Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ouch! That HURTS!

Stephanie and Ted left today. I know their being here in Santa Barbara was only temporary but I have grown fond of our daily workout antics, our texting and just being together again. We have always been close and it hurts to have her leave. I just have to have a good cry, admit that it hurts, feel it till it's better and make my reservations for a quick trip to Mobile, Alabama.
 Feeling the "dark feelings" is something I am trying to do more of. When they are here, I'm gonna feel 'em. No more hiding the depression in the cupboard, tucking the bitchiness away in the back of the fridge. No more burying the sadness under the bedclothes. I'm wearing them out. Tears to the grocery store, runny nose in the kitchen, bad mood to the morning workout. I am going to show up real. Starting now. I miss Steph. I Am SO happy Stacy is coming but she is not here yet and so there is no distracting me from my sadness. Ouch. It HURTS.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Back to Magic

The last few days have provided a smooth delivery back to a state of magical bliss. On the 22nd, Jill dressed herself up like a present and she, Steph  and I with all of the kids, went bowling. The bitch in me hadn't boiled off by then, but it was a good start.  That night, we all went to Cathy M's for an elegant party to celebrate Mom. It was fabulous and I became more blissful because I was able to put on my gown, which had been begging to be worn since September.
The 23rd was heaven. We started with a sunrise workout on the beach then a massage and a viewing of Stacy and Tony's new house. I got a nap and then, the very best thing in the whole entire universe, a trip to Jill's Winter Solstice Sweatlodge. The sweatlodge experience stopped time for me. It is a ritual that changes everything. I came away purified and renewed. Last night, Tom and I hosted the best Christmas Eve ever. Cadence's boyfriend Matt is here for Christmas, Darcy is feeling better, Maile gave us the gift of her presence and my WHOLE BELOVED FAMILY was in my house for two hours straight. I was in HEAVEN. Oh, and I was wearing a shiny red silk charmeuse strapless top and feeling pretty feisty, I might add.

This morning, I see that Santa made an appearance, leaving piles of presents on all the seating areas in the living room. It is a magical christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bitchy for Christmas

I'll admit it. I'm in a bad-ish mood. Yeah, ME. Could it be that EVERY time I sit down to write at my computer or make jewlry, Mr. Stripes sits where my working hands should be? I literally have to encircle him with my arms to get to the keyboard. He purrs quietly as I do this. Yes. I move him. But EVERY time, he returns to the exact same spot, in front of my hands.
Could it be that I started working on creative gifts for Christmas in early November so that I could be done and put my feet up and enjoy the magic sparkle around me, only, here we are on December 22 and I am surrounded by messy messes everywhere made by my very own crafting craze? What the fuck!
And then there is Brittany Murphy dying at age 32. That's just wrong.  You are not supposed to just drop out without warning. It's upsetting to the rest of us, even if it was your scheduled time to go.
 My meditations the last few days have been filled with christmas songs that are stuck in my head, repeating like a hit clip from 1999. Today I have to pay bills, gather gifts, clean up two half-mauled gingerbread houses to make room for making a meal tonight, oh, and the electrician is coming to stop the upstairs smoke detectors from chirping every 12 seconds.
What I would like is to be taken care of, nurtured, loved. I would like someone to tell me how beautiful I am, inside and out, not that they want me to have my hair dyed for their birthday present or that I should start taking my thyroid medication to help burn off that extra weight. I would like to have the time and desire to make dinner, or have someone else want to take on the job. I would like to finish all my gift-making and close up shop until Valentine's Day. I would like to FEEL. Feel energy rushing through me during meditation, feel the love I give and receive, feel happy, feel like laughing, feel the crying that needs to happen, feel pissed off, if that's what I need.
I think I feel better now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just For The Love Of It

I have been creating. This week it has been jingle bell necklaces on yarn for all the kids at school, gemstone earrings, bellychains and chokers. When I make stuff, like candles, therapeutic oils,  and gate pulls, I can't really imagine a feeling of satisfaction from selling them, it is the thought of giving freely that thrills me. I think I'm turning into Santa Clause.  I can imagine a world where we trade from our heart, our creative endeavors, our true selves and give back in appreciation for the gifts given to an individual that are meant to be shared. I find it rather funny actually, that we put so much power behind the dollar, when it's really just a silly piece of paper. And like I said, it just doesn't thrill me.

So, this week, I make things to give, trusting that the trade value will be fair. If nothing else, I am racking up (or paying back) some serious karma. On that note, I win every time, for the joy of giving warms me like nothing else. Ho Ho Ho.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Im So Lucky

11 Things I'm Thankful for
by, Kieran

The yummy foods you make
me are very delicious
The cousins I deserve are fun to 
run and play with
The little potato song you sang
made me go to sleep
My gift of art makes me draw,
not saying a peep
A very rainy morning 
would really make my day
Living in a very nice place
makes me want to stay
My best friend I met in Kindergarten,
I really miss her so.
The nights you tell stories to me
lets all the bad things go.
And what I'm thankful
for today and all year long is...
My caring London dog, my
buddy Mr. Nilson
and my annoying brother Aidan. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Storms Reveal Treasure

It has been a profound year of transformation. I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge the major shit that went down in my world during the last twelve months.  First of all, I have to say that I am a happy person. I wake up happy almost every day. I am in a good mood most of the time. I am kind to people as a rule. I rarely get really mad. I resist(ed) the storm, under the illusion that happy people don't go to that dark and unpredictable place where things get messed up and potentially destroyed. Happy people aren't unhappy. Happy people are constant, like the desert sun. Right÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷?
Just thinking about writing all of this stuff down overwhelms me, so I will try and condense it all into a few cliche infused metaphoric sentences.  Tom, my beloved husband and I had been married without really knowing each other for over ten years. Both rather passive, we each lacked the skills for complete communication. It was our daughter, Cadence who saved us from our business relationship marriage.  It was June and she and I had been in a state of miscommunication for years. The last straw brought her to pack her bags and leave forever, but I begged her to stay. I begged with all my heart that I would do anything to get her to stay and I meant it. This brought us to Adela, the psychic therapist, who asked me the question, "WHY have you settled for this? why????" The question took me and eventually, us deep into the scary, stormy place where I had dared not venture, because happy people aren't dissatisfied with their lives. Happy people don't get angry with their situations. Happy people who are sunny all the time turn into dried up shrivelled old prunes with nothing to give anymore and that was where i was headed.

A dozen or so twice weekly sessions with Adela, both alone and with Tom and even once with Cadence, took me to my deepest darkest places of dissatisfaction, pain, grief, tornado sobs, hurricane force breathing, tsunami pain of loss, flooded avalanches of old emotions that got washed away completely.

Adela told us that we had to go away together. I could feel that neither of us really wanted to, until that day I found some peculiar things on the computer which led Tom and I to our new place of adoration for each other. Like me, Tom had always felt that he had to be "perfect", that he could not be stormy or flawed or wrong. I inadvertently uncovered a flaw of his. He trusted me enough to be honest about it and I fell in love with the man with the flaws. Perfect is fiction. He was becoming as dessicated as I was in his constant state of happy.  I couldn't believe the transformation that occurred with us. I fell so deeply in love with him, his energy, his essence and I could absolutely feel the same adoration and respect mirrored back to me.  A miracle. Storm Saves Desert from Destined Death Due to Draught.

In conclusion, here are a few pictures from our outrageously romantic and fun weekend away in New Orleans. My husband adores me and I couldn't love him more. Oh, and as it turns out, we have a of of fun together, even without the kids. Lucky Us!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Desperately Seeking New Post

While Stephanie has been making me laugh, Mom has been making me cry, Meredith has been making me laugh and cry, I have stopped contributing to the blog scene all together.

Instead of writing brilliant musings, I have been devoting myself almost entirely, in a somewhat slave-like fashion, to other creative urges like candle-making. You would think it would be a simple little task, just melt some wax and pour it into a jar with a wick. Silly you..... Noooo, there have to be oils, crystals, incantations, labels, photographs and fonts, phases of the moon, and the urge to create and time in which to create, all in perfect alignment for the candle making to occur.   And so you see the sacrifice. On Friday, I sacrificed breakfast, a shower, a nap, lunch in a seated position, my appearance, a tidy house, made beds, and my afternoon coffee to create 22 scented soy wax candles with the themes, COSMIC CONNECTION, WINTER SOLSTICE, MOTHER EARTH, DRIFTWOOD AND SUMMER SOLSTICE. They all contain gemstones and they will all require specific labels and descriptions. Ugghhh. 
If I could turn the ideas off, I would, but they come to me during meditation or during my nap or while I am in the shower and I am a slave to them. I can't stop. So all of you who have been waiting patiently for me to write, or make your jewelry, make your cards, respond to your e-mails and calls, or comment on your blog, I am sorry, but the end of the line is somewhere behind driftwood.

Friday, October 30, 2009

News Flash

It's been a busy life. This week I finished my Reiki Master's training, connecting with my spirit guides and accessing powerful healing energies, made about 200 button pins to bribe the kids at school to be better stewards of their environment, did Quinlan's last Marquette hairdo prior to her quitting the team she has been on for the last 3 and a half years, payed bills, altered my belly dancer costume, read and loved Steph's, Mom's and Mere's blogs,  drove on a first grade field trip, took four naps, ate two cupcakes, and, last night, under a starry sky, awoke to the sounds of our chicken being mauled.
 Tom and I ran out to the coop and rescued our dear Henny from a hungry raccoon who was trying to drag her through the hole it had entered her coop from. 
You will be happy to know, she is safe in a box in the garage. I actually heard her say "Thank You" in chicken last night. It sounded like "bddddkkkk bbbdddddkkk".  

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Raising Kids is an Art Form

Hey! Remember me? I have been having so much fun reading my sister Stephanie's blogs I feel like I don't need to write. Instead of writing a long essay with some meaningful theme, I'll just make a list of what I know today. Here it is. Just for today. I can't claim to know these things tomorrow or the next day.

*If we could eliminate fear (the kind that hinders instead of helps) we could be more peaceful beings.

*My six year old son likes to push the boundaries and find out worst-case scenarios in a zen-like fashion, like what it feels like to get into so much trouble that you have to pay a long visit to the Principal's office.

*I love drinking my coffee out of my new, hand pained by me, full moon over the ocean special reiki coffee cup.

*We have access to all the information in the universe. Imagine a vortex with an opening of information coming in , narrowing at the point where it enters our energetic field and then expanding again. It can and will flow through us if we seek it and believe in it.

*We have the ability to be happy and at peace in any situation.

*Food can be a source of life force energy and can renew, regenerate and repair or harm and hinder.

*Every soul has magic. Finding out what it is is like digging for treasure.

* I know what my dog is thinking most of the time and she knows what I'm thinking and responds without prompting if it is something that pertains to her.

*I am the new noon aide/lunch lady at my kid's school and can't imagine a more rewarding or fun job.

*Raising kids is an art form and needs to be seen as such.

*My stepdaughter, Cadence will be 21 next week. She is a gift to me and the world with her grace, humor, intelligence, sophistication, taste buds, culinary and overall creativity, talent in all art forms and highly amusing slovenly nature.

*I have thoroughly enjoyed my 41st year of life.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Joy on a Dark Day

It has been a day. So many of us are facing despair and just have to remember to keep breathing. Things like jobs and homes and what happens next are not what they used to be.

I have one sister and her family of five plus two large dogs, moving from her New Hampshire home into the Montecito home of our parents due to the loss of her husband's job seven months ago. My other sister is trying to sell her Orange County home and relocate to Santa Barbara. She has two school aged children and two daughters just leaving for college. Her heart has moved out of her current house but she can not move the rest of her self until her house sells. Her teenage daughter plays volleyball at the varsity level and is in the market for a potential college scholarship, like her two older sisters. She can't just leave one high school and move to another mid season. She is torn. They are hurting.

The American Dream as it used to be imagined does not exist as a formula anymore. Going to college does not guarantee you a job when you graduate. Working hard does not equate to job security or a secure home life. We have to look at the world differently. Looking instead at each moment that we are breathing, each meal that we consume, each night of comfortable rest as a blessing. We can create, fully taking in the moments as precious, regardless of the state of our 401-K s and our job description.

We can look to our family, our community and find a new place to be and a new way to contribute. What we have is each other. We have the Earth, we have our creativity and our imagination. We have opportunity for extreme change and the option to adopt a radically new way of existing with each other and with our planet that does not involve large corporations, three weeks of vacation and barely making ends meet.

We may have to get there by a very rough road, but we can more than survive, we can thrive in a world of our own creation, unlike anything we have yet experienced.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rule Number One

My sister Stephanie thinks that I should write a book or a guide of some kind on how to be a good stepmother. Part of me knows this is true and part of me feels terribly guilty because I have not always been good at being a step mom to my girls. This summer, Cadence, my oldest, and I came really close to the worst thing that can happen in family situations such as ours. A small blowup turned into my husband's worst nightmare as I came up the stairs at 11 PM one night to find Cadence throwing her essentials into a bag while muttering "I just can't stay here any more".

The conflict between us had been going on for years. What I discovered that night was that what caused and exacerbated the conflict was that we were both very hurt by each other's seeming lack of caring and that we BOTH wanted and needed very much to feel the love coming from the other. We were mirroring the same pain. Being fighters, strong, edgy, fierce types, with whom you might never wish to mess with under inopportune circumstances, our pain caused us both to shut down our hearts from the risk of wanting love and not getting it, and go straight to the fight at the drop of a hat. And this is how we existed for about five and a half years.

The breakthrough came when I realized what needed to happen in order to change Cadence's mind about leaving. I said, "what can we do to make this situation better for you, so that you feel like this is your home?" She didn't answer from her heart right away. She went on and on with her cold barrier still up for a while, until I let mine down completely and said, "I love you and I do not want you to leave. What can I do to make this better for you?" Slowly, her walls came down and I saw a child in need of my love. Let me repeat that. A CHILD was in NEED of MY LOVE. Even though Cadence is technically an adult, almost 21 now, she is still a child at heart and her wounds are childhood wounds. The solution to our conflict was simple, for me to receive love and warmth from her, my child whom I did not carry for nine months, nurse or who's diapers I did not change, I needed to first provide to her the unconditional, unwavering love that a mother provides, without strings or restrictions. Period. As the adult, it was up to me to offer the love up first in order to receive it mirrored back.

It is in this skill that I redeem myself. I am good at loving. I am good at nurturing. I told Cadence that night, "Now that I know that you want and need my love, you will have it ALWAYS. No matter what." Now I know.

I am still not perfect and do not claim to be the perfect step parent. I received some great skills from a very special therapist that have helped me get through the stuff that used to send me into a dark, cold, cranky place. One technique I now employ is humming. When my fiery girl is in a bad mood, I used to engage in argument, miffed that she was so bitchy towards me in the first place. Now, I when I see that she is having a moody moment, I let her words hang in the air and instead of responding to every comment that used to lead us into argument, I hum. Hmmmm Hmmmm HMMMMMMMMM. Not even a specific tune. Sort of a quirky hum. I I feel totally at peace, allowing my beloved to have her mood without trying to rationalize or change her. It's working. I don't take it as a personal attack any more and she doesn't feel attacked by me when what she really needs is my support.

If a manual is to evolve from my experience, I will begin with the first rule for a potential step mother.

Rule #1.
Love your (step)child. Make a list of the things you love about her. Spend time together to get to know all of him, his quirks, her gifts, his magic, her pain, his needs, her talents, his heart.
Take real time to do this before marriage. Love your child. For when you marry, the child is yours, if only every other weekend, the child, and her heart are your responsibility to care for so find the real, true love in your heart for him.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just Another Summer Day

I dragged the kids to the beach today. I insisted that we take London for a nice walk without her leash. Aidan tried to boycott the outing but I was not going to fold. I had promised London and she was looking forward to it.

The kids ended up having fun. The beach has lots of white, smooth rocks that resembled eggs and they made a dinosaur nest. They surrounded the nest with footprints of Titanosaur, Brachiosaurus and Utah Raptor. They also added some cave man footprints for a realistic touch.

London found a spot in the sand that was perfumed with a decomposing flesh smell, her favorite. She started with a little rub behind each ear then went full in, rolling and wiggling to cover her entire back with eau de stinky beach.

Alex found a piece of bamboo and asked if he could bring it home to make a flute by whittling holes in the length of it. The other kids picked up sticks too. When we got home, they decided to play Chumash Indians. I brought out some twine and Henney feathers. Kieran came to me and asked if she could put a crystal in the end of hers to make it into a medicine/talking stick, to help her tell stories. We found a Tibetan dual terminated crystal quartz that fit and we wired on a turquoise stone and an amethyst too.

Aidan made a bow out of his stick and created some very dangerous arrows out of some bamboo skewers I bought recently at World Market. Indy and Alex both made fishing poles out of their sticks.

The kids told stories. Later I tried to get the kids to try on mustaches for some fun pictures and although Alex and Aidan put one on for literally a second, they wouldn't keep them on for a picture. Indy liked hers so much she kept it on for the better part of the afternoon.

Because the house wasn't really messy enough, I suggested we get the paints out. The kids painted some beautiful works ( Kieran, a mare and a foal, Aidan, a bullet train, Alex, a pokeball and Indy an unusual floral abstract) on small canvases and I pained my version of the main chakras on a large canvas I envision as a mural, with contributions from all my loved ones during the course of the summer. No wonder I'm so tiered.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Aunt Shelley

When Aunt Shelley shows up, anything is possible. She loves to say "yes!" "can we make stuffed animals?" "YES!" "can we start a band?" "YES!" "Can you put a sign on the door that says The Ugly Dolls in session. Do Not Enter!!!! ?" "Absolutely!!!!" Aunt Shelley is creative and fun. She lets us make messes to make magic. We paint, we create, we pick all the lemons off the tree. She leaves the laundry unfolded and the bills unpaid. She doesn't turn on the TV or the computer. She does take a nap, but only for an hour. "Can we make T-shirts today Aunt Shelley? Paint masterpieces on canvases? Make a movie?" "YES! Of course! But, I will need a nap afterward."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sorry Mom

When Aidan was still a preschooler, about age four, he and I were waiting in the car one day for Kieran to get of school. I had a book to read to him. It had a chapter about firefighters and Aidan asked me why they were wearing masks on their faces and tanks on their backs. I explained to him about smoke, and the dangers firefighters face by inhaling it and how they have to wear special gear to protect themselves from it. Then, out of the blue, my four year old blurts out, "I'm sorry Mom!". "Sorry for what?", I asked.
"I'm sorry, because when I grow up, I am going to smoke".
After a long, shocked but amused pause, I replied,
"It makes me sick, so please don't do it in the house."
In these pictures, I permitted indoor smoking because it was smokeless. He is six now and says he has changed his mind about being an adult smoker. He just likes to smoke pretzels. Unfiltered.