Friday, May 30, 2014

18 months

My boy, I feel we're on the brink of a mind explosion with you.   You're starting to "get it".   When I ask where the airplane is, you proudly say "Up!" and move your hands toward the sky.   When we sing Ring around the Rosie you happily crouch down into your famous rice-farmer squat at the end of the song.  When we ask you if you want to go Night-Night you adamantly shake your head no.  And, maybe best of all, when we ask for a beijo (Portuguese for kiss) you don't hesitate to smack your lips right on our cheek.   Every day your mind expands, we're having so much fun just watching you grow.

(the Florence and the Machine album which is the perfect soundtrack to a Friday morning, an unsolicited compliment, travel spill-proof coffee mugs)

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Yesterday we lost the legend Maya Angelou.   She had many a great thing to say and a mighty interesting personal story.   They say her very last tweet was, "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."   Beautiful.


A super interesting book on cd.  The library.  The spring sunshine. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Unlike happiness, which may be fleeting and shortlived, sustained joy is what I aspire toward. Last night I heard Shawn Achor say, "Happiness is the joy found when striving towards your potential".   I agree.  But I don't think that is the sole definition.  I've had plenty a happy moment resting in the shade....   laughing with friends....   enjoying a delicious meal.  Undoubtedly there is happiness to be found through achievement but there is also plenty of joy to be found in relaxation and connection.

He also said that science has proven that a daily gratitude list of three things we're grateful for (unique each day) for 21 days is clinically proven to increase happiness.   So for the next 21 days on this site I will record 3 things and see if the practice has an effect on me.

1. A safe, albeit slow, commute this morning.  2. Hot coffee and cereal available to me at the office.  3. Knowing that my baby is loved and well cared for despite my long work weeks.  


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer is here

So much to be grateful for this Tuesday post Memorial Day.  We had a terrific weekend.   We took part in a beautiful wedding.   The Brazilian groom, groomsmen and friends really were the best.  They danced like professionals and just kept the entire night going with so many laughs.  There's something so special about that culture.  The way the men are so comfortable in their skin and never hesitate to bust a move or crack each other up.   Throughout the night, I kept thinking to myself how happy I was to be part of it ---- and how grateful I am that my son will grow up around these amazing people.

After the wedding, R and I headed to Vermont for an overnight without the baby or dog.   Ahhh.  What a refresher.   I make it a point to visit some places I haven't seen before because I've found how soaking up new imagery and the digestion of local culture and parts unknown is good for my mind.   Vermont was stunning.  The ride was a scenic masterpiece and Burlington was a picture perfect small town, abundant with good restaurants, locally grown and made products (the cheese, beer, chocolates, ice cream .....!) and chill people.   Lovely.    Today we get back to normal and I'm grateful for it all.  


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Free Fridays

Museums are like concerts...  I don't get to as many as I should but every time I do go, I'm glad I did and vow to come back more often.   Maybe this list of Free Admission Fridays will help inspire me this summer.   Article via Boston Magazine:

 FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014
Franklin Park Zoo
Cape Cod Maritime Museum
Worcester Art Museum
The Sports Museum
Mass MoCA
MIT Museum
FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014
Heritage Museums & Gardens
Edward Gorey House
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
Amelia Park Children’s Museum
Falmouth Museums on the Green
FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Peabody Essex Museum
Worcester Historical Museum
Fruitlands Museum
Cape Cod Children’s Museum
New England Historical Genealogical Society
Pilgrim Hall Museum
FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Ocean Explorium
The Eric Carle Museum
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
Springfield Museums
Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center
Sandwich Glass Museum
FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014
The Freedom Trail Foundation
Battleship Cove
Children’s Museum in Easton
Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Cape Cod Museum of Art
Danforth Art
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
American Textile History Museum
The Discovery Museums
Hancock Shaker Village
Concord Museum
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Boston Harbor Islands National Park
Clark Art Institute
Wenham Museum
USS Constitution Museum
Children’s Museum at Holyoke
Volleyball Hall of Fame
Fuller Craft Museum
The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Plimoth Plantation
Garden in the Woods
Museum of Russian Icons
Fitchburg Art Museum
Historic Deerfield
Reagle Music Theatre
Boston Children’s Museum
Museum of African American History
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Old Manse, Trustees of Reservations
Berkshire Museum
Emily Dickinson Museum
Buttonwood Park Zoo
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Norman Rockwell Museum
The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home
Griffin Photography Museum

Monday, May 19, 2014


Have I posted this quote before, perhaps?   Either way - I'm putting it down here again because I just can't hear it often enough.

Meditation practice is like piano scales, basketball drills, ballroom dance class. Practice requires discipline; it can be tedious; it is necessary. After you have practiced enough, you become more skilled at the art form itself. You do not practice to become a great scale player or drill champion. You practice to become a musician or athlete. Likewise, one does not practice meditation to become a great meditator. We meditate to wake up and live, to become skilled at the art of living.”

I am committing to a daily meditation practice.  I've managed to find 15 minutes per day over the past 10 days and I can say that it's starting to feel less tedious and more a modest highlight of my day.  I hope that with continued effort, I can really stick to it.

I've been doing the guided meditations on yogaglo to get me started.   In yesterday's, Elena Brower said something so simple yet so profound.  I had to go back to it today just to jot down the line so I could save it here.   Genius.

"If there's anyone to whom you have given responsibility for your experience, please take it back.  Take a moment to welcome to reality of your experience back in without thinking, without analyzing, see the reality of it.   Welcome it as the perfect plan for you to learn and grow..."

Friday, May 16, 2014


Arianna Huffington says that, "life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen."   I believe that. Perfecting the dance is difficult.  If it were 100% making it happen, life would be challenging but my achievement-driven self functions better with both near term and larger goals on the horizon.  I think that's partly why I enjoyed my teens and college years so much.  I had a goal - do well in school - and if I followed that goal, I would just keep on a path which would serve me well.

The letting it happen is somewhat harder.  That, to me, is the patience.  It's the relaxing into the days, months, years (!) where the forward progress seems questionable, or if nothing else - too slow.  During those periods it's been work for me to surrender and just let it be.  To enjoy the passing moment.  To settle into the good meal, the engaging conversation the beautiful simplicity found in the ordinary.

But it is a dance.  It is a delicate balance.  Perpetual movement.  Surrender and strength.  And just when you think you've mastered one step, the music changes...


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dinner anyone....

I've been trying to resist posting too many pics of our new space until everything is in, but the table is nearing completion and I'm ready for some entertaining!

Love this wine tasting idea via apartment therapy!  

Seems doable, low maintenance and FUN.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

It was a wonderful weekend --- jam packed, as is usually the case these days.  We had music class and picked up some new dining chairs.  Then J and I spent a beautiful afternoon at a local park while Dad was away for a friend's bachelor party.  The evening was topped off when a friend came over for a Girls binge and sleepover.

The next morning I got to spend some time outside with the doggy and coffee.   Then a visit to my parents for breakfast and more errands.  J and I took a leisurely afternoon nap with the windows open and the spring breeze blowing in --- ahhh.    R came home just in time for "ice cream for dinner" - Mother's Day Request - and our lil' family of 4 (including the dog) had a picture perfect end of afternoon with our ice cream cones, green grass and gorgeous weather.   All in all - just a lovely way to spend a spring weekend.   My heart brims with gratitude for it all.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Recap: The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

Literary critic, I am not, but I will do my best synopsis after completing Sylvia Plath's classic, The Bell Jar, this morning.

I found it enjoyable, relatable and her mastery of descriptive, yet quickly paced writing impressive.  I hesitated that reading a book about a suicidal, institutionalized girl might be too depressing, but Plath managed to keep Esther's character interesting and the storyline moved along.   As the reader, I could feel Esther's character plummet. Plath's genius made it easy to see into the mind of a girl on the descent. Yet, I wouldn't describe the novel as sad - instead, it was insightful and descriptive - objectively capturing a snapshot of what the mind of a neurotic, troubled, yet brilliant, post adolescent girl might look like.

A Bell Jar is a scientific instrument used to create a vacuum in a laboratory.   Esther brilliantly describes herself as "in the bell jar" - a vacuum of her own mind.  It is inescapable.  Her thoughts circulate incessantly - feelings of inadequacy, pessimism, self doubt - suffocate her.   But Plath goes on to question whether we are all in Bell Jars, are we all in vacuums of our own existence?   Not just the depressed, but the privileged, the poor, can any of us see beyond the fabric of experience that has been woven to make us who we are.

It was an enjoyable and important read.  I certainly see why it's been deemed a literary classic.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Check In

Just an early May check-in.  I feel good.  There seemed to be a heaviness over me in March and April - not one that was unbearable but now that the fog seems to have cleared I realized where I had been. With the brighter days, flowers blooming, possibility of spending a lunch hour or time after work outside, all of late winter's bleakness seems happily to be lifting.

The house is slowly but surely coming together.  As the pieces start to fill in, I realize what chaos we had been living in.  I will start to do some posts about what we have going on in home furnishings arena soon.

I'm hopping back on the health and wellness train.  Saving alcohol consumption for weekends, cutting back a little on sugar and trying to get back to an exercise schedule.

All is well.   I am grateful.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

In honor of Cinco de Mayo and the pool opening this week, I think I'll bite the bullet and order this comfy looking hammock.  I've had my eyes on it for awhile.

I told R that my Mother's Day gift could be for him to get it installed. my fantasy life, I have time to just lay there and relax.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Millionaire Next Door - Recap

I recently finished the time-honored best seller, The Millionaire Next Door.   It was an interesting read, that I'd happily recommend to people interested in personal finance or social science.  It was a good combination of both with lots of data to backup the research.  

The book had more to say than its obvious tagline: millionaires aren't necessarily the high spending people you see driving leased BMW's.   Millionaires are often frugal, self employed, driving a modest car about 4 years old, and choose financial freedom over aggressive consumption.

The authors also spent a lot of time discussing "Economic Outpatient Care" in which a millionaire parent provides financial assistance to his/her adult children.   The results of such care generally are not good.  The gifts, more likely than not, encourage consumption, not investment, and recipients of these gifts tend to think of this gift income as "theirs" thus increasing their disposable income budget disproportionate to their actual earnings.   The best thing for millionaires with fortunates to pass on - teach your children to be Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth, ie. savers, encourage an emphasis on achievement over material accumulation and save the gifting for investments/education and try to withhold much of it until they've demonstrated a level of personal maturity and self realization.   To do this, is to have the best chance at raising independent, happy adults.  

For those of us less concerned with how to distribute our millions to future heirs, there were other interesting topics.  Courage is not absence of fear, but it is the ability to face fear.  It can be applied to business risk or life, in general.   Be mindful of the consumption treadmill.  It is a trap.  Consider, instead, the price of your financial freedom and live within, or below, your means.   Most millionaires are first generation rich.  Meaning, they did it themselves.   Rid yourself of the tired excuse that "everyone" else has an advantage.   We all have the advantage when we were born in a country that supports economic freedom and personal choice.   Millionaires are budgeters and planners.  That made me happy :)

In short, the book was reassuring and fun to read.   It reminded me to be careful of excess consumption. Status purchases, in general, do not equate to more happiness - the data proves this to be true.  Don't be so quick to judge.  Remember, income does not equal wealth.  Lastly, It reinforced the importance of financial budgeting and planning.   Budgeting, for me, has allowed me to stick to a plan and to weather uncertain times because I knew I was making personal progress towards personal goals.  It gives me ownership of my life.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Blog Reading

I've stopped visiting a lot of the blogs I used to enjoy.  Similar to a magazine subscription, I just tire of the content that inevitably seems repetitive.   I know after a few years here on this space, I repeat myself (a lot)!   But as I've discussed, this is more of an online journal for me so it's been good practice to just write out what's on my mind and not be consumed with editing, duplicating, etc.  Maybe I need to circle around an issue 1,2,5,10, 20 times to fully capture the lesson, each time discovering something new.

I don't judge bloggers for writing too often, being too commercial, writing too many sponsored posts etc.  It's their space and can be used to fit whatever use they intend.  But I have found my readership has changed.  I enjoy most the bloggers who are so generous to share their thoughts on parenting, life, career etc. than just J.Crew spring styles or something else we all "need".

One of my absolute favorite blogs is SouleMama (I'e written about her before).   She is a homeschooling, farm raising, mother of 5 in rural Maine.  Although our lifestyles are tremendously different, her posts always energize and inspire me.  She has the most eloquent way with her words and often can inspire me not to consume, but just the opposite - relax and ENJOY.

Her post today was especially inspiring.
Yes, perhaps it would be easier/faster/tidier if I just did it myself. But "easier" and "faster," I remind myself and that distracting voice, are not exactly the goals I've set out to master in this little life of ours. And so I lean on "of course you can help me!" and "why don't you try it yourself!" Because I know with certainty that they will not always be at my side, in this pasture, in this home. That soon they will be surpassing me in height and strength and the speed at which the work is done. That when we work in this way, they grow capable and confident before my eyes. For this moment in time, things might get done just a bit slower. There may be a broken egg or two. The seeds might get a little too much watering. But I don't want them to be rushed through this fleeting age of eagerness curiosity and wonder, nor do I want to miss experiencing it alongside them. 
Do you know how warm an egg is just after the moment it comes out of the chicken? If you watch and wait for it and grab it the very moment it emerges? It is so very warm - so warm that it is best felt by rubbing it on your cheeks, and turning your face to the sun. I had never done that last part before until yesterday when Annabel showed me. Oh thank you, my little ones. I have so much to learn.
(image via her site)