Archive for February, 2010

The Best

February 23, 2010

I was lucky enough to get some amazing feedback from my last post about play. And it seems from some insightful friends that perhaps I was looking too for inspiration. And I got to thinking…where do I find inspiration? In following others’ leads I decided to cleanse by brainstorming a list of things that are “the best”. The best being or meaning that certain feeling in my chest, my heart, my brain while it is taking place or I am witnessing or lucky enough to be touched by.

In no particular order….

When Seven wakes early in the morning and in his soft 2-year-old voice says, “Hi, mom”.  The hi stretches out for a couple of seconds and he sounds excited when he says mom.

When Tyler and I laugh really hard at the same thing.

On a run when my breathing and body are in line which totally makes my brain pop with ideas.

The lull time after acupuncture

The energy after hot yoga

New issue of Lula magazine

When I spot the perfect pair of ridiculous new shoes

Crossing a finish line

Meals when I am surrounded by my entire family

Small random towns found on trips

Museum gift shops

Cobblestone streets at night

Handwritten mail

Watching somebody open a present I picked out for them

A new painting from my sister

A really good book

Sunshine after a grey day

Waiting for a friend or my family to come up the escalator at the airport

Throwing someone a party

Making Seven laugh so hard he is almost purple

The way a room looks with a lit up Christmas tree in it

Shopping indie in a big city

When the crowd know all the words at a concert and the band lets us take over the song

Reading what other people write when I couldn’t say it or even think it clearly

Snuggling with Seven

When I  really, really follow my intuition and do something big

Seeing my sister sing

Watching my brother DJ and dancing in the crowd

Not getting the steps for weeks in hip hop class and then having it all come together (but good lord embarrassing along the way)

Sharing knowledge and brainstorming in a classroom

Making really tasty things from scratch

Planning something big and new

I’m sure there are lots more. But I just typed what came to my mind quickly and put it out there. I think I will let it sit for a minute and come back to see what this list suggests I do. Just doing this gave me “the best” feeling in my chest and brain. What’s funny is that I wasn’t expecting that. Perhaps it already has told me something?


Play Time

February 21, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what play time looks like at 37. Mondo is really responsible for that because it really hasn’t been on the fore front of my mind. Yes, I like to have fun but I wasn’t carving out any specific time for it in my life. Which I think is a mistake. I could see how easily the ability to play could slip away with responsibilities, commitments and reacting to what life in general is handing out. Now that I want to go play I find myself looking around wondering the hell to do.

Let me clarify that I am not talking about playing with Seven; from treks to parks, museums, the zoo, the ice cream shop with ridiculously good stuff. That’s all going on ten fold. But I’m referring to the kind of play where I’m marveling at new things around me, am overloaded with energy and feel it both mentally and physically and feeling well just a little less responsible. For example, a guy who is probably 40 just skate boarded down the street out my front window. I imagine him skating to brunch with friends, a New York Times under his arm on his way to a tasty cocktail, complete with heated conversations about world politics and fashion. That’s play. I read about my lovely friends making gorgeous things out of scraps, taking pictures of toes in the sand and riding their bike to work and finding secret messages in graffiti. That’s play.

Please let me say I realize this is not under any circumstance a personal crisis. I am not asking for sympathy here. But perhaps suggestions on how you got to that playing point in life? Whether it be never losing it from your youth or finding it again. I’d love to hear.

For now, I am in a retrospective space thinking about times when I felt most playful. Because being ridiculous and playing are synonymous to me and I have been all kinds of ridiculous.

Like when I was seven months pregnant and went dressed as Nicole Richie for Halloween. (no I don’t smoke) I didn’t care that 4 people got it, it was hilarious.

Or when I took this picture right before I had Seven and then made it into a CD cover of a mix I made for the other mama’s I ran the Ragnar relay with last November. I took the picture because I had gone from being an A minus  my entire life to that and was like hell I better catch those things on film. It was also a time I felt so good about being pregnant and was embracing my big baby-carrying body. The relay was made of 12 mama’s over 30 and we raced across the state of Florida from the Gulf coast to the Atlantic. It was something like 28 hours of racing and no sleep was not involved. That would have been play if I had not still been insanely depressed when I was doing it. But  that’s another post, this one is about finding the person who took that picture and later the person that made it into that ridiculous cd cover.

Tyler and I used to play a lot more too. Life’s busy and it seems that we lost some of that along the way. I’ve always taken the lead on things like that, so I feel most of it is up to me. Which is great in some ways but when I am tired and feeling slightly overwhelmed makes me a little aggravated to. I used to send him ridiculous letters at work that I knew would make him have to shut his office door because of their outrageousness. Or we would dance ourselves silly, and we’d have so much fun with our sweaty selves. That was play.

We’d go out with friends and I’d wear a cocktail dress with silver tennis shoes on a Tuesday in Paris. Because I could. You know where the four of us went out that night?  The Crazy Horse. (google it) Big time play!

This picture was when we were in Cinque Terre. We hiked Roman paths from one to the next, we swam, we saw lemons the size of our head, we drank wine.  We had amazing conversations with people where neither of us spoke each other’s language. Tyler took this picture there. And you know what? I want to find that girl. I mean to me it says it all.

Oh wait I forgot about this one. This was right before I got pregnant with Seven on a girls trip to Jamaica. This one kind of says it all too. That’s me in the air.

Shit, I want to find all these fun versions of myself. Whether it’s jumping off, arms wide open, in a did you really wear those things together outfit or relishing in the unexpected. I know she’s in there and I think perhaps ready to hear that recess bell again.

Where to next?

February 16, 2010

That’s what I am asking myself on all sorts of fronts right now. Where to next with this blog? Where to with my list of dreams? Where to with my new found friendships? After spending almost 2 years in  a constant circle it feels exciting, scary, freeing to be going in a direction. An actual road in front of me that I partially control but really large parts of it are really me just being pulled. A strong yank that doesn’t hurt but that is definitely present. You know the kind when you were a kid and your friend grabbed your hand and you both took off in a zig zag direction, laughing the whole way?  Something like that.

I must admit that this Mondo experience has put me in such an interesting spot. It is the art of taking our dreams and applying that to  how we live our lives every day. Sounds amazing right? But you know, it is also work. I am not afraid of work. I just feel a bit hesitant as I try to foster this new method in my thinking. To be honest, it would be easy to ride the high wave of the 5 week class and then slowly roll back to the way things were before. Setting goals, claiming to be happy when those goals are met but then already having a new goal in place by the time I reach it that there is never room for a celebration for what just happened. Let alone ever taking a moment to just enjoy the journey or even the uneventful day along the way.  Yet there is such an internal pull in my gut to not let that happen. Why would I intentionally short change celebrations, playing, being present and spreading my arms wide open to this thing called life? For lack of a better word that would be stupid.

My new friends. Wow. Where to start with this one. After I had Seven I was so determined to not become classified as a mom. I don’t know why but I have always hated being categorized by ANYTHING. I love being a mother, it’s not that, it’s just I didn’t want people to associate anything about me because I was one. So on the one hand this made me feel very independent of it all but without knowing I had also become very, very lonely. The whole transition of before baby and after baby has been really complicated for me. I didn’t relate to friends who had kids because I was resisting it and my friends who didn’t have kids, well what did they understand now? I mean I still have been social and maintained relationships but there has been a void and I had no idea how big it had gotten. What made me aware of this was Mondo.

Outside of the assigned exercises completely, it is the gift of  the women I have become closest to. Each has small children and we started out by identifying with each other because of the way we wrote, the dreams we shared. The being a mom part is a thing we share, that at least for me, has taken it a whole other level. It is like we just know certain things about each other without them being said. There is this bond I feel where words come at the perfect time that make me laugh out loud or cry tears from feeling completely understood when I don’t 100% understand. They give me this strong desire to memorize their dream list and facilitate it in any way I can- big or small.

So where to next. This crazy, cobble stoned, curvy road in front of me. It has me feeling raw and exposed and so, so, so up for the challenge. The choices I make, remaining present, allowing things to just be, being ridiculously loyal to myself. All of this in good faith of wanting to be the biggest person possible, a mama that shows Seven the whole big world, a wife that loves from living it….it’s what I’ve got to do. I think this blog will be my journal, my map.

What I’ve Learned….Learning

February 11, 2010

That what I have been doing wasn’t working.

The inner critic is not my intuition.

That by simply placing things out into the world really can make things happen.

That lists are the shit. (in a good way)

That my dreams are bigger than me.

That I am something that needs to be taken care of- by me first.

That  my heart and brain need to be fed in many ways-from random acts of giving to my work to my family to the unexpected.

That learning feels good.

A community is good for me.

That nothing beats being present.

That getting outside of myself & shifting my focus is a very necessary thing.

That I have met some amazing people here.

That I have new friendships in California, Australia and Jamaica.

My excitement & hope for my new capacity at being a dreaming mama.

To not take myself so seriously and relearn how to really play.

That some days are about feathers and making double chocolate bacon cupcakes.

Clearing…warning a bit on the rambling side

February 5, 2010

When I originally read the post about clearing something out to make room for something else; some things immediately came to mind and I jumped on them. I cleaned out closets and organized personal and professional spaces. I even had a couple of conversations that I knew in the back of my mind I had avoided. It felt good. It also felt like I was done for the immediate moment. Turns out as I was a little premature.

This week has been flatter for me than the weeks past in Mondo. Seven is sick with a double ear infection. He only wants ME and I love him more than anything but if I can’t 10 minutes to myself I might lose it.  I have fought something all week too. Not to mention more rainy and grey days and one legitimate workout. Not all adding up to happiness in my world.

But today Seven is back up to speed and this is a normal work day for me. I took him to nanny share and proceeded to drive home and go back to bed. I felt like serious crap. Meds kicked in, started to feel better. I decided to take the day and not check emails a bunch, not work on Mondo, just be. Then I started thinking about my brother in the other room. The 24-year-old who I talked into moving here from L.A. after a year of being seriously unhappy. (he had been out of college for a year)

Come to Atlanta! There is tv here, there are movies made here, a music and art scene. Just on a smaller scale than L.A. Go back when you have some more experience and a plan I told him. So he moved here. It’s been 6 months.

Anyhow, back to the kid who is sleeping in our house at noon, waiting tables somewhere he hates and missing his girlfriend. I decide I will make him happy today. I popped my head in his room, ask him if he wants to join me for lunch and then let’s be complete drop-outs together and go see a movie in the middle of the afternoon. But as I was saying it, I knew it didn’t feel true. I started to feel there was another clearing I had to make.

At lunch while I gently talked to him about his plan and what else he would like to do; I didn’t get much of a response. I have given him so many leads and talked to people on his behalf and it just hasn’t lined up yet. Yes I got him a job from day one at a friend’s bar, I also helped him get a DJ gig or two but nothing that has completely stuck. And you know what? I feel so responsible for that. I feel like I failed him.

But now going through these exercises in Mondo; I know in my gut that this cannot be true. Me letting him down.  I can’t have failed him by giving food and shelter and a job and a place to kick around ideas. Right? Why does this realization hurt so much though? How I do “clear” someone who I love tremendously and still help him in any way I can but at the same time not cripple myself?


Okay not even a couple of hours after I had this thought and cried and attempted to clear; you know what happened? My brother met me in the kitchen and told me he was moving back to L.A. He had a plan, he has a project and he is excited. I could tell he was nervous to tell me but I have nothing but joy for him. Will I miss him ridiculously? Of course. But I can’t believe that I put this out there for me and for him…and look what happened. It’s beyond amazing.

Walking the Walk

February 4, 2010

So I set out to Mitzvah after reading the post. Wondering what I could create and what would present itself.

The first one happened on my way into Target when I noticed a man going through the trash looking into coffee cups. Seven and I walked up and asked him if we could buy him a cup of coffee inside. He obliged. We introduced ourselves, shook hands and he said a large black coffee would be perfect for him. Snack? No thank you. We left him sitting in the sunshine with a big grin on his face. Such a nice way for the three of us to start the day.

Over the weekend Seven turned two so we used the occasion to throw him a party and ourselves an open house for our new home. It felt good to make things from scratch, heading to the farmer’s market for super fresh ingredients, drumming up crowd pleasers. Both for kids and adults. There was a candy  and salty bar, cake pops, an Elmo bean bag toss that Tyler made and homemade margaritas. It was loud, it was fun, there was tons of laughter. I am not sure who was giving or receiving the mitzvah’s; it seemed to be just bouncing off the walls all day.

Some pics of before the peeps arriving!

Our friends were more than generous with the bottles of wine for us and treats for Seven. The morning after the party we put together 2 big bags of gently used toys and any new duplicates along with clothes and we put them in the back of my car. I wasn’t immediately sure where I wanted to take them.  Then when I was out running I remembered old neighbors who had lots of kids in and out and not much else. We will be making a delivery to them tomorrow!

Last night I had my Lady Rogue board meeting. We had so much gifted wine, I decide to make some gift tags and bring each woman a bottle of wine for V day. It felt fantastic!

I had wanted to come up with a fun and different idea for Stories of Gen for Valentine’s Day. I was planning on sending something out to customers and partners etc but thought why not send something that each person might be able to give to someone else? Perhaps make their day with a treat in the mail and take it a step further and let them make someone else’s?

Handmade paper, heart cutter, tiny envelopes, red cards, and craft envelopes to send all of it in.  Each person will receive a note from me and then a smaller envelope with three hearts inside to do as they see fit.

Another thing I have worked on, is an assignment to guest write for a blog and give some Valentine ideas. Everyone I selected to feature was independent, green and mainly found on Etsy. I only know one of them personally and excited for each of them to see the piece! It will be great exposure for them!!

I included a lot of pictures with this post because I wanted  to share what I have been “thinking up”. I am having so much fun with this assignment. It is interesting how many layers of  mitzvah’ing cross my path as I have become more conscious of it thru Mondo. It feels amazing to volunteer generosity.

Mitzvah’ing in 2010

February 1, 2010

This assignment reminded of something that happened not that long ago. It was a Saturday morning and I was driving to the gym by myself. I was coming down this big hill when I saw this guy running as fast as he could up it. So fast on a city street that it caught my attention. I looked in my rearview mirror to see what he was doing and almost out of eye shot I saw a bus further up the hill he was sprinting on. I kept driving.

Then it clicked that the guy is dressed all in black. Oh I thought, he is trying to get to work. I also knew he was never going to catch that bus. Then in almost  some kind of auto pilot mode; I turned the car around and went to find him. I pulled up and asked him if he needed a ride. He told me he was trying to catch the bus, to get to the train, to get to the first day at his new job. Hop in I told him and I will take you to the train station. It felt 100% right to do so. Was I pretty sure this story would aggravate the hell out of Tyler? (and my mother too) Yes most definitely. But my gut and my head were yelling at me to turn around and help.

This got me to thinking. In this time of having to be or just choosing to be super careful & cautious; how do Mitzvah’s play out? Are they played out less? Maybe saved for our own inner circles? I don’t know. I am also not suggesting what is right or wrong.  Just curious. I mean my gut has never told me to pick up a hitch hiker. I think I have Hollywood movies to thank for that. But you know what I mean. Helping a complete stranger because your intuition told you to. This exercise was good to get back in touch with that.