flip side :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 14, 2010

We just got back form our local amusement park, Lagoon. We had a pretty good time I must say. The funniest part was, when all strapped in to a ride, Mina began to cry frantically and loudly that she had to pee. I got the two of us out real quick, gave Ari instructions to wait by the side when it was done and ran like crazy to the bathroom. It was funny even when it was happening.

Then I came home and read this post and laughed because this is exactly how I feel.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010

“As spiritual energies living out a human existence, transformation has its seed in our deep longing to be whole. It is something which we hope will strip away the stagnant, unworkable, or merely unsatisfying. We want what is outworn to be demolished, making way for a new expression of our being, one that truly brings us joy, one that gives us the courage to make sweeping changes because the reward is so great.” Spotted Eagle

I got up this morning and read the quote above and then on it's heels this:

"I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be." Albert Einstein

And also this:

"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

The entire past year for me has been a process of losing and emptying out. Getting rid of anything that no longer served me and who I want to be. It has been a year of much loss. There were things I purposely walked away from like my family of origin. And then there were the unforeseen changes, like the loss of all the pets John and I had before having our kids. I have some memory of what the summer last year felt like and how hard it was to keep choosing to destroy old aspects of my life.

I am just beginning to see the new aspects of my character emerge, the non-conditioned authentic parts. I am watching my opinions become secondary to understanding what other people are sharing. It is an interesting and often eye popping experience. It is not anything I am doing. Not exactly.

The conscious act of choosing to be present, especially to what I am feeling in any moment, is sometimes grueling. To me presence is about paying attention to all life has to offer. So while I have been more present to the joy, love, peace, serenity, and all the other good stuff in my life, I have also chosen to be present when the unpleasant stuff rears its head and asks to be acknowledged. This means that I have been more in touch with pain, grief, loss, and anger than at any other time in my life. The odd thing about that is that at the same time I have been in close contact with these emotions, I have been to a large degree able to not act them out. And, unlike other times in my life when I felt "like I had arrived" there is no sense of that. There is a strong sense that what I am choosing is an arduous practice that requires moment to moment vigilance and that feels good to me.

So I began the day pondering the words I quoted and then went through the day with a desire to maintain that contact with the moment to moment of what was real and while this is not always a pleasant or wonderful experience, it has become very fulfilling for me.

While I pondered the above I sat with Little Whisker who I have nicknamed my "reading buddy". He enjoys curling up on my lap in the morning and staying there as long as I will let him. Today I read the rest of a book I needed to finish for the seminar I am going to next week. It is called My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. I have enjoyed the book thoroughly and have learned more about the wiring in my brain than ever before.

Jill Bolte Taylor had a massive stroke that destroyed connections in her brain, while she was a neuro-anatomist studying the brain. The book is about her stroke and then her recovery. Today I read that the wiring in your brain is only able to hold on to any emotion for 90 seconds. That within that 90 seconds if you can let it wash over you and do only what is necessary for the situation emotions such as anger and grief will flow over and away. Of course if the emotion is one you want to hold on to, you can choose to do so by connecting in to other areas of the brain. You can essentially choose to run the loops you want to run and consciously choose to end the ones you don't.

The girls for their part have spent the day doing their stuff. More Sonic, some Scooby Doo. Then we all went to the swimming pool. I noticed something interesting. I was feeling a little less grounded than normal- not sure exactly why. I noticed that in order to maintain the tone I wanted to with my kids it was necessary for me to move away from parents who were not honoring their kids. I had never made that conscious choice before and all of a sudden it occurred to me that I could move away and just by being away from what I did not want in my life I could change the tone for us. In the past I think I have gotten carried away by the parenting of other people, either by becoming judgemental or by becoming like them. I love the idea that there are more options out there and that by remaining open and acknowledging what I am feeling about what is around me that I can just shift away.

So here we are. John has to work late because he has a lot of work to finish up before he is Mr. Mom next week. I for my part have a presentation to write, packing to do, kids to prep as much as possible, and honestly I think there is much growth to come from this experience for all of us and all our relationships. While reading on a list this morning someone had posted a statement, "Home is a feeling". This is one of the pieces of my leaving that has been causing me some anxiety. To me that feeling involves the closeness of my family. I am realizing that I have some work to do in the next couple of days analyzing what is going to make my week away from my family not grueling. There has to be a place *in* me that is home too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12, 2010

Today has been serious day of Sonic 2 and Chao raising. Ari had one Chao go from it's first life to being reincarnated which is so cool and one step closer to making the Chaos Chao she wants. I for my part of done a ton of reading and researching on her behalf, finding out how we raise these little digital creatures and how she can keep them happy and so forth.

Mina has done a little bit of everything today. Watercoloring, Kung Fu Panda, playing with Little Peoples, and one of her favorite activities cooking while unclothed.

We spent most of this evening making "sculptures" out of marshmallows and toothpicks. At least that is how we started before we moved on to licorice and small tomatoes, and anything else that could be joined by a small pointed stick. I am sure there will be more of this tomorrow.

I also am now really wanting to make caramels after watching Alton Brown explain how on Food Network. That may be a project for sometime this week depending on the kind of time we have. I need to start packing to go to California.

Now, Mina is cooking noodles with much assistance and support from yours truly and Ari is making her nightly check of all the baby chaos before bed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

We were up reaaallllly late last night. Cupcake Wars led to Iron Chef and then Ari had to check in on her chaos before going to bed, just normal stuff really. We learned yesterday that depending on which character and what color chao drives you give the chao they can turn in to replicas of the characters, which we are experimenting with, err Ari is actually.

Ari began her day with Sonic and checking on her chaos again. Then she and Mina decided to be "clan cats". Mina was a pink cat with pink stripes and polka dots and Ari was a blue cat. Then Ari logged in to WoW and Mina cheered her on while she did a few things. Mostly the girls were just not getting along this morning though so I suggested we head out to a park. Since we are still in the grasp of an aphid infestation, we headed to a larger park across town.

We ended up at Liberty Park which is an incredibly cool place. I figured the water features would be off but they were not. The girls had a lot of fun walking through an area known as the seven canyons. Which of course made them both really wet and reminds me that until it is freezing cold I better be keeping towels and a change of clothes for all of us in the car.

We came home, made dinner, watched a little Scooby Doo and now I think everyone is settling in for the night.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


He he- I just could not use my date convention when numerically the day is so unique :) A friend on WoW pointed out this morning that in binary the date today added up to 42, therefore we should spend the rest of the day quoting The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Of course, I have never read the book but because I live with an uber nerd I happen to know that the answer to all questions in the universe according to the book is 42. So there you go.

Friday I took the girls to The Museum of Ancient Life. I had not known that it was the largest dinosaur museum in the world, wow. While browsing the galleries and reading the signs to my daughters an interesting feeling came over me. Although we as humans have much more advanced brains, create, use words, and many other things we are not much different than these ancient, extinct creatures. We have only a small amount more control over our environment than they did. The meteor that wiped them out completely would have been unforeseeable and unchangeable. Although a modern human might be able to detect a huge meteor coming at the planet, there is a possibility that there would be nothing one could do to stop it. And every piece of matter that made up the dinosaurs, every molecule, is a kind of molecule I have inside my own skin. It kind of put things in to perspective for me. Although human beings are a creative and incredible work of nature we are also an insignificant spec in the history of living things. It was a feeling I can't describe, although not scary. More of a feeling of being one with what is.

On Saturday, John and I attended a benefit on behalf of his employer. The benefit was for The Guadalupe Schools. What we did not know before we went was that a school is being built in our area. I went through a bunch of different emotions in a tiny frame of time. Everything from, "will the traffic in our area increase" to "what will it do to the air quality" before settling in to the idea that it was already far past the planning stage and that knowing the demographics in my area the school could do a lot of good. The Guadalupe Schools teach a mostly underprivileged, non English speaking population. They have programs for children as well as English as a second language for adults in the evening. Many of the families in our area have individuals who do not speak English. Most of the time the fathers will speak English and the kids will learn to in kindergarten and first grade. Many of the adult females speak only a tiny amount of English, if any at all.

Last night Ari and I stayed up until 2 am. Ari was playing Sonic 2 on the GameCube. I watched while Ari defeated boss after boss, occasionally looking up information on the internet to help her beat them.

This afternoon, Mina and Ari and I broke open some geodes we bought at the museum on Friday. It was amazing to see all the beautiful crystals inside. We also put a Snowflake rock we bought in vinegar. We are looking forward to what will grow on it as the vinegar evaporates. I was hoping to find info to add here on them but kids are needing me. Maybe I can put that up tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 6, 2010

Yesterday we had the opportunity to spend the day with good friends. Of course Mina and Ari and I were very excited to have them over. The day was spent doing the usual: trampoline, GameCube, computer games, walks around the block, impromptu games of soccer on the driveway, scootering in the house, and many other very fun things. Our friends stayed for dinner and then when they were headed home Mina was so sad to see them go. However, she fell in to a deep sleep about a half hour after they left. We hope to see them again really soon :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nothing goes better with cabbage...

In the new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory directed by Tim Burton there is a scene where Charlie's father comes home from work. Upon entering their home Charlie's mother inquires if he has brought anything home to add to the families evening meal. Charlie's father has brought nothing and Charlie's mother who is chopping a head of cabbage says, "Oh well, nothing goes better with cabbage than cabbage."

This morning I was lamenting that I "needed to go to the store" that we had "nothing to eat". Most people in the western world have never even experienced the concept of having "nothing to eat". And yet, I can bet that most people have felt as I felt this morning. I was telling my friend that upon looking around I realized that I had a ton of food in the house. That I was focusing on what I did not have in the house and then the above scene popped in to my head as a subtle reminder of what it would really look like if I had "nothing to eat" and no way to change that material fact by just going to the store.

October 5, 2010

6:30 has become my own personal witching hour. For 3 days now I have woken with a start at this same time. The other two days I also managed to wake up my kids but today I am on my own. Little Mina woke up speaking of bugs again yesterday and it was not until last night that I put all the pieces together. We are currently experiencing an aphid infestation unlike anything I have ever seen. From what I can find on the internet the center of the infestation is around 10 miles or so south of us, which makes me wonder how much worse something like this could get. We have been unable to even walk around the block without being covered in the little bugs for about a week. Then last night Mina pointed out that my unshaved legs felt pokey to her like bugs were on her, ding ding. Bugs outside coupled with something uncomfortable touching you while you sleep.

Ari started her day playing Wizard 101. This has become her new favorite. Mina mostly sat and watched her and cheered her on, it was so cute. While they did that I made breakfast and cleaned up some of the kitchen and livingroom. I have several rooms in the house that are in need of attention lest they sink completely in to disorganization.

Mina came out at one point to help me feed the kittens. The cat food container is a plastic bin about 2 feet tall and at the top it is around 2 feet wide with wheels on the bottom. Mina started riding it around the house, laying her stomach on the top and kicking off with her feet. Then Ari wanted to bring in her roller skates. We spent some time Mina riding the cat food container and Ari roller skating in the kitchen and livingroom. Then we brought in both of their scooters. Ari requested signs that said "Stop", "Go", "Parking", and even a bathroom sign for the bathroom door. While the girls scooted we put in a Halloween cd we picked up on Saturday when we got our Halloween costumes. Mina wanted to listen to the Scooby Doo theme song over and over. And then we heard the theme to The Aadams Family which got me thinking that Ari might like this little bit of tv history. So we found episodes on Hulu and she sat and watched them on the laptop for a couple of hours.

Mina and I read some of our favorite Halloween books and watched a favorite of hers Busytown.
Then we headed to the library to return some books and to pick up some pizza for dinner, since John was going to be late at work. We ended the day watching episodes of Scooby Doo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

Our big kid and grandma showed up at our front door at 12:30 this morning. Apparently, Ari could not sleep and grandma just decided to drive her home. But they both said they had a wonderful time and grandma seemed totally okay with driving her here. Then at 6:30 little one woke up speaking of bugs and other such things that make sleeping unpleasant. Rough start but oh well. We all went back to sleep after moving to the livingroom.

Ari woke up shortly after I did and we read the Warriors book for a bit. When Mina was up we talked about going to the museum of natural history. Ari said she would rather go to The Museum of Ancient Life and I sort of felt that was an expensive outing and was not really ready to be driving that far so we opted instead to stay home and decorate for Halloween.

Ari made specimen jars using things like plastic spiders and crushed ramen noodles coated with ketchup to make them look gooey. Then she gave them names like "Blood and Guts" and "Sun Dried Spiders" and lined them all up- they are quite spooky.

We all played on the trampoline for a bit then it looked like it might rain so we headed in to get on our rain gear to go for a walk. We went to our local park which is tiny and the only puddle we could find to jump in was at the bottom of the slide so we jumped in it. Then the girls slid through the puddle until thoroughly soaked. We proceeded around the block and then back home again to make dinner.

I made a yummy egg dish from a Rachel Ray cookbook and then ate it while watching Rachel Ray. The girls both had various things like they always do, Ari had potatoes Mina had carrots. Then they both had noodles. Then John finally made it home from work. Now, well I am wanting to head to bed and maybe the girls will be willing too :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 3, 2010

Today Ari and I went to Craft Sabbath with Grandma Michele (John's mom). We had a special order to pick up from Grimmleighs and Ari had just gotten her toy money so she thought she may want to pick up some things. I found a cool shirt by White Elephant Collective. I mean seriously who does not need a shirt with owls that have mustaches? We spent some time at our favorite fountain and then we headed to Oasis and The Golden Braid Bookstore. We browsed the bookstore and picked out a few items, both Ari and I were in need of new journals and then we went and had a late lunch or early dinner however you want to look at it. On our way out of the cafe an employee I know from previous visits asked Ari if she would like a cookie. She told him she had not left room and would pass but thanks. I did not think twice about it at the time but an 8 year old passing up a cookie because they are full is pretty great self-control.

Ari wanted to show me one more thing in the bookstore and I went back in with her. She found a pen that had an eyeball top. I told her I had spent as much money as I felt good about. She kept pressing me to spend more money and I told her that I would like to look in the store with her but if we were going to keep having this discussion about buying more stuff I was going to need to leave. She walked to the back of the store and I went to sit by her. She told me she was upset that a purse she had wanted earlier had been bought and it was the only one in that color. I reminded her that she had spent all of her money at the craft show, that I had agreed to buy her a new journal and had also bought a heart shaped rock but that I thought we had spent enough- I did not feel bad about not buying everything. Part of me wanted to pressure her to leave but another part of me remembered that conflict has to be resolved in a way in which everyone keeps there power or it harms your relationship. I waited for her to be ready and all was well.

We came home and Ari made plans to sleep over at Grandma's, which is where she is right now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 2, 2010

Our enjoyment of the Halloween season borders on crazy.

We all went as a family today to get costumes. John is going to be wolfman- his costume is pretty scary and had not only Mina but the cats all kinds of afraid. Little Whisker ran in to the sliding glass window with such force we thought he might dent it.

I am going to be a witch this year and I am pretty exited about my lovely spider jewelry and cape. Its the little things in life that get me all excited. :)

Ari is going to be Frankie Stein which is a character from a new line of toys called Monster High. We had no idea we would find a costume for Monster High but since she also collects the dolls she was really stoked. Why am I not creating a link you may ask- because if she sees I am so easily giving away her Halloween costume she may not be so excited about it.

Our dear little one, Mina bought a Tinkerbell costume but upon putting it on declared it "itchy" and will not go near it. So, I guess we will have to figure out something else or attach the wings to something less itchy or we always have that huge basket of dress-ups in the toy room.

Now I think we need to start making some more decorations and maybe a pinata as the girls are thinking they want to have a little party, Boo!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1, 2010

Today we had an interesting jaunt to the pumpkin patch. It was hot, it was dirty, and there were horse flies who wanted and took a piece of each one of us. Did I mention we bought 8 pumpkins plus a bunch more small ones? We will be carving and carving some more.

We ended our day at a friends surprise party. It was so great and cool to be a part of a great surprise for some one I really adore. It is funny though, I am just not a party gal. I think that is what I really needed to know about myself. I love, love to spend time with other people in very small intimate gatherings, but parties, well they just don't do it for me.

I am off to read to Ari.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010

Today we started preparing the garden for winter. It involved a lot of pulling of weeds and plants for me and a ton of playing in the mud for Mina. Ari continued her fairy house creating and we talked about going to a pumpkin patch as soon as tomorrow to get her some more supplies. The girls water colored outside and we all played trampoline games.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 29, 2010

Yesterday we picked and weighed our pumpkins. One was 15 pounds and the other was 7.5. We are so excited we had the opportunity to grow pumpkins this year and it would not have been possible without some lovely plants given to us by friends. We had a couple banana squash and one other squash that were not going to make it to full maturity. We picked them and Ari made fairy houses out of them using flowers and tomatillos and any thing else she could find in the garden that looked fairy like.

We made pretzels that turned out not so great, but I think I learned some valuable bread making tips for next time, which could possibly be tomorrow. We went swimming for a bit but mostly everyone seemed a little off so we headed home and ended the day watching The Princess Bride.

We watched The Princess Bride again today and I realized I have the dialogue completely memorized from watching it nearly every day the summer before I turned 16. Ari asked what the word inconceivable meant. Of course I cannot watch The Princess Bride without thinking of Elmo in Grouchland and this song by Mandy Patinkin. Love that man seriously.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 27, 2010

Mina began the day with puzzles and Starfall. I began the day with a lingering sinus headache. Once Ari was up it seemed the girls were interested in bigger adventures but I knew my head was not ready for that today. Mina mentioned that she would like to go berry picking. Out of nowhere I started singing this Elmo song. So we started to pretend to go to the berry farm. We drove while laying on the bed and every once in a while the girls would yell that something was in the middle of our pretend road and we would swerve. Mina even got a chance to drive. We brought our pretend berries home and smashed them and made them in to jelly.

Ari went from our berry outing to Moshi Monsters and Zoo Tycoon. While Mina and I watched Pucca. Our entire family loves Pucca, the episodes are incredibly funny.

Ari and Mina chased the kitties around the house with some rubber rats we got for Halloween. I am not so sure the kittens liked it and soon they began to hide, GAME OVER. So we moved on to board games like Connect Four and Candyland. Ari beat me 6 times at Connect Four.

After John came home the girls nailed together some wood in the garage. Ari has plans to make a haunted house in there. We ended the day in Ari's room watching Howl's Moving Castle- everyone fell asleep but Ari so she woke me up and we went to bed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26, 2010

I think my mom tried to call me today. After having been down this road for awhile it has been interesting to watch how my process concerning my mom has evolved. Today, I noticed that the call had come in. I stopped myself and asked, "I feel now is not the time for engagement with my mom. Is this correct?" The answer was non engagement. I felt the nervous energy of 36 years of patterned behavior starting to reel inside of me. I acknowledged that the energy was there and I made a very conscious decision to do something useful with it. My version of useful was cuddle my kids, give my spouse a kiss, and put away the laundry. There was something still nagging at me.

I approached my sweetie and told him what was going on. I explained to him that I knew exactly what the nag was. For 36 years I was responsible for my mothers life. I made decisions in fear of what she would do if I did not make that decision. And then, I could not do it anymore and I let her know the game had changed. I really cannot blame her for having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that what she had known up until that moment was no longer gonna happen.

The nag that still sits in my subconscious is the "what if". What if she does x, or y, or z. And although I know I am only responsible for my choices, 36 years of programming is a tricky undoing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010

Today has been a cleaning and laying around and playing kind of day. I started the day in a kind of funk. I went to get my hair cut and colored last night with the intention that I would get it as close as possible to my natural color and then stop coloring it. Well, as with most of life, color does not always do what you think it should. So, I am a bit bummed that things did not go as I expected, not sure what the grow out will now look like but committed to stopping the coloring process. Could be a frightful 6 months or so :).

The girls have played together most of the day with periods of hanging out with us in between. I have cleaned up various parts of the house. Most notably, the downstairs bathroom and laundry room. They were not on my radar but the cats changed that rather quickly. I heard a big bang from the bathroom and found a plant tipped over with dirt all over the floor. They even somehow managed to break the toilet seat. But it was really due for a cleaning and the room brightened a ton with the plant out of the window so we found it a new home. There were items to give to charity and stuff that just needed to be organized and I am a bit shocked at how clean it all looks.

We got word that John's custom Grimmleigh is almost ready and that made us all super excited.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23, 2010

Since we ended last night with Blue Planet, I began the day looking up measurement equivalents for Ari. So we learned that some jelly fish can grow up to 100 meters in length, which is about 328 ft. Astonishing after you have seen the tiny ones at the aquarium and when you realize all that loveliness can sting you pretty bad.

Mina started her day with Busytown. Richard Scarry books were something I remember from hanging out at the neighbors when I was a kid, so her current fascination with Busytown makes me smile.

Ari went from research in to Planet Earth and watched a piece about frozen climates. Then played Dreambox for a bit.

We all ended up on the living room floor playing Littlest Pet Shops with Little People houses. The sea creatures we bought yesterday would occasionally attack the LPS and we would have to run to safety.

The girls decided to help me with some laundry. Ari stated, "I need to know how to do this because I am going to start doing chores." Well then, here we go. The girls sat on the washer and dryer while I held up articles of clothing and they told me which pile (darks, lights, whites, towels) they went on. It was kind of fun and a little crazy and I think it may have taken a lot longer than if I had done it myself but was so much more enjoyable.

Now Mina is cooking here at the counter, using phrases that crack me up because we just watched a couple cooking shows on tv. One host made a shake with vodka in it and she is saying exactly what the host did, "This will make you real comfortable." Total crack up. And just now I had a moment of oh damn, when I realized Mina used most of the tomatoes sitting on the counter while I was not looking in her "recipe". Then Ari pointed out that, "they were going to good use." which means that Mina is enjoying them and learning to cut and happy and yes she is so all is well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22, 2010

Last night Ari threw a football for the first time. She enjoyed it so much that she said," throwing a football had overtaken both cherries and peaches" on her list of favorite things, high praise indeed.

The most exciting news of today was our new bed came. Our old bed was 8 years old and not quite big enough for a family of four who happen to share sleep. When I woke up at 8 the bed was already in the garage, taken care of by John the Awesome (that is his super-hero name). We carried that baby up the stairs tonight, no small feat. Ari was disappointed that it did not fill the whole room, which is what she had envisioned. I can't say I blame her for being a bit bummed if that is what she had in mind.

And now for a little backing up, because between bed delivery and bed making it upstairs there was plenty going on. Ari has a new routine of being up before noon and listening to books on CD. Right now she is listening to Twilight: from the Warriors New Prophecy series by Erin Hunter. Yesterday she told me, "This is so relaxing." Which of course makes me about as happy as can be.

When Ari came out to play with us she and Mina got out the Littlest Pet Shops and built them houses out of Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and Blocks, all the while watching Kenny the Shark. It is really funny to me that while Ari builds her structures to be structurally sound, Mina builds hers to be pretty.

We then headed to The Living Planet Aquarium, a trip we have been wanting to make for some time. Which led us tonight to watching Blue Planet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

miscellaneous weekend ramblings

This weekend our cat Rosa had to go to the vet for shots. While Ari and I waited for the vet we looked at some 3D models the vet uses to explain various diseases and conditions to people. We guessed which organs the models represented. When the vet came in we talked about the models and he pointed out one was a kidney with one side being healthy and the other being ill. It looked like fruit- one healthy and ripe the other starting to rot. He thought that was pretty funny. I love our vet. He loves our pets. He kissed Little Whisker on the head last time we went in. I admired his authenticity and honesty, kissing your has not been something I have ever seen a vet do.
Ari got her toy money on Friday. She had her eye on a Ty Girlz doll. She figured out after buying it that it connected to the internet and a game. She was pretty excited about that. The website is pretty cool. The map is based on a real globe and uses real cities and landmarks. You can choose to live in many cities around the world. When you visit the various cities they have the landmarks appropriate for that city. And if you eat in the cities they have food that would really be found in that city and an explanation of what is in it. Not expected but pleasant surprise of a bit of geography and culture in something she was already doing.

Sunday I made raspberry freezer jam out of the berries we picked last week. There was enough to fill all the freezer jam bottles and have some this wee; It is yummy. Today I made tomatillo salsa, not enough to can but enough to enjoy now.

First thing this morning Ari and I worked on some more books for her library. She has set-up a library full of her own writings in the kitchen. She made Mina a library card and has even been charging her fines.

I most confess that a good share of our Halloween decorations have been put up between yesterday and this morning and we are already making plans for the additions this year.

And I also must admit that being without a camera is really starting to stink and that a day does not go by without someone uttering the phrase, "Sure would be nice if someone had not broken the camera." And that someone who broke it was me- damn.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I have been thinking a lot about Facebook in the last 24 hours. I have come to the conclusion that it is to be used with extreme caution. I think the access we allow other people to our lives is something to be careful with.

I had a run in with an old friend from high school that I had removed as a friend. I think the oddest thing to me about our altercation is that he seemed to believe he had a right to be my friend based on being my schoolmate 19 years ago. My life now is so different than then.

I went through FaceBook today and removed anyone who I am not related to and who I do not consider a friend right this moment. It was liberating. It does not mean I won't get posts with perspectives different than mine, but that I will only be interacting with people who I would be willing to go to lunch with. To me that is a big deal.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Something really beautiful and magical has been happening around here. For the longest time, maybe most of my life, I had no memories of my life before 6th grade. I would have a flash here and there, I do not even remember going to Disneyland in 2nd grade even though I was the only one in my family who got to go and it would have been a huge deal.

When things with my family came to a head last year, I finally started to have memories. Only, it was more like walking in to a really horrifying movie you could not run out of than anything else. The memories made me angry. It explained all the rage that would sometimes bubble up and I would have to hold back from spewing all over my kids.

I kept moving forward, kept rethinking my perspective. I challenge myself daily to find compassion for my mom. Even as I no longer have contact with her.

Last week, Ari asked me to tell her a story about when I was little. I looked in my memory and there were stories there. Happy ones, funny ones, silly things we did, how goofy I was, so much material locked a way for so long. My mind took all those years and locked the filing cabinet. When I was willing to face the shitty stuff the other stuff came back too. I even have one very fond memory of my mom from a Christmas when I had to have been in 5th grade or so. This is actually the most wonderful thing because all my memories of my mom are so dark. I can pull that memory from my head and realize that my mom is human, capable of both kind and unkind acts just like the rest of us.

September 15, 2010

Ari and I started the morning with a game of Go! She always beats me. She gave me a piece of advice. "The best way to play Go! is to abandon all hope. Then you pay attention to what is happening on the board and making choices based on the present." We had a long conversation about this concept and it applicability to every day life. The concept came up several times throughout the day. Each time we laughed at the wisdom it encapsualted and how easily it could be applied to make life better.

Ari got dressed and then exclaimed, "I want to see Damek." Damek is truly her best friend. I told her that I knew Damek and his family were going to pick berries. I really wanted to pick berries too, so I tried to get a hold of my friend Julie. Since we could not get a hold of them I told Ari we could still drive to Payson and go to the berry farm with the understanding that it might end up being a nice drive and a new experience without seeing friends. We agreed we wanted to go anyway.

On the way I mentioned to Ari, "I hope we get to see friends." and she very clearly stated, "Mom, just abandon hope of that now and you will be much happier." And then we laughed. Right after that a commercial came on the radio advertising, "stories of hope" and we joked about them being about as useful as fairy tales.

We got to the berry farm and picked and the girls played for awhile but it was hot. We finally decided to head back home and stop and get some lunch. We took a long drive through back roads and talked about how much we would like to live in the middle of nowhere. Some place close enough for John to still get to work but far from neighbors and busyness.

We stopped for lunch and then were heading for home when we saw Julie pass us going toward the berry farm. We thought it was too funny just to let the moment pass and we followed her. It was so fun and amazing to accidentally run in to our friends when we had really figured we were not going to get to see them. Turns out she was a little turned around and showed her how to get to the berries and then we stayed and played and picked for a while.

We ended up bringing Damek home with us for a late over and we are going to get to play with him today too. Mina walked around the house last night telling me she "Really liked Maddie." a friend that came with them and wanted, "Maddie to come to my house."

Another development yesterday, Ari wore pants with a zipper and snap (like jeans) for almost the first time. Certainly, this was the longest she has ever worn them and she loved them. I am watching her grow and develop in so many wonderful ways. I am extremely lucky to be the mom to both of these great girls. Ari has even given me permission to start posting her pictures out here, which for her is a huge deal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14, 2010

The girls were both up today before 10:30. For us that is like being up at the crack of dawn. What has become the norm around here is time spent in the backyard on the trampoline and in the garden. we did that for awhile.

Ari and Mina had chosen some new clothes last week and the package came today. They were so excited to open it and sort through it. Ari found something to wear and then said, "Mom, will you brush my hair and bring me my toothbrush."

We had been meaning to go try out The Front, a local climbing gym. Ari's friend Damek had a birthday party there a couple of years ago and she really enjoyed climbing. It seems it was more fun for her with her friend. Also, the area of the gym we were in was sort of blocked off and available only to our party so it felt really secluded and safe.

We then went to Maggie Moo's for some ice cream. On the way home Mina lost it. One thing that we were expecting in our shipment of clothes that was missing was some Halloween shirts. Mina was really looking forward t getting hers, it had Hello Kitty on it. When Mina saw Old Navy she wanted to go in right now. But, she was so tired and had been struggling to maintain her composure for a few hours at that point. I knew Old Navy was not a store for such circumstance. Ari got upset at Mina for crying and I just silently drove to our house. I am sure fatigue was a huge factor, our old sleeping schedule of 2AM until Noon had just recently shifted to 10pm until 8 for Ari and 10 for Mina.

September 13, 2010

I think today will be remembered by Ari as the day Little Whisker caught his own "fresh kill". We were in the backyard and the little guy stalked, then caught, and then ate a grasshopper. To be honest, I was not too excited about it and I was really hoping he would eat it. The thought of him just killing it and leaving it there bothered me. But, for Ari it was a real example of what we read about in the Warriors books we read together.

The girls spent some time gathering flowers out of the garden. I honestly had not thought of making bouquets as all the varieties of flowers in the garden are short. However, chives, nasturtium, zinnia, trumpet vine, cosmos, and alyssum make a pretty great bouquet.

We watched The Nightmare Before Christmas in the garden, thanks to my new laptop. All the while playing in the dirt, jumping on the trampoline, having tea parties, and painting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mina is 4

I just can't believe she has gotten so big. I look at her legs in the bed and wonder where our baby went. Mina is a ball of happy sweet energy and we are so lucky to have her.

Squiddleighs and Skelanimals

Ari's current collections (Ari has always been a collector) are Squiddleighs and Skelanimals. Squiddleighs are made by a local family who we love. I also own one of their Katrina dolls but with a broken camera you won't be seeing it :(. Skelanimals have the motto, "dead animals need love too". Which is right up Ari's alley.

Rosa and Little Whisker

In the last 12 months we have said good-bye to 3 of our beloved pets. Our cats were both 17 years old. The girls wanted new kittens so bad but we were so not ready to have cats again. Until we met these 2 little guys.

The stripey guy is Rosa. Named by Mina who at the time was naming practically everything Rosa.

The black cat is Little Whisker. This is his apprentice name and when he grows up he will get the new name Big Whisker. (Ari is really in to the Warriors books by Erin Hunter.) Not long ago Ari told me that getting the kittens was "the best thing we had ever done in her whole life"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Leaving it on a high note...

I just noticed I have not updated this blog since April and left it on sort of a sour note. So much has been going on. Kids are awesome, growing, learning, playing, could not ask for more. Big kids (my husband and I) are happy. We have some new furry kids, two kittens named Little Whisker and Rosa. They are settling in and I think our dog is happy to have them around. Our camera is broken- oh well. John has decided that we need a camera with a little more dropability. I am still working on uploading pics from my Mac but since Ari does not want her pics out here anyway, my motivation is LOW!! Overall, LIFE IS GOOD!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

This is the Place...

I have lived in Utah all of my life. I think it was a good place for me as a kid. Growing up with a single mother with an undiagnosed mental illness would have been really tough in a bigger place. The little town I grew up in was a good village in the sense that people did watch out for me. There were many drawbacks, of course, but I shudder to think what my life would have been like if I had been in the same circumstances in say the Bronx.

In my early adult life, I hated this place. I think it was mostly rebellion, it is very conservative. Once I freed my self from the LDS church, the animosity was greatly reduced.

I feel myself creeping back towards not liking it here. It is hard to be a quirky, non conservative family in Utah. Having a 7 year old whose interests include anime, Tim Burton, and gothic clothing and make-up does not go over too well here. I was thinking this morning, however, that I do not know if it would go over well anywhere.

Ari is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Her interests from the time she was small were out of the ordinary. When she was 2 she told me she wanted to "be evil when she grew up" and she has always had an affinity for villains. She has always had an interest in the dark side of life, the one most people totally avoid. She has always been wise well beyond her years, articulate, like parenting your grandma.

Mina is a really different kind of kid too. She has more energy than anyone I have ever met. I say that as a person who is hyperactive myself. She has a magnetic like field around her, people love her, they are drawn to her. Our friend Kyan is like that too, you meet him and you love him. I really have not seen that quality in many other kids. I like kids but this goes beyond just liking them. You want to be near them.

This morning I am trying to make peace with this place we live. Right now it is our home. I yearn sometimes for more kids for Ari to play with, but I have no proof that theses kids would materialize in a bigger or less conservative place. I also know that technology can get us some of the way there, using Skype and the like she could interact with kids who share her passions no matter where they are. I am making some plans to take her to some anime festivals this year, spending time visiting comic book and gaming stores, and researching anime we can check out from the library.

I know that in our family, we are all rather reclusive, except maybe Mina and we don't need other people a lot. But I also know what it is like to have a conversation with someone who totally gets you and who can share other views, someone you totally trust but who is not so immersed in your family's dynamic that they can't see clearly. My friend Julie does that for me all the time. I guess I long for that connection for Ari but I wonder if I am not seeing it in what she already has too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Love it

Call me crazy (you would not be the first) but I love it when Mina gets up every morning and asks, "Where is Daddy?" I love that she wants to see him, that she misses him, and that she knows almost instantly that he is not in the house. I love that she can ask me where her daddy is and I feel the same, that I miss him and want him here with us. I am a lucky woman, she is a lucky girl and we are the luckiest family ever.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lost in time

We spent the day playing Roblox. I typed for Ari and we talked about the sounds of the letters as we conversed with the other players. I am realizing this really is how she is learning to read and embracing it, finally getting in to the seat next to her and using the time we spend at the computer fully.

Mina has been painting almost since she got out of bed. First with tempera and then on to watercolors. With brief stints of wrestling and jumping up and down and pretending to be a ballerina.

We watched Princess Tutu and discussed plot lines and characters. Then we went to the swimming pool and pretended we were Ponyo's family from the movie Ponyo. It seems we are quite the Japanese animation fans.

I am looking back at the day and realizing that I like when the days look like this much more than when I am so driven to get things done. I have been trying to get out of bed before the girls and do laundry, clean, and workout. It can be really hard to beat them out of bed, especially with us all going to bed so late. But the effort seems to be well worth it to have easy, flowing days like these.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Who we are...

You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil—you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy. Trust yourself.

–Dan Barker, from his book, Losing Faith in Faith