Monday, March 31, 2014

fire and ice


Oh. My. GOODNESS!!!  What a weekend, a much needed break from the city, time for us to just be with each other.  Four feet of snow plus 40 - 50 degree air temps made for a once-in-a-lifetime and surreal experience.

Notes from my journal:

It's a perfect night.  The snow is higher than the fire.  Dave has created a snow cave around the firepit.  We renewed our vows under the stars.  I don't know if it's the whiskey but everything seems exceedingly lovely.  The fire, the snow, the white bark of the trees reaching the fingers of its top branches to the millions of stars above us.  Couldn't get any better..."If you were the winter, then I know I'd be snow. Let the cold wind blow."  The music takes the thoughts and vibrates the feelings all through the region..."Baby, no more counting dollars, tonight we'll be counting stars."...No sounds in the woods except the light breeze shushing by my ear, until the distant whistle of the train.  Noone up here but us, for a least a half mile away.  Bears probably sleeping in the woods across the road.  

Wolves?  Wolves!!

I sit back in my chair and gaze up, see the white bark of the tree, it's fingers reaching to the stars, thinking there is a lesson in there somewhere.  Then I see the Big Dipper, right up above our heads, framed by the white tipped bark fingers of the tree.  And its cup is tipped over, upside down dumping all it's blessings upon us.  Saying - you, hey you who are out here, seeing me, take it all, every last drop of blessings and be blessed.

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clean and cozy on the inside


All clean except for those curtains.  I don't know what to do with them.  They need to be cleaned immediately, but also I have dreams of sewing new ones.  Or taking one down and taking it as a pattern to a tailor.  But cleaning has to come first. 

And the cleaning went a lot faster than I thought it would because the trailer wasn't as mouse-poopy as I thought it would be.  The smell in the curtains is what gives the impression of messy trailer.  Odd smells are to be expected in trailers, I think, especially in a trailer that is decades old.  But this smell is too much and I've got to do something with it aside from spraying Febreeze, which I hate anyway.  

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The cold never bothered me anyway!

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In the woods where the snow is higher than the fire


Photo taken by Big D.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

friday night light


Finished a great book today, the week is finally done, time for a quiet night. 

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

attitude of gratitude


In the middle of last week, I woke at 3:30 in the morning with an anxiety attack that lasted several hours.  It was painful and heartbreaking.  It's been a long while since I've felt such intense emotions.  It caught me completely off guard:  I was 10 days into a new mediation practice, our family has sustained gratitude practice for over an month and half now, my journaling and photography were feeling particularly satisfying, the region is on the cusp of a warmer season.  I was sincerely puzzled by this troubling development in my life.

Today I feel especially thankful for the experience because it pushed me leaps and bounds towards self-discovery.  The intense anxiety was short-lived and now I know much more about myself and my own healing. 

I feel immense gratitude to friends of mine who sit daily for meditation practice who also told me that uncovering this anxiety is a way of addressing it in a healthy manner.  I feel immense gratitude for Sandy of Anamchara Healing Arts who helped me realize those areas of my body that are blocked.  She helped me work through it and gave me deep insight about the mothering I have to offer my daughter.

So moving on to all those things in this last week that helped me feel lighter and better, some are silly and so are extremely life-affirming:

I continue to be amazed by STILL blog. It is a daily photo challenge that is taken to legendary levels.

30 Things to Stop Doing for Yourself  On the left side of one page of my journal I wrote down the ones that I had to work on.  On the right side of the page I reformulated the statements as positive things I need to do for myself.

Just look at these beautiful yet heartbreaking photos of New Orleans!

I resumed knitting the 8,000 Feet Hoodie.  I had to tink it all out and I ordered a couple more colors of yarn.  I believe I have identified why I was struggling with this project.

Our family continues with gratitude practice at the beginning of dinner.  I used to get frustrated that Dave would always and only state he feels grateful for our family and for the food we eat.  My frustration was due the fact that I wanted everyone to say something particular about gratitude that happened during the day.  Now I see the truth of his words.  I feel gratitude for my family and all the nourishing food we eat.

This man saved Star Wars!

The Board where I volunteer had to make another monumental decision this week.  We are in an era which brings about decisions that no other Board in the history of this particular Co-op has had to face; it makes my position as Board president exciting and very scary.  The result of our decision came on the heels of this MPR broadcast yesterday that provided a healthy dose of affirmation.

I am reading Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (a Minneapolis writer) and one particular passage struck me as strong as an anxiety attack, but in a much better way.  It hit right upon my fears about motherhood and soothed my distressed heart:  "I think the gods may give us children to teach us what true love really is, that we may be fitted for Their [the gods] company at the last.  A lesson for those of us whose hearts are too dull and inert to learn any other way."

Always when I feel a post like this is going to come out of me, I question my actions.  I feel it breaks all the rules of blogging, but it is me being me and that's the only way I can be.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014



I've heard that paying attention to the corners of a house can help with the overall health of the space.  I was in a house yesterday where literally every corner was magnificent.  This one especially with the light shining through.

Oh, and I refuse to wear my winter boots any longer.  These are for a wet, splashy Spring.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The string theory of S(p)ring

This week's Iron Craft challenge was String Theory.  I decided to apply it to our household efforts to entice Spring to return.


I downloaded some templates and the Lotus Bud and I found another project to help us get through yet another cold day.  It took me quite a while to figure out that the misspelling on our banner was not our fault alone.

We colored, we cut, we pulled out some yarn, we used tape.  It was a project that happened in multiple stages so it was a good way to spend an entire afternoon indoors.

Finally, we hung our banner and we said a prayer for Spring.


We also made a point to remove paper snowflakes and snowmen from the house.  We tried to remove any mixed messages about the weather change from our lives.

We did good!  Now if only Spring would hear our pleas, everyone in the region would be much happier.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

ridding myself of winter


Spring "arrived" last week and I find I still have winter squash.  I like to put roasted squash into potato leek soup, sort of like squash croutons.  So while the soup was simmering on the stove, the squash was roasting in the oven.

Why does it feel like everything comes all at once?  March has been tough for me.  At the end of February I always feel relief that winter is drawing to an end, then March comes along and completely derails my efforts to be positive.  One bad day leads into another and then I find myself facing weeks and weeks of mentally draining turmoil.  It's a situation that repeats itself each year yet I keep going on thinking this year will be different.  It's all so tiring.

Last week was tough.  We faced a monumental decision at the Co-op, I had to prepare lesson plans for my Saturday class and I got sick, the first major illness of the season.  The only bright light is that this morning I woke thinking what was all the fuss about?  A new week, another opportunity to try it at life again.  Only this time I'm armed with soup.
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hang in there!


Just a few more days of cold - I hope!
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

bright pines


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Come to me, Spring

Ignore the snow all around you and make your presence known!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bourbon French Parfums

A few years ago I met a woman from New Orleans who insisted that if I was to visit her city that I should get a custom blend of my own personal scent.  I quickly added this to my Lotus List.  I had some hesitation with making plans ahead of our arrival to New Orleans.  I knew I would be craving some alone time but I was uncertain about when to fit it in.  So I searched for a place online and filed it away on my flexible to-do-while-in-New Orleans list.  Turns out that Bourbon French Parfums was right on Royal just a two blocks away from where we were staying! In fact it was on the corner of St. Ann and Royal, the site of all my romantic dreams coming true.  So I called and got a consultation appointment for the next day. 


It was a gorgeous morning in the gorgeous French Quarter.  I was happy to leave Dave behind.  I was happy to wander but I had no idea what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a tiny, little store because I was wanting an intimate experience.  I wanted to linger and not feel rushed by anyone.  I got all that I wanted and more.

Wait.  So I should stop here to say that I don't usually wear scents.  Usually they irritate my nose and I've never found something that I liked but I was willing to give this a try if only for the experience of the consultation.  I was skeptical and a little bit worried that I would drive everyone nuts.

The hour-long consultation came with a 1 ounce bottle of perfume.  They keep the personal formula on file so that I can order more of the scent in all sorts of forms.  I bought the body butter but when the spring sales comes around, I plan to buy the cologne and perhaps, the lotion - that's how much I LOVE the scent!!

I sat down with the consultant who's name I've forgotten which is such a shame because she was so very good to me.  It began with four samples spread on my arm to determine if I liked powdery, musk, clean, floral.  I didn't like any of them.  She asked me a ton of questions:  do I like modern (I don't know), traditional (I don't know), woodsy (I don't know), fruity (yes, I like fruit).  She asked me how I wanted to wear it and in what sorts of environments would I be wearing it.  The questions went on for quite a while.  There were a lot of "I don't know."

The one thing I did know was that I wanted to smell yummy, so she began combining scents all with a base of vanilla.  I was told not to ask what she was blending until I smelled it because in her experience people come in with preconceived notions of what they like so in fact, she found it helpful that I kept saying "I don't know."  She blended cherry, fig, cedar, leather - I lost track of them all.  She went on to custom blend eight different scents but she nailed it at #2.

In the end I was debating between #2 and #8.  #2 had vanilla, pear, bergamot and vertivert.  #8 had all of those with a bit of patchouli mixed in.  She told me to step outside, let the sun shine on my arms and wait for the sun to add its own touch to the mix.  So I did and spotted Dave coming down the street and just as I was about to call out to him, he turned into an art gallery.  I was truly on my own for this final decision for which I was ultimately glad.

But not totally on my own as Violin Joe added the musical score to the background of this hour in my life.  It truly was a yummy mix.  She offered to give me 1/2 ounce of both of my final selections but I wanted to choose just one and I did.  She sent me on my way with all the tiny samples and assured me that I could order any of them.

Lotus List Item #20 - done.  And what a lovely, yummy experience it was!  Excuse me now while I go and add some to my wrists...

P.S.  I was surprised that none of the locals I met knew about this place and they all thanked me heartily for it.
P.P.S.  Thanks to Rose M. for informing me of this wonderful opportunity.  I think of you every time I put on the perfume!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

eagle number #2


Two different weekends, two different eagles.  Here's the other one.

I've read that one of the lessons from eagle is not to depend exclusively on intellectual solutions which was pretty much the whole of my tarot reading in Jackson Square.  It is interesting that this message keeps coming to me.  I struggle with the desire to totally understand the community in which I live hoping that if I think it through just right that somehow the solutions will become clear, that my role will be clear.  This all produces anxiety, of course.  And then I meditate or I do my ab exercises and slowly I realize that everything will happen as they should.  I take everything too seriously.  Maybe what I need to do is get myself a new lens so that I can take even better photos of birds.  Materialism isn't the answer, but photography is most definitely my medicine.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

more snow?

I didn't think I'd get a chance to post these photos because, you know, I'm expecting Spring.  But with 6+ inches of snow expected today and tonight, I thought it would be good to get these snowy photos out of the way.


On a brighter now, I think she's getting into the snow-shoeing.  It's a first for all of us but I have to say the experience wasn't what I expected.  What I thought would happen was that we would "float" on the top layer of snow.  Instead we sank in which is totally normal, I suppose.  The snow shoes did make it easier to create a path and despite it all, we had a great time!

Spring will come soon, I'm sure, but certainly not soon enough for those of us who feel totally done with Winter.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

the cold never bothered me anyway

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Attitude of Gratitude - frozen

Some days are warm and some days we are back in the cold.  That's just how life is these days in the upper midwest.  Some days are good and some are not so good.  That's just how life is these days in the mind of a midwest lotus.

So much to be grateful for beginning with an unusual one (for me, anyway):  FROZEN!  I don't know who loves this disney movie or the lotus bud?  And the words to its iconic song fit my life in so many different ways:  "The cold never bothered me anyway."

Here's a run down of my feelings of gratitude which all came in one day and some weeks are just like that - a day full of good things that make up for all the hectic busyness of the week. 

 : A DAY SPENT OUT IN THE WOODS!  Picturesque on the outside, mouse-poopy on the inside.  With the furnace on, the trailer actually warmed up and I felt a bit of regret for our plan to return to the city.


 :  MELTING SNOW - a sure sign of warm weather to come.

:  AN ICY FIRE - one the things I missed throughout the months of this past polar vortex winter.  See how we had to dig down in order to get to the firepit?

:  FAMILY - we are such good sports!  Determined to spend time out in the woods, each one of us made an effort to extend the time there.

: YOGA - a new way to practice downward dog.

: COCKTAILS - this one is a no-brainer but how I got there made me go "duh!"  You see I've always thought of cocktails as something that must follow a recipe and that a cocktail isn't a cocktail without a snazzy name attached.  I came to an understanding of what "craft cocktails" are and realized I can craft my own cocktails.  Duh!  This one is whiskey, lemonade, decaf iced tea with a squeeze of lemon.  It was the perfect way to end a lovely day out in the snow, a perfect way to start dreaming about Spring.  I'm calling it "Whiskey Springrise."

: MEDITATION PRACTICE - I started one this week and it's going well, just 5 minutes of guided meditations followed by 15 minutes of journaling.

: PHOTOGRAPHY - keeps me sane and helps me reflect on each day.  I struggled with catch up for most of this year and now I'm struggling with abundance which is a much better struggle.  I can live with that.

That's my list of gratitudes.  What makes you feel an attitude of gratitude?

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

if I had the wings of an eagle


I'm seeing lots of eagles these days.  It's the season for them but I can't help to think about how they are positive symbol for the inner journey I'm seeking.

It is a journey to the inner core of being but I'm also seeking a view of the larger pattern in life.

And to make peace with it all.

[photo taken on Hwy 8 in Wisconsin]

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Friday, March 14, 2014

soothing the jumble of emotions


I turn to journaling to soothe my emotions.  I tend to find quiet spaces at home to sort through my emotions, but I found myself at a coffee shop this morning waiting for a meeting to start.  There was a lot of noise and commotion around me.  I like the thought of spending time in coffee shops, filling pages in my journal.  Reality is that I can't get into true head space because I'm busy looking around, catching bits of conversations happening around me, keeping an eye out for people I may know (and I always seem to sight people I would rather avoid).  Perhaps I should try coffee shops that are not in my neighborhood but it seems like a hassle to travel away to find my head space when I can use the quiet spaces in my home.

I keep trying to manage my time better.  I keep trying to free up time for myself.  I want to get together with other knitters.  I want to spend some time finishing posts about New Orleans.  I want to bask in the sunshine.  I want, I want, I want.
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stone arch bridge, minneapolis

artist:  James O'Connell
found in The Coffee Shop, NE


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Thursday, March 13, 2014

curled leaf


Recently the Bud started taking piano lessons and this week she's learning how to curl her hands.  This leaf demonstrates the technique just perfect.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

personal, portable altar


The next step in my life is to connect with my inner core self.  My dreams have manifest and along with that came a lot more responsibility.  I fight the urge to spin out of control.  I enrolled in another course, one that is deeply personal, yet ironically more public as it has connected me with facebook again.  The course is The Sacred Alone.  I'm looking for simple tools to ground me, to help me find my peaceful core, to illuminate the power within myself to find my own calm, ways to ensure that happiness ensues.  At first, this sounded to me like a huge task, but I've come to realize that it's more of a shift rather than a challenge and I've discovered that I am surrounded by all that I need.

This week of the course begins with short guided meditations and visualizations.  I'm learning that I can start my day with calm but that I need is to follow-up during other parts of my day to sustain that calm.  I feel like I've already learned a great deal about myself!

Another task for this week is to create sacred space.  I realized I have altars throughout my house. There's a big shelf along my dining room windows that has rocks, plants, shells, feathers, etc. And there is my kitchen altar. What I'm seeking now is a portable altar, something I can carry around from my computer to my bedroom. My small house has no room for a personal altar so a portable one seems like a good solution. I filled it with recent finds from nature. I also realized that I am uncomfortable with candles and incense (things I used to have around a lot), they no longer serve a purpose for me. I expected to learn some new things in this course, instead what I'm finding is that I have the tools for peace all around me, which in my mind is an even better benefit.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

the snowmelt girls


Another, perhaps, better title:  The Assertive Ones.

So much color, so much style, so much attitude!

How assertive and bossy my little Lotus Bud can be often drives me nuts, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

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Monday, March 10, 2014



In a book I read last year, I learned about low country boils.  I started making them in the Fall and it quickly became a family favorite.  We found our favorite bar in New Orleans by finding the familiar scent of a boil.  Now boils are infused with delicious memories.  The best thing is that the Lotus Bud is now eating tons of shrimp.  I told her that there is a possibility that she may grow a mermaid tail if she eats shrimp.  This little deception sits just fine in my mind because she never seems upset at all that a mermaid tail doesn't spontaneously emerge after dinner.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

the many faces of a lotus bud

That girl is on to me and she is so done with my camera.


I feel like I have to go into stealth mode but then the click of the shutter tips her off.

And out come the silly faces.

But I realize that these silly ones are just as precious as the smiling faces.

I have no problem getting lots of photos of her eyelashes which are sooooo pretty.

In the end, we are both fairly happy.  I realize that forcing smiling photos is exactly what my mother used to do.  Oh please, oh please, oh please, don't let me become my mother!

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

snowed out

We finally made it out to our land in Wisconsin today and, my goodness, there was so much snow!


We had to dig our way in and the snow at the end of the road was tall and super hard from the snowplow. Some of the trees were bent from the weight of the snow.  We even saw a big garage with a collapsed roof on our drive in.

Eventually we gave up, or rather I should say, Dave shoveled out a huge amount then made the road accessible for our snowshoes.

Thoughts of spending the night vanished.

It was a bizarre experience where the counter seemed the height of the bench and the benches were buried.  There was no sight of the firepit. There was so much snow that it didn't even look like we had a deck.

The thought of being stuck in the trailer seemed like a nightmare.  There is a lot of cleaning to do because I'm sure the mice have made themselves at  home.  Even though we didn't get to spend the night, it was still nice to spend some time outdoors.

Tomorrow the temperature goes into the forties.  Too bad that didn't happen today but I'm not complaining about being back in the city, warm and cozy.

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