2017: Day 2, Cowtown

Cow

Don’t be so surprised my readers, I promised more this 2017 year. I don’t have any travels on the horizon that I can share about yet – some ideas and some dreams are swirling in my mind. It won’t be a year to sit still for certain.

Today, I worked on my intention of kindness. Not on purpose – a sort of by accident. I was in the supermarket.

I am a smiler – gets me in trouble, crazy people approach me all the time but I cannot help it, I smile. I don’t want to be one of those crank pot old ladies with a grumpy face. Besides,  I was born under the bright August sun – maybe I am moody and mercurial, my resting nature is sunny. It’s how I love, it’s how I deal – not on purpose, I shine a bit of sunshine around. It’s completely annoying to my cynical side and not for nothing, it’s a bit of a chore too. Not in a happy go lucky kind of way, goodness no. But sunny all the same.

You might as well all really get to know me this year – no more cryptic references and 30 year old stories – and for my friends and family who already do, stay the course. I care for my octogenarian year old sassafras of a mother. I didn’t plan this but this is anchor that keeps me in this cow town most of the year and why my wings cannot spread and fly me so so far away from here permanently – just now and again, more again please always. And so on Sundays, I need to go buy the food as the unintentional caregiver I have become. Don’t worry, I always buy her gin. It makes her happier. She’s old, don’t judge.

Back to the supermarket, smiling me first got a sweet old man to hand me coupons I didn’t need – he insisted. I turned them down three times but I took them and walked on.  The market was humming with people and long endless check out lines. I chose one and the woman in front of me, dark circles under her eyes, frazzled was unloading her towering cart. No bagger, slow check out clerk – so she was bagging herself and left her still half full cart in front of me. So, I unloaded it for her, one of those selfless, selfish things we can opt to do. The person behind me thanked me, clearly we all were tired of the market. I offered her the coupons just because but she said no and then gave me another coupon instead that I could use. After she was done, I gave the old man coupons to the frazzled woman ahead of me because someone needed to take them. Weird paying it forward backwards moment. Why am I even telling you all this story which is nice but maybe a bit too much information and smidgen boring?

I am telling you all because it’s been a hard weekend and a hard 2016, it started hard, ended hard and sometimes, we all forget that the tiniest act of kindness can be like a butterfly wing’s beat, that flows out into the world like wind of goodness – kindness is sunshine on a winter’s day.  Even my cynical heart believes in this concept (in a sort of fairytale I refuse to not believe it kind of way – I am complicated). And if it’s not under a foreign sky, I’ll accept the commonplace supermarket kindness kind of sunshine on a holiday Monday, 2017, on day two.  You know why? Summer is invincible and it will always warm your soul.

And that dear readers, is #2 of of 2. Not so bad for a reformed blogslacker.

bd4720e84

2017: new year, new deal

Cow, Lion

Happiest of New Year’s wishes to all.

2016: I promised stories. I promised pictures. I promised much. Unfortunately, I am not the best at sitting down and writing. I had a great year of travels to Martinique, Canada and my amazing and special time in East Africa this fall – as deeply in love with that land as ever.

2017: As always on Jan 1, I am feeling the pressure for something to appear here. Something meaningful, insightful to inspire and engage my ten regular readers (up from my four!!). Maybe a travel life blog wasn’t my best idea after all. Stay with me though. Perhaps this will be the year.

Here’s the deal. I am not a supporter of new year’s resolutions – I prefer intentions. So many intentions this year but really just one. My intention is to be kinder – to myself, to my body, to my people, my co-workers, to strangers.

Our world is on fire and certainly in the USA, it’s been a rocky fall. For me, despite some knocks, I am solid, I just need to do some rebuilding and some renovations on this house of mine.

So…. I started this year at yoga. They say you should do on day one of the year what you want to do all year. I want to be the person I am five minutes after class. I want to feel strong and relaxed. If I can hold on to this, I can handle the storm that swirls around my house, calmly and I hope kindly. There’s a bit more at stake this year for reasons I will share as I go along (I am 100% fine, just reasons, people).

A large part of 2017 is going to be showing up. I am showing up this year. I’m going to give it my best shot. fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

2016 – 2001: Remembering

Cow, Lion

I was rushing to work that horrible day, September 11, 2001, trapped in the normal Boston traffic listening to NPR. I knew I was late because it switched over to the BBC broadcast at nine am. I heard the news of the first tower falling in an English accent. It took me a moment to realize this wasn’t happening in a far away land but here in the USA, blocks from where my sister worked, in a city filled with my people, my buildings and streets I knew well. Not to mention, working for a tour operator, airplane travel was my day job.

And so began the first endless day. That would be followed by weeks of the same. 

People know where they were when JFK was shot. I know where I was when Kurt Cobain’s death was announced, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up and then the planes hit those towers.  The historical moments that transform generations, that rewrite history.

This morning it started out windy and raining, so unlike that morning fifteen years ago. That day dawned as one of the most perfect late summer, almost fall days. The kind of day that makes people fall in love with the Northeast USA. 

This afternoon, the sun broke out and I took this glorious picture of my cow town and one of my favorite views. I went to a loving kindness meditation session (we can talk about that another time). Fifteen years of wisdom tells that the lesson to take forward and think about today is that people are truly good. In adversity and sorrow, they show you how triumphant and solid their spirits are indeed. Trouble will find us all, in so many forms, but no matter what, the skies do always clear. It’s going to rain again, but today, blue sky. Nothing but blue healing sky.

The world churns madly on.

14292376_10154148063866387_417114616083578698_n

2016: Cape Cod Birthday Sail and Sunset

Cow

14088672_10154084263861387_5718654010065167714_nYesterday, I went sailing. The wind was just puffy enough on our little bay. The sun was shining. It was perfection. The sun said goodnight in a blaze of orange goodness.

Except every year I forget that the sailing part can only follow the contortionist upside down yoga rigging the boat time, various bumps and bruises time and a required period of coordination that I never even have on land.

This past year has been a bit like that. Gorgeous peaceful bliss can only be earned by time proverbially banging my head and balancing upside down.

Today is my birthday. It’s been a triumphant twelve months round the sun but it’s also been horrible – not planning to candy coat it. Being in your forties is humbling. I have gotten so much better at so many practical things (please read that as it was implied, I am definitely more mindful and not an owner of a whole plantation of bananas, maybe I own just a small plot these days) but life never does let up.

Here is the great news – there are beautiful sunsets to start the next year right, I actually can balance upside down on a bobbing boat (in life and on the water) and I made it – heart healed, tougher, smarter and well, you get it.  

 

2016, A Cowtown Chapter

Cow

2016-05-23 18.08.36

Home. I haven’t been on any airplanes. I haven’t seen any exotic sights. I haven’t had jet lag. I have been with my people. I have been learning life lessons, the hard ones, the funny ones too. I am stronger, I am centered. Happier is a work in progress but it’s coming. And with that surely will come the airplanes and the lions, the jet lag and the weird curries. I just needed to catch my breath. Mend my heart (wasn’t so broken, just disappointed and dented) and needed to take a deep breath. Riding the wave of real life is the best kind of swimming there really is – you can’t dodge your fate, you can’t fool time, you can’t thrash around too much as you surely will drown that way. You have to be honest and when it stops being so terribly difficult, it’s like being at the top of the wave, you can always see the shore but you can also see the horizon and all the mystery that beckons there too. Balance. It’s a hard one but I’m going to give this a go before it’s too late to try at all. Love to my four readers and hello to the mysterious ones that pass by this space in the night.

2015: Cows, California, Cafes and Chalupas

Cow, Lion

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Even if I didn’t write about them, I did have some lovely adventures and I love a sunset all over the world. Here’s 2015’s collection.

California for some calm and a birthday, Mexico for some chalupas and time with my cub, Michigan for a coney hot dog and some love, Cape Cod as a constant, rounding out the year with cafes in France, Costa Rican coffee and life in my cow town too.

Happy happy new year to all my loves.

2015: Christmas in Cowtown

Cow

IMG_3618

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

2015: Cowtown diary

Cow

I went to visit some cows this week. When missing lions, sometimes a gal just needs to be with some cows. You can all connect the dots to a deeper meaning but trying to get back to basics after this long winter and challenging spring. Get outdoors.

2015: Mother’s Day, the woman who took me out my first door

Cow, Lion

Many moons ago, my mother told my father that if he was going to Europe to work for three months, well, then, despite being over forty and a new mother to two small girls, she was going as well. And so, the die for my life was cast. At 18 months old, I boarded a plane bound for Florence, Italy with my mother, her heart for adventure beating so strongly.  Know she’s never ever going to be the one left behind.

An endlessly curious observer of the world, her bravery has opened so many doors for my sister and for me. She left home for college when her father wanted her to just get married to nice boy, she got a job when she was not supposed to, she dated a wild artist (everyone knows this, it’s part of her tale), and when it looked she was never going to get married, she found her soul mate in a man who lived his own adventures, with a brain that would never tire her and who made her laugh.

Love is funny, so many kinds. My parents had an unlikely love story. They loved others who brought them both to their knees and then they found in each other the kind of love that is the foundation of everything, solid, unquestioned and constant. It’s taken me years of my own loves to understand what I lived with as a child. It’s taken me even more years to understand how there’s a part of me that was forged with an iron clad certainty, so completely loved and honored, that I never accounted for it. My parents loved us so clearly, without conditions, I never even noticed what an amazing start I had been given to this crazy life of mine.

There’s lots to say about what makes a mother great. They bring us into this world (with some help, not down on dads – my father was an incredible man) and they pick us up when we fall, they celebrate our wins, hold us tight, fill us with wisdom and then let us fly free from the nest. From what I can tell, there’s no right way to do it, lots of ways to do it wrong, but most of the time, the amazing mamas of this life, well, you ladies, you get it done and we take that magic and we make our own.

I don’t have children. I chose that path for a million reasons and none. Living a life of no regrets isn’t easy and the lack of a child might have been the one that I would have struggled with the most. The good bad news is that if I had spent my last decades consumed with what wasn’t happening, rather than being present for what was, well, there’d be lots of tears today. I hope I have triumphed over my own struggles to reclaim my past, my present and yes, my future. I live today in the present, celebrating the many small people that are part of my life and getting from them the promise of tomorrow. It’s not your garden variety motherhood but it’s pretty awesome and hopeful and so I’ll take it. My own sister’s journey to being a mother is pretty remarkable and her cub, well, he’s pretty much the best thing that ever happened to us. I can share a bit of that blanket of goodness and well, it’s enough for now. Never say never though. I am at least wise enough to understand my path is always surprising me.

On this Mother’s day in the USA, I honor the woman who is a sailing, kayaking, martini (gin never vodka) drinking, wisdom giving woman, who took me out my first door and so many more, who has given me the keys to unlock the world.

Love to my mama, on this hallmark card of a holiday, because even when I am rotten (and I still can be, so rotten), every day is actually mother’s day over here.

My mama

2015: Spring, in Cowtown

Cow

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust. – J.M. Barrie