A different kind of wonderful

Today was the day my iPhone glass shattered, I got to danced my heart out, we serendipitously ran into my dog’s litter mates in a park in Berkeley ( we live in san jose), I participated in a phenomenal workshop called The Well Fed Woman,* and I spilled a nearly full cup of cocoa down my skirt and into my favorite boots.

And you know what? Nothing knocked me! I found myself staying centered and balanced and grounded. And for this I am in awe. And grateful.

Wow, what a day. What a full, challenging, miraculous, beautiful, trying, and exquisite day. Today I got to see in action how my yoga practice and all of my years of personal work have helped to reshape me.

It started as a usual Saturday morning, Bruce, Anja, and our one year old dog Fumo headed for the dog park, and I  headed for Zumba class. I did dance my heart out, with about 80 other women, including a line up of a few of my dancing buddies. Nothing makes dance class better than to get a spot near friends who will play with you and help you to laugh in the dance. Work out complete, I headed home for a shower, and that’s when the day started to get interesting. While walking across the pool deck my beloved iPhone took a suicidal dive from my hoodie pocket and the glass face shattered. “Oh no!” Came out of my mouth,  but I immediately noticed it didn’t have the emotional charge that it would have once carried. Some water aerobics ladies heard me and asked, “did you drop something?”  “Yes, my iPhone,” I cheerfully replied, “and it shattered!” I shrugged. Wow. wow wow wow wow. All those yoga classes that I’ve taught with the theme based on choosing to react or respond? Here it was in action. In previous versions of my life, this would have ruined my day. Triggered waves of self abuse, anger and sadness and frustration. Today, it got a shrug.

It appeared that the phone was still working, behind that broken facade. And there was a text message from my husband: “Do not use front bathroom, let it dry and I will clean it up later.”  I pondered this message for a few minutes before I realized that this means he had given the dog a bath. And left behind a hairy hurricane of destruction. I also considered my very sweaty body, and the women’s workshop I was attending for the afternoon and realized a shower was a must. We only use our hall shower. The master shower didn’t even have a shower head installed. Guess what I did today? That’s right, the master bath now has a newly installed shower head.

Shift to the afternoon, Bruce, Anja and Fumo have all driven up to Berkeley with me. They dropped me off at the workshop and went to the Laurence Hall of Science. They stopped at a coffee shop on the way back to get warm drinks and as arranged, arrived a little late for pick up so I didn’t need to rush out. When I come out of the workshop, I invite them to pull into a spot to get out and run around. There’s a little grass park there, with a sweet family hanging out with their dog, I figured our dog could use a good run around before the hour drive home. We hang, the other family leaves, and then two other dogs come into the park. They look a lot like our dog, only they are missing their tails. Their owner comes in and we say hi. She asks if our dog is a Formosa too, and as I look at her, I realize she looks familiar. Bruce asks her where she got her dogs, and that’s when it hits me. Redwood City! May 2011! Her two dogs and our dog had all been in the same enclosure at the rescue event, they were from the same litter! What a bizarre and random situation that we all showed up at this tiny Berkeley park on this day at this time. The 3 dogs had a blast, running around and playing together.

In the process of getting Fumo and Anja both buckled into the car, Anja’s nearly full cocoa spilled. Onto my skirt, down into my favorite boots, and puddled on the car seat. Sigh… There have been days when this would have frustrated me or pissed me off, but it didn’t touch me. I did the best I could to temporarily clean it up. Anja happily declared, “that’s okay, I was pretty much done with it anyway,”  and we piled into the car and drove home.

So that was my interesting, serendipitous, beautiful day. And to myself I say, good job girl. You stayed true to your heart, to your center, to who you want to be. And for that, I am proud and grateful and relieved. Some other day, I may get triggered and react, rather than respond. But today was a win. And tomorrow I get to go talk to a Genius**.

*As a side note, I’m still digesting the magnificent work from the “Well Fed Woman” retreat by Rachel Cole. Perhaps a post to come on that later. I do highly recommend both the workshop, and Rachel herself. She’s deep well of wisdom packed into a young woman, she’s done her work and it shows in her presence.

**Title given to the folks who work at the apple store.


Trying it on…

A typical day around here could include rocking out, all dressed up (Miss A and her best friend Miss M):

Or painting every last nook and cranny of your face (a favorite activity at the Children’s Discovery Museum):

Which reminds me of a recent family conversation the four of us had in the car.

Papa to Noel: “What do you think about tattoos? Do you ever see yourself getting one?

Noel:”Yeah, I’ll probably get a small one, eventually, maybe on my leg or something.”

Papa: “Anja, what about you?”

Anja:”Yes, Definitely! I’ll have tattoos everywhere!”

Given that this child has covered herself in color with every medium imaginable- starting with finger paint.. and continuing now with anything that will mark on her skin, this isn’t a huge surprise. We’ll see how she feels about that needle though. She got one ear pierced and has yet to go back to do the other. All in good time. (suggestion to others, if your kid wants their ear pierced and you acquiesce, take your friend’s suggestion and have both ears done simultaneously, learn from my mistake.)

At 2 years:

Jan 2012… what we’ve been up to lately

This is one very proud big brother, lacing her skates up for her first ice hockey skating lesson. At age 4. I’m certain we’ll be keeping our chiropractor well employed and funding her retirement as soon three of the four of us will be playing ice hockey. Scary.

And then she’s off. After a few moments on her own upside down bucket, she tossed it for free skating.

And finally… the boy goalie tries on new pads. Grown up sized ones! My he is getting big. He started playing goalie at four. Nine years later and he’s still going strong.

Amsterdam Playgrounds

The playgrounds in Amsterdam are phenomenal.

Starting with two that are in Artis, the zoo, which in itself is an incredible place.

The little kid playground is creative, playful and colorful. You climb up rungs between the giraffe’s hind legs, enter the butt area, and slide down the neck.

The owl side has back stairs and a spiral inside. I think she liked it.

The bigger kid playground strongly demonstrates the sense of personal responsibility that is assumed in Dutch playgrounds. See that netting that Anja is traversing? It’s a straight drop down into WATER.

The slides and play structures here are HIGH and large.

And certainly made for children older than 4 and a half. No barrier for my kid, she is determined, I must give her that.

The climb up this section was 3 times her height, and only started at her shoulders.

And that was the only way up. Her stance says it all. And it was a long slide down.

On our bakfiets day we discovered a cute little sidewalk playground.

And we also explored all of Vondelpark. Including two amazing playgrounds. This  rope tower and slide blew my mind. I cannot believe Anja did it. Only through sheer determination. It was several stories high, and the ropes inside were all askew, irregular, with wide spaces between. Again, clearly designed for older kids. Anja chanted to herself the entire time, I think partly focus and partly self encouragement. “climb, climb, climb, climb, climb”  Did I mention it was lightly raining? Making everything wet and slightly slippery; I could barely watch. Of course upon accomplishing it once, she had to go up and do it again.

While on the playground subject, I can’t miss this gorgeous climbing structure… I mean tree.

This playground had three mini personal sized trampolines built into the ground.

Another day, this time in Osterpark: a pedal powered merry go round.

A zip line.

A mini size kid swing. Just her height.

And to top it all off… this thing: it spun around, it bounced up and down, it was sort of a teeter toter, sort of a spinning thing… and made for loads of laughter.

A fall project

We got this idea from a crafts to do with kids mama blogger/newsletter. And I want to credit her, however I honestly forget who it was. My apologies.

We did this about a month ago, so you may need to save this idea for next fall.

Take a nature walk and collect leaves.

Lay them out in a design on clear contact paper. Add a ribbon for a hanger.

Voila! We have a beautiful window of color to help brighten our window.

The land of bikes

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities. Everyone is friendly, it’s beautiful, they have a bike priority culture, they are welcoming to kids, there’s a wide variety of food and the playgrounds ROCK. More on that in another post. For now bikes:


And a canal boat ride in the rain. Severely jet-lagged too.

Over the hills and far away… aka tables and their meals

Italy was a dream. I’ll start with the quintessential scenery. This view was a few minutes walk from our house. It was one of the few times I wished hard for the 5D.


Photos don’t do it justice. It’s sort of like the grand canyon in that sense. You just sit or stand there breathing it all in. Absorbing the view, the smells, the light. Ideally while sipping your morning coffee or evening wine.

At this table we enjoyed most of our breakfasts:

At this one, our evening meals:

And at this table we enjoyed a THREE hour meal from heaven, in a 300 year old restaurant.