A quarter of a century

November 6, 2011 by

Daughter Lily turns 25 tomorrow!

It is hard to believe that I have children who are twenty-somethings.  They are adults who run their own lives.  But, they still seem to need us, their parents, once in awhile.  For this I am grateful.   I have been a mom for what seems most of my life, and I’m not ready to give that up just yet.  Lily is sorting out her life.  Should she be a musician?  Should she be an office worker?  Does she need routine and assurances of financial stability?  Could she manage like a gypsy?  Could she find a middle ground?  Burdened by her own perceived polarities and saddled with the world’s uncertainties, Lily is filled with anxiety.  How can I provide to her assurances that will ease her decision making?   How can I help her to see that any road she travels can take her on an incredibly fulfilling journey.  My experiences have taught me that things will work out to our advantage if we take the time to see those advantages and work with them.  Somehow I knew that from an early age.  But I did not seem to pass that on to my children who worry so much about the future.   I too am torn with how to help Lily.  What advice could I give that would be appropriate?  Is any of my advice even sound?  And though I wrestle with these questions every day, and though I may be wrong with how I look at life, I too must take a breathe.  With whom did Lily choose to spend her 25th birthday?

It's Morning

Simply Scrumptious

October 29, 2011 by

This could be the next Simply Scrumptious!

 This store in Old Town Fort Collins (next door to Perennial Gardener!) is for sale! If it is still for sale when my house sells – I will buy it and turn it into Simply Scrumptious! Who wants to help me make this happen!

Saturdays

October 29, 2011 by

Last Saturday I had the privilege of attending both the Joffrey Ballet and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert.  I had plowed through a tough week and my intuitive husband kidnapped me for the day and took me with him to his work places of the day.  I met one of his long-time coworkers – a harpest – in the carpool, who I don’t think I’ve ever met.   We picked up my niece from UIC and she sat with me in awe of the Auditorium Theatre.  John, Sam, and I met up with Simon at restaurant, eating sushi and talking about college.  Simon went off to work, Sam went back to study, and John and I went to best buy looking at video cameras.  I learned how to take a video on my little pocket camera to I could capture the Occupy Wallstreet/Chicago protestors that we ran into looking for parking.  And the piece d’resistance – John playing the Mahler 4 symphony with the CSO.  Not at thing could have been better to remind me that life is rich, and that I can remember to take cues from the world around me, instead of having to figure everything out by myself!

John after the concert

Standard Dad

July 21, 2011 by

I am visiting Dad at his home in Sedona this week.  We’ve been doing chores and eating well and de-stressing.  I am also trying to write a paper but having a great deal of difficulty creating something coherent.  Part of this is because I am not sure that writing an article with my own opinions about education isn’t self-aggrandizing.  At the same time I am reading a trio of books about women educators, singly and groups of them, from the early 20th century who have made it their life’s work to better education of the masses.  It is amazing that I have never heard much about these women and their accomplishments.   I knew the name of the most famous of the bunch, Margaret Haley, but really did not know how significant a role she played in making teaching into the profession it is today.  None of the women of whom I am reading was perfect, especially Haley.  But each of them dedicated their lives to public education and truly believed that an educated population could make better decisions for a democratic nation.  I can learn much from them.  Most importantly, reading about these lives reaffirms me in the knowledge that I do have to work towards helping  our schools teach our students to be engaged citizens.  At the moment, I can’t think of anything more important.    And back to our “standard Dad”, he helped us to have the skills to be exactly that, engaged citizens.  Imagine that…..

Standard Dad

Standard Dad

Living, Loving, and Aging!

June 25, 2011 by

This week we celebrated Simon’s 21st birthday.  Such a milestone for him, and for us!  My youngest child is 21!  I vacillate from feeling old and feeling no age at all.  My own mortality is on my mind.  And yet, I know that there is so much more that I hope to accomplish in my life.  I have to remind myself that every day is an opportunity to enjoy the many gifts that I have been given.  I am celebrating my youngest child this week.   He is a gift, as are each of my children.  His talents are many, and I so hope he knows that.  I enjoy his company and miss it now that he is a grown man and no longer at home.  And too, I can’t help self by worrying on his behalf.  He has a deep empathy for people and I think that sometimes he gets caught up in thinking of and helping others.   Life is very tough on young men and women today.   Hopefully, Simon, and his siblings, know that they are and will always be deeply loved and cherished!  If I have learned nothing else in my life, I know that you are loved and cherished you can do anything and get through anything that life dishes out!

Happy Saturday to my sisters!

Simon's 21st Birthday!

Paradise is in your own backyard…

June 18, 2011 by

Dear Sisters,

Time to re-establish our blogging!  We are all writers and all have eloquent ways of expressing ourselves.  What would you say to the challenge that each of us writes at least one line per week on this blog.  Thinking about today’s conversation, and our own guiding principles, we could write something regarding how we connected to one of them during the week.  Or, we could just highlight something that went really well or a challenge we met head on during the week.

Something that is really helping me all year, is something that John has been reminding me.  If we pursue happiness, we will achieve it.  For example,  I am so happy in my own backyard because John and I have consciously envisioned it as a vacation destination.  We can’t travel right now to other places that we do hope to visit.  But, it’s ok, because we have our backyard.  It is truly paradise for us.  Sitting back there, I can think of nothing more that I need or want.  The birds are singing to me, the flowers fill my eyes with beauty and the peace that envelopes me calms my cluttered mind.

Come join me!

John Floeter and Paradise

I love you all, jude

p.s.  Check out this bluegrass prodigy – Sarah Jarosz.  She’s my latest driving companion!

A Sweet Surrender

January 26, 2011 by

Winter. It’s here..in New Jersey..  and it’s only January 14th. I run and I prefer to run outside.. year round..in fact I LOVE to be outside.. Three things “I know for sure” (thanks to you Dad and – Oprah as I take that phrase from you) is that I LOVE  LOVE LOVE to be outside and I LOVE to trail run and I LOVE the river.  No surprise there being schooled in basic child psychology.  My earliest recollection of my life was staring at the wall mural in our basement in Martinsville, NJ. 1963. Those days murals were popular I guess..  Dad mounted a big scene of the woods and a stream as I think I remember it. It was .as if he was imprinting  the great outdoors  in my mind at an early age.. Well, it worked.. My next memories are of us kids treking through the snow covered trails along the Mississippi River near our home in Clinton, Iowa like ducks following their fearless leader in search of something….. else out there.. out where,  I don’t think mattered  or what we would find.   I was smitten with the big bright blue sky, the crisp air, the smell of hot dogs roasting in the fire pit we would uncover and the taste of frozen  Hostess HoHo’s melting in my mouth..  and the warmth of hot chocolate reaching all the way to my toes..mmmmm.. I was so warm… I was home.. I was always home walking in the pack.. with my family. It did’nt matter what campground we discovered or what mountain range we hiked.. I was home there with the pack. 

Except now, I am 51.. I am cold,   I am 30 days already into this cold daily training outside for my latest summit, The Boston  Marathon 2011..  It will be my first Boston. Out here in the east it is the holy grail..for runners.. I was not a runner most of my life.. and I was not raised out here.. SO for me, my holy grail is   Longs Peak.. Colorado.   Boston, not on the bucket list growing up.. But it is now.  I live here.. I have raised my kids here.. I run here and I qualified.. Twice… so I must do it….yes.. I must..  But I am cold..  really cold running here now.  So I’ve been entertaining (we’ll honestly more than entertaining) the idea of joining a local gym to get me through this winter.   But I am struggling.. really struggling with this one… I can’t make a decision… Being cold, which I hate is the bain of my winter running. I have tried to like, I’ve pretended I like,  I trudged through this training, I’ve layered myself like the pillsbury dough girl, even broke down and bought new heavy winter running pants and a pink head lamp ..But I am tired of it.  I’t takes so much energy just thinking about how much my head hurts running in these winter days and nights..here through the streets of Flemington, NJ to get my miles in before and after work.  Last week I even registered for a FREE pass to “try” out a cheap gym nearby.. I have  racket my brain, asked everyone’s  I can think of to find a solution, a dreadmill an inside track  I can use for the remainder of the winter months.  Trust me… this is  my latest personal challenge.. Do I give in?.. go for the epidural…or do I further toughen up and brave it like the few who take the path where few eastern girls go….for today’s obvious reason?-Hey this is the Mid atlantic states..the  east.. we have everything everywhere at our fingertips.. we need to feel no pain…we can reach the summit from here..

But today.. it is Saturday…something was about to shift for me and I had no idea when I woke up this morning that I would find my answer  some solice  in this indecision I have had about running outside or succombing to the dreadmill inside  as I clicked my heals.. in the snow.. along the South Branch of the Raritan River. 

Today’s run started  8am.. at the usual temperature for this season 11 degress.. and yes cold.. most of the group had bolted out of the gate…at their usual pace.. the fast track but hey no problem, I was there HERE outside . It was the back of the pack and  cold. .. but I was there. …. running alone..or so I thought.. Today I was in luck.. there were a couple of other  runners who decided to brave the cold today… loyal to themselves and to the true spirit of running outside where also in the back of the pack with me.   We ran just a bit behind the main group and   to my surprise we found them waiting for us at the first main bridge at the river.  Actually were also staring at the top of the trees at a bald headed eagle Glorious we all said and pushed on … We set out for the next 5 miles that took us through the snow covered farm fields of Hunterdon with a view so spectacular it took my breath away.  The sun was inching its way back down  by the time we ran down to river again but  it didnt matter too much as my body was completely warmed by the constant motion and beauty around us.. I was now in the flow…I was home… I was in the rythmn of the river.. my anchor .. IT was one foot in front of the other treking through the single path in the snow… Today I was not cursing the cold but awestruck by the brilliance of the day.. the peace, the glory of the morning… and as we approached the final bridge over the river on our return trip there up in the trees were two more glorious eagles.. each as if to say..welcome home .. you are on your right path

Thoughts Today

January 23, 2011 by

I am in constant amazement of the birds that come and go in my backyard. I can’t seem to capture them on my camera. This is the closet I came today, through the glass, unfortunately. I know is seems trivial, but there is just something about birds that reminds me of all the possibilities out there. Happy day to day, sisters!!!!
jude

Intention, Attention, Action

November 20, 2010 by

I’d like to make a formal introduction. Avalokiteswara, meet 1268 N. Cleveland Avenue. The Goddess of compassion, love and hope sets her helping arms and tireless energy on 1268 N. Cleveland in Loveland, CO. For this could be the Future home of Simply Toffee and the Sister Summit Meeting Place.

She’s a beauty. Simply stated. Humble and full of potential.

Making Room (or how to lose 30lbs. in one hour)

November 14, 2010 by

I have been struggling lately with what at the top layer feels like a sense of “is that all there is?” in my life. Some days it scratches as boredom. Other days it’s a welling up sadness, full of tears over a misunderstanding with a co-worker. Still others, it’s a feeling that I am not making progress with even the smallest of goals in my life. Not to mention the really significant ones. You know, the one where I want to make a serious and meaningful contribution.

What.  Am I crazy?  I have so much. A wonderful daughter thriving at a respectable university. A bi-weekly paycheck that covers the mortgage, tuition, comfy furniture, Whole Foods shopping, vacations to Costa Rica, cute jeans. I live in Pleasantville. I have an adorable and loving dog with joint custody that allows me to spend time with him at my convenience. I have a great man in my life. I mean, a really great man in my life. Despite achy hips, I have a beautiful, expansive, highly supportive yoga practice. I have connections. Friends. Sisters. And I have Sister Summit, our weekly connection over 3 times zones sharing our goals, challenges and support for one another.

I also find myself, at 49 years old, with experiences similar to many other women at this life stage. Aging parents. A mother with Breast Cancer (and a host of unrest about a relationship — at least one of authenticity — that I never had with her). A step-mother with a debilitating illness living her last day’s in a nursing home. A father (the guy I put on a pedestal for much of my young life) who is in deep grief with his wife’s situation, yet trying to cope and make the best of the “cards he was dealt” as he says. Hovering closely over this layer is the agitation I feel about my place of work. I want so much to contribute, to step out in a BIG and compassionate and loving and hopeful and supportive and “get things done” kind of way. <>. It’s just that it’s getting more noticeable to me every day. Every day I peel the layers away of ‘not Sandi’.

Yet as the optimist, the maximizer and the no-stranger-to-tough situations kind of gal, I seek the light.

Today that arrived in cleaning my closet. Aside from being a huge catch-all for what I don’t want to put away, what I keep saving and what I haven’t let go of, there was plenty in there that needed to move on. So,  I asked the angels for help. “What should I do up there with my closet today? What to keep, what to let go of.” Then, I picked 3 cards:

1. Self-esteem

2. Power

3. Music

I decided to use the”Self-esteem” card as a message to toss (goodwill) what doesn’t make me feel pretty and what is not comfortable. The music card was a message to play a favorite Pandora station while I worked. And to sing through it.  And, though I am not totally clear, I think the Power has something to do with the ability to make peace with my “is that all there is?”. And transform it into something AMAZING.

An hour later, as I had filled 2 large plastic bags for goodwill, I realized that what I am really doing is making room. Making room to shine with my radiant self. Making room to let go of the things that don’t serve me. Making room to blossom and lighten up, despite the season’s turning in and low light.

Does this sound familiar to you at all?