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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Master gratitude list for 2016

1. Warm glow on my face after skiing
2. A safe country to call home
3. Making new friends
4. Old friendships
5. Walking to work
6. Cycling to work
7. Snowshoeing to work
8. Skiing to work
9. Any room, deck, porch, campsite, restaurant table with a view
10. Growing something from seed
11. Raising a monarch from an egg
12. Chocolate chip cookies
13. Music
14. Composing music
15. Good books
16. Finding people who love talking about books
17. New landscapes
18. The Internet
19. A steady life partner
20. My cat
21. Family
22. All of my friends
23. Community
24. Vibrant colours 
25. Fridge full of food
26. Cup of tea
27. A day with no obligations
28. Meaningful work
29. Working with young people
30. A team of talented coworkers
31. Health
32. A good night's sleep
33. Swimming in one of the most beautiful pools anywhere
34. Travel
35. Staying home
36. Pot of homemade soup
37. Dean Martin's sultry, boozy crooning
38. K.d. Lang singing anything she likes
39. Any movie with Gene Hackamn
40. Living close to nature
41. Kayaking
42. Hiking
43. Cycling
44. Nordic skiing
45. Snowshoeing
46. Camping
47. My best friend
48. Beluga whales
49. Good wine
50. Homemade waffles
51. Brownies
52. Potluck meals with good friends
53. A piano in the living room
54. Guitars
55. Ukuleles
56. Long neck dulcimers
57. A good amp
58. Someone to play music with me
59. Someone who can harmonize with me
60. Someone who likes eclectic music
61. Financial security
62. Peace of mind
63. Courage
64. Love
65. Joy
66. Enthusiasm
67. Favorite author putting out new book
68. Good mystery/spy novel
69. Enlightening biographies
70. Well-written historical novels
71. CBC radio/podcasts
72. Listening to Tedtalks while ironing or weeding
73. A place for everything and everything I its place
74. My warm fuzzy file
75. My dozens of journals organized chronologically 
76. Kobo reader
77. Ottawa library
78. Feeling totally at home in water
79. Comfy bed
80. Perfect pillow
81. Growing up bilingual
82. Learning. Different languages
83. Bees
84. Honey
85. Maple syrup
86. Chocolate
87. Cheese
88. Homemade pizza
89. Smooth plane ride to anywhere new
90. Newfoundland
91. Living on a linguistic island in the middle of an Anglo sea. 
92. La Presse +
93. Forest bathing
94. Living in the country but having two fabulous cities each an hour away
95. Having your sports store deliver new skis to your door and adjust the bindings on your boots right in your own home
96. Having the same sports store guy pick up, fix and deliver your bike when it need fixing
97. Comfy warm pyjamas
98. Cooking anything from scratch 
99. Reminding myself to slow down when things are getting hectic
100. Knowing when it's good for me to sit still and smile

Saturday, November 7, 2015

La tricherie à l'université

"Le problème, c’est que plusieurs étudiants vont à l’école uniquement pour avoir un papier. Et selon moi, c’est un peu de notre faute. On ne regarde que les notes pour la maîtrise et les bourses [sauf dans certains programmes] au lieu de faire des entrevues et de valoriser ce que l’étudiant a réellement appris. »
Tiré de La Presse + ce matin
Ça ne m'a jamais même croisé l'esprit lorsque j'étais aux études. J'ai payé des secrétaires de l'Université d'Ottawa pour taper mes travaux manuscrits, car c'était avant les ordinateurs personnels et si on faisait plus de 3 fautes de frappe sur une page dactylographiée, il fallait recommencer la page. Pendant une fin de session, je me revois en train de passer mes feuilles manuscrites à ma mère au fur et à mesure que je terminais leur rédaction. Ma mère était montée à mon appartement pour taper mes travaux. Elle avait pris pitié de moi cette fois-là. Les doigts de ma mère s'envolaient sur le clavier de ma machine à écrire comme ceux d'Alain Lefèvre sur un Grand.
Pendant une session de mon bac en littérature, étant débordée dans mes lectures, j'avoue avoir "écouté" The Picture of Dorian Gray par Oscar Wilde sur des cassettes au lieu de le lire pour gagner du temps. Je n'avais pas réalisé que la version lue sur cassette était abrégée et que cela me présenterait des petits pépins lors de ma synthèse alors j'ai quand même dû me procurer le livre et lire certains passages.
Au cégep Bois-de-Boulgogne, mon prof de littérature nous rencontrait individuellement pour nous interviewer à propos de nos lectures à partir de la liste qu'il nous avait imposée en début de session. Tu avais intérêt à avoir lu les livres attentivement. Je me souviens qu'on devait lire "Pour qui sonne le glas" d'Ernest Hemingway. Nous avions une copie de "For whom the Bell tolls" dans l'immense bibliothèque chez mes parents, alors j'avais décidé de lire la version originale en anglais pour mon cours de français. Je me souviens que je me sentais nerveuse pendant l'entrevue du lundi matin craignant que mon prof s'aperçoive que je ne l'avais pas lu la traduction française. J'ai toujours préféré lire des livres dans la langue de départ.
Il y a tellement de façons d'exprimer sa pensée que si les profs d'universités et de cegeps variaient le genre de productions qu'ils acceptent des étudiants, la tentation du plagiat se présenterait moins. Par exemple pour un travail final dans un cours de didactique de littérature de niveau secondaire à la faculté d'éducation de l'Université d'Ottawa, au lieu de remettre un bon vieux travail écrit pour présenter ma recherche, j'avais décidé d'écrire des paroles de chanson sur l'air de King of the Road de Roger Miller. Pour ma présentation orale, j'avais apporté ma guitare en classe. Impossible de faire du plagiat dans ce cas.
C'est certain qu'une telle ouverture demande que les profs soient prêts à faire autrement et à analyser une panoplie de modes d'expression. Par contre, porter un jugement sur de telles productions en les convertissant en un pourcentage devient un exercice plus complexe. Peut-être devrions-nous nous éloigner des notes, mais ça c'est un tout autre débat qui demande un gros travail de débroussaillage.
Selon moi, nous devons inviter les étudiants à s'engager à fond pour le plaisir d'apprendre et de débattre des idées en variant les travaux de productions et leurs moyens d'expression.
C'est à nous de former les prochaines générations à réfléchir sur le monde et sur les rôles qu'ils veulent jouer sur cette grande scène afin de former leurs propres valeurs.
Trente-trois ans plus tard pour en avoir la conscience tranquille, je viens de rajouter The Picture of Dorian Gray à ma liste de lecture. Bonne journée!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Facebook and my dwindling attention span...

I haven't seen the movie but I read Still Alice a few weeks ago. You know the story. Julianne Moore plays a brilliant women who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and we see her losing it.

Is it just me or am I suffering from diminished recall? I'm 53, well-read, curious, a life-long learner who has always had the attention span of a fruit fly, but lately  it feels like something else. I'm having trouble holding a thought long enough for it to make to the shopping list or for me to get to the other end of the house to fetch whatever it was. Then, like someone looking for their lost keys, I try to retrace what I was thinking about in order to find the all important thingamajig.

The only thing besides being a year older is that my use of the Internet has changed in the last few months. Yup! I finally made a Facebook account.

 I've been active on the Internet ever since it was made available in my area over 20 years ago and I was an early adopter of Yahoo Mail, MSN messenger, Blogger, Twitter, FlickR, and YouTube.  My concentration was fine with these platforms. I'm hereby blaming Facebook for my dwindling attention span. Oh hold a sec, I need to see what's happening out there. Oh Look! I got 9 more likes and 3 comments. Ooooo! I'll be right back, gotta check my message thingy. A friend request! Do I know you? 

 Why is there such an urgency about Facebook? I admit it's a great way keeping up or connecting with long lost colleagues, old friends, new friends, other villagers,  ex-students, far flung family members I might have met at a family reunion when I was two, but even for "getting closer" to across the hall colleagues and my next door neighbour.

I joined FB this year because of my travel plans. A private group was created so that the ladies could get to know one another. We all hit it off so well that we've been connecting with likes and comments ever since we got back from Newfoundland. And for that I'm grateful. There are so many wonderful people out there and even across the street. But if I want any hope at all at recognizing you or to able to win trivia party games in 30 years,  I'm going to have to ration my Facebook use.

 A. I could limit the amount of time I'm on Facebook with a timer.
B. I could allow myself FB time on odd number dates on the calendar.
C. I could set a regular time for FB and make a disciplined part of my weekly routine like swimming laps.
D. I could go cold turkey and swear off it for a predetermined amount of time. 
E. I could allow myself in minutes the amount of laps I swim. For example, I currently swim 100 laps per week which would translate into 100 minutes a week. I can see myself heading to the pool just to get more FB time. 

Am I the only one out there struggling with dismissed concentration and Facebook sucking time that I could be doing "better" things like reading, music, art or face to face time with flesh and bones people? Don't get me wrong I love my FB tribe, but I'm looking for ways to get some balance back into my mornings and evenings and reclaim a few much needed brain cells so I can remember why I'm standing in the middle of the laundry room right now,
Let me know.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Carry on for 1 week and including both summer and winter clothes...just in case!!

There are a lot of blogs and videos telling you how to fold and pack like a pro. You can look them up.

One of my many goals in starting to travel again was learning to travel "light" with a lightness of being in my soul. I've been working hard on myself to lighten my burdens and to let go of worries in order to free myself to get out there and explore again. Deciding to go the carry-on route symbolized my metamorphosis.


 Here is my packing list for a 1 week trip to the most beautiful west coast of Newfoundland for hiking, kayaking, general sight-seeing and whale watching excursions.

My check list included a bathing suit, a down-filled jacket, polar fleece mitts and tuque!! Or toque for you R.O.C. (Rest of Canada, outside of Quebec folk!!)

I did a lot of research and settled on using 3 pieces (convertible backpack, daypack and my ever present M.E.C. sling purse) to get me swiftly between flights from Ottawa to Halifax and then onto Deer Lake without having to check bags. 

I decided to really reduce to the basics for this trip as far as shoes and make-up went. I usually wear waterproof mascara because I'm always flinging myself into water while swimming or kayaking or getting teary eyed by reading something or laughing until my sides hurt...the only non-green product that I haven't given up...yet!!! I decided to not wear any make-up for this trip. So there was no need for make-up remover and little pads either.

The most important space saving tip I found would be making do with only 2 pairs of shoes: hiking boots and Crocs. Yes, that's right!The original ugly ones.Admit it, they are darn comfy and you can wear them with socks which you can't do with shower flipflops.



I bought an Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack. The folks at La Cordée in Montreal adjusted the hip belt and straps for me with weights. But since I was just going from planes to vans, I used the pack like a suitcase with straps and belt tucked neatly out of sight.

As my personal item, I settled on L.L.Bean's Stowaway pack which, if needed packs into one of the zipper pockets much like the old K-way jackets used to. It's quite squishable so that if it's not terribly full, I could squish it under the seat in the airplane along with my Mec purse. The L.L. Bean Stowaway pack was surprisingly comfortable as a light day hiking pack (big lunch and lots of snacks, phone, wallet, rain gear, camera, field glasses, a litre of water, etc.)

Now for the list:
I wore  Prana convertible hiking pants, a quick dry v-neck T, Smartwool Hiking sock, Mec hiking boots, 1 of my new favourite Moving Comfort Fiona sports bras, and a very light polar fleece.

In my L.L.Bean Stowaway, I had my rain pants and jacket, my very stuffable goose down jacket, my small ziplock bag with what very basic cosmetics and first aid liquids, extra pair of glasses, throwaway contact lenses, trail mix, granola bars (friends know that I constantly eat), camera, feminine hygiene paraphernalia, 1 litre Nalgene bottle, all of my gadget chargers. I use honey soap made by a local beekeeper or eco friendly soap by a local soapmaker, Lavandine et Cie, as a face and body soap and also instead of shampoo. Madame Lavandine was nice enough to make a special batch of sun protection cream which I put into a small container for the trip.

In the summer, I switch to a smaller wallet with just the essentials (driver's license, health card, credit card, bank card) no store loyalty cards, etc. . That left room for my IPad, phone, printed travel itinerary and boarding pass ( on the way back, I felt suddenly very modern when I downloaded my boarding pass from Deer Lake to Halifax when I discovered wifi in a café, this being my first big trip since 2001). 

The rest of the stuff on my list went into the Osprey Farpoint pack.

Roll what you can roll
Squish what you can squish
Stuff what you can stuff
Fill any spaces with smaller items

I'm too frugal to buy expensive packing cubes soI used laundry net bags and smaller zip or draw string mesh and nylon bags.

Trip checklist:

2nd pair of Prana convertible hiking pants
2 other short sleeve quick dry V-neck T's
2 other pairs of Smart wool hiking socks
long sleeve dressier quick dry travel shirt by Mec
bathing suit
Small drybag for cell phone and wallet for kayaking
Night shirt
yoga leggings
6 pairs of underwear
fleece ski hat
fleece mitts
Crocks which I stuffed with smaller items so as not to lose space
Underwear X 7
Other Moving Comfort sportsbra...that's it!!
Long sleeve IceBreaker smartwool top
Sunhat
Mosquito top with headgear (I keep lugging this thing and hardly using it!!)
Sea to Summit Bath towel which stuffs into teeny tiny pack
Sunglasses
Headlight
small blow up travel pillow (which I never used...I can sleep at home...!!)
first aid kit
ziplock bags in small and medium sizes
ear plugs 
field glasses

My first aid kit by Mec is the one I use while kayaking at home or on field trip with my students:
Advil
Reactine and Benadryl pills
adhesive tape
bandages
Compped and Band-Aid products for blisters
bandaids
New skin
Polysporin
Immodium
honey throat lozenges made by local beekeeper
hand sanitizer
wet wipes
duct tape rolled around a pencil 
quick tip which when wet can be used to remove ticks safely
Deep Woods OFF which I haven't used yet, but in case even I can stand the buggies!!!
Dryer lint and petroleum jelly as a fire starter in 35 mm film canister (did not bring on this trip but usually have for kayak trips)
Diva Cup and or small feminine products stashed safely away in a 35 mm film canister
tweezers
emergency crash scissors
Swiss Army knife (which was taken from me by kind security screening personnel at the Ottawa airport who were just doing their job...after all of my prep work, I'd forgotten about the knife in my first aid kit. I still haven't bought another one.

So that's how I managed to pack for an action filled week in gorgeous Newfoundland with Wild Women Expeditions with only carry on luggage and a feeling of lightness and elation in my whole being!!!

Happy trails!!








 




Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wide awake in Woody Point

View from Grandma's house, Woody Point, Newfoundland

I had awaken to go to the bathroom because I'd decided to have two Iceberg beers that evening instead of just the one. As I lay back down in my room with a view of the South Arm of Bonne Bay, despite having to be up around 6 am to get myself ready for another full day of activities with Wild Women Expeditions, I didn't worry about not getting enough sleep. I lay there content in knowing even though I was wide awake in the middle of the night and might not fall back asleep, my heart was full of JOY because I was wide awake in the middle of the night in Woody Point, Newfoundland!!

Let me explain. My last big trip involving air travel was tragic because my Dad died suddenly at home upon returning from driving us to the Montreal airport. A series of events which followed this huge blow triggered anxiety, post traumatic stress syndrome and full blown O.C.D. (no laughing matter when it keeps you in a state of reptilian hyper alertness, or like Dr Johnny Fever from W.K.R.P. IN Cincinnati once said: "When everyone is out to get you, paranoia is just good thinking.").

It took a few years for these ills to manifest, but they managed to keep their claws dug into me for almost a decade. I finally found the right kind of help in 2013-2014 and was ready to once again spread my wings. I chose Wild Women Expeditions and their Iceberg and arts tour both as a goal, a challenge and a celebration.

Here is what I wrote as a review on their Facebook page:

Highlight this week? Freedom!
Let me explain. With the small community created by Katie Broadhurst and Jenny Martindale and our Wild Women group, I learned to fly again. I'd put myself in a cage, shut the door and lost the key a few years ago. With help last year, I'd found a new key, more like a combination to the lock, I'd managed to open the door,but I'd still been afraid to fly out. Each one of my Wild Women Sisters, each with their own baggage and lovely, quirky, authentic selves helped me to feel safe enough to embrace the present and let go of the past. So what was the highlight for me? Each and every moment being right there in magnificent Newfoundland, in the present, in movement or in stillness, that was my highlight! I don't know if any other travel outfit can achieve this!! This trip was everything I'd dreamed of and so much more. Thank you Wild Women Expeditions!!!
Thank you, my wonderful Wild Women Icebergs and Arts Tour Tribe!


Even Air Canada made my first trip since 2001 a lovely breeze. Here is what I wrote to them:

Air Canada staff on flights July 3rd flights 8638 from Ottawa to Halifax and 8880 onto Deer Lake and then on July 9th from Deer Lake flight  8885 to Halifax and onto Ottawa on flight 8597 were courteous, cheerful and helpful. Thank you Air Canada and staff for making a long awaited trip an incredibly positive experience!!
This trip left me feeling empowered.

I felt so totally and incredibly happy right down to the very core of my being. Totally exhilarating!



This whole experience is such a triumph. I never thought that I'd be able to take off like that again. I used to travel on my own years ago. I started when I was 19 with a trip to California, lived abroad for 3 years in my late twenties and traveled well into my mid to late 30's. 
 Places I've lived or been too.

 

In my 40's, I struggled with the real and imagined dangers of life trying to avoid everything that might upset the comfy confines of my routines. A couple of years ago, I decided that I needed to embrace life outside of the cage. I wanted my 50's to be glorious. 

So there I was wide awake in the middle of the night in Woody Point feeling grateful. Thank you to everyone who has had a part, big or small, in encouraging me in my journey.  This trip was such a celebration of being alive and healthy, mentally and physically.

Gratitude, peace, health, acceptance, joy and enthusiasm!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

la Fête des pères



La Fête des pères 2015

À la mémoire de mon père,
Jean G. Nadon
4 juillet 1923-
21 février 2001


 Jean Gabriel Nadon, John, Mon Oncle Johnny, Dad, Pa.

 Je n'ai pas beaucoup connu mon père pendant mon enfance. Il travaillait de longues heures à partir du mois d'avril jusqu'au mois d'octobre à Lachute. Nous allions passer les étés avec lui. Il m'amenait dans les grandes cuisines du club de golf de Lachute pour que le pâtissier me gâte avec toutes sortes de créations sucrées.

 Quand mon père a reçu l'invitation pour travailler pour le Gouverneur Général c'est ma mère qui l'a encouragé d'accepter ce poste prestigieux. Alors là, il travaillait de longues heures à longueur d'année à Ottawa. Ma mère et moi allions le voir lorsqu'il ne pouvait pas descendre ici. J'étais très jeune et ça m'impressionnait de voir mon père vêtu dans un genre de tuxedo avec une grande queue ressemblant à un chef d'orchestre. Mon père l'appelait son "monkey suit". Il était beau dans son monkey suit.

 Environ toutes les 2 semaines, mon père descendait à Montebello pour une fin de semaine de congé. Nous nous assoyions au souper avec des chandelles et une bouteille de vin. En ce temps-là, mon père coupait mon vin avec de l'eau. Il avait toujours de bonnes histoires à nous raconter. Au lieu de contes de fées, mon père remplissait ma tête avec des anecdotes de la vie de Rideau Hall remplies de personnages comme des rois, des reines, des premiers ministres et des présidents de pays lointains. Il était bon raconteur.

 Il nous rapportait des cadeaux et des souvenirs exotiques. À un party surprise pour ma fête, il nous a servi un délice d'un pays africain: des chenilles fumées. Il a fait semblant d'en déguster pour convaincre mes amis et moi d'en manger.

Mon père a eu la chance de voyager. Il a partagé une de ses aventures avec moi l'été de mes 16 ans. Il m'a emmenée pour mon premier vol à bord d'un Boeing 707, mais pas n'importe quel Boeing. C'était l'avion de la reine d'Angleterre. Quel baptême de l'air! Moi, j'espérais rencontrer le beau Prince Andrew, j'avais même porté une jupe, mais il avait pris un autre vol. Par contre, j'ai fait la connaissance d'un autre prince. La relation avec mon père dont je jouissais les dernières années de sa vie a pris naissance pendant ce voyage. Nous sommes revenus de Vancouver par le train. Quatre jours toute seule à traverser le Canada avec mon père. C'était le début de notre complicité.

 Mon père était un homme sage. Quelques semaines après avoir quitté le village pour poursuivre mes études à Montréal, j'ai téléphoné à mon père pour lui dire que je voulais tout lâcher. Papa pouvait aussi être économe avec ses mots: "Je comprends que tu trouves ça difficile, mais reste à l'école, me dit-il doucement, on en reparlera à Noël". Il savait bien ou bien il espérait que je plonge dans mes études et ma nouvelle vie. Il a eu raison. Rendu à Noël tout allait bien et je voulais continuer mes études. Deux ans plus tard, rendue à l'université d'Ottawa, demeurant à quelques rues de mon père, je lui ai téléphoné pour lui dire que j'étais découragée et que je voulais quitter les études. Encore une fois,  mon père m'a répondu: "Reste à l'école, on en reparlera à Noël".


 Papa savait comment j'allais juste à me regarder ou à entendre ma voix. Il me disait: "Viens faire un tour au bureau."  Il m'assoyait dans sa chaise. Il revenait avec des restants succulents d'un repas gastronomique et il me racontait des histoires. Il a toujours gardé cette douce sensibilité.

 Papa a toujours continué de nous divertir avec ses histoires. Deux  semaines avant son décès à l'heure du souper, il nous racontait les différentes manières qu'il a tenté de s'esquiver de son service militaire pendant la guerre. Ses copains et lui ont même ingurgité des négatifs de photos en croyant que ça révélerait des taches sur leurs poumons. Malgré tous leurs efforts, ils ont servi leur pays.

 La veille de notre voyage en Espagne pendant lequel il est décédé,  je lui ai demandé: "Comment as-tu fait pour ne pas t'inquiéter pendant les 3 ans que j'étais en Europe?"  " Qui te dit que je ne me suis pas inquiété?  Il fallait que je l'accepte", m'a-t-il répondu en regardant par la fenêtre du salon.

 Je suis reconnaissante que la vie m’ait prêté deux parents qui ont donné à Vincent et à moi de l'amour, une joie de vivre, un sens de l'humour et une appréciation pour tout ce qui est beau et bon.

 Ce qui était le plus important pour mon père était de savoir que sa famille était en sécurité et heureuse. Je me sens bénie d'avoir profité des dernières années avec mon père. Que de matins nous avons admiré les oiseaux dans nos mangeoires, les chevreuils dans les champs et la rosée sur nos fleurs. Que de journées nous avons passées à dévorer des livres de recettes.  Il n'est plus là. J’ai appris à accepter le départ prématuré de mes parents. Je sais dans mon coeur qu’ils sont en sécurité et heureux.



Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

My Mom died in 1991 from colon cancer. I was 28 and devastated. My life had been falling apart back then so I ran away for 3 years. Since then, I've never done anything for Mother's Day. But this morning, I've chosen to look at Mother's Day through a different lense and leave regret, hurt, guilt and shame aside.

I'm sorry for all of the stupid things I did, all of the wretchedly poor choices I made and sorry fords playing selfishness like an adolescent well into my 20's. I'm sorry for all of the worry and hurt that I put her through. 

Mother's Day is usually a non-holiday for me.But today, I will honour her and show gratitude. 

I'm grateful that...

Mom always put others first.
Mom showed me self-discipline by example.
Mom laughed to laugh and a wacky sense of humour.
Mom was a talented artist, she drew, painted, designed and made clothes, she played the piano well and had a beautiful singing voice.
Mom was fun to be with.
She was adventurous and loved driving into the city or checking out unmarked country roads.
Mom loved animals.
Mom was "green" decades before it became a political stance or a marketing gimmick.
Mom was curious and had a thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm for sharing her discoveries.
Mom was a natural teacher.
Mom cared for a beautiful vegetable, fruit and flower garden.
Mom was an awesome cook.
Mom was a crusader for beliefs whether they were political, moral or spiritual.

I try to honour her by...
Having come back home and created a relationship with Dad in his final years
Learning to cook and appreciate whole foods
Learning to garden
Adding the back porch that she dreamed of for years
Keeping her piano in tune and learning to play
Composting and caring for the earth in the choices I make
Cooking some of her recipes
Restoring her bicycle and riding it to work
Being curious and well-read and sharing my enthusiasm with my friends and students
Creating music
Creating art through photography
Feeding birds and appreciating their presence in the yard
Practicing gratitude every morning by observing quiet time upon waking like she did.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Practice, passion and persistence

Practice, passion and persistence

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so masterful at all.” – Michelangelo

If Michelangelo said that, what about the rest of us? How hard must we work to achieve anything? 
I know, I know: practice, passion and persistence. 
If only I'd practiced the piano and the guitar more when I was a kid, if only I'd taken art and drawing more seriously in college, if only I'd had the guts to take creative writing instead of appreciation classes, what then? If only I'd been more courageous, mature and wise enough to listen to my authentic self and not so worried about getting a job and living a comfy life. What then? 

 I have no idea.  I do know that now, so many decades later, when I play music or compose, blog, write poems or short stories, take and post photos or share what I am learning about, it is done with passion. 
Luckily, I stumbled into a living which allows me the freedom to use my interests in many different ways and hopefully every once in awhile, a student will recognize a spark which will lead her to her own desires and to her true self.

I'm at a stage that in order to show myself some compassion, I let go of expectations but I do make myself do something, anything, because of passion. 
My new motto is:
Doing something is better than nothing.

Nike says "Just do it!"

I say: Do something!

So, I dabble in a lot of spheres. The way I see it, I'm curious and naïve enough to think that I can and should try my hand at different things. However, I realize that if I wanted to edge my way towards mastery, it would take me many lifetimes. 
I admire people who have achieved great things by being single-minded and focused long enough to actually get somewhere. Anywhere.

Perhaps my somewhere is to light candles In others. If so, dabbling is exactly what I should be doing in order to ignite as many fires as possible.

May we all be listen to our hearts and set the world ablaze with passion and compassion!

Mind map of The Sweet Spot by Christine Carter

The Sweet Spot by Christine Carter, my mind map notes

Sunday, February 15, 2015

In my lover's house



In my lover’s house
By 
Julia Nadon

In my lover’s house
Every wall stands at an angle
Ready to sway to the beat of
His drum
The air smells of Irish Spring
Mixed with basil
And thyme
And again
It welcomes me to another tryst
Preceded by literary talk
Debates over blues’ masters
Or Scottish airs
Bread and olives
And a bottle of Chianti
Consumed on the dock
Under the setting sun
Followed by a slow
Teasing walk
Back up the hill