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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.

Forest Fairy



IMG_4924, originally uploaded by thislovelymoment.

Most of the time, I don’t really care. This day, I wish I had wiped breakfast off of her face. Photoshop… here I come, eventually.

I’m in LOVE with the light, and the expression captured in this image.

Yes, I have been making pictures the last 6 months… they just haven’t been making it onto the blog. No excuses. Perhaps that’ll shift.

Gratitude

Yes, it’s been forever. Will you forgive me? I have no good excuses. Busy. Overwhelmed. Sick. Blah, blah, blah. Who cares, right? I’m here. You’re here. Let’s have a gratitude party. It’s that time of year, and besides what better way to overcome the seasonal dark day blues?

Today’s photo was taken with my cell phone. It’s an in the moment kind of shot.  A random Wednesday afternoon in November day. A “hey let’s be spontaneous and go to the beach after school, let’s both take naps in the car” kind of inspiration. And as soon as we arrive, shoes and socks come off, feet go into the sand, the sun comes out, and we have the beach to ourselves for a splish-splashy, run and giggle, kick and squeal sort of dance.

I’m thankful for my daughter, for being a mostly stay at home mom, and for the freedom to enjoy our lives in the ways we do. Like running barefoot on the beach in November.

How about you? What are you thankful for today?

Divine dessert, dinner and other delights..

Since I’m on a roll with the amazing desserts, I thought I’d post my current *favorite* dessert. I made it to take to a friend’s house for dinner, and my girlfriend absolutely delighted me by going back, not just for seconds, but also for thirds and fourths. Awesome.  I LOVED how unabashedly she fully enjoyed the dessert.

This is from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer.  It’s called Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova.  You can make it with any seasonal berry fruit: blackberries, strawberries, but it really is the *best* with raspberries.

As my friend Laura put it, “I love meringue, I love chocolate, I love raspberries, put it all together, oh my god!”

And it’s so simple, thanks Nigella!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
for chocolate meringue base:
6 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, beat in sugar a spoonful at a time until stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over cocoa, vinegar and chocolate. Gently fold everything until thoroughly mixed. Mound onto baking sheet in fat, flat circle approx 9 inches in diameter. smoothing sides and top. Place in oven and immediately turn down to 300 degrees. cook 1 to 1.25 hrs. When done it’s crisp around edges, dry on top, but a bit soft in the middle when you prod the center. Turn oven off and leave slightly open, let the meringue cool completly.

for the topping:
2 .25 cups heavy cream
1 very full pint raspberries
2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate

whisk cream ’til thick, pile on top, scatter over raspberries and chocolate.

Heavenly!

Seriously, I want to make this again and again and again. Only problem is, i’ll eat it!

And then, on a somewhat related note… we had the most amazing evening hanging out with our dear friends. I LOVE how passionately the kids play together. Here are a few of my favorites:

These two two year olds are good buddies. The curly one is mine.

The joy of playing naked in the warm summer evening and being totally comfortable in your body is a blessing that most of us lost long ago..

And I’ll leave you with this one. Two very funny characters. Having a ball goofing around together.

Fireflies!

A few weeks ago, while visiting my folks back, my kids experienced one of what I consider to be a quintessential summer experience.

Fireflies! A special treat given that we do not have fireflies in California.

We spent a magical evening catching and (mostly) releasing fireflies (there were a few that got squished, by “accident”).  Long after bedtime, you could still find us running around in the cool, moist evening air, our feet wet from dewy grass, gasping at a blink of light and laughing at the magic of the moment.

It was heavenly, and just the experience I was hoping my California children would have while visiting the east coast in summer.

I have no photos of this extraordinary experience. It was a “be in the moment” kind of evening.

Running in the humid air the next morning, I inhaled deeply the smell of lush green moist summer. I must admit I find myself sentimental for that smell.

(written a few days ago…) This morning I woke to the smell of burning redwoods, oak and whatever else is sadly burning away in a huge wildfire fire in the Santa Cruz mountains. The California landscape is so dramatically different from that of my childhood in Pennsylvania. I love them both.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories of being outdoors?