Monday, August 6, 2012


It's been a long time. Life has kept me busy...the usual mix of awesome, mediocre and ick. Today I am entering my 34th trip around the sun. The last year has included time and energy spent trying to find what parts of myself to nurture, and what parts of myself to let go. With the letting go comes an attempt at forgiveness for what was, what I needed to do at that time in my life to keep going, and release those parts that aren't serving my life or me anymore. It's a small step every moment, but I'm trying.

Today, and this birthday weekend, it's come easy. Eyes wide open to see this life I've made...this family..this partnership..this beautiful place I've chosen to live in. Doing the things I need to do to keep these eyes open to it and keep showing up with all parts of myself. It really is simple: eat, drink, hike, beach, meditate, reflect, laugh, play, kids, choosing love every time. Repeat.

Here's to another year of becoming.

Friday, April 13, 2012


In a span of one week, my hands have:

  • Stroked baby mullet fuzz for one last time prior to big boy haircut.

  • Drove a young mother away from her children to rid her body of the chemicals that will most likely end her life if not stopped, and surely end her mothering if not stopped.

  • Pinched my inner thigh in attempts to not cry while I tell the young mother I can still see her real self that the drugs swallowed and believe in her ability to overcome them.

  • Held a cell phone to my ear and said words like "squat", "lunges", "nipple stimulation" and "hula-hoop hips" while my 6 year old daughter plays along like we're playing cherades.

  • Clutched a notebook that held a story authored by said-daughter about a unicorn killed for an exotic soup contest.

  • Covered my gasping mouth when the page turned and revealed a picture of unicorn soup.

  • Stroked an iv-ed hand and arm of a mother who is birthing a child who's smile she will never see.

  • Wiped my own tears in attempts to let go of my own old traumas.

  • Made fantastical spring creations in marathon weekend style to make up for distracted mothering.

  • Typed away on computer that is eating away my life.

  • Ran fingers thru very long 9 year old hair and reminded him to wear deodorant.

  • Placed straw in nest boxes for chickens that won't lay for a long time just because I like to look at it.

  • Slapped spandex-clad cheeks.

  • Gave toddler an armpit attitude adjustment (it turns crabs into laughs).

  • Held a million cups of coffee, my main ingredient of the week.

  • Squeezed through impossibly small space between three car seats a million times to buckle-unbuckle 6 year old.

  • Peeled the most eggs I ever have in my life.

  • Pulled out some hair in frustration of power struggles, then realizing later some struggle was my own.

  • Held impossibly huge toddler nursing at my breast.

  • Outstretched fingers from long waving arms to hippy music in my living room.

  • Lit 3 candles for 2 babies entering and one baby leaving this world.

  • Clenched fists that pumping arms held during a ready-set-go mom/toddler race home.

  • Prepared to wave goodbye with tearful eyes in wait of a trip for work & play.

My hands. My heart. May they always be connected.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Here's what we've been up to lately: A CHICKEN COOP!

I always thought by this time in my life, my home would be a small farm in the country, with rolling fields and woods. And of course, tons of animals. Horses, dogs, barn cats, a donkey, goats, and chickens.

Animals were such a big part of my growing up. I spent most of my childhood connecting with animals, some my own and others at my friends' farms, always dreaming that one day I could step out my door and have a barn to run to.

The Coop is the answer for holding onto this dream, but living in the present and not getting stuck in the 'someday'.

The kids have had so much fun creating it. The tree they made was perfect for the different ages--Liam painted big patches of color, Nevie put borders and swirlies around his patches and made branches, and Aidan loved making the chickens and signs.

An old painting from GG was going unused in the basement, so we decided to give it new life: A CHALKBOARD! We flipped the canvas, painted the frame and covered the back of the painting with chalkboard paint. An extra bonus is that we can see the painting while in the coop. It makes me smile--I hope GG would like it too. We'll track a daily egg count here and transfer it into a journal for each chicken.

A few details on our coop:

-It's a converted garden shed. It is not insulated, but it does have electricity.

-I'm making an old crib into a bench for hanging out with the ladies. I love that the coop is private enough so I can do this without the neighbors thinking I'm the crazy chicken lady.

-Linoleum remnants will hopefully make clean up easy once the chickens are old enough to stay in the coop. We'll use shavings for the coop floor and straw for the nesting boxes. We hope the ladies will like it and lay a lot of pretty eggs. We'll have two blue/green layers, two medium brown egg layers and one dark brown speckly egg layer. And maybe one big huge white duck egg layer if I play my cards right.

-Our chickens will wake up to twinkly lights on a timer. It's pretty dark in there without lights & we're pretty sure the chickens would be confused without it.

-The outside run is our old garden. It's too shady now for good veggie growing. We'll do container gardens for our veggies this year. We tag-teamed the making of a 6 ft fence--one water-pourer/one cement pourer/one post holder/and one cement mixer. The chickens will have full run of the yard once the Collie can control herself and not attack them with her need to herd! This may take some time.

-We made a brooder out of an old tote. Add some wood chips and a heat lamp and voila! Chick habitat. They'll live in there until they get some feathers, than move into the dog crate, then the hen house.

-We'll have 2 Aracunas, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 1 Black Australorp.

-I really want a duck.

Our chicks will come in two weeks and we're more than ready! I hope these little ones will enjoy spending time on the mini farm as much as I know I will. I'm sure there will be some bumps in the road as we figure this out. But as I see it, anything worth doing is going to take some bumps and patience and yes,maybe a little heartache.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Excuse me...

I've been on a bit of writing hiatus....

I've been busy

cuddling babies

being a cousin who's weaving

tending to boy flood gates


mending old wounds

tending to new ones

being herded by collies

going on theatre dates

settling into now

standing in the middle of the storm

calm in my heart

letting what's to come, come.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remember About October

I've been woken up early today by a doula call, a happy call, a little girl born healthy and happy. A doula bubbling with the kind of joy only a birth will bring.

I couldn't get my mind to settle back to sleep, despite the cuddly toddler beside me and further unsettled due to a not-so-cuddly 9 year old curled in a ball at my feet (trying to be inconspicuous about coming in my bed in the middle of the night).

So instead, I sit at the computer. Checking work email. Responding to work email. Wondering if I can change the time settlings on my email so I can disguise the fact that I'm working on a holiday before sunrise. It's barely 5am. When did I become this person?

Trying to stop the ruminating, I decide to upload the pictures off my camera so I'll have some fresh ones to look at while I'm away for work next week. As I sift through the pictures of my family life, the other stuff that's living in my head releases. LOOK at these beautiful people, this nice life we live. There is so much, all at once, that it's hard to grasp how absolutely miraculous the simple things are.

Such as a boy learning to talk and express himself and anything exciting by exclaiming "AWESOME!" and labeling things he thinks are cool as "AWESOME" in noun form [Aidan's toy car's name="awesome"--"Brother, I plaaaaaay with Awesome?"; Shawn's grout job in the kitchen-awesome--"Mom, Meemo go see Awesome?". You get the point.]

Such as a 9 year old being able to let his Mom know he needs more of my time, time to just be. In turn, letting me know what I need too. He asked me if I could just lay with him and listen every night. His first question? "Mom, remember when I was your special little boy?". My heart. These talks have been amazing. And I usually don't say much. Other times we just cuddle.

Such as a little girl wiggling with joy at her Mom joining her class for a day and hardly being able to contain herself. Any moment of my time focused on her is greeted with such joy and love it really god smacks me every time. I laid with her in her bed a few nights ago and read her a book, just the two of us and she acted like I flew her to Paris.

These are the things to focus on, to draw on when other things are outside of my control. There isn't really a point in feeling bad about what was. Now is more important. Moving forward from there.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Do Over

Life lately has me doing some soul-searching, tough question-asking, work. Not "work" work, but life work.

On my walk tonight I asked myself, as I do when moments like these pop up in life, what would I say to someone, sitting beside me, if today were my last day? What would I want a do-over for?

Well, here goes:

  • More time seeing and less time shoo-ing. By seeing I mean really seeing my loves in life, like stop everything, look into the eyes and delight-in-them seeing.

  • Less work in my head when work hours are over.

  • More time fully engaged in life and less time checking out from it.

  • Contentment with what is and not searching for the next step.

  • Less criticism and more acceptance.

  • Gratitude dripping off every experience.

  • Making more time for play, art, fun.

  • More love and surrendering. Less control and worry.

  • Less seperation from the heart of the work I do and I love so dearly.

I think these things were more apparent when my professional life found me in the homes of families with serious hard stuff, most with generations and generations of hard stuff. I'd come home and be totally in the present, grateful for the simple ease of my family life. I could easily look at my children and see how lucky we are.

Now, being a bit more seperated from the direct work, it's been harder for me to get out of my reactive, more auto-pilot way of being. My mind is distracted, occupied. I have to really focus on being present and letting what feels so important in the moment go, so I can be with what really is important--this sweet family of mine.

It's not too late for a do-over. Every day is just that, right? I get caught up in wanting to be the bestest and get stuck. I'm determined to not have such a long list in the end...maybe just "eat more vegetables" or "exercise more"...none of this really important stuff of regrets.

It's a lifelong thing, I know. This learning. This loving. This living a good life. I intend to be open to it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Introducing Rumi, the new Love Dog

After the loss of both our beloved Collie, Riff, and our Lab, Bill (both within 5 months of eachother), our house seemed so empty without a furry friend to follow us around. I felt a bit guilty for thinking puppy thoughts almost immediately after the loss of Bill. I soon realized that a little peice of him was leaving every day for the past few years and along with it, a little bit of me was grieving along with it. I also started to see that opening up to love a pup didn't really mean I didn't still love the Ralph.

We found ourselves (Shawn and I) searching out puppies in secret. We both stumbled upon what my friend Laura calls "puppy porn" (because its so freaking adorable, you can't stop looking at more and more pictures) website and fell in love with a little tri-colored collie pup just recently weaned. About the same time, I came across this You Tube video of Coleman Banks reading of "Love Dogs" by Rumi, one of my favorite poets (see below). That had to be our next pup's name.

We picked up the kids from school and told them we were going to a friend of mine's farm. Her name was Rumi. They hopped in and didn't ask a single question. This drove me insane and put Shawn on edge. He almost blew it.

When we were about 20 minutes away on our hour long drive, I ask them if they had any questions about my friend Rumi. They asked about the farm, animals on the farm, when will we be there.....I said I haven't actually met Rumi. Aidan looks puzzled, then says, "oh, so she's like a facebook person?"

I tell them that I've never talked with her either, but that I'm sure we'll all love her. Especially since she'll be living with us. Then the momentum picks up. Nevie asks, "What?!? For how long?" I tell her a long time and that she might sleep with her. Aidan prys for more specifics. I tell them she'll live with us for the next 15 to 20 years. Bingo. He gets it. "Rumi is a DOG! Are we getting a PUPPY?!?" (said in his squeeky, excited voice). Screams all around! Shawn cries. Typical.

We get to the farm in Floodwood. Puppies are everywhere. Shawn and I pretty much lose our minds and can't hold adult conversations with the owners. Her mama, Dolce, is a petite, mild mannered sweetie. Her Papa is a bounding, HUGE, friendly wild man. Her siblings are adorable. And everywhere. We are swept up by puppy cuteness right from the start. We attempt to put her in the back for the ride home. She quickly slips inbetween the dog barrier and ends up crawling all over the kids laps, admist their giggling, smiling little bodies and settles on Aidan's lap. She pukes 3 times all over him. Aidan still can't stop smiling and is more concerned with her tummy than the fact he has slimy puke all over him.

We spend the next few days soaking her up. Shawn and I are like little kids, up at 5am, not because she's whining (she's not), but because we want to play with her. We over do it and bring her everywhere. Her 8 week old little body passes out at football games, the park, and the beach. If I could nurse her I probably would.

Although my heart still hurts that my Bill is gone, it's wide open for this little furry soul. Welcome home, little Rumi. I know you'll spread just as much love as your namesake.

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. The child weaned from mother’s milk now drinks wine and honey mixed. The Creator’s joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box, from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flower bed. As roses, up from the ground. Now it looks like a plate of fish and rice, now a cliff covered with vines, now a horse being saddled. It hides within these, till one day it cracks them open.” ~Rumi~

"Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs no one knows the names of.
Give your life to be one of them." ~Rumi~