Sunday, February 28, 2010

what I learned about love

a little list of gems culled from a month of pondering and blogging about love:
  • love comes in many forms, no one greater than the rest (family, friendships, romantic partnerships, parenting, work, art, animals, home, beauty, etc.)
  • love has done its work if we live in and can leave these forms a soul changed for the better
  • love arrives when we least expect it
  • love opens and fills the defended
  • love requires bravery and vulnerability at the same time
  • love stories inspire me to live in love
  • love is ultimately about acceptance and forgiveness
  • love is alive and well and can warm a heart even through comments typed on a blog
  • I love you and you and you and you. oh, and you too.
  • I love the month of march ♥

Saturday, February 27, 2010

the unexpected gift from anne frank

I don't write often of my husband or my daughter here in this space. they are both very private people and the idea of their lives posted on the internet brings each of them some trepidation. (interestingly, they both flourish in real life with face-to-face connections.) sometimes I want to write about them and I'll do a draft with a fictional person standing in. it never comes out right. so I am left with the bits of love and memory here and there that feel safe to share. since this month is all about love, I couldn't let it go without a mention of the two humans that have loved and taught me the most.

I met ken when I was just past age thirty. I had been married before and was a single working mother. I was really focused on work and not on anything that resembled a life. I decided a year or so before that I didn't have time for dating or a relationship. in hindsight I know that my heart had been torn apart and then "healed" with a scab so hard there was no room for love.

mia asked me one day if she could audition for a play. since she'd expressed little interest in theatre before, I thought it was one of her whims (um, yeah the whole whimmy thing: like mother, like daughter). coincidentally, the agency I worked for was coproducing the diary of anne frank. since I had in my mind that it would be a laidback, amateur production, we decided to audition together. you know, mother-daughter fun!

when we arrived, we were both surprised to find real actors lining up to read lines for a real director. mia totally chickened out, but I was all "what the hell...", totally knowing I didn't have a shot at a role. weirdly, I was cast in the support role of miep.

I remember seeing him at the audition. he kind of stands out in a crowd because he resembles a handsome bill clinton with a little more nordic thrown in. our eyes briefly met across the table and he made me nervous because of the crystal blue eye contact. I had to turn away quickly and felt a blush rise in my cheeks (I'm thinking, seriously, you're blushing?!). but even if I was in the market for dating material, I knew he was a few years older than me and so not my type. still, there was something about that eye contact.

so I showed up at first read-through still thinking they made a mistake. I hadn't been on stage since high school and even then didn't take it very seriously. ken had been cast as mr. frank. ken worked in theatre and was a very gifted actor. I felt like an idiot and that my lack of theatre skill demanded too much on-stage help from him (he would gently walk me through a pivotal scene when the director had become frustrated at my lack of progress). we became friends at rehearsals in the only way a gregarious girl and a serious man can become friends...clumsily. but it felt so natural to talk and laugh with him, he with the weird "I can see your soul" eye contact.

as we got closer to opening night, I became very frightened that this was real. a real play with a soldout audience in a huge theatre. what the eff was I thinking?!

the play was beautifully produced. the stage was the attic. the opening began in complete darkness with images of real holocaust victims appearing and fading to the haunting music of dead can dance. the first scene was between miep and mr. frank, returning to the attic after the war.

the thing I remember most about the play is waiting in the wings with ken the moments before we stepped on the stage while the slides and music played. I remember being scared beyond scared and feeling like I couldn't breathe and had to fight the impulse to run away. his hand found mine in the darkness and I instantly knew that I was safe and that I could do anything. I couldn't see a damn thing but I turned to face him and felt those eyes peering at me, knowing and loving the soul they saw.

Friday, February 26, 2010

dear blog

so I realize that I am the one who made this commitment, but seriously I didn't realize how spending every single day together would begin to annoy me a wee bit. it's not that I want to break up or anything like that. it's just that I come here and there you are, all blue and bright and happy. and I'm like, "jeez, I have nothing."

our relationship is a bit like a marriage. we work well together and stick it out through good times and bad. but this whole blogging-everyday-for-a-month thing is beginning to feel like we went on a month-long vacation together and are staying in a really small hotel room with just a narrow walkway around the bed and are getting sick of hearing each other breathe.

sometimes I toy with the idea of flirting with younger, hipper blogs and wonder what it would be like.

this morning I have to remind myself that I am with you for a reason. that I chose you and you chose me. that we compliment each other. that sometimes I don't agree with you and I love that that challenges me to think and feel in different ways. that you ask that I create and celebrate what I bring.

so here I am. you're on my nerves. but I'm here. because I love you.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I love this film

hello friends. thank you for the well wishes. they seemed to have worked.

I apologize for the link-heavy week...I'm somewhat short on words this week.

yesterday while I was lying around, I found the movie 'temple grandin' on hbo. please watch it as soon as you can. I love stories that show how different minds work. I love stories that feature strong inspiring women. I love a story that is so well made it manages to make cattle not only interesting, but beautiful.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


hello lovebirds. it's three a.m. and I can't sleep and am feeling poorly. am stuck in that middle ground of anxiety between knowing I have tons of work tomorrow and really wanting to spend the day in bed.

lately I've been slightly obsessed with birds. I wonder is it because they represent freedom? or flight? or just because they are chirpy? this sweet trinket is the latest addition to my ever expanding aviary. visit sudlow, she has the most whimsical jewelry.

beautiful day to you!

{update: this bird is staying in the nest today. puny little bird, she is.}

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

odd love song

when it comes to love songs, I tend toward the quirky and wordy. all that celine dion drama is a bit too heavy for me (even though I have enjoyed a grandiose voicy ballad here and there). since I started this love month, I've known I would post about love songs, so I've thought a lot about them, which ones resonate and why.

the narrowed-down list includes songs that aren't love songs per se, but songs that put me in the memory: the kiss, the dance, the drive down the coast, the fight, the heartbreak. yet I kept coming back to one song that wasn't a part of my own story but about remembering and longing and celebrating and moving on. I love this song for its poetry and its music and its connection to the freedom of youth. I love the video for its imagery...being solitary in your loneliness even while surrounded by friends...and the familiarity of the southern california house party. I love it because I've actually "drove out to the desert to lie down beneath a bowl of stars" and danced in the palace (now the avalon) with a boy I was wildly in love with. and, like most counting crows songs, it just seems so very intimate, flowing from a very personal experience.

okay, research time: what's your favorite love song? post a link if you'd like, I'm in the mood for some music.

p.s. did you see giada at the party (about 3/4 way in)?

Monday, February 22, 2010

bonus love post: summer fun

I needed a little fun on a monday evening! sweet shellbell tagged me to execute the following:
  1. open your first photo folder
  2. scroll to the tenth photo
  3. post the photo and the story behind it
  4. tag five or more people
(can I just say that I'm soooo happy the photo wasn't something completely ridiculous?) this is luca trying to catch bubbles a few summers ago. he looks a wee bit crazed in this photo but I promise he is having the time of his life. he is most happy when he is jumping up in the air trying to catch something. and all that green grass and sunshine reminds us that summer's just around the corner.
and hey, I tag:
and anyone else who wants to play along. play is good.

holding on to weekend love

what? it's monday already? I hope you had a beautiful weekend. mine was quiet (yay!) and quite lovely in a noneventful way. even though I am very rested, my mind and heart full of love and inspiration from visiting your blogs and hours of reading, I am always surprised at the weight in the air come monday morning. the pressure increases and thoughts of dealing seep in. dealing. I'm beginning to realize that that my own energy is the source of the heaviness and not some atmospheric disturbance.

every monday I vow to carry some lightness from the weekend with me through the week. inevitably, it's dissipated by 10am, replaced by decisions, chaos, uncontrolled emotions of others. nevertheless, I am committed to keep trying. here are the bits of light and love coming to work with me today:

  • nuzzling nose to nose with an albino pit bull terrier with a head bigger than mine; his giant gentleness warmed my heart.
  • sweet pixie posted this video on facebook, please take a look, you won't regret it.
  • reading in the sunshine. not the warmest of sunshine, but sunshine nonetheless. I haven't been able to do this in months.
  • thought a lot about balance. after writing yesterday's post, I was amazed that I associated the word stillness with balance. balance is one of the least passive states we can achieve.
  • I've been having wild dreams every night for a few weeks. curiously, in each one, I briefly visit a location from my childhood (some of which I had forgotten).
  • have decided that ultraviolet is going to be my new color for spring. talk about balance: the fire of red mixed with the calm of blue. yes, that's what I'm going for. I started with these.
  • kheer and darjeeling tea. I do believe that this combo results in the ultimate comfort.

what will you be taking with you to work this week?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

learning to love balance

I so admire people who seem to float through life with relative ease: calm without being numb, assertive without being loud, kind while still being truthful. people who are balanced amaze me. since I am one who tends toward the extremes, being (or shall I say appearing?) balanced demands a significant amount of energy from me, so I know that "ease" is not always part of the deal.

in yoga, I can achieve balance. while others in the class wobble and fall, I can maintain stillness in the pose. so I was thinking about the principles applied in yoga and if they would also apply to life and emotional balance:
  • know and see in your mind's eye the pose you are going to execute►be clear in intention
  • solidly root and ground your body►operate from a position of truth and love
  • move into the pose step by step►be deliberate with words and language
  • once in the pose, locate and focus on one thing with your eyes►maintain presence in the exchange; listen
  • feel for and engage areas of counterbalance►consider alternatives; remain open
  • be strong►be fearless
  • be steady►accept disagreement
  • be the pose (eagle, dolphin, firefly, halfmoon)►be genuine and beautiful
  • hold the pose►take the time to achieve equilibrium
  • breathe►breathe

I was right, balance is hard work. but I know I must work at it until I get it right. practice, practice, practice; just like in yoga.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

a little flickr love

from my recent favorites. I love it when there is an unintentional thread once the images are grouped. clearly, I've been loving me some red lately.
{photographer credits here.}

Friday, February 19, 2010

(not) loving

  • the sound of way too many questions, distortions, duplicitous comments
  • the pressured sound of my own voice in reply
  • the chatter inside my head
  • last week I wondered aloud if five years from now I would look back and the signs that I should move on to different work would seem so very obvious...since then the universe has smacked me in the face with so very obvious signs
  • and now I'm trying to ignore them

one of the things I love about winter is its silence. but that very silence makes noisy times all the more frenetic for me.


the very thing I love about our land of blog is that communication is accomplished through words and images and is very very quiet. I always feel I can come here and not have to be prepared to be pulled apart by problems and requests and ugliness. when I was a little girl, the library is where I went to experience the same level of safety and happiness. I'm grateful we've created a space such as this.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

best kiss

I've been thinking a lot about kissing lately. it was a recent topic on oprah and the sexpert advised that it's not really a kiss unless it lasts at least 15 or so seconds. so we held our own little scientific experiment here in our busy house and we concur: a peck just doesn't cut it. when you take the time to stop what you are doing and focus on the kiss, magical things happen. that's all I'll say about that.

think about your best kiss ever. was it your first? did your knees do that quivery buckly thing? (I love that!). was it unexpected? movie like?

and if you are in want of some kissing inspiration, the l.a. times is celebrating fifty great movie kisses (click on the photo and it shows you the actual scene). which one is your favorite? I'm torn between twilight (I know, I know...), sixteen candles and last tango in paris (but I think I like that more for the clothes).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

skin love

this ridiculously frigid winter and way too much stress have left my skin in need of some tender loving care. so monday I started a little regimen to show a little love to myself:
  • the perricone prescription nutrition plan (dr. p explains the whole glycemic thing-a-ma-bob better than any diet doc)
  • this means a lot of salmon, avocado, walnuts, berries
  • getting more disciplined with dry brushing
  • water, water, water and then more water, water, water
  • yogi tea skin detox twice a day (it's very floral and spring-like, yummy)
  • a nightly soak in lavender salt

how are you taking care of yourself lately?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I am a lover of books. my love for other people's stories astounds me. most days, my favorite part is is at the end of the day when I am fini with the real life characters and can get lost in lives where I don't have to make decisions, fix things, coddle, confront, know. I can float through the murky waters of someone else's story without the need to navigate. all that's asked of me is that my imagination be alive. wow. let me write that sentence again: all that's asked of me is that my imagination be alive. now that's some good love.

currently in bed with:

I just finished the school of essential ingredients. it's nicely written, and I love the food/emotion connection. I definitely recommend. what stories are you getting lost in?

Monday, February 15, 2010

just this today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy vday

celebrating love for girls everywhere and that girl spirit that makes us human. that can change the world.

watch this.
think you might want to empower girls with art and love in your corner of the world? beautiful mccabe is now offering two types of mermaid warrior e-courses: the full length (starts feb. 22nd; I just signed up...some magical force keeps pulling me to this idea of working with girls) and a smaller video course. it would be awesome if you joined me!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

past imperfect

so I've been thinking a lot about past loves. I have a few. I think I've mentioned it here before: that whole new love infatuation energy thing was my drug of choice for a good chunk of my young adulthood. it makes for a full, exciting, perfectly unstable history of relationship.

one thing I find fascinating about remembering past boyfriends, flings, crushes, etc, is the filter that develops over time. isn't it interesting how in the film-making industry of my memory, characters who in real life were dishonest and untrustworthy become romantic heroes? and then there is the one whose rejection sent me to my pillow for days with a knife in my heart and today I have to think hard to remember his last name and would gamble I wouldn't recognize him if I passed him in the street.

I love looking at my love history with a science-like approach. what purpose did each relationship serve? what need was being met? what elements of human development were being achieved? what were the lessons? did I learn them? did I teach them? what is the significance of the memories that remain front and center to this day?

one of the reasons I don't really appreciate valentine's day is that I find it troublesome to focus only one day a year on expressing love. this valentine's day I'm going to spend some time thinking about and honoring past loves, the good and the bad. a single day seems a really good amount of time to do this. without getting too willie nelson about the whole thing, I'll pay a sweet tribute to those who helped shaped who I am today as a wife, friend, mother, person.

this song pretty much sums it all up (and oh my god, how freakin' beautiful can a woman be?!). I especially love the words at the end:

thank you for breaking my heart.
thank you for tearing me apart.
now I'm a strong, strong heart.
thank you for breaking my heart.


leenie, you are so right! here's barbra rocking a sequined kaftan singing that song.

Friday, February 12, 2010

oh the dreaminess

certainly one of the most magical chapters of our lives is brand new love.  while I enjoy stability and routine and certainty in my relationship, I sometimes think about the excitement of the early stages.  all the fluttery giddyness and melty feelings and can't-keep-your-hands-off-each-otherness....yum. 

if you haven't read the road less travelled by m. scott peck, get thee to your nearest bookstore or library.  it's a classic guide to growing up.  and growing up means working through our infatuation with infatuation and romance.  giving up our attachment to the energy of this necessary stage of relationship is very challenging and can lead to many problems if we resist and insist on staying there.  dr. peck tells us that the reality of a real and honest relationship is hard work, but worth it.  I agree.

but I still miss being new.  okay love experts, we need your ideas for lovey sparkly newness.  what are some things you do to keep an old relationship new?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

merci tulipes

your pretty pink frocks soothe my troubled mind with thoughts of:
  • all the tulle and ribbons I wore to prom
  • strawberry cupcakes
  • a brand new baby girl named claire ♥
  • a line of tutu-clad dancers practicing their pirouette piquée
  • a shirley temple
  • cotton candy
  • new love

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

love wins

sometimes it may not appear to us that love wins.  but this is what I know for sure:  it always trumps fear.

this whimsical art is by geninne's art store; please have a look at her beautiful work.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I love pistachios

I have nothing deep to discuss today.  nothing provocative.  and really, nothing very pretty or kind.  I'm having one of those weeks when I'm sorta disappointed in mankind.  no particular reason.  this happens from time to time and it's a cue to me to retreat for some alone time.  this time I didn't see it coming.  I think I was too busy speaking the truth with love.  today in the spirit of love, I will keep my mouth shut.  except to eat pistachios.

Monday, February 8, 2010

dogface love

pure and simple and uncomplicated. all he asks in return is that I let him be my photo assistant.

happy monday loves!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

seeing our needs

today I want to explore a very important offshoot of love: getting our emotional needs met. this post may come across as a bit unfocused because I'm still trying to work my way through a reaction I had yesterday while reading blogs. since directly addressing the topic {having and using children to meet our emotional needs} would stir up some controversy and likely lead to banishment from the good land of blog via mobs of torch-carrying angry villagers, I want to touch on it in a more sensitive and general manner. speak the truth with love.

I want to write this first: each and every one of us have tons of emotional needs. these needs form the basis of human relationship and successful (adult) relationships have an honest and loving give-and-take contract. they are the goods, services and currency of the human marketplace.

one conclusion I came to yesterday is that people may not really see who they are using and how they are going about getting their emotional needs met. this is likely due to being unconscious of the actual need or needs. we move from one person, role, activity to another, seeking connection and fulfillment. we are unclear about our needs so likely aren't communicating them fully in our lives. we leave ourselves open for disappointment. and here's the kicker: we don't know why we are disappointed because we're not conscious of the unexpressed need that wasn't met. so let's start here. how do we go about exploring, discovering, examining, defining and then meeting our needs?

here's the answer: I don't know. but I have some thoughts I'd like to throw out there. {insert I-am-not-a-licensed-therapist disclaimer here.} I'm thinking this may take more than one post, so let's just touch on exploring and discovering today.

I start by looking through my history for the hotpoints of fulfillment and disappointment and asking myself what I was trying to get, hold on to and feel. what was it exactly that gave me contentment and/or devastation? I focus on the material aspects first: the things, the words, the action. then I go deeper: what is the emotional need symbolically represented here?

here's a little example: I love to shop and buy things. this seems to be in the normal range most of the time. however, occasionally I can go hog wild and get myself in trouble. in addition, I can become sad when I can't afford or find things that I want. I've traced this tendency to my needs of having, controlling and not depriving myself. I've further discovered that these core emotional needs rear their heads in most of my human interactions.

I want to be clearer and cleaner in the way I operate in this world. I want to do my best to look at and be honest about my needs. I want to understand the needs of those I love and fully participate in the human exchange of need-meeting. I truly believe this starts with understanding what I am seeking and operating above board. it can be scary to look at our needs because what comes up first are the times they weren't met. but I would gamble that being clear and open about our needs can increase the frequency in which they are met.

what do you think?

{p.s. mothers form the foundation of all things need with their children: how needs are met, communicating need, etc. mothers have the beautiful opportunity to focus fully on meeting the physical and emotional needs of their children, forming a healthy basis of trust in the world. this usually happens instinctually. while parenting certainly teaches us a great deal about ourselves and our needs, when we put our children in the role of meeting our needs, it creates a huge responsibility in them that is not understood or warranted and can be harmful.}

you knew I couldn't let it go without some discussion, right? I attribute this to another one of my needs: having a say. ; )

Saturday, February 6, 2010

whole lotta love

feeling super enthusiastic about spring this year.

two weekend blizzards in a row will do that.

the absence of color and warmth make the heart grow fonder.

like a lonely girl awaiting the return of her lover.

Friday, February 5, 2010

little bits of lovely

quietly loving today:
  • processing photos from summer while waiting for the blizzard (according to the weather channel, it's going to be "historic").
  • the sweet anticipation of squam by the sea.
  • colleagues who share a love of the work and a desire to do the best we can. who feel the heaviness of the decisions we have to make and work through it with grace.
  • these words. yes. these words.
  • movies, movies, movies! as long as the power holds, I'll be loving my way through some of your suggestions. thank you so much!

what are you loving today?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

love stories I love {film}

out of africa. for it's love of independence, nature and animals and storytelling.

the way we were. for opposites attract, that song and doing the hardest thing love ever asks of us: letting go.

becoming jane. for celebrating the intelligence and wit of a woman in a time when having and using these things meant tremendous personal sacrifice, for the library scene, for james mcavoy.

when harry met sally. for teaching me that friendship and humor are always the foundation of real love.

away we go: for showing the importance of home, love between two quirksters and the unconditional love it takes to be a good parent.

what are some of your favorites? {I need to load up on dvds for the weekend: some are saying 40" of snow!}

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

speaking it

truth #1: I am softly blown away by your comments. I feel charmed to have so many love experts visiting here, your words and thoughts are profound and poetic. you are {each of you} magically delicious. I am grateful beyond words.

truth #2: I am a truthteller. I have high regard for the reality of a situation and seeing things as they are. I have this strange little radar for deception, distortion, hidden agendas, false motivation and things that don't make sense. I don't purposefully do this, it happens naturally. I zero in on and am compelled to set things straight. while I like to think of this propensity as a wee superhero power, I can be a bit too determined when a softer tactic would work just as well. I need to remember that reality can be harsh.

I met m. several weeks ago. she is half my age and one of those people who walks into your life and you instantly know is bearing gifts and talents and grace. I was a hot mess at her age. the way she holds herself and carries her history astounds me. she said these words to me, "speak the truth with love." I won't get into the context in which these words were spoken, but this simple sentence lit up in neon over her head as her mouth formed the words. so simple, yet life changing for me.

the truth is important. but truth is also hard. what I love about this statement is that it helps truth gestapo-types such as myself pull back a bit, think about why and when it's appropriate to intervene, to tread carefully and to consider that all that cloudiness may be protecting a fragile soul for a truth too difficult to bear. on the flip side, for those who are challenged with speaking the truth at all, it makes it okay {necessary even} to look at and talk about what is.

when it's done in love and with love, it's the most fearless and beautiful thing we can do.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

saying it

I have a confession to make: I feel awkward, shy and just plain weird when I say, "I love you." I do my best to understand this, searching my history for clues. here's what I've discovered so far:
  • the expression of love in my childhood home was a mixed bag: a father who was emotionally distant but always kind, a mother who insisted on physical affection and felt that love was shown by spending every waking moment together, and a sibling who didn't really like me and told me so every day. that being said, we stuck together, which goes a long way for the value of commitment (and future therapy bills). while my parents certainly compensated for this in other areas of my growth, these tendencies left me confused about love.
  • you know the story line when one romantic partner whispers those three little words for the first time and the other responds with something like "thank you" or "how sweet"? that's happened to me. twice. to this day, I cringe with the memory.
  • I tend to move toward, then quickly away from people who are super emotional and dependent on others. I'm still trying to figure out this attraction/avoidant pattern.
  • sometimes I can't figure out why anyone would love me. I struggle with trusting the expression from another and can often feel like the punchline is coming and the joke's on me. this is scary, and I'm working on this.

back in october, I decided to take the risk with more emotional openness and expression. I've done okay and my actions have produced some sweet benefits and helped me overcome (one baby step at a time) some fears. but I still struggle with the expression of love. I could say it to people and about things they do much more in my life. maybe I won't use the three little words, but I vow to tell and show people in my life that I love them and love what they do and are. my goal is to express love openly and genuinely.

I need your help. what are some ideas or ways you express love other than saying the words?

{p.s. necklace is by my lavaliere.}

Monday, February 1, 2010

all we need

hello february. I'd like to talk to you a bit about your weird (and very limited) focus on things of the heart. in elementary school, I loved making valentines out of red construction paper, doilies and glitter. I especially loved it when my mom let me give the store-bought snoopy version. but during my single days, I found your pressure to be in a couple and the in-your-faceness of romance a bit nauseating. now that I have a loving partner, I'm stunned every year when I hear other people talk about v-day as if it is the only day of the year they are treated dearly by the ones who love them.

so I propose that you become more inclusive and user-friendly. be about all kinds of love, not just romance between a couple. there are so many versions of love and ways to love and things that we love and that love us in return. let's celebrate love with a capital L.

a really good thing about you february, is that you are short. you're a good month to take on the nablopomo challenge. I'm in. but I'm going to focus each post on love, rather than the suggested theme.

I hope my blogging friends join me; the more love the better.