Friday, February 26

20 things that nurture me

my punks - There is no denying that these two people nurture me in ways I never imagined possible. I've been blown away by how much I've grown since becoming a mother. It has given me access to a part of my soul I didn't even know I had buried in me. It's forced me to face the music of who I am and made me so much better for it. It's shown me that we are never done discovering ourselves. My two punks are by far the two greatest forces in my life.

walking - is my salvation. Simple, continuous walking. It brings depth to my daily routine and provides just the right amount of physical distraction to release mental tension.

time alone with M - the positive nurturing impact of time alone with my husband surprised me. I didn't think it could make such a difference in our relationship.

stretching - I love the release, the breath, and the pause that I get from stretching and I do it many many times a day. It not only releases built up muscle tension, but gives me just a few isolated moments to center my mind and refocus.

soup and a sandwich - as amazing as fine cuisine can be, I think I still feel the most nurtured by a hot bowl of soup and a toasted sandwich.

sailing - pure bliss... I must move in a direction that brings much more sailing into my life. Everything from scraping mollusks off the bottom to oiling the topside teak... from leaving port to dropping anchor (what a torture)... I feel completely at ease with the world when I'm sailing.

writing - nurtures me by allowing me to purge my soul. Writing the words helps me to process things and reveals new ways to think about them. It's almost as if another (usually wiser, more stable) person is writing to me. I always feel renewed after writing.

music - always and any way music. Listening to albums, the radio, my children playing it, the artists on the street, in clubs... music immediately lifts my spirits. Music lets me tap into hidden pockets of energy... I can run twice as far, play twice as hard or transform a bad day into a good one just by listening to music.

weather - Rain, hot sun, thunderstorms, summer breezes and snow storms are my favorites, but I'm thankful for it all.

a clean house - I originally wrote, cleaning house... and there's something to that. The whole process of keeping a home feels nurturing to me. Creating a space that feels good is so important and in the end, nurtures us.

hugs - I like the warmth and the density of a hug and physically holding on to the people I care about. I fall into hugs, feeling the expansion of your lungs, absorbing the rhythm of your heart.

- There's something wonderful about being with someone related to me. That comfortable understanding that you love each other without any explanation. I feel very much at ease when I'm with my family. I need to work harder at keeping in touch with them... but my heart is always open for them.

being in transit - is a meditation for me and I feel very much at peace while in transit. What's that saying, "life's a journey, not a destination"? Everything from buses, cars, boats, trains and airplanes... I'll settle in and find the rhythm of travel. The way the earth passes by. The people with me. Or what's really going on in my head. I always find something new along the way.

dancing - everywhere, anywhere dancing is a joyful expression of my already upbeat mood... and pumps me up even a bit more. I feel high when I'm dancing. I love to interrupt my day by cranking up the stereo and completely throwing myself into some funky dancing.

comfortable stylish clothes - a bit materialistic perhaps, but in a culture where clothes are a necessity, I definitely feel nurtured by clothing made of beautiful fabrics, textures and colors.

seeking the truth in my friends - trying to figure out what's really behind "fine, thanks"... it's so easy to just skim the surface of our relationships, I like to push things and dive a bit deeper.

the ocean - I love being near the ocean, to breathe the ocean air, feel the wind, the sounds, and especially the smell of the ocean. I treasure the days when I can literally spend hours in the salt water... I go to sleep after such a day feeling the rise and fall of the waves.

climbing - I haven't done this since my kids were born and I miss it. I miss the physical exertion, the adrenaline, (the scraped arms and legs, salty sweat, muscle twitch) and the sense of accomplishment and relief when you finally reach the top of a difficult climb.

buying my food from farmers - maybe it's mental, but my food tastes better when I get it from a market. I enjoy it more and I eat more raw fruits and vegetables. I feel physically nurtured by this food when I eat it, praise it, and enjoy ingesting every bite.

fresh air - of course this goes with many of the other things that nurture me, but when push comes to shove I'll feel better just opening the windows.

If you enjoyed this please visit the beautiful Braja at Lost and Found in India to find out what she and others are nurtured by... and add your own 20 things!

Tuesday, February 23

beautiful RTT

Tuesday is beautiful
Optimistic, upbeat
Shaking off the Monday sludge
With both feet into the week

Tuesday bliss found when
Two packs of Hanes arrive underground
A hot commodity for my little one
Who won't compromise a comfy bum

Tuesday is time for lessons
Music, Italiano, and una bella figura
Unfolding the hidden mysteries
Of a place so rich in history

Tuesday behaves, works, and gets things done
She doesn't complain come rain or sun
Radiance doubles back and pushes her up
A day for doing, without giving up


Get you're dose of RTT then get going!

Monday, February 22

extended weekend

The passing and use of time. It's become such a dominant topic of contemplation. At first it was a daily slap in the face as I repeatedly managed to arrive at places when they were closed. Time and time again, after seemingly maticulous care in getting the timing right, I'd get it wrong. But we're past that now.

And we're past acceptance. That point when the quirky hours have finally registered and we just learn to deal. The time when we remind ourselves to do some extra shopping on Saturday to carry us through to Monday afternoon. The time when I was still aware of the shift in temporal dynamics and felt a great sense of accomplishment in having discovered the proper strokes to get my boat with the flow.

Now we're here. And here is something more pleasurable. The peace in my body when my mind resisters chores piling up by Sunday night, after a weekend of homework and random family fun. A ease that registers from knowing that there's Monday for housework. Because it knows nothing else can be done, no shopping, errands or anything from outside the house really. It's all closed, and time is decidedly down time.

Just like Sunday has shifted to family. We're here, taking pleasure in these pockets of time that seem to have presented themselves from nothing. Perhaps a forced hand that carries the lingering stench of Catholic righteousness... but a result that finds me enjoying a better use of time.

Friday, February 19

I have a family history of : cancer

When you start getting into the finer details of a language you find yourself wound up in expressions that there are no words for in the other language. For instance, I understand "ti voglio bene" as something like brotherly love. An expression of love for someone that you not in love with. It literally translates as "I want well for you" and than cements the meaning in my head, but it's not something you would say in English.

On the other hand, I find myself surprised sometimes at how literally expressions translate between English and Italian. For instance, honey moon is luna di miele and a fish out of water is also used un pesce fuor d'acqua.

Well I found myself in some twisted version of these two the other day... I'm not exactly sure where it lies. I was doing some research for natural health products and discovered that the Italian phrase for colon is i due punti.... lol... get it? "the two points" aka :

Yea, I'm easily amused.

Wednesday, February 17

gelato returns

What a beautiful place, this northern Italian city... where you mark the passage of time by the opening and closing of the gelateria. With carnival and the promise of spring, they open now after a four month hibernation. One by one, day by day you spy the random person walking down the street sucking up the sweet nectar of a drippy cone of gelato. And even though it's still cold, the four of us went out for our inaugural treat Monday night. We arrived a bit late, the doors having just been closed, bins being put away. But the gelato lady saw our four pairs of wide gelato eyes staring through the window and waved for us to wait, she'd let us in. Four delicious cones served up and she even knocked a few euros off the price. And we walked that slow lick by lick walk through the quiet streets. And a cold night somehow seemed warmer.

Friday, February 12


Since a few have asked to see the picture I was talking about yesterday, I decided to dig it out. It was taken pre-digital camera, and I actually haven't physically seen it in a long time, but carried the image around in my head. So here it is...

I know there was nothing exceptional going that day, so I think I always had that energy. By nothing exceptional, I mean something like a birthday or a holiday or something. That said, it was in general an exceptional time in my life.

It's taken in our home... our sailboat. And I'm about 7 months pregnant. We were living on the boat, working on a post-doc and writing a thesis. Waking to the characteristic sound of the port. The clanging of chains, creaking of dock lines.

There was a bath house at the marina that we used... no shower on board and we used the toilet only in dire midnight emergencies. You can imagine how many dire mid-night emergencies a 7 month pregnant woman might have ;) We had no oven or stove and cooked all of our on board meals in a coffee pot. Things like raman noodles and instant oatmeal.

And it was January. Granted, January in the San Francisco Bay isn't too bad, but it can get a tad nippy at times. We had a little portable electric space heater when we were home at night. This was great motivation for me to go hang out on the university campus during the day.

There were pelicans. And in the channel out to the bay, sea lions. And in all this, there I am. Couldn't be happier. In the middle of doing something... who knows what. I turned around and M snapped this photo. Just perfect.

Thursday, February 11

let's step outside

Ever see a snap shot of yourself that you didn't know was being taken? Your beaming smile, that joyful gleam in your eye. There was a story you didn't even realize being told to the world. A romantic adventure of a beautiful soulful girl ready for anything. Arms open. She moved through every day with that infectious passion for life. She lit up the room and made things sparkle.

I have a picture like that of myself. Maybe it sounds conceited. But when I see that picture I want to dance. I feel thrilled. In love. Yea... just like being swept up in the arms of someone who loves you.

And I want to be the present version of that girl. I don't mind changing, but I'd like to always be inspired by what I see in that snapshot.

As you carry yourself through life... be it the mundane or a wild new adventure... step outside of yourself and take a look at that snapshot. The one for right then and there. And what do you see? Are you surprised? Proud? Does the joy bubble up from your gut?

That's what I wish. For you and for me.

Tuesday, February 9

lo stesso posto

My young brain
Young, naive, American... I'm not sure exactly in which way it is best described...
Perhaps simply "mine" will suffice
My brain does something strange when attempting to comprehend the passage of time in this place.
This place being Italy.
When thinking about the things that have come before.
What has changed
And, I think, more importantly... more significantly... what has remained the same.

For example, in a film,
You see a young man in trouble.
He's running through the streets of Rome.
He's running through the streets of Rome of 90 years ago.
And the only props needed to make the scene are clothes from the era.
Same walls, same streets, most of them made in just the same way as they were then.
And you rush through time in "lo stesso posto"... the same place...
Indicated only by graffiti, the sound of traffic...

And 90 years is yesterday. This place marks the passage of time in centuries, not decades.
And much further into the past.
My past begins 200 years ago. Maybe 500 if you count Columbus sailing the blue.
Dinosaurs, Cave men, Columbus then the declaration of independence was signed.
If something was put down in 1200, I'd suppose it was put down in stone.

So you can now imagine, now that history is expanding, ever further illuminated
Like taking a ride into Seuss' snowflake.
World upon world keeps opening itself up to me
And it hurts my brain a bit.

I can sit in the square for hours getting lost in my thoughts, trying to pull myself through the history of the place without skipping too much. It's a fun yet tiring exercise. It makes you feel small... l you can see your exhistence in this place shrinking away into nothingness as the time line unravels for miles behind you. Everything before building building building until it swallows you up into an atom of a molecule in the air of the last fart it just let pass.

And I suppose you could do this anywhere. But for some reason the presence of man made things makes it easier for me.

But fortunately, we don't live for all that long
And we count off the time in weeks
Days if you're a wee one.
And look at all we can experience in this small insignificant space?
Growing ourselves, careers, families... to each his own ways to spend splendid days.
So spend them on something grand,
Something that brings you joy.
You know, those smiles that you can feel in your rib cage.
That's what I'm aiming for
To saddle up and ride it with all I've got.

Yee Haw ;)

Monday, February 8


I've given some indication of our morning rituals around here. I usually write my posts in the morning, so, go figure, that's what's usually on my mind. To recap, they usually start by prying myself out of bed sometime between 7 and 7:20, prying the punks out of their beds by 7:30, getting them in clothes 7:40, chowing breakfast, 7:50, putting on shoes and backing up backpacks, 8:00, walking and arriving to school by 8:05.

This is a pretty tight schedule. Too tight. We tend to stick with it because is occasionally works brilliantly. Everyone wakes up, gets dressed, and eats without complaining. But the fact is that is OFTEN it doesn't work and we get thrown off track by 5/10 minutes for one reason or the other. And then punks arrive late to school.

Yes, I'm that shameful parent. I confess. And, honestly, I think this sucks of me. It stresses the kids out. And it's completely my fault.

On the other hand, it sometimes seems like even if I do give us more time, we still end up rushing at the end. Almost as if more time creates more problems.

But the obvious answer is to wake up earlier and forget about those brilliant days when everything works like a charm... and admit to myself that 30 minutes just isn't enough time to get two punks ready for school in the morning. I'm setting the alarm for 6:30 tomorrow.

officially obsessed

Doesn't that just make you burst with happiness?

Friday, February 5

the sidewalks are filled with fossils and when they are wet they turn red

a downward spiral for my attention
the spirals in the sidewalk
wet and reflecting a sky that is bright white
no sun, no blue but what a sight
reminds me of an exercise
painting with bleach on black
and the sidewalk is my two minute splash of color
before teacher takes the brushes away
(how long have you got? well,
maybe that's all you really need)
and we tromp back and forth
pounding pounding on something that's felt so much more
than the insignificant pitter patters
of minuscule feet
just look at the size of it!
the prehistoric beast
and the time so long ago
in another world
here it is
in ours
pounding up on our feet
shocking the world still
spirals in stone
that reflect the white sky when it snows

Wednesday, February 3

Pilgram's hard lesson(s)

If you feel like you've become a crazy person, then it's probably a good time to calm down.

I've been thinking about love and expression and ways to see joy in your life. The cold hard facts are that you can only teach these things by example. And hope that your punks have a little of it in them already.

But how can you do that when you're beating yourself about the basics? You can't. You've got to get those basics nailed down. I guess that's the "routine" I keep hearing parenting types talk about. Never thought I needed one. I suppose the hard lesson learned is that family needs an underlying structure on which to shine. Otherwise all that passionate energy just gets scattered on the clutter mucking up your life. And that, my friend, is what is making me crazy.

When you think about it, it's these realizations that make us sane. Maybe my poem yesterday
should have been called "be a Mom"...

Also, in case you were wondering, a shotgun shack is a house in which a bullet, having been shot through the front door, would travel unobstructed through the house, right on out the back door. Unobstructed, of course, except for any occupants, who would all be killed by that single bullet.

Makes you wonder how such expressions get started.

And now I've burned my coffee.

Tuesday, February 2

be a man

It's a thing of joy
To see these boys
Arm in arm
Against the world

For the world will soon tell them
To stand alone

Embrace your spirit
Let it swirl in pink
Flash your bright smile
Let your eyes wink

For the world will soon tell you
To pull it together

Dream big beautiful thoughts
Full of all the love in your heart
Be the thing of your spirit
Right from the start

For the world will soon tell you
To be a man

To reign in that spirit
And burst your bubble of love
For fanciful dreams just aren't
What men are made of...

Hear the singing inside you
Leap to that sweet embrace
Let that spirit of boyhood
Shine though on your face

And I'll smile and dream wish pray and hope
That YOU will show the world
What it is
To be a man.

if you can't beat 'em, join 'em

It's SO cold in our house in the morning. Friggggid. I can not blame Punkette for not wanting to get out of her nice toasty bed. So this morning, I hopped in there with her.

I have long benefited from the warmth of my family. I'm not referring to how nice they all are, but their physical warmth. Starting with my nice toasty husband of ten years, graciously letting me wrap my icy limbs around him, I discovered what "nice and toasty" actually felt like. Then the punks were born and I discovered that they too had this capacity to heat the bed up to near sauna like conditions. On cold winter night, I almost felt guilty as I realized I was warming up around the little bean body of my infant child. Just like a little hot water bottle in the bed.

So this morning, I shivered my way across the house to wake the kids up for school and just hopped right in bed with them. OOoohh... so warm for me, nice snugly wake up time for them, and after a few minutes, we were all ready to start our day.

Monday, February 1

ok ok, alright already

Any parent out there can probably relate to that feeling of being taken over by a world and a persona that we never imagined for ourselves. That desperate helpless feeling as we realize our reality consists of pressures we never bargained for. Or maybe it's the desperate helpless feeling as we realize the percentage of who we are can accurately be described as "raving lunatic" or some closely related descriptive.

Well, I have these moments anyway.

I don't like worrying about the nasty look on the face of Punkette's teacher when she arrives late. But at the same time I expect that she should get out of bed in the morning instead of lying there for 20 minutes. Then the clothing battles. These things are making me crazy. And the core of the problem is none of these things justifies going crazy.

On the upside, kids with crazy parents must learn so much.

I'll just keep telling myself that.