Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Love Via Lou Reed

Sunday was our anniversary.  Seven years of marriage, eleven years together.   Wow.   How is that possible?!   Before I know it, I will have spent as much time with my husband as without.   Our life and relationship isn't without challenges, but who's is?  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  I'm proud of the life we're building, the parents we are, the problems we've overcome and the future that lies ahead...

I am married to a wonderful man - who helps me be a better version of myself and together we are working towards  the life of our dreams ~*   

On a related note, did you see this Farewell lovestory written by Lou Reed's widow.   It is hauntingly beautiful.  A few excerpts here, but I highly recommend you read the whole thing. 

"...Lou and I played music together, became best friends and then soul mates, traveled, listened to and criticized each other's work, studied things together (butterfly hunting, meditation, kayaking). We made up ridiculous jokes; stopped smoking 20 times; fought; learned to hold our breath underwater; went to Africa; sang opera in elevators; made friends with unlikely people; followed each other on tour when we could; got a sweet piano-playing dog; shared a house that was separate from our own places; protected and loved each other. We were always seeing a lot of art and music and plays and shows, and I watched as he loved and appreciated other artists and musicians. He was always so generous. He knew how hard it was to do. We loved our life in the West Village and our friends; and in all, we did the best we could do.
Like many couples, we each constructed ways to be – strategies, and sometimes compromises, that would enable us to be part of a pair. Sometimes we lost a bit more than we were able to give, or gave up way too much, or felt abandoned. Sometimes we got really angry. But even when I was mad, I was never bored. We learned to forgive each other. And somehow, for 21 years, we tangled our minds and hearts together.
....Lou was sick for the last couple of years.   As meditators, we had prepared for this – how to move the energy up from the belly and into the heart and out through the head. I have never seen an expression as full of wonder as Lou's as he died. His hands were doing the water-flowing 21-form of tai chi. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world, and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped. He wasn't afraid. I had gotten to walk with him to the end of the world. Life – so beautiful, painful and dazzling – does not get better than that. And death? I believe that the purpose of death is the release of love.
At the moment, I have only the greatest happiness and I am so proud of the way he lived and died, of his incredible power and grace.
I'm sure he will come to me in my dreams and will seem to be alive again. And I am suddenly standing here by myself stunned and grateful. How strange, exciting and miraculous that we can change each other so much, love each other so much through our words and music and our real lives."


Monday, November 25, 2013

Joseph Turns 1!

What a great birthday celebration we had.   On Friday, I took the day off and met up with a few of his friend's at the Children's Museum.  The kids loved it.  There was a great room for 0-3 year olds.  Perfect for crawlers, cruisers and early walkers.  The kids had so much to do that it left the mamas with plenty of time to catch up with each other ---- always a bonus! :)   Joseph loved crashing in the "waterbed" at the end of a long day of playing....

The Birthday Boy got new boots!

 On Saturday, we hosted a small birthday party with just a handful of our closest friends.   My super talented friend made his adorable cake and we had the party catered by Redbones BBQ.   I would absolutely recommend Redbones for your next event.  They delivered everything piping hot, set it up and everybody seemed to really enjoy it.  The food was just as good as it is in the restaurant!   And there was SO MUCH OF IT.

  We sang Happy Birthday, had some laughs with our friends, and celebrated the completion of a wonderful year!   It was just perfect.  Happy Birthday, Joseph Campos.  We love you!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

1 year


And then you were 1.   What a year, Baby J! 

On the Eve of your Birthday

My boy.  My handsome, kind, affectionate son ---- tomorrow you will turn one.   The Earth has made its way around the sun and you have arrived, nursed, grown, laughed, crawled, giggled, rolled, ate, slept and been an absolute joy to everyone who has had the honor to be a part of your first year.

My boy.  My wonderful, funny, giggly son ---- You have a depth in your eyes that makes me feel as though you've seen a million sunsets.  You have an intuition about you that makes me sure your soul is not young.  When mama was sick after a difficult birth process, you were an absolute angel. Breastfeeding with no difficulty, sleeping soundly with your dad, all 7lbs 12oz of you strong like a little bull. You knew mama wasn't well and you gave me time to heal.  I thank you for that; it was the first gift of so many I was about to receive from you.

My boy.  My beautiful, easy-natured, smiling son ---- You trust the world is a good place.  Not a trip to the grocery store has been made in your first year where you haven't smiled to a stranger.  You light up the world around you.  You not only brighten the world of the people lucky enough to spend everyday with you, but you possess a kindness that makes strangers stop, comment, or smile.

My boy.  My gentle, smart, loving son ---- This year has been a year like no other.  You entered our life and have altered it forever.   You have brought so much.  You have tapped into a love that we have always possessed but only you could access.  My heart is so very full.   My life is so very good.   There is nothing but gratitude for all that you are, all that you've been and all that is still to come.   May God continue to bless us all.  May your second year of life be as spectacular as your first.   My birthday wish for you, sweet son of mine, is nothing more than your continued health and happiness.  You are a wonder.  A true miracle.  

“when i have said my evening prayer,
and my clothes are folded on my chair,
mama and papa switch off the light,
i'll still be 11 months old tonight.

but from the very break of day,
before the children rise and play,
before the darkness turns to gold,
tomorrow i'll be one years old…
one kiss when i wake,
one candle on my cake.

a goodnight kiss for the eleven month old
to send him to sleep and to dreaming.
and blessings to the one year old
who'll be carried from bed in the morning.”

(poem via The Littlest)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftovers....

Could this idea (and free download) be any cuter if you are hosting Thanksgiving?!   My mom is also super gracious and cooks us dinner once a week when she watches the baby.   She sends home a plate for my husband.  I think I'll give her a few of these take-away boxes and a label "From Grammy's Kitchen".

Monday, November 18, 2013


Whether it's yoga or Oprah or Buddha or your favorite self-help author, a similar and consistent message seems to run through the teachings ---- PRESENCE. NOW. ATTENTION. AWARENESS.

It seems to be the key to happiness.  The more we master our mind, control the wondering thoughts and really, truly be present and appreciate the unique goodness of the moment, the more likely we are to feel content.

I'm happy to report that I'm getting better at that.  The anxiety is dissipating and the worry and anticipation is lessening.  Meanwhile I'm building my awareness that *right now*, not yesterday and not tomorrow, is pretty fantastic.

Coming in from a wonderful weekend, I feel calm, grateful and happy.


Friday, November 15, 2013


There was an interview in O Magazine this month with the parents of one of the young boys killed at Sandy Hook.   Of course, the article had me in tears and the whole thing was quite moving but one thing that truly haunted me was the mother recalling the morning of the massacre.  She said her 6 year old son, Ben, asked her what Forgiveness means....   At the time she didn't think much about the question; he was always curious and probably had heard the word in Sunday School or elsewhere but as the events of the day unfolded the "coincidence" of the question lived in her.

Powerful.  Chilling.  Provoking.

So on this beautiful fall Friday, I wanted to reflect for a moment on forgiveness.   There are so many wonderful words written on it.  My life has been extraordinarily blessed and I have not been so massively wronged that I am in a struggle to forgive.  Sure, there are people that haven't treated me well.  Sure, there are people I don't care to ever speak to again.  But I don't harbor ill-will towards them and most of the time what went wrong was either a lack of knowing better or their mistreatment led me to discover something truly better for myself.  As they say, people are either a blessing or a lesson.

Because so many have said it better than I, here are a few thoughts to share.  If you're angry with yourself, with your family, with your boss, neighbor or ex, I encourage you to let it go.   Breathe it in and release.  It does not serve you.

"Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different" - Oprah

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die" - AA

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -CS Lewis

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude" - Martin Luther King Jr. 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Your local library

Did you know that your local library probably offers discounted museum tickets?   Ours has passes to the Children's Museum, the Aquarium, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardener, Peabody Essex and the zoos.   What a great resource.   I've been meaning to take Joseph to the drop-in Story & Rhyme Time that they host too.    

And for the house:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


"Worry is interest paid in advance on a debt you may never incur" - unknown.


What you're doing

Oh, little one.  I have been waiting until your first birthday to write a blog post capturing all that you are up to these days but I just cannot hold it in.  You are growing so fast it's hard to comprehend.  Some days I swear I leave for work and come home and you've learned something new.   Over the weekend you played peekaboo with dad and I.  You hold the corners of a blanket and we say "Cade Jo-Jo" (where is Jo-Jo, in Portuguese) and you cover yourself....  then pull down the blanket and laugh.  everytime!  Then we give you high five, and ask you to wave and we do it all over again.   It's so fun to interact with you.   We can also ask you "Cade a bolla" (where is the ball) and you hurry right over to the soccer ball ....one of your favorite toys.  

We can't help but call you our Cuddlebug because you are the master of cuddles.  You snuggle right into whoever is with you and fit yourself in as comfortable as a little babe right out of his mama's belly. You are such a caring soul.   I know that without doubt.

So my little boy, every single day continues to be a blessing.  Every single moment with you warms our heart.   Thank you for coming to us.  We love you so very, very much.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Marianne Williamson for Congress!

Check out Marianne Williamson's FAQ section on why she has chosen to run for U.S. Congress.  You might be as moved by her words as I was....   

For thirty years, I have worked up close and personally with people in crisis. I have found that when things are truly down, you have to do more than just fix something here and fix something there. You have to dig deep into yourself and ask yourself some serious questions — about who you really are and what you’re doing.
As I see it, the United States is a country in crisis. We won’t get out of it just by fixing something here and fixing something there. We as a country now have to dig deep down and ask ourselves some serious questions — who we are as a nation, and what we’re doing.
I’ve longed to see that kind of conversation and that level of consciousness inform the leadership of our country. I have asked myself how I could foster that, and have decided that the best way I can do it is to run for office myself.
No American citizen is inherently “unqualified” for political office, as long as they match the qualifications set forth in our Constitution.  The fact that we have developed a “political class” with its own ideas about what makes someone “qualified” to enter its ranks — usually meaning a background in business or law or finance – is part of America’s problem today. When it comes to the full and vital participation of the average American in our political system, an elite political machine has created a “lockout.” Unless you have or have access to a lot of money, a story that makes you easy to portray as a “heroic American,” or a profile which the elite would define as “serious” (this usually precludes such truly serious work as teachers, scientists, artists, activists and so forth), then for all practical purposes you’re left in the spectator box. This is exactly what needs to change if we’re going to reclaim our democracy.
The Constitution doesn’t signify that Congressmen, Senators or even the President have any specific previous professional experience in order to qualify for office. Significantly, the authors of the Constitution left it to the people of each generation to determine for themselves the skill sets they felt best matched the needs of the country at the time.
The voters get to decide if they think I’d be better; what I can tell you is that I would be different. And I do not think of Congressman Waxman as my opponent. We’re simply candidates for the same position.
When it comes to issues of the environment and holding banking institutions accountable, I would seek to continue Mr. Waxman’s legacy. But I will bring to the position an additional set of priorities, and a new consciousness regarding our political discourse. From child poverty to mass incarceration to the corruption of our food supply to more enlightened peace-building measures – and, most particularly, to our need to counter the assault on our democracy through gerrymandering and the undue influence of money on our politics – I bring a new set of priorities and new energy with which to express them.
Mr. Waxman has been a good Congressman for 38 years, and I believe he deserves appreciation and respect. But a new conversation is required now, and the political status quo – even the best of it – cannot provide that. Waxman knows many things because he’s been in Congress for 38 years, but I know many things because I have not been. Institutional memory is important in any organization, but so are fresh ideas.
It is often said about politicians that they need to go to Washington and “get things done.” Which begs the question, of course, as to whether anything is being done there right now. In fact, what is being done is often questionable in terms of the values many of us hold dear.
The House consists of 435 Congressional Representatives. Neither I nor any other candidate can walk in with a magic wand and say, “Voila! I’m here to get things done!” In the House of Representatives as in the life of an individual, the first question is not really what do we do, but rather who we are and what we stand for. I would go to Washington with a viewpoint and a set of values – the belief that as citizens we are stewards of a sacred trust, challenged by current circumstances to defend democracy itself from the tyrannous tendencies of money and power when wielded against the rights and powers of the people of the United States.
 It has been said that a person can base their life on circumstances, or on a vision. I believe the circumstances of the United States have become so challenging because we have lost our vision – namely, our commitment to democracy itself; our willingness to do whatever it takes to expand our freedoms and protect them from encroachment; and our sense of responsibility as individuals to be engaged and active citizens. It’s hard to complain about rights being taken away if you weren’t really using them to begin with.
 The American government has lost its ethical center and its deep commitment to democracy, drifting ever more consistently in a corporatist direction. And no one specific legislative initiative can fix that. I believe that a wave of independent candidates, all committed to a huge course-correction, is necessary to turn our ship around. I feel my campaign, and most importantly my win, can help inspire such a movement.
 If any district in America can help create a new political conversation, it’s California’s District 33. I will not go to Washington just to represent the interests of the people of this district; I will go there to represent the consciousness of the people of this district. Californians do more than simply get things done; they get new things done.
I have had a thirty-year career as a speaker, counselor and author. I have written ten books, one of them named Healing the Soul of America (1997). I founded the non-profit organization in Los Angeles calledProject Angel Food, which is a meals-on-wheels programs feeding home-bound people with AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses, plus two other organizations (The Los Angeles and Manhattan Centers for Living) that provided non-medical support services to people living with life-challenging illnesses. I co-founded The Peace Alliance, based on the campaign to establish a United States Department of Peace. I am on the Board of Directors of RESULTS, a citizens lobbying group working to create the political will to end hunger and poverty. In fact, it is exactly the skill set I have developed over the last three decades that makes me feel I can contribute something meaningful to the role of Congressperson.
Normally it is said that the devil is in the details, but when it comes to American politics today, I believe the devil is in the big picture.  Constant debate about this or that detail, or this or that particular issue, is often like a red herring that hides the larger, most important issues: is America truly manifesting the principles of liberty and justice and true democracy that are the bedrocks of our system? The work I have done for the last thirty years involves aiding individuals and groups in cleaning up their own house, atoning for their errors, respecting others for their own decisions, finding their own meaning and purpose, and working to stand on their own first principles. I personally think Congress could use some of that.
Absolutely I am. And if elected, I would caucus with the Democrats.
But I’m interested in a new conversation in American politics, one that I don’t think can be contained by any political party. While the two major parties have an important role to play, I think their chokehold on our system is unhealthy. What either of them has to say is less important than what the people have to say, yet their dominance sucks the air out of our political discourse.
America’s best ideas have often emerged from outside the party system. Abolition didn’t come from a major party; it emerged from the Abolitionist Party. Women’s Suffrage didn’t come from a major party; it emerged from the Suffragette Party. Social Security didn’t come from a major party; it emerged from the Socialist Party. I think it would be extremely healthy for both major political parties if more independent voices made their way to Congress.
I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life making my point and expanding the conversation. For that, I don’t need to run for office. I would not be running were I not serious about trying to win. Anything less seems out of integrity with my requesting that someone vote for me.
     I hope this campaign will give people who haven’t participated in a Congressional campaign before – particularly those who have felt sidelined or cynical about the political process – the inspiration to renew their commitment to the exercise of their own citizenship. What needs to be done now can’t be done only from the sidelines; those of us who share the values of this campaign need to stand on them, run on them and win on them. This way we’ll reclaim our democracy and do our part to help save the world.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mindfulness via Yogaglo

  • Posted on April 10th, 2012 Alice G. Walton 5 comments
    The Science of a New Yoga Practice
    Understanding the theory behind breaking the stress response is great, but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t put it into practice. I get (and love) the idea that stepping out of the cycle of our own thoughtsis the key to feeling less stressed, anxious, depressed, and overwrought. I’m particularly fond of the idea that we hold the power to get ourselves out of the cycle at any moment, without having to resort to the same old (often unhealthy or counterproductive) tools. The challenge: it’s much easier said than done.
    So I talked to another expert who knows more about this stuff than I, philosophically and neurologically. Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, who’s done some beautiful work on the brain changes that come along with mindfulness training, suggests that the most effective way to dissociate from our anxious thoughts is to zero in on our moment-to-moment experience. Mindfulness, at its heart, teaches us simply to observe our thoughts and sensations in a nonjudgmental way – but this can be difficult at first, and a little abstract.
    Therefore, breaking it down a little more, Brewer says that the simplest way is “simply to note whatever is most predominant in our experience at any one time.” If your stomach feels knotty, note it. If your brain feels fuzzy, describe it. If your bottom aches from sitting or you smell cinnamon in the air, note these things, too. By doing so, your attention shifts from the self to something else (it doesn’t much matter what), and this helps crack the cycle.
    “When we note from moment to moment, this observation prevents us from getting caught up in the content of our minds,” says Brewer.
    Here’s an analogy, which is theoretical, but there’s some lovely neuroscience to back it up. Brewer says that the best way to conceptualize stress is that it is a lot like debris accumulating around a rock in a stream – it builds up throughout the day, and eventually the flow of the stream is significantly compromised. This is stress. You can remove the debris by doing physical things (breathing, showering, exercising), “but we find that that original rock is still there, so we have to keep going back and unclogging the stream (or our system).”
    But with a tiny shift in attention, by noting our present experience, we’re addressing the “rock” itself. And so it shrinks, and less debris collects: “The more the rock wears away with practice, the smoother the surface.” This is the power of the brain.
    The following image really brings it home:
    Brain Recording - Mindfulness
    Courtesy of Judson Brewer, Yale University School of Medicine
    The left side shows activity of a brain region that gets activated when we get “caught up in a thought.” The recording (in red) came from a man who is left to his own thoughts and worries. The right side, on the other hand, shows the situation after he gets a 30-second instruction on how to note his present experience. “You’ll see a complete reversal of this activation in the second run,” says Brewer. “The brain region went quiet and actually deactivated (blue), simply by noting. One might guess that the more he, or anyone, practices doing this, the more this may become his new default state.”
    And that’s really what the key is: practicing this shift in attention enough that it becomes a routine, and our “go to” method. I’ve found that it can work very well, but it’s definitely a process, and some days it works better than others. With time and practice, though, hopefully it really will become less deliberate, and more default.
    Have you had success noting your moment-to-moment experience to feel less stressed? Please tell us about your experience below.
- See more at: http://www.yogaglo.com/blog/tag/alice-g-walton/page/3/#sthash.9yUmLqj2.dpuf

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ipad Stand - Dollar Store

What a clever idea from this site - (check out her remodeled Bathroom while you're there).   I might have to pick one of these up for J's early morning Cartoon watching...


Monday, November 4, 2013

Brooklyn Smorgasburg

Our first overnight without the little guy in tow did not disappoint.   Seeking a change of scenery, a new neighborhood, and some new sites to devour we found ourselves in Brooklyn, NY.  It was exactly what I was seeking.  A funky eclectic neighborhood,  beautiful fall weather, wonderful easy conversation with my amazing husband and just good old fashioned exploration.  

On Sunday morning we hit up the Brooklyn Smorgasburg - an outdoor food festival with well over 50 curated food stands.   We stuffed ourselves without remorse ---- pork sandwiches, BBQ, dumplings, curry soup, chile hot chocolate, Taiwanese sandwiches, French macaroons.... you name it, we probably had it.  One thing was better than the next.  A few of our favorites from the day were Porchetta, Brooklyn Wok, and Bite Size Kitchen.  But really, everything was interesting and delicious!

As always, travel reinvigorates us.  It is so important to both my husband and I.   Whether we are thousands of miles away or just a car ride from home, it realigns our spirit and reminds us what's important.

In this world of consumption and bigger, better, more, more, more... I think it has never been so important to hone into what *you* really need and what really satisfies *you* otherwise you will drown in a sea of greed and wanting.   There will always be a more luxurious sofa, a newer car, a bigger house, a more lovely sweater or new bag....  It's easy to get caught in a spiral of never-ending desire and wonder when it's going to come to a miraculous halt and you and your pretty things will feel good.  But that's not the ticket.   The magic bullet, as far as I'm concerned, is about being deliberate. Using your finite free time and money on what speaks to your soul and leaves *you* feeling recharged and alive.... there is not a magic equation, it is completely and utterly unique to each of us individuals. Similar to the Smorgasbug --- a taste for every palette.  Find what makes your heart sing ~~~

(French Macaroons apparently voted #1 by the New York Times.  For the record, I'm partial to the ones at Formaggio in Boston.  Again, taste, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.)