Enjoy The Silence

photo-22As I write this I am sitting near a roaring campfire. The only sounds I can hear is the crackle of the flames, the constant soothing sound of the nearby river and off in the not so far distance the sound of my husbands laugh as he chats with a fellow camper. Occasionally I’ll catch the sound of my sleeping children turning over in their sleeping bags in the tent.

These of course are not the sounds I’m used to at home. The sounds at home are the sounds of everyday life and are constantly playing out around me.

When we come to the mountains, as we do so many weekends in the summer, it’s like giving in to mother nature. About a 1/2 hour before we get here we give up cell service (even though I’m still able to write blog posts at will on my iPhone). We give up the stresses of money & bills, and the ever growing needs of our family. Not that we don’t have needs here on the mountains, they’re just different needs.
photo-23Like the need to build a sandcastle on the bank of the river. Or the need to read my book. Or the need to have s’mores or go fishing. You know, the kind of needs that are simple and don’t take a whole lot of thought.

I enjoy the silence. I know come Sunday the sounds of reality will come washing over of us again, just as they were a few short hours ago. But tonight those sounds are mute. My world is calm and it is silent. And it is wonderful.

I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted with LifeCast

What we Learned This Year

This weekend I’ve been jammin to the Rent soundtrack. And the title song, Season’s of Love has got me choked up more then once in that time. The main reason of course being that my son just completed Kindergarten, And not to be out done, my daughter completed her first year of tiny tots. It’s been a good year. We’ve all learned a lot. And in the vain of Rent I give you my list of what we’ve learned in these last 525,600 minutes. Well a little of what we learned this year.

1. Cheyanne learned to write her name.

2. Patrick learned to read.

3. I learned that PTA moms Rock.

4. On January 20 both kids learned what inspiration looks like.

5. Patrick learned that Karma means, “Good things happen when you do good stuff and bad stuff happens when you do bad stuff”

6. Cheyanne learned that when cats hiss, a scratch is soon to follow.

7. I learned that I can’t do everything, but I can do all right.

8. Patrick learned to count to 1,000.

9. I learned that my dad is stronger than cancer.

10. Patrick learned to ride his bike without training wheels.

11. I learned that Allen only gets better with age.

12. Cheyanne learned that no matter how much she thinks otehrwise, she’s not always in charge.

13. Patrick learned that he’s a descendant of a President, and that Abraham Lincoln was a “good man who got killed by some pretty bad people.”

14. I learned that T-Ball can do more for the soul than I ever thought possible.

15. I learned that life really is about doing what makes you happy. Anything less is just teaching my kids a bad example.

16. I learned that there is no one cooler to hang out with than my kids.

17. I learned that my family makes award winning scarecrows.

18. I learned that we do know how to grow a great garden around here too.

19. I learned that you don’t need money to have a great Christmas.

20. Cheyanne learned how to swing on her own.

Skinny Jeans Can Suck It

When you see me running around town in flip-flops & my pajama bottoms in the middle of the day you’ll probably think one of three things,

1. “Oh My God look at the lazy slob!”
2. “Wow I sure wish I could ditch these heals & slacks for her outfit.”
3. “Hey look she’s wearing the same PJ bottoms as me, we must both shop at Target!”

What you’ll never think to yourself is, “Good for her for taking care of herself like that! Kudos to safety!”

Well, you may think that AFTER you read what I have to say here. While researching something, I have no idea what now, I came across this article, “Can skinny jeans cause health issues?” Without even have read the article I answered, “Yes of course they do.” Skinny jeans have caused me much grief since the birth of my son. They taunt me. They tease me. And they sit collecting dust in my closet daring me to get back on weight watchers.

But as it turns out mental health problems was not what this article was referring to. It meant physical health issues. I was intrigued. According to the article skinny jeans can cause a very uncomfortable condition known as, meralgia paresthetica.

It begins when tight-fitting jeans compresses a nerve in groin area close to the surface of the skin. Once enough pressure is put on the area the whole nerve reacts, running from your groin, to your outer thigh and down to your knee.

The article then goes on to talk about the joys of bacterial infections that can come from thongs, the countless pains that UGG’s and stilettos can cause your back and of course the dangers of heavy handbags, among a few other injuries caused by fashion.

So to the skinny jeans stashed away in my closet waiting for the day I lose all my baby fat (Does the term hell freezing over mean anything to you?) I have this to say, suck it death pants.

The City

Growing up in the bay area, though each and every city here has it’s own unique personality, it’s association with San Francisco is always claimed with pride. I grew up in the east bay area, and though that’s a good 45 minutes from the city, really we always talked like it was just on the outskirts of SF.

It’s an amazing & beautiful place and it’s been far too long since I’ve been there. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to be sitting on bart to go spend a day in the city.

We all like to have a place we can call ours. Whose culture and history we can claim as our own. I am still proud to call the bay area my home, and all the richness of it a part of me.

Posted with LifeCast

Merry Christmas!

As I sit here there is a mess of toys and stuff spread out all over the floor. A fire still roars in the fireplace while Christmas music continues to softly play. I’m still stuffed from bean dip, cookies and lots of coffee. Tonight we’ll be dining on leftover turkey and probably going to sleep early. It’s Christmas, my favorite day of the year. But this year is a little different. In all of my 31 years celebrating Christmas I cannot recall one that was not sunny and bright. It’s always VERY cold, but here in California it always seems that the sun always shines bright on Christmas. Not this year. It’s been storming on and off since yesterday, which only seems fitting as 2008 comes to an end.

2008 has not exactly been a banner year and we are pretty happy to see it end. It seems funny that this time last year we were celebrating a much bigger Christmas (toy & gift wise). Little did we know that a week later we would be suffering losses in both of our businesses (my husband and I both being self-employed). Or that by the end of January we would be filing for bankruptcy. We certainly did not know that the economy was going to make our lives harder and harder with each passing month. And we certainly didn’t know a few months later my dad would be diagnosed with Cancer.

Like I said, not exactly a banner year.

So as 2008 FINALLY reaches it’s end, the end I’ve been waiting for almost since it began, I breathe a aigh of relief. But I can’t help to think about the good things that came from 2008 as well. And that I have hope that the hard work and energy we put into simply surviving 2008 will pay off in 2009. The good things? Well here is my list of things that I’m taking from 2008 instead of what Im leaving behind with it.

1. My Family- My kids are growing more and more each day, and are becoming the people I’d most like to spend time with. They are not only my kids that I love because they are my kids, but people who are warm, funny, smart and a whole lot of fun to be with. They have both just blossomed even more in Kindergarten & Pre-school, and I am proud of them and fall in love with them more each day.

My husband? Well, a lesser couple would have jumped ship long ago. But not us. Each hardship we have encountered has only made us stronger and more diligent in our resolve to make our lives better for us and our kids. He is my best friend, and never in a million years could I imagine drifting though life with anyone else but him.

2. Writing- When 2008 started sucking FAST last January, the first thing I did was pick up my journal again. Then I started blogging and then checking out some freelance writing websites. By February I had my first paying job as a writer. Real money, real writing. I still have that gig as well as a couple of others, not to mention the handful that have come and gone through the year. The writing has introduced me to the world of social media and Web 2.0, and I have developed a love and passion for it. I am now hoping to pursue a career in it as well as writing. By this time next year I am confident that I will be doing one or both for a living.

3. School- I never thought I would find the time or energy to go back to school. It didn’t seem all that important to me when I graduated high school a million years ago, and that became one of my biggest regrets in life. One that my husband and I both shared and decided to remedy in 2008. In the fall we both returned to school. Though it’s made for a busy semester, as it turns out it was pretty damn smart. Between Early Childhood Classes, Political Science & Marketing I am putting myself in a career I truly feel I was meant to do. My husband is taking music classes, his true passion. It’s given him a sense of pride that I could never have helped him to have. It’s all good.

4. America- The election in November was one of the greatest moments of my life, and as dire as our financial circumstances along with the rest of the country’s is, I’ve never been filled with more hope and excitement about politics and the future as I am when looking ahead to 2009. This, my friends, is going to be an awesome ride.

4. My Dad’s Obsession with Living a Healthy Lifestyle- In the Spring, cancer kind if came out of nowhere and decided to make it’s way into our lives when my dad was diagnosed with throat cancer. We weren’t sure how it was going to play out. All we knew is that we were pretty damn scared. Cancer sucks, and there really isn’t a better way to sum it up. Explaining to my kids that Grandpa was sick was one of the most surreal moments of my entire life. One I don’t think I’ll ever really be able wrap my mind around. Lucky for all of us though, my dad had other plans that cancer just didn’t fit in with. Last night as we enjoyed family Christmas festivities together, you would never know that over the summer he was a man who was unable to speak, had to eat through a feeding tube, and on some days could barely even get out of bed. His recovery so amazing in fact, that his doctor have even asked to write about. Most of it attributed to my dad’s obsession with hiking, skating, eating natural foods and living a healthy lifestyle. Cancer didn’t stand a chance against my dad’s organic healthy mind & body. It will b a long while before any of us are able to stop looking behind us to see if the cancer has caught up with us and returned, but for now he’s alive, he’s healthy, he’s laughing, and swinging his grandkids around like he always has.

You know, now that I think about it maybe 2008 was better than I give it credit for. At any rate, I hope nothing but the best for you and yours in 2009. Everyone I know has had it rough this year one way or another, and I hope together we can heal the wounds of the last year. Both as a country and in our personal lives.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

My Online Playlist

Song 1 Etta James – At Last.

It was pointed out to me that I am slightly weird. Before you say anything, yes I have had that pointed out to me before, but this was in reference to something new. I recently discovered Playlist.com. Now, I have known it to exist for quite sometime now, but it was not until recently that I finally dove in and created my own playlist.

I am now addicted. I don’t know that I have the most eclectic playlist ever created, but since I have received comments that it’s weird, I feel it has served its purpose. And at 54 songs, it’s really only the beginning.

Song 2 Patti Smith – People Have The Power.

As I write this I have my playlist playing (as you can see listed). I love the new technology and how in minutes you can do what years ago it took many of us hours to do. Create the ultimate mix-tape. Really, that’s what these playlist are, right? Only with access to almost every song ever heard, thanks to the web, we can almost perfect the ultimate mix tapes.

I, so far, am quite proud of mine. And it’s not because these are simply songs that I like. To me my playlist (much like my JamsBio) is a representation of my very soul. Each and every song represents some part of me, and is one of the key ingredients to making me, me.

Song 3 David Bowie – Magic Dance.

So what if people find Sam Cooke, Pantera, Dolly Parton and The Smiths clash. For me it’s just the music of my life. The things that touch my soul. My own personal art collection if you will. Except of paintings its words and music that create the picture.

I will continue to add songs to my playlist. And I will continue to rebuff the people that mock my odd selections. Because they are my pieces of art. A collection that I have spent a lifetime building in my own head.

Song 4 Public Enemy – Fight The Power.

Yes, I am a musical schizophrenic. But with all the great music in the world, in every genre, it would seem strange to turn off any of it. Life is full of variety, so why shouldn’t musical tastes be full of the same?

Song 5 Terry Reid – We Are What We Are.